In the early 90s, the X-Men absolutely ruled the superhero genre. Chris Claremont and Jim Lee’s X-Men #1 sold eight million copies, the highest-selling single comic in history. A year later, X-Men: The Animated Series made Marvel Mutants household names for millions of kids. Right smack in the middle of all that hype came Marvel’s first X-Men trading card series, a 105 trading card set that sold like hotcakes.
And now, announced for the iconic card series’ 30th anniversary, Marvel is releasing a book featuring all of Jim Lee’s art for the ’90s fan-favorite trading cards. The book is simply called The Uncanny X-Men Trading Cards: The Complete Series, and it’s an annotated, digest-size hardcover collection of the complete 1992 set. Yes, including the hard-to-find bonus hologram cards.
So what made the ‘1992 X-Men cards so beloved? For starters, this was the first Marvel Comics cards set featuring all original artwork from one artist. And that artist that was arguably the most popular one in comics at the time. Although Lee was the regular X-Men artist, these cards gave him a chance to draw iconic renditions of Marvel’s other mutants too. This includes all the main villains, and characters from spin-off teams like X-Factor, X-Force, and Excalibur. Amazingly, Lee drew these 100 cards while illustrating a monthly book. It’s mindboggling.
Once you add in power rankings and all the extra fun facts on the back, and the nine-card Danger Room puzzle cards, no X-Men fan could resist. Another reason for their popularity is that Marvel packaged them with the original X-Men action figure line from Toy Biz. That was another entry point for the X-franchise for millions of kids. Several fans learned the backstories and powers of these characters not from any comic or cartoon, but from these cards. These cards were a key piece of making the X-Men franchise so popular.
You can pre-order The Uncanny X-Men Trading Cards: The Complete Series now. The book arrives on July 5.