Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in 1963, X-Men was one of the least successful comic books in the Marvel, and as such was dropped in 1970. Five years later the property was revitalized by Marvel artists David Cockrum and Chris Claremont, and this time it took off like a house afire. It has been suggested that the X-Men characters, all mutant teenagers whose awesome superpowers did not prevent them from being shunned by Society, had finally struck a chord with those young readers who regarded themselves as being "cast-offs" as well. The comic book's sales skyrocketed in the 1980s and 1990s, the era in which the disenfranchised "Generation X" first made themselves heard in the marketplace. In 1988, an attempt was made to bring X-Men to television with a half-hour animated pilot which was shown as part of the Marvel Action Universe syndicated cartoon anthology. Alas, "Pryde of the X-Men" did not graduate to a weekly series, perhaps because it was too hectic and cluttered to register with those viewers unfamiliar with the X-Men canon. Finally in 1992, X-Men went to series courtesy of the Fox Network. The center figure for this weekly, half-hour series was wheelchair-bound telepathic therapist Charles Xavier, aka "Professor X", who organized a group of youthful mutants into a superhuman crimefighting machine. The principal X-Men characters were Cyclops, aka Slim Summers, whose eyes were repositories for high-powered solar energy; Storm, formerly African princess Orono Monroe, who had the ability to control the elements; Wolverine, who while a Canadian secret agent named Logan had been injected with "Weapon X", which gave him metal claws, an impenetrable skin, and a nasty temper: Colossus, aka Peter Rasputin, a 7-foot-tall Russian farm boy; the gorillalike The Beast, whose hideous face and body obscured the fact that he was actually brilliant science student Hank McCoy; Rogue, a backwoods girl with the ability to absorb the strength of others; Gambit, a Cajun lad who could "alter" the environment; Jubilee, actually a Chinese-American girl named Jubilation Lee, who had a habit of making things explode around her; and the tragic Morph, whose negative experiences as one of the X-Men had rendered him schizophrenic. The principal antagonists consisted of various "renegade" mutants whose purpose in life was to destroy mankind, and a covert group called the Mutant Registration Program, who while posing as the "protectors" of the outcast X-Men had designed a fleet of robots called the Sentinels, programmed to kill all mutants. Heavily laden with sociological subtexts and hidden meanings, X-Men nonetheless never forgot that its principal aim was to entertain its viewers, even those who'd never been fans of the original comic book. A coproduction of Marvel, Saban, and Graz Entertainment, X-Men was seen on Fox's Saturday-morning schedule from October 24, 1992 to September 20, 1997, firmly establishing the network as the undisputed front-runner in the field of weekend children's programming. After a round of Fox reruns in 1997-98, the series went into syndication, then in 2000 was revived in "retro" form as X-Men: Evolution.