Jay & Miles X-Plain the X-Men

177 – The Less You Know

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

In which we discuss several Very Special Issues; the real cautionary tale is not to trust Hank McCoy; horses are vehicles of lies and heartbreak; the X-Men shill for a state fair; whatever you’re doing, Cyclops is here to stop you; smoking is a gateway to some really weird vices; and we want YOU to design the latest X-Men PSA!


  • The alternate-timeline terrible choices of Hank McCoy
  • Our wholly unfounded theories about Spongebob Squarepants
  • Be X-Tra Safe With Blockbuster KidPrint and the X-Men
  • VHS tapes
  • Blockbuster KidPrint
  • Mariano Nicieza
  • Some Fundamental Problems With Superhero PSAs
  • A man who may or may not be D-Man
  • Terrence
  • Why Cable should deliver more PSAs
  • Why D.A.R.E. doesn’t work
  • Varying coherent cautionary tales
  • The Uncanny X-Men at the State Fair of Texas
  • A tragic lack of carnies
  • Danny the centaur and his very intense feelings about horses
  • Several exciting attractions at the State Fair of Texas
  • Big Tex
  • Activities
  • Smokescreen
  • Bret Jackson
  • Some of the lesser-known danger of smoking
  • Whether Danny Rand can turn into a centaur
  • Hanging out and other gateways to delinquency
  • The South Side Social Club
  • Jake
  • Etiquette of following teenagers around
  • A villainous plan so ineffective that it’s actually kind of sad
  • X-Men you should hire for your PSAs
  • Our thoughts on the Disney/Fox merger
  • Where to find Bloodstorm
  • Baby Jumping

NEXT EPISODE: Giant-Size Winter Special!

LISTENER CHALLENGE: Send your X-Men PSAs to [email protected] with the subject PSA by December 27!

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

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  1. Cable as J. Walter Weatherman, delivering insane lessons to frighten children, is going to keep me giggling uncontrollably all day.

    1. My only argument agaimst this is that he didn’t pull the child back into the TV and use him as a test subject for some sort of horrible science project.



    Yeah, I might’ve watched too many of those PSAs.


  3. Of course they were rigging high school sports! I saw the Joker goes to high school episode of the old Batman TV series! Corrupt the cheerleader, corrupt the world! (I think I saw that somewhere…)

  4. Surely the odds that someone who looks like a policeman is actually trustworthy are considerably LESS in the Marvel universe? After all, we seen such people turn out to be Skrulls, Dire Wraiths, Mystique, Brood (I think? Don’t remember those issues well), possessed by the Shadow King, etc. Plus non-powered corrupt and/or murderously bigoted cops.

    1. Police officers in Marvel comics also include:
      Tom Corsi
      Misty Knight
      Charlotte Jones
      Dai Thomas
      Karima Shapandar
      Sean Cassidy
      Stacy Dolan
      Jeane DeWolff
      Suzi Pazuzu
      oh, and Earth-65’s Ben Grimm.
      There’s also that one from San Francisco who told Freedom Force they didn’t have any jurisdiction to destroy everything around them which Jay liked. Oh, and that one who told a moping Sunspot that he knew Roberto was a hero.

      On the other hand, there’s Earth-1030, where Cable leads a police-affiliated X-Force. Not only was Boom-Boom on it, but also Bishop, somehow. That probably didn’t end well for anyone.

  5. I can attest to the potential value of the well-done PSA, if only because it helped me be the smarmiest child.

    When I was six, I was walking home from school when a car pulled over and did the “I’m friends with your mom, she’s in the hospital, get in the car” thing. I remember I had just read or watched a PSA with that exact scenario(also my mom doesn’t actually have friends), and so my response was, “No. You know this is the exact thing they describe, right? I’m not getting your car.” I think he was too stunned to chase me, thankfully.

    Also, I thought it was a funny story to tell my mom, and my description ended up helping them catch the guy! So thanks, PSAs!

  6. Following on from the X-men in the MCU question: if they were to end up doing it anyway (regardless of suitability) how would you go about doing it if it were up to you?

    Assuming the first one they did was just “Uncanny X-men” or similar, who would you have on the team, what enemies would they face, how would you differentiate it from the current team etc?

    Also, though I think I agree with you in terms of the central concept of the X-men, I kind of think there are a handful of mutants who do benefit from a broader Marvel Universe – Pete Wisdom springs to mind.

  7. I am going to make a sign that reads “Why do you labor for ordinary mortals?” and hang it over my desk. It’s a valid question that I feel requires a considered response.

  8. I was listening to the podcast, and then our hosts said something so profoundly, terribly wrong that I had to rush to my keyboard* and comment.

    They said that smoking offered no-one for superheroes to fight.

    Nick O’Teen! Nick O’Teen! Nick O’Teen!

    See: http://mindlessones.com/2009/09/28/rogues-review-nick-oteen/

    *Which is to say, I finished listening to the podcast, then did other things for a few hours first.

  9. I think the best supervillain plan involving giving away cigarettes for teenagers was clearly the one orchestrated by the Foot Clan.

    1. If I ever end up ar a convention Sam Rockwell is at I’m going to be cosplaying as that character and ask him to sign my poorly-made fake ciggarette boxes.

      “Regular, or Menthol?”
      On a related note, I love that the Foot arcade had NARC. Anyone remember all the controversy about the game where undercover cops fight alien robots?

  10. D-Man! D-Man is even cooler than Jay and Miles tell us, because D-Man is a *super-strong professional wrestling champion*.

    I’ve mentioned the Unlimited Class Wrestling Federation before, and it’s never not awesome; Marvel has a professional wrestling federation where all the wrestlers have legit super-powers. Ben Grimm was in it. It was awesome.

