Jay & Miles X-Plain the X-Men

X-Discussion: June 2024

Episode posts are great for comments and discussion about our episodes themselves, but we want to try something new – a place to discuss episode-unrelated X-topics each month! Want to enthuse/complain about the latest issue of X-whatever? Want to talk about an old comic you love? An X-related event you attended? A cool comics article you found? This is the place!

But first, some ground rules:

  1. Keep your posts at least tangentially comics-related, please!
  2. If you want to share a link, talk about why you’re sharing it and what you think – this post should be about what you have to say, not just links!
  3. Spoilers are okay, but please mark anything from the last three months like:
    ***SPOILER***
    Miles is really a clone of Paste-Pot Pete!
  4. No AI-generated content.
  5. Be respectful! We don’t have to agree about everything, but don’t be a jerk!

32 comments

  1. Happy Pride Month, all!

    Related to Pride Month, although this took place in May: my wife Anna and I attended the second annual Homo Superior Drag Show & Queer Dance Party at The Get Down in Portland, Oregon! (No relation to the Homo Superior podcast, although I did have the pleasure of meeting one of that show’s hosts while I was there!)

    https://www.thegetdownpdx.com/events/homo-superior-an-x-men-themed-drag-show-queer-dance-party

    It was amazing and super welcoming. We only caught the first of two sets of drag acts because staying up past midnight is harder than it used to be, but every act we saw was excellent: Angel, Storm, Jean/Madelyne, and Karma & the New Mutants. From what I understand, the second set was dedicated to the now-fully-canon Darkholme / Adler / Wagner family. Also, SO MUCH excellent cosplay in the crowd. Plus, the drink special that night was a bright pink cocktail called the Nimrod, so… I may now have nanomachines in my bloodstream that’ll turn me into a Prime Sentinel at some point. Eh, probably worth it – it was a hell of a night.

    It looks like this event is going to keep happening for the foreseeable future, so if you can make it to Portland next year, I recommend it!

    1. Speaking of Pride Month, X-MEN: THE WEDDING SPECIAL (2024) #1 includes the first physical printing of Marvel Voices: Infinity Comics: Iceman #1 by Luciano Vecchio. If you haven’t read his 4 issue run, you MUST. it’s the definitive Iceman solo run – i wish it had gotten more pages so things could’ve breathed a little more, but the journey we got was still incredible and is a post-coming out high-point for everybody’s favourite walking cool guy.

  2. I spent a long time dithering, but a month or so ago I finally bit the bullet, bought a Marvel Unlimited subscription, and have been making my way through the Krakoan Age (with the help of a reading-order spreadsheet I got from Nikhil Clayton on TikTok). I’m currently in the middle of Reign.

    It’s interesting to see what fails and what succeeds (Fallen Angels versus, say, Marauders), and it can be odd to read stories that feel almost like vignettes (especially in the main Adjectiveless X-Men series). And having not followed, well, any X-continuity in a coherent fashion, and certainly not the most recent, things like “Cable is currently a teenager” had me going to check wikis just to fill in blanks.

    I do find myself having to grapple with timeline issues, and I don’t mean alternate futures. I mean “Hellions 1 and X-Men 10 came out on the same day, but in the latter, Havok is with his family being a heroic Summers, and in the former he’s bordering on breaking a Law of Krakoa and assigned to the Rehab Dirty Dozen.” Or when Cable asks his sister Rachel (sometimes and inconsistently Prestige) to help him in an investigation, but she’s also on X-Factor Investigations and might be offworld or otherwise occupied in the latest issue of that line. But I guess that’s just the nature of the business. (I never really followed comics on a weekly basis when I was younger.)

    I did get faked out by that in the issue of Excalibur that turned out to be Jame Braddock alt-universe-ing up some spare Captains Briton, because I didn’t twig to Kate Pryde’s living presence there being abnormal. (Also I was very pleased by Kate’s resurrection issue, especially when Nightcrawler twigged to the fact that they had tried 18 resurrections.)

