X-Men Fandom Calls Out Artist Pepe Larraz For Lack of Diversity In X-Men Issue 35 Cover Art!

X-Men Issue 35 Cover Art Pepe Larraz called out
The X-Men Issue 35 Cover by Artist Pepe Larraz (Image: Marvel Comics)

The X-Men fandom has been going through some understandable online drama over the lack of diversity in the cover art for X-Men issue 35 by talented artist Pepe Larraz.

I have to open this article up by saying that I’m a fan of Pepe Larraz’s artwork. He’s undoubtedly talented. The details in the cover art for X-Men issue 35 are another testament to his skills. Having said that, I can’t sit here and ignore the lack of diversity in a piece of artwork that’s supposed to celebrate the decades-long legacy of the X-Men comic books, specifically the Uncanny X-Men series.

This particular image has more than 40 characters and yet only a handful of them are characters of color. Like, how does one get to such a percentage of diversity when creating a work of art for an IP that’s supposed to represent minority communities? Hmmm.

Larraz did take to Twitter to respond to the backlash. And frankly, I think he could have done a better job when it came to justifying his creative decisions.

The way he stated he was in charge of selecting which characters to showcase and yet his “privilege” led to him highlighting a majority of white characters has me side-eyeing him hard.

At least, he gets points for being honest… I guess.

Pepe Larraz X-Men Fandom drama X-Men cover art diversity
Image via Twitter @PepeLarraz

Regardless of what Larraz did, I think the current situation links to what certain fans have been vocal about for years. Even though the X-Men franchise represents minority experiences inspired by real-world events, when it comes down to it, the face of the X-Men brand is white (Prof X, Wolverine, Jean Grey, Cyclops, etc). And therein lies the problem.

The “minority experience” is still being delivered to pop culture enthusiasts through a “white” filter while continuing to keep characters of color in the background or using certain characters (*cough* Storm *cough*) for Tokenism when need be.

We continue to see characters of color or characters belonging to certain minority groups represented in comic book stories being released during certain months of the year (Pride, Black History Month, etc), only to be thrown back into storage once the “marketable” month is over. 

Someone from Marvel Editorial could have stepped in and suggested to Larraz to consider adding more characters of color to such a big celebratory piece. But no one did so. Sigh!

If it were up to me, I would have suggested the following changes to the cover.

X-Men Issue 35 Edited Cover Pepe Larraz
X-Men Issue 35 Cover Art with my suggestions

I would have taken out Juggernaut and Kid Cable. Also, why the heck do Angel’s wings need so much space? Get Sunspot in there!

Jubilee could be sitting on top of the Black Bird while blowing a chewing gum bubble. Psylocke would be hanging from the Black Bird somehow. I don’t know. She’s a highly trained ninja. She can figure it out.

Synch could have been shown flying. I would have had his flight style mimic Rogue or Banshee’s to tell readers he was tapping into their powers.

Where do you stand on this?

Feel free to share your thoughts about the situation.

And you can read more comic book coverage here.

@thegeekiary X-Men Fandom Calls Out Artist Pepe Larraz for Lack of Diversity in X-Men Issue 35 Celebratory Cover#xmen #fandom #drama #pepelarraz #uncannyxmen #marvel #marvelcomics #diversity #comic #comicbook #artist ♬ original sound – The Geekiary

Author: Farid-ul-Haq

Farid has a Double Masters in Psychology and Biotechnology as well as an M.Phil in Molecular Genetics. He is the author of numerous books including Missing in Somerville, and The Game Master of Somerville. He gives us insight into comics, books, TV shows, anime/manga, video games, and movies.

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