The X-Boys

Willverine

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The X-Boys has been one of my pet projects lately. At the moment, I'm still working on the characters and outlining the overall story but I wanted to post this somewhere and get a little feedback.

The concept: The X-Men in the Old West, or X-Men meets Young Guns. I recently read a few books on the Lincoln County Wars in New Mexico, which served as the basis of Young Guns and of course, turned Billy the Kid into a legend. For whatever reason, I felt that the two stories would mix well and started working on it. Reading 1602 also stimulated my desire to do this.

It's pretty rough so far but please, let me know what you think of it. It would help me get further since I'm having a lot of writer's block right now. I would especially appreciate any help from someone who knows a little bit about New Mexico's history, I'm a little rusty on that. Thanks in advance.



The X-Boys

Timeline: Late 1870s, early 1880s. New Mexico territory, Lincoln County area or composite.

main characters (so far):

Charles "Charley" Xavier (Prof. X) - British immigrant and wealthy rancher with alleged "mystic" abilites, lost the use of his leg after being shot by bandits seeking to rob his stagecoach. Both of them died mysterious deaths, which have led to many accusations of Xavier being a practicioner of witchcraft or some other supernatural/arcane arts. After setting up shop in the New Mexico territory, he began hiring wayward youths, giving them shelter, food and jobs while also teaching them to read and write and giving them lessons in social graces. His presence in the territory and his ambitious enterprise have raised the ire of rival cattle barons such as Nathaniel Essex.

"One Eye" Summers (Cyclops) a/k/a "Righty" - Typical teenager who woke up one morning with "hellfire coming from his eyes", he could not control it. After setting everything in sight ablaze, he was shot through his left eye by the local marshall. He was left for dead but survived, as the beams from his eyes disintegrated the bullet as it penetrated his left eye. The incident gave him full control over the rays that he shoots from his remaining right eye. Survived as a thief (using his eye beams to pick locks and crack safes) running with a gang of young bandits throughout Texas and New Mexico. After his gang was run down by bounty hunters, he met Charles Xavier while begging for food and was given a chance to earn a living the honest way instead of constantly living in fear of the law. He was Xavier's first charge, a hard worker and a natural leader among his peers on Charley's ranch.

Logan a/k/a Naiyenezgani (Wolverine) - A mystery of a man who lived among the Apache tribe. His feral instincts, quick healing and animalistic nature in a fight have led many in the tribe to believe he is a guardian spirit, the physical embodiment of Naiyenezgani (Apache war god, name translates to "Killer of Enemies"). Since Union soldiers slaughtered his host tribe, he has been hunted and tracked to no avail. Many who have encountered him since that time have not lived to tell the tale. After a recent encounter with Union troops, some veterans from that group said that they remember fighting alongside him during the Civil War. Rumor has it that he's got claws that come from his hands that he uses as weapons. His past is shrouded in mystery and confusion, which most attribute to his love of "the hooch". Charles Xavier found him hiding out on his ranch after some of his livestock had been found mutilated and eaten raw, and offered him refuge from his pursuers. Most of the others on the ranch keep their distance from him, except for Jeannie Grey, who Logan has taken quite a liking to (much to the dismay of Summers).

Hank McCoy (Beast) - Primitive and brutish by appearance, charming and well-read by choice. Hank McCoy gained culture by travelling as an acrobat with the circus, but was shunned by most of the "normal" folks around him. Seeking camraderie and a way to expand his horizons, he found his way to Xavier's ranch and has since become one of Charley's most enterprising charges, helping Xavier to develop more efficient ways to manage his land and livestock.

Warren Worthington (Angel) - Former missionary, turned away from his work after witnessing the massacre of a Navajo tribe that he was living among. During the raid, he managed to assist the escape of a handful of families, including the chief's. For this, they say, he was rewarded with the spirit of the eagle. Many rumors say that he sometimes spreads giant wings and takes flight. Some who claim to have seen this claim that he's an angel sent from Heaven. He took shelter at Xavier's to hide out from Union troops who had a price on his head for conspiring against them during the massacre.

Bobby "Icehouse" Drake - Bobby Drake is the youngest of Xavier's charges, an orphan who discovered as a child that he could change the temperature around him and create ice from out of thin air. He was released from his orphanage at the request of Xavier, who became his guardian, and is now in charge of keeping the ranch's icehouse cold. Likes to play practical jokes on the others, which sometimes gets him in more trouble than he would like.

