A promotional comic book published by Marvel Comics and sponsored by the Dallas Times Herald newspaper in October 1983.
Credits for the issue included:
Our story opens at the School for Gifted Children in Westchester, New York, where the X-Men -- Cyclops, Storm, Colossus, Nightcrawler, and Wolverine -- are battling the automatic mechanical devices inside their Danger Room while Charles Xavier, better known as Professor X, and Kitty Pryde -- then an inexperienced teenager calling herself Ariel -- monitor the combat test. The Danger Room sequence only takes a little over a page, just long enough for everyone to show off their powers, before Xavier calls the team together and informs them that Cerebro, his telepathy-boosting mutant-tracking device, has located a new mutant. The team must travel south to locate him before Magneto finds him and convinces him to join the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. Their destination? The State Fair of Texas in Dallas!
But Magneto is already in Dallas, and he knows who the mysterious new mutant is! Dressed in civilian clothes, he enters the fair's horse barn and meets a young man named Daniel Wiley who's busy shoeing horses. Daniel is a serious horse enthusiast who is able to transform himself into a winged centaur. Daniel loves being able to run (and fly) with his horses, but he's afraid of how people would react if they knew he was a mutant. Back at his hidden airship, Magneto plots to win Daniel's trust to get him to join the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants -- "And we will rule the world!" he cackles, perhaps overestimating the world-conquest skills of flying centaurs.
The X-Men finally arrive in Dallas and decide to split up so they can search the State Fair more efficiently. Cyclops and Storm visit the Age of Steam exhibit, Wolverine and Nightcrawler focus on the central portion of the fair, including the famous Big Tex statue, while Colossus and Ariel accompany Xavier at the auto show. Unfortunately, there are just seven X-Men, and they can't cover much ground. Or as Professor X puts it, "It's obvious that this fair has too much to see in just one day!" Maybe Xavier just wanted to get some deep-fried Twinkies?
The next day, Professor X, Colossus, and Ariel attend the UT-OU game at the Cotton Bowl. Colossus wears a UT shirt, prompting a couple of nearby Okies to worry, "Whooee! If that's what Texas has playing for them -- we're doomed!" Magneto and Daniel are at the game, too, and Xavier quickly senses their presence. Magneto drags Daniel out of the stadium while Ariel gives chase and Xavier telepathically summons the rest of the X-Men. Telling Daniel that the X-Men just want to enslave him, Magneto leads the X-Men into the horse barn, where he uses his magnetic powers to fling a variety of metal objects -- at himself, to make it look like the X-Men attacked first. Daniel is convinced to join Magneto, who gives him his official codename: Eques. (Magneto is the Mutant Master of Magnetism, not the Mutant Master of Naming Mutants.)
Wolverine and Colossus attack Magneto -- not the smartest moves for a guy with a metal skeleton and another guy who turns into organic metal. After carrying Colossus into the air, Magneto hurls the Russian into the horse barn. The X-Men escape injury, and Eques scolds Magneto for his carelessness -- he could've harmed the horses! "Horses!" scoffs Magneto. "Who cares about the idiotic horses!" Not really the smart thing to say to a fanatical Brony, Mags!
Eques grabs Magneto, throws him to the ground, and -- wait, did Big Tex just kick Magneto in the butt?! No one knows whose mutant powers accidentally triggered it, but Big Tex just winks at the reader. Eques chooses not to join the X-Men, preferring to stay closer to the horses, but the X-Men are fine with that. "We understand," says Professor X, "And we gladly accept your invitation to see more of this wonderful State Fair!" I'm afraid, comics fans, that Charles Xavier is a sucker for deep-fried Oreos.
The story is fine -- nothing to write home about, but a decent tale with plenty of comics action -- and despite what you might expect for an advertising supplement promoting a state fair, the setting doesn't completely overwhelm the storytelling. But what's really the most fun here... is the ads. Yes, there are the usual national ads you'd find in comics during this period -- Crunch 'n Munch and a few house ads for comics subscriptions and the semi-classic X-Men/Micronauts miniseries -- as well as a few kid-friendly puzzles.
But what's unexpected is the local advertisements -- you very rarely find small businesses advertising in comics. But because this comic was delivered inside a copy of the (now-defunct) Dallas Times Herald, you got an ad for Walt's Appliance Supermarket at 2336 East Main in Grand Prairie, complete with a picture of Spider-Man crawling out of a washing machine. Lone Star Comics & Science Fiction in North Dallas, Mesquite, and Arlington got an ad telling readers they could win FREE original X-Men art! The Incredible Chi-Chi's -- Home of the Chimichanga! -- featured another picture of Spidey, but only because Deadpool hadn't been invented yet.
And in an ad for Boot Town, located in Garland, North Dallas, and Plano, the Incredible Hulk himself informs readers, "MAMA HULK ALWAYS TOOK ME TO BOOT TOWN FOR MY BOOTS!" Well, we certainly wouldn't want to argue with Mama Hulk's fashion sense, would we?
To the best of my knowledge, this issue has never been reprinted, so it does have some significant rarity. Plus it features the the historic first appearance of Eques (who never appeared in any comic book ever again). But it does come up for sale occasionally. You can find it on Amazon for about $40, if you're desperate to read it.
(Many thanks to JD who sent me this issue last Christmas)