Giant-Size X-Men #1
Issue(s): Giant-Size X-Men #1
Xavier recruits a number of mutants from around the world.
Most are completely new, but Banshee, Sunfire, and Wolverine have appeared in comics before.
Wolverine is better drawn and his temperamental side is much more clearly shown here.
This is the first time we see that Wolverine's claws are retractable, and that he can pop them independently. And the signature "Snikt!" sound effect is right there from the beginning.
Those without previous costumes are given new uniforms made from unstable molecules donated by Reed Richards (this is after the formation of the Illuminati, for what it's worth.)
Cyclops explains the reason they were recruited. The previous X-Men team has gone missing.
He leads them to the South Pacific island where they were last seen. After fighting through some of the islands inhabitants...
...they find that the island itself is the threat.
The island is called Krakoa, and it was somehow mutated into a living thing during atomic tests in the South Pacific (such as what occurred at Bikini), and now it wants to feed on mutant energy.
The X-Men defeat it through a combination of old and new X-Men powers, with a simultaneous mental assault from Professor X back home.
Not exactly a great plot, but competent enough, and the interaction between all these players, while heavy-handed in the 70s manner, is still quite enjoyable. Cockrum's art is quite good.
I don't know if this issue raised enough demand that the X-Men series was brought out of reprints, or if that was the plan from the beginning. This issue was published three months before Uncanny #94.
The new X-Men characters were based on designs that Cockrum originally had in mind for Legion of Super-heroes: Typhoon and Black Cat (merged into Storm), Mr. Steel (obviously Colossus), and Thunderbird, and Nightcrawler, who would become Cockrum's favorite character. The international flavor of the team was requested by Marvel's upper management due to the fact that Marvel's books were being repackaged for Europe and Asia.
You might also want to take a look at this great anecdote about Stan Lee's reaction to the new X-Men on Jim Shooter's blog.
In Sean Howe's Marvel Comics: The Untold Story, Len Wein, deciding to leave the book due to his workload, is quoted as saying, "It was just another book... It was no different to me than 'Brother Voodoo' or a couple of other new series that I was involved in." So i think we, and Marvel, should consider ourselves lucky that this was the book that Wein decided to drop and that Chris Claremont took over.
It's surprising that the Beast didn't at least make a cameo in this issue. All other living X-Men are part of this story.
Now the question is, "What are we going to do with thirteen X-Men?"
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: N/A
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: Marvel Milestones Edition: Giant-Size X-Men #1
Inbound References (15): show
Dave Cockrum went to Marvel after being fired from DC over a loud argument with an editor over original art not being returned.
According to FOOM, Giant-Size X-Men #2 was supposed to feature the sentinels. It doesn't specify if it was the sentinels story that appeared in X-Men #98-100, or the reprinted Thomas/Adams sentinels story that actually did appear, or something completely different.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | August 20, 2011 10:12 PM
Dave Cockrum's first X-Men related art(actually published by Marvel, anyway) was a page of the Scarlet Witch in Marvelmania #2(5/70).
Posted by: Mark Drummond | December 30, 2012 7:08 PM
Foom#4(winter 1973) showed the winning entry in the create-a-character contest: A Kirbyish-looking villain called Humus Sapiens.(The contest also had the first published art by Mike Chen, Hugh Haynes, and Doug Hazlewood) Later on, Roy Thomas announced that the character would be a hero and a charter member of the new X-Men. Obviously, that didn't happen, and Chris Claremont would state at conventions that he wouldn't use the character while he still had breath in his lungs. I think he later did show up about 25 years later or more.
FOOM#7(9/74) confirmed Cockrum as the new X-Men artist, and that there'd be a new Marvel Girl created by Roy Thomas, Jeannie Thomas, and John Romita.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | February 10, 2013 4:57 PM
Fabian Nicieza brought Humus Sapien into continuity in Thunderbolts #54.
Posted by: fnord12 | February 10, 2013 6:16 PM
I don't have a citation, but Claremont has said before that X-Men 94 & 95 were originally both meant to be Giant-Size X-Men 2, and Thunderbird, a guy who didn't do anything better than anyone else on the team, was always intended to die as a shock selling point for GSXM 2. If I recall, every issue was going to have a gimmick like that. I believe X-Men was to be only a Giant-Size quarterly, but instead the bimonthly revival of the regular series happened (thanks to good sales for GSXM?).
There's quite a bit of messiness to the X-Men revival: X-Men 93 is part of a multipart reprint of the Avengers crossover and was advertised as being wrapped up in GSXM 1, which of course didn't happen.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | February 11, 2013 11:26 PM
The main reason there was no GSXM 2, now that I think about it, was that the Giant-Size line as a whole was being discontinued.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | February 11, 2013 11:38 PM
I have it mint never been touched
Posted by: thomas obrien | April 9, 2013 7:34 PM
So...Xavier designed the costumes for Colossus, Storm, and Thunderbird? That's kind of strange.
