Jay & Miles X-Plain the X-Men

32 – Off the Map

Art by David Wynne
Art by David Wynne

In which we hit the definitive arc of New Mutants; Bill Sienkiewicz blows our minds; Rachel gets choked up over a credits spread; Rahne gets a makeover; Doug Ramsey is justifiably flustered; and Warlock is a friend to household appliances.

NOTE: This episode includes a lot of art talk. While doing so is not strictly necessary to follow the discussion, we recommend listening with the visual companion open.


  • Warlock
  • The transmode virus
  • New Mutants #18-21
  • The Demon Bear Saga
  • Bill Sienkiewicz
  • Task leaders vs. social leaders
  • Page layout as a storytelling tool
  • Soul armor
  • The Demon Bear and its shadow
  • One of the best covers of all time
  • Makeovers
  • The deeply problematic fate of Tom Corsi and Sharon Friedlander
  • What the New Mutants are up to these days

Next Week: Crossovers!

You can find a visual companion to the episode on our blog.

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Buy prints of this week’s illustration here, or contact David Wynne for the original!


  1. Two things:

    1. Do you two like the Demon Bear Saga? I’m not clear on this issue yet.
    2. When I was a young lad in the early-/mid-1990s, the collectible shop I frequented had a whole bunch back issues. Of course, there were Sienkiewicz New Mutants issues there… and the art FREAKED ME OUT. I had absolutely no interest or desire to read them. While I don’t deny that Sienkiewicz was an influential artist, I’m sure I wasn’t the only kid who was a little freaked out by the surrealistic art suddenly gracing this X-spinoff.

    1. I’d actually hazard that several of those–Sandman in particular–wouldn’t have existed without the precedent of Sienkiewicz’s art.

  2. I actually tracked down a copy of the original tpb not long before you started this podcast, but I’ve been waiting for just the right time to sit down and read it. Thank you for the necessary nudge.

    There is one thing I’ve noticed when reading New Mutants, though. For every dark, strange, and sometimes pretty frightening arc, the book almost seems to rubber band its way into a very broad, silly story. And sometimes, ostensibly silly stories will have very dark, underpinnings. Whereas the other 80’s X-books are more easily divided by Claremont’s phases in his tenure, the New Mutants feel less bound by the limits of genre. It almost feels like New Mutants existed to buck the notion that comics have to be one thing. Was the book considered a playground for narrative experimentation in its time or was this simply the result of the book functioning in tandem with various other major titles of its day (as well as 80’s trends)?

    1. Possibly, but it’s not at the top of our list at the moment. More likely if we hit the t-shirt-of-the-month milestone.

  3. In my opinion, New Mutants v3 can and should be seperated to two runs: The first one, by Zeb Wells was an amazing homage to the classic New Mutants. The story was truley epic, as a one great unit that longed for 20ish issues, and one of my favorite runs of the 2000’s (and it’s underrated too). And all the character’s voice was just right, like Wells truely read all the NM stuff from the 80’s and was a huge fan. Then there was Abnett and Lanning run, which was… sigh… The only thing I remember of it was I uttery dissapointed I was, that the whole premise and stories felt without direction. But the worst of all is that all the characters, all the dialogues, just felt stiff like hell and shallow.
    And it had X-Man randomely in the team! If this wasn’t a clue there I don’t know what is…

    1. Can I just mention that in the later half of Volume 3 there’s an issue where the beginning page, which has a list of all the team members, HAS MAGMA LISTED AS KARMA?? Like, the later half read as if the writers didn’t know the characters at all..

      Volume 3 ends for me with Inferno Babies.

  4. I know that you talked about a lot this episode, but I wish you’d mentioned Rahne literally risking her life to help Warlock without a moment hesitation, it’s something that happens with her again, specifically in the Inferno arc. Rahne doesn’t really think things through, she goes on instinct (wolf stuff yes), and if she wants to do something like save someone she just kinda does it even if it could potentially kill her or mess up timelines.

  5. So I had an interesting journey to this comic. I’ve always been a huge X-Men but only started reading New Mutants for the first time last year. Man was I blown away when I got to Bill’s run. I don’t buy a lot of hardcopies anymore, but man I’m going to have to original get the originals. I keep hoping for his Moon Knight run to hit digital.

  6. Okay, coming back to the site and doing a re-listen of older episodes, and the Sienkiewicz art here is so reminiscent of the Maxx that I had to go and google that to make sure I hadn’t missed him being involved with that. So MAN, that’s a sincere form of flattery on the part of Sam Kieth.

  7. This seems as good a place as any to link to the teaser trailer that dropped today (Friday, October 13, 2017)


    I feel bad for letting the community down and not organizing a social media campaign for a post-credits scene featuring Tom Selleck. Either as Magnum, or in a hilarious misunderstanding by the cast-in-character.

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