Jean Grey, X-Men’s X-Sexiest Lady: Why Comic Books Are Sexy

Regular ol' Famke, but who's complaning?

Who needs a pick-me-up after the crushing agony of legislative second-class citizenship? I know I do. I’ve been to about 100 marriage equality rallies in NYC lately, and it just doesn’t get any easier.

But, hey, it’s the weekend and this is TECHNOSTRADDLE. So let’s get trashed and talk about comic books! Who needs mean ol’ real life when there is so much fantastical cartoon life awaiting us! And what better way to ease into comic escapism than with Jean Grey, aka the sexiest X-Man (X-Lady?).

You might have seen the X-Men movies. You might have googled “Famke in the nude” (don’t forget to turn that pesky ‘safe search’ off). Either of those entry points suffice for the purposes of this crash course.

So, in the X-Men movies, Famke Janssen plays the Phoenix/Jean Grey. Remember? Super hot. See? This is easy. Come back to that hot pun later. It will make SO MUCH SENSE.

As I mentioned in the Technostraddle introduction, Jean Grey is my long time flame (I’m done now, that one wasn’t even on purpose).

When I started reading, the X-Men looked like this. Jean Grey is getting stabbed for some reason in the bottom right.

When I started reading, the X-Men looked like this. Jean Grey is getting stabbed for some reason in the bottom right.

As a tiny lass in Tennessee, my father would trot me over to the comic book store as often as I could convince him to. And even then, my nascent sapphic leanings yielded more than a few Jean Grey centric comics. The tale of my forbidden love begins there. Unfortunately, the tale of Jean Grey is super super complex. But that’s okay. Here are the need-to-knows:

Jean Grey is basically the most powerful mutant in the X-Men universe! She can read your thoughts, often control them, and also smash shit around (that’s not telepathy it’s telekinesis, jerk!). She’s an Omega-level mutant, and I don’t know what the hell that means but it sounds intense. I should call my best friend and ask him what that means, because honest to god he can recite the names of all the X-Men and there’s at least 200 of those suckers. Oh yeah- Jean Grey is really intelligent too, which is just plain overkill when you are a telepath.

Something key to note: she often loses control of her powers and is inhabited by this crazy flaming ghost-bird thing called the Phoenix force. A really lucky ghost-bird thing. Sometimes Jean’s totally down with the Phoenix force and sometimes it makes her go hog wild. In those times it’s best to stay home and bolt the doors, because in spite of her runaway sexiness, dark, scary Phoenix tends to really screw things up in a big powerful planet-devouring kind of way.

Nowadays in comic world Jean Grey is usually dead, but don’t worry! Comic books are extremely
inconsistent with most plot lines,
because when a new writer picks up they usually just give the previous writer the finger and do whatever the fuck they want. So she comes back all the time.

Famke from the X-Men movies. You saw these, right?

Famke from the X-Men movies.

She often pops up to haunt Scott Summers’ dreams whilst he canoodles with Emma Frost, who is also sexy in an ice queen BDSM mistress way. You might remember Scott Summers from the movie as sucking, or as the mutant Cyclops. He was (and still is in some circles) her husband. He is also undoubtedly the lamest X-Man around because he’s usually the self righteous leader of the X-Folk, his power is stupid, and he’s kind of dumb but classic (like an American Eagle model).

Jean Grey’s poor taste in men is her only weakness, which I suppose is forgivable. Ultimately Cyclops’ alpha male complex and I-zap-things-with-my-laser-eyes simplicity was well suited to her holy-shit-I-am-the-most-powerful-telepath-in-the-world complexity, I concede.

And it does make her timeless love affair with Wolverine all the much more intriguing, what with his I-rip-things-apart-with-my-claws-ness while maintaining the intrigue of a very complex, contradictory, concealed (and Canadian!) background. Wolverine is cool (but still not me, uncool) and def not an undeserving infidel like Cyclops.

phoenixendsong

Hold me in your fiery ornithological embrace, naughty Phoenix!

