Jay & Miles X-Plain the X-Men

420 – The Legendary House of Wolverine, feat. Christopher Michael Roman

In which Jay sits down with scholar Christopher Michael Roman to discuss his recent book, Queering Wolverine in Comics and Fanfiction: A Fastball Special; alongside queer theory, porous bodies, and nontraditional mentorship.

CONTENT NOTE: This episode includes graphic discussions of physical trauma as well as consensual if weird fictional sex.

NEXT EPISODE: Colossus and Meggan finally go to Dudleyworld, sort of!

No visual companion this week, but if you want to pick up Chris’s book, you can do that here!

Find us on iTunes or Stitcher!

Jay and Miles X-Plain the X-Men is 100% ad-free and listener supported. If you want to help support the podcast–and unlock more cool stuff–you can do that right here!

Buy rad swag at our TeePublic shop!

As Mentioned in Episode 305 – The Sleep of the Wicked

Listen to the episode here.



305 – The Sleep of the Wicked

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

In which X-Factor gets its own roster shakeup; most bartenders will look at you funny if you order a flight of superheroes; Kaboom is a great name for a nightclub; we lack significant feelings about the clone saga; Yukio probably sends love to everyone’s girlfriends; Forge has terrible coping mechanisms; and Jay’s current life is not conducive to consistent acoustics (sorry!).


  • Mystique’s powers
  • X-Factor’s new roster
  • X-Factor #112-114
  • The word “wreak”
  • The issue that made Miles stop reading X-Men
  • Wild Child (Kyle Gibney)
  • Wolverine as a role
  • Cyburai (more) (again)
  • Unethical management practices
  • One way to be drunk on power(s)
  • Scarlett McKenzie (again)
  • Club Kaboom
  • Yukio (again)
  • Fatale
  • Summers Problems(TM)
  • Marvel’s 1996 reader survey
  • A bondage harness that may or may not be made out of dryer tubing
  • Alex Summers vs. his own powers
  • Sugar Man in the 616
  • Several potential but unexplored story hooks for Scarlett
  • An implausible implant
  • Mystique’s new costume
  • A deeply dysfunctional but narratively plausible ship
  • A Random tangent
  • RPF on Earth-616
  • Forge vs. Tony Stark

NEXT EPISODE: Things get Uncanny!

Check out the visual companion to this episode on our blog.

Find us on iTunes or Stitcher!

Jay and Miles X-Plain the X-Men is 100% ad-free and listener supported. If you want to help support the podcast–and unlock more cool stuff–you can do that right here!

Buy rad swag at our TeePublic shop!

219 – Brutal Hearts: An Appreciation of Emma Frost (feat. Seanan McGuire, Leah Williams, Tea Fougner, Kel McDonald, and Diana Fox)

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

In which Jay recruits X-writers Seanan McGuire and Leah Williams, cosplayer Tea Fougner, and innocent bystanders Kel McDonald and Diana Fox, for a night of Emma Frost appreciation.


  • Why Emma Frost is amazing; why we love her; and why you should, too.

NEXT EPISODE: Return of the RCX!



  • 1.5 oz gin
  • .5 oz rose elderflower syrup
  • Splash of elixir vegetal
  • Prosecco to fill glass

Top off with:

  • Smoke bitters

No visual companion this week! Go read some comics about Emma Frost!

Find us on iTunes or Stitcher!

Jay and Miles X-Plain the X-Men is 100% ad-free and listener supported. If you want to help support the podcast–and unlock more cool stuff–you can do that right here!

We’re in the process of migrating our official shop to TeePublic! Click over to check it out! (You can still find the designs we haven’t moved yet at Redbubble.)

Rose City Comic Con was the COOLEST

Listen to the live episode here!

We are so ridiculously lucky: our hometown con is the coolest. It’s only a few years old, but Rose City Comic Con is one of the most fun, accessible, welcoming, and all-around celebratory comics shows we’ve ever been to. This was our first con as Rachel & Miles X-Plain the X-Men, and our first ever live episode; and we can’t imagine a better place to start.

