Jay & Miles X-Plain the X-Men

HAWK TALK – Hawktober

This would usually be a skip week, but the world is still being a jerk, so we made you a bonus, entirely unedited, and almost entirely off-topic episode. This time, we talked about our current, and Jay’s favorite, season.

Topics, roughly:

  • Beatni(c)ks
  • Spoopiness vs. Spookiness
  • Fat bears
  • Seasons (and hemispheres)
  • Symbolism and secular ritual
  • Jay’s very specific Halloween costumes
  • Disappointing bats
  • Asymmetrically recognizable couples’ costumes
  • Inaccurate TMNT journalism
  • Over the Garden Wall
  • Costume Quest
  • MediEvil
  • Silent Hill playthroughs
  • The Adventures of Pete and Pete
  • Corn and/or mud mazes
  • Knitting
  • Ginger Snaps (and elaborate homages)
  • Curious chickens
  • Vincent Price
  • Internal hairdo buttresses
  • Flannel and layers and warm drinks


  1. Dar Williams is fantastic! Such a wonderful, empathetic storyteller. I have a playlist of songs that remind me of the X-Men, and one of the first tracks on there is “The Great Unknown.”

    Her songs also feature regularly in the playlists for the original superhero novels I co-write with my wife.

    1. That’s 1994’s Marvel Comics Tattoo Tales: X-Men Masquerade. We talked about it waaaaaaay back in episode 91!

  2. I find that a lot of the best X-Men stories seem to be horror stories. Not scary, per se, but at least unsettling. The Brood Saga, Mutant Massacre, Inferno, X-Tinction Agenda and, of course, Demon Bear. If you took away the powers these would be terrifying stories because the villains are essentially monsters (even those in human shapes).

  3. There’s a long tradition of horror movies against a backdrop of Christmas (another fun Wikipedia page to browse https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Christmas_horror_films), so I think Kitty’s go as Ripley totally counts.

    My favourite X-Men horror story is probably Uncanny 159 (Storm/Dracula), or the Magik mini set just after. Claremont really explored the best parts of horror to me, which is so much less about jumps and gore and so much more about people and how they cope/don’t.

  4. So my most infamous costume was when I was 6 and super into X-Men, I decided I wanted to get my Halloween costume early, so I got one early September (because, young Devin was on brand and liked to get things done ASAP). Problem was…I grew quite a bit between then and Halloween, so it was some very tight spandex on my 6 year old frame. My family came to call it “the obscene Wolverine.”

    As far as future costumes, one of my favorites as a kid was when I was 10, I took a chef costume and then a bunch of plastic bugs and rats and attached them and covered my outfit fake blood and became a Gross Gourmet (very spoopy). As an adult on my own, I’m proudest of a homemade The Monarch costume, but couples’ costume I definitely gotta give to when my then boyfriend, now husband and I went as Elmer Fudd as Siegfried and Bugs Bunny as Brunhild.

    As far as fall traditions, it’s gotten weird since moving to LA ten years ago. For some stupid reason, while LA summers are mildish (i.e. ranging from high 70s to 80s), LA falls are viciously hot (we just finished up a weeklong heatwave in the 90s, sometimes it’ll crack 100 for a week), so it’s hard to embrace the cozy. Some years, my friends and I travel to Julian (up in the mountains, so cooler, and pretty much an old mining town that’s all about apples, cider, pie, and donuts), enjoy nights that dip into the 40s, watch Hocus Pocus and Tree House of Horrors, and generally eat for a weekend, but alas not this year.

    I will confess I’m DEFINITELY more of a Christmas guy (especially now since that’s when it actually starts cooling down), so perhaps my favorite fall tradition is letting Christmas encroach more and more every year (the tree is going up some point Halloween weekend this year).

    Also, Jay and my husband share a birthday AND both turned thirteen on Friday the 13th (although he’s 5 years younger).

  5. For me, for the past few years, a big part of my Halloween has actually been Kumoricon. When Kumo moved from Vancouver, WA to the Portland Convention Center, the date moved closer to Halloween. So, this has meant watching a lot of anime, and ultimately going to an anime convention, taking pictures of Cosplay, and often with people doing cosplay of characters from various Spooky and Spoopy shows (D from Vampire Hunter D, the cast of Soul Eater, Alucard from Hellsing, etc.)

    Kumoricon leaned into this too, by changing their main mascot to Ghost Neko, who is basically a cross between a cat ghost and a teru-teru bozu, and which they’ll occasionally dress up with various themes (like last year’s Ghost Neko* wore a hardhat because the year before that the Convention Center was under construction).

