Saturday, October 29, 2016

Thinking about Mutants


Ever since the first X-Men film was released way back in 2000 we have seen how Hollywood fell in love not only with mutants, but all superheroes from both Marvel and DC. As a child and a teenager I was like, many others, an avid Marvel comic book reader with a soft spot for the newly reorganized X-Men team that first appeared way back in Giant X-Men No.1 in 1975. I followed the team and most other Marvel titles from the mid-1970s into the 1980s until the proliferation of titles in the 1980s made it too difficult to financially keep up. Finally in 1981 I sold my entire collection to a local comic book store save for a few John Byrne drawn X-Men and Alpha Flight comics (they were my favourites). 

Growing up different in a small southwestern Ontario community mutants gave me and I am sure countless others who felt different a way to relate to the world. The comics and the film franchises that have grown out of them trade in the problems of fear of the other and how mutants can live at once apart and within in society. However, the most fascinating aspect for me, one that has not been overly explored in the film franchise (save for a really pedestrian attempt in the third X-Men film, The Last Stand) is the conflict between those who can pass and those who cannot. While The Last Stand trades in everything that is wrong with film representations of mutants, including a poor script and overly simplistic ideas, I liked how it played with the idea and tension between those who can pass and those who can't. 

Originally in the comic books, way back in the 1980s this was best illustrated by the Moorlocks a group of mutants who couldn't pass who lived under the streets of New York City. They first appeared in 1983 in X-Men #163 and would make for a great story. As film makers and producers look for ways to cash in on the Marvel mutant franchise wouldn't it be nice to see a film that explored the story of the Moorlocaks. Presenting them as a community who have to hide because of the persecution they receive because they can not pass in society I think would make for a great story. 

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