Friday in Westchester

As I've said in the past, I get a fair amount of mail. A lot of it is from former students who want to ask about one comics-related point or another.

Just for fun, and to give you an idea how our odd little pop-culture backwater looks from the outside...here is a series of letters between me and Rachel.

Rachel is a cartooning graduate, and now she is an occasional TA-slash-intern for me at the art studio. This ever-lengthening correspondence has been going on for the last week or so and finally I said to her, "You know, I might as well do this as a column," and she graciously agreed. So here it is.

It started with Rachel sending a note that she was no longer obsessed with Spider-Man. That was over. It was time to put away childish things.

Now, she was all about The X-Men.

As it happened, I needed a model for my portrait class down at the studio that week. So I sent Rachel a note back suggesting that if she'd be willing to come by the studio and sit for my students for an hour or so, I would hook her up with some X-Men books, and I'd throw in the Birds of Prey DVDs I'd been promising for a while, as well. (Over the years, I've discovered that when I employ students for odd jobs, using the barter system is more fun for both of us, and a better deal for the kids than cash money.)

Rachel did a fine job modeling for the drawing class and certainly had earned some cool swag. I gave her some X-Men trades I'd had around the house that were superfluous for me, that I thought she would enjoy.

(And also that I considered to be "the good stuff." I reasoned that if Rachel was going to collect X-comics, I owed her a proper start. She has the rest of her life to read crap like Inferno or X-Cutioner's Song.)

A little while later she sent this note, which I answered point-by-point.


Hi Greg,

I am totally in love with the X-Men comics you gave me!! I especially like the Neal Adams book.

I had a few questions though.

In the Neal Adams book, there is no Storm, Wolverine, or Rogue in the group. Why is that?

The Neal Adams book is taken from the stories that ran in the FIRST version of the X-Men. Those were published in the 1960's.

Then, later, the title was revived with a new, more international roster.

It's all explained here.

So Alex is Scott's brother?


Why isn't Beast blue?

It was before he mutated further. The character's history is explained here.

I would appreciate if you could help me understand. :D


You should have one more book coming, The Dark Phoenix Saga, that falls between the two I gave you at the studio, in the overall X-chronology. Julie and I found it at a Goodwill and decided you needed it, so it's in the mail.

Really, though, if you want to get caught up, you should get the Essential X-Men books... they are great big phone-book-sized reprint volumes that give you twenty to twenty-five comics' worth of stories in each book.

They're in black-and-white, which puts off some people, but if you just want to read the stories that's your best bet. They're cheap.



A couple of days later Rachel called the house to say thank you, squealing with delight about The Dark Phoenix Saga and how much she loved it. Shortly thereafter we got a note that her e-mail address had changed from spideyzgirl@.... to j.thedarkphoenix@.... I couldn't resist and sent her a reply saying I'd noted her new address, adding, "Book must have been good, huh?"

Which led to this e-mail, that I again answered point-by-point.


I'm gonna try and get those Essential books - they look really cool!

So, the girl with the green hair is Lorna, and her powers are magnetism, right? I wonder why Alex Summers wasn't in the movies. Probably not enough time for him, I guess.

Alex Summers really hasn't been in the COMICS that much when you look at the last forty-plus years of X-Men.

But Wolverine: Origins comes out in 2009!! I'm so excited!

I'm hoping you mean the movie, because the comic wasn't worth getting that excited over.

For that matter, the Wolverine of the comics really was disliked by many people at the beginning. He started out as a Hulk villain.

And later when he was drafted for the new X-Men he was primarily the guy that nobody cared for, the agent of discord on the team. Marvel used to get letters saying "And kill off that obnoxious Wolverine." The star character in the revival was Nightcrawler because Dave Cockrum really liked drawing him. And in fact there was a point when the Wolverine character was getting so much hate mail that they were thinking of dropping him from the book.

When John Byrne took over the art from Cockrum, one of the things he wanted to do as co-plotter of the book was 'rehabilitate' Wolverine... that is, make the fans like him more. Part of it was that Byrne was Canadian himself and didn't want the only Canadian superhero at Marvel to go away, and part of it was that Byrne thought it would be a fun challenge, taking a hero so despised and seeing if he couldn't get the fans to come around. So Byrne began, very subtly, to slant stories toward Wolverine. (In those days, Marvel's artists had a lot more control over a story, because the art was done from a brief outline rather than a script. Then the writer would come in and write captions and dialogue based on the penciled art.)

If you look at the Dark Phoenix book you will see that in play.

