49 – Of Mullets and Miracles

Art by David Wynne. Prints and cards available until 3/29/2015 in the shop, or contact David for the original.

Art by David Wynne. Prints and cards available until 3/29/2015 in the shop, or contact David for the original.

In which we meet Miles’s favorite X-Man; Longshot is Secret Wars II done right; we are fairly committed to the idea of Ann Nocenti as a post-apocalyptic daredevil superhero; Longshot is patient zero of the ‘90s; Ricochet Rita is the best; luck is a zero-sum commodity; Mojo is legitimately terrifying; and nuance is Longshot’s secret weakness.

X-PLAINED:

  • Spiral
  • The Body Shop
  • Several ill-advised body swaps
  • Longshot
  • Longshot
  • Rachel Summers Syndrome
  • The evolution of Art Adams
  • The metaphysics of luck
  • The secret origin of pouches
  • A large number of pop culture allusions
  • Glam survivalists
  • Psychometry
  • Moral complexity
  • Gog’n’Magog
  • Ricochet Rita
  • The social economics of jetpacks
  • A whole lot of social satire and commentary
  • Star Slammers
  • Mojo
  • The Mojoverse
  • Luck as a zero-sum commodity
  • Arize
  • Quark
  • Longshot and Dazzler’s star sigils
  • Finding (or creating) your comics community

NEXT WEEK: The Trial of Magneto!


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32 comments

  1. Graham Leonard says:

    Random fact that I doubt the Marvel staff at the time were actually aware of : the w in Kwannon is silent. I’d never actually thought about this before hearing the intro.

  2. Zachary Adams says:

    The Con Ed thing: Consolidated Edison is a real company, the electric and gas utility company for New York and the surrounding area. They’re huge, of course, and disliked as utilities tend to be. It’s also worth noting that Con Ed is mentioned in Eliot’s conspiracy spiel in #1, so when the name comes up again in #3 Longshot is primed to view them as the Oppressor on par with Mojo.

    Great show as always, I’ve tried to read the mini several times and always end up wandering off after number 2 or 3. Time I finally made it a priority.

    • McArdle says:

      Speaking of RaMXtXM New York blindspots: the Cloisters is, indeed, a real place, and an amazing one. It’s a museum of medieval art in Fort Tryon Park, way up in the north of Manhattan (so far north, cab drivers think it’s the Bronx), and is the BEST MUSEUM. I strongly suggest you visit, if you happen to be in New York.

      • McArdle says:

        I feel like I should say more: featured exhibits include a huge tapestry of a unicorn hunt and an altarpiece depicting the semen of God flying over the heads of a devout Dutch family as they pray.

        • Zachary Adams says:

          I have wanted to see the Cloisters ever since the episode of Gargoyles where it features heavily, but sadly I have never made it to NYC.

          • McArdle says:

            Don’t lose hope! Medieval art has waited 500+ years for you to see it already, it can wait a little longer.

            • Bradley says:

              The cloisters are amazing. Hands down my favorite museum in NYC. Also a nice relaxing break from the Madness of crowds at the Met and MoMA.
              Rachel, Miles, if you ever head to NYC, you should totally check it out. It’s really cool. (also has a two page-comic style booklet of the stations of the cross, which I think you guys would totally be into)

              • Chandramagne says:

                So had to hop in her to agree. I love the Cloisters. I live in CT, not far from NYC, and every time I’m driving by the sign for it I think “I love the Cloisters. I really need to go back.” And for those of you in the area, I know they do special events like concerts. It’s beautiful any time of year and over looks the river. Such a beautiful place.

      • Sarah says:

        The Cloisters are just so incredibly American–millionaire-of-a-certain-era – hey, let’s buy up tons of pieces of random buildings of different styles, ship them to NYC and build a fantasy building. I adore it, it’s so breath-taking in scope, and completely ludicrous, and filled with such stunning art. This sort of thing does NOT happen in the UK! (Our Victorian millionaires just built tons of replicas from the ground up)

  3. CalvinPitt says:

    Thanks for talking about this mini-series. I really enjoyed the Nocenti/Adams mini, and the one Chris Hastings and Jacopo Camagni did, so it was nice to hear that one get some love as well. I’d forgotten the Nocenti series introduced the idea of luck as a zero-sum, but I definitely remembered how different her Mojo is from everyone else’s. He’s like a small child in how arbitrary and selfish he is, making up rules and changing them whenever it suits him, never thinking about the consequences of what he does.

    I do have a question, and this is to anyone who wants to chime in: Can anyone think of other male characters in the Marvel U. with luck powers besides Longshot? I guess Quark would be one, though, has he shown since then? I have this feeling luck or probability powers traditionally get assigned to female characters, but there’s a real chance I’m forgetting a bunch of guys with probability powers.

  4. Tim says:

    Please, please, please: more Mojo voice.

  5. Gary says:

    RE: Longshot is Patient Zero of the 90s.

    This makes perfect sense, as the initiator of the 90s sense of design would be Rob Liefeld, who was heavily influenced Art Adams. What does Cable then become in this instance? Vector 1?

