Or how two of comic’s “coolest” heroes are overexposed jerks and mascots for every internet douche ever.

As the middle child in a big blended family full of step siblings and very close cousins I had an obsession with setting myself apart. Particularly from my older sister. If she liked vanilla I liked chocolate. If she hated soda I loved soda. If she loved Wolverine I loved Cyclops.

Maybe my obsession with him was more than just my rivalry with my sister. (She is likely reading this and finding out about the rivalry for the first time. Sup Noaner.) I loved Cyclops. Loved him. Even before I knew his name and just ran around calling him One Eye the dude spoke to me. Maybe it was that we both had to wear glasses or were both stylized as the too serious ones by everyone around us. Maybe it was just him shooting beams out of his face. He was my jam, but my sister loved her some Wolverine.

Because of this I spent my formative nerd years honing a distinct aversion to the petite and hirsute Canuck. I could see the appeal but I also could see that he was a little man with a big temper and an even bigger chip on those furry shoulders.

He was never exactly a hero, in the comics or in my eyes, and in cartoons–yeesh. The guy was crying over a married woman, running off half-cocked and speaking with a muddy gravel voice…or Australian for some inexplicable reason.

While envisioned as something of a Byronic hero Wolverine was all too often just a petulant grump.

Then Hugh Jackman showed up.

If anyone was going to sway me out of love for Cyclops it was this guy…too bad Cyclops had James Marsden’s cheekbones.

He transformed Wolverine from an angry little outsider into a tall, suave…outsider. He catapulted the character to stardom with a little bit of swagger and an incredibly earnest gaze and Bryan Singer’s films romanticized Wolverine. Crafted him into a loner hero tortured by love. A post-modern cowboy. The Byronic hero with none of the ugliness and all of the angst.

A few years after Wolverine and company reinvigorated the superhero genre in X-Men and X-Men 2 Christopher Nolan and Christian Bale reinvented it with their dour and hyperrealistic Batman.

Jackass alert! Scarf AND a goatee.

Nolan’s films didn’t quite glamorize its hero like Singer’s did, but both series played up the adolescent male power fantasy aspects of their heroes. These are tall, good-looking, All-American accented guys who rarely get the girl, but always get a couple of other gorgeous women, are perpetually rejected by society itself and still really frickin’ badass. Imagine every fedora wearing jerk Men’s Rights Activist, misunderstood Brony guy you knew. Now give him the face and body of Hugh Jackman or Christian Bale.

That, ladies and germs, is why they need to die in a fire.

Not literally of course. We shan’t flambe two of comics most enduring heroes, but they need to take a break from implicitly endorsing all the sad sack jerks of the world by existing in super successful movie franchises.

Joss Whedon and the folks at Marvel Studios get this. Note how in The Avengers the super good-looking Byronic hero that kind of loses his Byronic-ness by being so attractive and fit is the villain.

The only thing separating this guy from the men above is that whole desire to end the world.

As Fox prepares their next X-Men movie with a potentially big cameo from the Jackman himself and Warner Brothers woos Joseph Gordon Levitt into the Bat’s bulky plastic ears and cape for Justice League I have to cringe a little. Do we really need yet another film dominated by these characters? Both comic universes have a whole wealth of interesting folks in them–many of whom don’t exist primarily so nerdy dudes have someone to relate to.

The producers should know better too. Marvel learned the hard way that putting all their eggs in Wolverine’s basket had diminishing returns and DC continues to struggle despite having half its books feature Caped Crusader. These are characters that are more overexposed then Steve Urkel circa 1991 and fatigue could be setting in with the general populace.

So let’s put them on the back-burner for a while. Nine year old me firmly believes Cyclops would be happy to take over.

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