X-MEN QUOTES

quotations about the X-Men

The X-Men are hated, feared, and despised collectively by humanity for no other reason than that they are mutants. So what we have here, intended or not, is a book that is about racism, bigotry and prejudice.

CHRIS CLAREMONT, attributed, The Ages of the X-Men: Essays on the Children of the Atom in Changing Times

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Tags: prejudice


Mutants! Know now that you exist!
They have hid you in cities
And clothed you in fools clothes
Know now that you are free.

ANONYMOUS, "A Manifesto for Mutants", San Francisco Oracle, Jan. 1967

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The X-Men are ready metaphors for adolescent alienation and also for bigotry, standing in for any "other."

PETER M. COOGAN, Superhero: The Secret Origin of a Genre

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X-Men is not a story about superheroes, but a story about the ongoing revolutionary struggle between good/new and bad/old. The X-Men are every rebel teenager wanting to change the world and make it better. Humanity is every adult, clinging to the past, trying to destroy the future even as he places all his hopes there.

GRANT MORRISON, "X-Manifesto"

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Readers coming to the series recognize the echoes of real-world prejudice -- racism, homophobia, and so on -- and that in turn makes the series seem just that little bit more grounded in reality, despite the fact that it's essentially sci-fi. The difference between mutants and other heroes is that mutants are identifiably a human sub-species, marked by their possession of the X-gene. This provides a narrative rationale both for their solidarity and for the attacks made on them by groups and individuals with an agenda based on the psychology and politics of race hatred.

MIKE CAREY, attributed, X-Men and the Mutant Metaphor: Race and Gender in the Comic Books

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Tried being an accountant. Joining other teams ... the Champions, the Defenders. It never took. The X-Men are like the Mafia. You never really leave.

ICEMAN, Astonishing X-Men: Weaponized

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The pacifist Professor X's battle against the warmongering mutant Magneto -- angry at humanity for treating him as different for being a mutant -- was seen as a metaphor for Dr. Martin Luther King's ideological arguments with the militant activist Malcolm X.

ARIE KAPLAN, From Krakow to Krypton: Jews and Comic Books

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Tags: Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X


First, like Superman, the X-Men are, metaphorically at least, Jewish. Not just Jewish like Kitty Pryde -- Sprite, Ariel, Shadowcat -- who wears a Star of David and referst to her faith semiregularly. And not just Jewish like Magneto. When we first met him way back in X-Men #1, he was a standard-issue megalomaniac in a bad helmet. But by the time of the first X-Men film, he had evolved into a Jewish Holocaust survivor.

JESSE KAVADLO, "X-istential X-Men: Jews, Superman, and the Literature of Struggle", X-Men and Philosophy: Astonishing Insight and Uncanny Argument in the Mutant X-Verse

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The Mutants, born outsiders oppressed for their superior abilities, feed into teenage feelings of alienation, particularly for the self-selecting, brainy types who read comics. Since the early 50s, it had been rare to depict heroes as alienated, but [Stan] Lee's genius lay in his ability to play into the discontent that manifested itself in the Beat movement and other countercultural strains.

CHRIS KNOWLES, Our Gods Wear Spandex: The Secret History of Comic Book Heroes

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I don't want to be too earnest about it, but I've always felt that X-Men has something thematically that is beyond just escapism, beyond superheroes saving the day. It's very much an allegory between Malcolm X and Martin Luther King. It's about alienation and discrimination. And of course there's that great wish fulfilment of the person being alienated having claws or can fly or being able to read minds, and having the ability to overcome those powers. It's particularly why teenagers connect to it, because teenagers feel like mutants most of the time. They feel misunderstood, they feel outnumbered, often, discriminated against, and they feel like they have very little control over their lives.

HUGH JACKMAN, interview, Feb. 25, 2014

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Tags: teenagers


The success [of the X-Men], I think, is for two reasons. The first is that, creatively, the book was close to perfect ... but the other reason is that it was a book about being different in a culture where, for the first time in the West, being different wasn't just accepted, but was also fashionable. I don't think it's a coincidence that gay rights, black rights, the empowerment of women and political correctness all happened over those twenty years and a book about outsiders trying to be accepted was almost the poster-boy for this era in American culture.

