Jay & Miles X-Plain the X-Men

89 – Giant-Size Special #3 (feat. Kyle Yount, Logan Bonner, Elle Collins, and Chris Sims)

Art by David Wynne. Prints and cards available at the shop, or contact David to purchase the original.
Art by David Wynne. Prints and cards available at the shop, or contact David to purchase the original.


In which Jay and Miles finally X-Plain some Excalibur; Kyle interviews the X-Perts; Logan gets up-close and personal with the X-Men; Elle casts Excalibur; Chris X-Plains Santa Claus; and you are still the best listeners of any podcast, ever.


  • Excalibur: The Sword Is Drawn
  • Christmas at the X-Mansion
  • The best hair in the Marvel Universe
  • The not particularly secret origins of Excalibur
  • Mojoverse anxiety dreams
  • Warwolves
  • Meggan
  • Captain Britain (Brian Braddock)
  • Sexiest Nightcrawler
  • Technet (and several of its members)
  • Gatecrasher
  • Yap
  • Omniversal Majestrix Opal Luna Saturnine
  • The Special Executive
  • Mutant intersectionality
  • Why we chose the X-Men
  • Favorite X-Spinoffs
  • Our podcast-guest wish list
  • The theoretical cast of an Excalibur movie
  • Our ideal X-lineups
  • Jay & Miles X-Plain the X-Men
  • The Second Annual Super Doctor Astronaut Peter Corbeau Awards for Excellence in X-Cellence
  • Marvel Holiday Special 1991
  • Santa Claus
  • The true meaning of Christmas

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


  1. Jay – Thank you for the comment about Rachel during AvX. That bugged me so much! Particularly since early in the series I’m pretty sure she’s standing in the background of some panels while Cap goes to ask Wolverine and Beast about the Phoenix.

    Somehow no one ever said, “boy if you want to talk about the Phoenix you should go ask Rachel down the hall. She’s the real expert!”

    Now I need to go sit quietly, read some non-event comics, and not get sucked into my usual AvX rant. 😀

  2. Jay: something something Nolan North best voice actor
    My Brain: (unfairly reactionary) But what about Jennifer Hale?!?!
    Miles: (literally 1 second later) But also Jennifer Hale.
    Jay: Jennifer Hale great!

    Phew. Crisis averted.

  3. Re: Rachel’s changed appearance and attitude in Excalibur:

    I’ve always wondered if the Phoenix miniseries that never happened would have revealed that Rachel had been given a Body Shoppe makeover by Spiral. (Perhaps even a “body and soul!” makeover.)

    In addition to suddenly being a lot more upbeat in her temperament, Rachel now looks SO much different than she did in her X-Men appearances, and it seems deliberate rather than just a matter of different art styles. (Note that other characters are suddenly making a point of commenting on what a babe she is– while Rachel 1.0 certainly wasn’t unattractive, she was certainly never previously presented as a bombshell by superhero standards.)

  4. Ow, man! Please, please, PLEASE bring Chris Claremont! It might sound a little bit weird, but you guys speaking with him is the closest thing I’ll ever have for fulfilling my dream of meeting him in person! I would be so rejoiced…
    I know you don’t need any encouragement to do what you’re already encouraged to do in the first place, so I just wish you… Good luck!

    1. Again, we’re trying, and have been for some time. It’s not an issue of lack of interest or volition on either end.

  5. Scattered thoughts on the episode:

    This website is now the top four Google hits for “Blix Jrbl Vootie”.

    I’ve never liked it when superheroes lament how they don’t really make anything better and might as well just hang it up, because they live in a world where supervillains regularly come within inches of destroying/controlling all of reality before some masked do-gooder stops them. That should be their their baseline, not a “normal” world with no super-battles at all. .

    At some point in the last eight months or so, Marvel Unlimited went from having about ten episodes of Excalibur to the whole run, including The Sword Is Drawn (under that title rather than Special Edition, no less). Yay!

    Re: Rachel Summers in AvX, PREACH IT. I have been ranting about that to anyone who will listen since the event ended.