Jeannie Grey (Jean Grey/Marvel Girl/Phoenix)- Jeannie's parents worked for Xavier prior to his immigration to the U.S. and during that time, became two of his closest friends. He offered them the chance to come join him and the promise of new opportunities for them and their young daughter in the States. During the heist which cost Charles the use of his legs, her parents were shot to death. From that point forward, Charles became her guardian and promised her the best that life had to offer in America. She and Charles have an unbreakable bond, and now in her teens, she has started to exhibit some of the same alleged mystic abilities as he. This makes a lot of people in the region uncomfortable, as they believe that not only is Xavier practicing witchcraft, but that he's teaching it as well. While Jean's abilities are similar to his, she often experiences massive blackouts and lack of control, which he is assisting her with.

Nathaniel Essex (Mister Sinister) - Nathaniel Essex is Xavier's most powerful and ambitious rival in the region, and he's been in business considerably longer. Essex, like Xavier, is also a British immigrant as well a graduate of Oxford University. Before immigrating to America, he had travelled most of Europe as well as Egypt, where he studied the pyramids and hieroglyphics and other strange and interesting phenomena. It wasn't until the passing of his noble parents that he collected his inheritance and made his way to the States. His move to the New Mexico territory and the acquisition of his lands came at the expense of tribes and settlers, by financial means or by force. Many in the region see him as an untouchable, and in fact, he owns most of the lawmen and therefore calls the shots. Rumors have spread that he has extraordinary abilities, some which are so outlandish as to claim that he can raise the dead and make people disappear into thin air. His rivalry with Xavier thusfar has teetered on the brink of violence without breaking into a full-scale bloodbath, but many feel that it is only a matter of time before the fuse runs out.

Victor "Slasher" Creed a/k/a "Dog" (Sabretooth) - Former bounty hunter, tracker and muscle-for-hire, now employed "almost exclusively" by Nathaniel Essex. Feared throughout the southwest and even several points east as a cruel and emotionless killer. The legend of his brutality includes witness accounts of him surviving multiple gun blasts, stabbings and other attacks that would leave most men dead in their tracks before killing his bounties. Madams and whoremongers are weary of his business as he often leaves their employees dead and drained of blood afterwards. He is ready to go to war with Xavier's camp as soon as Essex gives the word, and especially to taking down Logan and collecting the high bounty on his head, dead or alive, though he would prefer dead as usual.


So the story goes...

I wanted to fuse elements of the Lincoln County Wars story with elements of the X-Men. Since this story takes place in the late 1800's, most people couldn't really grasp or explain what a mutant is in the modern sense. Words like DNA and genetics weren't widely used then, so pretty much any abilities or powers that the characters have are explained through mystical or supernatural means, hence the mentions of witchcraft and black magic. There are a lot of other details in my head that I'm trying to incorporate into the characters and the concept, but I'm trying to be methodical so that I can let certain things build up and get my own feel for the pace and situations that would arise, the dramatic sense of the story itself.

Some of the folks I've shared this with so far have asked "where's Magneto?" Well, I plan on bringing him into the fold, but for the early parts of the story, I couldn't figure out where he would fit. What interest would the Master of Magnetism have in a war between rival cattle barons? I figured that Mr. Essex would work well, and allow me to bring in elements of Apocalypse eventually. I felt Sabretooth would also work well because, like Wolverine, I could really get a feel for him in an Old West setting. Both characters are very easy to adapt to that world where the tougest fists and the fastest guns are the only real law. I've been toying around with bringing Juggernaut and Black Tom into the mix with Essex's crew as well.

Getting back to Magneto. The best conclusion I had for adding him to the story was in the future after most of the dust has settled between Xavier's Boys and Essex's camp. He would basically, be a railroad tycoon who wanted to lay his steel tracks through Xavier's lands. At first, the two would hit it off and confide in each other about their abilities, to make sure that cornerstone dynamic of their relationship from over the years exists in this timeline. The problem there is figuring out what would be the spike to drive between them that would lead to their split and the battles that spring up from that. That's where a big part of the writer's block I'm experiencing comes from.

This has been a lot of fun though, as I've found myself going off onto tangents and trying to find ways to put other non-X characters (Iron Man, the Fantastic Four, Spidey, Nick Fury and Hulk) into the same timeline.
 

ProjectX2

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It sounds fun. I've had ideas for placing Marvel characters into settings such as the Victorian Era, so this is a great inspiration.
 

Fuzzy Birds

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Excellent stuff! However, I do notice some striking similarities to 1602 (particularly mutants being branded as witchcraft), but in reading the character bios and the idea of the story I think it's definitely different enough to stand apart from Gaimans little masterpiece.

I think it's also a good idea to focus just on one corner of the MU characters. A problem with 1602 was that there was no real focal character or group other than Nick Fury.
 

Willverine

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Excellent stuff! However, I do notice some striking similarities to 1602 (particularly mutants being branded as witchcraft), but in reading the character bios and the idea of the story I think it's definitely different enough to stand apart from Gaimans little masterpiece.

I think it's also a good idea to focus just on one corner of the MU characters. A problem with 1602 was that there was no real focal character or group other than Nick Fury.

