The X-Men #12 (July, 1965)

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What’s Inside:

Something destructive is coming slowly and steadily towards the Xavier School, and nothing can stop it. Step by step, the powerful figure gets closer and closer, and all of the school’s defenses and attacks are ineffectual. While the inhabitants of the school await impotently for their impending doom, Xavier decides it’s time for a story.

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He tells a tale of his past to his students, a tale of evil stepfathers, betrayal, bullying, and a vast inheritance. Dr. Marko uses the death of Xavier’s father as an opportunity, marrying Xavier’s mother to gain her wealth, and opening the doors for his petulant son Cain. Cain Marko loathes young Charles with a passion and bullies him relentlessly. When Xavier’s mother and stepfather both die, Charles is left as sole inheritor of the family fortune, much to Cain’s chagrin.

As Charles tells his story, the force gets closer, eventually entering the school. Behold, the unstoppable force is Cain himself, and headed straight for his hated stepbrother!

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Writer: Stan Lee

Artist: Jack Kirby

Publisher: Marvel

Why I Kept This Issue:

Juggernaut is one of my favorite X-Men villains, maybe even my most favorite. I just love the contradictions of the character; his motivations are simple (bullying) and yet the character is an example of just how complicated the motivations for bullying can be. He’s a bully with super powers who just wants to pick on his stepbrother and feel powerful. Simple but complicated. I love it. I also love the X-Men’s non-mutant villains, and Cain is the supreme leader of that category.

I love the structure of this story, despite how ridiculous it is. The suspense and mystery of just what the fuck is this thing that is coming for the X-Men and why does Xavier have this sudden need to talk about his past now of all times and WHAT does his story have to do with this thing? I bet kids in the ‘60s who read this issue were knocking in their bell-bottoms in anticipation while reading this.

Attached Memory:

I bought this issue when I was 19 at a comic shop, the same day that I got drunk for the first time. I spent some time working at an Old Navy store in high school, and most of my coworkers were in their early 20s. Much of the staff was going out that night to a bar after the store closed, and offered to take me along. I explained that I had never drank before, and then they said that now they really wanted me to go.

We went to a small bar in Columbus where a friend of a coworker was a bartender, so he was willing to serve me even though I was underage. I wasn’t sure what to get, so someone suggested a Long Island iced tea.

I had four of them.

Only other thing I remember of that night was being driven home by my manager. I remember lowering the window to his backseat, and hurling my Long Island iced teas outside of the car on I-70 at about 75 mph, leaving a streak of vomit across his car. The following morning was my first hangover!

Condition of My Copy: Unstoppable! There’s some signature up at the top that I have never definitively figured out. I’m 99% it’s not a creator’s signature. I learned that many shops and newsstands during this time would mark the products they sold, so it might be that, or it could be the signature of a previous owner. I wish this comic could talk, and I could know the stories of all who have owned it.

Favorite Ad: So wait…wait…seriously? Kids in 1965 you could just buy a monkey through the mail for under $20??? Why didn’t more of our parents and grandparents have pet monkeys then? Why are monkeys not at the brink of domestication Conquest for the Planet of the Apes-style at this point? And I don’t want to sound gay or nothin’, but I think sea horses kick ass.

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