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Wednesday, December 5, 2018

X-amining Uncanny X-Men #318

"Moving Day"
November 1994

In a Nutshell
Jubilee leaves the X-Men

Writer: Scott Lobdell
Guest Penciler: Roger Cruz
Guest Inker: Tim Townsend
Letters: Grover Eliopoulos
Colorist: Steve Buccellato
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Skin, intending to return to Los Angeles, gets a ride to the airport from Beast, telling him not to bother trying to convince him to stay. Meanwhile, Banshee, Storm & Bishop take Jubilee, Monet, Everett & Paige shopping. On the road, Skin is distracted by Beast and loses control of his skin, lashing out at Beast. Back at the mansion, Iceman confronts Emma, demanding she tell him how she used his powers so effectively while in his body, but Emma tells him he needs to grow up and figure it out himself. On the road, Beast gives Skin the keys to the car, telling him he's free to go wherever he wants in order to ignore the world. At the mansion, Gambit helps Cyclops & Jean move into the boathouse, while Professor X bids goodbye to Banshee and wishes him luck as the headmaster of the new Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters in Massachusetts. Then Jubilee emerges, quietly thanking Xavier for knowing when to hold on, and when to let go, before driving off with Banshee. Moments later, Skin returns, and tells Xavier he would like a place at his school. Xavier sends him after Banshee, then reflects on how he's reached a point where he has more to learn from his students now than he could ever possibly teach them.

Firsts and Other Notables
Starting this month, all of the X-books are published in "Deluxe" format, with shinier, more magazine-like paper (similar to how X-Men Unlimited had been published since its inception) which is meant to serve as a better vehicle for the art, specifically, the more computer-driven coloring (the Image books had all been using this higher-quality paper, so the other, unstated, motivation behind this change is also "to make our books look like the Image ones all the kids are raving about). In exchange, the price per issue is increased to $1.95, up $.45/issue (though both Wolverine & Excalibur were already at that price point and don't increase, while Cable drops five cents in price as it was previously at $2.00/issue). For a time, Marvel will also publish "standard" versions of the same issues, with normal paper and a lower price point, ostensibly for newsstand distribution (similar to how the "Phalanx Covenant" issues were published in a version without the enhanced covers), though that practice won't last long (probably because the newsstand market was already near extinction), and since I was at this point buying all my comics at a handful of local specialty shops, all that was ever available to me were the deluxe versions.

While the "better paper for better art" argument is a valid one, it could be also be argued that this change is a significant contributing factor to the ongoing (and nearly complete) transition of the comic book market at the time from one where comics are an ever-present part of the wider entertainment landscape to one where the entire industry is supported by a smaller niche-audience, where you both have to seek out comics if you want to buy them, and you have to want to spend an appreciable amount of your disposable income on them, because they're no longer available for purchase in multiple places, and are no longer cheap enough to purchase on a whim (at least not, at this point, if you want to buy more than a couple, and keep in mind, Marvel is actively promoting eight monthly X-Men books alone at the same time they're bumping up the price of each by 30%).

On a personal note, I hate the deluxe format. I hated it then, and I hate it now (when it's no longer touted as "deluxe"; just the standard). Whereas comic pages previously had a kind of "fancy newsprint" feel to them (more solid than a newspaper but still kinda cheap), this change essentially turns them into little magazines with slick, shiny paper, and from a tactile (and, yes, even an olfactory, which I know, is weird) perspective, it's just not the same. The "deluxe" comics feel & smell different than what I consider "real" comics, to their detriment. To this day, whenever I pick up a physical comic to read, a little part of me is disappointed when I remember it's not printed on that unique style of newsprint like the comics of old (which is part of the reason why I read so many comics digitally nowadays). I've long maintained that the industry would do well to return to a cheaper quality of paper (because modern printing techniques could support the same style of art on lesser-quality paper) and drop the price per issue, thus returning single issue floppies, which currently tell on average 1/4 to 1/6 of a story per issue, to a more "disposable" model (and thereby theoretically increasing overall sales/market penetration), but no one is listening to me (and of course, no company is going to willingly *lower* prices on anything).

(And yes, I realize all of the above makes me sound like an old man yelling at kids to get off my lawn).

