Professor X & Magneto were NOT based on Martin Luther King & Malcolm X

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Professor X and Magneto were actually based on Jewish leaders David Ben-Gurion and Menachem Begin – NOT Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X.

The two figureheads of the X-Men Series, Professor X and Magneto, were long regarded as the deputy of the African-American civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X. That rumor, as ubiquitous as it is, is unfortunately just that. Although the opposing mutants have some tangential similarities with both activists, the characters were actually based on two famous Israeli Prime Ministers, David Ben Gurion and Menachem Begin .

The X-Men were founded by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in 1963 at the height of the civil rights movement in the United States. The mutants that make up the team have been used as a thinly veiled allegory for minorities and have represented many oppressed groups in America over the years: people of different sexual orientations, ethnic backgrounds, and even religious beliefs. At the beginning of the series, two ideological sides of the conflict were presented: Professor Charles Xavier wanted mutants to peacefully advocate their cause, while Magneto believed that mutants should actively fight against those who oppressed them.


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But to say that both men are on Dr. King and Malcolm X are based is wrong. Long-time X-Men writer Chris Claremont said this in a 2016 interview with Empire Online Magazine. “Now that Magneto is filling in for Malcolm X and Xavier for Martin Luther King, there is a lot of talk online … Claremont States. “An equivalent analogy could be made to Menachem Begin as Magneto, who in his lifetime went from being a terrorist in 1947 to being a Nobel Peace Prize winner 30 years later.” Claremont went on to say that his goal for Magneto was to succeed Xavier as leader of the X-Men and principal of Xavier’s School for the Gifted.

Magneto and Kitty Pryde visit the Holocaust Museum

David Ben-Gurion was Israel’s first Prime Minister, serving between 1948 and 1954. He is known as the main national founder of the State of Israel; His accomplishments included encouraging other Jews in the diaspora to move to Israel and improving relations with West Germany and the rest of the world. In contrast, Menachem Begin was the leader of the Zionist military group Irgun, which rebelled against the British government of what was then Palestine in 1944. While the Irgun was classified as a terrorist group by the British at the time, Begin was finally elected Prime Minister in 1977 and brokered a peace treaty between Israel and Egypt, for which he received the Nobel Peace Prize. Especially the last detail in Begin’s life was an inspiration for Claremont to write Magneto. “I wanted to apply this development to the relationship between Xavier and Magneto. It’s an evolving arc of 150 questions.”

Claiming that Professor X and Magneto were from Dr. King and Malcolm X are doing both men a disservice. Dr. King was not as passive as Xavier, nor was Malcolm X a violent mass murderer like Magneto. While Stan Lee never imagined Magneto as a traditional villain, he didn’t give him a personable backstory either – Magneto’s Holocaust past was written by Claremont. the X-Men are often inspired by real events and real people, but the real inspirations for Professor X and Magneto weren’t – and never have been – Dr. King and Malcolm X.

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Source: Empire Online

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