The Golem and The Jinni

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In her debut novel, The Golem and the Jinni, Helen Wecker crafts a tale of two magical creatures who find themselves amongst the large mass of immigrants in 19th century New York City. Chava is a golem crafted from clay, recently created because golems are naturally bound to servitude and her master wanted an obedient wife. When her master dies at sea, Chava finds herself in the city all alone.

Meanwhile, a tinsmith in Little Syria is busily fixing a copper flask when a young man suddenly leaps out of it. The man reveals himself as Ahmad, a jinni entirely made of fire. Ahmad had been trapped in the flask for the past century and was now finally set free by the tinsmith. Given their newfound freedom, Chava and Ahmad must try to settle into human guises and make a living for themselves in this strange new city. Chava takes up a position at a bakery, and a kind Rabbi who knows about her supernatural nature gives her housing. Ahmad voluntarily works for the tinsmith who freed him to keep himself occupied.

One fateful night, Chava and Ahmad cross paths. As soon as they meet, they immediately recognize each other’s magical nature and are warily drawn to each other. Due to this curiosity and the relief in knowing they are not the only supernatural beings in the city, Chava and Ahmad begin to take nightly strolls together and form a tentative friendship. They talk about their struggles in fitting in to this human society.

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By Mia Carnevale

Ahmad is an ancient, restless creature who grows impatient each day with what he perceives as the monotony around him. He longs to go back to the desert and be with his own people, but he must first try to find a way to return to his full original form. Chava, however, is extremely new to the world and is deeply overwhelmed by it. She throws herself into her work to build a routine and be able to serve others. Despite their differences, Chava and Ahmad both find it easy to speak freely with each other, even though it leads to heated arguments. The main questions explored in the novel arise through conversations. What does it mean to be a human being? How does one control primitive instincts while assimilating to a new world? Is there a middle ground between free will and submission to fate?

As the novel unfolds, Chava and Ahmad interact with a variety of background characters who each carry their own vibrant stories. There is Mahmoud the ice cream maker, a long dead Bedouin girl, an heiress named Sophia, and a cunning wizard named Schaalman. All of these characters seem unrelated to each other at first, but their story-lines all eventually tie together through unexpected and sometimes dramatic revelations. Wecker does an excellent job at building up the story’s main conflict and resolving it in a refreshing and inventive way. The lives of Chava and Ahmad remain extremely intriguing to the very end of the book, but the author still gives us a satisfying amount of closure with their fate.

As an avid reader of fantasy novels, I can attest to the fact that most of them are mainly based on European/Western legends and mythology. That’s why I found The Golem and the Jinni to be a breath of fresh air in the fantasy genre; it focuses on magical elements from other cultures that haven’t been nearly as ambitiously explored. Through the titular characters of The Golem and the Jinni, Wecker draws upon Jewish mysticism and Arabian mythology respectively. She takes inspiration from these stories, adding her own thoughtful ideas and interpretations into the creation of these creatures and the laws that bind them. The different narratives are neatly woven together in a “story within a story” format that reminds me quite a bit of the tales from One Thousand and One Nights. The enchantingly vivid imagery and careful world-building are reminiscent as well.

The Golem and the Jinni is a gripping and dazzling tale filled with magic, adventure, and danger. However, it is also much more than that. It is a book that raises profoundly philosophical questions about faith, culture, society, and most importantly, the immigrant experience. Even though Chava and Ahmad are powerful magical creatures, they are also immigrants in an overwhelming city. Throughout the course of their experiences, they both must figure out how to stay true to their roots while they attempt to create a new life for themselves in this city they now hesitantly call home.

-Contributed by Grusha Singh

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Submissions are OPEN for Winter 2018!

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Are you interested in submitting to The Spectatorial? Well, you’re in the right place. We are accepting submissions until FEBRUARY 17, 2017 for Volume VIII Part two.

Please read our Journal Submissions page to ensure that your piece meets our requirements. Sign up on our Facebook Event page to get our alerts and notifications!