Jubilee leaves the X-Men this issue in order to transfer to the new Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters in the old Massachusetts Academy, under the tutelage of Banshee & Emma Frost, as seen in Generation X, bringing to a close her tenure on the X-Men which has more or less lasted, since her first appearance in issue #244. For the most part, Lobdell has done an effective job of setting up this departure (even as we've known for months it was coming thanks to the promotion of Generation X), establishing both that Jubilee feels she's not using her powers to their fullest (something also echoed, intentionally or not, in Hama's pre-"Fatal Attractions" Wolverine), and also that she's somewhat overwhelmed by the constant grim-n-gritty grind of the superhero lifestyle (perhaps most espoused by her grief over the loss of Illyana to the Legacy Virus).


This issue also marks a formal change in the structure of Xavier's school, moving the "School for Gifted Youngsters" moniker over to the old Massachusetts Academy for Generation X, while rechristening the X-mansion as the home of the "Xavier Institute for Higher Learning" (making it, I guess, like a college to the School for Gifted Youngster's high school, if anyone ever wanted to do some kind of "education bureaucracy"-based stories involving the X-Men. Please note: I would love to do those kinds of stories). The change is both a smart way to allow for the creation of Generation X (and the return of a proper "young mutants in school" series), and to also acknowledge, in universe, the reality that the Xavier School previously hadn't been much a school for many, many years (certainly not since the New Mutants became X-Force, but even before the New Mutants, Kitty Pryde aside, it hadn't really been a school since the earliest Silver Age issues), in part because the vast majority of the X-Men are now pushing thirty (or older).


It’s revealed in this issue that Banshee has agreed to become headmaster of a new Xavier’s school, and that Jubilee will be transferring to that school, two fairly momentous decisions which, thanks to the relentless Generation X buildup, were so taken for granted they happen off panel.


In light of being married now, Cyclops & Phoenix move into the boathouse on the mansion grounds in this issue, making it so they’re no longer living in what is essentially a dorm (also, could Cyclops be anymore of a square, what with his polo shirt tucked into his pleated shorts?)


Iceman confronts Emma this issue about her use of his powers while she was in his body, beginning the latest round of “Iceman is upset he’s not using his powers to the fullest”.


Along with the new paper, this issue debuts the "X-Facts" page, an X-Men-centric replacement for the bullpen bulletins page which highlights specific happenings and hypes upcoming issues while providing a handy monthly checklist of all the X-books.


Creator Central
Roger Cruz, in a chrysalis form as he transitions from being a Jim Lee clone to a Joe Madureira one, fills in on this issue.

A Work in Progress
Cyclops & Phoenix inform Xavier about the events of the Cyclops & Phoenix mini in this issue.


Paige is seen consciously trying to leave behind her southern drawl (saying "mother" instead of "momma"), part of a larger “take me seriously” campaign we’ll see her wage in Generation X.


It’s noted that Everett’s power has increased his bulk as part of syncing to Sabretooth, which is presumably a means to explain why he was so much bulkier in these early appearances than in Generation X.


Before she leaves, Archangel checks in to make sure Jubilee knows what she’s doing, and she rightly points out that he’s barely interacted with her since they both started living in the mansion (and tells him to lighten up).


On his way out the door, Banshee question Xavier's decision to give Emma a role in the new school, but Xavier insists there's goodness in her, and that Banshee is just the person to bring it to the surface.


The Grim 'n' Gritty 90s
Remember when not being able to hook up a VCR was a thing? Cyclops, despite having been shown working on the engine of the Blackbird, apparently can’t do it.


Artistic Achievements
The cover of this issue is an homage to Uncanny #138 (and New Mutants #99).

For Sale
The third series of Marvel Masterpieces cards, all drawn by the Hildebrandt Brothers, gets an ad in this issue.


Austin's Analysis
The conclusion of the "Phalanx Covenant" means it's time for another of Lobdell's Patented Post-Crossover issues, those issues immediately following a big crossover which (officially or unoffically) serve as a kind of epilogue and balance out the usually-action heavy crossover issues with something more character-focused. Mostly about the transition of the X-mansion from the home of the "School For Gifted Youngers" to the "Xavier Institute" and Jubilee's departure from the team for Generation X, this certainly isn't nearly on the same level of the similarly-post-crossover issue #297, which is a shame, because Lobdell has shown himself to write Jubilee really well, and her leaving the X-Men of her own volition seems like a perfect opportunity for him to flex those muscles. Instead, we only get two scenes with the character, one which is heartfelt but precisely because it is brief and largely non-verbal, and another that is more notable for the bit of meta-commentary at its heart.

