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X-Men: Grand Design

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Over six tumultuous decades, the X-Men have carved a singular place in comic book lore and popular culture. From their riotous birth in the '60s, to their legendary reboot in the '70s, to their attitude adjustment in the '90s, to their battle against extinction in the '00s, the X-Men have remained unquestionably relevant to generations of readers, the ultimate underdogs in Over six tumultuous decades, the X-Men have carved a singular place in comic book lore and popular culture. From their riotous birth in the '60s, to their legendary reboot in the '70s, to their attitude adjustment in the '90s, to their battle against extinction in the '00s, the X-Men have remained unquestionably relevant to generations of readers, the ultimate underdogs in an increasingly complicated world. Now, New York Times-best-selling author Ed Piskor (Hip-Hop Family Tree, Wizzywig) takes you on a pulse-pounding tour of X-Men history unlike anything you've ever experienced before, an intricate labor of love that stitches together hundreds of classic and obscure stories into one seamless masterpiece of X-Men lore. This volume collects X-MEN: GRAND DESIGN and includes X-MEN #1 from 1963, masterfully recolored by Ed, along with other extras including recolored classic pinups. Presented in the same dynamic, oversized format of the best-selling Hip Hop Family Tree.


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Over six tumultuous decades, the X-Men have carved a singular place in comic book lore and popular culture. From their riotous birth in the '60s, to their legendary reboot in the '70s, to their attitude adjustment in the '90s, to their battle against extinction in the '00s, the X-Men have remained unquestionably relevant to generations of readers, the ultimate underdogs in Over six tumultuous decades, the X-Men have carved a singular place in comic book lore and popular culture. From their riotous birth in the '60s, to their legendary reboot in the '70s, to their attitude adjustment in the '90s, to their battle against extinction in the '00s, the X-Men have remained unquestionably relevant to generations of readers, the ultimate underdogs in an increasingly complicated world. Now, New York Times-best-selling author Ed Piskor (Hip-Hop Family Tree, Wizzywig) takes you on a pulse-pounding tour of X-Men history unlike anything you've ever experienced before, an intricate labor of love that stitches together hundreds of classic and obscure stories into one seamless masterpiece of X-Men lore. This volume collects X-MEN: GRAND DESIGN and includes X-MEN #1 from 1963, masterfully recolored by Ed, along with other extras including recolored classic pinups. Presented in the same dynamic, oversized format of the best-selling Hip Hop Family Tree.

30 review for X-Men: Grand Design

  1. 5 out of 5

    Scott

    The appearance of this volume was often distinguished-looking and unique. The artwork style was meant to invoke 60's / 70's-era Marvel (right down to the yellowed pages), and the 'treasury edition' format - I have a Captain America issue from the bicentennial year somewhere in my collection - has been on ice for nearly 40 years. Ed Piskor clearly loves and respects the X-Men and their history. But the actual story . . . it started out accessible enough, with a sort of rehashing of the original qu The appearance of this volume was often distinguished-looking and unique. The artwork style was meant to invoke 60's / 70's-era Marvel (right down to the yellowed pages), and the 'treasury edition' format - I have a Captain America issue from the bicentennial year somewhere in my collection - has been on ice for nearly 40 years. Ed Piskor clearly loves and respects the X-Men and their history. But the actual story . . . it started out accessible enough, with a sort of rehashing of the original quintet's early years, but by the conclusion it felt as if this was aimed mostly at the die-hard fans. The lack of expositionary dialogue / conversational scenes - narration was provided by The Watcher - did not help, either. Still, it was kind of fun to jump back into the Lee / Kirby period, so to speak.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Chad

