0:01-3:38:  Greetings from Graeme “Jeff Lester?” McMillan and Jeff “Graeme McMillan?” Lester let you know you’ve been robbed of perhaps the greatest opening in our history!  (All that said, you probably didn’t miss much?)  And, because we have a lot of qiuestions to get to, after a bit of talk about the previous week’s weather, we are off to the races!
3:38-08:00:  John Kipling (from Patreon) wants to know:If the MCU makes a Fantastic Four movie who does Doom team up with to defeat Reed Richards? Namor? Mole Man and Fin Fang Foom? Galactus? (And if it is Fin Fang Foom should he wear athletic shorts?)
08:00-16:12: Ed (from Patreon) was wondering:First, Zenescope Comics and Aspen Comics seem to be popular (at least on Comixology). Do you have any sense who the audience for these are? To me, they seem like porn comics minus the porn. Am I missing something?
16:12-22:08: Second, I’ve tried to get into manga a few times but the only series that ever worked for me was Lone Wolf and Cub. I love the art style; the story was compelling, the action was clear; and it didn’t have much of the tropes that I associate with the manga that I don’t like: panty shots, high school, chibi characters, the little visual short hands (vampire teeth, bead of sweat, etc.). Do you have any manga recommendations that might work for me?
22:08-28:17: Steve Lacey asked via email: I’ll keep this brief as I’m on a phone at nearly 2am, under the influence of some very enjoyable birthday celebrations. I have never relied on autocorrect so much…
As fellow travellers on the Fantastic Four journey, I’m keen to hear your thoughts on the 10-or-so issues of the relaunched Fantastic Four so far. Are they any good? Where do they fit in the general FF rankings? And how do they compare to Slott’s other works?
28:17-30:16: In addition, what are your thoughts on the upcoming spinoff books – Invisible Woman, Future Foundation, and Yancy Street? Do the premises and creatives excite you enough, or are Marvel over saturating a limited market?
30:16-36:01: John Q (from email) wonders:In light of the ‘Drokk’ episodes, do either of you have any thoughts on the Marshal Law comic?
36:01-43:26: Jonathan Sapsed muses via email:My question is about creators ‘peaking’ in their careers. People say Chris Claremont peaked with the ’80s X-Men run or Bendis with Daredevil or Ultimate Spider-Man. But do creators really peak or is it that everybody gets used to their style? People are saying Bendis is peaking again after getting really ill and going to DC.
What about artists? Walt Simonson’s current Ragnarok seems as accomplished as his classic Thor. Bill Sienkiewicz is still innovating. I’ve heard Steve Rude say he peaked with Nexus #14. Is it that specific usually? Does anybody peak late in comics?
Is it the same with podcasts? When will Wait What peak? 🙂
43:26-46:44: Also when Jeff talks about ‘formalism’, usually with Alan Moore or Tom King, what does he mean exactly?
46:44-48:50: Eric Rupe, from email, wants to know: Has Jeff read enough sports manga to have an opinion on them as part of the action genre? Haikyuu in particular seems to work really well as an action story only instead of fights and chases it has volleyball matches. It is not something you see of a lot of in US media (TV, comics or otherwise) and was wonder if Jeff has had similar thoughts.
48:50-53:26: What is the most you’d be willing be spend on a comic because of nostalgia and nothing else?
53:26-1:06:49: Does the direct market inherently limit the possible success of certain types of genre material? Why the seeming lack of successful non-superhero based comedy, romance, slice-of-life, sports or similar types of comics in the traditional 20-ish page floppy format?
When people often talk about the current state of the direct market and various events that happened in the past they tend to a) blame the companies for publishing and marketing various bad ideas and/or b) blame the readers for buying said bad ideas but never seem to blame retailers for going along with it all. Do retailers deserve a certain amount of blame or are they innocent middlemen trying to make the best of a bad situation?
1:06:49-1:07:51: Who is more evil: Graeme, since he owns a Kindle, or Jeff, since he owns an iPad?
1:07:51-1:09:07: Kevin Donlan (from email) asks (but this gets booted to a future episode because it is too good a question to just dash off but we don’t have time and so here is the question for your future reference): So this should lead to a quick discussion if you were to recommend an introduction to comics to different age levels what would they be, they could either be funny books or even scholarly journals (Not Brand ‘Ecch comes to mind):8 and under /9-13 /13-15 /16-18 /19-25 /26-35 /36- fogies /”get off my lawn” to curmudgeon
Obviously there are some things that will overlap.  Just curious what you think. [stay tuned, Kevin!]
1:09:07-1:11:52: Martin Gray arrives via Twitter and email to wonder: If Silver Age Marvel had done ‘Family’-style spin-offs a la Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen, who do you think would have could have carried a book?
1:11:52-1:18:14: Douglas O’Keefe (via email) has a couple loaded in the chamber and ready to fire: What was the end of Mister Miracle all about? How do you feel about the series as a wholeYou guys talked a little about #12 when it came out, but your discussion was mostly about the continuity of the series with other DC stuff at the time.I started reading with a lot of enthusiasm but by the last issue I felt like I had learned that the pizza I’d been eating was made out of cardboard.
1:18:14-1:22:02: Tom Shapira from Twitter proposes this thought experiment: If you could have one never-completed work (Big Numbers, 1963 etc.) finished what would it be?
1:22:02-1:28:55: From Twitter, George Johnson wants to know: Has the walking dead peaked or did it earlier and we are in the decline now? [SPOILERS for issue #192, the latest issue of Walking Dead]
1:28:55-1:30:05: Art Lyon (@DarthErr on Twitter) queries: What failed comic book publisher do you miss?
