From 2001 to 2004 Grant Morrison (The Invisibles, Batman and Robin) and team of pencilers, inkers, letterers, editors and colorists, including Phil Jimenez, Mike Marts, and Frank Quitely made a comic called New X-Men.
Twenty years later, Examining New X-Men has been a weekly column that turned into a book, and that took as its purpose to dig deep into the politically savvy, fashion-forward superhero soap opera that is New X-Men. Tackling multiple angles; social, contextual, sentimental, metatextual.
Here’s every chapter of Examining New X-Men:
Pt. 1: What Came Before – A hit movie, a superhero possessed by a monster, an endless Charles Xavier/Magneto fight. What Grant Morrison & their collaborators inherited as the state of X-Men comics.
Pt. 2: We Remember the Lies – Magneto and Xorn. Cassandra Nova and Charles Xavier. Fantomex and EVA. Wolverine and Weapon Plus. Why we remember lies & misunderstandings better than we understand truths and revelations, in fiction and outwith.
Pt. 3: New As Brand – The difference between being new and feeling new. Coloring, art, sartorial and writing techniques to promote freshness. Monster Magnet. Jean-Jacques Perrey. Friedrich Nietzsche. Fabien Nicieza. Chris Claremont. Marc Silvestri.
Pt. 4: Bodies, Sexualities, and Souls (Pt. 1 & Pt. 2) – Biology, appearance, self-image, sexuality, psychology, disability, spirituality, and metaphysics in New X-Men. Beast. Emma Frost. EVA. Angel Salvadore. Sabretooth. Magneto. Charles Xavier. Jean Grey. Cassandra Nova.
Pt. 5: Working Alongside – “Individuality leads to nothing but trouble in X-Men.” – Grant Morrison. A comic about the importance of community and cooperation made in an atmosphere that did not promote cooperation or community. Marvel Comics. X-Treme X-Men. X-Statix. 9/11. The War on Terror.
Pt. 6: 21st Century Global – Post 9/11 militarism, cynicism, confusion and desperation. American imperialism. Afghanistan. Global marketing. 9/11 response comics. Antisemistim. Islamophobia. George W Bush. Chris Kyle. Rudy Giuliani. Malcom X. Magneto.
Pt. 7: Edumacation – The X-Men run a school. Are a school. An educational center and a movement and philosophy. What that means, and what that means in New X-Men. Emma Frost. Charles Xavier. Magneto. Rubric. Toleration. School culture. Campus politics. Prize-givings and assignments.
Pt. 8: That Famous Philosopher, Hypocrites – Hypocrisy, self-doubt, demonization and self-recrimination. Incels. Extramarital affairs. Internalized bigotry. Trauma. Racism. Sexism. Homophobia. Beast. Jean Grey. Quentin Quire. Cyclops. Emma Frost.
Pt. 9: System Dynamics (Pt. 1 & Pt. 2) – Systems and sets in New X-Men. Spiral Dynamics. Generations. Arcs. Arts. Max Ernst. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie. Une semaine de bonté. Orfeo. Mutancy. Ann Nocenti. Class politics. Nationality. Nationalism. The Bible. Christian theology and mysticism. Metaphors. Lived lives. Politics. Self-awareness.
Pt. 10: Billy Joel’s Glass Houses – Surprised by sin with with Liberty DeVitto. Looking at New X-Men through Billy Joel’s Glass Houses to pan for gold on Darkstar’s death, handling death, demonizing artists without knowing them, Bruce Springsteen albums, Frank Quitely, Keron Grant, channel-zapping, misunderstanding, anxiety, Joss Whedon.
Pt. 11: Commune – Community. Communes. Communication. The Xavier Institute of Higher Learning. My grandparents. Dropping out of art school. Depression. Homelessness. Suicide. Toleration. Gatekeepers. Krakoa. Royalism. Porn recruitment. Internet porn. Military recruitment. Pick up artists. Met Gala. Amanda Lear.
Pt. 12: Out and Proud – What does it mean for a mostly-white, fairly cishet-presenting X-Men comic to be “out and proud”? Beast coming out. Angel Salvadore, mixed race and queer. Rover, the gay sentinel. Bisexual Tom Skylark. Queer EVA and Fantomex. Bryan Singer. Sexual coercion. Glass closet. Crystal closet. Paraphilia. Queer readings. Coded sexuality. Community codes. Gay Batman. White privilege. Passing. Queer theory. Liberal bigotry.
