Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and the X-Men
By Dakota Wiegand
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
Had a very shiny nose
And if you ever saw it
You would even say it glows
All of the other reindeer
Used to laugh and call him names
They never let poor Rudolph
Join in any reindeer games
Then one foggy Christmas Eve,
Santa came to say,
Rudolph with your nose so bright,
Won't you guide my sleigh tonight
Then how all the reindeer loved him,
As they shouted out with glee,
Rudolph the red-nose Reindeer
You'll go down in history
We all know this classic Christmas song and the stop-motion movie that was associated with it. It’s a song about a reindeer that was different from the rest and didn’t fit in until he had an opportunity to use his gift to help save Christmas. Once he saved Christmas, he was accepted for who he was. It’s a classic Christmas story for kids, but as an Adult geek who has time to think during my commute to and from work, I think a little more deeply about some things.
One morning, a week before Thanksgiving, I was listening to the 106.7 LITE FM and their “non-stop” Christmas music. Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer came on one morning and I had an epiphany, Rudolph is an X-Man! Some of you may be like, “Your crazy” or “NERD!” but I think I am on to something here.
Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, which will simply be called Rudolph from this point on, was originally created in 1939 by Robert L May for a short story in the magazine, the Montgomery Ward. The story of Rudolph was popularized by the Johnny Marks song of the same title, but was famously sung by Gene Autry in 1949. It was then propelled to super-stardom by the NBC TV-special that aired in December of 1964 by Rankin/Bass Productions.
The X-Men series first debuted in September of 1963, a year before the TV-special. The series was created by the famous Stan Lee and Jack Kirby by Marvel Comics and is arguably the most recognizable assets of Marvel Comics today. The X-Men series follows the struggles and heroic conflicts of a team of mutants, humans with powers and abilities, as they battle villainy and the society norms. The group is almost always prosecuted and the subjects of racism and insensitivity by normal people. Sound familiar?
Now let’s link the two. Rudolph is a reindeer with a glowing red nose while the rest of the reindeer have a black nose, in case you didn’t know. Apart from that, Rudolph is a normal reindeer buck who was growing up alongside other reindeer that have no abnormalities. Because Rudolph was born with his nose and was discriminated for it. Besides the movie, physically showing Rudolph being excluded from being with the other reindeer, the song includes the fact that Rudolph was Used to laugh and call him names, They never let poor Rudolph, Join in any reindeer games. Similar to the X-Men who, as children, start to learn about their powers, they are treated poorly for being different and are subject to bullying, exclusion, and discrimination.
Much like many of the mutant children and teenagers, Rudolph was dealing with depression and decided he would be better off running away from home to find a place where he would be accepted or able to start over and hide from the people who knew about his powers. Now in the X-Men comics, the kids would normally find places where they were either not accepted, hidden among other mutants, or brought up by Professor Xavier and the X-Men or Magneto and the Brotherhood. Rudolph comes across the Island of the Misfit Toys, a group of toys and creatures that are different from the rest of them. From there Rudolph was accepted for being different but none of them wanted to do anything about the discriminations that they face and would rather live alone in peace than deal with the rest of the world. In parallel with the X-Men, a group of mutants known as the Morlocks live separately from the rest of the world. This group commonly lives in the sewer system and is there to accept the more noticeably deformed mutants. They fend for themselves and don’t interact with the outside world and rarely push for changes.
Even though Rudolph takes to the Island of Misfit Toys and feels like he can be himself among people, he has a desire to not live in exclusion of everyone and heads back to society where Santa Clause discovers his potential and asks him to help him in delivering Christmas presents on a very foggy Christmas night. His call to Rudolph wasn’t accepted initially by Santa’s sleigh team, but after Rudolph uses his powers to help safely guide Santa and the sleigh team on Christmas night, he became accepted among the other reindeer and was renowned as a hero.
Santa, in this case, is similar to Professor Xavier where he accepted Rudolph’s gift and saw the benefit to help everyone out. Professor X took in lost mutants and taught them to accept that their powers are gifts and that they can use that gift to benefit the world and the people around them. Naturally, the X-Men and other mutants still struggle with society and face discrimination, but the X-Men do make progress among those that they protect and slowly change the minds of the people who discriminate against them.
In conclusion to these relevant arguments, Rudolph would be considered a mutant among his reindeer kind, but is ultimately accepted after he helped save Christmas. Now am I saying that Rudolph should be given blue and yellow spandex and channel a laser beam from his nose? No. But I can see Rudolph teaming up with Wolverine in some Christmas special fighting off the Brotherhood from destroying Christmas! Let’s face it, it probably has already been done! So next time you are singing along to the song or watching the stop-motion movie, you’re secretly celebrating an X-Man who overcame discrimination.