The X-Men brought Marvel a team that told stories of prejudice and hate, and here are the first members to join this iconic mutant group.
The X-Men first showed up in Marvel Comics in 1963, created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. The team differed from The Fantastic Four and Avengers in that they were heroes born with powers that other humans feared. This allowed Marvel to tell stories about prejudice and hatred towards those born differently in a superhero comic.
The X-Men progressed through the years, but the themes of prejudice and fear remained. These heroes stood out from others because they fought to save people who hated them just because of who they were. To add to the horror, these were often teenagers and young adults who had to learn to fit into a world that didn’t want them.
While the X-Men debuted in X-Men #1, the team already existed as students, studying under Professor Charles Xavier. The team’s origin didn’t play out until four years later in bonus stories, starting in X-Men #38 by Roy Thomas and Werner Roth.
The man who formed the team was Professor X. Xavier got his start by going to the FBI and offering to hunt down the mutants for them, but his goal was to shelter and teach them. Since that introduction, Xavier became the face of the team’s attempt to become heroes.
The first person who Professor X recruited to join his X-Men was Cyclops. In X-Men #39, Cyclops was hiding from people trying to hurt him after he saved their lives because he was a mutant. Scott Summers was in an orphanage and ended up on the run after his heroic act backfired on him.
While an evil mutant named Jack Winters tried to recruit him, Cyclops joined the X-Men instead. He ended up as one of the team’s most important members, a leader more times than not. Cyclops was a respected, feared, and powerful mutant at different points throughout his life.
With Cyclops on the team as the eventual leader, Professor X then brought in the youngest member of the original X-Men. In X-Men #44 by Gary Friedrich and George Tuska, Ice-Man made his first appearance. He saved a girl by using his powers and found himself in peril from a society that thought he was dangerous.
Ice-Man was just a young teenager who lived with his parents, and Xavier sent Cyclops to free him. After a fight with the townspeople, Professor X convinced Bobby’s parents to let him go with the X-Men to learn how to control his powers.
In X-Men #54 by Arnold Drake and Werner Roth, it was time for Angel to join the X-Men. Warren Worthington III was the son of a wealthy businessperson and, when he became a teenager, he grew wings out of his back.
Unlike Cyclops and Ice-Man, Angel began operating as a superhero on his own before joining the X-Men. He didn’t want to join at first, but eventually did, and Angel became the third student for Xavier and the X-Men.
While told out of order in the comics, the fourth member of the X-Men was Beast, and his origin played out in X-Men #51-53 by Arnold Drake and Werner Roth. Hank McCoy was a star football player, beloved by everyone. However, when The Conquistador kidnapped him, the X-Men showed up to rescue him.
Professor X ended up wiping the townspeople’s memories of Hank’s amazing feats, and he joined the X-Men. This was a human-looking Beast with enormous hands and feet, as he didn’t turn blue and furry until later in his life. He was also a beloved X-Men member that fans have grown to hate over the years.
In X-Men #1 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, the X-Men made their first appearance and the core members were already on the team. In that issue, the fifth student joined them, the first girl — Jean Grey, who Professor X dubbed Marvel Girl.
She showed up and joined the team, with Jean Grey finding that all the original X-Men had feelings for her. eventually getting thrown right into the fire as they battled Magneto right after she showed up. Jean Grey became one of the most respected members of the X-Men and even had the school named after her at one point.
A forgotten early X-Men member was Mimic. He first appeared in X-Men #19 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby as a mutant who could mimic the powers of anyone around him. Mimic eventually joined the team in X-Men #27 by Roy Thomas and Werner Roth. He was the last choice as Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch, and Spider-Man all rejected Professor X’s offer.
Calvin even took over as team leader, since he was the most powerful. His time with the team only lasted for three issues, but by the end, he had gone from an arrogant antagonistic man into a genuine hero by the time he left.
There was a moment hidden in history for many years. The X-Men disappeared outside of Cyclops and Professor X did everything he could to save them from the living island, Krakoa. The problem is that his first time was a failure, a story told in 2005 in Deadly Genesis.
Xavier put together a team that featured Cyclops’ brother Vulcan, Sway, Darwin, and Petra. Everyone seemed to have died in the failed rescue mission, their only one as X-Men members, and Cyclops had his mind wiped by Xavier to help him recover from losing his brother.
Banshee was a mutant who showed up to help the X-Men a few times before he became an actual member. Sean Cassidy was a mutant with sonic screams as a power, and he worked as an Interpol agent and NYPD officer before joining the mutant team.
His first appearance was in X-Men #28 by Roy Thomas and Werner Roth. After working with them in the past, Banshee accepted an invitation from Professor X in X-Men #94 to join the All-New X-Men as they rescued the original team from Krakoa.
The next members to join all came in at the same time. Along with Banshee, there were five original mutants that joined the team to create a new X-Men team for a new generation. This happened in Giant-Size X-Men #1 by Len Wein and Dave Cockrum, as this team saved the original X-Men members from Krakoa.
The new members that joined here were the Russian Colossus, the German Nightcrawler, the Kenyan Storm, the Canadian Wolverine, and the Native American Thunderbolt, making the team a truly international team of mutant heroes.
NEXT: 10 Things Only Comic Book Fans Know About The X-Men’s Colossus
Shawn S. Lealos is a senior writer on ScreenRant who fell in love with movies in 1989 after going to the theater to see Tim Burton’s Batman as his first big screen experience.
Shawn received his Bachelor’s degree in Journalism from the University of Oklahoma with a minor in Film Studies. He has worked as a journalist for over 25 years, first in the world of print journalism before moving to online media as the world changed. Shawn is a former member of the Society of Professional Journalists and current member of the Oklahoma Film Critics Circle. He has work published in newspapers such as Daily Oklahoman and Oklahoma Gazette and magazines such as Vox Magazine, Loud Magazine, and Inside Sports Magazine. His work on the Internet has been featured on websites like The Huffington Post, Yahoo Movies, Chud, Renegade Cinema, 411mania, and Sporting News.
Shawn is also a published author, with a non-fiction book about the Stephen King Dollar Baby Filmmakers and has begun work on a new fiction series as well. Visit Shawn Lealos’ website to learn more about his novel writing and follow him on Twitter @sslealos.