1:30:05-1:35:02: From email, Eric Grill challenges:  Given Marvel’s previous attempt at creating manga inspired work with (to be charitable) less than successful results, what Marvel or DC characters / concepts would work if done in the true manga style by Japanese writers and artists? The natural choice would be students at the Xavier Institute like Generation X in a slice of life manga, but given the Xmen’s propensity to play sports whenever they have downtime, a baseball manga with a team of mutants could be great.
1:35:02-1:43:23: Our good chum Adam P. Knave asks via email: What music do you think goes with your current favorite series and why?
Bonus: Best Englehart storyline ever? All books he wrote are up for grabs.
1:43:23-1:46:20: Flashhe (a.k.a. Roger Wilson) asks via the electromagnetic temporal communication field (a.k.a. email): In the wake of the Swamp Thing cancellation etc, and the forthcoming Warner streaming service, is DC Universe doomed? Certainly seems like Warner would want to save the original content for its new all-encompassing streaming service. I am worried about the future of Stargirl, which I really want to see. Maybe DCU will exist only as a platform for the comics? Can the two services co-exist and the original content would premiere on both at the same time? I know it’s all just speculation at this point, but you guys seem closer to the mouth of the Oracle than I am.
Wildfire
1:46:20-1:47:33: Also, who is your favorite Legionnaire? I guess mine is Phantom Girl. I always dug the bell-bottomed costume.
1:47:33-1:50:55: Leef Smith wanders in from email to wonder:  Where do you see the comics industry in 10 years? And more specifically, what happens to Marvel Comics after it’s wrestled from Ike Perlmutter’s cold, dead hands? (Not to wish death on anyone, but… )
1:50:55-2:03:48: Good ol’ Dan Billings writes: My comic shop has an issue with pull lists because customers with extensive asks or specific graphic novels disappear. In addition, the number of large pull list customers has significantly declined. A few questions related to that:
1. Do you think pull lists are a positive or negative for shops?
2. From what you hear, is the same loss of large customers happening everywhere?
3. If so, what do you think could change that?
4. Is there something on your pull lists you seemed to never be able to drop – either in the past or today?
2:03:48-2:08:53: David M stymies us via email with:  Who was Scott Free’s mum? Bearing in mind Izaya seems to have aged about 50 years since Avia was killed and it’s probably longer as he’s a god.
Has Graeme been reading John Allison online from early on? I started with the first issue of Giant Days and then started on Bad Machinery and have only recently been exploring Scary-Go-Round and found it’s all part of the same continuity. Some of it is pretty surprising and spoilerific.
Do you have favourite Kirby monster stories? ‘I Created The Colossus!’ is mine, both because he cuts loose on the art in a way that looks years ahead of the rest of the work he was doing then and as it’s the best of his ‘monster as golem’ stories.
What’s Graeme’s favourite manga and Jeff’s favourite Legion of Superheroes story?
2:08:53-2:15:02: Retired Podcasting King Chad Nevett asks us via twitter:  With the Vertigo rumours this week and Wicked and Divine ending soon, I was wondering if it being at Image at all instead of Vertigo is a good measure of the imprint? Is WicDiv the first/best example of a post-Vertigo Vertigo type of series/run?
2:15:02-2:16:42: Tiny Skeffrn (via twitter) ponders:  Is it time to put the FF out of it’s misery? (Again!) Or rather, should we have left the FF in cold storage? I love Dan Slott but it’s all feeling a bit stale…
2:16:42-2:18:02: Earl Stevens via Twitter  twoots: Question:  This has probably been spoken about – but as a long time listener I still don’t know how you two became pals?
2:18:02-2:22:02: Credible Hulk arrives from Twitter to smash us with:  Which Marvel and DC heroes would host the best podcast and on what topic? Other than Blue Beetle and Booster Gold reviewing fast food restaurants, of course.
2:22:02-2:27:14: Phil Southern tweets to break Graeme’s brain with:  In my mind, you guys have tens of thousands of loyal listeners; for lack of a better way of putting it, what are your ratings?  Are you comfortable sharing that kind of information? Irrespective, thanks for 10 years of great podcasts! I like them a lot, especially “comics news” and old comic discussions.
2:27:14-2:30:47:  Twitter’s very own ComicCruncher asks:  In your time in and around the comics industry, are there any non-obvious changes that have had a big impact? (obvious changes = stuff that everyone talks about like Amazon, digital comics, diversity, etc) Love the show!
2:30:47-2:39:44: Here’s a little slice of fried gold from Thibaut Josse via email:  Hey guys,Reponding to your call for questions, here’s something I’ve been thinking about lately : do you think the dc universe (the shared superhero universe, not the multimedia app which is still not available out of the States, damn it !) is instrisically more interesting than the marvel universe ?
What leads to this question is that I noticed that you were spending a great deal of time discussing the narrative and editorial implications and the overall mythology of the comics published by dc, something you rarely do about marvel (or at least about current marvel continuity). I thought it might be just because Graeme seems to be the most interested of you two in discussing the continuity and in reading the comic books in the context of a larger universe and he’s more invested in the dc universe. But maybe you also think there’s something that makes them more interesting from this point of view. I remember Jeff saying that after some time (20 years ?), every shared universe collapse under its own weight and I think he’s absolutely right about that. There not having been a real reboot in the marvel universe could have contributed in making the marvel universe flatter (Al Ewing’s Ultimates though !).
