73 – Evolving Evolution, with Robert N. Skir

Art by David Wynne. Prints and cards available until 9/6/2015 at the shop, or contact David to purchase the original.

Art by David Wynne. Prints and cards available until 9/6/2015 at the shop, or contact David to purchase the original.

In which Rachel holds down the fort; Robert N. Skir X-Plains several cartoons; teenagers are basically mutants; Southern goths are the best goths; and you should really just watch X-Men: Evolution already.

X-PLAINED:

  • Bad parenting choices
  • Rachel & Miles @ Rose City Comic Con
  • Secret origins of Robert N. Skir
  • The development of X-Men: Evolution
  • The Unauthorized X-Men
  • Point-of-view points of entry
  • The Evolution series bible
  • Spyke (Evan Daniels)
  • Mutants in society
  • Rogue variations
  • Brushes with fandom

NEXT WEEK: Fantastic Four vs. X-Men


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21 comments

  1. LAndrew says:

    The discussion of Rogue’s evolution was really interesting. It’s very older, then younger, then sexbomb, then in the mid-90s she starts getting younger again.

    Also, Evolution Rogue is plainly the best version. I wish Morrison had got his wish and been able to make that canonical.

    • Porthos Fitz-Shi'ar Empress says:

      Southern Gothic Rogue is my favorite also, but I still love 80s Rogue when she was basically the “dark(er)” reflection of Supergirl.

      As noted in the episode, as a Southerner (who was slightly Goth in my teen years) myself, I probably love Southern Goth Rogue best because she was the first big representation who wasn’t absurdly demeaning. The White Wolf games were big down here, and even if it was unintentional I loved how Evolution took note of Rogue’s powers being rather vampyric; and for me her being goth and kind of a vampire added a sense of glorious realism to her character that reminds me of girls I was friends with in high school. So, Evolution Southern Gothic Rogue finally showed me a Rogue that was sincerely comparable to people I actually knew, and not just a flippant parody of what dudes in NYC in the 1960s viewed as a southern female.

  2. chloe says:

    I would love to know how the brotherhood of evil mutants became such central characters in evolution vs sentinels or sinister or apocalypse. It’s an interesting choice considering how long it had been since they were main villains in the comics and how inherently goofy most of them are, but I think it really pays off in a setting where having a mutant peer group makes sense.

  3. Art says:

    The thing about Spyke is that he never really worked. No one really seemed to like him. He was obnoxious from the get-go, and never matured much beyond that. The writers never seemed to know what to do with him. By mid season 2, forget what the credit roll said, he was not a main character anymore. Iceman was featured more than Spyke was. Spyke was a guest star in his own show.

    I’m curious to know if the series bible included all the new mutants from season 2.

    • ray says:

      My thoughts exactly.
      My problem with Spyke derives from his origin, according to Robert. His main attribute and the reason for him being cast is his skin color. He doesn’t seem conflicted to me like the other kids. He is the skatebording dude who “just wanna have fun”. Like the way grown up people sees teenagers.

      You know, I was thinking of an example for a good afro-american teenage character. The first example that jumped into my head was Prodigy from the third gen of new mutants (counting gen-X as the second one). But he wasn’t really developed enough as a character before the book was replacing hands. Now I was thinking of Sunspot – not as an afro-american, of course, but as a person from a different background, as a brazilian character. Now this one is a great teenage character! Then I was thinking: What would’v happened if instead of the X-Men characters from Evolution they would’v taken the New Mutants as the teenagers that try to live double life among their regular peers? How cool could’v that been?! And then I figured I would much, so much prefer to see this happening instead of Evolution! I mean, don’t get me wrong – Evolution was sure a fun show, but with the New Mutants as the main characters? Come on – They’v already set the pieces for them! We could see them and the Hellions as the bad guys and all of the unused great lore from the comics that was never shown on the screen!
      Dammit!

      • Porthos Fitz-Shi'ar Empress says:

        A New Mutants animated series would be absolutely amazing, and the rivalry with the Hellions would make it even more perfect. Yet after seeing spectacular series like Young Justice get canned I’m thinking Marvel taking the note from DC in releasing quarterly direct to home viewing flicks might be the best option to get a taste of the wider spectrum of the Marvel Universe in animated form. A 90 minuet New Mutants animated movie, or hopefully small series of movies, would probably do the characters more justice.

        Also, don’t forget Sunspot is a half African descended, half Caucasian Brazilian, and considering the ethnic/economic atrocities “quietly” going on in Brazil currently, Roberto has the potential to be a very topically relevant character that could bring real-life awareness to issues in Brazil that are largely being ignored on the global theater.

        In any case, it is a shame so many great adolescent mutant characters have been introduced over the years, but they keep getting killed off or forgotten, or possibly even worse, written poorly. I’m starting to think the Academy-X kids all have the secondary mutation of getting brutally slaughtered, eventually.

