Jay & Miles X-Plain the X-Men

40 – Give Them Something to Punch (With G. Willow Wilson)

Art by David Wynne. Prints and travel mugs available until 1/11/2015 in the shop, or contact David for the original.
Art by David Wynne. Prints available until 1/25/2015 in the shop, or contact David for the original.

In which writer G. Willow Wilson joins us to talk about her new run on X-Men; the Future is really confusing; we consider the many iterations of Rachel Grey; Storm probably has strong feelings about climate change; and writing for a shared universe takes some seriously fancy footwork.


  • Jubilee
  • Shogo (a little)
  • The future vs. the Future
  • X-Men vols. 1-4
  • The logistics of stepping into a book mid-series
  • Pigeonholing and “girl” books
  • The proper pronunciation of Kamala
  • Storm (again)
  • Psylocke
  • M
  • Rachel Grey (again)
  • Cross-title coordination
  • Writing in a shared universe
  • Super-powered ecology
  • The gender politics of telepathy
  • Writing and dialogue across media
  • Marginalization, intersectionality, and the mutant metaphor

Next Week: Pink robots from the future!

You can find a visual companion to this episode on our blog!

Find us on iTunes or Stitcher!

Support us on Patreon!

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


  1. I really found this episode to be an interesting discussion of the craft and process of comic book writing. It felt a bit like peeking behind the curtain, at least to me.

    Also, I just read the Avengers and FF lead in issues to the launch of X-Factor volume 1. And noticed a very specific scene of the “telepath collapsing” trope that was discussed in the episode. If we can all survive the experience, this could be added to the drinking game, maybe?

    Thanks again for another great episode.

    1. I think we could argue it counts as a “Finish your drink,” just as I’m sure “May be a Summers Brother” will become a “take a begrudging drink to forget Vulcan” moment.

  2. Thanks for the great discussion (and for the great discussion in all your episodes in general). I was really looking forward to this episode, because I absolutely love Ms. Marvel. (One of my reading goals in life is to read everything G. Willow Wilson’s ever written.) The X-Men have been my favorite superhero team for years, since watching X-Men: Evolution as a kid, and so the fact that she’s writing an X-Men book is so exciting. Her point about liking the outsider metaphor in X-Men is also exactly why I love the X-Men more than other superhero teams, though I’ve always also wished that there was a greater combination of the metaphor and real-world diversity. They work so well together. Thanks again!

  3. I definitely agree that Jubilee should be cured of her vampirism. They could have done it with the ending of Avengers vs. X-Men, and I really don’t understand why they didn’t.

  4. I realised listening to this that G. Willow Wilson is writing an X-Men story where they literally fight a world that hates and fears them! This is fantastic!

  5. I thoroughly enjoyed the interview with G. Willow Wilson, guys. It was a really interesting episode and I loved hearing her thoughts on the female X-Men.

    One thing Willow said that I took note of was (and I’m paraphrasing here) that if she had more time in the X-Men’s sandbox she would have entertained the idea of returning Psylocke to her original body. That’s something I’ve thought about myself for a long time. But I always felt its a hard-to-bring-up subject because she’s a Caucasian woman who was transferred into an Asian body. I never really knew how to address it. I’m sort of afraid that me, a white guy in his 30s, saying “let’s turn Psylocke back” would come off as incredibly offensive.

    I do recall that When Matt Fraction was writing “Uncanny X-Men” about five years ago or so, he did have an opportunity to restore her to her original body, but if I’m recalling correctly he had one of the characters destroy her original body. I think that was the last thing I read before I dropped “Uncanny” for a while.

    But back to Willow, she was an absolute delight, I love her work and I hope you guys have her back as a guest to discuss other projects. I’m very much looking forward to her “X-Men” mini run.

    Oh and Rachel and Miles, I never realized how often X-Men telepaths get overwhelmed and collapse before you pointed out the trope. That will be fun to bring up when you guys eventually get to “Psi-War.”

  6. jeffwontshutup,

    I would love for Willow to put Psylocke back in her proper body. She is the twin of Captain Britain after all. And for the record… As a black, gay man in my 30s, I’m all Team Ethnic Diversity. That being said, there are several Asian, female X-Men who could be taken off the shelf and dusted off if Marvel wants to write for them. Psylocke is not Asian, and was up until recently nothing more than racist sex fetish. After Claremont left the first time, she was thoroughly destroyed by all Lobdell and Nicieza due to people not reading up on characters when taking over the books their in. If you’ll recall in the original story penned by Claremont, her body was altered to look Chinese, but Wolverine still recognized her face. Then those sloppy later writers who didn’t research assumed that Claremont never explained and made her Japanese with the whole Kwannon fiasco.

    If I had my druthers, she would be restored to her original body with her fighting skills since she always was a warrior on the inside as shown by her grit. With that restoration, she would still be a telepath/telekinetic, but she would also regain her random, precognitive flashes and use her psycho-blasts and get rid of all the gimmicky, crappy Green Lanternesque assortment of weaponry they currently have her using. Oh, yeah… she’d also keep her current uniform. That suit is sick and the best one she’s ever had.

    Alan Davis (one of the original Psylocke’s main contributors publicly stated his opinion on the matter here in a forum on his site: http://www.alandavis-forum.com/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=222

    Also, see this perfect summary of the hot mess that the writers made Psylocke: https://comicdomwrecks.wordpress.com/2010/09/08/psylocke-a-lesson-in-over-tweaking-a-character/#more-1605

  7. It’s almost tragic to come upon this interview two months later, after Wilson’s run is almost finished. It’s not very good, and the seeds of that are clear in hindsight.

    Listen for reluctance about this line up of characters–each of these women are capable of being interesting, but they don’t bounce off each other well and you get a situation where only one character is interesting in each arc or issue. Wilson tries to solve this problem by splitting the party, to mixed success.

    The biggest flaw, though, is that Wilson listened to her editor’s advice. This arc would probably be much better if she hadn’t given them something to punch.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *