By now, most of you know about my Bill & Ted obsession. It was strong and passionate and all encompassing for about a year there, but then something came along to replace it. That something was the X-men. I had always had leanings toward more action oriented things as a kid. The 80s was really a great time to be a girl in a lot of ways. We had She-ra, a female member of Voltron, female Transformers, females involved in GI Joe, and even Rainbow Brite was a bit of a superhero in her own way. Princess Peach got to fight alongside Mario and Luigi in Super Mario Brothers 2, and at the ending of Metroid you found out that the hero you’d been controlling all along was actually a chick! With all of this before it, it never once occurred to me that the X-men cartoon was something only boys should be watching- there were four females in the cast after all.
I fell in love hard and it wasn’t long before I was purchasing the comics to find out more. Time-traveling with Bill & Ted just seemed so petty and boring compared to saving the world from super villains with the X-men again and again. Sadly, this obsession happened concurrently with my pre-teen years, where suddenly my shyness and straight A’s combined with my love of reading to make me even more of an outcast at my school. When lots of other kids in my class had actually started dating (at the "mature" age of 11), I fell deeper into my comics. I was asked, "Aren’t you too old to be reading that stuff?" I told them no, especially thinking of the recent issue where Psylocke had tried to seduce Cyclops, but of course their minds were already made up. Beyond a touch of bitterness, I accepted my status. These characters and these stories were just too good for me to give them up just to be accepted by a bunch of people who just didn't get it.
The X-men have been around since 1963 and it would be impossible for me to cover every single comic book and other adaptations out there in the same manner I did with Bill & Ted. So for the next few weeks, I’ll be focusing on those which I have personal experience with. I plan to cover all the cartoons and movies, a few video games I've played, and for the comics I will talk about some of my favorite characters and issues. I’ve timed it to end as X-men: First Class premieres, so let’s all hope they don’t change the release date!
The first cartoon featuring the X-men, as far as I’m aware, actually premiered in the early 1980s. Spider-man and his Amazing Friends featured Spidey alongside Iceman, who was of course originally an X-man, as well as a new character named Firestar who was also a mutant and later added into comic continuity.
Growing up, my dad always made it a point to be interested in whatever my brother and I were into. I imagine he was doing it to make sure the content was appropriate along with just taking an interest in our lives. When I started reading the X-men comics, my dad did too and he was very excited to see Iceman on the team, since he knew him from this animated series. This series was on TV from 1981 until 1983. My brother wasn’t born yet and I was too young to appreciate it. My dad was in his early 20s and watching a cartoon of his own free will. You have no idea how proud I am to know that this love of cartoons is in my blood.
At the height of the 90s X-men cartoon’s popularity, you could find X-men merchandise everywhere. At Walmart at that time I found two VHS tapes – one containing an episode of Spider-man and his Amazing Friends, another of Pryde of the X-men. I'm going to start off with these and keep going through the various animated series before switching to other media.
I hope you enjoy it!
Spider-man and His Amazing Friends - the X-men episodes
Pryde of the X-men
X-men The Animated Series Season 1
X-men The Animated Series Season 2
X-men The Animated Series Season 3
X-men The Animated Series Season 4
X-men The Animated Series Season 5
The Other X-men Animated Series (X-men Evolution, Wolverine and the X-men, and the X-men anime series)
X-men: the arcade game
Spider-man and the X-men (SNES)
X-men: Mutant Apocalypse (SNES)
Character Spotlight - Rachel Summers
Character Spotlight - Rogue
Uncanny X-men #297
Uncanny X-men #303
Fatal Attractions crossover
X2: X-men United
X-men: The Last Stand
X-men Origins: Wolverine
X-men: First Class