We’re looking for:

  • Short Stories
  • Novel Excerpts
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  • Graphic Fiction
  • Academic Papers
  • Articles
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  • Visual Art

Send art as PDFs and text as .docs to thespectatorial@gmail.com. Please ensure that your name is not anywhere on the document itself.

Anything & everything speculative goes. Fantasy, horror, science fiction, superhero, dystopian, post-apocalyptic, gaslamp, steampunk, and anything else that you can think of. We accept papers and articles on film, photography, art shows, literature or any other medium that you believe you have seen express speculative elements. We also accept papers analyzing the place of speculative fiction as a whole, and encourage you to submit these sorts of analyses.

We are looking for two things: really good stories and strong, analytical thought. If you think you have what we’re looking for, we absolutely encourage you to submit to us.

Thank you for your interest in The Spectatorial. We’re excited to showcase your work!

Kimi no Na wa

Have you ever felt like you’ve lost something and won’t ever be able to find it? That’s the feeling I had when I watched Kimi no Na wa, or Your Name, directed by Makoto Shinkai.

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Image from thehypedgeek.com

Your Name opens with a classic body swap between Mitsuha Miyamizu and Taki Tachibana, two Japanese teenagers who wake up in each other’s bodies. Mitsuha lives in rural Itomori with her grandmother and younger sister, while Taki resides in Tokyo with his father. In the beginning, their struggles to adjust to each other’s lives are amusing, but their relationship blossoms when Taki is introduced to the culture and rituals of the Miyamizu family. Mitsuha and Taki attempt to meet face-to-face later on, and the repercussions of this final test will resonate with them for years to come.

In short, I highly recommend this movie. It’s one of the best anime films I’ve ever seen. I went in thinking I knew exactly what was going to happen, and came out wondering what kind of magic the production team had conjured behind the scenes. The following paragraphs are my attempt to piece things together. They contain SPOILERS, so I recommend watching the movie before reading on.

Names

The significance of names is prominent throughout the film, as names are keys to memory. Without a person’s name, you can’t link them explicitly to a solid memory or image. Furthermore, emotions and impressions can change more drastically without a name to tie them together, like when you wake up from a dream that dissipates before you can put it into words.

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Image from midnightpianist.wordpress.com

The first time Taki writes in Mitsuha’s notebook, asking “Who are you?” Mitsuha-in-Taki’s-body writes her name on his left hand with a black marker. The second time we see Mitsuha’s name written down is in her diary, which stresses the importance of her name as part of her identity. Taki attempts to understand her by using her name as his first point of entry.

At twilight, in the film’s climax, Mitsuha and Taki finally meet face-to-face. But the magic fades before they can write their names on each other’s hands, and their memories of each other fade as well. When twilight is over, they return to their own misaligned timelines and give up the most important thing to them—their memories of each other.

Time

According to Mitsuha’s grandmother, everything, including the flow of time, can be represented in the braided cords. The cords break, come undone, and then reunite. Time can similarly be unravelled, cut, then joined with strands which may otherwise never meet. In a way, water or sake and the braided cords all represent the flow of time. They encompass the various ways one can transfer something onto something else, such as: water from one destination to another, objects from one location to another, and the braided cords from one person to another. As water binds to the body, then to the soul, the braided cords bind the body and soul of its owners, joining them inseparably.

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Image from aminoapps.com

The red braid Mitsuha passes to Taki symbolizes the depth of their relationship, which will stay constant even if their connection breaks physically. By giving it to him, she is joining her future and her past with his own. The end of the film emphasizes this inseparable connection when the two are reunited despite the loss of their memories of each other. When they see each other while on separate trains, they’re moving in opposite directions, almost as if the strength of their bond shifted time itself to bring them together again—Mitsuha from the past, and Taki from the future – therefore, representing the triumph of personal connection over time’s unpredictable flow.

As I watched Your Name, I felt as if I had lost a piece of myself in the vivid art, music, and storytelling of a wonderful masterpiece. There would always be a part of me reliving the events of the tale, wondering if I’d ever be able to fully grasp the intricate threads that were woven into the narrative, and secretly hoping that I’d always keep searching.

