Abrams Books’ latest behind the scenes book dives deep into the pop culture phenomenon of X-Men: The Animated Series and is an easy choice for our Geek Pick of the Week!
As the Holiday season approaches, we’re bringing back our Geek Pick of the Week. Each week leading up to Christmas, we’ll be highlighting a cool product we’ve found that we feel would be the perfect gift for geeks of all kinds. Use these to help fill in your own wish list or find the perfect gift for the nerds in your life.
Some of my favorite making of/behind the scenes books have come from Abrams. Not only do they bring quality layouts that allow the images to take the spotlight, they’re filled to the brim with interesting information. As such, I was very excited to get my hands on X-Men: The Art and Making of the Animated Series.
As expected, it didn’t disappoint. To be entirely transparent…I wasn’t big into this show when it first came out. X-Men were never my thing. I was a Spider-Man and Batman animated series kind of kid. I saw plenty of episodes from X-Men just because they were on during my normal Saturday morning cartoon watching time, but it wasn’t a show I vehemently followed.
Even so, as I grew older and more plugged in to all things nerdy, I definitely came to understand the impact it had on pop culture. Though geared as a “kids show” it dealt with heavy themes and ideas that resonate to this day. Even as people get back into the show (or experience it for the first time) thanks to Disney+ it’s evident the show continues to hold up and deliver.
The Art and Making of book is written by Eric and Juila Lewald, a husband-wife duo who helped bring the show to life in the 90s. So yeah, there are TONS of insights they’re able to bring to this book even beyond the interviews and quotes presented from other people who worked on the show. Their first hand knowledge allows them to add perspective (even their own anecdotes) to the information being presented. Overall, this makes reading the book feel more personal and intimate, like you’re truly getting a look behind the curtain to how it came together.
What impressed me most, however, is how detailed they got into the process of developing the show. If you’re curious about how animation works, or even how shows get made in general, this book offers up some really insightful details. From the initial pitch right down to the process of having to ship out animation cells and production images to various team members so everyone was on the same page; it got right into the nitty gritty of animated show production.
Of course, this is accompanied by a whole bunch of gorgeous looking art. These comprise of never before seen pencil test sketches, initial design work to bring the team (and villains) to life, as well as various reproduction cells to show off how certain scenes were created. As I mentioned, Abrams always does a great job highlighting these pieces of art. Giving them large spreads that allow you to pick up on even tiny details on larger format paper.
Even better, it’s wonderfully curated and laid out in an easy to read format. Whether you want to start from the beginning and read it all the way through, or simply flip through the pages to look at the art work, there’s plenty to enjoy. Written in a clear, easy to understand manner, the book makes for a great straight read, or as a coffee table style book to pick up leisurely.
I loved it and I’m more than willing to admit I’m more of a casual fan at best of the show. There are so many details about the show packed in here, it’s sure to be a massive treat to long time fans who grew up with it. If you’re looking to pick up something for the comic book fan in your life, or just someone who loves learning about how shows are made, there’s absolutely no reason to skip out on this one.
X-Men: The Art and Making of the Animated Series releases on October 13th and you can order it now from Amazon (note: this is an affiliate link).
Geek Pick of the Week is fully back and will have a new spotlight each week. Catch all of them at this link.