Which isn't to say this is bad; even if it isn't a powerhouse goodbye for Jubilee, this kind of stuff is where Lobdell excels, and the character-driven material is much appreciated after the near-constant action of (the non-"Life Signs" portions of) the crossover. Even stuff like Cyclops moving into the boathouse & talking relationships with Gambit or Iceman not being okay with the way Emma used his body in issue #314 do a lot to advance the narrative & make the characters feel like real people. So even if this issue isn't fully the sendoff Jubilee deserves (or that Lobdell is capable of providing), it still works well enough as Patented Post-Crossover issue.

Next Issue
Tomorrow, X-Factor hunts Mystique hunting Legion in X-Factor #108. Friday, Wolverine & Gambit hunt Maverick hunting Wolverine in Wolverine #87. Next week, X-Men (vol. 2) #38!

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35 comments:

  1. This is the first original X-related issue I bought and I love it. (And I'm from Brasil, like Roger Cruz).

    "or Iceman not being okay with the way Emma used his body in issue #314" - Is it just me or this sounds somehow sexual? At time of publication, I was already wondering if Iceman was gay.

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    1. Iceman's response (and lack thereof) to Emma's toying with him made me think he was gay back when I read this as a kid. I assumed the whole "I know something you don't know" thing meant she figured out he was in the closet.

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    2. John Byrne has said Marvel creators used to talk about Iceman being gay as far back as the 70s. Seems like maybe everyone on the inside felt that way, but it was only recently they made it official.

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    3. There's definitely a lot in this whole Emma/Iceman plot that goes from subtext to text after Iceman came out (and which, even at the time, could be read that way, likely informed, to Matt's point, by a general unspoken consensus amongst at least a few Marvel creators).

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    4. And now I remember Scott Lobdell made Northstar get out of the closet in the nineties.

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    5. This was the first of many Iceman scenes from the mid-90s where I thought Iceman was in the closet. (As a closeted gay kid at the time, I latched on to Iceman strongly starting with this issue.)

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    6. @Matt: Can you point me to where Byrne said this about creators and Iceman? I'd not heard this before.

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    7. Seconding Michael's request for that Byrne interview. Iceman's sexuality always felt like one of those "editorial won't let us do it, he's too high profile" things. As someone who comes from a similar conservative background as Bobby & isn't exactly straight, I probably projected a lot of my closeted-ness on him, but as others are pointing out, the subtext was there. I don't think the series is particularly well done (coming out in Bobby's environment at his age shouldn't be that easy-peasy & Grace's dialogue is BAD), but the hints like the ones in this issue are why I cringe at people dismissing his sexuality as "character assassination". It's been there, the people who get it have seen this, and just cuz you didn't notice it doesn't mean it came outta nowhere.

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    8. I went looking for the Byrne quote, but couldn't find it. It was a post on his message board a while back, as I recall, rather than any formal interview. It probably would've been relatively simple to find a few years ago, but now if you go searching Byrne Robotics for anything about Iceman being gay, there's a ton of grousing from Byrne and his fans around the time Marvel did the official coming out story, making the post I'm thinking of way harder to locate!

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    9. That's too bad. I did some Googling for it last night and found some comments on his blog where Byrne seemed quite good with the reveal.

      I recall when the internet first started filling out with fan sites that had character histories, and I learned about Cloud and how Iceman was the only O5 member not drooling over Jean. I thought was this was ROCK SOLID confirmation that Iceman was always supposed to be gay -- as if writers had thought this out all the way back to Stan ��

      Obviously, I had much to learn about comics as an art form ...

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  2. I enjoyed this issue when I was younger -- I liked pretty much all of Lobdell's post-crossover stories -- but having re-read it last night, I'm not sure I enjoyed it quite as much. I agree that the lack of focus on Jubilee is an interesting choice, but I guess it's forgivable given that she's about to become a major player in another series. Pairing her with Archangel, of all characters, for her goodbye scene is odd, though. Also, I don't quite get Skin's change of heart. I feel like that could've been elaborated upon a bit more.

