Jay & Miles X-Plain the X-Men

204 – Naughty By Nurture

In which Jay runs away to Latveria (but Hub is here to save the day!); you shouldn’t eat the brown promethium; Magneto and Cap fight over the world’s tiniest man; Rom is somewhat set in his ways; all anyone in the 616 really wants out of a disguise is plausible deniability; and Hub was inside your heart all along (and you might want to see a doctor about that).


  • Several Limbos
  • Captain America Annual #4
  • Captain America vs. Magneto
  • The return of the theoretical Magnetostache
  • The Great Mutant Massacre (but not that one)
  • Drunk-at-a-wedding Magneto
  • Mister One
  • Mister Two
  • Ghost Writer
  • Peeper
  • Lifter
  • Burner
  • Slither
  • Shocker
  • Skin suffocation
  • Rom #17-18
  • The Toy Collector
  • Dick Warlock, revisited, more, again
  • Bill Mantlo
  • Rom: Spaceknight
  • Dire Wraiths
  • The secret lives of inanimate objects
  • Brandy Clark and Steve Jackson
  • Jacob the Dire Wraith and His No-Good Son Jimmy
  • The smell of evil
  • Swiss army eyeballs
  • Sidekicks for the Transformers

NEXT EPISODE: The Return of Rictor!

Special thanks to Emergency Back-Up Cohost Hub of Titan Up the Defense!

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    1. Well, Jay’s far from straight (in both senses of the word). He’ll sometimes provide some of the oddest (and best) digressions (some of the weirdest J&MXXM canon comes from him).

      1. Taking a moment to shout out Marsha P. Johnson: Human Hunter, because it is still one of my favorite of Jay’s digressions and because I would love for him to team up with some trans WOC creators to make it a reality.

      2. I relate to the ‘far from straight’ lol. And I love our regular podcasters, the odd breaks are welcome because i get to hear new voices which are super fun, and that’s how I discovered other podcasts. #SecretWarsCrisisEpisode

        1. And “House to Astonish” just referenced “Jay and Miles” when talking about the Shattershot annuals! (Even if Al DOES get a Douglock reference wrong 😉 )

          1. “House to Astonish” also (back in winter, I think) introduced a comic book mash-up appropriate to this episode: “ROM Hell”.

            It’s terrible to laugh so hard and not have anyone handy who would get it without massive explanations.

  1. This episode was so endearing! I hope sometime Hub can come back to discuss the return of Hybrid, and Rom teaming with/fighting the Sisterhood of Evil Mutants! And maybe one or two of those offbeat Marvel Team Up issues with Spider-Man and the X-Men

  2. I loved that this incarnation of the BoEM, in a Mark Gruenwald Captain America story reappeared after basically rebranding themselves as the Resistants (yes, it was spelled like that) and taking on ostensibly much cooler names.

    As well as gaining new members like Mist Mistress and Think Tank (Mentallo in a battlesuit thing), Lifter became Meteorite, Peeper became Occult, Shocker became Paralyzer, Burner became Crucible and Slither became… unemployed I guess?

    1. Actually Slither joined Vipers takeover of the Serpent Society during that same run on Captain America!

          1. I’m not quite sure where I stand, in general, on clones getting married to their genetic donor life forms, but in this case, “Congratulations to you both!”


            1. Good point, I’ll go with i’m a Hank McCoy who married his Doug Ramsey! (But time displaced so age appropriate)

  3. Man, I loved this ep – and now wanna read some Rom. I mean, it’s halves of two of my favorite podcasts uniting on a pretty different collection of stories, so what’s not to love?

    I definitely would be more for more guest hosts doing stuff like this (X-Men cameos that our regular hosts haven’t covered). I love the largest sense of the MU when they can get to it.

    (Also, on guest host wishlist – if at all possible – I’d love to see Miles & Elisabeth team up again. They’re such a delight together and I found myself really craving some Lightning and the Storm recently).

  4. I’m going to suggest that there might be a little more going on with Magneto than Silver Age Villain in the Captain America annual. Just a little, but still there.

    OK, so I’ve inflicted my opinion about the very beginning of the Lee/Kirby UXM on these comment threads before — I think that at the *very* beginning, the X-Men are more of a metaphor for inherited privilege than they are a metaphor for marginalized minorities. Being born with superpowers is not the worst superhero-genre translation for being born to wealth and privilege. That’s what the whole tony prep school for people born special in Westchester supports, and – this is what matters here – it’s what early Magneto is about. The difference between Xavier and early Magneto is that Magneto believes that being born with special powers that others don’t have carries no obligation to use those powers to help others, while Xavier thinks that it does.

    I think this is more Kirby than Lee, for reasons that I won’t get into, and are a bit speculative anyway. But that a lot of this comes from Kirby is significant for this comic, because it’s Kirby choosing to come back to one of his creations from about a decade and a half earlier. When Kirby went back to things, he tended to rethink what they meant to suit the new times in which he was working. E.g. Darkseid in The Hunger Dogs.

