Baron, Lawrence. "X-Men as J Men: The Jewish Subtext of a Comic Book Movie." Shofar: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish Studies 22.1 (2003): 44-52. MLA International Bibliography. EBSCO. Web. 24 Sept. 2011.

            This article assess the metaphor of mutation as being a Jew.  Baron starts his article by looking at the Jewish upbringing of both Jack Kirby and Stan Lee who used to be named Jacob Kurtzberg and Stanley Lieber.  As these two men were the creators of the X-Men, Baron claims that they saw this series as way to discuss the issues of prejudice that they saw in their own lives.  Baron also covers the military of both men in WWII which carries over to a pamphlet written by Stan Lee concerning Marvel's “policy of telling the readers the truth about the Nazi menace” (46).  Seen in this light, elements of the series such as the Mutant Registration Act are clearly an element of Nazism.  Even Professor Xavier, who is never identified as being a Jew, looks like the stereotypical Jew who is physically weak but mentally strong and his methods of training his mutants to blend in and get along with humans are similar to the strategies used by many first generation Jews born in America.  Baron explains the metaphor of mutation as part of the Civil Rights Movement by saying that Jews felt sympathy for the movement, so the Jewish writers put it into the series.  His proof is a quote from “Stan Lee's Soapbox” where the Lee states that he feels that all humans should treat other humans with respect, no matter their creed, race or color..
            The second part of the article looks at a Jewish reading of the first two X-Men movies.  Baron starts his discussion by mentioning that Brian Singer, the director of the first two X-Men movies, is Jewish and how his generation was raised to be aware of the Holocaust through films like Shoah.  Baron also mentions that Singer has had experience with the Holocaust in his third film, Apt Pupil, which is about a young boy discovering a Nazi war criminal in his neighborhood.  Baron included quotes from Singer discussing how the image of the Holocaust in the first movie is supposed to serve for any persecuted minority.  One element considered by Baron that is novel in this reading of the series is the website called “Mutant Watch” that was created as a media hype before the first film.  The main feature of the website was a way to report people as mutants and contained letters from Senator Kelly telling people it is their responsibility as Americans to report anyone they thought was a mutant.   Other elements on the website were news stories involving mutants, such as a report that the Cub Scouts of America were kicking out mutant members and how the CDC had published findings of more “bad” mutations occurring, how health insurance was being denied to mutants and how one superintendent was barring mutant students from attending.  Baron ends his article by explaining that creating this website and material on it was not difficult if one has researched the “red scare” in America's history.  Sadly this website is no longer in existence even though it is cited in Baron's bibliography.


Bartlett, Myke. "X-Men and X2." Screen Education 58 (2010): 111-115. Academic Search Complete. EBSCO. Web. 24 Sept. 2011.

            This article identifies the different readings of “otherness” as mutation in the first two films.  Bartlett starts with the interpretation of mutation as homosexuality in both films, drawing attention to the “coming out” scene for Bobby Drake that is mentioned in other articles, but Bartlett makes an interesting point about this scene.  None of Bobby's family members can accept what he is; his mother asks him if he has tried to be normal, his father stares at him is disbelief and seems unable to voice an opinion while the younger brother hides and calls the authorities.  Bobby's family's reaction reminds us that intolerance starts at home.  Bartlett also mentions mutation as a metaphor for the treatment of Jews and for the changing body of a teenager.  Bartlett's example for the changing body metaphor is Rogue, whose powers manifest in her first kiss which for most is of course scary, but imagine if you put the other person in a coma! 
            The light-hearted tone of Bartlett's articles shifts when he turns to Nightcrawler.  In the second film, Nightcrawler is first shown as a terrorist who is attempting to assassinate the president.  Mutants as terrorists is a big change from the first tot he second film and is not a metaphor covered in the comic books except in earlier issues where mutants were looked at with the same fear as Communists.  As the film continues, viewers learn that a section of the government was behind the plot and mutants were innocent which fits with fears of governmental control all in the sake of freedom.  Bartlett also clarifies that Magneto's plan to turn the world leaders into mutants in the first movie is not a terrorist act as his motivation is to help the acceptance of mutants and stop things such as Senator Kelly's Mutant Registration Act. 


Biniek, Matthew, and James A. Lynch. "Technocomics." Encyclopedia of Science, Technology, and Ethics. Ed. Carl Mitcham. Vol. 4. Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA, 2005. 1893-1898. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 17 Oct. 2011.

            This article first defines technocomics as “illustrated narratives in which science and technology play a major role in the determination of character and action” (Biniek 1893), and says that X-Men fit into this category since the characters gain their mutation from environmental contamination of nuclear waste and this mutation creates a social conflict.  Biniek stresses that this comic in particular serves as a warning against advanced scientific experimentation in the nuclear age, which is a popular theme in technocomics.  This theme of the ethical debate of scientific experimentation, especially in living things is seen doubly in Wolverine as he has a super-healing ability as his mutation and his adamantium skeleton is the product of a scientific experiment.  Another character who exemplifies a theme of technocomics is Professor Xavier as he provides the moral compass for the behavior of mutant and he always chooses the good or ethical choice.  Biniek ends his article with a section on Social Darwinism as a very popular debate in technocomics and is shown in the X-Men by the argument between Magneto and Xavier.  Magneto sees the human race as the previous step in evolution while mutants, or homo superior, are the next step and should take their proper place as the dominant species of Earth.  There is a very good bibliography attached to this article.


Boatner, Charlie. “Changes in the X-Men” The Comics Journal No. 46, May 1979 (p. 63)

            This article was not received in time for this assignment.


Brewer, H. Michael. “Chapter 10: X-Men, In the World but Not of It.” Who Needs a Superhero? Finding Virtue, Vice, and What's Holy in the Comics. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2004. 134-149. Print.
            This book considers major comic book heroes as guides for a Christian life.  Chapter 10 looks specifically at the X-Men,  starting with a description of the series' basic mutants vs. human plot.  Brewer emphasizes that the idea of mutants being in the world, but not of it is a symbol for the life of a Christian.  Just like mutants, Christians are feared for their difference and hated by the rest of mankind.  Brewer dissects this relationship further by saying that mutants fit into four categories: “peacefully coexisting with the world, attacking the world, compromising to fit in to the world, and withdrawing with the world” (Brewer 139) and then proceeds to show how the church's history also fits the same four categories.  The author also looks at a few specific characters, saying that Professor Xavier is Jesus gathering disciples, the Morlocks are monks living a life of solitude, and Magneto's “us vs. them” attitude is played out in church boycotts and Christian political action groups.  This book does not contain an index but as each chapter is devoted to a different comic book hero or group, it is not needed. 


Bukatman, Scott. “X-Bodies: The Torment of the Mutant Superhero.” Uncontrollable Bodies: Testimonies of Identity and Culture. Eds. Rodney Sappington and Tyler Stallings.  Seattle: Bay Press, 1994. 93-130. Print.

            This essay associates the embodiment of the superhero with “shifting attitudes toward flesh, self, and society” (Bukatman 96).  Bukatman starts with a history of the comic book superhero, looking specifically at the different motivations for their creation, such as the “clubhouse” mentality that surrounds the X-Men, and how our society's obsession with bodybuilding has influenced the design of Wolverine and Beast.  Specifically for Beast, Bukatman says that Dr. McCoy fulfills the “big guy” stereotype as he is physically large and strong but this exterior hides a soft and sophisticated interior.  In his examination of the X-Men, Bukatman explains the defining difference between say Cyclops and Rogue and Captain America or Superman is that mutant abilities are a gross extension of one part of their body, eyes for Cyclops and skin for Rogue, that they sometimes have trouble controlling so the X-Men often end up cleaning up their own messes.  None of the mutants are well-rounded.  While Wolverine may have super healing, super senses and agility he is often a victim of his own rage.  Beast may be very intelligent and have super agility, but he is also blue and furry.  Bukatman ends the essay by discussing how the popularity of the series in the 90's came from Generation X's love for body modification with tattoos and piercings.  This essay includes a very good bibliography containing not only issues of the X-Men but also texts for further reading of body modification.  


Chemers, Michael 2004 "Mutatis Mutandis: An Emergent Disability Aesthetic in X-2: X-Men United." Disability Studies Quarterly 24.1 (2004): n. pg. Web. 24 Sept. 2011.

            This review of the second X-Men film starts by saying that the film is unprecedented in the discussion of disability as it has not only two of the most famous Royal Shakespeare Company veterans, Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart, but also two women commonly acknowledged among the most attractive supermodels, Halle Berry and Rebecca Romjin-Stamos.  Chemers elaborates on the  current ideal of mutation, as discussed by Armand Leroi in his book Mutants (2003).  Leroi says that mutation is basically an imperfection, and the fewer mutations one has, the more beautiful or more attractive one is considered.  However, X2: X-Men United serves as a counter-narrative to this. 
            Chemers gives a very short history of the comic book series, focusing on how each mutant has coped or not coped with their own disability.  ”Like real disabled persons, as a group they are divided by disparate loyalties, backgrounds, philosophical outlooks, and opinions about the best path forward. Like real disabled persons, they feel alienated from the mainstream. Like real disabled persons, they use a lot of prosthetics (in the case of the central figure, Logan, these take the form of six-inch razor-sharp indestructible claws).” (1).  However, Chemer goes on to emphasize that the film's representation of disability-related discourse is harsher than in the comics
            X2 introduces a new character to the big screen – General Stryker.  Chemers likens General Stryker to Josef Mengele, the Nazi scientist who experimented on Jews.  Both Stryker and Mengele experimented on children and both used drugs to keep their subjects calm.  Chemers also reveals Stryker's motivation for this experimentation.  Stryker has a mutant son, Jason, who was sent to Professor Xavier.  Stryker hoped Xavier would “cure” his son and he has never been able to see mutation as anything other than a disease. 
            The review also deals with other important scenes, such as Bobby's “coming out” scene.  Chemers says that Bobby's experience is a perfect example of the confession of anyone who has a hidden ability such as depression or an eating disorder.  Nightcrawler serves as a symbol for anyone whose disability is impossible to hide.  Kurt reveals that before he became an X-Man, he used to work in the circus which is still the vocation of many disabled people.  Nightcrawler describes the people who were afraid of him a pitiful because they will never be open minded.  This sense of pity is also common in people with disabilities.  Chemers ends his review by saying that the film provides a “disability-positive aesthetic paradigm” (2) that encourages us to embrace the difference gained through mutation as it does provide the key to our evolution.


