Jay & Miles X-Plain the X-Men

The State of Things – Update

X-Men: Season One; W: Dennis Hopeless, A: Jamie McKelvie
X-Men: Season One; W: Dennis Hopeless, A: Jamie McKelvie

Rachel here.

I’m still out of town, still dealing with the stuff that took me away a week ago. (I’m not going to go into details—as Miles wrote over on tumblr, I’m a fairly private person, and I don’t really want to discuss my personal life and family on public media.)

However, since this has now come up repeatedly, I want to explain a little about what my absence means for Rachel and Miles X-Plain the X-Men in the very short-term, and to address a few specific questions and comments we’ve received.

First of all: I’m working really hard to make sure that my professional obligations—here and elsewhere—are either covered while I’m gone or addressed publicly when they’re not; as well as bringing a mountain of work along with me. My reliability and professional reputation are my livelihood, and I take commitments seriously. When I say that I’m “away,” understand that I am still writing, art-directing, and editing every single thing you see on rachelandmiles.com. I am still covering the social media feeds and moderating the comments on the blog. I’m editing video in cars and writing copy on flights and in the middle of the night in hotel bathrooms so that I won’t keep anyone else up. I’m carrying my laptop around with me so that I can use any down time I have in the midst of a very difficult situation to get work done, because that is kind of how it works when you are a freelancer.

So, when you send an an anon ask on tumblr “reminding” me that I “forgot” to put up this week’s visual companion: No. I didn’t. (And in fact, I actually addressed that one directly in the relevant episode write-up, but that’s sort of a secondary point.)

Trust me: I already know that you would like visual companions to every episode to go up in a timely manner. I would also like that.

I am so acutely aware of every deadline that I’ve had to extend, and every article that I’ve had to defer or decline. Miles and Tina have been awesome about filling in where it’s feasible, and I’m tremendously grateful to Elisabeth for guest-hosting this week, but the podcast and blog are my job in a way that they really aren’t any for of those folks; and that means there are things that don’t or can’t happen if I don’t do them–which, in turn, means that I’m having to make some difficult choices right now.

I’m incredibly and continually grateful to have a community as patient—and respectful of my privacy—as you have been. Once again, I’m really sorry for the disruptions to the regular schedule and content. And once again, I’m doing my best to minimize those where I can, and address them publicly where I can’t; and I’ll continue to do both of those for as long as this extends.

I’m hoping to be back in Portland and back up to full speed by early next week; meanwhile, thank you again—this time in advance—for your understanding.

Much Love,


  1. Be good to yourself, take your time, and thanks for going above and beyond. Giving back to the community during a personally difficult time is exceptionally thoughtful. Also, I barely held off from spelling that “X-ceptionally”.

  2. the content you’ve produced over the past year, the podcast and everything related, really helped me get through awful times. So I just want to add my voice to those saying: thank you so much for working so hard for us. Thank you for the work you do here. It’s wonderful, and even if it’s about silly super-hero soap operas, it still matters and does real good in some people’s lives. And thank you so much for working so hard even in the midst of this trialsome time.

  3. I guess it makes sense that the people with relatively negative outlooks on these things are the ones most likely to send feedback.

    Thank you for all the time you’ve poured, and continue to pour into this project. The podcast is amazing. Every episode, every visual companion, every everything is a gift. For all the joy you’ve brought, I’d personally much prefer a contented Rachel to another piece of content.

    Hope everything is as ok as possible.

    1. Actually, the majority of responses we’ve gotten have been incredibly awesome and supportive. That’s part of why I wanted to address what’s going on in a little more detail–I’d rather not leave people hanging, y’know?

  4. I think it’s pretty clear most of us are just hoping you’re okay, and if whatever you’re dealing with means you need some time, then I hope you take it! Being a freelancer myself, though, I understand the lack of time off, and the commitment to your audience, especially on an listener-supported project. It’s really amazing of you to keep as much going as you are in whatever difficult circumstance you find yourself in, and I hope things work out as best they can as soon as possible.

    Thanks from one of your fans across the other side of the world, whose entire knowledge of X-Men is thanks to you and Miles.

    Much love,


  5. Take care of yourself, Rachel. We’ll all be here when you get back. You and Miles are holding everything down super well and we appreciate the hell out of your efforts.

