Thirty-one years after I picked up my first comic book, we recorded this podcast on the day I turned thirty-seven. As they say the planet Jupiter does every twenty-eight years, in many ways my experience with comics made a full revolution around my life. The beginning of this journey filled me with curiosity, wonder, and life lessons I never found in any other form of media, and the circle completed itself not too long after I had the opportunity to interview the most prolific X-Men writer ever—Chris Claremont.
Joined by my friend, ComicsVerse X-Men writer and podcast co-host Marius Thienenkamp, Episode 76 of the ComicsVerse Podcast, “X-Men: The Dream,” explored the significance of the metaphor of the X-Men both in and outside of comics through discussions of race, sexuality, inequality, and “othering” in western civilization. Podcast panelists Jamie Rice, Kay Honda, Nolan Bensen, and Corey Spanner weighed in on parallels between historical activists like Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and Gandhi which lead to conversations about dominant cultural hierarchies and the nature of humanity itself.
X-Men comics and characters are rife with meaning and serve as a mirror of how society treats anyone who is, and feels, different and how those same people cope in a world that hates and fears them. The concept of the X-Men served as a perfect platform during this podcast to embark on an analysis of American culture as a microcosm of human nature and what it ultimately means to be American.
As someone who read X-Men comics their entire life, I thought of no better birthday gift than to celebrate the medium and series that gave me, and continues to give me, the most hope and feeling. I am lucky in that I was able to hold such a conversation with such wonderful close friends, colleagues, and caring individuals.