In June 1938, a new comic book hit newsstands and dime stores, captivating American children's imaginations instantly. The first issue of Action Comics established the superhero genre presenting Superman, an archetypal comic hero for the ages. The creation of writer Jerry Siegel and artist Joe Shuster, the Man of Steel quickly became a cultural icon. The flood of Superman merchandise that fed the success of Action Comics included everything from brightly colored miniature statues to superhero rings. Seemingly overnight, the powerful superhero had become cultural phenomenon. By 1945 Superman was joined by several more heroes: Batman, Captain America, Green Lantern, and Wonder Woman, the first super heroine. While the popularity of superheroes rose and fell. The publication of Dr. Frederic Wertham's "Seduction of the Innocent" (1954) which accused comic books of promoting juvenile delinquency prompted a deep decline in comic book readership. Our fascination with costumed characters who battle the forces of evil, however, has long endured. For instance, as a new president took office in January 2009, Marvel Comics released Amazing Spider-Man #583, which pairs the web-slinging superhero with President Barack Obama who collected Spider-Man comics as a child.
The X-Men are a superhero team in the Marvel Universe, created by writer Stan Lee and artist Jack Kirby. They first appeared in September 1963, and told the story of a group of men and women who possessed an "X-Gene," which endowed them with mutant powers.