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FINAL PORTFOLIO 1

Final Portfolio

Abigail Bromley

University of New Mexico

English 220-009

Lauren Perry

December 7, 2018
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Table of Contents

Literacy Narrative…………………………………………………………..Pg. 2-3

Paper 1…………………………………………………………………....Pg. 4-10

Paper 2…………………………………………………………………...Pg. 11-17

Final Research Paper………………………………………………….....Pg. 18-29


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70 Lynwood Drive, SE
Rio Rancho, New Mexico, 87124

November 27, 2019

Department of English Language and Literature


Humanities Building, Second Floor
MSC03 2170
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM 87131-0001

Doctor Obermeier,

I hope that you are well and in good health. I am writing this letter as an informant of the
progress that was made in the 220 expository writing course, as well as the skills and knowledge
I have gained in completing it. My original thoughts upon registering for the course were
uncertainty and confusion as to how the semester would pan out due to the course texts being
comprised of graphic novels centering on the X-Men. However, I did expect normal writing
assignments consistent with other 220 classes across the UNM English department. Reflecting
now, after the fact, I can now say that I have an appreciation for this class and the instructor as it
has helped me not only better utilize unconventional forms of literature and media as sources for
analysis, but has also been a key contributor in building upon both my pre existing and newly
acquired research skills as a scholar.

In tandem with the writing assignments, we were also given a set of Student Learning Outcomes
that we would use as a way of shaping our assignments and the activities set for us over the
semester, utilizing each in order to gain full points for the assignment at the current time. In
listing them, we were expected to analyze rhetorical situations, such as identifying subject,
purpose, audience, etc., find and evaluate information through research and gathering primary
and secondary sources, compose documents with logical and organized structure and thought
processes behind them, present said documents through revision, as well as to reflect upon the
assignments we’ve been tasked with and expand upon how we have grown as writers, and reflect
on what we have learned from this given knowledge.

In following and using the learning outcomes for this course, I have come to feel that my writing
has improved, not just in the fact that I have gained more experience researching, but I am also
able to better take literature of the unconventional sense, such as graphic novels, pictures, and
even videos, and use them to make arguments and pose questions relating to real world situations
and society today. In relation, analyzing has become more than just using the rhetorical tools and
devices to pull quotes and sources from research. One specific example is being able to explain
why a certain color or facial expression was used by the author and how it pertains to the main
argument is now a simpler process and is easier, I find, to work into a cohesive analytical
argument.
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Touching back on the use of unconventional literature, after writing papers 1 and 2, along with
the research paper, I feel that my understanding of graphic novels has greatly improved and I
definitely approve of them as required texts in not just higher education, but also in middle and
high schools as well. Despite the stigma they receive from the general public as, essentially,
being picture books for children with no educational elements of value, these novels are actually
highly suited for more mature audiences as they touch on themes and issues heavily prevalent in
our world today; suicide, prejudice against minorities, anti-LGBTQ+ organizations and
conversion therapy, children soldiers, and even genocide, are just some of the few. Also, on a
related note, in reading these texts and using them as source material, I have realized that my
process of reading itself has changed as well. In the beginning of the course, due to it being a
slightly new format, I found some challenges in trying to understand what the text was trying to
convey beyond the main plot and found myself rereading almost the entire novel. Now, however,
I can discern finer details and deeper meanings much more efficiently and effectively to which
they will then be used to form arguments and analyses.

As a final anecdote, I have come to the conclusion that the experience from the course and texts
will prove to be helpful for future use, both academically and professionally. As of spring 2019,
planned courses I will be taking are ENGL 290, 250, 219, and 224, all of which, respectively,
pertain to either technical or creative writing. The processes of analyzing, researching, and
drafting will be a smoother process overall, which will then prove to be conducive to much more
qualitative content among my assignments. Also, as an English major, I am required to take a
400 level course of either a tutoring position or as an intern. These skills will indefinitely give
me an advantage for either as I will be able to advise others in their own writing, or in the
alternative, be better able to provide significant material for any employers.

All things considered, this course was an enjoyable experience and I feel bettered as a scholar for
having taken it and applied the concepts to matters beyond just the classroom.

