I remember being twelve and I had just started buying comics. A Spider-Man book here and there, maybe an issue or two of Punisher but I never followed or collected a series seriously and I never paid any attention to creative teams. I remember going to House of Armand comics in Oceanside, CA and walking the aisles, smelling the newsprint and spending hours in there. I loved it. One day I stumbled upon Excalibur #1, a new and expensive book from Marvel. It was one of Marvel's first $1.50 books. After one glance at the cover, I knew I had to have it.
I knew who Nightcrawler and Shadowcat were vaguely, but I had no idea why they were not with the X-Men (I had not read the Fall of The Mutants storyline yet). I did know that the guy in the Union Jack costume was totally awesome and any story that took place somewhere outside of New York or Gotham was new to me. To this day I think this cover is perfect, and this is how I was introduced to one of my all time favorite art teams of Alan Davis and Paul Neary and the first writer I ever knew by name, Chris Claremont.
As seen in the original Prestige Format one-shot prior to Excalibur #1, Shadowcat and Nightcrawler were recuperating on Muir Island after being injured in the Fall of the Mutants. Captain Britain and Meggan were shacking up in a lighthouse (best headquarters ever) and I forgot how Phoenix came into play, I think she was fighting the warwolves in London and that attracted the rest of the members to come to her aid. After their first mission they banded together to be the X-Men of Europe, Excalibur. The first 9 issues or so were absolutely perfect and it was easily, far and away my favorite comic. They sort of lost me when they did a twelve issue story arc where they bounced around time and space. Excalibur turned me onto X-Men and from there New Mutants and forward from that. If it wasn't for this specific cover, I don't know if I would be drawing comics today honestly. So thanks to Marvel, Alan, Paul and Chris for untold hours of enjoyment.
Shadowcat (Kitty Pride) has never been handled as well as she was with this team, in my opinion.
I forgot to mention the time traveling head-thing Widget who was part of the team, as was Lockheed the dragon. If I had a chance to do my version of the team I think I would go with the original line-up, minus Widget but add a Pete Wisdom.