Saturday, October 10, 2015

Young Fears 10: Uncanny X-Men #161

Each October I like to run a series of Halloween-themed posts on this blog. All this month, I'll be telling anecdotes about things which frightened me while growing up.

Continuing from yesterday's discussion of Uncanny X-Men #159 I'm moving on to another issue which I obtained at the same time: Uncanny X-Men #161 by Chris Claremont & Dave Cockrum.

I have already spoken about the impact this comic book had on me as a child in this Unearthed post, but given this month's theme it bears repeating. Not only is this a comic book with some frightening dream imagery, it's also where I first learned about the Holocaust. It's the story of how Professor X and Magneto first met while saving a Holocaust survivor from Baron Strucker's Hydra. Although the identities and relationships among the book's cast were unintelligible to me, I did at least make out that Xavier was the hero, Magneto was not quite a hero but leaned that way and that Hydra were unmistakable villains. But there were also images of Nazis, rendered as nightmarish monsters with scaly green skin and giant tusks - and yet, clad in human clothes. It's the human clothes which really threw me off, I think, especially the neat-buttoned uniform. Non-human creatures are supposed to wear rags, not immaculate clothing!

Two issues of X-Men, both involving monsters. I wanted nothing more to do with the X-Men and I wouldn't see them again... until my parents' friend donated some more issues further down the line, including the New Mutants "Demon Bear" story. I probably should have been afraid of Bill Sienkiewicz's New Mutants, but I think it baffled my young mind so much that I couldn't quite see the horror.

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