    Ed Piskor brings the Hip Hop Family Tree treatment to the X-Men. Set in an old school, over-sized treasury format, Piskor brings in all of the flashbacks from the X-Men books throughout the years and gives us the historical highlights of those that would eventually form the X-Men. Issue #2 covers the times from Uncanny X-Men #1 up to right before Giant-Size X-Men #1 cherry picking stories from the original Uncanny X-Men run. Piskor's art and coloring mimics those early comics and how they've age Ed Piskor brings the Hip Hop Family Tree treatment to the X-Men. Set in an old school, over-sized treasury format, Piskor brings in all of the flashbacks from the X-Men books throughout the years and gives us the historical highlights of those that would eventually form the X-Men. Issue #2 covers the times from Uncanny X-Men #1 up to right before Giant-Size X-Men #1 cherry picking stories from the original Uncanny X-Men run. Piskor's art and coloring mimics those early comics and how they've aged for 40 years right down to the yellowed pages.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Blindzider

    I like the idea of this and being a fan of the X-Men this project appealed to me. After reading it though, I'm underwhelmed. In this volume, Piskor takes all of the stories starting with the Lee series to just before Claremont's run, condenses them and puts them in a chronological order. Basically, if you read all of the original issues straight through, what were they key points that you would remember about each character and what happened? That's what this is. It's sort of a story but also not I like the idea of this and being a fan of the X-Men this project appealed to me. After reading it though, I'm underwhelmed. In this volume, Piskor takes all of the stories starting with the Lee series to just before Claremont's run, condenses them and puts them in a chronological order. Basically, if you read all of the original issues straight through, what were they key points that you would remember about each character and what happened? That's what this is. It's sort of a story but also not. Pages don't always flow together, panel to panel transitions are often abrupt. Piskor's art is love it or hate and for me, I hate it. It just feels very "amateurish" and isn't pleasing, at least to my eye. If the art were better, it would serve as a nice reference to X-Men history. I might have even preferred if the original art was used for each panel. Note that this TPB is "treasury size" or at least close to it. Pages are very thick and yellowed also.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Malum

    A fun, condensed history of the X-Men. This first volume covers their original '60s run, and is a great way to catch up on some X-history without having to wade through some pretty dated silver age comics. A fun, condensed history of the X-Men. This first volume covers their original '60s run, and is a great way to catch up on some X-history without having to wade through some pretty dated silver age comics.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Travis Duke

    A fantastic way to learn about early x-men. A mash up of vintage art in a more modern story telling is super smart. I loved the way Piskor condensed early stories into much more digestible modern format. The art is really stunning, it has a classic look but a modern feel, its really sweet. The writing is fun and sort of vintage but not in a painful way. One other thing to mention is this particular book I have is HUGE, it really lends to the style, i loved it.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Quentin Wallace

    This was a mixed bag. One one hand, the art is good and it's printed on a different type of paper that makes it feel like an authentic older comic. But the thing is, there's really not a fluid story here and it's more just a collection of events that happened in the X-Men comics during the silver age. There are even jump cuts from page to page that are very abrupt. I think this is meant to be a summary of sorts of the X-Men Universe, but really I'm not sure what purpose it serves because the mor This was a mixed bag. One one hand, the art is good and it's printed on a different type of paper that makes it feel like an authentic older comic. But the thing is, there's really not a fluid story here and it's more just a collection of events that happened in the X-Men comics during the silver age. There are even jump cuts from page to page that are very abrupt. I think this is meant to be a summary of sorts of the X-Men Universe, but really I'm not sure what purpose it serves because the more hardcore X-Men fans would rather read the original stories, and lesser fans probably wouldn't care to read the history in this format. Still, it was an interesting read and I did enjoy it.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Tiag⊗

    A brilliant homage to the early years of the X-Men, recommended to new fans who never had the chance to read the mutants first run, and to old fans who want to relive these classic moments.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Stewart Tame

