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This article is about the comics and related fandoms. For the movieverse and its fandom, see X-Men Movieverse.
Name: X-Men
Abbreviation(s): XM
Creator: Stan Lee and Jack Kirby
Date(s): September 1963 - Present
Medium: Comic books, later adapted into serveral animated series and various films
Country of Origin: United States
External Links: Marvel Directory
Official Marvel Wiki
Uncanny X-Men.Net (fan-built site for reference and news)

Subpages for X-Men:
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

The X-Men are the heroes in a Marvel Comics franchise of the same name.


The X-Men are a superhero group formed by Charles Xavier in order to a) teach mutants how to use their abilities, b) protect humans from evil mutants, c) protect mutants from evil humans. In practice, they mostly end up just doing b), protecting a world that fears and hates them.

Mutants are people with an x-factor, a gene that gives them special powers. Useful mutations include: psionic powers (telepathy, telekinesis, etc.), change-forms (turning into something else – an animal, a really hard metal, etc.), 'blow-stuff-up' powers, shape-shifting, teleporting, elemental powers (manipulation of things like magnetism, temperature, the weather, etc.), super-strength, flying.

Stan Lee initially hit on "mutation" as a solution to the problems of providing heroes with individual origin stories, so while the X-Men started off as just five mutant teenagers (Cyclops, Marvel Girl (later Phoenix), Beast, Iceman, & Angel), the cast grew. A "Cast of thousands" now accurately describes the franchise. The glossary at the fansite, Uncanny X-Men.net is currently over two thousand mutants.

The X-Men universe spans several media: Pryde of the X-Men (1989), X-Men: The Animated Series (19921997), Generation X (1996), X-Men: The Movie Series (2000-present), X-Men: Evolution (2000-2003), Wolverine and the X-Men (2008), and Marvel Anime (2011). Some fans are primarily focused on the X-Men Movieverse, while others found a fannish home with the animated X-Men: Evolution or Wolverine and the X-Men animated series. In 2011 the prequel film X-Men: First Class's fandom, which is a part of the XMM, took off in a big way.

The X-Men team has also split off into many different teams: New Mutants, X-Force, Excalibur, X-Factor, and Generation X.

X-Men enemies that are most common are also often in a team: Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, Hellfire Club, Hellions, Morlocks, Marauders, and Acolytes.

For individual character pages on Fanlore, see Category:X-Men Characters


Fanac for the comics, a traditionally male-dominated sci-fi fandom, has often focused on collection, canon discussions (consider the No-Prize offered for the best explanation of canon discrepancies), conventions, cosplay, and roleplay. There are also fans producing fanfiction, fanart and other types of fanworks.

Although the fandom is now much reduced in size, X-Men had a large and active fanfiction writing community during the 1990s/early 2000s, primarily active on usenet (Alt.comic.fan-fiction), message boards, and mailing lists. Relatively it has large number of male fanfic writers, compared to many other fandoms.

Comics fandom peaked in the late 1990s-early 2000s, based on the number of archives, mailing lists and discussion boards listed on the Comic Fan-Fiction Authors' Network (CFAN), which was considered the central point for all things comics fandom. Several things then occurred in 2002, which appear to have contributed to the decline of the fandom:

1) Kielle retired from comics fandom in May 2002,[1] no longer updating CFAN and moving onto other fandoms; she was a unifying force within the fan community.

2) Closure of OTL - with the central mailing list closing down in 2000[2], there was no longer one place to post and read comics fanfic, which led to item 3).

3) "Balkanisation" of comics fandom - with CFAN no longer acting as a central hub and OTL closed, the fandom split into a variety of sub-sets, such as slash fics and specific pairings, specific team focuses, and the X-Men Movieverse, all with their own journals, archives and mailing lists. Ironically the thing that made fanfiction expand in other fandoms, the easy access to mailing lists and website builders, contributed to comics fandom breaking apart. In the words of Dex Farkin, in a discussion on the future of the CBFFA:

While I have a much longer piece on community Balkianization in the works, I would like to address it's fractured state as it pertains to the awards. There are dozen small lists in operation for fic. Outside The Lines (OTL) was supposed to be the main overall list for comic fanfiction. An ACFF writ large, so to speak. That has waned recently, and severe divisions have grown between various aspects of the community, resulting in a similar situation as when the Big Three Archives were up. That situation being that people would visit one segment of the overall, and never cross over. In this case, people fall into one part or another of fandom and never move from it.

Posts from the Desert - CBFFAS - dexfarkin Livejournal, October 27, 2002.

