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  1. #1
    All-New Member ChristianfromNJ98's Avatar
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    Default Magneto isn't a good analogy to Malcolm X, and Professor X is not for MLK

    I just had to say this, as a black man and X-Men comic fan, because I always see people making the comparison, including the actors Michael Fassbender and Ian McKellen. And although they can play great Magnetos, are not right on this issue.

    As someone who has read a lot of X-Men involving Magneto, there are such stark differences:

    • Magneto has shown time and again that he is perfectly willing to kill fellow mutants if they get in the way of his fanatical and violent vision of his crusade against humanity, which can most notably be seen in X-Men: Eve of Destruction, when he ordered the Neo mutants to kneel before him and join in his anti-human war, and literally ripping two of them apart when they refused. The fact that he ordered the mutants to kneel before him also shows a narcissistic side as well. Malcolm X would never kill fellow blacks for disagreeing with his methods; did you ever see the man ordering his followers in the Nation of Islam to do such a thing either? No.

    • Malcolm X never expressed a desire to commit wanton and unprovoked acts of violence against white people wholesale; he only called for blacks to defend themselves. On the other hand, many times, Magneto has expressed a desire to, and at actually tried to, kill all humans or a vast majority of them. As leader of Genosha, he frequently rabble-roused against the humans to his mutant flock in Genosha, and was damn near about to go to war against them, and kill thousands, maybe even millions of them, if he had not been stopped by the X-Men.

    • In Fatal Attractions, Magneto used his powers to unleash a devastating EMP on the entire planet, causing electricity to malfunction all over, killing countless thousands in hospitals, planes, cars and other vehicles, etc. Why? As retaliation for the Magneto Protocals activation by the UN, which prevented him from using his powers within the Earth. Malcolm X would never kill untold innocents just to make a point. The ironic thing is that some of Magneto's fellow Holocaust survivors and mutants could very well have been killed in the pandemonium.


    And, honestly, a good number of the mutants are not a good metaphor for oppressed minorities in today's culture, if they ever were. For example, think of Professor X and Emma White. They are both of them privileged, white and wealthy, have absolute control of their telepathic powers, can use them freely with absolutely no physical or mental detriment to their bodies, and their powers have a very positive effect on their lives.

    Are we supposed to feel sorry for them, and compare their situation to those of us who are black and worry about racial profiling, discrimination in employment, and being shot by trigger-happy police officers? Of course not.

    I remember one story when Emma chided Beast for considering taking the mutant cure. It was easy for her to do, as a rich white woman whose powers are nothing but an immense benefit to her life, do nothing to impede her physical beauty, or her mental state. But for a mutant like Beast, who, although a brilliant scientist, is an average-income guy from Illinois who was turned into an agile catperson who is blue, and has had more and more trouble controlling his instincts. Mutants like him are a good analogy for minorities, as they have to risk being hated just for the way they look.

    As for Professor X, among other things, he has repeatedly trained teenagers in his Danger Room to be a part of a paramilitary mutant group able to use their powers in lethal ways if need be. Could you imagine MLK, a dedicated pacifist and staunch opponent of the Vietnam War, training black teenagers to use pistols, shotguns and rifles against white racists? Again, no. While Professor X has a legitimate purpose in ensuring powerful, Omega-level type mutants can control their powers and make it so they don't accidentally go off randomly and hurt civilians, that is different from sending them out in dangerous, life-threatening situations to fight battles.

    These are just my two cents.

  2. #2
    Mighty Member 9th.'s Avatar
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    Thats because a lot of people grossly misunderstand the 2 (X and MLK)
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  3. #3
    Spectacular Member djoki96's Avatar
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    Thank you!

  4. #4
    The King Fears NO ONE! Triniking1234's Avatar
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    People only push this narrative for woke clout.
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  5. #5
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    If Magneto was originally meant as an analogue for a real life figure it was (ironically in view of later retcons) Adolf Hitler, as someone who believes his race is the master race that should rule the world.

    Really I don’t think Lee and Kirby even thought about it beyond that Magneto = Evil Mutant and Xavier = Good Mutant. But even after Claremont turned Magneto into a noble figure he still talked about wanting to rule the world. The MLK/Malcolm comparisons have always been preposterous or at best based on an idea of what the characters represent, not the actual stories.

