In the movies, Magneto has spent as much time out of costume as in it. But there was a time when comic readers only saw Magneto's face from behind his helmet. Here's the story of how readers finally got to see the man behind the mask — plus the original pencil drawings of the reveal!
Image: Pencil drawings for X-Men #62 / Neal Adams for Marvel
Comic book artist Neal Adams joined us today for a Q&A where he told us the story behind the issue that gave readers their first look at Magneto — and the twist ending that inspired one of the X-men comics' best lines:
Another question: In X-Men #62, you gave us one of the biggest stunning cliffhanger endings ever when the seemingly kind scientist who helps Angel turns out to be Magneto. This was historic as the first time ever Magneto was shown without his helmet. Was that your idea or Thomas' or someone at Marvel pushing it on and did you face any trouble with it, some saying it took away from Magneto? And how did you decide upon his look with white hair and such? Also, given the instant resemblance, were there plans even then for the revelation of Magneto being Quicksilver's father? Just wondering, still an all-time great moment in your run.
1. Being Quicksilver's father was more a coincidence than on purpose. None of the plot of any of those X-Men stories was discussed with Roy Thomas because I was working in the "Marvel Style" at that time. The "Marvel Style" at that time was, if an artist was able to do the story, then he would leave notes for the writer to write in the dialogue. It was very different from the DC style, which was to work from finished scripts. At Marvel, there were no scripts, there were no notes. I went off and did the pages and handed them in, and wrote my notes on the edges of the pages. If something significant was going to happen, I would, of course have the courtesy to inform my writer, Roy Thomas, ahead of time so he wouldn't be surprised. In this case, it seemed almost silly that we had never seen Magneto, and I was making a big effort to save the book. Roy and the editorial staff had killed of Professor X, seemingly had killed off Magneto, and they intended to cancel the book so that there would be no more X-Men, ergo, no Professor X, from where the name comes. All the work I did was literally a surprise to Roy, especially bringing Professor X and Magneto back. And since Magneto's face hadn't been shown, and I was bringing him back from the dead, in effect, I could show his face and the reader would not know it was Magneto, until they saw that helmet. It was then that Roy Thomas brilliantly came up with the line, "I guess clothes do make the man." Brilliant.
Adams also shared these two original pencil drawings from the 1963 X-Men #62 with us (below). You can read the whole Q&A, where Adams also shares his thoughts on Batman's ultimate fate, right here.