X-Men Zines and Headcanons!

Two zines lying on top of each other. 

The first, a quarter-page zine, is titled "Warlock Befriends Appliances" in between "Warlock" and "Befriends" is an image of Warlock's head inside a heart.

The second, a larger, half-page zine, is titled "Jay's Book of Irrelevant Headcanon." The title is enclosed in a thought bubble that emerged from a cartoon drawing of the top half of Jay's head.

The snapchat caption reads: "Who's up for fun X-Men headcanons?"

It’s been a long time since I’ve been so enthused about anything X-Men related as I’ve been since reading “And the Rest Will Follow.” Talk about a rejuvenating fannish experience. Anyway, when I received my order for the comic from Books with Pictures I also received two of Jay’s X-Men zines “Warlock Befriends Appliances” and “Jay’s Book of Irrelevant Headcanon,” both of which are wonderfully hilarious and heartfelt in measure.

Two pages of a zine. The first page shows Warlock sitting cross-legged on the ground hugging a Tube TV in his lap.

The second page shows the top half of Warlock's as he peers at a toaster.

The snapchat caption reads: "Some appliances are easy to understand."

“Warlock Befriends Appliances” is exactly what it sounds like. Warlock, a Technarchy alien who was part of the original New Mutants, befriends everyday appliances such as a TV and a toaster.

Zine page of Warlock holding a personal massager/vibrator that is actively vibrating. Warlock's speech bubble shows a picture of a bee and a question mark.

Overlayed is a cropped image from the following page of the zine of Illyana Rasputin (Magik) standing in front of her dresser and looking into the empty top draw. It can be inferred that the massager belongs to her.

The snapchat caption reads: "Some are not. (And Illyana would like her personal massager back.)"

And also a “personal massager,” which the back panel of the zine implies belongs to Illyana Rasputin (Magik).

“Jay’s Book of Irrelevant Headcanon” is a little more robust. Dedicated to “Evan Sabahnur’s sneaker collection,” this is definitely my favorite of the two zines. I love Warlock don’t get me wrong, but I love some of the characters in this zine a bit more, like Quentin Quire (the minor but persistent Wikipedia troll) and Alex Summers (who spends a lot of time at the movies alone).

My personal favorite, which I did not take a snap of because the image wasn’t showing well with the lighting I had, is of Warren Worthington (Angel/Archangel), and it is that, as Archangel “Everything tastes subtly different than it used to,” which I just think is an absolutely fascinating headcanon about the implications of the physiological changes that Warren went through to become one of Apocolypse’s horsemen. I might just give that headcanon a nod if I ever get around to finishing that horseman Warren fic I’ve had in my drafts for ages.

The original images for “Warlock Befriends Appliances” can be found here (scroll all the way to the bottom) and “Jay’s Book of Irrelevant Headcanon” comes up in Jay & Miles X-Plain the X-Men episode 187: “Mermaids at the Center of Time.” (If you don’t already listen to Jay & Miles X-Plain the X-Men, you definitely should.) Both zines (and more) can be purchased at Books with Pictures and also if you’re able to catch Jay at a convention (once those start happening again, anyway.)

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X-Men: Marvel’s Snapshots, “And The Rest Will Follow” written by Jay Edidin

Two copies of Marvels Snapshots: X-Men propped up against a laptop screen. The copy in the front has the alternate cover, with a classic comics look a young Scott Summers is surrounded by the shadowed figures of the Fantastic Four, Spiderman and Iron Man. The tagline reads "It's an age of marvels and monsters, Scott Summers! Time to decide, which are you?!"
The one to the back is the standard cover, with an adult Scott Summers portrayed from the shoulders up firing his eye beams down at a diagonal across the cover. 
The snapchat subtitle reads, "Time for X-Men."

So I went into this excited because I’ve love Jay’s work already and I also trust Jay as someone with good opinions and thoughts on the Summers brothers. 

Now I’ve read one-shots/minis series’ of Scott Summers’ origin story before, the two that come immediately to mind are “X-Men: Children of the Atom” and “X-Men Origins: Cyclops,” but “Snapshots” rapidly outpaced them as my favorite. It’s not the most comprehensive look at Scott’s backstory, it doesn’t even begin to touch on Mr. Sinister, but what it does do is create a tangible look at how Scott’s past has impacted his present, in particular his past prior to Professor X and the X-Men. 

