Tag Archives: new mutants comics

The last New Mutants post!

Rahne and Danielle together at last art by Danilo Beyruth and Suzanne Forbes working as Rachel Ketchum April 21, I opened the last, hardest box of old sketchbooks.

I found wondrous things. Love letters to my late beloved Rob Sawyer, even more New Mutants slash art of Rahne and Dani, a sketch of my friend Chris Claremont made in fall 1986. I even found the first portraits I ever drew, coming soon.

I have been archiving my 80s and 90s art since April 2019.

Self-portraits from the ’80s! The archiving project was very hard. So hard it dragged to a halt by mid-2020. I have only barely resurrected it the last couple months.

Chris Claremont by Suzanne Forbes working as Rachel Ketchum probably Fall 1986I had no idea I’d drawn Chris!

I don’t remember drawing this, but based on the sketchbook it was I’m estimating it was drawn in the Fall of ’86. Chris Claremont was a great comfort to me in the terrible Fall of 1986.

Danielle Moonstar by Suzanne Forbes working as Rachel Ketchum circa 1985 and 1986More drawings of Dani, from ’85 and ’86.

I was working so hard to draw the New Mutants as individuals, especially Rahne and Dani. Trying to give them distinct bodies, faces and characters, as co-creator Bob McLeod and defining artist Bill Sienkiewicz had.

Rahne and Dani 80s fashions by Suzanne Forbes working as Rachel Ketchum probably 1985And of course ’80s fashion!

Wow, ’80s fashion. It wasn’t all bad.

Danielle and Rahne by Suzanne Forbes working as Rachel Ketchum circa 1985 and 1986At the same time, I was trying to learn to draw superheroes!

I had to learn the standards and aesthetic of comics, and so much technical stuff. Perspective! I have so much respect for the young woman I was and how hard I worked for my dream.

Rahne Shan and Illyana by Suzanne Forbes working as Rachel Ketchum circa 1985 and 1986Learning to draw expressions! And movement!

1985 was a long, long year of my life. I was at Parsons, in the Illustration Program, and also studying preferred anatomy texts of comic artists all the time. And I was a junkie, on weekends.

Rahne Dani slash 1985 by Suzanne Forbes working as Rachel KetchumThe New Mutants, the X-Men and the Teen Titans kept me going.

I was really, really depressed and profoundly traumatized, but also so goddam determined. All I cared about were comics, my friends, and getting high on the weekends.

And then my favorite character Danielle was attacked and threatened with sexual assault, in New Mutants 35!

Jesus! I was so angry, I wrote this letter to Chris in one of my sketchbooks. I was gonna send it to the New Mutants’ letter column. Ultimately, as I got drunker that night, I sent a telegram instead! I occasionally sent drunk telegrams, in the ’80s.

Finding this letter as a midlife, long-healing queer, I love that angry girl.

Although I am saddened at how ignorant I was. Today I know that American families who have a Native American great-grandmother are families who participated in harm, not “part American Indian”. I also didn’t know the term “survivor” back then, or identify as one yet.

I was really worried that there was gonna be a Dark Mirage storyline!

I’m sure there has been, by now! But there wasn’t, then. And oddly enough, I wound up finding a lot to like about the man who wrote the story, despite his long history of writing bad things happening to women. In 1986 I met Chris Claremont, and got together with Rob.

Joy seemed to burst through the carapace of struggle, for a time.

The passion I felt for comics and the career ahead conjoined with love and hope. I went to San Diego Comic Con on a cloud of youth, ambition and drugs. And then tragedy, trauma, all the things that happened in New York in the ’80s to junkies and queers, and descent into deep addiction.

So that when I finally broke into comics in ’93, I wound up working for DC, on Star Trek, and never did get to draw teenage superheroes.

It’s OK.

New Mutants 2022 issue 24 written by Vita Ayala Danilo Beyruth Artist Dan Brown color artist Rahne and Dani together pageThere is a new generation of amazing people working in comics.

I almost never buy comics, but when there’s buzz about a New Mutants arc, I perk up my ears. Vita Ayala, a trans non-binary Afro-Puerto-Rican writer from NYC, has been doing fantastic New Mutants work. (Their twitter is here, website here!)

I saw the panel above shared online a couple months ago and ordered the issue (plus Ayala’s other NM work), but it only arrived in Berlin today.

New Mutants 2022 issue 24 written by Vita Ayala Danilo Beyruth Artist Dan Brown color artist Rahne and Dani together panelThat’s ok, today is soon enough to see this joy, this miracle.

