Russell Dauterman Defines Mutant Fashion At The X-Men's Hellfire Gala

Russell Dauterman Defines Mutant Fashion At The X-Men's Hellfire Gala


Jay Cochran - March 16, 2021
This June, the Hellfire Trading Company invites readers everywhere to the inaugural Hellfire Gala to announce the first team of Krakoan X-Men to the world and unveil the startling plans that mutantkind has in store for the Marvel Universe. The Hellfire Gala will unfold in issues of your favorite ongoing X-Men series as well as PLANET-SIZE X-MEN, a special double-sized one-shot. These twelve issues will all center around a single night that will go down in Marvel Comics history and while it’s too early to reveal the world-shattering steps mutantkind is about to take, one thing is for certain: the X-Men have never looked better. Some of Marvel’s best artists have delivered jaw-dropping high-fashion looks to make sure Marvel’s mutants are ready to show up and show out on their biggest night with designs that are about to become the envy of the fashion world.

Leading the initiative in creating these all new takes on “mutant fashion” is acclaimed artist Russell Dauterman. Revealed earlier today by Entertainment Weekly, the superstar artist has taken his already masterful depictions of the X-Men to the next level with twelve bold new designs for X-Men’s top A-listers including Storm, Cyclops, Jean Grey, and Emma Frost. These incredible pieces will grace the covers of all twelve Hellfire Gala tie-in issues as must-have variant covers throughout the month of June.

“X-Men costumes are one of my favorite things. As a teenager that’s what I would draw the most—doodles of an X-character in all their looks. So, I’m absolutely thrilled—designing costumes for the mutants is top-of-the-list, dream job stuff,” Dauterman told Entertainment Weekly. “The Hellfire Gala is unique and exciting for the X-Men, and this opportunity is really special for me—I tried to have that come across in the character designs. As Emma Frost said, ‘The whole world is watching us now. We must be nothing less than fabulous.’”

Incorporating real world high-fashion concepts with character history and even mutant abilities, Dauterman has turned out dramatic, unexpected looks that are unlike anything Marvel Comics has ever put to page. Here’s what the mastermind artist had to say about his inspirations behind these striking looks:

“My general thought was that the Gala aesthetic should be high-fashion X-Men costumes (mutant clothes), not high-fashion human clothes. So I looked at a lot of fashion reference, but tried to think, ‘What would the X-costume version of this be?’ The looks reference and take inspiration from couture by Alexander McQueen, Iris van Herpen, Balmain, Moschino, Givenchy, Versace, Gaultier, Gucci, and more. I also drew from the characters’ past costumes. When I started the project, I was on a Zoom call with the X-writers and editors—we talked about the general direction for the designs, and they sent me reference that they’d been collecting. That was a super helpful jumping off point that I built on with my own research.”

To hear more from Dauterman, including exciting insights into each individual piece, visit Marvel.com. Check out all twelve of his designs now and stay tuned tomorrow for more jaw-dropping Hellfire Gala cover reveals!

What do you think of the X-Men's new looks? Have a favorite Dauterman design? Let us know on Twitter with the hashtag #XMenHellfireGala!

On Sale 6/2
HELLIONS #12 ANGEL CHARACTER DESIGN VARIANT COVER by RUSSELL DAUTERMAN
MARAUDERS #21 EMMA FROST CHARACTER DESIGN VARIANT COVER by RUSSELL DAUTERMAN
X-FORCE #20 EMMA FROST CHARACTER DESIGN VARIANT COVER by RUSSELL DAUTERMAN

On Sale 6/9
EXCALIBUR #21 ROGUE CHARACTER DESIGN VARIANT COVER by RUSSELL DAUTERMAN
X-MEN #21 JEAN GREY CHARACTER DESIGN VARIANT COVER by RUSSELL DAUTERMAN

On Sale 6/16
NEW MUTANTS #19 RACHEL SUMMERS CHARACTER DESIGN VARIANT COVER by RUSSELL DAUTERMAN
PLANET-SIZE X-MEN #1 STORM CHARACTER DESIGN VARIANT COVER by RUSSELL DAUTERMAN
X-CORP #2 MONET CHARACTER DESIGN VARIANT COVER by RUSSELL DAUTERMAN