Best regards,

Abigail Bromley

Enclosures: 3
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Abigail Bromley

Lauren Perry

ENGL 220-009

9/7/2018

How to Be an X-Man; As Seen through Logan

In Jason Aaron’s ​Schism ​there is a constant underlying issue on how one must properly

carry themselves in order to be the “perfect mutant”. Expanding this concept on a larger scale, it

can also be connected to how one must act to be the perfect X-Man. Leadership skills,

prioritizing the safety of those in your care, the ability to work well with others, and taking

action where action is due, whether it be in the face of fighting for what you believe in, or calling

out unethical or immoral ideas. These characteristics are what typically make not just a good role

model for the younger students, but also the top qualities of an X-Man. In taking all of these key

points into consideration, it can be argued that of all people, Logan is perhaps the best

representation, regardless of his crass and hardass persona that usually end up rubbing people the

wrong way. His fierce protectiveness, capability of seeing the effects certain decisions could

have from all sides, and his persistent concern for the wellbeing of the students to ensure that

they be allowed the right to be children. In addition, what help drive the point of him being this

positive figure are his relationships and interactions with both Idie and Scott.

The first time we can see Logan exemplifying prime characteristics of an X-Man is in the

beginning panels of issue one. He is shown coming back from a mission. His suit is torn,

exposing his chest, and he has an array of weapons protruding from his upper body and arms,

giving him a rough and hunted appearance. In one of the panels after, some of the students are
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shown near the entrance looking out and waiting for him to arrive. This should be noted as

intentional on the illustrators part because it shows how eager they are to learn how to fight and

be able to defend themselves from the outside world. As they proceed to ask him when he’ll

begin his lesson, one major point in the conversation is when he interacts with Idie. After asking

her age and learns that she is fourteen he says “Shouldn’t you be off playing with dolls or

something instead of worrying about combat training?”, in which she replies with, “I had a doll

once… I lost it when they tried to burn me for being a witch.” (Aaron). In the panel of her saying

this, it is a close up shot of her face, drawing attention to her expression. She is drawn almost

with an expression of openness and honesty which can be interpreted as her coming to terms

with the hand she was dealt and now in her wanting to train, she is in turn evolving to become

stronger to prevent an incident like that from happening again. The panel directly following,

shows Logan looking at Idie while pulling an arrow out of his chest. His face is possibly

displaying his pain at the wound, as well as his disgruntlement at what she said and how casually

she said it. This could arguably be meant as a power play on his part in order to scare them off by

indirectly emphasizing the dangers of being an X-Man and how in the real world, people won’t

hesitate to try to kill you.

In relation to his behavior toward the students, we can see his protectiveness enter the

forefront when Idie is tasked with making a decision on how to deal with the Hellfire Club after

they took out everyone in the museum. In one of the panels, a close up of her face is drawn. She

appears to be scared, confused, and apprehensive. This is moment where Scott and Logan come

into play as the ‘devil and angel’ on her shoulders. Scott is telling her to do what she thinks is

best, but there is an underlying urging for her to engage the enemies, whereas Logan is
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vehemently against putting her in the line of fire. He is drawn sprinting across the city in

multiple panels so he can get to her and help her out of the line of fire. Of course this is in vain

since he arrives too late and the damage is already done. The matter of her killing the Hellfire

Club members is brought up again after the sentinels are stopped at Utopia. Telling Logan, “ I’m

glad it was me, because some of my friends wouldn’t have been able to live with themselves…

once you accept that you’re a monster, being a murderer doesn’t bother you quite so much”

(Aaron). After she says this, the next panel shows him looking like a mixture of forlorn,

disappointed, and angry. Both in himself and Scott.

Throughout ​Schism, ​a good majority of the plot is heavily laden with politics and loaded

questions revolving around the inhabitants of Utopia. While it can be said that most, if not all of

the mutants have an opinion on this, Logan makes a point to keep his out of the larger public eye

and rejects publicity for publicity's sake. In issue two, things start to become tense between him

and Scott as they disagree on how to go about keeping Kid Omega in custody. Scott is on the

opinion of keeping him on watch at Utopia, however Logan argues that this is not only

“harboring a global fugitive” (Aaron), but also puts them at greater risk of upsetting the fragile

“peace” they have within the chaos. In a bottom panel, Emma, Scott, Quentin, and Logan are

drawn together. Logan is shoving Quentin toward Scott and Scott has his arms held out almost

looking like he is opening up for a hug to catch him. In this panel, their body language

specifically is important because it makes their stance on the situation fully corporeal in their

beings. Scott having his arms outspread gives off the impression of welcoming and acceptance,

which contradicts his previous position of treating Quentin like the fugitive he is and makes his

character questionable. It is hard to get a read on just what his intentions are. Logan, on the other
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hand, throws Quentin away from him, his body is slightly sideways in the process of turning

around, and his face is a mixture of anger and frustration. When Logan tells Scott, “Nice bit of

acting… I hope he was worth it” (Aaron), this fully solidifies his displeasure at keeping Quentin

on Utopia because he knows that if they were found with him in custody, they would be

confirming the opinion that they’re conspiring terrorists and it would put them in even greater

danger. Trying to get Scott to reevaluate in light of this is futile, thus causing his frustration.