A whole New Mutants comic about queer community, restorative justice, personal and community accountability, healing trauma, and women kissing women! The beautiful art is by Danilo Beyruth as Artist and Dan Brown as color artist. Dani and Rahne share a beautiful scene of honesty and connection and intimacy.

New Mutants 2022 issue 24 written by Vita Ayala Danilo Beyruth Artist Dan Brown color IllyanaWhat an incredible experience, to see it all said out loud.

Well, written out loud, anyway! At last, at last! Illyana speaks on rage and trauma, telling your own story, and the most important things, connection and community. Xi’an gets together with a woman character I learned is Galura, a Filipina mutant who’s also canonically a lesbian!

New Mutants 2022 issue 24 written by Vita Ayala Danilo Beyruth Artist Dan Brown color artist community justiceXi’an, Galura, Dani and Rahne confront a long-term agent of harm with tenets of restorative justice.

Rahne chooses to give forgiveness and Xi’an chooses not to. Plus the Proudstar brothers hug! Both Dani and Ororo express personal accountability and the intent to do better, and Ororo speaks about community accountability as well. What a wonderful voyage into the present and future of comics. So grateful to Vita Ayala for the work they’re doing!

Everything I hoped for as a young woman who loved these characters and this medium, and more. Can’t wait to see the next issue, and so glad I’m done opening boxes.

Rahne-and-Dani-slash-by-Rachel-Ketchum-circa1985More New Mutants stuff:

New Mutants Movie lesbian love story fan art!

My Rahne and Dani lovebird custom Marvel Legends action figures

Douglock action figures

Rahne and Dani slash art from the 80’s

The love story of me, P, the New Mutants, and Chris (trigger warning for really a lot of bad stuff)

Christopher Street Day ice cream party with gay X-Men!

How the New Mutants film re-connected me with my queerness

A New York City subway station and subway under a dollhouse in Berlin, with superheroes.

These ’80s drawings had never been photographed; until now, no record of them existed – if we had a fire or flood they would just be gone forever.

I am so grateful to my Patrons on Patreon, whose monthly financial support makes it possible for me to take time to document my art archives.


Rahne and Dani custom New Mutants Marvel Legends action figures – Wolfsbane/Moonstar slash figures for Pride!

Rahne Sinclair and Dani Moonstar action figure customs on balcony by Suzanne Forbes June 2019 heroesThese two gay teen mutants were my OTP, my original ‘ship.

And not just mine. Queer subtext for Rahne and Dani is epic. And incredibly, people who weren’t born when the comics came out are as invested in their relationship as I was in the ’80s.

You can read about how I came to know and love these characters, how they led to my career in comics, and my friendship with their creator, Chris Claremont, here.

There’s even a cameo by Bill Sienkiewicz in the Marvel hallways in 1986. But it’s not an easy read, be warned.

As soon as I was gonna have an action figure dollhouse, I knew I needed New Mutants action figures, and particularly Rahne and Dani.

Because my emotional investment in these particular characters was so profound, they needed a safe home in the Valhalla of my dollhouse even more than the other avatars of story-people who helped me survive.

I started accumulating parts to make New Mutants customs, like heads, almost as soon as I started collecting Marvel Legends scale figures. I have literally had the heads for Sam and Dani since at least 2003.

I got my first 6″ (dollhouse) scale action figure in 1999.

She was a DC Direct Death figure, a gift from a boy at work who liked me, and kept giving me terrific comics-related gifts, even though I was married. That Death figure released the lifelong lust for a dollhouse I’d managed to contain until age 32. I found out that action figures were being made in one-twelve scale, and it was the tipping point.

I could bear not having a dollhouse with dolls in it – but I couldn’t bear not having a dollhouse with super heroes in it.

I didn’t finish the dollhouse for a good fifteen years, but I started collecting super hero action figures like a fucking fiend right away.

1999 began the first heyday of 6″ scale action figures, the early days of ToyBiz Marvel Legends and DC Direct and McFarlane, plus LOTR figures and various other genre properties that were being done in 6″ scale.

It genuinely shocked me, the obscure characters that began appearing as the adult collector market developed. But I knew no-one would ever make New Mutants figures for adults, that was TOO obscure.*

It was utterly thrilling to me to see the new X-Men action figures released with the first film in 2000.

It was incredible that there was an X-Men movie, incredible that there were mass-market toys.

I remembered standing in my local NY comic shop on 23rd St. in 1985, playing with the Secret Wars Wolverine figure by Mattel.

