Thursday, December 6, 2012

X-Mas With The X-Men

X-mas with The X-Men:

To me, there are no better advocates of disability rights in the superhero world than the X-Men. In the real world, it would be places like VSA and independent living organizations, but probably my first experience with my own advocacy was through X-Men. So, instead of looking at doomsday scenarios, I wanted to pay tribute to my first superheroes on the holidays.

There were a couple holidays episodes of at least two animated series. The one in the 90s (Have Yourself A Morlock Little X-Mas.) and the 00s series X-Men: Evolution. Which you can watch above. It’s really good, and deals oddly enough, with Angel who saves a disabled woman in the opening scene! The 90s version is a fairly Christmas Carol version of X-Men. Wolverine doesn’t want to help a Morlock (sewer mutant.) who stole some food, but Professor X invites him to eat with the X-Men. Wolverine sort of plays Scrooge.

But, it’s the X-Men: Evolution episode that really speaks to me, as far as holiday specials go. It stays true to the X-Men themes of fighting for equality even though people may fear and hate others. Plus, there are two disabled people in this episode! Check out Professor X’s wheelchairs between the series! I remember when I was a kid I wanted a hover chair like the 90s version. But, I particularly like the modern power chair design with the Xs in the spokes. Looks comfy.

If you watched that episode, let me know what you thought. To me, it brings up an all too important issue of labeling. Angel’s good actions are first attributed to his mutations (being an “angel”.) then people hate him because of it. So it goes. But, neither is actually true. He’s not an angel from heaven, and he’s not a freak. He’s a good person. But, he’s fighting labels. This is the first episode to show Kitty Pryde as Jewish, and (to my knowledge.) Cyclops as Christian. In this respect, it’s also more diverse than its 90s counterpart.

Personally, I always thought the X-Men were about Civil Rights. And that’s important, because it means that the X-Men want equality; just like we in the disability rights movement do. Our special abilities are what define us, yet we want no special treatment. Our Xavier’s Institutes might well be places like VSA or independent living centers where we learn to use our gifts to benefit others. A big thank you to VSA, which I know always encourages using our gifts. And I love giving people gifts. Especially on X-mas! Happy holidays everyone, and don’t forget to comment on the episode!

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