Greetings, fellow denizens! Today’s mailbag has a bit of an international flair, with letters coming all the way from Belgium and the Philippines! How did a fake mailman in post-apocalyptic America with nothing but a horse receive these letters? I have no fucking idea.

Top image by Jonathan Moore.

Make Mine Mon Mothma

Ross A.:

When will Disney make a Marvel-Star Wars crossover event, and what will it be? A comic, a movie, a cartoon, what?

Honestly? Hopefully never. I have spent a preposterous amount of my disposable income on items with the Star Wars or Marvel logos on them, I know more about the Galactic Empire than I do my own government, and I’m pretty sure I have more memories of Marvel comics than I do of actual childhood experiences. And I can’t even tell you how much I never, ever, ever want to see the two properties on the same screen.


Seriously, I can’t tell you, because I’m not even sure why this is. It may just be me being a cranky old nerd, and I couldn’t prove that's not the case. But I still feel there’s just something… wrong about seeing Iron Man shake hands with Luke Skywalker, or Darth Vader teaming up with Doctor Doom in a way that other potential crossovers don't (e.g., Star Trek, Transformers, hell, even He-Man to a degree [by which I mean a Marvel/He-Man crossover would be okay and a Star Wars/He-Man crossover would be terrible, albeit not at terrible as Star Wars/ Marvel]).

I think it’s just something fundamental that clashes between the two. Maybe it's that they’re both such enormous, fully realized universes, and that they’re both too big to play nice together. Maybe it’s just that superheroes and Jedi don’t mix, although even that legendarily goofy Star Trek: The Next Generation Meets the X-Men comic seems less incompatible than a Star Wars/Marvel merger (this might be at least partially because it narrows down its focus to two specific teams rather than the whole shebang).

What I can’t help but think of is that other than the Jedi, everyone in the Star Wars universe is pretty normal. Pretty much any Marvel superhero could beat the shit out of any non-Jedi with ease; hell, even a normal guy like Hawkeye should be able to take out Han Solo in half a second, because he’s an expert marksman and while Solo’s pretty good with a blaster, he’s hardly a prodigy. And then you get into the space battles and all the Marvel spacecraft which aren't designed for Star Wars’ weird essentially classic aerial combat in space, and… bleh. Heck, maybe it’s because the idea of Star Wars linking up with Earth in any way that just feels completely wrong. The two properties just don’t line up, is what I’m saying.


That said, I’d be shocked if someone at Disney isn’t foreseeing a massive, Scrooge McDuck-esque money vault at the idea of a Marvel/Star Wars crossover. However, the fact that the Marvel movies are doing just fine, and that Star Wars needs a bit of time to restart itself ensures we won’t have a movie any time soon. Given that Dark Horse still have the Star Wars comic license, I wouldn’t be surprised if our first crossover is some kind of Phineas & Ferb Marvel/Star Wars Super-Event cartoon special. The Marvel one that aired last week was fun, and a Star Wars special is already in the works; besides, when taking both down to a kids’ cartoon level, there’s actually a bit of equality between the two. Although I doubt a Phineas & Ferb Marvel/Star Wars Super-Event would feature anything as sublime as Red Skull getting shot repeatedly in the face with a waffle gun.

Who’s on First

Kevin V.

Dear Mr. Bricken,

I remember some years ago some intriguing looking science fiction villains showing up on my screen. Turned out they were Daleks! I had never heard of them before. I got intrigued and long story short: I got to know Doctor Who and fell in love with the series. Since then I have faithfully watched every episode that came out.

Now I would like to explore the show further and discover it's roots. I would like to watch all the existing adventures of the first 7 doctors, namely seasons 1 through 26. I am however quite confused on how to experience the complete Doctor Who adventure. (Note that with "complete" I mean all surviving episodes (and maybe the surviving audio of the missing episodes).)

I have tried looking for information but rarely seem to find anything useful. From what I can gather there seem to be quite a few serials released on single DVD's. These serials seemed to have been released in a very random order. I'm not sure if all serials have been released yet.

I find all this confusing and far from customer friendly. It seems an enormous hassle to be able to have a complete experience. Personally I would love to buy season box sets of old Doctor Who. However I can barely find any information on how far off these are or if they will ever appear at all. What I'm trying to ask is the following:

• What can you tell me about DVD releases of old Doctor Who serials?

• Do you have any knowledge of pending box sets or any idea on what the BBC has in mind?

• (And most importantly) How can I watch all surviving episodes of Doctor Who season 1 through 26?

Thank you!

PS I'm a Belgian citizen. I would like to apologize in any mistakes I have made against the English language. I also hope I was able to get my point across. Apologies if I have failed in this regard.

First of all, there is absolutely no need to apologize, Kevin. Your English is wonderful, and even if it wasn’t, I’m a strong supporter of the idea that anyone who can’t speak a foreign language does not get to criticize anyone speaking or writing in a second language.

As for Doctor Who on home video, you are correct in that it’s a bit of a mess. First of all, let me assure you that the BBC will not sell season sets for a very long time. There’s a bunch of reasons for this, including: 1) some of the early episodes are lost, 2) the BBC is animating these lost episodes but very slowly, 3) the BBC is making a lot more money selling individual serials/stories at $20-30 a pop than they would selling a set of all 40 episodes of season 5 for $50-80. So they’re going to try and eke out as much money as they can first before they even think about trying season sets.

