Treasure Island Treasury of Comics #1: “To Me, My X-Men!”
For our first entry in the TREASURE ISLAND TREASURY OF COMICS curated reading list, let’s take a look at MARVEL’S Merry Bunch of Mutants: the EXTRAORDINARY… ASTONISHING… UNCANNY X-MEN!
Introduced in September 1963 by STAN LEE and JACK KIRBY, the original team of CYCLOPS (Scott Summers – concussive optic blasts), MARVEL GIRL (Jean Grey – telepathy and telekinesis), BEAST (Hank McCoy – superhuman strength, speed, agility and intellect), ANGEL (Warren Worthington III – flight) and ICEMAN (Bobby Drake – the ability to freeze anything) was led by PROFESSOR CHARLES XAVIER (the world’s most powerful telepath), describing them as mutants who “possess an extra power … one which ordinary humans do not!! That is why I call my students … X-Men, for EX-tra power!” In that first issue they meet their archenemy MAGNETO, the Master of Magnetism who has taken over a missile base, and a legend was born!
This line-up would last for a few years, until a couple of new X-MEN are introduced: POLARIS (Lorna Dane – daughter of MAGNETO, introduced as a character in #49, later joining the team in #60) and HAVOC (Alex Summers – younger brother of CYCLOPS, introduced in #54).
Soft sales would do something that no super villain could and the X-MEN stopped publishing new stories with issue #66 (issues #67 – #93 were reprints, keeping the name alive) until the ALL-NEW, ALL-DIFFERENT X-MEN were introduced in GIANT SIZE X-MEN #1 and X-MEN #94 in 1975.
The ALL-NEW, ALL-DIFFERENT X-MEN were an international group of characters led by CYCLOPS, and were recruited to rescue the ORIGINAL X-MEN, who had been captured by the mutant island KRAKOA.
This new team was sourced from all corners of the globe and consisted of: COLOSSUS (Piotr Rasputin, the then-USSR – able to transform his body into nigh-indestructible organic steel), NIGHTCRAWLER (Kurt Wagner, Bavaria – a demon looking acrobat who could teleport), STORM (Ororo Munroe, a weather goddess from Kenya), THUNDERBIRD (John Proudstar, a super-strong and fast Apache warrior), SUNFIRE (Shiro Yoshida, Japan – the ability to generate fiery plasma), BANSHEE (Sean Cassidy, Ireland – deadly sonic screams and flight) and WOLVERINE (Logan/Weapon X, on loan from Dept H in Canada – adamantium claws and his legendary healing factor).
This new series was written by CHRIS CLAREMONT and drawn by DAVE COCKRUM and was a huge hit. Fan favourite artist JOHN BYRNE would become the regular artist with issue #108 (1977), ending his run with issue #143 (1981). This is considered by most (and certainly me) to be THE CLASSIC run of THE UNCANNY X-MEN.
This run would go on to earn critical acclaim and was a top selling title for decades, bringing adult content and storylines to a serialised monthly comic book. It was easily the best soap opera going in comics for ages and is still used as a measuring stick to this day. “The Dark Phoenix Saga” and “Days of Future Past” arcs are two of the most well-known and influential storylines ever published in Modern Comics. There was simply nothing better than X-MEN for a very long time, they were THE Gold Standard book.
In 1991, rising superstar artist JIM LEE would launch a new X-MEN book, which would introduce us to the concept of BLUE and GOLD teams. The 1990s would also introduce new mainstay characters such as CABLE, DEADPOOL, BISHOP and GAMBIT.
The X-MEN would further cement their place in history in 1992 with the Fox Kids Network cartoon. I bet you still can hum the theme song, right? (If you need a refresher, they can be currently seen on Disney+, enjoy!)
