“In the instances when POC say shit like ‘Oh I can’t stand white folk’ or ‘Damn white people’, they aren’t saying ‘Oh I think they are inferior, I want to humiliate them, abuse them, enslave them and wipe out their people!’, they’re saying ‘Damn, after a couple hundred years of white people thinking I’m inferior, humiliating me, abusing me, enslaving me, and trying to wipe out my people, I don’t wanna deal with them.’ The context is completely different.”—
The Premise - Thousands of years ago, godlike alien beings known as Celestials came to Earth to secretly experiment on the human race. Their goal was to use homo sapiens as a genetic template to revive long-dead civilizations and species throughout the universe. However, their initial tests proved inconclusive, and the project was abandoned. What was unknown at the time was that the original “program” developed by the Celestials had spread and embedded itself onto the DNA of countless human beings and continued to be passed down through the generations, dormant.
The story begins where in the past few years this “x-gene” begins to activate, creating outrageous mutations and causing a general panic in society. While no one is sure what is causing the mutations, it’s clear that the power in human society may quickly shift if something isn’t done. Most mutants go into hiding or destroy themselves when they are unable to control what is happening to them. A few, however, are taken in by a handful of more knowledgable mutants like Charles Xavier and Erik Magnus.
Kitty Pryde - Leader of the X-Men and Xavier’s prize student. When Kitty first discovered her ability to “phase” through matter, she immediately put it to use in solving crimes, clandestinely helping local police, signing her clues to them as “The Shadowcat.” Upon encountering Xavier, Kitty concocted an elaborate excuse to go to his prestigious prep school so that she could learn more about her abilities and what this whole “mutant” hysteria was all about.
Notes - I think Kitty’s a good choice for the leader of the team in my version fo the X-Men, largely because she’s the least crazy. She is also one fo the few X-Men who actually enjoys being a mutant (at least for the moment). Kitty is also the most sheltered, which would definitely come into conflict with the more tragic and world-weary members of the team. Visually I’m definitely going for a “teen detective” look, as well as keeping her in a boyish look contrasted with a reasonably curvy figure.
Rogue - Disturbed runaway from Mississppi. After her power to absorb the physical strength and memories from others manifested, Rogue fled her hometown, living for a short while on the street before being discovered by Xavier. She is terribly confused most of the time, as she has trouble distinguishing her own memories from those that she has absorbed.
Notes - Rogue’s initial ability is to temporarily absorb the thoughts and physical attributes of living beings, but as she continues to mutate along with the others, her abilities expand to include more elemental forms of energy. Visually, I wanted a look that felt like someone looking for an identity, and the hipster mullet felt like a right move.
Storm - Ororo Munroe was born in Kenya, but due to various mishaps found herself as a member of Egyptian militants by the time she was a teenager. Worshipped as a deity due to her incredible powers, Ororo was quickly becoming a warlord before encountering Xavier. After being soundly humbled by Professor X, she came to realize that she was not a goddess, but a misguided youth among many mutants.
Notes - Storm is the “muscle” of the group, having actual combat experience as well as a monumental amount of confidence in her abilities. She routinely comes into conflict with Kitty, the leader, but usually backs down when she cools off. I wanted her personality to be generally calm but unpredictable, like her namesake. Visually I went with something close to her punk rock look from the 80s, as well as a few “mutant” attributes beyond just having white hair.
Phoenix - After a terrible domestic violence incident, young Jean Grey was killed when her father accidentally shot her. Moments later, Jean Grey found out that she could not stay dead, returning to life in a flaming explosion that completely incinerated her family and neighborhood. Before authorities could find her, Jean was picked up by Charles Xavier, who offered her both consolation and a new home where she could control her growing mutations.
Notes - Jean is about as neurotic as someone who comes back to life by exploding should be. Over time and through further mutation stages, Jean discovers that her true power is control over matter itself, and that her “immortality” is actually just an instinctive defense mechanism, making her sort of a crazed teenage version of Dr. Manhattan. Even so, she’s ever concerned about losing control and hurting those close to her. Visually I wanted a tall, gawkish figure, someone who’s not entirely comfortable in their own skin. Also she has creepy devil eyes now.
Cyclops - Similar to Jean, poor Scott Summers discovered his mutant ability after incinerating half of his school with an optic blast. Scott’s mutation first appears as a large strange hole in the center of his head. While he has no eyes, Scott seems to have no trouble seeing, and in fact can perceive reality in very unusual ways. Although he has not since been able to reproduce the strange laser that came out of his head, Scott trains to discover the potential of his weird, disfiguring mutation.