The matter of morals is finally more clearly brought up in issue four. The giant sentinel is

coming for Utopia and Scott is asking the students to stand and fight for the island. Logan,

however, isn’t having this. “This chunk of rock! This is not what we’re supposed to be fighting

for!” (Aaron). In the panel showing him saying this, he is drawn getting in Scott’s face with his

teeth bared. Dressed in his casual clothes, they are drawn torn and his hair is unkempt and down

in comparison to Scott who can be construed as clinical and standoffish since his suit almost

completely masks any personality he has. This depiction emphasizes Logan’s raw look and

makes him seem unfiltered and passionate in his belief that what Scott wants to have the students

do is insanity and against everything he has done to keep them safe. This is the moment when

Logan realizes that Scott’s morals lie in dangerous territory as he is willing to put the students at

jeopardy for the sake of an island that is purely material. They can always find a new base, but

what they can’t do is replace the children that are supposed to hold the hopes to a brighter future.

Logan demonstrates leadership fairly frequently throughout ​Schism, h​ owever, it becomes

critically significant when he decides to leave Utopia at the end of issue five. Having the battle

with the sentinels and Scott happening only hours earlier, he comes to the realization that things

can never go back to how they were and that Scott won’t change his mind on how he thinks
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things should be run, especially involving the students. He gathers everyone who wishes to come

with him and leaves to the abandoned ruins of the Westchester House. This is heavily symbolic

because it can be interpreted to mean that Logan is returning to the methods of having the

students be properly taught and given the freedoms all children should. Also it can be seen as a

rebirth or rebooting of his group of X-Men. He is essentially returning to the place where it all

began in order to create some semblance of order and remind the students that things weren’t

always so laden with fighting. His conversation with Idie when they exit the blackbird further

can further prove this because she says “I’m the girl who broke up the X-Men”, to which Logan

replies, “Not at all… You helped lead us home” (Aaron). The panel shows him with his arm

around her with his other gesturing outwards toward the ruins that are shown in the full spread

on the next page. The colors in this are important to note because they help give off positive

vibes leading into the theme of rebirth with bright greens, blues, and whites. All colors

associated typically associated with positive things.

Jason Aaron’s ​Schism d​ raws to light the constant underlying question on what it means to

be, not just the perfect mutant, but the perfect X-Man as well. Displaying qualities like;

prioritizing the safety of those in your care, stepping up when the time is right, fighting for what

you believe in and calling out unethical or immoral ideas, as well as utilizing skills of leadership

all prove that Logan is a prime example of what an X-Man should strive to be. Fierce

protectiveness, the capability of seeing the effects certain decisions could have from all sides,

and his persistent concern for the wellbeing of the students to ensure that they be allowed the

right to be children are exemplified throughout the comic. What he doesn’t or can’t say through
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words, he makes up for through his actions in order to convey his care and concern for the

children.
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Citations

Aaron, Jason, ​X-Men Schism​, Panini Publishing 2012.


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Abigail Bromley

Lauren Perry

ENGL 220-009

October 10, 2018

Portraying Stereotypes of Women in ​Astonishing X-Man

In this modern day and age, comic culture has not only revamped how it views women in

comics, but has also gaslit an influx of them becoming popularized as main characters. While

this has been a mostly positive movement, something that came along with it was stereotypes.

While not all are bad, it still has a stigma attached to it because of the dissection and

categorization that is involved when assigning someone to certain stereotypes. In ​Astonishing

X-Men,​ Joss Whedon showcases this by way of both Emma Frost and Kitty Pryde. Emma

signifies the femme fatale with a dark past and forever questionable character while Kitty can be

attributed to the oftentimes naive and down to Earth girl next door. Their clothing, attitudes,

expressions, and even the interactions with those around them and their relationship with each

other not only frame how they are meant to be perceived as the main female characters, but also

as their intended stereotypes as well.

