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Episode Description

In which we introduce the villains of the Silver Age: Magneto makes some valid points, Mastermind is a Nice Guy of OkCupid, the Scarlet Witch predicts Cat Breading, the Trasks should really have known better, and the Comics Code Authority is down with pterosaurs.

Cold OpenEdit

Since he's been reading Si Spurrier's X-Force, Miles asks about Hope and Cable. He regrets it.

X-Plained:Edit

  • Common characteristics of enduring X-villains
  • Mutant identity politics and moral relativism
  • Context-agnostic Juggernaut flashbacks
  • An unorthodox approach to anthropology
  • Cyclops’s greatest diplomatic achievement
  • Silver Age haberdashery
  • An innovative modification to vampire mythology
  • Cultural assimilation
  • The propaganda-and-sweater-vest machine
  • Hex bolts
  • Supplemental reading

References Edit

Listener Questions Edit

  • Are there early villains that fell by the wayside? Is there a difference between those that did/didn't stick?
  • How could Unus the Untouchable be alive? Wouldn't he starve to death or something?
  • I've never been able to make sense of Sauron's backstory. Could you try?

TranscriptEdit

Transcribed by Bex, edited by Erica

[Editor’s Note: Rachel now goes by the name of Jay and uses male or neutral pronouns. This episode was recorded before Jay’s transition. At Jay’s request, we are using the name and pronouns they used at the time when this episode was recorded to keep the integrity of the transcript.]

(00:00)

Miles: Hey Rachel, I was reading X-Force, you know, the new Si Spurrier one?

Rachel: Yeah. What's on your mind, Miles? 

Miles: So what's the deal with Cable's kid? 

Rachel: Tyler? Uh, wasn't he actually Stryfe's kid? Either way, he's been dead since like '96. Why do you ask? 

Miles: Uh, no, not – not him. Um, the other one. The one that's in the coma right now.

Rachel: Oh, okay, that's Hope. She was the first mutant baby born after the Scarlet Witch reality-warped the mutant population to near-extinction after House of M. 

Miles: House of M...okay, that's the Magneto-centric utopia where the Scarlet Witch's imaginary but not actually imaginary kids were, right? 

Rachel: Yeah, that one.

Miles: Okay, so Hope...

Rachel: Right, she's not actually Cable's kid. Cyclops just sent her off with him, because so many people were trying to kill her they figured she'd actually be safer growing up on the run in a post-apocalyptic future. 

Miles: Oh, the-the one in the S – with the Sentinels. 

Rachel: No, no, the LITERALLY post-apocalyptic Askani timeline. 

Miles: Okay, the one where Cable's from? 

Rachel: Well, the one where he grew up. Cable's actually from the main timeline but when he was a baby Cyclops had to send him to that future with this nun who turned out to be the far future version of his alternate universe sister.

Miles: Uhh–

Rachel: She's actually from Earth-eigh-811 [stuttering] –that's the Days of Future Past timeline–but because she jumped back in time it would really be –

Miles: [crosstalk] WHAT?!

 

[Intro: Excerpt of X-Men: The Animated Series theme song]

 

(01:14)

Rachel: I'm Rachel Edidin.

Miles: And I'm Miles Stokes.

Rachel: And we are here to explain the X-Men--

Miles: Because it's about time SOMEONE did!

Rachel: Welcome to the second episode of "Rachel and Miles X-Plain the X-Men", where we walk you through the ins, outs, and retcons of our favorite superhero soap opera.

Miles: So last week we began at the beginning with an introduction to the STRANGEST HEROES OF THEM ALL – even though they didn't actually turn out to be all that strange – and their Silver Age roots. 

Rachel: But part of what defines a hero is the forces they fight – so this week we're gonna be focusing on the X-Men's definitive villains.

Miles: And one other thing that's interesting is that the definitive villains of really a lot of X-Men have their roots right here in the Silver Age. The Silver Age got a lot wrong, but it also got a lot right. 

Rachel: Right, you only see a handhold [sic] of the X-Men introduced in this era, but the villains? Like, a huge number of the ones who keep coming back start out really early in the comic. 

Miles: So, uh, not all of them do, and we'll getting – be getting to a little of that as well, including, you know, why. Why some stick, why some don't.

Rachel: But the really iconic ones? Totally. So the first thing I want to look at is what makes an iconic X-Men villain? What – what defines that? Not just the ones who keep coming back, but the ones who are really the signature villains.

Miles: [chuckles] So we're been talking a lot about this over the last week, preparing for this episode, and what we keep coming back to ourselves is: it's the ones who have thematic ties to the X-Men–to the characters, or to the metaphor of mutants themselves. Things that are unique to X-Men, that wouldn't really work as well in, say, Avengers, or Fantastic Four. 

Rachel: Right, they're characters who are mutants. But they're not just mutants, they're ones whose identity as mutants, and whose relationship to being mutants and to the mutant population is a definitive part of who they are, why they do what they do, and what they do. Or they’re characters who are directly reactional – um, reactionary to mutants, like the Sentinels, which we're going to come back to in a few minutes. 

Miles: So, we talked a lot about Magneto last time. He was part – a big part of X-Men #1, but –

Rachel: [crosstalk] He had a great hat. 

Miles: Oh, man, great is one word for it. 

Rachel: He had an impressive hat. He had a memorable hat. 

Miles: And you know, that's what a lot of the Silver Age is about. Good? Nah. Memorable? There we go. 

Rachel: Um, so, Magneto is – is THE definitive – l-like we said last week, again, Magneto is THE definitive X-Men villain.

Miles: Right. And he starts out pretty simplistic, as does everything in, uh, X-Men as a series. He's just a dude in a red costume who can y..do pretty much anything with magnetism whether it's related to magnetism or not. 

Rachel: We're gonna do a round-up at some point, um, that, I've-I’ve been clipping panels, um, called the Miracle of Magnetism, where we go through every single way that Magneto [voice breaks] uses magnetism in the Silver Age. It's amazing. 

Miles: So, on our website, when w–, before we started the podcast, Rachel and I did a little – a brief bio for each of us and mentioned our favorite characters. Mine was Longshot. He's not gonna show up for a long time, but I think the best character in the entire franchise, the most interesting, is, in fact, Magneto. 

Rachel: Whoa, so you're a Magneto fan – are you, like, part of Team Magneto-Was-Right?

Miles: I mean, Magneto made some valid points. Uh, [sighs] that's the thing, like, you can always – I think with a lot of good villains – you can always see where they're coming from. I mean, some of them are just Prince Joffrey and they're terrible, but, uh, with Magneto, you know, he's got some kind-of-valid perspectives. He's been through some shit, he's uh, he's concerned that mutantkind itself is gonna go through some shit, and he has a fix for this problem. I mean, it's not necessarily a great fix, and it's certainly counter to everything the X-Men themselves are about, but, you know, he's–he's trying. He's got good intentions. 

