Royal Mail’s latest franchising deal with the American publishers Marvel Comics has produced a set of 17 stamps devoted to the X-Men, issued on February 16.

The X-Men (some of whom are female) are fictional mutant superheroes who fight a variety of enemies including supervillains, bigots, extraterrestrials and malevolent artificial intelligence.

The franchise celebrates its 60th anniversary this year, its first comic book having been published in the USA in September 1963.

A gummed set of 12 from counter sheets features assorted superheroes, illustrated by British artist Mike McKone, while a self-adhesive five-stamp miniature sheet focuses on their enemies, illustrated by British artist Lee Garbett. All the designs were coloured by American colourist Chris Soto.

The overall designed credit goes to Interabang, and the set was printed in litho by Cartor.

Using the Royal Mail app to scan the counter-sheet stamps with a smartphone or tablet reveals an augmented-reality animation which shows the stamp artwork being created, from pencil sketches through to colourised designs. Royal Mail previously devoted 15 stamps to characters from the Marvel Universe in March 2019.

2nd class PROFESSOR X
The founder and occasional leader of the X-Men, with the ability to read minds.

2nd class KITTY PRYDE
A superhero with the ability to become intangible and pass through solid matter.

2nd class ANGEL
A superhero with wings which enable him to fly.

2nd class COLOSSUS
A superhero who can transform himself into metallic form, for extra strength.

2nd class JUBILEE
A superhero who can generate pyrotechnic energy blasts from her hands.

2nd class CYCLOPS
A superhero who can emit powerful energy beams from his eyes.

1st class WOLVERINE
A superhero with retractable claws in his hands, but also with powers of healing.

1st class JEAN GREY
A superhero with extrasensory abilities and the power of resurrection.

1st class ICEMAN
A superhero with the ability to manipulate temperature and cover his body with ice.

1st class STORM
A superhero with the power to control the weather and the atmosphere.

1st class BEAST
An ape-like superhero possessing superhuman strength, agility and intellect.

1st class ROGUE
A superhero capable of absorbing the memories and attributes of others through physical touch.


1st class JUGGERNAUT
A supervillain with superhuman strength and durability, invulnerable to physical attack.

1st class MYSTIQUE
A supervillain who is a shapeshifter, able to mimic the appearance and voice of others.

The founder of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, with the ability to generate and control magnetic fields.

1st class EMMA FROST
A supervillain who becomes a superhero, with telepathic powers and the ability to transform into diamond.

1st class SABRETOOTH
A supervillain with bestial superhuman senses and abilities, along with fangs and claws.

The presentation pack, written by comic book writer Alan Cowsill, introduces all the characters featured on the stamps.

A press sheet of 12 uncut miniature sheets is offered in a limited print run of 200, individually numbered.

First day covers and stamp cards are available as usual.

Set of 12 stamps £9.78
Miniature sheet £5.65
Presentation pack £16.35
First day cover (stamps) £12.40
First day cover (mini sheet) £7.45
Press sheet £64.56
Stamp cards £8.10

What can we say about another set of American comic book characters?

Although predictably generic, the artwork is created by professionals in their field

Only aficionados will be able to tell one bunch of Marvel superheroes from another