Author Topic: X-BlackMen  (Read 23004 times)

Offline Hypestyle

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Re: X-BlackMen
« Reply #15 on: February 23, 2015, 05:49:24 am »
very cool artwork.

Yeah, I think it's a stretch to retrofit the idea that two middle aged white Jewish guys working for a comic-book publisher in NYC circa 1962-63 were that "deep" into paying attention to the Civil Rights Movement to make a broadly allegorical collection of characters to "play out" such issues in a fantasy setting.

Some X-authors over the years have handled the outsider/prejudice allegory better than others.  In-universe, the general U.S. populace tends to be portrayed as cartoonishly reactionary and casually hypocritical (“gahh!!  A teen girl with scales!!  I’m scared! Send her to the containment camps now!  Oh, hey, there’s the flying dude who’s on fire! Gimme your autograph!”)  so even the “realistic” mutant paranoia is kind of relative..  of course, taking into account how various people have responded to the personage of Pres. Obama, the comics aren’t all that far off the mark when it comes to how someone tagged as an "Other" is treated.

.. and as it relates to New York City; well, Manhattan, certainly—it should be hollowed out by now, or have galactic-scale insurance premiums, for as many multiple disasters that seem to engulf the entire city year-in, year-out.  You might actually have a chance at a metahuman-disaster-free life in Detroit.

Taken literally, mutancy-as-racial/ethnic minority has obvious flaws but it's never been a dealbreaker for me to enjoy the books.  But I guess the latest "controversy" recently was Havok declaring that the term mutant in and of itself is 'racist' (author?).

The 12-year-old Hype reading this stuff back in the days was nonplussed, but in my adult life, if anything pissed me off over the years it would be recognizing that no adult black male hero characters under Claremont's lengthy tenure were created, just the Afro-Brazilian teen Sunspot (who of course, was prone to somewhat incongruous Spanish-based interjections as opposed to Portuguese) and, er, the largely mute "magic aboriginal" Gateway; and Storm "avoided" the black American community (or was never shown on-panel interacting in any substantive way.)  So I'd have to void Mr. Claremont's magnanimity cred, despite helming an otherwise compelling action/fantasy series for as long as he did.
« Last Edit: February 23, 2015, 07:43:54 am by Hypestyle »
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Online Emperorjones

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Re: X-BlackMen
« Reply #16 on: February 23, 2015, 03:27:13 pm »
I don't think it's that much of a stretch. It was obviously in the news. Who knows how creative inspiration sparks? That doesn't mean that I think Stan Lee, for example, was deep into the Movement or had deep knowledge of the movement. He might have had a cursory understanding based on the news he saw. And that reporting might paint MLK as the hero and Malcolm X as the villain. Now I could see him extrapolating that into the comic book realm, and making that inspiration fit into a comic book that he could sell.

Offline Battle

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Re: X-BlackMen
« Reply #17 on: February 23, 2015, 05:40:05 pm »
I don't think it's that much of a stretch. It was obviously in the news. Who knows how creative inspiration sparks? That doesn't mean that I think Stan Lee, for example, was deep into the Movement or had deep knowledge of the movement. He might have had a cursory understanding based on the news he saw. And that reporting might paint MLK as the hero and Malcolm X as the villain. Now I could see him extrapolating that into the comic book realm, and making that inspiration fit into a comic book that he could sell.


That sounds plausible.
From what I understand, it was Jack Kirby who approached Stan Lee with the idea & drawing of a Black superhero first. Also, I understand that Jack loved to listen to the radio a lot while he was at the drawing board (most modern great artists do) so it would be reasonable to assume that Jack was well informed what was going on out in the real world... we are talking about the Civil Rights Movement, assassinations of world leaders & speakers   (JFK, MLK, X), rise of freedom fighters (the Black Panther Party), rioting, etc.

I strongly believe Jack & Stan's creation of a Black superhero, at that time, was a little more than coincidence.
« Last Edit: February 23, 2015, 05:45:25 pm by Battle »

Offline BlackRodimus

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Re: X-BlackMen
« Reply #18 on: February 23, 2015, 06:00:26 pm »
Yeah I don't buy this either. The only way it could work as how they originally thought it up, and not as a retrofit (Claremont) was if they had very narrow and misunderstood views of what both MLK and Malcolm X stood for.

Magento was little more than Hitler with magnetic powers. He believed in attacking first, and subjugation. When did Malcolm X say anything of the sort? In fact he said the opposite. And how does Brotherhood of EVIL Mutants work if he was really a MX analogue? Unless the thought is that was a proxy for the Black Panther Party or the Nation of Islam.