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Image from blog.lhyeung.net

-Contributed by Vivian Li

Journey

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By Mia Carnevale

There are various ways of controlling anxiety or stress: sitting down with a good book, taking a walk outside, or even enjoying a cup of tea with one’s current activity. Video games tend to be overlooked in this area. They are better known for being loud or fast-paced—not what someone would turn to if they were searching for calm, or emotional investment.

This is the obstacle Jenova Chen set out to overcome in Journey, the final game of a three-part contract between Thatgamecompany and Sony that came out on PlayStation in March of 2012. It eliminates the goal-driven structure most video games follow, instead allowing one to get lost in the surroundings and music. The atmosphere makes it easy for a player to feel small.

The story is told without any verbal narrative and uses cut scenes that are, at times, ominous. It was only after finishing the game that I decided to go back and read about the storyline, picking up on details that enhance one’s understanding but don’t hinder the gameplay if missed. Journey is the story of a now-ruined civilization. The player travels through the remnants, past floating centipede-like mechanical automatons that are on the lookout for intruders.

The premise itself is fairly straightforward: the player assumes the role of a strange robed figure standing in an endless desert. A large mountain looms overhead, with a light shining upwards from its split peak. The goal is to slowly make one’s way through the game in order to reach the summit. But putting it that way eliminates all of the things that are important in Journey. Here, the focal point is in the things that people tend to overlook when playing a game.

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Image from kotaku.com

The music sets the tone from the very beginning. As the player guides the cloaked figure through the remnants of a destroyed civilization, there is already something meditative about the game. This is particularly evident when the figure’s scarf comes into play. Rune-decorated scarves and red ribbons are probably the central imagery of the game. The scarf lights up when fully charged by magical ribbons scattered throughout the environment. The charge is then slowly expended when you hold down the O button to fly. Later on, these ribbons form bridges, or make up huge floating jellyfish and serpent-like creatures. The player has to charge up at one creature before gliding on to the next one.

Large, white-cloaked figures reminiscent of Tibetan monks appear at occasional checkpoints to further elaborate on the story. The meditative quality of the gameplay is heightened by encounters with anonymous figures at various stages of the journey. These are controlled by other players somewhere in the world who happen to be at the same stage in the game. Players can communicate via a series of chiming tones, and can choose to work together by charging up each other’s scarves. These encounters build a sense of companionship that is strengthened by the anonymity and lack of competition between players.

Yet all of the above is still focused on the minute details of the game. The reality is that one must play the game in order to fully understand the effect Chen was going for. Despite how short it is—taking only a couple hours or so to complete—playing it feels like one has wandered into a tiny time loop. It’s a game that elicits melancholy and longing, as well as joy and relief, taking you from a vast desert into dark underground caverns guarded by Matrix-like automatons, then up the mountain and through a blizzard. There is one particular moment, at the end of the underground cavern before one has finally broken out, that I would gladly replay over and over again, flying from one ribbon jellyfish to another through a sea of golden mist as it rises higher and higher, until it finally bursts into a warm glow. It was a moment that sent a tingling sensation through me, making me understand what all the praise and near-perfect reviews were talking about.

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Image from picquery.com

At the end of the game, after reaching the summit, there is a beautiful cut scene of the player’s figure dissolving into an expanse of white light. A shooting star crosses the sky from the summit and follows the journey backwards, illuminating the other players who are on the same path. Once it fades beyond the sand dunes and the sun rises again, one has the option of starting the journey over again. Regardless of how cliché or predictable it may sound, Journey feels like an entire lifetime shrunken down into a few hours, at the end of which there is such an overwhelming spectrum of emotions that it is difficult to leave it behind. It’s a few hours of pure, unfiltered magic that has been skillfully woven into a narrative that doesn’t care about overloading the player with details or imposing criteria, instead it seeks to comfort and move, and does both in the most unique way possible.