Anyway, sorry about my English, I hope I’m still understandable. Thank you for the podcast and thank you for making me read Judge Dredd, I really, really dig it!
2:39:44-2:50:47: Jonny Kiehlmann had a few things on his mind and he emailed to say: Image’s rise over the last ten years has been fascinating — from the Chew launch literally the same month as you guys, June 2009, through to Saga and the boom following it, with things like WicDiv, Sex Criminals etc. How this period is looked at will probably depend on how well Image manages to replace Saga and WicDiv, with a lot of delayed titles, as well as Luna and Chaykin type content issues. How do you think this time will be looked on?
2:50:47-2:53:56: I assume you’ve already had someone ask what your favourite comics of the last ten years are (I’m probably the only person who’ll say Daytripper), but more specifically, what have your favourite Image comics of the last ten years been?
2:53:56-2:58:28: You mentioned Rise of Arsenal as a nadir of bad comics. Is it the worst? What stands out as the worst comic ever?
2:58:28-3:08:18: Here comes John Wheaton from email to say :(1) I loved and miss Comics Alliance. How did you feel about the site? Was it just economics that undid it or do you think something about what they offered made their fall inevitable?
(2) What’s the best comic book site now? CBR? Newsarama? ComicsVerse? Bleeding Cool? (Please don’t say Bleeding Cool)
(3) What is the best character from the Big 2 created since your podcast started?
3:08:18-end:  Closing comments…of a sort.  Graeme is overjoyed we made it halfway through the questions (even after Jeff points out that we’re only a third of the way through the questions). By which I mean, we kinda can’t shut up, in part because Graeme wants to talk about reading Roger Stern’s run on Amazing Spider-Man and how good it is, and Jeff is Jeff.  Look for us on  Stitcher! Itunes! Instagram! Twitter together and separately: Graeme and Jeff! MattTumblr, and  on Patreon where a wonderful group of people make this all possible, including Empress Audrey, Queen of the Galaxy, to whom we are especially grateful for her continuing support of this podcast.  (Also, don’t forget about Spotify!)
Next week:  Drokk, Episode 5!  Which is also our…400th Episode?  Go get some cake, read some Dredd, and join us!
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0:01-15:25:  Greetings from Graeme “I Have To Share With The World” McMillan and Jeff “I’m A Little Worried” Lester dig into our ten year anniversary of this podcast with a deep dive Q &A episode.  But, first, we’re sure you’re asking yourself:  what was happening in the pages of Marvel Age magazine preview for 1992?  Thank goodness for you Graeme has the answer.  Also discussed: the second Nomad, the third Nomad, and what happened to the second Nomad and who was responsible; vagueness related to possible tenth anniversary celebrations; Graeme shocked that Jeff hasn’t been high during recordings; how many episodes we’ve actually posted (that to be clear, Jeff was *not* high for); how in-depth the following questions are, and more.
15:25-32:17:  And we’re off to the races!  Matthew and Anna (from Patreon) ask:  I left this a comment on the last Drokk episode, but I’ll ask it again here. Do you think there have been any comics that have been effective at capturing the idea of “punk”? There have been a few titles in recent years that have been, at least on the surface (e.g. in the title), about punk, but none of them seem even remotely like the punk scene/community/ideas that I’m familiar with. Why do you think this might be? Could it be at least in part due to the idea of “punk” within the minds of the people writing these comics still being stuck in the ’60s and ‘70s?
32:17-54:27:  Supercontext  Ifrom Patreon) wonders:  I’m curious what your take is on several newish comics publishers that have arisen in the last couple of years. I’m specifically thinking of companies like Action Lab, AfterShock, Black Mask, Lion Forge, TKO and Vault. The recent Lion Forge/Oni acquisition probably has a connection to this. While promoting creator-owned work, they seem to mainly be backed by venture capital investments, despite the small percentage of the market that remains for them to make a return on. I don’t often hear you guys talk about their books, so I’m curious if you are reading them. What do you think about their chances for success? How do you think they’re affecting the industry? And finally, what do you think differentiates them from one another? Thanks for the show. I look forward to listening every week.
54:27-1:02:58: Daniel Mckay (from Patreon):  I’ve always been a bit curious about Jeff’s day job but I feel he’s been carefully quiet so barring any more details, I’ll just thank you guys for everything with words rather than just dosh. Thanks.
1:02:58-1:13:06: Dan White (from Patreon):  my question is what value do you think there is in engaging with problematic work or problematic creators?
1:13:06-1:21:34: Ethanlj (from Patreon):  I grew up a Marvel guy and didn’t start reading DC until post-Crisis with Legends and then JLI. I know there must be a ton of great stuff right before that time. What storylines or creator arcs from the first half of the 80’s really stand out? I’ve read and enjoyed Judas Contract and Great Darkness Saga but other than that it’s an unexplored world.
1:21:34-1:31:29:  Follow up q from Ethanlj:   Oh, another one (feel free to answer just one or none). With Fox’s X-men and Fantastic Four now dead and buried, how would you introduce these concepts into the MCU. Specifically, can you launch the Original X-Men (Scott, Jean, etc) in the year 2020, or does that really have to be in the Civil Rights Movement time in the 60’s? And same question for the FF… do you need a Space Race to make it work?
1:31:29-1:57:26:  Patchen Mortimer via email:   As I tweeted to Jeff, I’m currently going through your archives, and your Baxter Building and Star Brand re-reads were like getting two chapters of a psychobiography that now I cannot stop thinking about.
 
