Jay & Miles X-Plain the X-Men

369 – Carly Askani

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

In which Storm & Joseph X-Plain the X-Men, Alex Summers is not brainwashed this time, he promises, Scott Lobdell writes better moments than stories, Ed McGuinness draws very large chins, and it’s Denver the Last Dinosaur, not Denver the Lost Dinosaur


  • Uncanny X-Men #339
  • Spider-Man disambiguation
  • A. Kubert disambiguation
  • J. Jonah Jameson (again) (hooray!)
  • Sneaking songs
  • The history of smoking regulation on airlines
  • Creed disambiguation
  • Havok’s Brotherhood of Evil Mutants
  • Bonding while falling out of planes
  • X-Men #59
  • The copyright status of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
  • Well-drawn Wolverines
  • Hercules vs The Tick
  • Wolverine Annual 1996
  • The tragic death of Mariko Yashida
  • Silver Samurai (Kuniuchio Harada)
  • Sunfire (Shiro Yoshida) and what he’s been up to since Fatal Attractions
  • Josef Stalin, apparently?
  • Red Ronin and its nemesis, a time-lost dinosaur who we assure you is not Godzilla
  • Jedi and/or samurai vs. doors
  • Our logo fonts
  • James Howlett, guidance counselor
  • Onslaught but not evil
  • Whether Magneto could wield Mjolnir

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  1. It’s definitely “Denver, the Last Dinosaur”, a cartoon seemingly put together by focus group of what they thought kids were into in 1988: It had cool kids, skateboarding, rock music, and a dinosaur who can play electric guitar (No Hawaiian shirt for him, but he does wear shades) I’m only surprised it didn’t have ninjas in it because they always seem to sell.

    It’s currently being referenced in the Netflix show “Saturday Morning All Star Hits!” a spoof of 80’s cartoon shows with a bridging sequence of live action shenanigans based around two real (apparently) such hosts who were called “Chip and Pepper” (It was a whole thing with behind the scenes drama and such).

    Anyway, their “Denver” riff is the rather cynical “Randy”, about a recentlydefrosted talking dinosaur who hangs around with a bunch of kids for adventures, but then falls into alcoholism and depression when his girlfriend breaks up with him, the kids get older and he has to adjust to a new, less “kid friendly” reality.

    Sending Beast to shadow JJJ atually makes a weird sort of sense, since he’s SO obvious and distracting, JJJ might well miss Scott’s presence completely.

    I’d have thought Mystique might have tried to take Graydon down by simply releasing details of his origins. Killing him makes him a martyr, but discredit him by revealing his parent’s wereg Mystique and Sabretooth should be something he CAN’T recover from politically (One would hope)

    Hercules just never looks right without a beard to me.

    I once argued with your old producer Nick that Warlock turns into Red Ronin in that New Mutants Annual with the Impossible Man (He was right, I was wrong, to the surprise of no one, though the colours seem like some sort of homage). So it’s nice to see the real thing again, though I’d much rather have seen the Shogun Warriors again, another giant robot licence Marvel had long since lost.

    The asymmetric look for Sunfire seems oddly reminiscent of DC’s Firestorm asymmetric look too. As he’s another atomic energy/fire projector, I wonder how coincidental that was?

    THANK YOU for noticing those weird nozzle ports in certain costumes of the era. Given that they seemed to crop up on the likes of Havok and Sunfire, both notable for energy projection powers, I wonder if they were supposed to suggest that they could filter off excess power into… some sort of battery or the like?

    1. I agree with Icon, I think the point is Beast was a distraction. I mean what else was ’90s Beast if not a distraction. See also: ’70s Beast.

  2. #SaveTheGays
    Bring back the normal intros.
    Can’t this just be a podcast about X-Men? Have a separate podcast about all the other unrelated*-stuff you want to talk about.
    *To the podcast’s-title. That people aren’t tuning in for, based on the podcast title.

    1. Can’t this just be a podcast about X-Men?

      It is, but addressing the X-Men as minority allegory is well established as one of the foundations of the podcast.

      Plus that spilling over into the real world, at a time when minorities ARE being openly targetted and victimised politically, seems entirely in keeping with what our hosts have been all about since episode 1.

    2. Actually, the title arguably centers the hosts and their input as much as the X-Men. And, why I (and many others) like this podcast is that these two socially engaged critics (one of whom is very vocal about his trans identity) are explaining the x-men by talking about its relation to politics, past and present. So, were the title, “A Podcast that Solely recaps X-Men starting at the Claremont years, basically” then you would have a point. It’d be a boring podcast, but you’d have a point.

