PETALING JAYA: To create a great story, an author would need to put in hard work and research to come out with the storyline, the characters’ origins, their motivations and the kind of conflict they would face to make readers eager to read more from the book or any form of entertainment.

But what if little thought or work is done to create a bunch of characters? Like a group of comic superheroes – the X-Men? Is it true that the X-Men origin is created out of laziness?




Odd enough, it is true. That was how comic book writers Stan Lee and artist Jack Kirby came out with the conception of these mutants back in 1963.

But before touching on X-Men, we have to go back almost two decades earlier – when both Lee and Kirby started with the first Captain America comic in 1941.

Lee would then go on to create other Marvel Comics characters, like The Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, Thor, the Hulk and Iron Man with other collaborators like Kirby, Larry Lieber, Don Heck and Steve Ditko in years to come.

These comic characters have an interesting background that turned them from regular human beings into extraordinary ones. Spider-Man came about when Peter Parker was bitten by a radioactive spider; The Fantastic Four were exposed to cosmic radiation during their space travel, giving each of them unique abilities; and the Hulk came about when Dr Bruce Banner was exposed to large gamma radiation from a gamma bomb detonation.

But when it came to creating the X-Men for Marvel Comics, Lee and Kirby were running out of ideas to pitch to their superiors.

But then Lee stumbled across the idea of ‘mutant’, and decided to use it as the origins for this group of comic-book heroes.

In the X-Men: The Official Guide, Lee wrote: “…guaranteed I’d never have to worry about explaining the origin of a superpower again! It hit me when I thought of the word ‘mutant.’ We all know that mutations occur in nature.

“For no apparent reason a frog will be born with three legs, or a banana will be the size of a watermelon or a child prodigy will have the ability to play Mozart at the age of 3.

“And the beautiful thing about such mutations is they don’t require any explanation. They can happen to anyone.”

With that, a whole group of mutants like Wolverine, Storm, Magneto, Gambit, Rogue, and Mystique started appearing in comic books. It would later appear in other mediums, such as cartoons, games and even live-action movies – with the recent X-men movie Dark Phoenix in 2019

Of course, let’s not forget the recent X-Men 97 animation series

If ever someone said laziness can’t take you anywhere, remember what the late, great Stan Lee did with his X-Men.