X-Men

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This article is about the comics and related fandoms. For the movieverse and its fandom, see X-Men Movieverse.
Fandom
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
Wikipedia
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.

Canon

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 apart 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

Fandom

This article or section needs expansion.

sections about non-fic fans, something about pre-internet fanfic, something about current fanfic
Does anyone remember some comments on OTL along the lines of "girls and their romance stories"?
Find meta or timeline on decline of the fandom.

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.

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." [1]
  • Shared Universe: Fan creators sharing created universes (Common People, Subreality Cafe, Shadowlands).
  • Dialogue: Writing out accents phonetically, sugah (canon is not blameless on this front!)

Terminology

  • 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 was devoted to writing about the "regular" citizens of the Marvel Universe; stories written for the project were almost always original characters. 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). 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, and Sikudhani.

Pairings

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

GLAMBeau/Devo was an influential early slash writer, and most likely wrote the first Iceman/Gambit story. The writer Mooks, who wrote Remy/Bobby stories, 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, though - writers like Kaylee who wrote gennish slash did a lot to blur the boundaries. [2]

There was very little early femslash, but there were some dedicated writers[3], 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[4].

Slash

Femslash

Het

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

Fanworks

Examples Wanted: Editors are encouraged to add more examples or a wider variety of examples.

Fanart

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.

Fanfiction

For a full listing of X-Men Fanfiction on Fanlore, see Category:X-Men Fanfiction for more.
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

Cosplays

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

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

RPGS

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

Zines

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. [5] 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.

Communities

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

Archives

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 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. CFAN Full (If Brief) Page Listing demonstrates the breadth of fannish activity surrounding comics fandom at that time.

Team

Pairings & Individual Characters

Awards

  • 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 2002.
  • 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.

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.

Tumblr

Resources

  • Uncanny X-Men.Net - The definitive X-Men website, now running for eight years. They cover upcoming, current and back issue titles with a smart and thorough style. Their "Spotlight On" posts cover characters, their backstories, significant issues, and costume.
  • Scot Tiptan's Comics 101 Essay - A great primer introducing the X Men and the respective comic counterparts of the X Men movies.
  • X-Page Hotlist (on Wayback) - The archived version of the Hotlist has 174 links to X-Men related pages.
  • Marvel Database - although focused on all Marvel Comics, it's sections on the X-Men are very detailed.

References

  1. The Outsiders Arc (Accessed April 21, 2010)
  2. Changes in fandom over time (Accessed Oct. 21, 2011) Anon discussion on Fail Fandom Anon.
  3. felicitas
  4. 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.
  5. http://home.att.net/~lubakmetyk/outside.txt (Accessed Oct. 16, 2009)