    So what about Magneto here? OK, he’s mostly Silver Age Magneto, but there are a couple of significant differences. The first is that there are a couple of lines of dialogue that suggest that Kirby has something more specific in mind for him than just “villain with henchmen.” Magneto tells his followers that their mission is “evangelistic,” which is a a rather loaded way of saying that they’re going to recruit someone new. And Captain America (IIRC) tells one of the the new Brotherhood that he is a good “disciple.”

    So, religious language, if only twice. But the second thing is that these are explicitly a “new” Brotherhood. I’m fairly certain that there was nothing stopping Kirby from having Magneto get at least some of the band back together: Toad, Mastermind, Unus, and Blob. However, the fact that these are all new underlines that they’re not behaving like the old Brotherhood. They’re much less fractious — in the Silver Age, the Brotherhood was always squabbling — and they seem to be loyal to Magneto and to be trying to behave in the way that he would want: exulting in their powers, for instance.

    Like sincere followers of a religious leader. This is territory that Kirby had explored recently, with Glorious Godfrey — the rise of televangelism clearly interested him as a potential type of supervillainy. So I think you can maybe see a hint here of Kirby looking at his original Silver Age Magneto — representing a distinctively right-wing type of villainous antagonist, and thinking about what he dislikes about right-wing politics now, in the late ‘70s.

  5. The guy with the crab claws for hands reminds me of a character from Frisky Dingo, who has his arms surgically replaced with giant crab claws as part of a poorly thought out plan (as area all plans in that show) to provide the hero with a nemesis in order to sell toys.

    1. There’s another Marvel character (whose name escapes even my weird ability to remember stuff like this) who had his hands replaced with blades and it does just leave you wondering how he gets dressed, or goes to the bathroom, or blows his nose…

      1. Razor Fist, a name which is remarkable for its hilarious dumbness.

        And there have been a number of different Razor Fists. So we have to imagine that there are people in the MU who hear the name “Razor Fist,” and think “That just sounds so cool! If I ever get one or possibly both hands cut off, I’m definitely attaching blades and calling myself ‘Razor Fist.’”

        And yet it never seems to occur to any of them to make the blades look like actual razors.

        I want a character called “Razorfist” (one word) who’s just very fast and effective at punching people, and who goes around saying “No, I just liked the sound of it — I mean, who wouldn’t? — and I thought it sort of worked as a metaphor. Like, my fist is as deadly as a razor.”

  6. Loved the mention of the Ghostwriter show! Fun bit of connection/trivia, in the first episode of Ghostwriter, the kids are seen playing the X-Men arcade game!

  7. In terms of the best sidekick Marvel would have for the Transformers, my thoughts immediately go to Warlock (as they so often do), who would politely listen to the giant robots explain how they have not one but TWO forms, and in some cases even THREE, and he has to struggle to appear supportive and excited on their behalf because he doesn’t want to hurt their feelings, whilst at the same time wondering what they feel they have to be quite so smug about.

    “I am Optimus Prime, leader of the heroic Autobots. I can transform myself into a truck, and depending on the franchise, sometimes a dinosaur too.”


    “Oh, self apologises, self was not aware selffriendtruckprime was finished listing alt-modes.”

    “Being a triplechanger is a serious effort, not every Transformer can do that.”

    “Self can only imagine the stress of such responsibility”

    “Hi, I’m Prowl, I become a Police car”

    “Good for selffriend!”

    “And I, Perceptor, can become a microscope”

    “Ummm….” (Faking sincerity with all his little technorganic heart) “… how exciting for selffriend!”

  8. Miles, I hate to ruin this for you, but a toaster with a mullet is probably a huge fire hazard.

  9. Totally interested in periodic updates if you choose to dive into ROM’s Marvel run, Miles (or Jay for that matter!)

  10. Two comment:

    I actually visualized the montage sequence of Rom trying on disguises so vividly that I wish I had any artistic talent. I can see the sundress not fitting at all because of Rom’s backpack, the eye patch clearly not covering the glowing Rom eyes, etc.

    Also, I was 8 years old when that issue of Rom came out and boy howdy is Hybrid disturbing. It was warty, fleshy form that really sold it for me. I would say that this warped me for life, but there are so many things that I can blame that on, I just can’t be sure.

    1. Hybrid actually came back during Avengers Academy a few years ago… It was a creepy little arc

  11. I keep meaning to drop by to comment — I love your podcast enough to have binge-listened when I discovered it and continue to listen despite the fact that (with a couple of exceptions or X-ceptions) I quit collecting X-Men back around 1985-6 (nostalgia!). However, I don’t think I’ve laughed as maniacally at an episode as I did at this one. I’m tempted to listen to “Titan Up the Defense” for more Hub, even though I only ever collected maybe half a dozen issues of Teen Titans back in, you guessed it, the 1980s. Thanks for the entertainment.

  12. I read the first issue of the Rom story in the early 80s. I only knew Rom from this one comic and the official handbook, but man he seemed cool.

    By the way, talking about Fallen Angels, I have a dream of getting Al Ewing to write a sequel. How good a fit would that be?

  13. i’m generally not a big fan of podcasts, but you guys did a pretty good job of doing an entertaining and interesting analysis of ROM 17 and 18.

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