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!).
X-Factor’s new roster
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)
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.
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!)
Custom drink menus from The Steep & Thorny Way to Heaven. (The X-Men menu was 21+; New Mutants were all-ages.)
Magneto and friends hang the Days of Future Past wall.
(Magneto also doubled as DJ and bartender. Thank you, Myrrh!)
Live cold-open previews have been a thing since our ECCC meetup. This time, we got some help from Fern. Yes, we have TWO tiny Squirrel-Girl X-perts, and they are both THE BEST. (Photo courtesy of @pawpaw5771)
There are a LOT of variations on this photo, but I think Max and Brandon may have been the first. (Photo courtesy of Brandon Goede.)
White Phoenix has no patience for this post-apocalypse nonsense. (Photo courtesy of Cassandra Carter.)
The word balloons from ECCC were also out in force. (Photo courtesy of Cassandra Carter.)
The British History Podcast wants you to know that your dark future really doesn’t have a damn thing on the past. (Photo courtesy of Jamie and Zee.)
The team-up you weren’t expecting. (Photo courtesy of Christopher Troy.)
We’re gonna go ahead and say that “continuity” is the correct collective noun for Cyclopses. In that spirit: here’s continuity of Cyclopses. (Photo courtesy of Jeff Polier.)
Another homage to the original cover. Dave, on the left, helped build and weather the wall. Katie’s Marvel Girl is updated from the o5 group previously pictured on our blog. (Photo courtesy of the Proctors.)
This Shadowcat is not only an awesomely on-point cosplayer (that Lockheed!) but also one of the coolest teenagers we’ve ever met. (Photo courtesy of Tom Kishel.)
Two very happy, very tired X-Perts. (Photo courtesy of Myrrh Larsen.)
NEXT WEEK: Fallen Angels!
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.
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.
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:
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.)
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
Backissues, collections, and where to find them
Rachel Summers (more) (again)
Non-X stuff we’re into
X-Force versus the Comics Code Authority
How to keep track of crossovers
The Siege Perilous
Jean vs. Emma
Some good Nightcrawler and Iceman stories
The Glammest Timeline
Best and worst code names
You can find a visual companion to the episode – and links to recommended reading – on our blog.