ComicsVerse is celebrating the 12 Days of X-Mas by taking a look at some of our favorite X-Men holiday-themed issues! Today, we’re talking about how the X-Men learned the true meaning of Christmas in the X-MEN: THE ANIMATED SERIES.

For the seventh day of X-Mas, we’re bringing maximum nostalgia with an episode from the 1990’s classic animated television show X-MEN: “Have Yourself a Morlock Little Christmas.” Nowadays, most people call the show X-MEN: THE ANIMATED SERIES, but back when it aired (in between 1992 and 1997) a lot of viewers were still pretty unfamiliar with the X-Men, which is why Marvel kept the name as simple and straightforward as possible. Many of the show’s seventy-six episodes focus on telling basic X-Men tales, from the Dark Phoenix Saga to Days of Future Past. For a lot of burgeoning comic fans, X-MEN: THE ANIMATED SERIES was their introduction to the world of X-Men.

Childhood bias aside, this show was beyond cheesy. The dialogue was melodramatic and some of the on-screen characters were unrecognizable from their on-panel counterparts. Still, the show was successful and still lives in the memories of many X-Men fans — myself included. The show ran for five seasons and had one holiday-themed episode which centered around the underground mutant community known as the Morlocks.

Although the episodes about Jean were always my favorites (some things never change) “Have Yourself a Morlock Little Christmas” was an unforgettable episode for me, partly because of its surprising complexities. For a kids show, X-MEN: THE ANIMATED SERIES delved deep into X-Men history, pulling out fairly unknown characters like Callisto and Leech. As an adult watching this show years later, I quickly realized that X-MEN: THE ANIMATED SERIES has much more to offer than just bad jokes and tacky costumes. It’s an in-depth primer for those wanting to learn more about the world of X-Men.

X-MEN: THE ANIMATED SERIES
Image Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

The True Meaning of X-Mas in X-MEN: THE ANIMATED SERIES

This X-MEN: THE ANIMATED SERIES episode begins as many comics and episodes before it began: with an angry Wolverine. As Rogue, Scott, and Jubilee try to enjoy Christmas Eve with a festive tree-decorating ceremony, Wolverine sulks in front of the fire. Since it’s a kids show, he isn’t smoking a cigar and drinking a beer but that sort of vibe is heavily implied. Like always, the clawed mutant isn’t in a good mood and refuses to take part in the holiday activity.

Later in the day, Jubilee somehow reels Storm and Wolverine into going to the mall with her. It’s immediately clear that they would rather fight Magneto then be there. They complain for a while until trouble appears in the form of two Morlocks. One of their own, a young mutant named Leech, is ill and needs help. The hospital refuses to help which means the X-Men are his last hope. They agree to help and head off to the Morlock underground tunnels.

The rest of the episode is about Jubilee, Wolverine, and Storm dealing with their individual issues. Wolverine overcomes his bad attitude in order to help heal Leech via a blood transfusion. After realizing how little the Morlocks have, Jubilee willingly gives up her prized presents. Storm guiltily returns the position of ruler of the Morlocks to Callisto, who should’ve had it all along.

X-MEN: THE ANIMATED SERIES
Image Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

X-Men Tradition

Fundamentally, the story is a classic kids tale about the importance of giving during the holidays. For adult readers, this might come off as a little simple (which it is). Things become a lot more interesting when you begin to look at the scope of X-Men lore that this episode includes. This isn’t just another “X-Men fight Sentinels” action-packed X-MEN: THE ANIMATED SERIES episode. The show, admittedly, had quite a few of those, but “Have Yourself a Morlock Little Christmas” brings something different.

We see Storm’s involvement with the Morlocks, which comes from a little-known arc around UNCANNY X-MEN #170. Dedicated X-Men readers will be familiar with Storm’s Morlock past. However, for new fans, this is some pretty in-depth character info. The Morlocks themselves aren’t a super common part of X-Men history when you compare them to Magneto or Mojo. Their mere appearance in this episode helps to solidify X-MEN: THE ANIMATED SERIES as a relevant work in the world of X-Men.

While some characters seem a little off in X-MEN: THE ANIMATED SERIES (particularly those who get little screen-time) others are perfect on-screen adaptations. Jubilee’s obsession with malls and shopping is a major part of both this episode and her comic character. Wolverine’s anti-Christmas sentiments also come straight out of the comics, as one might expect.   

X-MEN: THE ANIMATED SERIES
Image Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

Judgement Free X-Mas

Are there parts of X-MEN: THE ANIMATED SERIES that are so disastrously over the top that you can’t help but laugh? Absolutely. The scene in “Have Yourself a Morlock Little Christmas” where Jean and Gambit are fighting in the kitchen is so dramatic and lame that I highly doubt even the most devoted fan could keep a straight face. This series wasn’t perfect. That’s obvious enough. However, it does deserve some credit for what it taught younger (and older) fans about the X-Men. In “Have Yourself a Morlock Little Christmas” we not only get to see how the X-Men celebrate Christmas, but we also get to learn a little bit about the larger X-Men comic universe.    

2 Comments

  1. Hosea James

    December 21, 2018 at 1:17 pm

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    • Peyton Hinckle

      December 21, 2018 at 2:28 pm

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