X-Men: The Animated Series was many people’s introduction to the titular mutants. Taking inspiration from Jim Lee’s depiction of them in the comics, the show cemented who the X-Men were in the popular consciousness and is fondly remembered to this day. One of the most memorable parts of the series was its kickass intro sequence, which featured each of the X-Men showing off their powers to a sweet guitar-led theme song composed by Ron Wasserman. But now, excellently named Hungarian composer Zoltan Krisko is suing Marvel, Disney, FOX, Apple, Amazon and other media companies connected to the show.
His case is that the X-Men theme song is a clear ripoff of his theme for Hungarian show Linda, which aired between 1984 and 1991. Wasserman is primarily known for composing the themes to various Power Rangers shows, but Krisko is claiming that the theme to Linda would have been known to TV executives developing X-Men: The Animated Series as they met with people in the Hungarian film industry in the 1980s.
So, does he have a case? Let’s compare the two. Here’s the X-Men theme and here’s the theme to Linda. You can’t deny there’s a definite similarity to the two, so this isn’t entirely spurious. But is there enough to warrant a claim of musical plagiarism? I suppose that’ll be for lawyers to decide, but I think Krisko definitely has reason to be suspicious. You may also think this lawsuit is a little late given that X-Men debuted in 1993, but Krisko claims he didn’t hear the theme until 2017.
However, while we’re on the subject, I think I’ve found a new favorite retro Hungarian policewoman drama. Linda, with its bizarre visuals and high-kicking kung fu protagonist, looks cool as hell. I don’t speak much Hungarian, but I figure I can muddle my way through a few episodes of this. Frankly, I can see why the X-Men: The Animated Series team chose this to rip off.