Tag Archives: X-Men


st transfFor this weekend’s escapist superhero post Balladeer’s Blog will take a look at the way the Marvel Comics writers became so enamored of the alien menace in the first Alien movie that they did their own imitation/ homage of it in the form of an insectoid alien race called the Brood.

The Brood could implant embryos inside captives and as those embryos matured, they would transform the host into another Brood creature. The X-Men eventually fought bunches of the Brood all at once but remember – as derivative as the Brood were that X-Men serial came BEFORE the movie Aliens in 1986.

First up, however, comes the earlier story in which the writers “paid homage” to Alien by way of a member of the Lovecraftian race of demons called the N’Garai (Marvel’s imitation of Cthulhu & company). They made this N’Garai resemble the xenormorph in Alien and used the single word title Demon. Kitty Pryde even made subtle references to Alien during the story.

xm 143X-MEN Vol 1 143 (March 1981)

Title: Demon

Villain: An unnamed demon of the N’Garai race

Synopsis: This odd Christmas story opened up with a flashback to the end of the X-Men’s very first encounter with the N’Garai back in X-Men #96 (December 1975). It skipped over Iron Fist’s clash with the N’Garai as well as Satana’s battle with them.

Somehow another N’Garai demon has gotten loose in upstate New York and is roaming the forest on Christmas Eve. A romantic couple show up to chop down a Christmas tree for themselves but fall victim to the demon.

brood picCut to Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters, where Wolverine, Nightcrawler and Angel go off on dates with Mariko Yashida, Amanda Sefton and Candy Southern, respectively. Storm, Colossus and Professor X leave in the professor’s Rolls Royce to pursue their plans for the evening and this leaves the newest member of the team – Sprite (Kitty Pryde) – alone for a few hours.

Sprite winds up being attacked by the nameless N’Garai demon. It pursues her throughout the mansion and the creature’s resemblance to the menace in Alien reminds Sprite that the crew in that movie used flamethrowers against the monster.  Continue reading


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With superheroes continuing to dominate pop culture right now, here’s a look at the first twenty stories of the “All New, All Different” X-Men beginning in 1975. I have a soft spot for superhero stories because reading them as a kid served as a gateway to two of my adult passions – mythology and opera.

new x-men 1GIANT-SIZE X-MEN Vol 1 #1 (May 1975)

Title: Deadly Genesis

Villain: Krakoa

NOTE: This was the very FIRST appearance of the new team of X-Men who replaced the original, blander team launched in 1963. That team’s original series had been canceled and reduced to reprints (reruns).

Synopsis: The story opened with a series of vignettes featuring Professor X traveling the world rounding up a new batch of mutants detected by his invention Cerebro. Three of them had prior history in the Marvel Universe:

*** WOLVERINE (real name unknown at the time), who had fought the Hulk and the Wendigo in Canada. Wolverine willingly joined the X-Men and angrily resigned from Canada’s Department H, which had been sending him on missions up to that point. This would have repercussions down the road.

*** BANSHEE (Sean Cassidy), a sometime foe and sometime ally of the original team of X-Men. This Irishman had also fought Captain America and the Falcon.

*** SUNFIRE (Shiro Yoshida), a Japanese mutant who had fought the original X-Men as well as Sub-Mariner, Iron Man and Captain America.

The rest of the mutants Xavier rounded up were new:

*** STORM (Ororo Munroe), from Africa, where her weather-controlling powers had made her revered as a goddess by an isolated tribe.

*** NIGHTCRAWLER (Kurt Wagner), a German circus performer whose monstrous appearance made him the target of a mutant-hating mob from which Professor X saved him.

*** COLOSSUS (Piotr Rasputin), a Russian teenager working on a Collective Farm in the Soviet Union.

*** THUNDERBIRD (John Proudstar), a Native American mutant from a reservation in the American Southwest.

Once they were all assembled at Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters, the professor introduced them to Cyclops (Scott Summers), the leader of the original X-Men, who briefed them. He had led the original team – Iceman, Angel, Marvel Girl, Polaris and Havok (Beast was joining the Avengers at this point) to investigate a new mutant detected by Cerebro on a Pacific Ocean island called Krakoa. The original team vanished and only Cyclops escaped in their aircraft, but with no memory of what happened there. Continue reading


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Here’s another blog post for this superhero-hungry world:

Xmen 1THE X-MEN Vol 1 #1 (September 1963)

Title: X-Men

Villain: Magneto 

Synopsis: In Upstate New York, at Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters, a covert institution for mutants, Professor X (Charles Xavier, PhD) gives his five students a classical education in addition to secretly training them on the use of their mutant powers.

Magneto, a powerful mutant villain, uses his massive magnetic powers to seize Cape Citadel military base in the U.S. He issues public threats to Homo Sapiens about the growing numbers of mutants, or Homo Superior, being born each year.

Assuming normal humans will hound them to extinction out of fear, he is pre-emptively declaring war on humanity in the name of mutant kind, with the seizure of Cape Citadel the opening action of that war.

NOTE: Despite later retcons to Magneto’s personality, in these early appearances his thoughts make it clear he is just using his claims of “protecting” mutants as the excuse to realize his ambition to take over the world.

Professor X, saddened that humanity’s First Contact with the mutants among them is a hostile encounter, sends his X-Men to drive Magneto out of Cape Citadel. Continue reading


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From October 1965

From October 1965

It’s June, the traditional month for weddings and since summertime is also the season for superhero movies I figured why not take a look at a superhero wedding. And since the movie reboot of the Fantastic Four will be coming out soon I’m going with the wedding of Mr Fantastic (Reed Richards) and Sue Storm (Invisible Girl then, Invisible Woman now).

The actual comic book in question was the October of 1965 issue of Fantastic Four Annual # 3 and it featured virtually all the superheroes and supervillains in the then-young Marvel Comics Universe. The heroes were guests invited to the wedding, Nick Fury and the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. were providing security for the event and the Fantastic Four’s arch-enemy Doctor Doom was mentally controlling the various supervillains into crashing the ceremony and trying to kill the heroes. Bedlam at the Baxter Building was the title.

The Story: Continue reading


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