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September 19, 2010

Stay Tooned Sundays: X-Men Volume 1

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Written by: nickz
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Welcome back to another Sunday of TV fun. Well it’s that exciting time of year again, when at long last we get to see new episodes of our favorite programs and check out all the new shows the tube has to offer. A few shows that top my viewing list this season are Smallville, Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, and The Walking Dead. Smallville is back for its tenth and final season with many returning characters and Clark taking on the ultimate big bad, Darkseid. The new Avengers animated series looks like it’s going to be awesome, mainly because it’s written by the super talented Christopher Yost. As for The Walking Dead, it’s one of the most anticipated new shows of the season, you won’t want to miss it. Check back here in this very column for more on these and other new programs as they unfold. Until that time,  let’s get on with the regularly scheduled programing.

This week we will be discussing arguably the greatest Marvel TV show of all time, X-Men. This animated program made its debut on the Fox network in October 1992 as part of Fox Kids. The show was wildly popular and soon made the X-Men a household name. Before this series hit the airways, the X-Men were not widely know to the general public like Superman, Batman, Spider-Man, or even the Hulk. In fact, most people outside of the comic book world didn’t know much, if anything, about the X-Men. For many of today’s comic book  fanboys and girls, X-Men was the “gateway drug” that first got them interested in comics. The show holds the record for having the longest run of any Marvel TV program, and reruns of the series can still be seen airing on various cartoon channels.

Title: X-Men
Company: Marvel Enterprises, Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
Distributed by: Buena Vista Home Entertainment
US Release Date: April 28, 2009
Length: 368 min.
Rating: TV Y7
Volume: 1

The first volume of  X-Men collects the first sixteen episodes of the show. The first thirteen episodes make up season one, and the remaining three episodes are from season two. The premier two-part episode “Night of the Sentinels” introduces us to the team via new recruit Jubilee. For the entire run of the series, the X-Men team consists of Professor X, Cyclops, Storm, Jean Grey, Beast, Wolverine, Rogue, Gambit, and Jubilee. Much of the costumes and the status quo for the series are based on the Jim Lee, 90s era X-Men.

What made this show so popular with fans was how true it stayed to the characters and how much the plots were based on actual comic book stories. The show was made to appeal to small children, and yet had smart, mature story lines that teens and young adults could enjoy as well.

The series is full of great action and adventure, but it also has the fun interpersonal relationships for which the X-Men are known. The Gambit and Rogue romance; the triangle between Cyclops, Jean Grey, and Wolverine; the mentor/mentee relationship of Wolverine and Jubilee; and the complex friendship of Professor X and Magneto, all play very important parts in each episode. The various relationships between the characters help viewers to relate to these super-powered mutants and to care about them.

With the X-Men’s rich history and large cast of characters, there is so much for the show to draw from. The series does not disappoint in this regard by having many characters from the comics make their animated debut in the first season. Within these first 16 episodes alone, the X-Men face the likes of the Sentinels, Magneto, Sabretooth, Juggernaut, Apocalypse, the Friends of Humanity, Mr. Sinister, and Nimrod, just to name a few. Many members of the extended X-Men family show up as well, including Cable, Colossus, Archangel, Moira MacTaggert, Northstar, Sunfire, Warpath, and many more. Even supporting characters such as Senator Kelly, Cameron  Hodge, Peter Gyrich, Bolivar Trask, and Graydon Creed get their animated nod. There are so many other characters that have cameos or appear in the background that it’s hard to spot them all in just one viewing.

I think this series was way ahead of its time in that it was one of the first shows to have a highly serialized story line. The entire first season could play as one long movie. Each episode continues pretty much right from where the last one left off, and events that take place in earlier episodes are often referenced in later ones. Beast’s story line is a prime example of how one character’s plot plays out from the beginning of the season until the end. In the second part of the show premier, Beast gets captured on a mission and put in jail. He then appears sporadically throughout the season, when it makes sense for him to be in the story. It’s not until the final episode of the season that he gets freed and rejoins the rest of the team.

X-Men stands as one of the best animated comic series of all time. It is directly responsible for much of the success that the X-Men have had in movies, TV, and even merchandising. The series introduced a generation to the X-Men and to comics in general. There is a reason this show is a fan favorite. Until next time, Stay tooned.

Click here to listen to an interview with story editors/writers of the X-Men cartoon, Eric and Julia Lewald!

Nick Zamora



  1. Kristin

    Oh man, I loved this show when I was a kid. Should pick up the DVDs.

  2. Love this cartoon!

    I picked up the entire series on ebay back in 2003 for $64. I still want to own the official version though. The first two episodes are my favorite of the entire run- great stuff!

    I think anyone in their mid-20s right now would attribute this cartoon to their getting into X-Men and maybe even comics in general.

  3. I spent countless Saturdays watching this show! My favorites were the Days of Future past storyline that included Bishop. The art in that arc was better than in the previous ones as well.

  4. This show is what really made me an X-Men fan and got me reading the comics. To this day, whenever I read a piece of X-Men dialogue I hear these voices in my head.

  5. Jeff Jackson

    I loved this show, but the animation is horrible. I hated it then, and I hate it now.

  6. Billy

    I loved this series but you can definitely see how much it matured visually and conceptually from season 1 when you watch the next 2 volumes.

  7. Eli

    I loved this too, and I hear these voices when I read X-Men today. The animation is terrible however. You might not really notice it unless you’ve seen really good animation, like from the Batman TAS. Even with the bad animation, this show is still really awesome. My favorites were anything with Apocalypse or Mr. Sinister.

  8. The main reason i picked this show was because i know everyone loves it and i am a comment whore. (lol kidding)

    @andrew i hear these voices when i read X-books too.

    @Jeff i agree that the animation isn’t the best or even the best for it’s time, but it’s not the worst either and the pure awesomeness of eveything else more than makes up for it.

  9. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by nick zamora, mich, argnarb, nick zamora, nick zamora and others. nick zamora said: Check out my review of X-Men the animated series vol. 1! It's Stay Tooned Sundays! http://bit.ly/bwxicy […]

  10. […] of the X-Men, you definitely know who Chris Claremont is. If you were introduced to him through the X-Men cartoon in the 90s, then know most of that series’ best moments were taken from stories he wrote for […]

  11. […] episode of Stay Tooned Sundays. As you recall a few weeks ago, we reviewed the first volume of  X-Men , the animated series from the 90s. This week we check out the latest cartoon to feature the […]

  12. […] this series let the rest of the world in on the secret. For more, check out the coverage on the First Volume with more to follow in 2012!Why it’s #3: As great and amazing as this series was, the next […]

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