-Contributed by Margaryta Golovchenko

From Inspiration to Illustration: An Interview with Koyorin

Koyorin is a Toronto-based digital illustrator whose work has appeared in conventions like The Toronto Comic Arts Festival (TCAF) and Anime North. Currently, they are working as a freelance artist after having completed their bachelor’s degree in design from OCAD university. In their free time, Koyorin draws fan art or original art, plays video games, and simultaneously runs multiple social media accounts. You can find more of Koyorin’s art here: http://koyoriin.tumblr.com/

This interview has been edited for clarity and length.

weight_of_the_world___web_by_koyorin-dbnp5f2.jpgWhat was it about drawing that captured your interest in the first place? And what inspired you to make the shift from drawing as a hobby to drawing as a career?

Well, I have a great interest in visual storytelling and creating appealing characters to tell said stories, and I was also an avid consumer of different video games and anime. Around my teen years, I started paying a lot more attention to the concept art and illustrations that went into the creation of some of my favourite entertainment media, and it occurred to me that I could start turning my hobby into a viable career. After all, from an early age I decided that I wanted to work in a career path that went hand-in-hand with my passions, whatever the cost.

Could you name some of your all-time favourite video games and anime?

Some of my favourite games in the past few years include Bloodborne, the Gravity Rush games, NieR and NieR: Automata, Persona 3 Portable, Undertale, Transistor, and VA-11 Hall-A. My main draws to these games are their likeable characters, good music, and appealing art direction. In terms of anime, I think it’s harder to pick a favourite series, but there are several anime films that come to mind, such as most Studio Ghibli films, Akira, and Kimi no Na wa.

When did you make the decision to focus on creating digital art, and do you think it suits your personal style more than traditional approaches to illustration?

I got my first tablet—a Wacom Bamboo tablet—when I was around 15 years old, which is when I started to dabble in digital art. Ever since then, traditional art kind of got put on the back burner, and it’s been digital drawing and painting for me ever since. Digital art allows for a different workflow and for different visual elements that appeal to me more than those of traditional art, which is why I chose to stick with it I suppose!

You’ve become a very popular fan artist, so do you intend to keep up with your large output of fan art in the future or do you foresee a shift to a greater focus on original work?

Eventually I’d like to be better known for original work. Fan art is never a bad place for artists to start building a social media presence, but I also genuinely enjoy drawing fan art for games and anime that I like. It’s a good way to show that appreciation while also attracting an audience with similar interests.

What was building up your social media presence like? Were there any challenges you faced?

Personally, I think it was a pretty organic process. I started uploading my work to websites like DeviantArt when I was 14 or 15, and eventually started a Tumblr blog when I was nearing the end of high school. Since then, I made sure to keep sharing work on a regular basis, and to never disappear for too long. I think any challenges I faced were mostly on my own side, like being too busy to make my own work to share, which was an issue I faced while I was in university, and now while I have freelance work as well.

You’ve recently created a series of original pieces (collected in a zine) called “Weapon Girls” that combines a science-fiction aesthetic with traditional fantasy-style weaponry like greatswords and giant hammers. Would you say that you have a current interest in the hybridity of these genres?

Science fiction and fantasy are my two favourite genres in the games and anime that I engage with, so combining the two is only natural, I think. My drive for the series is to just have a personal project to work on that isn’t related to my freelance work. I think there are a lot of general inspirations but no direct, specific inspirations for it—really just whatever related art media has caught my eye recently.

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Hypothetically, if all your other responsibilities were wiped out of existence, and you could work on any possible project at this moment, what would that dream project be?

Ideally, I’d like to be a lead character designer on a Japanese role-playing game. I think the kind of work that I put out is more suited for that genre as opposed to most Western style games. And I also feel like I’d excel more on projects that had more female characters than male characters, or just only female characters, since I tend to prefer designing them.

Do you have a goal for yourself as an artist? As in, is there a certain standard that you want to achieve, and could you describe what you envision that to be?

There’s definitely a level I want to be at in terms of artistic skill and design sense, but it’s something I’m still working towards. Of course, I’d also say that reaching the level of my favourite artists is definitely a goal of mine, but I also believe that the learning process and interpretation of what it means to “improve” constantly shifts as an artist gets further into their artistic career. Eventually, when I do reach a level that I’m satisfied with, there will always be some other artistic endeavour I want to achieve; so it never really ends!