Notes - Nobody likes Cyclops, it’s an empirical truth. Knowing this, I’ve tried to make him a little more sympathetic and less stuck up. With my X-Men he’s much more the shy, reserved voice of reason since he’s not in a leadership position. He’s also (currently) the most disfigured, and has dealt with the most public ridicule. He is also infatuated with Storm because she is bossy. Visually, I put a big hole in his head, with the notion that a weird dimensional gateway that can tap into energy reserves is a neat sci fi concept that should be explored beyond “optic blast.”
Wolverine - Dr. Logan is Xavier’s oldest friend and trusted advisor. Dr. Logan also descends into a murderous feral form every 50 years and murders everyone around him. This leaves him with amnesia and disorientation that can last years. Logan’s origins are stranger than most mutants because he is in fact one of the original mutants, created by the Celestials thousands of years earlier. He originally hails from Macedon, and due to his incredible powers of healing has never aged or grown sick for millennia. Due to his unusual appearance, he has also been mistaken for a werewolf throughout history.
Notes - I basically combined Beast with Wolverine, with a touch of Vandal Savage. Having lived for so long, Logan has become a pretty sophisticated guy who is nonetheless constantly trying to hold together his strange, mutant feral rage. Visually I kept it close to the classic look, just emphasizing his short stature (being from such an earlier time) and giving him little fangs.
Colossus - Pitor Rasputen had made a decent living as a body guard and bouncer in New Jersey,
Actress Traci Thoms has appeared on television’s Cold Case and Harry’s Law as well as on the movie screen in Rent and The Devil Wears Prada. But to superhero fans she may be most known for her role as Etta Candy in the much maligned 2011 pilot of Wonder Woman.
The race blind casting of Thoms carried through to the comic world and in the new 52 as I pointed out to readers (and to Thoms herself) a few months ago, the actress is a ringer for the character.
But now Thoms would like to see the reverse happen and she’d like to appear as a character in DC Comics or Vertigo to be specific. A mini campaign called #tracifor355 has appeared on Twitter to get Thoms cast as Agent 355 in the movie of Y: The Last Man. Of course Y: The Last Man is in seemingly endless hell development with New Line Cinemas, so who knows when that will happen? But when it does I think Thoms has a good case:
Again it may be awhile before that project gets to to casting. That’s okay, Thoms also has ideas for Marvel. When Tumblr Robot Boy tweeted Thoms about whether she would play Misty Knight, Thoms didn’t just say yes, she tweeted back this:
I’ve been saying that Marvel should make a Daughters of the Dragon movie. Marvel, looks like Traci Thoms has her character research all done.
Let’s accomplish some social good today. The organization One Million Moms, who describe themselves as “a network of Christian mothers and grandmothers taking a stand for our children who are exploited by the entertainment industry”, have recently released a statement asking for a write-in campaign to Marvel (owned by Disney) and DC (owned by Warner Bros.) asking them to “change and cancel all plans of homosexual superhero characters immediately”.
This is in direct relation to Marvel’s first gay marriage in Astonishing X-Men #50 and DC announcing a reveal of a male, iconic character’s sexual identity being changed from previous incarnations. One Million Moms goes on to say things like,
Children desire to be just like superheroes. Children mimic superhero actions and even dress up in costumes to resemble these characters as much as possible. Can you imagine little boys saying, “I want a boyfriend or husband like X-Men?” This is ridiculous! Why do adult gay men need comic superheroes as role models? They don’t but do want to indoctrate impressionable young minds by placing these gay characters on pedestals in a positive light. These companies are heavily influencing our youth by using children’s superheroes to desensitize and brainwash them in thinking that a gay lifestyle choice is normal and desirable. As Christians, we know that homosexuality is a sin (Romans 1:26-27).
This is yet again another example of the bigotry from close-minded individuals. Obviously they have no problem referencing Romans 1:26-27, but heavens forbid they take a gander at Matthew 7:1 (Judge not, that you be not judged.). I won’t even touch the stereotypical gender roles this organization is promoting.
What can you do? Easy! Let’s lets overwhelm their voice. For every email Marvel or DC receives asking to remove homosexual elements from comics, let’s send them emails congratulating them on the steps they are taking and showing support for their editorial and creative decisions. Tweet them and let them know you are proud to support gay characters and gay marriage in comics.