By SC 24 Comments
Hi, I am SC, you may remember me from such blogs as I Suspect My Dad Is Mystique, Greg Land: Modern Day Andy Warhol, or Just Some Guy Who Traces From Porn? As well as How To Make Stuff Up and Sound Completely Fake When Doing It.
I tend to rant too, so if you get bored easy, maybe stop reading now and return to page index. lol
Anyway today I wanted to blog about something a bit less series. Discuss something that may cover a broad range of subjects, but hold Xavier and Magneto, the two X-Men characters at its center and as the cohesive bond holding the thread together, and I would also like your opinion if possible on principles, and worthy causes. Specifically the way comics presents a character's causes and generally other principles, motivations, movements, and the more generalized the better. Meaning their methods and goals relating to race, gender, wealth and all that oh so simple topics.
I always personally believed and maintain that one of the primary reasons that the X-Men achieved such popularity and held such poignancy in its stories is because of the Xavier/Magneto dynamic set up in its pages and the philosophies both characters held and instilled into their patrons (or students as Xavier refers to them as alternatively acolytes for Magneto) and to touch on the dynamic, its generally to perceive that we have humans over here on one side, and mutants over here on the other side, or really, we have the majority over here on one side, and over here we have a minority. So again, you think minority you may think a bunch of different things than the next poster might or might not, you might be considered a minority in a few different ways, you may not, and of course no doubt with many of you, you might realize that a word that often walks hand in hand with the word minority is the word discrimination. The extent of this discrimination can vary from the mundane and inconsequential, to the very extreme, and global.
Back to Magneto and Xavier, we have these two characters who are in a minority group, both who realize that discrimination and prejudice are going to present a bunch of hurdles for them individually and others like them, just like it has for anything thats ever been different. Neither character is passive with their cause, but we are presented with Magneto, who is very aggressive and then we have Xavier, who by comparison is more of a pacifist, and from that extends the X-Men, and as heroes in a fictional universe it works out pretty well for them. Their stance is particularly justified, but Magneto is kept fairly captivating as a villain or an antagonist by way of us realizing that he isn't pure evil and out to steal a princess so that he can hide in his castle, transform her and build her into an über weapon that will kill all life as we know it. He has simply adopted a very aggressive stance and methodology that is usually flawed and hypocritical but has reasoning behind it. Then other characters are introduced that somewhat justify Magneto, third party characters, like the various humans who do try and kill mutants. Magneto's methodologies and ethics having enough reason behind it, so much so to the extent that even in recent times, X-Men have crossed over into the lets just kill them before they kill us, and for trying to kill us, and for killing us, game. Somewhere out there the Punisher just smiled, and then ripped off a guys ear off.
Still, lately I have seen opinions from posters and even comments from actual writers talking about Magneto and Xavier and their relevancy and both Xavier and Magneto have changed and developed as characters of course too. Still I have a belief that their initial interactions, differences and similarities and what each other's defined causes were a potent driving force behind the drama behind so many X-Men stories. Their actual presence was never needed with all of the stories as well. You don't need an extreme example to question a character or even yourself when it comes to contemplating whether you are doing enough for your cause. Are you too passive? Are you lacking in intelligence, or knowledge, or wisdom, in pursuit of carrying and upholding your particular cause or causes? Numbers? Support? The direct opposite of those things can be good, but they can also be bad, Magneto is often characterized as cocky, ego driven, stubborn, and as someone that uses people, gathers support, he is charismatic after all too, but he often abuses his followers (I think he killed Senyaka twice alone) and as the argument goes, he ends up usually directly hurting his cause much more than helping.
Another important subject I wanted to incorporate into this blog, is actually having a cause. Do you have a worthy cause in real life? Do you appreciate when certain causes, and characters with particular generalized and worthy causes factor into your comics, or are you more inclined to appreciate something more neutral? Something I personally find really, really odd sometimes, with people and posters opinions, they seem skeptical or even reject a person based on that person not actually identifying as a direct member of the minority the overall cause my be looking to benefit. I have even seen people deny the possibility that Storm is a gay icon, on the basis that Storm is not gay herself. Strange to me. Most of my favorite female characters are women, I am neither African America or Asian, but I have a high appreciation for racial and ethnic diversity and having visible representations of African America and Asian and etc more characters on panel. You don't have to be gay to like and support gay characters and themes or attribute attractiveness to a male character lol, you don't need to be a female, to prefer Wonder Woman over Superman, find a female characters dress sense lacking doesn't make you a feminist either necessarily. This similar line of thought could continue and apply to a lot of examples so I'll stop.
Back to Xavier and Magneto, actually I always felt that X-Books somewhat lacked non mutant characters. No super powered beings, just lacked more characters like Moira MacTaggert, Gabrielle Haller, Stevie Hunter, etc, I mean, they had a few as I just pointed out, but still. After all most of the pro mutant supporters in real life are humans. lol Oh and of course a few of the characters in the current X-Club are human, I like that, its nice.
I now return to Magneto and Xavier once more. The context this time, is that we have established you don't need to be the thing you fight for, and I know many people on this site, endorse are inspired, and motivated and hold causes in all sorts of real ways and fictional. Our entertainment. Some are mundane or trivial, others a lot more important, these things are up to our discretion. I am curious how others, if others place a similar Magneto/Xavier dynamic with their own causes. Am I being to passive? Am I doing enough? Am I too aggressive, am I hurting my cause? I do this myself, in comics and real life. In comics I am pro female characters and creators, pro diversity, pro creator, pro indie books, pro ethnic and racial diversity and I could go on... but I like to question myself often, in a way I like to think that with comics, its practice for real life, and a similar Magneto/Xavier dynamic with real life issues. Which is why of course I think it was so potent in the first place. Ideally in real life we want answers to bigotry and racism but we probably see anything actually answered as in solved for a while yet. Coincidentally this is one of the reasons i think current X-Books lack a little. Not enough ambiguity, and choice. Its all last option, we have no choice and this and that is necessary yadda yadda... I'll save that for another blog.
Anyway, causes in comics? Do you disagree with my fascination with Xavier and Magneto? We know at times they were modeled after Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, do you think in real life you have the perfect mix of passiveness and aggressiveness with any worthy causes you take up? Do you think comics does a good job of creating accurate and realistic characters who take up causes themselves? Did my post make any sense at all or did it seem like a way to just make fun of Greg Land? Do you have causes, do you think Magneto and Xavier are overrated? Who do you think could be other characters that could step up to exemplify this conflict of trying to achieve your goals, aggressively, at any cost, or a bit more passively, with certain lines on actions drawn. Appreciate any one who read all the way to the end. ^_^