The story is focused on Scott during his time at the orphanage where he lived after the plane crash that “killed” his parents prior to and immediately after his mutation manifesting, and the main plot is Scott trying to figure out where he fits in the world and struggling with a slew of mental health issues after the plane crash. 

At the same time superheroes emerge on the world stage, the Fantastic Four, Iron Man, etc. and we get to see Scott view superheroes through the eyes of a civilian. Not Cyclops, not even knowing he’s got powers of his own yet. One line I particularly loved was, “They talk like the Fantastic Four are movie characters, but they’re real people,” which I think is just a fantastic thing to think about considering the kind of public perception Scott himself attains as an adult. 

The main thread that the story follows is Scott hyper-fixating on superheroes and the idea of superheroes being born from tragic circumstances, but helping people. The experiences of the Fantastic Four gaining their powers through a freak accident is paralleled with Scott’s plane crash: “Four people climb into a cockpit. Strap in. Take off. Something goes horribly, horribly, wrong.”  

Comic panel. A young Scott Summers sitss as a table writing, there are magazines and books about superheroes surrounding him.
Scott's narration reads "I obsess about things. Get fixated and I can't let go. I know that. But all of this feels important, like something I should recognize--maybe something that got lost with everything else."
The snapchat caption reads "That's hyper-fixation bay-be" in all capital letters.

This leads to Scott going to see Reed Richards/Mr. Fantastic speak, where he winds up involved in his first superhero/super villain fight as a bystander. This leads to Scott’s budding interest in tactical planning and then his mutation goes off.

Comic panel. A young Scott Summers is shown in the foreground to the right side of the panel reading Sun Tzu's The Art of War. In the center background there are some menacing looking bully types and to the left there is a young child running and the edge of a swing set. 
Scott's narration reads: "I know I'm obsessing again. But it makes sense like almost nothing else ever has. I want things to be as simple as Sun Tzu makes them sound." 
The Snapchat caption reads: "Why am I not surprised that Scott would get special interest invested in The Art of War."

The flashback section concludes with Scott struggling once again with who he is. Is he a monster that the Fantastic Four would fight? Or is he like them, can he help? And, because this is Scott Summers the answer is the latter. Something else I really loved about this scene was that Scott came to that realization on his own, he didn’t need Professor X to validate his worth.

Four comic panels.
Panel 1: A close up of an air conditioning unit being help up on a crane, the cables holding it up are breaking.
Panel 2. Close up of the faces of several white men, frightened and trapped underneath what appears to be fallen scaffolding
Panel 3: Close up of Scott's face his eyes are squeezed shut and his hand is shaking as he lowers his ruby quartz glasses. 
Panel 4: Close up of the cable holding the air conditioning unit breaking with a snap.
Scott's narration, which runs over all four panels: "If I do that-- if anyone sees-- there has to be something else. But there isn't. Those men probably have families. Kids. I'm not a monster. I'm not. Well, Summers, you wanted to make a difference. To do something." 
Snapchat caption: "You can do it Scott!!!"

Which brings us to the very final scene: in the nebulous “present” Scott is giving orders for what appears to be a mission to rescue three of the Fantastic Four, and we see Scott as Cyclops taking to Reed Richards and he quotes to Reed something that Reed had said during a TV interview while Scott was at the orphanage. That, for me, brought everything together absolutely perfectly. In one speech bubble, we understand the importance of the entire rest of the story and how foundational these early experiences were for Scott. It’s also just a great ending from a storytelling perspective too, it’s a beautifully wrapped one-shot that doesn’t leave you wanting for anything. 

One more thing of note, if you are neurodivergent like myself, you may have noticed my use of the word “hyper-fixation” which is a term used in describing certain behaviors characteristic of autism and ADHD. Scott reads incredibly neurodivergent and not just in a throw away sense and it’s very easy to pick up if you are familiar with those kinds of neurodivergencies. Furthermore, this is intentional, Jay has stated himself that he was writing Scott as autistic. Of course, Word of God only means so much, but in my opinion, the proof is more than there. 

While this issue came out several weeks ago, you may still be able to find it by reaching out to your local comic book shop — I got mine through Books with Pictures — and you can get it in digital through comiXology.

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