You probably don’t remember (maybe because you’ve never read them), but Uncanny X-Men started out with some interesting differences from the X-Men we know today. Sure, some things are expected: there are only a handful of mutants (mutants were just being discovered, after all), Cyclops is a good guy, etc. Other differences, however, are quite unexpected. Today we are going to highlight some of those… let’s say “unique”… differences. Shall we begin?
Every wonder why they were called the X-Men? It’s not because of the x-gene. It’s not because their leader is Professor X. No, it’s because they are “ex-tra powerful!” Not even making that up, folks. That’s canon! Here’s proof from issue #1:
Fear the Professor!
The mysterious Professor X started off as kind of a ball buster. At a moment’s notice he would call you to class, you had only seconds to get there, and if you were late you were punished. What’s the deal, Xavier? The students were, rightly, afraid of him. Click to enlarge these panels from issue #1:
Hearing Thoughts 101
So, when Stan Lee imagined Xavier’s ability to project his thoughts into others’ minds, I guess he imagine it would take some practice on the receiver’s end to be able to understand said projected thoughts. Here he is in issue #1 congratulating them on successfully mastering this odd technique.
Slim Summers, The Ever-Evolving Beast, & 1960’s Sexism
When Jean Grey meets the boys for the very first not only is she sexually harassed by one Mr. Hank McCoy, Cyclops is, for some reason, introduced as Slim Summers. This all takes place in issue #1:
Hank enjoyed quite the IQ jump from issue #1 to issue #5. Luckily for him, the extra intelligence didn’t leave as easily as it came. This is an obvious illustration of Stan Lee’s continuing “feeling out” of the characters. The language alone between the following two panels, which take place in issue #1 and issue #5, respectively, illustrate the transition.
Xavier Loves Jean
Speaking of odd character traits, did I mention that apparently a love triangle was initially planned between Scott Summers, Jean Grey, and Professor Xavier. Yes, you read that correctly. In issue #3, Professor X is shown pining for the young Jean Grey. A detail that could have shaped the X-Men universe quite differently, this puppy love was only mentioned in this single issue.
Well, that’s all for this week. Tune in next week when we talk about 1963 Magneto and Uncanny X-Men’s very first story arc. And, since you’re already here at the bottom, why not leave a comment about your favorite Uncanny X-Men moment. Cheers!