    At some point Captain America was on the hunt for a bad guy and happened across a gym where the UCWF wrestlers were training, because of course he did, and it turned out that the champion, Dennis “Demolition Man” Dunphy, was a huge Captain America fan and decided to help him out. Then he got a costume! Then he was Cap’s partner! Then he got blown up and frozen in Arctic ice, like Cap did! Then he got rescued and started hanging out with *extradimensional hobos*!

    D-Man is awesome, is the thing. Also he loves Creedence Clearwater Revival.

    1. Did D-Man ever hang out with Songbird, or as she was probably called then, Screaming Mimi? How about any of the other Grapplers?

    2. I’m always gonna be thankful to Nick Spencer for give him an amazing beard and making him gay. (In his great Sam Wilson Captain “the kind of one everyone says they want but nobody buys” America).
      Beard representation matters.
      Bear representation matters.

      1. I came to the comments section to mention this too.
        I’m hoping that the Netflix side of the MCU can include D-Man and portray him well.

  11. After taking a look at Eques transforming, the shirt is not even a concern. Those wings come out of his back, rather than the horse torso like one would expect of a pegasus. This is Angel if Angel were also encumbered by about 700 extra pounds. Eques should either not ever be airborn or should rip in half. The only way flight is going to work is if Eques can gallop on air like an equine Kitty or Tony Stark made him some repulsor horseshoes off-panel.

      1. Good point. It could also happen if, just like Vanguard/Red Guardian, Eques can repel things from himself, including the Earth.

        1. I freely admit to borrowing the notion from the Wild Card books, where one of the stories is a sort of explanation of the powers manifested by the Wild Card virus and that a LOT of powers can be explained by telekinesis in it’s various forms; flight, invulnerability, strength (Which John Byrne also brought into the Superman mythos in Man of Steel), pyrokinesis, transmutation etc etc…

          One example cited is “Elephant Girl” who has the power to transform herself into a fully grown Indian elephant, but also has the power of flight in that form, and since flapping her ears obviously isn’t REALLY enough to explain flight, they posit she’s also a subconscious telekinetic who levitates herself.

          1. I was not aware of the Wild Cards series, but I am intrigued by the claim in the current edit of the Wikipedia article that it started from a long-running tabletop RPG game run by George R. R. Martin and played by the authors. Also, that it became the inspiration for a GURPS sourcebook. Contributions by Chris Claremont, and a four issue series under Marvel’s Epic imprint in 1990, eh?

            1. Yes, the Wild Cards is a rather sprawling thing, but it has a nice central conceit that many plots can be built on. The Wild Card is an alien bioweapon virus which as we discover triggers massive mutations in any human who catches it. 90% die instantly as they become nonviable lifeforms, 9% survive but suffer grotesque/monstrous deformities (becoming “Jokers”)and 1% become superhumans (or “Aces”, with those Aces who have non-useful or incredibly weak powers being “Deuces”).

              Deals a lot with the socio-political implications of them being in the world. quality varies, but it can be excellent.

    1. I just remembered Miles’ reply about cigarettes and cool kids, stating he only had Secret of Mana. Perhaps this was unique to my friends, but Secret of Mana held more value than carcinogens. Secret of Mana had cannon travel and flying on the back of a dragon. There really wasn’t any contest.

  12. As someone who grew up in Dallas (and was given a specific day off from school every year to go to the Fair, I kid you not), I firmly believe that Big Tex is really just a state sponsored Sentinel program.

    -He watches over the fare.
    -He TALKS in that cold, dead, mechanical voice.
    -He kicked a mutant (Magneto) of his own accord.
    -Funded by a government that is historically intolerant to marginalized groups.

    1. As long as Big Tex is not involved in Operation Zero Tolerance, I can get behind this. I really don’t like the thought that people at the state fair are being turned into sleeper agents. It is also more amusing to wonder what the Master Mold relative to Big Tex would be. Biggest Tex?

  13. Smoke Free Class of 2000 pride? I guess?

    Like Miles, I also had 2 copies of the Anti-Smoking PSA. They were obtained during a class trip to the state capitol (Madison, WI) to BURY JOE CAMEL when I was in maybe 6th grade. There was a funeral procession and everything. I’d been reading comics for a few years, and hey-free comic. I know we already had smokers in our class, but they were probably outnumbered by the chewers. (Yes, eww.)

    I was also never cool enough to be offered cigarettes as a teen. I’ve been offered them by teens since then. They seemed to think it would make me less likely to nark.

    At my most rebellious I locked several girls out on a hotel balcony for 20 minutes. I was rooming with girls from other schools for French Forensics, and they all went out there to smoke. Didn’t offer to share, didn’t ask if I was ok with this. I would have never had the guts to do anything about it, but I was never going to see them again and it was cathartic.

    This has been Jen rambling about her limited lifetime experience with cigarettes. Other smoking limited to shared cigar puffs with a classmate who would indulge at the end of college finals. It may be time for me to go to bed. Rambling is a side effect of sleep need.

    1. I think the teens’ logic might have been that they might claim you had the cigarettes if they give them to you. This would be before they realize the smell of cigarette smoke is in their clothes.

    1. Do you suppose there was a draft of the comic where Eques had a roan coat and red wings, rather than white? Perhaps we have stumbled upon an unexpected origin for Icarus’ character design.

  14. I used to have this, and I believe that the upper middle class couple in the care are supposed to be Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka, a couple that killed a fair few young women in Jubilee’s age bracket, and were arrested in 1993, and convicted in 1995.

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