Wolverine gets most of the cool action shots, Wolverine gets a big dramatic cliffhanger, it's really Wolverine Comics co-starring the X-Men.

And it worked. Wolverine became a star.

Except I almost got the Dark Phoenix saga taken away by my Spanish teacher, because I was "reading too much in class." I told her I couldn't help it, and she let me keep it with a warning.

Boy, THAT takes me back. I actually HAD books taken away. My parents were very annoyed with me about the whole book thing. ("Why don't you go play outside? Why do you have to spend every penny on books?") Mine were Star Trek books and James Bond books and Batman comics, though. The Batman stories that really blew me away at that age were, oddly enough, by a young Neal Adams, who partnered with Denny O'Neil on a run people still talk about today. Ra's Al Ghul, from Batman Begins, is an O'Neil/Adams villain.

I know I've already thanked you - but I seriously realllly appreciate the books. The movies got me hooked, but the books are also really incredible!

Plus, Professor Xavier and Scott don't die in The Dark Phoenix Saga, which is nice, because whenever I watch those scenes in X-Men 3 I start bawling. And I like it better that Jean realizes she has to kill herself to stop Phoenix, rather than having Wolverine kill her which is really sad.

Something that caught me off guard, however, is that in The Dark Phoenix Saga, Wolverine is short. And sort of "spooky," as Kitty says. And obviously has no relationship with Jean. So I wonder how that whole Jean/Scott/Logan movie triangle came to be.

Well, first of all, bear in mind that model's wages in an art studio run anywhere from $15-20 an hour and that's about the same dollar value of those books in a used bookstore. So it wasn't really a 'gift.' You earned them, that's your pay for an hour's work at the studio. (The BIRDS OF PREY shows, well, I'd been promising to burn a set of those for you for years, that was just guilt.)

As for the rest... Wolverine IS short. He's named for a small snarling rodent and that was the key to his visual.

Now, actor HUGH JACKMAN is tall, but as writer Len Wein (the guy that actually created Wolverine) likes to say, "I don't mind, because Jackman plays him as being short and pissed off," and it's true. Jackman nails it so perfectly that none of us really mind that he's way too tall.

The love triangle with Jean and Scott and Logan goes back to the earliest days of the revival-- the Dave Cockrum years. Remember, Wolverine was the team malcontent, the guy that created discord and tension. The love triangle was just one more way for that to happen. In fact, a lot of the reason so many fans hated Wolverine in the early days was because of that triangle and the idea that Logan might somehow break up Scott and Jean. People forget sometimes that it's FICTION and that writers put their characters under pressure for a reason. The more tension you have, the more suspense there is about how it will all work out, then the more interesting the book is and the more engaged you are by the drama.

Really the love story with Scott and Jean went through so many wild freaky twists and turns, and taken as a whole makes both of them look so badly-behaved, that it's best not to think about it as a complete history. Fans tended to forgive them because we all so loved the two of them as a couple, and the Dark Phoenix story was such a powerful love story that it overshadowed everything. We just KNEW they were in love, and the fact that they sometimes acted crappy to one another (Scott, especially, behaved very badly over the years) ...well, that didn't really 'count' in our heads as we were reading, we always forgave everything if they would just get back together.

The movie people wisely went back to the earliest days of the book for their story material, before there were thirty more years of convoluted comic-book soap opera history layered on top of it. The best way to read the X-Men is to just kind of cherry-pick your favorite era and concentrate on that. Because there have been A LOT of bad X-Men comics out there.

Also, Rogue is not there. Which makes me sad. Because she is my 3rd favorite character. (1st: Jean, 2nd: Wolverine, 3rd: Rogue, 4th: Scott).

I guess you really have created a monster, as you titled your email, because now I'm really obsessed - more than I was with Spider-Man, believe it or not.

Well, the good news is, there are lots of books out there for you. Julie and I were at Half-Price Books in Southcenter last night and saw the first three Essential X-Men volumes for about four dollars each, along with a bunch of other X-stuff.

The Essentials are the easiest way to play catch-up but there are lots of other books too. There are prose X-Men novels as well. Here's a PARTIAL list. Some of those are comics and some are prose. Click on the book cover to find out more about a particular book.

I'm partial to the ones by Christopher Golden, in particular: CODENAME WOLVERINE, and the MUTANT EMPIRE trilogy.

