I came by the X-Men in a strange way. See, my father read comics so when I was a kid (born in ’75 so reading by the 80s sometime) he would hand me his old comics. Lee/Kirby stuff, Steranko joints and all that. He liked Marvel a lot.
But that was how I found the X-Men. I don’t know the issue number but I remember laying on the floor and reading a comic where the X-Men were fighting someone and had to retreat. It was in a desert, and Iceman was all melty. Cyclops tunneled away with his optic blasts, somehow the tunnel not collapsing in on them.
I loved it.
I mean back then I loved the Fantastic Four more, followed by Captain America and then X-Men, Spider-Man and Nick Fury. The older I got the more that list shuffled, of course. As it will when you’re a kid.
Anyway after a few years of being hooked on comics and reading every one my dad had, more than once, he decided we should go to the comic store and get some new comics I could call my own. I, of course, wanted the titles I knew!
So I got a Captain America book, and an X-Men book and some Fantastic Four and Spider-Man. And Batman and Superman because who didn’t know Batman and Superman and I wanted to see if the Fantastic Four would show up there, since all I knew about comics was that characters end up in other books randomly and it’s more fun. I wanted Batman to team up with the FF. Still do, to be fair. Also, Superman and Captain America needed a team-up book.
I got home and grabbed the X-Men book. It was, I am fairly sure, #159. I opened it. And put it down. I went to find my dad.
“Who are THESE guys?” I asked, demandingly, holding out the comic. These characters weren’t the X-Men! Where was Iceman, or Beast? Man I loved Beast! It didn’t have my favorite X-Man Cyclops! These guys were imposters! Plus, they were fighting Dracula.
I was 110% lost. Just baffled. But I sat and read it, because it was a comic (and maybe Batman would show up, because Batman should fight Dracula and Dracula should think he’s a vampire and then lose because of that mistake but I’m digressing again) and I had a new comic so I should read it.
And as I read it I found out that I really liked it. It had a really nice touch, that I still remember to this day:
Seems silly, but up until then I had never seen Dracula warded off with an object of faith, only a cross. It was a great idea. So as I went to get more and more comics I would always grab the X-Men.
Through the Trial of Magneto, Rachel Summers, Dazzler, Nimrod, all those glorious issues and stories I read the X-Men happily. By the 90s, though, the bloom was coming off the rose. Claremont started to feel like he was eating his own tail – when in reality it was me who was growing out of the range of what he does best. Jim Lee was there and it just wasn’t what I wanted. I had been loving X-Factor and New Mutants and X-Men and I just needed a break. So I took one.
A long one.
I’ve never been a regular, die-hard X-Men reader since. Recently, Jason Aaron and Kieron Gillen have both been killing it and I have been reading the X-Men with a joy I haven’t found since I started. So thanks, guys, that’s so awesome. To feel that same love.
And yeah, in my head, I am still a fan of the X-Men. Even if I don’t always read the book, my memories of the good stories and fun times are still right there for me. So hooray.
P.S. – Yes, Cyclops is my favorite X-Man. Sorry guys, he just is. Raebeta nails why, exactly why I adore Cyclops so much in this post of hers.