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Published:April 29th, 2009 07:07 EST

X-Men: Where Did Wolverine Come From?

By Garrett Godwin

Created by Marvel mogul Stan Lee in 1963, the X-Men was created during both the civil rights and the "Black Power" movement. The team was founded by Professor Charles Xavier, a mutant with the ability to read minds with the hope that mutants and humans can peacefully co-exist one day. He created a school: a safe haven for mutants, where they can learn to use their powers to help humanity. The X-Men is consisted of Scott Summers/Cyclops, Storm, Jean Grey, Logan/Wolverine, Rogue, Gambit, Hank McCoy/Beast, and more, as they protect a world that fears and hates them. However, Magneto, Xavier`s enemy, doesn`t share his old friend`s idealism, which led to the creation of the Brotherhood of Mutants that included Mystique. Magneto believes mutants are the next stage of evolution -- that they`re the future, and humans no longer matter.

The creation of Professor X is the influence of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Gandhi. He is a mutant with wisdom and compassion that stands for harmony, nonviolence, and peace. Developing Magneto is partially based on Malcolm X, as the mutant believes of a war brewing between mutants and humans, and he`ll fight it -- by any means necessary. Still, Magneto considers himself a good guy because he believes he`s doing what is right for all mutants.

The popularity of X-Men has led to FOX`s acclaimed Saturday morning series (1992-97), the WB`s X-Men Evolution (2000-03), the new hit Wolverine and the X-Men, a successful film trilogy (2000-06), and the upcoming prequel X-Men Origins: Wolverine, release on May 1, with Hugh Jackman reprising the titular role, as the film explores into the mutant anti-hero`s mysterious past. X-Men may have also paved the way to shows such as Heroes (2006-present), The 4400 (2004-07), and Mutant X (2001-04), with the premise of ordinary people having extraordinary abilities: reluctant heroes blessed -- and cursed -- with these powers, as the fate of the world lies in their hands.

Whether it is race or sexual preference, the world of the X-Men continues to be an allegory of discrimination and prejudice for being different. Though we all fear what we don`t understand, we`re foreigners, aliens, and outsiders searching for identity, looking to fit in, and finding our place in this world because in the end, we`re all mutants.