Uncanny X-Men at the State Fair of Texas (1983)

Uncanny X-Men at the State Fair of Texas (1983)

“Battle at the State Fair of Texas”
Plot – Jim Salicrup
Script – David Kraft
Pencils – Kerry Gammill & Alan Kupperberg
Inks – Chic Stone
Letters – Rick Parker
Colors – Marie Severin
Editor in Chief – Jim Shooter
Publisher, Dallas Times Herald – Tom McCartin

Hey gang, long time – no write.  Been a minute since my last purely-prose piece, and I apologize for that.  Been kind of busy with the X-Lapsed program, among some other creative endeavors I’ve been embarking on.

Today, we’re going to talk about a weird one.  A book that, for the longest time, I doubted even existed.  A book that haunted me, as an X-Men completionist… “X-Men at the State Fair”, the “Dallas Giveaway” that I would see month-after-month in the Wizard Magazine Price Guide.  Nobody I knew had ever seen the thing… and none of the comic shops I frequented could tell me exactly what it was.  I had one guy tell me it was just a comic strip in the Dallas newspaper’s “funny pages”.

I even emailed Gareb Shamus of Wizard to ask about this… and, all he could tell me was, that it existed.  This was like… twenty-five year ago!  In the years that followed, I’d forgotten all about this weird little curiosity… then, as I was perusing a cheap-o bin late last year… I was absolutely gobsmacked to see the very object of my mid-90’s X-Obsession!  Worth noting, I paid farrrrrr less than $25 for my copy.

I’ve been wanting to cover this oddity for awhile now, and figure… hey, why not today?  I hope you all enjoy this piece… if, for no other reason, it’s probably something that isn’t shared a dozen times a day on social media!  Lots of fun Dallas-centric adverts at the bottom too!

We open with the X-Men having themselves a run-of-the-mill training session in the Danger Room… which, I mean, is as good a way as any to introduce these characters to the poor unsuspecting readers of The Dallas Times Herald.  After some SNIKTing and BAMFing, the X-Men take care of the “threat” placed before them… and, it’s not a moment too soon.  Ya see, Professor X has just received word of a new mutant pinging Cerebro… a new mutant, who lives in the Dallas Metropolitan Area.  They’re going to have to hurry if they wanna beat Magneto from drafting the newbie to his Brotherhood of Evil Mutants!

Wanna meet this new mutant?  Let’s do it.  We join Magneto, who’s prowling around the Dallas Fairgrounds, when he happens across a young stable boy named Danny.  He knows in an instant that this is the mutant for whom he’s searching, and invites the kid out for a chat.  Looks like Danny’s never heard the saying “Don’t talk to strangers”… especially those in trenchcoats, because he’s more than happy to let this weird old man buy him a hotdog and a Coke.

It’s here that we get Danny’s secret origin.  One day, while tending to the horses, he doubled over in great pain.  From there, he transformed into, get this, a Centaur!  Thankfully, he was able to transform back to his more humanoid form at will.  Magneto heads back to his “sinister-looking airship” he’d arrived in to… well, talk to himself about all the evil he and Danny will do.

At this moment, however, the X-Men are approaching Dallas.  They arrive, looking like quite the motley crew… and decide to divide and conquer, breaking into smaller teams in order to x-pedite their search for this new mutant.

The whole first day of their search turns out to be a bust… but, our mutants must’ve bought the week-long pass for the Texas State Fair… because they’re back to the grind the following day.  Xavier, Kitty, and Piotr decide to check out the Cotton Bowl, where it looks like Texas and Oklahoma are playing… when, the Professor gets a strong sense that the one they seek is nearby.  He sees Danny… and a trench-coated old man, who he immediately suspects is Magneto.

As Magneto spirits Danny away, he x-plains that the X-Men are mutant traitors… who will only do him harm.  Danny’s… not the sharpest bulb in the shed, so he believes him.  Even after Magneto hurls a motorcycle at poor defenseless Ariel, Danny’s still a believer.

