The X-Men are known just as much for their battles as they are for their more pedestrian pursuits, and in December’s Uncanny X-Men #15 the women of the team are revisiting a classic X-Men activity; no, not baseball… it’s ladies’ night.
And joining series writer Brian Michael Bendis on this unique one-off issue is one of Marvel’s most prominent cover artists, Kris Anka. And although Anka made his debut doing interiors in Image’s inaugural Popgun anthology, his sequential comics work since then has been few and far between – his first full-on issue being this month’s All-New X-Men Special #1.
Bendis and Anka are taking Emma Forst, the Stepford sisters, Irma, Tempus and Kitty Pryde out to blow off some steam but will find themselves pulled into the upcoming Inhumanity event – with promise of Inhumans in this very issue. For more we talked with Anka and series editor Nick Lowe.
[Newsarama Note: At this time Marvel has no finished interior art from Uncanny X-Men #15 available, so we’re showcasing Anka’s work from this month’s All-New X-Men Special #1. When art becomes available, you’ll see it here on Newsarama.]
Newsarama: Uncanny X-Men #15 is still two months away from release, Kris, but it seems like a big issue – for you and for the team. What can you tell us about this issue?
Kris Anka: Not much, sadly. I don't want to give away too much given that it relies on the ending of Battle of the Atom, Infinity and Inhumanity. What I can tell you is that it involves the ladies from the team having a night out, in which they have an unexpected run into the effects of what’s going on inInhumanity. All of which I'm very excited to draw.
Nick Lowe: Great story, cracking dialogue, and unbelievable art! YAY!
Nrama: So the ladies are going out for a night on the town – reminds me of the classic Uncanny X-Men #244 where the X-girls go out to a mall and end up meeting the debuting Jubilee. I don’t know how deep your X-fandom runs, but is doing this issue and it being an “off night” kind of thing fun for you?
Lowe: It’s definitely been a while. I’m just glad that we’re beating X-Men’s Brian Wood and his editor Jeanine Schaefer to an all female night out. HA-HA!
Anka: It's going to be incredibly fun. One of the benefits of drawing a story that isn't mainly an action piece is that you can really have fun exploring characters personality. I'll get to really play with who these characters are and how they'll all get along (or not) together.
Nrama: In the cover I see Emma Frost, the Stepford Cuckoos, Irma, Tempus and also a surprising addition – Kitty Pryde, who has been at odds with the Uncanny X-Men team since Schism. Any standout characters for you that you’re particularly interested in drawing?
Anka: Other than my long-time love of Emma frost, most of these characters are relatively unknown for me, or more correctly, characters I’ve never really drawn before. Also all the Inhumans will be a blast to draw. There is going to be a lot of firsts for me with this issue, artistically. It's going to be an interesting ride.
Nrama: Do you have any kind of wish list of characters, scenes or moments you had in mind when drawing this issue that you hope Bendis included in the script?
Anka: My list on this could not be any shorter or sweeter; as long as I get to draw a scene of Emma being sassy, I'll be a happy artist.
Nrama: People know you almost exclusively for your cover work, and this will be only your second full-on issue for Marvel this month’s All-New X-Men Special #1. This seems like a big deal, Kris – it’s Uncanny X-Men, and you’re working with Brian Michael Bendis. Any anticipation or nerves coming into this?
Anka: Basically what went through my head when I got the offer from Nick Lowe was "hey so I know you just learned how to ride a bike, but here is a porsche". Not to mention the legacy of the book that I'll be contributing to. This whole thing is nerve-racking to me. [Laughs] But incredibly exciting.
Nrama: Nick, seeing as how you gave the keys to this “porsche” to Anka, I have to ask: with all the artists who’ve come before in previous volumes of this series, what made Kris the right artist for you and this issue?
Lowe: Kris’s art first clobbered me over the head a year or so ago and as soon as I saw it, I thought this guy is going to be a super star! So I stalked him. After a few arrests and restraining orders, I convinced Kris at knife-point to do some covers for me. Then interiors! And it was all good! Anyway, he’s great and Brian and I love his work, so we wanted him involved! So there you go!
Nrama: You’re still very young in your comics career, but so far at Marvel you’ve primarily been in the X-side of things. Any plans to expand to other parts of the line, and if so, who strikes your fancy?
Anka: As anyone who remotely knows anything about me, I have a deep love for Bucky, Namor, and Maria Hill. Emma Frost is also on that list, but I get to cross that off my list with this issue. [Laughs]
Now, I'm pretty sure for as long as Nick Lowe is breathing, he isn't going to let me leave the X-office haha, which given what project I'll be working on after Uncanny X-Men, I have no plan to leave (which is all I'll say about that *wink*).