Like, when was he good?  When was he great?  When and why did he go wrong?  And why did he hold such sway in the industry for so long, despite being—at least as a writer—manifestly hidebound, boring and bad?
 
Some background: As I think I’ve mentioned previously on Twitter, I always resented John Byrne for driving me off Iron Man, which was the title that got me interested in comics. I’d been reading comics for a year when he delivered the “Armor Wars II” storyline—a lifeless slog featuring neither Armor nor Wars.  The supporting cast largely vanished; the Madam Masque subplot disappeared; there was a retelling of the origin. I held on for a year and then gave up mid-arc—7th-grade me had no patience for Fin Fang Foom (at least not Byrne’s version) and the X-titles had lured me away (coincidentally, just before the big 1991 X-summer shakeup that saw Claremont leave).
 
Being a middle-schooler, I didn’t think to blame the writer; I just knew things had Gone Wrong.  But years later my grad school roommate and I would try X-Men: The Hidden Years and it was dreck.  At the same time, we were re-reading my old comic collection, and lo and behold I suddenly connected the dots.
 
Then in the last year or so, I’ve been listening to podcasts like yours, and discovered he did this nonsense to COUNTLESS titles. For DECADES.
 
You guys have perspective and omnivorous habits I don’t. Any way you can take some time to shed some light on this? What drove him to be the way he was, what were his peaks and valleys, etc.?  When you look at his career in total, is there a Unified Theory of Byrne beyond a guy who was envious of Claremont and who desperately wanted comics to go back to the way they were when he was 10?  Is it that simple or is there more?
 
