Jay & Miles X-Plain the X-Men

161 – Do You Even Howl, Bro?

Art by David Wynne. Wanna buy the original? Drop him a line!

In which we return to Excalibur, and Excalibur returns to form; “Girls’ School from Heck” is way better than we remembered; Jay has strong feelings about penmanship; we examine the semantics of field hockey; the band gets back together; Dai Thomas has no time for your comic-book bullshit; and you should never, ever install a good/evil switch in your technological abominations.


  • The first appearances of Colonel Vazhin
  • Perks of home recording
  • FlameCon 2017
  • Jay & Miles at Rose City Comic Con
  • Excalibur #32-36
  • “Girls’ School from Heck!”
  • St. Searle’s School for Young Ladies
  • St. Trinian’s and a large number of references thereto
  • Regional variations in boarding school hijinks
  • Miss Rutherford
  • A poorly staged panel
  • Phoebe Huntsman
  • Kitty Pryde’s penmanship
  • Margaret Thatcher’s weirdly wholesome fantasies
  • The kinda-reformation of Mesmero
  • The end of Chris Claremont’s run on Excalibur
  • Some complicated contradictions related to the ethics of consumption
  • An abduction
  • The ethics of psychic interrogation (kinda)
  • Mariner disambiguation
  • A rescue
  • An unlikely partnership
  • Darkmoor Research Center
  • Dr. Walshe
  • A somewhat convoluted plot
  • Whether the Danger Room could function as a bathroom
  • The physics of Asteroid M


You can find the visual companion to this episode on our blog.

Find us on iTunes or Stitcher!

Jay and Miles X-Plain the X-Men is 100% ad-free and listener supported. If you want to help support the podcast–and unlock more cool stuff–you can do that right here!

We’re in the process of migrating our official shop to TeePublic! Click over to check it out! (You can still find the designs we haven’t moved yet at Redbubble.)

Special thanks to Gavia Baker-Whitelaw for helping us assemble the St. Searle’s marginalia!


  1. I have a major soft spot for the Girls’ School From Heck. Very excited to listen. (Though not as excited for when you finally get to Alan Davis’s Excalibur.)

  2. I really like the Girls’ School arc. It’s so weird, but it’s so much fun. I’ve been saying for years that we need a story where Kitty goes back to the school for a reunion or something. And the field hockey game is pretty awesome. Kitty as a cheerleader is definitely a fun image. And then the girls beating the crap out of bad guys is fantastic.

    The Mesmero plot is really fun. I always like the idea of villains going straight.

    Goddamn Fenris. As far as Fenris being sympathetic, I haven’t read it myself, but I hear Andreas was actually pretty cool in Thunderbolts. Where he used a sword . . . with a patch of his dead sister’s skin wrapped around the handle. OK, yeah, still awful.

  3. On the subject of Community being in the Marvel Universe, my personal head-canon is that Jim Rash’s character in Captain America: Civil War absolutely is Dean Pelton.

  4. Well, it’s good knowing that when I was stumped by my fiance on the various aspects of Asteroid M, it wasn’t due to a gaping hole in my X-knowledge! (Also, I really like the idea of a circus cart being the go-to method of getting to and from Asteroid M)

    The position on Lobdell makes sense. Personally, I was wondering when something like this would be addressed, particularly re: the X-movies.

  5. In the not too distant future,
    Next Sunday A.D.
    There was a guy named Magnus,
    Thought himself above humanity

    He looked down his nose at Homo Sapiens,
    Had magnetic powers to help pursue his ends,
    Decided he’d had enough of humanity’s bullshit,
    And made an asteroid base in low Earth orbit.

    “I’m hiding here from Charles,
    “His X-Men, and his dream. (la la la)
    “Sitting here with a bucket on my head,
    “Until the day we reign supreme.”

    Now keep in Magnus can’t control
    When the mutant race will rise.
    He’ll have to wait there patiently
    With his Brotherhood and Acolytes

    Mutant Roll Call!
    QUICKSILVER (“I hate you, dad!”)
    SCARLET WITCH (“My continuity is insane!”)
    TOAD (“I have frog powers!”)
    COOOOOOORTEZZZZZZZ (“I. . .have a ponytail, I guess?”)

    If you’re wondering how he built this thing
    In airless zero-G.
    Just repeat to yourself, “It’s just fictional
    Comics continuity.”

    . . .on Magneto’s Awesome Space-Base Asteroid M! (twangy guitar)

  6. There’s almost no way this was what was being referenced, but when you mentioned “Veronique,” I got irrationally excited because for about half a second, I thought Claremont was referencing the song of same name from the musical “On The Twentieth Century,” most recently on Broadway with Kristin Chenoweth.

  7. (Jay, just fyi, you can get the complete MacDonald Hall as a boxed set from Amazon Canada. They’re still in print up here!)

  8. There IS canonical use of the Danger Room as a bathroom. Or, to be more accurate, Aaron’s Wolverine & the X-Men had a gag that huge chunks of the Jean Grey Academy were made out of Danger Room tech so that they could convert into bunkers as needed… but the whole thing was so buggy that students would routinely get trapped in the bathrooms for happy fun times.

  9. Margaret Rutherford will soon get another, more direct, tribute in the Davis run, as Amelia Witherspoon, noted pyschic who is the spitting image of her and where she is a whole heap of fun. Before she makes her debut I’d politely encourage you to read up on her remarkable life. She was a one of a kind!