Let’s review! Jean Grey (aka Phoenix, Dark Phoenix (I like to think of this as “naughty phoenix”), “White Phoenix of the Crown”-not joking- and Jean Grey-Summers) is kickass and here are some bullet points:

1. She is really, really sexy. She makes me want a fiery red mane. Like, I’m talking literal fire.

2. Telepaths are awesome. Basically, her powers know no bounds. She and Charles Xavier (Professor X, bald dude extraordinaire) are the world’s most powerful telepaths.

3. She has a dark side. That’s what makes Scott Summers, her husband so generally uninteresting. Her dark side is the Dark Phoenix, which literally destroys planets. And does all kinds of other crazy shit that is ambiguously described with space, time, the universe, etc.

4. Wolverine’s undying love/lust for her, and her seeming desire to reciprocate (damn you Scott Summers, you dull bastard!) always made for some cool, often sexy flirtations. It goes without saying that Wolverine is the shit, but could we maybe have some kind of lesbostoryline where Jean Grey ghostfucks Rogue or something? I said ghostfuck…that’s going to get edited out, isn’t it?

5. She’s so damn smart! She and the Beast (blue furry dude) and Professor X (bald head dude) probably had a stuffy little book club with tea and shit. I’m a sucker for a smart lady.

And that’s it! Actually, it’s really really not it, but I might have lost you by now. If not, I hope you feel better about this week of heartbreaking equality rights news. I kind of do. Also, the X-Men mutant civil rights movement & the gay rights movement are obviously (and intentionally, at times!) completely parallel.

If your thirst for sexy, sexy escapism is insatiable, read on! Go forth, buy comics! Prosper and stuff!

Here are some good starter comics to graduate to the next level of Jean Grey sexyclass. When catching up with comics, it always makes the most sense to go into a comic store and demand the “trade paperback.” This is a book that collects all the single issue little flimsy comics in a linear fashion and it’s great fun for a rainy afternoon!

1. New X-Men, Vol. 1:

Super badass writer Grant Morrison and crazyweird illustrator Frank Quitely (who I grew to love) reinvent all kinds of shit here. Start with the beginning! It’s a great entry point.

2. X-Men: Phoenix – Endsong:

Jean Grey comes back from the dead (again! I am so happy she is always doing that!) just to fuck with everyone. This is a great standalone story- I love it and it’s got all the Jean Grey a girl could ask for. Also, the illustration by Greg Land is controversial (he’s infamous for tracing porn for his characters- hilarious!) but I don’t mind supporting it just this once because Jean Grey looks so damn good.

3. Astonishing X-Men Vol. 1: Gifted:

Jean Grey isn’t featured super prominently here because she’s dead and stuff, but she pops up every now and again. You can’t miss this though because its written by Joss Whedon and is prob my favorite thing he’s ever done. Also, I love the art by John Cassady.”
+

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Back in the day, Taylor Hatmaker was the founding Editor-in-Chief of Autostraddle's tech sister site, Technostraddle, may it rest in peace. Now, Taylor writes about technology for ReadWrite.com and Entrepreneur Magazine. For Autostraddle, she writes essays, takes pictures of thing and draws comics on occasion too, if you ask real nice.

taylor has written 109 articles for us.

61 Comments

  1. Thumb up 0

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    AHH I love comic books and their sexiness. I’m more of a Marvel girl (and love X-Men) but DC has a lot more lesbosexy characters/storylines. I’m always complaining how I wish there were more outright lesbian superhero comics. No offense to alternative comics — those can be great too — but most lesbian comic artists wanna talk about feelings too much. (I am a robot.)

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          It’s not as good as you’d hope, Rucka spends more time beating you over the head with her sexuality, and at one point making it seem like she’s only gay to piss off her step-mom, than he does building her as a character. It is getting better, the most recent issue actually giving her some integrity, but he still manages to use god awful clichés like The Evil Twin. Art is amazing though, and it features the far superior Renee Montoya, sadly she’s just in the back-up feature.

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          aw, that’s unfortunate. i usually put a lot of faith in him. he’s the only writer that’s had me read wonderwoman…ever. still havent read his whiteout stuff or queen & country, though!

