142 – The Monster at the End of This Comic

Art by David Wynne. Buy prints at Redbubble, or contact David to purchase the original!

In which Jay and Miles make a personal announcement; moles (probably) don’t lay eggs; Angel is full of angst and flechettes; there’s always room for cello; and no matter how complicated our personal lives get, X-Factor’s will always be worse!

X-PLAINED:

  • The Tanaka family business
  • Jay & Miles vs. time travel
  • Some personal stuff that’s going on
  • Our definitive Iceman artist
  • A whole lot of child endangerment
  • Two reasons not to eat cereal from the 1980s
  • X-Factor #51-53 and 55
  • Cable’s first word
  • Slightly dubious zoning
  • Charlotte Jones
  • Opal Tanaka
  • Mole
  • Chicken Wings
  • Grover, but not that Grover
  • B-grade Sabretooth
  • A double date
  • Giant bugs
  • The Locust (August Hopper)
  • A walk in the park
  • A failed proposal
  • What we talk about when we talk about retcons

NEXT EPISODE: Happy Birthday, Shadowcat!


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34 comments

  1. Jeff Kent says:

    On Opal, why do the late 80s/early 90s have such a huge influx of Asian women characters in comics? Not just pertaining to xmen as this is around when Wally West’s girlfriend was introduced and the marvel/DC crossovers of the 90s feature a multiple white male Asian female couples (Tim Drake/jubilee and axel/that girl jubilee convinced axel is a pedophile to).

    As someone born in 1991, what specifically happened in those years to cause this and the cuckold trope like in spawn with the main character’s wife being with another man?

    Why aren’t white male Asian female couples as popular in comics now as they were in the 90s?

    • gary says:

      I always thought it was an influence of Jim Lee’s break out with Jubilee and Psylocke redesigns. Messner Loebs was sort of a throw-away character he put in Flash run that Mark Waid picked up in his run and made her similar to the women he was dating at the time. Opal was created by Terry Shoemaker, from California. Both Shoemake and Mesnner-Loeb (from Michigan) probably saw an influx of Asian Americans during their time as artists. That’s probably another big influence. It was also probably a mandate to make the cast more racially diverse, so that probably ties into it.

    • Si says:

      Japan was huge in the early 90s. Ninjas, anime, mecha, stuff like cyberpunk which was western but always had lots of Japanese references, and so-on. It wasn’t just big in geek culture, it was in the mainstream too. Added to that, Japan was supposedly going to be a superpower, a bit like China is seen today, with a blend of admiration and fear.

      Asian girlfriends tie into that, but it’s also a slightly skeevy male fantasy. “They’re so small and meek and childlike, and they’re trained to do whatever you say. Oh and they’re exotic and different, not like the local girls who won’t have anything to do with me.” Happily that’s not Opal, but I’m pretty sure that’s the root of it. Anyway, today’s culture has mostly moved on from that stereotype.

      As for the other thing, I don’t know. Maybe it’s just a useful drama hook to hang stories on. Maybe it was a time when it was becoming okay to portray relationships other than the standard nuclear family. You also can’t dismiss the odds that writers were just pinching stuff from eachother I suppose.

  2. rpawson5771 says:

    I forgot that Opal worked at a record store, so now I hear her dialogue in the voice of Michelle Nguyen from Dark Owl Records. “I’m wearing a hat right now! So, know that.”

  3. Joe says:

    I hope that whatever you do, it works out well for you.

    On the mechanical issue, one podcast I listen to has people in three different quarters of the world, so two people in the same country is nothing.

    • David Katzin says:

      I was more curious about how the video reviews would play out. They could always split screen it, but considering how Jay doesn’t enjoy being on-camera historically, maybe they’ll bring back that thing they do where Miles gives his review and Jay types in his commentary.

  4. David Katzin says:

    If Beast formed a five-piece band called “There’s Always Room For Cello, who would he recruit to be his bandmates, what would each of them play, and most importantly, whose songs would they cover?

    • Damien says:

      Beast plays the drums (this is New Defenders canon) and I imagine him performing his own nerdrock songs about genetics. Perhaps he could perform with Young Beast on guitar and Dark Beast on bass and call themselves The Beasts. I imagine they would all do vocals like The Monkees.

