Why X-Men's Rogue Never Had a Backstory
The case of Rogue and the missing backstory.
Anna Marie Aka "Rogue" of the X-Men made her first published appearance in 1981 in Avengers Annual #10. But it wasn't until 20 years after that publication that her origin story was finally revealed by Robert Rodi, a Chicago-born comic book writer, in his Rogue series of 2004.
Despite her story being richly developed from the time Raven (Mystique) happened upon Rogue as a runaway teen to now, no one knew about her family, upbringing, or even the exact circumstances concerning when her powers of life energy and psyche absorption finally manifested prior to her meeting Mystique.
Stan Lee's Response
At a panel interview in Columbus, Ohio at the 2013 Wizard Con, Marvel kingpin Stan Lee was asked by a Rogue-costumed fan to address why she never had a backstory revealed until so much later into the X-Men series.
Lee's response to the Rogue fan was, "We just never thought of one." She asked for clarification of how the story of such a powerful mutant just simply didn't have a beginning. He elaborated, "Sometimes we would just make characters up and they just didn't happen to have an origin. The answer is, no one ever thought to make one for her." Dismayed as the fan was, she accepted this answer along with the rest of the now curious crowd. It's not too much of a stretch to think of Rogue being created more out of conscientiousness of a bra-burning, women-rising America in the late 70's. Perhaps they didn't realize what a pivotal and truly uncanny superhero young Rogue would become.
According to Wiki, her appearance was originally scheduled to first appear in Ms. Marvel #25 in 1979 but it was cancelled before it could be published. Could there have been a backstory included in this nixed publication?
As a kid, Rogue was my favorite superhero, not because she was a girl, or that she could fly, but because she had the uncontrollable ability to empathize with others on a level no other human (or mutant for that matter) could. That special power is something I put into my own personality- to empathize like her.
Maybe that's the trouble with giving a character a backstory. Too much certainty in someone's upbringing makes it harder to set aside prejudices and squanders our opportunity to see into the soul of a person. Maybe everything happens for the right reasons... What do you think?