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CSBG Archive

Drawing Crazy Patterns – The X-Men Playing Baseball

In this feature, I spotlight five scenes/moments from within comic book stories that fit under a specific theme (basically, stuff that happens frequently in comics).

Today we look at five instances of the X-Men playing baseball. This includes ALL FOUR of the times that Claremont had the X-Men play baseball!

Enjoy!

Can you believe that Claremont only had the X-Men play baseball four times?

The first time was in X-Men #110…

The second time was in X-Men Annual #7, they are at it again…

Next time was Uncanny X-Men #201….

The final time was when Claremont returned to Uncanny X-Men in 2004 with #444 and you could almost tell that it was a bit of a “hey, everything old is new again” type of deal….

Even though he had them play baseball just four times, it was such an excellent use of characterization that fans quickly picked up on it as a quintessential Claremontian device. It really was a neat idea.

Scott Lobdell, always one for character moments himself, had a great X-Men baseball game of his own in Uncanny X-Men #325…

By the way, while Claremont only had the X-Men play baseball three times during his initial run, the X-Men DID play baseball in a story during Claremont’s run that he did NOT write. Can you name which one (note that I mean the X-Men proper, not the New Mutants or any other groups of mutants)?

37 Comments

Ronald Jay Kearschner

July 11, 2011 at 2:42 am

The sports scenes I remember most in X-MEN are when Scott and Jean get engaged at Thanksgiving where a game of football breaks out. The other is Prof. X playing basketball when he had use of his legs. Old creepy X starts lusting after Storm. At least she was older than Jean.

Imraith Nimphais

July 11, 2011 at 4:13 am

This was certainly one of the more entertaining of the numerous Claremontian “tropes”. Unlike the “focused totality blahblahblah…” It really stuck with you in a very distinct and enjoyable way (nevermind Colussus was always hitting the ball into orbit…sigh).

I loved the last Claremont/Davis one. I’d forgotten how much I love Alan Davis’ art.

So much detail, especially in the Emma characture. Love how her shoes are marked ‘L’ and ‘R’

Didn’t they play baseball in the outback?

I liked the X-baseball games. They reminded us that the characters were meant to be PEOPLE, having moments in their lives besides struggling against a world that hated them.

(But damn, Monet was such an annoying character. Couldn’t wait for her to go away.)

Btw isn’t using superpowers in a game technically cheating?

Also, a recent episode of Batman: The Brave And The Bold (“Triumvirate of Terror”) recreates the famous DC Comics “Superheroes versus Villains” Baseball Game from ‘Strange Sports Stories’ (don’t remember the exact issue). Hey, if they played the X-Men, who do you think would win? ;)

Look at that last example … Clearly Beast was on roids. Is he named in the Mitchell Report?

I remember a non-Claremont baseball game during the Outback era from Uncanny X-Men Annual ’89. It was a story centering on Jubilee (she watched just a little bit of the game before the story moved on). Back in the days when she was just some ragamuffin living under the X-Men’s base who would steal food and clothes from the team to get by.

Who was the artist on XM Annual 7?

“Who was the artist on XM Annual 7?”

The great Michael Golden. That annual also has a funny yet disturbing ending featuring Kitty, Illyana and the Impossible Man.

@AdamRuvola AAhh, that’s who I thought. Thanks!

Yeah, X-men Annual #7 is pretty funny, EXCEPT for that pretty weird ending…

AdamYJ is right, there was a time the X-Men played baseball in the Australia years. I remember because Longshot was there, and I remember thinking the tradition was now ruined by his participation. (I really hated Longshot)

PJ Perez, why on earth wouldn’t you just Google “X-Men Annual 7″ instead of waiting for an answer to the question in the comments? ;)

@AdamYJ

I remember a non-Claremont baseball game during the Outback era from Uncanny X-Men Annual ’89.

Yeah, that was annual #13. The “Atlantis Attacks” annual. I honestly didn’t remember that there was a baseball game in it, but as that’s the only issue of X-Men proper that Claremont didn’t write during his run, that’s the answer, regardless of my shoddy memory of it.

