|X-Men: Legacy #1 cover by Mike Del Mundo|
By Jim Beard
When Marvel fans first caught a glimpse of the cover to X-MEN: LEGACY #1 and witnessed the madness of Legion staring back at them, they knew the book would have a style all its own. Now, artist Mike Del Mundo’s garnered industry-wide praise for his stunning work on the Marvel NOW! series and his excitement for the project’s running strong.
“Legion's personality definitely played a huge role in setting the tone of the covers,” says the artist. “We used that as the backbone in most of the covers and added a little of the storyline in each issue. What's great is that because Legion isn't as well established, we were able to almost do anything, and we did.
“Legion is a very complex character, with a million mutant personalities on a journey of self awareness. What I dig about the character is his immense power and unpredictable behavior due to his mental disease. You're basically in suspense all the time. What engages me artistically about him is that he's a spectrum of visual options. He can, in a second, call the powers of fire and then switch to firing psionic beams. His trademark eraser head is pretty cool—kinda makes me curious if his telekinesis allows him to keep his hair permanently extended or like everyone else, he keeps a can of hairspray at all times.”
Del Mundo, a native of the Philippines, reports that when the editor Daniel Ketchum approached him about X-MEN: LEGACY and told him they wanted a look out of “left field,” he jumped at the opportunity to “do something unique” and bring his own style to the covers.
“Daniel and our writer Si Spurrier discuss the storyline and we come up with a dozen concepts and ideas,” explains Del Mundo of the creative process. “I take those concepts and elaborate on them even more and add a few of my ideas. It's a very collaborative effort.”
|X-Men: Legacy #9 cover by Mike Del Mundo|
He also notes that his mode of brainstorming may quite often be augmented by liberal amounts of the ol’ java.
“The majority of the work is spent with my sketchbook at Starbucks, zoning out and coming up with a ton of ideas, usually a few hours spent [on that],” Del Mundo says. “From there, I'll refine and color my sketches up on the Mac and send them in for approval. Once approved, I call in my dad, my model of choice, for some needed reference. Then it's stylus on Cintiq with hot keys in effect!
“The process I've used on these covers is my regular style, although the one thing that's different is I've made sure to always keep Legion's hair in mind for the composition.”
The sprawling universe of the X-Men provides endless fascination for the artist, and he cites Wolverine, Archangel, Blindfold, Chamber, Deadpool, Psylocke, Colossus, Bishop, and Iceman as some of his most favorite characters to illustrate.
“My personal history with the X-Men starts with my dad taking us to the local comic store and saying, ‘You can only choose one comic,” he remembers. “That was a really hard choice staring at a wall of over 50 new titles! Nevertheless, every new comic day, it would be that one X-Men comic I gravitated towards. The first comic book I ever picked up was UNCANNY X-MEN #275, right off the spindle, so you can only guess my excitement to have been able to work on such titles as UNCANNY X-MEN, X-MEN: LEGACY, WOLVERINE and GENERATION HOPE.”
|X-Men: Legacy #3 cover by Mike Del Mundo|
Picking a favorite though from among his own work on X-MEN: LEGACY, well, perhaps that’s not as easy for the artist.
“Man that's a hard one,” Del Mundo admits. “If I had to pick, it would be issue #3, mainly because I was able to do up an Escher-inspired design that worked perfectly with the storyline! It's awesome when the planets align on these covers!”
The planets definitely line up at the moment for Mike Del Mundo, with more X-MEN: LEGACY covers on the way, as well as stunning pieces for DEADPOOL KILLUSTRATED ahead.
“Honestly, I'm living the dream,” he notes, “but if I had a choice for another dream project, I'm really digging WOLVERINE AND THE X-MEN—that's definitely on my list!”