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- Well, if isn't Tony Stark messing everything up,
it's the X-Men, with all their time-hopping,
body-switching, reality-altering and X's.
Hey, everyone, I'm DK, and this is Alter Ego,
the show that strives to take a deeper look
at some of our favorite names in comics.
Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters hosts
one of Marvel's premier super teams, the X-Men.
But despite what you may think,
this name is not an ego booster for Mr. Charles Xavier.
Not for the first time nor the last time
Sheldon from Big Bang Theory is wrong about something.
- I guess I was wrong.
- X-Men first appeared in September of 1963
and were created by, of course, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.
And as a side note, Stan Lee has said in many interviews
that the comic was inspired by the Civil Rights Movement
that was taking place and sought to enlighten everyone
to the acceptance of all people,
with Professor X being more
of a Martin Luther King, Jr. figure,
and Magneto more of a Malcolm X,
but this has no actual solid basis.
In fact, this statement was not made definitively
until Chris Claremont had stated his inspirations
after taking over the title.
The starting lineup consists of a small group
of teenage heroes led by Professor X himself.
There was Cyclops, Scott Summers,
Marvel Girl, Jean Grey, later to be known as Phoenix,
Angel, Warren Worthington III, later Archangel,
Beast, Hank McCoy, and Iceman, himself, Mr. Bobby Drake.
Stan Lee and Jack Kirby had wanted to create
another group of heroes after the Fantastic Four
and decided that, as he put it,
"I couldn't have everybody bitten by a radioactive spider
"or exposed to a gamma ray explosion,
"and I took the cowardly way out.
"I said to myself, 'Why don't I just say they're mutants?'
"'They were born that way.'"
And to that end, when they were
deciding on a name for the team,
they came up with the perfect one,
the Mutants, but that's not their name.
Marvel publisher and founder of the company,
Martin Goodman, made sure of that.
He was worried that no one would know what a mutant was,
so the most logical name was a no go.
The brains behind the comics
decided to go with X-Men,
which is not a self-aggrandization for Professor X.
In modern times, it relates to the X gene,
the mutant making gene, the gene responsible
for the difference between Homo sapiens and Homo superior,
the gene which grants the mutants their powers.
And since the X-Men are a team of mutants,
it only makes sense that their group is named
after the very thing that makes them who they are.
But it wasn't always this way.
No, see, that would make too much sense.
This is comics; things are rarely that coherent.
In fact, the X in X-Men originally
stood for something much simpler.
Let's read how Professor Xavier
explains it to Jean Grey in X-Men number one.
"You, Miss Grey, like the other four students
"at this most exclusive school, are a mutant.
"You possess an extra power,
"one which ordinary humans do not.
"That is why I call my students X-Men, for extra power."
Yep, that's right.
X stands for "extra," or more specifically, "extra power."
The Extra Power Men, running around
in their extra power jets with their extra power powers.
The gene thing was added later,
but that is the long and short of it.
It's uncanny how extraordinary the X-Men are,
wouldn't you say?
I don't even feel bad; I think it's funny.
So what did you think the X in X-Men stood for?
Who is your favorite X-Man?
And how do you feel about the title, "The Mutants"?
Let's talk about it all in the comments.
Hey, if you happened to dig this show,
go ahead and click on this video right here
to check out some more of the show.
It's good, I know I'm not Scott but it's good.
You should watch it.
And if you didn't catch all of our videos for X-Men week,
click right here to get a playlist of all of them.
There's even one on Nightcrawler, he's one of my favorites.
I love that fuzzy blue elf.
And hey, if this is your first time
joining us here at NerdSync,
we publish new videos every week,
so make sure to slap that subscribe button
so you don't miss a thing while we explore
the art, history, science, and names
behind our favorite comics.
Once again, guys, this is DK, and I want to say
thank you for joining us here on Alter Ego
and remember to always read between the panels
and grow smarter through comics.
See you next time.
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What Does the "X" in X-Men Stand For? || NerdSync

26 Folder Collection
Harry Huang published on February 3, 2020
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