Rachel: But he's also kind of the villain who becomes the oppressor, and that's something that comes up again and again, and it comes up especially in relation to the second sort of iconic group of X-Men villains who he's part of who gets introduced in the Silver Age, which is the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. 

 

(04:38)

Miles: First of all, the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants is an AWESOME name. It is right there on the tin what they do. I don't know that they're actually called that IN the pages of the comic for quite a while –

Rachel: [crosstalk] They are. 

Miles: Oh, are they? 

Rachel: They are.

Miles: I thought it was just a Stan Lee hyperbole-based title. 

Rachel: I–could be both. But...

Miles: Well, I guess at this point everything is Stan Lee hyperbole-based. 

Rachel: Yeah, and they–they are really silly. They get called, they-they... their name gets changed to the Brotherhood of Mutants later, but in their early appearances, they are just full-scale evil and Magneto is too. He's got like a zillion different yugh... cars and vehicles and ridiculous things. Everything he has has like horseshoe mag–, big enormous horseshoe magnets attached to it. Um, and he is like, he is the CHEESIEST villain. And you talked about him being, you know, this–this really serious, interesting, sympathetic, thematic character, but when he's with the Brotherhood, I mean, he just. He gets mustache-twirlingly ridiculous. There's an issue where – where someone – someone asks him about loyalty and he's like [dramatically] "I DON’T WANT LOYALTY! I JUST WANT FEAR AND OBEDIENCE!" 

Miles: Okay, wait, so let's go back a second because–mustache-twirly villains? So Magneto doesn't actually have a mustache.

Rachel: And that is a shame. 

Miles: So if he did, here's the question – would it be shaped like a horseshoe magnet? Or would it –would it just be a big letter M over his face? 

Rachel: I think that there needs to be a What If? issue ABOUT THAT. 

Miles: Maybe like there can be two alternate universes–like Earth-615 and Earth-623, each of which has a different mustachioed Magneto and they have to fight. 

Rachel: Readers, we want to see your takes on this. Send us your drawings and your imaginings of Magneto's iconic Silver Age mustache if he'd had one. 

Miles: Uh, speaking of, if you haven’t seen our blog, definite shout-out for the amazing Laserwolf fanart we got. 

Rachel: David Wynne is rad. He is a longtime friend of ours, he's the one who drew my Twitter icon that I’ve had for years and years, it's me as Cyclops, um. And yeah, he drew us a Laserwolf. It's the best ever. 

Miles: I've never had anyone draw anything based on a joke I made, thanks guys. 

Rachel: Laaaserwoooolf. 

Miles: Uh, so, anyway, back to Magneto, mustache aside. So, yeah, um, the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants first shows up in X-Men #4, still very close to the beginning. Right after the #3 that we talked a lot about where everyone gets a distinct personality. 

Rachel: And the X-Men have fought solo villains up to this point, but here and now, the, the Brotherhood's presented as kind of their first thing that approaches an equal analog. They've even got a pretty – a demographic lineup that's pretty much broken down like the X-Men. They've got THE girl, they've got powers that don't exactly reflect but overlap pretty consistently. 

 

(06:47)

Miles: Right, so, um, let's real quick just go over, uh, who the Brotherhood consists of. Um–

Rachel: Okay, we've already met Magneto. 

Miles: So, I'll start with Toad. Uh, Mortimer Toynbee, I believe is his name, which is a great name. 

Rachel: It is. 

Miles: So the Toad – he's this weird ugly little dude that jumps around and you can kind of imagine talking in a [nasally and obnoxious] MASTER, MASTER kind of voice.

Rachel: Yeah, Toad is ba – if you've seen the movie Man- Manos: the Hands of Fate, Toad is basically REALLY bouncy Torgo. 

Miles: Uh, Torgo really would have benefited from that. He – he had a lot of trouble walking 'cause of those weird prosthetics but that's a to-topic for a different podcast. So, Toad, um, you get the impression, and this is really not, uh, it's not in the pages, but it's implied at least to me that, you know, if you look like Toad, he's kind of freakish looking, um, then you really–you're gonna get rejected a lot, you're gonna get made fun of by the terrible Silver Age whitebread characters that seemed to populate the Marvel universe, and you're really gonna be looking for a place to belong.

Rachel: Toad is a career cultist. He is a guy who is always looking for someone to tell him what to think and tell him what to do, who he can follow blindly into the mouth of hell. Um, he does this over and over and over again with a bunch of different characters. He tries to strike out on his own as a supervillain at one point, and it just sucks, and he's really miserable. Uh, he does it with the Brotherhood. He does it for a while with the X-Men. He does it with the Hellfire Club. Basically Toad just really, really, want – Toad really just wants parents. 

Miles: Uh, yeah, and Magneto, he's happy to fulfill this role in a really, you know, abusive, bad guy kind of way, um, but yeah, so we have Toad. He is the very definition of sycophant. So, uh, who's next? 

 

(08:20)

Rachel: Speaking of the Hellfire Club, we've also got Mastermind. Mastermind is gonna show up... later as an X-Men villain in association with a different group, the Hellfire Club. But they're not gonna, they're not gonna be around until the '70s, so, looking at him in the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, Mastermind is a dude who creates illusions. Um, he's basically a telepath but specifically he can only affect people's perceptions. And he is SUPER, SUPER creepy. Um, he spends a lot of the Silver Age hitting on the Scarlet Witch, and specifically arguing that y'know, if she consents to an illusion, it's REALLY still consent, it's JUST as good as the real thing, and that's something that is going to be a huge, huge deal in one of the much later iconic stor-story arcs of the X-Men, the Dark Phoenix Saga. 

Miles: Uh, again, reading between the lines, Stan Lee may or may not have intended this, but just like Toad, you can kind of get a picture of his background just from how he’s presented…with Mastermind? Kind of feel like the dude's got some gender issues, you know–he was creepy, he was rejected a lot, and so now he's become really full of himself–

Rachel: Oh my god – Mastermind is an MRA.

Miles: I was actually just thinking the same thing. Throw a fedora on that dude and stick him on a forum.

Rachel: Holy SHIT, Mastermind is – WOW! Yeah - this makes so much sense. 

Miles: And actually, Mastermind, he's a little interesting to me because you know, I mentioned how nuanced Magneto is and really, a lot of these characters end up pretty nuanced – Mastermind kind of never does. He's just straight up evil. 

Rachel: Yeah, he's just – he's really manipulative, he wants what he wants, he doesn't really see anything wrong with using trickery to get it, and he feels like basically, yeah. Yeah, he is, he is, he is pure chaotic ends-justify-the-means evil. 

Miles: He's also kinda stylish. He's the only member of the Brotherhood that just wears normal clothes – 

Rachel: He's also the only member of the Brotherhood who, um, grows a mustache, which – and I appreciate that commitment to villainy. 

Miles: Hey, you know, at least there's that. 

 

(10:00)

Miles: So, anyway, the other two members, um, now these guys are – end up being really really important, they're gonna be everywhere, on the big screen coming up soon. They are Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch. 

Rachel: Now, we mentioned the Scarlet Witch as the-the chick who, um, Mastermind keeps hitting on. Um, Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch are at this point reluctant members of the Brotherhood. They're there because Magneto saved their lives. Uh, he saved them, I think, from a lynch mob. 

Miles: A lynch mob of angry humans. 

Rachel: A lynch mob of angry, uh, generically European peasants. Um –

Miles: Fucking generic Europe. I hate that place.

Rachel: [crosstalk] Right? And this is, again, this is like – this is the origin story of half the mutants in the Marvel universe, like, involves a lynch mob of generic angry European peasants. But, um, they're not really into Magneto's philosophy – they're basically there because they feel like they owe him their lives and a couple times – I mean, they actually – the X-Men keep on saying “Y'know, you should come with us” and they keep on being like “Well, we'd really like to... BUT...” and they're going to become straight-up superheroes later.

Miles: Mm-hmm. Now, uh, as far as the reluctance, it's uh – we've mentioned that the um, the whole – the theme of mutant persecution by humans. It's mentioned but you don't really see a lot of it, and this is a nice other angle on that. Pietro Maximoff, that's Quicksilver, uh, y'know, Wanda is again "THE GIRL." Not a lot of personality for female characters at this point in the Silver Age. 

Rachel: And at this point her powers are just that she can throw hex bolts. She can make people trip over things. She can cause minor... context-specific incidents of bad luck. 

Miles: At one point she spills Mastermind's drink on him. "Take that, y'know, foolish foe! I am a m...agnificent mutant!"

Rachel: Later on, she's going to be able to completely overwrite reality, but for now, minor bad luck. 

Miles: Right, uh, but anyway – yeah, so Quicksilver. Um –  

Rachel: –and he's a speedster–

Miles: Yeah. 

Rachel: [crosstalk] Straight up. 

Miles: He can move very very quickly. He's kind of the Flash but way more of a jerk, uh, and with, with, uh, smooth white hair. Um, so [sighs], the X-Men, like Rachel said, they're like “Hey, join us, uh, our philosophy is awesome, Magneto's a jerk,” and Pietro basically doesn’t believe them. He's like “Hey, I don't – I don't like this Magneto guy, and while he did save my sister that's not the reason I'm sticking around. The reason I'm sticking around is because I think he's right. I think humanity is never going to accept us.”

Rachel: Later on they do leave the Brotherhood and again the X-Men offer to let them come join, and what they say, I think, is really interesting and really so indicative of the characters who always kind – who've always kind of sat in a moral gray point, even when they're heroes, which is that they've never really had the chance to figure shit out for themselves and so they're just gonna – they're gonna sort of step back and try to do that, and that's a theme that follows their – those characters honestly I think for their entire careers.

Miles: Absolutely. Um, and they, they go around the Marvel universe, I mean Quicksilver – he's been on the X-Men, he's been on the Avengers, he's been in X-Factor where he is currently. The Scarlet Witch – she's primarily been an Avengers character, and actually we mentioned that they're going to be on the big screen um, coming up. They're characters in both the Days of Future Past movie and the upcoming Avengers movie. Um –

Rachel: And in pretty different versions in those. We're gonna come back to the – to the movies later – we're actually going to be doing a full lead-up to Days of Future Past, and we're also gonna come back to these two a lot later, along with Polaris, who's another character who's introduced in the Silver Age. 

 

(12:52)

Rachel:  For now, though, I want to talk a little more about the Brotherhood as a whole, because you mentioned the, the metaphor – the X-Men fighting against a universe that hates and fears them – and the X-Men are mutants trying to become – or trying to set themselves up as perceived as a model minority. Um –

Miles: Tell me more about model minorities. 

Rachel: So, the idea of a model minority is that it's a minority group that functions at or, or y'know proves at, or, or is associated with, or is assumed to be... either fully assimu–uh, assimilated into or functioning more effectively or at a higher level than the majority. What that means in a practical level is a lot of invisibility, a lot of being cut out of affirmative action, a lot of diversity denial. Um, and a lot of – al, al – a huge amount of pressure to assimilation. In terms of the X-Men what it means is basically trying to prove that they're the good guys, they're superheroes. 

Miles: Trying to come off as basically, y'know, we're normal just like you, to be seen as similar to humanity to possible – as possible. 

Rachel: As similar to baseline humanity as possible, or like baseline humanity, but, y'know, even cooler. 

Miles: Mm-hmm.

Rachel: Um, and they will never succeed at that. It is – the X-Men have been around for 50 years as a team, they have never – they, they – and that – they are never going to be able to do that, they have never been able to do that, and the fact that they can't, and the realization that they can't, um, is one of the biggest and most interesting and darkest ongoing themes and ongoing changes in the book.

We've heard them talking a lot about fighting to protect a world that hates and fears them and we've seen that on an individual basis. We've seen a couple mobs, we've seen, y'know, backup stories where people get things thrown at them 'cause they're mutants, but it's also like really small, one-off stuff. We don't really see that on a systemic level until we get to an-another set of villains – and these again you've been seeing a lot of in relation to the movies, because they're gonna figure really heavily into Days of Future Past – and those are the Sentinels. 

Miles: Right. Now, if you've seen the X-Men cartoon, which you'll be hearing more about soon, the first two-parter is Night of the Sentinels. I mean, when you have a new show starting, one of the things that show is supposed to do is figure out, okay, what's iconic enough that it can be the – the fans who maybe are not familiar with these characters' introduction to this entire world and I think the Sentinels are an awesome choice. Let's talk some about them. 

 

(15:04)

Rachel: So the Sentinels are giant humanoid mutant-hunting robots. Um, Jack Kirby was not drawing the series when they first showed up in, um, 14, but he did design them. And they are – they are basically – they are giant robots as defined – as designed by Jack Kirby. If you haven't seen them, but you know what Kirby's art looks like, you know what the Sentinels look like. 

