Happy Easter Everyone! I recently found a treasure trove of old comics, and it really got me nostalgic and appreciative for some really stand out art of past eras. It wasn’t just the art the stood out but how certain panels inspire other artists and become the subject of homage. I love to discover these little Easter eggs as it shows that art can carry elements like themes and continuity quite well. They don’t just have a story to tell, but sometimes hint at things, future artists/writers may or may not pick up on. Finding common threads like this through multiple works really excite me. So this weekend I decided to do a little Easter Egg hunting of my own and start a new series for our retro segment on Graphic Policy
I wanted to submit the following panels for commentary. The first is art by Frank Quietly for Grant Morrison’s legendary New X-Men run. The art depicts Professor Xavier in his Cerebro Chamber has his sister and newfound X-Villian Cassandra Nova carries out the Infamous Genoshan Genocide. A landmark occurrence, the Genocide of Genosha via Nova’s wild sentinels foresaw the death of 16 million (plus) mutants. The first major blow to mutant kind before the decimation of M-Day. Quietly has been known for his very psychedelic art particularly during his interpretation of Morrison’s characters and vision. The image of Xavier’s head observing the genocide through Cerebra’s condensation viewer was quite haunting and a standout piece of art in my honest opinion
The second panel features art by Clayton Crain, during the X-Force “Necrosha” event. The titular name being an homage to the massacred mutant nation. The Panel is a clear homage to New X-Men #115‘s “Extermination Event”. However, during this resurrection event, the immortal mutant Selene uses a combination of science and sorcery to resurrect the lost mutant lives on the island so she could consume them and attain her long desired Godhood.
What I love about the panel is that it features the Stepford Cuckoos reacting much like Xavier did, and the population counter showing mutant lives resurrected is the exact inverse of the Genocide, but adjusted to reflect the decimation of M-day, real clever.
Both panels punctuate how much Cerebro has become emblematic of Mutantkind’s place in the world, and how the X-Men’s journey has been beleaguered with extinctions and genocide. Crain’s art, hallmarked with a gritty and dour tone of the third X-Force volume was as real, and beautiful as it was dark. A lot of his panels on this run were a perfect match for the title’s theme, dark foreboding and violent. What I like about this homage is that it’s a rarity among his work on this series at the time. Ethereal and bright, a brief stab of light during a very dark time for the X-Men, and at the center of all of it as always is Cerebro.