Why are none of those games played in a thunderstorm?

/Sparkly vampires suck at baseball.

Its funny how these things become “tropes” even if they are used only a few times. Like, everyone remembers “focused totality” but Claremont uses that line less than half a dozen times over the entire course of his 17-year run.

@T. – So that the answer would be here if anyone else was wondering. I’m clever like that. :)

I guess I’ll say it.

Bikini bottoms during a baseball game? C’mon Rogue, you’re better than that.

I always gave credit for Lobdell for at least improving the dialogue from the Claremont years, even if the plots got worse. Reading all these entries though back to back, I’ve got to say, Claremont seems to have been better in that department too.

I remember thinking it was funny they “censored” Skin saying nothing harsher than “dios mio”…

That’s a wicked shift they’ve got on Peter in the first game

Its funny how these things become “tropes” even if they are used only a few times. Like, everyone remembers “focused totality” but Claremont uses that line less than half a dozen times over the entire course of his 17-year run.

When you phrase it like that, it sounds as if it was spaced out over the whole 17 years. But it actually happened in the space of like 2 years or less I think, in which case 6 times is still kind of a lot, especially since it’s really a clunky, awkward phrase that stands out and isn’t naturalistic dialogue at all, even by comic book standards.

There have been a lot of fun superhero baseball stories–the heroes vs. villains game in DC Super Special #10 leaps to mind–but by far my favorite is the baseball game against Galactus in Marvel Adventures Avengers #26.

The idea of Colossus having that whole costume under his clothing while playing baseball should definitely have been in Goofy Moments month!

The second of the two Avengers/West Coast Avengers Annual two-part stories opened with am East vs. West Avengers baseball game, IIRC. I can’t remember if the first one did as well.

John Trumbull

July 11, 2011 at 3:00 pm

I remember picking up issue #444 not long after the first issue of the Whedon/Cassiday Astonishing X-Men came out. Astonishing X-Men was a fun, inviting read, and the Claremont issue was incomprehensible. I didn’t return to read another, despite my love for Alan Davis’ artwork.

The second of the two Avengers/West Coast Avengers Annual two-part stories opened with am East vs. West Avengers baseball game, IIRC. I can’t remember if the first one did as well.

It did.

I’ve always liked those two Avengers baseball games as well. A shame they didn’t get to do more.

My first and only X-Men baseball game wasn’t in the comics, but in the “X-Men: Evolution” cartoon. Like in the comics, it helped humanize them and to show that despite how crappy being a mutant could be, sometimes it outright rocked.

I find it kinda funny that in the last Claremont one. Emma, who is usually wearing the least clothing, is the only one in a full baseball uniform.

Christ, who’s the awful artist on #444?

Just recently the X kids and some of the Xmen went against the Avengers Academy in a football game. A fun twist I thought

God I hate modern comic book art. Look at the transition from xmen 201 to xmen 444. Blech.

I really missed those X-Men baseball games of yore. It was a nice break from all the dark, depressing crap they were going through on a monthly basis during that era…

FYI

Uncanny X-Men 201 art is by penciller Rick Leonardi & inker Whilce Portacio

Uncanny X-Men 444 is by penciller Alan Davis & inker Mark Farmer

[...] accomplishes well in issue #62 is create space in way that is akin to the Chris Claremont “baseball issue.” Claremont’s iconic baseball issues, wherein the story would revolve around the Xavier [...]

Uncanny X-Men Annual #7 should also have a spot in the Meta articles. Just finished reading that- did everyone else spot Batman’s giant penny, Superman’s FOS key and the Millennium Falcon at the end? Also, that ending with Kitty and Illyana was VERY disturbing.

[...] accomplishes well in issue #62 is create space in way that is akin to the Chris Claremont “baseball issue.” Claremont’s iconic baseball issues, wherein the story would revolve around the Xavier [...]

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