People amening this narrative may want to look a bit closely at what they're actually saying, if they're trying to say NOW this was the idea at its inception. And to be honest with you, thanks to the dawn of the internet, folks could just Google MLX and MX and look at their quotes and see how it matches up pre-Claremont-revision Mags/Prof. X. That alone should blow holes in that theory.

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Online Emperorjones

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Re: X-BlackMen
« Reply #19 on: February 23, 2015, 06:08:26 pm »
Even now how many people know what Malcolm X and the Nation of Islam actually promoted? To me, Malcolm has been seen as a 'hate preacher'. And a lot of people don't go beyond that. So I could see people getting that news, and not actually listening to what he said, or even listening to what he said and being repelled by it, because what he said back then is still pretty radical today, and seeing Malcolm as bad or evil. Granted it's a comic book so they are going to exaggerate. I'm not saying that Lee made Magneto, if he did, exactly like Malcolm, put perhaps Malcolm's call for self-determination sparked something creatively in Lee, or better yet the perceived anger and violence and hate associated with Malcolm sparked that creative impulse.

Offline Redjack

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Re: X-BlackMen
« Reply #20 on: February 23, 2015, 06:56:57 pm »
Stan made up the XMEN because he couldn't think of any more good origins. Mutants remove the need for them.


Mutants were NOT, as Stan conceived them. numerous enough to be an underclass. The culture at large had little idea they even existed. Professor X was WORKING WITH THE FBI. Magneto was not a freedom fighter, He was a mass-murderer and would-be dictator. They were not old friends. None of that.


It simply did not happen. It's not up for debate. The whole "civil rights" crap didn't happen until WELL after Len Wein created the All new, All different X-Men. It was Claremont who injected it. Stan did NOT, I repeat, did NOT Start off trying to write a comic that even LOOSELY connected to the Civil Rights struggle. Never happened. The end.
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Offline Battle

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Re: X-BlackMen
« Reply #21 on: February 23, 2015, 07:01:12 pm »
Even now how many people know what Malcolm X and the Nation of Islam actually promoted? To me, Malcolm has been seen as a 'hate preacher'. And a lot of people don't go beyond that. So I could see people getting that news, and not actually listening to what he said, or even listening to what he said and being repelled by it, because what he said back then is still pretty radical today, and seeing Malcolm as bad or evil. Granted it's a comic book so they are going to exaggerate. I'm not saying that Lee made Magneto, if he did, exactly like Malcolm, put perhaps Malcolm's call for self-determination sparked something creatively in Lee, or better yet the perceived anger and violence and hate associated with Malcolm sparked that creative impulse.


This is also very plausible.
I believe what was happening at that time (1960s) was the emergence and influence of modern Islam on America.
Observe how Islam touched people like Casious Clay or Mr. Little, instead of Christianity.  Observe  how Islam has such a strong influence on, not just young impressionable African-Americans, but White youths today. This is alarming to White folks who don't understand (nor want to) Muslims or Islamic culture because its not Christian.
My point is I believe people are all too aware of what the Nation of Islam promotes but are terrified of it, again, because it's different.

Offline BlackRodimus

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Re: X-BlackMen
« Reply #22 on: February 23, 2015, 07:02:20 pm »
Even now how many people know what Malcolm X and the Nation of Islam actually promoted? To me, Malcolm has been seen as a 'hate preacher'. And a lot of people don't go beyond that. So I could see people getting that news, and not actually listening to what he said, or even listening to what he said and being repelled by it, because what he said back then is still pretty radical today, and seeing Malcolm as bad or evil. Granted it's a comic book so they are going to exaggerate. I'm not saying that Lee made Magneto, if he did, exactly like Malcolm, put perhaps Malcolm's call for self-determination sparked something creatively in Lee, or better yet the perceived anger and violence and hate associated with Malcolm sparked that creative impulse.

That's kinda what I was getting at. The only way that works is if they whittled MLK and MX down to harmless can't we all get along docile harmless negro (Prof. X) vs big scary negro who wants to take ovah!!!!1!!!1!! (Magneto) based on nothing but propaganda and fear of, well, karma, basically. Definitely very little of what either said, if that was taken into consideration at all anyway. That would require research and understanding why both men believed the way they did in the first place, the plight of black people back then. If Prof. X and Magneto is what they came up with, they didn't understand that at all and didn't even try.

