Listen to the episode here.
LINKS & RECOMMENDED READING
Long time listener, first time pedant. I’m going to have to “Um, actually” you on “The Brain that Wouldn’t Die.” The Super Swedish Angel*, Tor Johnson does not actually appear in TBTWD. It’s possible that you were thinking of “The Unearthly” with John Carradine that was another MST3K outing with a somewhat similar “plot.”
The Monster in TBTWD is actually Eddie Carmel. While this is probably his best known film role, he is probably most famous as being the eponymous figure in Diane Arbus’s wonderful photograph, “Jewish Giant, taken at Home with His Parents in the Bronx, NY, 1970.”
Regardless, I love the show and think that you did an amazing job of unpacking this fascinating, but deeply problematic, story. We’re getting close to the era of X-Men that I read in first run, so hopefully you’ll make some sense of what left 4th grade-me entranced, albeit baffled.
Left out my footnote. *This is actually the name that Tor wrestled under.
You’re absolutely right–mea culpa!
A note on the whole setup with Matsuo killing off the Mandarin’s servants at the intro of this story arc:
Only a few months prior, over in Iron Man, the Mandarin had done this new schtick where he started employing servants, called the Hands of the Mandarin, and he would actually loan some of his rings out to them, one ring per person. This was, IIRC, the first time *anyone* other than the Mandarin had used one of his rings (and before, I think, the revelation that the rings were the power source for an alien space ship that brought Fin Fang Foom to Earth I am so not making this up).
So when Matsuo is killing the Mandarin’s dudes and making his whole “you need the services of the true Hand” speech, it’s also a nice way for someone in editorial to say “wait the Mandarin can’t have a Hand we already have a Hand and they’re all ninjas, this could be confusing, have the ninja Hand kill the Mandarin Hand.” So that was nice.
Remember those days when Jim Lee KNEW how to draw…? Because THAT happened…
When I first re-read the issue, I had to double check who was doing the pencils. It’s so much livelier than what we’ll see just a year or so later in Adjective-less #1.
I also wanted to say that I’m glad that you guys talked about the scenes between the Mandarin and Jubilee. While he’s also a collection of problematic tropes, the Mandarin, when written well, strikes me as an interesting symbol of resistance to the hyper-modernization of East Asia and China in particular since the early Cold War. I haven’t read his early appearances, so I don’t know if Stan and Jack intended this, but he seems like a remnant of an old China that lost relevance with the rise of Maoism and the Cultural Revolution. There’s a weird juxtaposition of space-age technology and “outmoded” tradition going on that strikes me as somewhat tragic. I imagine that he’s at best seen as a reactionary crank by most of his countrymen, albeit a very dangerous one. The bright lights and slick suits of this issue show Asia (with Japan in the lead, but China with its economic reforms catching up) moving into yet another era, that of increasing privatization and corporatism. He uncomfortably dons the garb of yet another era, but it’s now at least two generations that have left him by. His encountering Jubilee, who is at least superficially, very Westernized and a child of globalization, must make him feel like even more of an anachronism. He’s still being totally creepy, but as with the best villains, you can kind of see where he’s coming from, and it’s pretty sad.
I’ve also always been amused that he usually brags that he’s a direct descendant of Genghis Khan. One in two hundred people worldwide, and about one in eight people in certain parts of Eastern Asia, so it’s not as if he’s all that special for it.
And again, great episode!
I recently read that Psylocke’s change was meant to be temporary, but, to paraphrase Chris Claremont “the editor liked the design”. I’ll try to find the interview. As a teenager, picking up issue 256 was a revelation. Jim Lee may have been responsible for the “90’s style” but all of his imitators missed the mark. They copied the style, but didn’t have the fundamental skills. I also like this looser art better than his later work. When he inks himself some of this style still comes through on occasion.
I also loved the Nick Fury and Carol Dancers hallucination, and the psychic feedback loop that caused Psylocke to make the illusions real.
As for the body swap, it was all based on the fact that Fabian Nicieza didn’t read all of the original story.
Listening to this episode… I want to see a team-up miniseries between Landau, Luckman and Lake… and Damage Control.
(I’ve always wanted to do something with LLL if I did a Marvel book.)
[…] going to go with Sarah Kuhn and Ming Doyle as a creative team. After listening to Sarah Kuhn on an episode of Jay and Miles: X-Plain the X-Men, I think she’d be a great writer to have on the book. I think Ming Doyle would be cool as an […]
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