Miles: I want to talk a little more about this because one thing – and we, we missed this earlier – one thing we keep coming back to in X-Men is the idea of terrible headwear. Just TERRIBLE. So we mentioned that with Magneto, but the Scarlet Witch, I mean, what –

Rachel: Oh my god, so you know the thing where people shove cats’ faces through pieces of bread? 

Miles: It looks like that but bright red and like? No-one comments on it. It's just like oh, your –

Rachel: It's just there. It's like – it's like this weird two-dimensional Wimple situation.

Miles: I mean it's just – is that what you wear in generic Europe? Is this what happens? Is it a modesty thing? Is it a religious thing? We don't know. 

Rachel: I think that she's ashamed because Quicksilver has SUCH awesome hair. 

Miles: That's possible. Uh, and actually once we finally see Magneto take off his helmet, he's got pretty much the same hair. 

Rachel: Yeah, see, this is what – this is why I keep my hair short. Because like you've got this amazing, like, mane of ringlets thing and I just- I, I KNOW that I can't compete on that front. This is, this is, I think, Wanda's equivalent. 

Miles: [crosstalk] Have you thought—

Rachel: Her weird face shield. 

Miles: Have you thought of wearing red face bread, instead? 

Rachel: You know, it's really really hard to find when she – when you're not an evil mutant. 

Miles: That's fair. Um, but anyway, so yeah, we have Magneto, we have the Scarlet Witch, um, I mean, we have those hoods the X-Men wear but whatever. But the Sentinels. So, you picture like a giant dude made of metal with this stoic, stony face, y’know, there's no, no hint of, of compassion or humanity in there, and then you basically put him in a big metal toboggan hat with little fake blood capsules all around their forehead. I-uh-what? I mean, again, Jack Kirby. He had his own style, and it was AWESOME, but these things are particularly weird looking. 

Rachel: Y'know, the thing is those hats, and like, the, the circle of rivets? Actually hearkens back to a lot of early, early illustrations of robots. It's a really Kirbyesque take, but it's a – that's actually a visual motif that's been around a lot longer than Sentinels or the X-Men. 

Miles: Well, so I kinda look at it, at them like, um, like the Daleks from Doctor Who, right? I mean these things are ridiculous. They come at you with a whisk and a plunger, and they're basically big, like, salt shakers –

Rachel: [in background] Yeah.

Miles:  – but they've become scary based on context, and that's kind of what the Sentinels are. If you just look at them, they're goofy as shit, but as far as what they represent, how unstoppable they are, just the sheer hatred and bigotry that leads to their very existence, they work a whole lot better. Also, once they were recolored purple instead of being this weird like orangey-yellow that they were at first, that helped too. 

Rachel: Truth. So let's talk about where they come from. Now the Sentinels originally are built by a dude named Bolivar Trask. This – he's played by Peter Dinklage in the upcoming movie, uh –

Miles: Tyrion Lannister.

Rachel: Right. And in that movie he's a scientist but in the comics he's just – he's an anthropologist. He is not a scientist, he's not a roboticist, he's just – he's this rogue anthropologist who decides that he is going to make an army of giant killer robots. 

Miles: I mean, I took Anthropology 101 in college and we didn't talk about that. I kind of feel like my college missed out on an important opportunity. Uh, so yeah, that's – that's one of the things I really love about this, this total Silver Age logic. Like here's this anthropologist dude that's never been mentioned before, and he just, like, starts talking in front of I think – what, the UN or something? 

Rachel: Um –

Miles: Or maybe it's just some major TV network. 

Rachel: Does he even do that? He's pretty – he's pretty much operating privately at first. 

Miles: Well, yeah. The point is, he just shows up out of nowhere, he's like “I’m an anthropologist! Mutants are scary! Oh, and BY THE WAY, I built like dozens of giant robots apparently completely on my own.”

Rachel: And this raises some great questions. First of all, where does he get the funding to do this? Where does he get the expertise to do it? And, he's an anthropologist, so you would think if he sees this community and this population he doesn't understand, he'd, y'know, study them and not build giant killer robots to take them out. 

Miles: Well see, okay, I have my own interpretation of this, right? Like, he's not yuh - hanging out with the mutant population and y'know, trying to be seen as one of them or – and wearing his own like yellow and black tunic himself –

Rachel: X-Men in the Mist.

Miles: Oh, I, no. I think he was doing it with the Sentinels. Sentinels in the Mist. So, uh, you know he shows up and he's like oh, I'm gonna put on a toboggan hat, and uh and walk really stiffly [haughtily] and make, uh, [robotic echo] pronouncements in a voice very much like this. 

Rachel: But it doesn’t work, because the Sentinels are also a classic robot apocalypse scenario which means that they're programmed to perform a task, and then they realize that humanity is stupid and their creator is under-qualified, and they're gonna take him out too and they're just gonna take over the world. 

Miles: And at that point, they can protect humanity from mutants, cause they're gonna rule the world. What I really like is that they come to this decision in like three panels after they show up. 

Rachel: Yeah. Y'know, this is – this is one of those oh, well, yeah I guess that was inevitable. 

Miles: Yeah it's like yeah, “Hey, hey guys, look at my robots – oh crap my robots are rebelling!”

Rachel: You should have seen that coming, Trask.

Miles: Especially with a dignified name like Bolivar and dignified mustache. Again, there's a good mustache on that guy.

Rachel: And an anthropology degree.

Miles: So, yeah, so Bolivar Trask. He's got these giant robots he's introducing, um, but one of the things he also does is – I guess the media really likes being sensationalistic with little or no research in the Silver Age – 

Rachel: Yeah, unlike now, when they are strictly and entirely fact-based and very, very moderate. 

Miles: Touché, but one of the advantages the Silver Age had was amazing illustrations, like, so there's this picture, there's an artist's rendition, of uh um uh uh the inevitable future ruled by mutants and there's like this dude that kinda looks like – what's his name, Kif? From, uh... Futurama? Um, like holding this whip and there are humans like carrying bricks and like, wait if you're a mutant why are you doing that, do you have mutant, like, whip wielding powers? What's – what's going to happen here? 

Rachel: The important thing about this mutant is that he's also got a great sweater vest. 

Miles: Uh, he does, because sixties. But yeah! Like so, uh, this is the first time we really see this kind of anti-mutant hysteria in the comic. 

Rachel: [crosstalk] And this is how people see mutants. And that's – that's sort of the double part of Trask's campaign. Is that, he's got, he's got the Sentinels, but he's also got this propaganda campaign that becomes defining in the public perception of mutants as much as the actions of mutants like Magneto. Like, this is when the X-Men's premise becomes the X-Men's reality. 