  6. Yay! Finally on Excalibur 🙂 This was *my* X-men entry series growing up in Scotland. When the 90s cartoon was on, I hunted down what x-men info I could. I found out there was a British X-man (Psylocke) but also a team based in Britain – with Nightcrawler and Shadowcat. Who were these characters that weren’t on the cartoon?? I hunted down issues in the back issue section of my comic store, starting with of all things the cross time caper and the Alan Davis issues in the #40s. And warren Ellis had just started as the then-current writer. Talk about a weird mix and introduction to the X universe! But I loved diving in, it was so much fun to piece the story together,and track down back issues in comic shops whenever my family visited new towns…

    Loved all the characters and interactions. This is also my version of Rachel – such a boss and super powerful, but still so fragile. Excalibur is also my standard for a team book – you can very quickly explain how say Shadowcat interacts with Meggan, or Nightcrawler’s role on the team. A lot of modern books I couldn’t explain how each character would relate to the other. Also so much of the charm comes from Alan Davis’ gorgeous artwork, and later his writing, and also Mark Farmers wonderful inks. Alan Davis even gives all the characters unique face shapes and even noses – look out for that!

    Another standard I set for artists is if they can remember that Meggan always goes in bare feet… Not many remember that. Chris Bachalo in particular cannot draw feet, just little pointed triangles!

    Oh and sexiest Nightcrawler is Carlos Pacheco’s 90s redesign 😉

    Navin Chowdhry (Brit actor) will also always be my top casting choice for Kurt Wagner…

  7. Couple of things

    – Did Betsy even know about her eyes being cameras? She knew they were a gift from Mojo and so were probably bad news, but I don’t think she knew they were a live feed for him.

    – Probably NOT telling you anything you didn’t already know (Gosh, that’s a lot of negatives) but there is another Marvel/Doctor Who/Excalibur link: The Special Executive, who appeared years before the Technet (who were made up of, I think, specifically the NON Alan Moore created members of the Special Executive) made their first appearances in a series of Alan Moore/David Lloyd backup strips in the pages of Marvel UK’s “Doctor Who Weekly” where they were shown to be the Time Lords preferred hired agents.

    First Wardog was engaged to be be part of a complicated four dimensional conflict, whose triggering event would turn out to be the actions the Time Lords took to prevent the war taking place at all. Then later Wardog, now with Cobweb, Zeitgeist and the sadly short lived Millenium, worked as security during a peace accord being threatened by the Sontarans.

    After that they showed up in Captain Britain and the rest, as they say, was history… or the future, it’s very complicated. (These are also AFAIK Alan Moore’s only contribution to the Doctor Who title)

    1. Oh, damn! We were totally going to bring up the Special Executive / Doctor Who connection… and then forgot. I didn’t know most of those details, though – that’s both awesome and excellently ridiculous!

  8. And now I’ve just depressed myself (hard to do with an Excalibur post lord knows) because this episode made me realise that Kitty would have seen the news about the X-Men in Dallas and probably immediately contacted the Xavier School to find out if it was for real, and on top of everything would have found out that Doug had uubeen killed.

    Daaaaamn. 🙁

  9. I always liked how WHAT THE?! parodied the advent of Excalibur as being a push-back against the thick buttery angst of the Fall of the Mutants.

    Ironic that this and JUSTICE LEAGUE were almost contemporary with one another. One wonders if there was a sense that maybe books with a lighter touch were needed around this time.

  10. That Madame Gatecrasher and Technet aren’t valuable, regular fixtures within the Marvel Universe is the greatest crime in comic bookdom. Or something like that.

    Something that I didn’t realize about them until much later is how much of their powers were based completely on capturing or detaining enemies, not bloodshed or murder (swordplay and fisticuffs excepted). It makes sense, given that they’re bounty hunters and expect to bring back their targets, but it does kind of put them at odds as to where the comic market was kind of going then, which may be why they didn’t end up catching on as a team.

    I wonder what their status is these days. If they haven’t appeared in Guardians of the Galaxy, they really should, given that Kitty is up there. Gatecrasher could be a perfect foil for her.

    1. Oh man that would be an amazing place to see them again. Can we just have Alan Davis write and draw GOTG. That would be ideal.

  11. Oh gosh, it’s so exciting to see the first little snippet of Excalibur show up finally! I watched the X-cartoon and read a number of different X-Men titles growing up, but several dozen back issues of early Excalibur was THE definitive X-book for me as a youth. Even now when I think of X-Men stuff, my default thoughts are of Claremont & Davis, Nightcrawler, Kitty and Rachel Summers as my definitive go-to X-Men, and all the various deeply weird goodies like Technet, the Crazy Gang and warwolves, the Cross-Time Caper and Alistaire and so on. Almost everything else pales in comparison compared to that surreal romp!

  12. This is pretty much my favorite single issue comic. Almost certainly the comic I’ve reread more than any other, and absolutely a comic central to me as a person for a number of reasons.

