Redesigning Polaris

Lorna Dane, aka the mutant Polaris, was one of the first members of the X-Men, first appearing back in 1968’s X-Men #49. Created by Arnold Drake and Jim Steranko, her presence over the decades has been often inconsistent, but at her best, Lorna is powerful, sensitive, and nuanced.

Lorna recently turned heads as the frontrunner in the #XMenVote, proving her comics history and multimedia presence have cemented her as a fan-favorite, potentially launched into the first X-Men team of the Krakoa era. Right now you can follow her in X-Factor by David Baldeon and Leah Williams – read ComicsXF’s X-Factor coverage here.

Polaris has always delivered iconic visuals – her bold green hair, her penchant for green lipstick, and an array of dramatic (often green) costumes. With a pedigree as Thee Mistress of Magnetism, a leader of Krakoa’s detective agency, X-Factor, and the (now sole) daughter of the Legendary House of M, Polaris is a character who has earned a look to match. 

X-Twitter has built community among X-Men fans, with diverse and exciting voices coming together to challenge and expand the realm of conversations comics fans can have. We challenged 13 artists, known for their work on #XTwitter, with the task of redesigning Polaris however they saw fit – with inspirations and aesthetics that are all their own. 

Bradley Clayton

“A Polaris costume needs a particular mix of drama, grunge, and elegance. For this, I channeled her long, flowing hair (her birthright); the sort of edginess of the leather and fishnets; and lastly the clean, simple lines of the costume itself. I threw in a jacket because no one rocks a big coat like the X-Men and the fringe gave it that Lorna flair. I like her taste for the tonal green on green looks so I went with it. The cutouts on the side are a fun touch in her original costume as well so we kept those and threw in some gauntlets reminiscent of magneto for flavor. She truly looks like the Krakoan bio drag queen she was born to be.”

Rosi Guillen

“I wanted to reimagine the collapse of the Ultimates Earth into the 616 as a huge, pivotal change for Lorna, where she ascends to a celestial being that can control space and time but struggles to keep herself together in the process.” 

Ken Laster

“I had a lot of things I wanted to try and fit into this design on top of a funky silhouette. I wanted to blend a House of M like regal look with an X-Factor/superhero practicality, and I got really obsessed with the wavy design work of the original Steranko design. I originally had her hair laid down in a slick middle part like her current X-Factor look but c’mon that Big Lorna Hair™ can’t be denied.” 

Calvin Lin

“For Polaris’s redesign, I decided to go for a modern simplified athleisure look! And using black with a green accent to try to break up her usual all green attire!”

Josh Cornillon

“For my look, I wanted an X-Factor style take on Polaris as a field leader, always influenced by her late 60’s, early 70’s origins but mixed with modern techwear. I really think Polaris needs a new signature color, so her hair pops better, so I’ve been trying to slowly get the idea of Polaris in yellow across in my fanart.”

Hêctor Barros 

“Polaris has had such a wide range of costumes that it can be very difficult to pinpoint what makes a design work for her. I decided early on that colour (green and purple) would be my building block, so my main mission was to make them work together”

Mariel Rodriguez

“I really wanted to mix the grand, dramatic nature of a Magneto cape with Lorna’s more contemporary sensibilities and ended up with a long tailed coat. Which also sort of keys into her whole X-Factor detective shtick? Also a lot of elements are shamelessly stolen off of EVA-01 from Neon Genesis Evangelion who shares Polaris’ color scheme and is also one of the sexiest mechs ever imo.”

Karen Charm

“Maybe because I was introduced to her in X-Factor (all of her 90s outfits, tbh), I’m a big fan of Lorna in the yellow and blue* – I think it looks great with her green hair! I was also thinking about how she’s from San Francisco so I wanted her looking “cool” first and foremost, sort of a streetwear vibe, and I was inspired by the designs of Ji Won Choi (that wide pant). Finally, I wanted something that she could conceivably bulk up in, for when she needs to get huge.

*I ended up moving away from the blue toward a deep green to make it feel more individualized, but kept it in the accents.”

Erik Ojo 

“Here’s Lorna in a fusion of dark y2k futurism and classic punk aesthetics! Latex & pvc for a faux-metallic look, stylish matrix glasses, and bullet belt accessories (that double as on-the-go metal weapons. fashion and function). I’m referencing XMCU styling choices (specifically the punk aesthetic of The Gifted‘s Lorna and the 2000s movies’ leather uniforms) while emphasizing her iconic green color coding.”

Adam Tisdale

“Lorna has been portrayed in so many different ways, so I wanted to design something to reflect the different aspects of her personality. I ended up with a modular metal body suit design that can change based on Lorna’s needs at that moment – going from casual street clothes to battle ready with just a thought. I added a few callbacks to her older looks, but I wanted something new, dramatic, and a little bit ridiculous!”

Maxime Garbarini 

Anyway, as I approached this project, I thought of exploring more a role that could fit her, than a costume she could wear. 

And I thought why not … spy. 

So I went for some kind of simple catsuit, with chainmail elements that she can use for attack or protection. as for her signature hair, it is pulled backward and held by metal elements as well. With metallic micro pigments she can make  her hair turn into different colors, so she can blend in easily, which makes sense for a spy.

I have to admit one of my biggest influences in this costume is actually her (non) sister Zaladane with her chainmail helmet and black/dark green color theme.

In my mind Lorna could or should be more creative and refined in her use of her powers. True she IS a powerhouse, but to set her apart from Magneto, I see her more like Argent (from Marvel’s ClanDestine) or IronButterly (from Milestone’s Shadow Cabinet), not just pushing and pulling metal but sculpting it, morphing it more into sophisticated shapes.

Valentine Smith 

“The initial thought behind this design was to somehow elevate the punk sensibility of wearing suspenders, but not actually wearing them and letting them hang off your pants. We all did it, it happens. I think Lorna definitely did it. But then the lines and shapes worked in a way that I thought would look cool when she used her powers, like funky little echoes of magnetic fields. It was Important to me that this should be something that was easily changeable and layer-able, so you could actually get multiple looks out of it. I like it when you can break down a look and go, oh! That’s just the layer that was underneath with a new top, which is how people work. Sometimes it’s just too hard after a long day of working in the boneyard to change completely”

Adam Reck 

“For my take I tried to mix in elements of her 90’s X-Factor look with some punk style from her Malice look. My goal was to make something badass Lorna could wear in current day X-Factor by Leah & David.”