X-Men #47 (1968)
Humans in the Marvel Universe haven’t always been portrayed as instinctively hating mutants or the X-Men. In fact some of them seem to be big fans here as Beast fights the Maha Yogi.
In some of the very first issues of X-Men, the team was looked at as pop icons like the Beetles. But that changed pretty quick from what I remember. Still, the image of teenage girls trying to pull Warren out of the sky so they could just touch his wings is burned into my brain. Glad someone is pointing this fact out. Not every human would be against the mutants.
Yeah, back in the 60s, I think Peter Parker was more distrusted by the average person than the X-Men were. Sure, there was the angry mob in X-Men #8, but the way the X-Men reacted to that implied that it was a rare occurence. Also, if you watch how that all played out, Hank and Bobby’s attempt to protect their secret identities from the crowd did just as much to exacerbate the situation as the fact that they were mutants.
Of course, there was also Bolivar and Larry Trask, who created the first two generations of Sentinels; but those guys were depicted as slightly unhinged individuals who didn’t necessarily speak for the majority of humans and learned the error of their ways by the end of their respective story arcs.
Nowadays, the whole “mutants are different and humans hate anything that is different” thing has become so one-dimensional, heavyhanded and even preachy at times, that it actually makes the X-Men themselves less interesting characters, IMHO. Because if the threats that they are facing don’t feel genuine, then it’s hard to become emotionally invested in their struggles.
I do give a lot of credit to Brian Michael Bendis for portraying the humans in his X-Men books in a much more balanced light. He’s even had humans staging pro-mutant rallies, which is something that I think definitely would happen in the real world. Hopefully, other writers will start to pick up on that idea.
Sorry I’m a bit long-winded here, but you can see that I have a lot to say on this subject. :)
I think it would definitely help if we started to see similar concepts in the media portrayals of the characters. A general swing of admiration turning to fear and the fear into understanding. Obviously with the way the world is today, you can still see prejudice and condemnation, so it IS a thing…but the portrayal could use some work.
As I recall, the fear started when the population increased rapidly. After Scarlet Witch stripped the mutant populace of their powers we saw an upswing of pro-mutant support. But I haven’t kept up with the comics as much as I used to, alas.