If the fact that Marvel's flagship X-book, "Uncanny X-Men," was hitting landmark issue #500 in July wasn't big enough news for you, the House of Ideas announced the creative team was adding a couple of heavy hitters, as well, at Wizard World Los Angeles.
Rising star Matt Fraction ("Invincible Iron Man" and "The Immortal Iron Fist") joins 2007 Eisner award winner Ed Brubaker ("Captain America" and "The Immortal Iron Fist") as the book's new co-writer and Greg Land and newly minted Marvel exclusive Terry Dodson ("Wonder Woman") will now share art duties. For more with Fraction, don't miss our interview from Saturday.
Dodson told CBR News that the perfect project from Marvel was in hand before the decision of exclusivity was made.
"For me it's the project first, not the company," explained Dodson. "I've been treated exceptionally well by all the companies I've worked for and have had great experiences working for them, as well as, great ongoing relationships with people from the companies.
"I signed up with DC to draw 'Wonder Woman' for two years, knowing I was obligated to draw the second volume of my Humanoids [Publishing] graphic novel, 'Songes,' after that contract expired. I really enjoyed working for the European publishers and wanted to continue to do so which meant I needed to cut-down on my workload for American publishers.
"DC wanted a full-time artist on 'Wonder Woman,' which wasn't going to work for me," continued Dodson. "Now, it was a matter of figuring out what my next American project would be. As I left Marvel on good terms to draw 'Wonder Woman,' they were very interested to have me working for them again.
"One of the projects they offered was 'Uncanny,' a book with great writers, a great launch point and storyline [#500], and a system where I would be a rotating artist on the book, which would free up my schedule as I wanted.
"Then it was a matter of deciding if the exclusive was a good idea. The companies like to have you exclusive, as there is obviously a competition between Marvel and DC. But to me, it was simply the project was right, financially it was great and more importantly, they were going to allow me to continue working for the European publishers. So now, with all requirements met, I can just draw."
Dodson will team with Land on #500 and will return for his first solo arc from #504-506.
The two will flip back and forth from arc to arc moving forward, which will give Dodson the time he needs to work on "Songes, N° 2: Coraline" for Humanoids Publishing and other projects in Europe.
And while Dodson has yet to sit down with Fraction and Brubaker, he said the duo's writing had him at "Hello."
"I've only read the scripts at this point, but based on their quality that got me on board right away. They felt like the X-men and I could easily picture myself drawing them," said Dodson, who has loved the book for more than 20 years.
"I grew up reading the book during John Romita Jr.'s initial run and Arthur Adam's run on the annuals beginning with the 'New Mutants Special/Uncanny X-Men' Annual #9. That really got me into the book," said Dodson. "And it's been that way ever since. The art that got me excited about the characters, like when Barry Windsor Smith would do stories or covers, and later on while I was working in the X-office, Carlos Pacheco's run and Chris Bachalo's run were both great.
"I was kind of losing interest in superhero comics when I was in college, but then Jim Lee came onto 'Uncanny' and there was so much energy and talent in those pages that I really got excited about comics again. I was so inspired that I really worked hard at learning art while I was in college and ended up working professionally within about two years of that during my fourth year of college.
"More recently, the Grant Morrison run was a great return to form for me. It would have been nice to have just a couple of artists on that run for consistency, but oh well, it's still great stuff."
Dodson worked on two X-miniseries previously, "Pryde and Wisdom" and "Storm," as well as, the ongoing title "Generation-X" from 1996-99.
The superstar artist said at this point it's too early to say which X-Men member is his favorite to draw.
"It's more the challenge of drawing a team book and making everyone unique," said Dodson. "I am trying to make the X-Men as appealing as possible like the artists who I admire, who came before me."
Dodson did however share his thoughts on each of the roster members and what he hopes to bring to each iconic character.
"Jim Lee made me enjoy Cyclops and now I've had a few chances to draw him on the covers of 'Young X-Men.' He's the leader of the team and he needs to be shown that way."
"I actually had a stab at Emma for a while on my two-year run on 'Generation-X' and she became a favorite of mine. Grant Morrison made her into a pretty cool character. I look forward to working on her again after so much time."
"Wolverine is a lot like Batman where there have been so many definitive takes on the character that it's hard to put your own unique spin on them. But I have a few ideas."
"I love drawing metal and I love drawing big characters."
"I've drawn Nightcrawler a few times. He was in the very first Marvel book I drew, 'Excalibur' #83, which was Warren Ellis' first issue on that title and then 'Spider-Man and the Black Cat' #5. Again, I'm kind of looking forward to drawing him again. I am actually curious to see how I approach him."
"As far as his personality goes, I'm not that familiar with the character but I like his look and am looking forward to drawing a flying characters with wings."
Dodson said he plans to have a good, long run on "Uncanny X-Men."