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THE ORDER: A SKETCH GALLERY BY BARRY KITSON AND MATT FRACTION
We've spoken individually with both Barry Kitson and Matt Fraction - together, they're the creative team on The Order, a new series launching next month from Marvel, picking up threads of the "50 State Initiative" of Civil War.

In short, it's a California-based new team of heroes made up of…new heroes.

But who are they?

Barry and Matt explain, with pictures by Barry, words by Matt.

urbane.jpg

So this is Mulholland. Her parents are famous, but dead, rock stars, and she spent a good part of her adolescence in foster homes and on the streets and beaches of L.A. It gives her a unique link to the city itself that that big-ass hammer of hers helps to unlock. For her queen-of-the-trash-heap look, we referred to Taiyo Matsumoto's BLACK AND WHITE. (Also? her placeholder name was the embarrassing URBANE, hence the name of the file. as this was my first superhero book, certain finer points-- names, storylines, powers, etc-- tended to go through a lot of workshopping. THIS IS NO WAY TO RUN A RAILROAD.)

a new Henry.jpg

This is our field leader Henry Hellrung, or ANTHEM. We wanted the costumes to reflect the armor fashion of pro motocross athletes, but still have the elegant lines of a traditional superhero costume. Also you can see the remnants of the Champions "C" on his chest. Switching over to an O for "The Order" won't be too difficult-- we wanted to work the logo in as a design motif. Trying to nail his look, too-- classic Hollywood face. Cary Grant, you know? The whole team has an air of fabulousness to them, men and women alike.

aralune 01

Yay Becky! This girl is a teen pop idol to millions of girls, and has the abilities to shift her shape into whatever she wants. I love that Barry draws her as this wide-eyed and smiling California blonde but then she warps into some of the most weirdly hideous comic book monsters you've ever seen. I tend to write her with a southern drawl, so in my head she's a Carolina blonde that went west and not a native valley girl. On the surface she's a robo-Britney-bot bimbo but, when you've got a character whose whole gimmick is to manipulate her surface, who can say what's really going on underneath? We call her Aralune.

Calamity 01

The one character whose name has always been in place and will always be in place-- "Calamity" James Wa was a college baseball sensation that lost his legs below the knees. That's not what makes him a hero, though-- after his injuries, he became an engineer that designed prosthetic lower-legs based on the design of a cheetah's, and gave extreme mobility back to thousands of amputees that though they'd never run again. He's the team speeder, with that lean runner's body and, hopefully, all the good jokes. I love speedster characters, and always wanted to write one. I think there's something fun, visually and narratively, about that power set. The stuff you can get away with... there's a reason why John Broome and Gardner Fox wrote such great FLASH comics.

Henry V3

I like that tall collar thing Barry drew here. Looks like he's exactly what Barry's notes say-- an archetypal superhero. Majestic. Priestly, almost. The capes come and go as both visually demanded and practically convenient-- unstable molecules!-- so as the team goes flying into action, they have capes, but when they need 100% mobility, the capes recede. It's comics. You can totally have things like that happen. We kept monkeying around with the flecks of grey in his hair, too. I want those sideburns so bad when I get older I can't even tell you.

Madre 04

Magdalena Marie is called Veda, although for like two minutes she was Madre and then I thought that, hey, maybe calling the Hispanic woman whose powers involve her birthing golems out of organic material all around her "Madre" is a little too on the nose. So Veda it is-- a kind of fabulous diva that's done loads of global charity work AND is like the biggest action star in the world. Since it's the California team, and they're L.A.-based-- at least at first-- we wanted everyone to have an "aspirational" look to them. That's the word ad agencies use to describe actors and actresses that look waaaay better than you and me ever could, but still aren't supermodels. "Aspirational." I hate advertising.

Madre 03

Barry noodling around with her costume. We wanted her to strike a contrast to the other girls on the team-- whereas the other girls are clearly girls, Veda is very much an adult woman. This is maybe a little too Black Queen? I dunno. I like the idea that, just like real movie stars, the team has a fabulous array of costumes to wear, all united by design but different in approach and application. You can see Barry trying out a golem behind her. I was really unspecific about them in the script, thinking really they'd be little gremlin sort of dudes, but Barry draws them as these titanic things...! I love it. This is the craziest job in the world.

Second Quick Sketch

Another Veda shot, with the golem much more like they appear in the book. I love this outfit-- like an old-time movie director. ALl she needs is a riding crop and a megaphone and Erich von Strohiem would flip ten times in his grave. We go back and forth on the boob window, too. It's was a clever integration of the C, definitely, but it's sooo overt. I dunno, though, look at what actresses wear on the red carpet. Hell, even Angelina Jolie's 26-dollar Target dress had some sizzle to it. What would the guy-equivalent be? Maybe like Prince, one of the guys on the team could wear buttless chaps. Okay, that's a terrible idea.

Supernaut V2

Yay Supernaut! Playing around with the scale here, too. Supernaut's the giant robot guy on the team, obviously, piloted by a decorated War vet that became a paraplegic in a violent protest. AND he loves Black Sabbath, so it's all good. We wanted to infuse the flavor of some Japanese mecha design, just to get away from both the guy-dipped-in-metal school of Iron Man and the guy-in-box design of... oh, hell, what was his name. Red Rocket? Whatever. Boxy was bad. And it's fun to see Barry play around with a character like this.

Urbane 01

MY GOD I can't believe I ever even remotely thought about calling a character "Urbane." It's amazing this book ever got the green light. I should be run out of town on a rail. ANYWAY: The Matsumoto stuff is clear in this shot-- the dice necklace, the face paint. We kept coming back to the idea that every time they'd give Holly a costume, she'd be at it with a pocket knife and safety-pins the next day, much to the unending delight of the team's costumers. I used to do that when I was a kid-- my folks would get me some nice article of clothing and I'd immediately set out to tear it up. It'd be just as efficient if I just destroyed money itself. Ahh, youth.

Urbane 02

Holly at her punkiest, but still that post-punk MTV sorta Green Day punk. The Hot Topic punk, carefully considered and toned and postured. Notice that tattoo! Nice one, Barry. Holly strikes the biggest pose on the team, she's the biggest shittalker-- it must be the hammer-- but almost immediately runs into stagefright-style performance issues. She's very much the first one on the team that feels the danger of being cut, as when the team gets down in it she can't quite deliver. I like her a lot, though, as a character-- all that mean girl crap on the outside protecting something very sweet and pure on the inside. I hope she pulls it together...!

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