Anyway, just a thought, and thanks for the podcast!
1:57:26-2:10:15: Tomas Syrstad Ruud from email:  Are the big two basically unable to make good Fantasy and Science-Fiction comics, because the creators are used to the character-focused Super-Hero genre, and take it for granted that they can make drastic changes to the underlying worldbuilding in a book when they take it over? See e.g. Wonder Woman, Legion of Super-Heroes.
I recently binge-read a lot of european (not british) comics. (Storm, Thorgal, Lanfeust). When listening to your latest episode it struck me that this is the one area of comics I can’t remember hearing you discuss. Do you have any interest in this section of comics? I don’t know how much is available in english.
2:10:15-2:14:35:  Skye Adamczyk from email:  A few episodes ago you [Jeff] mentioned your love of “incredibly well researched but batshit insane manga” and so you came to mind when I learned about Drops of God by Yuko and Shin Kibayashi.
To try and give an elevator pitch: it follows the formula of a lot of other battle manga, being about a young man who recieved brutal torturous training from his father to heighten his senses facing off against a rival who turns out to be a secret brother with the same training. The twist is, instead of fights its all about wine tasting.
Personally this is a field I know nothing about but the manga has a great reputation among the wine tasting community, effectively increasing the sales of each wine mentioned.
2:14:35-end:  Closing comments…of a sort? Graeme is overjoyed we made it halfway through the questions (even after Jeff points out that we’re only a third of the way through the questions). By which I mean, we kinda can’t shut up, in part because Graeme wants to talk about reading Roger Stern’s run on Amazing Spider-Man and how good it is, and Jeff wants…to be Jeff, basically.  Look for us on  Stitcher! Itunes! Instagram! Twitter together and separately: Graeme and Jeff! MattTumblr, and  on Patreon where a wonderful group of people make this all possible, including Empress Audrey, Queen of the Galaxy, to whom we are especially grateful for her continuing support of this podcast.  (Also, don’t forget about Spotify!)
Next week:  Part 2 of Our Q & A episode!  Why not ask us a question at waitwhatpodcast A T g mail.com?
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0:01-7:38:  Greetings from Graeme “Swallow At The Wrong Time” McMillan and Jeff “We Are Probably All Dying Faster Than Previously” Lester who are back for another bout of two-fisted audio comics fun!  And we start with the startling news that June is the ten year anniversary for Wait, What?!  No, really, we were suprised, too!  We look back at our humble origins.
7:38-20:21: And for more craziness, Graeme looked up the best-selling comics from June 2009, and the best-selling comics of 2019, to give us an idea of what the direct marketplace was like and who was shaping and moving it back then.  It’s…not too different in some ways from how things are now?  Discussed:  the comics we’d owned, read, and didn’t read; The Green Lantern movie prequel comics; the comics career of Michael Green and the Curse of Supergirl; and more.
20:21-28:20: speaking of the Curse of Supergirl, she and her current creative team popped up in the Superman: Leviathan Rising one-shot, which we talk about a little bit here (and come back to throughout the episode).  Also discussed:  indirect translation; the new obsession in DC with parents; and more.
28:20-41:55: Doomsday Clock #10 by Geoff Johns and Gary Frank came out this week, and there’s a lot to unpack there, according to Graeme.  Discussed: The multiverse and the metaverse; what people expect from Doomsday Clock and what people (by which I mean, Jeff) want from Doomsday Clock; JLA/Avengers; The Rise of Arsenal; and more.
41:55-57:02: Also out the same week as Doomsday Clock #10 is the finale of Heroes in Crisis by Tom King and Clay Mann, which seems to present an interesting contrast, worldview-wise, to Johns’ when it comes to the DCU and especially Mr. Wally West.  This is a very spoiler-rich discussion of that contrast, and the issue and miniseries overall.
57:02-1:04:21: It’s kind of tough to talk about Tom King and not mention the weird last couple of weeks that guy has had.  So even though it’s very old news by this point, we talk about his removal from Batman, his new replacement series, and the announcement of his co-writing the New Gods screenplay of Ava DuVernay.  Graeme breaks down the news, the rumors, and pieces together a theory about how it all went down.
1:04:21-1:48:03:  But don’t think DC was the only one with problems!  Jeff refers to this period as The Month of People Stepping In It.  We run down the zenith of the nadirs, and discuss the Oni/LionForge merger, Marvel Comics #1000, Priest’s interview at CBR about Vampirella; Joshua Luna’s book at Image; and more. Is it comics, or will late stage capitalism will break your heart?
1:48:03-1:57:29: As extension of the above, we mention the numbers from Hibbs’ latest analysis of Bookscan sales for 2018.  The future is here, and it’s kids and diversity.  As Graeme puts it, “you realize how small and small-minded the Direct Market is.”  We talk about that future, and the elements of the past and present that communicate to it.
1:57:29-2:18:41: And so we circle back to Superman: Leviathan Rising! Actually, we use that as a jumping off point to talk about what we’re reading—and almost more on point, not reading?  Graeme is having trouble trying to find some disposable junk that he can also recommend or consider good, whereas Jeff is all about that, my friend, all about it.  Whereas, Jeff was quite pleased with Batman: Last Knight on Earth #1 by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo; we both loved Immortal Hulk #18 by Ewing, Bennett, José, and Mounts; although he didn’t love it as much as the rest of the Internet, Jeff quite liked the final issue of Peter Cannon: Thunderbolt by Kieron Gillen, Caspar Wungaard and Mary Safro;  and thanks to the Shonen Jump app, he’s now eight volumes into Haikyu, a superlative sports manga about volleyball by Haruichi Furudate.  Jeff also dug both volumes of My Solo Exchange Diary by Kabi Nagata which finally hit Comixology; vol. 1 of Emanon by Shinji Kajio and Kenji Tsurata, which Dark Horse just puiblished digitally and which Jeff calls a “sci-fi version of Before Sunrise.” Jeff also read and surprised himself by not loving the first volume of Gleipnir by Sun Takeda. It was okay.
2:18:41-2:38:48:  Although he hasn’t doesn’t have any strong reading recommendations, Graeme quite liked the second season of Fleabag and the first season of What We Do In The Shadows.  (About the latter, be warned, Graeme gives away a spectactular sounding scene.)  Also discussed: the new casting of Robert Pattinson as the new Batman; the Atlas Comics news; Teen Titans Go To The Movies; The Lego Movie 2; John Wick 3: Parabellum; and more.
2:38:48-end:  Closing comments?  About damn time!! Look for us on  Stitcher! Itunes! Instagram! Twitter together and separately: Graeme and Jeff! MattTumblr, and  on Patreon where a wonderful group of people make this all possible, including Empress Audrey, Queen of the Galaxy, to whom we are especially grateful for her continuing support of this podcast.  (Also, don’t forget about Spotify!)
Next week:  Our Q & A episode!  Why not ask us a for it?
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Previously on Drokk!: After a somewhat uneven first couple of years, Judge Dredd as a strip has settled into somewhat of a groove as co-creator John Wagner took full control of the writing chores and set about transforming the series’ setting Mega-City One into an important character in its own right. Who would want to separate Dredd from Mega-City One at this point?

