rec.arts.comics.marvel.xbooks FAQ: 5/5

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Kate the Short

Mar 20, 2001, 10:39:11 AM3/20/01
Archive-name: comics/xbooks/main-faq/part5
Posting-frequency: monthly

Frequently Asked Questions
Part 5

Version 2001.01, last updated January 2001
Compilation Copyright 2001 by Katharine E. Hahn

Kate the Short, (


Subject: Table of Contents

If your newsreader has a search/go-to command, you can quickly page
through this FAQ by searching for any of the Contents as spelled. A
plus sign in parentheses (+) indicates a change to the contents listed
since the last FAQ update.

Part 5:

* Why did Chris Claremont leave the X-titles? Why did Peter
David leave X-Factor? (+)
* Are any Marvel staff reading xbooks? (+)
* Why do all those annoying dinos keep on complaining about
the X-titles here? If they don't like the books, why do they
read them?
* What is this Kid Dynamo thing? Where can I find it?

* How is _X-Men: The Movie_ different from the comics?
* What cameos are there in _X-Men: The Movie_?
* What other movies or cartoons are there?






NOTE: These questions pertain to the creators of the X-titles and the
readers of the rec.arts.comics.marvel.xbooks newsgroup.

Background information on the creators and the X-titles editorial offices
is based on over a decade's worth of articles, interviews, and personal
questions, and as such is not directly attributed here. Now that some of
Marvel's staff members are on Usenet, they are welcomed to correct and
amend any of the answers listed below.

--- Why did Chris Claremont leave the X-titles? Why did Peter David
leave X-Factor? (+)

For this question, the FAQ-keeper is going to try and be as objective as
possible, which is tough on a question in which all information has so far
come in from interviews in fan press. However, this is definitely a FAQ,
and deserves being treated in this FAQ. Here's hoping for objectivity.

Chris Claremont left the books he had worked on for almost half his life
because of one person, the X-titles group editor, Bob Harras. Claremont
had often stressed in interviews how important having an editor who worked
well with him on the stories was, and was thankful that all the editors he
had had (this was during Nocenti's reign) had been wonderful and talented.
Obviously, something went wrong as Harras took over, although the eventual
cause was due to problems on both sides.

The problems have been revealed in a few interviews. Harras is in a bit of
a hot seat in the very competitive, corporate atmosphere of Marvel. One
slip of the titles, and he has to explain himself to his superiors. He's
therefore always interested in keeping the books popular and selling well,
a sensible attitude for any editor.

Something that obviously caught his eye was the huge upswelling of fan
support for artists of the "Image" type (although they weren't called that
back then, since Image hadn't been created yet). Rob Liefeld, Jim Lee,
Todd McFarlane, Marc Silvestri, and Whilce Portacio were at the forefront
of a style in comics that was very popular at the time. So popular that
when McFarlane requested a title to try out his burgeoning desire to write
his own stories on, he got one starring the Marvel flagship character,
Spider-Man. The Marvel Offices were so impressed with the sales figures
coming from these artists that they were willing to do almost anything to
keep them.

One thing they weren't, though, was to give up some of the money they were
making out of selling licensed materials (t-shirts, pins, posters, etc.)
done by those artists. For these as well as other reasons, the above
artists and a few more fled Marvel in what has come to be called the
X-Odus, since so many of them worked on mutant titles at the time. They
went and founded Image. For more information, you should ask at rac.misc.

How this relates to Claremont leaving, as well as his good friend and
fellow X-writer Louise Simonson, is as follows: maybe on his own, perhaps
because of pressure from the offices above him, Harras was extremely
protective of the Image artists on his titles. Somebody, somewhere, was
convinced that they were why the titles were selling, and wanted them made
as comfortable as possible. The trouble with the Image artists on monthly
books, like the X-Men, has been shown: they're all terribly slow, and
usually were late. This annoyed Claremont, who was accustomed to working
with workhorses like John Byrne and Dave Cockrum.

Also, as the Image team started recognizing how much strength they had at
Marvel, they started asking for more power. Jim Lee, Claremont's penciler
at the time on UXM, in particular wanted more say in how the plot went.
Claremont, usually more than happy to coplot with his artists, didn't like
the fact that Lee's idea of coplotting was that he drew the issue any way
he felt like, and then shipped it off to Claremont, usually just under
deadline, for him to fill in the dialogue balloons with no say in what
would appear in the issue. While the usual practice at Marvel is to have
the art made before the dialogue is written (it's a practice that started
back when Stan Lee was writing every Marvel book in the 60s, and it's even
called the "Marvel Style" comics-writing), usually coplotting involves
the writer and the artist deciding what will be in the issue together.

