Madame Xanadu - Extra Sensory
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Matt Wagner told me that he wanted to write a Madame Xanadu storyline that captured the many facets and philosophies of the 1960s by concentrating on the five senses. He envisioned that each issue would focus on a specific sense and would feature artwork drawn by a radically diverse cadre of artists of the female persuasion. He also wanted to imbue a 60s "Twilight Zone-ish" vibe into each of the stories, and, most important, Matt had a very particular rollout in mind. He practically DEMANDED (see planks under fingernails) that the issues would run as follows:
SEE! - HEAR! - SMELL! - TOUCH! - TASTE! (& ESP)
If you have to ask why, you probably never hitchhiked to a 7-11 to score a pouch of pop rocks circa 1982. And you probably don't have a poster of Kristy McNichol circa Little Darlings hanging above your bed.
But the rest of the geriatrics in this blogosphere remember that classic XTC song "Senses Working Overtime" which inspired Matt to bring us what I think is one of the most clever conceits of an ongoing series that I've ever worked on -- EXTRA-SENSORY.
To get the inside story in Matt's words, peruse some of the plot! [in the next post called EXTRA SENSORY--The Plot by Matt Wagner]
First up: Marley Zarcone on SEE
I first met Marley by way of a filing cabinet. A former editor was leaving the company and dumped his unwanted items on a flat file outside of his office. There was an orphan comic that immediately grabbed my attention. Marley's work wasn't on the cover. Rather, the lead story of the indie comic "Forgetless" was featured. To be honest, it was really just the title of the comic that intrigued me. Upon further inspection of said comic, I noticed a short story in the back and I was really impressed by what I saw.
Marley's work captured the spirit of some of my favorite illustrators and yet there was a quality in the cleanness of her line, coupled with the attitude of her figures and an acrid color palette that made it wholly original. There was even a reference to an obscure British TV series by way of a poster in a background so I knew what had to happen next:
I needed to email her immediately, convince her to work for me and then trick Matt Wagner into letting her launch the EXTRA-SENSORY storyline. Because this girl was too good to be buried in the back of another comic book! She deserved to lead the pack!
Madame Xanadu #24 is in stores now and I think you'll SEE what I mean.
Other artists to follow IN THIS ORDER OR I'LL BE FIRED (by Matt!) and their first sketches of the lady at large:
HEAR! - art by Laurenn McCubbin (Rent Girl)
SMELL! - art by Chrissie Zullo (cover artist of Cinderella: From Fabletown with Love)
TOUCH! - art by fashion illustrator Celia Calle (cover artist of American Virgin)
TASTE! - art by Marian Churchland (writer and artist of BEAST)
& finally, to bring it all full circle since, artistically speaking, she started it all:
Madame Xanadu's signature sense, ESP, by Amy Reeder (and Rich Friend)
Hope to see you all in San Diego this year! Marley will be at the Vertigo booth so make sure to stop by and get her to sign your copy of MX #24.
And remember to bring an extra stash of oxygen,