What else would Marvel Comics stars Wolverine, a Canadian mutant who has sideburns and retractable claws, and Nightcrawler, a German Catholic mutant who has a tail, listen to during a road trip? In the comic “Nation X #1,” the X-Men’s ears are glued to WBEZ-produced This American Life, as revealed by news producer Hunter Clauss in a blog for WBEZ’s sister station, Vocalo. Current has determined that they are listening to a towering achievement of self-deprecatory humor in which TAL‘s staff takes blood tests and finds that even some of the women have more testosterone than Ira Glass. (The stuff is poison, anyway!) Wolverine and Nightcrawler do not acknowledge the subject. They are shown staring straight ahead at the highway, as mutant guys always do.
Andrew Gill, a Vocalo web producer, followed up with James Asmus, author of the Marvel comic, who confirmed: “I’m a huge TAL fan (NPR in general), so when trying to depict the warm and wistfully quiet moments in a road trip, it felt like the perfect way to set the mood.” Nightcrawler has listened to TAL for years, Asmus says, and introduced Wolverine to the show. ”I’m declaring that right now,” Asmus told Gill. “It’s official continuity.” Current has learned that in the next book in the series, “Nation X #2,” amazed Arbitron personnel will monitor Wolverine’s portable people meter as he’s converted — enduring excruciating pain — into a core listener and major donor with retractable claws.