Jay & Miles X-Plain the X-Men

HAWK TALK – Social Distance Special

Normally, this would be a skip week and there wouldn’t be an episode – but things are pretty weird in the world right now. Let’s talk X-Men comfort reads – with bonus complete lack of editing!


  1. Hi gang. I’m stuck in the hospital after a coronavirus-induced respiratory stroke—spent four days unconscious on a respirator, and I’m starting to bounce back ten days later. This is no joke. This is suck a lovely surprise tonight; once again y’all are part of my healing. Thank you.

    1. Sorry to hear you’ve been through that, glad to hear you ARE thtough that, and wishing you a safe and speedy recovery!

      (I think the number of people whose first choice of mutant power would now be “a healing factor” is going to take a serious spike over the next couple of months)

      1. Indeed. Best wishes to Mr. Elliott for his recovery.

        As far as X-book prompted thoughts go, I find myself in recent days much more critical of the failure to think through how the Legacy Virus was supposed to be transmitted than I was…

  2. Thank you for the extra episode, most considerate! 🙂

    Glad to hear you chaps are coping with the new strictures as well as might be expected.

    I agree with at least a few of the choices.

    The Asgardian Saga is a definite must, not just for the amazing art, but the way the art also sells the sheer SCALE of the story, which is so outside the usual wheelhouse of the title, but does show that the New Mutants and X-Men ARE a superteam on the level of the Avengers when push comes to shove.

    My other go-to for tough times will always be Alan Davis; his Excalibur work of course, but perhaps even moreso, and speaking purely personally, his New Mutants Annuals, which are just so much cartoony insanity with the emotions ratcheted up to 11 and (as I believe you good gentlemen might have said) the best hair, smiles and hugs, and that’s a triumverate that goes a long way to cheering me up. (Dito for his and Mike W barr’s too short lived run on Batman and Robin in Detective Comics in the 80’s, which I know isn’t the focus here, but I will happily plug any chance I get)

    Thank you also for reminding me to get around getting a copy of “Season One” (Possibly renamed when it was reprinted because it also includes #1 of the Post-Schism 2011 “Uncanny X-Men” run, for whatever reason?)

    Stay safe everyone, take care, and wash your hands!

  3. This was wonderful!

    I definitely second the recommendations for X-Men: Season One and all of Jeff Parker’s X-Men: First Class.

    I’ll also throw in a few of my own:

    Captain Britain & MI:13 by Paul Cornell. A fantastic successor to the warmth and charm of Claremont and/or Davis Excalibur, and it introduces one of my very favorite Marvel characters in Dr. Faiza Hussain. If like me you grew up on old British sitcoms on PBS, the final page of the series will make your heart sing.

    Dazzler (one shot) by Magdalene Vissagio. Rock and roll and a perfectly deployed mutant metaphor. Why isn’t Vissagio writing all the X-things?

    “Kitty’s Fairy Tale” (Uncanny X-Men 153/X-Men Classic 57).

    X-Men: Evolution comics by Devin Grayson. Witty, fun, fantastic character pieces.

    Of course, as a longtime Jean Grey/Scott Summers shipper, I’ll always go to:

    Uncanny X-Men 308: the X-Men have a ridiculous Thanksgiving complete with a football game and family dinner, Scott & Jean get engaged.

    X-Men 30: Jean & Scott’s wedding, still my favorite single issue of any comic ever.

    The Adventures of Cyclops & Phoenix (miniseries): the most loving, functional family in this particular post-Apocalyptic wasteland.

    X-Men Evolution episode – “Blind Alley.”

    X-Men 59: possibly the most appropriate entry on the list. Where does Cyclops go for comfort after his latest bout of family trauma? Mr. Summers goes to the movies. I’d love to see this followed up on some day; most writers seem to forget Scott has interests beyond strategy and revolution.

    1. Oh, one more: X-Factor Forever by Louise Simonson. A fantastic epilogue to her original run, as well as a distillation of everything that made me love it in the first place – the original X-Men grown up and looking to make families of their own and pass on the lessons they learned at Xavier’s.

  4. Judging by which comics I’ve read enough times they’ve fallen apart and needed to be replaced…my comfort reads are from the Age of Apocalypse. Specifically Astonishing and Generation Next. Followed by Davis’s Excalibur.