    I do like Scott and Jean moving out to the boathouse, though, That was a nice "illusion of change" that I really appreciated. They still live with the X-Men, on the mansion grounds, but they also sort of have their own place now. Updating the name of the school is also a nice illusory change of which I wholeheartedly approve. It alters nothing about the X-Men's setup, but it feels momentous nonetheless (or at least it did when I read this story for the first time).

    It occurs to me that, to fill the time between "Phalanx Covenant" and "Legion Quest", we're actually going into two months of "between-crossover quiet issues". Next month's UNCANNY is another low-key soap opera installment. X-MEN, meanwhile, has a bit more action in this brief span, but both of its issues are also relatively quiet and the action is internal to the X-Men family. I guess with only two months to kill between crossovers, Lobdell and Nicieza figured they should get in as much character development as they could!

    Interesting notes about this issue's cover: a bunch of the characters are inexplicably off-model (which drove me nuts as a kid -- and, yes, still bugs me a bit today). Cyclops is missing the strap that runs across his chest. It's not merely miscolored, it's not even drawn! Bishop isn't wearing his scarf/bandana thing, but the colors have represented it as part of his uniform anyway. Archangel has short hair (which Madureira will soon incorporate into the interior art, but it hasn't happened yet). And Rogue is in one of her Outback era costumes for some reason!

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    1. "Starting this month, all of the X-books are published in "Deluxe" format, with shinier, more magazine-like paper..."

      I picked up the standard versions for as long as Marvel made them available. My local comic shop carried both Deluxe and standard, so it wasn't a big deal -- though my recollection is that the standard versions hit stands two weeks after the Deluxe (Marvel mentioned this in the letter page or Bullpen Bulletins page that announced the new Deluxe format). But since I only went to the shop once a month, and most of my friends had stopped comics by now so I had nobody to "keep up with", that wasn't an issue for me.

      That said, I only did it for budgetary concerns, and I must respectfully disagree with you on the Deluxe format! I remember picking one of the Deluxe X-issues up for the first time. It felt heftier and more substantial than a normal comic, even though it was the same number of pages, and I fell in love with the slick paper. I pretty quickly developed an aversion to newsprint comics, to the point that, even though it wound up costing more, I was kind of relieved when Marvel dropped the standard issues altogether, because that meant I had no choice but to go Deluxe. A large part of the reason I've been basically re-buying my entire comic collection in trade paperback and hardcover is because the paper quality is way better than it was when I was younger.

      (Though I do agree with you on the smell of vintage comics. That's one thing I liked that was lost in the transition to Deluxe format.)

      However, I should also note that comics nowadays don't exactly have the same feel as they did when these Deluxe versions first started. The paper is still slick, but I don't think it's as thick and glossy. A comic nowadays seems to have about the same heft as a newsprint comic from decades past, while Marvel's Deluxe comics from the mid-90s still feel more "high-end" (for lack of a better term) to me.

      "Roger Cruz, in a chrysalis form as he transitions from being a Jim Lee clone to a Joe Madureira one, fills in on this issue."

      I'm now imagining a coccoon seated in front of an art board to draw this issue...

      Seriously, though, this may be the peak of his Jim Lee-ness. It's clearly not Lee, but the characters' faces are more like his style than I remember Cruz previously drawing (except for swipes, of course).

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    2. Gee, I used to type comments this long pretty regularly back during the Claremont/Byrne/Cockrum/Smith days, but it's only recently that I've gotten this verbose again. I guess it's clear what material speaks to me and what doesn't!

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    3. Also, I don't quite get Skin's change of heart. I feel like that could've been elaborated upon a bit more.

      Yeah, I meant to mention that in the post. It's definitely abrupt. Beast is basically like "geez kid, lighten up" and the next time we see Skin, he's come around to being fully committed to attending the school. Seems like we missed a beat or two.

      However, I should also note that comics nowadays don't exactly have the same feel as they did when these Deluxe versions first started. The paper is still slick, but I don't think it's as thick and glossy.

      You're right, modern comics have become a bit more palatable to me in terms of texture. :)

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    4. Interesting notes about this issue's cover: a bunch of the characters are inexplicably off-model (which drove me nuts as a kid -- and, yes, still bugs me a bit today). Cyclops is missing the strap that runs across his chest. It's not merely miscolored, it's not even drawn! Bishop isn't wearing his scarf/bandana thing, but the colors have represented it as part of his uniform anyway. Archangel has short hair (which Madureira will soon incorporate into the interior art, but it hasn't happened yet). And Rogue is in one of her Outback era costumes for some reason!

