This past Saturday, Mutant Watch had the opportunity to sit with three amazing guests to examine how identity has shaped our reading of X-Men comics: Dani Kinney, trans and intersex educator, consultant, sensitivity reader and writer at WWAC; Zack Rabiroff, Jewish writer at Comics XF, and Rhayne from Carefree Black Nerd, a podcast about representation in comics & related media.
Some of the aspects of identity included in the chat were race, ethnicity, gender, sexual identity, and mental health. We discussed the weight and personal approach of our identity to read mutant stories, and then debated those approaches through various eras of X-Men comics, from the Jewish aspects of the conception of Jack Kirby’s X-Men, to the conflicts posed by creations like Utopia or Krakoa as utopian lands, to the different perspectives of trauma and survivorhood in mutant comics.
The discussion continued through the mutant metaphor aspects of X-Men, and when that metaphor has been used to powerfully represent community and recognition, or, on the contrary, has been twisted to make pain spectacle or unfairness of what it brought to the page. Everyone on the panel could agree that the metaphor should not be used in place of representation, but could be used to address certain issues with the proper questioning and creative input from the communities affected.
The show ended with each member highlighting what character or story spoke to them and their individual identity most. Dani highlighted Vita Ayala & Rod Reis’ New Mutants run that is unfolding right now, specially issue #15; Travis chose Jo Duffy’s Fallen Angels; Rhayne’s one was Generation X; Gabriel recommended Rictor’s storyline through all X-Factor and Excalibur; Zach recommended Magneto’s storylines through Cullen Bunn’s Magneto series and back to Claremont’s stories in Classic X-Men #12 & #19, and Duna recommended Louise Simonson’s New Mutants #55-73. We got a guest recommendation from Ali Galactic in the comments of X-Men (2019) #7. You can know more of why each recommendation was thrown and watch the whole discussion in the video bellow.
Disclaimer: this show’s discussion includes depictions of bigotry and violence against various vulnerable populations, mental health, self-harm/suicide, as well as sexual violence and trauma.
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Identity & Reading X-Men – Mutant Watch Ep020
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