    Thank you for doing it so much justice, thank you for being so excited about Excalibur.

    Also can we get Blix Jrbl Vootie T-shirts? I’d buy that in a second.

  13. Today in random dialogue allusions…”Vootie!” is a word with history that I am 100% sure Claremont knew. It started off in Mad magazine, as someone at Urban Dictionary correctly explains. In the 1970s, there was a furries fanzine named Vootie, where Omaha the Cat Dancer first appeared.

  14. Jay and Miles I wanted to thank you both for a full year of knowledge and all-around delight. I read comics throughout my childhood and adolescence but after moving to another country and adapting to their language and culture, I lost touch with the medium. Because of your podcast, and moving back to Canada, I have once again found my place surrounded by comics. Thank you for helping this reintegration take place!

  15. Hey guys! This was a great holiday special! First off, congratulations Jay on coming out, super proud of you yo! Long time listener, first time commenter, I need to get more active with my podcast listening. Really excited for X-caliber, also my excitement for the 90s grows with every episode. As Jay said their favorite part of X-men is continuity and that’s also a lot of what I love and I can’t wait for all the fucking with the time stream that is the 90s, bring on the Cable! Ordered some shirts, so be ready for a little photo shoot when they get here! There will be goggles.

  16. I’m looking forward to the Excalibur coverage. The original series was good, from what I remember, but never clicked with me like the other X-books of the era did. While I appreciated the humor, I think some of the stuff was just too weird for me — kind of like the X-perts alluded to it being quite a change from the existing X-books at the time. Perhaps hearing the enthusiasm and general adoration from Jay and Miles about the series will allow me to appreciate it more than I have in the past.

    Thanks for another great year end episode! Love hearing the Corbeau awards again, glad that they appear to be an annual tradition. Super excited about some of the guests you’ve been working on. Getting Walter Simonson on with Louise Simonson would be epic. I can imagine the cold open leading to some Walter Simonson comment about his Thor run, followed by Miles giggling uncontrollably for the remainder of the episode!

    Also excited to hear details about ECCC in the coming months! A friend of mine already has his tickets, though I haven’t done so yet and I see Saturday is sold out. Nevertheless, if another off-site meet-up is part of the festivities, I will be sorely tempted to make the trip.

    Happy secular winter solstice time of year to you both!

  17. Now I’m trying to work out if a world where everyone has Alan Davis hair would work, or would we all have been wiped out by the great Styling Mousse Shortage of ’93?

    1. Was that caused by one of the mousse manufacturers buying a distributor, which led to a panic by all of the other manufacturers about who would distribute their mousse until only one mousse distributor remained after the dust settled?

  18. Richard Madden is Scottish, not English – though both countries are a part of Britain, so we can let that slide.

    Danny Pudi is half Polish, and can speak the language (he does in Community) – so I can’t imagine that speaking Claremontian German wouldn’t be a stretch for him at all!

  19. Just finished listening to the episode, and my comments are thus:
    1. Meggan is awesome. She has been one of my favorite X-related characters for years.
    2. I agree with Miles about Captain Britain flawes making him more relatable. That’s why I’v always preffered this captain over captain America.

    And that’s it for that. Congratulation, Jay and Miles, for the podcast reaching his third (now) year. And thank you. here’s for another year of pure awesomeness and X-related fun!
    Happy holidays

    1. Depending on which of her varied origins you believe to be canon, she sort of might be.

      She originally wasn’t quite a common or garden mutant For example she was able to manipulate magical forces by casting spells she’d never learned when fighting Baba Yaga in her pre-Excalibur days.

      Her status as an x-gene mutant wasn’t stated clearly until, I think, her Marvel US appearances (possibly as late as the Warren Ellis Excalibur run) prior to that it had been left purposefully vague beyond (She has powers and is in a team with an “X” sound in the title)

      Even in the Alan Davis written Excalibur run, it’s hinted she might be some sort of elflike being, but again, it ended on a fairly vague endpoint.

      1. You might be getting Meggan and Betsy confused. The former was confirmed a mutant from the outset while the latter only became a mutant after her American debut when she needed to suddenly justify joining the X-Men.

        Also touching on Baba Yaga, I seem to recall it was heavily implied that Meggan might also be her descendant in that storyline. That familial tie could perhaps help explain Meg’s natural mystical talent. Later in Excalibur it was also suggested that her emphathic mimicry was what allowed her to easily commune with mystical and other energies, even at one point tricking the Phoenix force.