On Sale 6/23
S.W.O.R.D. #6 CAPTAIN BRITAIN CHARACTER DESIGN VARIANT COVER by RUSSELL DAUTERMAN
WAY OF X #3 EMMA FROST CHARACTER DESIGN VARIANT COVER by RUSSELL DAUTERMAN
WOLVERINE #13 KATE PRYDE CHARACTER DESIGN VARIANT COVER by RUSSELL DAUTERMAN

On Sale 6/30
X-FACTOR #10 CYCLOPS CHARACTER DESIGN VARIANT COVER by RUSSELL DAUTERMAN
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Comments...

Last 10 comments - ( Read All Posts )
sentinelofliberty41 - 2021-03-21 @ 12:27 pm
On 3/20/2021 at 1:23 AM, Benn said:

But, but, but, virtually all of his examples were plot-lines from the 70s and 80s! What era are we pining for if all those examples were legitimate arguments for the downfall of the comic art form? He was saying that comics, and especially X-Men comics, have always been full of goofy nonsense, even during the eras that everyone agrees were awesome. I don't see what makes this any worse, despite having no interest in fashion personally. Or are we all absolutely sure the X-babies were a better idea?

It all comes down to the writing, which has frankly been pretty consistently excellent for the last year or two, as well as at various other times in the last 20 odd years. What Marvel has legitimately been bad at is engaging younger readers, which is why their sales are suffering. They let their audience grow up and are now dealing with the consequences of trying to cater primarily to increasingly grouchy Gen-Xers. In other words, there's nowhere to go but down. The nostalgia market doesn't have a lot of growth potential, it turns out.

Well, personally, nostalgia isn't really a factor for me; I just like good storytelling. My absolute favorite comics run of all time is Mark Gruenwald's Captain America and while it is magnificent, the dude made Cap a werewolf at one point for crying out loud. You're absolutely right, comics have always done goofy things and Cap-Wolf is just as cringe to me as a fashion show. And yes, I know it'll pass, it's just another hick-up in an otherwise good run but in the meantime, I'm going to think it's dumb and my original statement of stupid writing hurting sales is 100% valid in my eyes as it seems like this kind of weirdness keeps popping up in modern books.

Also, I do agree with you that aiming solely at adults has made a huge dent. Between shifting the books tonally towards adults only while also catering to film goers with some of the continuity changes, Marvel has done a lot of damage in the past few years. I've tried to get younger family members into the books and instead of having fun they just ask questions and become frustrated because the books were a bit too complex so they just gave up on them. That's extremely sad to me.

sentinelofliberty41 - 2021-03-20 @ 8:03 pm
14 hours ago, ADour said:

It's a fashion show for Christ's sake. It sounds so self-serious to act like this is some shark jumping stunt. And the storyline will obviously not be 20 pages of mutants walking down the runaway. Did you even read the solicits that clearly show the gala is a backdrop for the political and internal intrigue of the current X-books? You don't need to answer, it was a rhetorical question.

Eh. I still stand by my point. It's a dumb idea.

Bluecomet - 2021-03-20 @ 11:34 am

Wanted to get this variants, asked my local comic book store and they said it is an incentive variant 1:50 (distribution number)....it will be expensive to complete all of those covers.

ADour - 2021-03-20 @ 5:43 am
17 hours ago, sentinelofliberty41 said:

You're basically saying exactly what I am in your second comment. I don't disagree that X-Men is doing better than it has in years but it's crazy material like this and other Marvel books that has hurt sales for so many years. A fashion gala? Seriously? I don't know anyone who looks for that in their comics just as much as leprechauns or any of the other examples you mentioned. I stand by my statement that yes, things like this are why comics are at record lows.

It's a fashion show for Christ's sake. It sounds so self-serious to act like this is some shark jumping stunt. And the storyline will obviously not be 20 pages of mutants walking down the runaway. Did you even read the solicits that clearly show the gala is a backdrop for the political and internal intrigue of the current X-books? You don't need to answer, it was a rhetorical question.

