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Ten Goofiest Moments in the First Ten Issues of the X-Men

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Today, let’s look at the goofiest moments from the very first ten issues of X-Men!

Here is a list of all the other goofy moments we’ve spotlighted over the years.

All ten issues were written by Stan Lee and penciled by Jack Kirby. The first five issues were inked by Paul Reinman and the last five issues were inked by Chic Stone.

As always, this is all in good fun. I don’t mean any of this as a serious criticism of the comics in question. Not only were these writers certainly never imagining people still reading these comics decades after they were written, great comics often have goofy moments (Kirby/Lee’s Fantastic Four is one of the best comic book runs of all-time and there were TONS of goofy stuff in those 100 plus issues!).

HONORABLE MENTIONS

This bit from #1 is not really even all THAT goofy in comparison to the moments to come on the list, but come on, it’s Iceman dressed as a snowman! That’s hilarious!

I really don’t think this is how Iceman’s powers work…

Turning objects into ice cubes (like he does here in #2) seems more like something the Molecule Man would do, not Iceman.

I’ve spotlighted the next three earlier in a piece about the top lies and deceptions of Xavier, so even though a bunch of them are worthy of being in the top ten of this list, I’m holding them apart from the rest.

First off, in issue #1, Xavier being bold by actually trying to say with a straight face that the X-Men are not named after him but by their “eXtra” abilities…

Next, at the end of #4, Xavier has lost his powers…

At the end of #5, oops, nope, he was just messing with the X-Men…

Finally, note how Xavier hides stuff that he has no reason to hide at all – that’s how deceptive he is. What reason does he have for hiding the existence of Cerebro in #7 from the rest of the team?

Xavier has a real problem.

10. From you, Charles, I learned it from watching you!

Speaking of deception for deception’s sake, in #9, Beast briefly quits the X-Men to become a wrestler. Once there, he meets another mutant named Unus who has a force field. Beast returns to the X-Men to build a device to INCREASE Unus’ powers. Beast’s strategy is simple – he will make Unus’ forcefield so strong that Unus can’t eat or do pretty much anything. He will then trade turning off the increase for Unus’ promise to not become a villain. That’s kind of a messed up plan, but it makes sense. Beast, of course, though, learned from Xavier that you can never share your plan until AFTER it is over…

Reed Richards gave him some tips on how to do complicated plans without filling your teammates on what is going on.

9. An odd introduction…

In #1, Xavier tells his current students about their new classmate, only his pitch is a bit off…

Why would you open with the fact that she’s attractive? How weird.

8. X-Men, Guest-Starring the X-Men

Weirdly enough, the end result of #2…

AND #3….

is just Professor X saving the day by just taking control of the mind of the bad guy in the issue. Once is anti-climactic enough, but back-to-back issues? Yeesh!

I like Xavier’s bit at the end of #2, by the way…

“What, you don’t all possess powerful telepathy? Never mind, then.”

7. Seems like a new parlor game…

In #4, the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants seem to make a game out not saying Magneto’s name. It’s awfully odd…

Even after Magneto shows up, they keep it up. So weird.

6. Stan Lee’s idea of what the kids are up to these days…

This extended bit from #7 is quite out there, man! Can you dig it?

Go to the next page for #5-1!

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70 Comments

Magneto’s astral projection power was possibly also used in Uncanny #4; Xavier says he knows Magneto has been trying to contact him, and the two meet on a mental plane. It’s ambiguous, but this also seems to suggest that Magneto was originally meant to have psi powers. It’s very likely this was a Kirby thing, since plenty of other Kirby stories from the 1950s Yellow Claw series to the 1970s New Gods and Eternals stuff suggests that Jack assumed psi powers were an ability of any advanced species. Basically, Kirby seems to be operating on the premise that extremely powerful mutants (or other humanoid beings) have some telepathic powers on top of whatever else they can do.

