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Subject: rec.arts.comics.marvel.xbooks FAQ: 1/8

This article was archived around: 21 May 2006 04:23:44 GMT

All FAQs in Directory: comics/xbooks/main-faq
All FAQs posted in: rec.arts.comics.marvel.xbooks, rec.arts.comics.info
Source: Usenet Version

Archive-name: comics/xbooks/main-faq/part1 Posting-frequency: monthly URL: http://users.rcn.com/kateshort/faqs/
-= REC.ARTS.COMICS.MARVEL.XBOOKS =- Frequently Asked Questions Part 1 Version 2003.02, last updated November 2003 URL: http://users.rcn.com/kateshort/racmxFAQ/faq1.html ------------------------------ Subject: Table of Contents Part 1: PURPOSE/INTRO NEW (OR RETURNING) READER INFORMATION * The current list of X-Titles and Teams (+) * Hints for picking up back issues and older storylines (+) WHAT ARE THE X-BOOKS? * Philosophical Meanderings and Inspirations * What is a mutant? (+) RACMX NEWSGROUP QUESTIONS * Can you explain Paul O'Brien's review grading system? * 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? * Where can I get scans of comic art? Why doesn't anybody post pictures on the newsgroup? COMMONLY USED ABBREVIATIONS AND TERMS OTHER RACMXERS WHO MAY BE OF ASSISTANCE ------------------------------ Subject: PURPOSE/INTRO This is the Frequently Asked Questions list for the Usenet newsgroup rec.arts.comics.marvel.xbooks. FAQs for the rec.arts.comics groups in general are posted regularly on rec.arts.comics.info. Not wanting to flood the general rac.* FAQs with a huge amount of X-related subjects, the FAQ keepers decided to start a number of separate FAQs, to be posted as needed on rec.arts.comics.marvel.xbooks (racmx) itself. Readers are still encouraged to read the main FAQs for the rac hierarchy in rac.info. Newcomers should also read the many helpful articles in the news.* hierarchy, especially those in news.newusers.questions. You should also read the newsgroup news.announce.newusers before you start posting regularly to the rac.* newsgroups. X-title fans are energetic and creative people, and a number of them have written their own FAQs or created their own webpages for topics close to their hearts. You can find a list of those FAQs, pages, and mailing lists on more specific subjects than these in the "Where Can I Find It?" FAQ. Please note that almost all of the rac.* FAQs can be found at the FAQ page: http://users.rcn.com/kateshort/faqs/. Please note: Background information on the creators and the X-titles editorial offices is based on over a decade's worth of interviews, articles, 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. ------------------------------ Subject: NEW (OR RETURNING) READER INFORMATION --- The current list of X-Titles and Teams (+) The current published monthly titles which tell the stories of the interacting genetic soap opera which is the X-Men are as follows: * Uncanny X-Men: The original book; covers one main team of X-Men. Team members include Angel (winged flight), Havok (energy blasts), Husk (shape changing), Iceman (ice manipulation), Juggernaut (unstoppable strength), Nightcrawler (teleportation), Northstar (superspeed flight), and the book has occasionally featured Jubilee, Polaris, and Chamber. * New X-Men: The sequel and companion title to Uncanny X-Men. Team members, mentored by Prof. Xavier (telepathy), include Beast (strength and agility), Cyclops (eye blasts), former White Queen Emma Frost (telepathy and diamond skin), Phoenix (telepathy and telekinesis), and Wolverine (enhanced senses and self-healing). The title often features students at Xavier's school, including Angel, Beak, and Dust. * X-Treme X-Men: A third core title; covers another set of X-Men. Team members include Bishop (energy blasts), Storm (weather), Sage (memory, analysis, and the ability to "see" others' potential mutant powers), and Cannonball (flight from blasting power). The title has also featured Rogue, Gambit, and Shadowcat. * X-Statix: A team of corporate-sponsored mutants / celebrities. Team members include Orphan (super senses, athleticism), Anarchist (acidic sweat), Vivisector (bestial form), Phat (fat control and strength), Dead Girl (corpse memory, spirit communication), Venus Dee Milo (energy form and teleportation), El Guapo (skateboarding), and Doop (pocket dimension storage, cameraman). * New Mutants: Training the newest kids how to use their powers. Teachers and mentors include Prof. Xavier (telepathy), Mirage (brings desires/fears to life), and Karma (mind possession). * Wolverine: Solo adventures with the world's most popular X-Man. * Weapon X: Covert operations with former X-Men allies and villains. * Deadpool/Cable: Team-up adventures featuring very odd teammates. * Mystique: Solo adventures with the longtime X-Men nemesis. * Exiles: Magik and friends time-hop through alternate dimensions. * Ultimate X-Men: A hip, alternate version of the X-Men team. * Unlimited: One-shot X-Men-related stories