Thanks in no small part to the Disney acquisition of Fox, the X-Men franchise is no longer on the backburner. For many, the classic Fox Kids X-Men: The Animated Series (or X-Men: TAS for short) was the gateway not only into the byzantine world of Mavel’s “Merry Mutants” but comics in general. Now that the cartoon is available on the Disney+ streaming service, viewers are revisiting X-Men: TAS, and even in some cases discovering it for the first time.
Sadly, due to the various licensing issues prior to the aforementioned Fox acquisition, Marvel opted to forego any kind of official celebration for the acclaimed show’s 25th Anniversary back in 2017. As co-story editor Eric Lewald elaborated in an interview with The Beat while promoting his book Previously on X-Men: The Making of an Animated Series:
She pointed out that however beloved and influential the series may have been, it and the X-Men had become kind of orphaned. With Fox owning the movie and TV rights, and Marvel/Disney owning the rest, no one was looking to celebrate a show, however popular, that had no home. Batman:TAS has Warner Brothers behind it; Star Trek has Paramount. Both had been written about at length. X-Men:TAS, more initially successful than either franchise, is the child of an angry divorce (Marvel bankruptcy, rights sales, etc.). No books, no celebrations beyond a heartfelt, continuing fan commitment. If anyone was going to celebrate it, it had to be those of us who worked on it. And yes, we were aware of the anniversary. It provided a hard deadline for us as the book got put together around our day jobs writing scripts for new series.
Marvel may have missed the boat on the 25th Anniversary but now that the X-Men are finally back home, Marvel is making up with an actual factual X-Men: The Art and Making of the Animated Series written by original X-Men animated husband and wife story editors Eric & Julia Lewald. Now available for pre-order, the books hits shelves in October from ABRAMS Books.
The story behind the creation of one of the most celebrated, revolutionary animated series of all time
X-Men: The Art and Making of the Animated Series takes fans behind the scenes of the landmark cartoon that laid the groundwork for the dozens of Marvel Comics adaptations that followed. Interviews with series writers, producers, executives, and artists reveal the razor’s edge that Marvel and Fox navigated in order to bring the X-Men to television, and detail the tough decisions, compromises, and brilliant solutions that resulted in a series that has been lauded by critics and fans for nearly three decades. Along the way, readers will encounter such comics and entertainment luminaries as Stan Lee, Avi Arad, and Haim Saban.
This book gives a ﬁrsthand account of what it’s like to develop, pitch, design, write, draw, direct, and produce an animated series, accompanied by rare original art, animated cels and still frames, and production and merchandising ephemera.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Eric Lewald is one of the premier writer-producers in animated television and has been the showrunner on 13 series. He is married to Julia Lewald. Julia Lewald is an award-winning writer and showrunner who crafted scripts for X-Men: The Animated Series as well as for such hits as Chip ‘n’ Dale’s Rescue Rangers, Darkwing Duck, and Transformers: Robots in Disguise. She is married to Eric Lewald.