Doug: I was giving this some thought ahead of writing today's post, considering what I thought was essential X-reading from that period. I think most of us would agree that Giant-Size X-Men #1 all the way through X-Men #143 is pretty darned essential; but what would give a reader a true appreciation of that era in the team's history? Whereas the last time we did this I would have used a smattering of Avengers issues, this time I think I'm going to zero in on one storyline and take your pulse on that.
Doug: If one were to open up a book of this sort and be faced with X-Men #111 and read consecutive issues through #117 I don't think you could lose. While many regard the "Dark Phoenix Saga" as the zenith of the Claremont/Byrne/Austin collaboration, and I would not disagree, I'd offer this run of seven issues as my X-Men primer. Think about it -- classic villains in Mesmero, Magneto, and Sauron, some real growth in characterization for all the team members, tie-ins between the current team and the original five, and concluding with a story featuring Professor X. Oh -- did I mention the art is spectacular? What's not to like?