Monday, May 2, 2011

Marvel History Post 83: The X-Men # 1

Issue: The X-Men # 1
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Jack Kirby
Publication Date: September 1963

Brief Summary:


This is the one I've been waiting for. When I initially conceived of this blog, I had thought about simply tracking the history of the X-Men. This of course led into questions about who is an X-Man (does Deadpool count? and blah blah blah), and fears of missing potential appearances, etc. etc. So, I ultimately decided to cover the entire Marvel Universe.  Smart move, right?

The X-Men are, however, my first comic book love. Every comic dork has a special place in their heart for their gateway drug, and the X-Men were mine. Cyclops in fact is my favorite comic book character (go ahead, get your jokes in).

The X-Men are the true losers and outcasts in a fictional world that's full of them. In the Marvel Universe, heroes are frequently mistrusted in general, and mutants are always mistrusted.

While the story of the X-Men serves as an analogy for the civil rights movement is compelling in its own right, it's a small factor in these early stories. And it's also only one facet of the X-Men, who have one of the more complicated and complex histories in all of comics. If you've ever tried to figure out the Summers family tree, you know what I mean.

But we're a bit aways from the X-Men many of us know and love (if this blog manages to make it to Wolverine's first appearance, it will be no small miracle).  In the early days of the MU, they are one of Stan and Jack's less popular creations.

Still, there's a lot planted in these early X-Men stories. In fact, the very first issue introduces many of the most important figures in the X-Men mythos, a lot of whom are still around today (and if they aren't around, they'll be back, because that's how the X-Men roll).

So, don't be surprised if my X-Men posts are a little longer and more elaborate than my Ant Man posts. And don't hold it against me too much!

This issue introduces the team. You get a little bit of a glimmer into some of their personalities (Iceman as the jokester, Beast as the...older jokester?). Magneto of course makes his first appearance. Interesting how the X-Men's arch rival appears in the first issue, whereas in the case of some of the other big heroes, it takes a while for the big baddy to crop up (Doom, Green Goblin).

Quick Thoughts:
  • The Danger Room sort of makes an appearance, although it isn't named as such
  • Stan accidentally calls telekinesis teleportation. He created Spider-Man, so we'll forgive him.
  • Professor X at one point claims he might be the first mutant. He isn't.

Favorite Panel:

Jean Grey, aka Ms. Marvel (and a few other names down the road), arrives on the scene, and the original five X-Men team is formed

Favorite Quote:

"Mistakes are for homo sapiens, sir" - Angel, homo superior

Next: Amazing Spider-Man # 5