I started my X-Men fandom back in 1991 when my brother picked up Uncanny X-Men #275 (featuring my all-time favorite cover), and then had me buying them just three issues later. 1991 was a big year for the X-Men franchise, as the three big titles – Uncanny, New Mutants and X-Factor all went through major changes. With the release of the cartoon shortly after, the X-Men became an even bigger sensation for young fans, even for a line that had for some time been THE book of the comic scene.
A lot of my time in late-91 and most of 1992 hanging out a small local comic shop about three blocks away from my house hanging out with the local solicitor, a guy I only knew as Steve. Steve had opened a comic and card shop along with a small art gallery in a building next to Louisville’s Clifton Pizza, which is why to this day I associate the smell of a sit-down pizzeria with comics. Steve was an amazing contributor to my fledgling comic fandom, one of the three people that _ my love of comics (along with my older brother and my friend’s Aunt Jane – who was my comic mentor).
I spent many a dollar in Steve’s shop, and he gave me numerous deals that helped me build my collection of both comics and cards. For the entire summer of 1992, I spent dollar after dollar on packs of the first-ever X-Men trading card set. This 100-card set (not counting the bonuses) was drawn completely by Jim Lee, and reflected all of the X-Teams, even Excalibur. This card set let me learn about all the X-Men characters, in a time when Al Gore had yet to develop the Internet. Back then, you had to read the issues yourself or find some kind of resource to get your knowledge. And this one was mine.
At a dollar a pack, I spent most of the summer of ’92 piecing together this set. Steve was nice enough to buy back my doubles as I slowly but surely worked on the entire set. In fact, two weeks was spent looking for two cards to finish the set – Shatterstar and Danger Room Gambit – until one fateful day I bought one pack that had BOTH cards in it. I was one happy camper.
In fact, my biggest regret of the numerous lost pieces of my youthful comic collection is that I managed to lose this set somewhere along the line. It was probably pitched or given away by my mom, but I can’t really blame her as it likely took place during my down period of comic fandom in the early 00’s. I could actually buy the whole set now for not that much, but I can’t say I have the money for it right now. (If any reader would like to…just saying, ha!)
But I occasionally go back and look through the set, via a site of scans at comiccovers.com, and reminisce about the fun I had collecting them.
But today when I did so it dawned on me that there are some characters that were highlighted back in this boom period of X-Men that have been lost into character limbo over the years. After all, it’s been over 2 decades since this set came out. So let’s look at some of the featured characters from this period that have been largely forgotten over time.