Tag Archives: x-men

Fashion Spotlight: Tour of Apocalypse 83′, I Want to Believe 100 Years, and Wilson 2016

Ript Apparel has three new designs! Tour of Apocalypse 83′, I Want to Believe 100 Years, and Wilson 2016, by tweedler92, Fishmas, and Eozen, are on sale today only! Get them before they’re gone!

Tour of Apocalypse 83′


I Want to Believe 100 Years


Wilson 2016











This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, we’ll receive a percentage of the sale. Graphic Policy does purchase items from this site. Making purchases through these links helps support the site.

Review: X-Men: No More Humans

X-Men_No_More_Humans_CoverAmong my fellow comic book peers it is no secret that I was not the biggest fan of Brian Bendis’ run with the X-Men flagship titles.  For me he failed to connect strongly with the rich tradition of the X-Men, presented some disjointed characterization and overall was just not able to invigorate the franchise. Bendis is a great breaker of toys, and lover of controversy. Where this worked to great effect on his run during Avengers, this ethos fell very flat with the X-Men. One of the outgrowths of Bendis‘ run was the arrival of the future brotherhood of evil mutants In the aftermath of Battle of the Atom.

The prospect of a future brotherhood had great promise, and presented a unique and unprecedented threat to the x-men and their mission. With the countervailing presence of the time displaced original five X-Men from the past, we had a very high concept status quo for this era’s X-Men, the struggle and legacy of Xavier’s dream played out on the landscape of space and time. This should have breathed new life into the X-Men, unfortunately under Bendis‘ pen it did not. For all their grandeur and theatrics the future brotherhood were quickly relegated to irrelevance.  Additionally further follow-up stories were beleaguered non sensical and flashy non sequiturs. Seriously, in what universe would Charles Xavier willingly procreate with Mystique?

All that said Mike Carey’s graphic Novel X-Men: No More Humans presents a brief yet enjoyable salve to these problems. In my opinion Carey’s primary strength has always centered on his portrayal of relationships and his dutiful and faithful approach to characterizations. All characters under Carey’s pen have their own voice, and the interactions amongst the characters he writes are authentic and reflective of all those voices whether harmonious or discordant.  In X-Men: No More Humans Raze a future brotherhood member (and mystique and wolverine’s future son)* uses his future knowledge to enact a sweeping and blunt solution to the problem of mutant-human relations. Stealing technology that was (or will be ) used against mutants in the future., Raze manages to temporally displace all humans away from the earth. He then begins the second phase of his plan by bringing repressed mutants from alternate dimensions. This is the kind of threat from the future brotherhood I was waiting for. Anti-human sentiment matched with future knowledge. This not only presents the X-Men with a pressing moral dilemma and refugee crisis, it provides them with a superordinate goal that temporally galvanizes all of the X-Men factions which gives everyone the opportunity to reassess their mission as well as the future for mutantkind.

Interactions among Magneto- Mystique, Magneto and the Maximoff twins are heartfelt, nostalgic and build on as well as affirms years of storytelling. They also provide some thought provoking philosophical argument.  Many characters get a moment to shine given their own unique take on the state of mutantkind and how they believe the solution should be approached given the current crisis.  What we get as a result is a stimulating commentary on mutant human relations and a refreshing X-Men reunion.

X-Men: No More Humans is not a perfect story. While it’s nice to see the X-Men discuss the philosophy of their seemingly splintered visions, and working together, the resolution arrives via deus ex machina with an intervention from the phoenix force. A very  overused plot element in my opinion. The flashy and cosmic muscle flexing of the Phoenix force are nice to  look at but its use and intervention ultimately renders all the philosophical considerations and plot progression moot. We essentially get a big reset button setting everything back to the same before the crisis began, with the exception of Raze being taken out of play with a cosmic spank from the Phoenix. (Perhaps a tongue in cheek commentary of the future brotherhood from Carey). While this was a plausible solution given the interdimensional nature of the crisis it ultimately felt uninspired and too easy.