I hear you. Those have both been concerns of mine. The issue with witchcraft has been the major originality problem. I could throw different terms around like shamanism in there but really, it all boils down to the same concept of supernatural intervention.

As far as the non-X possibilities within this timeline go, they've all been temporary distractions, just kicking around ideas until I get back around to where I'd left off previously. Xavier's Boys are definitely the main concern, although I had some pretty interesting plans for Iron Man right in the middle of the Industrial Revolution and Nick Fury as a classic "Josey Wales" type character. Something about the eyepatch and the cigars, I guess. Good to write down the ideas, just in case.
 

Fuzzy Birds

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I hear you. Those have both been concerns of mine. The issue with witchcraft has been the major originality problem. I could throw different terms around like shamanism in there but really, it all boils down to the same concept of supernatural intervention.

As far as the non-X possibilities within this timeline go, they've all been temporary distractions, just kicking around ideas until I get back around to where I'd left off previously. Xavier's Boys are definitely the main concern, although I had some pretty interesting plans for Iron Man right in the middle of the Industrial Revolution and Nick Fury as a classic "Josey Wales" type character. Something about the eyepatch and the cigars, I guess. Good to write down the ideas, just in case.

Those both sound good too; I could definitely see a kind of steam powered Iron Man. Again, a bit similar to in 1602 (New World this time), but at least it would be more believable in the middle of the Industrial Revolution. And as for shamanism, I think that sounds much better than just plain witchcraft. I would have thought that at that time, there would be more concern about the Native Americans and their practices than plain old witches.
 

Willverine

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And as for shamanism, I think that sounds much better than just plain witchcraft. I would have thought that at that time, there would be more concern about the Native Americans and their practices than plain old witches.

True, and that's easily done in the case of Logan and Worthington as per their origins, but it gets a little trickier when I try to apply the shamanism aspect to wealthy British immigrants like Xavier and Essex. Of course, the easy way out is just to call it magic, in general.

Now that I think about it, the public at large probably wouldn't know about Xavier's abilities (just the peculiar company he keeps) and I've tinkered with the idea of Essex claiming to be a holy man of some sort, even though his sinister actions would point to the contrary. Not that anyone would speak up about it, since he is a rich and powerful figure.
 

Fuzzy Birds

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True, and that's easily done in the case of Logan and Worthington as per their origins, but it gets a little trickier when I try to apply the shamanism aspect to wealthy British immigrants like Xavier and Essex. Of course, the easy way out is just to call it magic, in general.

Now that I think about it, the public at large probably wouldn't know about Xavier's abilities (just the peculiar company he keeps) and I've tinkered with the idea of Essex claiming to be a holy man of some sort, even though his sinister actions would point to the contrary. Not that anyone would speak up about it, since he is a rich and powerful figure.

Now I like that. Have you seen Carnivale by any chance? Clancy Brown plays a holy man, and goddamn is he scary. I could totally see Essex in this kind of role. I'm digging it a lot.
 

Victor Von Doom

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Classic X-Men...... :rockon:

Western........ :rockon:

Both together......... :rockon::rockon::rockon::rockon::rockon: x a billion.




Seriouosly...I'm looking forward to this. The similarities between this and 1602 are gonna be pretty obvious...but with small tweaks here and there to differeniate between them, it shouldn't be a problem.
 

Seldes Katne

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Interesting idea. The X-Men in particular seem to lend themselves well to a wide variety of adaptations. (Isn't there a series in which they're used in Oriental fairy tales?)

Native American culture and mythology are particular interests of mine, so that part really caught my attention. The Navajo (who call themselves the Diné, Dine, or Dineh, depending on whose account you read) make a distinction between medicine men and what are called “skinwalkers”, evil “witches” who use powers and rituals to harm others. I’ve found some links for you if you want to research the topic. I hope this helps (or at least doesn’t confuse the idea any more than necessary… :wink: ).

http://www.geocities.com/asdzani/navajo/skinwalk.html Brief overview of skinwalkers.

http://www.hunterbear.org/navajo_witchcraft_and_the_skinwa.htm Written by someone who has lived around the Navajo for many years. Critiques the film based on the Tony Hillerman novel Skinwalkers, and includes an encounter the author had with a skinwalker.

http://www.west.asu.edu/paloverde/Paloverde2001/Witch.htm A literary magazine writer takes a look at the history surrounding a Navajo “witch purge”.

http://www.sohpodcast.com/forum/comments.php?DiscussionID=433&page=1 (Blog entry on skinwalkers)

http://oncampus.richmond.edu/~rnelson/233/toelken.html A study of Coyote tales among the Navajo. The author discusses several layers of symbolism. The section on “skinwalkers” is about halfway down the page.


