The classic '90s X-Men haven't looked this good in decades

X-Men '97 variant cover art by Russell Dauterman
(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

The '90s X-Men haven't looked this good in years. Ahead of the return of Marvel's merry mutants to their most popular decade in the upcoming Disney Plus X-Men '97 animated series, Marvel is publishing a corresponding comic book - and now, the publisher has revealed a gorgeous variant cover by fan-favorite artist Russell Dauterman that may be the most iconic image of the '90s X-Men since, well, the '90s.

The X-Men '97 comic is written by Steve Foxe with art from Salva Espin, and is created with direct input from the showrunners of the revived animated series. The comic will show where the characters from the core cast of the original '90s animated series have been in the time between the end of the original series and the start of the revival, which follows the same continuity.

(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

Dauterman's wraparound variant cover, seen above, is actually a flashback to the artist's own past as well, as it updates a piece he did years ago that was actually the art that led him to get a job drawing for Marvel, seen below. 

As a long time fan of Dauterman's art, it's interesting and exciting to see the comparison of his older piece, which was very popular among fans even before Dauterman's Marvel career, with his new version.

(Image credit: Russell Dauterman)

"X-Men: The Animated Series was everything to me as a kid, and sparked my love of the X-Men and comics—I wouldn’t be a comic book artist without it!" Dauterman says in a statement accompanying the cover. 

"This piece is based on an X-Men: The Animated Series fan art I did a decade ago — the fan art that got me hired at Marvel! Now, it’s completely redone as an official cover to celebrate the new show. Absolutely thrilled to do this piece, and can’t wait for '97!"

X-Men '97 #1 goes on sale March 27. The premiere date for the X-Men '97 animated series has yet to be announced.

Stay up to date on all the new X-Men comics Marvel has planned for release.

George Marston

I've been Newsarama's resident Marvel Comics expert and general comic book historian since 2011. I've also been the on-site reporter at most major comic conventions such as Comic-Con International: San Diego, New York Comic Con, and C2E2. Outside of comic journalism, I am the artist of many weird pictures, and the guitarist of many heavy riffs. (They/Them)