Jumbo Carnation is alive again! This is a great day for X-Men comics and mutants in general. And it’s a good representation of everything I want to see in Dawn of X and X-Men comics. The four-armed mutant made a proper return as Emma Frost’s personal fashion designer on Krakoa in this week’s issue of Marauders.
For those of you who don’t know, Jumbo Carnation debuted at the start of Grant Morrison’s run on New X-Men back in the day, as part of Morrison’s whole revitalization agenda. Morrison did a lot of things for the X-Men, but my personal favorite was making mutants normal. Morrison created Mutant Town, a whole district of New York City where ordinary and average mutants lived and worked.
And among its residents was this four-armed mutant fashion designer, who designed clothes specifically for the weird bodies of mutants.
Then he died from a drug overdose in the exact same pages where he first appeared, and his death kicked off a whole storyline for the X-Men. But I never forgot Jumbo Carnation — how could I, with a name like that.
I’ll admit, I wasn’t a big fan of Morrison’s X-Men comics right away. But over time I matured and understood it all better. And one thing I have come to truly love about X-Men comics — and possibly Dawn of X going forward — is that mutants don’t have to be superheroes. The whole point of mutants is that they’re people. They are ordinary people. It’s just that Professor X and Magneto and whoever else decided to recruit some and put them into costumes to fight crime and/or each other.
But when the mutants as minority metaphor really gets going, especially when Morrison was the writer, the best look for the species is to see them as normal people.
A mutant doesn’t have to be a superhero. A mutant can be a fashion designer.
So I am rather thrilled that Dawn of X has seen fit to reach into that one weird, random appearance back in the day and bring back Jumbo Carnation to the land of the living. The world needs mutant fashion designers now more than ever.