San Francisco Is America's New Superhero Playground

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San Francisco has a long and proud history of being on the forefront of popular culture - consider the Beats, the Hippies, and Web 2.0! Wait, ignore that last one. But now the City By The Bay has a new group to call its own: the Mutants. Both this week's Uncanny X-Men and No Hero comics feature a new wave of superheroes calling San Francisco their home. What's behind this exodus from the traditionally East Coast locale? We talked to No Hero writer Warren Ellis and hear from X-Men's Ed Brubaker about the move.

Talking about the relocation of Marvel's favorite mutants on the WordBalloon podcast, Uncanny X-Men writer Brubaker took responsibility for the decision:

When we were sitting down and talking about what to do with the X-Men post-Messiah Complex... and it was, yet again the Mansion had been destroyed and all this stuff, I just sort of threw out the idea because I remembered that Daredevil had lived in San Francisco. I just thought 'If I were the X-Men, I would move to San Francisco. Like, get as far away from Tony Stark and all those people, stop rebuilding your mansion where there's, like, a huge target for any anti-mutant person in the world and go somewhere where you're going to be able to let your freak flag fly and be loved... It just seemed like, why not go somewhere where people will think that you're cool?


Ellis' new series No Hero doesn't exist within forty years of distraught continuity full of explosions and death, but he explained to us that his choice of setting has much more to do with San Francisco's real-life colorful history:

NO HERO comes partly out of the notion that there was a cultural move in Sixties San Francisco to bring forth a new kind of human (not least through neurochemical roadtesting and devoted ingestion of whatever old shit had been scraped off the bottom of someone's bathtub). Timothy Leary even said that The Beatles were "prototypes of evolutionary agents sent by God, endowed with a mysterious power to create a new human species." Notably, in the same statement, he also called them "mutants." Where else should we be telling stories about the evolutionary future of strange Americans?


It seems that, at least as far as the cape and cowl set goes, San Francisco is finally ascending to take the cultural crown of the US that it so richly deserves.

Both Uncanny X-Men #499 and No Hero #0 hit stores today.

Warren Ellis' No Hero [Avatar Press]