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Shadowcat: 15 Things You May Not Know About Kitty Pryde

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Shadowcat: 15 Things You May Not Know About Kitty Pryde

The flagship X-title of Marvel’s “ResurrXion” event is “X-Men Gold” from writer Marc Guggenheim and artist Ardian Syaf. “X-Men Gold” finds the X-Men taking up residency in Central Park with a team led by Kitty Pryde and consisting of Wolverine (Old Man Logan), Storm, Nightcrawler, Colossus and Prestige (Rachel Grey). This new incarnation of the X-Men under Kitty’s leadership features some familiar, fan favorite faces in a much more public role in the center of New York.

RELATED: Space Ghost: 15 Weird Facts You Never Knew

With Kitty taking the lead and calling the shots, it seems like the perfect opportunity to look at the woman who has gone from 13-year old student at the Xavier Academy, through many codenames and costumes to leader of the X-Men. In this list, we look at 15 things you probably never knew about Kitty Pryde.


Ellen Page As Kitty Pryde X-Men Days of Future Past

Kitty Pryde has appeared in four of Fox’s line of X-Men movies and has been portrayed by three different actors. A brief cameo in 2000’s “X-Men,” played by actor Sumela Kay, was followed up by a larger role in “X2: X-Men United” played by another actress, Katie Stuart. The franchise ultimately settled on popular Hollywood actor Ellen Page in 2006 for “X-Men: The Last Stand” and she returned in 2014 for “X-Men: Days of Future Past.”

The “Days of Future Past” comic book story from 1981 featured Kitty — or as her future self was known, Kate — in a much more prominent role than the 2014 movie. In the comic it is Kate’s consciousness that actually goes back in time, whereas in the movie it is Kitty who sends Wolverine’s consciousness back in time. While her role in the film was relatively limited, she did get did get some love from director Bryan Singer, who gave the film the working title of “Hello Kitty,” a tribute to Ms. Pryde.


Josh Byrne's concept art for Kitty Pryde

Fiction has a long history of tuckerization, the practice named after author Wilson Tucker included the names of real world people in fictional works. In the the X-Men there may be no more famous example of tuckerization than Kitty Pryde. In 1973, artist Josh Byrne was in Calgary attending the Alberta College of Art. One of his classmates at the college was a young artist named Kitty Pryde and the two met through a mutual friend. Byrne liked Kitty’s name so much he told the real Kitty Pryde that he liked her name and thought it would make a great superhero name. True to his word, Byrne used the name when he created Kitty with writer Chris Claremont for “Uncanny X-Men” #129.

In 1980, Byrne — through another mutual friend — sent a  packaged to the real Kitty, including a page of Kitty concept art and a copy of issue #129, signed “To Kitty, the real one. Thanks for the use of the name. John Byrne.” It has been many years since the character’s debut; the real Kitty Pryde has changed her name and since auctioned off those gifts, but her place in comics history still endures.


Kitty and Prince William from Excalibur

It may not be the real Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and second in line to the British throne, but Kitty Pryde was once engaged to her own royal heir. In “Excalibur” volume 1 #12-14, the team traveled to Earth-1193. In this earth, ripped from Arthurian legend, the young Prince William is off on a quest when he observes Lockheed with Kitty; believing the dragon is attacking her, he springs into action, only to be taken down from a blast of flame from Lockheed.

Throughout his subsequent adventures with Excalibur, he falls in love with and proposes marriage to Kitty. While Kitty initially rejects his proposal, the Queen Mother uses magic to transform Kitty into a princess and convince her to marry William. Only when Princess Katherine — another potential wife for William — is arrested and confesses her love for the Prince is everything set right. Kitty does not end up marrying the Prince and Excalibur leaves as honored guests of the Queen Mother.


Ninja Kitty from Kitty Pryde and Wolverine

In 1984 and 1985 writer Chris Claremont and artist Al Milgrom teamed up on a six-issue limited series, “Kitty Pryde and Wolverine.” It followed the pair as they travelled to Japan on the trail of Kitty’s father Carmen, who is mixed up in business dealings with the Yakuza. This leads Kitty and Wolverine into conflict with the telepathic mutant ninja Ogun, whose first introduction was in this series. Ogun is set up as a former mentor to Wolverine, who has since turned to evil.

Kitty was brainwashed by Ogun into becoming a ninja and assassin who would follow his orders. When he ordered her to kill Wolverine, she almost succeeds until the intervention of Yukio, who incapacitated Kitty. When she regains consciousness, she is deeply troubled by her actions but is convinced by Wolverine to confront both her internal demons and the exterior one in Ogun. Her time as a ninja gives Kitty a new costume,  her new codename of Shadowcat and a new mentor/buddy in Wolverine.


Professor Xavier is a Jerk!

