Jay & Miles X-Plain the X-Men

242 – Spider-Mansfield Park

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

In which we encounter one of comics’ greatest rarities; Spider-Man cannot actually do whatever a spider can; Flash Thompson subscribes to the X-Factor school of child endangerment; alliteration is the source of a very specific sort of powers; Spider-Man is not Phil; guilt is Spider-Man’s greatest motivator; we root for the antagonists; Guido Carosella would be an epic Twitter monster; a lot of people have hung out with the X-Men; and Glob Herman is a lovable, gross mystery.


  • Spider-Man / X-Men Crossovers
  • Other media we have consumed recently
  • Spider-Man and X-Factor: Shadow Games
  • What a spider can do
  • What Spider-Man can do
  • Shadow Force
  • Hard Time
  • Airborne
  • Oversize
  • Firefight
  • Ambush
  • Mirrorshade
  • JELLO Jigglers(TM)
  • Journalistic alliteration
  • The government
  • A comfortable fictional jacket
  • How to find Flash Thompson
  • Many sound effects
  • The untimely death of Mirrorshade
  • Why we’re not covering the Captain Marvel movie
  • Glob Herman’s powers

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    1. But Eddie did work for the Bugle in the 90s Spider-man cartoon and Spider-man 3 (so I guess we could No-Prize it that the transitive powers of the multiverse came into play).

  1. Airborne? Ambush? Hard-Time? Mirrorshade? These aren’t villains, these are mid-year release GI Joe action figures that got lost on the way to Larry Hama’s office in the Marvel Bullpen.

  2. Another week without homework, thanks to Unlimited! Although actually, our hosts said at the start that this wasn’t good, but from the episode it sounded better than a fair amount of the stuff in the main X-books at this point.

    Some scattered thoughts sparked by the episode:

    – The cold open draws attention to the interesting fact that Spider-Man stories, historically, have been much more about the media than X-Men stories. This is arguably a significant flaw in X-Men stories, that we have what is supposed to be a marginalized minority that’s the object of prejudice, but so little attention has been paid to the ways in which that phenomenon reproduces itself in society: prejudice against mutants is just “there.” It’s striking that the most prominent journalist X-character, Trish Trilby, is portrayed fairly positively.

    This is maybe letting society at large off the hook, I think — to too great an extent, prejudice against mutants manifests as the narrow phenomena of conveniently sinister government conspiracies and relatively small hate groups. We rarely see the sensationalized “America’s Most Wanted Mutants” shows, tabloid hysteria about mutants wanting to twist your kids’ minds, cop shows in which the criminal always turns out to have been secretly a mutant, etc. But all that stuff has to be there in the X-world.

    – Are our hosts trying to prove my point about ‘90s-ness in comics being very ‘80s by pointing out that a character is so ‘90s because he’s cyberpunk and especially because of his mirrorshades?

    1. As our hosts have noted in the past, Scott’s only ever actual real job was as a reporter, however sadly short-lived it was.

      1. That is a job that Scott Summers has had, for one page in 1968. But he’s also been a sailor (which is how he met Aleytys Forrester) and spent quite a long period of time working as a pilot in Alaska when he was married to Madelyne. (Can’t remember whether they owned their own business or not, but I think so.)

        But it’s not that there haven’t been any journalists in the X-books at all aside from Trish, including real ones like Neal Conan.

  3. With all this talk about Busiek, I’m hoping we’ll have a reason to FINALLY have him come back and discuss Marvels #2 (and, perhaps, Marvels more generally). This year, Marvel is re-publishing Marvels in “25th Anniversary” style, so maybe he would want to come plug that. I’ve been waiting four-and-a-half years for that part of the interview, so I’m hoping you’re going to do it!

  4. The BD comparison for Flash also works because canonically Flash was drafted to fight in the Vietnam War (I’m assuming in current continuity he was in the Reserves and was called up for duty in Afghanistan or Iraq or something).

    1. It was changed to an unspecified over seas conflict because he was also sent to Iraq. Where he lost both his legs and then became Agent Venom when the US government was looking for someone to bond the symbiote to.

        1. I remember that detail particularly vividly because I had to be talked out of using it to advertise the undergraduate writing center where I worked.

  5. Said Spider-man taught @ the Jean Grey School in their latest intro. I don’t remember that ever happening.

    1. Spider-Man and the X-Men. It was a miniseries, and one of the best X-books in the last decade, or at least I think so, It’s on Unlimited if you have that and would like to check it out.

  6. If you watch Mutants, Marvels and Monsters (I think it’s called) where Kevin Smith interviews Stan Lee, Stan explains the alliteration pretty in-depth. From Bruce banner to Scott Summers to Peter Parker to Reed Richards, it was the only way he could keep their names straight in his mind remembering who was who. And I think he said he got the idea from Clark Kent.

    1. Lee’s forgetfulness allowed television makers to cover up their homophobia. He famously made a mistake and called Bruce Banner “Bob Banner” a few times, leading to him deciding that the full name was Robert Bruce Banner.

      I remember reading an annual or something like that when I was very young in which the makers of The Incredible Hulk tv show had a convoluted explanation for why the tv name was David Banner. They told the (true) Bob Banner story as their point of departure. They had (allegedly) started from “Robert Bruce Banner” and (if I’m remembering correctly – I was very young) made a mistake and changed “Robert” to “David.” And so, “David Banner.” My understanding is that this was complete [expletive deleted] and that the actual reason was the name “Bruce” was associated with gay men.

      1. Interesting. I’d always read it was because they though alliterative names were childish. As someone with an alliterative name, it was an odd thing. That does make more sense.

        1. I did a little looking things up. There appear to be different stories.

          The “Alliteration = comic-bookiness” explanation comes from producer Kenneth Johnson. Johnson has also claimed that it was because his son was called David.

          The “CBS thought Bruce sounded gay” story apparently comes from Stan Lee and Lou Ferrigno (Wikipedia).

          So, on the one hand, one can see why Johnson would be reluctant to admit that homophobia was the reason. On the other, he was the producer, and in a better position to know for a fact than anyone else.

          So I think one has to leave it open.

          1. Our hosts, obviously, mercilessly have their revenge on Kenneth Johnson by mocking Warren Worthington for having Kenneth as his middle name every time he appears.

  7. Miles: Maybe Spiderman should join X-Factor. Oh, man. I’m just imagining him on team with Guido and Madrox. Nothing would get done.

    Jay: Never, I mean, even less, somehow.

    If you ever check out more New Warriors, Scarlet Spider (Ben Reilly) was on that team. The only other similar character might have been Speedball (Robbie Baldwin). Scarlet Spider was mostly caught up in all the Spiderman clone drama and didn’t connect with the team much, I don’t think.

    The way you’re describing big bulky things on wrists as turbines makes me think you may have another reason to look into New Warriors: Turbo (Michiko “Mickey” Musashi), whose suit includes large wrist turbines allowing her to punch harder and to fly. You also might remember Turbo from a Loners crossover with Runaways. From what I gather on Marvel Database, there was another Turbo, Mike Jeffries, but he gave the suit to Mickey because she was more proficient with it. Mike was killed by the Dire Wraith who originally commissioned the suit to use it against ROM Space Knight.

  8. Hello! I’m just listening to this episode now — and I got excited when you mentioned Project: Homegrown! This is a comic by Kurt Busiek, so it’s actually an established group: They’re the ones who created Nuke, the Vietnam vet who got turned into a supersolider (and who evidently got mentioned in the story). They’ve been retroactively made into part of Weapon Plus (in their original incarnation, at least).

    For more information: https://marvel.fandom.com/wiki/Project_Homegrown_(Earth-616)

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