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The X-Men [ ˈɛksmen ] are a group of superheroes who appear in comics published by Marvel . The X-Men were created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby and first appeared in X-Men # 1 (September 1963). The team's original version failed to achieve great commercial success, despite the work of comic book greats like Roy Thomas and Neal Adams . In 1975 the X-Men were reinterpreted by Dave Cockrum , Len Wein and Chris Claremont . The All New All Different X-Mensoon found an audience and became the most successful American comic series of the 1980s and 1990s. The success of the first series led to the start of numerous minor series, which were received differently by the audience.

Since the early 1990s, the X-Men have found their way into other media as well. In addition to cartoons and video games, twelve Hollywood films have been released so far.

The X-Men form a group in the world of mutants - people who, thanks to their special genetic code, have superhuman abilities. Mutants are often hated by normal people, be it out of fanaticism or out of fear that they could subjugate humanity or even replace it as the dominant species . This fear is fed by various mutants who use their powers for their own ends or who hate people. To protect the human environment from these malicious mutants, Charles Francis Xavier ( Professor X ) founded the X-Men group. The archenemy of the X-Men is the super villain Magneto .

This constellation shows the socio-political undertones of the series: Mutants are often seen as a metaphor for oppressed minorities. Xavier is often associated with the African-American civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr. compared magnetometer with the more militant Malcolm X .



Cosplayers of the original X-Men from 1963 in their blue and gold, masked uniforms. Left to right: Iceman, Beast, Professor X (seated), Angel, Cyclops, Marvel Girl

In September 1963, The X-Men # 1 was published by writer Stan Lee and co-author and illustrator Jack Kirby . Under the guise of a "school for gifted youngsters," the paraplegic telepath Charles Francis Xavier (Professor X) in Westchester County , New York , is training five mutated teenagers to use their superpowers: Cyclops (Scott Summers, uncontrolled eye rays), the winged angel (Warren Worthington III), the ape-like, but highly intelligent Beast (Hank McCoy), Iceman (Bobby Drake, Ice Powers) and Marvel Girl (Jean Gray), a telekinist and telepath. At first they all wear the same blue and gold uniform with mask, and it was established that they all contained a so-called X-factor in their genome, which was responsible for their superpowers. According to Stan Lee, this was an excuse not to have to come up with a new story for each character. The archenemy of the X-Men, the racist and magnetically equipped Magneto , also appears in The X-Men # 1 . The X-Men # 4 featured Magneto's team, a terrorist group called the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants . In addition, Lee initially planned that Magneto would be Professor X's brother, but this was never specified.

A possible precursor to the concept of a school for mutants appeared in the 1953 science fiction novel Children of the Atom by Wilmar Shiras . The main characters of this novel were children who were the unwanted result of an experiment with genetic mutation. The term "Children of the Atom" was often used in connection with the X-Men (inter alia in the video game X-Men: Children of the Atom or in a mini-series of the same name by Joe Casey ), but a concrete connection was never proven.

In The X-Men # 14 the Sentinels were introduced, mutant-hunting combat robots of the sinister scientist Bolivar Trask , which were often used in subsequent comics and later on. a. appeared in the movie X-Men: Future is Past . After Lee and Kirby left the series in 1966, it was taken over by Roy Thomas and Werner Roth . Soon the name of the series was expanded to Uncanny X-Men (German: the scary X-Men). In the late 1960s, Jim Steranko and Neal Adams joined in to spruce up the moderately running series. They introduced new mutants, including a. Banshee (Sean Cassidy; superpowers: sonic screams), Havok (Alex Summers, the brother of Scott Summers; plasma forces) and Polaris (Lorna Dane; magnetic forces). Although sales rose, Marvel initially stopped producing new X-Men stories with issue # 66. Up to # 93 the booklets were filled with reprints of old stories. The only new appearances of the X-Men were guest appearances in other Marvel series, u. a. Avengers and Fantastic Four .


Chris Claremont wrote X-Men stories with strong female characters for 16 years.

