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X-Men: Research help

Dear Readers, I need some quick research help. I want to map out how the X-Men high concept has evolved since its beginning, but I don’t want to have to buy and read every X-Men book ever—I just need the highlights. The only X-books I’ve read are New X-Men and X-Statix, so I’m look for other books of interest w/r/t the evolution of the X-Men high concept and the metaphors used in X-books. By “evolve,” I don’t mean “improve,” I mean “adapt to its current context.” E.g., the X-Men began as the Children of the Atom, I believe with the implication that mutation is caused by atomic radiation (surprise, everything is caused by radiation in that era of Marvel). How has the portrayal of mutation changed over the years? And just as importantly, are there stories (preferably ones available as TPBs) that exemplify various stages of the evolution of the mutation concept? I know I should look for the Marvel Masterworks or Essential X-Men. I’m also interested in the evolution of the metaphors in the X-Men. We’ve discussed that some already on the blog, w/r/t race, feminism, geek pride, more general political metaphors. Anything else interesting I might look out for? Are there 1960s-era stories that are especially metaphorically interesting?


  1. Rose says:

    David Fiore already mentioned his thesis proposal, which looks really interesting. Also you need God Loves, Man Kills, which you can find in the library when you get back to school, since I know it’s a classroom text. I know there’s been a second version during Claremont’s new reign of terror, but I haven’t read that yet. I’ll think about it, but I’m not much of an X-person. What about some Morlock stuff? I’m not sure when they were introduced and I’ve never read the massacre, but I liked the Morlock characters I’ve read. And that would help show a certain sort of evolution, the way in which both the books you read no longer distinguish between “totally human looking” (or “spectacularly well-disguised,” as was the case for the blue guys) X-Men and the blatantly unusual looks of many of the characters in New X-Men and x-Statix. I’ve wondered, too, what the end of X-Force before the Milligan/Allred run was like, since that was such a phenomenal shift. But I’m no expert, and you probably already know much of this.


    — 10 January 2004 at 12:01 pm (Permalink)

  2. Robert Karol says:

    OK, for way too long I was a reader of X-Men, though I’m really only a New X-Men kind of person now. I don’t have the issues with me here at college, so I’m sort of vague on issues. So, here’s the two I can think of right off the top of my head:
    -Days of Future Past(Uncanny X-Men #140&141, I believe)-establishes that there is one reality where anti-mutant prejudice grows powerful enough to kill most mutants and imprison the remaining few in concentration camps.
    -Uncanny X-men 196(I believe) which had an assassination attempt on Professor X by anti-mutant activists, who were then nearly killed by Rachel Summers, a mutant turned mutant hunter from the Days of Future Past society.

    — 11 January 2004 at 6:15 am (Permalink)

  3. Shawn Liu says:

    This is probably quite late and I dunno how well my suggestion fits but you may wanna look at Earth X by Jim Krueger. The concept asks the question “What if suddenly everyome had superpowers?” What if everyone was a mutant?

    The plot device takes advantage on the X-Gene or what they refer to in the story as the “Celestial Seed”.

    It has some interesting points on the banality of existance when there are no supermen (because everyone is a superman/woman).

    — 9 April 2004 at 2:52 pm (Permalink)