      Cyclops and Bishop's off-model costumes annoyed me as a kid (and, yes, still annoy me today) but somehow I never noticed Rogue was drawn in her Outback era costume! How did I miss that?!


      Gee, I used to type comments this long pretty regularly back during the Claremont/Byrne/Cockrum/Smith days, but it's only recently that I've gotten this verbose again. I guess it's clear what material speaks to me and what doesn't!

      This goes back to us recently discovering that our fandom histories were more or less the same -- right down to when we started reading Teebore's blog! -- but of course this is the era where I've started commenting again generally. (I'm not sure the last time commented with any regularity. Maybe sometime early in the New Mutants or JRJR's first run?)

      Generation X, Legion Quest, AOA, Gene Nation ... Young Michael ate this stuff up. I can't wait to go back through it now! (I even loved the early Onslaught stuff -- when his identity was this big mystery. Everything from the reveal forward is ... well, we'll get there eventually!)

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    5. I agree on the early Onslaught stuff. I wrote my own post about it a while back. That year or so between "AoA" and "Onslaught" is one of my favorite periods in X-Men history. Obviously a huge part of this is nostalgia -- it was probably the peak of my X-fandom -- but even taking that into account, I believe the Onslaught mystery was compelling (and there were other good stories during that year as well). It just petered out in the end when Lobdell, et. al. decided to scrap the clues and make Professor X the bad guy.

      (Not that the clues were building to anything pre-planned anyway, but they certainly could've put their heads together and come up with something to fit them retroactively!)

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    6. I agree on the early Onslaught stuff. I wrote my own post about it a while back.

      You know I'm going to ask you for a link! 😄

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    7. Michael, here's the link you asked for: http://notahoaxnotadream.blogspot.com/2015/01/the-road-to-onslaught.html

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    8. @Matt: // a bunch of the characters are inexplicably off-model //

      1. Clearly, Jubilee’s already forgetting how they look.
      2. Seriously, though: Madureira, as new regular penciler, might’ve been drawing them with adjustments he planned to make to their costumes.
      3. Hey, I bet if you arrange the missing items of clothing in a particular way it explains why Chris Eliopoulos was credited as “Grover”.

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  3. Speaking as an older man who logically should be yelling at clouds over this format change in comics-actually, I loved it.

    I started reading comics in the mid-1970s, and that mean a terribly cheap format where the colors rarely looked good, pages bled through the back of the next one, and you had to be careful to keep a comic book from falling apart. (Something that seemed to be forgotten in the 90s when people were selling a million copies of a comic on paper that wouldn't just fall apart when you looked at it: those 70s comics are rare in good shape because they weren't designed for it.)

    I would have KILLED for my Claremont/Byrne X-Men, my Frank Miller Daredevils, and my Simonson Thors to be printed on a format that wouldn't wilt if you read it a lot.

    Now, I will yell at clouds about the part that this played in killing newstand distribution of comics. It didn't quite kill it-I distinctly recall finding comics in this format at Waldenbooks and Wal-Mart in the 90s-but it was the final nail in the newstand coffin. While you can argue that we were getting here anyway-1992 and 1993's madness had likely sealed the deal that comics were moving into the specialty shops and towards a nerdy niche-comics going glossy and losing their newstand versions and price points certainly insured that direction.

    You'll notice I didn't say anything about the comic. By now, my dropping of titles massively at the start of 1994 had seeped into a deeper malaise about comics that I didn't break out of until Grant Morrison's JLA. While I continued reading both of the main X books and I started reading Excalibur when Warren Ellis arrived, I stopped actually buying every issue at this point, for the first time since 1979 or so. (My piles of X-comics were sold at a yard sale in 2014 for a couple hundred dollars. I need the space since I was getting ready to move.) Late 1994 to 1998 is a period where my love of the X-Men was starting to not be able to overcome the mediocrity of the line...but we'll talk about that more when we get to the Kelly-Seagle era.