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    FAMKE FAMKE FAMKE!!!!!!!! If you click your steel-toed boots and say her name three times fast in the dark in front of the mirror, your lady parts will glow. That being said, I don’t even like comics, but this post was hilarious and I love love LOVE famke janssen. I also love you for saying “ghostfuck”. KUDOS

  3. Thumb up 0

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    Cool article. I am such a comic/super hero geek. I was just contemplating buying Justice League Unlimited the entire series on DVD. And Smallville is my favorite show, speaking of which they are airing a huge 2 hr justice society episode in Feb, which should be nothing short of awesome!

    I have always been drawn to powerful, ass-kicking women. X-men and Justice League is my favorite. Jean Grey is pretty cool, sexy of course, but I don;t think she is the best. I honestly find rouge more powerful, in theory. She has the ability to fly, super strength, can absorb memories and absorb other mutants power. Granted it is temporary and she can only use one at a time. But there was this one time that she was sick or something she used everyones power she had ever touched at one time, including Jean Greys. If she could master that she would be unstoppable. I think they have always left rogue at a lower level and therefor Jean is more powerful but Rogue’s abilities and potential put her as the ultimate in my book. I also love Mystic, she is so bad ass in the comics, tv show, and movies! Shayera Hall, hawk girl, from justice league is pretty bad ass too!

    P.S. I am really pleased with the continuing diversity of content on this site. Love AS, keep it up!

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      I was gonna write about Rogue too!!! Jean is awesome but I think Rogue is hotter, funnier and more interesting. I even liked her relationship with Gambit. Jean gets a bit too intense for me… it’s like she gets PMS times 1000 from time to time. ROGUE. SUCK MY POWER.

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        And I’m deviating from the topic a bit, but the great thing about the X-MEN (and women) is that Magneto is the best villain ever. Well, ok, that’s not the best part… the best part is how it portraits people’s fear of anything that’s different: mindreader, blue beast, dyke, etc.

        But Magneto comes in a very close second.

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          Yeah the messages of the need for equality, acceptance, standing up for what is right is the best part. As i think back on my childhood, xmen may have played a role in developing my attitudes toward equality and acceptance to different people. Even if I don;t like/understand it, people still have the right as long as no one gets hurt.

          Magneto IS SO BADASS!! His whole story and purpose is great. He is a written in a way that you can sympathize with him without him being a sentimental or weak villian. Ian Mc was awesome as Magneto especially in the 3rd one!!

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      i totally love rogue too! especially her sexy southernness. she will def get her limelight around here! how did you feel about anna paquin in the movie? i wasn’t wild about her…maybe just cause i am not attracted to her and rogue is super sexy.

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        Did not like Anna Paquin as Rogue, not at all. I don;t know who, but not her… I also didn;t like that she was portrayed as a teenager, didn;t fly, and didn;t have super strength. She is part of the Xmen team a grown woman. I think they watered her down to give Jean more limelight.

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    Ian McKellen has said that the only reason he took the part of Magneto is because of the strong parallel between the mutant rights movement and the gay rights movement.

    It tickles me that this franchise is so successful and many people do not pick up on its subtext. It is almost like watching a bunch of Christian folk dance to YMCA when its really about men going to the Y to find hot young twinks to hook up with.

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          I first heard the song “Undeniable” by Mat Kearney in a (lesbian!) coffee shop, and thought it was a catchy, sweet song about a girl. Then I found out it’s way Christian. I thought the love of his life shines like a star, but the love of his life is JESUS, and JESUS shines like a star.
          -
          I FELT MISLED, nothing against Jesus or his followers (except maybe people who wear “Jesus is My Homeboy” t-shirts). I even enjoy (a really small amount of) Christian music — like Sufjan Stevens. And I also have a love for U2, but I can never tell whether they’re being religious because their lyrics are intentionally vague and GEEZ BONO, I’M NOT A MINDREADER.

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          yeah this is off topic but I saw Sarah Mclachlan so I had to come see what was happening. Can we talk about “Adia”? What is that about? Riese can we start a Sarah Mclachlan fan club?