Stan and Claremont both sort of returned to the idea that Magneto can somehow affec t minds, but they tied it to his magnetic powers. In Uncanny #18, Magneto can mind-control Warren Worthington’s parents by somehow affecting them with his magnetism. Much later, Claremont and Byrne had Magneto reduce Xavier’s ability to use telepathy over global distances by altering Earth’s magnetic poles. Apparently magnetism can affect psychic energy in the Marvel Universe.

In nr. 1, that last thought balloon was later brought up during the Onslaught saga, but I always thought that it was something that the writer had created then. I had no idea that it came from Uncanny #3!

Iceman isn’t hanging from the pole, he’s spinning. So clearly he ran into the room, made an ice pole, and then jumped onto the pole and started swinging around it. I used to do the same thing in the second grade, only with swing-set legs rather than ice poles. I still thought the commentary about it was funny, though.

That beatnik / coffee house scene in #6 may not be that goofy. I’ve seen movies with a similar take on the beatnik scene of the day. One was one of the Beach Party movies and the other was in Roger Corman’s “Bucket of Blood”

You could probably devote a month of goofy moments to Kirby superheroes alone. A Kirby superhero can do anything at any time, whatever his understood power set may be. If it seems like the skills of a Kirby superhero are limited in some way, that’s because the plot has not yet called for him to reveal the full spectrum of unseen powers at his disposal. If Kirby had Captain America trapped in a towering inferno from which no escape was possible, then you can be sure he would disperse the flames by throwing his shield fast enough to create a tornado.

If Bobby changed his codename to Ice Cream Man, he’d more popular than Batman and Wolverine.

Iceman is just trying out some moves from the special tutorial on the Showgirls DVD

You forgot one goofy point, Cronin: the X-Men, being THANKED by the people they rescued?? Oh My God what was this Lee fellow thinking, that these are super HERO comics or something?? EVERYBODY is supposed to hate them, no exceptions!!! ;)

More seriously now:

You have to admit, telepathy is not only a power that could be greatly abused, but BEGS to be abused: if you had the ability to listen the thoughts of others -much less change them to a way YOU liked- how hard would it be, even for a decent person, to avoid doing it? Wouldn’t we keep coming up with justifications? “Are they REALLY on my side?” “It’s for his or her good” “If they find I’m a talepath they’ll hate and fear me, must strike first!” etc. Now imagine you had that mindset not from gaining your powers the other day, but nearly all your life? I find it hard to believe Xavier would NOT be corrupted to some degree by his power (though many modern writers are just goddamn cynical and just turn him into an outright villain.)

Yeesh, The Vanisher’s costume was FUGLY!

Oh and Magneto used his own telepathic powers several times in those early days; for example it was he who removed The Blob’s amnesia. It makes sense if you want your main villain to not be easily beaten by the good guy’s own telepath. Besides he was obviously intended as an Evil version of Xavier. I agree it doesn’t much fit his basic concept but it isn’t like a telepathy-proof helmet is that much more logical or practical (what, he sleeps with it on?)

And I’m pretty sure Bobby used the ice pole to slide from a upper room, they just forgot to draw it.

After #7, I was expecting it to cut to The Leader saying, “Aw, darn it, I thought they were talking about me. Why does no one follow The Leader?” And then he sheds a single tear.

The Coffee-a-Go-Go scenes are actually some of the best bits of the early X-Men stories – they’re obviously meant to be funny, and they still are. And I think people tend to overlook the other side of the joke, which is that the X-Men are ridiculously overdressed and absurdly out of place. As much as anything, those scenes are about making fun of the gulf between Silver Age comic book teenagers and the real 1960s. (The beatniks were a slightly dated reference by 1964, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if that was deliberate too.)

10: Reed, Xavier and Hank are getting their inner dramatization from DC comics covers where people betrayed each other all the time for greater good but must not reveal it else They All Die.

7: Kind of makes sense that those close-knit groups would come up with all kinds of weird in-jokes and games. Whoever first says Magneto’s name must do the dishes. Yet the only writers to explore this side of the supergroup psychology properly are DeMatteis and Giffen…

6: I have uttermost faith that this is more accurate description of what was really going on in early 60s than any nostalgia bit that the people who were there claimed was happening. Then I point, and mock, and laugh.