(20:36)

Miles: Right, like you see a lot of, you know, your standard Silver Age whitebread American families kind of reacting to the television coverage and the newspaper coverage that comes directly out of Trask's pronouncements. Like, and you – you have, uh, to be fair, a diversity of opinion. Some people are like “Hey, maybe they're not that bad,” but a lot of people are like “Yeah! That's freaky! These things are dangerous, these mutants.”

Rachel: We're gonna talk about this later, when we do an episode about alternate takes on the Silver Age, but there's a – there, uh, the – Marvels by Kurt Busiek explores this and this specific newspaper article in a lot of detail. Um, it's a great supplemental read to – to the Silver Age X-Men, highly recommended. 

Miles: Also, some beautiful, beautiful painted art. Alex Ross, right? 

Rachel: Yeah. And this is, this is one of those, this is one of those books where whether or not you're an X-Men fan, if you're a Marvel fan, or if you're a Silver Age or superhero fan, um, we cannot recommend highly enough. It is definitive canon for a reason. 

Miles: Yep. Um, and yeah, the uh – that picture of Martian dude with a whip, that actually shows up in there. 

 

(21:29) 

Rachel: Um, going back to the Sentinels, um, and just, the logistics of the Sentinels – so there are some things that are gonna keep coming back. There's also Master Mold. Now, Master Mold is basically a giant robot who poops out other robots. 

Miles: I love so much that you said that. 

Rachel: Yeah. [laughs]

Miles: It's true, yeah, Master Mold. He's like – he's like a giant Sentinel –

Rachel: [crosstalk] Like, I know, he's literally a giant robot who poops out other robots, like he's sitting on a throne, and other robots come out of him. 

Miles: This may or may not be LITERAL literal, but we're just gonna go with it. 

Rachel: So, so Trask – Trask the Anthropologist – [laughs

Miles: [laughs]

Rachel: – not only creates this race of killer robots, but he specifically builds the FACTORY for the killer robots to ITSELF be a killer robot. 

Miles: I kind of feel like – this guy, like, everything in his house is killer-robot-themed. Like, he's got killer robot cereal bowls, like a killer robot bed – it's like one of those racecar beds but it's killer robot – 

Rachel: He must be so bad at parties. 

Miles: Oh jeez, maybe that's why he's so mad at everybody.

Rachel: He's also a TERRIBLE parent, because he's got a kid, who is going to come back. Now, the X-Men take out the Sentinels, and they go away for about 40 issues. But they come back in X-Men #57. At this point, Stan Lee's not writing anymore. Um, it's Roy Thomas on writing and Neil Adams on art and, it is gorgeous. Quick aside, Neil Adams can make things look sane that really aren't. 

Miles: Yeah, you kinda – it's kind of like how if Bela Lugosi, no matter what nonsense he says in a movie, you're like 'Yeah! Yeah I'd buy that, Bela Lugosi!'

Rachel: [crosstalk] You're thinking of Vincent Price.

Miles: [crosstalk] Oh, you're totally right. But I think Bela Lugosi counts too. 

 

(22:52)

Rachel: So, Bolivar Trask has a son named Larry. And, as is the way of comic books – 

Miles: I'm just going to jump in here. What kind of a downgrade is that, from Bolivar to LARRY? I mean, come on. Did-didn't your daddy love you, Larry?

Rachel: This is American assimilationism in practice, Miles. 

Miles: Oh, probably true. So Larry Trask –

Rachel: Now, if you have seen - or read Spider-Man, if you were aware of any legacy villains, you know exactly what I am going to say. Larry was along for part of the ride the first time, but he didn't really see how it resolved. All he saw was his dad dead, after a fight with the X-Men. 

Miles: "I will have my revenge, X-MEN," he probably said.

Rachel: Larry teams up with an anti-mutant judge to bring back the Sentinels, and this time he's got government sponsorship. He's not just eugh-a rogue anthropologist following in his father's footsteps.

Miles: And this is an important theme because the government cracking down on mutants? Like, I think that's when the themes really start to gel, once you realize that it's not just you're protecting people that hate and fear you, it's kind of protecting a country and a world and just, you know, these entrenched power structures that kind of wanna screw you over. So you're helping them, but really if they see you, then you're gonna be their enemy anyway. 

Rachel: Brief aside here – the government and the government stance on mutants comes up consistently in relation to the civil rights metaphor. And it’s one of the places where it works best but it's also one of the places where it most acutely breaks down. There's a great essay I tried to find before I came over here that I'm gonna find that I’m gonna link in the blog post attached to this about the ways that the – that mutants kind of fail as a civil rights metaphor, specifically just with regards to superpowers and the way that complicates that. There – there's actually a pair – a pair of essays. One of them I know is by David Brothers, and it's about a recent controversy involving the use of the term "the m-word" for mutant, um –

Miles: Right, yeah, that's definitely some charged language right there.

Rachel: [crosstalk] - this last year, but, it's a great, it's a great set of reads, and it's especially a good thematic link to talking about the Sentinels and government persecution of mutants. 

Miles: Cool, yeah, well, we'll link those on the blog. 

 

(24:45)

Rachel: Going back to Larry Trask: now, Larry's a smart dude. He is not – he is not gonna do his dad's robot apocalypse scenario, and he builds, he builds in a failsafe where he can mentally take control of any of the Sentinels. That should work, except Larry's also kinda crazy. He gets more and more fanatical. He decides that he doesn’t just want to stop the mutants, he wants to kill them all, and his judge buddy is finally like “NOPE! Nope, gotta stop you,” and in the process he rips off this medallion that Larry’s father gave him as a kid and made him promise to always wear. 

Miles: Do people just not question these things? It's like, hey, here's a big piece of Halloween jewelry, don't take it off, just, y'know, 'caaause?

Rachel: Well, you know, his dad's an anthropologist, he knows from ritualistic jewelry.

Miles: I – I figured he would've given him like a big metal toboggan cap.

Rachel: Weeeellll... turns out Larry – Larry Trask – is a mutant. 

Miles: And this medallion apparently something something Silver Age. 

Rachel: So it hid him from the Sentinels, but now they know, and they decide, y'know, “You're a mutant, we won't listen to you, we're just gonna follow the last command you gave when we thought you were human which is kill all the – ”

Miles: [crosstalk] “Give me some coffee” and so they just keep bringing him coffee again and again until the room's filled with coffee – nah, that's not what happens.

Rachel: It's kill all the mutants.

Miles: So how does this get resolved? How do the mutants not all get killed? 

Rachel: Oh my god. This is my FAVORITE resolution of a Silver Age story ever. So, the X-Men fight their way to them and they cannot take down the Sentinels. They can't take them on in a fair fight. And so Cyclops convinces the Sentinels – he, he's like he – “Y-y-you can – you have to eradicate all mutants, right? But they'll keep happening, they'll keep being born. You have to eradicate the source of mutation. And we all know that's radiation, and where does radiation come from?”

