So you read CBR’s interview with Mike Kunkel where he details his future plans for “Herobear and the Kid” and now you want to see more of his work. Next month you’ll have that chance in the pages of “X-Men Unlimited #37” from Marvel Comics. This issue signifies a major format change for the title. Instead of using three stories by three different creative teams per issue, they’ll be going for one story that will run through the entire book by a single writer and using a variety of creators to illustrate that one story. This issue sees a story written by Kaare Andrews with art provided by Andrews, Mike Kunkel, Troy Nixey, Scott Middleton and Scott Young. Each artist will contribute in their own style, so each section will have a decidedly different feel, but Kunkel explains that shouldn’t be a problem for readers.
“[Kaare’s] designed it so that it doesn’t feel disjointed,” explained Kunkel. “When you go to each new section you actually feel like you go to another part of the story. It’s almost like an animated cartoon where you’re being cast as that character.
|Model sheet featuring the mutant Hutch.
Click to enlarge.
“[My section] will have a flavor of ‘Herobear.’ I will be coloring it with either pastels or prisma color pencils, but it won’t be full color. It will be done the same way as I do ‘Herobear,’ so there will be more of a spot color look and it will be in my rough pencil style.”
“It was an idea that Kaare pitched,” series editor C.B. Cebulski told CBR News. “The story was strong enough that it warranted getting the single issue treatment rather than break it up into three-separate parts and three-separate issues. He was bringing some of the talent to the table that we felt would really boost the numbers and [justify] the change.”
|A further look at Hutch.
Click to enlarge.
This issue introduces two new characters into the Marvel Universe, a young mutant and his caretaker. The characters were created by Andrews and designed by Kunkel.
“The boy’s name is Hutch,” said Cebulski. “He has the mutant ability to step through alternate realities. He comes in contact with many different versions of the X-Men as we’ve seen them over the years. Be it the X-Men of ‘Days of Future Past,’ ‘Age of Apocalypse,’ or any of the other numerous alternate reality, time-traveling stories we’ve had.”
|Model sheet featuring the Thatcher.
Click to enlarge.
“The other character, [Thatcher] originally started out as a minister, but his role has changed to a less religious role. He comes off as a benefactor in the beginning, but at the end you learn he has alterior motives and he wants to control the boy to use his powers for his own evil machinations.”
As for plans to use these characters elsewhere, Cebulski tells CBR News that’s uncertain at this point in time.
Cebulski also detailed what’s next for “X-Men Unlimited” with issue #38 coming in September, written by Greg Ruck and illustrated by Darick Robertson. This issue also signals the return to the X-Universe of artist Paul Smith, who did a run on Uncanny X-Men as Penciller from issues 165 – 175.
“[X-Men Unlimited #38] will focus on Kitty Pryde and her finally coming to terms with the loss of her father, the loss of Colossus and how death personally affected her and how different people cope with grief and healing,” said Cebulski.
“X-Men Unlimited #38” will be released on September 11th, 2002, the one year anniversary of the attacks on America. Cebulski was conscious of the timing and approached this issue with great sensitivity.
“We did keep the date in mind and we didn’t want to do any kind of big action story or anything like that,” said Cebulski, “so we asked Greg when he was writing the issue to keep that in mind. As you read through the story [the events of September 11th] don’t really have any bearing. It’s not related directly, doesn’t mention 9/11 or the twin towers or anything, but the themes and some of what Kitty thinks about and the way she’s dealing with death can kind of relate in a way.”
Getting back to Kunkel, since it was announced he’d be working on an X-title, fans have bombarded him regularly with the same question. “People have been asking, ‘Are you going to do an X-Baby’s special?’ I’ll do that after I do a Spider-Man Special with Paul Dini!” Is a Spider-Man special with Dini planned? Not right now says Kunkel, but you never know.
“X-Men Unlimited #37” ships to comics stores on July 31st.