Rogue's Gallery Sunfire Bust
Whoever said people never change is about as right as the Chicago Tribune when it declared 'Dewey Beats Truman', which is to say not at all. People can change, and while it usually seems to be for the worse, sometimes it is for the better. One of those people was Shiro Yashido, the man who would become the mutant hero Sunfire. After a shaky start he was able to show his true colors, and change his spots.
Besides beating Dewey, Truman also beat the Japanese Empire to close out World War 2, and the deal sealer came in the unlikely pair of 'fat man' and 'little boy'. These were the nicknames given to the first and only two nuclear weapons used in warfare, the boy being a uranium bomb and the man being plutonium. Little Boy was dropped on Hiroshima, Japan close to where Shiro Yashido's mother resided, leaving her a hopeless invalid. Before she died a few years later, she had her own little boy (Shiro) who had his own legacy wrapped up with the atomic bomb.
Using a historical event in the origin of a character can lead to problems, and Sunfire is a good example of this. When he made his first appearance in X-Men #64 (published in 1969) his birth in the late 40's after the war put him at just the right age. However, time has marched on in reality while Marvel Time moves much slower, so that thirty years later he's still young when he should be in his fifties. If only the rest of us could work that magic, besides Dick Clark and David Bowie.
Anachronistic problems aside, Shiro was raised by his father and uncle. His father was a diplomat trying to repair the damage between the US and Japan while his uncle hated America and instilled some of this hatred on Shiro. In striking parallel to the present day, Shiro destroyed a monument at the UN and then proceeded to Washington to do the same to the US Capitol. Luckily the X-Men stopped him and that destruction would have to wait until 'Independence Day' was released in 1996. During this episode, Shiro's father was killed by his uncle, so Shiro killed his uncle and returned to Japan since he had diplomatic immunity.
After that he mellowed out and his anti-American zeal subsided somewhat and he became a force for good and the official hero of Japan. He was one of the 'all-new, all-different' X-Men in Giant Size X-Men #1, but he didn't stay with the team. He has remained an ally of them in the time since, and has also led the Japanese team Big Hero 6. He hasn't returned to his bad boy days and he has accumulated enough brownie points for a free trip anywhere in the world.
You can thank Eli Livingston for sculpting Sunfire, and for those keeping score at home he sculpted the Vulture and upcoming Mandarin for the Rogue's Gallery and assisted Ken Usanami with the Scorpion bust and Thanos statue, all from Diamond Select. What better way to honor this sculpture than to create an army of clones, numbering 3500, each with a full-color certificate of authenticity signed by the sculptor.
Sunfire isn't the first reformed rogue in the Rogues' Gallery line as that honor goes to the Sandman. He is the first character in the series to be Japanese like the lettering on the box, and he's the first one to be partially translucent. He is also the first character who isn't a Spider-Man villain. His last distinction is that he is the first bust made of this character. It's all about the milestones!
The Rogue's Gallery line of busts is the product of Diamond Select and Art Asylum, and this is the ninth entry in the line. The series are all built around the same scale (Sunfire is around six inches tall) and have the same design aesthetic - the busts have no arms, show the characters in dynamic poses, use villains as subjects, have integrated base designs with nameplates on the bases. Sunfire's base shows a scorched and cracked earth, with translucent plasma flames licking at his body. The characters are shown not as any particular artist's interpretation, but as new interpretations from Art Asylum and Diamond Select. They are all packed in white boxes with Japanese mimicking the English titles on the boxes.
Previous Rogues have been the Lizard, Sandman, Kingpin, Kraven the Hunter, Carnage, Vulture and Venom. After Sunfire will be Iron Man's arch-foe the Mandarin (and the attention to detail for this bust is amazing) and then the classic Green Goblin from head inmate Digger.
More Pictures of Sunfire
|Where to buy the Sunfire Bust: This piece is limited to a run of 3500, and you can find it at your local comics shop and various online retailers for between $35 and $45 USD.|