Sunday, November 20, 2016

Animated Goods: Pryde of the X-Men

As a kid I had a VHS of Pryde of the X-Men, a lone episode featuring Marvel's most popular fighting team. It even came with a live-action PSA about voting starring Spider-Man, no wonder I'm such a good person! I didn't know why it was only one episode as it was action packed, featured a litany of familiar heroes and villains, had terrific animation and of course a killer theme song. After the Pure Fandom launch party at Coin-Op in San Diego and playing the similarly styled and themed 1992 arcade game, I watched Pryde in bed the next day before heading to the show. In 22 minutes we're introduced to the X-Men (Cyclops, Dazzler, Colossus, Storm, Wolverine, Nightcrawler, Professor X and new recruit Kitty Pryde) as they train in the Danger Room, hang out at the mansion then take on their old foes (Magneto, Pyro, The Blob, Juggernaut, The White Queen, Toad), end up in space on Asteroid M, it's awesomely ridiculous. Toei does an immaculate job with the animation, each character gets their bit and fans forever would wonder why the Canadian Wolverine was suddenly Australian (apparently because it was the fad at the time, Crocodile Dundee, Melly Ass Gibson, you know).

In a bit of full circle, the show was one of Marvel Productions' last projects and much of the team who did G.I. Joe and Transformers for Sunbow worked on Pryde. Which means the likes of voice director Wally Burr, producer/storyboard director Larry Houston, Cyclops voice actor Michael Bell and Nightcrawler Neil Ross, some of my fantastic guests at the Sunbow Celebration, were people I could ask about it! Duke himself and all around funny guy Michael Bell couldn't remember how it came to pass but recalled having a lot of fun recording it. Shipwreck and Rambo Neil Ross elaborated a bit, stating that Wally Burr put out the call, at the audition Burr wanted Nightcrawler to be Bavarian and the recording session was the longest he could remember at 12 hours. The cast was told it was a pilot for a series but everything ground to a halt due to Marvel's financial issues leaving only Muppet Babies in production. Of course a few years later, Fox found success with their fun if not as well done or good looking X-Men cartoon that ran from 1992 - 1997.

Sadly, former World War II tank commander turned veteran voice actor and director Wally Burr suffered a stroke earlier this summer. Burr has worked on the likes of Inspector Gadget, G.I. Joe, Transformers, Jem, My Little Pony, Exosquad, Bucky O'Hare and countless other titles. Outpouring from fans and colleagues has been strong and you can send a note to to wish him a hearty Yo Joe and get well soon!

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