Ken Lashley Talks X-Men: Prime
We had the chance to interview X-Men: Prime’s artist Ken Lashley (Uncanny X-Men, Marvel’s Zombies). We were quite excited for the one-shot that kicks off “ResurrXion,” the new era for Marvel’s Mutants, before, but after hearing what Lashley had to say about the book we can’t wait until March! Check out what this veteran X-Men artist says about the upcoming book and his amazing work in the X-Universe throughout the years.
The Marvel Report: You have been drawing in the X-Men universe off and on for a while now. What keeps you coming back to the Marvel’s merry band of Mutants?
Ken Lashley: I love the X-Men and the Mutant universe is by far my favourite. I have been a long time fan and when I got my start in comics I was happy to work on the books I got. Excalibur was insane to work on. Nightcrawler and the crew gave me so much to sink my teeth into but the truth is…I always wanted to draw Uncanny….The Uncanny book was the Holy Grail for me. I never thought I would ever draw the book; it was kind of a dream….Then I got the call….I cried a little….Yes I did. I’m not ashamed to admit it.
TMR: Do you have a favorite panel or part of a panel that readers of the comic should be looking for in X-Men: Prime?
Lashley: That’s like asking ‘what is your favourite kind of ice cream?’ It’s all good. I will say that I really put a large effort on a panel with….hey wait I don’t think I can tell you. I will say that it was incredible to draw all the X-Men I love. I’m a big fan of Colossus…so anytime he appears I’m excited….There is a great moment that Marc [Guggenheim] wrote with him …classic. X-Men stuff…so good and it was a joy to draw.
TMR: You have said previously your favorite X-Man is Colossus. What speaks to you about this character? Is there a different approach to drawing Colossus in his human form as opposed to his armored form?
Lashley: It’s like you read my mind. I love that character. I think it’s because I could identify with him. I am a big guy and growing up I was the ‘big kid’, so when l would read the issues where Peter would not use his full strength and he was also a artist I was like…’that’s me’. I think that’s a trait that the X-Men have: you can identify with someone in the group. It sounds funny but my connection started there.
As far as drawing him, I did that a ton growing up so to draw it now is very cool. I think about all the things I know about him…how he grows in stature as he uses his abilities…how he doesn’t breath in armoured form…etc. I take who he is into consideration as well….There are things Peter would not wear. Colossus in his armoured form is a painstaking display of love. If you don’t commit, it can look a bit off.
TMR: There’s a lot of history to draw from with the X-Men. What are some of your favorite eras in terms of art?
Lashley: They all are great. The Jim Lee era was amazing as well as many more, but for me it’s the John Byrne /Chris Claremont run that is my favourite. my first issue was [Uncanny X-Men] 132….I was blown away by that issue…then I went looking for the others. I even did a comic swap with a buddy of mine named Jim, who had a massive collection. I got about 10 of his Byrne issues….He must hate me now but I had good taste from a early age…sorry Jim.
Lashley: I have lots of ‘loves’…but only one favourite….Uncanny X-Men is by far the most rewarding. It was crazy to see my name on the cover. I always dreamed of doing the title…even when I was doing other stuff I would always keep an eye on what the X-Men book was doing and said to myself…’someday’. When that day came it was surreal.
TMR: Having drawn Kitty Pryde, Rachel Grey (then Summers), and Kurt Wagner in past books (notably Excalibur), can you talk about the evolution of their appearances to X-Men: Prime? What is your thought process for characters you have drawn in the past?
Lashley: Not very often do you get to go back and draw characters that you did 20 years prior…( wow…I sound old) so getting to draw them again has been a great experience. I was not very good back then and because it was my first job in comics I made every mistake one can make. I only make a few mistakes these days so the work is a lot better. My Excalibur days were fun but stressful…I was finding out who I was as a artist….It will always hold a special place in my heart.
TMR: Kitty has always been someone who’s struggled with her identity and that can be seen in her self-proclaimed horrible taste in costumes. Did you take that into in consideration with her and what do you think her new look says about her mindset moving forward?
Lashley: Ha…that’s funny. Kitty did not have the best costumes but again she was a teenager and let’s be real…we all didn’t have a great fashion sense at that age. I can only imagine if we all had to design a superhero costume for ourselves at that age would it stand the test of time….I know I had some odd looks. I will say that she has matured into a strong woman and her costume will reflect that.
TMR: One of my all time favorite characters is Pete Wisdom. You co-created Wisdom with writer Warren Ellis. Can you talk about the creation process and any insights you have about Wisdom?
Lashley: Pete Wisdom was a fun character to create; the ground work was all laid down by Warren who gave me pretty clear notes as to what he was thinking. I based his look on the notes and a few pictures l had that I thought would give a unique flare. I loved working on it….I did lots of designs back then….You just never know which ones people take to.
TMR: After X-Men: Prime, are there other places in the X-Universe where we can see your work? Do you have any other projects that we should be looking out for?
Lashley: Hmmm…I have a few things on the burner…all X-Men related but it’s too early to tell which way it will go. Safe to say…it will be fun regardless.