The art was colorful and the extradimensional panels (i.e the null space) were amazing to look at. Larroca also captured the frightful eeriness of an empty Time Square quite well, it felt like you were there. I still have issue with how he draws faces ( I feel they can be uniform)  but this is a minor gripe that in no way detracts from his work on this book which look diligent and polished overall.  X-Men: No More Humans is not essential reading, but in my opinion it stands as the last great X-story/X-dilemma prior to Secret Wars.

Final Thoughts

* So in this apparent future Mystique has child with both Xavier and Wolverine, which is odd timeline wise and logistically given Wolverine’s recent death.

I loved that the secondary villain is a mere human employing stolen alternate dimension technology. For some reason I just loved the simplicity of that.

Story: Mike Carey Art: Salvador Larocca
Story: 8 Art: 9 Overall 8.5 Recommendation: Read

When Comic Book Film Costumes Stray

It’s an exciting time to be a fan of comic book-based films. New stories are optioned often, and the wait usually isn’t more than a couple of months for the next theatrical release. Part of the fun of following these adaptations is witnessing the choices made in transferring the bold costumes of the printed page to the silver screen. In any adaptation of material from one medium to another, changes are bound to happen, and sometimes for the better. Of course, it can also be disappointing when the choices unnecessarily stray from the established lore. Let’s take a look at a few of the most drastic examples of unfaithful costume choices in comic book films, and whether those changes were appropriate, or way off base.

In writing this article, I made a few rules to help keep things focused: 1) No animation, only live-action projects. 2) Nothing before Superman: The Movie in 1978, just to keep the comparisons relatively similar. 3) Any cases where the alter-ego of a comic character was introduced but not exhibiting powers (such as Dr. Curt Conners in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy; he never became The Lizard) was not eligible. 4) Characters created with heavy CGI (like The Hulk) were also in a different category, so they were out.

comic-punisherTHE PUNISHER, Dolph Lundgren, 1989.

1) Dolph Lundgren as The Punisher, The Punisher (1989): A cornerstone of most iconic superheroes is a symbol that sums up their mission and their persona. In the case of The Punisher, this is especially true. The skull emblazoned on his costume is a harbinger of death. And yet, in the first feature adaptation of The Punisher starring Dolph Lundgren, his black tactical gear featured no skull at all. There were tiny skulls on the knives that he used as weapons, but that was all. While this film debuted at a time when comic book films (especially those few licensed by Marvel) were not even a shadow of what they have become, it still doesn’t excuse the omission. Beyond the skull, the other parts of the costume are negotiable and variable, but the skull really ties it all together (to paraphrase The Dude). Whatever you may think of the 2004 and 2008 versions of the character, the filmmakers at least had the good sense to include the skull.

comic-x-men x-men-film-cast

2) The Main Cast of X-Men, X-Men (2000): After Blade became a surprise hit in 1998, Marvel upped the stakes by adapting the much-beloved X-Men. Under Bryan Singer’s guidance, the key word was realism, and that extended to the costumes. For the X-Men team, Singer decided on black leather uniforms with hints of color. While the idea of coordinated battle uniforms remained from the earliest comics, otherwise they were quite different from anything seen on the characters before. While at first it seemed that Singer’s choices unnecessarily toned down the bold world of the X-Men, it proved to be a wise choice in the bigger picture. X-Men was a pivotal film in legitimizing the comic book film to worldwide audiences. While Blade may have cracked the door, X-Men pushed it further so that 2002’s Spider-Man could kick it open. Viewing it through that perspective, the care that Bryan Singer and his team took in creating an X-Men film for the masses seems downright prophetic. A film that completely tackled all the outrageousness of the X-Men comics could have alienated some viewers, perhaps causing a much different comic movie landscape.

comic-witchbladeWitchblade Complete TV Series on DVD, starring Yancy Butler as Sara Pezzini

3) Yancy Butler as Det. Sara Pezzini/Witchblade, Witchblade (2001 – 2002): Of all properties to be adapted to basic cable television, Witchblade must have been far down most people’s list. But it was adapted for TNT, where it aired for two seasons. While the show had a decent share of fans, the realization of the Witchblade itself left a bit to be desired. While in the comics a self-aware organic gauntlet/armor, the Witchblade of the show took on the look of a medieval knight’s armor. Perhaps it was inevitable on a television budget, yet the result was still disappointing. The subsequent anime adaptation presented a truer version of the Witchblade, though it wasn’t Sara Pezzini wearing it in that series. Plans for a feature film reboot have been floated, but nothing has yet landed.