So they MIIIIGGGHT want to back off that and attribute that to Claremont alone. Heck they'd get more traction saying they lifted it from the Wizard of Oz. That fits better
« Last Edit: February 23, 2015, 07:05:12 pm by BPStorm4ever »
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Offline Battle

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Re: X-BlackMen
« Reply #23 on: February 23, 2015, 07:16:08 pm »
Even now how many people know what Malcolm X and the Nation of Islam actually promoted? To me, Malcolm has been seen as a 'hate preacher'. And a lot of people don't go beyond that. So I could see people getting that news, and not actually listening to what he said, or even listening to what he said and being repelled by it, because what he said back then is still pretty radical today, and seeing Malcolm as bad or evil. Granted it's a comic book so they are going to exaggerate. I'm not saying that Lee made Magneto, if he did, exactly like Malcolm, put perhaps Malcolm's call for self-determination sparked something creatively in Lee, or better yet the perceived anger and violence and hate associated with Malcolm sparked that creative impulse.

That's kinda what I was getting at. The only way that works is if they whittled MLK and MX down to harmless can't we all get along docile harmless negro (Prof. X) vs big scary negro who wants to take ovah!!!!1!!!1!! (Magneto) based on nothing but propaganda and fear of, well, karma, basically. Definitely very little of what either said, if that was taken into consideration at all anyway. That would require research and understanding why both men believed the way they did in the first place, the plight of black people back then. If Prof. X and Magneto is what they came up with, they didn't understand that at all and didn't even try.

So they MIIIIGGGHT want to back off that and attribute that to Claremont alone. Heck they'd get more traction saying they lifted it from the Wizard of Oz. That fits better



Hey, watchit sucka...!  :)

Wizard of Oz was a lot more metaphorical than you think.  ;D
« Last Edit: February 23, 2015, 07:18:11 pm by Battle »

Offline BlackRodimus

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Re: X-BlackMen
« Reply #24 on: February 23, 2015, 08:47:15 pm »
Even now how many people know what Malcolm X and the Nation of Islam actually promoted? To me, Malcolm has been seen as a 'hate preacher'. And a lot of people don't go beyond that. So I could see people getting that news, and not actually listening to what he said, or even listening to what he said and being repelled by it, because what he said back then is still pretty radical today, and seeing Malcolm as bad or evil. Granted it's a comic book so they are going to exaggerate. I'm not saying that Lee made Magneto, if he did, exactly like Malcolm, put perhaps Malcolm's call for self-determination sparked something creatively in Lee, or better yet the perceived anger and violence and hate associated with Malcolm sparked that creative impulse.

That's kinda what I was getting at. The only way that works is if they whittled MLK and MX down to harmless can't we all get along docile harmless negro (Prof. X) vs big scary negro who wants to take ovah!!!!1!!!1!! (Magneto) based on nothing but propaganda and fear of, well, karma, basically. Definitely very little of what either said, if that was taken into consideration at all anyway. That would require research and understanding why both men believed the way they did in the first place, the plight of black people back then. If Prof. X and Magneto is what they came up with, they didn't understand that at all and didn't even try.

So they MIIIIGGGHT want to back off that and attribute that to Claremont alone. Heck they'd get more traction saying they lifted it from the Wizard of Oz. That fits better



Hey, watchit sucka...!  :)

Wizard of Oz was a lot more metaphorical than you think.  ;D

Indeed, and its definitely not an insult if they lifted at least on the surface from the Wizard of Oz. Definitely not a veiled insult like it is saying they based Prof X and Mags on MLK and MX.
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Offline Redjack

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Re: X-BlackMen
« Reply #25 on: February 23, 2015, 09:04:50 pm »
I'm just gonna leave this here. You all can scroll down if you want.


http://www.cracked.com/article_17299_6-famous-characters-you-didnt-know-were-shameless-rip-offs.html
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Offline Kimoyo

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Re: X-BlackMen
« Reply #26 on: February 24, 2015, 07:02:45 am »
"It's always better in memory."  "...The realities of the present materially affect the perceptions of all that came before."
- Chris Claremont

These words are from Claremont's introduction to the The Uncanny X-Men Masterworks collection.  Most telling I think in these and his further comments is the absence of any reference to the X-men as a metaphor to the Civil Rights Movement let alone, Dr. King or Malcom X.  In fact, Mr. Claremont's comments, like his X-men were virtually devoid of color.

