With the release of Days of Future Past upon us, X-Men are on my brain more than usual. Traditionally, I’ve been a Spider-Man fan first and foremost, but I think I might have actually been an X-Men fan at the very beginning of my superhero loving period (which I’m still going through, 20+ years later). Sure, the X-Men may have slipped out of favor for me, with their constant “struggle for existence” getting in the way of having fun, eight jillion characters to deal with, so many different X-teams, and the fact that I looked like Peter Parker helping Spider-Man to secure the top spot, but I still have a special place in my heart for the X-Men, and here are five reasons why:
Top 5 X-Things
1. X-Men Arcade Game, Konami
This game is a retro favorite, with memorable lines (“Nuting moves DA BLOB!” and “Welcome to DIE!”) and button mashing beat em up action that’s pure video game. As it is, I LOVED this game when I was a kid, with six choosable characters, even if the special attacks didn’t make sense (I really thought Nightcrawlers special power was to run and be purple at stuff for my first few months of x-fandom). Sure, Dazzler’s included, but if you look past that, you can see the reason I became an X-fan and perhaps even a Marvel fan in general. The aforementioned purpling is also why I briefly became obsessed with Nightcrawler, to the point I dressed up as him for Halloween (one of the earliest Halloweens I can remember, no less).
2. X-Men toys, 1991
Part and parcel with the game was the line of X-Men toys that came out circa 1991. These toys were objectively awesome: Wolverine was scaled down (with removable mask AND retractable claws), Cyclops’ visor lit up, Magneto had magnetic hands…it was awesome! I had all of them, except Apocalypse (and maybe Storm).
Sure, you can lament putting Professor X through the ringer like this, making him into the X-Men’s “greatest enemy” (du jour), but as I kid I bought in, with both the Onslaught X-Men and Onslaught Marvel Universe bookends, his first full appearance (X-Men 53), the Overpower cards (including his character card, and the best named attack of any kind ever, the “Mutant Gestalt”), it was amazing. With Days of Future Past being released, and Apocalypse on tap, if Fox really wants to continue milking the X-Cow for the foreseeable future, X-Men: Onslaught has a good ring to it, and a story in which Professor X defeats Magneto (via mindwipe), only to have that action create an unstoppable combined entity has a nice cinematic arc to it.
4. X-Men animated series intro
The best thing going at 11am, Saturdays on Fox, and a brief lesson in fonts.
5. Giant-Size X-Mug
Not only because of its pleasing aesthetic (incongruently shadowed “X” notwithstanding), the large amount of coffee it holds, and its influence on the name of this site, but because mine was a Christmas gift and so warms the cockles of my heart.
This terrible character was just a clone of Mojo, but without the charm (ie fatness and spider-legs). Instead, he’s some pirate-looking thing, used as a pawn in the ongoing, never interesting, battle between Mojo and Longshot. Throw him on the scapheap next to Boom Boom and GW Bridge.
EDIT: Here’s a cheap plug for our longest episode of the What If Podcast to date as me and Andrew The Giant discuss X-Mens!