comic-huntress tv-huntress

4) Ashley Scott as The Huntress, Birds of Prey (2002 – 2003): Smallville debuted in 2001, and proved to be a decade-long success for the WB network (which became the CW). In response to the success of that show, Birds of Prey came along one season later. While some aspects were very faithful to the comic book series (Dina Meyer as Oracle, formerly Batgirl), others were wildly divergent (Dinah Lance as a psychic teenager rather than martial artist Black Canary). In the latter column was Ashley Scott’s Huntress, a curious mixture of old and new versions of the character. Her costume, however, favored neither version. A strange mix of club wear that included no mask or other source of identity concealment, this Huntress looked like she had just finished crime-fighting and was headed downtown to blow off some steam. While on the show Batman was her biological father, he obviously never instructed her in the importance of anonymity.

comic-dracula film-dracula

5) Dominic Purcell as Dracula/Drake, Blade: Trinity (2004): When the third Blade film rolled around, he had already battled and defeated Deacon Frost and a horde of mutant bloodsuckers. So what could up the stakes? How about Dracula? Yes, I know Dracula isn’t originally a comic book character, but he was published by Marvel in Tomb of Dracula in the 1970s, and that comic was where Blade debuted (he didn’t headline his own book until after the original Blade film became a hit). Marvel’s version of Bram Stoker’s big bad took a page from Bela Lugosi, Christopher Lee and even Jack Palance, whom his facial features were based upon. He also had a jaunty mustache. But in David Goyer’s take on him, Dracula (here using the name “Drake” as an alias) wore no cape, nor evening wear, nor even a mustache. Instead, he settled for a silk shirt and leather pants like he was shooting a 90’s R&B video in the desert. He did have another, more demonic-looking form that was cooler, but it was underused. Couldn’t they at least have kept the mustache?

comic-catwoman film-catwoman

6) Halle Berry as Catwoman, Catwoman (2004): It felt weird typing “Halle Berry as Catwoman”, because this film is a concrete example of using a familiar name to sell an unfamiliar character. Berry’s character in this film, Patience Price, has no affiliation to Batman or any previous version of Catwoman. And then there’s the costume. A goofy mask that sits too high like a trucker hat, a bikini top with mismatched straps, and ripped leather pants create a look that doesn’t make sense even in the weird pocket universe of the film. At least there is a whip involved; as much a trademark of any Catwoman as of Indiana Jones. A creative misfire added to the list of misfires that comprise this deeply misguided film.

comic-dark-phoenix film-dark-phoenix

7) Famke Janssen as Dark Phoenix, X-Men: The Last Stand (2006): After the exciting tease for The Dark Phoenix Saga at the end of X2, fans were piqued to see Jean Grey take a walk on the wild side. Unfortunately, the combination of two major plotlines in X-Men: The Last Stand left only half the space for the Phoenix story, and so her debut wasn’t all it could’ve been. That included to her costume as well. The comic story featured a maroon and gold bodysuit complete with a gold sash and a flamebird emblem. For the film, Famke was outfitted with a red dress that alluded to the comic costume, but without the gold, sash or emblem. A choice that paid a bit of service to the look, but minus any of the detail. Would something a bit more bold have worked better to sell her character as a being of incredible power? It couldn’t have hurt.

comic-green-goblin film-new-goblin

8) James Franco as New Goblin, Spider-Man 3 (2007): The film costumes of the Green Goblin have always been offbeat choices, from Willem Dafoe’s shiny lime-green armor to Dane DeHaan’s grotesque cyborg combination. But perhaps the most off-the-wall was James Franco as the New Goblin. Harry Osborn’s turn to super-villainy had been progressing for two movies, and by the third film the idea was ripe. If only the execution had been better. The New Goblin opted for a suit based on extreme sports, including a flying snowboard-like glider and a modified paintball mask. While Dafoe’s suit was on the goofy side, it did possess elements of intimidation. But the New Goblin simply came off as the drunken creation of a pissed-off ski patrol douche. Hopefully in the future a more traditional route may be attempted.