    Wow! This takes me back. X-Men is one of the first titles that got me into collecting comics, waaaaay back with issue 139. And one of the very first back issues I bought was 138. I mention that because that particular issue anticipates, in some ways, what Ed Piskor is doing with X-Men: Grand Design. You see, X-Men 138 was the comic book equivalent of a clip show. It gave a recap of the entire X-Men series up to that point, obviously condensing and editing, but covering the highlights. Grand Desi Wow! This takes me back. X-Men is one of the first titles that got me into collecting comics, waaaaay back with issue 139. And one of the very first back issues I bought was 138. I mention that because that particular issue anticipates, in some ways, what Ed Piskor is doing with X-Men: Grand Design. You see, X-Men 138 was the comic book equivalent of a clip show. It gave a recap of the entire X-Men series up to that point, obviously condensing and editing, but covering the highlights. Grand Design does the same thing, but in spades. The book covers the entire history of the X-Men, including side stories and flashbacks and whatnot. It represents the most coherent, complete version of the team's history possible. Obviously, comics being what they are, future writers will probably add all sorts of new details. This particular volume covers the original X-Men team, pretty much right up until just before the story in Giant-Size X-Men #1, which debuted the new team that was such a hit during the 70's and 80's. I know there's a second book available that covers that era, and there will probably be further volumes--at least four, I’d guess, based on a piece of fan art that Piskor included among the bonus materials. Bonus materials? Oh yes. Ed Piskor has been a fan of the X-Men practically since birth, and he's got the childhood drawings and photos of toys and so on to prove it. This book appears to have been a dream project for him. As with his Hip Hop Family Tree, this book was produced as a loving tribute to the classic treasury sized comics of yore, right down to the yellowing of the pages. This is definitely not a book that's going to present well on an e-reader. You need the real thing for the full experience. As with the Hip Hop books, Piskor occasionally drops the yellowing to make certain colors--mainly white--really pop on the page. It's a fun technique, but it's starting to get overused. In Grand Design, he’s using it on just about every page it seems. Its usage in Hip Hop was much more restrained. I don't know how wide of an audience this is going to appeal to. Obviously X-Men fans will dig it, and, fair enough, there are certainly plenty of them out there. I think, though, that if you're not interested in the X-Men--or at least Ed Piskor--you won't get much out of this. With that caveat in mind, it's still recommended!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Billie Tyrell

    Pretty impressive and means I don't have to read all The X Men comics (imagine even trying), though admittedly it loses all the emotions is really really confusing having it all packed together like this... sort of like reading about it on wikipedia. My more extensive review here for the 2nd book https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... Pretty impressive and means I don't have to read all The X Men comics (imagine even trying), though admittedly it loses all the emotions is really really confusing having it all packed together like this... sort of like reading about it on wikipedia. My more extensive review here for the 2nd book https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

  10. 5 out of 5

    Michael Emond

    I am a huge X-Men fan who actually READ the original stories most of this "history" is based on. So the idea of representing all the stories in a timeline (even if the stories were published in different decades) had my interest. I remember X-Men 138 did a similar thing (much better) at the funeral of Jean Grey and as a fan it made me want to track down the issues the story referred to in passing. The other reviews that say "this is a great look at the history of the X-Men" clearly have NOT read I am a huge X-Men fan who actually READ the original stories most of this "history" is based on. So the idea of representing all the stories in a timeline (even if the stories were published in different decades) had my interest. I remember X-Men 138 did a similar thing (much better) at the funeral of Jean Grey and as a fan it made me want to track down the issues the story referred to in passing. The other reviews that say "this is a great look at the history of the X-Men" clearly have NOT read the original stories. Because the author - Ed - completely rewrites sections of the stories, and sometimes I am not even sure why. For me it was very jarring to see some sections be kind of accurate but a lot of them be completely inaccurate with no real reason. There are dozens of examples but here are some of the most jarring a) Jean joining the X-men in a completely different way (X-Men issue 1 has her arriving in a car as the LAST member of the original X-Men to join, Ed rewrites X-Men issue 53 to have her there to help recruit the Beast to the team) b) Mesmero is there with the original Brotherhood of Mutants even though he originally doesn't appear until #49 c) during Cyclops' origin story he originally KILLS Jack O Diamonds, Ed decides to rewrite this so Jack kills himself and d) one of the biggest changes (for no apparent reason) Ed decides when Professor X died all of the X-Men KNEW it was the Changling and not the real Professor X. In the original stories it was VERY clear only Jean Grey knew of the deception. The list goes on and on. So instead of this being a timeline of the X-men it is a fractured history with Ed adding his touches to the stories. Without any apparent rhyme or reason. In the end - I am not sure who would like this book. I, as a true X-Men fan who knows these stories, was put off by the changes in the timeline (like retroactively adding Mr. Sinister into the original X-Men adventures) and newcomers would be lost completely by the poor story-telling and off-putting art with so much coming at them so fast I can't imagine they could follow this at all. So, this was a huge disappointment for me. I really want to understand why Ed made the changes he did but there is no explanation. The best I can figure out is he decided - as a fan - he didn't like some of the original stories so he changed them to what he would have liked to see. This is fanfic at its worst.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Timothy Boyd

