Hey Millennials, I know it seems the 1980’s were, like, ten million years ago, and you dislike Hillary Clinton way more than I do, but can’t we cross the Generation Y/Millenial border and all agree that comics are in need of more diversity even if we disagree on how we achieve it?
Allow me to be your comics historian for a moment if you don’t mind, but first, some questions…
1) Do you love Deadpool?
2) Excited to see Cable in the next Deadpool movie?
3) Isn’t Emma Frost totally kick-ass?
4) Excited for FX’s new show Legion?
5) Wondered where Magik (Illyana Rasputin) came from?
6) Don’t comics need more diverse characters that are portrayed three-dimensionally?
If you answered “yes” to one or more of the preceding questions and you haven’t read volume 1 of Chris Claremont and Bob McCleod’s NEW MUTANTS, the first X-Men spinoff ever, then what the hell are you waiting for?
1) NEW MUTANTS contains the first appearance of Cable (NEW MUTANTS #87).
2) DEADPOOL debuts in the pages of NEW MUTANTS (NEW MUTANTS #98).
3) Emma Frost is wonderfully fleshed out as a villain. She’s amazing as the headmistress of a team of mutants rivaling the X-Men and New Mutants.
4) Legion debuts as the autistic and disassociative son of Professor Charles Xavier.
5) Magik had a soul and was actually rather charming and sweet (NEW MUTANTS #15).
6) Diversity? What comic book team roster today compares to Native American and Vietnamese female team leaders with a team consisting mostly of women? Answer: #None.
What’s the moral of this story? NEW MUTANTS volume 1 is the greatest comic you probably never read. It tackles issues of racism, globalism, sexuality, mental health, and growing up with incredible and groundbreaking art from Bob McCleod, Bill Sienkiewicz, and Rob Liefeld. NEW MUTANTS was a beacon and precursor to the kind of forward thinking that would come to be a definitive aspect of comics culture. Read it.
Read it, but first, listen to this podcast.