Jay & Miles X-Plain the X-Men

270 – X-Ray Goggles and Mail-Order Lizards (feat. Steve Stokes)

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

In which we hear from two generations of Stokeses for the price of one, buying comics for your son is a great way to rationalize reading them yourself, you should probably be reading The Immortal Hulk, and a 30-year comics hiatus ain’t stopping Steve.


  • A well-loved copy of Fantastic Four #1
  • Marvel vs. DC in the Silver Age
  • Requirements for an acceptable Doctor Doom
  • The perils of competitive newsstand shopping
  • Comics conventions: the days before Hall H
  • The Long Game
  • Bill Sienkiewicz: best of the best
  • The Worst Comic Book Guy
  • What makes the X-books special
  • The experimental storytelling of New Mutants
  • The Original Five
  • The Long Box (and the Easter basket)
  • Contagious enthusiasm
  • Returning to the Marvel Universe as a lapsed reader
  • Art styles over the years
  • Tragic tales of mail-order chameleons
  • The joys of the mainstreaming of nerddom
  • Superhero movies as message pill pockets
  • Fin Fang Foom
  • HoX/PoX freakouts as father/son bonding
  • Acid in vampires’ faces and other childhood traumas

NEXT EPISODE: The Phalanx Covenant (finally) begins!

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  1. Frickin’ wholesome. It’s nice to hear a conversation between a dad who respects his son and a son who respects his dad. And, as a dad, I hope some day I have a son as cool as Miles.

    1. On the other hand, when Hollywood screenwriters sit down and have to write Looks A Lot Like Jesus*: The Miles Stokes Story”, the absence of daddy issues is going to make things very difficult for them, since what else can a film be about?

      *At least in the charming David Wynne picture above. The Parable of the Longbox: “So the last shall be first, and the first last, for then they shall be in correct chronological order. And if any man say unto you, what about the annuals, where do they go….”

  2. This episode was a delight.

    My daughter is about to turn 5, and we’ve been reading comics together for a little while now. The idea that she would call me up for weekly comics chats as an adult is now definitely a parenting goal!

    Follow up question for Steve: as you said that the X-Men didn’t really get exciting until the Claremont run, what is it about the original five X-Men that cemented them for you as your essential X-Men? Were there particular stories or moments? Was it just that they came first? Or the magic of Jack Kirby? (I love the O5 as well!)

  3. Aww, father son geek speak! I’ve been working out of state for a couple years and that makes me miss my family and warms my heart.
    Agree 100% about Marvel’s superiority. I’ve got a Stan Lee autographed, turbo-drive No Prize to prove it.

  4. What a fun episode, and a nice counterpoint to last weeks, with the “professional creative and fan” discussion side by side with a “generational fan” discussion.

    Mr Stokes Sr has excellent taste, nice to see how Miles got off to such a good start. Well, we know how, the much mentioned Longbox of Legend, but this adds some context to that!

    And belated Happy Birthday to Mr Stokes!

  5. Hopefully to make up for my complaint about the robot voices… but I also genuinely mean this: I really, REALLY loved this episode. It was so great to take a small break from the canon and hear the genuine enjoyment you and your father have for the comics and each other. Then again I’m somewhat of a sucker for happy family moments. My 3-year-old is already a fan of Captain Marvel so I hope I can have a similar relationship with her sharing my old issues.

    But this was great all around, and your dad’s experience of going to the drug store for new issues reminded me of when I was a 10-year-old kid in the late 80s/early 90s (I think I’m roughly your age, Miles) and picking up my first few X-Men issues at 7-Eleven.

    I would love if you made a visit from Mr. Stokes an annual event. It was just so great.

    And I can’t wait until the Phalanx stuff next week. The last crossover I really enjoyed until Messiah Complex. I assume you’ll be tackling the distinct crossovers as three separate episodes?

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