In the early years of the 1970s, sales of the X-Men comics remained low until author Len Wein turned the team inside out in Giant Size X-Men # 1 in 1975 and introduced new mutants from all over the world. Some of them were much older than the original X-Men: the devil-like but deeply religious German teleporter Nightcrawler (Kurt Wagner), the metal man Colossus (Piotr Rasputin) from the Soviet Union and the weather witch Storm (Ororo Munroe) from Kenya . The Canadian native Wolverine (initially "Logan", later: James Howlett) was introduced, who had previously been a minor character in the Marvel series Hulk . Wolverine established himself as the most popular X-Man and one of the most popular North American comic heroes of all. When Wein left the comic to become a full-time writer, his successor, Chris Claremont , added Scottish mutant expert Dr. Moira MacTaggert and Lilandra , queen of the alien Shi'ar, who becomes Xavier's lover. Claremont, who had a weakness for strong, independent women, wrote many stories with his colleague John Byrne in which female heroes like Marvel Girl or Storm save the world. One example is the Phoenix Saga (1976-7), in which Marvel Girl apparently sacrifices herself to save her colleagues, but is reborn as the mighty Phoenix .

Claremont himself commented in 2013 that he found the X-Men “just cool” from the start and that he especially enjoyed shaping their private lives. He also preferred longer storylines with many hidden hints that he could fall back on spontaneously in later editions.


Claremont's climax came in the Dark Phoenix Saga (1980), in which he has Jean Gray / Phoenix kidnapped by the villainous Hellfire Club who wants to turn them into his tool. Jean becomes an insane Dark Phoenix , acquires satanic powers and destroys an inhabited solar system before she regains her senses. When Lilandra reluctantly lets her judge as a mass murderer, she voluntarily goes to her death. This story, which the film X-Men 3 is essentially based on, has often been voted one of the best Marvel stories. The Hellfire Club and the transformation of Jean Gray into a black-clad vamp was an homage to the episode A Touch of Brimstone from the TV series With Umbrella, Charm and Melon , in which Emma Peel ( Diana Rigg ) used herself as camouflage dresses as dominatrix. The Hellfire villains Sebastian Shaw , Harry Leland , Donald Pierce , Jason Wyngarde were pastiches by the actors Robert Shaw , Orson Welles , Donald Sutherland and Peter Wyngarde . In addition, he introduced her scantily clad, telepathically gifted henchman Emma Frost , who saw her provocative outfit not as a sign of submission, but as a control of easily manipulated men.

After Jean Grey's death, Claremont continued to rely on strong female personalities. He made Storm the leader of the X-Men in 1980, making them one of the first comic groups to have a female leader. Then he focused on the next female X-Man, the American Jewess Shadowcat (Kitty Pryde, can walk through walls): In Days of Future Past (1981, later formed the basis for the X-Men film X-Men : Future is past ) her mind escapes a dystopian future in which the Sentinels have destroyed almost all mutants, and makes her younger self stop an attack by the mutant terrorist Mystique . In Kitty Pryde and Wolverine (1984-5) she saves her father from the yakuza . During this time Claremont worked out the tragic backstory of Magneto, who was portrayed as a survivor of the Holocaust , reconciled with the X-Men, and even became their leader after Charles Xavier's temporary departure. The former brotherhood terrorist Rogue also overflowed , who can steal the powers of other mutants by touch, and the British Psylocke (Betsy Braddock) came from the Marvel series Captain Britain , who was later transformed into a Japanese psi ninja through bionic manipulation . Another notable story was God Loves, Man Kills (1982) about the rise and fall of the mutant-hating priest William Stryker, which later formed the basis of the film X-Men 2 . Other characters introduced in this decade were the sinister geneticist Mr. Sinister , who created Jean Grey's clone named Madelyne Pryor , the cheeky Asian mutant Jubilee (Jubilation Lee; fireworks), the mutant rebel Longshot, and the terrorist group Reavers . During the crossover Fall of the Mutants (1988), the X-Men apparently died, but were actually ended up in Australia .