    I suspect we might have a slight difference of views over the Nightwing/Nightcrawler comparison. I agree that Kurt is by far the more outgoing, flirty one, but both he and Nightwing are generally acknowledged as being the best looking, sexiest guys in their respective worlds, and are far more likely to be drawn as such, and with an eye towards “the female gaze” than most.

    They also have that whole more lighthearted, swashbuckling hero thing going for them in many instances, though both also have the serious driven side to them.

    1. Grayson’s overt sexyness is practically weaponized in the “Grayson” series where he is a special agent or some such. I think at one point after seeing a duplicate or something he even says he would make out with himself, which sort of relates back to the shipping discussion in the very awesome bonus episode this past week.

  10. Given that we know Nightmare is a shitty, absent father, I can’t help but imagine Trauma mistakenly calling D’Spayre “dad” out of frustration. (Also, I really want to see Trauma pop back up having become the therapist he wanted to be.)

  11. I have no clue if “Veronique” is a reference to anyone or anything. I can’t think of any book or movie which uses the name memorably which would be applicable. (Though my knowledge of girls boarding school stories is minimal to say the least)

    I wonder if Kitty being made to repeat the lines is less of an issue of her actual handwriting, and more of Miss Rutherford using it as a pretext to remind Kitty that she has to obey school rules.

    Kitty was strongly advised not to fight back against the mean girls and Kitty ignored her (though the provocation is understandable, you don’t steal her diary and make comments about Peter (who she thought was dead) and expect to get away with it). Miss Rutherford might be not-very subtly reminding her who is in charge of ALL the girls.

  12. I had a bit of a delay listening this week, so I apologize for the belated question. Jay, if you think you’re going to do a specific run of Daredevil, do you have any idea which run you might do? If my username doesn’t give it away, I’m obviously a big fan of the character so needless to say I’d at least be interested.

  13. I’m surprised there’s no discussion of privilege when you consider St Searle’s. Kitty is correct that attending a small, fee-paying school such as it is a way to increase your chances of going to either Oxford or Cambridge University and being one of the elite in British society. Part of the dark humour of the St Trinians cartoons is a post-war, post-imperial exposure of the seediness, greed and savagery of the ruling class in England. Also, the headmistress does kiss Kitty, at least tnat’s what the pictures say. Kitty puts her hand to the cheek she was kissed on in the panel immediately after the one with the kiss.
    I’m surprised D’Spayre’s gig doesn’t go worse for him more often. It usually plays out in some variation of what we see here, but what about the kind of despair that makes you reckless, rather than inert. My favourite version of that in comics is in ‘Bedlam at the Baxter Building’ Reed literally turns Ben into a Thing without his consent and he becomes unstoppable against Dr Doom (Mr Fantastic’s shadow self (c) Jeff Lester) because it doesn’t matter what happens to him anymore.
    Finally, taking Nightmare and D’Spayre, adding the obvious Death and maybe the Destroyer, who would be the rest of Marvel’s Endless aspects?

  14. This is my fave Excalibur arc, together with the Cross-Time Caper. It makes me remember my happy days reading Enid Blyton’s books about female boarding schools.

    And I’d like to stand up for Ron Wagner, a wonderful artist and inker who probably is not enough appreciated because his art looks stark in spite of flamboyant –he puts most of other artists to shame, though, in terms on storytelling and drawing skills.

  15. I very much enjoyed “Girls’ School from Heck”, and I’m very glad that you two did as well, since going by reviews most people didn’t!

    I think my favourite moment happened just after Veronique’s hand phased through Kitty. I was expecting some anti-mutant prejudice as Kitty was unexpectedly outed, and confessed to being a mutant. But when absolutely NO-ONE was remotely mutant phobic… when not one of the girls of St. Searle’s ostracised Kitty for her mutanthood… I was grinning from ear to ear at that point. (In fact, they went out of their way to compliment her.)

    Congratulations to Miss Rutherford. As the woman who chooses who to admit to the school, she’s chosen only girls who would not treat someone as inferior because of their X-Gene. With anti-mutant prejudice as widespread as it is in the Marvel universe, that’s a rare thing. And speaking as a trans woman… it felt really good to read for that reason.

    You mentioned possible subtext. I think Veronique’s anger that Kitty hadn’t trusted her enough to tell her went beyond what you’d expect for “just friends”. Veronique was clearly very hurt and I think there is some queer subtext there.

    I’m also thinking a lot about Emma Frost. Like Miss Rutherford, she’s a teacher who cares deeply about her students. Would the two of them recognise something of themselves in each other? Would Emma actually be willing to listen and take advice from a non-mutant headmistress? And let’s not forget that before the contest begins, Kitty tells the other girls “We’re outcasts and tearaways and HELLIONS.”

    (Actually, that felt like something Veronique would have been saying. Maybe the speech bubbles were aligned badly?)

    Now… speaking as a British person… I would have to agree that Claremont’s fictional Britain doesn’t feel like a good representation of the real one. And when the girls and the headmistress see each other through the train windows… well, our trains are NOT so slow that that could happen! But that’s a very minor gripe in a really fun story.

    For another cool girls’ boarding school story with a hint of St. Trinians, I’d recommend Terry Wiley’s “Surreal School Stories”. It’s part of a strange shared fictional universe in which the princess of a parallel Earth will attend university with a normal human, before snatching her away to that same parallel world… but all that’s in the future. In this story, you just enjoy the school hijinks!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *