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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Excalibur: Mojo Mayhem

"Mojo Mayhem"
1989

In a Nutshell 
The X-Babies enlist Kitty's help saving them from Mojo. 

Writer: Chris Claremont
Penciler: Arthur Adams
Inkers: Terry Austin, Bob Wiacek, and co. 
Letterers: Tom Orzechowski & Jade Moede
Colorist: Glynis Oliver
Editor: Terry Kavanaugh 
Assistant Editor: Kellp P. Corverse
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
On Mojoworld, Ricochet Rita and the X-Babies run from Mojo's troops. They're chased into a massive building housing the entrance to the Forbidden Zone, and the ensuing fight collapses the structure, seemingly killing them, much to Mojo's dismay. However, Major Domo realizes the X-Babies have merely been dimensionally displaced, and Mojo tasks the Agent with retrieving them and forcibly signing them to long-term contracts. Meanwhile, Kitty Pryde is aboard a train bound for London, having attended a concert in Edinburgh, when the X-Babies suddenly appear. They introduce themselves and explain they've fled Mojoworld for Earth, but need Kitty's help finding Rita. Kitty realizes the best way to do that is to call on Excalibur, so they go to a local police station to call her teammates. However, Kitty discovers the phone lines are out, and when Psylocke signs a document offered by the officer on duty, the officer transforms into the Agent, absorbing Psylocke and adding her power to his own. Kitty and the X-Babies escape by stealing a car and head for London, losing Havok to the Agent along the way. In London, the Agent manages to absorb  more of the X-Babies, until only Storm and Longshot are left with Kitty.


Still unable to reach Excalibur telepathically or by phone, Kitty, Storm and Longshot crash a televised royal wedding Kitty knows Meggan would be watching, hoping to attract Excalibur's attention. However, the priest turns out to be the Agent in disguise, and attacks the remaining X-Babies. Just then, Excalibur and WHO arrive and intervene. During the battle, Longshot and Storm manage to get a hold of the contracts the Agent tricked the other X-Babies into signing, and when Kitty phases their signatures off the documents, the Agent loses their powers, restoring the X-Babies. In the aftermath, the Agent is revealed to be a mind-controlled Rita in disguise,. Mojo appears, saying that while the X-Babies are free, Rita remains under his contract. The X-Babies agree to return and work for Mojo in exchange for Rita's freedom. However, Rita refuses to abandon the kids, and returns to Mojoworld with them. Captain Britain is dismayed that the villain seemingly won the day, but Kitty points out that while Mojo got the kids, he also got the kids, and on Mojoworld, an increasingly distraught Mojo is faced with a relentless stream of requests from the X-Babies.

Firsts and Other Notables
After debuting as their own entity (and not just the X-Men transformed into little kids) in X-Men Annual #12, the X-Babies return in this issue, picking up where they left off in that story (running from Mojo, with Ricochet Rita, Longshot's one-time love interest from his miniseries, in tow).

Judith Rassendyll, the Manhattanite-turned-royal whom Nightcrawler rescued from Arcade in Uncanny X-Men #204, thereby helping ease his existential crisis triggered by his encounter with the Beyonder, makes a brief appearance this issue, as she is the subject of the royal wedding Meggan is excited to watch and which Excalibur crashes at the climax of the story. Claremont originally had larger plans for the character, involving Nightcrawler's origins, which were ultimately scuttled, but this at least affords the character some closure after her earlier appearances.


Kitty is revealed to be a fan of the band Cats Laughing, which is a real Minneapolis-based folk rock band from the late 80s and early 90s (they previously appeared as Murderworld simulacrums in issue #5). Amongst its members are best-selling sci-fi/fantasy authors Emma Bull and Steven Brust, both of whom I've had the pleasure to meet at 4th Street Fantasy, an annual sci-fi/fantasy writing conference in the Twin Cities. Presumably, Claremont is a fan. 


This issue is the first (and, I believe, only) appearance of Major Domo's counterpart, Minor Domo, as well as the Agent.


This is a square-bound, prestige format one-shot, similar to the Excalibur Special Edition that launched the series. It is essentially the series' annual for 1989, as for both Excalibur and Wolverine, the two prestige X-titles (in terms of format), Marvel released these kind of square-bound "bookshelf" issues annually for a number of years in lieu of the traditional extra-sized annuals, printed on regular paper, the other series received.   

Art Adams provides the pencils for this issue, which is presumably why he didn't draw X-Men Annual #13.

The Chronology Corner
A footnote places this issue as occurring in and around the events of issues #10 and #11, though Captain Britain appears in it in full costume, despite his recent woes in that department (which Jason No-Prized away in a comment to an earlier Excalibur post as being the result of image inducer he's using to protect his image on national TV). 

A Work in Progress
The troops chasing the X-Babies at the beginning of the story are carrying branding rods with a "tm" at the end, which is a nice touch. 


Entering the Forbidden Zone, the X-Babies costumes change to reflect the current looks of their relative inspirations.


The train Kitty rides on this issue is the Highland Flyer, which is the same train that was sent to the alternate Nazi universe by Widget. We also see that Kitty has a Lila Cheney jacket.

She says she's figured out how to sleep like Wolverine.


Which begs the question (which has been asked before), now that Kitty is phased unless she concentrates, how does she sleep? Ordinarily, we can ignore such a question, but this issue has her in bed, ready to sleep at the same time she's noting that she has to concentrate to stay solid, and later, shows her getting kicked off the train when she phases and the train races past her, which is presumably what would have happened once she falls asleep and loses concentration.


She also says she has to be careful when she sneezes for fear of blasting herself apart to the point that she can't pull herself back together.


Hinted at in issue #10, it's revealed that Kitty has taken Widget back to the lighthouse, but is having a hard time repairing him.
Kitty has a hard time driving at night without her glasses, and mentions she's considered getting contacts but worries that sometime they may not phase with her.


Kitty is able to phase the X-Babies signatures off the documents they signed. That's either an absolutely brilliant or stupid use of her power. I can't decide.


I Love the 80s
Kitty is reading an Anne Rice novel, The Mummy, which was published in 1989.  

Somewhat unsettlingly, the still-underage Kitty once again spends a chunk of this issue running around in her underwear, though it's at least not presented as titillating and makes a relative amount of sense, as she is in bed when the X-Babies find her. 


Kitty and the X-Babies commandeer a car filled with comic creators heading to a signing, including Chris Claremont, John Bolton, Ann Nocenti and Mike Lake.


Judith references Princess Di and Sarah "Fergie" Ferguson, the Duchess of York. 

The Reference Section
The entrance to the Forbidden Zone is a massive structure comprised of physical representations of Marvel and DC crossover events; nearby is a crumbling house, with a sign saying "House of Ideas", the common nickname for Marvel.


Inside, the entire structure is revealed to be entirely supported by a smaller structure, the House of Stan (Lee) and Jack (Kirby).


Artistic Achievements
I probably don't pay as much attention to the lettering as I should, but the point at which Orz gives way to Moede in this issue is noticeably jarring.

Young Love
The Kitty/Alistair/Rachel triangle is acknowledged.


Teebore's Take
You know what, I kinda enjoyed this one. Having never read it before, given the title, I was frankly dreading it, as a little Mojo tends to go a long way, and the title implied a lot of time spent with the big glob of ranting flesh. Thankfully, Claremont seems to realize this, as Mojo himself isn't in this any more than he was the backup story in X-Men Annual #12. The X-Babies themselves are still bearable, and work well in this story, essentially creating an opportunity for Kitty to mourn the loss of the X-Men as she fights to protect pint-sized versions of them. Even though the "death" of the X-Men is the thing upon which Excalibur is built, that's a notion that the series itself hasn't really taken much time to explore, so using it as the emotional backdrop for this story is both effective and appreciated.

Of course, this is still a story featuring Mojo and the X-Babies, so, not surprisingly, it's also pretty whacky and a bit ridiculous. As is the case when Mojo is around, there's the usual bits of satire and industry commentary, from the House of Ideas to Mojo's efforts to lock the X-Babies into a contract, to Claremont himself appearing in the story. But like Arcade, Mojo and Mojoverse characters probably fit the more whimsical tone of Excalibur better than they do X-Men (plus, Excalibur having been formed when Rachel escaped from Mojo gives them a historical connection to the villain as well), and that, along with the emotional backdrop of the X-Babies helping Kitty mourn the X-Men (along with Art Adams' art, of course) help prevent this from being the hot mess I feared it would be. 

Next Issue
Tomorrow, X-Factor Annual #4 wraps up "Atlantis Attacks" for the X-books. Next week, the X-Men take on Master Mold in Uncanny X-Men #247.

22 comments:

  1. Much as I like early EXCALIBUR, I'm not a big fan of this one for a few reasons: One, it involves Mojo. Two, it's primarily a Kitty story. And three, Claremont is in "Full Claremont" mode with regards to the writing tics I don't like.

