After seeing the "yaoi" and "gay cartoon character" softlinks on this node, I felt that I had to mention the homosexual themes of X-Men.

It's obvious that X-Men is the ultimate minority victory in a literary realm. A child, considerably more impressionable than an adult, is much more likely to read a comic than a novel, and therefore I would say that this is exactly what the world needed. A work of literature, aimed at children, celebrating the necessity of diversity and rights of minorities.

The series even manages to rope people in, no matter their race, gender, etc. It began with six white men and one white woman in the first issue - something, which, while not ideal (although it did have the Handicapped Xavier), is almost necessary to get the majority hooked. As time went on, characters were introduced into the Marvel universe from all walks of life. From the African Storm to the Japanese Sunfire to the Gay Northstar to the countless other characters from other countries, other cultures, and even other planets. The dynamic value of this technique is astounding - it liberates minds not only from current hatred for minorities but even from future issues in the case that we find other life out there.

Let's not even go into why Magneto is Hitler. Figure that one out for yourself.

So you may be wondering why I say that it has homosexual themes. Personally, being a homosexual, these themes are particularly apparent to me. Firstly, as mentioned above, these mutant powers manifest themselves around puberty. That's something not usually associated with race but quite common with homosexuality - even though it may be determined around the age of five by some studies, it isn't usually until the individual becomes aware of sex that their homosexuality becomes readily apparent to them.

Second, there was a disease released (by Mr. Sinister, I believe) called the Legacy Virus. This disease was a particularly touching part of X-Men. It was an invisible threat, and it claimed the life of Ilyanna, a beloved character not only for her own self but also because of her strong bond with her brother, Colossus (Piotr, Peter). This disease began by infecting mutants, but within a short period of time, it spread to humans, and the mutants were blamed. This disease's infection pattern almost perfectly parallels that of AIDS. The symmetry is beautiful, and terrifying. In a way, the issue that was devoted to Ilyanna's death was devoted to what it was like for someone to die of AIDS, and I remember weeping when I read it, at a time when I barely even cared about anyone in such a way that could lead me to tears.

Thirdly, the most common theme of the X-Men is that mutants are humans too. I remember watching the cartoon as a child, and seeing Beast make the classic speech, "If you prick us, do we not bleed?" Then again, this is just another example of how it refers to minorities, not homosexuals, but it's quite obvious that Beast is just a big ol' bear. ;)

I appreciate very much that this series was written, and I can honestly say that no other single source has influenced me as much as this great symbolic masterpiece has. The most beautiful thing about this is that it has created a fictional minority. It is a minority that has yet to be tainted by the biases of the readers. The work is therefore able to exploit this tabula rasa and create the positive attitude for the minority in the reader, and hopefully extend that positive attitude to other pre-existing minorities such as non-white races, the handicapped, and the homosexuals...