    I was pleasantly surprised when I read this. I had heard of the writer/artist doing a huge X-Men project that cleaned up and consolidated all the various plots and timelines of ALL the X-Men titles into one smooth read. I figured I would give it a shot and see how it turned out. While the art is a bit inconsistent through the book the writer does a FABULOUS job of the new smoothed out timeline. Very nice read and good plotting of this complex and messy Marvel franchise. I wish it had been stretc I was pleasantly surprised when I read this. I had heard of the writer/artist doing a huge X-Men project that cleaned up and consolidated all the various plots and timelines of ALL the X-Men titles into one smooth read. I figured I would give it a shot and see how it turned out. While the art is a bit inconsistent through the book the writer does a FABULOUS job of the new smoothed out timeline. Very nice read and good plotting of this complex and messy Marvel franchise. I wish it had been stretched to twice the number of issues to show the new timeline more in-depth. If you are an X-Men fan then this is a must read. Very recommended

  12. 5 out of 5

    Diz

    This volume covers the 60s version of the X-Men. It's definitely a big picture view of the X-Men as major events take place in only a few panels. It's a great review of history for X-Men fans, and for those who are new to X-Men, it's a good way to catch up. The art is done in a retro style. I found the art really attractive. This volume covers the 60s version of the X-Men. It's definitely a big picture view of the X-Men as major events take place in only a few panels. It's a great review of history for X-Men fans, and for those who are new to X-Men, it's a good way to catch up. The art is done in a retro style. I found the art really attractive.

  13. 5 out of 5

    A. Hydra

    Simple plot but not bad, final expected but not bad, is an easy book to read and good for people who do not have a specific time for this activity since you can read in the truck, free spaces, etc.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Brendan

    4.5 Something different and unlike most of the graphic novels lingering around. Ed Piskor has created something that is a labour of love for the X-Men universe and it's nice to find something a little more retro. The book might seem light but it was quite a heavy one sitting read and if you're a fan of the series or like myself someone on the outside of the mythology, this is an interesting read. The artwork and colouring is like an early work and it's clear from the beginning, Ed Piskor is recre 4.5 Something different and unlike most of the graphic novels lingering around. Ed Piskor has created something that is a labour of love for the X-Men universe and it's nice to find something a little more retro. The book might seem light but it was quite a heavy one sitting read and if you're a fan of the series or like myself someone on the outside of the mythology, this is an interesting read. The artwork and colouring is like an early work and it's clear from the beginning, Ed Piskor is recreating a childhood memory, channeling what most of us would not dare to touch. I'm currently revisiting some of my childhood movies and while most are horrible, some live up to the hype. My comparison is that Ed Piskor has recreated something so exact you could trick the average non fan into thinking it was a dated work. Myself or even yourself would struggle to recapture that visual film today, it's near impossible to recapture the same beats that a film created and it's even harder to recapture storytelling in the graphic art world. Why the 4.5? The book was amazing, only the pacing was a little tiring but overall I enjoyed the book. I have heard that Second Genesis is the followup and I will be shelling out to read that one as well. I enjoy pulp and this is like reliving a period most of us have not experienced, only the die hard fans of the era. You can do no wrong with checking this out, fans of the series might not love it but for fans of the era, this is a must. My next graphic novel is going to be completed the few I have on here now, slowly but surely I have fallen behind again thanks to Netflix. Check out The Haunting of Hill House if you haven't already.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Matt