film-wanted wanted-comic

9) James McAvoy as Wesley Gibson, Wanted (2008): Now this choice runs perilously close to breaking my rule of “no alter-ego characters”. In the original Wanted comic series, Wesley was outfitted with a very tactical costume that looked like a high-tech cross between Snake Eyes and SWAT team. Because of the change from super-villains to assassins for the film, he never wears anything other than street clothes. However, since he uses and exhibits his skills in those street clothes, he is in full “super” mode. It is definitely the most unfaithful costume choice on this list, since there was no particular attempt made to replicate the comic’s costume. It’s a shame, too, as that costume would’ve looked slick onscreen.

comic-deadpool film-deadpool

10) Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool, X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009): I feel much the same way about Deadpool in this film as I do about Halle’s Catwoman – i.e., I just wish they were named something else. In my opinion, the Wade Wilson scenes in this film were good – funny, while also showcasing the character’s powers. But then there’s that troublesome climax, with the eyebeams, the teleportation and the absence of a mouth. It isn’t enough to awkwardly suggest the look of Deadpool’s comic costume. If it’s only half-Deadpool, then it’s not Deadpool. Thankfully, it really does look like Fox is correcting their mistakes with the upcoming solo film. Ryan Reynolds is great casting, but there has to be commitment to the character.



It’s got to be a tricky assignment for costume designers to create the film version of characters with such striking ensembles. You have to pay homage to the source material to please the fans, but you can’t make beloved characters look goofy for their mass-audience debuts. The most successful projects seem to walk the thin line of heightened reality leavened by common sense and real-world input. But make no mistake, it doesn’t take much more than a misstep to lose that line. Still, much of the outside wrappings can be forgiven if the structural integrity of the characters’ personalities are intact. When both are missing, you have Catwoman or the first attempt at Deadpool. When both are present, you have Iron Man or Hellboy. We can only hope that as comic book-based films continue to evolve, more filmmakers will find ways to exhibit both in a satisfying way.

New X-Men: Apocalypse Photos

More official photos are being released for next year’s X-Men: Apocalypse. Check out a better look at some of the new characters and actors in the role of some classic characters.

Review: Age of Apocalypse #1

aoa001Secret Wars has been so noteworthy thus far for its ability to incorporate other crossovers into its stories.  While the quality of these tie-ins has varied wildly, it has nonetheless been somewhat comprehensive in its attempt to give some exposure to all the major crossovers from the past.  It would be nearly impossible therefore to leave Age of Apocalypse off of this list.  Although this story occurred in the pages of X-Men related titles, it was nonetheless one of the bigger crossovers that Marvel has seen, as well as being in part responsible for the upcoming sequel to the X-Men movie franchise. As it was told at the time it featured the introduction of the mutant Apocalypse, a mutant of extreme power who undertook a plan for world domination and very nearly succeeded.  In the original story Charles Xavier is removed from the scene early on, and Magneto takes his place as the mutant championing compromise between mutants and humans, while equally being responsible for trying to stop Apocalypse’s tyrannical and genocidal reign where he attempts to wipe out regular humans from existence.

As opposed to other tie-ins which have attempted to re-imagine or recast some of the major aspects of the stories, this one instead seems to be looking for more of a pure retelling.  Apocalypse’s Horsemen are sent to the Savage Land to track down Cypher, although he is defended by a group of core X-Men.  After he is captured he is taken to Apocalypse, who is revealed to be employing several other mutants, many of whom have joined his side.  Standing against them are still Magneto and his mutants, as well as a group of humans led by Carol Danvers.  Apocalypse grows restless to wipe out his opposition, but it will not necessarily be as easy as he planned.

This first issue most sets the conditions for what will follow, and it does so in a meticulous way.  It is a challenging enough task, condensing a huge story arc into a few issues, but at least a proper job is done at this if if this issue ends up being a bit clunky at times.  There is enough action mixed in with establishing the scenario that it doesn’t become too heavy in the dialogue and concept, but it also seems to be leaving a lot of potential for the following issues.  It bodes well for the tie-in, and while this issue is a bit too conceptual to get through at times, it still excuses it for what is bound to come.