        • ray says:

          It is a real shame. I did like that series and the direction it was taking. It was different than anything ever done before in X-Men. Focusing almost entirly in the high-school soup opera. DeFillipes and Weir did a magnificant job. Then came Kreg and Yost and RUINED EVERYTHING. Literally everything.
          That’s one of the reasons I can’t read anything from Kreg or Yost. And their X-Force run… Ech… Don’t get me started. When everyone and everything was more “mature” and dark because they could now use the F-word in every second sentence. And the thing they’v done to Rahne… (And also Blink, by the way, but it’s 616 Blink, so who cares really…)

        • Filipe Freitas says:

          Speaking as a brazilian, I think what makes Sunspot a poor character for social commentary is the fact he’s the son of a millionaire. This means that, even though he has colored skin, he’s still sheltered from most of the racial/class conflict that happens in the country. He could even support the common discourse that “anyone” can rise to the economic elite if that person works hard – something that doesn’t take into account the fact that the absolute majority of the lower classes in Brazil are descendants of black slaves.

          • Porthos Fitz-Shi'ar Empress says:

            hmm… very true,Roberto having more money than God and using it to do super-human stuff and ignoring what’s going on in his home country does pretty much make him an asshole… BUT that very thing could be used to shed light on real world events. Still, I agree with you, some more realistic, insofar as a MARVEL character can do such, increasing the presentation/representation/existence of non-(Northern) American or European characters with longevity would be nice.

    • tinyorc says:

      I completely agree about Spyke. I get where Skir is coming from on wanting to introduce a totally new face to keep the line-up fresh and it’s admirable that he wanted that face to be African-American, but whatever the intention, Spyke’s character ended up as a bland cocktail of stereotypes about young black men. And while leaning heavily on stereotypes is obviously never a good idea, it’s particularly lethal when you’re introducing a brand new character into an established and beloved ensemble. It was always very clear that the writers had no idea what to do with him, so they just gave up and ended up unceremoniously shelving him in Season 3. (“Don’t mind me, my powers are acting up a bit so I’m just going to leave everyone I know and love and go live in the literal sewers forever in the space of an episode!”) Even his potentially awesome powers felt kind of blah.

  4. Just me says:

    I was getting into the interview until the sentence, “Nobody wants to see teen Storm!” You sure about that, sir?
    The stuff about Spyke didn’t make it any better. I actually found it pretty insulting that he was her nephew. I don’t know, I’m a 40 year old queer black chick who has been overly concerned with this team since I was 8. I’m not exactly anyone’s target demographic…

    • ray says:

      I would totally want to see teen Storm! With all the drama of the adult character. And she would’v been easily the most fabulous thing in this series, I can promise you that.

    • Porthos Fitz-Shi'ar Empress says:

      In the comics they have Storm as a teen, in flashback and in “don’t ask, its just MARVEL stuff” (like when she was an amnesiac in the issues leading up to X-Tinction Agenda), and Storm was pretty awesome as a teen/”teen”. So… not like there isn’t precedent for this exact thing working.

  5. TheAmazingEmu says:

    A comment on introducing new characters:
    At the time I started watching X-Men: Evolution (unfortunately, just at the age I was getting out of watching Saturday morning cartoons, so I only saw the first season). My familiarity with the X-Men was only the 90s cartoon. Because of that, in my mind, there were two new characters (i.e., characters, as far as I knew, hadn’t been seen before): Spyke and Shadowcat. It was only much later that I realized Spyke was completely new and Kitty Pryde was well-established. I wonder if Spyke would stand out more if I knew he was the “original character” as opposed to one of two new characters.

    The choice for a new character is well-stated here. Obviously, with a series where adult comic book characters are made High Schoolers, the character could be based on an adult comic book character. That being said, I really can’t think of any good candidates. Bishop has a lot of baggage that would change the dynamics completely (or else they’d have to abandon all the things that made Bishop unique).

  6. Icon_UK says:

    As in the movies, establishing Rogue with just her basic leeching powers and not her, then default in the comics, Ms. Marvel “Flying brick” powerset was an inspired decision, making the character instantly more… vulnerable in every sense. That the only way she could demonstrate having powers was when she was actively using the power she hated.

  7. Liam says:

    So, teen Storm. That, in all seriousness, has been my biggest disappointment in Evolution.

    Imagine, if you will, a teenage Ororo Munroe, having spent her childhood as a street thief and grifter, only to get her powers and be worshipped as a goddess queen. THAT is a character I would have loved to see join this team. I’ve always really wanted to see more of how she transitioned from thief in Cairo to Queen in Kenya, and I think the show choosing not to focus on this was a huge mistake.

    There’s so many things they could’ve done with her; explored her sense of entitlement having been legit worshipped for her natural abilities, then transitioning to an American highschool where she not only has to deal with the regular culture clash, but also a complete role reversal, where she has to hide the gifts that she was previously adored for. This sense of entitlement and control over her abilities, as well as her experience as a leader in a community would’ve been a really interesting contrast to Cyclops, who’s role as a leader is defined by his always striving to be worthy of the role, stemming from his own lack of control of his powers.

    Storm’s arc as a character could see her growing and learning to be a normal person among equals, and finding a true family, overcoming a difficult past she hides with her grandstanding and sense of regality.

    Just, ugh. Love Storm. Storm is queen. All hail Storm.

  8. Theo says:

    I love X-Men:Evolution, but I’m going to have to disagree a bit with the teen Storm comment; I would have LOVED to have seen teen Storm with a mohawk!
    She could have hung out with Rogue and they could have done the ‘we’re too cool for this’ mutant goth thing… it would have been amazing!

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