4: Hmm. Now when I think about it, this is the first reference I have noticed of the other people working in Xavier’s school, doing stuff like cooking and cleaning and so forth. Do they have house elves from Hogwarts for those jobs or what?

3: That’s actually pretty nice power, wouldn’t mind it being used more often.

2: …another thing…why does Iceman have boots that don’t change when he goes to the ice form? He obviously isn’t too careful about protecting the carpeting with the ice poles and everything, so is he really going for the stripper look?

Lee&Kirby comics, the gift that keeps on giving.

Xavier made all his X-Men pole-dance as part of their training. It was just Bobby’s turn.

Well the X-Men /did/ fight a mutant with Ice Cream generating abilities, codenamed Eye-Scream. That was… something.

When it comes to goofy, I don’t think some of these are goofy enough. What it is, though, is proof that Xavier’s quite a manipulative creep!

#3 is my favourite reason why continuity freaks should just calm the fuck down. those few who remember that scene all chose to just ignore it, because its bullshit. there is no reason why we cant do the same with things like xorneto, or 90% of austens writing.

Even as a kid the Iceman ice cream-on-the-pie thing bugged the heck out of me! I was like “Whaaa? It’s just SNOW!” :Þ

I actually like the way that X had to intervened in the early stories and how the intervention became less and less as the stories progressed to the point where he would abandon the team to go and do his own thing. It was just one of the thing that gave the impression that the X-men were still in training and that they were gradually improving, a point that culminated early in the Dark Phoenix saga when Cyclops took the Prof to task for treating Wolverine like a high school student.

Pretty easy to see why this was one of Marvel’s lowest selling titles for decades. :)

It’s pretty goofy, too, in #6, the way that Xavier and Magneto simultaneously decide that Namor must be a mutant and that he must be found at once, and how, when Magneto finally finds him, Namor’s like, “Huh, maybe I AM a mutant. Whatever.” Yeah, it sort of makes sense when you think about it (the super-strength, the winged feet), but reading the story you don’t get the impression that Lee was thinking about it at all–it’s just weird to make a change like that to such a long-standing character without giving any sort of explanation for why it’s the case.

it’s definitely the bald-headed stepchild of the early Marvel line–although things improved by leaps and bounds once the Roy Thomas/Werner Roth era begins with #20

Lee did contribute one great idea, late in his run, with the introduction of the Sentinels in #14

There’s a great bit in #6 where Mastermind and the Toad, on first seeing Namor, basically just rip on him until Magneto gets fed up and thells them to shut it:

Mastermind: So that’s the famous Sub-Mariner! He’s just a man in swimming trunks! What a disappointment!
Toad: See the wings on his feet! How small they are! Of what use can they be?

The Brotherhood of Evil Hecklers, ladies and gentlemen! I wonder when they’ll recruit Statler and Waldorf.

@
Iron Maiden- Yeah, those movies were pretty goofy, too.

surprise to learn magnetoe could be able to do astral projection like xavier some time does. not to mention he pimped out the scarlet witch to namor. plus also interesting to learn xavier had kept cebro hidden from the original x-men

I think #5 was before it was decided that Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch were Magneto’s children.

So it’s only goofy in retrospect, in context it’s Magneto pimping out one of his employees.

I love that Charles’s reasons that he can’t reveal his love to Jean are his leadership of the X-men and his wheelchair. Not, you know, that she’s a minor, his student , and young enough to be his daughter…

Xavier is making Iceman pole dance now… so that it won’t be so awkward and obviously sexist when he asks Jean to do it later.

As we all know, Marvel does not make mistakes (DC on the other hand…). The ice pole explanation is this. Iceman rode in on Angel’s back, he adjusted his iceyness and slipped through Angel’s right wing. Wanting to finish in style, he then made the ice pole to slide down out of Angel’s feathers.

Who sends me my No Prize?

Mike Loughlin

June 5, 2011 at 5:02 pm

I love snowy Iceman’s expression in that first panel. “Those ingrate construction workers, bet they can’t turn their gloves into ice cubes. Harrumph!”

