X-Men: What Did The ‘X’ Originally Stand For?

How did the X-Men get their name? If you’ve guessed that they’re named after Professor X, then you’re wrong, but that doesn’t mean the truth is better.

Many fans assume that for all his pacifist philosophy, Charles Xavier must have had an ego to match his awesome psychic powers to name the X Men after himself. But that’s not really how the Mutant Supergroup first got its name. Yes, the marginal group of heroes with mutant genes formed under the tutelage of Professor X, and he even gave the first group of heroes their nickname, but the “X” is not for Xavier.

Written at the heart of the civil rights movement by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, the X-Men reflect the turbulent social upheavals of 1963 including X-Men # 1 created, binding his heroes together through a shared persecution that gave them a unique identity in the comics of the time. In this problem, Jean Gray asks Professor X where the name of the group comes from. In later issues, Marvel would reconfigure their answer to their own name, but originally it was just a terrible pun.

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The mutation present in the students of Professor X’s school gives them superpowers, or as Xavier says “Additional power”. That’s right – Cyclops, Angel, Beast, Iceman, and Jean Gray originally worked together in a shortened form of “ the extra-powerful men. ” Other uses of “X” would follow, forever defining Marvel’s mutants. When Wolverine was tortured by a dark organization, they were Weapon X, mutants were eventually declared to carry the X gene, and in modern times, Marvel’s X leader – Jonathan Hickman – has played with the letter, in the replacing with the Roman numeral ten or a cross symbol in events like Powers of X and X of swords. And yet, as many meanings as the letter would come to have, that’s where it started.

The Marvel comics exist in a shifting timeline in which the present moment is always the contemporary now, dragging the past behind it, so resumption and continuity changes are inevitable, and even desirable when they help update. or improve a series. But while the “truth” of this moment has continued to evolve in the comics, the larger facts for readers are undeniable – not buried in a forgotten link or mentioned by a character who never reappeared, but presented. proudly in the very first from the original creators of the characters.

Whether it’s fighting Magneto on Asteroid X, recruiting Adam-X for their cause, or facing the X-Cutioner’s song, the X-Men certainly always have needed this “ex-tra power” Xavier chose to name them after. But while this flippant explanation isn’t that satisfying, it’s actually a bit more meaningful than the alternative. Throughout Marvel history, mutants have been hunted and killed for their genetic makeup. It’s a nice detail, then, that one of their biggest defenders didn’t name his team after himself, but after the idea that he saw them not as monsters, but as people. with something more. It is an idea that presents mutant powers as something positive; an addition rather than a deviation or a defect. If the alternatives are named after the gene they carry or a man in a multi-generational struggle, the X Men could do worse than having something a little more in a world that hates and fears them.

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