Marvel Releasing Collection of Jim Lee’s X-Men Trading Card Set

Marvel Comics celebrates the 30th anniversary of Jim Lee’s The Uncanny X-Men trading card set with a new book collecting the entire set. Abrams Books will publish The Uncanny X-Men Trading Cards: The Complete Series, a digest-sized, annotated volume reprinting all 105 cards in the 1992 collectible card set, plus bonus cards. The book releases in July. In the early 1990s, Jim Lee was one of the hottest artists in the industry. His new character designs for the X-Men, debuting in X Men #1, the best-selling comic book of all time, remain the touchpoint for an entire generation of Marvel fans thanks to their use in X-Men: The Animated Series (returning soon on Disney+). The Uncanny X-Men trading card set was the first time Marvel hired a single artist to create an entire collection of cards. These cards, and others like it, continue to inspire fans to create their versions today.

Lee’s Uncanny X-Men set featured his signature character portraits, battle scenes, and team shots and included the nine-card Danger Room puzzle cards. The set helped kick off the ’90s boom of comic-book trading cards and further elevated the X-Men’s profile in the public consciousness. The cards also proved handy for those interested in learning more about their favorite X-Men character. The reverse sides included bios, stats, and trivia written by Marvel Comics writers and editors.

(Photo: Jim Lee, Abrams Books, Marvel Comics)

According to the book’s description, The Uncanny X-Men Trading Cards: The Complete Series collects the front and back of each collectible card in the set—including Wolverine, Storm, Cyclops, Magneto, and Deadpool—for the first time, along with select scans of Lee’s original and digitally remastered art. It also features interviews conducted by writer and set editor Bob Budiansky with the Marvel staff who helped create the cards.

In a 1993 essay in The Marvel X-Men Collectionwhich dug up, Lee reflected on how he reacted to the offer to be the singular artist on a new set of trading cards: “I was flattered by the offer, though reluctant to accept because I had to keep up a monthly schedule of my own. Still, after pondering the request for a while, I realized I had no choice. Before me was the opportunity to illustrate nearly every player in the awesome X-Men universe. Not only would I be able to draw all of my own characters, but I could also draw Whilce Portacio’s X-MEN, Rob Liefeld’s X-FORCE, and Marc Silvestri’s WOLVERINE casts. “But the work!,” I thought. The set was 105 cards long, and my present work load was harrowing enough…oh, who was I fooling! I called Bob back and told him he had himself an artist.”

The Uncanny X-Men Trading Cards: The Complete Series will release in bookstores on July 5th.

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