by various new creators. Obviously, these popular mutants have been featured as main characters or guest characters in quite a few former and current titles. Even in earlier decades Marvel was crossover happy, so it can be safely assumed that the X-Men have made guest appearances in probably every Marvel comic. Those interested in collecting them all should track down Aardy R. DeVarque's Annotated Index to X-Men Guest Appearances and Exhaustive Completist's Supplemental X-Men Checklist, both of which can be found at http://users.rcn.com/aardy/comics/index.html . --- Hints for picking up back issues and older storylines (+) There are two ways to get into reading the titles: starting with the current crop of books, or starting with the origins of the characters. If you're diving back in after a few years away, go to the core titles: Uncanny X-Men, New X-Men, and X-Treme X-Men, which feature most of the characters from the X-Men movie, cartoon, and older comics. Each of the titles rebooted with a new creative team multiple times over the past few years, so there are numerous good starting points. For New X-Men, start with #114 or #127 (the "E is for Extinction" or "Riot at Xavier's" storylines. For Uncanny, #410 is the reboot jumping-on point (the "Hope" storyline). For X-Treme, either start with #1 or wait until #24. For newer titles like X-Statix, Wolverine (restarted), and New Mutants (new version), just start with issue #1 or the first collected edition. Tons of color trade paperbacks (known as TPBs) exist that collect the various storylines and crossovers from the various titles. If you missed a few years, and don't want to spend the cash to pick up a title you don't want to read, check out your local library. Many libraries have purchased the droves of TPBs Marvel has issued since 2001, so your home library may have some of them, and/or may be able to get them through Inter-Library Loan. Just ask your local librarian--that person is there to help. If you're new to the X-Universe, the best way to learn who all these people are and where they are coming from is from the back issues. Essential Uncanny X-Men (only one volume) reprints issues 1-24 of the original (Uncanny) X-Men in a large "phonebook-sized" black and white paperback. The four volumes of Essential X-Men reprint Giant-Size X-Men #1 and then Uncanny #94 through Uncanny #179, plus annuals through Uncanny Annual #6. There are also three books of Essential Wolverine reprints, which cover Wolverine #1 through #75 or thereabouts. Great stuff for those just getting started. The Marvel Masterworks editions also reprint early issues of X-Men in color, including #94-100, #101-110, and 111-121, soon to be available through Barnes & Noble in TPB form. Readers who left off before Giant-Size X-Men might appreciate the newer stories in X-Men: The Hidden Years. Those stories are set during the reprint years of the title. Although the title has been cancelled, you should be able to find the issues in back issue bins. X-Men Classics and X-Men: The Early Years reprinted old Uncanny issues, and are a cheap way to pick up back issues without paying back issue prices (on the other hand, you miss the letter columns, something desirable in back issues). For the truly adventuresome, the book "Marvel: Five Decades of the World's Greatest Comics" offers a large history of not just the teams and the characters, but also the company itself. It's surprisingly unbiased, considering Marvel's usually corporate jitteriness, but it is expensive. Your local library may have a copy. Above all else, be patient. The comics are based on over thirty years of comic book history. A lot of that history is, unfortunately, somewhat presumed knowledge to read the X-Men titles. You'll figure out what's going on soon enough. In the meanwhile, enjoy the comics. ------------------------------ Subject: WHAT ARE THE X-BOOKS? --- Philosophical Meanderings and Inspirations The basic concept of the X-Men titles is the mutant. From the first issue of X-Men, in 1963, the creators of the X-Titles have used the idea of the mutant as an analogy to the civil rights movement. The thing that made the idea so compelling in the comic book field, however, was that the Marvel world's concept of the mutant had no single real-life counterpart, and no limit of real-life analogs. Thus, while there are no superhuman mutants being persecuted in our society, any reader can identify with the feelings of persecution and alienation (no matter how well-deserved :-). The plight of the Marvel Universe mutants can therefore be compared to the black civil rights movement, the womens' movement, religious persecution, gay rights, and so on. There's a book that may have inspired the X-men: "Children of the Atom" by Wilmar Shiras. Wilmar H. Shiras was born in Boston (1908) and raised there, but she did not start writing until she moved to California. "CotA" originally