Darius, Julian.  “X-Men is Not an Allegory of Racial Tolerance”  Sequential Culture.  25 Sept. 2002. Web. 30 Sept. 2011.

            This article rejects the allegory of mutation as race.  Darius explains that when the series was started, it was not about race, it was about Communism.  In the first generation, the team was all white and their mutations were hidden under their skin.  Even Beast was not blue and furry, he just looked like a squat bodybuilder.  Also, Angel did have his wings but he could easily put on restraining straps to hide them under his clothes.  Each member could easily pass as human.  Darius tracks this loss of Communistic allegory as the mutations become very visible, but he maintains that the series was more successful in the first generation as it played on people's fears that they have a friend or lover who might be a Communist. 
            The rest of the article is devoted to explaining the allegory of mutation as race which is surprising considering the article's beginning.  Darius does make a couple of new points about the racial reading of the series.  Professor Xavier and the X-Men are supposed to be the “good” mutants while Magneto and his Brotherhood of Mutants is supposed to be the “bad” ones.  So this series then is not about the oppression of mutant kind but the civil war between the good and bad mutants.  The main job of the X-Men is to oppress Magneto and other mutants like him.  Darius likens Xavier to Booker T. Washington who, after the civil war, asked blacks to first prove that they could be productive members of society before asking for things like the right to vote.  The article ends with Darius recommending that the X-Men stop hiding in their mansion and start a peaceful protest. 


Darowski, Joseph. "Reading "the Uncanny X-Men": Gender, Race, and the Mutant Metaphor in a Popular Narrative." Michigan State University, 2011. United States -- Michigan: ProQuest Dissertations & Theses A&I. Web. 10 Oct. 2011.

            This dissertation documents elements of race and gender in the first 500 issues of The Uncanny X-Men.  Darowski explains in his abstract that he completed a numerical analysis of the gender, nationality and race of the many different villains and heroes of the series.  He also defends his choice of the X-Men by saying that the series is “one of the most diverse and progressive superhero comic book titles” and that his reading has uncovered a different reality than the one normally seen by scholars and readers.


DeFalco, Tom. Comic Creators on X-Men. London: Titan Books, 2006. Print.

            This book is a collection of interviews from Stan Lee, Roy Thomas, Neal Adams, Chris Claremont, Dave Cockrum, John Byrne, Alan Davis, Louise Simonson, Marc Silvestri, Bob Harras, Scott Lobdell, Chris Bachalo, Grant Morrison and Mark Millar.  All of the interviews were done by Tom DeFalco and they examine the contributions each person has made to the X-Men series.  Every interview is different as the questions are specific to changes each person made to the series.  Most questions ask for an explanation of why an artist or writer took a plot or character in a certain direction. For most of the contributors who came to the series after it started they are asked what got them interested in the series and if they were fans before they got to work with the X-Men.  Almost every other page contains either character sketches, mini-biographies of characters or other contributors, script pages or full page reproductions of covers, panels, or pages.  Each interview begins with a short biography of the interviewee with a picture, basic biographical information along with career highlights.  While Tom DeFalco's questions demonstrate a vast knowledge and understanding of the series, the book lacks an index. 


Di, Paolo M. War, Politics and Superheroes: Ethics and Propaganda in Comics and Film. Jefferson, N.C: McFarland, 2011. Print.

            Through a personal misunderstanding, I was not able to retrieve this source.


Diebler, Matthew. "'I'm Not One of Them Anymore': Marvel's X-Men and the Loss of Minority (Racial) Identity." International Journal of Comic Art 8.2 (2006): 406-413. MLA International Bibliography. EBSCO. Web. 24 Sept. 2011.

This article offers a unique use of the X-Men comics.  Usually one looks at how historical movements such as the Civil Rights Movement affected the comic book, but this is the only case of the comic providing a narrative for us to use in a new aspect of our modern day life.  Diebler reports on a new scientific process that allows people to have their complete genetic history traced through DNA.  While this may seem trivial, it can take away someone’s identity, like Wayne Joseph, who had his genetic history traced and discovered that even though he has grown up identifying himself as an African-American, he actually has no African-American DNA.  This loss of identity could be very difficult to handle, and is something that was covered in great detail in a 2005 X-Men storyline.  In the story, the Scarlett Witch, whose powers involve changing reality to fit her desires, curses mutants by saying these words “No more mutants.”  Her desire translates to over ninety percent of mutants losing their powers.  The following issues looked at several mutants and their different ways for handling this loss of identity.  Diebler remarks at the end of his article that if we learn from the characters’ loss, we would know to tell people like Wayne Joseph to keep some part of that old identity and merge it with something new.  In the comic books, every ex-mutant who cut all ties from their old identity either killed themselves or led very destructive lives.  There is a very good bibliography for this article.


Denison, Rayna. "(Trans)National X-Factor: Patrick Stewart, Britishness and the Promotion of X-Men." Critical Survey 18.3 (2006): 65-82. Academic Search Complete. EBSCO. Web. 24 Sept. 2011.

            This article critiques production elements of the first two films and how the first film crossed international boundaries by its cast, specifically Patrick Stewart as Professor Xavier.  Denison explains that the comic's desire to appeal to readers of different races and nationalities translates to the movie being appealing to non-American audiences.  In fact, characters like Senator Kelly and his Mutant Registration Act make America look like a bigoted country which would make it more appealing in other countries.  This is a unique look at the Mutant Registration Act and it is interesting that in the case of appealing to multinational audiences, the films have succeeded where the comic book has failed. 
            In the first movie, eight characters are played by non-American actors.  The choice of Patrick Stewart is important as he is identified as supremely British.  The production team played on that by dressing him in clean-cut three piece suits and designing his wheel chair and matching metal of Cerebro to look like a throne and crown, very British images.   American actors who play main characters, like Halle Berry as Storm, have items in thier costume that are supposed to appeal to other cultures.  In one scene Halle Berry is playing an African character but she is wearing a t-shirt featuring a Japanese television series. 
            The rest of the article is a discussion of practices of film marketing and does not delve into the X-Men characters so it will not be mentioned here. 


Duffy, William. "Sing Muse, of the Immortal Hero: Using Epic to Understand Comic Books." International Journal of Comic Art 8.1 (2006): 258-270. MLA International Bibliography. EBSCO. Web. 24 Sept. 2011.

            This article asks the questions, why can comic book heroes die and then be resurrected and what effect does this have on them and the genre?   Duffy uses a comparison between the epics Beowulf, the Illiad and the Odyssey and comic books because they are very similar except in one big aspect; epic heroes rarely die and when they do it normally happens at the end of the story whereas superheroes die and get resurrected all the time.  The X-Men were chosen to represent superheroes in this article because there are many main characters, so there are many chances for them to die and be resurrected.  Duffy does look at the death of Superman in 1992, but he explains that this was only done to increase sales and the same motivator had writers scrambling to figure out a way to bring him back. 
            Baron uses the death and resurrection of Colossus to demonstrate the elements of resurrection in comic books.  When Colossus dies, he is in a romantic relationship with the then sixteen year old Kitty Pryde which did cause discomfort among some readers and writers, but when he was resurrected she is now almost the same age as him which fixes that problem.  This fluid nature of comic books allows the deaths of major characters to be a springboard for the maturity of others or a time of growth in the deceased.  Baron uses elements of Kubler-Ross's book Death: The Final Stage of Growth to facilitate this part of the article.  Kubler-Ross says that the last stage of one's life is the ripest for personal growth and this is seen in many of the dying characters in the X-Men.  Colossus decides to sacrifice himself to keep mutant kind from the fatal Legacy Virus even though he has finally found love.  Also, Jean Grey commits suicide to save the rest of the team and to ensure that the destructive power of the Phoenix cannot kill another planet. 
            This ability to come back from the dead is also given to the villains of the X-Men which ensures that the series's conflict of mutants vs. human will never die because Magneto will never go away.  This longevity of villains allows them to use the end of their lives as a chance to turn around and join the other side, which is what Emma Frost, the Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver do.  Magneto does join the X-Men for short periods of time, but he always returns to his primary goal; the protection of mutant kind at all costs.  Another product of this longevity is that the “mutant problem” can serve as a metaphor for the Civil Rights Movement, persecuted Jews, homosexuals and today even members of radical religions like Islam. 

Duncan, Randy.  ““Toward a Theory of Comic Book Communication.” Academic Forum 17 (1999-2000): n. pag. Web. 10 Oct. 2011. 

            This article is the report of a study wishing to rectify a missing element of comic book criticism.  The element is encapsulation, or “the framing of the essential moments of a story in 'telling' images” (1).  Other elements such as layout and composition have already been covered by others, so Duncan wishes to focus on encapsulation.  For the methodology of his study, Duncan uses a panel-by-panel examination of ten graphic novels or comic stories to create categories of encapsulation.  The second part of the study looked at a sample of fifty comic books, X-Men figured into this part of the study.  Duncan explains the relationship between encoding symbols and encapsulation in comic books, and breaks down the different kinds of panels and how they affect encapsulation.  His explanation also includes encapsulation of action, time, distance and sound.  Each description of an encapsulation method is followed by an explanation of how readers decode each element.  While Duncan does not include his findings of encapsulation in his sample of fifty comic books, his meticulous study of encapsulation is sure to benefit any critical reader of the X-Men. There is a bibliography attached to this article, and the only place to retrieve this article is online. 


Duncan, Randy and Matthew J. Smith. The Power of Comics: History, Form, and Culture. New York: Continuum, 2009. Print.

