Jay & Miles X-Plain the X-Men

335 – Bone Town

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

In which we cover somewhat peculiar content under somewhat peculiar circumstances; nobody does it like Alan Davis; in this house, we appreciate Gracie Gamble; Bernard the Poet makes a comeback; nominal errors are not what they appear; and you should probably not leave your children with most of the X-Men.

X-PLAINED:

  • Ravencroft vs. Ravenscroft
  • Unusual recording circumstances
  • ClanDestine #1-8
  • X-Men/ClanDestine #1-2
  • Destines including but not limited to:
    • Rory (Crimson Crusader)
    • Pandora (Imp)
    • Adam
    • Walter
    • Kay (Cuckoo)
    • Dominic (Hex)
    • Samantha (Argent)
    • Newton
    • Gracie Gamble
  • Elalyth
  • The Relative Stranger Protocol
  • Lenz
  • Dr. Hywel Griffin
  • GRYPHON
  • Earth-95710
  • Synraith
  • How normal people unwind
  • A dimensional rift and affiliated tentacles
  • How to draw sexy ladies without wrecking your comic
  • A big fight
  • X-sitters
  • The evolution of Hank McCoy’s personality

NEXT EPISODE: The Way of Si Spurrier


LISTENER CHALLENGE: Send your takes on the ’90s stylings of Bernard the Poet to xplainthexmen(at)gmail(dot)com, and we’ll publish ’em all in a deeply dubious poetic extravaganza!


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11 comments

  1. Gosh, Clan Destine! Loved the characters and the series’, though I confess I haven’t thought much about it in years.

    I always pronounce it as Clan Des-Teen, but have no real basis to say why.

    So many lovely moments in the series showing that Alan Davis thinks through aspects that are often overlooked: I loved that Adam, having been invulnerable for so long, has body language that is just unsettlingly weird: He never looks around a room as he enters it, or flinches, because he’s never learned to keep an eye out for possible dangers.

    Or her sibling calling Kay out on whether she was perhaps a little swift to bodyjump this last time . Just because she’s family, she doesn’t get a pass on bad behaviour.

    I confess it took me longer than it should to realise what “Kay Sera” was a pun on (and how it contrasts with “destiny”, which seems right for Cuckoo).

    It’ll be no surprise that I agree the designs are superb throughout (I mean, when Alan Davis designs a costume it’s always an event, and so many, one after the other, was a special treat). I loved that even Rory’s super-generic costume design has a really nice artstic choice, the C on his chest is drawn with a mock shadow, so it seems that it’s floating over his chest (as well as making sure he has CC on his chest). A simple little trick, but in a 2D media like comics, it works particularly well.

    Wallop and Hex are such a delightful couple of chaps, each in their own way. Though, given the colour scheme, you’d have thought Hex risked eye-strain every time he passed a mirror.

    We’ve discussed before how Davis doesn’t skimp on the cheesecake, but is just as even handed and attentive with his beefcake and his cartoony style always makes it feel pleasantly sexy or, at most, slightly naughty, without ever descending into the gratuitous or sleazy. That’s a sadly rare gift and is to be treasured.

    Oh and I always loved Rory taking out an exploding grenade by using his gravity powers to increase it’s internal gravitational pull so it could detonate, but nothing would actually explode. A random moment to stick in the memory, but there we are.

    Thanks for this stroll down memory lane!

    1. -And I like to pronounce the last syllable as rhyming with a fork’s tine. Which is an attested, if not particularly common, pronunciation of “clandestine,” and produces a nice sound, in my opinion.

      -ClanDestine is one of the big illustrations of what’s valuable about Marvel Unlimited — the hidden gems that, realistically, are not going to be easy to find otherwise unless you put a lot of effort and patience into seeking them out. I think that, if it had launched at an earlier time, there’d be a real chance that it would have been more of a success.

      -I don’t think our hosts commented on the fact that Gracie is a genderswapped George Burns reference, hence (presumably) the name. Burns died in early 1996 — I suspect that Gracie did not yet exist when Davis created the original ClanDestine miniseries, and that he created her only in 1996 for X-Men/ClanDestine, a response to coverage of Burns’s death.

      -Davis is certainly not sleazy, but I’d quibble about there being always a solid story reason for *all* of his sexy female poses. And, sadly, it is very hard for beefcake truly to balance cheesecake, because the visual vocabulary for male sexiness tends to emphasize athleticism and power. (Because, well, 2500 years of sexism going back to classical Greek art.) But as I’ve said before, David may have women strike unnecessarily sexy poses sometimes, but they are damn well always anatomically achievable sexy poses.

      1. If you’re interested in how Alan Davis himself pronounces it, check out this video (at around 5:10 on).

        (Spoilers – it’s Dess-tin)

        Also, watch the rest of the video – it’s a lovely interview with a lovely man 🙂

      2. Gracie is mentioned in #2 of the original series and again (at least) in #8. When Walter first talks about her he says ‘Gracie is up the Orinoco’, so she seems like she’s in place for her part in the crossover, as she’s in Venezuela. Since we don’t get to see her, it seems reasonable to suppose her appearance was going to be a reveal. Perhaps the nod to Burns was not the original intention.

        1. Or the timing of Burns’s death is just a coincidence.

          We can probably rule out that Alan Davis murdered George Burns to promote his creations. Although this is comics…

  2. When I first read xmen/clandestine I was always curious if at the time it was released, and as you both talked about how entrenched it was in the continuity of the time, was the beast here hank or dark beast? It seems to be hank but a note says this takes place before wolvie 100 before he went feral but dark beast was already in the mansion before that.

  3. This has been one of two series I’ve been on the fence about checking out (the other being Knights of Pendragon). Thanks to this episode I believe I’m going to be making the plunge. For at least the first eight issues if I come across them.

    1. I’d also give Knights of Pendragon a try.

      Again, it’s been a LONG whiile since I read it, but I remember enjoying the sheer weirdness.

      1. Thanks, I will. I’ve been on the fence with that one since Alan Davis wasn’t involved but it sounded interesting.

  4. I had forgotten there were issues after ClanDestine #8, my jumping off point originally. I’m a little curious as Glen Dakin I remember writing and drawing kind of downbeat, whimsical work in UK alternative comics. Superhero scripting by him seems odd.
    The production of the crossover issues is interesting. They cost $2.95 for 48 pages of story each, no ads and wraparound covers. The original series cost $2.50 an issue for 22 pages of story with a lot of ads. A lower quality of paper is used for the crossover, which helps cut the cost, but there must be a story here as to why this was not four issues at a more regular price.
    There’s also a computerised blurring of the artwork in places as a dazzle effect. I do not care for this.

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