was a series of stories published in 1948-1950, starting with the November 1948 issue of "Astounding Science Fiction." In the installments, a teacher gathers a group of intellectually advanced kids who otherwise would be outcasts. Here we see the roots of a teacher or mentor dealing with kids who are, essentially, mutants. The chapters were collected in a paperback under the title "Children of the Atom" (Avon Publications, New York, NY, 1953). Tilman Stieve provided a ton of background information on the text, which I've summarized: The children's mutation was caused by an accident in a nuclear plant in 1958 (the Helium City facility was there to make "a new type of bomb") in which all workers were fatally irradiated, dying within 2 years. The main part of the story is apparently set in 1972. In the first chapter, "In Hiding," we meet Peter Welles, a psychiatrist/psychologist for the city schools of Oakley, California. Peter meets the first of these super-intelligent mutants, 13-year-old Timothy Paul, after he is consulted by Timothy's teacher, Miss Emily Page, who a long time earlier was Peter Welles's teacher. In the second chapter, "Opening Doors", Peter and Timothy begin to look for other mutants (orphans of other workers at the plant). Among the first to reply to their cryptic ad "Orphans, b c 59, i q three star plus" is one Jay Worthington(!!!). Elsie Lambeth is found in an asylum run by Dr. Mark Foxwell. Peter Welles begins to organize a school for these super-intelligent "Wonder Children." Miss Page becomes their teacher, and Dr. Foxwell helps. The third chapter, "New Foundations," continues the organization and recruitment. Students Jay Worthington and Stella Oates appear for the first time. In the fourth chapter, "Problems," more and more children are gathered at the school and the teaching begins in earnest. In the fifth chapter, "Children of the Atom", the school stuff continues, but then Tommy Mundy, a TV preacher, begins to rant against the "inhuman monsters" and the mortal danger the Children of the Atom supposedly pose to mankind "hidden under the disguise of a school for gifted children." (This is pretty close to Xavier's "gifted youngsters," and Mundy is a character not unlike the villain in "God Loves, Man Kills.") An angry mob shows up at the gates, but it can be pacified, partly because some of the kids, such as Timothy Paul, are known by the locals and regarded as non-threatening. Tim Paul then says he wants to return to grade school and has this rather interesting bit (considering some of the problems the X-teams would go on to have) to say about the sudden fears of ordinary citizens: None of this would have happened if we had not cut ourselves off from the world and from almost everybody in it. As long as we lived like other kids, nobody hated us, nobody feared us, nobody was against us. Some of you said, and the magazines and things said, that I saved us from real trouble by talking to the crowd. But it wasn't what I said or what I did, it was that somebody knew me. Some of them knew Miss Page and some knew Dr. Welles. But if you strangers to town, and the other strangers who will come, shut yourselves up here and live inside this fence, nobody will know you. And so, in the end, they decide to rejoin the human race. The "nobody hated us, nobody feared us" line above sounds a lot like the X-Men concept of defending "a world that hates and fears them." Even if Stan Lee and Jack Kirby weren't inspired by the book, the "Children of the Atom" tagline has been used by multiple X-Men writers to refer to mutants. --- What is a mutant? (+) The main focus of the X-titles is a specific type of character called a mutant. Forget most of your basic biology when hearing the term "mutant" applied to a Marvel comic, because the writers usually do. For Marvel purposes, a mutant is a being who possesses a genetic structure not present in his parents. While it's useless as a scientific definition (otherwise, any "non-mutant" child would exactly resemble her parents, like clones), it's mainly used as a tag for a specific group of superhumans. Really, the definition is a bit looser than that, since accurate biology is usually not the top priority for the writers. For instance, Siryn, is called a mutant, despite the fact that her powers are the same as those of her father, Banshee. Some say that Siryn *is* a mutant, in that she can talk and scream at the same time (it makes perfect sense if you know the characters), but the main difficulty is bad writing, not bad genes. The easier way to categorize mutants is to see whether have an active "X-Factor", and that's really the main point of the whole definition. You will see references stating that "a mutant has to have a different power than his parents" in mutant comics, though, so it's mentioned here just to get you acquainted with it. So, what are mutants, exactly? They are superhuman because