4) Perceived rivalries - with the release of the first two X-Men movies in 2000 and 2003, a new X-Men fandom arose with the movies as canon. As with any new fandom interacting with an older one, resentments arose. The "old guard" were seen as elitist and unwelcoming, the movieverse fans as poor writers due to their young ages and focus on shipping and the two groups were never really one community as fans of other X-Men properties, such as the cartoon, had been previously[3]. Certain individuals exacerbated the situation with flamewars and journal stalking.

With no central hub to gather around and the natural changing of fans' interests, most of the comics fans moved to other fandoms. Many have AO3 accounts, where they post not only their newer work but the old comics fanfic. Others have found new areas to explore their love of the merry mutants, such as RPGs (X-Project has a number of the 'dinos' of comicsfic still active, for example).

Common Themes and Trends

  • Crossover: As with the source canon, X-Men fanwriters write crossovers with other Marvel teams. Because of the great number of characters, some fans specialize in certain X-teams. There are specific archives and communities for Excalibur, Generation X, and X-Force. Crossovers with DC Comics universes can also be found.
  • Longfic: While there were certainly one-shots and short fics, many authors favoured multi-chapter, plot-driven fics. As fanwriter Alicia McKenzie recalls, "Back in the fall of 1997, when I first began writing fan fiction, the standard 'format', as least as far as I saw, seemed to be the multi-part epic." [4]
  • Shared Universe: Fan creators sharing created universes (Common People, Subreality Cafe, Shadowlands, Growing Up X).
  • Dialogue: Writing out accents phonetically, sugah (canon is not blameless on this front!)


  • List of X-Men Pairing Names
  • Mutant
  • House of M - a comic book event that affected the whole Marvel Comics universe.
  • Mook
  • Various X-Men Titles have their own abbreviations which fans use to represent when or where their fics take place: UXM (Uncanny X-Men), AXM (Astonishing X-Men), UXM (Ultimate X-Men), AVX (Avengers vs. X-Men), NM (New Mutants), NXM (New X-Men), XXM (X-Treme X-Men), etc.

Original Characters

X-Men fandom was very accepting of original characters, many of whom gained their own fan followings and were rarely accused of being Mary Sues. The CBFFA had an award for best original character, which may give some indication of how widely accepted OCs were in the fandom. Original characters were also widely seen in Subreality Cafe, where they rubbed elbows with their writers and their canonical counterparts. While they rarely interacted directly with canonical characters, The Common People Project (known also as TCP) was devoted to writing about the "regular" citizens of the Marvel Universe; part of the requirement for a TCP was that the stories could not feature a canon character in a major role. The wide acceptance of original characters may in part be explained by the nature of the canon: when canon itself regularly introduces beautiful new characters with superpowers and a tragic past, how could fan writers be criticized for doing the same?

Original characters were most often introduced as a new member of the team (or one of the X-Men's various spinoff teams - Generation X was popular at one point because the characters were high schoolers). While an OC might find a lover among the X-Men, original characters weren't always written into a romance. Sometimes an OC was a child or another relative of one of the X-Men. Children could be introduced through means of an alternate universe, time travel, cloning, or other plot devices.

Some well-known OCs include Kid Dynamo, Mhairie, Kai & Logan, Dawn Embers and Sikudhani.


See Category:X-Men Relationships for all individual ship pages on Fanlore.

Early X-Men fandom was mainly focused on gen and het, with slash later becoming bigger.

Slash and Femslash

Unlike many fandoms, slash was the minority in comicsfic, at least in the early days, although not discouraged or forbidden on the usenet sites such as ACFF[5][6]. GLAMBeau/Devo was an influential early slash writer, and most likely wrote the first Iceman/Gambit story. Other early comicsfic slash writers included Poi Lass, DarkRiver, Menshevik[7] and Kaylee, the writer of the Mooks series about Remy/Bobby, also helped to make slash more popular. X-Men Slash Central gives a fairly comprehensive picture of early slash fandom. Like most of the fannish places in the early days of the web there were dedicated slash spaces, just like there were dedicated NC-17 spaces, but by the late 90s this was changing - writers like Kaylee who also wrote gennish slash did a lot to blur the boundaries.[8]

There was very little early femslash, but there were some dedicated writers,[9] many of which were affiliated with the revolution-f mailing list on Yahoo!Groups. Femslash as of 2019 still seems to produce less fanworks than slash and het.[10]




Most of the most popular het pairings are the canon pairings from the comics.



There was a community of fanartists interested in both the canonical X-Men characters and original characters. Various archives had subpages for fanart and photomanips.


