On the X-Men

New Mutant Message from the Underaged

By Nick Mamatas

You know what? Screw Robin. Screw Robin and the little orange motorcycle he rode in on. Of course, I say that now because I’m thirty-three years old, own a half-wild dog and currently live in a state where you don’t even need a permit to carry a concealed handgun. Plus, Robin isn’t even real. But I always said “Screw Robin,” albeit sotto voce, because I knew that Robin was a prick. Underage stunt driver, millionaire’s kid, athletic nearly to the point of the preternatural–if not for his crime-fighting career, Dick Grayson would have been jacking kids like me up for lunch money and a chance to impress the gum-cracking cheerleaders over by the lockers. The rest of the Teen Titans were just sniggering Socs in a spandex version of The Outsiders, as well.

And most of the other teenage heroes were no better. Superboy was clearly a deranged Eagle Scout, waiting patiently for the chance to go on some sort of Space Mormon door-to-door mission in decadent and sinful Metropolis. Captain Marvel? Don’t even get me started.

DC was always hokey, but Marvel was little better. Peter Parker’s high school years were before my time as a reader; when I got my first issue of Amazing Spider-Man, Spidey was already struggling to pay the rent and eating saltines and peanut butter for dinner. I was to follow him into that lifestyle soon enough. The X-Men had Kitty Pryde, of course, but she was a snot, too–the sort of girl who’d brag about  …

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