Jay & Miles X-Plain the X-Men

As Mentioned in Episode 32 – Off the Map

Listen to the episode here!

Special thanks to Andrew Vestal for help assembling the images for this post.



  1. I’ve been anticipating this episode for a while. I was in high school when these issues came out, and I was completely blown away by Sienkiewicz’s art. A friend who also read comics absolutely hated the direction the comic went, but I LOVED it. If you had just done 45 minutes of reverential silence, I would have been right there along with you.

    For me, the only other artist who can do justice to Warlock besides Sienkiewicz is Art Adams. Which is counterintuitive given how different their styles are.

          1. Well, and he’s got that similarly scratchy, evocative line. Good Warlocks are fundamentally pretty scribbly, and artists who can get that weight and texture and still end up with a coherent picture are rare and splendid.

    1. Art Adams, yes! I was really impressed by how Warlock was drawn during the Asgardian saga.

      Another artist I think does a good job that you might not expect to is Alan Davis.

  2. Oh.

    Oh my god.

    I’m going to have to read New Mutants now.

    I was listening to your podcast over the New Mutants, and was generally enjoying the coverage of them while at the same time waiting for more X-Men. They just never interested me all that much, and the early issues I’d read through just didn’t hook me nearly as much as the early Cockhram/Byrne/Claremont issues had for X-Men.

    …and then I saw these pages.

    I… wow. I am blown away. As awesome as your podcast has been, it almost did not do these pages justice.

    I shake my fist at you for putting another comic on my plate, yet also thank you for exposing me to this magic.

  3. HO.LY.CRAP!! o_O THIS is the art you’ve been talking about? It’s one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen in comics!
    Fuck, I am so getting a trade of this with the 4th Saga trade

    1. I’m back because I just heard the podcast and I just wanna add that I’m an indie person, I mostly read weird comics by people who were inspired by this Cabbage* guy and this images still blow my mind! You are certainly not exaggerating.

      *Until this episode I thought the artist you were talking about was called “Winston Cabbage”

    2. Obligatory comment about getting Saga in the singles, because you’re missing out on an average of 6 marvelous pages of letters per issue. Letters mixed with contests, and surveys, and the charming character that is Hamburger K. Vaughan, Brian’s dog. They’re almost as good as the comic itself, which means they’re better than your average book on the stands. IMHO. End obviously non-obligatory rant. Thanks. K. Bye.

  4. Ah Bill Sienkiewicz (perennial vicitim of fan mispronunciation back in the pre-Internet days)…I was in high school when these pages dropped and…he was a firestorm. People either LOVED it or HATED it with few if any in-between. Like Kirby and Adams before him, he rewrote the rules about layout and the visual language of the page. For years prior to this, we gauged art primarily by the dynamic rendering of classic designs. Byrne and Perez were the high water marks at that time, the very definition of high-detail mixed with dynamic action layouts.

    Sienkiewicz changed all that. Page Borders? Pfah. Limits for others. Pencils and Inks? Pfft. Watercolor and collage? Why not? Realism? Why limit yourself that way? His work on Elektra: Assassin and The Shadow sealed the deal, but everyone knew him for this work on New Mutants (and to a lesser extent Moon Knight, but this is the one everyone I knew talked about).

    I remember being blown away by how DIFFERENT the artwork was. It WAS a pretty baller move to throw that out there, but it worked. It worked amazingly well. I personally still consider Bob MacLeod to be the defining NM artist to me, personally, but Sienkiewicz is number two with a bullet.

  5. First of all, just hearing you mention Stray Toasters made me smile. It’s such a gonzo comic and ridiculously gorgeous. Have either of you seen Voodoo Child: the Illustrated Legend of Jimi Hendrix? It features some of the best art Sienkiewicz ever produced.

    Speaking of beautiful Hendrix pictures, the panel of Storm in issue 20 is amazingly beautiful.

    Love the podcast, looking forward to the next

  6. I had been anticipating this episode, and it didn’t disappoint. New Mutants #20 was one of the first back issues I ever bought, and it totally reshaped my concept of what sequential art could be. Those mini-maps!

    Ever since I listened to this episode, I’ve been been mulling over this question. Is there any character who is more of an organic outgrowth of an artist’s technique than Warlock is for Bill Sienkiewicz’s? The Maxx and Sam Keith spring to mind, but I really can’t think of any other example that even comes close.

  7. Loving the podcasts, they are sounding better and better! Thoughts on the demon bear, I believe he was to be of Native American mythos. When banished and the 2 people were left as Native American was, I believe, to be a “mark” left from the possession. Keep up the great work, love your insights, looking forward to your views on Australia and the growing outback town.

  8. WOW! I’ve heard about Bill Sienkiewicz before, but I had never really seen much of his art before. That Demon Bear arc is gorgeous.

    The part where they go to the alternate dimension reminds me of the insanity effects from Eternal Darkness in the way that it’s like reality is breaking down. I really need to read that run now.

  9. I am slowly catching up to the podcast. I was in High School when this came out. At the time I was not a fan of Sienkewicz’s work. In fact I was one of his detractors. I was young and silly. As an adult I can see how his innovative style revolutionized the Comic Book medium. I like the story at the time, but the art was jarring to me. Since I have been a fan or books and artist who were influenced by Sienkewicz. This was a very fun and informative episode.

  10. Hey guys! I started listening to the podcast a few months back and I’m loving it despite never reading any X-Men before and only seeing the first of the movies. I’ve been curious about X-Men lately though which is why I picked up the podcast.

    Anyway, something’s been bothering me about the episode. At 11:40, Miles mentions an author, it sounds like “Jack Herroack” to me, and I’m curious who this is, especially with Jay indicating this guy is horrifically misogynistic.

    1. That would be Jack Kerouac, one of the principle Beat Generation writers, who wrote books like “On the Road” and is noted for a very free-form, spontaneous approach to prose.

  11. Just discovered your podcast a little bit ago and have been using it as a sort of companion going back through X-men as I started at giant sized 1 and moving forward. So far I’ve discovered so much I had missed before but one series I had never really picked up is new mutants but I have to say I’m so glad I decided to this time around. Thanks for opening my eyes to so many cross overs and mini series I had never looked into before.

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