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First Look: X-Factor #250

Editor Daniel Ketchum explains the evolution behind the special anniversary variant cover by Clay Mann!

By Ben Morse

X-FACTOR #250 not only kicks off the long-awaited Hell on Earth War from Peter David, but commemorates a momentous milestone for Marvel’s most off-kilter mutant team. To celebrate, editor Daniel Ketchum commissioned artist Clay Mann to create a special variant cover featuring not only the current line-up of X-Factor Investigations, but every mutant to inhabit the titles pages through the years.

X-Factor #250 variant cover by Clay Mann

“[Artist] Mark Brooks and I had just wrapped up the previous iteration of X-MEN LEGACY with a cover on the final issue that featured the current roster of X-Men,” recalls Ketchum. “When I was approached to commission a variant cover to commemorate this anniversary issue of X-FACTOR, I thought it would be cool to do something similar: a single cover featuring the full complement of X-Factor team members.”

With the concept in place, GAMBIT and Age of X artist Mann emerged as the top choice to bring it to the page.

“Clay Mann knows how to draw a badass team shot,” Ketchum says. “He is adept at composing eye-catching portraits and that’s in full effect here.”

X-FACTOR originally kicked off in 1986 as a reunion of the original X-Men team, but has mutated through the years to feature government-mandated squads, reformed villains, and the current incarnation as a detective agency specializing in the bizarre. Mann and Ketchum concocted a roster of characters that best embodied each era of X-Factor.

“It pretty much came down to however many characters Clay thought he could fit on the cover,” Ketchum explains. “I gave him free rein to draw whomever he pleased, and as you can see in the finished piece, he also took that to mean in whatever costume he pleased. For example, he’s a big fan of GENERATION X, so he drew M in her Gen X uniform.”

Check out the gallery below for Mann's sketch to inks process, then on January 16, X-FACTOR #250 invites you to honor the legacy of the title jump and into the Hell on Earth War!



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