Story: Fabian Nicieza  Art: Geraldo Sandoval
Story: 8.3 Art: 8.3 Overall: 8.3 Recommendation: Read


Fashion Spotlight: Stray Dog Strut, Cooper, and Pawns Go First

Ript Apparel has three new designs today. Stray Dog Strut, Cooper, and Pawns Go First from adho1982, kgullholmen, and ArtBroken will be for sale on July 7, 2015 only!

Stray Dog Strut by adho1982

Stray Dog Strut

Cooper by kgullholmen


Pawns Go First by ArtBroken

Pawns Go First



This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, we’ll receive a percentage of the sale. Graphic Policy does purchase items from this site. Making purchases through these links helps support the site.

Review: Years of Future Past #2

years002The Secret Wars crossover has perhaps been the unkindest to the X-Men.  Part of the underlying concept behind the huge crossover is to take story arcs and other crossovers from the past and to rework them into the Secret Wars framework.  While this has worked well for some series, for others it has not, and the X-Men versions are perhaps among the most distorted.  This is because the mutants often serve as analogies for what is wrong in society, and with that as a theme, it tends to make a lot of the best X-Men stories into the best of the genre.  In this case Secret Wars hgas grabbed what is one of the best comic book story arcs ever written, so popular in fact that it was chosen as the story line to revive the movie franchise.

This story follows along some basic plot elements from the original series while leaving other important parts behind.  This has been the case with other X-Men tie-ins to Secret Wars where a lot of the characters remain, if not for the baseline being altered in minor, though fundamental ways.  The changes here are thus similar and different as a similar group of characters struggle against the sentinels of the future who have eliminated most mutants already and the few remaining mutants who struggle to maintain their lives and their kind against this threat.  One of the highlights of this issue is a monologue by Colossus which evokes the famous quote by Martin Niemöller about the Holocaust.

That is the case with this issue though.  Although it works well enough as a story, it also is a story which has a few defining moments with other material in between which almost feels like filler.  It is an unconventional format for a story as it moves between moments which are either strong for character development or artistically impressive, but such is the lot of the X-Men tie-ins to Secret Wars.  It is good, but not much else, and more than anything makes the reader want to re-read the original as opposed to continuing with this.

Story: Marguerite Bennett Art: Mike Norton
Story: 8.3 Art: 8.3 Overall: 8.3 Recommendation: Read

Extraordinary X-Men #1 – Still Hated. Still Feared. Still Standing

The fate of mutantkind is decided here! Prepare for a new team of X-Men for a new set of threats this fall as the Marvelous Mutants return in Extraordinary X-Men #1! Eisner Award-nominated writer Jeff Lemire joins chart-topping artist Humberto Ramos for the flagship X-Men title of the post-Secret Wars Marvel Universe!

Eight months have passed. The X-Men are in dire straits. A cataclysmic event that has altered the destinies of both Mutant and Inhuman. Many of the X-Men have gone missing – including their wayward leader Scott Summers. It will take the remaining X-Men to forge mutantkind into something stronger. Something…extraordinary! Now – Storm, Colossus, Magik, Nightcrawler, Iceman, Jean Grey and Old Man Logan will lead mutantkind headfirst into tomorrow.

In an upcoming interview with Marvel.com, Lemire says:

The chance to write the flagship X-Men book is a once in a lifetime opportunity. It’s both exhilarating and somewhat intimidating. The X-Men have a staggering legacy and an extremely devoted fan base, so this is not an assignment I am taking lightly. I’ve poured everything I have into making this book something special. I don’t want to write just another X-Men run. I want the work Humberto and I do to stand up with the truly great X-Men runs.

Welcome to the new Marvel Universe, X-Men – hope you survive the experience!

Written by JEFF LEMIRE
Coming Fall 2015!


Review: X-Men ’92 #1

X-Men92The 90’s are back, and so are the X-Men most of us woke up to on Saturday mornings.  I have to admit, when I saw the solicits for this Secret Wars tie in I thought we would be seeing the X-Men from the comics in the 90’s… but it is very clear this book is more like the cartoon version of our merry mutants. And I’m more then ok with that.

