cover art from X-Men: Legacy #208
|Format||comic book superhero team|
|Creator(s)||Stan Lee & Jack Kirby|
|First appearance||X-Men #1 (Sept 1963)|
|Genres||superhero, action/adventure, SF|
|Country of origin||USA|
|X-Men Wiki, Marvel Database|
The X-Men are a team of superheroes that appears in comic books published by Marvel Comics.
The X-Men first appeared in September 1963 in one of the last titles created by Stan Lee (editor/writer) and Jack Kirby (artist) as part of the so-called Silver Age renaissance of superhero comic books, which stressed characterization and thematic development as much as action and adventure. The original X-Men ceased publishing original stories with issue #66 in 1970. However, Uncanny X-Men, a new series with a largely new cast of characters, debuted in 1976. The X-Men, in various titles and various spin-off groups, have remained popular ever since.
In the Marvel Universe, Professor Charles Xavier responds to anti-mutant prejudice by creating a haven for mutants, Professor Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters, at his country estate at 1407 Graymalkin Lane in Salem Center, a small town in Westchester County, New York. Here he trains young mutants to use their powers for the betterment of humanity. His early students (codenamed Cyclops, Iceman, Angel, Beast, and Marvel Girl) are recruited secretly over a period of months. He dubs them the "X-Men" because each possesses an extraordinary ability normal humans lacks.
Subsequent evolution of the concept identified an "X-gene" that promotes mutation. Although some such mutants manifest their unusual differences from birth, the majority only develop their powers at puberty. As a rule, the discovery that someone is a mutant leads immediately to mistrust and ostracism from normal society. The conflict between mutants and normal humans is often compared to conflicts experienced by minority groups in America. Comparisons have been made with homosexuality, including the concealment of their powers and the age at which these manifest. Explicitly referenced also is the comparison between anti-mutant sentiment and anti-Semitism. The arch-enemy of the X-Men, the mutant terrorist Magneto, is a Holocaust survivor who sees the situation of mutants as similar to those of Jews in Nazi Germany; and the internment camps of future timelines clearly parallel Nazi concentration camps.
The first group of X-Men resembled the WASP students at the sort of private academy that the School for Gifted Youngsters purported to be. However, in The Uncanny X-Men, the school concept was dropped. The new X-Men were older and more ethnically diverse. Each was from a different country with varying cultural and philosophical beliefs, and were already well versed in using their mutant powers in combat situations. In the 1980s, however, the popularity of the X-Men led to a number of spin-off titles. Xavier's school was resurrected with a new cast of young mutants who receive training from their elders in the use of their abilities. The 1990s saw an even greater number of "X-books". The numerous ongoing series and miniseries run concurrently, often with crossover stories.
It should be noted that the X-Men exist in the same Marvel Universe as the other characters portrayed in Marvel Comics series. As such, they often meet characters from other series; and the global nature of the mutant concept means the scale of stories can be highly varied. The enemies the X-Men fight range from mutant criminals to galactic threats.
The X-Men comics have been adapted into other media, including animated television series, novels, video games, and a successful series of films.
- Adapted from the Wikipedia article on X-Men