As for Rogue, she came later, and her story is very different from the movie one. You have to understand the movies are very streamlined and condensed and tend to mash up stories together that took place years apart in the comics. The first movie was an original story that kind of tried to do everything, it had references to every era of the book and the team roster was a sort of "Greatest Hits" cast culled from the forty years of publishing. X2 was a kind of riff on GOD LOVES MAN KILLS but incorporated a lot of original stuff from the first movie and added Lady Deathstrike to replace Anne Reynolds. X-Men 3 grafted together Dark Phoenix and ASTONISHING X-MEN: GIFTED and threw in Magneto and the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. And so on.

Truthfully, I lost interest in the X-Men comics in the 90's-- Marvel did so many spin-offs and tie-in series that it became impossible to keep up. Every so often something catches my eye still-- I liked GENERATION X while it was around, and that even got a movie. (A bad made-for-TV one, but still kind of fun, you see it bootlegged at shows a lot.)

I enjoy the X-Men movies a great deal and do still sometimes pick up an X-comic. I quite liked Joss Whedon's run on Astonishing X-Men, as well as Grant Morrison's run on New X-Men.

But mostly I'm a Claremont/Cockrum/Byrne guy, Essential X-Men volumes one, two and three. My X-Men are the ones in the three books I gave you, of which God Loves, Man Kills was the newest. But every generation has their particular favorite run and their particular favorite team lineup. I imagine that as you keep reading and watching movies and so on, you'll arrive at a Dream Team of your own.



By now it was starting to get away from me. Answering Rachel's questions was reminding me how much I myself had loved the Marvel mutants once upon a time, and her enthusiasm was contagious... I'd start out to write a quick answer and it would turn into a little mini-essay. It must have been entertaining for Rachel, too, because in a day or two this note arrived, which I have again answered. It was about halfway through replying to this that I thought, "Hell, this all might as well be a column," and got Rachel's permission to put it up here.


I have more questions!

1. In the first book you gave me, it looked like Lorna and Bobby were going out, but in the very beginning of the Dark Phoenix saga, it seemed like Lorna was with Alex. What happened there?

Years passed. Different writers come on a book and each new one has a different idea about how things should go. That's really what happened.

But I imagine you want the in-story reason. In this particular case, as I recall Bobby had a thing for Lorna but she really only had eyes for Alex. I think there have been times when she starts to relent and maybe give Bobby a second look, but nothing serious ever came of that.

Iceman does a hell of a lot better in the movies with girls than he ever did in the comic. In the X-comics, what I remember is that Bobby Drake was a little bit of a sad sack, someone who was always getting his heart stepped on. He was the classic case of the guy who always ends up being 'just friends' with a girl. I think in recent years they've been a little kinder to him, but he still seems to have a lot of girls leaving him or being revealed as villains or something. Nothing like the movie where there's two different girls fighting over him, that's for sure.

2. In the 2nd movie, when Professor X is being mind-warped by Stryker's son (isn't his name Jason?) to kill all mutants..That seemed very similar to Jean being mind-warped by Jason Wyngarde (who was really Mastermind, the illusionist guy) in the Dark Phoenix saga. Am I just being paranoid or is that the same person?

Well, here you get into a whole thing about adaptation and what that all means. Does Jason Stryker have the same power as Jason Wyngarde/Mastermind? More or less, I suppose, though nobody ever tried to extract anything from Mastermind's glands and drip it on people's necks for purposes of mind control. (I don't think so, anyway. You have to remember I haven't been keeping up with every X-Men comic since 1975. In spite of what my students think, I don't actually know everything about comics.)

Is it the same guy? Maybe Bryan Singer and the movie people named him "Jason" as a little nod to Jason Wyngarde, maybe even the character started out to be "Mastermind," but as characters, they're nothing alike.

In the comics, Mastermind was kind of a weaselly little coward who used his power to make himself suave and sophisticated, and his main concern always seemed to be insinuating himself next to some hot girl....the Scarlet Witch, Jean Grey, whoever.

For that matter, X2 took quite a few liberties with Stryker himself.

God Loves, Man Kills was originally published in the 80's, when television preachers like Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson were really starting to build a following, and a lot of their message was about us vs. them: whichever "them" they happened to be picking on at the moment, the televangelists were always demonizing their opponents and scaring people. Nowadays these TV ministers are looked at mostly as jokes, but in the 1980's they were extremely powerful public figures. So it's a pretty easy leap from that to creating a televangelist villain who is scaring people about mutants.

Now, in the 2000's, it's been the government that gets a lot of mileage out of scaring people and using that fear to justify doing bad things in the name of 'protecting' citizens. Today the natural leap isn't from televangelist to X-villain, it's from obsessed government official to X-villain. So Stryker got a makeover for the movies.

