Created by Marvel mogul Stan Lee in 1963, the X-Men was created during both the civil rights and the “Black Power” movement. The team was founded by Professor Charles Xavier, a mutant with the ability to read minds with the hope that mutants and humans can peacefully co-exist one day. He created a school: a safe haven for mutants, where they can learn to use their powers to help humanity.
The X-Men is consisted of Scott Summers/Cyclops, Storm, Jean Grey, Logan/Wolverine, Rogue, Gambit, Hank McCoy/Beast, and more, as they protect a world that fears and hates them. However, Magneto, Xavier’s enemy, doesn’t share his old friend’s idealism, which led to the creation of the Brotherhood of Mutants that included Mystique. Magneto believes mutants are the next stage of evolution — which they’re the future, and humans no longer matter.
The creation of Professor X is the influence of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Gandhi. He is a mutant with wisdom and compassion that stands for harmony, nonviolence, and peace. Developing Magneto is partially based on Malcolm X, as the mutant believes of a war brewing between mutants and humans, and he’ll fight it — by any means necessary. Still, Magneto considers himself a good guy because he believes he’s doing what is right for all mutants.
The popularity of X-Men has led to FOX’s acclaimed Saturday morning series (1992-97), the WB’s X-Men Evolution (2000-03), the new hit Wolverine and the X-Men, a successful film trilogy (2000-06), and the upcoming prequel X-Men Origins: Wolverine, release on May 1, with Hugh Jackman reprising the titular role, as the film explores into the mutant anti-hero’s mysterious past.
X-Men may have also paved the way to shows such as Heroes (2006-present), The 4400 (2004-07), and Mutant X (2001-04), with the premise of ordinary people having extraordinary abilities: reluctant heroes blessed — and cursed — with these powers, as the fate of the world lies in their hands.
Whether it is race or sexual preference, the world of the X-Men continues to be an allegory of discrimination and prejudice for being different. Though we all fear what we don’t understand, we’re foreigners, aliens, and outsiders searching for identity, looking to fit in, and finding our place in this world because in the end, we’re all mutants.