    1. Honestly finding a jumping on point for new X-Men fans in comics is really hard these days. So much of it requires prior knowledge. It’s tough to tell people to go back to Wein & Cockrum’s Giant-Size X-Men #1 followed by Claremont’s first run, because how comics were written then feels alien & antiquated to a general modern audience.
      Then you got Morrison’s run which is touted as a great jumping on point, but i find it so hard to recommend something which just has such an ugly art style (and also the bland costuming of the early 2000s, the colourful costuming defines X-characters).
      You got Whedon’s Astonishing X-Men run, but the line-up’s missing a lot of the iconic characters a general audience would identify: e.g. Storm (who doesn’t appear til ~25 issues in), Jean & Rogue but does have Emma Frost & Armour who are.. less well known by a general audience. +Whedon’s name doesn’t have the same shine it did a decade ago for obvious reasons.
      And then the Hickman/Krakoa era is phenomenal, but it requires SOOOO much assumed knowledge & has a cast of 100+ characters you need at least a general familiarity with.

      My current onboarding recommendation for people wanting to get into X-Men comics is: 1. Watch X-Men 97 (get em hooked) 2. Watch the X-Men Animated Series (92) as a prequel because they adapted a lot of Claremont stories in a really palatable way. THEN pick up an X-comic – either Giant Size X-Men #1, Jim Lee & Chris Claremont’s X-Men #1 or maybe late New Mutants vol 1, when they introduced Cable.

    2. Honestly, i think finding a jumping on point for new X-Men fans in comics is really hard these days. So much of it requires prior knowledge. It’s tough to tell people to go back to Wein & Cockrum’s Giant-Size X-Men #1 followed by Claremont’s first run, because how comics were written then feels alien & antiquated to a general modern audience.
      Then you got Morrison’s run which is touted as a great jumping on point, but i find it so hard to recommend something which just has such an ugly art style (and also the bland costuming of the early 2000s, the colourful costuming defines X-characters).
      You got Whedon’s Astonishing X-Men run, but the line-up’s missing a lot of the iconic characters a general audience would identify: e.g. Storm (who doesn’t appear til ~25 issues in), Jean & Rogue but does have Emma Frost & Armour who are.. less well known by a general audience. +Whedon’s name doesn’t have the same shine it did a decade ago for obvious reasons.
      And then the Hickman/Krakoa era is phenomenal, but it requires SOOOO much assumed knowledge & has a cast of 100+ characters you need at least a general familiarity with.

      My current onboarding recommendation for people wanting to get into X-Men comics is: 1. Watch X-Men 97 (get em hooked) 2. Watch the X-Men Animated Series (92) as a prequel because they adapted a lot of Claremont stories in a really palatable way. THEN pick up an X-comic – either Giant Size X-Men #1, Jim Lee & Chris Claremont’s X-Men #1 or maybe late New Mutants vol 1, when they introduced Cable.

    3. I did a similar thing starting in January with Morrison, (which I’d always had recommended but avoided because of the art) and then straight into Krakoa. Which is captivating, but navigating it required commitment. Even after 10 years of this podcast. Even after growing up with the animated series and 4 related subscriptions through the 90s. Honestly, a random comment about Destiny being back, and I was sold. She’d been dead for 4+ years when I originally started reading, but corporate BS couldn’t hide the epic love story just off panel.

      Currently I’m caught up with continuity as far as Unlimited. I know change is necessary, but wish there was more Krakoa. I suppose I could check out Wolverine from that era, or the other short series I skipped. But I made myself a 9-page-long list of Series (not issues, series or runs). I’m down to 7 pages, but some of those lines are over 100 issues each. I’m not hurting for something to read. (Why in the world doesn’t Unlimited allow you to track what you’ve read/ things you’d like to read later? And it took me hours to figure out how to get it to show me comics after I’d given them money, rather than it logging me off and sending me to the recruitment page.)

      Sorry so rambly, but I love this idea.

  3. Hi everyone

    Love this idea!

    Hope this isn’t too off topic.

    I am a huge fan of the OG X-Men. However, I will be the first to admit that I struggle with much of the silver age. There are some great moments but it is not a consistently-great run.

    However, I have recently been rediscovering my love of Spider-Man (partly because of the PS5 game). So I’ve stated to read the 60s run on Marvel Unlimited.