    But it looks nice. Even Austin's inks look better on Adams here than in any of their previous collaborations, unless all the pics from your scans are from the "Wiacek & Co." pages, which seems unlikely.

    A footnote about Judith might've been helpful, though. Having only read UXM 204 maybe twice, I had no idea she was someone who'd appeared previously until learning that from comments on this very site some time back.

    Also -- as you note, the X-Babies are transformed into the characters' then-modern looks before coming to Earth. I wonder if Kitty found it odd that X-Baby Storm and Psylocke were dressed in outfits they'd never worn while they were alive? Hmmm...

    Oh, and that Forbidden Zone bit is quite a scathing commentary on Marvel at the time. I wonder how it got through editorial? Unless they all agreed with Claremont on the subject...!

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  2. Minor Domo previously appeared in X-Men Annual 12.

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  3. I just love the Inhuman antenna with Kirby dots over the door to the House of Stan and Jack. Does the Evolutionary War bit on the outer side look a bit like the Wundagore Base?

    To me Judith Rassendyll is an important character in the X-lore completely courtesy of her popping up in one of my first-read Uncanny X-Men...s. "Related even to the British Monarchs" though... of course they all are related to each other! The WWI-era Monarchs of the Brits, Russia and Germany were all cousins to each other and nearly identical-looking with each other at that. She too is a Disney princess nowadays, though her marriage arrangements here seem to be going more along the direction of state policy here. Need more info on that. What exactly did she say about Di and Fergie, because there is a massive potential for irony right there?

    Curious thing about those ten-ish first-reads of mine (199-209): love Judith, love Freedom Force, love Fenris, love Maddie Pryor, loooove Nimrod, love the Inner Circle, love Lady Deathstrike and Reese, Cole & Macon, love Jessie Drew... and hate Secret Wars II. A true testament for the crappyness of it.

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  4. You can see the shift in inking styles throughout the issue. The first part, definitely has looks the best, I think. Austin's inks are very detailed. The second half of the book, more or less, still looks good, but you tell which pages Austin inked. Wiacek's pages don't have quite the detail that Austin's do, but it is still a great looking issue overall.

    "Which begs the question (which has been asked before), now that Kitty is phased unless she concentrates, how does she sleep?"

    My fanwank: after the events of Fantastic Four vs. The Xmen, Psylocke used her powers to set up Kitty with a telepathic mechanism wherein her mind subconsciously keeps her focusing on staying solid while she sleeps. Of course, that doesn't make sense, since Psylocke could then use her powers to have Kitty subconsciously stay solid all the time, but hey, comic book science!

    "Kitty has a hard time driving at night without her glasses"

    Good that CC remembers that particular sub-plot. He might be the only one who does/did.

    "That's either an absolutely brilliant or stupid use of her power."

    Given the silly and fun nature of the story, I'll go with brilliant.

    "Somewhat unsettlingly, the still-underage Kitty once again spends a chunk of this issue running around in her underwear"

    It's only for a few pages though, no? If anything, she and Jubilee can now exchange notes on how to mix and match random pieces of X-men costumes. And argue over whose outfit is more fug.

    "nearby is a crumbling house, with a sign saying "House of Ideas", the common nickname for Marvel."

    Actually, the crumbling house is the New Universe...

    This is just lots of fun. Yeah, it is silly and inconsequential, but it's a fun read and entertaining too. And it is nice seeing Kitty get a bit of closure.

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  5. Oh, right: "essentially the series' annual for '89", but isn't, so instead of Atlantis Attacking, there's only scathing satire at Atlantis Attacking. I smell behind-the-scenes buy-and-sell, because Uncanny not participating in the Annual event probably was a no-go. "Can I do the Excalibur as a Special Edition then, you can get any hack to do the Uncanny Annual?"

    The satire takes an ironic turn though when the mini X-Men go through a portal and change in the process more or less, cue to Uncanny...

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  6. Thanks for the shout-out (and my No Prize).

    This issue was bought for me by my then-best friend for my ... 11th birthday, it must have been? So it will always have a special place in my heart. (Also helped that it was a sequel to Annual #12, one of my first X-Men comics.) Glad to see it get a positive review here.

    (Just re-connected with the aforementioned friend on Facebook last week, BTW ... after 20 years!)

    "I wonder if Kitty found it odd that X-Baby Storm and Psylocke were dressed in outfits they'd never worn while they were alive?"