MARK MILLAR, attributed, X-Men and the Mutant Metaphor: Race and Gender in the Comic Books

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Tags: differences


If you think the X-Men are going to be push-overs, think again! Far better men than you have pledged their destruction ... yet the X-Men are still here.

CHRIS CLAREMONT, X-Men: Dark Phoenix Saga

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The X-Men are mostly human, although they often refer to themselves as "mutants" and distinguish themselves from those whom they call "humans." For the most part, they have ordinary human brains and personalities housed in bodies that possess extraordinary abilities and qualities. Not surprisingly, then, they fall prey to all the vagaries of the ordinary human condition, including the desire to fit in and the desire to stand out. But the mutant gene has many effects, and these various effects in the mutant population demonstrate something about ordinary variation in human beings -- namely, that being ordinary is largely a safe bet, whereas being extraordinary is very, very risky. When you pull a ticket for being different out of a hat, given the infinite ways you could be different, you run a risk.

PATRICK D. HOPKINS, "The Lure of the Normal: Who Wouldn't Want to Be a Mutant?", X-Men and Philosophy: Astonishing Insight and Uncanny Argument in the Mutant X-Verse

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There is a popular perception among creators, fans, and academics that the X-Men is one of the most diverse franchises in the industry. This study does not look at the many other titles Marvel Comics has published in the X-Men franchise, but in looking at the number of characters that appear in The Uncanny X-Men it reveals that the series is dominated by white male characters on the heroic team and that the most racially and ethnically diverse group of characters in X-Men comic books are actually the villains the X-Men battle.

JOSEPH J. DAROWSKI, X-Men and the Mutant Metaphor: Race and Gender in the Comic Books

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The themes of prejudice, social "others," and seeking to belong permeate the X-Men comic books. It is not uncommon for superheroes or teams to have a phrase that defines them. Superman fights for "truth, justice, and the American way." Spider-Man knows that "with great power comes great responsibility." The X-Men "fight to protect a world that hates and fears them."

JOSEPH J. DAROWSKI, X-Men and the Mutant Metaphor: Race and Gender in the Comic Books

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Lee and Kirby realized that not only was X-Men a resonant metaphor for adolescence, but it was also an allegory for prejudice. As society hated and feared them for being innately different from everyone else, the X-Men are a metaphor for the ethnic "other" (African Americans, Asians, Latinos, Jews, Muslims, and homosexuals, among others). But Lee and Kirby had just scratched the surface themselves since they rarely employed the "mutant as minority" metaphor. That metaphor would be more often employed by later X-scribes like Len Wein and Chris Claremont.

ARIE KAPLAN, From Krakow to Krypton: Jews and Comic Books

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After all, most teenagers feel at one point or another that they, like the X-Men, are outsiders who live in a world that respects neither their uniqueness nor their point of view. In exploring this theme and compelling his readers to do the same, Claremont illustrated the second recurring theme in superhero comics -- tolerance of differences -- in a way that permits us to embrace individuality.

SEAN WISE, How to Be a Business Superhero

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Wolverine was created in the '60s, but he feels like a '70s character in every way. More Dirty Harry, more politically incorrect, the hair, the mutton chops.

HUGH JACKMAN, "Hugh Jackman Talks X-Men: Days Of Future Past", Empire Online

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The pitch with Fox [for the original X-Men film] was very close to turnaround because they couldn't find a plausible rationale for why this series, this group of characters would sell, that was any different from any other superhero franchise. There was nothing there that made it unique ... no one knew their potential. So I wrote a memo that went to Lauren [Shuler Donner], that went to Fox, and I basically said: "The problem with the X-Men is you never look at it as a superhero book. It's not. It never was. It was never intended by the creators (i.e., me) to be a superhero book. It is a book about people. It is a book about outsiders and renegades trying to find a way to fit. Trying to find a future for themselves. Trying to not be the ones sent to the gas chambers.

CHRIS CLAREMONT, interview, Phoenix New Times, Jun. 24, 2014

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The resolution of the Phoenix Saga was one of the most frustrating experiences that I think any of us ever had, but I also think it was the right move. The decision, three years later, to undo the Phoenix Saga with the resurrection of Jean was less so, but that's in my opinion.

CHRIS CLAREMONT, "Chris Claremont on Evolving the X-Men, Part One", NYC Graphic Novelists, Jun. 13, 2011

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