This book calls itself a textbook in its introduction, and that is an accurate description.  Each chapter contains vocabulary words, discussion questions, activities and suggestions for further reading.  The chapters progess in chronological order; the section pertaining to the X-Men gives a complete history of all “rebirths” of the series.  Instead of dealing with each major series separately, the writers ended the book with chapters  dedicated to the framework of critical discussion for any comic book series.  This framework contains things such as dynamics with sidekicks, themes, narrative patterns, visual conventions and analyzing comic book characters as modern myths and the X-Men do feature as examples in a couple of these conventions.  The book has a very meticulous bibliography and index.


Dussere, Erik.  “The Queer World of the X-Men.”  Salon.  12 July 2000.  Web. 10 October 2011.

            This article begins with Dussere's discovery of the series as a young boy and recognizing after five years of readership that reading comics is something that labels you as an outsider.  He actually likens it to playing Dungeons and Dragons or committing arson.  He puts away the series until the announcement of the first film.  Dussere covers the basic similarities between mutants and African-Americans, Jews and homosexuals and even the Jewish background of Magento.  He then returns to homosexuality by saying that the series' strongest metaphor is this: mutation is homosexuality because  gay people walk among us without us knowing, both start in adolescence and this difference frequently pushes a young person outside of their family and community.  One unique reading of Professor Xavier in this article is as a “den mother from the pre-Stonewall days” (1).  Dussere also looks the enemies of the X-Men, Senator Kelly and Reverend William Stryker from the comics in 1982.  Dussere explains that the Stryker character is modeled on political preachers of the 80's who crusaded against homosexuality, and Stryker leads his congregation on a violent crusade against those who are different.  Dussere ends his article by explaining that while the core of the X-Men are not gay, their fight is the same fight as homosexuals. 


Earnest, William. “Making Gay Sense of the X-Men.” Uncovering Hidden Rhetorics: Social Issues in Disguise. Ed. Barry Brummett. Los Angeles: Sage Publications, 2008. 215-232. Print.

            This essay claims that in the three X-Men films, “the premise of 'mutation' is best understood as a metaphor for non-mainstream sexualities” (Earnest 217) instead of reading the difference between mutants and humans as a difference in class.  Earnest scans each movie in order, pointing out several scenes that parallel the development and trials of most homosexuals, such as the “coming out” scene for Bobby Drake in X2: X-Men United where his mother asks him if has ever tried not being a mutant.  Earnest's claim that mutants are a parable for homosexual adolescents also considers the history of comic books, specifically the 1954 congressional investigation which examined whether comic books propagated immoral or criminal behavior in children, citing such things as the supposed homosexual relationship between Batman and Robin.  Frederic Wertham, the psychiatrist appointed to this investigation, said in his report that all superheroes must be gay as there is no other reason for a well-muscled man to run around in tights.  Earnest also discusses other readings of the mutation parable as   a symbol of discrimination, prejudice or the Civil Rights Movement, but holds the best reading of mutation, especially in the three movies is mutation as homosexuality.  The book has a complete index and Earnest's essay does not a bibliography, but does have end-notes that serve just as well.


Evans, C. Stephan.  “Why Should Superheroes Be Good?  Spider-Man, the X-Men, and Kierkegaard’s Double Danger.”  Superheroes and Philosophy: Truth, Justice and the Socratic Way.  Eds. Tom Morris and Matt Morris.  Chicago: Open Court, 2005.  161-176.  Print.

            This article utilizes theories of justice and goodness from Plato’s Republic and Danish philosopher Sǿren Kierkegaard to try to answer the question of why the X-Men are “good”, or at least helpful to humans.  The organization of the article is helpful for readers who are not familiar with either of the philosophical theories as they are discussed in a brief manner at the beginning of the article and then applied to Spider-Man and the X-Men.  Evans’ answer to the question of why the X-Men are good is that they are responding to positive parenting from Professor Xavier.  Evans does supply evidence for why other theories are wrong and he does use Wolverine as proof for his idea, but there is a lack of specific evidence from the X-Men comics and Evans’ knowledge of the material is generic.  For instance, Evans mentions that not much is known about Professor Xavier's background, which is true from the standpoint of someone who has watched the films.  But for someone who has read the comics, they know that Xavier's parents worked on the atomic bomb and his mutation is a result of their exposure to radiation, that Xavier was raised mostly by his stepfather which shaped his personality and that his stepbrother would later become the villain known as Juggernaut.  A reading of the comics would have also shed some light on the motivation for Wolverine to be a good guy as a major part of his development before he gains his adamantium skeleton is his training as a samurai in Japan.  There is a general index for this book but no bibliography for this essay.    


Fawaz, Ramzi. "”Where No X-Man Has Gone Before!” Mutant Superheroes and the Cultural Politics of Popular Fantasy in Postwar America." American Literature 83.2 (2011): 355-388. Academic Search Complete. EBSCO. Web. 24 Sept. 2011.

            This article attempts to understand the resurgence of comic book heroes, looking closely at the X-Men from 1975-1977 and the political and social climate of the time.  Fawaz's first reading of mutation is as a social and cultural war between popular fantasy and radical politics in the postwar period.  In his analysis of the political climate of the 70's, Fawaz says that comic books provided artists with a medium for antiracist and antifascist models of behavior that went directly against the “New Left”.  Fawaz's analysis also considers the effects of Marxism on society.  As for the social climate of the time, Fawaz says that mutation was meant to form a bond between “radical feminists, gay liberation activists, and the counterculture in the 1970's” (361).  This socially and politically viable medium is the reason the second generation of the comic succeeded so well.  The first generation was too narrow in its view of mutation. 
            The second half of the article emphasizes the unique roles played by Storm and Jean Grey.  For Storm, Fawaz notes that she is not from America, and she questions feminine norms such as not wearing clothes while swimming or working around the mansion.  Storm also does not allow the male members of the team to even consider her as a romantic object as she calls them her brothers and always turns down any romantic advance.  However, Storm is a woman and her costumes and hair styles never leave this to question and she often acts as a mother or sister figure to other members of the team.  So Storms acts as a character who is aware of different racial and gender identities, but instead of allowing herself to be placed in a role, she chooses what she wants to be.
            Jean Grey does not have the luxury of an outsider like Storm.  Jean Grey is the stereotypical American female, just with weak telepathic abilities.  However this changes when she transforms into the Phoenix, and this transformation is a symbol of Jean breaking out of the “constraints of traditional American womanhood.” (372)  When Jean Grey rises from the water in her first transformation into the Phoenix, that cover of issue 101 shows Cyclops and Storm being overtaken by the waves Jean is creating, which shows that black women and white men are the ones pushed away by the liberated white woman.  At the end of this saga, Storm overcomes her fear of Phoenix and literally joins hands with Jean and offers up her life to help the Phoenix.  Cyclops's father does the same, demonstrating the writer's wishes for cross gender and cross racial partnerships.  Fawaz's analysis of this storyline continues to the end with the Phoenix's realization that every member of the X-Men is important and the image of the team forms in her mind as the tree of life from Kabbalan teachings.  Fawaz ends the article by discussing how this series showed readers that in a time of changing family, sexual and racial ideals, the proper response is not to fight for the way things always were but to accept differences and change.  The excellent footnotes in this article would be a great help to anyone interested in these aspects of the series. 


Fingeroth, Danny.  Disguised as Clark Kent: Jews, Comics, and the Creation of the Superhero. New York: Continuum, 2007.

The chapters of this book are divided into different Jewish aspects of superheroes.  “Chapter 8: Love Thy Neighbor as Thyself: The X-Men and the Seventies”, starts with strong praise for the series: “The X-Men is the most direct metaphor for tolerance, racial and otherwise, ever to grace the pages of a comic book” (Fingeroth 113).  Fingeroth argues that the two generations of the series represent two generations’ methods for rationalizing the horrors of WWII and other instances of racism.  He states that Stan Lee and Jack Kirby started the series with the purpose of being a forum discussing the changing world and how mankind was going to have to learn how to live with minorities.  The original characters started on their path of quietly helping humans where they could, which reflected the attitude of Jewish Americans at the time.  The main element of the series that corresponded to the plights of the Jews was Professor Xavier’s message, which asked humanity to not fear mutants because of their difference and to not judge the entire group based on the behavior of a few.  While this message continues into the second generation with the half-Jewish writer Chris Claremont, the focus moved more to Civil Rights, with Professor Xavier taking the side of Martin Luther King Jr. and Magneto the side of Malcolm X.  Magneto’s Jewish background and survival from the death camps was clarified by Claremont, allowing all mutants to become victims in the eyes of the reader.  Fingeroth elaborates the Jewish symbolism that appears in the Phoenix saga, especially the scene at the end where Jean imagines the X-Men as the parts of the tree of life, with herself at the top and even calls herself Tipherath, the sixth element of the Kabbalah.  Fingeroth also draws attention to “The Days of Future Past” storyline, especially the genetic testing made mandatory by the government that classifies everyone as either H (pure human), A (anomalous) or M (mutant) and the separation of everyone based on their classification which of course is supposed to remind readers of the Holocaust.  It is interesting to note that this alternate future is diverted by Kitty Pryde, who is a Jew.  Each chapter of this book has its own detailed bibliography with further reading suggestions.

Fingeroth, Danny. Superman on the Couch: What Superheroes Really Tell Us about Ourselves and Our Society. New York: Continuum, 2004. Print.

   This book’s chapters each deal with a different aspect of superheroes, either the start of the superhero story in humanity, the dual identity, orphaned superheroes, anger and berserk qualities or the family unit like the X-Men.  Chapter seven focuses on characters like the Hulk, Punisher and Wolverine as superheroes who use rage to fuel their actions.  Wolverine is described as a unique addition to this category because he can kill many people during his berserker rage but he still maintains sympathy with the audience in a way that the Punisher does not.  Fingeroth suspects that Logan is likable because he is in a group and his rage is not his entire character, just a part of it that comes out when Logan has to protect his family, the X-Men.  If readers see mutation as a metaphor for otherness, then Wolverine is the protector of all misfits.  Chapter six covers “Thermonuclear families: Justice League, the X-Men and the Fantastic Four”.  In Fingeroth’s comparison of the different comic book families, the X-Men are the closest to a real family situation.  Fingeroth describes it as “There is no meritocracy, no choice, no passing a test or showing a record of achievement.  There is just , somehow or other, ‘showing up.’“ (107).  