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          I love the song “Alive” by Flyleaf, then my sister told me that its Christian. I am not a religious person, so I felt a little duped since it got major radio play, but I still like it..

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    It really wierds me out that Cyclops gets the really hot women. Jean Grey and Emma Frost, really? The only time I liked him was in the cartoons that were on when I was 5 and that was only because I wanted a visor like Geordi La Forge. Other than that, he has very little appeal. Being simple should not be enough!

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    List of 200 X-Men

    Charles Xavier

    Five Original:
    Cyclops
    Jean Grey (phoenix)
    Angel/archangel
    Beast
    Iceman

    Original Add On’s:
    Havok
    Polaris
    Mimic (barely any issues)
    Changeling (plot device)

    New X-Men:

    Thunderbird (native american)
    Storm (duh, African sex goddess)
    Banshee (from the original series
    Nightcrawler (the design wuz for DC, but the artist left & came 2 Marvel and had the character approved, ironic?)
    Collossus

    Banshee (Old school character- Irish)
    Sunfire (Elitist Japanese, Pyro)

    Late 70′s-80′s:
    Rogue
    Kitty Pride (Shadow Cat)
    Lockheed (pet dragon)
    Rachel (Jean Grey and Scott Summers child from an alternative future)
    Moira MacTaggert (geneticist)

    New Mutants:
    Magneto (heh)
    Cannonball
    Cypher (boring)
    Moonstar
    Magik
    Karma
    Warlock
    Magma
    Karma

    80′s:
    Longshot
    Dazzler
    Stevie (Personal Trainer)
    Gambit
    Forge
    Psylocke

    90′s:
    Bishop
    Joseph
    Cable
    X-Man
    Jubilee
    Maggott
    Cecelia Reyes
    Marrow
    Revananche

    2000′s:

    Thunderbird 11
    Lifegaurd
    Slipstream
    Red Lotus
    Sage

    Emma Frost
    Angel 11
    Beak
    Cuckoos (times 3)
    Xorn
    Husk
    Chamber
    Quentin Quire
    Juggernaut
    Northstar
    Mystique
    Sabretooth
    Mastermind 11

    Young X-Men:
    Surge
    Hellion
    X-23
    Rockslide
    Pixie
    Anole
    Indra
    Cessily
    Dust
    Elixer

    Ill think of more later :)

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    Actually, the most BADASS and the sexiest X-Lady was STORM. Hands down.

    Sorry Jean Grey. Storm was way sexier. Way smarter. And unfortunately was not done any justice in the movies as Halle Berry played her character.

    She’s been overlooked, but she was the bizness.

    And the most lesbian and my other favorite comic book character, Mystique. The Bitch Was Bad.

    I dare anyone to think DIFFERENT!

    :D

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      storm is def hot and has a way interesting back story. also, she def did not get what she deserved in the movie and they made her character way boring. storm = the best team leader when they can get cyclops the fuck out of there and let her do it! uprising!

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    I’m really loving all this technostraddle business!
    I’m more of a indie/alternative comics person, and Vertigo (Preacher, Sandman etc) but I loved the X-men cartoon when I was a lil’un and always wanted to get into the comics. The trouble was that every time I went to pick some up I never knew where to start – there are so many versions and so much to get through, and I really wanted a solid start point. So thank you so much for suggesting where to start!
    Also – totes had funny feelings for Rouge when I was a kid. I only really watched the cartoon for her in retrospect.

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    When people mention lesbian comic book characters they always bring up Batwoman but the current Catwoman is also a lesbian. She was trained by and replaced the original, Selena Kyle. DC doesn’t do nearly enough with her.

  10. Pingback: Comics A.M. | The comics Internet in two minutes | Robot 6 @ Comic Book Resources – Covering Comic Book News and Entertainment

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    my only feeling is this: once i hooked up with a girl who had a poster of emma frost on her wall and it was kind of like she was watching the whole time, and i could not decide whether it was terrible or awesome. also remember that time when famke janssen like chokes a man to death with her thighs in a dumb action movie? that was maybe the hottest thing ever.

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