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LadyGhosts of TV Past

Animated Ladyghosts: X-men Retro Recap Preview

O hai! It’s Lisa M! Welcome to my X-Men Animated Series nostalgia-fest recaps. You might be asking: Of all the ’90s cartoons you could be recapping, why X-Men?

The answer: X-Men fueled my feminist and geeky tendencies when I was but a wee Lisa M, and helped to shape me into the person I am today.

Really? All that from a cartoon? Yep.

Let’s break it down: out of the shows on TV, X-Men was the only one that had a blend of the following things: superheroes; action; multiple female adult characters; complex characters; main characters who were ostracized; and, of course, space pirates. Lady space pirates, to be specific.

One of the reasons that multiple adult female characters were so important is because I have a sister (and also so that episodes could pass the Bechel test, not that 8-year-old me knew what that was). When we played Ninja Turtles, she always got to be April because she was older. I had to play a turtle. When we played Batman, we had to have wild Deus Ex Machina storylines to turn villains into heroes to enable our make-believe. Then, when we wanted to play villains, we had to make those up because all the interesting ones had been turned into heroes. Not so with the X-Men. We had several female characters to choose from (she was generally Storm, and I was generally Rogue, though for a period there I was Queen Mary Sue herself, Jean Gray. And, when we got older, we started inventing our own X-Men characters).

Despite my love for the series, I never really got into the comics. For one thing, comics is something that, as a kid, you do kind of have to have someone to show you the ropes. They don’t work like book series, what with different universes, spinoffs, and the like. I’ve read some of the early ones and most of Astonishing X-Men, but there are too many different universes for me to have any desire to keep track of. For me, the Animated Series canon IS canon, end of story.

So the moral of the story is that X-Men rocked my socks when I was a kid and I am super-excited for an excuse to watch it again and share my love of it with you all.

By Lis

Enjoys cooking, sewing, and general domesticity, as well as tabletop RPGs and general geekery.

7 replies on “Animated Ladyghosts: X-men Retro Recap Preview”

I LOVED this cartoon so hard. My younger brother and I still talk about how awesome it was. I was always Rogue, and he would be Gambit ( yeah, I know that they were “involved” but were 8). I totally agree about the comic books- it is just a huge investment of time, money and headspace to really make it worth your while.

The cartoon did kind of rock. And who cares about the relationship stuff when playing pretend? That’s easy to change.

I do love some of the subtle nods to the comics, though – I know I don’t mention this in the first recap, but they show a wall of screens with news reports, and I recognized Domino in one. Now, I actually have no idea who Domino really is, but it was kind of interesting to see that since I’m pretty sure she never shows up in the cartoon.

It really was the greatest cartoon ever. Nothing else compares.

I am considering doing a Rogue costume this year, if I can figure out how to make a bodysuit. I have the right sewing machine to sew that kind of fabric, so why not?

This might be one of those projects that drives me to tears, but whatever.

Oh. Let me tell you. The suit is easy. Especially right now.

Here’s what I did for my Jean Grey suit. First, I opted for the blue and gold version. It never hurts to do research to find which color scheme will work best for you and your abilities. (I personally preferred the “blue period” anyway) :)

Once I settled on a ‘model,’ I went to Forever 21 and bought the whitest leggins I could find. Then I looked through all their white tee-shirts in order to find the whitest, most basic, long, pocket free option. I went a size smaller than normal so it would have that body suit feel but getting a long shirt helps hide the waistband of the leggings. The one I found came with a rinky-dink belt that I tossed. It was perfect. I then went to Fred Meyer’s (native to my area but any fabric shop, Walmart or craft shop will do – Target is no good, I tried that option), so at Fred Meyer’s I picked up Rit Dye – oh, hey, they have a website! – and dyed the leggings and the tee-shirt blue, super blue. I purposely dyed them myself, in the same batch, so both pieces would be the exact same color. Then, I found gold fabric and made myself a wicked off-the-hip belt. My X emblem was made with little strips of duct tape and a black sharpie. I drew out a stencil first and laid that out on the shirt, tracking the image in pen (trying to ensure that the tape would eventually cover the pen lines). After taping the image with the duct tape, I colored over the silver with the sharpie. It looked pretty damn awesome.

For the head piece I found blue face paint at the party store, the kind that is usually used by sports fans – this is the stuff that dries really well on your face and isn’t that smudgy cheap grease paint they sell in the Halloween kits. I also found some wicked glow-in-the-dark paint for the circle on her forehead (where she localized her power). These went on my face in the shape of her big ole headband thing. My hair could move around in comic book fashion and never stick to my face.

For Rogue though, you can get a can of temporary spray-on hair color in silver or white. It would be in the section with The Bride of Frankenstein, usually. Also, gloves. That’s pretty key to Rogue. But cheap ole driving gloves could work.

And that is how you become an X-man. In all (if you exclude the gold platform Jessica Simpson heels I bought) I spent about $30 and crafted it all in a week’s time. No tears. Fits of laughter, yes. But no tears.

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