Miles: “The....sun....?”

Rachel: Yeah. Cyclops stops the Sentinels by convincing them to go. Fight. The sun. 

Miles: I kinda – you guys remember that scene in Monty Python and the Search for the Holy Grail where Lance – I think it's Lancelot – he's just, like, hitting a castle with a sword repeatedly? I'd imagine it's kind of like that, but with more melting. 

Rachel: That's how that resolves. And then, you know, of course the Sentinels are gone and we never seen them again – except that's not true. They are the source of like half the splintered dark futures, again including Days of Future Past. They are gonna come back and come back and come back. They're showing up currently in Uncanny X-Men. They will be around forever. 

Miles: And, I mean, I think they're [sighs], they're ridiculously compelling, I mean, at first glance they're just big dumb robots, whatever. But what they represent? They're like the, you know, oh, no matter how good you guys are, no matter how much you X-Men convince humanity that you are good folks, there are always gonna be those people who are so scared of you that they're gonna build giant robots to fight you. 

Rachel: They're also a chance for the X-Men to show off. When you are a superhero who is a good guy, you pull your punches always – when you're fighting a person. And with the X-Men especially, and especially the X-Men who have REALLY destructive powers that, that should be fatal, you don't really get a lot of chance to see them let loose, and the Sentinels give them an opportunity to just go full bore.

Miles: Right, cause y'know if you're fighting robots, hey, blow the hell out of them and you can –

Rachel: [crosstalk] Well, especially like five-story tall robots. 

Miles: Mm-hmm. You know it's kind of like how in the Ninja Turtles cartoon they turn the foot soldiers into robots. This is very much why again, Night of the Sentinels, episode 1, you get to see Cyclops and Gambit and Rogue being truly awesome because there are these big metal dudes exploding everywhere. 

 

(27:44) 

Rachel: Those are the iconic Silver Age villains, but there are some others who've really stuck around and who – who've kept coming back enough that I think they're worth at least touching on.

Miles: Right, so we were going through our big, uh, Silver Age list of villains, and uh probably --

Rachel: [crosstalk] There are a lot of them. 

Miles: There are. But probably the one that shows up uh the most aside from the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants – probably I-I think even substantially more than the Sentinels – is the Juggernaut.

Rachel: Now the Juggernaut isn't a mutant, is he? 

Miles: No, and he is.. a dude named Cain Marko. He's Charles Xavier's brother. 

Rachel: He's Charles Xavier's brother Cain. 

Miles: I mean, you know, don't read anything into that everybody, we're sure that's a coincidence. 

Rachel: The Silver Age was a bastion of subtlety and taste, y'all. 

Miles: YUP. So, you know, Cain Marko, he's – he's sort of a dick from the start. Well here's some backstory, it's actually kind of great: the first time the Juggernaut shows up, Professor Xavier's like “Put up all these defenses! And now, while the defenses hold the Juggernaut off, let me tell you his entire backstory, slowly!”

Rachel: And this, in every single medium where the Juggernaut is a thing, they do that story.

Miles: [crosstalk] Right.

Rachel: Where, we're gonna put up a bunch of defense and while he breaks through all of them, we're gonna do a whole bunch of flashbacks.

Miles: This actually happened in an episode of Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends, which was my personal first exposure to the Juggernaut. 

Rachel: It happens in that, it happens in the nineties X-Men cartoon, it happens in X-Men Evolution – this is the Juggernaut intro story. 

Miles: So this is th – the start of this fine tradition, so, the real short version is - Xavier's dad died... he was the radiation researcher guy working on nuclear stuff, um, his – uh, his dad's coworker, uh, Kurt Marko ends up marrying his mom and thus becomes his stepfather.

Rachel: In some continuities he was responsible for the accident that killed Xavier's dad because of COURSE nothing is ever straightforward. 

Miles: Kurt already had a son named Cain and --

Rachel: [crosstalk] Cain's huge, Cain's a dick.

Miles: Basically. And he's very jelly – jealous of Xavier, because Xavier's telepathy, uh, came out kind of early for a mutant and he was just, like, good at everything and Cain got really mad about this, became his rival, they ended up in the Korean War together, got trapped in a cave because Cain was running away and there was a cave. 

Rachel: Yeah, Cain – Cain deserts, Xavier chases after him, they end up in this cave, Cain gets trapped there, Xavier leaves –

Miles: Whoa, whoa, whoa, you're-you're skipping the most important part which is that it's the cave that houses the CRIMSON BANDS OF CYTTORAK! Which I love how – 

Rachel: I was getting there. 

Miles: Oh, okay, well, the point is – Xavier, Xavier's like oh wait I've heard of this place...from somewhere...

Rachel: You know, AROUND. Now, Cyttorak is from the hardcore magic end of the Marvel universe. Like, this is basically Doctor Strange territory. 

Miles: Yeah, and so, um, there's – there's a gem and, uh, Cain picks it up and he starts turning into something creepy and then Xavier leaves and Cain's presumably trapped under rubble for years, but, it turns him into this thing called the Juggernaut, which is essentially a dude who was the same dude he was before but really big and covered in a weird brown and red costume. 

Rachel: He's also unstoppable, he's functionally a yeah, a literally, a juggernaut of, of rage, um, Cain -

Miles: Actually Xavier, uh, pulls the definition of the word Juggernaut from the dictionary in describing him at one point. 

Rachel: Charles Xavier, ladies and gentlemen.

Miles: [laughs] 

Rachel: Um, Cain isn't the only Juggernaut. The Juggernaut, is, yeah, anyone can in theory become this given the bands and given the blessing of this elder god. 

Miles: Right uh, Colossus does at one point. 

Rachel: Right. But, but Cain's the one now and he has a HUGE revenge beef with Xavier so he decides he's gonna, he's gonna barge in. Now part of the Juggernaut deal is that he gets a magic hat that keeps him, uh, that makes him immune to telepathy. 

Miles: We're coming back to that theme again, guys. This helmet is amazing. if you're not familiar with what it looks like, just do a quick Google search and be astounded. He looked kind of like Ram Man from He-Man but possibly even less cool. 

Rachel: Yeah, all of the supervillains have the same haberdasher and he is [whispers] amazing. 

Miles: The guy he – I'm sure he's put like a bunch of additions onto his house, he keeps getting work. So, the Juggernaut, you know, whatever, they fight him, they end up, uh, this time as most others having to pull off his helmet so Xavier can mind-blast him. Sooo, here we have this character, right? So he's based on magic, he doesn't really have – he's not really a part of many of the themes of X-Men other than 'I'm mad at my brother,' which is not much of a theme. 