Pt. 13: What’s the Mutant Meta For? – What is the mutant metaphor and does it stand up? The trouble and value of fantastic racism, fantastic bigotry. Science fictional queerness. Rusty Collins. Louise Simonson. The New Defenders. Peter B Gillis. John Byrne. Daniel Clowes. Chris Claremont. The Generation X movie. Dust. Islamophobia. Foreignness. Coming out. The difference between being read as something and passing as something.
Pt. 14: How to Get There to There – Forgetfulness, misremembering, confirmation bias and the reader and the critic and the followup comics. Militarism. Lionizing bullies. The impatience and patience of oppression. Xenophobia. Military dehumanization. Blaming people. Making dog comedy with Chris Kattan. The difference in Frank Quitely and Phil Jimenez’s Cyclops.
Pt. 15: Dinosaur Vacuum – The inevitable, uncomfortable comparisons. Discussions you have to have. Alan Moore. Frank Miller. Artists Against Rampant Government Homophobia. Deconstruction. Revisionism. Reconstruction. Truisms. The ease of cynicism, pessimism, and negativity. The importance of the second look.
Pt. 16: Authorship, Ownership, Brinkmanship, Relationship – Hélène Cixous. Fan art. Fan fic. Objet petit a. Slash. Shipping. Plato. Psychology. Transgressive retelling. Feminism. Eroticization vs objectification. Alternate realities. Simulations. Sophistry. Sapphic. Copyright. Trademark. Jean Bricmont. Richard Dawkins. Ideology. Queer readings. Love triangles. Intuition. Headcanon. Luce Irigaray. New Criticism. Comfort objects. Jacques Lacan. Feminine jouissance. Canonization. True Fairytale. Emulation. Surreality.
Pt. 17: What Comes After – The X-Men in 2021. Jonathan Hickman. Vita Ayala. Russell Dauterman. Phil Noto. Ed Brubaker. Anthony Oliveira. Chris Claremont. Javier Garrón. Storm’s mind. Jean Grey’s minidress. The absence of EVA. Queer erasure. Retellings. Misogyny. Queerness. Politics. Psychology. Self-governance. Self-determination. Character agency.
Pt. 18: Rabbit’s Moon (Mutant Thoughts: Examining New X-Men, the Early 21st Century, and Ourselves) – The fable of the rabbit in the moon. Moving to Michigan to help my mother after her brain injury. My mother. Growing up. Growing up again. Loyalty. Self-awareness. The death and sacrifice and love of Jean Grey. Death. Resurrection. The first self-contained long run in X-Men comics. The hypocrisy of Charles Xavier. The chances we have tomorrow.
Two interviews about the book happened in Mutant Watch, one time in the middle of Examining’s run and the other after the final instalment.
From Examining New X-Men Pt. 1 to Mutant Thoughts: Examining New X-Men, the Early 21st Century, and Ourselves Pt. 18, this project has been overseen by editors Duna Haller and Cody White, and Editors in Chief Nicolas Osborn and Matt Meyer. This book in parts, this online series, could not exist without their shepherding, advice, and careful editing. This project was not proposed as a thing we should do, but as a thing I was unlikely to ever do. It flowered from there, and those flowers became a garden.
I would also like to thank – for advice, for corrections, advanced reading, moral support, early interest, or encouragement:
Gabriel De Jesus
Allison Hedge Coke
Diru Facade L’Engel
Dedicated to John Paul Leon (1972-2021).
Travis Hedge Coke writes the weekly Patricia Highsmash column and is a frequent presence on the Mutant Watch podcast. A mixed Native enby from North Carolina, Hedge Coke has been twice nominated for the Pushcart Prize, twice longlisted for the Hugo, is author of Examining New X-Men, and an editor of two volumes of Along the Chaparral and Sing: Poetry from the Indigenous Americas. They can be followed on Twitter at @TravisHedgeCoke.
PATRICIA HIGHSMASH: This Has Been Examining New X-Men
User Review( votes)
Hi , I have a question. Was magneto really responsible for genosha genocide ?? And , if yes , how ??
I would say he very likely was a collaborator in it, with Sublime arranging both his and Cassandra’s broad actions leading up to and during that attack.