Actually it is Cyclops the one that Xavier loves.

Looking at Scott in #1, I wonder why Marvel never did a story where him and Matt Murdoch are thought to be the other by some villain, and superheroic hijinks ensues.

Or was that done and I just never heard about it?

[…] Day 2: GREEN LANTERN Family. | Newsarama10 Goofiest Moments In The First Ten Issues Of The X-Men. | CBR  Updated: IGN’s E3 2011 Live Show Schedule. | IGNGame Scoop!: E3 2011 Cheat Sheet. | […]

The last panel in the Unus scenario, doesn’t it look like Hank and Scott are about to make out? Makes Hank’s present feelings of day betrayal make a little more sense…

Whereas most characters change quite a bit over time, I think Prof X is the same person he always has been. Everything people complain about as being “out of character” for him today is absolutely something I could see Silver Age Chuck doing.

Remember when he couldn’t be bothered to let his students know a dead shape shifter wasn’t really him because he was too busy preparing for an alien invasion … which he also didn’t tell them about.

Kitty Pryde was right; he’s a jerk.

Xavier has always been a jerk. But in the Silver Age his students just didn’t call him out. As long as you were a “hero” you could be as much of a manipulative asshole as you liked in the Silver Age, and no one challenged you.

Cronin, I disagree with NOTHING on your list. NOTHING.

Well, maybe an honorable mention for Toad spazzing out after the X-Men catch him trying to cheat at the Olympics. But even that’s a stretch. This is a solid top ten. Especially Proffy McWantstoHumpJean.

@David FIore: Definitely. Kirby was really phoning it in on his X-Men stuff. It was the first Kirby work I ever saw, so I was so confused about why he was so popular until I read some of his FF stuff. And Roy Thomas was always a better writer than Lee.
Part of why I love McAvoy’s Professor X is that he does such a great job of selling Xavier as the manipulative, egotistical jerk that he was back in the ’60s.

Ah, the Vanisher, one of my favorite old costumes! He should change his name to The Frilled Lizard That Vanishes!

And I remember Eye-Scream too! Was that in Obnoxio the Clown vs. the X-Men? You folks should run a series on those old humor one-shots like that one, the FF Roast, Marvel Fumetti Book, the No-Prize Book (which featured Bobby’s Ice Cream trick), and the all-humor issue of What If?

I guess goofiness is subjective because these are not really all that goofy when compared, for example, to Adventure Comics Legion stories of the same period (which I adore but they are really goofy). Even #1, which always gets a big deal made about it. It’s a little creepy, but I always thought the point was that all the boys were in love with Jean, even the Professor in his secret heart of hearts. I think it was supposed to have more to do with Jean than with Xavier. There’s a similar thing going on with Sue Storm and with the Scarlet Witch in the Marvel silver age, as exampled in the Namor issue. The beatnik scenes are brilliant actually. They’re painting faces on the Beast’s gigantic feet! That’s awesome!

You should do a series on top awesome moments from silver age titles to show all the goodness that continues to feed the medium, fifty years later.

These types of lists are truly a science to get right, but this one missed all the marks. Partial credit for finding great examples of X being a dick.

In the jazz club, the band featured a baritone sax, a guitar, and a bassoon. I had no idea that a bassoon was used in jazz bands. I played bassoon many years ago, but not in a jazz band (tenor sax and bass were my instruments). Maybe they thought the bassoon was a giant hookah and had been sampling various smokable items, which then led them to worshipping giant mutant feet.

And Roy Thomas was always a better writer than Lee.

I see this a lot and it boggles my mind. To this day I have to force myself to get through a Roy Thomas story. But Stan Lee stories are wonderful. Roy Thomas is a poor man’s Stan Lee in my opinion, except way too wordy and melodramatic.

Did you read the right Roy Thomas stories? He may have lacked Stan Lee’s fire, but he wrote good stuff. I would recommend Avengers #64-103, Uncanny X-Men #55-63, and Sub-Mariner #14-38.

