Classic Comic Cover Corner – X-Men #12

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Every Sunday morning we showcase a classic comic cover, complete with compelling commentary, for your cordial contemplation. It’s the Classic Comic Cover Corner!

X-Men #12 – July, 1965

Cover art by Jack Kirby

X-Men #12 – July, 1965
X-Men #12 – July, 1965

Did you hear the news this week that North Korea is threatening a “merciless counter-measure” if the new James Franco and Seth Rogen comedy film, “The Interview,” is released in theaters next October? [Read about it at the] Leave it to those two to start an international incident that could lead to the end of the world as we know it. But this “international incident” got me to thinking, “What other comic book style threats have originated in ‘the Hermit Kingdom?’”

Well, in the Marvel Universe, the unstoppable force known as The Juggernaut got his powers, at least indirectly, from North Korea. It all happened back in X-Men #12, which just happens to contain the secret origins of both Professor Xavier and his evil-doing step-brother, Cain Marko (AKA, Juggernaut.)

X-Men #12 – July, 1965This Stan Lee/Jack Kirby classic tells the story of how young Charles Xavier’s mother, Sharon, married his deceased father’s friend, Dr. Kurt Marko, who has a son, Cain, from a previous marriage. But there’s just something wrong with that boy and Dr. Kurt devotes most of his attention to his new step-son, Charles.

Cain grows up resenting and bullying his step-brother, but when the two young men enlist in the army and are shipped off to fight in the Korean War, they stumble upon a North Korean cave containing the “Crimson Gem of Cyttorak,” and when Cain touches the stone he absorbs its unstoppable power.

At Marko’s transformation the cave collapses and Charles believes his brother to be dead, until years later when the villain attacks Xavier’s school and his X-Men. The story carries over into X-Men #13 as well, when the Professor tries to get other heroes from the Marvel Universe to assist (including Rick Jone’s Teen Brigade), but only the Human torch seems to have time for the mutants.

Maybe Franco and Rogen can call on the “Teen Brigade” to get them out of the “supreme” mess they’re in with Kim Jong Un?

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Bob Leeper
Bob Leeper is the co-owner and manager of "Arizona’s Pop Culture and Alternative Art Network," Evermore Nevermore. He is the co-creator of the pop culture events Steampunk Street and ENCREDICON, and is a member of the Phoenix Film Critics Society. He also curates the Facebook fan site The Arizona Cave – AZ Fans of Edgar Rice Burroughs, and is one of the few brave and bold fans of Jar Jar Binks.