Foege, Alec. "THE X-MEN FILES." New York 33.27 (2000): 52. Academic Search Complete. EBSCO. Web. 24 Sept. 2011.

            This article studies the effects and changes that Chris Claremont has had on the X-Men as Claremont “transformed a single underachieving comic into the best-selling superhero franchise of its time” (54).  Foege lists the differences between Claremont and Stan Lee as: Claremont reinvigorated the characters by making his heroes morally ambiguous and downright tortured, he also played up the idea that the X-Men were outsiders and that their real enemy is hate which unfortunately will never go away.  Claremont always saw Professor Xavier and Magneto as echoes of David Ben-Gurion and Menachem Begin.  He also used the Method approach to fleshing out his characters by asking the questions: “What are their goals in life?”,  “Who does their dishes?”,  “What kind of music do they listen to?”.  By thinking of the X-Men series as the “great American novel”, just with characters that can fly, Claremont inserted emotional nuance into the series where ever he could.  For example, when Wolverine reveals to his team mates that his claws were not just products of scientific experimentation but actual bone claws attached to his skeleton, the entire team recoils in shock.  Even among the outsiders, Wolverine is different and these moments are what Claremont wanted for his fans. 
            The end of the article covers the writer who replaced Claremont for a few years, Scott Lobdell.  These writers had major differences in their viewing of the characters and story.  Lobdell was more plot-driven while Claremont was more character-driven.  Foege reminds readers however that the personalities of the characters seen in the first movie came mostly from Claremont's time with the series. 


Fried, Brian. "Radioactive Kryptonite: The Industrial Factors Behind the use of Origin Tales in Comics-Based Films." Carleton University (Canada), 2001. Canada: ProQuest Dissertations & Theses A&I. Web. 10 Oct. 2011.

            This dissertation explicates the origin story in comic book films, with an emphasis on the first X-Men movie.  Fried explains that origin stories are important to both the comic book industry as a revival for sales figures and to the needs of Hollywood as a demonstration for the need for more synergy and team behavior. 


Hall, Kelley J. and Betsy Lucal. “Tapping into Parallel Universes: Using Superhero Comic Books in Sociology Courses” Teaching Sociology , Vol. 27, No. 1 (Jan., 1999), pp. 60-66.  JSTOR. Web. 24 Sept. 2001.

            This article suggests how to use comic books to show sociological perspective, as Hall and Lucal consider the comic book as a cultural artifact.  Hall and Lucal explain that the X-Men work well for this exercise as it centers on a team, so there are more characters for the students to analyze.  While there are not many mentions of specific characters or plot points from the X-Men, the authors are looking to provide a broad text that will encourage teachers to use comic books as historical and sociological texts.  However, it can serve as a useful guide for how to look at comics books.  Hall and Lucal recommend that teachers ask their students to look for elements of the sociology of gender and social inequality while reading comics.  There is a section devoted to the X-Men when they discuss social inequality and they instruct teachers to look at mutation as racism, homosexuality, homophobia, anti-Semitism and governmental control of anything out of the norm.  The article ends with good instruction for the best methods for purchasing and utilizing comic books as classroom texts.  The bibliography is very useful for anyone looking to pursue this kind of project. 


Housel, Rebecca. “Myth, Morality, and the Women of the X-Men.” Superheroes and Philosophy: Truth, Justice, and the Socratic Way. Eds. Tom Morris and Matt Morris. Chicago: Open Court, 2005. 75-88. Print.

            This essay characterizes the characters Storm, Mystique and Jean Grey as heroes on their path as described by Joseph Campbell.  When Campbell described this journey, he said there were three parts: a departure, an initiation, and a return and Housel believes that each of them mentioned mutants goes through this in the first two movies.  She does supply ample support for each stage of the journey for each character in an organized manner, although she does have to borrow plot points from the comic book to fulfill everything.  The book has a general index with author, title, title of series, and character entries but this is not needed for Housel's essay as it very well organized.  Her footnotes serve as a bibliography.


Kalish, Carol and Richard Howell, “Life Among the Mutants: The X-Men Under Chris Claremont and John Byrne” (p. 59) The Comics Journal No. 49, September 1979

            This article was not received in time for this assignment.

Kaveney, Roz. Superheroes! Capes and Crusaders in Comics and Films. London: I.B. Tauris, 2008. Print.

This book’s chapters do not focus on one series at a time but instead discuss things like how reboots of series work and why they failed if they did, so the comprehensive index at the end of this book is very valuable.  There are minor mentions of the X-Men scattered throughout the book, but the bulk of the discussion concerning the X-Men occurs in “Chapter 4: Dark Knights, Team-Mates and Mutants – Sustaining the Superhero Narrative.“  Before chapter 4, Kaveney dissects Professor Xavier’s relationship with Moira McTaggert, especially in the series as written by Grant Morrison.  This is notable as Morrison has Xavier distance himself from Moira and their son David to foster a deeper friendship with Magneto.  This friendship is shown in the second and third movie and is the reason for their supposed homosexual relationship.  The other notable mention before chapter 4 explores how Jean Grey overreached herself in the Phoenix Saga and that this was the first time a female superhero had done this in Marvel’s history.  Previous moments of overreaching in comic books always featured male superheroes and only when they were becoming villains.  Chapter 4 tracks the changes made to the series in the 2000’s when Grant Morrison took over the series.  Kaveney covers the plots concerning the “E-gene” found in the human genome meaning its pending extinction, the mass murder of almost 16 million mutants in Genosha and Professor Xavier’s evil twin, Cassandra.  One point of Morrison’s writing remarked on by Kaveney is Morrison’s need for characters to behave in a mature manner, which is shown when Scott Summers and Jean Grey end their relationship out of boredom and Scott quickly turns to Emma Frost.  Another example of the team’s mature behavior while under Morrison’s hand was the new leadership of Scott, who has had a tendency to be “whiny” in the past, but Morrison uses Wolverine as way to keep Scott in check.  Kaveney later scrutinizes some changes made to the series in the transition from comic book to film, specifically at how the Phoenix storyline played out in the second and third movies and how the director of the third film did not do the story justice.  

Klock, Geoff. "X-Men, Emerson, Gnosticism." Reconstruction: Studies in Contemporary Culture 4.3 (2004): MLA International Bibliography. EBSCO. Web. 24 Sept. 2011.

            Klock argues that two X-Men writers, Mark Miller and Grant Morrison, provide fresh comments on post-humanism.  In Miller's X-Men, the subjective ideal of gnosticism is shown through Professor Xavier when he leaves his wife and child to create a mutant society with Magneto.  Morrison mirrors this dark look at post-humanism through alternate futures of the X-Men featuring pessimistic views of life.  


Knowles, Christopher. Our Gods Wear Spandex: The Secret History of Comic Book Heroes. Illus. Joseph Michael Linsner. San Francisco: Weisner Books, 2007. Print.

            This book postulates that superheroes fill in the place left by the deities worshiped by our ancestors.  The first part of the book, titled “Superheroes Reborn”, gives a history of comic book heroes and Knowles speculates that the same need for Superman during WWII will create a higher demand for heroes in our post 9-11 culture.  The second part of the book, “Ancient Mysteries”, is a smattering of major mythologies, social and political movements of the 19th century, major secret societies and what Knowles calls “Occult Superstars”, such as Harry Houdini and Alistair Crowley.  This section is supposed to serve as evidence for our society's need for a hero.  Part three, “Pulp Fiction” describes serial publishing of stories by Edgar Allen Poe and Arthur Conan Doyle as a connection to today's comic books which leads to the final section of the book “The New Gods”.  Chapter 13 contains the bulk of the book's superhero discussion and starts with Superman is a Jewish messiah, Captain Marvel is a symbol for Masonic initiation, Hawkman as Horus and Captain America as the first “science” hero.   As for the X-Men, Wolverine is described as golem as he continuously loses his memory and Storm, Rogue, Emma Frost and Jean Grey are mentioned under the section called “Amazons”.  The group is placed under the archetype of the brotherhood and this mention has a brief history of the series, including Stan Lee's motivations for creating a mutant group in the time of the Beat generation, counterculture, Civil Rights Movement and the persecution of the Jews.  The organization of the book can be confusing, but there is a good index to help as some archetypes are mentioned in several sections.  The bibliography is also very thorough and should provide a good starting place for research concerning archetypes present in the X-Men series.


Lambkin, David J. "The X-Men's Storm: Challenging Cultural Norms?." Popular Culture Review 11.1 (2000): 125-132. MLA International Bibliography. EBSCO. Web. 24 Sept. 2011.

            This well-researched article asks the question of why Storm was created as she does not fit into any other category in comic books.  She is African, a woman and she has no class.  Lambkin organizes his article by first looking at Storm as a woman then later focusing on Storm as an African American, and ending with how Storm never puts herself in or fits into a class.  Lambkin starts his dissection of Storm by looking at her feminine nature.  He notes that all of Storm's costumes feature elements of bondage and many covers display her in positions for her to be dominated, but that is not her personality.  In one of the first issues featuring Storm, she swims naked in the pool at the mansion.  She does not do this to attract men but because that is the way she has always swam.  She does put on clothes when asked, but is confused by this cultural difference as her intentions were innocent.  Another member of the team wonders if they are worse off since they cannot allow her to be herself, which asks the reader to think about culturalism.  While Storm may always looks feminine, she rarely takes part in any domestic tasks around the mansion and even plays poker with the guys.
            Lambkin centers the middle of his article around Richard Reynolds' Superheroes: A Modern Mythology.  He disagrees with Reynolds' notions concerning superheroes of color, as Reyonlds says that non-white superheroes do not offer anything radically different in the genre, they just fill a quota.  Lambkin says a black superhero challenges the American ideal of a hero as all of the other major heroes of the Golden Age of comics were white males.  Lambkin further disagrees with Reynolds' statement about strong female superheroes being similar to the women looked up to in Cosmopolitan.  Lambkin says that the magazine focuses on instruction for women wishing to reach a higher status in society while the comic book does not instruct, it just shows Storm figuring out how to be herself. 
            The last section of his article looks at the notion of class and how Storm never clarifies what class she belongs in.  It is known she had poor backgrounds and spent much of her childhood as a thief, but she was later worshiped as a goddess in Africa.  While she is X-Man, she never works and does go on big shopping trips with no explanation of where her money comes from.  I find it interesting that Lambkin does not mention that this particular characteristic is true of most of the X-Men.  He finishes his article by answering his question of why Storm was created by saying that she is just one way the writers were trying to bring many different cultures to the team just as Wolverine is Canadian, Gambit is Cajun and Nightcrawler is German.


