This week marks exactly twenty years since the first X-Men film debuted! I can’t believe it, to be honest! I remember being a kid, watching that film for the first time and falling hook, link and sinker for the world of the X-Men.
So, what better time than now to give you a guide on where to start with the X-Men comics?
Now, fun fact, I started researching this subject and nearly waved the white flag – there are decades worth of storylines, continuities and retcons – but I’ve got great three places to start!
Marvel Masterworks: X-Men
I’ll start right at the beginning, with the original X-Men comic! This edition collects the first ten issues published, which will give you a great introduction to the team and its villains! I’d recommend starting here if you want to start right from the beginning and work from there.
Personally, though, I’m not a fan of the 1963 artwork, and really do not have the money/space to collect every single issue from the last 60 years, which brings me onto a more modern place to start:
E Is For Extinction
Starting in 2001, the Grant Morrison era completely revamped the X-Men for a modern audience, and lays the groundwork for a lot of events later on. This series also brought in redesigned costumes, introduced new characters, and brought in ‘secondary mutations’ – meaning that characters like Emma Frost could develop a secondary power.
I’d highly recommend starting here, if you want to get into the big events like House Of M, Schism, House Of X/Powers Of X. Everything that happens later, starts here.
And, finally, if you just want to read a one shot that doesn’t tie into anything else, and doesn’t rely on knowing anything other than basic knowledge, I’d go with Neil Gaiman’s Marvel 1602! This was the first comic I ever read, and I absolutely loved it!
To read this, all you need is basic knowledge of the X-Men, Fantastic 4, and the Avengers – so if you’ve seen the films, you’ll be fine!
Admittedly, the X-Men aren’t the main characters of this, it’s more of an ensemble piece (think Infinity War, in terms of everyone coming together from their various franchises), but it’s truly brilliant, as a comic, and as a starting place.
And that’s my best three ways to start the X-Men! If you have any questions, please leave them down below and I’ll do my best to answer them!
Happy birthday to the X-Men!