by Paul Rivoche

Mister X #1 Cover

One of my favorite comic books from the 1980s is “Mister X.” It was originally published by Vortex Comics and, I think, they still own the copyright on the comic. However a variety of creators have worked on the comic over the years lead by Dean Motter who is credited as Mister X’s creator.

The comic first caught my eye sometime in 1984 because of the stylish Dean Motter and Paul Rivoche ads that ran in support of the book. I’m not even sure where I saw the ads but they mostly featured the eye catching covers that they did for the book. The ads certainly got me interested but I didn’t see an issue until 1985 when I bought a copy at my local comic shop. I’m not sure exactly when or how but I soon was able to get the first three issues too. Maybe my LCS had them as back issues or maybe I got them somewhere else but I was lucky enough to track them down. It went on my pull list after issue four.

Those first four issues were written and drawn by the Hernandez Brothers of “Love & Rockets” fame. This may have been my introduction to them. I had heard of “Love & Rockets” before “Mister X” but I don’t think I had any issues of it. I bought a couple of issues of “Mechanics,” which reprinted some of Jaime Hernandez’s “Love & Rockets” work, around this time but it was still a couple of years before I started reading “Love & Rockets” regularly.

I liked the Hernandez Bothers “Mister X” issues best and I was disappointed when they left the book. Issue five was drawn by the book’s regular colorist Klaus Shonfeld and inked by Ty Templeton. It was a pretty solid effort. I liked it too.

Starting with issue six the one named cartoonist Seth took over the pencilling (and sometimes inking) duties and the series lasted until issue number fourteen. In the years since I first saw his work on “Mister X” Seth has since turned into one of my favorite cartoonists. “It’s a Good Life It You Don’t Weaken” and “Cylde Fans” are two of my all time favorite comics, but back in the mid 1980s I slowly lost interest in Seth’s “Mister X” work.

Seth’s work in “Mister X” started out trying to keep a visual continuity with the earlier issues but as time went by the style of each issue changed and simplified. The later issues are much more recognizable as Seth’s mature style, which I now love, but I didn’t like it so much back then on Mister X. I think I stopped buying the book around issue nine. I didn’t even pick up issues 10-14 until the early 2000s (I’m still missing thirteen).

In 1989 Vortex Comics tried again with “Mister X” volume two. Shane Oakley drew it and Jeffrey Morgan wrote it (with D’Israeli taking over on art with issue seven). I bought the first issue and no more. I’m not sure why I didn’t like it. I always bought plenty of black and white comics but there was something about “Mister X” volume two being in black and white that bugged me. The color on volume one was really good so volume two being in black and white must have been a disappointment. I had already given up on it during volume one anyway.

Despite only reading one issue of volume two in my mind it became “The volume of ‘Mister X’ that I didn’t like. That’s when I thought of it at all.

In 2008 Dark Horse Comics came out with a hardcover collection of “Mister X” volume one and I had to get it. I bought it and enjoyed all the issues. Even the ones I didn’t like back in the 1980s. In 2011 Dark Horse Comics came out with a hardcover collection of volume two and I ignored it. Why wouldn’t I? It was the volume I didn’t like after all.

That brings us to a couple of weeks ago. Mid June of 2023. That “Mister X” hardcover has been on my shelf since 2008 but I think I last read it in 2009. That’s when I wrote a review of it on this very blog. ( The spine of the book showing on my shelf would always catch my eye and I’d think to myself that I want to read it again. But 14 years have past since I last read it so I obviously wasn’t in a hurry.

Then a funny thing happened. I somehow started wondering about volume two of “Mister X.” I have a philosophy now that if my opinion is over a decade old it’s expired. Often I can remember that I didn’t like a comic but I can’t remember the actual comic. Since I only read one issue of volume two thirty four years ago my opinion was clearly expired. Maybe volume two was good or maybe it wasn’t. I had no idea.

So I got on eBay and looked up the price on the hardcover of “Mister X” volume two. It was originally a $50 book but I managed to get a copy shipped to me for a total cost of $26. Not a bad price.

A week later I got the book and guess what? I loved it. I read all thirteen issues in it over the weekend. I hardly read any collected editions that fast. I usually like to skip between comics but “Mister X” was all I wanted to read those two days.

I’ve often described “Mister X” as a B-level comic, in general, but with A-Level stylishness. Over the years the various creators really have tried to make “Mister X” special. They use a lot of graphic design in the drawing to make more elaborate visuals than the average comic book. It’s a fun book to look at.

If not better written then volume one volume two is at least more consistently written. It only has one writer and two artists after all. The art is also terrific. Even though it’s black and white (and I’d love to see it colored) it’s really visually interesting. Both artists employ a ton of graphic design techniques to keep your eye moving and give you a lot to look at. This volume is A-Level straight across.

After reading volume two and loving it I went a little “Mister X” crazy. I went back on eBay to see what other “Mister X” volumes I was missing. Dean Motter has been doing “Mister X” stories over the last twenty years or so for Dark Horse Comics. I have all the stuff he did in individual comics but I started looking for the collected editions of them. I found two paperback volumes and got them both for about $8 shipped.

Then I started to wonder how much a CGCed ( a graded and slabbed comic) “Mister X” number one would go for. It turns out that it doesn’t go for much. There are only nineteen of them slabbed which means the book isn’t very popular. I ended up buying one graded at 9.2 (out of 10) for $35 shipped. I don’t usually buy slabbed books but for that price it makes a nice conversation piece.

Considering it costs around $25 to mail a book to CGC, have them grade it, and put it in the plastic case (the slab) the seller was not making any money. I’m sure he was happy to cover his costs at this point.

But I wasn’t done with my “Mister X” madness. I decided to look for how much it would cost to get the original 13 issues of volume two. I checked online at and they were about six bucks an issue. They didn’t even have every issue though so that was a no-go. Then I looked around on eBay, saw a set, and after a little negotiating I paid $50 for the full set shipped.

You’d think that was the end of it but it wasn’t. In my looking on eBay I saw an auction for the volume two hardcover that I just bought for $26. The auction was at $1.39 plus $6.99 shipping. Just because I thought that was too cheap a price I bid five bucks on it. The auction had days to go so I assumed I would get sniped and wouldn’t win but guess what? I won it for around $3.60. With taxes and shipping I paid about $12 for a book I just bought the week before for $26. How weird.

Now go read some Mister X!