In 1963 the X-Men made their comic book debut, introducing the world to Marvel’s merry mutants. Over the years they developed a strong following, eventually becoming Marvel’s #1 super-group.
In addition to their many, many comic book adventures the X-Men have featured in computer games, movies and animated shows. But how many X-Men cartoons are there? And which toons should you watch?
Read on for more details…
The X-Men cartoons in release order
To date, there are nine X-Men cartoons. The X-Men cartoons – which were produced between 1981 and 2011 – include:
- Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends (1981 – 1983)*
- Pryde of the X-Men (1989)
- X-Men: The Animated Series (1992 – 1997)
- X-Men: Evolution (2000 – 2003)
- X-Men: Darktide (2006)
- Wolverine and the X-Men (2009)
- Astonishing X-Men – Motion comics (2009 – 2012)
- X-Men: The Anime Series (2011)
- Wolverine: The Anime Series (2011)
*I know what you’re thinking – how is Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends an X-Men show?
OK, so Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends is primarily a Spidey show, but it still counts as an X-Men series as it features Iceman (one of the founding members of the X-Men) as one of the series’ three leads.
Are all of the X-Men cartoons part of the same series?
X-Men: The Anime Series and Wolverine: The Anime Series are linked. The other shows are separate entities and can be viewed as standalone cartoons.
What is significant about each series?
- Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends (1981 – 1983) was the first animated show to feature a member of the X-Men as a lead character. The series – which focused on Spider-Man, Iceman, and Firestar – ran for three seasons, totalling 24 episodes.
- Pryde of the X-Men (1989) was a pilot episode for an unproduced X-Men animated show. The pilot episode featured Cyclops, Colossus, Storm, Dazzler, Nightcrawler, Wolverine, Professor X, and Kitty Pryde and although it never went beyond one episode, the cartoon did inspire a popular (and still well-regarded) X-Men arcade game.
- X-Men: The Animated Series (1992 – 1997) was a hugely successful animated show when it aired during the 1990s. The show ran for five seasons, totalling 76 episodes, and adapted many iconic comic book storylines including The Phoenix Saga, and Days of Future Past.
- X-Men: Evolution (2000 – 2003) ran for four seasons, comprising 52 episodes. The show followed the X-Men as high school students, and is known for introducing the character, X-23 into the Marvel Universe.
- X-Men: Darktide (2006) was a standalone straight-to-DVD short that was produced as a tie-in for Marvel Minimates figures. The X-team featured in the short included Jean Grey, Cyclops, Wolverine, Beast, Storm, Archangel, and Professor Xavier.
- Wolverine and the X-Men (2009) was a one-season show comprising 26 episodes. The series had a loyal fanbase and is still highly regarded, however, it was cancelled after one season due to backstage financial reasons.
- Astonishing X-Men (2009 – 2012) was a series of motion comics based on the Astonishing X-Men comics by Joss Whedon and John Cassaday. Astonishing X-Men was composed of four parts: Gifted, Dangerous, Torn, and Unstoppable.
- X-Men: The Anime Series (2011) was part of a collection of four anime shows based on Marvel Comics characters. The other shows in the collection included Blade, Wolverine (see below), and Iron Man. Each series comprised 12 episodes.
- Wolverine: The Anime Series (2011) joined X-Men: The Anime Series as one of four Marvel anime shows (see above).
What is the best X-Men cartoon?
X-Men: The Animated Series, X-Men: Evolution, and Wolverine and the X-Men are all strong shows, which offer up a good mix of colourful characters and engaging stories. If you are seeking out the best X-Men animated shows then these three shows are the ones to look out for.
Here are how the X-Men cartoons rank according to IMDb:
- X-Men: The Animated Series (1992 – 1997) – 8.4/10
- Wolverine and the X-Men (2009) – 8.0/10
- X-Men: Evolution (2000 – 2003) – 7.9/10
- Astonishing X-Men (2009 – 2012) – Gifted 7.9/10, Unstoppable 7.9/10, Dangerous 7.7/10, Torn 7.2/10
- Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends (1981 – 1983) – 7.2/10
- X-Men: The Anime Series (2011) – 7.1/10
- Pryde of the X-Men (1989) – 6.7/10
- Wolverine: The Anime Series (2011) – 6.4/10
- X-Men: Darktide (2006) – 6.2/10
I hope this information about the X-Men animated TV shows has proved useful. If you would like to read more about X-Men ‘toons, then check out my series of posts called: ‘X-Men: The Animated Series – Revisited’.
Alternatively, for more X-related articles, please check out one of the recommended reads below.
- Thoughts on X-Men: Dark Phoenix
- What is The New Mutants? …and why is this film familiar?
- The Gifted Season Two: Episode 1 – Live blog