During this decade the first X-Men series spin-offs were released, including a. Wolverine , the single series of the character of the same name, the New Mutants , which introduced new, younger mutants, Alpha Flight and Excalibur , which introduced Canadian and British mutant teams, respectively, and X-Factor , which the original X-Men team of the 1960s came into focus. In 1986 , author Kurt Busiek performed a trick: In order to be able to reintroduce Jean Gray, who died as a mass murderer in the Dark Phoenix Saga , he established that since the first Phoenix Saga (1976-7) it was not Jean but an energy being called Phoenix Force had acted that looked deceptively like her. The real Jean was in a coma from which she now awoke. This resurrection was u. a. viewed critically by Chris Claremont.


With X-Men # 1 (Vol. 2) (1992),
Jim Lee drew the best-selling single comic to date.

In 1991, Claremont's 16-year authorship with Uncanny X-Men ended , and younger artists such as Fabian Nicieza , Rob Liefeld and Jim Lee took over the helm. They mainly introduced anti-heroes such as the heavily armed mercenary Cable, the gentleman thief Gambit, and the proverb-knocking Deadpool , who became one of the most popular characters in recent Marvel history. Liefeld turned the New Mutants into the paramilitary force X-Force , led by the mysterious mutant Cable. Lee and Liefeld's popularity led to X-Men # 1 (Vol. 2) and X-Force # 1 becoming the most successful superhero comics to date. This was u. a. because at that time speculators were counting on being able to make money with comics and therefore bought several identical issues of a series (→ comic speculative bubble ). X-Men # 1 (Vol. 2) had sales of $ 7 million, which earned them an entry in the Guinness Book of Records for the highest-grossing individual comic book . During this time, the cartoon series X-Men , which was popular with fans and critics, was broadcast, which ran from 1992 in five seasons with a total of 76 episodes. An important story from an LGBT point of view was written in Alpha Flight # 106 that year in which the French-Canadian mutant named Jean-Paul Beaubier (Northstar) came out as homosexual. Also in 1992 there was a bang when Liefeld, Nicieza, Lee and many younger artists left Marvel Comics together and founded the competing publisher Image Comics . In the years that followed, the X-Men comics featured a multitude of long storylines spanning many X-Men series, such as X-Tinction Agenda (1990), The X-Cutioners Song (1992), Phalanx Covenant (1994), Age of Apocalypse (1995), Onslaught (1996) or Operation Zero Tolerance (1997), all of which have been critically labeled as action-packed but often chaotic.

In the mid-1990s, after the comic boom ended, a few more X minor series were started, including Generation X , X-Man and other solo series by well-known mutants such as Cable, Gambit, Bishop and Deadpool. In 1998, Excalibur was discontinued and X-Factor was replaced by Mutant X , which told the adventures of Havok in an alternate reality.


In the new millennium, the image of the X-Men was largely determined by the X-Men film series , in which u. a. the Oscar -Gewinnerinnen Halle Berry as Storm and Anna Paquin as Rogue and Oscar nominee Ian McKellen played along as Magneto. Hugh Jackman received consistent praise for his rendition of Wolverine. The first film, X-Men (2000), was the first ever Marvel box office hit and paved the way for later Marvel film franchises. In the comics, Marvel introduced reinterpretations of the X-Men in an alternate universe called Ultimate X-Men by writer Mark Millar to attract new fans without having to bring four decades of prior knowledge with them. In this hip version came z. B. Storm from Harlem , Colossus was gay and Magneto was responsible for Charles Xavier's paraplegia. The original X-Men comics, on the other hand, are determined by stories in which a. The fate of the mutants as a social group was thematized by author Grant Morrison ( Riot at Xavier's , House of M , Gifted , Endangered Species etc.). In addition, longtime X-Men opponent Emma Frost changed sides, and many veteran characters such as B. Jean Gray, Colossus, Moira MacTaggert or Psylocke were killed before they were (mostly) written back into the comics. Author Joss Whedon , who wrote Gifted , wrote several stories in which his favorite character Kitty Pryde was the focus: Kitty was once the inspiration for his series Buffy , and a Buffy story in which the main character Willow lost his mind through the death of a loved one loses and becomes the satanic Dark Willow , was inspired by the Dark Phoenix saga. Whedon even wanted to imply that Buffy protagonist Buffy Summers and longtime X-Men leader Scott Summers were related, this was ultimately not carried out.

