Friday, May 27, 2016

Making a Splash: Jim Steranko's X-Men

Dig it, Groove-ophiles! Dunno why Ol' Groove hasn't done this post already, but here it is! Since we're still celebrating the release of X-Men: Apocalypse, and since some of the original team-members look to be featured so prominently (although, as usual, in altered states), I've got an excuse to make up for my past errors! (Like Ol' Groove needs an excuse to run Jim Steranko X-Men art!) Steranko only drew two issues of the X-Men (inked by John Tartaglione), but he left his mark with his costume design for Lorna Dane and the extremely long-lived X-Men logo (which you can see on two of his three covers, right here). Legend has it that Steranko wasn't crazy about working on the Merry Mutants' mag (it was said to have been Marvel's lowest-selling superhero mag at the time), but aside from the credit-line on issue #51, you could fool moi! Ahem, you're not here to listen to Ol' Groove ramble, are ya? Of course you're not! Here are the big, bold full-and-double-paged Steranko masterpieces from X-Men issues 50-51 (August-September 1968)!


  1. More Steranko magic. The only negative to his X-Men run was the substandard finishes by Tartaglione. Still, we were blessed with 3 good Steranko covers, including the pop-art # 49 and the exquisite "all-green" # 50.

  2. Tartaglione did seem an unsympathetic inker, but he also inked SHIELD #5 and that was pretty amazing. Steranko put a lot into the story openings and splashes, but there was not much enthusiasm in his usually mind-bending layouts. Lots of facial close-ups and fairly sparse backgrounds. There's very little sense of place and atmosphere compared to his work before and after. Still, it was a leap in quality for the X-Men. And those covers were just magic, easily worth the price of admission. Steranko himself has been dismissive of the work, but even when his interest was flagging, he knew how to put on a show.

  3. Steranko complained to Stan Lee that the X-Men logo of issues #1-49 was terrible. Stan said, "Can you do better?" Jim said, "Sure can," and with issue 50 he created the beautiful, new logo which is STILL used on a lot of X-Men books to this day...FOR FREE! Yes, Steranko did it as a 'favor' - one which he now laments: "I'd be a millionaire from the royalties alone from that logo, if only I had thought to negotiate it."



    Chris A.



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Special thanks to Mike's Amazing World of Comics and Grand Comics Database for being such fantastic resources for covers, dates, creator info, etc. Thou art treasures true!

Note to "The Man": All images are presumed copyright by the respective copyright holders and are presented here as fair use under applicable laws, man! If you hold the copyright to a work I've posted and would like me to remove it, just drop me an e-mail and it's gone, baby, gone.

All other commentary and insanity copyright GroovyAge, Ltd.

As for the rest of ya, the purpose of this blog is to (re)introduce you to the great comics of the 1970s. If you like what you see, do what I do--go to a comics shop, bookstore, e-Bay or whatever and BUY YOUR OWN!