By David Paggi
In the Marvel Universe, the old adage "the bigger, the better" doesn't always apply; especially not this October, when writer Gregg Schigiel teams with artist Jacob Chabot to bring back everyone's favorite miniature mutants, the X-Babies, in a four-issue limited series. And believe us when we say you've never seen them like this before!
Shiegiel and Chabot's X-BABIES picks up on Mojoworld where a new group of leaders has taken command, and the state of "regularly scheduled programming" normally seen from the television nightmare factory has gone a little soft.
preview art by
"The new programmers have a very specific vision for what should air-[they are] more interested in 'safe, pleasant, cute, educational and moral-heavy' programming," explains Schigiel. "This is distinctly different than the rock 'em-sock 'em, fight-heavy stuff more common in classic super hero stories. Obviously, the X-Babies-who've been replaced by kinder, gentler, cuter versions of themselves-think that's dumb."
But the real shocker comes from exactly who
the X-Babies have been replaced with. Ladies and gentlemen, get ready for the most unlikely comeback of 2009-the pantheon of Star Comics!
A Marvel imprint that launched in 1984 geared toward younger readers, Star Comics provided a home for various original creations as well as a few licensed properties and haven't been seen in nearly two decades. In this pint-sized brawl, the X-Babies will have to do battle with none other than Top Dog-a talking dog-Planter Terry-an interstellar tot in search of his parents-Royal Roy-an extremely wealthy youngster-and Wally Wizard-a young
by Jacob Chabot
magician in training.
"It was Gregg's brilliant idea to include the old Star Comics characters in the story, both to act as adversaries and hopefully update them for a modern audience," says Chabot. "I was thrilled at this concept! I pretty much got into comics through Marvel's old Star line, so this really goes back to my roots. I am doing some redesigns, but I'm trying to keep them recognizable by incorporating as many details from the original designs as I can. So, for example, if you're one of the few who remembers Top Dog from back in the day, you'll be able to know it's him when he shows up. Hint: he's the dog."
"What's cool about it, to me, was that the story idea came first," touts Schigiel. "And then came the 'holy moley' moment where I realized there was this untapped reservoir
by Jacob Chabot
of characters in Marvel's publishing history that fit the story perfectly. You know, you kind of search the landscape for unnoticed or unused characters, which can be tough these days. Kind of made me glad to be old enough to remember these guys. In preparation I've been reading the old Star books and they have their charms, to be sure. Clearly they're written for younger readers, but Planet Terry, actually, is a real page-turner. And Top Dog, oh man, that series pretty much challenged suspension of disbelief almost as its mission statement."
But getting back to the X-Babies, Schigiel reveals they'll be using the classic line up of Cyclops, Storm, Wolverine, Nightcrawler, Rogue, Colossus and Kitty Pryde, which under the pen of Jacob Chabot will be reaching a whole new level of cute. Even the artist himself can't decide which X-Baby he's most excited to draw.
by Jacob Chabot
"It's hard to pick because the X-Babies were another big part of my early comic reading experience," shares Chabot. "I must have read those old Art Adams comics a million times. It just seemed so bizarre that these characters could exist alongside the X-Men in the 'real' Marvel Universe. But, I'll have to give it up for Li'l Kitty Pryde, the smallest and cutest of the X-Babies! After that, Wolverine probably comes in a close second, just because he's a little scrapper!"
In terms of continuity and history, Schigiel and Chabot will approach the characters in a way that acknowledges their place in X-Men lore, but don't expect an impenetrable piece of mutant nostalgia. Priority number one remains simply to tell a fun story.
by Jacob Chabot
"It'll sound cliché, but the overall tone of X-BABIES is a fun adventure comic; energetic, colorful, maybe a little absurd, kind of trying to capture the feeling or memory of a good Saturday morning cartoon," says Schigiel. "Jacob's work is perfectly suited for this, absolutely. He does the cute, shiny, happy stuff, but he can also sell the super hero action and intensity.
"To that end, for all the light-hearted fun we're going to have, as far as the X-Babies are concerned, the threats and obstacles they're facing are the real deal."
For all the latest news updates from Heroes Con 2009 and Wizard World Philadelphia 2009, keep checking back right here on Marvel.com all weekend!
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