The Ages of the X-Men: Essays on the Children of the Atom in Changing Times
Joseph J. Darowski
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The X-Men comic book franchise is one of the most popular of all time and one of the most intriguing for critical analysis. With storylines that often contain overt social messages within its "mutant metaphor," X-Men is often credited with having more depth than the average superhero property. In this collection, each essay examines a specific era of the X-Men franchise in relationship to contemporary social concerns. The essays are arranged chronologically, from an analysis of popular science at the time of the first X-Men comic book in 1963 to an interpretation of a storyline in light of rhetoric of President Obama's first presidential campaign. Topics ranging from Communism to celebrity culture to school violence are addressed by scholars who provide new insights into one of America's most significant popular culture products.
Union began positioning nuclear missiles in their ally, Cuba, less than a hundred miles off the United States. The Soviets claimed this was to prevent a U.S. invasion, while the American government viewed it as an act of aggression and threatened to blockade Cuba. The result was the closest the world has come to nuclear war, only resolved through tense days of negotiation (Johnson 58). The containment policy was not limited to geopolitical confrontations but extended to other spheres including
gravely, “If there were an alternative… any alternative … we would take it. But if we do nothing, by tomorrow, the world will be at war. And the day after tomorrow … the world will be dead” (Claremont, “Days”). In 1981’s “Days of Future Past,” one of the most iconic storylines in the long history of the X-Men franchise and one of the most celebrated tales in comics history, writer Chris Claremont and artist John Byrne show us a glimpse of the future that awaits the X-Men should Professor Charles
Bob Wiacek (a). “I, Magneto…” The Uncanny X-Men #150 (October 1981). New York: Marvel Comics. Claremont, Chris (w), Dave Cockrum (a), and Bob Wiacek (a). “Gold Rush!” The Uncanny X-Men #161 (September 1982). New York: Marvel Comics. Claremont, Chris (w), John Romita, Jr. (a), and Dan Green (a). “The Spiral Path.” The Uncanny X-Men #199 (November 1985). New York: Marvel Comics. Cox, Harvey. Religion in the Secular City: Toward a Postmodern Theology. New York: Simon and Shuster, 1984. Print.
her surrogate family. Paige’s brother is New Mutant Cannonball. The only acknowledgement of this is in issue 18, where she writes him a childish and self-indulgent letter. Most of the students seem homeless or parentless—a common trait of X-Men characters. The team-as-family motif is present, but is not presented as particularly charming or even desired by the team. Several narrative elements in the series establish the importance of family to the generation before the Generation X students.
previous students (the Hellions, which she formed as adolescent competition to Xavier’s New Mutants). Lobdell notes that, “her way didn’t work. Ten teenage kids were killed specifically because she didn’t teach them well enough” (Sodaro 32). Constantly reminding her of this failing, the buildings used for Generation X is the previous home of her school. Just like early Uncanny X-Men and early New Mutants, the school is the central binding element of the Generation X series—after all, the absence