If you’re interested in the origins of persecuted teenage mutant supermen, you’ll have to look earlier than 1963, the year the first issue of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s X-Men was published.
At least 23 years earlier, in fact, to A.E. Van Vogt’s 1940 pulp science fiction novel Slan.
His parents murdered, an exploited 9-year-old boy named Jommy Cross is on the run because he’s secretly a Slan, a member of a telepathic, super-strong, super-swift, super-intelligent mutant minority created by scientist Samuel Lann. Slans also have healing powers and super-scientific weapons, and some of them, like Jommy, can be recognized by the golden tendrils in their hair.
In novels like this one, The World of Null-A and The Silkie, Van Vogt explored the superman concept. The strange left turns of his stories are sometimes criticized, but he wrote his fiction through a hypnagogic technique, taking brief naps to come up with new plot angles, and I find the dream logic of his stories intriguing. Van Vogt also offered unique takes on the science fiction monster genre in novels such as Voyage of the Space Beagle, a clear precursor to Star Trek.