User:Mhaille/Development of the XMen

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Shiny Metal Helmet Guy has remained a mainstay of the X-Men mythos since its inception, here demonstrating his power of hand gestures. "You shall not pass!"

Everybody knows that the X-Men are a superhero team in the Marvel Comics Universe having a history which goes back to the early 1960s. However few people realise the fascinating backstory to the series which is worthy of further study. Creator Stan Lee devised the series title after Marvel publisher Martin Goodman turned down a number of initial names, detailed below. That Stan Lee managed to get it wrong twenty-three times may shock many fans, so we advise caution on behalf of die-hard comic fanatics.

edit Development of XMen, or the Alphabetic Order of Mutant Superheroes

edit A-Men


Many social issues were addressed in early developments such as the addition of Raging Testosterone Woman reflecting the rise of Feminism during the 1970s.

Stan Lee's initial story followed a group of merry mutants in a series of adventures. A number of characters that would feature in later editions had their genesis at this early stage including One-Eyed Guy, Pointy Hands Guy and their main antagonist Shiny Metal Helmet Man.

Following copyright issues from the Catholic Church the idea went back into development mode.

edit B-Men


After seeing this picture on his desk one morning, Stan Lee abandoned the idea of B-Men.

Stan Lee was heavily ridiculed for this one. He got three suggestions: huge boobs, potbellies, or incompetent fumblers. Needless to say, this idea never went any further than Lee's trashcan after the ridicule.

edit C-Men

Marvel and Stan Lee had great hopes for their third undertaking (taking out a double page advert spread in Playboy magazine announcing that "The C-Men are Coming!") only for it to shoot back in their faces. Ironically one of the core plotlines revolved around the mutation of genes and issues with mixing with ovum to pass on these genetic traits.

"We all loved the C-Men. We worked very hard on the idea, going as far as producing sketches and story arcs that we were more than happy with, of course then some smug kid in marketing pointed out the problem with the name that meant we had to drop the idea.", Stan Lee (1983)

edit D, E and F-Men

Collectively known as the DEF-Men, this period focused on a group of Mutant Rap Artists (bringing the franchise up to date during the late 1980s) but the story arc revolved around characters dissing each other and taking part in drive by shootings. While this was "way cool", "word", and "def" according to some fans, it had little to do with crime fighting and had to be abandoned.

Part of the development process led to the creation of the DD Girls, a group of overly endowed mutant females who would become a mainstay of the stories from this point forward, mostly due to their appreciation amongst the target demographic.

edit G-Men

Canned; the name was already in use.

edit H to O-Men

Many considered the characters and stories to be massively watered down during this period and few managed to make a splash of any kind. At this point, the publishers were beginning to suspect Stan Lee had fallen into a rut and was going around in a vicious circle. He simply couldn't seem to get off the alphabet when trying to invent a cool title for his character series. On the one hand, this is understandable, when we take into account the special relationship writing has with alphabet. Lee got one more chance after he had failed to produce any characteristics for any of H- to O-Men.

edit Damien: O-Men II

Focusing on a much darker plot and cast and heavily influenced by myths of supernatural beings from the Bible, Marvel was more than pleased with this development. Again sadly the intervention of the legal department of the Catholic Church brought this to a conclusion and Stan Lee had to look elsewhere for his ideas.

edit P:s and Q:s -Men

Invented after Marvel had told Stan Lee to cut back on his use of phrases such as DROK! and FRAG! Everyone was amazed for a split second, but then annoyance set in and the idea was scrapped.

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