Strip Talk #17: When the X-Men ruled the weekend

Lyndsey-2013-cutout-onlineI 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 lyndseym@gaminginsurrection.com

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