It’s happening. Our brand new book – X-Men: The ART and MAKING of the ANIMATED SERIES – arrives this October 13 from ABRAMS BOOKS! It weighs in at nearly 4 lbs. of gorgeous full-color images that haven’t seen the light of day in nearly 30 years. We spent nearly 2 years combing through everything we could find, from high-end art galleries to X-Men: TAS artists’ half-forgotten storage units to cardboard boxes collapsing in the back of hot garages. We’ve pulled together the FIRST and (in our opinion) DEEPEST examination of the art of the show. We are proud to present it to you.
SDCC 2018 was a great X-MEN:TAS experience! First, Julia and I were accompanied by six “Team X-Men” volunteers (some family members), all decked out in “Previously on X-Men” shirts and hats. Amazing fun had by all.
We had two panels. The one celebrating producer/director LARRY HOUSTON’s career was topped off with the SDCC’s highest award for lifetime achievement, the INKWELL. At the other panel, which celebrated 25 years of X-MEN: TAS, we received a standing ovation (our first) from the standing-room-only crowd.
At a massive panel hosted by our friends at SCREEN JUNKIES, there was a “Battle,” a five-minute debate whose theme was: “What is the greatest animated series ever — X-MEN or Batman?” It was close, but the thousand-plus crowd voted for X-MEN!
And finally, we and X-MEN:TAS writer Len Uhley were able to grab some table space beside guest-of-the-Con Larry Houston and sell some copies of “Previously on X-Men.” Five days of fans, fun, and exhaustion that were truly memorable for us.
We are pleased to announce that we will be at the San Diego Comic Con next week. We will be at two panels. First is SPOTLIGHT ON LARRY HOUSTON on Thursday morning at 11:00am in room 5AB. I will be moderating this tribute to the animation artist who directed 65 of the X-MEN:TAS episodes and has art credits on 79 animated series! After the panel Larry will be signing autographs at the Featured Guest area for an hour. Then from 1:15 to 2:45 Thursday Julia and I will join him at his table (HH16) where we will have personally-signed books (PREVIOUSLY ON X-MEN), script pages, and Larry’s X-MEN model sheets. Then on Sunday, at 3:00pm in room 7AB, we three will share the stage with writer LEN UHLEY in X-MEN:TAS CELEBRATES 25 YEARS. After the panel we will join Larry at his table for an hour (4:00 – 5:00 at HH16) and, if there are any left, have books, script pages, and model sheets for signing. Finally, please join us to celebrate the life of X-MEN legend and friend Len Wein, Thursday evening at 8:30 at room 4.
(From top left, clockwise: LARRY HOUSTON, US, LEN WEIN, OUR BOOK, LEN UHLEY)
We are scheduled to participate in three panels at Comic Fest this weekend with X-MEN:TAS director-producer Larry Houston. It will be our third appearance there, and we wanted to give you a sense of why we continue to go back. While WonderCon last month was exciting in its size and scope (70,000 people, 1700 at our X-MEN:TAS panel), Comic Fest is low-key. It’s like visiting a favorite small town instead of a big city. While the biggest Cons have expanded into every corner of popular culture, Comic Fest remains comics-focused. The people are very comics-knowledgeable. We meet friends from way back. (Scott Shaw, who designed the Fest poster below was my office-mate at Hanna-Barbera in 1986.) The location is like a vacation spot, not a trade show. And the founders go back to the beginning of the Con movement, so they choose guests wisely. So join us if you can — we’ll have a signing table and stacks of books. See you there.
What a collection of TV Animation memories in one photo! Our Imdb pages (not perfect, but close) claim that we five writer/artist/producers have 2,224 produced credits among us (with some overlap). When I started at Hanna-Barbera in 1985, Alan Burnett had the office next door. In 1987, Tad Stones hired me at Disney TV Animation, then hired Julia in 1988, to write for Rescue Rangers. When I got a season of Beetlejuice to run for Fox (1990), just before X-Men:TAS, I hired Marty for his first TV writing job. These people have left their mark. Alan, who once ran mega-hit Smurfs for H-B, has been THE man at Warner Brothers animation for an incredible 25 years, writing for many of the animated TV series and animated DVD movies (Batman, etc.) produced there while overseeing every one of them. Those of us in the know understand that stars like Paul Dini and Bruce Timm worked, gratefully, for the house that Alan built and has only recently retired from. Similarly, Tad Stones was THE creative force during the long period known as The Disney Afternoon (mid ’80s – mid ’90s). Julia and I know, since we were there for three years learning from him. Marty has run more recent major series like Transformers and Guardians of the Galaxy, keeping action-adventure cartoons thriving during the last decade. And to top it off, we all get to hang out and reminisce, meeting at this Con at our Previously on X-Men signing desk. It just goes to show that it pays to work, over a long career, with nice, talented people.