0:00:00-0:02:46: With the kind of rustiness that comes from not having recorded a Drokk! in awhile, we stumble through an introduction that explains that, this episode, we’re covering Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files Vol. 4, covering 2000 AD Progs 156 through 207, running 1980 through 1981. But before we get too meander-y, I have a question for Jeff…

0:02:47-0:09:59: Is Vol. 4 a collection full of re-runs and deja vu? We discuss that Judge Dredd as a serial has been around for long enough to have a history, and the drawbacks that brings — namely, that there’s now the opportunity (taken often in this volume, it feels like) to repeat ideas and storylines, as well as merely reference them, although that happens as well. Aw, Judge Dredd, you’re old enough to have continuity now…!

0:10:00-0:25:36: In response to my question, Jeff brings up his theory about a running theme in this particular collection: The importance of free will, and the lack of free will when it comes to the characters in Dredd. (Well, outside of Owen Krysler, AKA the Judge Child, and Dredd himself, perhaps.) Is Wagner arguing that people can only exist within the confines of their character, but that their characters are purely defined by external influences? And we’re not talking about those external influences being the Judges, either… They might be as trapped as the rest of the citizens.

0:25:37-0:38:38: Another potential running theme is Dredd as both contrarian to everything around him, but also as an unchanging monolith that everything and everyone else has to work around. But is that a problem? Both Jeff and Judge Macgruder think so, but Jeff goes so far as to suggest that it might be a particular problem because Dredd doesn’t have any control over his own actions because he’s been programmed into being a machine — something that this volume in particular isn’t shy in presenting a case for.

0:38:39-0:51:29: It isn’t just questions of free will that this volume is obsessed with; I also think it’s an era of the series that is focusing on satirizing (and criticizing) consumer culture, with the return of Otto Sump and televised war games being the most obvious examples. In response, Jeff brings up the work of Italian director Segio Corbucci, whose spaghetti westerns presented a particularly bleak worldview that may also have informed some of the episodes of the strip on show here, especially in the Judge Child storyline.

0:51:30-1:08:19: There’s always been an undercurrent of dark humor in Dredd, but does this volume represent a new level of that? Nuclear apocalypse and body horror fuel some of the “weird darkness,” as Jeff calls it, in these episodes, with Basil Wolverton and Ken Reid being referenced as potential influences on Ron Smith’s artwork in particular. We also discuss the morality (or lack thereof, potentially) in Dredd as a character, whereas he may be the most moral character in the series but that doesn’t mean he’s especially moral — especially when it comes to passive aggressive confrontations with other Judges over facial hair. (Not mentioned in the podcast, but I’m mentioning it here: Dredd also has a real problem with accountants, and appears twice in this volume.)

1:08:20-1:19:44: Has John Wagner created such a unique tone to the series at this point that no-one else will be able to capture it? We talk about the future evolution of Dredd, and how it impacts the work of future creators when it comes to working on the character, and then we talk about the seeming lessening of the parallels between this strip and Will Eisner’s The Spirit, which has become somewhat of a running theme on this podcast.

1:19:45-1:31:48: There are a lot of new characters introduced in this volume who’ll show up again in the future, bringing about a discussion about supporting casts both in Judge Dredd as a strip, and British comics in general. Did British comics, historically, not really care that much about character because there wasn’t enough space to include anything other than plot and high concept?

1:31:49-1:39:18: For a comic that has often been referred to as being particularly punk rock, this volume of The Complete Case Files gets punk pretty wrong, borrowing a lot of the surface imagery but surprisingly little of the underlying attitude. I refer to it as a Bob Haney version of punk, which feels odd given the timing of both 2000 AD’s launch and these strips in particular, but perhaps we’re reading too much into Ron Smith’s aesthetic as a whole. There’s also a slight reprise about the free will question, thanks to the conclusion of the “Unamerican Graffiti” storyline that prompted this particular diversion.

1:39:19-2:00:01: We get into our favorite stories in the volume, with Jeff choosing between “Unamerican Graffiti” and “Loonie’s Moon,” and my choices being either “Pirates of the Black Atlantic” and “The Fink.” While we’re at it, we talk about foreshadowing what’s to come, whether it’s creative legacies of these stories — you can see shades of future 2000 AD and Wagner/Grant collaborations at times — and also stories that are about to show up in the Judge Dredd strip as a whole. Also, I come up with a theory about how the strip treats animals versus humanity.

2:00:02-2:05:02: We quickly wrap things up for the episode, mentioning that we have Tumblr, Twitter and Instagram accounts, as well as the Patreon account that makes all of this whole thing possible — and then there’s the fact that, next episode, we’re literally heading towards nuclear armageddon in a storyline that’s actually called “The Apocalypse War.” So, you know, good times ahead, I guess.

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Hey, everyone!  Welcome to our non-episode episode, where Graeme and Jeff talk separately about hanging out together recently in Portland, Oregon.  Graeme is concise; Jeff is not; what else is new?  But at least you get to hear about Shazam! (the motion picture), DC Digests, Carmine Infantino and Don Heck, Deadpool Kills The Deadpool Universe #4, and what’s really going through the head of the person you’re bargain comics shopping with!