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    1. Yeah, just to be clear, I definitely like having the glossier, fancier paper used for trade reprints and books and stuff like that. I just really wish the actual floppies were still printed on something more akin to newsprint (albeit something a bit more reliable than those old 60s/70s books), and cheaper as a result, while the more deluxe paper was used for collections and whatnot (of course, in '94, the trade market wasn't nearly what it would become, so that's not a distinction anyone back then would have been in a position to make even if they wanted to).

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    2. Funny you specifically mentioned Waldenbooks, Jack -- my local comic shop somehow forgot to order the final issue of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN vol. 1 for me in 1998 (part of the John Byrne-written "Final Chapter" story), and by total happenstance, I found it in a spinner rack at Waldenbooks inside the mall a few days after I realized I wouldn't be getting it from the shop.

      (Which was even odder since I didn't typically go to the mall on a regular basis -- I must have needed something from another store and wandered into Waldenbooks since I happened to be there.)

      But yeah, some bookstores sold single issue comics well into the 90s. It was just places like 7-11 and the supermarket, in my experience, where you used to find them but couldn't anymore (which was sad; don't get me wrong -- I picked up many an issue of Gerry Conway's WEB OF SPIDER-MAN and SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN in those locations when I was in elementary school). I can't speak to when the fabled "newsstand" stopped stocking them, though, since I'm not sure I've ever actually seen one in my life.

      It'll be interesting to see what everyone's cutoff point was for the X-comics as X-aminations proceeds. I know some commenters had jumped ship already, in some cases long ago. I suspect many more will have left around the time of "Onslaught". I stuck with the X-Men all through the 90s, but there's a definite point where their star began to fall for me, and it's right around that same Seagle/Kelly era you mentioned above -- though my interest reignited pretty brightly for around a year or so when Alan Davis plotted the core books circa 1999, before dropping like a stone immediately thereafter.

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    3. To sum up my departures: left in'98. Came back for Morrison, went to Whedon for Astonishing. Stuck around haphazardly until Avengers vs. X-Men, finally gave up the ghost then.

      The more fun question is when I stopped buying floppies, since I still occasionally buy interesting looking trades.

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    4. It'll be interesting to see what everyone's cutoff point was for the X-comics as X-aminations proceeds.

      I kept buying but mostly stopped caring after Lobdell's departure. The decline in quality was steep in the Kelly/Seagle era, and it crushed my fandom hard.

      I have several issues missing starting from around the Magneto War and continuing through Davis' run. (This is a good indicator of how much I'd lost interest. I used to get every X-title on release day. Then I dropped some of the spinoffs. Then around the Magneto War I started skipping issues of the core titles too.) I started picking up Uncanny and Adjectiveless regularly again with Claremont's return, but he was booted so fast that it was around that time that I can recall deciding "Nah, I've had enough."

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    5. The funny thing about Seagle/Kelly is that at the time, I just assumed they were bad writers or not good fits for the X-Men. It was only years later that I learned their run was very heavily screwed up by editorial interference. (Though I do still believe to some extent they were a poor fit for the titles anyway.)

      I know I sound like some weird Bob Harras groupie now and then -- and I swear I'm not -- but I really believe a lot of the decline in quality in the X-Men books in the 90s is due to Harras stepping away from editorial duties around 1996 to become Marvel's editor-in-chief. Harras was no saint in the way he dealt with creators, and his books were certainly editorially driven, but all the stories you hear about really egregious editorial interference seem to be about his successor on the X-Books, Mark Powers.

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    6. Hm ... I am loathe to give Harras credit for anything, but you might be on to something here. I'll have to pay closer attention to the changing credits as we go through the next couple years of issues and see how they line up with where the stories started to lose me.

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    7. "To sum up my departures: left in'98. Came back for Morrison, went to Whedon for Astonishing. Stuck around haphazardly until Avengers vs. X-Men, finally gave up the ghost then."

      This is the exact same for me. AvX just took me out of the books for good.

      "I kept buying but mostly stopped caring after Lobdell's departure. The decline in quality was steep in the Kelly/Seagle era, and it crushed my fandom hard."

      I reread this whole era recently and I think the Kelly book is actually a lot better than the mess Lobdell was putting out at the end of his run.

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  4. @Matt: It'll be interesting to see what everyone's cutoff point was for the X-comics as X-aminations proceeds.

