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October 2000

Milk: It Does a Body Good
Fri., Oct. 20, 2000 1613
Rembrandt

Comicscontinuum.com reports that this Saturday, Talia will appear on "Batman Beyond." Also, they include tons of info on "Evolution"'s Spyke, as well as some bits of other "X-Men: Evolution" news, which includes a big Mystique clarification:

X-Men: Evolution, the animated series that debuts on Kids' WB! on Saturday, Nov. 4, will feature a new character, Spyke, created specifically for television.

In the series, which features the X-Men in their teenage years, Evan Daniels is Spyke, the nephew of Storm, who comes to the X-Men from New York City. His mutant powers involve bones that grow out of his body as he can & quot;spike up."

Unlike Morph, a made-for-TV character in the previous X-Men series on Fox Kids, Spyke will be an ongoing member of the television cast after he is introduced.

"We felt that we wanted another character to round out the group, and we felt we wanted to come up with an X-Man that no one had come up with before," said Marvel's Rick Ungar, an executive producer of the series.

X-Men: Evolution producer Boyd Kirkland said that Spyke being African-American is also important.

"That grows out of networks trying to represent the spectrum of the racial community that exists in America," Kirkland said.

Trying to make characters like Bishop into teenagers didn't work, thus leading to the new character.

"When we were doing the early development and options of existing characters of the X-Men Universe and the continuity of when they were introduced," Kirkland said. "We just have a real tough time coming up with a character of color that existed in the first 10 years of the comic.& quot;

Spyke has been compared to the female Marrow character from the comics, but Kirkland said any similarities are coincidental.

"We kept kicking around ideas," Kirkland said of the character's development. "What can this guy do? What could he be? There were all kinds of possibilities. When I suggested this idea, I didn't know about Marrow. And as what I suggested and the artwork evolved, Frank (Paur, series director) said, 'This character is a lot like Marrow.' And I said, 'Who's that?'

"It didn't develop with the idea in mind that we were going to make another Marrow. It just sort of ended up that way. You try to think up a character with powers that nobody's done already. It will end up being like somebody who already exists, I'm telling you."

Besides, as director/character designer Steve Gordon pointed out, there are differences in their powers.

"It's not just Marrow, which I gather a lot of people on the Internet seem to think he is," Gordon said. "Spyke can throw the spikes. We spent a lot of time working out how he can use them. He can throw them and sling them. We played with a lot of ideas on how he can use them.

"In a lot of ways, his power was based on the idea of Iceman almost, what he can do with his stuff where throws it and use it as an offensive weapon."

Gordon said that Spyke - who is featured first in the episode "Speed and Spyke" -- is not in pain when the spikes grow out of him, but there is a biological result to the action.

"What we do show, even though we don't make a big point of it, is that he has to drink a lot of milk to make up for the calcium that he loses,& quot; Gordon said.

"There's a show where he's grabbing every carton of milk he can find and is just chugging it down. We don't make too big of a point about it, but it's there for anyone who is interested in."

Gordon said Spyke's costume absorbs and reforms around the spikes, eliminating constant ripping.

In his civilian identity as a student at Bayville High, Spyke has blonde hair and wears contemporary clothes.

"We played with a lot of different hair styles with him, something kind of hip and contemporary," Gordon said. "We were originally pushing for kind of these tied down braids, but we didn't go that way. We went for more of a Dennis Rodman type of cut since he's into basketball and skateboarding. His hair, like his aunt, is not the black hair color. It's yellower and gives him a little more unique work. It's like a flat top with a cut-in.

"We knew he was going to be a skateboarder so we looked into skateboarding magazines for his look. It's very much contemporary and hip.& quot;

Spyke's X-Men costume is more standard and traditional.

"We knew had certain things that we wanted to do with him," Gordon said. "When he spikes up, he has spikes coming out of his forearms and we thought the best way to indicate that, in his normal costume, have these big gauntlets, so that would allow us to give a kind of a bulky look to his spiking up."

Spyke will be first featured in the episode "Speed and Spyke." His voice is performed by Neil Denis.

In other X-Men: Evolution news:

* All of the 13 first-season episodes of X-Men: Evolution will be single-episode stories, except for the two-part season finale.

* The first episode will include Nightcrawler's introduction to the X-Men.

* Destiny will be shown in the series, with a younger look than she had in the comic books.

* A misconception has been that Mystique, in her Raven Darkholme persona, is working at the Xavier Institute. She is principal at Bayville High School and does not work for Xavier.

* The third episode of the series, which features Rogue, arrived at Film Roman on Thursday from Japanese animators. Kirkland said he was very pleased in the shape of the episode. The fourth episode could arrive as early as Friday. The main title is in its final phases.

Look for much more from the creators of X-Men: Evolution next week here in The Continuum, including new images on Monday.

NEW BATMAN BEYOND EPISODE

Producer Paul Dini told The Continuum that a new episode of Batman Beyond, "Out of the Past," will air Saturday on Kids' WB!.

"Bruce Wayne's long-lost love Talia returns," Dini said. & quot;Visiting the aging hero on his birthday, the still-beautiful Talia offers Bruce the ultimate gift - eternal youth."

The Saturday, Oct. 28 episode of Batman Beyond will be a rerun of & quot;Splicers," the first episode of the show's second season. It was written by Evan Dorkin and Sarah Dyer.

Batman Beyond will be moving to a new time period, 8 a.m. (ET) on Saturday, Nov. 4, the same day that X-Men: Evolution premieres.

   

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