Jay & Miles X-Plain the X-Men

As Mentioned in Episode 78 – The Eye Killers and Other Cautionary Tales

Listen to the episode here!

Links & Further Reading:



  1. Graham Greene is an actual First Nations actor who could pull of Naze.

    Also, I think Forge is an example of people mixing all Native American/First Nations tribes together, as he has always been called a Cheyenne but his cultural and geographical back-story have always been closer to the Navajo. Kudos to Chris Claremont anyways for at least including a NA character and giving him a name like Forge and not Warhawk or Tomabear or something.

  2. Couple of things.

    Storm catching the fish is her using the long-established and delightfully named traditional technique of “trout tickling” (You can google it safely). No bears required! 🙂

    “No point trying to talk when Dazzler is absorbing our every word”… actually that’s exactly why you SHOULD be talking, shouting at the top of your lungs in fact. She’s not doing this for fun, she NEEDS to sound to power herself up. Keeping quiet literally does NO ONE any good here.

  3. You mention something about Claremont’s writing in this episode that I noticed a long time ago, too. His tendency to describe, through that purple narration, through dialogue, or through thought balloons, exactly what is being depicted in the panel visually does not compliment the art but nearly ruin otherwise great comics storytelling. It always felt to me that Claremont didn’t completely trust his artists to get the visuals right, so he “reinforced” the images with his words. I distinctly remember an issue I once had (wish I remember the number, but I am almost positive it was drawn by John Romita, Jr.) in which the artist has drawn a beautiful sunrise over a mountain peak with a pair of birds flying through the panel. The narration box read something like: As the morning sun peeked over the mountaintop, shedding the first rays of light for the day, the birds soared effortlessly by in hopes of catching the view.” Nice prose, to be sure, but IT’S ALL RIGHT THERE!! Similarly, a back issue I bought, this time I believe drawn by Marc Silvestri, featured a scene of Piotr Rasputin changing into Colossus. His thought balloon read something like: “I cannot hope to defeat this foe as flesh and blood Piotr Rasputin, but by transforming my body into nigh invulnerable organic steel, Colossus will easily dispatch him.” The previous owner of the issue had written in pen in the margin: “Stop thinking it and just do it!” That always stuck with me as the problem with Claremont’s writing. He’s probably the best idea and character writer in comics, but the actual execution of the language on the page is supremely problematic.

    1. I love the previous owner of your book who made his comics experience interactive by writing in advice to the characters.

    2. A few issues ago, R&M gave special attention to the “Breakfast with Longshot” segment, where he was thrilled to be served “dead, burned animal flesh and unborn baby birds”. Rogue’s response to LS was not to be gross, and that his meal is called ham and eggs. Several issues later, a letter was printed from someone complaining about over-explanatory dialogue, that he (the reader) is not a 2nd grader and can figure out Longshot is referring to ham and eggs without dialogue explicitly pointing it out. The editor’s response was that some of the readers *are* second graders, so the pointing-out-the-obvious bits are for their benefit.

      It’s not like today, where comic readers are expected to be fairly literate. In the 80s, comics, particularly code-approved comics, were expected to be all ages. They were safe for, if not explicitly aimed at, children. Also, during Shooter’s run as EiC, he wanted every character and relevant plot point to be explained in each issue, because “every issue is someone’s first”. Hence, if you pick up your first issue of X-Men and wonder why the purple haired ninja has energy sticking out of her fist, somewhere it will be helpfully explained that she’s Psylocke, it’s called a psychic knife, and it’s the focused totality of her psychic powers.

      So I’m not sure it’s that Claremont didn’t trust his artists, it’s more that he didn’t trust some of his (young) readers.

      In general though, I love Claremont’s prose, even the purple. Even today, I can enjoy these issues. The Louise Simonson stuff? Not so much. Her writing is just so plain, IMO.


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