In addition to the films, there were also two X-Men cartoon series in this decade, X-Men: It Goes On (2000–2003, total of 52 episodes) and Wolverine and the X-Men (2009, total of 26 episodes). In X-Men: It goes on it was teenage versions of the X-Men and their opponents, whose adventures were combined with a lot of school comedy, while Wolverine and the X-Men held tightly to the dark mood of the original comics.

Many smaller X-Men series such as Mutant X , Generation X and many solo series were discontinued and a little later replaced by solo series, mainly female mutants (Rogue, Mystique, Jubilee, etc.) and by special interest series, in which a. The focus was on shady ( Weapon X ), between parallel worlds ( Exiles ) and sponsored X-Men ( X-Force , later X-Statix ).


In 2012, X-Men co-inventor Stan Lee (middle, in no costume ) posed with cosplayers , who u. a. represent the X-Men figures Juggernaut and Sabretooth (left) as well as Wolverine , Gambit and Storm (right).

The beginning of the decade was marked by Marvel NOW! , in which u. a. the X-Men received a relaunch. Here the X-Men met u. a. on their younger versions as well as on their counterparts from the Ultimate X-Men comics. The comic Astonishing X-Men # 51 (2012), in which the gay X-Man Northstar married his fiancé Kyle three years before same-sex marriage was introduced in the United States , caused a stir . In addition, a second X-Men film series was started: again well-known actors could be engaged, including a. Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence (Mystique), Golden Globe winner Peter Dinklage (Bolivar Trask) and Oscar nominee Michael Fassbender (Magneto).

The world of the X-Men

Xavier's school

The Englefield House in English Berkshire served in the movie X-Men: First Class as the X-Mansion .

It has been established in the Marvel Universe since the 1960s that the X-Men live in the X-Mansion (X-Villa) in Westchester County , New York , which is officially called Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters and is " mutatis mutandis " has as a school motto. The school is the former manor house of Charles Xavier's parents, which he inherited after their death and converted into a boarding school for talented young people. He had laboratories and training rooms set up under the building, spread over several floors. The X-Men train in the so-called Danger Room , which was initially introduced as a room full of traps and guns, until it was further developed into a holographic simulation in later versions. The X-Men usually fly to their missions in the Blackbird , a modified Lockheed SR-71 , the hangar of which is located under the basketball court on the premises.


In the underground complex under Xavier's school is Cerebro , a facility with which telepathically gifted mutants such as Prof. Xavier can locate the brainwaves of all people and mutants around the world and thus connect with them. Cerebro is a spherical hall with a walkway leading from the entrance to the center of the hall. There is an armchair and the control computer, with which the telepath connects by means of a special hood. The inside of the hall is clad with special panels, which are crucial for how Cerebro works. Cerebro was originally developed by Xavier and Magneto and later developed by Dr. Hank McCoy further developed. Cerebro is mainly used by Prof. Xavier, Jean Gray, Emma Frost.

Fictional places

  • Asteroid M , an asteroid created by Magneto and temporarily its headquarters
  • Genosha , an island near Madagascar and an apartheid regime against mutants for a long time
  • Madripur , an island near Singapore where corruption and smuggling flourish
  • Muir Island , an island off Scotland , Moira MacTaggert's laboratory
  • Mutant Town , a derelict mutant ghetto in Manhattan
  • Savage Land (the Wild Land), a prehistoric paradise hidden in Antarctica full of dinosaurs