    It’s REALLY good!

    Anyone kind any idea of why Stan struck gold with Spidey but struggle with the X-Men. Or am I being too harsh of Silver-X?

    Thank you Jay & Miles, for this community.

    1. Firstly if you enjoy the OG 5, if you haven’t already, check out the comics: X-Men First Class – specifically Vol 2 (2007–2008), which revisits that 60s era with the OG5 but with modern-ish storytelling at its fingertips. The first issue of that run has Prof X recruit Sue Storm for a day to mentor Jean Grey, and is a very well done issue of two women in the 60s having a convo of what its like as the only woman on their respective teams.

      I think 60s era X-men written by Lee is very much a product of the decade it’s in. 60s Spidey was a single lens telling a very universal teenage experience (though the lens was a straight white guy) – and i think the Lee/Ditko era suffers from the woodiness of 60s comic-writing, specially when compared with the Lee/John Romita Snr era where the visual character design for Parker went from super-nerd stereotype to relatable everyman who’s nerdy.
      X-Men on the other hand had a good seed of an idea, but Lee had 6 characters through which to tell stories and underserved character development for any of them, by staying macro-focused on the team and villain of the week arcs – most of the team continuing to be defined by a single character trait for most Lee’s run e.g. Teacher, Boyscout, Female, Rich, Clever & Comedic-Relief. and similar to Ditko/Lee Spidey, the original 74 issue run had a lot of 60s woodiness to it which kept the X-Men from feeling like fleshed-out teenagers in the way Spidey kind of got to do more. The seed really got to germinate under first Len Wein & Dave Cockrum in Giant-Size X-Men #1, where a wider array of characters from diversified backgrounds and walks of life got to be brought in, better refining the “other-ness” that mutants represent allegorically, then blossomed with Claremont & co in X-Men #94 through #279 getting to do long-form character studies and character-growth/development.

      1. Thanks for responding.

        These are really good points. I think you are right that the focus on Spidey afforded him much greater character development. Might just be me, but I think the action scenes are slightly better in Spider-Man.

        The “universal teenage” thing is such a good point. The X-Men all had each other. Peter Parker was alone; and that’s how most teenagers feel.

  4. (Random logistical question–this post appears to be dated to May 1, so it isn’t at the top of the blog. Deliberate?)

  5. Okay, I’m gonna come in hot with two links – I’ve been LOVING one Instagram cartoonist, TinyBaer, who has started doing short comics centering around a VERY self-centered Jean. They are very reminiscent of Kate Beaton’s X-Men comics and Max Wittert’s Scott and Jean pieces.

    https://www.instagram.com/tinybaer/p/C3w4qIYoRVY/?locale=en_US&img_index=1

    https://www.instagram.com/p/C7bGC-_C7OI/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link&igsh=MzRlODBiNWFlZA==

    Honestly – as referenced in the second one – it does feel like this cartoonist took the jean of those infamous panels where she outs Iceman and just ran with it to the Nth delightful degree.

  6. This is an amazing idea! I love discussing X-Men stories and lore but the few spaces I find quickly devolve to ranting (some legitimate, most thinly veiled phobic in nature).

    Personally, I’m looking forward to the more measured postmortem discussions to the generally gleeful and vile celebration of the end of the Krakoa era. I understand that it always had an expiration date but I wish Marvel could have at least one ongoing title set there. I mean, if they’re going to have 9+ ongoing series you would think they could allow for just 1 to follow a possible evolution of the nation and its growing culture.

    1. Oof, I’ve heard the tales of other X-spaces online, but that… sounds rough out there.

      ***SPOILERS FOR THE END OF FALL OF X***

      I’m so torn regarding Krakoa’s place in the upcoming era… On the one hand, I already miss it desperately and would love to spend more time there. But on the other hand, I was pleasantly surprised at the handling of the fate of the nation of Krakoa in that final Fall of X issue of X-Men. Their world gets to continue existing, but far away from the comics we read in a way that felt like an optimistic, if appropriately bittersweet, ending.

      Related, for those around Portland – our favorite comic shop Books With Pictures is holding a wake for Krakoa on June 30th!