Click through the gallery below for photos from the con, the panel, and the party! (We’ll toss the sketches up separately tomorrow!)

Special thanks to a LOT of people without whom the con and show wouldn’t have been possible:

  • Panel Guests: Ann Nocenti, Jeff Parker, and Chris Yost
  • Earth-811 Craft Department: Dave Proctor and Cameron Harris
  • Everyone from Rose City Comic Con; but particularly Mikey Nielson, Ron Brister, and Paula Brister.
  • Our amazing, amazing, amazing party hosts at The Steep & Thorny Way to Heaven: Megan Skye Hale and Myrrh Larsen
  • Team X-Plain: Tina Abate, David Wynne, and Kyle Yount.
  • The Absolute Goddamn Best: Katie Moody and Anna Sheffey.
  • Last but not least: Max Carleton, Dusty Eppers, Jason Betournay, Scott Hazle, Fern, Kestrel, Jasper, and everyone who turned out to help, yell, party, and X-Plain with us at and after RCCC!


76 – Live at Rose City Comic Con, with Ann Nocenti, Jeff Parker, and Chris Yost

Art by David Wynne. Prints and cards available until 10/4/2015 at the shop, or contact David to purchase the original.
Art by David Wynne. Prints and cards available until 10/4/2015 at the shop, or contact David to purchase the original.


In which we record our first live episode; Rose City Comic Con is AMAZING; Ann tells us how to torture the X-Men; Jean Grey needs more friends; Chris survives an encounter with an angry vampire; Squirrel Girl sets the high bar for questions; everyone has opinions about Longshot’s hair; Jeff gets meta; Cyclops is the best at fighting Sentinels; and Rachel ALMOST gets through an entire panel without swearing.



  • Cable (Nathan Summers)
  • Stryfe (Also Nathan Summers)
  • Rose City Comic Con
  • Christopher Yost
  • Jeff Parker
  • Ann Nocenti
  • The X-Men
  • Superheroes vs. soap operas
  • Continuity vs. evolution
  • Updating the Silver Age
  • What defines an X-book
  • All of our iconic X-eras
  • Close encounters of the fan kind
  • The Continuiteens
  • Marvel Girl and Squirrel Girl team-ups
  • Narrative regrets
  • How we’d end the X-Men
  • X-Men best suited to professional wrestling
  • Our personal mutant metaphors
  • Which of the X-Men is best at fighting Sentinels

NEXT WEEK: Fallen Angels!

There’s no visual companion this week, but you can see photos from the panel, party, and more in our Rose City Comic Con roundup!

Find us on iTunes or Stitcher!

Rachel and Miles X-Plain the X-Men is 100% ad-free and listener supported. If you want to help support the podcast–and unlock more cool stuff–you can do that right here!

Buy prints of this week’s illustration at our shop, or contact David Wynne for the original!


A Coda to Episode 34

In Episode 34, we answered a question from a listener looking for textual evidence that Nightcrawler isn’t homophobic (we pointed them to Amazing X-Men #13, in which Nightcrawler and Northstar explicitly address that question). But Rachel also responded to the question from a somewhat different angle–and at considerably more length–on Tumblr; and we want to reproduce that answer here, as well, because it covers some ground we feel pretty strongly about:

Screen Shot 2014-12-08 at 12.08.58 PM

Dear Anonymous,

Miles and I addressed the textual evidence—which lands firmly on your side, by the way—in Episode 34, but I’d also like to take a moment to talk to your friend directly:

Dear Anonymous’s Friend,

You seem like someone who works hard to consider the cultural context and ethical implications of the media you consume. That’s really cool, and it’s something I try very hard to both practice—as a podcaster, as a critic, and as a consumer—and to encourage in our audience.

Here’s the thing, though, AF—this is not black-and-white, it never has been, and it never will be. It’s not a rigid objective rubric. It’s a deeply personaljudgment call. And when you attack your friend because they like a fictional character you find personally problematic, you are being an asshole.

