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Excalibur #54

“Curiouser and Curiouser”

Writer and pencils: Alan Davis

Inks: Mark Farmer

Colours: Glynis Oliver

Letters: Michael Heisler

Editor: Terry Kavanagh

Original publication date: September 1992

Listeners of this pod know we share one thing with Brian Braddock, which is that we’d follow Meggan anywhere, including down a rabbit hole into a series of Alice in Wonderland-inspired nightmares that teach us things about ourselves! Jason R. Lady, author of fantasy and sci-fi for young readers, helps us unpack why Brian’s archnemesis is whimsy in Excalibur #54, “Curiouser and Curiouser,” in which Meggan has a good time, Brian thinks he has a bad time, and old enemies find happy endings. Plus, Kurt gets something cut off. 

On Wonderlands:

“When we think about journeys into alternate worlds, where they’re confronted with absurdity and the regular rules don’t make sense, we can ask—what does the hero learn about themselves through that experience?” -Jason

On the joys of Alan Davis:

“Davis’ big challenge on Excalibur was always time. Marvel wanted the bi-monthly schedule, and he wasn’t the type of artist who could be happy turning in quick work. Here, he was able to put in the care that he wanted. This comic book is refined.” -Andrew

On Brian's character:

“The nature of this world means Brian is inventing all these goofy humiliating situations for himself. His subconscious is spitting him out of giant teapots and binding him with flowers and making him fight silly monsters. There’s a theme of emasculation running through the whole issue.” -Anna

On Brian's archnemesis:

“Brian’s true enemy isn’t magic. It’s whimsy. That makes this adventure cathartic. Brian’s subconscious creates physical manifestations of whimsy that he can punch. And it’s Brian’s refusal of whimsy that isolates him from the rest of the team.” -Andrew

On Nightcrawler/exploitation:

“If I can be a bit crass for a moment: there’s also something to be said for the pure and simple carnality of the imagery here. Kurt’s sweaty and emotional and thinking about his cock. Which makes this scene about as close as a PG-13, Code Approved superhero comic ever comes to being porn. And I think it’s interesting that it’s so often Nightcrawler in that role, pushing those boundaries in a space where male sexuality, in terms of the sexuality of male characters, is traditionally disavowed. Nightcrawler seems to be able to get away with things other characters can’t.” -Anna

On Alice imagery:

“It feels a bit like Meggan is put into the magical girl role because she’s a magical girl. Whereas Courtney Ross had to think her way out of the magical girl role Arcade tried to make her play. Courtney’s story is more interesting to me.” -Mav

Want more Jason Lady?

Want more Jason Lady?

You can find him on Twitter (@JasonRLady) and find his books at his website or wherever find books are sold!

His “Magic Pen” series of books for middle school readers tell the story of – you guessed it – a magic pen that brings drawings to life. What could possibly go wrong…? wink


And as usual: 

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). 


-GGW Team