Nostalgia 97

X-Men ’97 is so freaking good. I especially enjoy it because it hits a special kind of nostalgia for me. I don’t enjoy it because it reminds me that I used to occasionally watch the original animated series in the 90s, but rather that it’s helping me remember that wondrous time in my youth where I not only discovered the X-Men, but the wonder of superhero comics.

I knew of the X-Men prior to the 90s and the original cartoon. One of the first comics I ever read was a black-and-white reprinting of an X-Men comic where Cyclops is mourning Jean Grey’s death as Dark Phoenix, and he’s struggling against the demon D’Spayre with Man-Thing’s help. Little did I know I was becoming a Cyclops fan then, but my appreciation for the X-Men didn’t really bloom until, well, everyone else’s appreciation for them did in the 90s.

It was an exciting time to be a blossoming superhero comics fan during the time of the X-Men’s explosion in popularity. Not only was I rediscovering Cyclops, I was discovering a cast of incredible characters. Not only that, I was learning that I had favorites, which was a first for me, and getting to chat and debate about my friends’ favorites (and which ones were better than the others) were my first passionate nerd discussions.

The concept of the mutant was very appealing to my teenage imagination as well, with “born different” as the core of the mythology instead of getting superpowers by accident or experiment. I know that the X-Men are a metaphor for greater social injustices now, but younger me was thinking on a more trivial scale.

X-Men ’97 is helping me remember that time of wonder. That time when the wider world of superheroes and comics was just beginning to open up for me. I may not ever be able to fully relive those beautiful first moments, but the nostalgia is nice. Probably why it sells so well.