Continuing Project 11/61, I hit another long spate of updates: The original X-Men. There are now expanded history pages started for all the original X-Men (Earth-616)/Expanded History: Professor X, Cyclops, Marvel Girl, Angel, Iceman and Beast. Some thoughts on doing all these pages:
- The original team of X-Men have to have the least complicated "early" years of any other X-characters out there. Granted there have been a lot of flashback tales and back stories, but events that happened between the first run of X-Men are thankfully far and few between. You'll notice there is not a lot of difference between profiles other than key issues, or the rare solo tale. I think this is basically due to the fact that when Stan Lee and Jack Kirby created the characters they didn't really flesh out the characters. Stan wanted to do another team book that was just as successful as the Fantastic Four and the Avengers, but didn't want to do the work. Heck that's why he made them mutants so he didn't have to create any origin stories. This laziness shows throughout that original run and it's any wonder why the series became a reprint title for a number of years and almost got cancelled. The only series of issues that were really any good during the 60s was the one with art by Neil Adams.
- Of course they have gone back multiple times to this era of the X-Men, namely in the X-Men: The Hidden Years and three runs of X-Men First Class. Hidden Years tried to fill in the blanks during the period between X-Men #66 and X-Men #94 when the title was in reprints. John Byrne did a great job trying to tell these tales, keeping a measured balance between what was published before and after this period of time. Granted there were stories published that guest-starred the X-Men that were published in that period, namely the whole Secret Empire conspiracy, but there was lots of story telling potential. Sadly, the series was cancelled in the year 2000 when the X-Men books were being revamped, eliminating titles that editorial though were redundant or not in line with where the X-Books were going to go (more like the movie that was released that year).
- First Class also went back and looked at the original team, and it's a bit of an oddity because it was trying to be a "fun book" to get new readers interested in the original team and the much simpler times the characters lived in. It is a continuity nightmare trying to figure out where these tales fit with the rest of the X-Men series. The writers did their best to put in references to the original X-Men run to give long time readers an idea. X-Men First Class Vol 2 #11 was a very tongue and cheek response to fans who whined and moaned about the continuity problems. I have tried my best to fit all of these stories into the continuity of the characters based on what clues were in each issue and what was going on in the original X-Men book.
- One thing I found amazing is how little backstory there is on Jean Grey. In the original run of X-Men, between issues X-Men #38 through X-Men #57 each X-Men issue had a back-up story that told the origins of each X-Man and showcased their powers. All the male members had origins told, however Jean did not have an origin story revealed, X-Men #57 explained her powers and the back up features were dropped. Jean's background didn't get explored until much later in Bizarre Adventures #27 and that was only about three or four pages of exposition in a flashback. While other members of the original team have had their origins and early days revisited many times, the only time Jean's past had been visited was more recently in X-Men Origins: Jean Grey #1.
- Of all the X-Men characters whose history is effected by the Sliding Timescale it's Charles Xavier. The problems are two fold: His time in the military and his time in Israel. Check out the Expanded History profile footnotes on Charles and you'll see exactly what I am talking about, there is just far too much to explain and I've kind of gotten tired of writing about it :P
As all of you must know by now, I am going through each issue of Fantastic Four and plucking whatever characters are introduced in a given issue and doing expanded history pages (as needed) and doing full on profiles for lesser characters. The X-Men appeared in Fantastic Four #28. I am skipping over to Fantastic Four #30 to do Diablo, Fantastic Four #33 to do Attuma, 34 which features Gregory and Thomas Gideon (The issues in between feature characters I've already done)