  6. #6

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    or maybe he was an analogue for lucifer; who also saw his "race" as superior to humanity. he did have devil horns on his helmet. he did tempt Namor. i don't know that it's a good idea to compare him to real life figures.
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  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by gurkle View Post
    If Magneto was originally meant as an analogue for a real life figure it was (ironically in view of later retcons) Adolf Hitler, as someone who believes his race is the master race that should rule the world.

    Really I don’t think Lee and Kirby even thought about it beyond that Magneto = Evil Mutant and Xavier = Good Mutant. But even after Claremont turned Magneto into a noble figure he still talked about wanting to rule the world. The MLK/Malcolm comparisons have always been preposterous or at best based on an idea of what the characters represent, not the actual stories.
    yeah back in the silver age comics everyone was pretty generic. You were either a hero, or you were a villain, there really wasn't any grey in it.

    It wasn't until Claremont took over the X-Men that he felt the need to flush out the villains more and give them more depth. Some people stayed villains over the years, but others showed that their true color was morally grey and they stood in the middle. Magneto softened his stance until he made the decision to just stand with Charles and the X-Men. Emma overcame her selfishness and greed because of the tragedies occuring around her, giving therapy to the New Mutants after the beyonder attack, watching her Hellions die, it changed her, and just like Magneto before her, Emma threw her lot in with the X-Men.

    Stan Lee and Jack Kirby wrote stereotypical archetype characters. The only difference between DC and Marvel at the time was the Stan and Jack wrote the characters being more involved in their day to day personal lives. Peter struggling with school and his classmates, hiding his identity from aunt may. It made Spiderman stand out in comparison to the same archetypical heroes at DC because people could relate to the Marvel characters easier. Fantastic Four was all about the family dynamics, but at the beginning they were very stereotypical. Sheesh go back and read the original FF run and you will cringe at all the housewife and female victim stereotypes that Susan Storm was forced into. Jean was the same in the X-Men, just a stereotypical female being rescued by the men a lot.

    The bronze age at Marvel especially gave all the characters more depth. Heroes made bad choices that had repercussions, Villains could see things from the heroes perspectives and occasionally side with the heroes against bigger threats (like for Magneto it was the Beyonder that caused him to join with Charles and the X-Men). Some villains eventually just became heroes entirely. Occasionally they let a hero become a villain but usually if it's a popular character they put them back as a hero eventually.

    This is also where writers can be part of the problem. Look at Fatal Attractions, written by Fabian Nicieza and Scott Lobdell, where they undid all of Claremont's work to humanize Magneto and tried to take him all the way back to being a complete unsympathetic villain. It didn't last though, over the years Magneto slowly linked more and more to the X-Men until finally he joined Utopia.

    Then you have IvX trying to turn Emma Frost into the big villain because Editorial wanted the Inhumans to be the heroes. The problem was the core of the story makes the Inhumans look bad because they were sitting on their hands while the mutants were being killed by a genocidal gas that the Inhumans were responsible for. They tried to keep Emma a villain because the editors and writers at the time kept wanting to back to the old days when Emma Frost was just a generic evil villain with no redemption, but the story made no sense except to say that Emma was emotionally unstable after the death of the love of her life. Eventually the writers that joined the X-books in the late 90's started to become influential in the stories and saw these writers taking Emma back to her growth in the 90's and 00's, because that is how they remember Emma, as a morally grey hero.

    This is one of the reasons I dislike the nostalgia editors and writers who I swear haven't read an X-book since the 1980's and want the X-Men franchise to go back to how it was when all the characters had locked in defined roles.
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  8. #8
    Incredible Member Lucyinthesky's Avatar
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    I agree with both ChristianfromNJ98 and Rachel Grey, Magneto and Xavier don`t really reflect Malcolm X and MLK in their methods or way of thinking, at best a very superficial connection with the fight for civil rights can be made between them but that`s it, sometimes I think people make this comparison out of habit more than an actual analysis.

