Interview with ‘X-Men’ character illustrator Scott Modrzynski

Artist and designer Scott Modrzynski has created X-themed caricatures of all 2,535 X-Men. This cool portfolio even includes the characters pulled from the 545 issues of Uncanny X-Men that ran from 1963 to 2011. He has even created Batman characters from Gummi Bears! Get to know Scott and get inside the creativity of a true fan.

The_Best_Sequence by Scott Modrzynski

Colleen Bement: Your portfolio is amazing. When did you know that you wanted to be an artist?

Scott Modrzynski: I don’t know if there was ever a conscious decision to become an artist. I just sort of fell into it because it’s something that I have always liked, and it was cultivated from an early age by the adults in my life. My parents always encouraged my artistic endeavors. My mom has an artistic flair, and my dad, who is more of a numbers guy, has been my biggest supporter, telling me to keep doing what I love.

I also need to give a lot of credit to my grade school art teacher, Mr. Hower. If our class projects were dull or uninspiring, I’d probably be an accountant right now. But my best memories in grade school were in that art class. We learned about Chagall and Matisse in the 2nd grade! In hindsight, that seems like a deep dive for kids, but it stuck. I still use a lot of the techniques and tricks I learned back then.

CB: I think my favorite is your Professor X from Uncanny X-Men; followed by your Captain America. Do you sell these as stickers or magnets? They’re just so cool!

SM: I love hearing people’s favorites on this project. Everyone’s got their own. Currently, I have tees available at Threadless. 1.25” pins are available on my Etsy store.

Everyone from allxmen.com is available. Just tell me which characters and the issue number they appear, and I take care of the rest. I’ll also have similarly-sized magnets later this week. People have also been clamoring for prints, and my initial idea was to do just that, but there are too many characters. So now I’m figuring out a way to break these down into smaller groupings. In both cases, those will also be on Etsy.

Storm by Scott Modrzynski

CB: Batman characters from Gummi Bears? NHL logos from food? Where do these creative ideas come from?

SM: One thing always leads into another. Back in December 2010, I was given the task to create a banner for “International Food Day” (IFD) at work. During IFD, the 500+ staff of our midtown Manhattan ad agency was encouraged to bring an ethnic dish or some tasty dessert for everyone to sample. It’s a fun, festive event at the end of the year.

As for the banner, I made a few designs on-screen, but they all bored the hell out of me. At the 11th hour, I got the idea to simply write out the words in condiments, but why stop there? So I made a map of the world from ketchup and mustard and using food as a medium was born.

And from there, I just substituted comic books for food, and now I’ve got all these collages – which I really think are my best work – that can be displayed, rather than deconstructed and put into Tupperware in the fridge. They’re also less messy. And eventually, these collages will spur some other idea in my mind, and I’ll run with that next.

CB: I just have to ask: Who is your favorite superhero?

SM: I love the X-Men as a whole (obviously), and I have so many favorites there, but my all-time favorite hero has to be Batman. I religiously watched reruns of the Adam West show on WPIX (to this day, my most beloved iteration of the Dark Knight is the Bright Knight). My favorite Scooby Doo episodes were when the gang teamed up with the Caped Crusaders. I remember the fervor of Michael Keaton’s 1989 movie, and how euphoric it felt just to have that Batman logo tee shirt. A TEE SHIRT! It was SO EXCITING.

The Animated Series was so good, that the movies should have just adapted some of those episodes. Every subsequent Batman series or movie since has brought its own flavor to the table. Even the god-awful Batman and Robin George Clooney movie, by virtue of being so terrible, has a lofty place in Bat-lore. He is a character that has been redefined every generation, and any fan of the genre will find at least one version that love. He can be The Punisher, James Bond, Sherlock Holmes, and even The Tick! And I haven’t even touched on his rogue’s gallery, the best in literature.

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