Lecker, Michael J. "'Why Can't I Be Just Like Everyone Else?': A Queer Reading of the X-Men." International Journal of Comic Art 9.1 (2007): 679-687. MLA International Bibliography. EBSCO. Web. 24 Sept. 2011.

            This article establishes a queer reading of the X-Men series, focusing on Essential X-Factor: Volume #1, X-Men: Children of the Atom, the first two movies and the animated show X-Men: The Animated Series.  Lecker explains that his motivation for this article came from his own use of the series as a guide to growing up as a gay youth.  While others have discussed Northstar as the first gay X-Men character and have looked at the metaphor of mutation as homosexuality, Lecker claims to be the first to describe the X-Men as a guide for being a homosexual youth.  Lecker uses theories from Eve Sedgwick as her stance is that gay youth must be able to do queer readings of many works of literature to fight off negative stereotypes from the media.  The only prominent queer members of popular culture serve as hair stylists and fashion gurus, so the X-Men make for a substantial set of heroes.
            The rest of the article is Lecker's evidence for why this series is a good template for growing up as something different from the norm.  His evidence does need to be listed as many of his points are novel to the discussion of this series.  In the X-Men, mutation manifests in characters at about the same time that homosexuality appears in adolescents, and is triggered by moments of stress, even sexual exploration by mutants such as Rogue and Rusty.  Both mutants and gay youth tend to believe that their difference is something they are born with.  The X-Men universe is one where those who are oppressed are those who have more power, so it empowers gay teenagers which is positive and this empowerment is not seen in popular culture.  This message could make the younger audience feel more positive about themselves.  Mutants may either feel self hatred or subject themselves to isolation once their difference is discovered, which may also occur in gay teenagers.  The Morlocks go the extreme with isolation, and this group can represent those whose difference is so outside of our hetero-normative culture that they cannot conform; they cannot pass.  The concept of passing also pertains to characters such as Nightcrawler.  In the second film, Nightcrawler asks Mystique why she does not just conform to look like a human all of the time and her response is that she should not have to. 
            Lecker ends his article by looking at one of the most positive elements of mutant society that he hopes will transfer to the society of homosexuality.  In the X-Men, older mutants look out for and mentor younger mutants.  This article demonstrates an overall understanding of both the comic books, cartoons and film of the X-Men through his evidence.  His bibliography clarifies the origins of his evidence if not done completely in the text. 


Madsen, Deborah L. "Multicultural Futures: Cultural Diversity and the Desire of Belonging." Transitions: Race, Culture, and the Dynamics of Change. 92-107. Vienna, Austria: Lit, 2006. MLA International Bibliography. EBSCO. Web. 24 Sept. 2011.

            This essay highlights the metaphor of mutation as the Civil Rights Movement, looking mostly at the social elements of America when the series started.  Madsen does include examples from the first two movies and she does navigate from the books to the movies very well.  For instance, when she looks at the congressional debate in the first two films to fix the “mutant problem” she also points out  the same debate in the comic book  which is played out when Magneto gets a nation just for mutant kind called Genosha.  She also links these two examples by showing that Professor Xavier represents multiculturalism and Magneto represents separatism in each medium.  The rest of the essay is devoted to a discussion of different country's views of multiculturalism and leaves behind the X-Men after the first three pages.  This article does contain a very exhaustive bibliography if one wishes to further research multiculturalism.  

Maggio, J. “Comics and Cartoons: A Democratic Art-Form.” Political Science and Politics 40.2 (2007): 237-9. JSTOR. Web. 24 Sept 2011.

            This brief article uses the works of Scott McCloud (Understanding Comics, 1994) and C.S. Pierce (The Philosophy of Pierce: Selected Writings, 1940) to say that because our brain uses cognitive images to help us understand the world, then comics allows self-creation and teach us to be members of a democracy.  There is only a small mention of the X-Men, but as there are no other specific titles discussed in this brief article I find it noteworthy.  The series is used as part of an example.  A pre-adolescent can read an issue of the X-Men and can “explore ideas of conflict, loyalty, honor and self-sacrifice” (238) just like a Naval ROTC student can learn the basic parts of a nuclear weapon from a fully illustrated text.  Both texts use images to teach something to their audience.


Mahoney, Carol. "A Content Analysis of Family Relationships in Six Superhero Comic Book Series." Michigan State University, 1997. United States -- Michigan: ProQuest Dissertations & Theses A&I. Web. 10 Oct. 2011.

            This dissertation is a study of family dynamics in six comic book series and X-Men features as one of these families.  Mahoney took a random sampling of issues from each of the six families and her results show that overall, superheroes do not have significant relationships with their family or friends. 


Malcolm, Cheryl Alexander. “Witness, Trauma, and Remembrance: Holocaust Representation and X-Men Comics.” The Jewish Graphic Novel: Critical Approaches. Eds. Samantha Baskind and Ranen Omer-Sherman. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 2010. 144-160. Print.

            This essay is a part of a well researched and indexed book.  Every features a complete bibliography in the end notes.  This essay starts with a long quote by Chris Claremont discussing how he struggled with understanding the motivations of Magneto until he thought about the effects of the Holocaust had on him.  This casting of Magneto as a Holocaust survivor gives depth and complexity to the persecution of mutant-kind.  Malcolm claims that this essay is the first to ”examine how the Holocaust underpins the distrust and uncertainty that characterize X-Men comic books and makes mutants a metaphor for Jews” (144), which is hard to believe as this book was published in 2010.  However, I cannot find a separate date for the writing of this essay. 
            Magneto features as the primary character in Malcolm's essay.  She considers Magneto and the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants from the first generation of the series to have Semitic elements and she claims that Professor Xavier was a symbol for the WASP even though Lee did not set out to do that.  One novel explanation of Magneto in Malcolm's work is in the colors of his costume.  Malcolm has quotes from the comic book where Magneto explains that he wears red in tribute for the Jews killed in the camps, and Malcolm says the purple of his cape should remind readers of royalty which is how he sees his place in the mutant kind.  Professor Xavier wears simplistic suits in black, white and grey; he is more worried about passing as a human.  Malcolm also dissects the visual representation of Magneto between the first and second generations.  Stan Lee never pictured Magneto as a complete character which is demonstrated in how he is never fully pictured in the first generation, but in the second Claremont has complete pictures of him, and shows him to be physically powerful, trying to give readers an image of a strong Jew.
            The last section of the article examines issue 161 of the Uncanny X-Men, where Professor Xavier and Magneto first meeting in a hospital in Israel that is trying to help Holocaust survivors.  This storyline is a product of Claremont and was created to show how the horrors experienced by Holocaust survivors effected both men.  Malcolm also looks at issue 199 as that features Kitty Pryde, who is Jewish, on a trip to the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington DC.  She is taken on this trip by Magneto and the effects of his remembrance stay with Kitty and are seen in issue 210 where she diffuses an angry mob set on killing Nightcrawler.  She tells them they cannot think of Nightcrawler as not human because the Nazis always said that Jews were obviously not human.  This remembrance forces the mob to realize that their desire was wrong. 


Mano, D. Keith. "SUPER FREAKS." National Review 29.18 (1977): 566. Academic Search Complete. EBSCO. Web. 24 Sept. 2011.

This brief article starts off by arguing that comics represent the current communal dream of the human race.  Mano describes the characters Beast, Wolverine and Angel as “walking snatches of hyperbole” (566) and says that major characters are always presented in primary colors not for ease of comic book printing but for ease of  “supermarket packaging” (566).  Mano remarks that the very creation of the X-Men demonstrate that we are a faithless society as they come from an accidental exposure to nuclear materials.  The only element of religion that Mano sees in the X-Men is in the transformation that occurs in older religions where one god splits into many, like Zeus splitting into Aphrodite and Athena.  In Mano’s opinion, the X-Men are children of Superman, the original American comic book god.  The article ends with the question of why mutants are good or bad, and his answer is that there is no answer except for the whim of the character which says that our society does not have faith in the powers and products of science.  Even though this article does not have a bibliography, it feels solid in its interpretation of the series.

McDaniel, Anita K. "Negotiating Life Spaces: Has Marriage Marginalized Storm?." International Journal of Comic Art 9.1 (2007): 688-702. MLA International Bibliography. EBSCO. Web. 24 Sept. 2011.

