Introduction to X-Men (Section 1)
No one could have foreseen the popularity of this unlikely team book. Sure, it got a great send-off with Lee & Kirby at the helm but it languished under several lesser artists for years. With its revival in 1975, the X-Men became Marvel’s greatest team book financially and the only rival property for Marvel’s top earner Spider-Man. For the purposes of these histories, we are going to stick to the Silver Age run. Look to section 2 for the New X-Men/Uncanny X-Men.
Most of the stories in the title are written by either Stan Lee, Roy Thomas, or Arnold Drake. Werner Roth drew most of the stories (sometimes under the alias Jay Gavin) but many fine artists also took a crack at the feature including Jack Kirby, Alex Toth, Barry Windsor-Smith, Jim Steranko and Neal Adams
Brief History of X-Men #1
X-Men #1 is cover-dated September 1963. It was written by Stan Lee, with cover and interior story art by Jack Kirby. Given that this is the first issue of X-Men, there are many notable first appearances. Making their debut are Professor X, Magneto, and the original team members Angel, Beast, Cyclops, Iceman, and Marvel Girl. It is also worthy to note that the Cyclops Visor 1.0 made its first appearance in this issue, as well as Magneto’s Helmet.
Magneto is the #1 baddie in the X-Men’s lives. Debuting with X-Men #1, Magneto has been developed as a much more complex and sometimes confusing role, sometimes portrayed as pure evil and, in more recent years, misguided in his aim to either co-exist or eliminate homo-sapiens. When your first band of comrades is named ‘Brotherhood of Evil Mutants’ (X-Men #4), you are not going to get good press. The bad guys appeared in rapid order. The Vanisher in X-Men #2, The Blob made his mark in X-Men #3. Unus the Untouchable debuted in X-Men #8. Juggernaut became a regular Marvel Universe staple after first appearing in X-Men #12. Next to Magneto, the Sentinels by and large give the X-Men the most trouble, first appearing in X-Men #14.
X-Men Love interest
Relationships for most of the X-Men have come and gone but the on again off again romance between Scott Sommers (Cyclops) and Jean Grey (Marvel Girl, Phoenix) has been the most consistent relationship in the strip.
How much is X-Men #1 worth?
X-Men #1 ranks #8 on the 2019 Overstreet Top 50 Silver Age Comics. Valued at $57,000 for a 9.2, a Mint condition issue can sell for several hundred thousand dollars, whereas a Poor condition issue may still sell for a few hundred. It is, after all, the issue that begins one of the most popular comic franchises whose popularity continues today.
What is the most expensive X-Men #1 sold at auction?
The Pacific Coast Pedigree in Near Mint / Mint (9.8) with white pages realized $492,937.50 in 2012.
Other expensive X-Men comics
The Pacific Coast Pedigree copy in 9.8 sold for $46,000 in 2013.
Once again, a Pacific Coast Pedigree copy makes our list. This time the CGC 9.8 sold for $35,505 in 2017.
Scarlet Witch and her brother Quicksilver make their debut here and saw a 9.8 copy sell in 2012 for $26,290.
You can’t touch this, says Unus of his debut, unless you paid $11,251 in 2011 for a CGC 9.8 copy.
Grudge match in the Marvel Universe when the Avengers invade the X-Men’s book. It took $13,145 for the Pacific Coast Pedigree copy in CGC 9.8 in 2012 to settle that score.
Is it for the origin of Professor X or the 1st appearance of Juggernaut? Whichever it is, the Pacific Coast copy in CGC 9.8 for $43,700 in 2019.
X-Men #1 Cover Art
Jack Kirby, Marvel’s main man, was tapped once again to provide the initial cover for the series. The cover art has never surfaced but the story art has.
Other X-Men original art
Barry Windsor-Smith provides the art for the most expensive piece of Silver Age X-Men. His cover to X-Men #55 sold in 2020 for $132,000. The splash page to Ka-Zar’s Silver Age debut from X-Men #10 by Jack Kirby and Chic Stone sold for $99,000 in 2018. Jack Kirby and Paul Reinman provided the art to X-Men #1 and pages #4, 3, and 20 sold for $90,000, $89,625, and $83,650 respectively in 2018.
