Stan Lee and Jack Kirby created the powerful mutant during the height of American civil rights movement and used famed civil rights leaders Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X as the inspiration behind the Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr. Both men openly fought against the oppression mutants experienced on a daily basis, but while Professor X chose a more peaceful and diplomatic approach, Magneto thought a more forceful and aggressive tone was needed. Said Stan Lee about Magento:
"[I] did not think of Magneto as a bad guy. He was just trying to strike back at the people who were so bigoted and racist. He was trying to defend mutants, and because society was not treating them fairly, he decided to teach society a lesson. He was a danger of course, but I never thought of him as a villain."