Compulsive Research – “Men Of The Multiverse,” Or, A Modest Calendar Proposal

Tuesday, March 8 – John Dale Beety makes a modest proposal… what would a “firefighter calendar” of Magic’s hottest men look like? Look within for the intriguing results of John’s research!

Whenever I can, I like to tie gift-giving into my favorite hobbies. I think the best gift is one that means something to me as well as to the
recipient. Unfortunately, “my female relatives” and “Magic: The Gathering” don’t exactly pair up well. I did the original art route once, and my mom
loved it, but she only has so much space on her walls. I gave my unicorn-loving aunt a then-complete set of the (non-Lorwyn block) unicorns of Magic,
and it was a hit, but Wizards doesn’t print a bunch of new unicorns each year.


So I’m always on the lookout for new gift ideas. While talking with my mom one night, in between the small-town gossip and the reality TV scuttlebutt,
she mentioned that the local firefighters had gotten together to make a charity calendar, for a burn center if I remember correctly.

Firefighter calendars aren’t exactly my cup of tea (I refer you to the
Google Images search for “firefighter calendar”

if you aren’t sure why), but it got me thinking.

Scantily clad women have been a staple of comic book and fantasy illustration almost from the beginning, and Greg Hildebrandt, for example, is a noted pinup artist. There’s considerable crossover, and just as beautiful women
abound in Magic, there are also a number of good-looking guys in the game. If they all got together in one place, something very special could happen.

Jeremy Froggatt Photoshopped this for me. His sanity has yet to recover.

Actually, I was thinking about a charity calendar benefitting the recovery efforts on Zendikar (and if we’re lucky, Mirrodin). Let’s call it “Men of
the Multiverse.”

Since this calendar is for charity, I’m going to set a few ground rules. Each color has to be represented at least once, along with gold cards and
artifacts. Plane-specific species are welcome and even encouraged, but because the expected buyer base for the calendar is overwhelmingly human, humans
should be in the majority, and no other species should be represented more than once—this is “Men of the Multiverse,” not “Cat-Men of the Multiverse.”
Also, each block (Urza, Masques, etc.) should be represented by an image, as do the early expansions (which will get a collective entry) and the base
sets. The cover can come from anywhere. That’s my modest calendar proposal.*

With sixteen blocks, plus the early expansions and base sets, that makes eighteen images for the inside of the charity calendar. So a year-and-a-half
calendar it is—now let’s get to the casting process!

The Cover

I’m thinking “group shot” for the cover. The Matca Rioters seemed promising, but only one guy’s actually posing. The monks of Kamigawa were more
organized, and there’s a pretty good picture of them around the Junkyo Bell. I have to give it up to the men on Honor of the Pure, though—they posed in
everything but their breastplates. Now that’s dedication!

This year’s calendar:
Honor of the Pure

Next year:
Junkyo Bell

July 2011: Alpha

Since a later core set supplied the cover, I’m sticking with Alpha for the first picture in the calendar. Good thing Alpha brought it! Keldon Warlord
represented the barbarians of red. Natural Selection is quirky (what is that thing?) but a great pose. Even blue and black, colors that really
weren’t too willing to take off their shirts, supplied volunteers with Spell Blast and Sacrifice, though I wonder how much the guy on Sacrifice was
actually volunteering…

The pick goes to white, and Veteran Bodyguard. It’s all about the pose, the expression on his face—and you just know he wears more armor than that in
his day job.

This year’s calendar:
Veteran Bodyguard

Next year:
Natural Selection, Spell Blast

August 2011: The Early Expansions

Arabian Nights sent out Eye for an Eye, which ended up being creepy more than anything else. The men of the Legends set turned out best, though Nicol
Bolas declined my first offer to appear in the calendar. (Rule One: You always invite Nicol Bolas to appear in the charity calendar.)

Ærathi Berserker
had a great pose, but there were some problems with the paperwork (stupid æsc), so I’m hoping those
get worked out for next year. A real dark-horse candidate ended up making it here: Marble Priest. You wouldn’t think an artifact creature would make
the cut for “Men of the Multiverse,” but it’s hard to argue with a picture like that!

This year’s calendar:
Marble Priest

Next year:
Ærathi Berserker
(if we can get that symbol to work)

September 2011: Ice Age Block

Cold weather is directly proportional to the amount of clothing worn, except in the case of barbarians, where the proportion is inversed. Balduvian
Horde is a case in point, albeit not a particularly attractive one.

Shield of the Ages and its masked Elf were intriguing—I’d be tempted if I hadn’t just penciled in an artifact creature for the early expansions—and
Force of Will had a great showing. Who knew a blue card could be that fierce? Green supplied a show-stealer, though, in Gift of the Woods. Shirtless dude. Wolf. Done. Force of Will gets bumped to
the “next year” pile.

