When asked what my favorite era or run in comics is, without a doubt, it is Paul Smith’s run on Uncanny X-Men, issues 165 to 175, with a Walt Simonsom issue thrown in there (because, you’re welcome).
Now, you could take out issue 171, just to have the Smith issues, but then you go straight from the Morlocks to Japan and Rogue just happens to be there.
I’m going to do the individual issues on their own at some point but I keep wanting to express my appreciation for this run.
All of them are written by Chris Claremont, all inked by Bob Wiacek, mostly all colored by Glynis Wein.
I own this run in the original issues. I own this run as reprints in X-Men Classic, issues 69 to 79, with Simonson’s issue being 75 (which I don’t own yet). I am slowly getting my X-Men Classic issues completed, it just isn’t a priority at the moment, as they are only reprints. Super affordable reprints to extremely expensive comics. Well, considerably expensive comics.
I also own this run as the trade, From the Ashes, which is essentially a Paul Smith Visionaries trade, minus 165 / 166 / 167, which I get, as that’s the second half of the Brood Saga but I wish they would release a proper Paul Smith Visionaries trade, as I would totally buy it. And not just wanting to buy it, making a point to add it to my wishlist, I mean, I would actually buy it when it first came out. Unless they do one of those beautiful hardcover editions for $50, then I would have to budget for it. Which once I could, then I would definitely buy it then. I like the idea of starting that trade in the middle of the Brood Saga, as you start with not knowing what is happening and it moves fast, and with Claremont’s writing, you get caught up fast.
Another nice thing about the run is that it bookends with double sized issues. Another odd thing is that the last pages of 175 are drawn by John Romita Jr. Which works as a nice hand off to his long run on the title. But it just gies to show how unique a production this run is. Starts double sized and in the middle of a story – which I’m not sure why Cockrum left midway for, or did he just start it to give Smith a head start on 165? Next, you get a fill-in with 171, and the run ends with Smith not even doing the entirely of the double sized 175, which I’m not sure why they choose to do it that way either. It is an anniversary issue, so they knew people would pick it up, and they wanted people to be exposed to the incoming artist, JRJR, that would be my guess.
I also own this run as Essential X-Men Volume Four, which for my money, is the best collection of X-Men comics you can buy for not that much money. It collects issues 162 to 179, Annual 7, and Marvel Graphic Novel issue 5, God Loves, Man Kills. You get Dave Cockrum art at the start, and it ends ends with the would-be wedding between Kitty and Caliban, the follow up to the Morlocks story by JRJR.
I would love if Marvel would turn the Smith run into one of those Motion Comics DVDs. That would be awesome. It would be much longer than their previous DVDs, though they did release the Inhumans run, and that’s 12 issues.
The actual X-Men cast is : Kitty Pryde, Nightcrawler, Storm, Cyclops, Wolverine and Colossus, so pretty much, as classic a line up as you’re going to get.
Paul Smith’s run pretty much can be broken down / quick summarized as:
165 – 167, Brood Saga. Lockheed’s first apperance is 166. The X-Men arrive back on Earth in 167.
168, the famous Kitty “Professor Xavier is a Jerk!” issue wherein Kitty earns her place on the team, instead of joining the more appropriate youth team, the New Mutants. I should add here that Illyana has become Magik at this point, so these issues are when theycare becoming best friends. Kitty and Lockheed become an official pair here as well.
169 / 170, first appearance of the Morlocks, 170 has the fanous Storm versus Callisto Callisto fight.
171, Rogue joins the tean, Simonson team. He does the issue, as the real shame of Smith art work is that he packs his issues with so much detail that it takes him some time to get one completed but dman is it worth it ince it comes out. Not as long as these kids today, but he just needed a buffer and, once again, no one is going to complain about getting a bonus Walt Simonson issue. They definitely did not go with some B-Team, they kept it at top shelf quality.
172 / 173, the Wolverine would be wedding to Mariko issues in Japan. Madelyne Pryor meets the X-Men, as well. Kitty gives a sleeping Lockheed in a basket to Maddie to watch over is such a cute scene. Maddie and Scott are engaged at this point.
174 / 175, Mastermind’s revenge plan on the X-Men, from what Jean did to him during the Dark Phoenix Saga. Cyclops against the entire team, issue 175 ends with Scott abd Madelyne married.
So many great moments, can’t believe his legendary run is only nine issues, but two of them are double sized sized and its super rereadable. Not dated at all, and you can pick it up and enjoy it. The way it ends, you could have stopped reading X-Men comics altogether as it wraps up pretty nicely.
I’m sure I will bring up this run from time to time, but now you know where I am coming from when I do. Such a classic run, and totally worth the read.
Would recommend buying the X-Men Classic issues, so you get them in color, it might set you back 20 to 25 dollars but the black and white Essential is great too, and you can really tell the genius of the art team without the color, but you see it as it was meant to be seen at least once. The Essentials are $20, if I remember correctly, which is a real bargain.
Really tempted to download these issues from Comixology. Probably will someday, but when I last checked, they didn’t have all if them available.
This post is the reason why I started this blog, as I can’t even tell you how often I would walk around thinking about summarizing my thoughts on this run (or get lost in a task and start thinking about it) and the man himself, who I would love to meet or get a sketch from, but he doesn’t really do the con circuits, but it would be nice to get any type of original art, as long as it had both Kitty and Lockheed, who he co-created.
This might just be for me, but I need to write this somewhere for easy access, but the Uncanny X-Cast episodes that cover these issues are 36, 37, 38, 40, and 41.
Also, at this time, Comixology only has issue 167 available for download so I just bought it at $1.99. Hopefully they get the rest of the run eventually.