OUR WISEST, KINDEST SOUL: The Beauty of the Beast

Hank McCoy is the most thoughtful superhero character I know, anywhere.  He didn’t start out that way.  In the first dozen books in 1963, he’s just one of the the guys, a big lug who wisecracks and leers right along with the other regular-guy, street kids taken in by Dr. Charles Xavier.  Then, to someone’s credit (Stan’s?) Hank McCoy started sounding distinctly more well-read.  Not wise or thoughtful yet, but he started to conspicuously use “big words,” a fancier vocabulary that set him apart.  The idea evidently was to contrast the fact that he was “the Beast,” erudite despite his appearance.  When years later he gained acutal fur the contrast increased, and as he and the other X-Men became accomplished adults rather than mouthy teens his wisdom and eloquence gradually increased.  We at X-MEN:TAS ran with this idea, supercharged it.  Our constant method was to differentiate our characters as much as we could, so we wrote Hank to be as thoughtful and considerate as we could make him.  Wolverine cared deeply about people but, in true rebel-hero fashion, he’d be damned if he’d show it.  Our Beast was so confident, so at home in his own blue skin, that he openly displayed his kindness and compassion with no fear of diminishment or ridicule.  He was big, strong — and kind.  He loved to read, as did we on the X-MEN:TAS writing staff.  Below is an image of Beast, at the end of “The Phoenix Saga” when the team has just realized that Jean Grey has decided to sacrifice her life.  Moments later he manages to conjure one of his most heartfelt poetic quotes, from Emily Dickinson: “Parting is all we know of heaven and all we need of hell.”  Thank you Hank, and flawless voice-actor George Buza, for giving us that moment.

beast-tears

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