RAGE AND VIOLENCE IN XMEN:TAS

There’s far less than you think.  When Logan slugged Scott for “leaving Morph behind” in our opening story, it was the only time (that I remember) that we were allowed to show that ferocious a violent act among our characters.  This was kids TV after all.  We could destroy planets, but no punching people.  Cities could crumble, but we had to be careful never to knock anybody out (implied head injury).  Woozy, yes.  Knocked-out, no.  After Wolverine’s chest was scratched by Sabretooth early on, we saw no more blood and rarely a bandage (implied injury).  We found ourselves in the tough position of taking a ruthless set-up (super-beings fighting over the future of the world), based on a fierce comic (check out 1992 X-Men covers), in a long tradition of heroic struggle (check out a few unabridged myths — Hercules/Herakles killed people from his bassinet).  This was before the wide-open world of premium cable TV.  To keep true to the comics — and thousands of years of heroic story-telling — we at X-MEN:TAS had to transfer the drama and intensity of actual violence to character conflicts.  Years later I was asked by a clueless executive from another network: “Why did your X-Men have to argue so much?”  If people don’t care enough to fight for what they believe in, why should the audience care?  There’s nothing duller than a superhero team with characters that are never at odds.  To paraphrase an early-1930s movie, I Cover the Waterfront: “If two guys agree on something, one of ’em isn’t necessary.”  That certainly holds for heroes.  As to the endless discussion of violence in popular culture (I care, I have children), I would refer you to Steven Pinker’s excellent book Angels of Our Better Nature, which illustrates how much less violent we humans have become over the centuries.  Comic books and video games — and cartoons — have not corrupted us.

Wolv punch

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