Medicine Men:

http://focus.hms.harvard.edu/2002/Oct11_2002/forum.html More of a commentary about preserving Navajo traditions, but the author is talking to and about a medicine man who speaks to medical students.

http://www.indians.org/welker/navajo.htm Some very general information on the Navajo, including some of their legends. Be sure to read the story at the very bottom, which has nothing to do with the topic, but is quite funny (and painfully accurate).

http://www.cr.nps.gov/history/online_books/region_111/vol3-3d.htm Part of this is an account of a medicine man working a ritual for a sick child. Keep in mind that it was written in 1941.



If you don’t want to mess with something like this, you might want to look into the concepts of “spiritualists” or occultists instead. I’m not sure what the Spanish/Mexican belief systems are on witchcraft – that’s outside my field of study – but it’s another possibility, since you’re setting this pretty close to Mexico, and there’s a lot of Spanish influence in that part of the US.

Spiritualism:

http://www.lhup.edu/~DSIMANEK/doyle.htm The first part of the article briefly describes modern “spiritualism”.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spiritualism

http://religiousmovements.lib.virginia.edu/nrms/Spiritsm.html

Of course, there is a difference between spiritualism and witchcraft. (And between “witchcraft” and “wicca”, but it seems you’re more interested in the former.)

Oh, almost forgot….

New Mexico History:

http://www.ppsa.com/magazine/NMtimeline.html

http://www.nmmagazine.com/NMGUIDE/nmhistory.html

http://www.newmexico.org/go/loc/about/page/about-history.html

http://www.archaeolink.com/historic_new_mexico_new_mexico_h.htm (a whole page of history links)
 

Willverine

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Nice! Thanks for the links! That should give me some light reading into some more possibilities. Much appreciated.
 

compound

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Getting back to Magneto. The best conclusion I had for adding him to the story was in the future after most of the dust has settled between Xavier's Boys and Essex's camp. He would basically, be a railroad tycoon who wanted to lay his steel tracks through Xavier's lands. At first, the two would hit it off and confide in each other about their abilities, to make sure that cornerstone dynamic of their relationship from over the years exists in this timeline. The problem there is figuring out what would be the spike to drive between them that would lead to their split and the battles that spring up from that. That's where a big part of the writer's block I'm experiencing comes from.
Oh, this much seems obvious to me...

A natural extension of Xavier's inclusionary philosophy would be to have a 'preservationist' (for lack of a better word) view of culture -- be it among the native tribes, or the recent immigrants. The classic 'mosaic' approach towards multiculturalism. He would want this to be a guiding principle behind any expansion of urban civilization. Very much influenced by the kind of attitudes that Mark Twain and the American Anti-Imperialists would later adopt towards American commonwealths and "insular areas" (my home country, The Philippines, included).

In contrast, Magneto would be the usual advocate of mutants as Nitzschean uber-mensch that he always is, except that his perspective would specifically call for a 'transcendant' eradication of culture, under the basis of 'human' progress; sort of like Edison's approach to industry and business, applied to the evolutionary level.

You could even play it out visually, in a scene where Xavier and Magneto are observing iron ore being smelted for train tracks. Charles talks about America as melting pot; whereas Magneto sees only "impurities" weakening the material. It sort of creates a neat dichotomy between integration and separatism that ignores the possibilty of an Ayn Randian middle-ground, with an "enlightened elite" leading the way, but that could eventually be the direction Xavier starts to go in (depending on whether he considers his school merely a refuge for genetic misfits, or a training ground for the future leaders of the early 20th Century).

Hmmm... I don't think I'm phrasing this quite right. I'll post more soon, when I have a bit more time, and I've sorted out my ideas better.
 
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ourchair

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*bump*

This is actually an awesome idea.

I've also been paying attention to the themes of Deadwood lately, and I think one angle we can look at in a Western-themed X-Men is the idea of how a community is born out of chaos --- which is pretty much the whole series mission of Deadwood --- and the notion that a super-powered minority group trying to build its own civilized existence out in the West is pretty interesting on its own terms.

I haven't really thought this out yet, but I think Magneto could work into the storyline as someone who's from the East Coast. A lot of writers dealing with stories about the history of the West Coast often like to establish the East Coast as 'traditional business'/'established power' and the West Coast as 'luck-seeking pioneers'/wannabe self-made men'. A 20th Century example of would be how Hollywood was born out of filmmakers seeking to escape the reaches of Thomas Edison's monopolies, patents and enforcers.

Thus, Magneto should be part of that East Coast power. It'd also be an interesting twist because he would then be the 'assimilationist' (which has often been Xavier's role in any given X-Men story) where Charles is the one who seeks to build a new society for his people. Of course, both characters would still retain their respective well-meaning humanist and aggressively militant streaks, but tis interesting, no?
 

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