    So, while Kumoricon this year is going to be a virtual convention, so it’s still happening, not having that social experience is kind of a bummer.

    *I’ve pitched to the Kumoricon staff that for next year’s Kumo, they do Ghost Neko with a mask and a variant that was Yanki (https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/JapaneseDelinquents) Ghost Neko who is also wearing a mask, along with a modified school uniform and maybe has a pompador.

  6. I find I’m sort of ambivalent to Hallowe’en. The part of the world I’m from and at the time i was a kid, Hallowe’en wasn’t a very big deal, normally because it was either bucketing rain and/or freezing cold.

    We might carve turnip lanterns (Never pumpkins, which weren’t a big thing over here until some soul-less Hallowe’en marketing SOB decided it would be) which as as much fun as it sounds because those suckers were rock hard right the way through. You’d bob for apples perhaps, but that might be about it.

    Some people went “Guising” (not “Trick or Treating”, at least not until American pop culture made it a thing at some point in the 90’s I think) where you had to do a party piece (like sing or recite a poem) to get a treat, but not many kids did (I know I didn’t), and certainly no adults (Hallowe’en was purely a children’s event).

    God, I feel like an old fogey now. I might shout at you to get off my lawn… if I had one.

    Hallowe’en movies I might go for would include Fright Night (the original, because Roddy McDowell and all the gay subtext you could hope for in the fate of “Evil” Ed. Then there’s “Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon” a documentary about an aspiring “slasher” wanting to achieve prominence in a field where his idols Jason and Michael and Chucky have gone before. A bit meta for some tastes, but Leslie is thoroughly engaging as wannabe masked psychopaths go, and it’s REALLY funny too) and perhaps “Hellbent” a 2004 slasher about a group of gay friends being stalked on Hallowe’en night, and which actually makes you care about the characters before they meet their fate.

    Henry Selick’s (with some assistance from the Burton chap) “The Nightmare Before Christmas” and “The Corpse Bride” would also be high on the list.

    I think the Vincent Price movie one Jay might have been looking for but didn’t mention was “Theatre of Blood”, featuring Price at his most gloriously hammy as a dreadful Shakespearean actor killing the critics who had panned him, in suitably Shakespearean style, and accompanied by the late, great Diana Rigg as his daughter. (Though delightful though it is, I don’t think his was the creepiest episode they had on the Muppet Show, look up Marisa Berenson singing “You’re Always Welcome at Our House” sometime, it’s genuinely disturbing!)

    Vincent Price was one of those people, the more you learn about him the more remarkable he was. He was an actor, raconteur, gourmet chef and respected art collector. IIRC Christopher Lee said something along the lines of the only thing that frustrated him about being friends with Vincent was that he always knew MORE than you did, and he was never smug or superior about it, it was just what being Vincent involved. You recommened a book to Vincent, it turns out he’s not only read it, he’s writing the foreword for the next edition. You recommend a new poet, he can already quote them perfectly, you see an art exhibition, turns out he helped curate it and so on…

    I can think of a few scary themed X-Men stories, there’s NEw Mutants 64’s the “Night of the no-longer-living Doug”, of infamous memory, and the story in New X-Men #7-9 about the ghost of a student who died in the “Riot at Xaviers” arc who haunts the school.

  7. If you are not from the American Midwest (as I am not), but live here (as I do), autumn is the only truly enjoyable season. The year basically goes from too hot and humid to too cold and icy.

    In between you have two short periods of tolerable weather, just long enough to taunt you with the possibility of a climate in which you could enjoy being outdoors. But spring sees the melting of the snow, so that everything is mucky and unpleasant for too much of it.

    On the other hand, autumn is wonderful. Chicago in the autumn is especially nice.

    On the subject of horror films, the important thing to say is that the opening of Dracula: AD 1972 is the greatest opening in all of cinema history. If you have never seen it, get a copy and watch the opening through the credits.

    Then you can stop watching, as the rest of the film isn’t very good.

  8. I was kind of upset hearing Dar Williams being mentioned. Williams regularly performed at the trans-exclusionary “Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival” event, until it was closed down in 2015. She’s never, ever, spoken out against that policy, and I’m really upset to hear her being given a free pass for it by fellow queers.

    1. Ah, damn – I wasn’t aware of that, and that sucks. We’ll definitely remember that if we talk about Williams in the future. Thanks for letting us know, and sorry to have spoken about her in ignorance.

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