      1. Alternatively, try *harder* to troll our hosts. E.g., “Claremont made Bard College a significant part of X-Men history. So, now that Harper’s Letter organizer Thomas Chatterton Williams is teaching there — does that taint those issues forever for you? 🙂

        But seriously: I don’t agree with our hosts about absolutely everything that they say (although I’ll admit that I do agree with them about this). So what? It doesn’t hurt me to take on board their perspective when I have a different view.

        None of us are paying for this, unless we want to, even in the form of being told how great Squarespace is or how much we need ExpressVPN in our life.* Our hosts can do whatever the hell they like with their completely free podcast, and other people can listen to it, or not as they choose. For that matter, one can skip ahead if one doesn’t want to listen to part of it.

        *I do sort of want our hosts to do a sponsorship message thanking Shaw Industries for their support of the podcast, with a promo code for a discount on a Sentinel purchase.

        1. I share the assessment that I don’t always agree with them, either. But they are very good at explaining their views and it has caused me to question some of my own beliefs. Sometimes I turn my thinking around, other times I decided that that’s their own experience and does not reflect my own.

  3. So, to do the long-on-hiatus “CountZeroOr Contextualizes Comics Through Anime & Manga (because that’s what he’s more familiar with) – sort of”: My first thought, with the Red Ronin rampage, was that this might have been a shout-out to episode 7 of Evangelion, with Jet Alone, who went on a similar rampage and had to be stopped by a mentor-figure character (Misato) climbing inside the robot – and that episode of Evangelion did air in 1995, over a year before this. However, ADV’s VHS releases didn’t start until August 1996, which was a year before this and would have had two short a turnaround – unless anyone involved with the story saw a fansub of an episode at a viewing room at a convention, which is also not unheard of, but also potentially less likely.

    Other than that, Red Ronin as a robot design (particularly with the Rocket Punch) was pretty clearly inspired by the grand-daddy of all piloted super robots, Mazinger Z. Mazinger would be part of the “Shogun Warriors” Toy line as “Tranzor Z”, which Marvel got the rights to do comics based on (Shogun Warriors, not Tranzor Z) a year after Red Ronin’s first appearance, but Marvel elected not to use Tranzor Z in the comic, instead using Danguard Ace, Reydeen, and Combatra (Combattler V)

  4. The Gem Theater is being used as the name because it was the theater Luke Cage and Iron Fist were based in during their team-up days. It sounds like Kubert used a real theater as visual reference.

  5. I always hated the plot point where Logan “dismantles” Matsuo by a piece a year. It actually make me actively dislike Logan. Especially in the Psylocke mini-series years from now. I know why he’s doing it and I can’t argue that Matsuo is entitled any mercy but this, to me, is the exact opposite of what any “hero” should be about. Maybe I’m in the minority there but it actually upsets me.

    I still think it’s hilarious, despite there being more former Avengers on 616 than in the pocket dimension, no one can get a new team of Avengers going. I know Marvel did that because of the whole deal with Jim Lee and Rob Liefeld but it definitely doesn’t make any sense in universe. I would have preferred lip service to an unseen team of Avengers and handle it the same way they did the X-Men during Age of Apocalypse. I suppose I’m jut being nit-picky.

    1. I mean, there’s this guy Citizen V who has his own team going. I’m sure he’s in no way suspicious and their team is in no way a bunch of supervillains in disguise.

        1. “It was a well though out plan. And it would have worked too, if not for those meddling kids in editorial!”
          -Citizen V (probably)

  6. I’ve always been bummed no one has really followed up on film buff Scott Summers.

    Still, X-Men #59 is one of my all time favorite issues for those scenes with Scott and Jean. It’s also because of this issue that I eventually watched, “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.” It’s a charming film that holds up and is still perhaps unfortunately relevant even today.

    Also, on the matter of worthiness and Magneto potentially lifting Mjolnir, I recall Nazi Cap lifting the hammer during the Secret Empire story most of us would as soon forget. Was that eventually explained as enabled by something other than strength of belief in his own worthiness?

  7. Scattered thoughts:-

    I sort of feel like Scott should be familiar with at least the broad outlines of the history of campaign finance legislation. I also feel that he’s the sort of person who would never annoy his fellow cinemagoers by talking during the film. But now that he’s done it, he is seriously in need of a redemption arc.

    – There’s a real sense here that Scott Lobdell has no idea what to do with Bishop now, so he just has him on guard in order to encounter random guest stars.

