Lettering Through the Psychic Fog in Astonishing X-Men 11

By Patrick Ehlers

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

CORRECTION (5/3/18): A previous version of this piece credited Clayton Cowles with the lettering, as is indicated in the credits. The issue was actually lettered by Travis Lanham.

Astonishing X-Men is one of those telepathic mutant clusterfucks. You know the type: there are psychics and reality warpers and a shapeshifter all int he mix at once. The audience’s ability to tell what is happening and what is not happening will likely vary from reader to reader, but I had a hell of a time tracking who was where and what specific threats they faced. This disorientation cues the reader up for that mind-bending twist on the final page. But you can’t just be confused for 20 pages, can you? With Ron Garney’s artwork and Charles Soule’s script both actively working to distance themselves from the reader, we have to look to letterer Travis Lanham for signposts of stability. Continue reading

All-New X-Men 9

all new x-men 9

Today, Patrick and (guest writer) Michael D. are discussing All-New X-Men 9, originally released March 20th, 2013.

Patrick: ­”What are we doing here?” It’s a practical question, but it’s also often a petulant one. The question is so charged, packed with implications about the many other ways the asker would rather be spending their time. In my experience, the next thought after “what are we doing here?” is usually “I’m leaving.” When you’re young and unattached, it’s a dangerous question because it can lead you to take almost any course of action. So when a time-displaced mutant that feels alienated from his only friends asks “What are we doing here?” it’s cause for alarm.

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All-New X-Men 8

all new x-men 8

Today, Ethan and Shelby are discussing All-New X-Men 8, originally released March 6th, 2013.

Ethan: ­Time-travel narratives always have the potential to bring up questions of self and identity. Though he wrote in less sci-fi context, Famous Dead White Guy David Hume talked about self not in terms of one, coherent, persistent soul but as a collision of different, constantly changing ideas and perceptions, like a train barreling forward with an ever changing set of passengers. While I may feel like I’m one, same person from one day to the next, I’m occasionally startled when my brain abruptly serves up a memory from the past. I remember the experience, the decisions, the stimuli as if it was me, but the choices and statements made by that past person often seem alien. That person was, in many real ways, NOT the me I am now. Reading All-New X-Men 8, I was happy to see that writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist David Marquez took some time to play around with these ideas.

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