Monday, January 23, 2006

The Greatest Cartoon Ever: The Beginning Of My Comic Addiction

Now a lot of people will disagree with me very strongly. That's okay. I know the truth, and that is the only opinion on this subject that really matters to me. The Simpsons is the original favorite. Family Guy is funny as all hell. Batman The Animated Series and Justice League Unlimited are going to be called the best superhero cartoons ever. My favorite may not be on many people's lists. Well, that should change. What is it you ask? Well this is the part I love: X-Men: The Animated Series.

I watched the first episode after having only heard of them through my neighbor. He was a casual reader, and his small collection had me interested enough to watch this TV show he told me about. The first show premiered and I was stunned. I can still remember watching Rogue fly for the first time, Wolverine popping his claws, Morph dead, Beast taken out of the equation entirely for a long while, and the Sentinels chasing Jubilee. It was some of the coolest shit I have ever seen on television. Every week I could not miss this show. Comic books became a regular of mine, but I was pretty young, so my money and collection were limited. I started with the first five issues of X-Men and a few issues of Uncanny from the local comic book store. I still have the original copies of them all, and have read each of the issues dozens of times. The stories were better than the show. I have heard people say the show ruined a lot of what the X-Men stood for and ruined a lot of old stories by trying to retell them. Sure the retold animated shows were corny and didn't quite fit the mold of the originals, mainly because the characters were different, but I saw it as retelling them for the new audience to get involved. My first time hearing about Phoenix, Shi'ar, the Morlocks, Sabretooth, X-Factor, Cable, etc were all from the show. This got me interested to go and pick up the comic books, something that has come and gone many times. But I got back into for good with Grant's New X-Men. And boy did it ever start something.

Now my collection is probably not as impressive as you may think, but in some form or another, I own or have read all of the big stories, and am still learning things that I didn't really know much about, if only small plotlines. I am not completely on the jocks of these superheroes, as I recognize the low points very much so (Maggott? Jubilee? X-Babies? Bringing back dead characters... All for example...). Stan Lee is a genius for what he has done with Marvel. He created them. Chris owned them. Grant, Joss, and company are perfecting them. And the art has had some of the most impressive in the business: Alan Davis, Adam Kubert, Joe Madureira, Chris Bachelo, John Cassaday, Jim Lee, Frank Quitley, Salvodor Larocca, and many, many others have come along the long ride to lend their talents and visions of these mutants. And the X-Men was just a stepping stone to all else in the comic world to me: Batman (which was the first exposure I got thanks to the movies), Justice League, Spider-Man, Fantastic Four, Superman, Avengers, the Ulimate Marvel line, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Watchmen, Hulk, among others. What an inventive culture we have here.

In, conclusion, I hope that you have a story like this to tell or something like this in the back of your mind to look back and remember how great it was to discover and read your favorite comics. And I will forever stand by X-Men: The Animated Series as the greatest cartoon to ever grace a television, for it started a love for the greatest superheroes the world has ever seen.


AFKAP of Darkness said...

somehow, as soon as i read the title of the post i knew you were gonna say X-Men!

PlatonJK said...

dude. all i gotta say is people were fuckin DYING(dieing?). shit was getting done dammit, wolverine was trying to kill that dick cyclops. i loved it.

i loved that cartoon because it was sandwiched between pussy ass power rangers and eek the cat or something.

JRennoldz said...

"Stan Lee is a genius for what he has done with Marvel. He created them. Chris owned them. Grant, Joss, and company are perfecting them."

Nobody to my knowledge has summed up the XMEN's direction since conception better than you have here. Damn, this was a powerful but lighthearted article; great stuff man.

One of my fondest memories in comics is watching Jubilee getting chased through the mall by Sentinels only to survive then have her parents abandon her because she was dirty mutie i.e. that episode also got me into comics.

Strange thing is, I couldn't find any XMEN comics at the grocery store (I was 10) where I first encountered comics. At first I was bummed but the gritty randomness of TEAM 7 vol. 1 #1, my first comic more than made up for it.

I "rediscovered" the XMEN years later when I finally got my grimey mits on XMEN #1; Magneto rocked that cover!

Great read man.

Marbles said...

For me, it was Spider Man & His Amazing Friends from the early 80s. Sure, we saw a lot of Spider man's usual foes and some made for the cartoon.

But when they used to feature the X-Men, my brother and I would be *hyped*. And at this time, X-Men was completely unknown to the mainstream population. As far as comic book cartoons go, my generation had Superfriends (a close contender), the old Spider man cartoon ("does whatever a spider can") and the old Marvel Super Heroes cartoons.

For this cartoon to feature such an "undergound" group of heroes was awesome. I think that there were 2 or 3 episodes that featured the X-Men, including Nightcrawler, Thunderbird, Storm, Cyclops, Colossus and even Sprite.

Dope, dope, dope and dope.

buckshot said...

I know so many people who got turned on to comics through that cartoon, it's bananas. So although X-Men the Animated Series falls somewhere just below "Hammerman" on my personal scale of cartoon greatness, I can at least appreciate it on that level.

Now, Spider Man & His Amazing Friends, THERE was a super hero cartoon!!

*waves old man cane around angrily*

M Belle said...

I know a lot of fangirls that got into comics from the series.

But most of them quit "the habit" after Age of Apocalypse. They weren't trying to buy all that shit.

But I did. And I liked it.

Kwasi said...

That was a good series. IMO its one of the better animated shows to come out of marvel.

toothpick said...

still waiting for that on DVD. loved that show, despite some horrible voice work.

DrNO said...

I liked the Spider-Man series from back then more. It's also a piece of garbage watching it now.
But both of those series were a big part of me getting into comics.
Cool post man.

Melanism said...

No one ever gives props to the Hulk cartoon that used to air after Spider-Man & his Amazing Friends. Even though it only lasted for 13 episodes, I LOVED it and it was very faithful to the first issues of the Hulk (including narration by Stan Lee)