Rachel: [crosstalk] Yeah, his- his- his- his entire motivation most of the times he shows up is that he's got a huge hate-on for Xavier, he tries to break into the m-mansion, he tries to level everything, he's incredibly boring. But he does accomplish one thing, and like – like the Sentinels, who give the X-Men a chance to break free and use their powers, Juggernaut –

Miles: He, uh, [sighs] we were trying to think of like, why does Juggernaut keep coming back? What is so special about him? And i think what it is is he – so he's this big unstoppable dude, he is like a single force. He's like, you know, in an RPG when you fight the big boss, basically all the X-Men, they have to A) use their powers in unorthodox ways to stop him, but more importantly B) work together in – in or- unorthodox ways. And that's really one of the things that makes a superhero team book so cool to read.

Rachel: The X-Men are all about teamwork. They are all about figuring out ways to use their powers. Their iconic moves are largely teamwork-based. There's actually – there's a really awesome Adam WarRock song off of his X-Men EP that's about exac- called Teamwork. It's about exactly that. 

Miles: Uh, anyway, we're gonna see the Juggernaut come back a number of times. Now, one thing um [sighs] we also should mention, one thing the Juggernaut has in common with all of the members of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants except for Mastermind, all of these characters – Magneto, Quicksilver, the Scarlet Witch, even Toad and the Juggernaut – they all end up as heroes, at least for a time, working with the X-Men. 

Rachel: Or at least going back and forth. Um, yeah, Juggernaut as a hero is, um, that happened in a run of the comics that's generally, y'know, justly reviled – this is Chuck Austen's run in the early aughts. Um, and that's actually a pretty cool, y'know, side arc to it. He also hooks up with She-Hulk during that. 

Miles: Although they did retcon that away 'cause apparently a bunch of She-Hulk fans were very offended. 

Rachel: Aww. 

Miles: Yeah, well. Um, but yeah, and so [sighs] y'know, we'll see this again and again and again, I mean later on Rogue – she starts as a villain and she's one of the most iconic X-Men out there. 

 

(33:15) 

Rachel: Uh, speaking of Rogue, something I should have brought up when we were talking about the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants is there's one definitive member who doesn't actually show up in the Silver Age, and that is Mystique. 

Miles: Right, Raven Darkholme. She's a shapeshifter, she can impersonate other people, chances are if anybody does anything out of character in the Marvel Universe ever, she's probably Mystique. 

Rachel: Um, or will be retconned to have been. Um, Mystique is actually going to make her first appearance in the late 70s. Uh, she showed up for the first time, I believe, in – man I wrote this down – yes, in Ms. Marvel #16 in 1978. She'll make her way over to the X-books from there and in some cases she'll have been retconned to be part of the Brotherhood from the start but she'll become their definitive member and often their leader. 

Miles: Right, um, and, you know, she as well even spent a little bit of time as a hero, and so, why does this happen? So I'm thinking – 

Rachel: Well, they're all mutants, for starts. 

Miles: Well, they're all mutants yes, but in terms of villains turning around to end up as heroes either permanently or temporarily, I think a lot of that we see its roots in X-Men #4, where Quicksilver – essentially the reason he's with the Brotherhood is because he is – he's misinformed, he's seen a subset of humanity – these generic evil Europeans, who are not necessarily representative – so he's kinda got the wrong idea, and once he gets the right idea – he- he starts to see things the way the X-Men do and they tend to have open arms when it comes to outcasts 'cause they know what it's like to be a mutant in a world that sucks towards mutants.

Rachel: I'm not sure that's entirely the wrong idea considering that humanity then proceeds to build giant killer robots to take them out, but it brings up something that's – that's a theme and it's gonna be a theme on and off throughout, which is mutant solidarity and mutant identity politics. The idea that ultimately what a lot of the villains are fighting for too is the survival of mutants, and their ability to survive safely and with dignity and agency. 

Miles: Right, and so because a lot of these conflicts are not like “I want to destroy the world!” versus “Hey, I wanna have the world not be destroyed.” It's more of a “This is my perspective on this shitty situation” versus “This is my perspective on this shitty situation.”  There's a lot more --

Rachel: [crosstalk] And in – in the case of Xavier and Magneto, ultimately what- what it turns out is that they're really both wrong. 

Miles: Uh, yeah, I mean, you know, th-their ideas are essentially extreme and extreme and opposite poles and they're thus incomplete because they miss out on nuance, but y'know, regardless, we're gonna see a lot of these villains show up as X-Men later on. 

 

(35:36)

Rachel: You know who doesn't show up as an X-Man who's one of the – the Silver Age villains that I – I really love? 

Miles: Are we talking about hypno-Pteranodon? 

Rachel: We are talking about hypno-Pteranodon. We are talking about Sauron, and I want to talk about Sauron's behind-the-scenes origin because, so – Sauron is a mutant energy vampire. He's a – he's basically a Jekyll-Hyde myth. He's a scientist named Karl Lykos who can eat mutant energy and when he does he turns and the original plan, um, that – that Roy Thomas proposed was that he would do this – he'd turn into a giant bat. 

Miles: Like a vampire.

Rachel: Now, this was coming out in the sixties, and that was when the Comics Code Authority still had a lot of power, so they brought this idea to the CCA, and the CCA was like “Hell no. Vampires aren't allowed, that's too close.” So Roy Thomas came up with the BEST goddamn solution ever, which is  “You know what? Screw it! He's not gonna turn into a bat – he's gonna turn into a Pteranodon.”

Miles: I think that's actually way better and given the choice, I would be a dinosaur-vampire. 

Rachel: I would – I would, I really wish this had caught on. I wish that, like, pteranodon vampires had become A THING.

Miles: It would be like the latest y'know, teen movie, like, y’know in Twilight, there's whatshisface and he's all sparkly and then he just turns into a Brontosaurus. 

Rachel: Once they did that they decided that they were basically gonna throw him into the Savage Land, which is... [long pause]

Miles: So the real short version is the Savage Land is this hidden place in, I believe, Antarctica, that sort – that's like, uh, a sort of slice out of dinosaur times. Like, it's this steamy, tropical, with dinosaurs everywhere –

Rachel: [crosstalk] It's not though, and there's actually – there's a great letter in one of the Silver Age letter columns where someone just takes Lee to task for how utterly utterly utterly paleontologically inaccurate the Savage Land is. It's, it's like, it's literally, it co – it covers y'know, millions and millions of years, spans eras and eras, but it's a bunch of cavemen and dinosaurs and sabretooth tigers and magic and it's ridiculous and that's where Sauron hangs out. 