    OK, I don’t have the Wolverine Annual on Unlimited, so this is based on the As Mentioned — but, leaving aside the Stalin thing, what is going on with presenting normal Japanese government officials and senior officers as going off on unhinged rants like they do in the panel posted here?

    “And we handled that problem, as Japan handles all its own problems – – – – without interference from the West!”

    “…there is little a gaijin could offer to our people that the Japanese government could not provide.”

    Which X-writer wrote this? Oh, it’s Jeph Loeb. Ah.

  8. So all you need to know about Mr. Smith Goes to Washington is the filibuster, which is a big inspiring moment but is probably forever tainted by the fact that the filibuster is mainly used for evil. In a tangential story, when I was watching it for first time (back on break from college), my mom – who sounds like Estelle Costanza/Mrs. Potato Head (RIP) – entered the living room. The following conversation went like this:

    Her: What are you watching?Me: Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. 
    Her: Oh! The Filibuster! Me: I think that’s later. I’m like 10 minutes in.
    Her (shouting at TV): FILIBUSTER NOW! FILIBUSTER! 

    Then, for about every 3 minutes, she would proceed to shout at the TV to filibuster, but then got distracted and did something else a few minutes before he filibustered.

    1. Thinking about the time of writing, it occurs to me that this might be pro-John McCain commentary.

      In the late ‘90s, campaign finance was a highly salient issue in the news, much more salient than it is now (it is, obviously, now taken for granted that it is impossible), and it was more strongly associated with John McCain than any other politician. It’s arguably the key thing that gave McCain his maverick, one-honest-man[sic – it’s highly gendered]-in-Washington image — otherwise, his voting record had been that of a conventional conservative Republican politician.*

      And that “one honest man” thing is obviously the thing for which Mr. Smith Goes to Washington serves as the main touchstone in American political discourse. I’d be willing to bet that it wouldn’t be hard to find explicit references to the film in admiring opinion pieces on McCain in this period.

      *There’s an amusing volume of the (compendiously informative but skewed to the right) Almanac of American Politics from one of these years in which Michael Barone leans over backwards to explain away how a good conservative and war hero like McCain could possibly be so in favor of campaign finance reform as a weird idiosyncratic impulse of personal honor, while in the same volume treating Mitch McConnell’s opposition to it — that being at the time what *he* was best known for — as a principled expression of a deep understanding of the First Amendment with absolutely no relationship to Republican electoral interests.

  9. There is a dark theory that Sunfire is in Big Hero 6 the movie… Or that Tadashi would come back as Sunfire out of control if they ever made a sequel.

  10. IIRC, Silver Samurai appeared in civilian clothes during the arc where Mastermind was controlling Mariko and made her call off her wedding to Logan. He blows up the gate to her castle and ends up giving her back the Clan Yashida honor sword. Samurai is in the background in a plain kimono with his arm in a sling, still injured from the fight with Wolverine and Rogue.

  11. Sorry, late to the party here, but I must inform Miles…
    I believe myself to be the only owner and wearer of Denver the Last Dinosaur cosplay.
    At least when I was constructing it there was a sketch of someone’s concept for it, but no photos of completed work. I’ve worn it about 3 times for Conventions or Halloween. Cotton with kid’s fun foam spikes, and guitar and shades made out of foam core board. The shades twist tie onto my glasses and I look through the gleam marks. I taped a picture of the cartoon and a copy of the lyrics to the back of the guitar for anyone who asked what I was. The theme song was definitely the selling point. Unfortunately I don’t have the constitution to wear hoods during Con season without overheating, even though it’s made out of very lightweight fabric. I really want to send it to Allie Brosh, of Hyperbole and a Half, after reading her story about the time her parents gave her a dino costume as a child. But there’s no not weird way to go about this. *Shrugs*

  12. What is the correct collective noun for evil ninjas? It can’t possibly be flock? I feel like it’s going to be something like a shadow, or a sneak, or a smoke bomb

  13. Yoshida vs. Yashida: They would be written with different Chinese characters! It’s not just a random difference in spelling, or a typo; they’re completely different names. Yoshida would most likely be 吉田 whereas Yashida would be 八志田. The excellent wwwjdic.com and their Japanese name dictionary helped me out with the characters for Yashida, which is not at all common (and seems to only exist as a place name rather than a family name, thanks Dr. Google).

    Source: I’ve studied and spoken Japanese for 23 years, and lived in Japan for five years (with numerous trips back and forth before and since).

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