Friday, July 24, 2015

UNCANNY X-MEN #35: The Irrationality of Anti-Mutant Hysteria

I was reading UNCANNY X-MEN #35 this week and was reminded how irrational the anti-mutant hysteria is in Marvel Comics.

Case in point: A new mutant attacks her father and a sports team. She's defeated by Cyclops' former students, who've struck out as members of a new team called Hero Squad. One of the team's members is a guy named Fabio Medina AKA Goldballs. He projects gold balls from his body. He ended up being the big hero of this particular fight -- and in the process became an internet sensation:

I mean, he's not your typical hero. He's a "thick Hispanic kid" who does funny dances. His mother ends up outing him to the media and he becomes an instant celebrity. He shows up on the cover of all the magazines and begins appearing on all sorts of TV shows:

And then his mother ends up outing him again -- this time as a mutant. It's not that he was hiding it. He was just talking about his image and his powers and his personality. But things suddenly go south:

And then the public turns against Goldballs -- violently:

This is where I don't get Marvel's anti-mutant mindset. What is it about Invisible Woman or Daredevil or Captain Marvel that makes them less scary to the general public than Cyclops or Storm or Iceman?

One moment, the public loves Goldballs. The next moment, he's picking glass from his neck. What changed? Only the public's awareness of his origin. Why does a genetically-inherited power induce irrational hatred compared to a power that comes from some sort of external source of mutation?

Ultimately, I just don't get it...

1 comment:

Anthony said...

But it's a metaphor for racism/homophobia! Never mind, uh, not being perfectly comparable? And, erm, attacks by evil mutants leading to, uh, all of them hated...?

Yeah, it doesn't make much sense (even within the "mindset" of bigotry) that Marvel Universe folk hate mutants to such a degree, yet accept the Fantastic Four, Captain Marvel, etc. In DC Comics' universe, even despite the cynicism of the New 52, *how* the heroes get their powers is usually buried as a footnote in an article ("Superman, whose powers come from the rays of Earth's yellow sun, stopped Metropolis Stadium from collapsing earlier today..."). DCU's public don't care how the heroes got their powers---"electrified chemicals," "ultra solar rays of Earth's yellow sun", power rings, etc.---just whether they're heroes or villains.