14 – Look Upon My Man-Thing and D’Spayre

In which Canada is complicated, the X-Perts join Twitter, Rachel cares about a Wolverine story, Angel had one job, Kitty Pryde is pretty cool, Cyclops gets a hat, neither of us knows how to pronounce “Aleytys,” Doctor Doom is a terrible date, and the X-Men have an awful lot of signature moves.

X-Plained:

  • Department H
  • Department K
  • Director X
  • The Weapon Plus Program
  • Weapon P.R.I.M.E.
  • Weapons I-XVI
  • The Death-Defying Doctor Mirage
  • The new normal
  • Stevie Hunter
  • The Wendigo
  • Berserker rage
  • Yard work
  • Wolverines
  • Angel’s one move
  • The N’Garai (again)
  • Lee Forrester
  • D’Spayre
  • Magic-Feather villains
  • Man-Thing
  • Doctor Doom
  • Arcade
  • Why it sucks to be Havok
  • The X-Perts’ relative areas of X-pertise
  • Cyclops vs. Storm
  • Signature moves

CORRECTIONS: Lee’s dad’s house is in Florida, not Louisiana; Doctor Doom is not in Europe but in New England, where has taken over Toad’s theme park, because that was definitely a thing.

If you’re looking for our coverage of X-Men 141 and 142—”Days of Future Past”—you can find that in Episode 6, “Days of Future Whatever.”


You can find a visual companion to the episode – and links to recommended reading – on our blog.

Find us on iTunes or Stitcher!

19 comments

  1. Greg says:

    Maybe I’m reading something into the relationship that isn’t there, but I get the feeling that every now and then Miss Locke becomes Mistress Locke and acts as Arcade’s dominatrix. And he probably has the most elaborate BDSM dungeon ever conceived.

  2. pawpaw5771 says:

    I had no idea about the Claremont/Byrne trivia behind Byrne’s departure. Though I wonder how difficult he was to work with generally at the time, given how often he jumped from book to book and across companies. Great details as always from X-Plain the X-Men!

    And the Man-Thing jokes were hilarious. Especially Myles’ cackles at them. 🙂

    I wish there had been a good “WEN-DI-GO!” cry though.

  3. NewtypeS3 says:

    I have to say, another fantastic episode.

    The complete and utter nerd in me compells me to answer something that wasn’t really a question, but was an unspoken question nevertheless:
    There actually totally is an explanation for people reading Marvel Comics inside Marvel’s comics. Dan Slott tackled this idea at least once (though others probably did before him) in his last run on She-Hulk from the mid-2000s.
    Basically, Marvel’s superheroic tales in 616 are all archived and recorded by 616’s version of Marvel Comics, via licensing and so on. It’s basically like the poets and bards who would follow the heroes into battle to tell of their tales later, only this universe’s Lee and the rest of the bullpen don’t wander into battle.
    I assume that these stories are really just about the fights, though, otherwise we’ve got a lot of 616 Marvel Comics fans who know secrets like who Spidey is under the mask.

    Also, they’re admissible in court as legal evidence.

    Because they have the Comics Code Authority logo on them (which… is a Government… thing… in 616 apparently) – though this means more recent comics aren’t admissible in court. It also means that everyone remembers events like the Infinity Gauntlet and other mind-wipey events because they were recorded before the wipe began.

    Marvel Comics are weird, guys.

    • Rachel says:

      That is AMAZING. Thank you.

      • Yaron says:

        Wait, does this mean you didn’t read Dan Slott’s She-Hulk?

        It’s all very good, but of particular relevance to this episode is issue #16. Where She-Hulk meets Wolverine when they independently get to Canada to fight the Wendigo, and… do an extra special fastball special.
        Though best avoided if for some strange reason you don’t want to see poor wolverine very uncomfortable and embarrassed.

    • Elle says:

      Yes to this. Building on Newtype’s excellent answer, it makes sense that it’s a Fantastic Four comic specifically, because that’s the book that originated the concept of the 616 comics existing. Back in the Kirby/Lee days, there would be scenes in the Marvel offices and of the FF expressing their opinions on the comic and its fans. Of course, those imaginary books could be much more like the real world versions, since the FF don’t have secret identities. In fact, I think they actually got a percentage of the sales, but I could be wrong on that. And of course there’s that famous scene where Doctor Doom barges into the bullpen and takes off his mask, and Stan and Jack are like “No! Don’t take it off! We don’t want to look!” And of course it doesn’t show his face, because Jack didn’t look.

      This also adds a whole other dimension to the Stan and Jack cameo in the early Claremont days, when they’re surprised by the PDA.

      • NewtypeS3 says:

        This also makes me realize something: 616’s Marvel also did X-Men comics.

        Does this mean someone had to sit down and explain their convoluted continuity to them?
        Is there a mutant whose power is instant continuity recall so 616 Claremont doesn’t have to worry about who is and who isn’t (and who might be) a Summers Brother?

