One of the seven brave artists who went their own way in the early 1990s and founded ‘Image Comics’, Marc Silvestri’s name is also closely associated with the Marvel titles Uncanny X-Men (1987-1991) and Wolverine (1990-1992). Today Silvestri also publishes, and currently holds the position of CEO, for the ‘Top Cow’ imprint.
In this post, I explore the legacy of Marc Silvestri’s impact on modern comics.
Born March 29, 1958 in Palm Beach, Florida, Marc Silvestri is one of those artists that comic readers who came of age in the late 1980s and early 1990s would be familiar with. Although he is probably best known for his work for Marvel and Image comics, he actually began his career with DC.
Silverstri’s first professional work appeared in DC anthology horror titles like Ghosts and House of Mystery in the early 1980s.
When he moved to Marvel, he was originally put to work on books like Master of Kung Fu and King Conan before moving on to bigger titles.
As a creator and publisher, Silvestri would eventually contribute very good work to: DC, Marvel, First Comics, Image and Top Cow. Some of his best artistic work however, was submitted to Marvel starting in the late 80s.
Silvestri originally made his mark penciling titles such as Uncanny X-Men (1987–1991) and Wolverine (1990–1992) for Marvel. During this time between 1987 and 1992 Silvestri produced many a classic cover and some great penciling for the X-Men comics. He still doesn’t get the credit he’s due for his work on these books.
A perfect example is X-Men #221. The Havoc cover with Wolverine being blasted out towards the reader is certainly a classic by now. Gradually increasing in value, today a 9.8 certified copy can be had for just under $200.00. This is one of those books that may eventually be heralded as an X-key that should be in everyone’s collection.
From 2004 to 2009, Silvestri would return to Marvel and work on several ‘X-Men’ titles. So we might say that the one constant in his career is his connection to the Marvel Mutants. The solo Wolverine title is the second X-book Silvestri left his mark on. Once again he produced some classic but undervalued covers and interior art.
Between 1990 and 1992 Silvestri was the penciler for the first Wolverine series, contributing covers and interior art for issues: #31–43, 45, 46, 48–50, 52, 53, 55–57. However, if an 08/14/2017 sale of Wolverine #35 isn’t a complete outlier, the undervalued status of some of Silvestri’s Wolverine work may be changing. A 9.8 certified copy of that comic sold for $1, 010.00 on eBay on that date. Is it a great Wolverine cover: yes. But I always preferred the cover to
Wolverine #31 (September 1990) – even if it only has a FMV of $100.00 in certified 9.8 condition.
In 1992, Silvestri, along with Todd McFarlane, Rob Liefeld, Jim Valentino, Whilce Portacio, Erik Larsen, and Jim Lee, formed ‘Image’ Comics. Although Image wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea: strong on art weak on scripts was a common complaint, some of these early Image titles now hold great nostalgia value and for that reason alone are still sought out by readers. Cyberforce is one of these. This book about a super-hero team was Silvestri’s baby. As the title implies it is about a group of enhanced humans, actually mutants, who become Cyborgs. The title also featured a villainous corporation called Cyberdata, with plans to take over the world. Ahh, the straightforward days of the early 1990s. Cyberforce #1 can be found for a very low price, even in certified 9.8 it can be had for around $50.00.
Cyberforce was later taken up by ‘Top Cow’ and, along with titles like, Witchblade and The Darkness (both first published 1996), plus others, are comics still around today.