Uncanny comeback


Joe Madureira made a comeback to comics in 2008, illustrating Jeph Loeb

BACK in 1994, a young upstart named Joe Madureira revolutionised the way Marvel’s mutants looked by “manga-fying” them in Uncanny X-Men.

Considering that it took hardcore fans a few years to digest Storm’s transformation from African goddess to the leader of the Morlocks, Madureira’s Oriental re-imagining of Xavier’s Finest certainly gave fans quite a case of heartburn, with countless letters to the editors demanding that they take Madureira off the book.

Fortunately, the fans did not succeed; otherwise, we would have never seen his work on later classics such as Phalanx Covenant, Astonishing X-Men, Trial Of Gambit, and ... Manga Rogue!

Madureira started his 22-year association with the comics industry with an internship at Marvel when he was 16, providing “fill-ins” on Marvel Comics Presents #87 and #89. While those efforts did not propel him to instant stardom, what he did on Deadpool: The Circle Chase (the Merc With The Mouth’s first limited series) did enough to open the door to a four-year-long Uncanny X-Men stint. 

Despite winning over his critics eventually, the “dark and depressing” mood at Xavier’s School prompted Madureira to seek happier pastures, which he found in the fantasy world of his own creation – Battle Chasers.

Unfortunately, that sword-and-sorcery epic only saw a total of nine issues (with the variant covers outnumbering the actual issues!) over four years, and Battle Chasers eventually ended up in limbo after Madureira ventured into the gaming industry via Tri-Lunar, Realm Interactive, THQ and a host of other gaming providers.

Madureira made a comeback to comics in 2008, illustrating Jeph Loeb’s The Ultimates 3 series, while his recent stints on Avenging Spider-Man #1-#3 and Savage Wolverine #6-#8 give us hope that he may be back for good.

Last month’s meeting with him at STGCC reaffirmed this, as he was kind enough to relive his past in between his signing sessions.

How has your comeback to comics been?

It’s as if I never left. It’s a bit like riding a bicycle, you never lose your ability. There have been some changes though, in terms of art style – where I have actually gone “darker” and less cartoonish (starting with his Ultimates 3 stint and in the current issues of Savage Wolverine). My earlier drawings (referring to his days on Marvel Comics Presents) were influenced by Arthur Adams, and then I later adopted different styles. Overall, I’m glad to be drawing comic books again, and am currently working on an Inhumans project.

You are credited with “manga-fying” the X-men. Is that how you want to be remembered? 

It started off on a negative note, as there were fans who didn’t like my art (in Uncanny X-Men #312). Some said the mouths and eyes were too big, and the characters didn’t look like the X-Men! In fact, there were letters to the editor to take me off the X-Men. However, after 30-plus issues, I’m glad I made an impact on the X-Men. 

Will you ever return to the X-Men?

I am not discounting the possibility, but it should be something that I really want to work on. I left the X-Men because after a long stint, I needed a break, and Battle Chasers provided me an avenue to do something different.

Battle Chasers! Will it ever end? The fans deserve closure!

Hah! This question is always raised at every convention I attend in Europe or the States. Yes, it will end and I would like to finish it … eventually.


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