We open to our team engaging in a training session… playing lazer tag at the local mall. Plenty of character references from the cartoon are thrown at us here, from Storm referring to Jubilee as ‘child’ and giving out nature themed speeches before using her powers, to Jean Grey doting all over Cyclops, to Wolverine contradicting everything Cyclops says. The two, of course, have a disagreement and Wolverine decides he has better things to do… like go shopping?? (this  felt way out of character to me, cartoon or not… so did the scene where he is shopping and talking with the sales girl… a Wolverine I haven’t seen before). But I digress. The training session is interrupted when a group of Sentinels attack, seeking to terminate the mutants. Our team comes together and defeats the ‘free range Sentinels’ in time for Baron Robert Kelly to arrive.

His arrival gives us some background to this part of Battleworld, telling us about the Westchester wars where Magneto and his brotherhood rose up to fight for mutant rule, and the X-Men stood against them. The X-Men were victorious, are now seen as saviors and the mutants left after the war were sent to a camp called “Clear Mountain”; a place where mutants can be rehabilitated to live as accepted members of society. Of course, the X-Men are suspicious of this and Cyclops insists on investigating… and then quit the team to live a normal life. The X-Men arrive at Clear Mountain and are greeted by its director… Cassandra Nova.

As I said earlier, I was expecting the comic book version of the team, not the Saturday morning cartoon version, but I have to admit this was really fun to read. As I turned the pages, seeing the team in the costumes we all know and love, I couldn’t help but play the cartoon theme song in my head as I read. The shopping Wolverine, and the sugary sweet exchanges between Jean and Cyclops not withstanding, Chad Bowers and Chris Sims give us the X-Men we remember, as well as some background to this region of Battleworld, something a lot of the other tie in books don’t explain. Scott Koblish’s art is perfect for this title, giving it the cartoon feel that sells the feel of the animated series. I am curious to see more about Clear Mountain, Casandra Nova and the sinister secret I’m sure this rehabilitation camp is hiding.

If you’re as big an X fan as I am and looking for a throwback to Saturday mornings, I recommend checking this title out.

Story: Chad Bowers and Chris Sims Art: Scott Koblish
Story: 8 Art: 8 Overall: 8 Recommendation: Read

No Salon. Magneto Should Remain a Holocaust Survivor.

magneto-1On Saturday, Eli Keel posted what looks to be his first article on Salon, “It’s time for Marvel to make Magneto black: Use the coming “Secret Wars” reboot to make X-Men get real about race.” I believe this is the same Keel who has contributed to other sites, and in his first piece for Salon, he shows either a tone deafness to what he asks, lack of understanding of the Civil Rights movement, a lack of understanding of Marvel’s X-Universe, or a mixture of all of the above. It also surprising that Salon would approve such a poorly thought out article.

Keel opens his article with the conundrum of time in comic books that originally had characters reflecting or living in “modern” times. And with real-time moving, and characters not aging there is an issue of how do you deal with age and origins in the comic universe. Iron Man for instance originally was injured in Vietnam, but in years that has been updated to the Gulf War, and most recently Afghanistan. This shifting time line has led to inconsistencies and continuity issues. DC Comics has rebooted their universe numerous times, often resolving such issues, while Marvel has had a rather unexplainable sliding time scale. This summer’s Marvel event Secret Wars will hopefully right some of those time paradoxes, resulting in a new “prime” Marvel universe bringing together the various continuities, versions, multiverses, and more into one grand vision that will guide Marvel for the “next 50 to 75 years.” Marvel has said that some things will change and that new characters may take on old mantles for instance X-23 will be the new Wolverine, and there’ll be a new Hulk that is not Bruce Banner. In the past few years Marvel has also found success in changing up the gender or race of characters such as a Jane Foster taking up the role of Thor, a new Ms. Marvel who is a 16-year-old Muslim girl from Jersey, and the Falcon who is now Captain America.