Magneto then… abandons Danny.  He doesn’t want to face off with his foes until he is certain the boy will join his Brotherhood of Evil Mutants.  Danny, now all by his lonesome, with Kitty Pryde hot on his trail, runs to hide in a nearby stable.  It’s there he finds… Magneto in his full cape ‘n bucket-head uniform.  Also… the X-Men show up!

Magneto jumps before Danny… then causes all of the metal in the barn to come flying toward them, which makes it look as though the X-Men are attacking them.  This further gets Danny onto his side of the argument… and, our new mutants shape-shifts into his Centaur form to engage in battle.

While Danny rears back in front of Xavier, Wolverine attempts to slice n dice Magneto.  The Master of Magnetism is all “uhh, you realize you’re attacking me with metal, right?” and hurls Wolverine up into the ceiling.  Ya know, one’a these days Magneto’s just gonna rip the metal right outta… uh, nevermind.

At this point, Colossus decides to take a stab at Magneto.  Yes, Colossus… the fella who is completely covered in… ya know, metal.  With ease, and probably a laugh, Magneto hoists Piotr through the roof and into the air.  The baddie yells for “Eques” to follow him skyward.  I guess they worked out that Danny would be called “Eques” off-panel then?

Danny doesn’t ask any questions… and follows his man into the skies above Dallas.  Once high enough, Magneto decides to drop Colossus… sending him soaring back into the barn below.  And this is where Magneto and Danny find themselves at odds.  Ya see, dropping Colossus like that… might’ve hurt the horses in the stable!  I mean, screw the mutants… gotta keep the horses safe!  Eques attacks Magneto… and, uh… is oddly effective in doing so.

Magneto lands with a BOOMP! right at the feet of Big Tex, the horrifying giant statue of the Texas State Fair… who, gives ol’ Mags a boot on the butt for good measure.

We wrap up with Professor Xavier x-tending an invitation to Eques to join the X-Men… which, our boy politely declines.  He does however give props to Storm for whupping up the wind and making it look as though Big Tex done punted Magneto.  She says it wasn’t her… and she thought it was due to a Cyclops optic-blast.  Welp… no, turns out… it was Big Tex himself.  With a wink, we’re outta here!

Okay, lemme start by saying.  Wow… Blogger’s new format suuuuuuuuuuuuuucks.  Oof, I hate it.  Trying to get all this pictures in place almost made me “tap out” and leave this piece half-done.  Okay, deep breaths… we made it this far… let’s talk about this weird little comic.

It was… ehhh.  I mean, certainly not something (from a storytelling standpoint) that I should have looked forward to checking out for a quarter century… but, it was serviceable enough, and gave our characters a decent amount of “shine”.  

The creative on this was solid… dialogue came across well, and the story itself was… I dunno, alright, I guess.  It put over the Texas State Fair, and even gave the city of Dallas their own gen-u-wine mutant hero… that is, until Forge makes his debut about a year later.  Dallas would also be the locale of the “death” of the X-Men during the Fall of the Mutants in 1988… so, our heroes would go on to have a bit of history with this city.  Sadly, Eques doesn’t take part in any of these later stories.

In fact, poor Daniel Wiley won’t ever show up on another page after this very issue!  And to prove what a yutz I am, I even just now dug out my copy of the “198 Files” that came out following Wanda’s “No More Mutants” boner during House of M, to see whether or not this fella wound up retaining his powers (hey, Alchemy did!  Why not Eques?).  Sadly, Eques did not get an entry in that issue.

Despite this one not really rocking my socks, I must admit that I had a really good time covering it here… and I’m happy to have finally shared it.  I hope those of you still with me enjoyed… and I’ll try not to be such a stranger ’round these text-not-audio-parts.

(Not the) Letters Page:


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2 thoughts on “Uncanny X-Men at the State Fair of Texas (1983)

  • joecab

    Wait, that's a HUMAN KID in the Dallas Times Herald ad and not some weird alien being with a skateboard???

  • Grant Kitchen

    Are we going to ignore that there's a kid dressed like a klansman in the Wing Tips Halloween festival at Red Bird Mall ad? I'm sure it was meant to be a ghost but still.

    I heard about these Dallas Times Herald inserts. There were actually five of them done for Spider-man the last of which also featured Iceman and Firestar.


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