On the X-Men
Infinite Mutation, Eternal Stasis
By James Lowder
Both my computer and my PDA have reset buttons. I’m extremely happy about this since, at least once a week, one or the other of them freezes up, and it’s only the reset button that allows me to return to the technological wonderment of the twenty-first century. In this next piece, James Lowder discusses the consequences of living in the Marvel Universe and the dangers of pressing its hypothetical reset button once too often.
It was Giant-Size X-Men #1 that hooked me. A friend had recommended that particular comic book because it featured a menacing giant monster–Krakoa, the Island That Walks Like a Man–and such oddly named behemoths were always guaranteed to grab my interest. Monsters like Krakoa had been an important part of Marvel’s history back in the fifties and early sixties. Wonderfully rendered by Jack Kirby and Dick Ayers, lumbering, hyperbole-spouting beasties with bizarre names like Fin Fang Foom and Zzutak, the Thing That Shouldn’t Exist, had tromped through Strange Tales and Journey Into Mystery in the years before the Human Torch and Thor took up residence in those pages. Marvel’s monsters were nostalgia items by the mid-seventies, the stuff of reprints and the occasional guest appearance in second-tier titles like The Incredible Hulk.
The X-Men shared their rather sad fate for a time. Before Giant- Size #1, five years had passed since the last original story appeared under the X-Men logo. Apart from reprints, the mutant heroes had kicked around the Marvel Universe rather aimlessly during that time, …