    Collects X-Men: Grand Design issues #1-2 and X-Men (1963) issue #1 (recolored by Ed Piskor) This is an awesome book chronicling the early days of X-Men history. As far as I could tell, from my limited X-Men knowledge, the stories detailed in this collection are set during the 1960's (in our real-world timeline). With that being said, Piskor masterfully weaves in things that had been retconned into the past, and presents various separate threads as one cohesive whole. Collects X-Men: Grand Design issues #1-2 and X-Men (1963) issue #1 (recolored by Ed Piskor) This is an awesome book chronicling the early days of X-Men history. As far as I could tell, from my limited X-Men knowledge, the stories detailed in this collection are set during the 1960's (in our real-world timeline). With that being said, Piskor masterfully weaves in things that had been retconned into the past, and presents various separate threads as one cohesive whole.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Dave

    I thought this was a very funny and clever way to catch up on a massive and chaotic X-men history and Piskor does so with love, humor, and detail. I am looking forward to the next batch of stories this year.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Adam Spanos

    The best and most ambitious X-Men project in decades! That Piskor is able to not only organize all of the tangled X-Men continuity but also make a coherent and interesting story out of it is a bit of a minor miracle. Buy it now. You won't be sorry. The best and most ambitious X-Men project in decades! That Piskor is able to not only organize all of the tangled X-Men continuity but also make a coherent and interesting story out of it is a bit of a minor miracle. Buy it now. You won't be sorry.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    I've long had a soft spot for the X-Men - anyone who has ever felt like an outsider can appreciate the underlying message of finding strength in your difference rather than seeing it as a weakness or something to be ignored or hidden. Plus, I think they're pretty cool and fun. However, up until now I've only known the X-Men and for that matter any Marvel characters from films. I've long thought about trying to read some of the comics these stories are based on, as I feel there often must be more I've long had a soft spot for the X-Men - anyone who has ever felt like an outsider can appreciate the underlying message of finding strength in your difference rather than seeing it as a weakness or something to be ignored or hidden. Plus, I think they're pretty cool and fun. However, up until now I've only known the X-Men and for that matter any Marvel characters from films. I've long thought about trying to read some of the comics these stories are based on, as I feel there often must be more to the stories, but there are just SO MANY comics out there and it's easy to get overwhelmed. After consulting 3-4 different reading guides I was still unclear but decided Grand Design sounded like a good introduction. It was, in a way. This is basically a summing up of the major characters, plots and origins of the X-Men franchise, which is both good and bad. It's helpful to get an overview, but having only seen the films it at some point also gets kind of confusing as there's characters I've never heard of and vague references to things I don't know about. It also doesn't really have a story and jumps around from one character or storyline to the next with no real connection. I've since gotten a trial subscription to Marvel Unlimited where I can read issues in order and also search for specific story arcs or characters (I'm particularly interested in the Dark Phoenix story arc as I feel like both films featuring it so far kind of botched it), which I think is a better fit/starting point. Still, I appreciate the ambitious nature of Piskor's project here, and he clearly has a lot of passion for the X-Men. I also love the look of this book - it has a classic comics feel to it which even comes through in the digital copy I bought and read on a tablet.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Peter Derk

