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You Decide: Which of the Five X-Men Eras Marvel Recently Celebrated Do You Like the Best?

Marvel recently celebrated the X-Men’s 50th anniversary with a series of special variant covers by Julian Totino Tedesco…

xmen50a

Read on to choose which era was your favorite!

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40 Comments

This tells me the most popular version of the X-men is the 90′s cartoon.

Which was primarily based on the much better Claremont era. I grew up with the cartoon but was quite surprised to see the ’90s win and Morrison so low. I voted Mohawk Storm era.

The “Blue/Gold Era” is the most near and dear to my heart (assumedly why it’s getting so many votes, from people in my age group), but I also had to vote Mohawk Storm.

I grew up with the 80′s “Mohawk” team so that one got my vote. Those are still my favorite years of the team…

Damn cartoon…

(I still like the cartoon)

The only conceivable way that the 90s is leading is because of the cartoon.

Although I grew up in the ’90s I’m really loving the ’70s X-Men now.

My theory for why the 90′s is in the lead is that I suspect for a significant percentage of voters, it might be a pretty close call between 70′s and 80′s (early and later Claremont basically) and maybe even Morrison’s run too, which played a lot more like a remix of the classics than the 90′s did. For better or worse the 90′s era could arguably be considered the most distinct; I’m guessing if you’re voting 90′s you probably didn’t almost vote for something else, at least not for similar reasons.

I voted 80′s.

Damn that 90′s cartoon. Loathe it so much. Killed all story momentum and character development the comics had at that point in time. Pretty much locked in those characters to forever be X-men as well.

80′s X-Men all the way. Untouchable.

The 90s cartoon didn’t lock any X-Men in. Wolverine was already a permanent fixture, everyone else but Storm was rested at some point in the 90s. It’s the 20th century that’s seen an ever increasing number of X-Men (and Avengers) consistently appearing in at least one team book a month if they aren’t dead.

The cartoon is the reason why Jubilee and Gambit are remembered by more people than Longshot and Dazzler, but that’s hardly the same thing.

I voted for the 70s team, though I might have voted 80s if the Paul Smith roster had been represented by the cover.

Grant Morrison era. Nothing else even comes close.

I just can’t believe people choose 90s era. In my opinion, that was a terrible time for comic-books in general and specifically for X-Universe. I stop reading X-Men shortly after Claremont’s leaving –I couldn’t bear the bad quality of most of the artists, and above everything…I simply didn’t care about what could happen to X-Men. All empathy had disappeared. Characters were interchangeable. No feelling at all.

I’m re-enlisting in 2000s, which I think is a pretty more interesting era. But I choose early 80s, forever and ever, with this line-up: Storm, Wolverine, Nightcrawler, Colossus, Shadowcat, Rogue and Phoenix II.

Surely it’s as simple as that the 1990s are a) the commercial peak of the franchise and b) about twenty years old, and thus at peak nostalgia.

90s nostalgia is everywhere right now; the AV Club just did a week all about
remembering 1993, Pearl Jam’s released a new album after several years, and both CNN and Instagram have done 1990s nostalgia features in the last couple of months. Seriously, Google “90s nostalgia” and you get lots of hits, all of them from this year.

Wait, 1993 is 20 years ago? You lie! I was just…

oh

no

yeah, it IS that long ago. Wasn’t I just in high school? Not almost 20 years ago now.

Oy, I feel old.

I voted 70′s because the classic Claremont/Byrne era which redefined the X-Men was over by 1980. I’m surprised to see it take third place.

It doesn’t help, though, that Thunderbird is there. Dude lasted all of three issues before biting it. In addition, Banshee lost his powers halfway through the Claremont/Byrne run. So you have a character Byrne never worked on and one who was dropped from the book before Byrne had left.

Hell, it’s freaking Phoenix who should have been on that cover. Nobody else better represents the Claremont/Byrne years except maybe for Wolverine.

I went with 80s, which is when I started reading comics.

To me , the 90s were a bit of a sprawling mess I was not much interested in, and did not like much when I tried it.

I read the Morrison book and Uncanny. Perhaps if they wore superhero costumes, had better covers, and some of the fill-in artists did a better job I might like it more.

I have the first Masterwork, and there just was not much in that first year that I thought was that good.

It has been a while since I read my few Classic X-Men from the Byrne era.

I feel like I understand the comic industry so much better after looking at this poll.

@ buttler:

Sad, but true.

Still, what an amazing concept for an set of covers. I’d quibble about some of the character choices, but they are terrific overall.

Dark Phoenix saga, Days of the future past, Logan, Kurt, Kitty, Piotr and Ororo… How can people vote anyhting else?

Is 1990′s nostalgia the reason we’ve regressed back to convoluted crossover stories and multiple time-displaced versions of the same X-Men running around simultaneously, or is that kind of stupidly contrived storytelling an eternal force in Marvel books?

In any event, I voted for the 80′s Punk Team, when the group lived the closest to the edge (Xavier off in space and replaced by Magneto/Mutant Massacre/the faked death and the Australian era).