    ... That is hilarious. I never even thought about it.

    "and that Forbidden Zone bit is quite a scathing commentary on Marvel at the time. I wonder how it got through editorial? Unless they all agreed with Claremont on the subject...!"

    *** The earlier story in the X-Annual was pretty scathing as well, if not more so ... with all the "quality, not quantity" stuff. I think it's great that Claremont put stuff like that in the comics.

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  7. Oh, and it being an Excalibur X-amination, before anyone asks - and fearful that no one would even think of asking - Rachel Summers, the girl spreadeaglin' on the cover of #199, being the born-again Phoenix and my very first X-Men related sight, and featuring heavily in the plot lines until #209, falls definitely in the love category, and I consider your "I hate Rachel" club to be really be an "I love Rachel" club.

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  8. Funnily, Jason, while covering a continuity error on Captain's costume in the comments for X-amination of Ex #7, you seem to have done one of your own on how you got your copy of Mojo Mayhem: bought off the shelf because of the X-babies on the cover there, as a birthday present from a friend here. Unless the friend did the buying off the shelf as a birthday present as per preferences, of course, which would be a sound choice really during this age of Annuals.

    (making this note hilariously reminds me of a Tarkovsky film about someone who guides people to somewhere also known as the forbidden "Zone")

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  9. Claremontisms: [pastes entire issue] I mean, really.

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  10. Adam's Kitty seems to have changed a lot since he drew her in the X-Men Annual #9. Her face is so thin and elongated. I dunno, I kinda liked the original depiction better, but whatever.

    I have always found Kitty's love for Cat's Laughing to be deeply annoying for reasons I can't quite articulate.

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  11. Teemu -- "'Can I do the Excalibur as a Special Edition then, you can get any hack to do the Uncanny Annual?'"

    In Terry Austin's defense, I believe he's said that Claremont specifically offered the Annual to him.


    Ben -- "I have always found Kitty's love for Cat's Laughing to be deeply annoying for reasons I can't quite articulate."

    I can agree with this. For me it's sort of, "Okay, Chris -- we get it. You like the band." Same thing with his airplane fetish.

    John Byrne has occasionally spoken of this, challenging anyone to read the first hundred issues of FANTASTIC FOUR and come away with any idea of Stan Lee's and Jack Kirby's hobbies and interests, which he believes is impossible. I've seen him counterpoint that challenge with Mark Gruenwald's CAPTAIN AMERICA, pointing out that two of Gruenwald's interests were professional wrestling and snakes, both of which feature heavily into the early part of his CAP. Gru also had Cap show an uncharacteristic interest in the Talking Heads, Gru's own favorite band. I love Gru's CAPTAIN AMERIcA -- it's my favorite run on the character -- but I see what Byrne is getting at, and I think the idea applies to Claremont and several other writers, as well.

    Of course Byrne's interests have clearly found their way into his work too, so this may be a case of the pot, with its unhealthy fixation on May/December romances, calling the kettle black -- but I think the point remains. If Kitty was into a fictional band, it would be one thing. Somehow, for me, the fact that this fictional character is very much into a real life band makes the character seem more fake than if she'd followed a made-up band.

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  12. Teebore, I forgot to say, cool that you met Emma Bull! I'd be curious to meet her myself.

    (She has commmented on her blog that because of Claremont, a large segment of comic-book fans think that she is only a fictional character.)

    I think I already posted in a comment to a different entry the long chain of Cat's Laughing/Emma Bull references in Claremont's comics, so I won't bother putting that here.

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  13. If only it was that Chris liked the band, but them being his personal acquaintances makes the whole thing feel like it's only one "Our new album The Dani Subplot is out now" line short of being a hijacking of a thing he was paid to do and using it to advertise someone on his own account. The Wild Cards thing on the Frisco beach has a bit of the same airs.

    About the planes though, I love him doing that stuff. I don't want any counter-factual generic plane thing by an uninvested person making it to the text, if there is a chance for "Usually when any of the three engines of DeHavilland suddenly gets cut off, the kerosine is automatically routed to the still-going engines in forty-five seconds. Unfortunately Rogue... does not have that time."

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  14. I can't say the plugs for bands and books in Claremont's comics have ever bothered me. (It's not as if he's the only guy to do something like that. Peter David puts in lots of plugs in his stories as well.)

    Considering that creators like Claremont see very little of the tremendous financial rewards that are reaped by the vast crop of big-budget film adaptations of their work, plugging an obscure band for three pages seems like an indulgence that's well within reason.