Prizes and awards

  • 5 × Comic Book Buyer's Award for the best author: Chris Claremont (1983, 1984, 1988, 1989, 1990, each for Uncanny X-Men )
  • Eisner Award (2005) for the best author: Brian K. Vaughan (e.g. for Ultimate X-Men )
  • Eisner Award (2005) for the best draftsman: John Cassaday ( e.g. for Astonishing X-Men )
  • Eisner Award (2005) for the best colorist: Dave Stewart ( e.g. for Astonishing X-Men )
  • Eisner Award (2006) for the best draftsman: John Cassaday ( e.g. for Astonishing X-Men )
  • Eisner Award (2006) for the best comic series: Astonishing X-Men by Joss Whedon and John Cassaday
  • Entry in the Guinness Book of Records for X-Men # 1 (1992) for top-selling single comic (author: Chris Claremont , illustrator: Jim Lee )

Film adaptations

TV Shows

There are five X-MEN animated series and two television series and live-action adaptation:

  • X-Men (1992-1997)
  • X-Men: It goes on (original title: X-Men: Evolution ; 2000-2003) - this series takes place in the youth of an alternativeversion ofthe X-Men
  • Wolverine and the X-Men (2008) - darker than its predecessor
  • Marvel Anime: X-Men (2011) - developed in cooperation with the Japanese animation studio Madhouse, is set largely in Japan
  • Marvel Anime: Wolverine (2011) - another co-production with Madhouse, also set in Japan
  • Legion - Actual filming from 2017
  • The Gifted - Actual filming from 2017

Video games

The first X-Men game appeared on the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1989 and was distributed by the US company Acclaim Entertainment . The player had six X-Men characters (Wolverine, Cyclops, Storm, Colossus, Nightcrawler, Iceman) to choose from. Each of these characters offered different attack options that had to be used skillfully in the levels. In the same year the adventure X-Men: Madness appeared in Murderworld for the systems C64 , PC and Amiga .

1992–1994 came the action game Spider-Man - X-Men: Arcade's Revenge for the Super Nintendo and the Sega Mega Drive on the North American and European markets. The game is divided into different levels that have to be mastered with a character. By 1995 five more X-Men games appeared for the consoles.

In 1997 the beat 'em up X-Men: Children of the Atom was released for the PlayStation , the PC and the Sega Saturn . This was the first game to be distributed by Capcom that featured Marvel characters. The game principle is based on the Street Fighter series and can also be played with another player. In the beat 'em up X-Men vs. Street Fighter by the publisher Capcom, the player had to let characters from the Street Fighter and X-Men series compete. X-Men vs. Street Fighter was the first part of the later Marvel vs. Capcom range . Until 2000 only the shooter X-Men: The Ravages of Apocalypse was released for the PC.

In 2000, the US publisher Activision bought the rights to the X-Men series. On September 26, 2001, X-Men: Reign of Apocalypse was released for the Game Boy Advance, another X-Men video game. In the course of the game, various X-Men characters (including Wolverine and Cyclops) are unlocked. In addition, the game offers different multiplayer modes (Capture the Flag, Deathmatch), in which you can compete with up to three other players.

The action game X2: Wolverine's Revenge by Raven Software was a video game adaptation of X2 and was released on May 1, 2003 for the Xbox , PlayStation 2 , GameCube and Game Boy Advance . On September 24, 2004, the action role-playing game X-Men Legends was released for the Xbox, PlayStation 2 and the GameCube. In the game, the player has to control an X-Men character from a bird's eye view and fight against creatures. The game is similar to the Baldur's Gate Dark Alliance series in that you get experience points during the battles and can level up your character. You can also fight creatures and bosses with other players in multiplayer mode.

On October 19, 2005, the successor X-Men Legends 2 was released for the Xbox, PlayStation 2 and the GameCube. The gameplay remained the same except for a few innovations.

In May 2006 the video game adaptation "X-Men: The Official Movie Game" appeared for the PC , the PlayStation 2 , Xbox and the GameCube . The game describes the period between the events from X-Men 2 and X-Men 3 and thus also contains some side information not mentioned in the film.