The beauty of the X-Men concept is that it's infinitely adaptable. There are always going to be groups of people that are afraid of other groups of people because they're different. And that kind of fear always leads to prejudice and hatred. Those conflicts are very easy to build X-Men stories on, because the whole premise for the book in the first place is "feared and hated by the world they've sworn to protect." Any time you have fear and hatred you have potential story material for the X-Men.

3. Did Jean, Scott, and Professor X really die in the comics? (Obviously, I know Jean dies in the Dark Phoenix Saga). I've heard that X-Men 3 pretty much veered away from the plot of the comics, and was wondering if the deaths happened as well.

Honestly? Nobody ever really dies in the comics.

It's kind of reached the point where everybody snorts and says "Yeah right," whenever a character gets killed.

Cyclops, the Professor, and Jean have all been 'killed' or presumed dead several times, and so have most of the other X-Men. Really at this point I think it's easier to keep track of who hasn't been presumed dead for at least a couple of issues.

Now, as of right now this minute as I write this? Jean is dead-- she was resurrected and then killed off again, once or twice since the Dark Phoenix book you have. Scott is still around. Professor X is still around but I think he's not playing a big active role at the moment, he's retired or in hiding or sulking or something. But sooner or later he'll be back, as will Jean. Jean's really easy to revive, since the whole schtick of a phoenix is 'resurrection.'

I kind of like Jean Grey being gone, myself; I think it diminishes the heroism of her sacrifice to keep bringing her back from the dead as though she's just been down with the flu, like death's just occasionally inconvenient. And I enjoy what writers have done with Scott and Emma Frost. Grant Morrison, especially, just took Emma's character and ran with it.

The idea of the X-Men's resident boy scout romancing such an unrepentant bitch, and how they are each adapting to one another as she tries to be good and he occasionally lets himself be a little bad, is really a lot more interesting to read about than the swooning True Love of Scott and Jean.

...but that's just me.

Because it's comics, no one stays dead, and there is always going to be that group of fans that wants Scott and Jean back together no matter what. So I imagine sooner or later she'll be back.

4. About Rogue's history being different - I heard she was raised by Mystique??

Yes, that's correct.

Really the movie Rogue is nothing like the comics Rogue, except for her powers. Rogue in the movies is a lot more like the original Kitty Pryde, a teenage girl who joins the team and ends up forging a special friendship with Wolverine. Which in turn made it odd when they decided Kitty would actually have a real role in the third movie.

Rogue in the comics began as a villain, and her path to becoming one of the most popular members of the team was too convoluted to even try to recap here. I will cheat and link you to this page instead.

Marvel Comics, as a whole, tends to get a lot of mileage out of reforming villains. (Remember, even Wolverine started as a Hulk villain.) Just in the X-Men books alone I think Magneto, Emma Frost, Rogue, Mystique, and Juggernaut have all been 'reformed' at least for a little while. So far, with Rogue and Emma, rehabilitation seems to have stuck.

5. Speaking of Mystique. She, Nightcrawler, and Beast are all blue. Are they related at all?

Ha! This just goes to show that everything occurs to everybody, sooner or later.

Yes, Mystique and Nightcrawler are related. She is his mother, though he didn't know it for years and years, she abandoned him and he was raised by gypsies in a traveling circus. This was all eventually told in one of those big shock-revelation stories done after both characters had been around for a while. And I believe the reason this storyline was done is because someone thought "hey, they're both blue."

Now, the Beast, Hank McCoy, is a slightly different story. He originally started out looking human, just sort of bulky and Neanderthal, and he was one of the five original members of the team.

In the 1970's, when I was about your age as a matter of fact, he got his own series in Amazing Adventures.

This was after the main X-Men book had been canceled... well, not canceled, but it had 'gone reprint,' they were still putting it out each month but it only re-ran older X-Men stories. So if you wanted new X-Men stories Amazing Adventures was all there was.

The gimmick was that in trying to 'cure' his mutation, Hank had accidentally turned himself fanged and furry. He wore a rubber mask when he went out among people and tried to live a normal life, and then sneaked into his lab at night and worked on a cure for his cure. Poor Hank was constantly being forced into situations where he had to strip down to his fur and go fight evil.

I really enjoyed this new Beast book-- although it took me a while to figure out that this was the same Beast from the X-Men at first-- but it didn't last very long. The series only ran seven issues before it was canceled in favor of a character called Killraven, a science-fiction series spinning out of H.G. Wells' War of the Worlds.