        But really, I just imagine each X-person sitting down in a chair and recalling each adventure and getting progressively uncomfortable with the questions.

      • Greg says:

        There’s a Marvel Knights 4 story arc that follows one of the 616 comic writers as he’s essentially embedded in the Fantastic Four. It’s weird. It’s an Impossible Man story too.

    • Carl says:

      I first ran across this phenomenon during Byrne’s run on Fantastic Four. “The Trial of Reed Richards” opens with Byrne at his drawing desk before being yanked across the cosmos by Uatu to bear witness as “chronicler” at eponymous trial. Johnny Storm sniffs that this is far too grave a matter to be turned into a comic book story, to which Byrne replies “Apparently, The Watcher disagrees with you, kid.” I remember thinking this was an outrageous bit of self-insertion on Byrne’s part, but at the time I wasn’t familiar with the tradition going back to the Lee and Kirby days.

    • David says:

      I love everything about that crazy little corner of Marvel continuity, but my favorite part is that on Earth-616, Steve Rogers, ever the artist at heart, is the penciler on Captain America.

  4. Elle says:

    I am SO with you on magic feather villains. D’Spayre is the worst. And don’t even get me started on Deathurge, the guy who shows up and tells you that deep down you want to die (but later he was replaced by Doorman, and that was kind of okay).

    I also like your take on the put-upon Havok. This is why his “m-word” speech actually felt pretty in character (it was the way it was dealt with narratively that bugged me). Of course Havok doesn’t want to be known as a mutant- he just wanted to finish grad school! I mean, he was a third stringer who had to be literally begged by Captain America and Thor to lead a team of Avengers.

    Of course Havok can never be allowed to finish his PhD, because once his name is Doctor Havok he’ll have no choice but to travel back in time and become a Silver Age villain.

  5. Knasty Mike says:

    Though I haven’t spoken with either of you in years, I managed to stumble upon this blog through a strange tumblr/twitter combo. I’ve just finished binging on all of these podcasts, and I hope you continue them until the end of time (or at least Inferno). These are amazing, and I look forward to more!

  6. Always so much to comment on each amazing episode, but I have to restrain myself – especially as there’s already a new ep out to listen to.

    The Marvel 616 Marvel Comics thing got answered pretty well by Elle and Newtype.

    Like Elle, I really appreciated Rachel’s thoughts on Alex Summers, and they tally somewhat with mine. Any discussion of Alex at the moment probably comes to a head with the controversy around the “M word” speech, but at the time it totally gelled with my understanding of the character.

    (I think that while Remender’s writing can sometimes be ham-fisted, he at least tries to explore uncomfortable but worthwhile character territory. His willingness to destabilise an audience is admirable – his ability to OWN that, or engage with a destabilised audience, is shocking.)

    I wrote a post about this back when that Uncanny Avengers issue came out. Like all of my posts, it’s a bit TL;DR – which is one of the reasons why I don’t blog a lot – but you and your listeners might get something out of it: http://mombcomics.com/2013/03/30/i-blame-alex-summers/

  7. ray says:

    Just wanted to mention that in about 39:06 Miles (accidentally?) throws off what ought be one of the best supervillain laugthes I have ever heard.
    Seriously, I was just listening to it, like 1 minute in a raw and it only got better each time.

  8. TDM says:

    The name ‘Aleytys’, whilst admittedly striking me as pretty cool, always irritated me, simply by virtue of it being SO weird and yet (although of course it would make no sense in-universe) completely unexplained. This being a world generally populated by individuals named Charles, Scott, and Jean (although of course we do get the odd name like Ororo…). Plus as you guys mentioned the fact that there’s no clear pronunciation…

    According to what I’ve been able to find in my indefatigable search for some kind of detail about this (seemingly fictional) name, it originated in 1977 with the first (of many) of Jo Clayton’s ‘Diadem’ sci-fi fantasy novels, with the character Aleytys being a member of some super-powered race who ends up in possession of said diadem. Presumably Claremont (or someone else involved) was really into sci-fi fantasy novels? I guess the fact that Peter Corbeau’s boat is named ‘Dejah Thoris’ lends credence to such a theory, anyway!

  9. Lightning Lord says:

    Read Steve Gerber’s Man-Thing y’all. Read everything by Gerber actually. He’s the best.

  10. Mark Anderson says:

    I discovered this a few weeks ago and have been falling asleep listening to your history of the X-Men. Just wanted to drop you a line and say that I’m loving this. But what really got me to pipe up was the Wendigo discussion in this episode where the words “Wendigo round” were used.

    Wend-i-goround. That belongs at a carnival where huge Yeti looking monsters devour human flesh as the carousel carries them around and calliope music plays.

    Thanks for your hard work.

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