February 20, 2018

Why X-Men: The Animated Series Is So Important To Comic History

X-Men The Animated Series

I was born in 1981, spent some time getting my musical education in the 80’s but it was the 90’s that I really came into my own.

The 1990’s brought a lot of new things to my attention:

  • Nintendo 64
  • Ice Ice Baby
  • The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
  • Pogs
  • Rollerblades
  • Super Soakers

and the list goes on…

But this site isn’t dedicated to any of those, now is it?

1990’s

What I remember most about the 90’s was the fascination that my brother and I had suddenly found in Marvel Comics. Both “big” name publishers, Marvel and DC, were doing everything in their power to see it that a new generation would take an interest in what they were doing.

They brought out everything from trading cards and toys to VHS tapes and new television shows.

Of all the T.V. shows to have been released, X-Men: The Animated Series stood out the most.

The two of us would wake up on Saturday morning and tune into Channel 8. It just so happened that each Saturday held a lineup that you wouldn’t dare miss. The lineup was hosted by two now famous puppets called Beave and Buckley and if I remember correctly, Beave was a beaver and Buckley a dog. That’s not really important is it?

What was important was soggy cereal, cozy pajama’s and television.

The lineup was ever changing. My Pet Monster, Inspector Gadget, and He-Man were just a few of the other shows involved in the carousel, but it was X-Men that had me.

Funny enough, before it was announced, I actually remembering saying to Joel that all this stuff they were bringing out was awesome, but it would be amazing if a new show would air.

A show worth watching

Debuting in 1992 and running for 5 seasons, X-Men changed what it was to be a cartoon in the 90’s. At least it did in my eyes. You may or may not know this, but it was actually originally called “Pryde of the X-Men” and was based off an extremely popular arcade game. The game was revolutionary that it allowed 6 players to play on the screen all at once.

I remember when the game initially came out. It taught me the value of a quarter. To keep up with the continue timer that would always appear when I died, I had to do a lot of extra chores around the house.

The show featured the art style of Jim Lee’s 90’s version of the X-Men and the team was made up of Cyclops, Wolverine, Rogue, Storm, Beast, Gambit, Jubilee, Jean Grey and Professor X.

The X-Men show made every attempt stuff in as many heroes and villains as it could and you know what? I liked that. The conversations that a person could have were limitless.

Who would show up next? Who would be the villain today? Will my favorite hero make an appearance (although mine, Cyclops was in every episode)?

Real topics

What made this show special wasn’t who drew it or those that appeared. No, this show was special because it was relatable. Each week the show took the time to focus on topics that mattered.

  • Racism
  • Discrimination
  • Hate
  • Fear of the unknown

Because of the topics and issues covered, the show did what very few shows could do; resonate with its viewers.

I remember a very specific episode entitled, “No Mutant Is An Island”. This episode dealt with something we all have felt before; loneliness. During the episode, Cyclops, my favorite character, was dealing with the death of Jean Grey. The team had just battled her in what is one of the most famous events in comics, The Dark Phoenix Saga and to work out his problems, he left the team.

While away, he headed back to the orphanage that he grew up in. During his visit, he learned that the mutant children residing there are being adopted out with the purpose of experimentation. In the end, Cyclops does what he does best and gave the kids the courage and strength to get out of a bad situation.

Lessons.

X-Men: The Animated Series taught lessons.

Forever in debt

The show had an “Uncanny” (ha!) way of incorporating some of the most well-known storylines from the comics. Just so you know, before the movie came out a few years ago, this show explored “Days of Future Past”.

After the conclusion of X-Men, Marvel knew that they were on to something and just a few short years later, the world was introduced to the X-Men but this time on the big screen.

They say that hindsight is always 20/20 and looking back I realize that X-Men gave the world what it needed. Without the success of the show, maybe, just maybe an entire genre of movies would never have been realized.

Fast forward 16 years and X-Men is still leaving its mark. Not including X-Men Origins: Wolverine, X-Men: The Last Stand, or X-Men: Apocalypse (because those are just shitty) X-Men continues to lead the charge.

Thank you, X-Men for all you have done and continue to do.

 

 

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About Jeff Scott 91 Articles
The world needs more heroes and I intend to give it to them. Now, I'm not talking about comic book superheroes, although that would be amazing. No, I'm talking about people like you and I who need to take control of their life and make a difference in the lives of others. This is my mission in life.

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