Though Thomas Kinkade died in 2012, his legacy lives on at Thomas Kinkade Studios, who teamed up with Marvel Comics back in 2021 to release an art print of a baseball game played by the original X-Men cast, along with a few others obscure mutant friends. The painting has recently resurfaced thanks to a viral tweet from ComicBook.com editor Jamie Lovettand since then we’ve been busy here at Polygon identifying all the cameos and easter eggs in this cheesy masterpiece.
First things first, let’s discuss the X-Men baseball phenomenon. Similar to dusk‘s family of vampires, the X-Men, often play baseball using the full range of their superpowers; They are also known for playing basketball and American football. Mutant-powered sports are collectively referred to by the characters as “Mutant Ball”.
Overall, Kinkade Studios’ description of this painting states that it depicts one of the rare moments the X-Men play baseball without with their powers. Not uncommon, but not necessarily the norm. Also not the rule? They play in their full superhero outfits. In addition, Iceman and Colossus visible with their powers. Anyhow, here is the official description:
In this scene, Professor Xavier has gathered the superheroes to compete in a friendly baseball game and further develop their teamwork. The golden rule of this game is: “Play without using your superhero powers.” While Cyclops blames his girlfriend Jean Grey, Professor X sits quietly in the mansion, acting as a referee with his telepathic abilities. Which side will win the game, or do the X-Men even count points?
Apparently Xavier is allowed to use his abilities, but no one else. (That sounds like him.) If you’re having trouble spotting Professor X, take a look at the X-Mansion’s balcony; this is him in his chair, with a woman in red at his side, who I’m assuming is Moira Mactaggert.
Most of the other performers here are easily identifiable, although their costumes are all from different periods. As the description states, we see Scott Summers, aka Cyclops, Jean Grey, aka Marvel Girl, Pitching. Jean’s team consists of Beast (the runner at first base), Wolverine (the one at second base – quite amusing that Logan is on Jean’s team but Scott isn’t), and Rogue (at third base). Scott’s teammates are Colossus (the catcher), Shadowcat (first base), Storm (second base), Jubilee (shortstop), and Iceman (third base).
Outfield presents a bit of a challenge. The most obvious character here is Banshee in right field, whose outfit is easily recognizable. But what about the center and left fielders? The midfielder has long blonde hair and a slender waist; That could be magic. The left fielder stands near Lockheed, the small purple dragon perched on the stone wall, but that doesn’t reveal much about her identity (Lockheed belongs to Kitty, although he was Ilyana’s pet The new mutants film adaptation). My colleague Susana Polo tapped Cypher, who may have short, fair hair, but seems like a very random choice.
Then there are the mutants that don’t participate in the game. Warren Worthington III is high in the sky training his wings. Someone flies the blackbird; maybe it’s the conspicuously absent Kurt Wagner? There is also another flying creature on the right side of the sky, but it appears to be a regular bird. (Or it is Sauron.)
Did we miss someone? On thomasinkade.com you can further enlarge the painting yourself. I think you can buy it too if that’s your thing.
https://www.polygon.com/23344846/thomas-kinkade-painting-x-men-baseball-mutant-ball Marvel Comics’ X-Men play baseball in the painting by Thomas Kinkade Studios