            This article scrutinizes the effects of the marriage between Storm and the Black Panther, or T'Challa, who is a member of the Avengers and king of an African nation.  McDaniel explains that Marvel created this marriage as a way to raise sales figures, especially among African-American readers, but he knows from researching the largest Marvel comics blog that readers do not focus so much on the racial qualities of the characters; they focus more on the fact that they are superheroes.  McDaniel draws on the definition of a superhero from Danny Fingeroth's book Superman on the Couch.  Fingeroth states that a superhero is a character who deals with problems on a grand scale; they have all of the normal problems of human life but they rise above them, they do not endure them.  McDaniel views this definition as correct and says that this marriage really is not useful as a tactic to generate reader interest.
            Using Fingeroth's definition of superheroes, McDaniel further proves that Storm is a superhero, not just some supporting female character.  This causes a problem with her marriage as McDaniel claims she must give up her status as a superhero if she gets married and moves to Wakanda, which is ruled by the Black Panther.  For support of this idea, McDaniel looks at the narrative and visual representations of Storm in the X-Men series and the space assigned to her in the Black Panther series.  His research into the X-Men examines Storm's costume and changing hair styles, leadership style, fighting style and her ability to overcome the racial and gender barrier put up by other members of the team which proves on many levels that Storm is a fantastic superhero by Fingeroth's definition. 
             The Black Panther is not the first man to contemplate marriage to Storm.  The first was Forge, a fellow X-Man and in issue #290 of the Uncanny X-Men, Forge broken the engagement because he knew that marriage for her meant leaving the team.  It is interesting that neither Forge or McDaniel consider the marriage between Scott Summers and Jean Grey when they think that a marriage will change Storm.  However, in the Black Panther series, Storm is expected to be subordinate to her husband.  She cannot “out superhero” her husband.  McDaniel makes the point that the series does not change its name to Black Panther and Storm, nor is she called Queen Storm, but Queen Ororo and when she first meets her future mother in law, her past heroics are discussed only in the light that she will breed strong children.  There are a couple of times where Storm uses her abilities to be a partner to the Black Panther in battle, but all of those examples occur before the proposal and after it she is relegated to a flying scout.  This subordinate role is drastically different from anything Storm has done before and feels uncharacteristic.  McDaniel ends his article by explaining that he thinks this demotion has been done intentionally but not maliciously.  A thorough bibliography follows the article. 


Messner, Monika. “The Questioning of Cultural Norms in X-Men (2000).” Biotechnological and Medical Themes in Science Fiction. Ed. Domna Pastourmatzi. Thessaloniki: University Studio Press, 2002. 225-231. Print.

   This essay centers its discussion of the X-Men in the films, but all elements mentioned by Messner come from the comic books.  She covers the readings of mutation as a metaphor for Civil Rights and Judaism before coming to a refreshing look at what mutation in the X-Men can mean to modern readers.  Messner considers the fear of mutants in the series to be a reading of the fear of body modification with transplantation, plastic surgery and gender reassignment, saying “the mutation scenario is a metaphor for the fragility of the human self, which increasingly becomes an illusion determined by biology, psychology and other sciences” (229).  The essay ends with a debate of whether Magneto or Xavier are right; especially as Xavier serves as a symbol of restriction while Magneto is a symbol of intellectual expression which is more in line with modern desires.  While the bibliography of this essay is very good, the index of the book is not as there is not a single entry for the X-Men.  

Miller, P. Andrew. "Mutants, Metaphor, and Marginalism: What X-Actly Do the X-Men Stand For?." Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts 13.3 [51] (2003): 282-290. MLA International Bibliography. EBSCO. Web. 24 Sept. 2011.

            This article was not received in time for this assignment. 


Million, Bonnie. "Possessed by Power: The Dialectic of Self as Other in X-Men and X2." The University of Utah, 2006. United States -- Utah: ProQuest Dissertations & Theses A&I. Web. 10 Oct. 2011.

            This dissertation examines the dynamic of individualism and collectivism of American culture as seen in the films X-Men and X2.  Million utilizes the works of philosopher Emmanuel Levinas to observe the internal conflict “of the self as being Other”.   


Morrison, Grant. Supergods. London: Jonathan Cape Ltd, 2011. Print.

            This book was not received in time for this assignment


Pecora, Norma. “Superman/Superboys/Supermen: The Comic Book Hero as Socializing Agent.” Men, Masculinity and the Media. Ed. Steve Craig. London: Sage Publications, 1992. 61-77. Print.

            This essay treats comic books as a guide to masculinity in American culture.  This treatment begins by examining Superman and then the findings are applied to Spider-Man, Batman, Punisher and the X-Men.  Her reason for starting with Superman is she believes the ideals of masculinity from the 1940's are still being taught in comic books today.  These titles were chosen based on sales figures for the highest ranking series and popular characters of the fall of 1990.  The section devoted to the X-Men concludes that ideals of masculinity in this series are the same as in Superman: the man is in control, when women contribute to the fight they do so in swimsuits, main characters act as vigilantes, villains are complex and both series contain images of racism and anti-feminism.  I believe that her sampling of the comic books did not cover a wide enough span of time, nor did she consider different writers of each series.  This book does a general index with a few subject entries but it is not complete as there are no entries for X-Men, Batman or Spider-Man.  There is also no bibliography for this essay.


Perry, Tim. “Mutants that are All Too Human: The X-Men, Magneto, and Original Sin.” The Gospel According to Superheroes: Religion and Popular Culture. Ed. B.J. Oropeza. New York: Peter Lang, 2008. 171-196. Print.

            In this essay, Tim Perry defines the X-Men comic books and movie as religious texts.  The essay begins with a brief history of the series, focusing mainly on the second generation.  Perry sees Jean Grey as both a savior figure and a degenerate as her phoenix power allows her to save all of humanity but also causes the destruction of an entire world.  An explicit example of religion in the series is the character Nightcrawler who may look like a demon with his forked tail and cloven feet but is actually in training to become a priest.  Professor Xavier is seen as a Jesus figure with his constant instruction for his students to turn the other cheek.  Perry then spends the rest of the article on a close examination of Magneto from Magneto #0 and Original Sin.  This book contains a very complete index and this essay contains a good bibliography.

Peterson, Bill E., and Emily D. Gerstein. "Fighting And Flying: Archival Analysis Of Threat, Authoritarianism, And The North American Comic Book." Political Psychology 26.6 (2005): 887-904. Academic Search Complete. Web. 24 Sept. 2011.

            This article reports the findings of an archival study done by Peterson and Gerstein.  This study looked at themes of authoritarianism in Marvel comic books in times of relatively high or low social and economic threat.  X-Men was one of the comics used in this study.  Their hypothesis states that during times of high social and economic threat, they should see more elements of authoritarian psychology in comic books, which would be more overt conflict between heroes and villains, more aggressive villainous actions, story lines that repress unconventional action with drugs, women and members of other races, lower percentage of characters questioning the acts of the government, and sales of comic books featuring conventional characters, of which the X-Men is not, should increase. The research methods of this study were very thorough and well documented but are too complex to include here. 
            Peterson and Gerstein chose to use the December issues of the comic book titles from 1978-92, which is the only limitation seen in this study.  Of course their coding methods were meticulous and they had to narrow down the range of issues for their study, but I wonder if their results would have been the same if they had considered other months or even a single year.  The results of the study showed that during high threat years, aggression was more present in all characters, especially in villains.  They did not see a large difference in the morality of comic books although plots were slightly more conventional in high-threat years.  Speaking roles of women and characters of color decreased during high-threat years, except for the years 1991-92 where characters of color had more spoken lines than white characters.  Also, the sale of comic books featuring conventional characters did not change through high and low threat years whereas unconventional stories, such as X-Men, increased in sales during times of low-threat.
            This article may be more scientific than most readers of literary criticism are used to, but its findings are interesting as they may explain unusual changes in characters or plots if one is not considering the social and economic climates of the time. 


Pustz, Matthew. Comic Book Culture: Fanboys and True Believers. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1990.

            This article was not received in time for this assignment.


Reynolds, Richard. Super Heroes: A Modern Mythology. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1992. Print.

The first three chapters of this book do consider mythical elements in many comic book series and there are no mentions of the X-Men important enough to note.  However, in the fourth chapter of this book, Reynolds narrows his focus to X-Men 108-143, The Dark Knight Returns and Watchmen.  After a brief history of the series, Reynolds analyzes the relationship between Chris Claremont, the writer, and John Byrne, the artist of the issues Reynolds chose.  Byrne empathized more with Wolverine while Claremont generally considered every member the team as an equal, which is mirrored in the characters by the power struggle between Cyclops and Wolverine.  A complete summary of the major developments in the series in those issues is given.  There is a general index and bibliography for the book.

Sanderson, Peter. “The Secret of X-Appeal” The Comics Journal August 1982: 62-7. Print.

            This article lists various reasons for the popularity of the X-Men, couched in a comparison of The Legion of Super-Heroes and The New Teen Titans.  Shared characteristics of the three series are: younger characters that act with the freedom of adults, characters who are still trying to master their “field”, they don't start the series being perfect and all three series feature a collection of individuals who for the most part, are happy with each other and even look like a kind of family.  The things that set the X-Men apart in this comparison are: the X-Men do not hide behind dual identities like Batman or Superman, they are mutants, they are more self contained than any other Marvel series, had a hugely successful revamping in the 1970's, has given their readers more variety than other series and almost all of the characters are complete and every audience member has someone they can empathize with. 


Shyminsky, Neil. "Mutant Readers, Reading Mutants: Appropriation, Assimilation, and the X-Men." International Journal of Comic Art 8.2 (2006): 387-405. MLA International Bibliography. EBSCO. Web. 24 Sept. 2011.

