We’re celebrating International Podcast Day with a bonus mid-week episode!
In which Jay and Al settle down in the living room to talk about cats, conventions, X-karaoke, Summers Brothers road trips, and what Al has planned for those New Mutants he’s been collecting in New Avengers!
SOME RELEVANT LINKS:
You can find all of our RCCC minicomics right here!
The closest approximation of Havok’s powers in the standard emoji set is concentric hearts.
I discovered this a few months back, texting with the amazing Tea Fougner. “It kind of fits,” I remember typing. “I mean, the movie version has very Care Bear powers.”
There followed a Step 3, with a series of question marks; but by the end of the conversation, we had decided to make and exchange Summers Brothers Care Bears.
(I also ended up making a tiny Captain America bear, which astute readers will recognize as a panel-accurate replica of the Captain America bear Cyclops canonically owns, which appeared for one panel sometime in the late ’90s. Jean won it for him at a fair. Comics are great, y’all.)
ANYWAY, here are some process photos and notes. ENJOY!
The only remotely appropriately colored Care Bear was Grumpy Bear. I feel pretty okay about that.
Care Bear eyes are riveted in. Fortunately, I had help from my friend Dave, who owns…
…a drill press!
Since the lights were smaller than the actual eyes, I threw on a few coats of red paint once we had ’em out.
Seriously, I have never identified more closely with Mister Sinister.
And here’s Cyclops Bear, reassembled!
Still not lasers.
The visor is part of a leftover container from Rite-Aid. The actual lens is cut from a ski visor.
Finished Cyclops and Cap bears.
The Cap Bear’s single canon appearance.
The Summers Bears united. Cyclops and Cap stayed in New York with Tea; Havok relocated to the Pacific Northwest with me, presumably to finish his dissertation. For some reason this photo WILL NOT display upright.
UPDATE: Tea just sent me a slew of Havok Bear process photos and notes, so those will be up next week!
In which Miles finally makes it to Battlepod; we delve into our favorite continuity snarls for the benefit of the Beyonder; Kang is everyone; we’re really grateful that the D.C. Multiverse is out of our usual scope; someone gets a new costume; and the Secret Convergence on Infinite Podcasts reaches its shocking conclusion!
Art by David Wynne. We’re not selling prints of this one, but you can still hit David up for the original!
In which Miles tries to find things to like about Bob Layton’s X-Factor run; Cyclops’s life is literally an anxiety dream; X-Factor is very Leverage; Layton’s Angel is just godawful; Rachel is all about the Red Scare; Frenzy is awesome; and we bid a fond farewell to producer Bobby Roberts.
An Apocalypse that might have been
Mid-80s X-title thematic disambiguation
The limited value of nostalgia
Creative history of X-Factor
X-Factor #2-5 and Annual #1
The baffling reinvention of Vera Cantor
Tower (Edward Pasternak)
Dubious didactic strategies
Muffin the kitten
Soviet mutant policy
Soviet robot disambiguation
The Doppelganger (Wolfgang Heinreich)
Alexei Garnov, Mentac the Living Computer, Concussion, Iron Curtain, and Siberian Tiger
The worst phonetic accent we have ever seen.
The Alliance of Evil
Frenzy (Joanna Cargill)
The color of Beast’s fur
Our favorite X-Men toys
NEXT WEEK: Miniseries Mayhem!
Many thanks to Bobby Roberts for 57 spectacular episodes of production, advice, and boundless patience. You are the best, and we love you forever.
You can find a visual companion to this episode on our blog!
On Episode 5 – The Retcon that Walks Like a Man, we met Gabriel Summers, and did a very quick drive-by introduction to the Summers family and their really depressing space adventures. Because this shit is complicated, Rachel,* the resident Summers Family Continuity expert, has put together a brief visual guide to Gabriel’s backstory. Click through for the origin of the third and worst Summers Brother:
Meet Scott and Alex Summers! They’re brothers. Their parents have just pushed them out of a burning airplane. Scott and Alex are going to crash in a minute and then have awful childhoods, but all you really need to know for now is that they’re going to become X-Men when they grow up.
Meet Mister Sinister! He’s a creepy, creepy man who knows even more about the Summers family than Rachel does (and that’s a lot). In 1993, Mister Sinister let slip that Scott and Alex might have a third brother, and for over a decade, pretty much every orphan in the Marvel Universe had “probably a Summers brother” stuck on to the end of their official bio.
But in 2005, X-Men: Deadly Genesis came around. Deadly Genesis was a straight-up retcon of 1975’s Giant-Size X-Men #1. It also—finally—resolved the question of the third Summers brother.
Meet Christopher and Katherine Summers! They’re Scott and Alex’s parents. They’ve just thrown Scott and Alex out of a burning airplane, then gotten abducted by aliens. This part of the story has been X-canon since the ’70s—but what Deadly Genesis reveals is that Katherine is pregnant. Christopher gets sent off to the slave pens, and Katherine ends up a Comics Code-compliant-analogue-to-concubine of the evil space emperor. Christopher breaks out and tries to free her, but he’s caught, and Katherine—and apparently her now-nearly-to-term fetus—are killed. (Christopher later becomes a space pirate named Corsair, which is awesome but irrelevant to this particular story.)