they were born that way. They didn't need any gamma bomb blowing up, or spider biting them, or magical formula recited. They're superhuman because that's what they were born to be. They are mutants because of their X- Factor. And what is an X-Factor? Read below, true believer! The reason there are mutants on Earth comes from Marvel cosmology. Large, alien gods, called Celestials (who some say are but the incarnations of the dreams of Eternity), visit all planets that will bear life, early in each planet's existance. They perform genetic tinkering with the early lifeforms that will, if everything works out right, leave the species with three distinct superhuman bloodlines: Eternals (who never suffer random mutations), Deviants (who always suffer mutations in each generation), and normal folks. In the "normal" lifeforms, the Celestials left a genetic trigger. Some normals would gain powers after exposure to odd "triggering" events (like the Fantastic Four, the Hulk, or Spider-Man). Others could self-trigger when exposed in the womb to sufficient background radiation. When it's self- triggered, that genetic trigger is called the X-Factor. Now the X-Factor only makes a mutant when it's self-triggered. Something happens to it when it does so that it becomes different than the same gene that allowed the Fantastic Four to gain their powers; mutants show up on mutant detectors (which look for the unique signature of the X- Factor), while Spider-Man doesn't. Mutants also give off unique brain patterns due to the X-Factor that enable telepaths who know what to look for (like Professor X) to detect mutants far more easily than normal humans or non-mutant superheroes. Devices that nullify mutant powers by negating the X-Factor are useless against non-mutants as well. On the other hand, Ship (an old base of Apocalypse) had a force field around it that would only open if it detected the X-Factor inside a visitor. So, yes, mutants are different than the "normal" superhumans in a Marvel comic. Aside from that, there's no real appreciable difference or superiority for mutant superpowers over non-mutant ones. Prejudices, however, still count most mutants as menaces and most non-mutant superheroes as friendly (J. Jonah Jameson's views on Spider-Man notwithstanding). So, to sum up: A mutant in the X-Universe is anyone whose powers derive from the mutant genetic X-Factor introduced into the human race by the First Celestial Host during prehistory. Got it? Good! ------------------------------ Subject: RACMX NEWSGROUP QUESTIONS These questions pertain more to the newsgroup than to the actual comics. --- Can you explain Paul O'Brien's review grading system? Here it is, in Paul's own words: A+ - unequivocally recommended. A - highly recommended. A- - Could be better, but still recommended. B+ - Worth a look. B - Fine if you like that sort of thing. B- - Passable. C+ - Unsatisfactory, though not actively bad. C - Badly flawed; for fans only. C- - Bad; for completists only. D+ - You'll wish you hadn't bought this book. D - You'll wish you'd never even read this book. D- - The creators wish they'd never even read this book. It should be noted that the review grades vary depending on a number of factors, including Paul's mood when reviewing the title. And no, there is *no* grade of F. The UK grading system generally doesn't use F; work that bad isn't accepted for a grade at all. Paul doesn't, hasn't, and won't grade a book F. Perhaps a book so vile doesn't exist. If it does, Paul certainly wouldn't bother to review 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 racmx 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 racmx, 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 http://home.att.net/~lubakmetyk/bootleg.htm . The fanfic is very long, by the way; 12 full-size chapters. It takes a while to read. It's worth it. (You can also find it on the http://www.csua.berkeley.edu/~tsang/kd/ or http://ebonbird.tripod.com/kiddynamo.htm sites.) --- 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 alt.binaries.pictures.cartoons 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. ------------------------------ Subject: COMMONLY USED ABBREVIATIONS AND TERMS 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 Excal = Excalibur GenX = Generation X NM = New Mutants Ultimate / UltXM = Ultimate X-Men Uncanny / UXM = Uncanny X-Men XFac = X-Factor XFor = X-Force Unlim / XMU = X-Men Unlimited X-Men / New XM = (New) X-Men X-Treme / XXM = X-Treme X-Men In general, the main confusion comes between Uncanny X-Men and X-Men. Uncanny was originally called X-Men, then changed its title. Up until a few years ago, Uncanny was just called "X-Men," there being no actual title called "X-Men" to confuse it with. To make things even more fun, X-Men was renamed New X-Men when X-Treme X-Men debuted. If you're talking about Uncanny, use "Uncanny" or "UXM" consistently and clearly in your post. Similarly, call New X-Men just "NXM," and call X-Treme X-Men "X-Treme." You'll get used to it as you go along. 