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Excalibur #1

“Warwolves of London”

Writer: Chris Claremont

Penciler: Alan Davis

Inker: Paul Neary

Colourist: Glynis Oliver

Letterer: Tom Orzechowski

Editors: Ann Nocenti and Terry Kavanagh

Publication date: October 1988

In this episode, Anna, Mav, and Andrew discuss Excalibur #1, “Warwolves of London.” Topics include Excalibur’s sophisticated (maybe even postmodern!) pacing, its revolutionary genre-bending, its playfully mature sexuality, and why Meggan interrupting Nightcrawler in the bath to compare him to Joan Collins and bring him a hot chocolate he subsequently accepts with his tail is the single most important scene in the issue (it must be, based on how long we talk about it!).

This episode has an enhanced video version! Watch here:

On the importance of sexy monsters:

“There are two turning point scenes in my attraction to Nightcrawler. And they both involve him in the bath. Humanizing ‘monster’ characters, bringing you into their domestic space—that matters.” -Anna

On Excalibur’s mature sexuality:

“With Meggan and Nightcrawler, hanging out together in a house, away from Meggan’s partner… there’s a really cool tension there, that establishes a tone of adult sexual consciousness.” -Andrew

On Excalibur’s storytelling innovations:

Excalibur is constantly moving around from place to place, so that you almost needed training wheels to learn how to read it. It took time for me to understand how to read it correctly.”-Mav

On character growth:

Excalibur #1 establishes Rachel’s evolution as a character, expressed through her agency, and power, and capacity to control the manner in which she’s perceived.” -Andrew 

On catering to multiple gazes:

Excalibur plays up equal opportunity exploitation. Everybody’s very sexy in this comic. Nightcrawler had been sexy before, but Excalibur #1 makes a deliberate choice to emphasize his sexiness.” -Anna

On sexual politics:

“Meggan evokes the trope of ‘born sexy yesterday.’ She’s a character who oozes sexuality in a weird, childlike way. Yet she’s not naïve. She watches Dynasty. She knows what affairs are.”-Mav

On postmodernism:

Excalibur is extremely postmodern in presentation, but in a way that’s different from the dark and cynical turn in other comics and media. It’s interested in asking questions like: why does a story have to be linear? But doing it in a fun way.” -Mav

As always, we also have some recommended further reading/viewing!

For more Nightcrawler’s relationship to the sexual revolution, check out Andrew’s thread on the subject for The Claremont Run.

For more on the presence and absence of supersexuality in comics, see Anna’s article, “(Behold?) The Vision’s Penis: The Presence of Absence in Mutant Romance Tales.”

Anna also gave a research talk back in the fall on similar themes, called “Mutant Romance Tales: The Pleasure and Power of Supersex.”

For yet more on supersex (we talk about this a lot!), see the recent VoxPopcast podcast episode on the subject!

Want even more?

You can find Anna on Twitter (@peppard_anna) and on her podcast with Andrew and Michael Hancock, Three Panel Contrast (@3PanelContrast). 

You can find Andrew on Twitter (@ClaremontRun).

You can find Mav on Twitter (@chrismaverick) and on his podcast, VoxPopcast (@VoxPopcast). 

Enjoy, and let us know what you think!