A friendly rivalry erupted on Twitter this week. Marvel fans debated whether the Avengers or the X-Men are Marvel’s most popular team. Throughout Marvel’s history, Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and Marvel’s Merry Mutants have passed that title back and forth. At the dawn of the Marvel Universe in the 1960s, fans thought of the X-Men as the only failure to come out of Jack Kirby and Stan Lee’s collaboration. However, when the X-Men returned in Giant-Size X-Men #1 in 1975, things changed. Through writer Chris Claremont’s 16 years of stewardship, the X-Men were the hottest thing in comics.
Claremont left the X-Men in the 1990s, but the team found a new popularity in other media. X-Men: The Animated Series turned the X-Men into household names. Their appearances in Capcom fighting games, beginning with 1994’s X-Men: Children of the Atom, helped solidify that reputation.
The X-Men’s popularity culminated with the X-Men film franchise at 20th Century Fox. After launching with X-Men in 2000, the series propelled Hugh Jackman. It also made Fox lots of money over the next 20 years.
Meanwhile, the balance of popularity in comics shifted. In 2005, writer Brian Michael Bendis and some of Marvel’s top artists, including David Finch, refreshed the Avengers into the New Avengers. To make the team more on-par with the Justice League, Bendis included some of Marvel’s most iconic characters regardless of whether they were traditionally Avengers. The original roster included Wolverine of the X-Men and Spider-Man. Bendis run of nearly a decade turned the Avengers into the flagship of Marvel’s comics line.
Then the Avengers took the cinema. In 2008, Iron Man kicked off the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In 2012, the big-screen Avengers assembled for the first time in the $1.5-billion blockbuster The Avengers. That film ultimately set the stage for future, higher-grossing Avengers movies.
In 2019, Jonathan Hickman’s relaunch of the X-Men line in House of X and Powers of X again turned the X-Men into the hottest thing in superhero comics. But how does that compare to the Avengers’ global success in film and television?
That’s what fans were debating this week. Does the Avengers’ current popularity surpass the X-Men’s past buzz? And what does the future hold? Keep reading to see what they have to say.
Maybe In the Movies
The movies definitely made the Avengers more popular to the mainstream but X-Men and Spider-Man was singlehandedly keeping Marvel in business for decades https://t.co/DzVrHKlik5
— Bran✙⁷ (@yeonbias) September 23, 2021
Noboy Gave a F***
Nobody gave a fuck about the Avengers till the MCU hell the X-Men got they own movie franchise before them and their comics were doing alot better than the Avengers https://t.co/pEj5atnV6H
— ⚡⚡ (@King2Wesley) September 23, 2021
From the Playground to Adulthood
Yes, the X-Men were always more popular than the Avengers. Avengers became a household name just over 10 years ago. When I was on the playground as a kid, or hell, even now talking to an adult who grew up with comics and asked what they lvoed. its 99.999999% of the time… X-Men pic.twitter.com/lersYXX9zY
— Blerd Without Fear!™ is the Blerd Who Remains (@BlerdMinusFear) September 23, 2021
I mean the MCU’s fanbase at this point ain’t even Marvel fans, so it’s not really fair. Anyway X-Men are like 5x better than every Avengers roster https://t.co/5s4Mx7k00j
— Noon Ω is SO FUCKING HAPPY (@BeephisHorny) September 23, 2021
The X-Men are, have been, and always will be more popular than the avengers.
— JM 🦋 (@Son0fkryptonn) September 23, 2021
People are arguing about whether the Avengers or X-Men are more popular while I’m thinking about a time when this guy was the most popular superhero in the country. #Shazam! pic.twitter.com/ZlMoD5v76i
— ComicsintheGoldenAge (@ComicsintheGA) September 23, 2021