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, and calling the newsgroup racmx (pronounced "rack-em-ex"). The Net is a place of lazy typists. Here, then, is a glossary of some terms commonly used around the 'Net, as well as some more specific to racmx: * FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions. You're reading one. We hope you're enjoying it. * 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. You will sometimes see references to the AOA versions of characters as AOA-Rogue or AOA-Jean. * canon: A term taken from the humanities, meaning the approved sources (or of them). The newsgroup 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. * Counter-X: A radical retooling of the titles X-Man, Generation X, and X-Force that only lasted one year. Only X-Force survived, and it was radically retooled a year later. * 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 DOFP was the original (UXM #141-142), and it 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. * 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. * 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 was the Official Marvel guidebook on what characters could 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 on racmx. * rac: rec.arts.comics, now broken into many smaller groups, including rec.arts.comics.marvel.xbooks. Sometimes done as r.a.c. "rac" is sometime 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 instance. * rac.*: Used as a general abbreviation meaning "all of the rec.arts.comics.* newsgroups". * 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 rac.info. 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 appeared, and every mutant character who had been around forever was 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. racmx'ers also sometimes call Jean Grey's "resurrection" in place of being Phoenix a 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. * 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 themselves. * xbooks: A common abbreviation of rec.arts.comics.marvel.xbooks. To keep from being confused with the actual comics themselves, racmxers are encouraged to refer to the newsgroup as racmx, and the comics as the X-titles. * X:TAS: 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. ------------------------------ Subject: OTHER RACMXERS WHO MAY BE OF ASSISTANCE 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 racmx, 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 racmxers who have, out of the goodness of their hearts, agreed to be accessible net.help 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 (racmx@yahoo.com) and Aardy R. DeVarque (rgfdfaq@yahoo.com) 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), though it hasn't been updated in a number of months. Our collection of X-titles is massive. We have complete runs of Uncanny X-Men from Giant-Size #1 to the present (and many issues from the original run), New Mutants, Excalibur, Generation X, X-Force, X-Factor, (New) X-Men, X-Treme X-Men, and most of the current-continuity X-titles, as well as a number of one-shots and limited series. We've dropped Cable, Deadpool, and Wolverine. We own tons of the old "crossover" issues and and cameo appearances in other titles. Aardy's best for the research while I usually deal with the internet resources. * Chris R. Barry, aka 23yrold3yrold (cbarry@pangea.ca) My love of the X-Books and characters stems from it's history, so I have a huge and rapidly expanding collection going back to Giant Sized X-Men #1, though I've only been reading since 1997. My books of choice are Uncanny X-Men, X-Men, Wolverine, Excalibur, X-Force, X-Factor, Cable and Generation X. And X-Man just because. In other words, the main stuff. I may not know the super-obscure, but I got the mainstream history. Still gotta catch up on my New Mutants back-issues, though.... * Dwayne MacKinnon (dmk@freenet.carleton.ca) This man loooooooooooves Alpha Flight. Nuff Said. * Blair Maynard, aka Doody Family (doodymp3@esatclear.ie) 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. * Samy Merchi (samerc@mash.yok.utu.fi) 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. * Dan Miller (millerdan@earthlink.net) I *have*, readily available, several hundred issues of X-Men, virtually complete from about six years back through about Davis' run, plus back issues. Also, I've been on racmx for six years or so and remember too much of what I've picked up. :) * Paul O'Brien (paul@esoterica.demon.co.uk) 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... *** Continued in Part 2 *** Compilation Copyright 2000-2003 by Katharine E. Hahn SEND ADDITIONS / CHANGES / DEAD LINKS / MOVED LINKS / UPDATES TO: Kate the Short, racmx@yahoo.com (mailto:racmx@yahoo.com) -- Kate the Short * http://users.rcn.com/kateshort/