It’s that time of the year again. School supply ads are at an annual high and children are crying themselves to sleep thinking about the end of the summer. Instead of drowning in tears thinking about the amount of homework we’re going to have this year, let’s talk about the most famous school in comics: The X-Mansion.
The X-Mansion has been one of the coolest places in all of comics since its conception in 1963. Besides having to learn the layman’s subjects such as Math, Literature, and History, mutants train to control and use their powers at Charles Xavier’s school. Forget Hogwarts: the X-Mansion encapsulates every kids’ dream of going to school to become a superhero. This school has had many transformations across its 54-year lifespan in Marvel Comics. Here’s a (very) brief history of the X-Mansion.
The X-Mansion is an integral part of the X-Men comics. Stan Lee and Jack Kirby introduced the mansion in 1963 in the very first panel of X-MEN #1. Stan Lee wrote that it was an exclusive private school in New York’s Westchester County. The official (and oddly real) address for the mansion is 1407 Graymalkin Lane, Salem Center. The Xavier family passed down the mansion for 10 generations until the mutant named Charles Xavier (AKA Professor X) inherited it. After Xavier returned from the Korean War, he decided to open up Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters at the mansion.
Stan Lee wrote that Xavier created his school to train young mutants to hone their powers to save mankind. Later on in Chris Claremont’s classic run on UNCANNY X-MEN, Professor X’s goal was also to give teenage mutants an accepting environment as they dealt with their powers. Both Stan Lee and Chris Claremont have stated that the goal of the school was to learn how to combat bigotry through education. This is reflected in the school’s motto, Mutatis Mutandis (yes, it’s real Latin). This literally translates to “that having been changed which needed to be changed.” Basically, Professor X is trying to remind his students that the shocking changes they are undertaking are natural and a part of who they are.
The School’s Beginnings
Charles’s first student was Jean Grey. At this point, Jean was only 11 years old. Professor X rescued her after she almost died from telepathically linking with her dying friend. Charles and Jean formed an early (and sometimes creepy, from Charles’s side) connection based around their enhanced mental powers. Soon, Charles recruited the mutants Warren Worthington, Henry “Hank” McCoy, Robert “Bobby” Drake, and Scott Summers to join the school. Professor X gave these four students the codenames Angel, Beast, Iceman, and Cyclops, respectively. These were his original X-Men. While studying in Professor X’s first class, they also fought Magneto, the leader of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants.
In UNCANNY X-MEN #94, every member of the old X-Men quit (except Cyclops) and Professor X recruited a new international team known as the All-New, All-Different X-Men. This team included members Nightcrawler, Wolverine, Storm, and Cyclops. Then, as these mutants grew older, a second class of mutants entered the school, known as the New Mutants. Many former students became teachers in the X-Mansion to educate this new class of students. For instance, Nightcrawler was once said to teach drama, Dani Moonstar taught history, and Angel became flight class instructor (because I guess they couldn’t think of anything else for him to do).
After this point, the Xavier School combined with their former enemy mutant school, Emma Frost’s Hellions. Emma Frost, in turn, became a central figure of the X-Men. Soon, Cyclops and Emma Frost took over from Xavier as Co-Headmasters. They rebranded the Xavier School as Xavier’s Institute for Higher Learning. This was because most of the people living at the X-Mansion by this time were adults in their twenties. The institute did not act in secrecy but opened its doors to mutants of all ages around the world. Meanwhile, Emma Frost relocated Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters to Western Massachusetts where she would teach the third class of X-Men, known as Generation X.
Later Iterations of the X-Mansion
After some years under the Xavier Institute, the X-Mansion went through some consistent and crazy changes. In Grant Morrison’s NEW X-MEN, headmasters Emma Frost and Cyclops split the institute into several coordinated squad, each with their own students that trained together. NEW X-MEN depicted Xavier Institute as a more modern, organized version of the school. After a major disagreement with the team in X-MEN: SCHISM, the X-Men divided into separate groups, one under Wolverine, the other under Cyclops. Wolverine took his group of X-Men back to the X-Mansion. There he established the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning, dedicated to the memory of the deceased Jean Grey. Wolverine, realizing he didn’t know how to manage a school, gave the school over to Storm.
Later, Storm, with the help of magic users, transported the Jean Grey School of Higher Learning over to Limbo, a place where mutants could be safe outside of time. Now, Kitty Pryde has taken over as Headmistress. This time, she has renamed the school the Xavier Institute for Mutant Education and Outreach. Here she teleports the school back to Earth into Central Park, New York City.
The Pros and Cons of Attending Xavier’s School
There are quite a few pros to attending Xavier’s School. For one, the X-Mansion grounds are absolutely beautiful. There are garages, a hedge maze, stable house, swimming pool, and basketball court. Furthermore, Xavier’s wallet is nearly endless, which means access to countless advanced facilities and technologies. However, there are many problems with the school and the X-Mansion that make it less than the ideal school.
Firstly, the X-Mansion is filled with many dangerous advanced technologies and weapons that should really not be near children. Xavier has a giant fighter jet known as the Blackbird in his basement, an advanced training room known as the Danger Room, and a device known as Cerebro that allows Xavier to read the minds of any person on Earth.
Now you may think that while this is slightly worrisome, none of the teachers would allow any danger to come to their children. That would be far from the truth. The X-Mansion has been either attacked or destroyed countless times throughout its history. Aliens, evil mutants, and other supervillains have all breached the defenses of the mansion. One time, Professor X actually combined with Magneto and destroyed the school as the mutant Onslaught. Then, in one very strange turn of events, Cerebro and the Danger Room became sentient and tried to annihilate humanity. I wonder if Charles can still afford home insurance after all the times villains have demolished the building?
The X-Mansion is a staple of the X-Men and Marvel Comics. It’s an iconic building which has appeared in countless comics and nearly every X-Men movie and cartoon. While it is sometimes unsafe and always undergoing massive changes, it serves as the perfect home for a group of people who are the personifications of change within the human race. Whether it’s known as Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters , the Xavier Institute for Mutant Outreach and Education, or the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning, it will always be the greatest school in all of comics.