Uncanny X-Men #28
Issue(s): Uncanny X-Men #28
He is working for a group called Factor Three, along with a slow talking fat guy called the Ogre, a non-mutant who builds gadgets. The Banshee is a difficult partner, despite the fact that he's wearing a headband that will explode if he disobeys orders.
The Ogre has located the X-Men's headquarters, and he and the Banshee attack.
The Mimic is currently a member of the X-Men, and he is also being very difficult and not getting along well with the other X-Men.
But the X-Men manage to defeat the Ogre and the Banshee (partially by sticking wax, or possibly wads of cotton, in their ears)...
...and the Banshee is freed.
The Banshee is drawn in a very grotesque manner. I'm not sure if Werner Roth had a low opinion of Scottish people (Scottish? See the comments section.) or if he was originally intended to be disfigured.
Xavier has some sort of experiment going on behind locked doors that Cyclops wonders about.
We also continue to get teased about Ted Roberts' brother, but no real details.
In the intro to Marvel Masterworks: The X-Men vol. 3, Roy Thomas writes that he originally pitched Banshee as a female, which would be more in line with Irish myth. But Stan Lee told Thomas that male villains were more popular and forced him to make the change. Years later, though, Stan Lee was getting prepped on the current batch of X-Men to make a cartoon pitch, and, according to Jim Shooter, there was this exchange:
"This one," he said, pointing at Storm, "must be Banshee."
Who knows what's true!
In the same intro, Thomas claims that this panel, where the Beast tells Marvel Girl she's a "credit to her gender" for handing him a screwdriver when he asked for pliers, was just a mistake.
Quality Rating: D
Chronological Placement Considerations: N/A
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: Marvel Milestones Edition: Uncanny X-Men #28
i thought the banshee was irish
Posted by: Kveto from prague | May 5, 2011 11:55 AM
It definitely turns out that he's Irish, but in his first appearance here, he steals a "Gaelic Landscape" painting. A footnote defines Gaelic as "Referring to the Scottish Highlands". I've added a new screenshot above.
Posted by: fnord12 | May 5, 2011 8:15 PM
Despite the Banshee's headband being explosive, he continues to wear it for the rest of his 1960s appearances. It disappears without explanation in Captain America #172.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | August 6, 2011 1:52 AM
This is also the first appearance of the Ogre who will eventually reappear in the Thunderbolts series as a regular character.
Posted by: Jay Demetrick | November 21, 2013 4:16 AM
Two notes here -
1 - Marvel has the sliding timescale which allows some characters to age (Kitty) and some never seem to. But does anyone seem to age backwards like Banshee? Is it just Werner Roth's art, or does he never appear as old in any later appearance, over the years, as he did in his first appearance?
2 - Do the X-Men hold the record for most foes who would eventually become members of the team? I mean, seriously, we already have Mimic introduced, here we have Banshee, soon we will have Changeling (who is only technically a member of the team because of being Prof X). Quicksilver was a member of X-Factor, though, I don't believe he was ever an X-Man.
Posted by: Erik Beck | January 16, 2015 11:36 AM
And you didn't even mention Rogue, Magneto, Juggernaut or Emma Frost.
Posted by: Erik Robbins | January 16, 2015 9:28 PM
For at least a hundred years, snub noses and weirdly elongated filtrums had been visual short hand for "Irish" among American and English cartoonists. Like buck teeth on Japanese and hook noses on Indians, it didn't really matter if the convention had any basis in reality. Roth was just following a well established convention/stereotype.
Posted by: Andrew | January 17, 2015 8:40 AM
@Erik: Rogue is another example of a character ageing backwards. In her first appearance, Michael Golden draws her almost like a middle-aged woman, and she seems to get younger in each subsequent appearance, drawn by different artists, until by the time JRjr is the regular X-Men artist, she's in her late teens and running around in a string bikini.
Posted by: Austin Gorton | February 25, 2016 9:31 PM
Banshee is definitely being drawn in caricature here. That was still a semi-common practice in the comics industry in the 60s despite blacks no longer being drawn like Ebony White in the Spirit.
Posted by: Red Comet | February 25, 2016 10:41 PM
@ Austin Gorton - I totally agree with you. When you get to the Rogue appearances, I make several comments about how she continually gets better looking.
Posted by: Erik Beck | February 26, 2016 8:43 AM
Gaelic can mean Irish or Scottish as the Scots are descended from an Irish tribe called the Scotii who emigrated to the northern portion of Great Britain in pre-Roman times. As a descendant of Irish men, I always found the caricature-style of drawing ethnic characters offensive and dislike the Banshee until Wein and Claremont got ahold of him.
Posted by: Bobby Sisemore | November 8, 2016 10:47 PM
What stands out to me here is that Banshee doesn't even look like a real person. He's so cartoony looking that it just doesn't gel well with anything else in the Marvel Universe. It's easy to see why later artists toned him down and made him "younger" looking because here he looks like he stepped out of a Looney Tunes animated short.
Posted by: Jonathon | October 1, 2017 10:43 AM
The Roy Thomas assertion that Stan Lee thought female villains weren't popular does seem plausible, considering that two of the more compelling female villains of the era, Scarlet Witch and Black Widow, end up as heroes.
Posted by: squirrel_defeater | January 19, 2018 2:12 AM
Roy Thomas and Jim Shooter did discuss the exchange mentioned above at a convention panel. They had been asked about the creation of Banshee, recapped the stories as fnord has them above, then Roy said he created Sean as a female, but Stan pointed out that it wouldn't look good to have the female Banshee being beaten up by all the male X-Men.
I think that's where the 'female villains aren't popular' thing comes from. Superheroes solve most of their problems with violence. Spider-Man couldn't punch Princess Python and the male X-Men couldn't do anything to the Scarlet Witch. Medusa was a prominent member of the Frightful Four, but I don't recall Reed, Johnny or Ben being in any big fights against her directly.
Posted by: ChrisW | January 20, 2018 12:19 AM
The way Roth draws the Banshee's face makes him look like a Dick Tracy villain. From what I've seen here, he looks vaguely simian or like a ventriloquist's dummy. Hell, shave off those red locks and he could pass for the Puppet Master's twin!
Posted by: Brian Coffey | June 19, 2018 10:20 PM
As discussed above, Roth's conception of an ape-like Banshee isn't his own, he's merely imitating popular racist caricatures of the Irish that date all the way back to the 19th century. See here for some examples. That someone thought this kind of stereotyping was still okay in 1967 os baffling, especially considering how out of place Banshee's cartoonish features look compared to the other characters in the comic.
Posted by: Tuomas | June 26, 2018 1:57 PM
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