Which admittedly doesn’t do you any good in trying to watch all the old Who episodes in order, sorry. Here’s the best I can do: Wikipedia has a shockingly complete (and as far as I can tell completely up-to-date) list of every old-school Doctor Who DVD in both R1 and R2, including the special editions, and mentioning every episode or serial that got included specifically in a random box set at some point. Other than going meticulously through the list and buying these DVDs one-by-one, I don’t know that there’s an easier way to watch all previously released classic Doctor Who episodes in order now or in the near future.

One tip, though — apparently Netflix is coming to Belgium by the end of the year. Now if Netflix offers its Netflix Instant service there, and I can’t imagine why it wouldn’t, it could very well include the classic Doctor Who episodes offered here in the U.S. (and again, I don’t know why it wouldn’t, or why the BBC would have a problem with it). Which means you could have access to 18 of the bigger classic Who stories for a reasonable fee. But I’m guessing if you’re a hardcore Who fan you’ve probably already seen the ones they offer.


Do any of you Who-ligans have any additional advice for Kevin? (FYI, Who-ligan is my personal term for Who fans, which I use instead of Whovian, and will continue to use until it catches on and I change the world.)

So Much Avenging

Bernel (from the Philippines):

Hi, Rob. Though I never comment on your posts, I'm a fan since your days in TR. Anyway, I have a question...

So, I've made a list of Marvel characters that I would love to see becoming Avengers. It got me into wondering who would you pick for such list. So which Marvel characters - who have never been Avengers before - do you want to see most gaining memberships on the Avengers?

P.S. Villains can be picked, since the Avengers, under the leadership of Captain America, has always been very willing to grant a roster space for villains that chooses to reform.

Good lord. Between 40 years of comics and the fact there are literally 10 Avengers titles at the moment (Avengers, Avengers Assemble, Uncanny Avengers, New Avengers, Secret Avengers, Avengers Arena, Avengers A.I., A+X, Young Avengers and the upcoming Mighty Avengers), most major Marvel characters have spent at least a little bit of time on one or another Avengers teams, and that includes most of the Fantastic Four. It’d be easier to tell you a list of characters that I’d love to have back on the team — Namor comes immediately to mind — but that wasn’t the question.


Honestly, I’m not a big fan of making members of other teams like the X-Men and FF or even the bad guys into Avengers, because it always seems a like a stunt rather than a decision that makes any kind of sense for the characaters. That said…

• Beta Ray Bill

• Cloak & Dagger

• ROM: Spaceknight

• Elsa Bloodstone (although I’d just as soon have more Nextwave: Agents of H.A.T.E.)


I also really like your idea of another diety like Thor or Zeus in the Avengers ranks, although I’d love Marvel to shake it up with a member of the Asian or Hindu pantheons. It would add a nice bit of international flair if Vishnu suddenly joined the team, don’t you think?

Human After All

Shane K.:

Dear Postman,

Science fiction is full of well-thought-out alien characters: The Puppeteers, moties, everything in The Culture, but non-humans seem to be quite rare in fantasy (outside of Tolkein and Drizzt novels). At least non-humans who aren't orcs or raving nasties or vampires. Any ideas why, or am I just missing finding them?

Well, I feel like there are plenty of fantasy novels with the regular Tolkien set — i.e., elves, dwarves, orcs/goblins/some incredibly similar nasties. There’s Michael Stackpole’s Dragoncrown War series, Raymond Feist’s Magician series, Deborah Chester’s Sword, Ring and Chalice series, D.A. Adams’ The Brotherhood of Dwarves for starters. But well-thought out non-human fantasy characters? I’m going to have to pass this one to my fellow fake postmen and postwomen in the comments. Who do you think are the best non-human fantasy characters, and where can Shane find them?

That's a Stretch

Charlie R.:

It's been forever since we discussed superhero members in the mailbag. The post about the sci fi size chart the other day started a discussion and I'd like a ruling.

Are Mr. Fantastic, Plastic Man and Elongated Man disqualified from measuring contests since they can manipulate things artificially?

Also, side question, do they create new mass to do so or do they rob from one area to increase the size in another leaving they stretching range finite?

For your non-penis question: Elongated Man does not create new mass, he is limited to what he’s got. Mr. Fantastic can change his density and his mass — he once bulked himself and became as strong as the Thing — but generally writers tend to keep his powers as if he was limited by his mass, so use your judgment. Plastic Man, on the other hand, can literally become as big as a skyscraper, so clearly something else is going on there.


Now to your penis question: They’d have to be disqualified immediately. Stretching abilities negate the whole contest, unless they were simply holding it with each other (and wouldn’t that be a treat, to see three giant penises expanding themselves around the entire planet). It’d be like Spider-Man challenging Thor to a webslinging contest; there’s no point.

And even if you got them to not use their powers, how could you be sure? If Reed added an extra inch down there, who would know? Maybe Sue, but would Sue humiliate her husband by announcing he was cheating (she should, because Mr. Fantastic is an ass, but she probably wouldn’t). And does Sue even remember her husband’s authentic penis size? I sincerely doubt it.

And can the three stretching heroes even control their powers? Who’s to say they wouldn’t even unconsciously use their abilities to add a little bit to the top? Or maybe their elongation powers make their penises inherently bigger, because what is a dick except a stretchy organ that elongates when engorged with blood? Maybe by simply having the powers, their naturally stretchy bits stretch even further? No, all three would be disqualified immediately, or at least murdered by the Hulk in a rage for cheating.


The sad thing is that if Mr. Fantastic had pulled this shit in a dick-measuring contest with Iron Man, Civil War would have actually made sense.

Do you have questions about anything scifi, fantasy, superhero, or nerd-related? Email the! No question too difficult, no question too dumb! Obviously!