Sunday, June 5, 2011

Things I Didn't Know About Early X-Men Comics

So I'm new to reading comics. When I was a kid, I aspired to read the books my older siblings read, none of which had pictures. The first time I really looked at a comic, I didn't know where to look. I didn't know what order to read the bubbles in, whether to look at the pictures first or last, or even what order I should read the frames in. Basically due to the fact that I started reading books without pictures at a young age, comic books confused me. It's a big part of the reason I didn't get into them until now. I still don't know if I'm doing it right, but I'm enjoying them so I guess I can't be too far off.

Anyway, when I started reading the very first X-Men comics, there were some things that surprised me. I've seen most of the X-Men movies and tv shows in existence, so I thought I had a pretty good handle on the story, but there were a few things that surprised me.

First of all, I had no idea Professor X had the hots for Jean Grey. Sounds crazy, but here's the proof in this frame from issue #3:
Somehow I just can't picture Prof. X with anyone romantically, and that goes double for Jean. I don't know if this storyline just never popped up again or if there have been hints of the Prof's crush over the years, but this is something I never knew until I saw it in my third comic ever.

The other thing I didn't know about the X-Men until I looked at the archives was how unbelievably lame Iceman was at first. He looked so much like a boring snowman, it's no wonder he did this:
But at least Kirby had the decency to make him a little better by issue #7. Check it:
Now that looks a whole lot more like the Iceman that doesn't just provide cheap comedic value and precious little else. That's an Iceman who looks a little more like a superhero.

The last thing I want to cover is the fact that Beast didn't seem like the book-smart nerd with freakish powers that I know from the other incarnations of X-Men. Not only does he not seem book-smart in the first issue or two, he isn't blue at all in the first 8 issues, which is as far as I've gotten so far. Anyway, here's an example from issue #1 of something that Hank said in the first issue that seems way out of character:

And here's a frame from issue #3 which shows our friend Hank McCoy holding a calculus book with his toes, like he does in every other incarnation of X-Men I have ever seen.
He's got math on his mind and unnecessarily high-minded verbiage coming out of his mouth. Now if we can only get him to be covered in blue fur...

Anyway, I'm really enjoying my first foray into comic books. It's opened up a whole new world of wasting time that my wife will surely come to hate.

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