Clothing is important in classing stereotypes because it acts like a signature to one's

design or “brand.” In the case of Emma, she plays into the more sultry side of fashion as she is

depicted throughout the comic in midriff revealing tops with low necklines and figure hugging

fits. What stands out about this, however, is that this also carries over to her X-suit, along with

the addition of a cape. Immediately establishing this distinction so early in the comic makes the

distinction that she is not your typical X-Man. She is aware of her sensuality and isn’t shy about
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flaunting it in her everyday garb. Something that should be noted in relation to this though, is

that while she does dress in more revealing clothes, she only wears white. There lies a

contradiction, however, due to white being associated with purity or perfection, which Emma is

far from. This could be interpreted as subtle nod to her status as ex-villain as she has become

embraced the light and is in turn rebirthed into someone who will utilize their powers for the

greater good, in this case, the wellbeing of the students and mutant kind as a whole.

Kitty, on the other hand, appears to be on the opposite end of the so called “sexy”

spectrum as she opts for outfits consisting of jeans and t-shirts, often of varying colors. One

panel that sticks out in particular, is when the X-Men have a meeting in the danger room after

Scott and Logan’s blowout on the lawn towards the beginning of issue 1. Kitty arrives on the

scene in her pajamas, consisting of a pink oversized jersey, purple shorts, and white calf socks

folded over. This choice in attire was intentional on the illustrators part because it plays into her

innocence factor and makes her seem younger and in turn can be attributed to naivety as well.

In transition, since they are the only main female characters, the interactions they have

with each other tend to be of more substance than if they were speaking to other members of the

team, more specifically, the males. This is not just a ploy to make reference to a past encounter

that caused chaos and terror for Kitty, but also a way to utilize their differences and pit them

against each other as a means of creating drama. Often times in the real world, women are

thought to not get along if one personality is deemed catty and the other more jubilant or bubbly

as it is thought that the catty woman will try to assert dominance by way of scathing remarks and

snark and the bubbly woman will annoy her counterpart with her abundance of optimism and

enthusiasm. For the most part, this stereotype was proven true. Going back to issue 1, they have
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a meeting in the danger room to discuss the plan of action following the events Emma’s start if

term introductory speech. As Scott is going on about how each of them bring a specific strength

to the team, Kitty brings up a counter argument saying, “ I officially really, ​really​ don’t know

why I’m here. I’m not a fighter, not like you guys.” (Whedon). After explaining that her

defensive nature of fighting will be beneficial to the team’s public image, Emma then proceeds

to mock her by bringing up her code names. “Yes our own poster child. Isn’t it sweet? ‘The

Nonthreatening Shadowcat’ or ‘Sprite’ or ‘Ariel’ or whatever incredibly impressive name you’re

using nowadays.” (Whedon). This is just one of the many jabs that leads up to an important

scene in which Kitty retaliates by throwing Emma’s past transgressions in her face. Emma,

having told Kitty that she was brought on as a way to keep her in check is then told “I don’t have

to “​watch you”​ Miss Frost. I can ​smell y​ ou.” (Whedon). As this conversation is happening, the

panels show close ups of their faces in wide view to place emphasis on their eyes. Both show

intense emotion in regards to how they feel about the other. Kitty being anger, disgust, and

loathing, while Emma’s show feigned apathy at being called out and resignation of Kitty’s view

of her.

Spanning into their interactions with others, something that should be focused on the

relationship they have with their love interests. In having both of them represent stereotypes of

women, they have also in turn taken on certain trait patterns that factor in to how complicated

their romantic life will be. This is subtly shown by the full page covers that both Emma and Kitty

have with their respective partners, Emma being issue 2 and Kitty being issue 6. In ​Astonishing

​ mma only ever really opens herself up to Scott whom she openly admits her love for
X-Men, E

and is often seen showing more concern for him than others, even the students. This makes her
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more protective of him which can be traced back to the issue cover. The color palette contains

various hues of blue and black. She is drawn behind him with only the top of her head, eyes, and

arms visible. His eye beams are concealed by her hands which are taking the place of his shield

glasses. This cover is critical as it is an artistic personification to the dynamic of their

relationship. The cold tone hues can be interpreted as the somewhat frigid atmosphere that they

still have between them from unresolved issues ,(AKA Jean Grey), yet Emma using her hands as

his glasses can also symbolize not just her being his fall back, but also Scott still having a deep

level of trust that he can depend on her. Her eyes will essentially act as his and he is fine with

that.

On another note however, Kitty and Peter’s issue cover seems to be lighter and more

intimate. Peter is standing in the center with Kitty directly in front with her back facing his chest.

He with one arm wrapped around her waist and her caressing his face. This is a classic lovers

pose that indicates just how close they were or are now that he is actually not dead than was

previously believed. What really brings out the passion they have for one another, however, is

the dramatic red used to shade the background as this color is often associated with “passionate

lovers” with a deep connection. Also, Kitty is drawn phasing into Peter which can have a double

meaning of either being not close enough or that there is no solidity in what they have.