Posted by: S | August 13, 2013 3:22 PM
Damn, Dave Cockrum's art is great here. Damn, damn, damn. It may be hard for people to believe these days, but John Byrne has said a few times that he wasn't considered as good as Cockrum during this time period and that he was intimidated stepping into his shoes. Byrne has always been great himself, but when I see Cockrum at his best, I can easily see why Byrne would be so impressed. This is moody,, atmospheric , graceful work. Cockrum just doesn't get the credit he deserves.
Posted by: Jay Patrick | August 13, 2013 3:39 PM
Actually, there WAS a GSXM 2. It just happened to reprint issues 57-59.
Posted by: Jay Demetrick | August 19, 2013 2:53 AM
Hmmmm. I noticed that you didn't mention "Deadly Genesis" here...
Posted by: Jon Dubya | May 31, 2014 1:35 PM
I'll cover that when i get to the publication date, since it's interspersed with scenes from the modern day. Until then, i can remain blissfully ignorant.
Posted by: fnord12 | May 31, 2014 1:43 PM
@Jay Patrick, I agree totally. As a little kid, the new X-Men were a bit scary to me, especially Nightcrawler. And I always remembered that panel of Cyclops in the scan above. Those glowing red eyes were very intimidating and creepy.
Posted by: Haywerth | December 23, 2014 10:06 PM
Interesting that Cockrum would design characters based around his ideas for the Legion, since at the end of his run he'll essentially bring the Legion into Marvel as the Imperial Guard.
Also interesting that when this was reprinted in Classic X-Men they ditched the entire second half of the story. That's probably why they lated reprinted the whole issue on its own, exactly as it had been printed back in 1975.
Posted by: Erik Beck | March 10, 2015 11:38 AM
Fnord, I assume you don't list characters who are there but don't actually appear. Because I know later Wolverine will reference the fact that James Hudson is in the room for the tie-cutting scene, but of course, we don't seem him and he won't actually be introduced until a year and a half later.
Posted by: Erik Beck | March 10, 2015 12:04 PM
It's kind of a judgment call on behind-the-scenes appearances. The Marvel Chronology Project does list him as being here BTS. But since he's not shown and he doesn't do anything that affects the plot of this issue, i haven't listed him.
Posted by: fnord12 | March 10, 2015 1:09 PM
Maybe Peter did the costume designs instead of Xavier.
I assume that the new on-going series was part of the plans from the beginning. Three months wouldn't have been enough time to get the sales figures and then get started on #94. I don't know anything about the Giant-Sized line [X-Men and Man-Thing are the only two I've ever heard of, for obvious reasons] but I would assume the decision was made very quickly to add the new team to the bimonthly book and switch the Giant-Sized books to reprints. Certainly can't imagine the sales figures for this book impressing anybody.
Posted by: ChrisW | January 29, 2016 4:35 PM
Stumbled across this on the Wikipedia page for the Bronze Age just now: "However, in 1975 an "all-new all-different" version of the X-Men was introduced by Len Wein and Dave Cockrum in Giant-Size X-Men #1, with Chris Claremont as uncredited assistant co-plotter." It has the citation: "Chris Claremont's role in this issue is mentioned in Official Marvel Index to the X-Men #4, November 1987." Can anyone confirm this? And if so, should it be noted?
Posted by: J-Rod | May 3, 2017 5:37 PM
Chris Claremont in The X-Men Companion v.1: "Len and Dave Cockrum were evolving the new X-Men concept. And they'd be sitting in Len's office... plotting it. I would be sitting there just outside proofreading. I'd wander in and say, 'Can I listen?' and they'd say 'Sure.' They'd evolved the whole first issue of Giant-Size except the ending. They needed a way to get rid of Krakoa utilizing the powers of the X-Men. I was thinking about it and I thought, well, [describes the ending of the story]. Len thought it was a great idea and Dave came up with the visuals and that was that."
Posted by: Tony Lewis | May 4, 2017 12:12 AM
Interesting! This was the first I'd heard of Claremont being actually involved in GSXM.
Posted by: J-Rod | May 4, 2017 10:38 AM
Added a credit for Claremont. Thanks guys.
Posted by: fnord12 | May 10, 2017 10:13 AM
"a new Marvel Girl created by Roy Thomas, Jeannie Thomas, and John Romita."
Thank goodness we were spared from that.
Posted by: Holt | February 13, 2018 8:10 PM
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