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Kitty Pryde's Almost Forgotten 14th Birthday

This is "Turns Back the Page," which is a look at interesting back-up stories from comic books. If you have suggestions for back-ups that you'd like to see me write about, drop me a line at brianc@cbr.com!

Today, we look at a surprisingly little known X-Men back-story that actually had a major event in the life of Kitty Pryde and also served as an important notation in the relationship between Kitty Pryde and Colossus.

First off, here's something that you have to remember. The notion of trade paperback collections of famous comic book stories is a relatively recent notion. Remember, when Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons cut their deal with DC Comics over the rights to Watchmen, they had no expectation that DC owning the rights to the story as long as it remained in print meant anything other than the release of the final issue of the series. That is because comic book stories were very rarely collected in books and when they did, they certainly did not remain in print for over 30 years, like what happened with Watchmen.

Over at Marvel, they had done some reprinted stories over the years, especially during the 1970s, but the modern notion of notable stories being collected in books was still a new thing at the time. Marvel had, like, three major stories collected at the time. It was this relative paucity of comic book reprints that led to Marvel doing a healthy bit of business in reprints of older Marvel comic book stories throughout the 1970s (books like Marvel Triple Action and Marvel Tales).

So when the X-Men were becoming very popular in the early 1980s, it was still a rarity to actually get to read their fist appearance, so Marvel did a number of "Special Edition" comics in the early 1980s that reprinted notable comics of the 1970s, like Special Edition X-Men #1, reprinting Giant-Size X-Men #1, with a new cover by Dave Cockrum...

Cockrum was just about finishing up his run on Uncanny X-Men around this time, with Paul Smith about to take over. Cockrum and Chris Claremont did a back-up story in the comic book after the Giant-Size #1 story was finished. It was nominally a "learn the secrets of the X-Men" story, but it mostly served to give us some interesting information about Kitty Pryde and the relationships in her life. Hilary Barta drew the story along with Cockrum.

It opened up with a weird moment where Kitty is doing gymnastics and forgets to use her powers somehow and hurts herself...

That's weird, right?

So Illyana checks in on her and she asks Kitty to show her around the X-Mansion, so we get to see some places we don't normally see, including looking into the bedrooms of the various members of the X-Men!

Anyone know what happened to that pterodactyl?

It was at this point that we specifically got the age difference between Kitty and Colossus put into black and white for the first time...

That's...something.

There is a great bit when Kitty is telling the story of her Christmas fight against a demon and Illyana is unimpressed, since she lived in a demonic dimension for years.

Okay, so then there is a twist!

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