Custom edit of Larry Houston at a fan event with keyart from 'X-Men The Animated Series' and 'X-Men '97' | Agents of Fandom

How Does ‘X-Men: The Animated Series’ Director Larry Houston Feel About ‘X-Men ’97’?

The ‘X-Men: TAS’ director/producer shares key difference between the original series and ‘X-Men ’97’.

X-Men ‘97 has smashed fan and critic expectations week after week, setting a new bar for superhero animation. Behind much of the magic of its predecessor, X-Men: The Animated Series, was Larry Houston, who produced and directed the show and brought his love and passion for the X-Men and their stories of mutant heroism to our homes, catapulting them into pop culture beyond the local comic shop.

Agents of Fandom editor-in-chief TJ Zwarych recently sat down with Houston at the Calgary Expo to talk about the new X-Men ‘97 series as well as some of his favorite X-Men stories.

Larry Houston Put His Heart and Soul Into ‘X-Men: The Animated Series’

Cyclops, Jubilee, Beast, and Wolverine in the Blackbird in X-Men: The Animated Series | Agents of Fandom
Long before they graced our Wednesdays, X-Men: The Animated Series introduced the mutant team to a whole generation. Image Credit: FOX.

With X-Men ‘97 taking the nerd world by storm every week, Larry touched on what his experience has been like seeing such a passionate resurgence for the mutants from fans and critics and the love the original series has been getting as a result of that.

“It’s been very satisfying, and it feels very good that the show is remembered so well. There has been a gap of 20-30 years, and suddenly, people remember the show and remember it fondly. Which makes me feel very good because I put my heart and soul into creating the original series.”

—Larry Houston, Calgary Expo

Larry Houston Praises the New Creative Team for ‘X-Men ’97’

A promotional image for X-Men '97 featuring the entire team of The X-Men showing off their new designs | Agents of Fandom
The X-Men have come a long way since their original series. Image Credit: Disney+.

Houston began his career as a storyboard artist and was the first African American Saturday Morning Storyboard Artist hired by Filmation. Larry worked on some of the most famous cartoons of the ’80s and ’90s, such as Thundercats, Batman: The Animated Series, The New Adventures of Johnny Quest, Captain Planet and the Planeteers, and many more.

First and foremost, an artist, Larry, talked about the differences between the original series and X-Men ‘97, including the advances in animation and the tools at their disposal under Disney.

“Well, back in the ’90s, I had no budget. These guys are able to do full animation and make the shows look really good. They don’t have to worry about the expense, whereas I had to a lot. So, I had to make my show look like I had more money than I really had.

The new show is great. Visually, I’m envious all the time of the toys they get to play with ’cause mine is just paper and pen. They have computers that do everything they want. It’s crazy.”

—Larry Houston, Calgary Expo

Larry went on to praise X-Men ‘97 and the directors’ ability to pick up where he left off in the original series almost 30 years ago.

“I’ve really enjoyed what they’re doing, and the directors on the show are very good directors. They respect and enjoy the material, and they are taking it where I left off and crushing it. They’re doing really good work.”

—Larry Houston, Calgary Expo

Larry Houston Shares His Favorite X-Men Stories From Marvel Comics

Artwork by Gil Kane and Dave Cockrum of Colossus, Wolverine, and Storm bursting out of the cover of Giant-Sized X-Men by Chris Claremont | Agents of Fandom
A new team of X-Men burst onto the scene in Chris Claremont’s groundbreaking first issue. Image Credit: Marvel Comics/Gil Kane & Dave Cockrum.

Houston has been praised for his ability to translate some of the most iconic X-Men tales into the original series. Larry shared some of his personal favorite X-Men stories and the newer X-Men stuff he was brought up to speed on for X-Men ‘97.

“I’m gonna show my age cause my favorite is the Chris Claremont stuff. I enjoyed Days of Future Past; I like the Phoenix and Dark Phoenix. I’m not as aware of the new stuff, but the directors are bringing me up to speed on stuff that I don’t know about because I kind of last track of the X-Men after around 2008. So the stuff that they are putting in now is like, Oh really? That happened? That’s cool!”

—Larry Houston, Calgary Expo

Larry went on to discuss his discovery of the Genosha incident in the comics and the show’s incorporation of that story, highlighting one of the key differences between the original series and X-Men ‘97.

“I didn’t know about all the Genosha stuff until they brought me up to speed, and I said, ‘Oh my god, they did that?’ So it’s cool, and I know that it might have caught some people off guard, big time. My show was for kids 7-12, but their show is for teenagers and above, so they are able to do a lot more than I could.

—Larry Houston, Calgary Expo

X-Men ’97 is available to stream on Disney+. Follow the Agents of Fandom socials for all the latest entertainment news and reviews.

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