    And for some of us, never! :)

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  5. It’s revealed in this issue that Banshee has agreed to become headmaster of a new Xavier’s school, and that Jubilee will be transferring to that school, two fairly momentous decisions which, thanks to the relentless Generation X buildup, were so taken for granted they happen off panel.

    Huh. Someone I never noticed that we never actually see Xavier ask Banshee to take over the school. Now that you point it out, I feel like an idiot for never catching that.

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  6. I appreciate the fact that all the three X-Men who would be more natural helpers in the moving out for Scott and Jean, are shown to be busy elsewhere (even if Archangel's occupation seems so unnatural)

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  7. "On a personal note, I hate the deluxe format. I hated it then, and I hate it now..."

    I agree with every word of this sentence, and the rest of the paragraph. In the same way that Quentin Tarantino has dismissed digital film exhibition as "watching TV in public", the shiny-paper-comics are essentially a different medium.

    I have zero attachment to shiny-paper-comics and the thousands of comics I have bought since the early 90s are as dear to me as an issue of Entertainment Weekly. I have lost them, given them away, and sometimes recycled them. They're vessels for stories, but they're *not* comic books.

    I also sought out the newsstand versions of the X-comics for awhile, but that didn't last long either.

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  8. ...also, a longbox full of shiny-paper-comics is notably heavier than a longbox full of newsprint comics. I'm reminded of this every time I move :|

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  9. I like how Xavier in his conversation with Sean positions himself to the same "I know things about you that you don't" thingy regarding Emma as Emma a moment earlier had positioned herself to Bobby.

    I don't know if this means that Xavier runs circles around Emma as a telepath, or that compassion is harder to come by than ambition and ruthlessness.

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  10. // The cover of this issue is an homage to //

    ... Uncanny #151 with Kitty leaving, I had thought.

    On the back, meanwhile, is an ad for MANTIS, which I’m shocked to see ran for a full season. We showed an advance promo tape of the pilot that I received in the comics shop where I worked at the time, and gave away some posters, but I don’t think I saw more than a few episodes when it aired.

    // Grover Eliopoulos //

    John Workman in particular has a history of changing up his name, and of course we see that done with the whole credit box on occasion at the writer or editor’s whim(sy), but I’m curious why Chris Eliopoulos is Grover Eliopoulos here. Not especially interested, honestly — yet still curious.

    // Skin, intending to return to Los Angeles, gets a ride to the airport from Beast //

    There is literally no part of “Satisfaction” that goes the way the balloons in that scene are lettered.

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  11. // On a personal note, I hate the deluxe format. //

    I can’t even begin to respond to your editorial on format, pricing, etc. with the depth I’d like to right now, but in short: Ditto.

    Okay, I’m compelled to mention out of fairness that, per one conversation with a senior exec at a major publisher, at least as of a half-dozen years or so ago it apparently, surprisingly would’ve been costlier to use newsprint than the whiter, slicker paper the market had moved to for so-called floppies.

    I’ll add that as much as I love the feel and, yes, the smell of newsprint, I was totally wowed by the ad-free, direct-market-only titles introduced over a decade before this, printed on whiter paper with frankly much greater sensitivity to the wider palette and more sophisticated approaches to coloring than we got in the later era of computer separations, as supplement to the cheaper comics on spinner racks that everyone grew up with and to benefit the expansion of the industry, and I really have to shut up now. Love seeing you rant about this stuff but don’t love what it means for me if you’re the old man…

    //  "Xavier Institute for Higher Learning" //

    Emma says that she’s having a new sign to reflect the name change installed as a surprise for Xavier, but there’s no payoff with him noticing it. And the epithet she slings at the workers in that scene is missing an e; the word is “plebeians” — unless there’s a hoity-toity alternative spelling that I’m too much of a commoner to have known about. She also means “tack” rather than “tact” in the next panel.

    // Please note: I would love to do those kinds of stories //

    Ha! Good for you. I’d read ’em, too, which is more than I can say for any currently running X-Men comics, albeit due more to inertia than quality of concept or execution.

    // with his polo shirt tucked into his pleated shorts //

    Seriously. I’m astounded that he isn’t wearing sandals over socks. I do like the idea of him and Jean moving to the boathouse, though, which I see is practically verbatim a comment Matt has made.

    // Roger Cruz, in a chrysalis form //

    A Cruzalis, if you will. (It’s fine if you won’t.)

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