Hard to believe, but there was once a time in comics when a book about a hippie shooting Martians out-sold a book about one of the X-Men.

Anyway, the point of all this is that when the Beast had his solo strip and Amazing still wasn't selling very well, it was decided to change his color to a deeper blue-gray, rather than just gray, to make him more visually striking. There was no in-story reason, they just did it. I think the idea was to change his fur from gray to BLACK, actually; in comics, back when the printing process with color was much more limited, black was printed using blue to highlight it. (Look at old Superman comics and you'll see this is the case: Superman has blue hair and so does Lois.) Comics colorists still do this, but the blue's not as garish as it used to be.

Steve Englehart was the fellow who wrote the Beast's solo adventures. He liked the character enough to bring him back in The Avengers a little while later, when he took over that book.

Eventually Hank became a full Avenger and decided being furry wasn't something that needed curing. However, somehow in the transition from Amazing Adventures to The Avengers, it became understood that the color of the Beast's fur was supposed to be dark blue now, and it just became the norm.

So it's got nothing to do with Mystique or Nightcrawler, those two were always blue on purpose. Hank just got stuck with that color by accident at the printer's.

He was actually a fine addition to The Avengers and he was in that book for a long time. When the X-Men got revived in 1975 with the international team, the Beast would drop by for a visit now and then, but he was always a little superfluous. (Artist John Byrne used to joke about drawing a cartoon with Beast looking sadly at Nightcrawler, who had Beast's blue fur, and Wolverine, who had Beast's animal savagery and his pointy hairdo.)

Since that time, Hank's wandered in and out of several other Marvel series before finally rejoining the X-Men. He mutated a couple more times as well, and his current look probably was created to differentiate him visually from the other characters.

Today he looks more like a lion than an ape. But he's still the same old bookish Hank.


At this point, trying to look up something else, I stumbled across Marvel's digital short based on Astonishing X-Men #1. So I sent that along to Rachel and she replied with this:


Whoa that's really cool!! Thanks for the link!

Guessing the girl with the blond hair is Emma Frost, the White Queen. I thought she was evil in the Dark Phoenix saga..? And she's with Scott?!

Yeah, that was Grant Morrison's idea. When he took over the X-Men title a few years back, his mission statement was to try to get the book back to the kind of smart, cool soap-opera adventure it had been when Claremont and Byrne were doing stuff like Dark Phoenix, and we were all on the edge of our seats waiting to see what would happen next.

One of the things he did was put Emma on the team; she had reformed a few years before, but Morrison had this great take on her where she was trying to be a good guy but she was still a snide bitch.

In fairness, others had the same idea-- we saw this version of Emma when she was in Generation X, too-- but Morrison made it funnier.

So she served the same function on the team that Wolverine did in the old days -- the malcontent and complainer, the one who wants to just kill the bad guys and be done with it. (And oddly enough, Wolverine often ended up being the voice of reason. It was a cool little reversal.)

Haha, I didn't know you could program the Danger Room to look like Hawaii. Yeah, I can see how X-Men 3 used that idea.

I forget when the Danger Room got the upgrade. I think it probably was around the time when Star Trek: The Next Generation premiered and they were doing "holodeck" stories. The X-books, and Claremont, especially, were never shy about stealing stuff. The Hellfire Club were actually villains from a TV show called The Avengers-- no relation to Marvel's, ask your dad if he remembers Steed and Mrs. Peel-- that got grafted on to the X-books. Jubilee started as a riff on DC's Carrie Kelley version of Robin.

And so on. Now, immediately all these little acts of theft grew into their own unique things in the X-universe. But they weren't completely original, not at the beginning.

Whoa, that really surprised me about Wolverine - I always sort of thought of him as the icon of the X-Men; I never realized he was so disliked!! And yes, I was referring to the movie of Wolverine coming out. :) About Wolverine's movie height: James Marsden wore platform shoes to appear taller than Hugh Jackman, I found out, which really cracked me up. I also heard Wolverine was the one X-Men character Stan Lee didn't create.

Oh, good heavens, no. That's not true. Stan created the 1960's version--Professor X, Magneto, Cyclops, Jean, Iceman, Angel, and the Beast, and he did that in tandem with artist Jack Kirby. But the book was never that big a priority for Stan and he handed it off to other folks early on. Roy Thomas, the writer of your Neal Adams book, really did more with the team in the 1960's than Stan, including creating everyone's background history. Len Wein and John Romita created Wolverine, Dave Cockrum was largely responsible for Nightcrawler, Roy Thomas and Werner Roth created Banshee, Claremont and Byrne created Kitty Pryde... I could go on and on.

