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Marvel Comics Quietly Drops Longtime X-Men Codename “Scalphunter” Over Potential Concerns of Racism

Marvel has quietly dropped the codename of long-time X-Men villain John Greycrow, a.k.a "Scalphunter" due to the term's racist connotations.

Marvel has quietly dropped the codename of long-time X-Men villain John Greycrow, a.k.a “Scalphunter” due to the term’s alleged racist connotations.

In the long history of comics, some intellectual properties were created to drum up stories of new heroes, and new villains.

One such villain was named John Greycrow, a.k.a. “Scalphunter,” who debuted in Uncanny X-Men #210 in 1986 as an assassin for Mister Sinister’s group of Marauders.

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Greycrow’s mutant power is to reconfigure machinery. During the Mutant Massacre storyline, Greycrow joined the mutant assassins known as the Marauders and assisted in their slaughter of the Morlocks.

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Marvel had most recently continued with the character’s original name in the recap page of the new Hellions series’ first issue.

However, it appears they have now retired the “Scalphunter codename” in the recently released second issue of the series. 

As you can see below, he is now simply called “Greycrow.”

Marvel has also informed retailers that the upcoming True Believers: X-Men: Scalphunter #1, which reprints the character’s first appearance in Uncanny X-Men #210, will be retitled to True Believers: X-Men: Greycrow #1.

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While this name change may prove divisive for many fans, to simply name the character ‘Greycrow’ is a narrative inconsistency, as seen in the events of the the recent Krakoa and Dawn of X arcs.

The Mutant Name

As seen in these arcs, the various codenames given to mutants such as ‘Wolverine,’ ‘Havok,’ and ‘Storm’ have begun to be seen as an almost ‘second identity,’ with many referring to such titles as “mutant names.”

In fact, the use of a mutant name would help solidify the mutants as a solitary nation.

Apokolips makes that point very clear in a discussion with Melody Guthrie.

The idea of the codename being a mutant name is far from a recent development. In 2001’s Ultimate X-Men #1, Xavier gives the newly formed team of X-Men new names, signifying it as their re-baptizing to fit their new skills and personality. It was an attempt to distance themselves from the their old relic names of the past.

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This concept was repeated in 2012, when Scott Summers introduces himself by his mutant name, Cyclops, in the first issue of All New X-Men.

The phenomenon of mutants in the X-books taking on new names to reflect their powers is not a new idea, but a somewhat recent one. At least for the latter 2000’s.

The fact that Greycrow doesn’t have a new name to reflect his new reality isn’t consistent with the idea they are trying to establish in that world. That also goes for Madelyne Pryor, who should have the “mutant name” of Goblin Queen

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If codenames are a point of mutant pride, Greycrow’s lack of a codename flies in the very face of the codenames-as-a-point-of-pride narrative being portrayed in current X-books.

Scalphunting

The act itself has a long and sordid history due to its regular practice by various Native American tribes.

It was used as a method of intimidation akin to the medieval European practice of putting heads on spikes outside of a city to warn any onlookers of the consequences faced by defying the given ruling authority.

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During the various conflicts involving Native Americans and early American colonists, conlonists would issue bounties for Native American scalps as a means to incentivize the killing of the native tribes.

Given that Greycrow is listed as an ethnic Native American from an unspecified tribe, it should come as no surprise that the name “Scalphunter” has become a divisive topic.

What do you think about Marvel Comics avoiding the previous code name for John Greycrow? Sound off in the comments below, or let’s talk about it on social media!

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