    Because when you’re in a bad place, sometimes you want to binge watch the first 2 seasons of 6 Feet Under, and sometimes you want Milo and Otis on repeat. (6 Feet Under definitely made me spiral, but I was technically speaking an adult and had no one to stop me.)

    Also, if you just want a hefty chunk of queer soap opera to get you through this, and are ok with cathartic tears, Strangers in Paradise. And if you still have time everything else Terry Moore has put out independently.

  5. Thanks for sharing this. It’s nice to hear human voices while social distancing, and at this moment I find those with less editing more comforting.

  6. Thanks for the link to “books with pictures”. Any chance you could include some visual reference to the cover arts in there? I don’t recall if it was done yet or not, so even a reference to the artists other works would be cool. As a Vancouver-ite near portland, it’s sad I didn’t even know if this shop, but regularly visit TFAW in Beaverton while I look for work near where I volunteer. BWP is more convenient, and it’s cool to have an association with the founder even if just because I listen to the podcast. Please stay well, both of you, and your sig figs.

    Here’s my vote to reading the compendium hardback for house/powers of x start to finish in a single book because why not. Also, X-men evolution is now on Disney plus. Plenty binge.
    Side binge : rewatch the shera cartoons – Scorpia is the greatest, uhm, gal pal, ever!

    Q: we already know that of course super pirate astronaut dr. Peter corbeau could whip covid 19 into shame if he had time for petty things like that, but how would he do it? I am wearing my Woden shirt for good luck versus viruses today!

  7. I love these “raw” episodes! Please continue to do these on your weeks off. I was expecting not to get an episode this week, and was very pleasantly suprised to see this in my queue. Interesting how so many of us gravitate toward dark issues/runs of X-Men when we’re in need of comfort. X-Men Red is definitely one of my favorite runs of the modern era, and Inferno is the gift that keeps on giving. Thank you both for the amazing show, and giving us something to look forward to during this crazy time.

  8. During this time of social distancing, I’ve been relating more and more with Rogue and her inability to touch people without drastic consequences, so I’ve found some of my sudden and vast alone time spent revisiting her early appearances in X-Men, especially the John Romita Jr issues. Thanks to the Marvel Essentials, I can watch her character grow and develop over while years of publication time.

  9. Something I used to do with my girlfriend on our date nights before social distancing wrecked our time together was to cuddle up on the couch and read comics to her out loud, doing different voices for each of the characters. This included X-Men, and those Claremont phonetic accents are both fun and challenging to try reading out loud, especially a whole issue’s worth!

    In preparation for Dark Phoenix coming to theaters, I suggested we read the original comics together (so we could console each other when the movie would inevitably let us down). We read it from the b&w Marvel Essentials together and she enjoyed the story enough that she took the volume home with her so she could read the other comics in it on her own time.

    Thanks to Covid 19, I haven’t seen her in several weeks, which is hard on us both. So during our now indefinately cancelled date nights, I continue reading X-Men comics to her from that volume, but over the phone instead. Love finds a way.

    I love her. I love comics and I love X-Men. I also love that you, Jay and Miles do what you can to keep us united during a time when a lot of us feel separate.

  10. My comfort X-reading is really boring and obvious – at a previous stressful and difficult time of my life,* I found it comforting to read through the first few years of Claremont’s X-Men run, one issue a night.

    My most recurrent comfort comic in the last decade or so isn’t an X-book, though: it’s the first 12 issues of the Busiek & Bagley Thunderbolts, which just might be close to my ideal of the perfect Marvel superhero story.

    *Right now, comfort reading is sort of a theoretical question, because I’ve been finding it hard to keep up with what I was already reading. But it’s for a good reason, because it’s due to the fact that working remotely means longer hours for me. Which obviously means that I still *have* a job, and that therefore I am luckier than many other people. My sympathy to anyone who’s finding it hard to get through this for any one of the numerous reasons why that might be the case.

  11. Thank you for this. That issue of New Mutants where the Light Sculpture guy kills himself was one of my first New Mutants reads, and so I have always remembered him. Does anyone know if he has been resurrected on Krakoa?

    1. I don’t think Larry’s been seen since his debut/final appearance.

      The excuse could be that as Larry had only recently realised he was a mutant himself and Prof X was offword at the time of his suicide, he might never have had a chance to make a backup copy of Larry to recreate.

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