1963, obviously the Civil Rights Movement was often front page news of which Stan and all of Marvel were undoubtedly aware.  Yet, understanding now the importance of that time and the efforts of MLK and MX it is understandable that some might retrospectively associate them to Stan's "X" inspiration.  However, if you consider the uncertainty of things at that time, the stories of MLK and MX were not yet written and Stan was engaged in building Marvel, creating more characters and stories to sell to a predominantly white audience, it is hard to believe that the allegory between the Movement and the X-men (and there is an allegory) was much more than a coincidence, perhaps marginally inspired by the times in general but more likely inspired by the creators own cultural experiences and concerns.

Nonetheless, I believe there could be a value in the allegory.  I once had a freshman course where I presented a case against Institutional racism and I had a colleague of mine come in to present statistics and data from his research to the class.  The white males in the class could not accept the data on employment, education and real estate inequity and were very critical of my colleague's take whereas the black males and all the females were much more receptive.  My colleague who is brilliant also happens to be white yet the white freshman males could not relate to the real life story he was telling.  To them our society was now a level playing field for all.  From their frame of reference cries of racial bias were more or less sour grapes. 

I don't know if any of these students read X-men so I can't present any quantitative conclusion here but I do believe that comics as a medium can help expose people to ideas that may sensitize them, consciously/subconsciously to the struggles of those from other cultures, backgrounds, orientations.  As Redjack astutely noted you cannot substitute Professor X for Dr. King nor Magneto for Malcom X, but if drawing comparisons causes people to look up, read about, educate themselves on real life stories of struggle or even fosters a greater appreciation of individual differences, therein is value.

My two cents.

Peace,

Mont

Offline Battle

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Re: X-BlackMen
« Reply #27 on: February 24, 2015, 08:05:14 am »
"It's always better in memory."  "...The realities of the present materially affect the perceptions of all that came before."
- Chris Claremont

These words are from Claremont's introduction to the The Uncanny X-Men Masterworks collection.  Most telling I think in these and his further comments is the absence of any reference to the X-men as a metaphor to the Civil Rights Movement let alone, Dr. King or Malcom X.  In fact, Mr. Claremont's comments, like his X-men were virtually devoid of color.

1963, obviously the Civil Rights Movement was often front page news of which Stan and all of Marvel were undoubtedly aware.  Yet, understanding now the importance of that time and the efforts of MLK and MX it is understandable that some might retrospectively associate them to Stan's "X" inspiration.  However, if you consider the uncertainty of things at that time, the stories of MLK and MX were not yet written and Stan was engaged in building Marvel, creating more characters and stories to sell to a predominantly white audience, it is hard to believe that the allegory between the Movement and the X-men (and there is an allegory) was much more than a coincidence, perhaps marginally inspired by the times in general but more likely inspired by the creators own cultural experiences and concerns.

Nonetheless, I believe there could be a value in the allegory.  I once had a freshman course where I presented a case against Institutional racism and I had a colleague of mine come in to present statistics and data from his research to the class.  The white males in the class could not accept the data on employment, education and real estate inequity and were very critical of my colleague's take whereas the black males and all the females were much more receptive.  My colleague who is brilliant also happens to be white yet the white freshman males could not relate to the real life story he was telling.  To them our society was now a level playing field for all.  From their frame of reference cries of racial bias were more or less sour grapes. 

I don't know if any of these students read X-men so I can't present any quantitative conclusion here but I do believe that comics as a medium can help expose people to ideas that may sensitize them, consciously/subconsciously to the struggles of those from other cultures, backgrounds, orientations.  As Redjack astutely noted you cannot substitute Professor X for Dr. King nor Magneto for Malcom X, but if drawing comparisons causes people to look up, read about, educate themselves on real life stories of struggle or even fosters a greater appreciation of individual differences, therein is value.

My two cents.

Peace,

Mont



Nice.

Offline Kimoyo

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Re: X-BlackMen
« Reply #28 on: February 24, 2015, 06:18:51 pm »
Thanks Battle!

Peace,

Mont

Offline BlackRodimus

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Re: X-BlackMen
« Reply #29 on: March 10, 2015, 12:08:41 am »
So to put it bluntly and bring it back to the original topic, Stan is full of it when he says he ALWAYS envisioned the X-Men as an allegory for the civil rights movement vis a vis MLK and MX. No long paragraphs saying "well beyond that it retrofits well" none of that, I'm not a fan of Stan getting credit like that. I like him, as much as you can like a person you've never met, but that's pushing it. Give credit where credit is due and take credit for what you actually credited. That wasn't Stan's original idea, not even close.
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