Expanding to a broader scale, their interactions with the rest of the population are vastly

different as well. Contributing to Kitty being the approachable character, she is shown having

more interactions with the students and her cohorts, often with positive energy. She has a close

bond to Logan in particular and even jokes with him after he gets into a fight with Hank asking if

he’ll come after her next, to which he replies, “ Nah, you’d go ninja on me--I can’t take that kind
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of hurt.” (Whedon). She also forms a close friendship with one of the students, Wing. They have

a conversation about the cure and what that means for mutants. As Wing is sharing why he loves

being able to fly and how he would feel if he lost that, Kitty reassures him that he doesn’t have to

do anything if he doesn’t want to. Even though he responds by asking if she is “ a fucking retard”

(Whedon), the fact that he even felt comfortable enough to say something like that to a teacher

shows how well she gets along with the students. Also she shows great concern for them when

Danger Room becomes sentient and starts to attack. She immediately tells the children what they

should do and how to help each other while talking to Danger Room that has taken control of

Wing’s dead body in the hopes of diffusing the situation. Then during the final battle with

Danger Room at Genosha, she prioritizes helping to take her down, and manages to help her

entire team from an errant blast of Scott’s beam.

Unlike Kitty, Emma tends to steer away from direct interactions with the students if she

can help it. The closest scene shown of her talking directly to a student is when Hisako bursts

into the room screaming for help. Her first reaction is to snootily reply with“Knocking is still as

acceptable-”, before even bothering to inquire as to why a student is in such distress (Whedon).

Also in issue 1 she welcomes the students to a new year by simulating a sentinel attack right after

telling the students that “violence of any kind will never be tolerated.” (Whedon). This plays into

her questionable character as it makes it clear that she has no hesitations in taking a cutthroat

approach when dealing with the students. Also, going back to the final battle, she seemingly slips

off to some undisclosed location on the island where she proceeds to talk to someone lurking in

the shadows. Toward the last pages of issue 12, the mysterious person is narrating in the

background talking about how the team has been shaken and the bonds of trust have been
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marred. It is then revealed that this person is from the hellfire club and that Emma has been

colluding with them the entire time for reasons unknown.

In this day and age comics are getting into the trend of introducing or rebranding female

characters as the demand for them grows. However, along with these characters, stereotypes are

introduced as well. While they can be harmful and limiting to one's person, that isn’t to say that

they are all bad. It ultimately depends on how the reader perceives it and what it contributes to

the grand scheme of the comic and the characters fan base.
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Citations

Cassidy, John, Whedon, Joss, ​Astonishing X-Men #1​ -12, Third Printing, 2015.
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Abigail Bromley

Lauren Perry

ENGL 220-009

November 15, 2018

X-Men: Drawing Parallels Between Comics and the Real World

Since the beginning of the human race as we know it today, there has been a recurring

need to conquer and assimilate one another, whether it be between individuals, groups, races,

countries, or even continents. This struggle is one that has been long fought and often only brings

more tragedy and divide once the cease fire has been issued and the dust settles. This stated

divide is what then fuels opposing groups, one such being that of the majority, consisting of

people in positions of power and influence, while on the opposite end, there are the minorities

who have been prevented or in a number of cases, entirely removed from expressing themselves

due to conflict of opinion, albeit culturally, individually, or otherwise. In lieu of this, many

minorities have then flocked to others of similar struggles to form a unified congregation whose

main goal is to combat the negatives being pitted against them, and to also inform on the harms

that such bigotry has on not just their people, but all of society, and most importantly the

younger generations. What started as a means to protect themselves has now turned into a global

movement with activists and allies alike using any and all means of communicating their

message through multiple mediums. News columns, documentaries, word of mouth, media and

most prominently, books. Books are critically important because they have no one way about

them. They can be anything from a short story to a series of novels and range from having all

pictures to next to none. In having this option of multiplicity, one such type of literature that was
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birthed was the comic book. Authors like Stan Lee and Joss whedon saw this as an opportunity

to create new material to draw in readers, but use the same overhanging struggles as a means of

hitting on the constant problem that is repeatedly swept under the rug of ignorance or lack of

care. Not only that but, it also creates parallels that can be easily detected by adult readers and is

surprisingly teachable content for younger readers. In specifying one such comic franchise that

has focused on this technique, the X-Men comics have become crucial in conveying the plight

for equality among minorities as well as being unashamed of revealing the true evil of those who

refuse to be tolerable and just how far they will go to oppress others who don’t fit their ideals.

