With Deadpool being released this weekend, and because I just heard Stan Lee will be at Denver Comic Con, I wanted to do a whole week dedicated to one of my favorite things: super heroes. From comics, to toys, to the big screen this week The Unheard is all about clobbering time! So up, up, and away!
There’s this awful Zach Braff movie called The Last Kiss. At one point Braff’s character wants to apologize to the women he wronged but she’s having none of it. So he takes up residence on her front porch for like 24 hours until she will talk to him. Aside from that being annoying, sociopathic, and borderline criminal; the thing that was bothering me the most was what he was doing about restroom breaks. As I’ve gotten older I realize that I have started letting real world concerns like this invade the things I use for escapism. And since I most often escape into the world of comics I have a ton of these thoughts about super heroes, mainly the X-Men. So it’s time form a comic books edition of random musings.
Gambit (soon to appear in the pictures played by Channing Tatum) is an X-Man who can supercharge items turning them into explosive weapons. While he will from time to time use small rocks, nuts and bolts, or whatever tiny objects are nearby he can easily grab, charge, and throw; his projectile of choice is playing cards. Cards can be accurately thrown, they’re compact enough to carry with ease, and with jokers and the rules card you get 55 of them to throw. All I’m saying is the cards make sense and I always liked it.
But one day I had a question, which snowballed into further questions. I wondered how many playing cards Gambit went through (on average) in a year? And how much he spent on cards? And how did he earn money to pay for these cards? To answer the first I could spend far too much time, and more money than I care to, buying all the comics Gambit appears in during a single year. Then scour every panel counting each card he throws. But that’s not happening, so that question will remain unanswered.
As for the other questions, I remembered Gambit’s backstory involves him being a thief in the French Quarter. So obviously he just swiped the playing cards from convenience stores, game shops, maybe even while playing poker aboard some olde timey riverboat. Or if he ever felt like buying them he probably got the money from pick-pocketing.
The thief angle works for Gambit, before he becomes a member of the X-Men, but how does he, and the rest of the X-Men, earn money while they’re protecting mutants and humans alike from other mutants, giant robots, and other evil ass dudes? We never see them working day jobs like we see Spider-Man doing, nor do them see to have fat stacks like Batman. So what gives?
Maybe this is the place where you point out that many of the X-Men serve as teachers at Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters. Which should provide them with income and food and board. And what else do they need to be buying?
I would say yes, that is a good point. But it also raises this issue: How is that school funded? Where does Xavier get the money to operate a giant ass boarding school, complete with its own Blackbird jet? Since the X-Men stories all exist in a world where most people, including the government, are very anti-mutant, I have a hard time believing this is a publicly funded school. And since most of the students are there because they ran away from parents who are ashamed, I don’t think it’s a private school with a tuition system in place.
The Avengers have a big ass, over the top headquarters because they are a government agency and they’re funded in part by money bags Tony Stark. I never got the impression Charles Xavier had such a bank roll. Maybe they have some sort of anonymous donor. But that seems a little too convenient.
In the movie X-Men: First Class it is implied the government did in fact supply Xavier with his school and the land. But are they fronting the cost to maintain it all? Is Xavier doing some morally grey area mind blockage to keep those government checks rolling in? That’s total punk rock if he is. I’m not judging, I just want answers.
Now there’s something I just skimmed over. The X-Men have a Blackbird jet. Jet fuel and basic aircraft maintenance and storage are not cheap, but I don’t want to focus more on the astronomical cost of this school. Not every X-Man can fly the Blackbird, but enough of them can that I have to ask how they learned? Is this a class available at Xavier’s school? Sure anyone can become a pilot. John Travolta has a pilot’s license for fuck sake. But small planes are different from commercial air crafts, and those are even different from military grade jets. Do some of these mutants have military flight experience to share with others? And it’s not just being able to fly the thing, but you’re going to need a dedicated mechanic to keep a jet you take into battle in top form so you can take it into battle. Is this another class offered at Xavier’s school?
Also the X-Men story lines are rife with heel turns. There’s almost always a team member who is quickly seduced by Magneto, or enslaved by Apocalypse, and turns on Xavier’s posse. What happens when you equip this person with the skills and the keys to that Blackbird? That will turn into one mega expensive mistake. That’s some real shortsightedness for someone who can read minds.
It may be that in addition to people being afraid of the mutants who use their amazing powers for evil, people are probably just upset at the reckless spending by the X-Men. Or they’re rationally concerned about civilians being in possession of a god damned Blackbird jet.
Final two thoughts: all these may have been answered, but there are a ton of X-titles so it would be easy to miss such answers. And two, maybe I just need to shut up and enjoy some dude using laser eyes to blast some other dude made of steel.