Thursday, 4 September 2008


X-Men #1, September 1963
(By Lee, Kirby, and Paul Reinman)

Even as they were releasing the first issue of The Avengers, featuring some of their best known characters, Stan and Jack were sticking their necks out by *also* releasing another team book, featuring an entirely new group of characters, all with WEIRD FREAKY POWERS. Like, um, wings and ice and shit. Well, not that last one, but you get the picture. Here they are now, summoned by Professor X, headmaster of the School For Gifted Youngsters.

(It's not actually a call to action - the Professor just wants to know who's pinched the wheels off his chair.)

Having assembled his class, Professor X welcomes a new student, the most famous redhead in comics history.

Note the stylish fashions of the pupils of Professor X's school. Check trousers and a bow tie, 'Slim'? Ouch. And is that a blue safari suit that Hank's dolled up in?

Ms. Grey is understandably confused about Professor X's motives for luring her to this school for squares, so the Professor gives her the 4-1-1.

Fortunately, despite being members of an all-male school, the X-Men know well how to handle one of the fairer sex. sort of.

Yeah, this is going to work out well. Anyhoo, whilst the boys quarrel over who's going to nail Miss Grey first, the action shifts to Cape Citadel, where the US government are launching one of their mighty space rockets (apparently, although he's already gotten to the moon, six months earlier, Reed Richards hasn't bothered to give Uncle Sam any help with their space program). But wait, what's this?

After twatting the rocket out of the sky, Magneto (for it is he) proceeds to launch a one-man invasion of the missile base.

True to his word, Magneto makes short work of the army personnel, and confronts the man in charge.

I love how much respect the letterer shows the art in this panel. Was it a particularly bad shot of Magneto's head? Anyway, back at the school, the boys are continuing to get used to their new classmate.

It's all a bit Porky's American Pie, isn't it? Any second now, Hank McCoy's going to sticking his knob through the hole into the girl's shower-block. Before Jean can tear the boys a set of new arses, the Professor summons the class to his study, tells them about Magneto's assault on Cape Citadel, and sends them off to defeat him. Unfortunately, they seem to have forgotten that the Master of Magnetism is in control of the base defences...

The X-Men are put through their paces, both by the missiles and by Magneto himself. For a brief moment, the bad guy even manages to overcome them. But this being fiction, and they being the heroes, it doesn't last long.

And so it begins, the rivalry between the X-Men and Magneto. And also, the beginnings of the X-Mens' reputation as being feared and hated by humanity.

Eh? Oh well, enjoy the popularity while you can, guys...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Considering what came after, that was very strange. Especially Hank.

Liked Jean's Mad Men ensemble, though.