Marvel has been teasing this for months now, but now the cat is finally out of the bag!
Northstar is getting married to his boyfriend, Kyle!
The news was actually announced on the daytime talk show The View!
First: I want to say that I've actually known for a while now that the announcement was going to happen on The View, and that Whoopi Goldberg was going to be the one talking about it. When I learned that, it made me giddy. That's GUINAN from STAR TREK!... The idea of Guin-- I mean Whoopi Goldberg showing the viewers of The View my artwork is surreal to me. It's absurd! I just saw the clip and it is still really strange to me.
Now, I know that the big story here is the fact that this is a gay wedding, and I was happy and honored to be the artist doing this cover. (I'm, of course, totally in favor of equal rights for gays.) But for me the real thrill was that I was getting to do a superhero comic wedding cover!
I've talked a little in past entries about the kinds of covers you typically see on superhero comics, specifically X-Men comics. But the superhero comic wedding cover is a rare and unique tradition. The first one I think of is John Romita Sr's cover to Amazing Spider-Man with Peter Parker and Mary Jane getting married. I think there have been a few Superman/ Lois Lane wedding covers, and there was the X-Men Cyclops/ Jean Grey wedding cover. The list goes on, but not for very long. The comic book wedding cover is not a common kind of comic book cover. It was exciting to me to make a contribution to this cover genre.
The wedding cover does come with some real limitations. It's a wedding. Weddings look a certain way. Most of these covers have essentially the same thing going on. I know of two Superman/ Lois wedding covers that have them flying away after they get married. It's a nice solution to getting away from the wedding setup, but that's like doing the wedding cover without the wedding. Romita Sr's solution for his Spiderman wedding cover was to have a Spider-Man mask shaped like a big heart. That's great. Because of that heart mask, it's probably the most iconic wedding cover there is.
For my wedding cover, I tried to solve the problem of the wedding set up by setting the wedding in Central Park. This whole run of Astonishing X-Men issues has been set in New York City so using the park worked. My thought was to give it as much depth and dynamics as I could. So many of these wedding covers come off as flat. Maybe it's because the wedding set-up doesn't inspire much in the way of dynamics. My solution may not be as bold as combining the iconography of Spider-Man's mask with a heart, but what are ya gonna do?
I did do a color sketch for this image, because it was important to me that the lighting and atmosphere work a certain way.
Thinking of that Spider-Man heart brings me to another factor of these kinds of covers: The comic book wedding cover is cheesy, especially a superhero wedding cover. These are people who do nothing but fight one another taking a moment to be happy about the love between two people. They're smiling, they're feeling the love, and they are doing it in tights... and in some cases, thong body suits. It's silly, right?
I tried at first to get away from the cheesy-ness of the wedding cover. In one of my sketches I had all the super people wearing suits and dresses, you know, what a sane person wears to a wedding. I was trying to be real about it. How would this really look. When I was told by the editor that they wanted them in costumes I had to let go of my need to be "real". They were going to be wearing costumes. I had to stop running from the cheesy-ness and I'm so glad I did. I realized that the cheesy silliness of these covers is what I like about them. The fact is these characters wear costumes a lot of the time. Wearing a costume to them, in their world, just isn't a silly thing to do. If I lifted these characters from whatever they're doing at any given time they would probably be wearing costumes. Turns out a lot of these characters are currently students at the Jean Grey X-Men school and would be wearing their school uniform. So that's how I thought of it, like I was just showing them as they are. The superhero world looks silly in a wedding scenario because it's not what superheros were built for, but that's the fun of it.
In the end, I can't say what I've accomplished in this image, but I can say what my goals were. I wanted to make a memorable comic book wedding cover, I wanted to have some respect for superhero comics and homosexuality, and I wanted it to be joyous. I enjoyed drawing it. I think I was smiling almost the whole time I drew it.
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