On the X-Men

Parallel Evolution

By Don DeBrandt

On a sunny Saturday morning in the late spring of 2005, I found myself in a dark, cavernous warehouse in a semi-industrial area of Vancouver, British Columbia. I was there looking for mutants.

And I found them. These particular mutants were responding to an ad in the local paper asking for anyone of unusual appearance– tattoos, brandings, piercings, stature–to please come down and fill out some paperwork at a given address. No, this wasn’t some Orwellian Mutant Registration Act; it was a chance to make some cash. It was, in fact, a casting call for the movie X-Men 3.

I must confess, I got there late. By the time I arrived, the line that had apparently stretched halfway around the building had shrunk to twenty or thirty hopefuls. There was at least one Little Person, a few people covered in tattoos and a guy who’d had his naturally long canines sharpened into actual fangs.

But why was I there? Well, I didn’t figure they’d be impressed with my ability to bend my thumbs back to touch my wrists (though there was this Asian fellow who demonstrated something similar, bending his elbows backward; he claimed his father could do the same thing, raising the possibility his ability was, in fact, genetically derived), but I wasn’t planning on handing in an application.

I just wanted to spend a little time with my tribe.

The best superheroes, the ones who speak to something deep in our collective consciousness, always have a metaphor at their heart. Superman is a  …

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