This year’s calendar:
Gift of the Woods

Next year:
Force of Will, Shield of the Ages

October 2011: Mirage Block

Hello, crew of the Weatherlight! Sorry, Squee, you aren’t getting in. Gerrard Capashen was sure he was going to make the calendar, but he
wouldn’t take off his shirt and was rather arrogant about it, so he’s out too. The Minotaur Tahngarth, on the other hand, might make it later.

The best candidates are unconnected to the Weatherlight; the Cyclops fans would go forBloodrock Cyclops, while fans of humans would go for Jamuraa’s version of Divine Offering or perhaps Political Trickery, an
interesting candidate from blue. The human fans win this time, as does white.

This year’s calendar:
Divine Offering

Next year:
Bloodrock Cyclops
, Political Trickery

November 2011: Tempest Block

There are a few good candidates from Rath. Once again, the Weatherlight crew is shut out, but the locals throw out two good representatives.
There aren’t too many Kor fans in the audience, but Spirit en-Kor gives a great pose. Unfortunately for him, Renegade Warlord does it one better. The
Kor fans will get their due next time, though, and there’s Zendikar to think about.

This year’s calendar:
Renegade Warlord

Next year:
Spirit en-Kor

December 2011: Urza Block

An immediate downer, as Rayne, Academy Chancellor expressly forbade any Tolarian Academy students or faculty from participating. The students I can
understand, but faculty? It’s for charity! Doesn’t that mean anything to you?!

Guess not…

What are my options for humans? Impatience? Priest of Gix?!

Luckily for the calendar, humans aren’t the only major species in Urza Block. The Elves whipped up a wicked War Dance, while the Viashino were out in
force. In a battle of bows-and-arrows, it’s the Viashino Weaponsmith representing his species in “Men of the Multiverse.”

This year’s calendar:
Viashino Weaponsmith

Next year:
War Dance

January 2012: Masques Block

A mildly interesting candidate for blue is Thwart. Time’s running out to put Tahngarth in the calendar, so he gets extra-special attention this
go-round. Ferocity almost gets the thumbs-up, but one picture makes me forget all about the Minotaur: Mind Swords. The mesmerizingly muscled swordsman
makes sure black is represented in the calendar. Winner! Now if only I could remember his name…

This year’s calendar:
Mind Swords

Next year:

February 2012: Invasion Block

This is it. Last chance. If I’m going to get Tahngarth in the calendar, it’s happening here. After a couple of ideas like Do or Die and the twin
portraits of Tahngarth, Talruum Hero, I’m going with his action pose in Last Stand, which comes with a Metathran “heavage” bonus. Next year, when
Ferocity fills the Minotaur quotient, I’m thinking Yavimaya Barbarian.

This year’s calendar:
Last Stand

Next year:
Yavimaya Barbarian

March 2012: Odyssey Block

Lots of Centaurs for Odyssey Block—more than a dozen, and they don’t wear shirts. Phantom Centaur is the best of them, and I think I’ll have to use him
next year. On the human side, though, there’s a picture of one of the humans with his makeup artist, and I think it’ll work out just fine. Say hello to
Tattoo Ward.

This year’s calendar:
Tattoo Ward

Next year:
Phantom Centaur

April 2012: Onslaught Block

Scion of Darkness was the early frontrunner, until I remembered that I have to keep a good black card in reserve for next year’s calendar. Among the
pictures of the pit fighters at the Grand Coliseum, I found Jareth, Leonine Titan. He’s a pretty good option, though picking him will complicate things
on Mirrodin…

This year’s calendar:
Jareth, Leonine Titan

Next year:
Scion of Darkness

May 2012: Mirrodin Block

Roar of the Kha is simply great, but with Jareth, Leonine Titan on the previous month’s calendar page, I can’t make the leap. Next year, perhaps. Of
the various human tribes on Mirrodin, the Vulshok are the best posers (though the Auriok, such as Auriok Steelshaper, deserve an honorable mention). I
found a blue card and an artifact card that worked out well: Disruption Aura and Grafted Wargear. For balance purposes, the blue card gets drafted,
with Grafted Wargear kept in mind for next year’s artifact quota.

This year’s calendar:
Disruption Aura

Next year:
Grafted Wargear, Roar of the Kha


June 2012: Kamigawa Block

A block that’s half Spirits doesn’t lend itself well to a “shirtless dudes” calendar. Luckily for the project, a bunch of human monks in the green zone
were at the ready, including Iwamori of the Open Fist, Order of the Sacred Bell, and the two men on Lifegift. A few Snake Warriors also volunteered.
The real surprise came from the Kitsune, though. Rune-Tail, Kitsune Ascendant leans in on the monk side, and with the samurai-peekaboo thing he has
going on under his cloak, Opal-Eye, Konda’s Yojimbo makes it into the catalog. Foxy! Maybe next year, monks…

This year’s calendar:
Opal-Eye, Konda’s Yojimbo

Next year:
Iwamori of the Open Fist, Order of the Sacred Bell

July 2012: Ravnica Block

This one guy…he was a century old, wouldn’t take off his armor, and gave me all sorts of grief. He was on some kind of healing mana too—took a
teardrop right in front of me! I hear a lot of Ravnica’s Wojeks are functional addicts that way.