When Claremont complained about this, and the usual tardiness of Lee, to
Harras, he was told that his opinions were recognized, and things were
being worked on. However, nothing apparently was ever done. Indeed, Harras
gave Lee complete plot veto on any new plot lines (it should be noted that
Lee did not request anything like that from Harras). This meant that Lee
had all effective plotting power on the X-Men title, since he could, if he
felt like it, deny Claremont any plot that he didn't like.

All of this might seem a bit rude, and possibly Claremont felt that after
giving twenty years of his life to this one title, he was entitled to a
bit of info as to what, exactly, the editor of that book wanted from his
writer. Apparently Harras either never answered, or else didn't answer to
Claremont's satisfaction, so after issue #3 of the new X-Men book, Chris
Claremont left the X-titles. A sign of the atmosphere he left in was that
his departure wasn't even mentioned in the letter columns of the books he
had written for sixteen years. Louise Simonson, who had much the same
experiences happen to her, left at about the same time. To be frank,
Claremont's scripting, plotting, and dialogue had been slipping in his
final years, and a sabbatical would certainly have been helpful even in
more calm circumstances.

Chris Claremont returned to Marvel a few years ago, albeit in a different
capacity. He was a Vice-President position at Marvel, in charge of story
development across the Marvel titles, and his writing tasks included
Fantastic Four and a six-issue run of Wolverine. Evidently Claremont had
enough fun on the titles that he decided to come back--the Revolution of
the X-titles saw Claremont return as scripter and plotter of the core
titles just shy of 100 issues after his departure.

With the departure of what was once the most dependable writing corps in
the history of major comics, Harras was now free to fill the titles with
writers who wouldn't complain so much about the artists who wanted to run
the titles a bit more indepth. The first person he got, though, perhaps in
an attempt to reclaim some of the "Big Name" marquee value he lost when
Claremont left, was old X-Men penciller and co-plotter John Byrne. Byrne,
however, was not going to even be given the illusionary title of "writer";
he was just there to script Jim Lee's X-Men plots, and Whilce Portacio's
plots for Uncanny X-Men.

Byrne lasted only five issues on Uncanny (#281-285), and only two on the
new X-Men (#4-5). According to Byrne, he encountered the same troubles as
Claremont as scripter of the books. Lee and Portacio were consistently
late. Pages were faxed to Byrne hours before deadline for him to dialogue
as they came in, often without knowing how the book was going to end
because the plotter/artists hadn't bothered informing him.

Byrne complained to Harras. Byrne pointed out that in any other DC or
Marvel comic, the writers usually got three months to work on one issue
(most are done far before then, but that's the usual margin of safety).
He didn't mind working a few extra nights and burning the midnight oil,
because he liked the X-Men, but all he asked for was at least one month to
actually think about the issue. Harras thanked him for his comments, and
said he would work on it. No further pages were ever faxed to Byrne for
him to script.

Having now annnoyed most of the major X-writers of the past to the point
that they wouldn't work with him, Harras ended up with Scott Lobdell (a
stand-up comedian and comics writer Harras offered the job to at a party)
and Fabian Nicieza (one of Marvel's editors) as his main writers on the
X-titles. All was looking good until the X-Odus occurred, and suddenly
Harras didn't have all the Big Name Artists that had to be so carefully
protected. The chances of Harras getting back Claremont and Byrne to write
now that the artists who were partially to blame for driving them away
were gone was rather slim, so there was an obvious period of scrambling at
the X-offices to get creative teams to cover the books.

With Claremont gone, the brightest bit of writing in the X-titles had to
be Peter David, the new writer on the "new" X-Factor. Easily mixing his
standard blend of top-notch humor with good characterization, David was
impressing people with how interesting a bunch of once second-rate mutant
characters could be. Not even this relationship was a smooth one, however,
because David quickly became annoyed by another mainstay of the mutant
titles: the crossover.

David didn't like the fact that the mutant titles invariably crossovered
once a year, often for three or so issues. He also didn't like how he was
always given fill-in artists because artist Joe Quesada was never on time
with his art (a common complaint apparently). He felt that it was an
insult to the reader to have to make do with shoddy art that was rushed
out because the regular penciler couldn't be bothered to get his art out
on time.