We’ll be back next week with a full episode of (we think) Drokk!

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0:01-09:21:  Greetings from Graeme “Wonders of Technology” McMillan and Jeff “How can that even be?” Lester, where we start off slow, with talk about Skype weirdness, Twilight Zone pitches, and (literally) the weather (although with a comic news twist!)
09:21-15:29: We’ve done well over three hundred episodes of this podcast (when you count in the Baxter Buildings).  Have we ever talked about Garfield before?  Well. Guess. What.  Also discussed: kid’s comics; Doonesbury; vol. 2 of Nyankees, and more.
15:29-1:29:18:  Aaaaaaaaand here’s hoping you’ve seen Avengers: Endgame because Jeff has seen it and he wants to talk about *all* of it.  Please skip this discussion if you haven’t seen the film (or maybe even if you have and don’t want us mucking it up with our takes, particularly Jeff’s faux-Baudrillard nonsense) and enjoy the rest of what will be for you a conveniently short episode!  But otherwise…discussed: “finally” seeing a movie in its eighth day of release; lowered expectations; Avengers: Endgame as the cinematic equivalent of a Steve Englehart comic; Avengers: Infinity War as a Jim Shooter comic; the use of Captain Marvel in Endgame; intentionality; Taterpie’s excellent essay on Avengers: Endgame’s treatment of Steve Rogers, as well as Meg Downey’s excellent piece on the same; two video essays from Patrick Willems about the MCU; agreeing with Tony Stark; the MCU and Republicanism; the MCU and 9/11; Jeff’s theory about time travel movies; season 8 of Game of Thrones; Dave Itzkoff’s interview with the screenwriters of Endgame; The Russo Brothers’s understanding of the end of Endgamean excellent piece about Fat Thor and Chris Hemsworth’s Centr app; “real” movies, “blockbuster” movies, “genre” movies, and, y’know, movies.
1:29:18-1:39:09: And now…comics! (Whew!)  Graeme has read a lovely batch of comics at their most comicsy, doing what the medium can do best: Dan White’s Cindy and Biscuit books; Aud Koch’s “If You Wander In The Badlands,” and the work of Molly Mendoza.
1:39:09-1:52:08: And we both read Year of The Villain, DC’s intro-on-the-cheap to their upcoming events that feature, well, villains.  Also discussed: Batman: Last Knight on Earth; Scott Snyder’s interview about The Last Knight on Earth and the free preview running around in DC comics this week; incorrect prep materials and faking your way through interviews; Hickman’s Avengers; and more.
1:52:08-2:04:08: We talked about this a bit last time and we’re revisiting it again:  Jeff has read DCeased #1 and can’t tell if it lands differently in a DC Universe where continuity feels out of joint, and how much that seems to be the standard these days.  Also discussed: Female Furies #3 and #4; Savage Avengers #1; The Green Lantern #7; old issues of Detective Comics on the DC Universe app; six chapters of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure (now available on the Shonen Jump app); Aoharu X Machinegun Vol. 1; and more.
2:04:08-2:17:54:  Jeff is really enjoying the comic streaming services these days and so we return again to discussion of the DC Universe app in the wake of its first post-upgrade release of 12-months-ago comics and (thankfully!) a bunch of old Detective Comics and very old Teen Titans books.  Also discussed: our first buggy experiences while using the app; Jeff’s preference for the old junk; Graeme’s rediscovery of Countdown to Adventure and DC’s forgotten Lady Styx-verse; notably missing work on the app (only 12 issues of Kirby’s The Demon?!); mixes of scans, refinished pages, and black and white material; the fate of Wildstorm; and more.
2:17:54-2:28:30: Since we’re recording this on Free Comic Book Day, Jeff feels compelled to plug his participation in Luke Herr’s FCBD bonus installment of the Exiled podcast, and the fun he had playing Stardust the Super-Wizard alongside Jean Adaser (Dr. Light); Madison Rowan (Mysterio); and Mr. Al Ewing (Kid Colt).  Don’t ask, just….buy it? Also discussed: the crunchy sound of Hammond organs and why the Internet is a Beautiful Place.
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2:28:30-end: Look for us on Stitcher! Itunes! Instagram! Twitter together and separately: Graeme and Jeff! MattTumblr, and  on Patreon where a wonderful group of people make this all possible, including Empress Audrey, Queen of the Galaxy, to whom we are especially grateful for her continuing support of this podcast.  (Also, don’t forget about Spotify!)
Next week:  Skip week! Time for Jeff’s semi-annual pilgrimage, so we will be back in two weeks for what will either be a Drokk! or another Wait, What?  (Smart money is currently on the latter.)
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0:01-9:55:  Greetings from Graeme “That’s Almost Worse” McMillan and Jeff “A bit of a mess!!” Lester, where Jeff had a tough day and Graeme had reiki (many years ago).   As we compare notes, we’re in a pretty good place at the moment: Jeff might have a tough week in front of him, and Graeme has a tough week in his rear view mirror what with all the Endgame prep he had to write, but…we’re okay!