 

(37:12)

Miles: Right. Um, so, you have him, you have in the Silver Age, you know, some other villains who are gonna come back but are really not gonna make a big dent – like you have the Vanisher, you see him a bunch. He's a dude that can essentially teleport but they make it sound like he's vanishing instead. You have the Mimic, who can absorb the powers of any mutants near him. You have Banshee who has this, like, sonic scream and is a jewel thief at first. 

Rachel: And Banshee's gonna come back in Giant-Size X-Men #1 in the seventies relaunch as, actually, a member of the X-Men. Mimic also joins the team briefly but um, Banshee, again, is mostly known as one of the X-Men. He's another villain who switched sides. 

Miles: Right. So, as far as, uh, Silver Age villains joe- go, especially early Silver Age villains, I'd say those are probably, uh, the big ones. Those are the ones that either thematically tie in, or at least, you know, have something cool about them like the Juggernaut that makes them appealing to writers and presumably readers. 

 

(38:01)

Rachel: Now this actually leads really well into our first reader question, which is, um, from, I think – Ben – Ben Gully on Twitter, who asks – he's franzferdinand2, I think, um, who asks "Are there early villains that fell by the wayside? Is there a difference between those that did and didn't stick?"

Miles: There ABSOLUTELY are. Uh, so we see villains like the Ogre! and Kukulcan! who you've probably never heard of, and honestly, you don't need to. 

Rachel: [growls] El Tigre!

Miles: I like that name, at least. Um, and, you know, you have uh, [sighs] I don't think they show up ever again – you have villains like the Locust who – you know, his most recent appearance was actually in 2002 but the dude has shown up like five times ever and has never really made a dent. He just, you know, there was nothing special or memorable about him. And then you have villains like Lucifer, who I think we briefly alluded to in our previous episode. 

Rachel: Lucifer's basically, like, he looks like Magneto but with a squid – uh, a squid-shaped bag over his head instead of a helmet. 

Miles: Might be an upgrade, hard to say. But –

Rachel: Not an upgrade. 

Miles: Here's this character who you'd think would be really important. Like, he is the original reason supposedly that Xavier lost his legs – 

Rachel: Well, the original – this has been retconned SO many different ways since that [skeptically] hmm.

Miles: Right, but I mean, you know, he was set up as like “Hey, this guy's gonna be a big deal.” Like, the X-Men and the Avengers end up clashing, uh, going up against him. But he kind of ends up just fizzling out despite his, you know, seeming importance initially – despite the fact that he shows up a couple times in really big ways. 

Rachel: He turns out to be an alien, he's just, he's – he's all over the place, they never really fig – they – they build him up as important but never really figure out why, and he doesn't – he doesn't make it out of the Silver Age. 

Miles: And I think what that is, is y'know, there's not really a good X-Men thematic elevator pitch. I mean, you know, with Magneto there's the philosophy thing, with the Juggernaut there's the brother thing, and the have-to-team-up-to-fight-him thing. You know, the Brotherhood speak for themselves, but this guy? Y'know, y-y-y-you'd sort of, uh, go back and forth and back and forth just trying to come up with a way to describe him interestingly. He doesn't show up, so, yeah, I think really what it is is it's the um, the thematic relevance that makes a villain stick or not. 

 

(39:58)

Miles: So, we have another question. Uh, this is from Adam P. Knave.

Rachel: Also on Twitter.

Miles: Uh-huh. So, ah, this about a villain we haven't mentioned who probably falls into the falls-by-the-wayside category, but: “How could Unus the Untouchable be alive? Wouldn't he starve to death or something?”

Rachel: Um, Unus the Untouchable actually doesn't fall by the wayside. He is someone who comes back periodically as a minor character but he's never – he's never been a really big-deal iconic villain. The answer to this is that Unus can actually control his powers. Um, he's got a – a forcefield, that – that makes him, you know, as – as his name implies – untouchable. Um, originally, his force – he says it – it only repels threats. It's somehow intention-sensitive, but basically after that one line, it's treated as something he can deliberately control and that's actually how the X-Men stop him the first time. Um, Beast builds a ray gun that can amp up his powers so much that he can't eat and he can't touch anything and he finally agrees to go straight as a way to get them to reverse it. 

 

(40:50) 

Rachel: So, uh, someone asked and I – I didn't get the username when I pasted this, I'm sorry, um, it's "I have never been able to make sense of Sauron's backstory. Could you try?"

Miles: So the answer is...sort of. Um [sighs]. One of the things we – that was our goal in creating this podcast is we want to attempt to help make sense of what's a very complex and convoluted mythology around thousands and thousands of comics, and many movies and cartoons. 

Rachel: Now, there is a lot of that continuity. And a lot of it matters. But sometimes? 

Miles: Sometimes it – it really – it really doesn't. Like, you know, you'll have things like, uh, Magento's backstory and the deal with him and concentration camps, and that stuff is gonna matter. It doesn't really matter that Karl Lykos was essentially bitten by a mutant pterodactyl because that's not really gonna factor in later. A lot of what this podcast is requiring us to do is to sort of filter through what doesn't matter to get to what does. 

Rachel: What you need to know about Sauron – the stuff that'll affect your ability to understand him as a character, understand his appearances, and understand his impact on the X-Men is that he is a scientist who turns into a hypno-Pterodactyl. That's really it. 

Miles: [wistfully] And I wish I was too. 

Rachel: We – I think we've all got a hypno-Pterodactyl inside of us, just waiting to come out. That-that's the true meaning of Sauron. 

 

(42:06) 

Miles: And Christmas. So, uh, with that, I think that's about what we have for, uh, for this week. 

Rachel: Uh, remember to check us out online, we are at rachelandmiles.com. The podcast – we've got the podcast there – there are also panels and links that we ref – that we, uh, referenced this week. We're also available on iTunes, stitch – and Stitcher. 

Miles: Yeah, go ahead and download us and please, please, uh, rate and review us on iTunes and Stitcher or anywhere else that's relevant. 

Rachel: Now next week Miles is going to be out of town. He's gonna be in Chicago at C2E2 so if you're there, stop by the Dark Horse Comics booth and say hi. I will be holding down the fort and I will be joined by emergency backup co-host Chris Sims, um, who you might know from War Rocket Ajax, Movie Fighters, Comics Alliance, and elsewhere, and we are going to be taking a break from the Silver Age to talk about the 1990s X-Men animated series. 

Miles: Okay. Thanks again, uh, to all of you for listening. Tell your friends. We love you all. Thanks again to Bobby Roberts for producing and Rachel will see you in one week and I'll see you in two. 

 

[Outro: Excerpt of X-Men: The Animated Series theme song]