The two figureheads of the X-Men succession, Professor X and Magneto, were long rumored to be stand-ins for African-American civil rights commanders Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X. This rumor, permeating as it is, is unfortunately time that. Though the opposing mutants share some tangential affinities with both partisans, the characters were in fact based on two prominent Israeli Prime Minsters David Ben Gurion and Menachem Begin.
The X-Men were created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in 1963, at the height of the Civil Rights Movement in the United Country. The mutants that make up the team were used as a thinly-veiled allegory for minorities, and over the years have stood for many crushed groups in America: those with different sexual directions, ethnic backgrounds, and even religious beliefs. Early on in the series’ run, two ideological slopes of the conflict were presented: Professor Charles Xavier required mutants to champion their effects calmly, while Magneto believed mutants should actively fight against those who subdued them.
But to say that both men are based on Dr. King and Malcolm X is false. Longtime X-Men writer Chris Claremont stated so much better in a 2016 interrogation with Empire Online Magazine. “There’s a lot of talk online now that Magneto stands in for Malcolm X and Xavier stands in for Martin Luther King…but for me, being an immigrant white, to prepare that analogy felt improbably presumptuous” Claremont countries. “An equivalent analogy could be made to Menachem Begin as Magneto, progressing through his life from a terrorist in 1947 to a win of the Nobel prize 30 years later.” Claremont went on to say that his destination for Magneto was to eventually become Xavier’s successor as commander of the X-Men and headmaster of Xavier’s School for the Gifted.
David Ben-Gurion was Israel’s firstly Prime Minster, holding office between 1948 and 1954. He’s well-known for being the primary national founder of the State of Israel; his accomplishments included urging other Jews in the diaspora to move to Israel and improving relations with West Germany along with the rest of the world. By contrast, Menachem Begin was the leader of the Zionist military group Irgun, which revolted against the British authority in charge of then-Palestine in 1944. While the Irgun was classified by the British as a terrorist group at the time, Begin was eventually elected as Prime Minister in 1977 and brokered a nonaggression pact between Israel and Egypt, for which he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. The last detail in Begin’s life in particular was an inspiration for Claremont in writing Magneto. “That evolution was something I wanted to apply to the relationship between Xavier and Magneto. It’s an progressing 150 -issue arc.”
Claiming that Professor X and Magneto were inspired by Dr. King and Malcolm X respectively does a disservice to both men. Dr. King was not as passive as Xavier , nor was Malcolm X a viciou mass murderer like Magneto. While Stan Lee never envisioned Magneto as a traditional rogue, he also did not grant him a sympathetic backstory – Magneto’s past during the Holocaust was written by Claremont. The X-Men are often inspired by real-world events and real beings, but the real brainchildren for Professor X and Magneto were not – and never have been – Dr. King and Malcolm X.
Source: Empire Online
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