I keep stating that my first X-Men comic was Classic X-Men 81. Which I bought off the shelf in March 1993. But it really was this small, nowadays would be considered Manga sized trade. It collected Uncanny X-Men 110 (which I didn’t remember until I looked it up for this post). It also collected Uncanny 123 & 124, which sadly I don’t own as it doesn’t involved Kitty Pryde at all, we have to wait five more issues after 124 for that.
This trade here, which is in black and white, I must have read at least hundreds of times. It is the reason why I am such a huge fan of Arcade as a villain. Murderworld, as a concept, a giant amusement park, meant to kill you, is an awesome plot device. Artists can have loads of fun drawing whatever the writer can come up with. There are times when I feel like it can be far too elaborate, like this one time Nightcrawler went into a Murderworld to rescue this one gal and that Murderworld had to be seven cities wide.
I bought this trade when it was in my school’s book catalog, that I sort of miss, super inexpensive books and that’s where I fell in love with R.L. Stine’s Fear Street novels. Which that series got way out of control. I wonder why Goosebumps is the more popular series? There was a time when I thought HBO should have started adapting Fear Street novels as a television series, whenever I think of Fear Street, I always get a Meatloaf CD in my mind as I use to read those books to his music. Great addition to the experience. Now I can’t think of the one without the other.
I am sure I must have bought it as the summary for it would have stated “guest starring Spider-Man” and he is in like two pages, if that. And those two issues are pretty funny in retrospect, as at this point, Spider-Man has gone up against Arcade so he knows the sound of Arcade’s dump truck when it abducts people. He hears the same sound, wonders about warning the other X-Men, decides against it, and swings off.
It was a great way to learn the characters, get a very slim slice of who they are and what their powers are, their interactions. It is written by Chris Claremont, so what I mean by that is, it was a slim slice in terms of, out of hundreds of issues, I got exposed to three of them.
The production of the trade is a little bizarre, as it isn’t a clear copy of the issues proper, like you get with trades. Each page has maybe four to five panels reproduced. Which is probably while it is a decent book size. It does add to the pace of the story, and if they copied it page for page, panel for panel, it would be extremely hard to read with the size of the book. All the panels are accounted for, it is an odd way to reprint the story. The panels are also a tad larger than they were on the page originally.
This came out in November of 1990, so I got exposed (eXposed?) to the X-Men and clearly got so excited I waited nearly 28 months before wanting to read another adventure of theirs.
Funny now, this was Claremont/Byrne/Austin about to hit their superstar status and I enjoyed it but there was no way I would have cared how these stories were created. I am pretty sure that I was taking creative teams for granted. I was eight in 1990 and 11 in 1993 (had to do my own math there). I was in 3rd grade and I still remember that brown classroom at James D. Elementary School, with Mrs. Hendrickson. It is a real shame we can’t look up old elementary school friends on Facebook, as I would love to see what those classmates are up too these days. Like how we have High School information and College, add it as a feature. Though last I checked, they modified the high school so that you can’t just look up your graduating year, which is a silly revision in my opinion. I was obsessed with the idea of that school doing a Sixth Grade reunion like you hear High Schools do. I’m sure we are all drastically different, even by the time we get to high school in those two years time.
Arcade shows up again to harass the X-Men, not too many issues later for Uncanny 146 and 147, which stars either Dr. Doom or a Doombot, pending on your reading order.
When I decided to invest in buying all of Magik’s appearances, I got my two Arcade stories confused and had to take a deep breath (before doing the research) as Illyana (before all of the cruelty that happens to her in 160) shows up in 146 and not 123. Illyana doesn’t make any appearances outside of Giant Size to this Arcade story. Debut 1975 as a plot device for Colossus, and then shows up in 146 in 1981. Six years of stories of her on the farm, is what we missed out on!
When I was 8, I was just happy to read anything with superheroes and didn’t even think that some guy had to write the story, then some other guy penciled it and I’m sure I thought someone wrote the words and then this other guy did all of the actual visual stuff.
It probably wasn’t until much later in my comic reading habit where I even took note of who wrote the comic and that the inker is a separate person from the penciler. These are the things a young comic reader takes for granted.
I’m sure it wasn’t until I started buying Wizard monthly where I even gave the reality of making comics a second thought. Just took for granted that these stories were coming out month in and month out. Hey, what is Spider-Man up to this month? Instead of, what adventure of Spider-Man is Howard Mackie with John Romita Jr. giving me this month.
Arcade, there was a moment a couple months ago when I thought about downloading some Arcade stories through Comixology but apparently writers have not been consistent in his portrayal. If he isn’t in a completely white tuxedo with a big floppy head of red hair, that’s not my Arcade. I should have at least been reading Avengers Arena, but from what I’ve heard, he is the overall villain, but he isn’t in every issue. When they first announced Avengers Arena, I thought it was one of those dumb cash grabs to take advantage of Hunger Games (a lesser Battle Royale) but once I read that it is all due to Arcade, I gave the series instant points for how clever that is, as that is right up his alley.
One of these days I will have to do proper reviews of the time Arcade put Excalibur through Murderworld. Every member got to be spotlighted. That is another awesome thing about Arcade, when he goes after groups, he puts each separate member into a deathtrap, so each member gets a chance to shine.
Of Arcade’s 92 appearances, I already own 21 of them, and just need to buy X-Men Classic 49 to get all of the ones that Kitty is also part of the adventure.