Meanwihle, he expressed disgust that the X-Office didn't even want him
continuing his main plot during the crossovers. He had to fight and
complain just to get one page per issue in of his normal, supposedly
ongoing, plot in his own book. Why? The editors said that it was simpler
if there was no ongoing plot in the crossovers, because then it would be
easier to collect the whole thing in a trade paperback for future resale
value without having to edit out those annoying exterior plotlines.

David's other complaints (which were listed for the in a
resignation-style letter) included the mangled rescripting of a plot
device that originally was supposed to detect whether a woman's fetus was
a mutant or not (thus possibly opening the option of an abortion), as well
as demands about what characters he was supposed to feature in a given
issue. A message posted to an AOL folder in March 2000 sums it up:

Two reasons: I was having to backburner my ongoing storylines every
three issues or so to accommodate crossovers (giving it a very dis-
jointed feel) and the editors were "taking over" the book in that
they were dictating storylines and developments that I felt were
going to be damaging (ex: Insert Random as a member of the team and
kill off the Multiple Man.) Also they were changing my dialogue
unilaterally after I'd turned it in without telling me. So I walked.


With that being what he had to live with, David resigned from X-Factor.
The usual bunch of scrambling, fill-in teams rushed to fill his and
Quesada's shoes (Quesada, like most of the "hot" artists, apparently
cannot be bothered to keep to a monthly standard).

As a final note, it's unsure just how much ill-will there still is over
the X-Odus fallout. Claremont and Lee, for instance, apparently like each
other enough that Claremont wrote three issues of Lee's WildC.A.T.S. comic
(hardly a major sign of dislike).

--- Are any Marvel staff reading xbooks? (+)

Some are. Most come and then go again, though. Some do so because they're
no longer involved with the X-Titles, others because they can't keep up
with the sheer volume of discussion, and others because they just aren't
that interested.

Over the past few years, the newsgroup has been visited by the likes of
Chris Claremont, Peter David, Keith R. A. DeCandido, Warren Ellis, Jay
Faerber, Steven Grant, Larry Hama, Joseph Harris, Rob Liefeld, Scott
Lobdell, Fabian Nicieza, Brandon Peterson, Joe Pruett, Ben Raab, Tom
Raney, Steven Seagle, Louise "Weezie" Simonson, Walter Simonson, Robert
Weinberg, Anthony Williams, Brian C. Wood, and J. Steven York. If you
wander over to our sister group, rac.misc, you'll also see Kurt Busiek,
Tony Isabella, and Christopher Priest. Still others have participated with
rac.* regulars on mailing lists or message boards. Some are/were regular
contributors, while others posted a single response and never returned.

All this means, of course, that posters on xbooks should maybe think twice
before posting up personal attacks on the creative staff of the X-titles,
since, unlike for a long period of Usenet history, they're finally around
and a lot of xbookers would like them to continue to contribute to the

Not insulting people in general is a good policy to aim for, of course.
Not threatening them, however, is something that needs to be underscored.
Many fans tend to get angry at a creator's treatment of their favorite
characters, and may occasionally post (in jest) threats of violence on
the newsgroup, i.e.: "Such-and-such writer should be drawn, quartered,
and hung for doing this to Wolverine, and if I ever find out where he
lives I'll likely do it myself." This is Not Cool. Please don't do it.

--- Why do all these annoying dinos keep on complaining about the X-titles
here? If they don't like the books, why do they read them?

The answer to this is as diverse as the fans it's asked to, and the
question usually comes up once every three months or so on the newsgroup.
Realizing that this answer is going to be hopelessly generalized, most
older X-fans still follow the book because of the loyalty generated by
Claremont during his original run. Many of them grew to care about the
characters in the book during his run, and out of some sort of perverse
curiosity, care deeply when they are mismanaged as they are currently
perceived to be.

Dropping the book, of course, would send the "message" to Marvel that they
no longer agree with the direction the X-titles are heading. On the other
hand, a feeling like "If you don't vote, you don't have the right to
complain" also comes over some of them. And every small bit of good comics
that sneaks through fuels their memories of how much they once loved it,
and keeps them around for more.

It may be that they're now grown up, and wouldn't have liked the original
Claremont stories if they were coming out now. It may be that they're just
following them out of curiosity, because a few comic books aren't much to
keep up on with a professional paycheck. They may even prefer the stories
as they are now. In any case, older X-fans who are still reading the book
should be assumed to be getting some form of enjoyment from it, or else
they would probably have dropped it long ago.

It should also be noted that there is one particular breed of dino, who
don't read any of the books, but feel qualified to post on xbooks because
they were once big X-Men fans, and will happily fill in information on the
older comics and the characters that appeared in them to the newer fans.

