Magneto Was Right

I think that part of the appeal of Marvel comics (and to a lesser extent, the entire superhero genre entirely) is that it allows its readers to participate in a wish fulfillment fantasy where the reader witnesses a formerly powerless and sympathetic individual attain great power suddenly or even accidentally. In this narrative, the protagonist’s ascension is seen as being largely positive; he/she becomes a superhero and works to help the lives of others, while still dealing with the problems of his/her everyday life. The most obvious example of this scenario is Peter Parker, but most Marvel superheroes are a variation on this scenario in one form or another. I think most readers of comics buy into this theme; I enjoyed it as a kid, and I'm not afraid to admit that I enjoy it now.

Yet Claremont’s vision of Magneto takes this archetype and twists this theme—ever so slightly. A formerly powerless and very sympathetic individual suddenly gains great powers, but his transformation is seen as being much more ambiguous than Peter Parker's or Steve Rogers'. Magneto attempts to use his powers for good (or at least what he perceives as being good), but the results are much more realistic than in most superhero narratives. This reversal makes Mags one of Marvel’s best characters creatively; but reading a good Magneto story can also be a little disturbing because it questions conventions that we have grown to accept. I think this explains a lot of the anxiety that Magneto fosters among both creators and readership. In Marvel’s universe, Magneto exists alongside the old archetype, but also calls it into question.

While a character like Mags might not be that unusual in dystopian sci-fi setting or even in a more creative graphic novel such as the Watchmen, he stands out in this milieu. I sometimes get the feeling that readers, writers, and editors don’t always know what to do with him. They try to fit Mags in labels such as good/evil, hero/villain, etc, but he doesn’t always fit into these easy categories. Take away his powers and his mutanthood and he is like a real person, in many respects.

I like the comparison to “Munich and Syriania,” by the way. Perhaps Mags fits into these film's historical and cultural contexts more than he fits into the same world as the average super hero comic. But of course, we wouldn’t really want Mags to not stand out. What makes him so discomforting also makes him so interesting. ~ CandidI, Marvel.com X-Men Board

Welcome to MagnetoWasRight.com.

Magneto is one of the most popular and (no pun intended) polarizing figures in comic books, both within the fanbase and the offices of Marvel itself. This site is dedicated to an examination of his character in the pages of Marvel comics in its entirety. We are not here to focus solely on Magneto as a hero or Magneto as a villain, but on his morally ambiguous nature through his entire 40-plus year history.

Here, “Magneto Was Right” refers to the arguable realism of his essential argument as proven by not only events within the Marvel Universe itself, such as the Mutant & Super Human Registration Acts and Operation: Zero Tolerance, but in the real world too. For Magneto’s character is more grounded in real world events than most “superhero” comic book characters, his adolescence in Auschwitz provides a valid argument as well as an impetus to the character’s motives. Right or wrong (usually, but not always, wrong), Magneto is not about conquest for personal gain, but the protection of his people.

This site is currently under construction, but check back soon as we add scans to the galleries, analysis, and wide variety of information such as issues of appearances in a easy to navigate form, and more. If you have suggestions, comments, or questions, please feel free to contact me.

 

Webmistress Note: I apologize on the delay in finishing up the general issue database. Uncanny #500 sucked out my will to live.

Just kidding. ;-)

Sorta.

Things have been very busy in the RL, so I haven't had much time online. I hope to have it up next week.