            This article begins by covering the familiar ground of how the series serves as a parable for anyone feeling different and oppressed, but then it makes a unique point.  This series is supposed to appeal to people of both genders, all nationalities and races, but that is not reflected in the actual audience which is overwhelmingly white middle-class male.  Shyminky's evidence is from a long-running online message board for the X-Men and a media kit put online by Marvel.
            Shyminskey theorizes that the reason the series is so popular among white males is that it allows everyone to feel like an outsider, even if you are a middle-class white male.  He calls this action appropriation, where a dominant culture robs a subordinate culture of its aspects of identity and in this case, the white male is robbing all cultures represented in the X-Men.  The series is said to push a political ideal of inclusion and tolerance, but Shyminskey says that is does not.  The first writers of the series associate members of the X-Men with privilege; the original team was all white and had two doctors and two millionaires.  While the team does gain a black member in the 1970's, the team is still controlled by Professor Xavier and Cyclops, both white males.  Shyminskey considers the leadership styles of both Xavier and Cyclops and their desire to keep the status quo as a reaction to a loss of white male privilege by progressive and anti-oppressive politics.  And just like the white male readers get to feel different, Cyclops and Xavier get to claim the status of victim even while they enjoy the privilege of white power.
            Shyminskey disagrees with the “X-Men as J Men: The Jewish Subtext of a Comic Book Movie” by Lawrence Baron by saying that the characters, especially those of the first generation, do not identify themselves as Jewish, nor do they have any Jewish qualities.  The first run of the series could not contain minority characters as readers would have been uncomfortable with this in the 1960's.  From this point onward, battles of the team are presented as the “normative white versus transgressive non-white” (388).  This is especially the case with the Morlocks.  This extremely mutated group demonstrates  how writer Chris Claremont felt that the X-Men really knew nothing of otherness.  The X-Men are a group that can mostly pass as normal while the Morlocks have no hope of passing as humans.  They are mostly read as a foil to the original team, but in Shyminskey's opinion, the Morlocks are the real mutants because they refuse to conform.  The X-Men are supposed to be about acceptance, but they even exclude members of their own race, including the Morlocks, Magneto and the Brotherhood of Mutants.  This privileged existence, especially of Xavier, causes a problem with readings of him as Martin Luther King Jr.  They are too different in their upbringing and class to be consider similar. 
            The article looks next at how Wolverine, the most popular character in the series,  is a celebration of the white male.  Shyminskey uses a quote from Judith Halberstam saying that current representations of masculinity focuses on the realness and naturalness of the male body, which is exactly what Logan is.  Wolverine is a symbol of the old West cowboy who has a questionable past, but a clear code of honor.  Logan even wears Western attire when not in uniform.  Logan's mutation allows him to stay at the peak of physical fitness, essentially the peak of the desirable white male.  The fact that he is such a popular character demonstrates that our society desires this kind of perfection.  Logan's adamantium skeleton actually acts as a poison in Logan's body, forcing his mutant healing powers to constantly be at work.  If he did not have this skeleton, he would be more masculine with longer claws, faster healing, hairier, and less self control.  Wolverine is one of the true victims in the team because of the experimentation done on him
            Shyminskey ends the article by considering unique elements of Grant Morrison's addition to the series.  This version of the X-Men school has a “Special Class” of mutants, those who are not only separated from humans but from the other X-Men because their mutation is dangerous to everyone.  These kinds of changes were not liked by readers.  They did not complain about the prejudice being shown by the X-Men, but about the mutants no longer looking attractive.  Morrison also introduced the “U-Men”, white male comic book readers who identify themselves as geeks and kill mutants to then transplant mutated organs inside of themselves to become mutants.  It would seem that Morrison was aware of the idea that most of the readers of X-Men are not minorities but identify themselves as such through reading these comic books.  However, these changes did not stay; Morrison was replaced by Joss Whedon.  This thorough article is supported by an equally thorough bibliography.


Trushell, John M. "American Dreams of Mutants: The X-Men-'Pulp' Fiction, Science Fiction, and Superheroes." Journal of Popular Culture 38.1 (2004): 149-168. MLA International Bibliography. EBSCO. Web. 24 Sept. 2011.

            This article starts with a four and a half page chronological history of science fiction and comic books in America.  When Trushell gets to the first publication of X-Men, he makes note of the expectation of Silver Age comics to act as political commentaries, especially with issues that featured “Stan's Soapbox” that contained letters written by Stan Lee concerning comics and social issues.  Trushell documents science fiction stories by Anne McCaffery and Greg Bear that mirror futuristic plots found in the X-Men to prove that this series tackled topics that were considered important in their time. 
            Continuing in the chronological theme of the article, Trushell moves on to the second generation of the X-Men, describing the new multicultural characters.  Trushell discusses the differences between the first and second generation, saying that the changes were intended by Marvel to make the comic more accessible in foreign markets and to older readers.  One other change discussed is the greater focus on self-realization in the second generation, which is more in line with the societal beliefs of the 1970's, and while the team still kept their commitment to public service their triumphs were personalized for each member of the team to correspond to the “me decade” of the 70's.  The second generation were also “critical of the liberal political process and legislation” (157) because of the Vietnam War, Watergate and Civil Rights Movement.  Trushell ends his discussion of the second generation by a summary of the two-issue story “Days of Future Past” which uses an alternate distopian future where Senator Kelly is assassinated by the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants and the government uses Sentinel robots to hunt down mutants.  Trushell believes that not only are these issues an example of how writers felt that all social programs from the government do more harm than good, but were also a solid example of science fiction themes playing out in comic books.
            After a brief summary of the New Mutants, X-Factor and X-Force, Trushell looks how the series changed in the 90's, particularly with the “Age of Apocalypse”, a story where an alternate present is created in the X-Men universe by the murder of Xavier before he founds his school.  This change was reflected over over the entire X-Men branch of Marvel in X-Factor and Generation X with changes in their names and in their plot.  This change continued for nine months until Apocalypse was overthrown and things were returned to normal.  Trushell states that these changes were made to sustain the series commercially when sales were dropping. 
            Trushell refers to Chris Claremont's version of the X-Men as more of a soap opera while Grant Morrison's series that started in 2001 is rooted more in science fiction.  This new series contains the discovery of an “E” gene in humans.  This gene is supposed to be the marker of a species on the verge of extinction.  Trushell recognizes a very similar plot in the story Darwin's Radio by Greg Bear.  The author ends his article by stating that he believes that as time goes on, more comic books will utilize plot devices from science fiction and that this will only continue as more comic books are translated for the big screen.  There is a bibliography for this article with entries for other science fiction stories whose plots are similar to the X-Men.


Vary, Adam B. "Mutant is the new gay." Advocate 963 (2006): 44-45. Academic Search Complete. EBSCO. Web. 24 Sept. 2011.

            This brief article describes how Brian Singer, the director of the first two X-Men films, focused on the metaphor for mutation as homosexuality.  Vary discusses how Brian Singer and Ian McKellen are gay and both were aware of this metaphor in the comic book series.  The article does consider the “coming out” scene for Bobby Drake in the second film where his mother asks him if he has ever tried not being a mutant, but due to the brevity of the article there were not many other examples given.  Vary also looks at how this relationship between mutation and homosexuality transferred to a different director and set of writers for the third film which focuses on a cure for mutation.  While the creative team behind the third was different than the first two, a quote from Simon Kinberg, one of the screenwriters of the third film, demonstrates that they are still very much aware of the metaphor started by Brian Singer.  Simon Kinberg mentions in his quote that he has never had to consider how adolescents may be using these films as a guide for how to deal with their own “otherness” which affected the producer's decision on whether or not many mutants would take the cure in the film.  The article ends with quotes from Ian McKellen discussing whether or not he would take pill that would get rid of his gay sexuality.  His response was that he never wanted a cure, he wanted a textbook and that telling stories like the X-Men may serve that purpose for others. 


Wein, Len and Leah Wilson, eds. The Unauthorized X-Men: SF and Comic Writers on Mutants, Prejudice and Adamantium. Dallas: Benbella Books, Inc., 2006. Print.

            This anthology contains seventeen essays, all with their own end notes and bibliographies.  The range of writers creates a refreshing look at some of the well-discussed part of the series, with a big difference.  Almost every essay is written by someone who has cherished the X-Men since their childhood and their relationship with the characters provides insightful information.  The only drawback is that there is no index which would be very valuable to anyone doing research on a specific character.  Each of the essays will be briefly discussed in the order that they appear in the book, although some may not be considered strictly criticism of the X-Men.

            “Playing God and Discovering My Own Mutantity” is written by Joe Casey, a comic book writer who was given the opportunity to contribute to the series in a story line called “Children of the Atom.”  There is only one problem: Casey hates the X-Men as he has never seen himself as a mutant and this keeps from empathizing with the characters which keeps him from being a good writer.  It is not until after Casey is finished with his series that he realizes his mistake.  He could never see past the reading of mutation as homosexuality or racial difference until he learned to see that mutants are comic book fans.  With this realization, Casey understands that he has been a mutant all his life, he has just hidden it away and refused to show others his true self.

            “X-ing the Rubicon” by Robert N. Skir recounts his contributions to the first animated series as he was on the creative board and was to choose which story lines would be adapted from the second generation.  Skir does go into great detail on the creative arrangement behind the first animated series and his own lead in the X-Men: Evolution animated series. 

            “Cable's Grandfather” by Robert Weinberg is a complicated essay as it looks at Cable, arguably the character with the most complicated background in the X-Men because he is from the future.  Weinberg was given the chance to write the spin-off comic centering on Cable and in this essay he explains his understanding of the different theories of time travel and he applied each one to Cable.

            “A Plea for More Mystery” by Karen Haber asks for the exact opposite of Weinberg's essay.  Haber cautions readers who want to know exactly how everything works in a comic book; she says that this can lead to boredom and an end to a series.  If there is no mystery left then it is hard to generate profit.  She uses Wolverine as an example.  In the beginning, no one knows his background and part of the allure of this character is the mystery which disappears when his origin story surfaces.  Also, if you dig too deep into a mutant's powers, you may not like what you find which is the case with Storm.  If she is not a goddess with control over the weather, then she is a mutant who can control dust and use it to seed the air to create different weather conditions which takes away from her glamour. 

            “Infinite Mutation, Eternal Stasis” by James Lowder questions the continual use the “reset button” in comic books.  Lowder explains that wild plot arcs may take the X-Men to outer space, other dimensions or even a place like the Savage Land, but sooner or later everything will revert and this happens so that readers may leave the series and come back at any time without too much catch up needed.  But this constant resetting means that nothing gets accomplished.  Lowder uses the death and resurrection of Colossus as an example.  He sacrifices himself to save mutant kind from a virus and hopes that his death will create a peaceful future for mutant kind.  This of course does not happen and when he is brought back, he is dismayed that his death meant nothing. 