Finally, many of the dino population have good friends who post regularly
to xbooks, and hang around to share in their virtual community.

--- What is this Kid Dynamo thing? Where can I find it?

Kid Dynamo is a fan-fiction written by once-netter Connie Hirsch, which
deals with the New Mutants in the days just after Magneto took over the
School (right after New Mutants #52). A very good story by any standards,
most people who have read it have granted it automatic status in official
Marvel history, vastly preferring it to the eventual rise of Cable and the
appearance of X-Force, or at least delaying that inevitable occurence by
including Kid Dynamo.

You can find Kid Dynamo on the Fonts of Wisdom Bootleg page. The URL is . The fanfic is very long, by
the way; 12 full-size chapters. It takes a while to read. It's worth it.

--- Where can I get scans of comic art? Why doesn't anybody post pictures
on the newsgroup?

Well, besides the fact that it's illegal under copyright law to republish
other people's artwork without their permission....

While it's perfectly possible, and commonplace, to post scanned artwork to
Usenet, it's not always a nice thing to do. The main reason is that some
people like to read their newsgroups using an off-line newsreader, which
downloads all the articles (and attached binaries) at once and lets them
read the postings without being hooked up to a modem. Obviously, it's an
inconvenience for them to have to download several megs of binary graphics
images if they aren't looking for them.

If you're looking for comic art on Usenet, the newsgroup is the closest thing you're going to find--
but be forewarned that X-Men art very rarely, if ever, finds its way onto
that particular group. Outside of Usenet, the Where Can I Find It? FAQ has
a listing of web pages and ftp sites with digitized comic artwork.



NOTE: These questions pertain to the movie and cartoon versions of the
X-Men, not to their actual comic-book incarnations. The non-comics stuff
is actually on-topic in the newsgroup rec.arts.comics.other-media, and
not in RACMX, so please post to that group!

--- How is _X-Men: The Movie_ different from the comics? (+)

There are many, many ways that the movie is different from the actual
mainstream continuity of the comics. For one, the school has far more
mutants in it than the casts of Uncanny, X-Men, Generation X, and the
Hellions/New Mutants/X-Force kids combined.

The team in _XM:TM_ consists of Cyclops, Jean Grey, and Storm, all led by
Xavier. In movie continuity, Cyke and Jean are not yet married (though
they share a room in the mansion), and Jean is a doctor. Wolverine and
Rogue first meet in Canada, instead of meeting when Rogue runs away from
the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants and comes knocking at Xavier's door. A
few other things must be noted about Rogue. First of all, in the regular
comics Rogue has the powers of flight and invulnerability, which she
gained from Ms. Marvel in the classic Avengers Annual #10. She's also had
her distinctive white stripe from the get-go. Furthermore, the Rogue of
the comics has *never* revealed her real name on-panel, and it's strongly
believed that if anyone knows it other than Rogue's original parents, it
would be Mystique (Rogue's foster mother) or Destiny (Mystique's long-
time companion).

The villains and supporting cast also have changed. Toad probably received
the most changes to his character, and all are improvements. The Toad of
the comics was always an Igor-like hunchback to Magneto, and usually did
little more than jump around uttering annoying lines. The Toad of _XM:TM_,
however, can climb walls much more efficiently, has a strong tongue that
can grasp items, and a rather nasty ooze.

--- What cameos are there in _X-Men: The Movie_? (+)

Quite a few cameos of (and homages to) familiar characters appear in
_XM:TM_. They are:

* Bobby: Bobby Drake is Iceman, an American adult who can create ice
and snow from the moisture in the air, and travel on created ice-
slides. He was a founding member of the X-Men. (He has lines.)
* Kitty: Kitty Pryde is Shadowcat, a Jewish-American teenager who can
phase through walls and short-ciruit any electronics she passes
through. She's currently an X-Man. (She has lines.)
* John: St. John Allerdyce is Pyro, an Australian adult villain who can
control, but *not* generate, any fire or flame. He was a member of
Freedom Force and the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. (He has lines.)
* Jubilee: Jubilation Lee is Jubilee, a Chinese-American teenager who
can make colorful fireworks and small explosions. Known for her
yellow jacket, she's currently a member of Generation X. (She has
no lines but can be seen in the same two classroom scenes as Kitty.)
* Colossus: Piotr Rasputin is Colossus, a Russian adult who can turn
his entire body into organic steel. He's an artist, and is currently
an X-Man. (He has no lines but can be seen in the opening mansion
scenes sketching near the lily pond and basketball court.)

