X-Men: Grand Design: Mutant History

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/04/10/x-men-grand-design-mutant-hi.html


How is New York in the early 1900s filled with International Style architecture?

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I can’t wait for when the story line reaches the 1980s and we start to see a mash up with Hip Hop Family Tree :wink:

This is looking like a promising strip. Many thanks to Mr Piskor for sharing it with us.


I was a little late to this, but got a couple covers for both issue 1 and 2. Granted I have a general knowledge of the X-Men, but evidently was confused as to the TIME LINE - when this or that took place. So it really was fun to sort of get a “clip show” of the history.

When is issue 3 coming out?


Not sure if kidding, so serious answer is… I’ve heard centuries referred to as either “the [blank] century”, or “the [blank] hundreds”. For example, “Queen Victoria reigned in the nineteenth century”, or “Queen Victoria reigned in the eighteen hundreds”.

Sarcastic answer would be… “Mutants are believable, but International Style isn’t?” Oooh, burn.

Silly, in-universe answers might be… The buildings are just giant skrulls, biding their time; a mutant architect with “future vision” designed them; it’s an alternate Earth where International Style was developed several decades early…

But seriously, I think it’s just shorthand for “the twentieth century” – that’s actually how I read it, I had to check the comic to see where “early 1900s” could be interpreted. :slight_smile:


there’s a no-prize in this, somewhere.

@euansmith that would be dope. I mean, keep it subtle, Ed. But you do need to cross the Bronx to get from Westchester to the city, right?

@mongrove and the no-prize goes to…

I read a whole lot of X-Men but I never got the mutants-linked-to-nuclear-fallout thing. The way I understood it, it was just like how it was presented here; they were always around. It does make sense that the nuke angle would have been used back then, but I could swear there were allusions to mutation being a normal evolutionary process like Ed says. Like, Rogue had the white forelock, an IRL mutation, to go with her Marvel mutation. That’s not a good example, but somehow I always thought that.

The Namor-is-a-mutant thing is news to me, I guess that was a retcon from what Ed wrote. But it does seem to fit, although I don’t know Namor very well.


Clearly, the Watcher uses some idiosyncratic expressions. Makes sense—English must be his millionth language at least.


Perhaps I misread it.

Basically, mutants as a normal phenomenon became the story as we got farther and farther from the nuclear age. One because it didn’t jibe with new readers, and two because they had introduced a lot of characters and side-plots that hinted mutants were an older phenomenon than anyone thought.

In in-universe terms, everyone assumed radiation was to blame in the 1960s, then by the 1980s they thought it just accelerated a process already in place, and then by the 1990s they kind of discounted it altogether.

I forget when, exactly they decided Namor was a mutant. The first, most solid part I remember was in the “House of M” mega-arc. That’s when Kitty Pride (as a school teacher) mentioned that Namor was the first recognized mutant in history. (But sure, maybe Jesus, too. Who knows.) Clearly, mutants like En Sabah Nur (Apocalypse, a very long-lived ancient Egyptian) and Mr. Sinister remained largely unknown to the public.

See spoiler if you need context on “House of M”. (Note: even I don’t recommend it):

The House of M mega-crossover story touched almost every series published at the time. I was set up by the (Avengers-focused) Avengers Disassembled crossover, and then immediately led into the (X-Men focused) Decimation crossover, with repercussions ringing into the (universe-wide) Civil War crossover:

  • prior to these events, mutants had become very common in the Marvel universe. For example, there was an entire mutant ghetto (District X / Mutant Town) in NYC, and a prominent all-mutant band (Sentinel) on the pop charts.
  • Avengers Disassembled: everything that could go wrong for the Avengers does in one hellish, rolling week of fighting. Members die, an army of Ultrons, you name it. It turns out Scarlet Witch had a serious psychotic break after the loss of her children, and her probability-altering powers meant the universe took it out on everyone. SW is a mutant member of the Avengers. After it was over the Avengers wanted to treat her, and the X-Men mostly wanted to put her down quietly for the sake of all mutant kind (who would be lynched in droves).
  • House of M: during the arguing, Scarlet Witch really gave her powers a workout and basically changed reality. She re-wrote history so that since WWII, mutants were the majority and normal humans were a significant minority, all under the benevolent global dictatorship of Magneto. Most people we would recognize as heroes and villains were just ordinary people in this timeline. A mutant named Layla Miller sees that it’s a faux reality, a paper-thin covering, and starts recruiting former heroes, restoring their memories of the correct reality. They go to confront Magneto.
  • Decimation: When confronted, the heroes eventually realize Magneto didn’t put SW up to this: he didn’t know either. Rather, it was all SW (in her psychologically damaged state). Seeing that a world run by mutants turned out no gentler than a world run by humans, she decided to go the opposite way “no more mutants”. The world was restored to normal… except 90% of the world’s (original) mutants suddenly found themselves as non-mutants. For the ones that were flying or phasing through walls at the time, that wasn’t a good thing. The surviving and mutated 10% gathered at Xavier’s school.
  • Civil War: After superhumans accidentally blew up a school, the U.S. government decided all super-types (not just mutants, but people like Iron Man, too) needed to be enrolled, tracked, and directed. Mutants were in no position to resist: the Decimation event meant that the ones who were left were few enough to be named, and all were gathered in one place already. They were enrolled automatically, but given a relatively wide berth.

This seems as appropriate a place as any for this.

Anyone catch the season finale of Legends of Tomorrow? I do not want to ruin it for people who have it on their DVR

All I have to say is:

Manhattan, 1915:

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Exactly. Not an “upturned shoebox” in sight.

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