    If you're looking for a primer on early X-Men history, this is the way to go. Piskor sort of remakes old X-Men stories with new art, and he mixes in some of the better-known and more obscure stuff. It makes for a great blend. Plus, the format has yellowed, old comic book pages, it's oversized, and it just smells like old comics. Very cool as an artifact, totally worth your time to see how bonkers some of this stuff was. Although, caveat, if you're intimately familiar with early X-Men, you might If you're looking for a primer on early X-Men history, this is the way to go. Piskor sort of remakes old X-Men stories with new art, and he mixes in some of the better-known and more obscure stuff. It makes for a great blend. Plus, the format has yellowed, old comic book pages, it's oversized, and it just smells like old comics. Very cool as an artifact, totally worth your time to see how bonkers some of this stuff was. Although, caveat, if you're intimately familiar with early X-Men, you might not love it as much. There's still this thing with Piskor's work where he tends to jump between pages without any real transition. Sometimes it's really jarring and takes me a minute to figure out that we've moved between scenes or even jumped quite a bit in time. It was a big problem I had with Hip-Hop Family Tree, Piskor's other big work. I could just use some panels that said "Meanwhile..." or "1977" or whatever. I'm sure there are less lazy ways to do it too, but for the sake of understanding, I'd take lazy over confusing any day.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Oron

    A love song by the creator to the franchise he grew on. For a relatively X Men ignorant reader such as me, this book, which coherently add classic X Men stories into one, complete hronicle, was not only fun and informative, but also gave me an appetite to read classic stories in the series. As a bonus, this book also contains X Men #1, which was also fun (Proff X is a jerk and most of the group are repulsively chauvinist but I guess that's the sixties for you). I now have loads of questions for my A love song by the creator to the franchise he grew on. For a relatively X Men ignorant reader such as me, this book, which coherently add classic X Men stories into one, complete hronicle, was not only fun and informative, but also gave me an appetite to read classic stories in the series. As a bonus, this book also contains X Men #1, which was also fun (Proff X is a jerk and most of the group are repulsively chauvinist but I guess that's the sixties for you). I now have loads of questions for my X reading friends. Ross, make some time.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Will Robinson Jr.

    This book oozes with nostalgia. I have a fond history with the X-men. Growing up in the 90s I was big fan of the Fox X-men animated series. Saturday mornings were the best at that time and X-men was one of my go to shows along with Batman the Animated Series, Spider-man, Dragon Ball Z and Disney's Gargoyles. I enjoyed the X-men's animated adventures so much that they pretty much got into reading Marvel Comics. The animated series stuck pretty close the comic book origins of the team and even ret This book oozes with nostalgia. I have a fond history with the X-men. Growing up in the 90s I was big fan of the Fox X-men animated series. Saturday mornings were the best at that time and X-men was one of my go to shows along with Batman the Animated Series, Spider-man, Dragon Ball Z and Disney's Gargoyles. I enjoyed the X-men's animated adventures so much that they pretty much got into reading Marvel Comics. The animated series stuck pretty close the comic book origins of the team and even retold some of it's most beloved story arcs. I fell a little behind on the books as I got busy with college work but in 2011 I jumped back into comics and X-men of course became my go to book. To me the X-books have lost their luster today and after reading this book by Ed Piskor it becomes more clear that comic book fans are missing out on what truly makes the X-men unique in the world of superhero comics. This is quite simply an amazing homage to the history of the X-men. Piskor has found a way to highlight both the relevance and the quirky weirdness of the X-men. Basically the book does not tell a straight plot driven narrative but readers get a summary and a few snippets of the rise of Xavier and his first students at his school for the gifted. Naturally our narrator is the Watcher and readers will enjoy the moments the Piskor highlights in the book. Just the feel of the paper and the coloring in this book gives the book old school charm. The book feels like you are reading the X-men as it was published in 1963. The book also has a great art gallery in the back as well as a reprinting of the of the first issue of X-men which blends in perfectly with Piskor's art style. I really had fun with this book. It just made the X-men feel brand new to me. There were a few moments and characters in the book I was not familiar with even though I am a huge X-men fan. The X-men books should be about adventure, discovery of the unknown, the overcoming of persecution, and acceptance. The best X-men tales are not preachy and don't beat you over the head about tolerance and the need for those who different to find peace but the X-men books have a since of wonder. For goodness sakes the X-men fight aliens, go to hidden places with dinosaurs and help other mutants who have quirky powers like being islands or walking into the afterlife. I hope the X-books can return to that form of storytelling so that future generations can see why the X-men are probably one of the greatest superhero teams ever created.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