--- What other movies or cartoons are there? (+)

There have been quite a few attempts to cash in on the X-Men craze in
other media. A quick rundown:

* _Pryde of the X-Men_ (1989)(TV)
_Pryde_ was the first attempt to make an X-Men cartoon. Characters
include Cyclops, Wolverine, Colossus, Xavier, Emma Frost, Toad, and
the Blob. It's really a failed series pilot that was repackaged for
video sale. Notable for thin plot and poor voice casting, it uses
an Australian accent for Wolverine. It runs 30 minutes and is pretty

* _X-Men_ (1992)(TV)
This is how it should be done. The cartoon cast includes Xavier,
Cyclops, Jean Grey, Rogue, Gambit, Wolverine, Jubilee, Storm, Beast,
and a whole host of villains along with Magneto. The voice casting
was very well done, the plots were generally stable, and the series
touched upon many other X-Men and Marvel characters in its 5-year
stint. While continuity wasn't always in line with the comics (the
most obvious examples being Morph's inclusion and the not-quite-
right attempt at the Phoenix Saga), the characterization was great.

* _Generation X_ (1996)(TV)
The first live-action adaptation of the mutant franchise was this
TV-movie. The villain of this story is Russell Trask, played by Matt
Frewer (of _Max Headroom_ fame). Trask is a scientist out to use
mutants to advance his schemes. When he finds out that old adversary
Emma Frost is teaching a bunch of mutant teenagers, he decides to
kidnap her students to use in his attempts to control the world by
controlling everyone's dreams. Characters included the familiar
Emma Frost, Banshee, Jubilee, M, and Skin, a weird version of Mondo,
and new characters Buff and Refrax. It had a few moments, but was
generally miscast (a white girl as Jubilee?) and poorly plotted. A
sequel was planned in 1999 but never made it to production.

* _X-Men_ (2000)(Movie)
A well-done live-action foray into the X-Men and mutant politics,
this movie was well-received by fans. While the continuity is off,
and the costumes are black leather, the overall acting, effects, and
characterization are spot on. Notable performances include Patrick
Stewart as Xavier and Hugh Jackman as Wolverine. Chock-full of small
homages and cameos for fans, the movie was well-received by the non-
comics moviegoing public.

* _X-Men: Evolution_ (2000)(TV)
This series hadn't premiered as of the writing of this blurb, but
it should show up sometime between October and December, 2000. The
cartoon supposedly features Cyclops, Jean Grey, Rogue, Nightcrawler,
Shadowcat, and Spike as teenagers as they fight for a world that
fears and hates them.



Okay. You've tried ALL the above. You've gone through every site on the
net. You've even created your own, just to say you searched it. You've
posted your question to xbooks, even, and you didn't get an answer (well,
actually, that isn't too surprising). What Can You Do?

You can do the last resort: emailing friendly netters! The following is a
list of xbookers who have, out of the goodness of their hearts, agreed to
be accessible on any of the following topics. Please note that
the only payment these people are receiving is the warm glow of seeing
knowledge safely passed on, so please be polite and appreciative of them.
If you aren't, they'll stop answering questions. And we don't want that.

Anyone who would like to be on this list can contact the FAQ keeper.
Please include an area of expertise that you'd be willing to field
questions on. And while it seems logical, please include your preferred
email address in your summary of your talents--you'll be surprised how
often this is forgotten. The listkeeper will tend to only put names here
that are recognized as netters who have been around long enough to know
that they know what they're talking about, but feel free to ask to be put
on. This is mainly to insure that any questioning newcomers won't get
shuffled off to some joker.

Here are the Friendly Folk, in their own (slightly edited) words:

Kate the Short ( and Aardy R. DeVarque

I've been on the newsgroup since early 1993, and now keep all
of the FAQs for the newsgroup. Aardy is my husband, and he
has been around almost as long. He keeps the Exhaustive
Completist's Supplemental X-Men Checklist and Annotated Index
(that is, all appearances of X-men outside of X-titles,
one-shots, and limited series).

Our collection of X-titles is massive. We have complete runs of
Uncanny X-Men from Giant-Size #1 to the present (and some issues
from the original run), New Mutants, Excalibur, Generation X,
X-Force, X-Factor, and most current-continuity X-titles, as well
as most one-shots and limited series. We've dropped Mutant X and
X-Man. We own tons of those old "crossover" issues and and cameo
appearances in other titles. Aardy's best for the research while
I usually deal with the internet resources.