    Rachel Grey is right too, Magneto was developed by Claremont to be an actual character with motives, story and a personal point of view beyond being "evil" or "wanting to take over the world" which was the motive of most villains during the silver age, sadly some writers/editors sometimes get ruled by nostalgia and believe that he was better as they remember him, an arquetype of an "evil" person without any real deep or substance beyond his role as an X-men villain. This happens to a lot of other characters like Emma Frost who have been developed into nuanced characters by different writers. Sometimes nostalgia can be the worst enemy for quality writing and creative thinking imo.
    Last edited by Lucyinthesky; 11-14-2019 at 03:17 PM.
    "The time for subtlety is passing. Now is the time for change." [New Mutants (Vol. 1) #38]

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lucyinthesky View Post
    I agree with both ChristianfromNJ98 and Rachel Grey, Magneto and Xavier don`t really reflect Malcolm X and MLK invtheir methods or way of thinking, at best a very superficial connection to the fight for civil rights can be made and that`s it and Rachel Grey is right too, Magneto was developed by Claremont to be an actual character with motives, story and a personal point of view beyond being "evil" or "wanting to take over the world" which was the motive of most villains during the silver age, sadly some writers/editors sometimes get ruled by nostalgia and believe that he was better as they remember him, an arquetype of an "evil" person without any real deep or substance beyond his role as an X-men villain and this can happen to a lot of other characters like Emma Frost who have been developed into nuanced characters by different writers. Sometimes nostalgia can be the worst enemy for quality writting and creative thinking imo.
    Even Claremont is guilty of it. If he had his way he would take the X-Men back to the late 80's and start from there and everything that happened after would be ignored.
    We are MUTANT..Krakoa, FOREVER!!! “Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité”

  10. #10
    Incredible Member Lucyinthesky's Avatar
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    Agreed, I like his work very much but if he let go some of the ideas he had about the characters back in the 80`s to add the different changes each character had in their story, his stories would reflect once again that energy he had when he first started writing the X-men.
    "The time for subtlety is passing. Now is the time for change." [New Mutants (Vol. 1) #38]

  11. #11
    Mighty Member tuck frump's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gurkle View Post
    If Magneto wuas originally meant as an analogue for a real life figure it was (ironically in view of later retcons) Adolf Hitler, as someone who believes his race is the master race that should rule the world.

    Really I don’t think Lee and Kirby even thought about it beyond that Magneto = Evil Mutant and Xavier = Good Mutant. But even after Claremont turned Magneto into a noble figure he still talked about wanting to rule the world. The MLK/Malcolm comparisons have always been preposterous or at best based on an idea of what the characters represent, not the actual stories.
    Embarassing.
    Wish someone knowledgeable on civil rights era figures would chime in.

  12. #12
    Astonishing Member The Kid's Avatar
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    Yeah those comparisons have always been awful and a major misunderstanding of who Malcom X and MLK were
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  13. #13

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    The thing to remember is that despite how seriously some fans take them, adventure comics are light reading not intended for informed scholars. The MLK/MX comparison is extremely superficial, and anyone with an actual interest in the civil rights movement will scoff at it as much as a biology major would at the x-gene. I do give the X-men credit for stoking interest in those names, though, and helping to spread social awareness.
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  14. #14
    Mighty Member Electricmastro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChristianfromNJ98 View Post
    As someone who has read a lot of X-Men involving Magneto, there are such stark differences:

    • Magneto has shown time and again that he is perfectly willing to kill fellow mutants if they get in the way of his fanatical and violent vision of his crusade against humanity, which can most notably be seen in X-Men: Eve of Destruction, when he ordered the Neo mutants to kneel before him and join in his anti-human war, and literally ripping two of them apart when they refused. The fact that he ordered the mutants to kneel before him also shows a narcissistic side as well. Malcolm X would never kill fellow blacks for disagreeing with his methods; did you ever see the man ordering his followers in the Nation of Islam to do such a thing either? No.

    • Malcolm X never expressed a desire to commit wanton and unprovoked acts of violence against white people wholesale; he only called for blacks to defend themselves. On the other hand, many times, Magneto has expressed a desire to, and at actually tried to, kill all humans or a vast majority of them. As leader of Genosha, he frequently rabble-roused against the humans to his mutant flock in Genosha, and was damn near about to go to war against them, and kill thousands, maybe even millions of them, if he had not been stopped by the X-Men.

    • In Fatal Attractions, Magneto used his powers to unleash a devastating EMP on the entire planet, causing electricity to malfunction all over, killing countless thousands in hospitals, planes, cars and other vehicles, etc. Why? As retaliation for the Magneto Protocals activation by the UN, which prevented him from using his powers within the Earth. Malcolm X would never kill untold innocents just to make a point. The ironic thing is that some of Magneto's fellow Holocaust survivors and mutants could very well have been killed in the pandemonium.
    Also, Magneto desired slavery, and I can't imagine how Stan Lee would have written this to be a solid analogy for Malcolm X (X-Men #4).

    Last edited by Electricmastro; 11-14-2019 at 07:01 PM.

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