    I wanted to like this more than I did. Doing a "Hip Hop Family Tree" take on the X-Men sounds like a great idea, but it turns out this approach works better with real life history than with fictional soap operas. The first issue, in which Piskor organizes and recontextualizes decades of flashbacks and retcons, is a nice bit of fan service. But the second issue is just a dry recap of Silver Age X-Men stories that nobody liked the first time around. Piskor's cartooning is as impressive as ever, bu I wanted to like this more than I did. Doing a "Hip Hop Family Tree" take on the X-Men sounds like a great idea, but it turns out this approach works better with real life history than with fictional soap operas. The first issue, in which Piskor organizes and recontextualizes decades of flashbacks and retcons, is a nice bit of fan service. But the second issue is just a dry recap of Silver Age X-Men stories that nobody liked the first time around. Piskor's cartooning is as impressive as ever, but the focus on events over characters saps the X-Men of all their soap opera appeal. There's also a weird flattening effect that doesn't sit well with me, as the work of disparate creators is treated like it's all one immutable thing. I wish there was more acknowledgement from Piskor of which ideas came from which writers and art teams.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Danny

    This was a fun history lesson of the X-men done by none other than the man who is taking on the personal project to detail the history of hip hop in comic book fashion- Ed Piskor. He takes the same idea that he does from his Hip Hop Family Tree and replicates it with X-Men history. It's really cool and pretty necessary given how today's superhero stories are always tangled in a wild web of crossovers and such. I know he has done sequel projects to this and I'm glad he does given the team's long This was a fun history lesson of the X-men done by none other than the man who is taking on the personal project to detail the history of hip hop in comic book fashion- Ed Piskor. He takes the same idea that he does from his Hip Hop Family Tree and replicates it with X-Men history. It's really cool and pretty necessary given how today's superhero stories are always tangled in a wild web of crossovers and such. I know he has done sequel projects to this and I'm glad he does given the team's long and complicated history. I hope more people take note from him. Reading this was much more fun than reading a wikipedia page on the team.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Nicholas Palmieri

    The first half of this was great, because Piskor got to weave together all of the disparate elements of X-Men history from before the actual series started, previously only referenced here and there via flashback. The second half was a much more straightforward retelling of the events of the 60s X-Men series (1-2 issues worth of story represented on each page), so it ended up feeling bland and disjointed. His cartooning is excellent throughout, though.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Brian Dickerson

    I love the design, art style, and narrative that Piskor uses in retelling the early days of the X-Men. This book easily sits beside his volumes of Hip Hop Family Tree both physically and via content. One can dream that Piskor tackles other Marvel titles / groups. Punisher: Grand Design, think about it!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jamie Connolly

    Meh. It was ok. Maybe if I was a bigger X-Men fan I’d enjoy it more. It read like a summary or history of the X-Men. Very little dialogue.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Adam Stone

    The X-Men were the characters that got me into comics. I picked up all four issues of the X-Men Vs. Fantastic Four in the first comic book store I ever went to, and immediately fell in love with comics, and then read X-Men: Days of Future Present and was so confused that I stopped reading comics for several years. I've occasionally tried to read as much of the full run of X-Men and related comics (X-Factor, X-Force, Generation X, New Mutants, etc.) as possible but I never make it out of the Silve The X-Men were the characters that got me into comics. I picked up all four issues of the X-Men Vs. Fantastic Four in the first comic book store I ever went to, and immediately fell in love with comics, and then read X-Men: Days of Future Present and was so confused that I stopped reading comics for several years. I've occasionally tried to read as much of the full run of X-Men and related comics (X-Factor, X-Force, Generation X, New Mutants, etc.) as possible but I never make it out of the Silver Age. I just can't get into the pacing and plotting of silver age comics, and the hokiness of Stan Lee era writing. This book is like the best possible illustrated Wikipedia page for Silver Age X-Men. It's chronologically straight-forward, contains the bare bones of most of the stories, but it looks awesome. I would recommend this for people who love the X-Men but don't have the time or patience for the Silver Age era, fans of the Silver Age era X-Men looking for a quick nostalgic overview of the first 65 issues, people who've never read the X-Men but are looking for a quick primer, fans of Piskor's Hip Hop Family Tree, Vol. 1: 1970s-1981, and mutant plot enthusiasts.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Dylan