Samy Merchi (

I'm proficient in all X-books published from 1975 to July 1999.
My favorite stuff includes anything by Claremont, the X-Men's
Australian period, Peter David's X-Factor, Claremont's New
Mutants and Fabian Nicieza's X-Force. All X-books are my areas
of expertise, but I'm especially knowledgeable with the New
Mutants, X-Force and Sunspot.

Blair Maynard, aka Doody Family (

My very own special area of expertise is obscure Wolverine guest
appearances in other Marvel books and a heap of Wolvie-related
awful one-shots and mini-series. I also have a scary interest in
Scott Lobdell, as I have most of his run on the x-books. Also,
if you have AoA questions I should be able to answer them.

Dwayne MacKinnon (

This man loooooooooooves Alpha Flight. Nuff Said.

Paul O'Brien (

I'm a total continuity geek, me. You name it, I probably
remember it. Unless it's something to do with the Brood, or
early X-Factor, or the insanely convoluted pre-X-Men history
of Wolverine. And don't even ask about Alpha Flight. Other
than that, there's a pretty good chance I know it...

Mike Lavin, aka Greenstool (

Biggest strengths are Artie, Leech, the Hellions, the New
Mutants, early X-Factor, and X-Force. I'm willing to take a
stab at just about anything except: Alpha Flight; Marvel time
travel (ughh), Rachel Summers's history, or the
Revanche/Psylocke fiasco.

My collection is not complete by any means, but it grows all
the time, since I am always on the lookout for items I don't
have. If you can't tell, I'm a wee bit obsessive about the
X-Men. :)



RACMX is the latest in a line of newsgroups dealing with the X-Men. The
prior incarnation was rec.arts.comics.xbooks, and its sage was David R.
Henry, who originated it. The original FAQ was broader, with more
information on more things, like netiquette, the video games, neat X-Men
resources, and all the publications about or involving the X-Men. Much of
this FAQ is still his work.

Kate the Short took out the resources and the netiquette, and made two
different FAQ's out of them which she maintains independently.

Jane Griffin did a whole pile of work after taking over for DRH, adding
several new questions (and answers), integrating issue numbers, separating
out the list of X-Men publications, and producing the first official HTML
version. She and Kate worked together to reorganize much of the FAQ as it

Marty Blase maintained the FAQ after Jane left.

After almost two years of dormancy, Kate decided to take on the darned
thing again. Be nice and help her out, okay?


Subject: CREDITS

This FAQ could never have remained as up-to-date as it is (well, was...)
without the contributions of the following people:

* Lady Amethyst * Johan Lundstrom
* Ken Arromdee * William May
* Charlie Ball * Jennifer J. McGee
* Cami Benham * Sonja Mendoza
* David C. Bredenberg * Brucha Meyers
* D.A. Brooks * Danny Miller
* Chris Campbell * Toby Nieboer
* Eric Chastain (aka T-Rex) * Andrew Oakley
* Russ Cullins * Paul O'Brien
* Judy Daniluk * Pecadilo
* Keith R.A. DeCandido * Al Petterson
* Nick Demmon * Martin Phipps
* Aardy R. DeVarque * Shane Potter
* Brian Fried * Joanne Puchalik
* Tom Galloway * queenB
* Eivind Gladheimstreng * Deepak Ramani
* Addison Godel * Maryann Robbins
* Jane Griffin * Chris Schumacher
* Robert Gruhn * Amy Sheldon
* David Goldfarb * Clara Showalter
* Chris Holly * Eric Stieglitz
* Joe Helfrich * The Stirge
* Matt Hutchins * Swpwarrior
* Marie Javins * Chris Sypal
* Rick Jones * uplink
* Joe Krug * Alasdair Watson
* Mike "Greenstool" Lavin * Mitchell Wietz
* Carol Dawn Lee * James Willer
* Hosun Lee * Craig Welsh
* Diane Levitan
* Jacob Levy
* Sean Lightner

Special thanks go to Jane Griffin, for keeping this thing in excellent
working order; Marty Blase, for helping keep the entire newsgroup sane
and enjoyable; and David R. Henry, without whom, I assure you, this would
not have been possible.