            “The Best There Is...Isn't Very Nice” by Charlie W. Starr investigates how Wolverine has become one of America's most popular heroes.  Starr uses the issues created by Chris Claremont and Frank Miller as the place for his answer as ground covered here is basically just repeated by other writers later in the series.  Wolverine is an anti-hero who became popular during a time when Vietnam made Americans reject other heroes.  Starr says that the post-Vietnam society wanted a dark hero like Dirty Harry or Rambo.  Claremont also made Wolverine popular by focusing on his dual nature: he loves women but never has a substantial romantic relationship, he understands people and their motivations but only knows fragments of his own history, and he is the first into the fight and the first one to be thrown to the ground.  Wolverine also symbolizes our struggle in the path from animal to man to god, or in Logan's case the samurai self. 

            “Pryde and Joy” by Keith R. A. DeCandido analyzes the involvement Kitty Pryde has had in the development of the X-Men.  In the second generation, Kitty serves as a reminder of the original purpose of the team; to provide a school that gives mutant children and education and the training to control their powers.  While her ability to phase through solid matter may not seem very useful in battle, she is an example of how wits and bravery is all you need and Decandido provides many examples of this.

            “Magneto Attracts” by Christopher Allen compares the effectiveness of Magneto to another supervillain, Lucifer.  Lucifer appeared the first generation of the comic book and had very poor results, especially when put next to Magneto.  Allen explains the reasons why this happened.

            “Magneto the Jew” by Marie-Catherine Caillava starts with her Jewish upbringing and subsequent fury that Marvel comics would create a villain who was a survivor of a death camp as this goes against everything she has been taught about her heritage.  There is some ambiguity concerning Magneto's history and Caillaya does define both sides of the debate before saying that Chris Claremont clearly made Magneto a Jew when the character said he survived Auschwitz.   Caillaya adds that if fiction is supposed to help us explore our reality, then Magneto serves as an exploration into the tied up histories of humanity.  He can be a loving father in one scene and go into a rage in the next.  He is the bad guy, but also the victim who has nightmares every night.  She also makes a new point about Genosha, the floating island nation of mutants led by Magneto, as it is the dream of Israel created by the Zionists of the 1920's and 30's.

            “Parallel Evolution” by Don DeBrandt compares the evolution of the comic book hero to the growth and consequent evolution of the arts festival known as Burning Man.  Debrandt explains that the people who participate in Burning Man are exploring new ideas about sex, commerce, communication and self-expression.  They are mutating, but by choice.  He claims that Burning Man is our society's way of evolving and it fits with the story of the X-Men, because we were influenced by these comic book mutants to embrace our own otherness in getting tattoos, piercings and doing things like filing our canine teeth.

            “From X to Ex” by Max More compares the primary conflict of the X-Men series to the conflict between transhumanists, or those who wish to improve their bodies with technology and science to bioconservatives, who fight to maintain the natural order of our bodies.  More seems to be on the side of the transhumanists as he goes into great detail over the technological advancements that will allow us to become just like mutants with improved skeletons and nanobots that repair our bodies in a matter of minutes.  More includes interesting quotes from bioconservatives who often frame their debate on the fears presented in the X-Men: they do not want to be subjugated by a group of super-people.

            “Lee, Kirby and Ovid's X-Metamorphoses” by Adam Roberts claims that the X-Men series is an extension of Ovid's Metamorphoses.  Roberts also states that reading mutation as a metaphor for something else is wrong as it takes away from the original purpose of the story and creates a reader who is paranoid and looking for underlying meaning in everything.  He says that if you read the series for what it is, then the real purpose of the X-Men is change.  Ovid's Metamorphoses is described by Roberts as a collection of classical myths and the X-Men and other superhero comics are collections of modern myths.   

            “Growing Up Mutant” by Lawrence Watt-Evans is an endearing account that may not qualify as criticism but does contain some interesting points.  Watt-Evans's first experience with the X-Men  happened to be with the very first issue.  He felt like an outsider as his father was the only college professor in town and they were not from the area so he sounded different than the other kids and all of this made the original story of the X-Men a total hook for him which he never saw again in the series.  Watt-Evans explains that after the first issue, they were no longer teenagers trying to be normal; they were superheroes.  He connects the appeal of the first issue to the Harry Potter series, stating that Voldemort of course moves the plot forward but the audience always wants to know about Hogwarts just as he has always wanted to get back to the X-Men being in school.  Watt-Evans speculates that the first generation's low sales comes from the the ideal of conformity still present in the early 60's and that the X-Men were just ahead of their time as the premise of the series was very popular in the 80's. 

            “New Mutant Message from the Underaged: My Life, or Lack Thereof, in Comics” by Nick Mamatas praises the characters and plot of the spin-off called The New Mutants.  This run of the series got back to the roots of the story: mutant teenagers trying to get a basic education and learn how to control their powers.  Mamatas profiles each major character, discussing their strengths and weaknesses.  The essay ends with a description of the series changed as it changed writers.

            “Why I Didn't Grow Up to Be Marvel Girl” by Christy Marx evaluates the metamorphosis of Jean Grey from the very first issue through her multiple deaths and resurrections to her absence in the then current Astonishing X-Men.  This essay provides a unique look at Jean Grey as she serves a role model for Marx, who is a female writer in the comics industry.  Marx recognizes and discusses the effects commercialism has on the comic book industry, but she is firm in her belief that starting in the the year 2000, writers and artists of X-Men seemed to be constantly pushing boundaries.  The problem is that these boundaries were not seeing more women in leading roles but seeing how large their bra size could get and how racy the cover art could be before someone blew the proverbial whistle.  Sheri Graner Ray's book Gender Inclusive Game Design: Expanding the Market is included in this discussion as Marx translates Ray's findings on the video game market to comic books.  Marx and Ray notice that in their respective media, female characters are unrealistic because they are being created by young men for young men.  The love triangle between Cyclops, Jean and Emma Frost ends the essay. 

            “Leading by Example: The Tao of Women in the X-Men World” by Carol Cooper provides a more positive look at the female characters of the X-Men.  Cooper explains that the Civil Rights Movement fueled Lee and Kirby's mutants but the women's liberation was occurring at the same time and elements of it can be seen in Jean Grey who was called Marvel Girl at the time.  One very interesting point made by Cooper is that the two leaders of the original team, Professor Xavier and Cyclops, are both handicapped in some way.  Readers never have to worry about Xavier making a romantic advance on Jean Grey as he is paralyzed and Cyclops is shy around her because he fears his disability will keep him from physical intimacy.  So Marvel Girl is allowed to be free and experience power which fits in with Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique which coincidentally came out the same year as the first issue of X-Men.  Cooper moves chronologically through the series and interprets some of the plot developments of the second generation with the introduction of Storm, focusing on her trade off between great power and lack of romantic interest.  Jean and Storm are linked by their mutual idol status for Kitty Pryde and Cooper fully illuminates the unique relationship that forms between Storm and Kitty when Jean Grey becomes the Phoenix.  This incredibly thorough and insightful article on the strong female characters of the X-Men is one of the few to look at women as superheroes without projecting their own desires for a strong hero.  Cooper does not criticize the actions of Storm, Jean and Kitty; she allows them to be themselves which she says is the point writers like Chris Claremont was trying to make.

            “Dear Magneto” by Adam-Troy Castro is a letter written to Magneto.  While this format is certainly not popular as form of literary criticism, Castro responds to Magneto's desire for world domination by showing him the real world implications of his dream.  If for some reason baseline humans were to disappear from the world, which is a primary goal for Magneto, the first thing that would happen is that mutants who have unremarkable mutations would simply take the place once reserved for humans.  And if Magneto were to restructure society based on the premise that those who are powerful should be in charge then he is sure to have very egotistical and not so bright individuals to deal with, specifically Electro and Graviton, arguably two of the strongest supervillains in the X-Men series who could spin the Earth out of its orbit or literally cut the planet in two.  Unfortunately, this great power does not come with great reasoning ability as Electro spends his time opening bank vaults for money and Graviton holds Manhattan in the air for an entire day just to get noticed by a pretty girl.  Castro ends his letter by explaining to Magneto that if he were to get his dream: a world with no more humans, then he would have to step forward and become one of the very governmental officials he has always hated because a world of mutants will need a very powerful police force.  Castro's closing note encourages Magneto to call Professor Xavier as a blending of their dreams would produce the best possible future for everyone.


Wright, Bradford W. Comic Book Nation: The Transformation of Youth Culture in America. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2001. Print.

This book is a detailed history of the comic book industry from 1933 to the 1980’s, focusing more on the creators rather than the characters.  When the first generation of the series was covered, Wright explains that Marvel Girl, aka Jean Grey, was prone to fainting spells and was no where near as powerful as her male team mates because Stan Lee was working from the model of the Fantastic Four where Sue Storm had the same characteristics.  The fainting spells disappear when Chris Claremont and John Bryne gain control of the series. Wright mentions that the powerful female characters of Claremont’s X-Men actually created a strong female fan base that the series had not seen before.  Overall the book shows a complete understanding of the mechanics of the industry and ends with a very good bibliography and index.

Yockey, Matt. "The New Crusaders: Apocalypse, Utopia, and the Contemporary Superhero Film." Indiana University, 2007. United States -- Indiana: ProQuest Dissertations & Theses A&I. Web. 10 Oct. 2011.

            This dissertation examines the rhetoric of American identify in the films X-Men (2000), X-2: X-Men United (2003), X-Men: Last Stand (2006), Spider-Man (2002), Spider-Man 2 (2004), Batman Begins (2005), and Superman Returns (2006).  Yockey posits that the films demonstrate elements of Christian and non-Christian empire building that is threatened by some outside or apocalyptic force. 


Zingsheim, Jason. "Mutational Identity: (Re)Creating Ourselves through Pop Culture and Pedagogy." Arizona State University, 2008. United States -- Arizona: ProQuest Dissertations & Theses A&I. Web. 10 Oct. 2011.

            This dissertation develops a mutational identity theory through an analysis of the X-Men that contains four parts: evolution, multiplicity, embodiment and agency.  Zingsheim then applies his theory to contemporary postconstructionalist theories of the self.  His goal is to provide an unused genre of literature and his theory of mutational identity provides a bridge.


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