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X-Men: The Art And Making Of The Animated Series Book Review

“X-Men: The Art And Making Of The Animated Series” is essential for fans of the 90’s toon.

Penned by Eric and Julia Lewald (who were also writers for 1992’s “X-Men: The Animated Series”), “X-Men: The Art And Making Of The Animated Series” is a highly detailed account of, well, everything. After an introduction in which the Lewald’s introduce themselves, talk about how the series came into their hands, and discuss Marvel at that time period, the book dives into the character research, the original plan for a single season, collaboration between Fox and Saban and AKOM, X-Men comic book history, design work, the show bible, pre-prod, production, and post-prod work, behind-the-scenes stories, accounts of the work that went into all 5 seasons, the show’s legacy and merchandise, and what X-Men means to them. Log lines for every episodes, screen credits and profiles for the talent involved are also included at the end of the lengthy hardcover coffee table book.

Of course, since this is an art book, you certainly get to pour over plenty of art pieces such as storyboards, production cels, key art, character profiles, models and designs, comic covers and panels, score notes, still-frames, layouts, SFX sheets, script pages, and production sketches. There are even a few asides like written pieces about Jim Lee’s art and the title design. Naturally, a majority of images are dedicated to the main cast of characters Wolverine, Storm, Beast, Rogue, Jean Grey, Jubilee, Cyclops, and my personal favorite Gambit, but there are hundreds of other characters featured as well such as Mr. Sinister, Lady Deathstrike, Dazzler, Nightcrawler, Silver Samurai, and Cable.

Prior to 1992, “X-Men” was already a major comic book title, but starting in 1992, “X-Men: The Animated Series” was the gateway for many people (especially kids) into the X-Men universe. It’s not hard to see why as it managed to make the characters come alive in a new way on the small screen all while treating the source material with respect. Simply put, it was a groundbreaking comic book animated series. With “X-Men: The Art And Making Of The Animated Series,” fans and readers alike get a glimpse into the production and art history of this beloved animated series from the POV of those that actually worked on it (the Lewalds). Usually when it comes to these art books, an outsider that didn’t work on the show or film is writing about it, but that’s not the case here. As a result, you get a book that is truly a love letter to the artists that made the series come to fruition. It’s always great to see a wealth of art material in various stages of productions, but it’s equally compelling to get interviews with the talented folks involved, learn about industry things such as animation sheets, read about Lady Deathstrike’s “figure,” and discover the tough road of season 1’s creation. That’s but a taste of what to expect here, but suffice it to say, there’s a lot of content here that will be thoroughly fascinating to anyone who treasures what has become one of the best comic book animated series of all-time.

December 1, 2020 - Posted by | Book review | , , , , , ,

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