*** See also: The RACMX Glossary ***

Kate the Short *

Kate the Short

Mar 20, 2001, 10:39:11 AM3/20/01
Archive-name: comics/xbooks/main-faq/glossary

Posting-frequency: monthly

Frequently Asked Questions


Version 2001.01, last updated January 2001
Compilation Copyright 2001 by Katharine E. Hahn

Kate the Short, (


Subject: Table of Contents

If your newsreader has a search/go-to command, you can quickly page
through this FAQ by searching for any of the Contents as spelled. A
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since the last FAQ update.

The RACMX Glossary:





Abbreviations for discussing the various titles are hardly standardized,
but if you need some the following are all serviceable and properly
behaved, well-suited to be inserted into any needful post:

AF = Alpha Flight
Cable = Cable
DP = Deadpool
Excal = Excalibur
GenX = Generation X
MutX = Mutant X
NM = New Mutants
Unlim/XMU = X-Men Unlimited
UXM = Uncanny X-Men
Wolv/Wolvie = Wolverine
XFac = X-Factor
XFor = X-Force
X-Men/Unadj = X-Men

In general, the main confusion comes between Uncanny X-Men and X-Men,
mainly because up until a few years ago, Uncanny was just called "X-Men,"
there being no actual title called "X-Men" to confuse it with. If you're
talking about Uncanny, use it consistently and clearly in your post--the
other possibility is calling X-Men "unadjectived X-Men," but nobody really
wants to write "unadjectived," so give yourself a break and call Uncanny
Uncanny (or UXM), and X-Men just X-Men. You'll get used to it as you go

Another thing to remember is that xbooks is a newsgroup, while the X-books
are the comics. To help prevent confusion, this FAQ recommends calling the
comics X-titles, or to put the dash "-" in X-books when talking about the
comics as opposed to the newsgroup. You may also call the newsgroup racmx
(pronounced "rack-em-ex).



The Net is a place of lazy typists. In their perpetual search to say as
much as possible with as few keystrokes as necessary, many abbreviations,
terms, and words that are quite mystifying to the uninitiated are used.
Here, then, is a glossary of some terms commonly used around the 'Net, as
well as some more specific to xbooks:

* FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions. You're reading one. We hope you're
enjoying it.

* :-) : A smiley. Can appear in many different forms or directions, but
the basic idea is that of a smiling face, turned on its side. Used to
express a gentle joke or "no hard feelings" on the net, where the
lack of body language and voice tone often leads to misunderstandings.
(g), shorthand for "grin", and (s), "smile", are also used.

* 616: This is an identifier from Alan Davis' stint on Excalibur. Roma,
in her role as the omniversal guardian, and the people working under
her adopted a numbering system for the multiple parallel Earths that
exist throughout crosstime. The mainstream Marvel Universe and its
associated continuity are numbered "616" - Earth 616, Captain Britain
616, and so forth. Often used when comparing the mainstream Marvel
continuity to that of alternate timelines.

* AOA: Age of Apocalypse, Marvel's 1996 alternate-reality crossover for
the X-titles.

* BOB: Bob Harras, former group editor of the X-titles, current editor
in chief at Marvel, and source of much annoyance to some xbookers due
to his perceived ineffective ways. The term BOB apparently had its
origins when far too many xbookers watched too many episodes of "Twin
Peaks." Many people on xbooks differentiate between BOB, the symbolic
icon of All That is Bad in the X-titles Since (whenever--fill in
your favorite date), and Bob, the hard-working editor who presumably
is doing the best job he can under the present circumstances.

* canon: A term taken from the humanities, meaning the approved sources
(or of them). Xbooks convention considers only the comics and the
OHOTMUDE canon; other things like letters pages and Wizard articles
are considered enlightening but not Truth. Collectible card games are
considered extremely unreliable. Your milage may vary, but that is
racmx custom.

* dino: First used, puportedly, by the irascible Mike Ellis, "dino" is
a term that he supposedly borrowed from the mudding environment of
the Internet. It is now used as an identifier for X-readers who feel
more at home with X-titles the less grim, gritty, and pocket-stuffed
the costumes are.

* fanboy: One who must insanely consume all possible crossovers and
tie-ins to their dedicated icon, and who cannot accept that any other
comic company could be putting out characters as totally cosmic as
the ones they collect.

* DOFP or DOF*: Days of Future Past, and its related storylines Days of
Future Present, Days of Future Yet to Come, Days of Future Tense, and
Wolverine: Days of Future Past. The first was the original (UXM #141-
142), and set up the others. DOFPresent was an Annuals crossover, the
next two were Excalibur stories, and the last was a Wolverine limited
series. All of them deal with a dystopian future where Sentinels rule,
and DOFP is where Rachel Summers and the Hounds came from.

