During the early ‘90s, Marvel Comics and SkyBox International joined forces to produce a collection of trading cards featuring iconic Marvel characters. One of these collections (which I absolutely adored) was X-Men: Series II – a 113-card collection featuring a mix of stunning artwork and character bios.
Overseen by creative director Bob Budiansky, with design work by Arnie Sawyer, the cards focused on a range of X-Men heroes and villains. Set around the premise of case files, the set offered “an exclusive look into the private files of Professor Charles Xavier”, to provide collectors with a background on the characters.
What characters and themes were included in the X-Men: Series II trading cards collection?
The X-Men: Series II cards were divided into five subcategories, covering the 100 base cards. The first subcategory began with 36 cards dedicated to heroes, ranging from Archangel and Beast through to Wolfsbane and Wolverine
The next subcategory was reserved for archenemies, with 18 cards depicting conflicts between heroes and villains. These were largely two-card pairings, with a hero on one card (e.g. Bishop #40) and a villain on the next (Fitzroy #41). Placing the two cards together formed a picture of the two characters locked in battle.
The third subcategory was for X-Men villains. This category comprised 27 cards, featuring fearsome foes including Arcade, Lady Deathstrike, Sauron and Toad, amongst others.
Subcategory four focused on X-Teams. This subcategory included nine cards covering all of the X-Men-related teams of the era, including Excalibur, X-Factor, X-Force, X-Men Blue, X-Men Gold, Evil Mutants, Dark Riders, the Mutant Liberation Front and Six Pack.
The fifth and final subcategory of the base cards incorporated a preview of the then forthcoming show, X-Men: The Animated Series. Nine cards featured screen grabs from the ‘toon.
The final base card in the set (card #100) was a checklist for the entire collection.
In addition to the 100 base cards, the X-Men: Series II trading cards set included two bonus subcategories for chase cards. These cards were much harder to come by, as they were in shorter supply, so meant that collectors really had to work hard to hunt them down.
The first bonus subcategory for these chase cards included a set of nine gold foil-stamped cards. These were nine cards lifted from the previous set of 100, only they featured a gold ‘30 Years’ logo stamped into the bottom, right-hand corner.
The gold ‘30 Years’ logo was to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the first X-Men comic (1963 – 1993).
The second and final bonus subcategory was a collection of four hologram cards. The first three cards included Cable (#H-1), Magneto (#H-2), and Storm (#H-3), were awesome-looking art cards, featuring a hologram background. The fourth card, which was truly special, was a 3D Wolverine hologram card (#H-X).
X-Men: Series II trading cards stats
To recap, here are the vital stats for the Marvel Comics X-Men Series II trading cards.
- Produced by: SkyBox International
- Released: 1993
- Creative director: Bob Budiansky
- Designer: Arnie Sawyer
- Box of cards contains: 36 packs
- Cards per pack: 6 cards per pack
- Total number of base cards: 100
- Gold foil-stamped cards: 9
- Hologram cards: 4
- Total number of cards in set: 113
Revisiting X-Men: Series II
For me, these cards are some of the best Marvel trading cards from the 1990s. I had a whole bunch of them in 1993/1994, but sadly we parted ways in the late ‘00s (aka I sold them on eBay to help pay my rent).
In recent years, I bought a sealed box of the cards online, and was able to recapture the joy of opening up each pack and reliving my youth. I can’t even begin to put into words how happy I was to revisit this collection as I feel they still stand up today.
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