Comics

Making History: A Cable Sketchbook

Artist Jon Malin dives into Marvel Legacy with the time-traveler!

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Some people think learning history can be boring…but maybe they just haven’t done it the right way. Like when writer Ed Brisson and artist Jon Malin take an exciting look at the past with CABLE #150!

On October 18, the future-born soldier travels back in time alongside a couple of New Mutants—including X-23, Doop, Shatterstar, Blink, Longshot, and Armor—to try to handle a killer that can’t be taken care of easily.

We caught up with Malin to chat about studying up on various X-Men time periods, working with Brisson, and bringing Cable to Marvel Legacy.

Marvel.com: How fun has it been sending these characters to various points in X-history?

Jon Malin: Very exciting! I absolutely lucked into a chance to draw all my old school favorites in their best looks!

Marvel.com: When you’re sending Cable and the New Mutants to those different time periods, do you look back at the original stories for reference?

Jon Malin: Ed and Editor Chris Robinson are kind enough to send me details for what I need, so thankfully I don’t have to dig out the references too much. For me, it’s more about going back to the well for the dynamic inspiration you get from artists like Rob Liefeld—he, like Jack Kirby and other greats, including Stan Lee, Todd McFarlane, Marc Silvestri, Larry Stroman, Whilce Portacio—set a kinetic pace with their work and I’m always looking for an opportunity to push that. Be sure to check out the early Marvel work of all mentioned above, it’s a lesson in awesome!

Marvel.com: When designing Cable and his New Mutants for this Legacy story, were you aiming for classic looks or were you going for your own spin?

Jon Malin: The story calls for these specific looks, so I’m certainly staying close to them. Anything that might be considered “my own spin” here will be very subtle. In the past, I always loved how Rob Liefeld changed up the costumes, especially Cable’s—it always kept the vibe feeling fresh to me.

We haven’t had any costume changes as the tone of this tale feels closely tied to these costumes and who they were. Looking down the road and keeping true to what Rob established, I have plenty of cool spins for all of these guys if given the opportunity.

Marvel.com: As this story has developed, have any of the character interactions surprised you so far?

Jon Malin: I think our character bag of mixed nuts works very well here for this exact reason. Ed plays these guys off each other in fun and interesting ways. Doop has been so fun for me and I think the readers will enjoy him because he can be anything we need him to be—comic relief, right hand man, butt kicker, Don Juan. Whatever! Then we have Shatterstar and X-23…we could do a standalone with them simply titled “Bodycount.”

Marvel.com: How has it been working with Ed on the series?

Jon Malin: Ed has such great storytelling skills—and understands the time for nuance and the time for action. We message maybe once a month if I have questions or want to express a scene I loved. He’s fantastic! Love that guy.

And shout outs to [colorists] Federico Blee and Jesus Aburtov! Both are so kind and generous with their time. Federico has colored all our covers and they’re amazing! And Jesus on interior colors has just been knocking it out of the park! I love passionate color that amplifies the intensity of a story—and both of these guys dig right in. Just glance at the covers and interiors and the feelings are immediate.

Editors can be overlooked, so let me add Chris Robinson and Mark Paniccia! Chris has a great eye for paneling; I have found him to be so thorough on the work and always there if I need him. I see him going very far in this industry if he so chooses. And Mark always lets it be known when he really digs something or if something has to go. Marvel is in great hands with these two. And big thanks to [Editor-in-Chief] Axel Alonso—he’s been very supportive of me with this title.

CABLE #150, written by Ed Brisson with art by Jon Malin, hits on October 18!