Still, there’s just something about Agrus Kos, Wojek Veteran that gets him into the calendar. The fact that his best competition comes from cat-avatar
Scion of the Wild and quirky blue card Govern the Guildless really, really helps.

This year’s calendar:
Agrus Kos, Wojek Veteran

Next year:
Scion of the Wild, Govern the Guildless

August 2012: Time Spiral Block

Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas just visited. Seems Nicol Bolas changed his mind.
Rule Two: If Nicol Bolas wants to be in the charity calendar,he gets in the charity calendar. If you look closely enough, you’ll see that he even went shirtless as he posed with his books. Hmm. Is power really the ultimate aphrodisiac? In any event, it’s enough to knock Malach of the
Dawn into next year, anyway, when the color-shifted Angel will be a highlight.

This year’s calendar:
Nicol Bolas (timeshifted)

Next year:
Malach of the Dawn

September 2012: Lorwyn-Shadowmoor Block

Twee. So much twee. Ugh! Not even Nameless Inversion can save this block. At least there are planeswalkers—well, Garruk Wildspeaker, anyway. Jace
Beleren and Ajani Goldmane aren’t showing much here. And then there’s Elvish Handservant. All the Elves thought they were hot stuff, but really, they
weren’t. The token guy, especially. At least Elvish Handservant is shirtless
and doing housework. That counts for something, right?

This year’s calendar:
Elvish Handservant

Next year:
Garruk Wildspeaker

October 2012: Alara Block

Ajani gets a less-clothed update as Ajani Vengeant, so points for him. Sarkhan Vol is challenging him for shirtless planeswalker supremacy on Alara,
though—and both of them are outdone by a random blond guy from Jund. I don’t know what sangrite’s long-term effects are, but Sangrite Surge almost
makes up for the previous month’s art.

This year’s calendar:
Sangrite Surge

Next year:
Ajani Vengeant, Sarkhan Vol

November 2012: Zendikar Block

Lots of Vampires trying out. Vampire Lacerator is the best of them. Gatekeeper of Malakir is okay; Anowon, the Ruin Sage, ditto. Pulse Tracker is a
flat-out reject. Then this guy from Bala Ged walks in and…well, see for yourself. I get the feeling Beastbreaker of Bala Ged is
going to be saved by more than a few buyers, even when the rest of the calendar is thrown away!

This year’s calendar:
Beastbreaker of Bala Ged

Next year:
Vampire Lacerator

December 2012: Scars of Mirrodin Block

The Phyrexians don’t even get a foot in the door (or a drop of oil). It’s down to the Auriok and Vulshok, and the Auriok guys definitely brought it,
especially the Auriok Edgewright and Accorder Paladin. Mr. Mysterious in the background of Vigil for the Lost would’ve won the calendar slot, but he’s
overshadowed too much by the woman he’s holding. In the end, the Vulshok upped the ante, and I can’t resist potent planeswalker Koth of the Hammer. I’m
guessing calendar-buyers won’t, either.

This year’s calendar:
Koth of the Hammer

Next year:
Vigil for the Lost, Accorder Paladin

So that’s my modest calendar proposal. I’d like to thank the men of the Multiverse, the
wonderful artists who illustrated them, and Wizards for commissioning all the beefcake. Here’s to the next generation in Magic-branded gear!


on Twitter

*A serious (as opposed to satirical) “Men of the Multiverse” calendar is entirely possible, but with a different set of ground rules that reflect
business reality: all artwork should be of humans or figures that are recognizably close (Angels are in; Elves are out), and all artwork must be from
Mirage or Fifth Edition on (to avoid royalty complications, as explained by Randy Buehler). That eliminates a couple of the
early images like Veteran Bodyguard, but those are the breaks.

A serious “Men of the Multiverse” twelve-month calendar might have images like this…

Cover: Honor of the Pure

January: Sangrite Surge

February: Malach of the Dawn

March: Tattoo Ward

April: Swords to Plowshares (Elspeth vs. Tezzeret version)

May: Renegade Warlord

June: Garruk Wildspeaker (Lorwyn version)

July: Iwamori of the Open Fist

August: Mind Swords

September: Beastbreaker of Bala Ged

October: Divine Offering (Mirage version)

November: Honor of the Pure

December: Koth of the Hammer