Are there are any active artists now who you admire? What makes their work stand out for you?

There are many who do stand out to me, and more recently I’ve been interested in artists who have good style as well as design sense. This includes artists like ASK, Akihiko Yoshida, Yuya Nagai, Ilya Kuvshinov, Shigenori Soejima, pomodorosa, and Krenz. All of these artists have really good technical skills, but are also skilled designers and have styles that are easily recognizable in the immense field of illustration and concept work. I think the reason artists like them are standing out more to me now as compared to when I was more interested in semi-realism, is that I’ve begun to notice the importance of having a good style and good design sense. With enough practice, anyone can learn to render well and paint well, but it’s harder to learn to reinterpret reality in a way that’s memorable.

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What’s the difference in your creative process when you produce original art in comparison to fan art?

The benefit of working on fan art is that you don’t have to worry about design. All of the design work has already been done, and all you need to do is focus on the composition, light, and colour. When producing original work, there’s the additional steps of figuring out coherent design that fulfils the purpose you want to achieve with it, in addition to the compositional parts. A big part of designing is problem solving, and doing fan art removes a portion of that from the equation when creating artwork, so in some ways it’s more relaxing on the brain. My personal design approach (for my own work, not for my freelance/commercial work) tends to be very impulsive, since it’s just for me and only really needs to fulfil my needs for the design.

Is there any advice you can give to aspiring digital illustrators about finding their own approach to design?

It’s important to establish a strong foundation, regardless of style, and also to recognize that it’s good to have a wide variety of influences, art related or not. I find that it’s far too easy to pigeonhole yourself into creating work that looks like your favourite artists’ work, so it’s important to be open to all kinds of inspiration to contribute to your personal work. In addition, I know many other artists say this too, but don’t worry yourself too much about comparing yourself to others or what others are up to. It’s a source of stress for many, including myself, but ultimately it amounts to a poor use of time and energy that’s better put towards improving yourself. Everybody’s growth as an artist is different, and I think that’s a core aspect of being creative in the first place.

-Contributed by Lawrence Stewen

Equals

With a wealth of sci-fi movies about the future, the trope of a society which suppresses the emotions of its citizens has become so frequent that watching them is like playing a game of spot-the-differences. In this sea of similarities, there are a few that stand out for their excellence (and some for their failures). Not many make their way into the grey zone of uncertainty, but the sci-fi dystopian romance Equals fits in there quite comfortably. Contrary to what reviewers will tell you, it’s a movie that will leave an impression—just not for the reasons one might expect.

The movie tells the story of a post-apocalyptic society in which all illnesses have been cured except one: Switched-On Syndrome, called S.O.S for short, which causes infected people to experience hypersensitivity and emotions. The infected go through four stages, after which they are taken to a special care facility and isolated from the rest of society. There they undergo electrical shock treatment to be “cured”.

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Image from popsugar.com

The protagonist of the movie is an illustrator named Silas, who discovers that he has this very illness. The movie follows the story of how he copes with the illness, and how it transforms him into the kind of person we would encounter in today’s society: laughing, crying, and feeling sad, but above all: falling in love. The subject of his affections is his co-worker Nia, a writer, and the two struggle to find a way to maintain their relationship in a society where emotions are frowned upon and any intimate physical contact is a sign the illness has reached its peak.

Unlike most dystopian movies, Equals doesn’t begin with the familiar prologue of how humans were on the verge of destroying each other before some organization stepped in and stopped them. In fact, the movie does very little to provide even a vague framework of why things are the way they are. There is a brief mention of a war and how only two populations managed to survive, but beyond that nothing else is revealed; no details of the vaguely-described bombings or why it was decided that emotions are a hindrance.

The positive result of this decision is that viewers can focus on the relationship between Silas and Nia without worrying about extraneous details. In this sense, Equals has a rather minimalistic approach to its storyline. The plot only contains the details that are deemed most necessary. This will prove challenging for an attentive viewer who hates loopholes and loose ends, as there are quite a few of both that pop up over the course of the movie. For instance, a whole scene is devoted to citizens sitting in an outdoor amphitheatre to watch the landing of a spacecraft. The broadcast states that space exploration has always been important, but why this is the case is never specified, and the topic is never touched on again.