    • Mike Loughlin says:

      I see X-Men Annual 10 as the origin of. Rob Liefeld’s design sense. Art Adams’s costume designs for theNew Mutants make half of them look like X-Force or Youngblood. Since Longshot came out first, it might be the true beginning of the Rob, though.

    • NewtypeS3 says:

      Cable could be considered the first sign of spread, aye.

      Though I think an argument for Madeline Pryor-Summers/Goblin Queen as the genesis of “scanty clad demon/evil women” that seemed to crop up in the 90s as well. I could be wrong on this, but I just hit Inferno in my X-Men read through, and I really don’t recall much of anything like her outfit before.

      • Sarah says:

        Oh my word, Madelyne’s costume – how does it stay on? This is the pre-tit tape world. I look at it and am in 7 kinds of awe that someone thought that was a good idea.

        On a related note – what’s with the costumes where women wear those long pieces of fabric down over their groin and arse, strapped together with chains and whatnot. They always seem so impractical, why not just go with a loincloth?

  6. Mister Eff says:

    Apparently the term “mullet” wasn’t coined until 1994 by The Beastie Boys. I wonder what they were called in the 80’s and before. Does anybody have any idea?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mullet_(haircut)

  7. Lurker says:

    No more direct MP3 download links?

  8. I’ve never really understood (or liked) Mojo, but after reading this series, I think I might have gotten a better grasp on him. He starts out here as the demented ruler of some other dimension, with his literal spinelessness and reliance on technology possibly commenting on a dark future for humanity. The eventual media satire stuff doesn’t really show up yet, but it does seem like a logical extension of that idea, if one that eventually kind of defangs the character and makes him more of a conduit for jokes than the scary being he is here.

    Anyway, when did the media satire component of Mojo start? Maybe in Uncanny Annual #10? Or did the stuff with Psylocke and her robot eyes in New Mutants happen before that?

    • Also, I’m kind of fascinated by the idea of Ricochet Rita as Anne Nocenti. I don’t know if she wrote herself into the series intentionally or if Art Adams just drew the character to resemble her, but if it’s the former, it seems like a pretty crazy look at her being thrust into the world of Marvel Comics (sort of against her will) and being transformed from a fearless iconoclast into either a mindless zombie (caused by being forced to confront the totality of Marvel continuity) or a perpetuator of the nastiness that plagues comics culture (as a Marvel editor, she could fit in as an assistant to the despotic Jim Shooter, who was ruling the company with an iron fist at the time, yet also seemed prone to capriciousness and mean-spirited treatment of those under him). I doubt any of this was intentional, but it’s interesting to think about.

  9. MorganC says:

    Great episode guys. My first time through Uncanny I remember being rather miffed at Longshot – he just showed up out of nowhere and nobody ever seemed to explain why he was there/who he was. Mostly I was cross because Kitty and Kurt were gone. And then in X-Factor (the second most recent one) he didn’t really stand out because Shatterstar was busy stealing the new-to-this-planet show. I did read the Hastings mini and that was super cool – so I’ll have to add this to the to-read pile, because I would really like to like Longshot.

    Listening to this, you mentioned Nocenti writing a gang of kids. And I thought, that’s weird, she wrote a gang of kids as the part of the supporting cast for Daredevil. And, whaddaya know, according to Dr. Internet the Starslammers and the Fatboys are the same kids, just a little older after they become obsessed with skateboarding. I assume one of them is a mutant with the power to befriend superheroes.

  10. Ani says:

    Miles, it was really great to hear about your favorite X-Man. Also, after this episode I feel like reading Ann Nocenti’s writing.

  11. notguanoman says:

    Thank you so much for covering this. I absolutely looooved Longshot when it came out. The leather, the hair, the eye-star, the throwing knives, Arize, Mojo, Rita, Quark, the three fingers, two hearts and general weirdness of the entire enterprise made it feel like something that didn’t quite belong in the Marvel Universe. That always appealed to me. He was an ill fit in X-Men, too, in the most delightful of ways. And under-utilised, for the most part. But not being a featured character just made me love him more. The second- and third-stringers are always more interesting than the headliners.

    It was the first trade I ever owned (in an age when trades were a rarity, it’s amazing this got collected), and #1 holds my personal record for the most I’ve ever spent on a single issue (£6, which doesn’t seem like much, but for a kid with a paper round in the late 80s, that was a fortune). I haven’t read it in many, many years though. My fear was that it hadn’t aged at all well, but your analysis has more than piqued my interest – I think I’ll have to revisit. Thanks!

  12. Shawn says:

    Hi I just want to say thank you for your blog, my mother recently passed and listening to your pod cast has helped me take my mind off of things. I especially loved the part about Psylocke at the beginning of this one.

    • Miles says:

      You’re so, so welcome, Shawn. Sincere condolences for your loss – I’m really glad our silly X-Men show has helped make things a little lighter.

  13. […] Rachel and Miles X-plain The X-men have a really good episode on the Longshot miniseries. […]

  14. jpw says:

    Let’s not forget, also, that the body of Kwannon/Psylocke (the Asian one, not the British one) was killed or nearly killed (at least) twice – once in the Crimson Dawn story and then early in the X-Treme X-Men series.

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