Heroic History: 60 Years of X-Men


October 2, 2023


Arts, Culture, Entertainment


(SAYVILLE, N.Y.)— After 60 years of being one of the most enduring and thematically resonant bands of superheroes conceived in fiction, the X-Men continues to release multiple new lines of comic books on a weekly basis and garner fans of all ages. 

“The X-Men has always been a group of misfits, and everyone from any walk of life, doesn’t matter what your background is, or anything, it’s the X-Men,” said James Santana, an employee for 10 years at a local comic shop, Android’s Amazing Comics. “They are you and you are the X-Men…whether you’re queer, rich or poor, white, Black, whatever. You can be an X-Man.”

Android’s Amazing Comics on Railroad Avenue sells 80% of their X-Men related inventory on average and on a monthly basis. According to comic news outlets ICV2 and Bleeding Cool, five out of the top 20 selling titles were X-Men related in the month of August. The latest issue of Gerry Duggan’s X-Men #25 landed in third place behind Spider-Man and Batman. During the week of September 17 alone, five separate X-Men-related titles were released. 

The comic series was originally created by comic writers Stan Lee  and Jack Kirby in 1963 – a pivotal year during the Civil Rights Movement that included the March on Washington.

In contrast to heroes of the past, Lee wanted his heroes to be feared and hated by the world for being different.

“I loved that idea; it not only made them different, but it was a good metaphor for what was happening with the civil rights movement in the country at that time,” Lee said in an interview with The Guardian 23 years ago. 

A customer purchasing his weekly rotation of new comics declined to give his name, but said that the franchise’s 60 years of success could be attributed to its diversity, mass appeal and “civil context” as a metaphor for minority rights.

Over the decades, the franchise has generated cross-media appeal as well through multiple cartoons and video games. In theaters, the X-Men film franchise started in 1999 and has grossed about $3.305 billion at the global box office. Lee, who had brief cameos in all of the X-Men movies, died in 2018 at the age of 95.

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