      • Intangible Gal says:

        There’s a very Steven Universe vibe to this that I am digging. One of the songs needs to be along the lines of, ‘don’t time displace your younger self from the past into the present’.

      • Icon_UK says:

        Beast could play guitar when he had the hands for it, because he bemoans not being able to play any more when he shifts to his more feline-ish beast-form and his fingers become more like paws. IIRC Jean tells him off with something along the lines of “Stop whining about what you CAN’T do and learn to play the drums instead”

      • Mike says:

        They could go cross-company and maybe have KGBEast adding some Europop synth? Maybe they could also have Marc Singer, the Beastmaster, as a front man – lip-syncing to the combined Hank McCoy vocals?

        Okay, yours was definitely better…

  5. TheAmazingEmu says:

    Hopefully you’ll be glad to see this recipe:

    http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/chicken-wings-with-easy-mole-sauce-11549

    Sadly, I can’t help with Mango Rays.

  6. Angel did not try to kill himself. His plane exploded because Hodge blew it up. We don’t know what Angel’s intentions were when he took off except to fly again.

    Also, Beast’s line: “There’s always room for cello!” always makes me laugh so much! I adore it.

  7. Michael Heide says:

    🙁

    I wish you guys all the best. I only know you through this podcast, we’ve never met, but over the course of the last few years, I’ve grown to like first Rachel and Miles, and then Jay and Miles. Now I guess I’m going to have to get used to Jay. And Miles. It’s not going to be easy.

    🙁

    May the odds be ever in your favor, may the force be with you, hope you survive the experience. And please keep x-plaining the X-Men.

  8. I imagine Infectia’s real name is Tia and in my head her name is pronounced Infec-Tia. lol!

  9. Tholomyes says:

    The section at around the 23 minute mark about Bobby flirting with Opal, despite being gay, and specifically the way that romantic attraction is framed in society really spoke to me, since it puts words to things that I’d had trouble in the past doing so with regards to my own asexuality, and the way that media and societal narratives are written with allonormative assumptions that you can use the tropes and trappings of platonic attraction as shorthand for romantic attraction or the tropes and trappings of romantic attraction as shorthand for sexual attraction, with the implication that the first implies the second (which is what made it so difficult for so many years for me to parse that I actually am asexual, and makes me still unsure on my place in the (a)romantic spectrum).

    So I guess I just want to say thank you for that.

  10. Mime Paradox says:

    Re: Xorn Question: Okay, I get why y’all and others dislike the reveal and its immediate aftermath–I disagree, but then I’ve never really been interested in Magneto as a character. That said, I do not at all understand the idea that it could be anyone else behind the mask, without then turning “Planet X” into a story where people are punched, New York is destroyed and that’s it. To me, the entire story *is* about Magneto–not because of the person he is, necessarily, but because of the space he’s occupied in the narrative since forever. Replacing him, to me, would be akin to making “Inferno” about Storm and Dani instead of Madeline and Illyana. You could do it, but you’d have to have one heck of a pitch to justify it.

    • Icon_UK says:

      I personally loved the reveal itself, it was an elegant WTF? moment but made a certain amount of sense looking back through the story arc (though the X-Men’s failure to ask some obvious questions as the arc progressed irked me) I just wish it hadn’t been followed by a story so weird and OOC as Planet X.

  11. XMenXPert says:

    I loved “The Monster At the End of the Book.” It was so good.

    Sorry to hear about the break-up, but it’s great that you’ll be remaining best friends. That’s always really sweet to see.

    Opal was absolutely the best of Iceman’s love interests. She was great. Just a really cool lady. I’ve always felt it a shame that she got sidelined.

    I do also like Charlotte. She’s neat. Her being a single mother is really cool.

  12. Damien says:

    I love this era of X-Factor and I love the Simonson/Shoemaker team (probably influenced by my first US comic that I bought myself being X-Factor 9) so it’s great to remember how great Opal was. I too hope that Sina Grace brings her back. She’d make a great best friend for the current Bobby.

    Talking of great best friends, good luck to Jay in New York and Miles in Portland I hope the next stage of your lives is the best so far.

    I presume Jay is moving to NY to infiltrate and take over Marvel Comics. He made it obvious by reminding everyone of the whole Magneto/Xorn nonsense. I’m picturing his acolytes wearing “Weezie was Right” t-shirts.

