Previously, the X-Men animated series episodes were released only in single disc packages with one or two episodes stuck together just to get hype for the next Marvel movie. Fortunately, Marvel has finally decided to release the X-Men cartoon series, originally airing afternoons on Fox, in two DVD volumes, on April 28th.
It's taken far too long for this to come out, I can still remember walking home from school and watching this show, and becoming completely obsessed with the X-Men. For a while, the Fox afternoon was just too good; this series and Spider-Man both played a huge part in my pre-teen imagination.
Being in elementary and middle school, this cartoon was a little more mature than the others and put my mind at rest, bringing me back into comics and giving me an artistic outlet, creating my own mutants and drawing the characters I related to.
The X-Men is probably the most continuity-heavy comic in the history of comics, every character, location and action seems to be important to something that will happen in the future, and because of that you become seriously involved. You care more about the characters you like and put yourself in their shoes. I loved some characters so much, and hated others, here's where I was at as a child, and now:
THEN: Cyclops is everything not cool about a super hero. He's like Superman without the humanity, just a fucking cop who harasses you for skating in an empty parking lot. My neighbor loved him when we were young and would always talk about how great his powers were, which at the time I just saw as laser beams, and would shit on my favorite X-Man, Nightcrawler. Cyclops is just your friend's dad who won't let you play behind the shed.
NOW: Cyclops has become a man who demands respect, breaking away from Professor X's rule, and is doing what needs to be done to protect the few remaining mutants. I realize his "laser beams" aren't lasers but pure force that has to be held back, but when dude lets loose it's actually pretty scary. He's still an asshole but now I know it's for the better of the X-Men and not just because he's a prick.
THEN: I never understood why everyone wanted to bang her so badly, or why Professor X even had her around. I get she could move stuff with her mind or whatever but she didn't feel essential to the team, not her specific personality. A friend once said to me "There are two kinds of people, ones who bring something to the table and ones who don't" and I've gotta apply this to Marvel Girl here, why do you matter outside of causing problem?
NOW: She's dead and Cyclops is with Emma Frost, which makes a lot more sense. Emma is strong and over all more interesting, and I don't mean because of her revealing outfits. Jean caused nothing but trouble, she's like the damsel in distress but she was causing the distress! Good riddance, unless, you know, she's Cable's baby in some fucked up way.
THEN: Gambit was so cool. He wore a trench coat, threw these playing cards and stood leaning against walls. Everything as a little boy you think is cool, except instead of sunglasses his eyes were just dark! That transcends coolness.
NOW: What were we thinking? He's everything lame about a character. All he needs now is a motorcycle or to team up with Starman or Constantine. He's just what kids in the 90's thought were cool. The worst thing looking back are his powers, the man has the ability to use kinetic energy to charge anything to cause it to blow up and he decides on playing cards? SERIOUSLY?
THEN: Her ability to steal powers from any other mutant made her one of my favorites. I was even willing to be her when we'd play X-Men, taking on the ridicule until I would suck up all their powers and win. I had a little boy crush on her too which just makes that weirder...
NOW: Rouge is the X-Man that all dudes my age continue to have crushes on, even though she hasn't been in the comics for a long while. Her powers still remain some of the most interesting, but most under-utilized. Marvel sometimes won't put the time needed into building a character, and so we're left with heroes like Rogue, who we'll see for two months until they run out of ideas. She, like most of the X-Men, just doesn't have enough life outside of the X-Men to make them interesting.
NOW: Storm is one of the, if not only, strong black characters in comics that doesn't rely on race to tell her stories. I know now that her powers are incredibly diverse, dude can't even fly but manages it by using winds! She's not as involved in the X-Men anymore but has moved onto the Fantastic Four books with her husband Black Panther, and is currently in the running for actually being the next Black Panther. She's one of the few characters from the X-Books to really evolve since I was a child.
NOW: Secondary mutations have made Beast into a blue, humanoid lion, very few pieces of him remain man. His character has managed to develop alongside the rest of the X-Men, taking a sidecar to action and acting almost exclusively as a behind the scenes character.
THEN: I hate Wolverine, from his stupid one liners to his cowboy hats. He was everyone's favorite and each and everytime we'd be on the playground, at least five kids were yelling "SNICKT" and slashing through everything. I always just wanted Magneto to rip him apart and get it over with.
NOW: I love Wolverine, from his great one liners to his flannel shirts. I buy into it completely, picking up every one-shot, excited to see which artist they've gotten for the character next. He's the new Conan, in a way, he's done so much his adventures are all legendary, and because of his powers and past, we have no idea how old he is or how many places he's actually been. Instead of sitting complacent on a character they didn't need to expand, they've done everything they can to make him relevant, it's why the X-Men are still interesting to people, they never settle down.