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  15. Hilariously the only plugathon that has managed to annoy me, largely because of me recognizing it a plug, was Peter David continuously bringing up Twin Peaks during his early green mean Hulk period.

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  16. Jason: Considering that creators like Claremont see very little of the tremendous financial rewards that are reaped by the vast crop of big-budget film adaptations of their work

    Oh yes, as franchises go, Claremont is near the head of the line for the un-dues. I too would rather have seen the earnings go more to his direction and less to be pumped to the corporate raiders later on and have the movie rights sold in the process (for peanuts, I gather) all around so that Marvel now has slim changes for a proper cinematic universe and even goes on allegedly to ruin the regular one for just to not have the existence of the comic book advertise the other guys' movies.

    "He's dead... wrapped in adamaaaantium! Now don't bother to go see the Fox movies."

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  17. I think it just is that this seems like a band that no teenage girl would have been into but I guess the argument could be made that Kitty's kind of a nerd so maybe she WOULD be into a band led by a science fiction/fantasy author rather than, say, Duran Duran or whatever.

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  18. @Matt: A footnote about Judith might've been helpful, though.

    It certainly wouldn't have hurt, though arguably Judith was something of an Easter Egg anyway; you didn't really need to know who she was to understand the story.

    I wonder if Kitty found it odd that X-Baby Storm and Psylocke were dressed in outfits they'd never worn while they were alive? Hmmm...

    Ha! Good point.

    @Anonymoous: Minor Domo previously appeared in X-Men Annual 12.

    Huh. I don't remember that at all.

    @Teemu: Does the Evolutionary War bit on the outer side look a bit like the Wundagore Base?

    I think so, yeah.

    @wwk5d: You can see the shift in inking styles throughout the issue.

    Definitely. And it's jarring at times.

    Actually, the crumbling house is the New Universe...

    Yeah, I got that screwed up in my head somehow.

    @Jason: I think it's great that Claremont put stuff like that in the comics.

    Ditto. And I imagine it was highly cathartic, too.

    @Blam: Claremontisms: [pastes entire issue] I mean, really.

    Heh. You're not wrong.

    @Ben: Her face is so thin and elongated. I dunno, I kinda liked the original depiction better, but whatever.

    Me too.

    I have always found Kitty's love for Cat's Laughing to be deeply annoying for reasons I can't quite articulate.

    I think this is the first time I've encountered it (aside from their pseudo appearance in Excalibur #5, and I don't think her fandom was mentioned much there), so I don't have a strong opinion either way.

    I was just excited to realize I've interacted with some of those characters in real life. :)

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  19. @Matt: I see what Byrne is getting at, and I think the idea applies to Claremont and several other writers, as well.

    I see what he's getting at, for sure, I just don't know that I think it's as much of a negative as he does. Certainly, it can be annoying when a writer harps on a subject or does a stylistic thing that is personally annoying or uninteresting, but I'm not sure I'm entirely opposed to the idea of writers injecting a bit of their own interests into their characters or plots. Write what you know, and all that.

    At least, I don't automatically think Stan & Jack are better for avoiding that kind of thing while Gru and Claremont are worse for not, which isn't to say it can't also be OVERDONE and become problematic at times.

    Somehow, for me, the fact that this fictional character is very much into a real life band makes the character seem more fake than if she'd followed a made-up band.

    Again, I see where you're coming from, but for me, I think it might be a case of (all respect to Ms. Bull, Mr. Brust and the others) Kitty liking a slightly more obscure real life band. If she was, say, a big Beatles fan or something, I think it would read differently, and even if Claremont had picked the Beatles because he's a big fan too, it's not as obviously something he injected because of his personal tastes.

    @Jason: She has commmented on her blog that because of Claremont, a large segment of comic-book fans think that she is only a fictional character.

    Ha! That's pretty funny.

    Emma Bull is really nice - the first day of 4th Street is always a writing seminar, limited to a specific number of attendees who have to pre-register, and the first year I went I was able to get in with the rest of my writing group. She was one of the panelists in that seminar, and had a lot of really interesting perspectives on writing and sci-fi/fantasy as a whole.

    @Ben: I guess the argument could be made that Kitty's kind of a nerd so maybe she WOULD be into a band led by a science fiction/fantasy author rather than, say, Duran Duran or whatever.

    Yeah, if this was Wolverine or Dazzler or someone like that, I'd call shenanigans, but I can totally buy that Kitty would be into this band, because she seems like that kind of nerd (said with all the respect in the world).

