Marvel Comics' winning streak continued in 1963 when they debuted the X-Men, a group of teenage superheroes who received their powers through mutation. Originally going to be called the “Merry Mutants,” creators Stan Lee and Jack Kirby settled on the title “X-Men” since their characters had “EX-tra power.”
However, this group of mutants isn’t the only one to ever call themselves X-Men. As we’ve seen in “X-Men: Days of Future Past,” sometimes completely different generations of mutants must band together under the same moniker. To start of our Special Collections at the Movies blog series, we’ll highlight several different incarnations of those Merry Mutants that we have in our collection.
This is a reprint of the first X-Men issue, published in September, 1963. It introduces the original five-man team – Angel, Beast, Cyclops, Iceman and Marvel Girl – and the X-Men’s most hated archenemy, Magneto. We can see the team meeting Jean Grey, their newest member, and her amazing power of telekinesis. Hardcore comic fans might notice something strange about this image – Cyclops’ name is Slim Summers, but we know him better as Scott Summers. It wasn’t until the third issue of X-Men that Cyclops points out that Slim is just a nickname.
Next we have an updated version of the same group of mutants, called the First Class. We can see by the illustration on the cover that the lineup hasn’t changed, but the stories and events have been redesigned for modern readers. It was this comic book line that was partially adapted into 2011’s “X-Men: First Class.”
Our third incarnation is also an origin story. A young Scott Summers is shown receiving his ruby visor, which holds in his optic blasts. This series is meant to tie in with the animated TV show “X-Men: Evolution,” which focused on the very early years of the team.
Finally, we have a collection of issues from the Generation X storyline. Generation X ran from 1994 through 2001, and focused on an entirely different group of mutants. This group, made of up primarily of Jubilee, Chamber, Husk, Gaia and Synch, often found itself in a moral grey area, often fighting for and against the X-Men.
These four titles are just a sampling of the various X-Men series we have in Special Collections. If “Days of Future Past” got you itching for more than the run-of-the-mill mutants, stop on by and check us out!