In 1963, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby created The Uncanny X-Men #1. And now Marvel is breathing new life (yet again) into the Marvel mutant universe which began 56 years ago.
Throughout the decades, the X-Men, mutants who are born with their strange powers, have been the perfect metaphor for the injustice of prejudice, with the famed phrase, “feared and hated by the world they have sworn to protect” (Chris Claremont). At first a mediocre success at best, the X-Men comicbook title and spin-offs eventually became best sellers by the late 1970s and early 1980s, and essentially became Marvel’s flagship title(s).
In recent years, due to increasingly complex plots and crossover storylines, the audience for “our merry band of mutants” has declined. But writer Jonathan Hickman, artist Leinil Francis Yu, editor Jordan White, editor-in-chief C.B. Cebulski, and a handful of other writers and artists are working to bring the X-Men books back to prominence once again under the banner Dawn of X.
The groundwork was laid out in July with the X-Men comics miniseries House of X and Powers of X. This October it was announced at New York Comic-Con that the new series of X-Men books would begin with the release of X-Men #1 on October 16. Check out the launch trailer below:
Hickman and co. promise a much more linear story, which will feature major changes for many of the characters, but also take full advantage of the huge cast of mutants in the Marvel Universe. Your favorite mutant is sure to be featured in one of the upcoming six titles, if not in more than one.
Of course, the X-Men have made it to the big screen, twice over, first in X-Men (2000) and its sequels, then with the film reboot X-Men: First Class (2011) which essentially reset the cinematic universe of the X-Men. It has been promised that the X-Men will join the Marvel Cinematic Universe now that Marvel Studios has access to these characters thanks to Disney’s acquisition of the Fox catalog of films.
Will Marvel’s cinematic reboot go all the way back to Stan and Jack’s original Uncanny X-Men #1, or will the Fox movie continuity (both versions) be worked in at all? Or will Marvel Studios pull stories from the latest comics continuity, such as Dawn of X? Or will they go back to any of many X-Men stories already told in the comicbook universe? Only time will tell, but X-Men fans eagerly await the day when plans are finally announced.
The X-Men have certainly come a long way since Stan and Jack created them and the idea of mutants. Speaking of which, Stan admitted for the record that the only reason he had the X-Men born with their incredible powers was that he couldn’t think up a fresh origin story for them: “I figured, hey, the easiest thing in the world: they were born that way. They were mutants.”
However, Stan also acknowledged that this created a powerful metaphor which diverse X-Men fans and creators have since embraced deeply. The X-Men franchise has created a comicbook tradition, as well as for films and animated shows, that Marvel can truly be proud of.