In demonstrating this, in the comic ​Astonishing X-Men, a​ recurring issue among the

mutants is the threat of the cure. This is due to a good majority of society pushing their

anti-mutant agenda with the claims that they are a danger to the public and should be dealt with

appropriately, that being through forceful measures or death. However, to the mutants

themselves, they see it as a means of killing not just their powers, but their very beings and

everything they identify and stand for. This was an intentional plot device that the author, Joss

Whedon, used because it makes for a relatable situation, even if it has been slightly altered to fit

the mutants narrative. Throughout the history of the United States alone, there has also been the

issue of cures for people who identify as something other than “standard”, one such group being

homosexuals and lesbians. This phenomenon, otherwise known as conversion therapy, has long

standing origins dating back to the 19th century with many early attempts at curing

homosexuality being through hypnosis and suggestion therapy. However, it was German

therapist Albert von Schrenck-Notzing, who made a supposed “breakthrough” as he claimed to

have “manipulated the man’s sexual impulses, diverting them from his interest in men to a
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lasting desire for women” (Blakemore). Eventually, these psychological methods would shift to

physical means of conversion such as castration and lobotomies which would result in lifelong

physical and mental scars or death of the patient. This would then give way to a new age of

homophobia and discrimination like never before as the fear and disgust of homosexuals would

cause many to become closeted and deny themselves completely by living as heterosexuals or in

a turn of darker events, commit suicide from the strain of existing after being converted. In the

comic, Dr.Rao can be likened to Notzing as she too claims to have found a cure through,

essentially, experimentation on Tilde, a child she has taken under her guardianship due to having

killed her parents in an accident involving her powers. In making her discovery public, she

causes mass panic and outrage in the mutants with them being fiercely either for or against it. We

can most clearly see this divide in two critical scenes, both playing important roles in progressing

the conflict between mutants and non-mutants. For the mutants being pro-cure, a two page

spread in issue 3 shows a line of mutants that spans as far as outside the Benetech Laboratories

gates. Due to the only text on the page being a news broadcast updating on the amount of

mutants that have shown up, it relies heavily on imagery to convey its deeper meaning. Starting

with surface details, the color palette says a lot about the tone and atmosphere of the scene as it

consists of muted cool tones which radiate a somber and clinical tone for the entire piece. This is

then carried in the way the people were drawn which can be seen mainly on the second page

toward the bottom right. Their expression range from resigned to anxious and even distressed.

The nearest mutant whose face we can clearly see is a child who would seem “normal” if it

weren’t for his eyes, which are bright red. Illustrator Cassaday used the exhibition of physical

mutations for the majority of the mutants drawn to not only clearly state their mutantism, but
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also place emphasis on the claim that these people, who have always been marked, are now

compelled to rid themselves of the burden that they were born with, similar to the homosexuals

forcing themselves to discard their sexuality through conversion therapy and living like

heterosexuals in order to become integrated citizens of society. However, in contrast, in the

pages directly before that, we are shown Kitty reassuring Wing that he does not have to take the

cure if he does not want to. When he is describing flying he says he “can’t lose that” (Whedon)

showing how much being a mutant means to him. His identity is heavily reliant on him being

able to fly and when he later loses it because of Ord, he starts to question his existence, which

eventually leads to him committing suicide in issue 7, correlating with suicides among converted

homosexuals as stated earlier.

In shifting views to focus on the representation of hate groups , the X-Men comics have

come up with their own oppressors like the purist group the Hellfire Club which is at the center

of chaos in ​X-Men Schism, a​ nd evangelists like William Stryker in ​X-men God Loves, Man Kills.

In doing this, the authors have taken direct inspiration from notorious hate groups in the real

world who have caused mass devastation and suffering such as the Hellfire Club being

represented by the KKK,White Supremacists, anti-LGBTQ+ groups, and other radicals. In the

case of Stryker and other evangelists, this type of hate spreading was widely popularized in the

80’s as it used national television to share “God’s Word”, which was actually a ploy to invalidate

homosexuals and African Americans with no real explanation other than that it going against the

natural order of things, not unlike the Nazi’s in World War II. What both have in common,

however, was the use of public spectacles and propaganda, dehumanization, and eventually,

genocide as the main weapons in their self appointed purifying. In the exemplifying of public
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spectacles, both texts make use of television and news coverage as a way of showing the mutants

at their worst. Kilgore plans for his attack at the museum to happen when the X-Men and other

high profile affiliates will be present which will then cause the blame to be shifted onto them as

if it is their presence alone that causes mayhem. Stryker takes the approach of publically

exaggerating the differences between mutants and non-mutants by making the argument that they

wouldn’t be able to defend themselves from such advanced individuals. This also plays into his

propagandic campaign as he uses out of context bible scriptures and use of “preachy” talk to

make the claim that it is because they are so different that they have nothing to offer but

problems for the rest of the world to have to clean up after. In transition, dehumanization in both

texts is huge as they will use keywords in repetition when referring to mutants as a way of

