X-Men (Vol. 2) #1, August 1991
My first #1 may have been Spider-Man Unlimited #1, part of the Maximum Carnage crossover, which Matt touched on earlier in this calendar. I don’t remember what my first X-book #1 was. Considering I started collecting in earnest in 1993, it was probably Generation X #1, which came out the following year. So let’s say this was the first #1 I bought on the back-issue market. And if X-Force #1 tries to argue, I’ll make fun of its high-top ponytail.
X-Men #1 had everything: A bigger team than ever before, Magneto, Nick Fury, a brand-new X-Mansion, art by Jim Lee, collect-’em-all variant covers, verbose exposition by Chris Claremont (the last X-fans would see for a while), a cameo by President George H.W. Bush in which he uses the word “prudent” and a new band of henchmen in the Acolytes.
The Acolytes were the first of a number of new characters created during a new era for the X-Men, including Bishop, the Upstarts, Omega Red and Colossus’ long-lost brother Mikhail Rasputin. That first year also saw creators shuffling on the regular, with Claremont leaving X-Men after issue 3, Jim Lee and Whilce Portacio leaving the books to help found Image, John Byrne temporarily plotting stories and, finally, the ascension of Scott Lobdell and Fabian Nicieza, which is about where I came in.
The X-Men of fall 1991 – Prof. X, Cyclops, Wolverine, Storm, Beast, Jean Grey, Gambit, Rogue, Jubilee, et al – formed the backbone of the cartoon that debuted on Fox the following year. That cartoon was my formal introduction to the characters, which in turn led me to seek out the source material, which brought me to my first local comics shop – the Hobby Shack on Morris Avenue in Union – which is how I started collecting back issues, including the one I’m currently writing about. My point is, TIME IS A FLAT CIRCLE!