If you are just learning about comics but are unsure of where to start? Here is a great chance to kick start your new weekly habit.
1) First appearance:
The X-Men Volume 1 (September 1963) but later changed to Uncanny X-Men with issue #94 created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby - http://goo.gl/fJwFiH. The series was published bi-monthly through issue #66 (Dec 1970) when effectively the series stop publishing original stories, but instead republished previous stories. This continued through issue #93 (June 1975).
The lineup has changed over the years, but started with teenagers: Scott Summers (Cyclops), Jean Grey (Marvel Girl), Warren Worthington III (The Angel), Henry McCoy (The Beast) and the youngest member Robert "Bobby" Drake (Iceman)
The series was relaunched with a much more international lineup with Giant-Size X-Men #1 by Len Wein and Dave Cockrum (the co-creators of Wolverine in The Incredible Hulk #181). The new lineup consisted of Cyclops, Banshee, Sunfire, Wolverine, Storm, Nightcrawler, Colossus and Thunderbird. The series became The Uncanny X-Men with issue #94 (written by Chris Claremont) when Sunfire left the team. Thunderbird was killed in issue #95.
2) Jumping off point:
Days of Future Past #141-142 - http://goo.gl/R7q59c
X-Men: Mutant Massacre - http://goo.gl/7LUO4n
3) Top Villan:
Magneto - The X-Men #1 (September 1963) created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby
4) Movies like comics:
There are similarities, but quite a few differences. The storylines are not even remotely like the comics. These movies were the first good Marvel movies to ever be created. The good moniker doesn't apply to X-Men 3 though. This was a horrible and very rushed representation of the Dark Phoenix Saga. If you hadn't read the comics then you would not have understood this story at all.
5) Why I like them:
This team represents the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960's. There was a direct correlation made by Stan Lee to represent the Jim Crow Laws and the fear and hatred of the African-Americans of that time period. The whole premise was turned on its head when the oppressed become the oppressor with Magneto and his Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. When pushed into a corner they react accordingly, but always try to rise above it as led by Professor Xavier. He starts out teaching them how to use their powers and then his "dream" ala Martin Luther King, Jr about living in harmony with the normal people. Each member of this team is flawed, some more than others. They are hunted and for much of their history they are forced to hide who and what they are. Some look normal but hide strange and interesting powers. I like them because I wanted to be them. I wanted to look normal but have superpowers. I think every child does at some point. The debate is which power is greatest. Every one of these characters can be beaten alone, but together they can rise above. This is the message. Stick together through everything life has to throw at you and will at least have a fighting chance. Try to go it alone and you will be miserable and defeated.
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