Margaret Loesch may not be a household name, but perhaps it should be. The least that could be said of Margaret Loesch is that her life’s work includes many things that are indeed household names. See if any of these ring a nostalgic Saturday morning bell for you:
- Muppet Babies
- GI Joe
- X-Men: The Animated Series
- Batman: The Animated Series
- The Animaniacs
- Mighty Morphin Power Rangers
- Bear in the Big Blue House
If she didn’t have a direct hand in pitching or producing them, she was a strong voice advocating for the purchasing of rights and ordering pilots and even entire seasons.
Her fingerprints are all over some of the winningest children’s show of all time, and have earned her multiple Emmys, a Peabody Award, a Vision Award, and more. But I want to focus on her work on X-Men: The Animated Series and how it may have paved the way for the success of the MCU.
Margaret Loesch Bets It All on the X-Men
Loesch actually worked for Marvel Comics as the head of their television and film production department from 1984-1990 (where she was actually Stan Lee’s boss!), but it was not during those years that she managed to get an X-Men cartoon off the ground…but it wasn’t for lack of trying!
In 1989, the pilot episode of Pryde of the X-Men released. Narrated by Stan the Man himself, inspired by Kitty Pryde’s first appearance in 1980’s Uncanny X-Men #129, and featuring an unsettlingly Australian Wolverine (ironic given Hugh Jackman’s nationality!)…it flopped.
Loesch, undeterred and still believing in the X-Men, gave it another shot after moving to Fox Kids Network in 1990. Her boss had significant reservations about translating the comic to television and initially turned her down, but eventually relented with a warning:
If the venture flopped, it would cost her her job.
Loesch believed in the potential of the series so much that she agreed to his terms and set to work on a pilot.
On Saturday, October 31, 1992, X-Men: The Animated Series debuted with “Night of the Sentinels,” and would run for five seasons totaling 72 episodes. In Loesch’s own words:
X-Men came out…and we went from being the fourth network to number one.
Only months later, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, another series she championed, premiered and solidified Fox’s children’s programming dominance. For more on the crazy success of the Power Rangers, I recommend S3E2 of The Toys That Made Us which is currently streaming on Netflix. A must watch for anyone who pretended to fight Putties or Goldar in their backyard!
In a 2007 interview with BlastfromthePast.com, Loesch was asked if she attributed any of the modern Marvel movies’ success to her work in the 90s with Fox Kids to which she replied:
Absolutely…I think Fox Kids definitely was the impetus for the whole comic book revolution since we dramatically raised the whole awareness of the Marvel characters.
Is Margaret Loesch in some small way responsible for the success of the MCU? At the very least, it is hard to deny that she was among the pioneers who paved the way. She is undoubtedly a part of the genealogy of the MCU. Submit it to a 23 and Me test, and Loesch’s name will appear. Relatively and shamefully unknown, but vital nonetheless.