Marty Isenberg, Alan Burnett, Julia Lewald, Eric Lewald, and (kneeling) Tad Stones
We’re back! It’s been a while. We’ve been getting the word out about the book. WonderCon in Anaheim was nice enough to ask Julia and me to set up an X-MEN:TAS panel this past weekend. They didn’t happen to mention that the hall would seat 1700 people! Well, we found out that there is great love for the show: our panel was standing-room-only. Producer-Director LARRY HOUSTON and writers LEN UHLEY and BOB SKIR joined us. Afterward, there was three straight hours of book-signing at our table. We’re not sure what other cons we can manage to attend (a load of 100 books weighs 210 lbs, so flying places may be tough). But we’ll try. We’re set at MomoCon in Atlanta in late May. Writing can be solitary work, so meeting people who appreciate your efforts can be gratifying.
Left to right: niece Rev Wiederspahn, Julia, X-MEN:TAS writer Len Uhley, and me.
Julia here – Eric is the one who usually writes these posts (I’m the one handling our Twitter feed) .
The Hugo Awards, presented later this year for science fiction/fantasy writing, has a category for Best Related Work, which includes books about the making of a film or TV series. Eric’s book, a serious labor of love, has received multiple rave reviews, excerpted here:
A free sample chapter is available through Amazon for your kindle device here:
To all members of the WorldCon 76 (San Jose) — Please consider submitting “Previously on X-Men: The Making of an Animated Series” for a Hugo nomination in the Best Related Work category.
On January 9, 1993, 25 years ago this month, X-MEN:The Animated Series officially premiered on the Fox Network (after a few sneak screenings the previous fall). This January we start what we hope will be a satisfying year travelling to Cons and other events to celebrate the experience and the recent publishing of our book. We’ll be in Pasadena, CA, at their Con this month (Jan 28) and in Knoxville, Tennessee next month (Feb 15), at an event sponsored by the University. Later Con trips are set for Anaheim, CA, (late March), San Jose, CA, (April), Atlanta, GA (May) Denver (June), Toronto (summer), with more to come later in the year (like Grand Rapids, MI, in November). Below is our first shot at a 6′ x 3′ Con banner for our table. Please come by and say hello if we are in your area. Wish us luck.
Wednesday night, at the New Moon restaurant in Montrose, California, twenty of the people who worked on X-Men:TAS came together to celebrate the publication of “Previously on X-Men” 25 years after the series premiered. Great fun was had by all. Below are 15 of us. Back Row, left-to-right: Bob Skir (writer), Scott Thomas (producer), Julia Lewald (writer), Stephanie Graziano (Graz Entertainment), Dave McDermott (writer), Margaret Loesch (Fox Children’s Network), Larry Houston (Producer/Director), Me, Marty Isenberg (writer), Jim Graziano (Graz Entertainment). Front row: Len Uhley (writer), Dean Stefan (writer), Avery Cobern (Fox Children’s Network), Steve Melching (writer), Brooks Wachtel (writer). All are interviewed in the book.
Yes, that is Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, accepting his author-signed copy of PREVIOUSLY ON X-MEN from Wolverine (Cal Dodd, far left) and Jubilee (Alyson Court front, center) today. I am told he loves the show. And since the entire cast is Canadian, we felt is was appropriate that the self-proclaimed “comics geek” leader of that great country got the very first copy printed. We hope he enjoys reading it during his copious spare time — and that he recovers from shaking Wolverine’s hand (see below).
“Any time, Pretty Boy!”
I just checked on three AMAZON sites: US, Canada, and Germany. The book is available on all of them!! As I understand it, that means that the full-sized SOFTCOVER is available immediately, printed by Amazon anywhere there is an Amazon, in local currency, at a reasonable price. The hardcover is still a problem for buyers outside of the US because of shipping costs. The book is heavy (a kilo). I sent a copy to a friend in New Zealand, and it cost me $42 just for shipping. The publisher WILL send signed hardbound copies, bought through their store, worldwide — but they charge $50 packaging and shipping outside the US. Julia and I had an alternative for people outside the US who can’t afford that huge shipping cost to get a signed copy. If you buy the book in your country, simply send us a picture of you holding the book (send to: firstname.lastname@example.org), and I’ll print and sign the picture and scan and email it back to you. Best, ERIC.