    If anything, the part that would bug me isn't that she's a fan of this real life band, but that she's familiar with the band members to the point that she hangs out with them after the concert and is offered to join them on tour. At that point, it starts to feel like her Mary Sue-ism is rearing up/Claremont is projecting a bit.

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  20. "If anything, the part that would bug me isn't that she's a fan of this real life band, but that she's familiar with the band members to the point that she hangs out with them after the concert and is offered to join them on tour. At that point, it starts to feel like her Mary Sue-ism is rearing up/Claremont is projecting a bit."

    Fair point, for sure.

    I was thinking about this a bit more, and I realized why I am completely on the opposite side of the spectrum on this -- why I liked Kitty being a fan of AND friends with a band I'd never heard of. Obviously now I am just a die-hard Claremont apologist ... but I wasn't when I was eleven, and I liked this material back then too.

    I realized it's because as a kid, these are the kind of bits that made the X-Men interesting to me in a way that other superheroes weren't: That they had interests that weren't just about superheroing, and they had friends who didn't just revolve around them (the superheroes).

    By contrast, I felt like other comics I read (including X-Factor) around this time were always just about the superheroes doing super-things. All their angst-ing involved their super-ness (or a bad side-effect of their super-ness, like the Thing), all their friends were other superheroes, or -- in the case of Spider-Man -- just existed to give Spider-Man something to angst about. (Ex-girlfriends, bullies, a male friend of Peter Parker who is actually a Spidey vllain, or a female friend of Peter Parker who was dating one of Spidey's villains, because of course no female supporting character in a Spider-Man comic this side of the Black Cat was ever going to have powers herself).

    The only time a band or a movie or a TV show was mentioned was usually just to be used as a cute pop-culture quip (future "I Love the 80s" fodder).

    It always seemed different in Claremont's X-Men. Now maybe I was just reading the wrong superhero comics .... maybe other writers were also doing this, too ... but Claremont's X-Men seemed to genuinely have richer inner lives. They didn't just name-check a band, they -- as in this issue -- LOVED the band, and talked about why they loved them, sometimes at length. (Granted, Claremont characters say *everything* at length, but still ...)

    That it was an obscure band that I'd never heard of made it, I think, more persuasive to me. As I've gotten older and come to like a lot of cult things myself, I appreciate stuff like the Cat's Laughing digression all the more.

    *Shrug* Purely subjective and I can't claim I was reading *that* many different superhero comics back then, so maybe the X-Men weren't as much in a league of their own as it seemed because of these kinds of things. But they seemed that way back then. Issues like this -- ones that are pure "Claremontism" as Blam suggests -- really put a heavy stamp on my brain, I think.

    Twenty-five years later, the stamp is still there, and issues like this will now always feel as if they are simply the *right* way to do comics. Bottom line, I'm a hopeless case.

    (That said, I just listened to some Cat's Laughing songs on YouTube for the first time, and .... I did not enjoy them.)

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  21. Kitty's love for Star Wars comics might have been a blatant in-house product placement, but to me that one always worked on me particularly well. Though then she went to Japan and, I don't know, found anime I guess and didn't get back to it.

    On the friends matter, others have criticized Claremont for over... somethinging the characters, like Kitty's friend Dougie Ramsey, who first becomes a mutant himself, and then gains an alien friend and then the alien friend too becomes a mutant. Mandy Sefton becomes a witchy step-sister, and Stevie Hunter was probably saved only by being absent for hundred-and-half issues soon after being introduced. Between them and the numerous people who step on to the stage and gets us interested in them just before they get killed by Proteus, N'garai or someone, maybe using real-life people is the only way to have some people around protected of the effects.

    Hilariously, real-life Neal Conan allegedly had to once argue with some people in professional capacity that he is a person and not a character trademarked by Marvel Comics.

    What I'm getting at, I totally agree on Claremont doing it right and in a way that leaves one cold for others' attempts at team books which lack the surrounding world. You don't see one page meanwhiles of men-o-street talkin' about the Avengers and thematics surrounding them.

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  22. @Jason: I realized it's because as a kid, these are the kind of bits that made the X-Men interesting to me in a way that other superheroes weren't: That they had interests that weren't just about superheroing, and they had friends who didn't just revolve around them (the superheroes).

    That's a really good point. I still think it'd work even if the characters loved a more well-known band, but I can't deny it does fill out a character when they love something relatively obscure (even if it does make the hand of the author that much more obvious).

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