SPARKS, NV -- In a recent exclusive interview with Transformation magazine, Stan Lee, the creator of most of the most successful comic books and superheroes of the period, set the record straight concerning The X-Men and their origins.
"They're transsexual," he said, "every one of them. It wasn't for no reason that we characterized them as 'The Strangest Super-heroes of All.'"
He said that he referred to them as "mutants" only because, at the time he introduced the superheroes, "transgender wasn't a gender, at least not officially." The word "mutant," he said, was a euphemism for "transgender. Everyone in the Bullpen [the group of artists who drew the comic titles at the time] knew that."
The original group, which was comprised of their leader, wheelchair-bound Professor X, his second-in-command, Scott Summers, or Cyclops; Bobby Drake, or Iceman; Warren Worthington III, or Angel; Hank McCoy, or Beast; and Jean Grey were in their "post-transformation incarnations," Lee said. In other words, all of them but one started out as genetic females who, through hormonal therapy and sex-change surgery, were transformed into men. Jean Grey was the group's sole male-to-female transsexual.
The cover story, at the time that the comic book first appeared, Lee said, was that they were called the "X-Men" because they had something "extra." With regard to most of the characters, they did, in fact, have something "extra," in the sense that they were not born with them. Only Jean Grey lost her "original equipment," in favor of having a woo-hoo surgically created for her after she underwent the chop. In reality, Lee said, the "X" in "X-men" meant "formerly," as in "ex-men." The name of the group was something of an "insider's joke" that he shared with the company's writers.
He is proud of his part in creating the world's first transsexual comic book characters, he said.
"Without me and the artists of the day, people who experienced gender dysphoria would have felt utterly alone and isolated," Lee said. "With the X-Men, transgender people could feel empowered; they could be Cyclops or Jean Grey, and, as such, they could better deal with the issues of their true identities and the rampant homophobia of the day. That was, and remains, the true magic of the X-Men."