    The Marvel Universe is messy, as is to be expected of something written by hundreds of authors over 50+ years with hundreds of different characters. And the irony of a book titled "Grand Design" about characters in the MU is that there clearly is no such thing. Marvel comics are just a bunch of independent stories within a shared universe and using shared characters, but with independent stakes and independent purposes. And while there is some coordination between different comics, and some auth The Marvel Universe is messy, as is to be expected of something written by hundreds of authors over 50+ years with hundreds of different characters. And the irony of a book titled "Grand Design" about characters in the MU is that there clearly is no such thing. Marvel comics are just a bunch of independent stories within a shared universe and using shared characters, but with independent stakes and independent purposes. And while there is some coordination between different comics, and some authors playing the long-game (looking at you Chris Claremont), for the most part these stories are just trying to stand alone. Which is great for what it is. Piskor's ostensible goal here is to wrap the messy history of the X-Men up into a neat, or at least neater, package. Unfortunately, the end product is just as messy as the source material. There's a lot of reader whiplash as the book jumps between different characters, um, what's the opposite of seamlessly? Seamfully? The promise of a grand design is not really followed through, and instead we are given what reads kind of like a timeline of vaguely related events, rather than a story, or even a history, of the X-Men. The art in this book is great and I hope to read the sequel(s?) that are planned. I'm interested to see how Piskor handles the continuation of the story as X-Men comics have only become more fractured and unwieldy as the MU has gotten bigger.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Brandon Forsyth

    As I was putting this away, I had to move Darwyn Cooke's THE NEW FRONTIER, his retelling of the early years of the DC heroes, and it struck me how similar these two projects are. Both are from beloved independent comics creators, tackling an established mythology for which they clearly harbour a lot of affection for. Where Piskor might slightly edge Cooke is in the carefully-chosen format details: this oversize book evokes reading the Sunday cartoons in the newspaper for me, right down to the sm As I was putting this away, I had to move Darwyn Cooke's THE NEW FRONTIER, his retelling of the early years of the DC heroes, and it struck me how similar these two projects are. Both are from beloved independent comics creators, tackling an established mythology for which they clearly harbour a lot of affection for. Where Piskor might slightly edge Cooke is in the carefully-chosen format details: this oversize book evokes reading the Sunday cartoons in the newspaper for me, right down to the smell of the paper, and it's wonderfully nostalgic. Similar to Cooke's passion project, though, GRAND DESIGN has an obsessive quality to paying tribute to a bunch of wacky side characters that ultimately don't make for a cohesive narrative. Still, tons of fun, especially with the original issue #1 included!

  30. 5 out of 5

    John H

    I loved this. Yeah, there were some abrupt transitions in the story, but when you consider the hundreds of X-Men comics, some of which probably don't mesh together very well, this book is an amazing achievement. This is basically an attempt to create a coherent narrative from the hundreds of X-Men comics that have been written over the years. The artwork is great, and I loved the larger size. Can't wait for Volume 2! I loved this. Yeah, there were some abrupt transitions in the story, but when you consider the hundreds of X-Men comics, some of which probably don't mesh together very well, this book is an amazing achievement. This is basically an attempt to create a coherent narrative from the hundreds of X-Men comics that have been written over the years. The artwork is great, and I loved the larger size. Can't wait for Volume 2!

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