At the end of 2006, the cross-platform Marvel Ultimate Alliance appeared . In addition to heroes from the Marvel universe , the game also contains X-Men.

title Publishing year Platform / s publisher
X-Men 1989 NES Acclaim Entertainment
X-Men: Madness in Murderworld 1989 C64 , PC , Amiga
Spider-Man and the X-Men: Arcade's Revenge 1992 Game Boy , Game Gear , Sega Mega Drive , SNES Acclaim
X-Men Arcade Game 1992 Arcade game Konami
X-Men 1993 Game Gear, Sega Mega Drive Sega
X-Men 2: Game Master's Legacy 1995 Game Gear Sega
X-Men 2: Clone Wars 1995 Sega Mega Drive Sega
X-Men: Mutant Apocalypse 1995 SNES Capcom
Marvel Super Heroes 1995 Arcade game, PlayStation, Sega Saturn Capcom
X-Men vs. Street Fighter 1996 Arcade game, PlayStation, Sega Saturn Capcom
X-Men 3: Mojo World 1996 Game Gear, Master System Sega
X-Men: Children of the Atom 1997 Arcade game, PlayStation , Sega Saturn , PC Capcom
X-Men: The Ravages of Apocalypse 1997 Pc
X-Men: Mutant Academy 2000 PlayStation, Game Boy Color Activision
X-Men: Mutant Wars 2000 PlayStation, Game Boy Color Activision
X-Men: Wolverine's Rage 2001 Game Boy Color Activision
X-Men: Mutant Academy 2 2001 PlayStation Activision
X-Men: Reign of Apocalypse 2001 Game Boy Advance Activision
X-Men: Next Dimension 2002 PlayStation 2 , Xbox , GameCube Activision
X2: Wolverine's Revenge 2003 PS2, GameCube, Xbox, Game Boy Advance, PC Activision
X-Men Legends 2004 PS2, GameCube, Xbox, N-Gage Activision
X-Men Legends 2 2005 PS2, GameCube, PSP , PC Activision
X-Men: The Official Movie Game 2006 Xbox 360, PS2, GameCube, Xbox, PC, Nintendo DS Activision
Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2006 PS2, PS3, Xbox, Xbox 360, PC, Game Boy Advance, Wii Activision
X-Men Origins: Wolverine 2009 PS2, PS3, PSP, X360, Wii, PC, DS Raven software
Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 2009 PS2, PS3, PSP, X360, Wii, DS Activision
X-Men Destiny 2011 PS3, X360, Wii, DS Activision
Deadpool 2013 PS3, X360, PC Activision

See also

Web links

Commons : X-Men  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. a b c d The True Origins of 'X-Men' , Rolling Stone.
  2. a b Marvel Spotlight: Uncanny X-Men 500 Issues Celebration , p. 5-7
  3. X-Men ex nihilo? The Secret Origins of Marvel's Mutant Superheroes , popmatters.com
  4. ^ A b Claremont Celebrates the Past with "X-Men: Gold" , Comic Book Resources
  5. a b c Mutant Women of Earth: How Chris Claremont Reinvented the Female Superhero , comicsalliance.com
  6. I Heart Wolverine , slate.com
  7. a b c d e Catch Up on 50 Years of the X-Men With These 10 Key Stories , wired.com
  8. Swipe File: Steed And Mrs Peel # 0 And The X-Men , bleedingcool.com
  9. Chris Claremont: Dead Should Mean Dead
  10. a b X-Men # 1 The Guinness World Record Best Selling Comic Of All Time? , bleedingcool.com
  11. Homosexuality in Comics - Part II , Comic Book Resources
  12. Why Hugh Jackman Is Walking Away From Wolverine , Cinema Blend
  13. Joss Whedon: 'Kitty Pryde was the mother of Buffy'
  14. Stuller, J. (2013): Buffy the Vampire Slayer , p. 13.
  15. Buffy Almost Joined The X-Men Family! , comicsverse.com
  16. Marvel Comics Hosts First Gay Wedding in 'Astonishing X-Men' , Rolling Stone
  17. ^ Englefield House stars in Great Expectations , getreading.co.uk