  6. I’ll join the chorus here. Please take care of yourself. Do what you’ve gotta do. As much fun as this podcast is, it’s much more important–at least for me–that its creators are doing alright offline.

    I think we expect too much of content creators these days. If updates are late, even by an hour, fans take to social media to start asking questions: “When’s it coming out?” “What’s going on?” “Is everything OK?” Even well-meaning questions can be intrusive sometimes.

    I’ll try not to do that. I totally respect your right to privacy. Instead, I want to say thank you. Thank you for helping me learn about the X-Men beyond the movies, cartoons, and a handful of iconic stories (namely Dark Phoenix; God Loves, Man Kills; and Days of Future Past). Thank you for your ongoing obsession with Kitty’s costumes, sewer wizards, the New Mutants, Harvey, Janet, and of course, Super Doctor Astronaut Peter Corbeau.

    Above all, Thank you for sharing your passion for the X-Men with all of us. You and Miles are (to paraphrase fifty years worth of X-titles [and also Dan Abnett]) amazing, astonishing, astounding, incredible, adjective-less, and downright uncanny.

  7. Love back at you. Take care of yourself.

    Another fan from Australia – I wonder if it’s because they hung out here for a while?

  8. I have to add my voice to what the others have said.

    It’s ok, we understand. You need to deal with whatever is going on right now and that should be your priority. Take the time you need. For every anon like the on you mentioned, I know there are many more of us who just hope you are ok and wish you all the best.

  9. Also joining the chorus. If you need time, take time. Even if the site were to go dark entirely for a while (and I know you would probably not find that restful at all) those of us who are anything less than total jackasses would still be here when you get back.

  10. I realize that I’m just echoing what many people have already said, but please take as much time as you need to address or work through whatever personal life and/or family thing has come up. You have a ton of fans/supporters out here who are sending you nothing but best wishes. You and Miles have brightened up a lot of lives with the podcast; I only wish we could do the same for you!

  11. Any job that doesn’t give you time off and cut you some slack when you’re having life issues isn’t a job worth having. My Patreon contribution is small enough to be completely insignificant, but I hope I can speak for the larger donors to when I say that we’re not paying for individual episodes or content. We’re paying to support something we really enjoy, to patronize a project we respect. The fact that you’re working as hard as you’re working and the fact that Miles is carrying on with the podcast in your stead speaks volumes about your professionalism. But please don’t hurt yourself on our behalf. I love what you guys are doing here, but not enough that I’d trade it for your health and sanity.

  12. Want to agree with everything everyone’s said above. You guys have done such great work. At the end of the day, though, these are comics, and this is just a job. It’s not worth sacrificing health, family, friendships, or whatever else it is that makes you you. Take care of yourself and we’ll be here when you’re back!

  13. You know what I would consider a good investment of my Patreon dollars? You being able to take a week or two off from this podcast and everything else and still get paid. A week or two without Rachel and Miles? Sad, but totally OK. I’ve got other podcasts I listen to, and if they snob have the same passion you two do — that’s OK. What else really does? TV shows have hiatuses and you could too.

    My patronage of the two of you will still be here throughout.

    Or you could just give Chris Sims an episode on his own to talk about US1 and wrestling as it relates to X-Men. You know, whatever.

  14. Hey, go take care of family stuff. I personally won’t cry about it if updates get missed over it.

    I’d say not even an update post is needed, though it’s nice to alleviate thoughts of the site suddenly going dark or the creators being seriously hurt.

  15. Dear Rachel and Miles,

    You make our communal world better. Continue to exercise self care and we will receive your return with rejoicing, dancing, and a potentially inappropriate but well meaning lack of self-consciousness.

    Much love,

    The Interwebs

  16. Take care of you and yours and please shake off anyone who doesn’t understand the need to do so! The podcast is one of the highlights of my week and I cannot thank you enough for all that you do. But “real life” will always take priority and everyone should be able to understand that. Be well and my best wishes!!!

  17. Good vibes your way Rachel! Thank you for all the wonderful work you do. Right now, take care of yourself, and everything else will be OK. You guys always brighten my week, and I hope that everything works out for the best for you!

  18. Hey Rachel,

    Hope things get better quickly, and have no fear that we’ll still be waiting. But I had another question. Any way you guys can setup a donate button that’s not through Patreon?

