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BOOK
Comics Creators on X-Men

Author: Tom DeFalco
Titan Books
RRP: 14.99, US $17.95
ISBN 1 84576 173 1
Available 21 April 2006


This is the latest in a series of stand-alone reference books by insider Tom DeFalco which delves into the writing and artwork of comics. The emphasis seems to be very much on Marvel and has continuity in mind as it follows a title from its conception through to recent events. With
Comics Creators on Spider-Man and Comics Creators on Fantastic Four (both also published by Titan Books) having already been handled, it was perhaps inevitable that the popular X-Men would be next.

The format used to tell the history and developments of storylines and individual approaches to artwork is a collection of interviews with similar questions surrounding background and new ones explaining plot and characterisation.

Appropriately, we kick-off with Stan Lee, creator of a multitude of loveable superheroes which many of us grew-up reading. Other writers covered who have worked on the comic series include Roy Thomas (the creator of Wolverine and Banshee), Chris Claremont (who devised the Jean Grey "Dark Phoenix" saga), and Grant Morrison. Artists include John Byrne, Marc Silvestri, Neal Adams, Dave Cockrum and others. All interviews are pretty informal and punctuated with insets explaining story arcs and some nice examples of sketched artwork. There are also monochrome representations of groundbreaking covers.

Rather like the festive season, you reap what you sow as far as these books are concerned. Personally, I enjoyed the Spider-Man one best, but only because I read the comics as a kid and could relate to many of the twists and turns that the character endured. I know much less about the X-Men and consequently couldn't really get caught-up in the enthusiasm of those involved. I found it interesting only from the writing angle (the most talented seem to be those who are not afraid to put their protagonists through hell and have them permanently affected by events).

If you're a long-time X-Men enthusiast you'll lap this up. If you're a fan of the films or animated shows and want to find out about the origins of the comics, you could do worse than start here. Otherwise, Comics Creators on X-Men will be of only casual interest. Stand by for Comics Creators on The Hulk; it must surely be next.

Ty Power

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