First Published: October 1996
Contents: Giant-Size X-Men #1 (May 1975), Uncanny X-Men #94 (August 1975) to #119 (March 1979)
Key Creator Credits: Len Wein, Chris Claremont, Dave Cockrum, John Byrne, Terry Austin
Key First Appearances: Piotr Rasputin/Colossus, Kurt Wagner/Nightcrawler, Illyana Rasputin/Magik, Ororo Munroe/Storm, John Proudstar/Thunderbird, Krakoa, Steven Lang, Moira MacTaggert, Eric the Red, Princess Lilandra, Amanda Sefton, Black Tom Cassidy, Phoenix, Corsair and the Starjammers, Gladiator and the Imperial Guard, James Hudson/Weapon Alpha/Guardian, Mariko Yashida
Story Continues From: Essential Classic X-Men Vol. 3
Story Continues In: Essential X-Men Vol. 2
Overview: In 1975, Marvel introduced a complete overhaul of the X-Men title. For the previous five years, the book reprinted X-Men issues from the 1960s. Len Wein and Dave Cockrum came in to revitalize the title by introducing brand new characters (Colossus, Nightcrawler, Storm, Thunderbird), recruiting existing Marvel characters (Banshee, Wolverine), and changing the concept of the book forever.
A new threat causes Professor Xavier to recruit new X-Men. The new X-Men came from all parts of the world, making this the most diverse book in that era. Following the defeat of Krakoa and Count Nefaria, the X-Men bury a team member; say goodbye to the original X-Men such as Angel, Beast, Iceman, and Marvel Girl (although they all return at different times in this volume); and do their best to protect a world that fears their abilities and appearances.
What makes this Essential?: These stories were the building blocks of a publishing juggernaut, spawning the X-Universe in comics, animated shows, toys and motion pictures. Chris Claremont begins his legendary run on the title with issue #94. John Byrne joins the team with issue #108, and the book explodes with energy. As great as this book is, the Claremont/Byrne run hits its peak with the issues contained in Essential X-Men Vol. 2.
Footnotes: Essential X-Men Vol. 1 was the first Essential volume published by Marvel Comics in 1996. There have been three editions released of this volume, sporting different covers, but the contents have remained the same.
If you like this volume, try: the Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 10, which collects Legion stories from the Superboy comic of the early 1970s. Dave Cockrum was the artist for most of these issues. During this era, Cockrum designed new costumes for many characters, as well as introduced many new characters. A lot of these characters were later mimicked by Cockrum when the Imperial Guard was introduced in Uncanny X-Men #107.