I’m more confused by the 60s votes. Purposely contrarian, or do you really think the Stan Lee years was the peak of this franchise?

70s wins it for me. Loved the roster that gave us the first Shi’ar saga, Magneto fight, the World Tour issues, Mutant X, Dark Phoenix Saga and Days of Future Past (that last one blurs into the 80s a bit, but still has the great Claremont/Byrne synergy going on…

For me Storm’s mohawk is roughly when I started to gradually lose interest…when Mutant Massacre totally changed the line-up, my beloved team was no more…(there was still some good things here and there, but not enough to compare with the All-New, All-Different stuff…)

I just read the Morrison run, which I really enjoyed, so I have to give it to the 2000′s. I don’t understand the complaint about the Morrison/Whedon covers at all. I think a lot of them are stunningly beautiful.

And playing devil’s advocate, I think the 60′s X-Men had a certain clubhouse charm that was totally obliterated by all future iterations. Really, the fact that decent arguments can be made about most of the decades being the best is a testament to the consistency of the X-Men franchise.

For me, my X-Men era is strictly the ’60s and ’70s. The Seventies is when the series really hit the ground running and contained some of the best comics of that era. Those decades are really the only X-Men comics I own.

You have to be exposed to something before you can like it. The sheer volume of X-titles published in the nineties – multiplied by the massive number of copies of each issue in circulation – mean that if someone’s only read one X-Men story in their life, odds are it was from that era.

That being said, I voted Blue/Gold because they had the best video games. ^_^

I’m a 90s kid, Blue and Gold all the way. Let’s see:

AoA, X-Cutioner’s Song, Phalanx Covenant, Joe Madureira, Generation X, Peter David X-Factor v1, Whilce Portacio penciling UXM and XF, Kelly and Seagle, JR Jr’s return to UXM for an underrated run, Nicieza’s and JFM’s X-Force with art from Capullo, Pollina and James Cheung, Casey’s Cable run with Ladronn, and Lobdell’s hugely underrated quiet issues. yeah,there’s a lot for me to like in this decade.

Come to think of it, the X-Men were just barely interesting to me ever since Phoenix died back in, was it 1980?

Far too much shock for shock’s sake since, far too little in the way of characterization. And way too much ferocious rodent.

@Luis

Clearly you’ve never read the Paul Smith through Ouback Eras

Is 1990?s nostalgia the reason we’ve regressed back to convoluted crossover stories and multiple time-displaced versions of the same X-Men running around simultaneously, or is that kind of stupidly contrived storytelling an eternal force in Marvel books?

Sort of. The 1990s were twenty years ago, so they’re what a lot of the current creators would have encountered as “their” superhero comics. Thus, that’s just how these things work, the kinds of stories that inspired some of them to become creators in the genre. Go back 10 years and you see nostalgia for the late 1970s and early 1980s, to the point that, for example, Iron Man actually got stuck back in his 1970s/80s armor for awhile and Bendis (who came in around that time) have done multiple homages to Secret Wars. Meanwhile, at DC, creators like Morrison were singing the praises of 1970s writers like Len Wein. Before that you had the Silver Age reconstructionist stuff at both companies.

You can sort of use Geoff Johns as a barometer. He starts out on the Flash doing Bronze Age-style stories, moves on to trying to make Cyborg a keystone of the DC Universe and relaunching the early-1980s take on the Teen Titans, and now the New 52 is basically the 1990s all over again.

I’d argue that the 1990s and 2000s also had something new going on, and it’s still there around the edges today. But the portion of the comics industry primarily supported by dudes in their thirties is probably locked into nostalgic cycles for the foreseeable future. Couple that with the understandable reluctance of contemporary creators to add new IP to corporate superhero comics, and you’re probably going to see more and more generational nostalgia play across the surface of the well-established decon/recon cycle.

@Luis

Clearly you’ve never read the Paul Smith through Ouback Eras

Even though I grew up with the X-Men during that era and love those books, I can totally see why another fan might dislike those books on the grounds Luis says to be honest. The shock value and lack of characterization, I mean. I recently read the 70s run for the first time and there was arguably less shock value and deeper characterization IMHO. Although I loved it at the time, upon rereading it, the Mutant Massacre was a major turning point and not necessarily for the better, and the Outback era paved the way for and introduced a lot of the worse aspects of the 90s.

@ Luis Dantas:

That is pretty close to my experience, although I would place my loss of enthusiasm at the end of the Claremont-Byrne run. I hung in for years as it slowly dawned on me that the X-Men were never going to be that good again. As much as I like Paul Smith as an artist, his work came along when the franchise was already in its long, slow decline for me.

@ Omar Karidu:

You can sort of use Geoff Johns as a barometer. He starts out on the Flash doing Bronze Age-style stories, moves on to trying to make Cyborg a keystone of the DC Universe and relaunching the early-1980s take on the Teen Titans, and now the New 52 is basically the 1990s all over again.

Ok. That is such a good insight.

