On the X-Men

Playing God and Discovering My Own Mutanity

By Joe Casey

Ladies and gentlemen, writing comic books is a strange way to make a living.

I know this from experience. For close to a decade now, it’s been my primary source of income. From a simple childhood dream to the career that eventually allowed me to buy a home and travel the world (if, by “the world,” you mean most of the United States, Mexico, the United Kingdom and parts of Europe), writing comic books has not only been my job, it’s been my life. And I pretty much love my life.

But a career in anything is a journey. It contains ups and downs, highs and lows, triumphs and disappointments. Just like good comic book stories, I guess. And like any other career, there are stages of advancement, a proverbial ladder of success wherein a writer can climb from relative obscurity to the top of his or her field, sometimes in an alarmingly short amount of time. And in the realm of mainstream comic books, that usually involves writing the X-Men.

By now, you’ve probably all seen the movies. Maybe some of you have seen the animated cartoon series from the early ’90s. And, obviously, there are those of you who read, or at least knew about, the comic book series that spawned it all. You all know the concept of the X-Men—“mutants” born with extraordinary abilities, hated and feared by the world they are sworn to protect. Most of you are probably familiar with X-Men perennials like Wolverine, with his feral nature,  …

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