      1. I think they did the best possible explanation for taking it off the board and having the X-Men stay on the board without it being an absolute bummer. But man, did that page of it disappearing get me.

        Fall of the House of X definitely felt rushed and uneven at parts, sadly, and I’m REALLY curious how the whole Krakoa thing was supposed to eventually end under Hickman, but oddly – of all things – it has me wanting to read a novelization of it. Like, I think some of the major issues I have with it (pacing, explanation, tone shifts), might work with a single writer operating with prose.

        Also, c’mon, who DOESN’T want a return to X-Men novels? Wolverine defeating star creatures by thinking of sandwiches! Iceman’s internal monologue critiquing Frenzy’s sartorial choices because – remember – Iceman was always straight! Unuscione getting A LOT of page time!

  7. ***SPOILERS for X-MEN ’97*** (Added by Miles)

    Before I ask this, I want to stress: I am not by any means an expert on this and it is very possible that I’m way off base. Also, spoiler for episode 3 of X-Men ’97. With that said, here’s my question: Did it the Fire and Flesh episode feel weird to anyone else? My read of Madelyne Pryor’s arc in Inferno was about her claiming power and agency to prevent people (mostly men) from continuing to manipulate and hurt her, so when in the episode they revealed “Oh, she’s just being controlled by another man”, that didn’t sit right with me. Again, I am not an expert on this and if I’m wrong, please tell me. Thanks!

    1. So, I think how I read it is that that arc came NOT from her becoming the Goblin Queen but by her regaining her agency afterwards. So it’s definitely a different take on it. And we didn’t see as much of it as I would like (though I’m curious if she’ll be another horse-person), but I did enjoy the idea of her choosing her own name/joining the council, etc.

      Speaking of which (MORE SPOILERS):

      Horseman theories:

      Death – Gambit (duh)
      War – Banshee (similar power profile to original war, play on the idea of war cry, has precedent for going Darker when killed)
      Famine – Leech – go the Caliban route emotionally, powers do work as a type of drain, is gonna HURT if he has to fight Magneto
      Pestilence – Maddie – lost son to pestilence after all, also gives us maximum emotional payoff.

  8. Not a lot to discuss (as I tend to vent spontaneously), but a shout out to artist Mark Brooks for his recent run of “Disney-fied X-Men” sketches on Instagram which are both adorable and indicative of how few artistic risks Disney seems to be prepared to take with with Marevl properties.

    https://www.instagram.com/markbrooksart/

    1. I think Selene may be my surprising favorite there! And as a big fan of the 80s-era Imagination ride, I love how Lockheed is just straight-up Figment.

      1. I also like Shadow King, where the globby part looks like Hexxus from “Ferngully: The Last Rainforest”

  9. Dropping this here in case you’re looking for something random…

    Available on Marvel Unlimited… Obnoxio the Clown vs. X-Men (1983). I’m not checking to see if it’s any good, but it has weird dirty old clown smeared all over the front cover. Who knows what essential canon is buried in its pages?

  10. (I should have posted this here, I see now)
    X-Men97 episode2
    Beast says inhibitor-collars have RADIATION in them, which is what temporarily stops powers from working.
    Radiation = cancelling powers.
    Since when??
    That’s new.
    How inhibitor-collars work, has never tried-to-be explained.

  11. In the real world, no animals have bone claws that extend and retract in the same manner as Wolverine’s claws from the comic books. Wolverine’s claws are unique because they are part of his skeletal structure, extending from within his forearms. Animals with retractable claws, like cats, have keratin claws rather than bone.
    Wolverine’s claws in the comic books are depicted as bone claws that are part of his skeleton. They are housed within his forearms and extend out through the spaces between his knuckles. The mechanism for their extension and retraction is not purely mechanical but rather a biological process controlled by Wolverine’s muscles and tendons. When he wants to extend his claws, specific muscles in his forearms contract, pushing the claws out. To retract them, the muscles relax, allowing the claws to slide back into place.

      1. I was so impressed by how X-Men ’97 manages to look visually consistent with the original animated series while still having such detailed and believable animation… And totally agreed; that scene is one of the best examples, maybe alongside the other dance scene from episode 5.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *