Cyclopean Baby Momma Drama in Ed Piskor’s Grand Design X-Tinction

I haven’t bought a lot of Marvel or DC recently, not out of some personal or permanent dogma regarding either of the “Big 2” U.S. comic publishers, I just haven’t been confronted with anything that’s either captured my imagination or appealed to me intellectually.

I am, however, or rather was a giant X-Men fan.

That doesn’t make me unique.

Perhaps no other comicbook bloc was more popular in the history of comics as ’90s X-Men. We can talk about Golden Age Superman and Captain Marvel during an era where almost all media entertainment and information, especially for children, were print based but the sheer number of X-Men related titles was nothing short of staggering.

They printed Stryfe’s Strike Filetwo variations of it… and EVERYONE had it. They were stacking so much money I think the current EiC of DC Comics rode that notch on his resume and his relationships forged during the time – he was the X-Men group editor – for close to thirty years now.

It took prime Todd McFarlane on Marvel’s flagship character – and still by far, following licensing money, the most valuable single superhero property by A LOT – for there to be another single comic book that could be talked about in the same air as the ’90s X-Men factory.

And my fandom was not just limited to the Claremont run.

The cartoonist behind X-Men: Grand Design, one Ed Piskor, has said (on his dope Youtube Channel that he shares with fellow cartoonist Jim Rugg: Cartoonist Kayfabe) considers a stopping point for the title to be Claremont’s exit but I still was very much into Fatal Attractions w/ that Joe Quesada and Greg Capullo art and Generation X with sublime early Chris Bachalo scribblings and would love an Ed Piskor take on all those Cable-adjacent events that came after the Claremont X-Men era and condense them into something concise and coherent. I’d buy the shit out of Piskor-remixed X-Cutioner’s Song, Phalanx Covenant, and aforementioned Fatal Attractions. And I LOVE Age of Apocalypse.

Since then though, sans an interesting and odd run written by Grant Morrison TWENTY years ago that brought back that new weird, displaced, un-marvel Marvel flavor that X-Men embodied, I’ve pretty much found myself almost immediately disinterested in every attempt of mine to realign myself with a worthwhile X-Men comic.

Then I saw this baby.

x-men grand design

A literal baby. Baby Cable.

In the midst of peek Scott Summers baby momma drama with X-Men Grand Design: X-Tinction Piskor is playing in my era of X-Men that I typically associate with Marc Silvestri and Dan Green. Silvestri lives just up the coast from me so believe me he isn’t complaining about anything but at time I find myself the guy having to bring up his name with my chest while others go on about Byrne, Romita Jr., Paul Smith, and Jim Lee.

Ed Piskor and I are kindred spirits in at least one regard.

No I have no Eisner Awards (my claim to fame was being a write-in for a Hugo Award for fan writing and finishing top 7 – my mother is very proud) like Piskor but I have seen all of the MCU Marvel films and while I really appreciate the quality control and business acumen of Kevin Feige and everyone on down creatively at Disney for what they’ve created, a not so small part of my fucking soul rebels against any world, even one I prosper in, where the Avengers are hotter than the X-Men. This happenstance is anathema to any possible utopia I can define.

I don’t know if Piskor or any other Grand Design can counter this lesser Avengers-first future we have found ourselves in but he has made a damn entertaining read and it’s one of the best varieties, that kind you union didn’t know you needed until you got it. It’s the comics purple tape dressed in the battle of mutant gingers.

Flatscans have had decades of their X-Men comics, Piskor got something for us too long dormant Omega levels sitting poolside.

x-men grand design

Are You Listening? Read Tillie Walden

The world is alright. I’m hanging out in the backyard all poolside with new Tillie Walden comics.

tillie walden are you listening

Just got an advance copy of the next Tillie Walden project which around here, as it it should be in any locale that enjoys and covets the very best comics, is event level circumstance.

Walden’s Are You Listening? hits shelves this September but it’s accompanying me poolside now and if it’s as good as any of her previous graphic novels it’s going to be one of best reading experiences of the year.

Her On a Sunbeam is one of best pieces of speculative fiction I’ve ever read, a true science fiction tour de force that feels like a topshelf Christoper Nolan film that was completely thought out by an actual human with real human emotions before being released.

I’m a mark for great science fiction but you don’t have to be slanted toward any genre or mode of fiction to enjoy a Tille Walden comics, everything she has released is at least great: The End of Summer, Spinning, I Love This Part, A City Inside. It’s all worthwhile, any of her catalog would be almost anyone else’s masterpiece,

I got into the work of Tillie Walden a few years ago when finding pleasures in american comics was becoming a more infrequent happenstance. This is not a statement I mean to defend or litigate in anyway, it’s a personal cycle, but I was just finding myself more engaged by comics from Inio Asano, Posuka Demizu, Oda-sama, and Kerascoët among others.

Enter Tillie Walden.

For the initiated I’m not breaking news, Walden has awards and accolades that are remarkable for a cartoonist her age and for the uninitiated Tillie Walden is simply your next sequential obsession. I’m an art collector. Original art, not so much prints (they are kind of anathema to me to be honest – though I maybe wrote the longest post about a print ever for the love of DEFIANT Dave Lapham), but I guess I missed out on when Walden sold her originals. That in itself usually won’t drive me to purchase a print but in this case I had to scoop it.

tillie walden art print

I just caught that feeling you get when concluding an experience and wanting more, to have a part of it, that sensation that propels capitalism and had us in earlier days watching cartoons and then begging your parents to buy you the toys of what you just watched. This is a signed print of Lars and Nemo from the aforementioned The End of Summer, her first work, to extend the Tillie art experience in my house.

I can’t wait to dig into Are You Listening?

The Defiant Lost History of David Lapham’s Mongrel

David Lapham is known for stray bullets but whatever happened to his DEFIANT Mongrel? And what did George Romero have to do with it?

In the mid-’90s Jim Shooter, once the editor-in-chief of Marvel Comics and later a founder of  VALIANT comics created DEFIANT comics. Among those that went with him was David Lapham, an artist/writer who would go on to win Eisners for his independent work on his own Stray Bullets. Lapham would be the artist on the debut comic from DEFIANT, Warriors of Plasm, but before he did that, before anyone did anything at DEFIANT we could put in our hands and read, we got Mongrel.

mongrel lithograph defiant david lapham

We never saw him again. It’s no secret that the medium of comic books, at least in the United States direct market is mostly dominated by characters that have been around for decades and come with not only a personal history but in many cases multiple histories. They’re great and are the foundation of the industry and fandom but I also love me some characters who pop up in the midst of these grander chapters; mere footnotes in the continuity of larger footprints stomped into many a secondary world.

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