“othering” them from the human race. When the Hellfire Club initiates Kilgore, they made clear

that they “Eradicated that infestation… and in these seats you will once again find only those of

the most extravagant wealth, refined lineage, and impeccable genetic purity” (Aaron). This

meaning that they cleaned house for the new age of Hellfire members who are truly deserving of

such a title. Similarly, in multiple panels, Stryker makes claim to the blasphemy of mutants by

calling them “monsters”, “abomination”, “an affront to the lord”, “thing”, “creature”, etc. These

words allow them to self fuel their hatred for mutants which in turn makes it easier in instilling

the same views in others. Following these events, things then hit a peak in violence as genocide

eventually becomes attainable as a means to an end both for Stryker and the Hellfire Club. In

Astonishing X-Men, t​ he colossal sentinel is sent to destroy the entire island and everyone one it

to kickstart the eradication of all the X-Men in a single blow. On the other hand, Stryker takes a

more militarized approach by sending his squadron of purifiers to exterminate civilian mutants
Bromley 23

right in their homes as seen in the beginning of ​God Loves, Man Kills​ when Mark and Jill are

being pursued by Anne and her team. When they are cornered, Jill asks why they are doing this,

to which Anne says “Because you have no right to live” (Claremont pg. 10). In this instance, this

is a direct manifestation of the saying “Hate doesn’t discriminate”, meaning that no one mutant

is truly safe from the tyranny of those with corrupt power.

Touching back on the harms that come from bigotry besides the obvious exclusion of

groups by close-minded individuals, one such phenomenon is the bigotry that occurs at the micro

level from one minority to another because of the domino effect at the macro level, that being the

minority-majority interaction. This is more clearly shown in the comic ​X-Men Season One​ by

Dennis Hopeless. In a series of panels, we see the teenage X-Men having a night off from their X

duties and enjoying themselves when suddenly a commotion is heard coming from the direction

of the stage. We are then shown people throwing things and shouting insults at the performer due

to her being a mutant. This then snowballs into a fight as the non-mutants attack the mutant

carnies, to which Hank and Bobby become involved in order to protect them. The pivotal point

after this, however, is when Freddie, another mutant in the carnival whose size makes him tower

over everyone else, comes charging in demanding the fight be put to an end. Following this Hank

thanks him for his help only to be punched in the face and have his offer of friendship thoroughly

rejected. Freddie, who seems to be more angry at having the X-men there than having had to

fight off anti-mutant supporters, clutches hanks face in his hand and angrily tells him “You

bunch of pretty-pretty mutants come down here and mix it up with our customers for a night?…

Then run back up to your hidey-hole to play pretend. Leave behind those of us who ​look ​mutant

to pick up the pieces” (Hopeless). His entire countenance is accusatory, as if he blames them for
Bromley 24

everything that's happened, not just in the moment, but in their entire lives. In Hopeless creating

this scene, he has highlighted an important problem that people typically think only applies to the

minority-majority relationship when in actuality the same thing has trickled its way down even

deeper than that. The idea of “passing” or assimilating oneself seamlessly into society has now

become a cause for resentment and in turn discrimination as Freddie so clearly pointed out to

Hank, saying they “pay for privilege” (Hopeless). What he means by this is that the X-Men look

normal with no outward indicator that they are mutants which helps them negate being hassled in

public, whereas the carnival performers have obvious physical attributes like orange-stripped

skin, horns, scales, and unusually large size. It is because of this that they feel it unfair for

mutants like the X-Men to even be called “mutants” in the first place because of the double

standard being formed, i.e. normal looking mutants get the label of mutants as well as the

privilege of escaping discrimination and stigma, yet other mutants who look like anything else,

do not. In today’s world, this scenario has started happening more and more and most often in

the Latinx and African American communities where those of lighter skin are resented for

partaking in the culture, speaking the language, or even claiming rights to ceremonial or religious

events. The problematic phenomenon with this is due to people who are light skinned showing

no indication, at least physically, of being black or latino so it becomes a matter of half truths as

they only seem to receive the positives of the culture in turn increasing the anger and frustration

in those that have experienced racism, stigma, and bias. Also, in relation, this same notion has

been applied to the LGBTQ+ community, or more specifically for people who identify as

transgender. People identifying as cisgender have come to believe that in being trans you must

have a full transition and at the end will appear fully male or fully female. This binary thinking
Bromley 25

excludes all people of in between or non-identifying and is harmful as it negates the spectrum

and makes it instead either or. The dilemma of “passing” is once again brought up as some