But when it comes to the X-Men it's not always about who created who. It's about who did the best job.

It's widely known that Chris Claremont, in his sixteen-year run on the X-Men books, is the guy most responsible for making it into the superstar Marvel franchise it is today. He deserves the lion's share of the credit. It's been a while since his glory days on the book, and there are several recurring fan complaints about him-- Claremont did stories that dragged on and on, he was only really good when he was paired with a talented artist, he did lots of little idea-steals like the ones I mentioned above... but still, even the fans that don't care for his writing have to admit that when it comes to the world of the X-Men, the primary architect of that world is Chris Claremont.

I'm not sure if he's even still involved with any of the titles any more, but he was the guy that did the most. Everyone who came afterward owes him big-time for laying the groundwork.

Teachers at my school are too focused on taking students' cellphones and iPods away to care very much about one comic book the girl in the back is reading.

Well, speaking as a teacher, cell phones and iPods really are damned annoying. Especially the new ones with little TVs built into them. I had to forbid them in my class finally because too many kids are watching bootleg episodes of South Park when they should be working.

Take your time getting back to my questions - I'm really grateful you're answering them at all!! I still can't get over the fact that Wolverine was not a popular character though. Oh, and another question (when you get the chance), who is your favorite X-Men character?

I like most of them, for different reasons, and it depends on which era of the book you're talking about, too. In the old Claremont-Cockrum-Byrne days, Cyclops was always my favorite, and I was annoyed he got screwed out of so much screen time in the movies. In recent years, reading Grant Morrison's New X-Men and Joss Whedon's Astonishing X-Men, I get a big kick out of Emma Frost.

But there's a saying in comics that "The Golden Age is twelve," and what that means is that the comics you hold most dear tend to be the ones you discover first, the ones that get you turned on to the whole thing in the first place.

For me that's gray-furred Hank McCoy, in the old Amazing Adventures.

Those were just way awesome and really blew me out of my chair when I was little. I was sad to see the series get discontinued, and I was delighted to see Hank back in the Avengers... in fact, that's what got me buying that book. So that was my favorite thing about the third movie, finally getting to see MY guy up there. And Kelsey Grammer in X-Men 3 was just perfect, he really nailed it for me.

Jean is my favorite X-Men character because the whole inner struggle with Phoenix really fascinates me, and her powers are really cool.

No argument, those are great character things that produce tension and drama; but I have the advantage of years. Or the curse, rather. After thirty-some years you start to wish Jean would either solve her problem or not, but geez, lady, find something new to think about. It's the reason I didn't mind too much when she got killed off again.

Wolverine is my second favorite because he's a great fighter, someone I'd like on my side if I was ever in a battle. Plus he's sort of the comic relief of the team.

Hugh Jackman rehabilitated Wolverine for me. Period. He never did much for me in the comics but in the movies he's a great character. In fact, the closer the X-books get to the simplified, condensed versions of the characters you see in the movies, the better I like them.

Rogue would be third because she's a teenager, therefore I can relate more to her, and also because it's interesting to see how she develops as a person because of her powers.

Ah, but you see, in the comics that's not really Rogue. That's more Kitty Pryde. The movies kind of mashed up Rogue and Kitty and as a result I think we got something that was better than either one of the originals. Pity there's no way to really do that version in the books.

Especially since, in the comics, Rogue was always paired with Gambit for the most part and Gambit is extremely annoying.

Chris Claremont had a bad habit of defining his characters with their accents and Gambit's Cajun accent is just grating to read. It's petty, but there it is.

And then Scott because he's the leader, smart, responsible, and strong: perfect boyfriend material. lol.

The ladies love Scott. Especially in the comics. Only in the movies is Wolverine the X-Men's resident heartthrob.

I'll try and get some of those books you were mentioning: they seem really interesting!!

Thanks for answering all my questions! :)

When I put this up I daresay you'll have a lot of other folks chiming in. Comics fans love giving advice, especially opinions about what's good to read and what you should skip.

Speaking of, I'm sure the rest of you out there have thoughts about what Rachel should look into. Feel free to jump in, but let's try to remember that Rachel is a high school freshman and on a budget. And I'm certain there are those among you who are dying to set Rachel straight about things I got wrong.

And with that, I'll shut up and let the rest of you have at it. See you next week.

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