    I’d love to toss some cash your way to help you guys out (personal and family concerns can be expensive), and also support the podcast, but I’m a freelance contractor myself, and it gets to be a little feast or famine. So I’m not comfortable on the Patreon monthly subscription route (though I know that’s much easier for planning and budget purposes)

    Any idea how I can do that?


  19. Hey Rachel,
    I’m a little flabbergasted that people are upset at delays or alterations. You and Miles are providing a free podcast. If you need to take time off or if you suddenly decide one day this isn’t fun anymore or you’re bored with it and stop, those are perfectly acceptable actions. You guys don’t owe anyone anything. I’ve enjoyed the occasional guest host, but part of the charm is certainly your back and forth with Miles. I’d rather you take the time off and skip a week or two (or whatever) so we get you both, but again, it’s your podcast, so my opinion doesn’t really matter. You do what’s best and feels right for you and Miles.
    Mark D. Beazley

  20. I hope things start getting back to normal for you soon, it seems like 2015 has been rocky so far. Take care of yourself, I wish nothing but the best for you. It’s the least I can do given the wonderful gift you have provided to so many people through your hard work and enthusiasm.

  21. I love both of you, Rachel and Miles. Handle your business, do what you gots to, we’ll be here waiting.

  22. Hi Rachel and Miles,

    Thanks for all your hard work. You guys have a lot of great content on your podcast and website, but of course, there are times when other priorities show up and need to be taken care of. All the best to you and your family.

  23. Take the time you need. My grandfather just passed away, so I know some thing of how hard it can be to focus on work at times like these. Big big hugs.

  24. You had the crud, and Miles said you’d byou guys. e gone for undisclosed reasons in the YouTube video. I hate being ill and stuck on the couch when everyone else is up and about, getting things done. I hate that irrational guilt that goes with it. And valid things that keep you away when other things need doing? Who HASN’T felt the sting of not being Jamie Madrox? I want my witty comment visual companion post, but I felt the appropriate reaction was “It’s a crap storm over there right now. They know what’s up. They don’t need me piling on.”

    Get better. Get through it. Praying for you guys.

  25. Rachel and Miles,

    Just found out about your podcast a couple of months ago and have listened to every podcast and enjoyed your website immensely. I just became a patron too. I got into comics thanks to X-Men, and they’re still my favorite. I love to hear about storylines I’ve always loved and ones I never knew existed. You are guys are awesome and hilarious and don’t let any negative comments get you down. Hope you’re both doing well.

  26. You have to make time for you. We will take you guys ere and there as we can instead of you going 100 miles an hour and burning out completely. I have learned sooooo much from your podcast and am willing to wait on whatever you are able to do between your obligations and some much needed relaxation / family time. Keep up the awesome work and keep being awesome 🙂

  27. I’m sorry you have to deal with the things you’re dealing with and I hope everything works out as painlessly as possible.

    The fact that you’re maintaining your professional obligations, website, podcast, et al is nothing short of amazing, even … uncanny. (cue David Caruso sunglasses move)

  28. I hope everything resolves itself, Rachel.
    I hadn’t read the entry with last Sunday’s podcast too closely, but I did see that this week’s had a guest podcaster. I simply figured it was along the same lines as when Chris Sims subbed for Miles.
    It does sadden me that you’ll be missing an X-Men/Asgard episode. However, you had assured me over twitter that the Asgardian x-planations would be epic as hell, and I’m sure Elizabeth Allie will do an admirable job in your stead, but in the back of my mind I worry that it won’t be the same without you.

    Sidebar/suggestion: I know the point of the podcast is that you and Miles do the reading for us, then choose to recommend it or not, but I’ve found that I really get excited when I know exactly what arc you’ll be tackling and read in advance (you kind of inadvertently prepared me to join a book club, btw). If you want to start post title and issue numbers of everything you’ll be covering in a given week, I for one would be very happy to have an x-syllabus every week.

  29. Rachel, whenever you’re back to do what you do, I’m sure we’ll all be grateful. In the meantime, all the best to you and yours. We all appreciate you so much!

  30. Dear Rachel,
    Good luck with whatever you’re addressing. I’m content with how I’m spending my money.

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