…Nightcrawler’s parentage? (prologue)

Claremont’s original idea for Nightcrawler’s father, proposed during his collaboration with John Byrne, was longtime Dr. Strange villain Nightmare (Claremont reasoned that the dimension through which Nightcrawler travels while teleporting is the same as the dream dimension Nightmare inhabits). This idea was ultimate quashed before it saw print (or really, before it was hinted at in any way in print) by then X-Men editor and Dr. Strange writer Roger Stern, who commented in Back Issue #29 that he wouldn’t let Claremont reveal Nightmare as Nightcrawler’s father because he didn’t like characters being revealed as secretly related to one another, preferring mutants to be revealed as having normal parents (yet hypocritically let John Byrne do it for Scarlet Witch & Quicksilver by planting the seeds that would lead to the Magneto-as-their-Dad retcon).

His initial one stymied, Claremont’s second idea for Nightcrawler’s parentage was that he was the son of Mystique and Destiny, with Mystique playing the role of the male in their coupling.

Figure 1: A connection between Nightcrawler and Mystique is first suggested by the villainess during the seminal “Days of Future Past” story, in Uncanny X-Men #142, and hinted at a few more times during Claremont’s run, but nothing concrete was ever established.

The understanding is that when Claremont first hinted at the connection in issue #142 he fully intended to reveal the Mystique/Destiny relationship, but was continually overruled by Marvel editorial, who at the time felt a relationship of that nature wouldn’t make it past the Comics Code Authority. As result, this particular origin of Nightcrawler remains nothing more than vague hints and out-universe discussions.

However, hints Claremont has dropped during a number of interviews suggest he isn’t being entirely honest with regard to his planned intentions for Kurt’s parents. And here’s why…

In the recent Chaos War: X-Men #1, written by Claremont, Moira MacTaggert reveals that Irene Adler’s quest to protect humanity led her to hire a MAN of mystery named ERIC RAVEN.

Figure 2: Mystique’s original identity of Eric Raven from Chaos War: X-Men #1

The two of them then join forces and in the X-Men: True Friends mini-series (set in Edinburgh, Scotland in the year 1936) Mystique is portrayed working alongside Logan and Irene Adler as a MAN called “Mr. Raven” (obviously the abovementioned Eric Raven).

Figure 3: Mr. Raven working alongside Irene Adler and Logan in 1936 from X-Men: True Friends #3

In addition, Claremont has repeatedly stated in interviews that Raven was born a biological female, yet he tripped himself up on Comixfan back in 2003, stating that: “Mystique abandoned him [Nightcrawler] because she was totally freaked by this indigo-furred creature with ‘deformed’ appendages and a forked tail! At that point, he stated, Mystique had no idea (s)he was a mutant, or a metamorph; (s)he simply reacted as many normal folks would in similar circumstances.”

If Mystique was not aware that (s)he was a mutant until AFTER Kurt’s birth, as Claremont above claims, and was portrayed as a male in 1936 (obviously prior to Kurt’s birth), the implication of all this is that Raven Darkholme was born a MALE and DID NOT metamorph into a female until after he impregnated Kurt’s mother.

So if Mystique was a male (i.e. Eric Raven) to begin with and was not aware “he” was a mutant when Kurt was born, this obviously means (s)he did not transform her identity into that of a female until after his birth, and was therefore his biological father, not his mother as previously claimed.

Now given her initial male Christian name was Eric, how coincidental is it that Kurt’s supposed father Baron Wagner also had the same Christian name?!

This would suggest that since Mystique was Kurt’s biological father, (s)he had assumed the identity of Baron ERIC Wagner at the time.

So since Kurt inherited the blue skin from his father Mystique, who was using the identity Baron Eric Wagner at the time, and his mutation is his ability to teleport, this would seem to suggest he inherited his fur from his mother and that this woman is someone other than Mystique’s leman, Irene Adler!

If so, who might it be?

While Meggan’s people were somewhat furry…

Figure 4: Meggan was shown to have a connection to the ancient race the Neuri (from Excalibur #46)

…I don’t necessarily want a fix that see’s Nightcrawler in another questionable, semi-incestuous relationship like he already has with Amanda Sefton!

However, with the later insertion of the Neuri into Stefan Szardos’s origin (he murdered their children), a connection is there that could reveal one of them to be the candidate.

Figure 5: Stefan Szardos, Kurt’s adoptive brother, murders Neuri children (from Marvel Comics Presents #103)

It’s interesting that the Neuri always made me think of the Wendigo (and its interesting how similar Narya/ Snowbird’s powers are similar to Meggan’s, in that they’re more powerful on their country of origin’s soil – plus there’s the pointy-ears:)  But I digress…

So what other otherworldly female might have attracted Eric Wagner’s eye?

The region of Kurt’s birth, Bavaria, is fraught with stories of visitation by succubi, often furred.

Now recall the succubus, Lilith was introduced in the early 90s Midnight Sons crossover, who had the ability to open portals stinking of brimstone.

Figure 6: Lilith, mother of demons, opening a portal from some “brimstone-stinking” dimension (cf. Ghost Rider #31)

Now the question is how she got there from her imprisonment by Atlantean sorcerers?

Well, who was there to collect baby Kurt?

Recall Margali Szardos tells two conflicting stories about how she found Kurt – first that she found him beside his father who was dead by the side of the road, then that she found him aside his dead mother.

On this note, recall Claremont’s claim that Mystique did not know (s)he was a mutant at the time of Kurt’s birth.

Therefore, are the circumstances behind Margali mentioning Eric Wagner was unconscious on the roadside a result of being knocked out, at which time his mutant power kicked in for the first time and he transformed into a female in an effort to prevent those who had beaten him from coming back and finishing the job when they realised they hadn’t killed him successfully?

Further recall that Margali’s claim to fame is her manipulation of the dark arts – she would certainly possess the knowledge to summon forth a demoness like Lilith.

So now the thing to be ironed out before this “Fix” is ready is:

  1. What the circumstances were behind Mystique hiding out in Bavaria as Eric Wagner;
  2. What the circumstances were behind Margali summoning Lilith forth;
  3. What the circumstances were behind Eric/ Mystique getting Lilith pregnant with Kurt (besides the actual act of copulation;) and
  4. What the circumstances were behind Lilith leaving the baby behind?

A very big thank you goes out to Austin Gorton for his proofreading of and input toward this post.  Writer and geek who particularly loves Claremont’s X-Men, you can check out his awesome blog, Gentlemen of Leisure, where he has taken on the yeoman’s job of doing an issue by issue analysis of Claremont’s 17 year X-titles run under the name Teebore. 

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2 Responses

  1. simple mystic was in love with the fortune of a coutess and then fled when she saw kurt was born the way he is. margali simple power . lilth love and more taste of power for mystique. she had no use for a child plus always heard the plans that mystique was suppose to be night crawlers father and destiny his mother but it got nixed due to not only the comic code might have rejected it but at the time marvel felt the time a gay couple having a child was too hot an issue to print in a comic.

  2. Or is it all as simple as Eric Raven in his then guise of Eric Wagner fathering Kurt on Margali Szardos?

    Recall in Uncanny X-Men #142, when Nightcrawler questions their similarities, Mystique tells him “ask your mother Margali Szardos. Who would know better than – she?”

    So does this explain why Margali tells the two conflicting stories about how she found Kurt – first that she found him beside his father who was dead by the side of the road, then that she found him aside his dead mother?

    That is, did Margali spin the lie to Kurt to cover up her shame for sleeping with a male she would discover was a transsexual shapeshifter?

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