I grew up in a household where Saturdays were prized affairs of laziness and doing absolutely as little as possible. Mostly, we sat around reading romance novels (my mom), playing cards or board games or doing a little housework well before noon so that the rest of the day was free to be leisurely. As a child with a little disposable income in the form of an allowance, I indulged in simple pleasures such as comic books, visits to Red Wing Rollerway (RIP), and movie and arcade trips. These were all to be done on my days off from school. They stayed my trivial pursuits throughout my teenage years, but a new rule was put into place in 1992, the year I entered sixth grade: Under absolutely no circumstances could I be out of the house between the hours of 11 a.m. and noon. X-Men the Animated Series was on.
I created that rule after the first time that I watched an episode in that first season. I was prone to sleeping late to start with, but I woke up one Saturday morning to realize that there were X-Men on TV. I’m not even sure how I stumbled across it other than there was a small child in our household who also loved Saturday morning cartoons. The problem was that she didn’t consistently watch the same things every week, so I was at the mercy of a toddler who didn’t know Cyclops from Havok. I quickly explained the situation to mama, who understood the importance of my comic book love — she, once upon a time, was a devoted reader of Spider-Man. That weekend, I formulated a plan to watch the show from her bedroom — where I spent most of my time playing video games anyway — and made sure she knew what time and channel to turn to once I was up for the morning. I still, however, had to get her to warm up to not scheduling events and trips out too early before the show. I wanted to immerse myself in the world of the X-Men, not be out of the house tooling around JC Penney for a shirt that I would probably never wear.
The show was mesmerizing and drew me in to follow the greatest group of superheroes to have ever been created. The storylines were mature, and with great voice acting, I came to immensely enjoy the exploits of Marvel’s merry band of mutants. After two seasons, we moved into an apartment of our own and I was free to watch the show in the privacy of my own bedroom. Sadly, it wasn’t the same, though I still enjoyed the show.
In the days before DVR and Internet, there was no way to catch up on a broadcast if I missed it and no one recorded it on VHS. Slowly but surely, I fell out of getting up to watch the show. But that year of waking for X-Men has stuck around with me. Those were the days of mutant magnificence in animated form.
Lyndsey Hicks is editor-in-chief of Gaming Insurrection. She can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org