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New ‘X-Men’ movie honors comic-book origins

The makers of the time-travel-themed “X-Men: Days of Future Past” weren’t just looking to rewrite history in the mutant saga’s purely fictional context. They wanted to play around with tweaking real history, as they’ve done previously by imagining a young Erik Lehnsherr, a.k.a. Magneto, in a Nazi concentration camp, and dropping their heroes and villains into the middle of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Hence, thebentbullet.com. The elaborate viral marketing site offers a faux documentary clip and supporting articles about Magneto’s implication in the JFK assassination — one of the developments leading to the story’s apocalyptic future.

“According to a recently declassified report from the Warren Commission, Lehnsherr altered the trajectory of Oswald’s second bullet,” the clip intones, shuffling through images of Michael Fassbender Photoshopped onto the grassy knoll, and “Free Magneto” placards. “The eyes of John F. Kennedy’s killer are not unkind,” a 5,000-word essay observes, with a hint of New Journalism flair. The piece is playfully credited to Harper Simmons, an obscure character toiling in a somewhat lower-profile corner of Marvel Universe journalism than Peter Parker. (The real author is J. C. Hutchins, a “transmedia narrative” specialist tapped for the assignment by Ignition Creative, the movie’s interactive marketing outfit.) It’s intriguingly deep-dish, OCD-level stuff, for comics fans and conspiracy theorists alike. And here you’d been thinking that “The Bent Bullet” must just be some geek tip-of-the-hat to “The Matrix.” — Tom Russo

To read a comprehensive information graphic on X-Men history and characters, click here.

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