Anyone who has ever read an X-Men comic book, or at least watched the Uncanny X-Men animated series back in the 90's, would know that the issue of equal rights for mutants and non-mutants is a central theme in the series. In fact, when Stan Lee and Jack Kirby co-created the X-Men in the 1960's, it was against the backdrop of the African-American civil rights movement; the mutants were actually metaphors for minority groups that were victimized by racism and segregation.
In the real world, however, Marvel maintains that mutants are not humans. But this isn’t an ideological or a moral stance. Instead, it is a financial one. In order to get a 5.2-percent tax cut on Marvel’s imported action figures, the company lawyers claimed that the toys--which included characters from the X-Men--represent non-human creatures. Apparently, there’s a distinction between two categories of products imported into the US as defined by the Harmonized Tariff Schedule. “Dolls” are toys representing humans, whereas “toys” represent non-humans. While dolls are taxed at 12.8 percent, toys are taxed at just 6.8 percent. Two shrewd trade lawyers noticed the distinction and successfully argued to US Customs officials that Marvel’s licensed products don’t represent human beings. A series of court cases ensued, which went on for 10 years, before the judge sustained the position of Marvel. Lawyers, lawyers, lawyers.
Now, I wonder if the court erred in ruling that mutants are not humans, given the events of House of M.*
*Actually, the judge’s ruling stated that all Marvel heroes were classified as non-human, not just the X-Men. Just went on geek-mode there for a sec.
Francis Paolo Tiopianco, Entry #4