The Uncanny X-Men by John Byrne and Chris Claremont is one of the most influential and acclaimed comic book runs in history. It features iconic stories, characters, and themes that have shaped the X-Men franchise for decades. In this article, I will explore some of the highlights of this legendary run and why it still resonates with fans today.
The first thing that stands out about the Byrne/Claremont run is the character development. The creators took the existing X-Men roster and added new members, such as Storm, Wolverine, Colossus, Nightcrawler, and Kitty Pryde. They also gave each character a distinct personality, backstory, and motivation, making them more complex and relatable. The X-Men became a family of misfits who struggled with their own issues as well as the prejudice and hostility of the world.
Another aspect that makes the Byrne/Claremont run so memorable is the storytelling. The writers crafted epic sagas that spanned multiple issues, such as the Dark Phoenix Saga, the Days of Future Past, and building toward the excellent Brood Saga with art from the previous and legendary X-men artist, Dave Cockrum. These stories introduced new villains, allies, and concepts to the X-Men mythos, such as the Hellfire Club, the Shi’ar Empire, and the Phoenix Force. They also explored themes such as love, betrayal, sacrifice, and destiny, putting the X-Men through emotional and physical challenges.
The Byrne/Claremont run also excelled in the art department. John Byrne’s pencils were dynamic and expressive, capturing the action and drama of the stories. He also had a knack for designing memorable costumes, such as Phoenix’s red and gold outfit and Wolverine’s brown and tan suit. His collaboration with inker Terry Austin and colorist Glynis Wein resulted in a vibrant and consistent visual style that defined the X-Men for generations.
The impact of the Byrne/Claremont run cannot be overstated. It revitalized the X-Men franchise and made it one of Marvel’s most popular and successful properties. It influenced countless creators and adaptations, such as the animated series, the movies, and the video games. Furthermore, it also inspired many fans to become lifelong followers of the X-Men and their adventures.
The Uncanny X-Men by John Byrne and Chris Claremont is a masterpiece of comic book storytelling that deserves to be read and appreciated by anyone who loves superheroes. It is a testament to the power of imagination, creativity, and collaboration that has stood the test of time. The creative team took the title from a counter culture anomaly, to a mainstream hit, for better or worse.