In “Uncanny X-Men” #167, the Brood Saga comes to a dramatic end as the X-Men are forced to fight the Brood and a transformed Professor X after he is taken over by the Brood inside of him. The X-Men are ultimately unwilling to kill Xavier, but subdue him enough to take him into space in the Starjammer. Unable to restore him to his original form, they are able to clone him a new body and transfer his consciousness into it.

This series of events does lead Professor X to introduce his new team of students, the New Mutants, to the X-Men. This was an introduction that was long overdue but had ramifications for one member of the X-Men in particular: Kitty Pryde. Kitty was relegated from the X-Men team to the New Mutants team. Professor X felt that she was too young and too little was known about her powers for her to remain with the X-Men. The best part of this decision may have been the now-iconic first page of “Uncanny X-Men” #168, which gives us the full page spread of Kitty declaring, “Professor Xavier is a jerk!”


Kitty Pride Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. Covers

In 1997 and 1998, Kitty took a step into another area of the Marvel universe and became a temporary agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. in the limited series “Kitty Pryde, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.” Writer Larry Hama and artist Jesus Redondo reunited Kitty, Wolverine and Ogun in this three-issue limited series run. After a mysterious computer virus takes over the systems of a S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarrier, the organization turns to Kitty for help tracking down the problem.

Ogun’s spirit jumps between the Helicarrier’s computer systems and a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent named Rigby Fallon who Kitty is working with on the problem. As the helicarrier flies through New York and endangers civilians, Wolverine attempts to wrest physical control of the ship from Ogun and return it to manual power while Kitty fights Ogun’s control of Fallon’s body as well as the helicarrier. It was a short but memorable career for Kitty with S.H.I.E.L.D.


Uncanny X-Men 139 cover art

Debuting in “Uncanny X-Men” #129, it wasn’t until 10 issues later, in #139, that Kitty officially joined the X-Men. It was Professor X who attempted to give Kitty her first code name of Ariel. She rejected Xavier’s proposal and would only have stubbornly accepted it if it was forced upon her. It is Storm who suggests the codename of “Sprite” to Kitty, who is much more receptive to that idea and would take that to be her codename for the beginning of her X-Men career. Both Ariel and Sprite were codenames that Josh Byrne had worked up in his initial pitch of Kitty to Chris Claremont. Also pitched at that time were Sparrowhawk and Kittyhawk.

The choice of her codename is important because it showed what would become one of the early steps in an enduring friendship between Storm and Kitty. It was, after all, Ororo who first revealed the truth that she and her companions were actually the superhero team known as the X-Men to Kitty while the two socialized at a Deerfield, Illinois malt shop.


Head Mistress Kitty in Wolverine and the X-Men

For Kitty, the road back to school began with “Uncanny X-Men” #543 and her decision to break off her relationship with Colossus. Newly independent, Kitty decided following the events of “X-Men: Schism” to return with Wolverine from Utopia to the ruins of the Xavier School and start the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning.  In “Wolverine and the X-Men” #1, Wolverine and Kitty are trying to get the school up and running, but they have to contend with the bamfs causing trouble, the threat of a new Black King and the ground trying to swallow everything.

It is interesting to see Kitty come so far from an optimistic and even naive 13-year old student to the experienced and strong headmistress of the school. It is also nice to see her on an equal footing with Wolverine, who has gone from a mentor of her on the team to partner with her in running the school. Ultimately, though, her time at the school would be short-lived as she would depart with the time-displaced, younger version of the original five X-Men.


Kitty Colossus Uncanny 543

Some girls have a type: tall or short, thin or muscular, the list could go on and on. Kitty Pryde has a thing for men named Peter, from her problematic first love Piotr (Peter) Rasputin, aka Colossus, to her Excalibur era romance with Pete Wisdom, to her more recent romance with Peter Quill aka Star-Lord. She even dated Peter Parker in the Ultimate universe! Pete Wisdom’s romance with Kitty was a brief but painful one (at least for him), Peter Quill’s was full of grand galactic conflict and cosmic powers, but the first and recurring love has been Colossus.

Joss Whedon, with the help of artist John Cassaday, finally had Kitty and Colossus consummate their relationship in somewhat hilarious fashion in “Astonishing X-Men” #14.Writer of “X-Men Gold,” Marc Guggenheim, has stated that the inclusion of Colossus on a team led by Kitty is no coincidence and it will be interesting to see where these characters are at this point in their lives, and whether a romance could be rekindled.


Bride Kitty in Uncanny X-Men

Caliban was recently seen costarring with Wolverine and Professor X in “Logan,” but before that he almost married Kitty. During one of the X-Men’s many adventures with the Morlocks in the sewer tunnels below New York, Kitty agreed to do whatever Caliban wanted in return for his help. The price came due in “Uncanny X-Men” #179 when Caliban decided that he wanted to marry Kitty, the Morlocks faked her death and took her into the tunnels for the wedding.

