Jay & Miles X-Plain the X-Men

4 – American History X-Men

In which Rachel finally gets to say “WHAT?!,” we examine three variations on the Silver Age, Twin Peaks is reality TV, we can’t believe you hired Hitler, Angel is not Batman, even the most sympathetic Xavier is still pretty creepy, Cyclops has a good day, Marvel Girl is not going to throw a dinosaur for you, Iceman is the Troy Barnes of the X-Men, and we say a fond farewell to the Silver Age.


  • The X-Axis
  • X-Men: Children of the Atom
  • Hard-sell noir
  • How to party like it’s sometime between 1986 and 1991, as filtered through 1999
  • The perils of over-referencing
  • Why Marvel is in the Tommy Westphall Universe
  • The worst guidance counselor ever
  • Villain speeches
  • X-Men: First Class (but not that one)
  • Fun, and several places to find it
  • Angst-free X-Men
  • Gender politics of superheroism
  • X-Men: Season One
  • Teenagers
  • The solution to the Silver-Age-Jean Grey problem
  • Why Iceman matters
  • The Silver Age cram book

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

Find us on iTunes or Stitcher!


  1. Oh nice, my questions got answered. Good job on the podcast, I’m really enjoying your x-plainations for the X-Men’s craziness.

  2. Question for Miles: So I realized I totally lied when I said I had never watched an X-Men cartoon in my comments on episode #3, because I was a huge fan of Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends, and among my favorite episodes are the ones where Ice-Man and Firestar visit the X-Men (I believe there are two) – so not quite an X-Men cartoon, but still a cartoon with the X-Men in it.

    Anyway, since Miles is a big Ice-Man fan (I like him, too) I was wondering what his take was on Ice-Man’s portrayal in Amazing Friends, and the X-Men in general in those episodes Also, ever plan to cover Firestar’s TV-to-comic trajectory?

    1. Oh, man – Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends! I grew up on that myself, and that (and Pryde of the X-Men) were probably my first X-Men exposures too. The X-Men are kind of weird in it – what’s up with Wolverine’s voice? – but it was a thrill to see those bizarre and colorful characters without knowing much about them.

      The characters in SMahAF don’t have a lot of personality in general, but I always kind of liked the laid-back wiseass nature of Iceman in the show. It was about as true to the comic character as Spider-Man’s was. His show portrayal was probably the seed of my love of the character.

      We will indeed at least briefly be talking about Firestar on the podcast, probably in some kind of 80s miniseries roundup, and the Harley Quinn / X-23 nature of the character will definitely be covered too.

  3. X-Men: Season One just rocked my world (Thank you guys!) Where can I find more X stories with developed female leads (specifically Jean Grey)?

  4. I think you missed the part of Cyclops’s original origin story I liked best, which is that Jack O’Diamonds actually had HANDS MADE OF DIAMOND.

  5. So…I just discovered this podcast and blog (which is a huge injustice in my personal universe, but that’s a different story) and have therefor, just today, discovered the invitation to write the X-men a theme-song or rap. But I’m so not a musician. BUT: I got you two.

    First, with apologies to Journey:

    Just a mutant girl,
    Using her telekinesis
    Jean went to Xavier’s to be an X-man
    Just a mutant boy,
    Shooting force beams out his visor,
    Cyclops has no control, but he’s in charge.

    A rich boy in a small dorm room,
    Straps his wings up beneath his jacket,
    but when they’re free he is Angel, yeah.
    He flies on and on and on and on

    X-men, fighting
    Always got to beat Magneto
    With Bobby Drake, who make I-i-ice.
    Mutant, people
    Escaping mutant persecution,
    Fighting somewhere to do right.

    Working hard for Xavier,
    Their professor’s got no hair,
    I’m telling you the dude’s not nice,
    He just seems that way.

    Some will win, some will lose,
    Jean will die and live like 42 (times)
    The Phoenix Saga, it never ends,
    It goes on and on and on and on.

    To me, my X-men
    Magneto’s got an e-e-vil pla-an
    X-men, go get hi-im

    To me, my X-men
    Magneto’s got an e-e-vil pla-an
    X-men, go get hi-im

    To me, my X-men
    Magneto’s got an e-e-vil pla-an
    X-men, go get hi-im

    And – Set (loosely) to the tune of Scarborough Faire:

    Are you going to Xavier’s School?
    Cyclops, Marvel Girl and Beast,
    Angel and Iceman will all be there
    to fight Magneto for Mutantkind

    Scott shoots red beams out of his eyes
    wear a visor, his face to hide
    It’s got one lens, I cannot deny
    They call him Cyclops, and Slim, the poor guy.

    Jean Grey can lif things with her mind,
    Some times she’s a telepath, too,
    She’s the only girl, and all the boys know it,
    Sometimes it sucks to not be a dude.

    Beast is not that beastly, it’s true,
    Til he turns all furry and blue.
    He’s got big feet, and he’s really agile,
    But mostly he’s smart, what a mary-sue.

    Angel’s rich, and he’s blond, and he’s cute,
    oh and I think, yes, he’s got wings.
    Warren can fly, and that is his thing.
    He’ll catch you if you fall, you poor thing.

    Bobby’s the baby, and he’s immature.
    Ice cubes down your shirt-back for sure.
    They call him iceman, but he’s mostly snow,
    But later on, he rocks the whole show.

    Xavier is their bald mentor,
    Leading them from in a wheelchair.
    Inside them minds, he speaks and peeps.
    Yes, you guessed, he’s kindof a creep.

    That’s the X-men from front to last.
    HA–Only 50 years in the past.
    Now there’s hundreds or maybe more,
    listen here and you’ll learn the score.

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