Axel-In-Charge: Navigating the "Civil War II" Landscape, Bringing DMC to Marvel
It’s highly unlikely that once the Star Wars license returns to Marvel next year that we’ll see the original trilogy reimagined as a 1980s high-school comedy, but after seeing Denis Medri’s take on Luke, Leia and the gang, I now realize that’s exactly what I want to read. (Hey, someone at Lucasfilm greenlit Star Wars: Detours, so stranger things have happened. Of course, Disney quickly shelved the project, so …)
Medri offers up a Han Solo with nunchakus, short-shorts and Pontiac Firebird, Nerd-droids with pocket protectors, motocross-racing Vader, Boba Fett and stormtroopers, Principal Palpatine and so much more. It’s fast times at Mos Eisley High … or something.
See some of Medri’s work below, and more at Behance.
Italian artist Denis Medri has made a name for himself on the comics Internet for his various series of themed superhero portraits, from 1950s Rockabilly Batman to steampunk Spider-Man. As it turns out, this fanart attracted the attention of DC Entertainment.
Although Medri said the company balked at making an official comic based on his art, saying it would “create confusion,” an editor asked him to submit sample pages for the then-forthcoming Batman ’66 digital-first series. Medri did a number of samples specifically for the project, but never heard back. Undeterred, Medri has posted these samples online:
[Updated 5:55pm PST: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Humanoids had filed for bankruptcy. Also, since the original article’s publication we have spoken to a representative from the American company Humanoids Inc., who currently holds the rights to Hide & Seek.]
Chris Claremont casts a long shadow in modern superhero comics, due to his landmark run on Uncanny X-Men. Many of Marvel’s current X-Men stories — and let’s not forget Fox’s blockbuster movie franchise — are built on earlier work by Claremont and has collaborators. Despite that pedigree, new Claremont comics are few and far between.
In a 2012 interview, he told ROBOT 6 that while he no longer received work from Marvel, he did have a string of projects set up in Europe.
“I have two comics projects that I started in Europe, one science fiction and one fantasy. The fantasy series, titled Wanderers, got one issue published, a second issue fully complete and a third one plotted out before the artist left to work for Marvel,” Claremont said, referring to artist Phil Briones. “That’s no fault of the artist, but the book was published as a dual-publishing arrangement between a French and Italian publisher that came to blows. I think the French publisher was hoping for better sales of the first volume, and lost interest afterwards. But now because of that, I’ve got a hundred pages of story sitting on my desk. The other series, the science fiction one, went to the publisher and an artist drew 20 odd pages before the company collapsed. The other publishers I’ve shown it to were interested, but said that either the artist or the story wasn’t quite right for them. Again, there are many cases of concepts that look golden to creators but hit speed bumps along the way and never make it to fruition. That’s the business.”
Not too long ago, Denis Medri received some attention for drawing rockabilly versions of Batman characters and an epic fantasy take on the Avengers. Most recently though, he’s completed a series of designs for steampunk Spider-Man, his rogue’s gallery, and a couple of allies to help Spidey out. You can see many of them below, but I highly recommend also checking out Medri’s DeviantArt site to see his current project in progress: Western Justice League.
On my superhero fashion site Project: Rooftop, I’ve been talking up to the nth degree an amazing set of superhero redesigns by Italian artist Denis Medri. This artist has taken Gotham’s resident bad-boy billionaire and recast him as a 1950s greaser to amazing results. While Medri’s work might not be in line with the New 52, it harkens back to the best of DC Comics’ celebrated Elseworlds line of titles reimagining its heroes in different timelines and settings. Medri’s gone on to reinvent much of Batman’s cast in this model, with everything from a Betty Page-esque Catwoman and a poodle skirt-wearing Harley Quinn to a Rat Fink-worthy hot rod Batmobile.
Although the actual chances that DC would somehow accept this as a back-door pitch are slim to none, it does highlight the intriguing passion artists have for classic characters and just how enamored fans can be when their favorite heroes (and villains) are repositioned to alternative lives. While some might say its insular thinking, I think it broadens the core concepts of these timeless characters and shows just how versatile they can be.