It is a genuine shame that the people running DC Comics during the period of maximum nostalgia for their creative Golden Age were not themselves nostalgic for DC Comics for the most part. I can understand Jim Lee being nostalgic for post-Claremont X-comics and early Image. That was literally what he spent his youth doing. Dan DiDio never seemed like the kind of guy that liked the DC brand very much prior to it appearing on his paycheck. Geoff Johns is the member of the brain-trust that confuses me. He had actual contact with the remnants of the DC Golden Age in late-stage Starman.

So did Johns and Bendis both try to pre-empt 1990s nostalgia with their respective books? Because Bendis’ current X-Men books are very 1990′s, with the past-selves (a play used to far lesser effect in mid 1990′s Iron Man), future selves/future offspring, convoluted time-travel stories, and lingering sub-plots all reminding me of the excrable 1990s X-Men. Really, if it weren’t for Bendis’ signature Mamet-esque dialogue and the significantly improved artwork, these books would be indistinguishable from the 1990s. (Even then, the new uniforms for the All-New and Uncanny teams bear a lot of 90′s hallmarks, only replacing the excess pouches with excess seam-lines). Meanwhile, Johns’ architecture of the DCU tries to merge Vertigo and Wildstorm properties with DCU icons, resulting in an across-the-board homogenous version of 1990s edgy.

I don’t know if this is coincidence shared in comic industry excesses or deliberate, but my pull list has moved further and further away from the Big Two in recent months, especially with so many of the best talents doing mostly or exclusively creator-owned work.

@T.
I’d actually say the character work got stronger as Claremont got further in; characters like Storm, Wolverine, and Colossus seemed to gain a lot more depth, especially during the Outback era, plus he introduced Rogue and Madelyn Pryor before that, and they became much more complex too. Plus he stopped overwriting the script as much, which helped out a lot. then you have his character work with Magneto that was 10x better than anything that happened w/ Bryne (who I never thought was all that great anyways, but then, to each his own).

@Neil Kapit

Really? the art is better now? I’ll take old school Silvestri, Madureira, Pacheco, JIm Lee, Portacio, Steve Skroce, Jim Cheung, the Kuberts, Greg Capullo, Adam Pollina, Larry Stroman, Dodson, Ian Churchill, and even Jeff Matsuda over the current crop of X-artists I either haven’t mentioned or aren’t named Nick Bradshaw

@ Saul Goodehe The early-mid 1990s was a bad time for superhero art. I recently acquired a buttload of 1990s X-Men comics for very cheap, and a lot of the art back then fell into a jagged, cluttered melange of Jim Lee/Rob Liefeld/Todd MacFarlane imitators. Many of the artists you list fell squarely into that aesthetic back then, either by conscious editorial demand (as Ian Churchill can attest, given the vast difference in style and quality between his work back then and his cartoonier work on Marineman and Red Hulk) or simply a lack of experience, and didn’t find their own styles for years after. Just compare Andy Kubert’s 1992 Jim Lee imitation to his much more fluid work nowadays, or Greg Capullo’s Batman work nowadays to his MacFarlane-inspired X-Force work. The distorted anatomy, haphazard layouts, ridiculous belts-and-pockets aesthetic, and other 1990s hallmarks were part of a house style enforced on most.

Nowadays Marvel’s more amenable to allowing their artists to use their own styles, and it’s definitely welcome.

I think the important question everyone’s dodging here is: Why the heck is Emma Frost flying on the last cover?

@ZZZ: To quote my favorite line from “Invader Zim”… Because it’s cool.

But as G Kendall of No Blog X has pointed out, the “Image Look” was gone from the X-books by late 1993; and it makes sense, since they were the first books to have that look. After that you started seeing much more diverse styles pop up and guys started to drop the Image influence (like Andy Kubert). the whole line had a completely different look by 1996, a much more manga inspired one.

Also, I forgot Ladronn and JR Jr were regular artists for a while too, plus Jason Pearson and Mike Wieringo did 1-shot and mini work.

I’ll admit Marvel doesn’t editorially mandate a house style like they used to (and that is good) but most of those guys back then were better than most of the guys now IMHO.

to ZZZ
Maybe Jean is using her Tekinesis to levitate Emma
or maybe Emma isn’t really flying but falling with style..

on the vote
for me, it has to be the Cockrum/Byrne/Cockrum era from 75-82 (switching to Paul Smith Era mid-story which makes it hard to determine where exactly an era begins or ends)

Hmmmm…I took the dates more literally than the names given to them. In the 80′s you started with the Hellfire Club and the Phoenix stuff, and the All New Stuff was pretty hit or miss before that. And after you have some great stories and character adaptation. But if you consider the 70′s ending in 1980, then i’ts a tougher call.

Yeah, I wish they would’ve been a bit more clear which definition we were supposed to go with: I personally chose my vote by the way they defined the eras, rather than the strict dates. Considering half the 70′s were spent in reprints it seemed fair, and it made for a more reasonable division than splitting the Claremont/Byrne run in half.

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