* IMO: In My Opinion

* IMHO: In My Humble (or Honest) Opinion

* IIRC: If I Recall Correctly

* LS: limited series, sometimes known as a mini-series.

* Lurker: An individual who reads the newsgroup, but for some reason
chooses not to post.

* MCP: Marvel Comics Presents, a now-extinct bimonthly title which
featured four eight-page stories about different characters every

* nimbo: A person who is both a ninja and a bimbo. An invaluable term
in discussing any book drawn by Jim Lee.

* OHOTMU: Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe. Once upon a time,
the OHOTMU was the penultimate source of Marvel trivia, history,
characters, and backgrounds. Unfortunately, its recent incarnation
skipped out on all the background stuff and just gave us fighting
stats, which sorely annoyed the old OHOTMU fans. The OHOTMU is the
Official Marvel guidebook on what characters can do what and why, and
is usually invoked as a reference to settle various arguments. Very
few long-time Marvel readers will accept the newest version of the
OHOTMU as more definitive than the older two, however. The older one
is also known as the OHOTMUDE (for Deluxe Edition).

* PAD: Peter A. David, writer of stuff, who was once the writer on
X-Factor (#70-#89). An infrequent poster on rac.misc, he no longer
hangs out at xbooks after quitting X-Factor.

* pastries: The traditional prize for any xbooker who gets his/her name
in the subject of a post by another user.

* rac: rec.arts.comics, now broken into many smaller groups, including
rec.arts.comics.marvel.xbooks. Sometimes done as r.a.c. "rac" is
sometimes used as an abbreviation of the term "rec.arts.comics" in
any instance; like "rac.marvel.xbooks". Often used the same way as
"rac.*", below. Newsgroups abbreviations are often capitalized or not
depending on the whim of the typist; "RAC" = "rac" = "R.A.C.", for

* rac.*: Used as a general abbreviation meaning "all of the
rec.arts.comics.* newsgroups".

* racm: rec.arts.comics.misc, the main group of the rac. hierarchy.
Also rac.misc.

* racmp: The current abbreviation for rec.arts.comics.marketplace,
which can't be racm because that's .misc. Also

* racmu: rec.arts.comics.marvel.universe, where Spiderman, FF, New
Warriors etc. belong.

* racmx: rec.arts.comics.marvel.xbooks.

* racx: Abbreviation of rec.arts.comics.xbooks, the original
incarnation of racmx.

* rac'ers: Netters who frequent any of the rac. groups.

* retcon: Short for "retroactive continuity." For the full story on
retcon, see the full rac. FAQ, posted montly on A retcon is
the act of a writer "squeezing" something into past storylines when
no evidence of it at all existed when those storylines were written.

The best example of this in the X-titles is Cable. When Liefeld and
Simonson created Cable, he had never been seen, mentioned, or listed
in any Marvel comic before. Suddenly, he appears, and every mutant
character who had been around forever is saying, "Ah, Cable, haven't
seen you around for a while." Well, duh, he hadn't been invented yet.
This mass infusion of history which had never existed before is a
classic retcon.

While "retcon" is usually used in a derisive, insulting sense, this
is more due to the fact that most retcons are the tools of modestly-
skilled writers working under deadline with an improper grounding in
continuity and thus end up being badly handled, as opposed to any
inherent fault in the idea of the retcon.

* The Sledgehammer of Angst: Properly, "Fabian Nicieza's Sledgehammer
of Angst! (TM)", this term originated in David Henry's infrequent
reviews of X-titles on racx, and refers to the typically heavy-handed
way in which that writer of X-Men tended to lay on the plot troubles
and theatrics. While Nicieza laid down the Sledgehammer recently due
to a change in his writing style, the term has entered general use in
xbooks and is included here for that reason.

* troll: A newsgroup poster who posts trivial or inflammatory material
in order to irritate other posters and, hopefully, trick them into
making foolish spectacles of themselves. Avoid responding to obvious
trolls at all costs, no matter how tempting a target they make

* xbooks: A common abbreviation of rec.arts.comics.marvel.xbooks. To
keep from being confused with the actual comics themselves, xbookers
are encouraged to refer to the newsgroup as xbooks, and the comics as
the X-titles.

* xbookers: Netters who frequent xbooks.

* XTAS: A quick abbreviation for X-Men: the Animated Series. Can also
be used to set apart XTAS characters from their "normal" comic
counterparts: Rogue-TAS versus Rogue, for instance.

* YMMV: Your Mileage May Vary.

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