Similarly, the documentaries that Silas illustrates for the company are given no context, while the articles Nia writes are given no more than a few brief mentions. All of these are missed opportunities in the end, for if there’s one thing the reviews are accurate about, it’s the fact that Equals brings barely any innovation to the sci-fi genre.

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Image from tv.belta.by

What makes the movie memorable and worth seeing? If there is something that director Drake Doremus was able to do beautifully, it was the minimalist aesthetics. The movie is a true wonder from an artistic and architectural perspective, all straight lines and pale lighting that accentuates the paleness of the actors. The entire movie is shot in a cool colour scheme with white and grey as the dominant colours. Some shots integrate Instagram-like filters and effects similar to a ray of sunshine across the screen. This is where Kristen Stewart’s typically expressionless face lights up, like a subject stepping out of a painting.

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Image from beautifulballad.org

The movie lays out all its cards from the beginning, and it is up to the viewer to decide what to make of the story of Silas and Nia’s romance. The Shakespearean twist near the end will come across as cliché for some, though I admit I sat and yelled at the screen for the two of them not to repeat the same mistake.

It’s a movie that won’t leave an immediate impression. It’s not one that can be readily talked about—much is left to the eyes and ears to experience, though some thought provoking moments do swim up at times. Equals is what you make of it, leaving a lot of unexplained ambiance, a cliffhanger ending, and a mostly unexplained title. The rest is left up to the imagination, and to how much one is invested in Silas and Nia’s journey.

-Contributed by Margaryta Golovchenko

The Sins of Professor X (Part Two)

Hey, did you miss me? Well I missed you! Welcome back to:

The Sins of Charles Xavier! (Part Two)

Let us jump in right where I left off on the good Professor, with…

4. Danger!

So the X-Men’s training room is pretty cool, right? For some reason Xavier saw fit to build a work-out chamber in his school called the Danger Room. It’s basically a room that can make all kinds of robots and hard-light projections so that the X-Men can practice getting shot at and train as a superhero team in a controlled environment.

It also serves as a pretty good backdrop every time Cyclops or Wolverine decide that the only way to solve their emotional issues is LARP violence. The Danger Room is basically the holodeck from Star Trek: The Next Generation dialed up to 11.

So it really shouldn’t come as any surprise when the danger room eventually gains sentience, names itself Danger, and tries to kill all the X-Men, right? Because that is exactly what happened in Astonishing X-Men by Joss Whedon and John Cassaday.

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and she has human shaped boobs because Joss Whedon’s feminism is confusing

While that all seems like a pretty run-of-the-mill amazingly insane day for the X-Men, there is something deeper and unsettling about the story of Danger, who believes that she was trapped in the Danger Room for years and forced to run out simulations for the entertainment of others.

She was right. When Professor Xavier gave the Danger Room a science-fiction style upgrade using Shiar alien technology (because the X-Men fight a surprising amount of aliens), Danger was born. She was born the moment the Professor flipped the “on” switch. And he knew.

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So much for a symbol of peace and acceptance for all intelligent life, eh Chuck?

5. He erased an entire X-Team from existence.

Okay, look. Some of the stuff I’m pulling from here was in the 70’s, which was a weird time for comics all around. But hey, it’s canon, so here we go!

The original X-Men consisted of Cyclops, Jean Grey, Angel, Beast, and Iceman. Then in 1975 the original team was kidnapped by an evil living island because comics are amazing. Professor X and Cyclops recruit a new team to save the old one. This is the first appearance of Wolverine, Storm, Nightcrawler, Sunspot, and Thunderbird. This comic is a big deal. It was the first to be written by the aforementioned Chris Claremont, and begins the saga of what most people recognise the X-Men to be today.

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The new X-Men save the old ones, end of story, right? Well… no. Between the old and new teams, the Professor actually recruited X-Men team 1.5. This team included Vulcan, the secret other brother of Cyclops. This team goes to the island and all of them die.