Benn - 2021-03-20 @ 5:23 am
16 hours ago, sentinelofliberty41 said:

 

You're basically saying exactly what I am in your second comment. I don't disagree that X-Men is doing better than it has in years but it's crazy material like this and other Marvel books that has hurt sales for so many years. A fashion gala? Seriously? I don't know anyone who looks for that in their comics just as much as leprechauns or any of the other examples you mentioned. I stand by my statement that yes, things like this are why comics are at record lows.

But, but, but, virtually all of his examples were plot-lines from the 70s and 80s! What era are we pining for if all those examples were legitimate arguments for the downfall of the comic art form? He was saying that comics, and especially X-Men comics, have always been full of goofy nonsense, even during the eras that everyone agrees were awesome. I don't see what makes this any worse, despite having no interest in fashion personally. Or are we all absolutely sure the X-babies were a better idea?

It all comes down to the writing, which has frankly been pretty consistently excellent for the last year or two, as well as at various other times in the last 20 odd years. What Marvel has legitimately been bad at is engaging younger readers, which is why their sales are suffering. They let their audience grow up and are now dealing with the consequences of trying to cater primarily to increasingly grouchy Gen-Xers. In other words, there's nowhere to go but down. The nostalgia market doesn't have a lot of growth potential, it turns out.

MagnaPrime - 2021-03-19 @ 8:03 pm

I'll say this for the penance design designs.  I know nothing about the character but the design has me wanting to learn more.

sentinelofliberty41 - 2021-03-19 @ 12:27 pm
10 hours ago, ADour said:

Yeah, man. I'm sure sales are gonna tank because Marvel decided to slap some Met Gala outfits on the X-Men There's something funny about you saying stuff like that when this era of the X-Men has been selling like crazy and brought the X-Men back to the spotlight. But let's ignore that when we can pretend some silly outfits will bring the end of comics as a medium.

 

7 hours ago, ADour said:

Yeah, a fashion gala is too goof-ball for the X-Men. Marvel should return to something more grounded, like that time they fought a BDSM club, or that one time Cyclops got on with a girl that looked exactly like his dead wife and turned out to be a clone. Maybe have Wolverine lose his nose again. Why not have Professor X's time-travelling son try to get on with his own mother? Why not explore a castle full of leprechauns? Maybe have Cyclops psychically cheat on Jean Grey with Emma Frost.

Pffft.

You're basically saying exactly what I am in your second comment. I don't disagree that X-Men is doing better than it has in years but it's crazy material like this and other Marvel books that has hurt sales for so many years. A fashion gala? Seriously? I don't know anyone who looks for that in their comics just as much as leprechauns or any of the other examples you mentioned. I stand by my statement that yes, things like this are why comics are at record lows.

ADour - 2021-03-19 @ 5:01 am
2 hours ago, mako said:

Actually . . . yes. At least when goof-ball plots like that are the norm instead of the exception nowadays.

Yeah, a fashion gala is too goof-ball for the X-Men. Marvel should return to something more grounded, like that time they fought a BDSM club, or that one time Cyclops got on with a girl that looked exactly like his dead wife and turned out to be a clone. Maybe have Wolverine lose his nose again. Why not have Professor X's time-travelling son try to get on with his own mother? Why not explore a castle full of leprechauns? Maybe have Cyclops psychically cheat on Jean Grey with Emma Frost.

Pffft.

mako - 2021-03-19 @ 2:11 am
23 hours ago, Jeddostotle7 said:

You really think 25+ years of declining comics sales is attributable to anything as small and specific as "they did some interesting High Fashion-y outfits for a gala plotline in the X-books"?

Actually . . . yes. At least when goof-ball plots like that are the norm instead of the exception nowadays.

ADour - 2021-03-19 @ 2:02 am
1 hour ago, sentinelofliberty41 said:

No, I don't but things like this aren't helping matters.

Yeah, man. I'm sure sales are gonna tank because Marvel decided to slap some Met Gala outfits on the X-Men There's something funny about you saying stuff like that when this era of the X-Men has been selling like crazy and brought the X-Men back to the spotlight. But let's ignore that when we can pretend some silly outfits will bring the end of comics as a medium.

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