Friday, November 17, 2006
Xombi Trading Card
This trading card was part of a series of trading cards featuring Milestone characters and creators. When I was hired to write "Xombi", he was still African-American. The change to make him Korean-American happened shortly after I was hired. This card was clearly done almost immediately after that ethnic change was made, but before I'd written a single word of the comic book. The origin on the back of the card is the origin that Dwayne McDuffie created for the original (African-American) version of the character, who was conceived to be more of a Punisher-type.
Anyone who read "Xombi" will realize that the origin was radically changed when I came on board. This was a mutual decision between Dwayne and myself. I think the feeling was that the rejuvenation/vigilante thing would run thin pretty quickly, and I wanted to go into a more weird science fiction/supernatural direction with David Kim (the Xombi character) being more sympathetic than a machine of vengeance. It seemed to work out pretty well, except in the sales department, for the length of its 22 issue run.
I don't know who did the art for this card, but it's clear that David Kim hadn't been developed as a character at all. In this image, he looks like he'd have been at home in a Marvel kung-fu comic of the 1970s. As far as I know, this is the first depiction of the character as an Asian-American. Future depictions of him, would for some odd reason, often include a wooden staff, further carrying on the kung-fu imagery. The truth was that David Kim not only didn't know any martial arts, but was a really lousy fighter overall. The staff was never used in any story (though J.J. Birch did draw it leaning against a wall in David's apartment once as a joke) though every guest cover, and poster, artist (except John Byrne) chose to include it.
A second set of Milestone trading cards was planned but never produced. I remember writing the text for a number of cards based on characters I created.