October 31, 1992 was a formative day in my childhood. More than just a Saturday, more even than Halloween on a Saturday, October 31, 1992, meant the premiere of FOX Kids’ new cartoon about the X-Men. Now, I can’t say that 7-year-old me had ever actually read an X-Men comic book, but thanks to the release of the X-Men arcade game earlier that year – which I had spent many an hour playing at my local movie theater – I had at least a passing familiarity with several of the characters and their powers. So, primed to see this world I’d spent so much time side-scrolling through in animated form, I plopped myself down in front of the TV that Halloween morning and as soon as I heard the opening bars of that indelible theme song, I was hooked.
From that moment on, I was an X-Men obsessive. I bought the action figures, I played as many of the video games as I could convince my parents to buy (shout out to X-Men on Sega Game Gear!), and of course, I continued to treat X-Men: The Animated Series as appointment viewing for the rest of its 5-season run. For me, like for many other ‘90s kids, these animated versions of the X-Men – their designs, their voices, the sounds their powers made – were the definitive versions of the characters, and they remained so even as, during high school and college, the Internet and a delightful antique contraption called a “CD-ROM” allowed me to explore the uncanny mutants in the comics themselves.
And now, many (many) years later, my nostalgia and love for X-Men: The Animated Series persists. It would seem I’m not alone, either, as Marvel Studios is set to release sequel series X-Men ‘97 later this year, 31 years after that pilot episode aired. In preparation for that highly anticipated revival, I thought 2023 would be a great time for a recurring feature looking back at the original series. Given the often serialized nature of the series, rather than deep-diving into any particular episode – fellow CBH writer Austin Gorton has already done that wonderfully – I want to discuss the show on a more holistic level, exploring one season each month with a few questions in mind.
- What is the overarching narrative of each season?
- What are each year’s standout moments and characters (both heroes and villains, series regulars and guest stars)?
- Where did the writers of each season look for inspiration from the comics, and how faithfully (or not) did they adapt those stories?
- How successful were the show’s completely original choices?
So without further ado, let’s dive into the inaugural season of X-Men: The Animated Series. Cue that theme song!
[Read more…] about X-Men: The Animated Series Season 1 Rewatch!