CCI XTRA: Simone Bianchi's "Astonishing" Haircut

When fans were informed that a barber would be present at the announcement of the new "Astonishing X-Men" team at Comic-Con International in San Diego, most presumed the news referred to editor John Barber. They couldn't have been more wrong. Marvel Comics did indeed have a hair stylist on hand as they shaved Simone Bianchi's hair into the distinctive "X-Men" logo. How did Marvel convince Bianchi into letting them do this? No persuasion was needed, as this was in fact Bianchi's own idea.

For those who have been lucky enough to meet Simone Bianchi, they know his enthusiasm and excitement for comics is infectious. Even though English is his second language, Bianchi's love of the Marvel Universe crosses any language barriers. When Bianchi first got work at Marvel, he was so happy, he shaved a web-like pattern into his hair in celebration. At New York Comic-Con earlier this year, fans noticed he had three lines shaved in his head from front to back, to commemorate his run on Wolverine. For this latest announcement, Simone created a design of his own choosing to celebrate his new run on "Astonishing X-Men" alongside writer Warren Ellis.

Marvel's Jim McCann was on hand to emcee the event and took questions from fans for Bianchi while the artist's hair was being shaved. McCann also announced that if any fan would allow Marvel to shave their head in the same fashion, that Simone would do a free drawing for them. Editor Axel Alonso eventually took the stage and asked for fans who were willing to do it without seeing the finished product. Two fans vied for the honor with one fan gaining points for having parents that owned an Italian restaurant.

Bianchi talked about which characters in the Marvel Universe he wanted to draw, reiterating several times that he would love to draw Thor, to which McCann said, "Paging Joe Quesada." When asked which villains Bianchi wanted to draw, the artist admitted that his dream would be to draw Dr. Doom. While discussing his recent run on "Wolverine" and what it was like working with Jeph Loeb, the artist was interrupted by Loeb himself, who was in the Marvel booth doing signings. The writer shouted, "Why do you sound like the Mario Brothers?" to which Bianchi responded, "I am Super Mario Brothers!"

Talk turned to "Astonishing X-Men" and the new piece of preview art Marvel debuted this past weekend. It was noted that while the art was created by Simone Bianchi, it was a promo piece and the team roster shown is not the one that will be featured in the book, as there will be some additions and subtractions. McCann and Bianchi discussed which characters on the promo piece he liked to draw. Bianchi cited Cyclops as his favorite, with the clean lines of the costume, and Emma frost his least favorite, to the point that there was at one time talk of redesigning her costume.

Bianchi continued to discuss the plans for his run "Astonishing X-Men," explaining that if things went well and he was ahead of schedule, he planned on drawing the title for the next 12 issues. If he got behind, he only planned on doing the first six issues but hoped he would do covers for all 24 issues of Warren Ellis' run.

With the topic of covers coming up, Bianchi also mentioned his upcoming work doing covers for "Amazing Spider-Man," though as to which issues in the run he would be covering he did not say.

Over an hour later, Bianchi turned his head to the cameras so all could get a good look at his new haircut. Thankfully, we all know that Bianchi's artwork is going to come out looking better than his hair did.

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