AF, it is absolutely okay for your friend to find enjoyment, value, and points of personal identification in things that don’t perfectly mesh with their identity or personal beliefs. To tell anyone that they’re not allowed to have those things because fictional entities in which they find meaning don’t measure up on a rigid real-world rubric is—as far as I’m concerned—incredibly uncool.

I also want to address another point that your concerns about Nightcrawler bring up—about members of marginalized groups searching for points of identification in mass media. I don’t know anything about you, but your friend mentioned that they’re queer, and I know from experience that when you’re reading from a position anywhere on the margins—say, as a sexual minority—one of the first skills you learn is to identify with fictional characters who aren’t like you and sometimes even profoundly conflict with your personal identity and values. You learn to do this because when you are coming from that position, if you strike from the list every character who doesn’t precisely reflect your values and identity, you are denying yourself the overwhelming majority of the options available.

And having those footholds, those points of affection and identification and fandom—that matters. It matters so much. Cyclops and I don’t have a ton in common superficially—in canon, he’s portrayed as a straight male-presenting person who grew up in an orphanage and shoots force beams out of his eyes; and I’m a queer female-presenting person who grew up with two (very cool) parents and no superpowers whatsoever. Cyclops is also often a total jerk a lot of the time; and especially in the Silver Age, he says and does somecompletely fucked up shit, including some things that are unambiguously sexist or racist.

But you know what? He’s still my favorite character, because there are things really fundamental to who I am and how I experience the world that I find reflected in Cyclops and almost nowhere else in fiction. Because having him available to me as a metaphor helps me parse shit that I otherwise do not have the tools to handle. Because I am never, ever going to find a paper mirror that reflects all of the complicated, faceted aspects of my identity and experiences—and guess what? no human being is—so I find and cobble together points of identification where I can.

Ultimately, though, that’s secondary to my main point. You do not get to decide what other people are allowed to like. Independent of action, liking things—or disliking them—is not itself an ethically charged act. What you are doing here does not serve a greater good. It does not speak to ethical consumption of fiction, or ethical anything. It’s just petty and cruel.

Look, AF, it’s okay if Nightcrawler’s Catholicism is a deal-breaker for you, personally. That is just fine. You are absolutely not obliged to like everything your friend likes, and you shouldn’t have to answer to their preferences or personal rubrics for the fiction they consume any more than they should have to answer to yours. But part of being a friend is recognizing that you are not the same person. Of the fictional characters and real people in this scenario, there’s only one trying to impose rigid dogma aggressively enough to do harm—and it’s not Nightcrawler.

(Also, your understanding of both Nightcrawler’s historical portrayal in X-Menand the relationship between Catholic dogma and the politics and personal views of individual Catholics is just spectacularly off-base.)


As Mentioned in Episode 11 – Who Would Win in a Fight

Listen to the podcast here!

Links and Further Reading: UncannyXMen.net

11 – Who Would Win in a Fight

In which we answer 45 straight minutes of your questions and alienate everyone with our answer to Jean vs. Emma, Miles is probably too nice to win in a fight, we are really into The Adventures of Pete & Pete, Rachel is the Vega to Miles’s Shepard, Excalibur is awesome, you should stop punching the DNA, Wolverine is Rogue, Longshot is the prettiest man, and Professor X is a pufferfish.


  • Who would win in a fight
  • The Rachel & Miles Fastball Special
  • Cycloptometry
  • Backissues, collections, and where to find them
  • Podcaster ‘shipping
  • Spinoffs
  • Rachel Summers (more) (again)
  • Five tattoos
  • Non-X stuff we’re into
  • X-Force versus the Comics Code Authority
  • Ultimate X-Men
  • How to keep track of crossovers
  • Textual queerness
  • The Siege Perilous
  • Jean vs. Emma
  • Some good Nightcrawler and Iceman stories
  • Dream teams
  • The Glammest Timeline
  • Best and worst code names
  • Bendis’s X-books
  • X-animals

You can find a visual companion to the episode – and links to recommended reading – on our blog.

Find us on iTunes or Stitcher!

Next week: The Dark Phoenix Saga