Between Captain America, Thor and X-Men: First Class, 2011 promises to be a banner year for Marvel superheroes on the wide screen. Of the three, the latter holds the most appeal for this writer, as it promises to explore the early origins of the relationship between Professor X and Magneto. Interestingly, it’s also been positioned as a period piece with mutant mod trappings, set in the late 60′s and juxtaposed against real historical events of the era.
Naturally, there’s been some heated fanboy chatter online about the casting (not so much the actual actors, but the roles they will assume), the plot, the rushed production schedule, and how or even if this new installment will tie in with the Bryan Singer-Brett Ratner trilogy from the 00′s.
Geeky handwringing aside, the early previews are shot through with an undeniable visual flair, which seems only apropos given that the picture’s director, Matthew Vaughn, has developed a reputation for as much as a result of his earlier films like Layercake (a slick heist caper) and Kick Ass (far more credible than the reviews than accompanied it).
In any case, to mark the moment, we’ve compiled a gallery of 30 related designs — some new, some vintage, all uncanny — that speak to the franchise’s enduring popularity with both hardcore nerds and casual fans alike.
As with all of our lists, featured movie t-shirts are arranged in no particular order. Finally, click on the pics to link through, but please note that several of the designs embedded below were sourced via eBay and Flickr and hence, may not be available for purchase…
1. A group portrait, as sketched by Art Adams (we think!). Discovered by way of an image search over at Flickr.
2. Arguably the most famous fictional alloy in comicdom, reimagined here as an element.
As worn on a human torso:
3. 80′s(?) deadstock (note that beautiful shrinkwrap). Spotted on eBay a few weeks back, but warning, it has since bamf-ed from the site…
5. A brand new design, care of our friends over at Mighty Fine, an L.A. based imprint that pairs pop culture memes with impeccable production values.
6. Making the grade.
7. Poke Pokemon before Pokemon pokes you…
8. Let’s hope that Sentinels make some sort of (prolonged) appearance in the forthcoming film(s).
Cap tip: Shirtoid, an ever expanding database of tee shirts, most with an awesome, pop culture skein.
9. For the nerd herd.
10. Cutting & scratching like a wolverine should, but with a literal twist.
11. Reverse marketing.
Thank you: Attention Deficit Disorderly.
A closer look at something similar, likely homemade:
Inspired by (one presumes):
12. Anatomy of a sticky, if tired, t-shirt meme.
13. What’s your power animal?
Up close and personal:
14. This design has been floating around on the web for several years now, but the so-called costume print trend shows no signs of abating. Now, if only they would apply this treatment to my fave X-Men, Colossus. Available from multiple sources; Google-sleuth for the best price…
15. Simple, understated and free of any obnoxious legalese.
16. Evolution has no friends.
Details, with a sharpened focus:
17. A loving parody, also from the aforementioned Mighty Fine.
The text below the image, mind you, is fully customizable. Neat trick…
18. The bird is the word.
19. Setting nerd hearts — and the Interwebz — aflutter…
…only it was later revealed to be a clever Photoshop hoax. But, now, thanks to the marvels of modern capitalism and the Interwebs, it’s very much real
For the record, here’s an image of the original, unmodified design:
20. An anthropomorphic spoof, this one courtesy of Tee Fury.
Claws and paws.
21. The team’s resident strong man.
22. Three’s company. Designed and printed by Junk Food, yet another online retailer that specializes in high-quality, throwback prints. Nostalgia, refined.
Dear Junk Food: love your tees (both the prints and the actual blanks), but your men’s small is waaaaaaaay too baggy.
23. Hey bub. Got $200 I can borrow?
Talking points, from the seller:
“Original, not a reprint.
This shirt is very rare.
From the cover of the Kitty Pryde and Wolverine Limited Series by Al Milgrim.
I doubt it will ever come up on E-Bay again.”
Get to the point.
24. Old school.
25. Pixelated Magneto.
26. One more phonetic pun for the linguists.
27. Two great tastes that go great together.
28. The concept here is solid, but the eXecution leaves a little something to be desired. PUN TOTALLY FUCKING INTENDED, booyah!
29. The power of attraction.
30. The world (and Japan, in particular) needs more heroes. Previously available through Urban Outfitters, but it has since been removed from their site (sadly).
Let the ink sink, cotton or no cotton.
Got a design you’d like to add? Link us in the comments below.