        1. “You might be getting Meggan and Betsy confused.”

          Never knowingly, but thank you for the reply! 🙂

          Meggan’s powers making her more of a magic user when magical energy is around is a very interesting idea, and one I like a lot, it would explain a great deal.

  20. I’m so glad we’re into Excalibur! It was in part because of you guys saying that I started buying it up. I now have all of Claremont’s run and almost all of Ellis’s. Can’t wait to read them all! The Special was so good!

  21. First of all, pardon my lack of eloquence. I am no writer. I struggled so much with whether or not to share this (this is literally the 7th draft) but I really feel the need to side with Miles on this one. I think when you’re preaching tolerance of minority groups, your target audience isn’t the minorities. I come from a place and time where being gay got you tied to a split rail fence and beat to death. I don’t make light of this, it’s just the reality we had here. All the queer subtext you’re pointing out now went completely over my head at the time. I am so much not a part of that world that when Jay made the big announcement I literally had to Google “what does ‘came out as trans’ mean?” In a part of the world where Bruce Jenner is a punchline, it’s not something I had ever been exposed to. But if X-Men spoke to me at all, it was Claremont telling me “Yeah, you’re a nerdy kid who is persecuted for reasons outside your control. Never be the kind of douchbag who does that to anybody else for any reason. Ever.” I think if I would have picked up my first X-book as a kid and it was full of gays, women in atypical gender roles, etc. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have been allowed to read it. As it was my mom objected to them on a regious basis (I’ve said before how I had to hide every Inferno issue) and if it hadn’t been full of kids who looked and felt like me I would not have learned the lessons I did. Sam, Scott, Kitty, Doug, Rachel and even Kurt, these were my teachers of the lessons that parents, school officials and preachers didn’t think we’re important enough to focus on. I would not be the father I am without those lessons that nobody else in my life saw for to teach me. Yes, with great power comes great responsibility, but more importantly I learned that if you’re in a position to fight for others just because of the circumstances of your birth, you need to be ready to do so.

    My 2 cents…1

  22. Great episode. I had to skip this episode until right now because I wanted to read Captain Britain first. I can’t possibly imagine not reading it first (even though I realize this is a modern luxury and, even then, one that I had to accomplish through Amazon as opposed to Marvel Unlimited). This throws you in as if you have an understanding of all this.

    I’m honestly surprised how much Chris Claremont seems to love Captain Britain. A lot of writers seem to distance themselves to everything that comes after their run of the work. This is the exact opposite. This Captain Britain draws very much from Alan Moore, Alan Davis, and whoever came as a writer after. It bares almost no resemblance to Chris Claremont’s run. But, not only did Claremont embrace it, he was clearly itching to use him for a long time.

    I wish Leach won the Improbably Endearing Moppet award. Seriously, I go “awww” every time he says “No Powers.”

  23. i’ll just leave this ULTIMATE CASTING OF GATECRASHER here: the drag queen Latrice Royale! She has the body type, the face, the craziness, the presence.



    Also, I’d use the actor who plays Marjory for Megan (she has the elvish qualities needed and she can play both the sexy and child-like attributes of the character, and use Courtney Act (hey, another drag queen!) for Opal Saturnyne!
    It’s just right: http://resources3.news.com.au/images/2014/06/04/1226942/923067-b7c4940a-eb82-11e3-873b-5e8c286cce93.jpg

  24. I listened to the episode in chunks and just got to the “finale reveal”. I’ve been a listener since ep. 1 and I’m very VERY proud for you, Jay. Coming out in this industry is always difficult. I have a Greek friend who also came out as a trans man a few years ago, and he’s also a comics professional (comic strip artist, letterer and colorist), I wasn’t aware of any other trans males in comics before. He’s also keeping a well read column in Greece documenting his transition. Thank you for being open about this. 🙂

  25. Sorry for late comments, catching up on older episodes.

    I was intrigued by this being an Excalibur episode, and I am looking forward to your Excalibur coverage. Having said that… I never (initially) considered Excalibur an X-Men title, I considered it a spin-off of the Captain Britain line that *happened* to have 3 former X-Men in the cast. To be fair they tend to do more dimension hopping than mutant rights stories.

    At any rate, Excalibur is a good book and I’ll look forward to hearing those episodes — at least until “Fatal Attractions” when it seemed like the X-Office tried to force it to become a more conventional mutant book. Those stories I enjoyed less and less.

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