I think Roy Thomas suffer a little from Seinfeld Is Unfunny. Stan Lee was the crazy awesome inventor, but Thomas is the one who really codified the Marvel way of writing stories.

[…] in honor of the new X-Men film i thought i'd post this article…pretty good stuff Ten Goofiest Moments in the First Ten Issues of the X-Men […]

I think it’s odd that there’s no commentary on the fact that, in #4, when the cook’s away, Jean has to do the cooking. Because, you know, only girls can cook.

Damaged, I was first going to comment on that but then got derailed to start thinking who is that cook and if he/she has ever actually appeared in the comic. Moira McTaggart showed up only later so it can’t be her (because, you know, only girls can cook).

I liked the movie’s reasoning, X-Men being a variation on the 50’s/60s term used for government agents, ‘G-Men’.

Yeah, that was cute. But note that even there, when Moira coins the term, she’s clearly referring to Charles (as his G-Men would be X-Men because of him being Professor X).

“I think it’s odd that there’s no commentary on the fact that, in #4, when the cook’s away, Jean has to do the cooking. Because, you know, only girls can cook.”

You’re applying modern standards to the past. In 1964, a girl Jean’s age would damned well be expected to know how to cook. She would have learned a lot around her home and would almost certainly have had a year or two of Home Ec in school. On the flip side, it would be unusual for Scott or Warren or Bobby to have learned this.

I love the bit with the beatniks drawing faces on Hank’s feet.

Roy Thomas’ second run on X-Men (issues 55-66) was MUCH better than his first run (and not just because of the Adams art; Roy had clearly grown as a writer).

His first run, immediately after Stan left, was pretty mundane and lacked even the zany fun that Stan brought to his issues. I’m pretty sure it was his first extended run on a comic book, and it was clear that he had little affection for the X-Men, and spent most of his run writing stories that belonged in other characters’ titles. The Factor Three storyline, near the end of his run, had some promise, but everything before that was pretty unspectacular.

oh I must disagree!

Roy did great things with the X-Men on his initial run–amping up the soap operatic aspect of the series, beginning his lifelong career as a rescuer of underused characters from the dim past (in this case, from the early Marvel Silver Age), bringing in the Mimic to mess with the group dynamics, getting way more goofy mileage out of the bohemian Coffee-a-go-go setting than Stan had and creating The Locust! (whose real name is Prof. Hopper)… all that AND Werner Roth’s art was beautiful! I like the Thomas/Adams period too, but I think X-Men #20-33 are fantastic!

Well, I run fairly cold on the Mimic, as Roy seemed to get gun shy and pull the trigger on his storyline before it really got going (though the issue where he leaves the team is probably my favorite of the first Thomas run, but for reasons entirely unrelated to Mimic) but I’ll give you the ramping up of the soap opera elements (he pretty much introduced the Warren-Scott-Jean triangle), the Coffee-a-go-go fun and some fun-for-the-time villains like Locust and the hilariously-lame Mekano, but I get frustrated with how little he did with the “mutants as a feared minority” theme that Stan had introduced (which largely got ignored until Thomas’ second run) and the sheer number of villains/stories that seemed to belong in other comics (Mole Man, Puppet Master, Cobalt Man, Tyrannus).

I do give him props, though, for giving us one of the greatest supporting characters ever: Ted Roberts!

I certainly don’t hate Thomas’ initial run, I just prefer his second and find his first to be much more hit or miss.

that makes perfect sense–you’re absolutely right about the lack of feared minority storylines during Roy’s first tenure… he basically wrote them just like any other Roy Thomas superteam (although, since they were the first Roy Thomas superteam, it’s fascinating to watch him put his ideas into play)… so yes, I agree that he did a lot more with the fundamental aspects of the X-Men concept during his second run… still, Ted Roberts IS hard to beat!

If the X-men were not named for Xavier, but for their “Extra Power” they would be E-men. I remember reading that Lee originally wanted to call the comic (and possibly the team) “The Mutants” but was told no one would know what mutants are….. Well more so than they would know what X-men are. Xavier had to explain that at the start of the comic, he could have just as easily explained “mutant” for those who didn’t know.

