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Off My Mind: Is Spider-Man Considered a Mutant?

Let's get to the bottom of this debate.

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What is a mutant? Depending on what comic universe you live in and who you ask, the answer could vary. Mutants and the X-Men are almost interchangeable. I've always wondered who was the first to use the phrase. Was it Charles Xavier? Did Mr. Sinister and Apocalypse use it in the 1800s? (It first appeared in a different context in a Marvel comic in 1959's Tales of Suspense #6). If you subscribe to the X-Men's thinking, a mutant is an individual born with the genetic trait, or x-gene, that allows them to develop powers naturally, usually at the time puberty hits.
 
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a mutant is defined as "of, relating to, or produced by mutation." Another definition is "the act or process of being altered or changed."  
 
The big question is, is Spider-Man a mutant? His powers are definitely related to and produced by a mutation. He has been altered and changed. It's time to settle this once and for all. 
== TEASER == 

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Let's think about the biggest user of the word mutant: Professor X. He may be the leading authority on genetics and mutation but he's also a big jerk. He may have been the one that coined the phrase and adopted it for his kind, but in doing so, he pretty much set up an exclusive club. He's made great strides for mutants but he's also isolated them from others with powers. It shouldn't matter if the individual had a genetic quirk that gave them powers or if it was some other wacky accident. The Fantastic Four mutated when they were hit by cosmic rays. The public doesn't dwell on that and has accepted them as heroes. Life could have been different for the X-Men all these years if he chose a different way to discuss mutants in his early speeches. Professor X was a hypocrite in keeping his mutants isolated from others that have mutated and should have focused on unifying them with those that were different.
 
Spider-Man has had his own problems over the years. Often branded as a menace, I don't recall him being accused of being a mutant. The word has become a dirty word or label in the Marvel Universe and Spider-Man doesn't need another reason for people to hate him but it's time for a change. Spider-Man is a mutant. Professor X might argue but by definition, Spider-Man should be one. He has changed on a genetic level. His body has mutated. End of story. Just because he may be an expert in his field doesn't mean Professor X can simply changed the definition of a word. This isn't saying Spider-Man should join the X-Men any time soon but let's see the word used as it was meant to be used. Spider-Man is a mutant.