Characters from X-Men #1
Professor X (Charles Xavier) and the villain, Magneto (Max Eisenhardt), both made their first appearances, along with the five original X-Men: Cyclops (“Slim” Summers), Marvel Girl (Jean Grey), Angel (Warren Worthington III), Beast (Hank McCoy), and Iceman (Bobby Drake).
Plot Summary of X-Men #1
In the issue, which starts out at Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters, a class is interrupted by a mental command from the Professor to announce the arrival of a new student - Marvel Girl. The Professor then explains the purpose of the school to her, which is that while she will receive an education, she possesses powers that normal humans do not, and the students use their powers to fight against evil mutants. Meanwhile, at a laboratory near Cape Citadel, Magneto uses his magnetic powers to sink a rocket. He then commands the nearby military base to surrender, using his magnetic powers to write in the sky with dust particles. The base does not surrender and Magneto launches an assault against them. Professor X hears about this and sends his X-Men to help. They arrive and find that Magneto has a force field around himself but Cyclops uses his eye beam to puncture it. Magneto attacks the X-Men with heat-seeking missiles, metal debris, and a burning tanker truck. The X-Men avoid all of the attacks using their superpowers, and finally, Cyclops uses his eye beam to tunnel under the flames to get to Magneto. Magneto flees and leaves a force field behind himself so the X-Men can’t follow. They return to the school victorious.
How rare is X-Men #1?
With over 3,400 universal unrestored books certified by CGC, and nearly 5,000 total when you throw in the restored, qualified and Signature Series, it’s not difficult to find. Paying for one may be another issue.
Introduction to the New X-Men (Section 2)
After years of reprints and sliding sales, Len Wein and Dave Cockrum were given the green light to try and pump new life into an old title. Even though the original attempt to create a team with members to boost international sales, the new X-Men retained a multi-national membership. Marvel’s Giant-Size series featured new stories up to this point and Giant-Size X-Men #1 burst upon the scene like a breath of fresh air. Then Marvel decided to make the Giant-Size series of books reprints and the story Wein plotted for GSXM #2 became and two-parter in X-Men #94 and X-Men #95. Chris Claremont took over the scripting while Dave Cockum continued doing the art. Like the proverbial snowball at the top of the hill, this slow-selling bi-monthly book would take the hobby by storm and remain a hot property for 25 years. Sure, we’ve had strong sellers for years like Spider-Man or Batman but nothing has ever been hot for so long. If you didn’t get the book the month it came out, you were going to have to pay three or four times cover price to fill that issue back into your collection. Every new artist on the book during this time became the ‘hot new Marvel artist’ not matter how long they had worked before. Dave Cockrum, John Bryne, Paul Smith, John Romita Jr., Marc Silvestri, and Jim Lee all gathered legions of fans.
Brief History of the New X-Men
Although not his creation, Chris Claremont deserves much of the credit for the success of the title. Beginning with their second appearance, Claremont wrote X-Men as well as many of the spin-off titles and mini-series related to the X-Men for those 25 years. Artists Dave Cockrum and John Byrne lent their considerable talents for the most formative years. It might be noted, that except for X-Men: First Class, the very successful run of X-Men movies have relied heavily on the characters and stories from the New X-Men up to present. Dark Phoenix, Hellfire Club, Morlocks, Apocalypse all spring from this time. It is during this period also that Magneto takes on a more nuanced role, including leading the group at one point.
Heroes and Villains
The X-Men relied on many of the old villains from the Silver Age but did face some new challenges. Hellfire Club begins influencing Phoenix as early as X-Men #125 but don’t make their presence known until X-Men #129 where Kitty Pryde also makes her debut and the Dark Phoenix Saga begins. Dazzler shines her light for the first time in X-Men #130. Phoenix officially goes Dark with X-Men #134. Caliban, leader of the Morlocks first pops up in X-Men #148. Carol Danvers has an identity crisis and goes from being Ms. Marvel to Binary in X-Men #164 before later becoming Captain Marvel. You didn’t see that in the film.
How much are Giant-Size X-Men #1 and X-Men #94 worth?
Giant-Size X-Men #1 is value at $1,900 in 9.2 and ranks 9th on the 2019 Overstreet Top 25 Bronze Age Comics list. Also, placing 15th on the same list, X-Men #94 is valued at $1,425.
