Jay & Miles X-Plain the X-Men

443 – X-Retail (feat. Katie Pryde of Books With Pictures)

In which we walk down X-Plain Memory Lane; everyone needs Bitch Planet; HoX/PoX wouldn’t stay on shelves; we learn how to make sure a comic doesn’t get canceled; Marvel should have kept publishing those Krakoa-era anthology TPBs; X-Men is indeed a soap opera; and you can jump in here ’cause we’re all confused.


  • The most crowded X-year
  • Books With Pictures, official best comics shop in the world
  • Our upcoming 10th birthday party
  • Katie Pryde’s X-history
  • Prioritizing marginalized nerd identities
  • Lapsed X-readers
  • X-sprawl
  • The Dawn of X books that worked (and the one that didn’t)
  • The frustration of discontinued collection formats
  • The perfect number of X-books (again)
  • Drama and kissing
  • What we want after Fall of X
  • Readers’ single issue vs collection preferences
  • The power of the preorder
  • Katie’s (naming) origin story
  • Readers versus speculators
  • How to organize a comic book store
  • Non-X recommendations for X-fans
  • The glory of Judge Dredd
  • X-Men who can be trusted to watch a comic book store

NEXT EPISODE: Deviants, Christmas ghosts, and Magneto!


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  1. I love the Krakoa Era but I do think it made a couple of minor missteps. I don’t think Hickman leaving was an issue as he had helped cultivate some great talent to carry on. I do think that changing the original plans hurt though.

    When the new Era began with HoX/Pox there was a lot of excitement building up about where it was going to go. For the first time in a long time, I was having excited conversations with strangers at the comic shop. We’d quickly read the latest issues, looking for clues or details and then theorize what would happen next. Those red highlighted issues really got us excited. We knew something big was coming.

    Then we got the revelation that plans had changed and Hickman was leaving. People were disappointed, of course. It took a couple of months but people stopped talking about the X-Men as passionately as they had been. Inferno got some people excited again but it was short lived.

    This was all very disappointing for me as I love X-Men to my bones and lived talking about it. I was also genuinely excited for Gillen, Spurrier and Ewing to join the family. Or rejoin, as it were.

    Basically, most of the Dawn of X creators left and it fell to (mostly) different people to carry on.

    Without that excitement for the macro story I think the anthology collections felt less important or vital. The titles themselves also felt less cohesive than they had previously. It was really disheartening to watch Excalibur, New Mutants and X-Factor end.

    If the X-Books are going with to a “back to basics” approach I hope it’s only as a launching point. I think there’s a lot of places the X-Titles can go that they haven’t already. Hopefully we’ll be getting creators who bring fresh perspectives (as is rumored).

    I don’t know that there is a perfect number of titles. I think it’s possible to do 20 titles under a couple of conditions. They each need to have a distinct tone, mission and cast. No character should be in more than one team book and one solo title. I also don’t think they all need to be crowded into one place. I think the Krakoa era could have had a great contrast by having a title focused on a group who rejected Krakoa. Not its ideals, but its realities. There were some random issues that hinted at these kinds of characters but never really explored it.

    Of course, this all just my own opinions and I may be off the mark on some of my assessments. I just hope that the next Era can stir up some of the excitement that seemed to have faded over the last couple of years.

  2. Okay, you’ll (probably) talk about it in the next couple of episodes. But those X-Men announcements! Two women writing core X-Men titles and one of them is Gail Simone on Uncanny X-Men! Unless I’m mistaken, she will be the first solo female writer to ever work on Uncanny! Kelly Thompson got to co-write the Disassembled arc but that’s it.

    I apologize in advance if I misgendered Eve Ewing. I don’t follow creators on social media so I do not know they’re preferred pronouns. I hope they’re writing the Storm series if it’s not Tanahesi (Sp?) Coates.

    I suddenly have a lot of hope for post-Krakoa X-Men.

  3. I’ve been working my way through the Krakoan stuff and it really hasn’t been to my taste. But to be perfectly honest, that’s something that’s been going back until… not sure, really. Morrison, maybe?

    My main issue is that almost all the books have a “task force” feeling to them. There’s the mutant nation of Krakoa, and *these* are the mutants we’ve chosen for murder investigations, *these* are the ones saving the world, *these* are the ones that do magic stuff, and so on. I miss the organic nature of the old X-Men, where they weren’t really representing anything other than themselves. This is aggravated by the “big picture” Hickman stuff with the lives of Moira and the whole AI wanting to be absorbed by the Phalanx or whatever. That stuff’s too big for me. I want Logan giving Peter a piece of his mind about the shitty way he treated Kitty and then tricking him into a bar fight with Juggernaut.

    I’ve also not been a fan of the Big Events: X of Swords, Judgment Day, X Lives/Deaths of Wolverine, and that sort of stuff. Even moreso with non-X events like whatever was going on with the symbiotes. They feel like things imposed from outside rather than things that came about organically as part of the overall story. But then again, I have felt that way about most events since Inferno – Inferno was certainly huge, but it was also intensely personal. It was directly connected to the struggles Ilyana had been going through since her return from Limbo, as well as the whole abandonment of Maddy Pryor by Scott and her desperation. Every step of the way felt natural, unlike X of Swords where a fairy queen just pops in and says “Yeah, I’m gonna need you to find some weird swords and fight these mutants from another world for gits and shiggles.”

  4. I don’t know where else to put this… but those first two episodes of X-Men ’97 were INSANELY good, better than they had any right or reason to be. I hope Jay & Miles are planning a review episode when all 10 are done!

    1. Agreed! I felt like a kid again watching those first 2 episodes. I had fairly high expectations and it blew right past them.

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