Their next step in evolution would be in 2001, when GRANT MORRISON would introduce the idea of secondary and tertiary mutations, updating and modernising what it meant to be a mutant and dragging them into the future, but that will be covered in a future TREASURY OF COMICS article…
- X-MEN EPIC COLLECTION #1 TP CHILDREN OF ATOM [SEP191010] $39.99 MSRP
See the start of it all, from THE OG team of STAN LEE and JACK KIRBY. Collecting X-MEN (1961) #1-23
- X-MEN EPIC COLLECTION #2 TP LONELY ARE HUNTED [SEP161146] $39.99 MSRP
Collecting X-MEN (1963) #24-45 and AVENGERS (1963) #53
- X-MEN EPIC COLLECTION #3 TP SENTINELS LIVE [AUG181100] $39.99 MSRP
Collecting X-MEN (1963) #46-66, and material from KA-ZAR (1970) #2-3 and MARVEL TALES (1966) #30
- X-MEN EPIC COLLECTION #4 TP ALWAYS DARKEST BEFORE DAWN [APR190970] $39.99 MSRP
Collecting AMAZING ADVENTURES (1970) #11-17; AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (1963) #92; INCREDIBLE HULK (1968) #150, #161, #172 and #180-182; MARVEL TEAM-UP (1972) #4 and #23; AVENGERS (1963) #110-111; CAPTAIN AMERICA (1968) #172-175; DEFENDERS (1972) #15-16; and GIANT-SIZE FANTASTIC FOUR #4
- X-MEN EPIC COLLECTION #5 TP SECOND GENESIS [JAN171126] $39.99 MSRP
Collecting GIANT-SIZE X-MEN #1; X-MEN (1963) #94-110; MARVEL TEAM-UP (1972) #53, #69-70 and ANNUAL #1; IRON FIST (1975) #14-15; and material from FOOM #10
- X-MEN EPIC COLLECTION #6 TP PROTEUS [APR201110] $39.99 MSRP
Collecting X-MEN (1963) #111-128, X-MEN ANNUAL (1970) #3, MARVEL TEAM-UP (1972) #89 and INCREDIBLE HULK ANNUAL #7
- X-MEN MILESTONES TP DARK PHOENIX SAGA [APR190972] $24.99 MSRP
The X-Men have fought many battles, embarked on galaxy-spanning adventures and defeated enemies of limitless might – but none of it prepared them for the most shocking struggle they would ever face. One of their own, Jean Grey, has gained cosmic power beyond all comprehension – and that power has corrupted her absolutely! Now the X-Men must decide between the life of the friend they cherish…and the possible destruction of the entire universe! This touching tale of ultimate power and the triumph of the human spirit has been a cornerstone of the X-Men mythos for decades. Relive the saga that changed everything! Collecting X-MEN (1963) #129-137.
- X-MEN DAYS OF FUTURE PAST TP [OCT110741] $19.99 MSRP
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times: Relive the legendary first journey into the dystopian future of 2013 – where Sentinels stalk the Earth, and the X-Men are humanity’s only hope…until they die! Also featuring the first appearance of Alpha Flight, the return of the Wendigo, the history of the X-Men from Cyclops himself…and a demon for Christmas!? Collecting UNCANNY X-MEN (1963) #138-143 and X-MEN ANNUAL #4.
- X-MEN GOD LOVES MAN KILLS TP [FEB110662] $14.99 MSRP
The Uncanny X-Men. Magneto, Master of Magnetism. The bitterest of enemies for years. Now, they must join forces against a new adversary who threatens them all and the entire world besides – in the name of God. The members of the Stryker?Crusade are poised to cleanse the earth, no matter how much blood stains their hands. With Professor X as their enemy and Magneto as their ally, the X-Men undergo an apocalyptic ordeal ordained by a minister gone mad! One of Chris Claremont’s most powerful and influential stories, the partial basis for X2 is reprinted in softcover for the first time in years.
- X-MEN EPIC COLLECTION (JIM LEE) TP DISSOLUTION AND REBIRTH [MAY190983] $39.99 MSRP
Superstar Jim Lee debuts for an X-citing new era! Collecting UNCANNY X-MEN (1981) #248-267
EXTRA CREDIT READING:
- X-MEN CLASSIC OMNIBUS HC [JUN171041] $125.00 MSRP
Collecting the backup stories and new pages from CLASSIC X-MEN #1-44, plus material from MARVEL FANFARE (1982) #60
I sell ALL graphic novels, trade paperback and hardcovers for 25% OFF of MSRP everyday. If you’d like to start your X-MEN journey, please send me an email (or give me a ring at the shop) with your list (you can use the [ITEM CODE] if you want to be crystal clear) and I will be sure to add your request to my regular reorders. So, a $39.99 MSRP book would be $29.99 for you. Thank you very much for your support!
(Fun fact, PROFESSOR XAVIER never really said “To me, my X-Men!” in the comics, but we all think he did. At least not in the old school issues – there are a bunch of mentions in the 90s and memory makes me want to think I heard it in every episode of the cartoon.)
Thank you very much for reading!
Please send requests, comments and queries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alex (RFO, KOF, PMM)