Meet Fetus Summers, who turns out to be viable after all! He gets rapid-aged by means of Fancy Space Science, named Gabriel, and sent to be a slave of the Shi’ar’s representative on Earth. Later, his powers manifest and he kills the only person who was ever nice to him, then escapes into the sewers with nothing but his favorite book of Roman myths and a case of dramatically expedient amnesia.
Gabriel gets picked up by Dr. Moira MacTaggert—Professor X’s ex—and becomes one of her group of teen mutants in training, under the code name Kid Vulcan. X consults—and, in the process, pieces together Gabriel’s history but doesn’t tell anyone, in keeping with a long tradition of lying to Scott about the existence of his living relatives. Professor X is a dick.
To confirm his theory, X brings Scott out to train with Gabriel for a day—but still doesn’t tell either of them that they might be brothers. (Gabriel’s powers, incidentally, have to do with energy manipulation and redirection, which his how he can do that with Scott’s eye beams.)
When the X-Men are all captured on Krakoa (the Island That Walks Like a Man!), X convinces Moira’s kids to go rescue them. Immediately before they leave, he tells Gabriel that Scott and Alex are his brothers. The new kids rescue Scott, and Gabriel tells him that they’re brothers. Scott’s super beat up and his powers are broken, so the new kids leave him and go to rescue the rest of the captive X-Men—but instead, they all get killed.
Scott returns to the X-mansion, understandably distraught. X decides the most expedient course of action is to totally wipe Gabriel out of Scott’s memory. Did I mention that Professor X is a dick? Professor X is a dick. When the new X-Men return to Krakoa to rescue the original team, he continues to mess with their perceptions to support this version of events.
What X doesn’t know is that Gabriel and his teammate Darwin are actually still alive, so when the X-Men launch Krakoa into orbit, Gabriel and Darwin go with it. They get stuck in stasis for years, in space. OOPS.
Later, Gabriel wakes up pissed, comes back to earth, kills Banshee, kidnaps Scott and Scott’s alternate-timeline-future-daughter (I know, I know. Just run with it.), and forces Professor X to show them what actually happened. Darwin—still in stasis inside Gabriel—is extracted and revived, Gabriel flies off to fight an evil space empire, and absolutely no one lives happily ever after. X-Men!
Giant-Size X-Men #1. Prepare for forty years of riffs on this cover.
The best-dressed mob in Germany.
And THAT’S how you punch a tractor.
“Oh, y’know. Fight crime, see the world, get your memory rewritten every few weeks, maybe go on a really fucked up date with Dracula…”
When Xavier finds him, Thunderbird is literally wrestling a buffalo to death.
Sunfire’s first appearance, in X-Men #64.
Most of the New & Different X-Men get a full page or two to join the team. Banshee? Two panels. He’s just that chill.
“Think you can just walk away, Wolverine? We’ll come after you with our deadliest weapon yet: Alpha Flight crossovers!”
Wow. You… certainly made some choices there, Professor.
Sunfire is absolutely delightful.
At this point, I’m pretty sure he’s just messing with them for fun.
This is the second of three times Sunfire calls Nightcrawler “Misfit” on one page–which is actually a pretty welcome break from the X-Men referring to each other exclusively by ethnic epithets. Len Wein, DON’T DO THAT.
This is pretty much the platonic ideal of an X-Men fight scene: teamwork, cool powers, and narration busting Kool-Aid-Man-style through the fourth wall.
Fun fact: Polaris will later go on to get an advanced degree in geophysics.
“You know… stuff?”
We see what you did, there.
Moira MacTaggert has opinions about retcons.
Introducing: The Worst Summers Brother
“Hey, kids, want to be superheroes?”
It’s worth noting that Moira’s team’s emergency psychic training regimen includes a Hostess Fruit Pie ad callback.
They are so doomed.
It’s almost like you live with a telepath who messes with people’s memories all the time.
Wait, what? But that’s not how it…
…oh. That explains some things.
Damn, X. That’s cold.
Professor X: Master of the retcon, worst surrogate parent ever.
In which the Bronze Age begins; Dave Cockrum is your god now; the band gets together; Sunfire joins the team; cultural sensitivity is not Marvel’s strong suit; Sunfire quits the team; it sucks to be Cyclops; Professor X crosses a moral event horizon; Sunfire joins the team; Ed Brubaker channels Thomas Hardy; you are probably a Summers brother; and Sunfire quits the team.
Giant-Size X-Men #1
The worst hat of the Marvel Universe
The Mostly-New, Mostly-Different X-Men
A business-casual angry mob
The limits of creative good intentions
Tractor punching on the Ust-Ordynski Collective
The correct spelling of “fine”
Sunfire’s utter disdain for everything, including you
Krakoa: The Island That Walks Like a Man!
Characteristics of good X-fights
Yet another miracle of magnetism
X-Men: Deadly Genesis
Summers Family Continuity (Introductory)
The Muir-MacTaggert Research Facility
Summers Family Continuity (Intermediate)
The Charles Xavier Scale of Supervillainy
What would you do with thirteen X-Men?
Help us find all-ages-friendly Marvel Girl stories!
You can find a visual companion to the episode – and links to recommended reading – on our blog.