Roughly a zillion years ago, we asked you to send in your ideas for public service announcements–serious or satirical–starring the X-Men. At long last, we’ve sorted out our favorites and collected them here for your exclusive edutainment!
Ready to learn about graduate student funding, traffic safety, image attribution, and parenting with the X-Men? READ ON!
GRAND PRIZE: GRADUATE FUNDING WITH HAVOK & POLARIS – Devin Toohey
All of the submissions we received were in writing, but we’ve brought one of them–grand-prize winner Devin Toohey’s “Graduate Funding with Havok and Polaris” to life as a radio PSA! Thanks to Devin, and to Tea Fougner, for providing additional voices; and to Matt Hunter for production!
Jay: Okay, on one hand, I am a known sucker for anything that falls under the umbrella of making fun of Havok for not finishing his dissertation. On the other hand, this is a legitimately great PSA: it’s funny as hell and full of continuity deep cuts; but it’s also accurately addressing a real problem.
Miles: Man, this one has it all: a timely real-life issue, escalating continuity madness, references to our podcast’s fixations – it’s basically perfect. Well done, Devin!
These fall into two categories–scripts and comics. We’ll show you the comics first!
THE TROUBLE WITH REDHEADS – Mac Booker
Jay: This was fun, and then I hit the twist and it became BRILLIANT.
Miles: His hat! Look at his hat! It’s so good!
ATTRIBUTE! – Greg Thelen and Anderjak
Jay: On one hand, this is well-written and well drawn, and it’s got substantive information. On the other hand, I really wish you had taken it further–I feel like this is weirdly subdued for Quentin Quire.
Miles: One of the things I like about this one is that it could actually be a PSA! I think that’s why I feel totally fine about Quentin not blowing anything up too thoroughly – that slightly-sanitized but still very much in-character take on him seems perfect for the concept, and for me, adds to the humor. Plus, yeah, damned fine writing and art. Nice, Greg and Anderjak!
TRAFFIC SAFETY AND/OR GENOCIDE – Adam Reck
Jay: Honestly, I’m pretty sure this is how most X-Men attempts at PSAs would actually play out.
Miles: Yay, I was hoping there’d be a Bish & Jubes entry! And agreed – what makes this work so well is its wonderful take on just how ill-suited most X-characters are for any sort of normalcy. Especially Bishop.
And now, the scripts! (Click the links to read each script as a PDF!)
UNTITLED OUTTAKES – IconUK
J: I want to see this whole thing drawn by Chip Zdarsky.
M: I especially like them as a series: it’s a wonderful window into the glorious dysfunction that is X-Men.
TEXTING AND DRIVING WITH RACHEL GREY – Sigrid Ellis
J: A lot of these PSAs have great concepts, but I don’t think there’s another that so perfectly nails characterization. (For more of Sigrid on the X-Men, go read her excellent essay “Kitty Queer.”)
M: Freaking hilarious. Gleefully terrifying Rachel Grey is the best Rachel Grey.
Texting and Driving, by Sigrid Ellis
eXpanding identities – Adam Langley
J: I’ll be honest: this one caught me completely off guard. I was not expecting any of these to be serious.
M: Right? Like, this would be a legitimately good and important PSA. And Adam, your characterization of Gifted-Lorna is on point!
eXpanding identities by Adam Langley
PARENTING WITH SCOTT SUMMERS – Tom Web
J: Oh, man. This comes so close to nailing it; but Tom, when you base an entire gag around a continuity tangle, you gotta make sure you get that continuity right, or the whole thing falls apart.
M: Honesty time – I’d forgotten that Earth-811’s Cyclops was a good dad until Jay reminded me! This one was one of my very favorites. Scott’s good intentions and iffy execution, nontraditional and chosen families, madcap and dense continuity, Stryfe having trouble getting through doors? Tom, did you write this one for me personally?
Parenting with Scott Summers by Tom Web
Thank you to everyone who submitted PSAs, and congratulations to the finalists! -J&M
These are amazing!
I’d forgotten all about this!
Rachel’s “Don’t Text and Drive” one is AMAZING!
RIGHT?! I really wish we had the means to actually make that one.
These are pretty great. Marvel should buy the Quire one and publish it at the back of all their titles for a month.
Odd question, but is there a download link? I tend to do audio consumption while driving, and lack the data to stream on my phone. I can’t figure out how to download without an obvious link.
I am not good at this.
I’m not sure if this is relevant three months later, but: the direct download link is https://xplainthexmen.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/psa.mp3
These are all so goshdarn delightful! And the twist in that Havok one is amazing!
I love how he actually refers to it as Sixis, because so many people did, I can’t even remember what the event WAS actually called.
It was called Sixis.
(I mean, its official name was Axis. But it was called Sixis.)
Now that makes me wonder, does that count as BAD marketing of lousy lettering choice because no one remembers the real name, or GOOD, because at least everyone remembers it for the wrong name?
Ah, these are so great. A round of applause for those that entered.