  13. Intangible Gal says:

    “Angel dates a vampire.” — The GOTHIEST.

  14. ray says:

    You guys… We are rooting for you here. Wish I could express it better without the faceless anonymity of the internet make it sound weird (and while respecting your privacy) but… like you kinda joked about, I do feel we are all here somekind of a big weird family – the family of Jay and Miles. So, you’know, wherever you go and whatever you do, we (I think I can safely say “we” in this matter) support you guys with all our heart and wish you the best.
    I’m sending you a bouquet of good luck and hugs and I hope it’s ok with you.

    …On a lighter note, I’m 100% on board with Miles about Archangel. Particulary in this era Archangel is easily one the my most favorite X-men of all time, and I can hardly say the same about Angel. And joking about brooding and stuff aside, I think it would be interesting to try and take a deeper look at Archangel from the same angle that drew out on Cyclops’s autism and maybe see his current state as a case of PTSD. There is more then one clue for that, to say the least. It does make him seem much more of a compelling character and it talks loads for every person who ever experienced some form of depression, especialy after having a life altering trauma and starting to question your entire definition of self.

  15. Ggodo says:

    Bah! Apocalypse is a mast of disguise, X-Factor shouldn’t bother looking for him, so many and varied are his disguises!

    Xorn as Apocalypse would’ve been pretty cool. And would’ve justified that old line.

  16. Icon_UK says:

    Thank you for answering my question, I hope it didn’t come across as being critical, I do love the format you’ve chosen (I wouldn’t be here every week if I didn’t) and am even more pleased that it IS a conscious choice! 🙂

  17. Xplain The Appreciation says:

    Wishing you two the best! You’ve really renewed my interest in the X-Men and comics in general in the last year or so since I discovered this podcast on reddit. I feel like I’ve really gotten to know both of you through the show.Also, briefly meeting Miles was one of the highlights of my NYCC trip this summer.

    I just want to express my true appreciation for everything you two have accomplished with Xplain the X-Men. Here’s hoping there are years more of top-notch X-Men podcasts ahead.

    Thank you for the nearly dozen dozens of excellent episodes so far, and the video reviews too!

  18. RaikoLives says:

    Super glad you guys will be continuing, and while it’s always sad when one part of life ends, there’s a new one opening up, so we can be happy for that too!

    Plus I’m keen for all the discussion regarding ResurreXion in the coming months, and I’d hate for it to be a Jay and Miles free zone.

    I think I’ve said it before, but here I go again… The Peter David run(s) are my favourite, so I’m looking forward to some Polaris/Havok/Madrox sessions!

    • Mike says:

      I’m looking forward to that the series of one-shot vignettes of putative X-Factor foes who appear in one or two panels doing a secret-lair-villain-monologue outlining their motivation for revenge upon X-Factor and their powers, only to be tragically killed by their own negligence or lack of foresight…

  19. Mike says:

    Speaking as an adult child of divorce, the “both love you equally/double X-mas presents” was funny at first, but then got markedly less funny each time I thought about it (which is absolutely not meant as a criticism, just a “feel for you both” statement and a recognition that the necessity of a divorce usually does not make it easier). I think we all wish you both the best, with heartfelt sympathy and hope (but not empathy, because Empath’s the WORST). We’ll all be here for more X-Men and more Jay And Miles…

  20. Aaron Coggins says:

    One of my favorite parts of this podcast is your relative enthusiasm for modern X-men, as most people in my online circle are quite critical of the more modern runs (Basically most stuff from AvX on). Bobby coming out is a good example of that. Most people I know feel that he should be bisexual, because he’s had several relationships with women over his history, and thus consider his reveal to be bad writing (Largely because of it being written by Bendis, I suspect).

    You make a good point in the episode about people trying to pretend to be straight until it becomes true, which can explain many of Bobby’s romances. But that also raises the question: In his relationships, how often did Bobby think about his partners in an unambiguously “I’m attract to them” way? I’m curious about how snugly this retcon can fit in with his history. Is it like a Bull in a China shop, which is deceptively careful, or is it a bulldozer.

  21. David H. Adler says:

    Just want to wish you well in your upcoming life adventures. I’ll also take this opportunity as an official native to welcome Jay to NY. And, of course if Miles wants to visit, he’s welcome too. 🙂

    But, in all seriousness, good luck with it all.

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