Kitty escaped briefly but encountered the young Morlock Leech who was lost and alone in the tunnels. She went back to the Morlocks to bring him home even though it meant she would need to honor her promise to Caliban. After a brief battle between the X-Men and the Morlock, the wedding was delayed as the injured Colossus was brought back to the mansion to be healed. Thereafter, Kitty writes a letter to her parents and returns to the Morlocks to honor her word. Thankfully, by this time Caliban has realized how wrong he was to try to force her into a marriage and releases her from the promise.


Kitty Meets Emma Frost

In her debut issue, “Uncanny X-Men” #129, it is shown that there is a bit of a recruiting war going on for young Kitty Pryde. Her parents Carmen and Terri Pryde have invited Emma Frost, the headmistress of the Massachusetts Academy, into their living room to discuss sending Kitty away to private school. After finishing their meeting with Frost, the Prydes welcome Professor Xavier into the house and he brings along three of his students — Wolverine, Colossus and Storm — who immediately pique Kitty’s interest.

Emma Frost is able to capture Xavier, Wolverine, Colossus and Storm by the end of issue #129, with Kitty sneaking along with them to Frost’s headquarters. In issue #130, Kitty is able to escape and go in search of help but she is spotted and pursued by Frost’s forces. As issue #131 opens, Kitty is being chased through Chicago until she finds Jean Grey and they, along with Cyclops, Nightcrawler and Dazzler, go to rescue the other X-Men. It is at the end of issue #131 that Kitty’s parents agree to send her to the Xavier School.


Kitty Bartending Mekanix

In the 2002 limited series “Mekanix” by writer Chris Claremont and artist Juan Bobillo, Kitty returns to Chicago to attend University and get away from life with the X-Men. In spite of her attempts to pursue a somewhat normal college life, she faces growing anti-mutant sentiment on campus, as well as sentinels.

One of the cool aspects of the series is the reality of Kitty having to work her way through college, an experience that many readers can relate to. In this case, she takes a job working at Belles of Hell bar, in an outfit that would make Emma Frost proud. We are not sure if Professor X would approve of this job, but as long as she kept the shots coming, we are pretty sure Wolverine would have been all for it. Working at the bar also causes Kitty to bump into former New Mutant Shan, aka Karm, who is also going to school there but working a much more boring job in the school library.


Kitty Pryde discrimination story

The comic book industry has a rich history of Jewish creators but relatively few main characters who are Jewish. In fact, there is a relative paucity in religious characters in general in the X-Men line, Nightcrawler and Wolfsbane were exceptions and in Wolfsbane’s case it was a negative aspect of her past. Another character with a Jewish background is Magneto, but while it is usually told as part of his origin story, he has seldom been shown as a man of faith. Kitty’s faith is one that has been highlighted a number of times as an important part of the character but does not solely define her.

She is pictured multiple times wearing a star of David necklace as well as participating in religious ceremonies. So for Kitty, she exists as a minority within the minority of mutants; a fact that she has never shied away from and even saved her once in “Uncanny X-Men” #159. In that issue, Kitty tries to prevent Dracula from completing his enslavement of Storm, she first attempts to ward him off with a cross but it fails, he attacks her but burns his hand on her star of David pendant before fleeing.


Kitty in the Bullet Giant Astonishing X-Men

The Breakworld story arc wraps up in “Giant-Sized Astonishing X-Men” #1 in 2008 by writer Joss Whedon and artist John Cassaday. The story features a massive bullet-shaped projectile launched from Breakworld and heading towards the planet earth. Having phased into the projectile in an attempt to find a way to stop it, Kitty discovers what she expected to be the control center is empty and she is incredibly weakened by the effort to phase through the alien material.

As the bullet hurdles to earth, Kitty is telepathically in contact with Emma Frost, who is trying to talk her through an attempt to escape the bullet. Kitty feels trapped, however, and bonded to the material of the bullet, such that she doesn’t think it will be possible for her to get out and that she lacks the strength to do so. As the bullet enters the atmosphere of earth and is about to hit a city, Kitty, asking for strength from God, is able to phase the bullet through the city and through the entire planet. The bullet continues to fly deep into space with Kitty trapped inside and presumably lost forever.


Kitty changes into Darth Vader

Kitty Pryde is a woman who has experienced a great deal of drama and danger in her life starting at a very early age. She is a smart and talented woman who grew into a strong warrior and reliable friend. But with all the seriousness and drama that constantly surrounds the X-Men, everyone needs to find their own way to blow off steam, have fun and take their mind off of the constant threat of death.

For Kitty Pryde her release is often found in fashion. In fact, no one else seems to change her costume (or codename) more than Kitty. She has frequent changed throughout the years but perhaps the most entertaining one comes from “Uncanny X-Men” #155, when she discovers a Shi’ar device when captive aboard one of their ships. It allows her to create new clothes, which of course makes her overjoyed. She shows off this discovery to Nightcrawler in a panel that ends with her transforming into Darth Vader. Of course, we can’t really blame her. If you could transform into Darth Vader, wouldn’t you?

What else do you know about Kitty Pryde? Share the knowledge in the comments!

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