A little bit of love for Art Adams and his cover to Classic X-Men #1...
|Preliminary cover design|
Another preliminary, this time drawn by John Romita Sr.
|Preliminary cover design|
“Then they liked that job, so they offered me the book; but they said, “You can either do the X-Men or we’ve got a new series we’re starting up called the New Mutants. It’s up to you, but this is going to be a new series and should be big, so it might be something you’d want to get into instead of the X-Men”, and even though the X-Men was kind of the hot book at the time, New Mutants was something that I could co-create and get in on the ground floor, so to speak, so I chose to do that.”
“I probably could have had a lot more input, because Chris was very open to suggestions, but at the time, I just wasn't that interested in creating characters. I just wanted to draw. Chris already had the characters basically imagined when I came on board. Chris, Louise and I decided to make the thrust of the book all about the school, so the New Mutants wouldn't just be another super-group like all the others. I pushed to have more females than males in the group, and helped to decide on what costumes they'd wear (we decided to go with a school uniform), and I created the physical look of the characters. In other words, I think Rahne was basically just described by Chris as a redhead. I decided to make her short and full-figured, with bristly wolf-hair, and I came up with her transitional half-wolf look. I made Dani tall and slender and flat chested (at the time, probably the only female in comics with less than a c-cup!). It was my idea to give Sam big ears, etc. We originally envisioned Sunspot as growing huge like the Hulk when he powered up.”
“And in a sense, I think that’s perhaps why we created The New Mutants – to do a book where those realities [death and violence] do no so much intrude. To do a book where kids – a younger audience – could read it enjoy it and be scared and excited without having the fundamental pay-off of somebody suffering such an essential trauma as death. It may be that X-Men has developed to a point where it is not a book that appeals to the youngest audiences.”
“The reason I left New Mutants was because it was so far behind schedule. We got started off on the wrong foot. It was supposed to be a regular series and then as I was starting to draw the first issue the editor decided to make it a graphic novel. That was at the same time I was getting married and going on a honeymoon, and so I got behind and just never could catch up after that. After the first three issues of pencilling I just wasn’t happy with the drawing I was doing because it was so rushed. I then decided to quit drawing it and start inking it instead, but then that just wasn’t satisfying because I was inking the same penciller every month and Sal Buscema is a very good penciller for what he does, but at that time especially he was just doing a real standard pencilling job, nothing exciting. So I just wasn’t into it. Just after a few issues of inking I just decided to try to find something else to do that was a bit more fun and I never kept up with it after that.”
The short version is that office politics and hassles led to our leaving the series. Next up would have been a Red Skull three-parter. And after that...well, John always wanted to see Cap take on some American Neo-Nazis.
"Nazis...I hate those guys!" [...]
Those pages were never scripted, but a plot to all three issues exists...or at least, existed. If a copy is still around, it's buried in my files or a box somewhere.
A little over five years ago, there was actually some interest in John and me producing all three issues as a special of some sort. But then, other parties at Marvel started screwing John around.
Still...maybe someday.and furthermore:
That was going to be our Red Skull trilogy. After we left Cap, I toyed with the idea of turning the story into a graphic novel. But later writers did some things with the Skull that would have invalidated the story. A couple of years ago, there was some talk of having John and me revisit the story as a special project “ sort of "What if Roger and John hadn’t left Captain America?" But then John started having major creative differences with Marvel. I guess the story will have to remain "The One that Got Away." For now, at least. I never say never.And one more little tidbit, from Comics Feature #1 where Stern discusses his post issue #255 run: "After the first of next year there will be a two- or three-part story with the Red Skull in which the Skull's real face will be revealed for the first - and last - time. Following that will be stories with Arnim Zola and the Ameridroid."