So naturally, instead of owning up to his responsibility in this tragedy, the professor wipes the memory of these events from Cyclops’s mind and pretends it never happened. Ha-ha. That’s nuts, Chuck.

6. He seriously messes up the lives of children.

Look, if I’m not careful this list could go on forever. I could talk about the Xavier Protocols where the good Professor created a plan to kill every one of his X-Men. I could talk about the time he and Magneto fused into a big dumb 90’s villain called Onslaught and tried to destroy the universe. I could talk about the time he faked his death to go marry an alien princess. Heck, I could just talk about how he constantly lets Magneto go because they are old buddies.

But instead, let’s talk about the state of the original X-Men, i.e. how being recruited by the good Professor ruined these people’s lives.

     6.1. Iceman

Bobby Drake aka Iceman is actually doing fine. He came out as gay recently, which is nice. I just wanted to get that out of the way. If you like the X-Men and are mad about this, I don’t think you understand what the X-Men are about.

     6.2. Beast and Angel

Okay. So when Beast joined the X-Men, he was a smart guy with big feet. Sure, he was a mutant and people bullied him about his big feet, but that’s not so bad, right? Well… after a Jekyll/Hyde style experiment, things changed for good old Hank.

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Hank these days is big, blue, and increasingly more cat-like. Do I relate to a smart guy who is covered in fur and can growl like an animal? I sure do. But not only did Beast’s body change, but he must also fight to stop his mind from turning feral as well. It is an uphill battle, and the big fuzzy genius must always be afraid of permanently losing his mind to a creature that just wants to chase a ball of string forever. That’s gotta suck, right? But Beast isn’t the only one who turned blue and lost his mind!

Angel was the most boring X-Man. His power was literally just having wings and being blond. So then to spice things up he was kidnapped by Apocalypse, tortured, brainwashed, given blue skin and knife wings, and used as a killing machine!

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As you can see from their expressions, both of them are thrilled by what being an X-Man has done for them.

     6.3. Jean Grey

Jean Grey has had it pretty rough. She died and came back to life as the Phoenix, with almost limitless power.

She could not control her power and lost her mind over time, becoming Dark Phoenix. In the Dark Phoenix Saga, she beats up all the X-Men, destroys a solar system by eating a sun, and then, when she regains just enough of her mind to see what is happening, allows herself to die before the Phoenix can take control again.

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Whoops.

Since then, Jean has come back to life again, married Cyclops, been cheated on by Cyclops, and died again (and is about to come back to life . . . again). Great job, Professor.

     6.4. Cyclops

And then there is good old Scott “Slim” Summers. Poster child of the X-Men, the Professor’s golden boy.

At least Xavier did a pretty good job raising Cyclops, right?

Well…

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Whoops x2

So over time, Cyclops became more and more militant and single-minded. He became so obsessed with saving mutants and living up to Xavier’s dream that he eventually lost his mind.

When Mutants became an endangered species, Cyclops gathered all the survivors onto an island called Utopia, and turned them into a military unit for protection. Through all of this, the Professor simply gave the thumbs up to his number one son.

But all of Charles’ good fatherhood skills kind of went down the toilet as Cyclops replaced Magneto as the mutant extremist who believes humans are his enemy, went to war with The Avengers, took control of the Phoenix force that had once consumed Jean Grey, and finally killed Charles Xavier in a mad rage.

Charles Xavier founded the X-Men with the dream of a world where Mutants and Humans could live together in peace and harmony. Over the years he tried to achieve his dream through cohesion, manipulation, violence, and driving kids insane.

This is the end of the list. This past February, Sir Patrick Stewart graced the silver screen as Professor X one last time in Logan. As always, he will continue to be kindly and elderly and all that is good in the world.

And that is all he will ever be remembered as because as far as I know, the good Professor has been wiping all our minds just as casually as he does to his precious X-Men.

And if you are wondering why I have now attacked the qualities of both Albus Dumbledore and Charles Xavier, yes, the answer is because I’m super bitter that neither of them let me into their awesome schools. Even though dashing good looks and the ability to make cats like me are obviously mutant superpowers.

-Contributed by Ben Ghan