I am Marvelian. Or at least Bi-Marvelian. What does that mean? I am a Marvel stan (stalker fan). I argue with my husband weekly about why the X-Men cartoon’s theme song is the best thing ever recorded. My first introduction to the X-Men was a Mystique trading card that my best friend gave me because he “didn’t collect girl Marvel cards.” Well, to hell with that. Mystique was badass. She could shape shift. And she was blue. Mystique made being different freakin’ amazing. Being an awkward and lanky pre-pubescent tween, I could appreciate that. Her card had a permanent home in my super secret box of awesome things.
With the onslaught of Marvel films hitting theatres this summer, I can’t help but think about the significance of displacement or “Othered” narratives being (re)produced during this moment in American popular culture. This era of cultural memory and expression is peculiar. Coupled with the initial purpose of the X-Men first introduced in 1963 as a portal to a marginalized narrative and the oddity of this current moment of social-cultural history, this wave of Otherness is not by accident. There is a niche, albeit a profitable one, that has allowed for an oppressed viewpoint to be brought before a mainstream and “normal” viewership.
Those once highly identifiable traits of Americanness -- race, gender, and class -- are firmly in place throughout X-Men: First Class. Films like this that invest in 'the fringe' or, dare I say, 'alien' narratives appropriate and trouble the taut and highly discomforting realization that American normalcy is shifting.