Keel begins his article from a false logic point, that comics have been white and cis-gendered throughout their history. Not only is this incorrect, it ignores comics’ rather vast a varied history that is often forgotten or unknown. Female characters have existed since the early days, with many over the years placed out of mind such as Nellie the Nurse, Invisible Scarlet O’Neil, Betty, Veronica, Sheena, Miss Fury, and many more. There’s also comics’ progressive nature including the creation of Captain America who advocated America’s entry into World War II a year before Pearl Harbor, integration of the military in comics before the actual real world military, and creation of characters such as the Black Panther and Luke Cage when African-American and black characters weren’t heard of. In fact comics were the industry that Jews, women, and African-American creators went in to when they were shunned by “mainstream” America. Things haven’t been all rosy, but it’s not all black and white as Keel suggests.

All of this leads Keel to conclude in the new Marvel universe:

It’s time to make Magneto black.

Magneto is one of the very few comic characters inextricably tied to a specific real-world event: the Holocaust. His abuse at the hands of Nazis turns him hard and cruel. This real-world event can’t be moved forward in time, and that’s becoming a problem.

Thing_Num56_Pg22Keel is requesting for not just erasure of one of the highest profile Jews in comics (a minority more underrepresented in comics than blacks and African-Americans), but also erasure of the Holocaust from mainstream comics as a whole. There’s a tone deafness of the request that is astonishing, but also beyond insensitive to the reality of both the real world and history of the X-Men and X-Universe. The website ComicBookReligion lists 507 out of the 36,389 characters as Jewish. How many can you actually name? How many actually wear their Jewishness regularly and out in the open? Compare that to how many African-American or black characters you can name.

Lets begin with the argument of Magneto’s age being an issue. Keel correctly points out his age has been fudged and changed before, and there’s no reason it can’t be done so again. If we de-age Magneto a bit and say he’s 5 or so during the Holocaust (born in 1940 for an easy number), that’d make the character 75 years old today giving him decades more before age is an actual issue. There’s no reason Magneto can’t be 75 or older, and in fact it opens up even more compelling storytelling opportunities. To make a more “comic” like solution, we can say his mutation somehow makes him age slower too for an even easier fix.

Thing_05There is a very real world issue of those who survived the Holocaust dying out and the history being forgotten. Not only by keeping Magneto as a Holocaust survivor do you do a service of serving as an entry point for those to learn about this vile point in human history, but it can also address this very issue. Imagine Magneto reflecting that those that have experienced what he has are dying out, and the world is forgetting the horrors. What would a man do with the power he has when faced with that reality? Imagine a story of him being on his death-bed, and having characters around him reflecting upon his experiences and what it means to lose that first hand knowledge.

Today there’s a “cult of Hitler” propping up the genocidal leader as a pop-culture icon, not even 70 years since those last camps were liberated, parts of the world have washed the ghastly horrors away enough to use the visage of a madman to sell products, ideals, and more, turning him into an advertising prop. If that’s not enough of a sign we need for a renewed call to “never forget,” I don’t know what is.

Keel continues:

But part of what makes Magneto such a great villain is his base in real-world historic tragedy.

This is absolutely correct, and his experiences in the death camps have driven his actions to prevent similar tragedy for the mutants of the Marvel universe. It’s not Magneto’s Jewishness that defines him (actually for quite a while it was murky if he was Jewish or Romani), it’s his survival from the Holocaust that defines and drives his character and actions. His hope is to prevent what happened to 6 million individuals repeating for the mutant population.

X-Men-Days-of-Future-Past-comic-coverThe imagery of the Holocaust has been an aspect that has been used time and time again in Marvel’s “X” comics. In the classic tale Days of Future Past, mutants are rounded up into camps reminiscent to exactly what the Nazis did. There’s constant talk of the eradication of the “mutant threat” in Marvel comics, and it’s going on today quite frequently in the current Secret Wars event. This is something the X-Men have been attempting to fight against, and Magneto proactively through terrorism is trying to prevent. In fact when it comes to the black/African-American experience or the Jewish experience, Marvel’s mutants in their dwindling numbers better reflect the serious issues modern Judaism face, as the religion dwindles in numbers.

Currently Jews worldwide account for a little over 6 million individuals, less than 0.1% of the world’s population. There are fewer Jews in the world right now than intersex individuals who are about 1 in 1,000 (not really a point to that, but an astonishing stat I learned). In modern stories the X-universe was faced with dwindling numbers and the very possibility that mutants would become extinct. This issue is something that Jews face today as the numbers of those practicing shrinks and interfaith marriage increases. Other recurring stories have had mutants attempting to establish a homeland where they can be safe, but have been besieged over and over again, and recently that very storyline has had almost Zionist tone in a schism that divided the X-Men, a split that does exist within the Jewish people.