“non-passers” have begun to harbor resentment and jealousy as their idea of trans is now

incorrect and makes anything they say otherwise seem like a grab for attention. It is quite

startling to see just how much this harmful mentality and the ideas that come along with it have

now begun to take root in the very people who are being targeted in the first place. People who

should be lifting one another and celebrating their diversities are now once again being divided

and categorized, however, with the addition of the division coming from themselves this time.

As a last example, one thing that is important to note is the support that comes from allies

of minorities. Massive protests have become increasingly popular and relevant in our world

today as they aim to draw attention to serious issues being overlooked or wrongfully dealt with.

The majority of protestors that turn up consist of millennials and generation Z seeing as they are

typically the generations most comfortable with change and reform of the old ways that harm

and exclude people from living full lives. Also, they are generally more conscious of the

politically and socially correct ways of society and have made strides to put a stop to oppression,

erasure, appropriation, and any and all forms of discrimination. Regarding the United States in

particular, recent protests have been about immigration and to protect those who fall under

DACA, formerly known as ‘Dreamers’. Paralleling this in comic culture, there are similar

​ hown in chapter 3, a group


protests in Brian Bendis’ ​All-New X-Men Vol.1: Yesterday’s X-Men. S

of college kids are depicted rallying together at the University of Texas in support of the

mutants. While many are holding signs, the main two to stand out are of one saying “Mutants are

people too” and the other having a heart drawn with both the word“Mutant” and an equal sign
Bromley 26

inside it to mean mutant equality. These types of slogans are often used to associate whatever is

being supported with positive things and “good” feelings as a way of canceling out the negative

stigma. Also, on another note, something that is addressed further on in the comic is the possible

backlash as a result of protests. Just as Benjamin was exposed for being a mutant, many people

identifying with more controversial aspects of minorities are also outed whether it be from

actively showing support for their cause or accidentally in similar circumstances as his and,

sometimes, the reception isn’t as welcoming as to be expected. In a later scene, we are shown an

update of Ben’s situation at university and it is then that we can gather that things have taken a

complete turn around as he is now publicly ridiculed and shunned. His friend, whom was the one

responsible for pulling him into the protest in the first place, approaches him to find out what has

happened after seeing him come out of, presumably, some administrators office. She then finds

out that he has been kicked out. When offering her support as a means of comfort, however, she

is met with indignance and a cold shoulder saying, “I didn’t ​do ​anything… I’m going to sue

them” (Bendis). He then goes on to point out how quick his “amazing powers” turned into

something to mock from the very people who were apparently allies of his kind. “And you

people, one minute you’re protesting for mutant freedom, but when an ​actua​l mutant shows up

on campus-- …It’s not fair that you like your mutant rights in theory more than actuality…?”

(Bendis). Whilst saying this, his friend looks resigned and guilty indicating that she knows what

he is saying is true, but there's nothing she can do about it as the damage has already been done

with no fixing in sight. While unfortunate, it is not uncommon in the real world as countless

youth and young adults have or will face these types of situations and just as Benjamin had, they
Bromley 27

will see if the self proclaimed supporters will truly be what they say they are at the end of the

day.

Upon reflection, it is clear to see that minorities, as a whole, have faced many challenges

and opponents all for the chance at basic rights as humans and for the freedom to express

themselves as they see fit. To the simplest of matters, history has proven unkind and cruel and it

is with this knowledge that these authors have begun to utilize their writings as a way of

preserving the past and all the tragedies the have happened so that we may never forget as a fail

safe of preventing more irreparable repeats. Not only that, but it also goes hand in hand as them

loudly celebrating those of diversities through creative means and allowing them become more

popular when associated with big name comics like the X-Men and the characters in them.

Black, homosexual, transgender, blue, furry, striped, any and all differences, no matter where

you identify on the spectrum. It is with these revelations that the argument of saying that these

parallels, which were once oversighted, have truly been a helpful strategy in drawing attention

and raising questions about ourselves, others, the world around us, and what we will do with it to

better everything as a collective, rings resoundingly true.


Bromley 28

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