Jay & Miles X-Plain the X-Men

8 – What We Talk About When We Talk About Claremont

In which Chris Claremont defines the X-Universe; Sunfire quits the team (again); Nightcrawler is the best; the narrator is nobody’s friend; Colossus is a good kid; Cyclops has a long series of bad days; everyone is a bondage Viking; Rachel is a space pedant, we meet the Phoenix, and Wolverine is the Batman of Marvel.


  • Polaris’s kinda-powers
  • Our first crossover event
  • How much we love you
  • Chris Claremont, and why he’s the definitive X-writer
  • Comics In Focus: Chris Claremont’s X-Men
  • Why Nightcrawler is the best point-of-view character
  • The long game
  • Tom Orzechowski’s dimension-folding lettering skills
  • Claremontisms
  • The malicious narrator
  • Count Nefaria
  • Sliding-scale ransom
  • The life, death, and occasional reanimation of Thunderbird
  • Friendship
  • The care and feeding of cairns
  • Erik the Red
  • Quiet moments
  • Sentinels and X-Sentinels
  • Steven Lang
  • The (first) death and return of Jean Grey
  • Accents

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

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Next week: Leprechauns!



  1. Peter David’s 12 year run on The Incredible Hulk is the closest thing I can think of at Marvel to Claremont’s X-Men run. David had less spin-offs for sure, and a much smaller self contained universe.

  2. Rachel is just flat-out WRONG. Miles’s Batman voice is perfect! 🙂

    Also, rpawson, Peter David on X-Factor works pretty well, too…

  3. I actually think Necrosha is better than Blackest Night, neither are that great but Blackest Night was pretty bad.

  4. I just want to say that I am so glad to hear someone telling people about this history. I’ve seen so many comix bloggers who just don’t know about where the medium and the genres in it have come from. It’s all layers of history, and that needs to be acknowledged, and I am going to feel comfortable sending them to you from now on.

    1. This is now my headcanon.

      Actually, my headcanon is that Doop is actually the near-forgotten about avatar of Chris Claremont inside the X-Universe. This is why he can slip between comic pages so easily, and why he’s got a narrator in general.

      Or, you know, the Claremont Narrator is really Doop’s best pal.

  5. You brought your scholarship to bear to list Claremontisms … and the words “heart’s desire” didn’t show up?

    And I also think, Miles, that putting someone’s name at a strange place in the sentence when you’re addressing them, is totally, distinctively Claremont. Wouldn’t, Rachel, you agree?

    Great ep. I got sick of Claremont after a certain number of years of his ticks and tropes. I need to go back and reread. I now (again) appreciate him intellectually, but I need to get deep back into the work. Thanks for the push.

    (Finally, “and being a total dick …” “That’s not a mutation–that’s a gift.” Gold.)

  6. I’m going back to these episodes, it’s fun. And when I first listened to this I hadn’t gotten Lego Marvel, and now that I have I can truly appreciate your sacrifice. Lego Marvel is the best game ever, thank you x-perts

  7. A couple of Claremontisms that I didn’t hear you mention:

    “Storm’s a weather witch. This must be her doing.”

    “MY MIND!”

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