What is the most expensive Giant-Size X-Men #1 and X-Men #94 sold at auction?
In 2020, a CGC 9.8 copy of Giant-Size X-Men #1 sold for $14,900. In a flip of the script, the lower Overstreet valued X-Men #94 in CGC 9.8 sold in 2010 for $29,589. But perhaps as a victim of the financial crisis of 2008-2009, there has not been an X-Men #94 sell for as much as $20,000 since then.
Other expensive New X-Men/Uncanny X-Men comics
2009 saw the peak price paid for a CGC 9.8 issue selling for $3,884.
Also from the pre-financial crisis days, the centennial issue in CGC 9.8 sold for $2,581 in 2006.
Rising from the grave, Phoenix in a CGC 9.8 Signature Series copy signed by Stan Lee sold for $8,400 in 2020.
The first appearance of Alpha Flight was helped when a Signature Series CGC 9.8 signed by Lee, Claremont and Austin sold for $3,500 in 2019.
A rare CGC 9.9 of the death of Dark Phoenix sold for $3,107 in 2017.
Speaking of rare CGC 9.9s, the first part to “Days of Future Past” sold for $11,950 for just such a copy in 2009.
Cover to Giant-Size X-Men #1
Gil Kane and Dave Cockrum created the final cover.
Other New X-Men original art
“The Fate of the Phoenix” takes top honors at Heritage Auctions for the highest price paid for any X-Men, old or new. This 2-page splash (pages 2 & 3) by John Byrne and Terry Austin with the entire team sold for the out-of-the-world price of $204,000 in 2019. Gil Kane and Dave Cockrum X-Men #95 cover brought a hefty $155,350 in 2016. Dave Cockrum’s solo effort creating the cover to X-Men #102 sold for $131,450 in 2018. Finally, in a three-way tie at $65,725, we saw another Byrne and Austin, the cover to X-Men #116 sell in 2011, Jim Lee and Dan Green’s cover to Uncanny X-Men #248 selling in 20118 and back to the top, Byrne and Austin’s page 44 from X-Men #137 selling in 2011.
Characters from Giant-Size X-Men #1
Professor X and most of the original team returns but only Cyclops plays a major role. Angel, Marvel Girl, Iceman, Lorna Dane and Havoc play the role of captive for most of the story. Other previous members of the Marvel Universe making their debut as X-Men are Banshee (who first appeared in X-Men #27), Sunfire (first appeared in X-Men #64) and Wolverine (first appeared in Incredible Hulk #180). Making their world debut are Nightcrawler (Kurt Wagner), Storm (Ororo), Colossus (Peter Rasputin) and Thunderbird (John Proudstar).
Plot Summary of Giant-Size X-Men #1
Chapter 1 has Professor X traveling around the world, recruiting mutants for an unknown but important mission. Each mutant is handled differently as the professor uses guile to entreat his new team by catering to their own fears, prejudices, egos, courage, or anything else to assemble his team. Chapter 2 finds us back in Westchester where the professor lets Cyclops explain the mission. Scott explains: Using Cerebro, Professor X discovers what could be the most powerful mutant ever! Sending the X-Men to Krakoa, Scott returns without any knowledge of what has happened to his teammates. Together they determine to put together a new team to find the first team. Chapter 3 finds the new team heading back to Krakoa where Cyclops divides the team into four two-person teams to attack the island from every compass direction. We watch as the new members get to show off their powers working their way to the temple in the center of the island. Once there, the team discovers the original members hooked-up and being drained of their life force. Freeing the original team, Angel chastises Cyclops for coming back. Didn’t he realize that Krakoa just wanted Scott to fetch more food! Chapter 4 aptly titled “The Island that Walks Like a Man”. With the knowledge now that the island itself is the powerful mutant, Professor X mentally enters the fray from back in New York. His plan, we discover as it unfolds, is to engage and distract Krakoa mentally while having Storm rise up into the air and funnel her ability to draw lightning through Lorna Dane who uses her magnetic ability past anything she has done before to create the most powerful electro-magnetic field ever to disrupt earth’s magnetic field long enough for the island to have no gravimetric pull and thus be shot off into space. Barely escaping the cataclysm, the team regroups for their return home have successfully completing their first mission.
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