But most insulting is Kreel’s insistence that any retconning/race-swapping be tied to the Civil Rights movement, ignoring Jewish contributions to the actual Civil Rights movement. Also the Marvel X-Universe today is more reflective of the Gay Rights movement, more so than the Civil Rights. It shows a lack of knowledge about X-History and the real world history. It was in Haifa, Israel that Xavier and Magneto first met as an example.

Keel says:

The best fix for Magneto’s origin problem is to reboot him and Professor X into the heart of the Civil Rights Movement. Have them experience the heartbreak of the historic assassinations as young black men. This reboot would be true to the heart of the characters — X-Men began as a  metaphor for segregation. In 1963, America couldn’t openly discuss race in comic form, so the conflict was encoded. “Negroes” became “mutants.” Professor X and Magneto are often interpreted as metaphors for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X. Having the characters openly admire the historical figures would give Professor X and Magneto the opportunity to argue about the nuances of the their mentors’ philosophies.

In other words, they could openly talk about race. After 50 years of coded language, it’s time to get real. The Civil Rights Moment needs to become canon.

Personally, I’d have Professor X be a follower of Malcolm X, while Magneto hangs with Dr. Martin Luther King. That way, Prof. X sees Malcolm X gunned down, the tragic results of a movement divided. He tries to choose peace. Magneto watches the death of his pacifist hero Dr. King, and rejects nonviolence.

The Jewish contribution to the Civil Rights movement and black history is long and closely entwined. Jews after-all were the original slaves (Egypt) and treated as less than others/full citizens (most of history). The Religious Action Center has a wonderful article laying out Jewish contributions to the Civil Rights movement. That includes helping found the NAACP, the establishment of some black colleges, “Jewish activists represented a disproportionate number of whites involved in the struggle. Jews made up half of the young people who participated in the Mississippi Freedom Summer in 1964.” It was Jews who were murdered attempting to do their part in the Mississippi Burning case. And this support continues today.

The Jewish community has continued its support of civil rights laws addressing persistent discrimination in voting, housing and employment against not only women and people of color but also in the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community and the disabled community. Rabbi David Saperstein, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, is currently the only non-African-American member of the NAACP board.

Keel then suggests the rather non-inspired idea that not only should Magneto and Xavier be black, but they should be involved in the movements of Malcom X and Dr. King, showing insight of the X-Men that should be left in the past, much like some of the non-progressive attitudes that have been shed by the industry in recent times.

legacyToday, the X-Universe no longer reflects the Civil Rights movement so much as the Gay Rights movement. A more inspired idea would to embrace that aspect of the characters. Like gays, there has been a theme and outright debate throughout the X history of those that can hide the fact their mutants and those that can’t, reflecting more of the struggle of gays being in the closet and facing discrimination when they come out or can’t hide. In fact, there was real world uproar when writer Rick Remender had mutant and Avenger Unity team leader Havok say he disliked the division and the word “mutant,” and in the comics some responded it was easy for him to say, since he could pass for a normal human.

In the 1990s the X-books faced a disease called the Legacy Virus which very much was a not too subtle allegory about the HIV/AIDS epidemic. And, reflecting the Holocaust again, there was real world discussion of placing those afflicted with HIV/AIDS in camps to isolate them, another reason for Magneto’s past to remain unchanged. This is something that has actually been done in Cuba, and political leaders in the US have called for it in the past. While HIV/AIDS isn’t only a gay issue, add in the “coming out” aspect of a mutant’s gift and the mutant story better reflects the LGBT experience. An inspiring and more original twist might have Xavier be bisexual and present at the Stonewall riots or part of the early years of the Gay Men’s Health Crisis.

I can’t tell if Keel actually believes his suggestions would lead to compelling storytelling, is oblivious to what his request represents, or he and Salon are trolling for click-bait like rallying articles. No matter, not only is the article poorly thought out, it’s downright insensitive.

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