The being in Love with Jean is very creepy. Especially after he later refers to them as his children.

Oh, and I remember them rehashing it for the Onslaught story, and I thought it was Creepy then too. Especially when once again he later starts talking about her and Scott being like his children.

In #4, I’m surprised that Cyclops nearly destroying Beast’s hand for good wasn’t mentioned! He’s clearly lifting his glasses up to shoot the beam- so that means full force! What’s more, his reasoning is pretty bad!

“How dare you REACH for something, Beast!”

I’m convinced. Xavier was a supervillain, who found X-Men to gain public’s trust to make it easier for him to take over the world and just kinda forgot about it over time.

So the Xavier Academy is actually a finishing school? The Danger Room is a series violent reprisals for breaches of etiquette? And why does Iceman care if “no one’s looking” when he frosts his pie? That’s the kind of pointless subterfuge that only…oh, right, he’s probably just brown-nosing. “Look, Professor! I’m engaging in frivolous secrecy! Can I have more pie now?”

As always, the splash panel from #1 makes my think of Flick’s tongue stuck to the icy flagpole in “A Christmas Story”. And Iceman’s ice cubes. And a scream that you would hear from a mile away.

One of my favorite ridiculous plots was where Xavier was kidnapped to Europe and the X-Men, instead of trying to contact the FF or Avengers for help, tried to raise money for plane fare with Cyclops and Jean and Angel trying out construction work only to get kicked off site for not being union, and Iceman and Beast panhandling in the park doing performance art and juggling.

See, this is why I always tell people to start with Claremont’s run.

How old is Jean even supposed to be back in the first few issues of X-Men? Bobby was the youngest, and he is said to be sixteen, so Jean must’ve been at least seventeen. I think there were a few issues later on where the characters were said to be even younger back then.

Anyway, even if she is 17, it’s still incredibly creepy that Charles had a thing for her (even though I’m pretty sure the age of consent in New York is 17, although it could’ve been 18 back in the ’60s, and it doesn’t apply in this case anyway, seeing as Charles is her teacher an’ all), just not as creepy as it could be.

“Magnet’s isle is indeed well hidden! Even with directions it was hard to find!”

If I’m the only one who finds that hilarious, I’ll take it.

Number 5, man. Number effing 5.

And where the hell was Stan planning to go with Xavier likes Jean sub-plot?

Jack Kirby’s art makes the wackiness stand out well. Look at Magneto’s evil ass grin, and that breakfast page.

FJB, the bassoon is used in jazz. It started in the 20s and had a revival in the 60s.

And where the hell was Stan planning to go with Xavier likes Jean sub-plot?

I don’t really think he was planning anything, just throwing an idea out there and seeing if it stuck.

That whole Xavier loving Jean bit was way too creepy. Thank God that never went anywhere.

Well, Stan Lee always loved to inject some romantic complications in his superhero comics. I think he was just going with that with Xavier/Jean.

Also remember that an older man romancing a 17-year old girl wasn’t considered as creepy in the 1960s as it is today. Though it was probably still eyebrow-rising in a all-ages comic book.

Still, I’m glad that it was dropped as soon as it was introduced.

I wonder if Xavier’s inappropriate feelings towards Jean will turn up as a “Original Sin”.

Every once in a while, you could tell that Prof X had a little more than “fatherly” feelings for Jean, they’re both Psychic, she’s hot, but he probably realized (after reading her mind no doubt) that she didn’t “like him like that” and he dropped it. He’s creepy, but not that creepy. If she was into it, the prof would definitely hit it though. But she likes them small, hairy, and with claws…

A suggestion for a column: radical personality changes (especially if unexplained). The Beast talks like the Thing in X-Men 1, then next issue is his more erudite self. Hawkeye starts out talking like a typical super-villain, then joins the Avengers and becomes an arrogant wisecracker. Ka-Zar is your average Tarzan-type character, then develops existential angst.And so on…..

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