For a full listing of X-Men Fanfiction on Fanlore, see Category:X-Men Fanfiction for more.
  • Messy Boots by Uzumaki_Rebellion, Ororo "Storm" Munroe divorces King T'Challa and takes up with his cousin Erik Killmonger as a dig at the news that the new King of Wakanda is marrying his old flame, Nakia. At a U.N. dinner honoring Captain America Steve Rogers, old hurts and new emotions spring forth as they all must band together with Cap and the Falcon to fight off an attack aimed at Steve. (X-Men crossover with Black Panther)


A group of X-Men cosplayers, in 2009 at Starfest in Monterrey, Mexico. The characters portrayed are Psylocke, Storm, Professor X, Jean Grey and Gambit

Cosplaying for different X-Men characters is extremely popular - mostly featured on Deviantart or at fan conventions. Most of the costumes are based off the characters infamous costumes such as Jean Grey's Phoenix costume [1] or her 90s costume [2] or Rogue's 90s costume [3]. Even X-Men villains get cosplayed as well - Mystique[4]

Fan Parodies


Various forms of RPGs focusing on or around the X-Men exist.


Cover art of Dreams Inc. by S. Clarke Hawbaker. An example of zine art from 1981, this piece featuring Wolverine

Mailing Lists & Usenet

See also Category:X-Men Mailing Lists

In the '90s/early 00s the two primary mailing lists were Untold-l and Outside The Lines. Untold-l died an inglorious death in an avalanche of bouncing emails shortly after the owner and listserve changed. Susan "Neon Nurse" Crites established Outside The Lines (OTL) as an alternative to the dying Untold mailing list.[11] David A. Amaya later became the moderator. Outside the Lines was open to all comic-based fanfic, although X-titles dominated, much as they had on Untold. Various character and pairing specific lists also existed. Southern Comfort, Gambit Guild, and Blue Believers were early character focused mailing lists. The number of mailing lists grew when Yahoo!Groups made creating and maintaining mailing lists easier.


See Category:X-Men Communities for more information.

Livejournal Communities

As with many other fandoms, much of X-Men fandom moved to Livejournal in the early to mid '00s.

Dreamwidth Communities


See Category:X-Men Archives for more information.
CFAN Full (If Brief) Page Listing

One of the earliest X-Men archives belonged to Hawk, who archived every fic posted to the ACFF usenet group, regardless of quality. A handful of large archives were established after Hawk's archive went down. While these archives may have been the biggest and most recognizable, many fans maintained smaller archives of their own fanfic, or fics by authors they enjoyed on sites such as Geocities, Angelfire, Tripod, and Fortunecity. Kielle's Comic Fan-Fiction Authors' Network (CFAN), was a hub of activity for comics fans of all titles and companies. The CFAN Full (If Brief) Page Listing demonstrates the breadth of fannish activity surrounding comics fandom at that time.


Pairings & Individual Characters


  • The CBFFAs were an annual fanfic award; while there were categories for DC and Wildstorm/Image fics, the primary focus was on the various X-titles. The CBFFAs were hosted by CFAN, and ran from 1998 to 2003.
  • The Prosh Awards were focused on X-Force fanfic.
  • X-Men Site Awards were focused on any type of X-Men websites.
  • Dangerous Type Awards had a category focused on X-Women femslash.
  • X-Day - the yearly celebration of the X-Books, including awards for fanfiction, fanart and fansites.
  • Maggie Awards - Magneto-centric fanfic

Fan Pages

See Category:X-Men Websites for more information.

Fan pages were an important part of the X-Men fandom. Various websites devoted to collecting information about specific teams and characters existed on sites such as Geocities. With the number of alternate universes and retcons that X-Men fans had to contend with, such sources of information could be quite valuable.




  1. ^ CFAN's last update as archived at Wayback
  2. ^ OTL Homepage, last updated Dec 7, 2000 (Wayback)
  3. ^ Posts From The Desert - MOVIEVERSE - daxfarkin Livejournal Oct 27, 2002, including the replies
  4. ^ The Outsiders Arc (Accessed April 21, 2010)
  5. ^ META: superhero slash fanfic; acff google groups, May 10, 1998
  6. ^ New X-Men Slash-Fic Archive - acff googlgroup, Aug 10, 1998
  7. ^ New X-Men Slash Archive - acff googlegroup, reply by Alara Rogers, Aug 10, 1998
  8. ^ Changes in fandom over time (Accessed Oct. 21, 2011) Anon discussion on Fail Fandom Anon.
  9. ^ felicitas
  10. ^ At AO3, only 1700 works are posted under "F/F" category compared to 17,129 for M/M and 6,766 for M/F. While this doesn't showcase FFN/Tumblr/etc. it does show the general fandom favorism toward slash and het.
  11. ^ http://home.att.net/~lubakmetyk/outside.txt (Accessed Oct. 16, 2009)