Marvel's Original Magneto Was Retconned Out Of Existence – Screen Rant

Magneto is one of Marvel’s most iconic characters, but the villain wasn’t the first character who took the name in the comics.
There are few villains more iconic than the X-Men’s Magneto, but the popular character wasn’t the first to use the name at Marvel Comics. Instead, a few years before Magneto appeared in the earliest adventures of the X-Men, a different Magneto was created by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, and Jack Kirby. This Magneto, real name Hunk Larken, made a single appearance before the name was retconned out of existence.
Magneto initially debuted in Marvel’s X-Men #1, as the Master of Magnetism would go on to play an integral role in the next nearly 60 years of X-related stories. Unlike his rival, Professor X, who wanted mutants to coexist alongside humans, Magneto believed mutants were superior and didn’t want to live in harmony with those he viewed as weaker. Over time, Magneto has been both a hero and a villain and currently is somewhere in the middle, as he’s helped lead the mutants on Krakoa. Although, he’s recently been accused of murdering his daughter, the Scarlet Witch, in The Trial of Magneto.
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While The X-Men’s Magneto might be the most popular character to ever use the moniker in Marvel Comics, he’s not the first character to do so. In 1961, Marvel published a story in Strange Tales #84 featuring a man named Hunk Larken. In the comic, Larken is a massive man hired as a carnival strong man after a group of men sees him lift and throw a car. However, after being insulted during his act, Larken attacked a crowd member and was fired. He finds out about the government needing volunteers to send to space and is chosen as a candidate. However, after encountering a cosmic cloud in space, Larken is given the power to attract things with his arm like a magnet and is known as “Magneto.” After using his newfound abilities, the powers start to wear off, and the comic ends with Larken heading back into space to escape humanity.
It’s funny to see a Marvel character consistently being referred to as Magneto in the issue that’s not the X-Men character, but that’s the name Hunk was given after gaining powers. Two years later, the mutant Magneto would appear in X-Men #1 and solidify himself as the most iconic character to use the name. In later reprints, Marvel Comics changed Magneto to Magnetor, seen in the Monsters on the Prowl #24 cover above. Hunk Larsen only appeared in the single-story and was never heard from again.
Lee and Kirby must have really liked the name Magneto, considering they were responsible for both stories. But, Marvel made the right call in deciding to have only one character named Magneto and retconning the original’s name. Although, wouldn’t it be fun to see Hunk Larken’s Magneto return from space at some point? A Magneto vs. Magneto clash would be a lot of fun.
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Lead writer for Screen Rant’s comic team. [email protected] Find me on Twitter @LiamRMcGuire for comic news and reporting.


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