It was lying around the store as a joke object. Because it was so funny, so ludicrous that a character as fucked up as Wolverine, from a property as weird and obscure as the X-Men, could have been made into a plastic toy a child could buy in a regular toy store.

And because the idea that comic book readers would buy toys of their favorite characters was unimaginable.

I bought the first Wolverine action figure, though, and I still have mine, though his snap-on claws are lost.

Because it was hilarious and insane that this secret world of ours had extrojected itself into real space, but it was also magic. It’s so hard to explain how much being into comics in the early 80s felt like being part of a secret society, now that superheroes rule the world.

Those movie figures of the X-Men in 2000 were only the beginning of what became a river of X-Men figures. Of course Wolverine has the most figures, even today! There are so many different Logans!

I didn’t know about the 90s X-Men cartoon, or that there was a whole generation who were introduced to the X-Men that way. It turned out that those fans were huge toy collectors! So many 90s X-Men figures have been made, but not yet a single 6″ figure of Storm in her original costume.

A small but passionate group of collectors have been crying for New Mutants figures for decades. Hasbro toyed (ha ha, I’ll be here all week) cruelly with the emotions of collectors in 2013, announcing a Danielle Moonstar Marvel Legends figure and then never releasing it.

So meanwhile customizers have done their own customs of Danielle, like Kyklos, and Masterpiece made a beautiful Moonstar as well as two gorgeous customs of Rahne in her transitional form. Recent Kitty Pryde figures have served as a decent base, and some people go as far as full-body sculpts and repaints.

The fans of the New Mutants are a smaller group than X-Men fans, but our love runs deep. There’s even a New Mutants movie now, but it can’t seem to get released!!!**

Of course when a base figure that worked for the New Mutants girls was released, it was in a box set.

In 2014 an “original style” Jean Grey was released as part of an old-school X-Men Marvel Legends box set.

I took my time getting my hands on these, because I was waiting to see what else might happen, and eventually the Jean figures started popping up individually on the secondary market.

I wound up paying at least thirty bucks for each of the three figures I bought, but they are so terrific, it’s hard to be upset.

The body for Dani was a Marvel Legends version of Kitty Pryde released in 2016. The sculpt was way too tall and lean for Kitty (though appropriately less bosomy) and perfect for Dani. I used the Jean Grey body (“buck” in action figure talk) for Rahne, Shan and Illyana. Illyana, insanely enough, was recently actually released as an action figure. Dani is just the right amount taller than the other girls. ‘Lock was remade in action figure form last year, and look how great he is!

By 2018, so many X-Men action figures had been released I needed to build a new dollhouse.

ahne Sinclair and Dani Moonstar action figure customs living room with Shan by Suzanne Forbes June 2019So I built a School for Gifted Youngsters, seen above.  It was a huge effort that took about a year, but it’s 99% percent done. The kids, of course, are relaxing in the living room.

I made Rahne’s head from a resin dollhouse doll, sanded and resculpted with my beloved Apoxie Sculpt. Painting her teeny little face took me, a professional portrait artist, a total of over three working days. it was worth it to me because my emotional investment was vast. But… it was DERANGED.

If you want a custom action figure, contact a professional action figure customizer like Christina Conan or FaceCustoms or Rafaelo Customs.

Whatever they charge you is a bargain. The work involved in doing it yourself, even as a professional artist in a fully equipped craft space, is bananapants.

Where are the boys?? Doug is done, coming soon, and I’m working on Sam. I plan to use a Miles Morales head for Bobby, and they cost a mint, so I’m running eBay searches.

I should probably say more about how I made them, and I will. But it was so emotionally wrenching to make them, and such a relief and mercy to be done and place them safely in the X-Mansion, that I’m done for now.

Enjoy these amazing gay teens in the safe harbor I have built them, as I slowly build a safe harbor for my own amazing gay teen self in the ship of my adult life.

*breaking news out of San Diego, July 19 2019: Hasbro is releasing a New Mutants Marvel Legends Dani Moonstar figure with Karma and Wolfsbane heads! But actually, I like mine better 🙂 Of course I’ll buy the Hasbro Dani Moonstar figure anyway! I totally want a furious badass version of Dani and a transitional Rahne action figure and a Shan with a headband!

**A new trailer was released for the New Mutants movie on January 6, 2020. And it looks like Rahne and Dani are TOGETHER in the film. Here I am, a middle-aged queer lady in Berlin, SHRIEKING with happiness!