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This page is in a folder marked “better than X-Men.”

betterthanXForce_500

I grew up on the X-Men. I started with Jim Lee’s 1991 X-Men #1 and kept reading after he left the book. Maybe a year later, I picked up on X-Force through back issues that my godbrother had. I wasn’t a fan of the X-Force art, but I really loved the characters. A bunch of angry, younger X-guys living inside a mountain and fighting bad guys. I started buying X-Force when they got a better artist (Greg Capullo) and ditched Cable. It was a fun time. Those were some of the most important comic books for me, ever. This past month, I’ve been going back and re-buying those Greg Capullo X-Force issues and soaking up the memories. Sure, there were better comic books at the time (X-Factor), but this was always where my heart was.

A few years later, I discovered Akira, also thanks to my godbrother. Akira felt like the X-Men concept enhanced by a more plausible set of scenarios. All of the superhumans in Akira are psychokinetics with various specialties. I really liked the idea that the superpowers came from a single extra-natural concept rather than the (rather creative) hodge-podge of weird powers which defined the X-Men. In Akira, I could see how different characters would use this same powerset in very different ways, according to their personalities, personal strength and circumstances. Just like in real life, there are different kinds of strength or intelligence with various applications thereof.

My godbrother and I conspired to make a comic masterpiece that was a rough rip-off of Akira with some X-Men-style soap opera drama. Oh, the notes we had! I hope those notes did not survive the years, they were even embarrassing when we were teenagers. Anyway, as an adult, I periodically have the idea to revisit this theme and do an X-Men/Akira-inspired comic book. And then I saw Warren Ellis’ Freak Angels, which basically did everything that we wanted to.

I really love Freak Angels, I read it every Friday (or Saturday if I’m too busy…look how cool I am). It’s one of my favorite webcomics as well as one of my favorite currently running comics of any kind. The thing that gnaws at my insides is how much I wish I threw my hat in the “psychic teenagers” genre sooner. Because I feel like anything that I do now will be placed directly in the shadow of this work, specifically. It has the same sort of blend of Akira/X-Teams concepts that have been chewing the insides of my brain since the 1990s. Not one or the other, but a descendant of both.

While I was writing this post,

I was talking to my pal Sarah Oleksyk who tipped me off to this highly relevant blog post that she wrote the other day. Honestly, you can stop reading my post now and just click over to Sarah’s.

Regarding the page up top:

I am drawing this thing digitally, but I messed up the formatting, so I’m going to start over. It’s just the rough pencil phase, so no big deal whatsoever. This is a storyline that is still being fleshed out. It’s a story in which the setting plays a crucial role in the conflicts. Writing takes so long!

malefactors_500

Here’s a sketch page for a similar comic that I’m trying to flesh out. This one relates to the same world and circumstances as the above-mentioned story, but at a slightly different point in life.

I know that I misspelled “malefactor.”

Although now that I know how it’s spelled, do you think there would be any confusion about the type of comic it is? Title “Malefactor.”

;-)

Thanks for listening!

@darrylayo

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