We’re a little over a month to go to the latest X-film, X-Men: Days of Future Past (Bryan Singer). So I thought it’d be fun to run down the top ten homages, spoofs, and ripoffs of the famous Days of Future Past cover.
In case you’ve forgotten or are new to X-Fandom, this is the one that started it all–the original by John Byrne, inked by Terry Austin. Wolverine, with grey temples somehow (despite the healing factor), and an adult Kitty Pryde, pinned by a spotlight whose glare implies terrible things about the future.
ATTENTION: You are now entering a controlled zone. And the X-Men we know and love are either “apprehended” or “slain.” This hit very hard when it came out and, looking at it even now, some of that wincing reaction comes right back to me.
On to the countdown!
A lot of the most well-done Days of Future Past homages are from Marvel editorial themselves.
These days, nothing’s really popular unless Deadpool has spoofed it, parodied it, or otherwise made fun of it and DOFP is apparently no exception.
Cover art by Jason Pearson.
New X-Men does a nice reversal. Wolverine’s (daughter? sister? clone? Have we decided what the proper reference for her is?) X-23 is in the protector stance and Hellion is her distressed dude, though he is posed a little more ready to fight than ready to be protected as is the case for most of the secondary characters in these homages. This is also a bit minimalist as the evocative poster image is still there, but there are no labels to tell a viewer anything about the status of those faces.
Cover art by Paco Medina and Juan Vlasco.
A variant cover of Captain America has Cap and Sharon Carter in front of a poster of the Avengers. Considering most of the Avengers are beloved in the MU, it’s kind of chilling to see them in the same position when not all the members are mutants.
Cover art by Gerald Parel.
7. Wolverine and the X-Men (Volume 1)
This one is from the iteration of Wolverine and the X-Men that completed its run immediately before the new one (which shares the same title) began a month later. Again we have Wolvie in his standard spot, but with Storm in the distressed damsel position; a position I’d have a hard time buying the windrider in on any day since she led the X-Men, even without powers. She’s also in that “protect me” pose which is laughable given who Storm is and what Logan is currently going through in his own title and the X-Books. And what, exactly, is up with Storm’s ripped up threads here?!
They all leave the question of who’s graduated and who hasn’t open-ended, of course, to get you to open the book.
Cover art by Nick Bradshaw.
This one, from the popular and unsettling Marvel Zombies series, features a crossover with Ash from Army of Darkness (1992, Sam Raimi) and is darkly humorous with its reversal. Wolverine appears again, but he’s zombified and nasty. He appears to be looking the wrong way if he’s trying to protect the woman behind him from Ash’s chainsaw hand.
Cover art by Arthur Suydam.
5. Star Trek the Next Generation
For irony’s sake, Patrick Stewart’s Captain Picard stands protectively in front of Wesley Crusher. Since the same actor is portraying Charles Xavier in the X-Men movies, it would just be remiss to not give it a spot in the top five. The attention to detail is such that the “slain” and “apprehended” appear in the same spot, and the artists are so thorough in their homage that they pay their respects to Byrne and Austin in the same location on the image. Wesley being in the “distressed damsel” spot is also amusing, since that is most frequently a woman. In fact, Wesley and Hellion are the only two guys on these covers who need to be protected.
Cover art by J.K. Woodward.
Artist John Trumbull gives us a scathing commentary of his opinion of the New 52 featuring Teen Titans’ Kid Flash and Wonder Girl from the George Perez era, which makes this cover a two-for-the-price-of-one homage. The labels on the faces speak for themselves, and the warning sticker advises “reboots beyond this area.”
For those unfamiliar with the New 52, DC has obliterated some of their characters from history, dramatically changed others, and done a hatchet job of character assassination on others–like Starfire, which flies in the face of DC Animated’s two successful Teen Titans animated series.
Artist Mike Henderson gives us this charming yet painful Pixar-fied version, with Mike Wazowski of all–uh, creatures–standing in for Wolverine, and Boo filling Kitty Pryde’s shoes. The labeling is totally appropriate to the Pixarverse: Mr. Incredible has been slain. Mr. Fredericksen from Up had a balloon accident. Rex from Toy Story has gone extinct. One of the Cars has suffered engine failure. Buzz has been slain. WALL-E is missing.
The Pixar movies have long been adept at not merely tugging, but playing heartstrings like harp strings. This image follows in that tradition of evocative imagery.
This one is a variant cover from the recent Battle of the Atom crossover that burned its way through the X-Titles at the end of 2013. The cover features Wolverine in his uniform, and in the distressed damsel spot we find not Kitty Pryde, who does appear in the story, but teen Jean Grey–which makes things all kinds of weird given the in-story feelings Wolvie has for the adult Jean. Too bad it doesn’t happen anywhere in the story like this, and other X-Men end up standing protectively in front of Jean.
Cover art by Stephanie Hans.
1. X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014, Bryan Singer)
And then there’s this one, done with the characters as portrayed by their X-Men movieverse counterparts. Unfortunately, we won’t see Ellen Page’s Kitty Pryde time travel in the film version of Days of Future Past–that role went to Wolverine, because of course it did–but it would still be a missed opportunity if Bryan Singer’s film doesn’t reference this iconic cover.
Cover art by Mark Kelly.
Honorable Mentions go to:
This Uncanny Avengers page is especially chilling since this team was created in-universe in answer to “why haven’t the Avengers done much to help mutants?”. And eesh, Red Skull sentinels. I may sleep with a nightlight tonight. That Wanda ends up in the distressed damsel slot makes perfect sense, given they let her stay as an Avenger despite her having wiped 90% of mutants right off the universe, and only just “made up for it” with the help of Hope in the A vs. X series.
It would be careless to say nothing of what this implies about the Days of Future Past future and whether it has been averted.
Art by John Cassaday and Laura Martin.
The last honorable mention goes to this Doctor Who piece by OneGemini at DeviantArt, which has all the Doctor’s previous regenerations on the posters and casts the Daleks in the role of the Sentinels. Very clever.