9:55-41:39: Hmm, I wonder if there’s anything happening in nerd news this past week?  I do feel like ther might’ve been something….Oh, right!  Avengers: Endgame and, of course, Graeme has seen it already and of course Jeff has not.  Less of an “of course:” Graeme really liked it!  And is incredibly cautious, such that we have a spoiler-free discussion of the film so that if, like Jeff, you also haven’t seen it yet, you can listen in safety.  Also discussed:  the importance of being unspoiled as possible going in to it; being spoiled by Google Prompt; the Tom Holland effect; Graeme attending Star Wars Celebration and contasting Star Wars fandom’s responses and MCU’s reponses; is Endgame a jumping off point for the MCU; what the next phase of Marvel films could be or should be; Disney in 2020; and more.
41:39-48:44: Comic books!  Remember those? Jeff does and wants to know what Graeme’s been reading these past few weeks that’s not Judge Dredd stuff for Drokk?  Answer:  Graeme’s been reading Robo-Hunter Vol. 1. by John Wagner and Ian Gibson. (so it’s almost cheating?)  We talk about how it’s different from Dredd; its opening story hook; and more.
48:44-1:09:21:  “That’s the thing,” sez Graeme. “These days I am reading old comics or I’m reading homework for work.”  And Graeme, like Jeff, has been reading alot of those old comics on the DC Universe app.  Naturally, it becomes the topic of discussion for us, with Jeff reporting in on the reading experience overall in the app.  Also discussed: The Dark Mansion of Forbidden Love, as edited by Dorothy Woolfolk; WildCATS/Aliens; Camelot 3000; Grayson: Future’s End #1; Doomsday Clock #1-4; and Justice League: The Darkseid War (Justice League #40-50 plus a handful of oneshots); Machine Man hitting Marvel Unlimited; Batman and the Outsiders; Checkmate;  Legion ’89; Starman; and more.
1:09:21-1:41:29: Speaking of reading The Darkseid War, as you know, Graeme has been working his way through pretty much all of the DC incarnations of The New Gods, so Jeff, having just finished the Geoff Johns New 52 interpretation, is curious as to where that interpretation fits in with what Graeme’s read.  Is Johns’ doing his take on The New Gods, or do the official mandated New 52 version, or something else?  Jeff is confused, but fortunately Graeme is here to take us to school.
Discussed:  Events repeating in DC; Forever Evil and The Year of The Villain; Wonder Woman’s brother, the Three Jokers, and the swerve of Rebirth; stories without characters; takes vs. traction; the surprisingly deep bench of old Wonder Woman stuff, including The Trial of Wonder Woman; and more.
1:41:29-1:49:34: So DC Universe is very attractive to both of us with what Graeme calls the “shit, there’s so much here!” factor, but that factor was also part of what was amazing about Marvel Unlimited, and we’re both wondering if we’re starting to see severely diminishing returns there. Also discussed: stuff not on DC Universe that maybe should be, such as Gerard Jones’s comics work of the 90s; and more.
1:49:34-1:57:20: For Jeff, who’s looking for more manga digitally (that isn’t Shonen Jump) and legitimately, the news that Kodansha has added and will be completing Initial D on Comixology Unlimited is pretty great.  Kodansha has since thrown in more stuff around the edges, such that they have something close to 400 volumes of different titles available to read with a Comixology Unlimited subscription. Also discussed: being overwhelmed with material; Junji Ito’s Smashed; and more.
1:57:20-2:03:35: Another oddball reading pick, Graeme and I as old school Eddie Campbell fans were both delighted by issue #4 of Peter Cannon: Thunderbolt by Kieron Gillen and Caspar Wungaard, so of course we *have* to talk about it.
2:03:35-2:57:19: According to Jeff, Heroes in Crisis #8 appears to be pretty controversial out there on the interwebs.  He’s not reading it, but he knows Graeme has and he’s curious what Graeme thinks about the revelation concerning [BIG OL’ SPOILER].  If you haven’t read Heroes In Crisis #8 and don’t want to be spoiled, better skip this section because we leave almost no stone unturned in our discussion of the potential metatext of the story; the actual implications that should be happening for the rest of the DCU; and the strange weightlessness of such a heavy story within the DCU.  Is there just too much happening in the DCU, or is this an event that lost its bearings and therefore its chances to have a big effect on the DCU? Does DC history currently make any sense at all now?  And, probably most importantly, will Jeff use the term “woogly?”  Also discussed: Identity Crisis and Hickman’s Avengers; Year of the Villain again; expectations of DC Rebirth; and much, much more.
2:57:19-2:59:52:  Graeme mentions he read got to read an advance copy of the first issue of Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s Last Knight on Earth, touted as the Batman story wherein Batman is one of five taxi drivers in five different cities who ends up bonding with his passenger in the coure of one night.  According to Graeme, Jeff will like it, and not just because of Jeff’s residual fondness for Snyder and Capullo’s Down By Law!
2:59:52-end: With a certain amount of wistfulness, we come to…closing comment!  Yes, we do believe it is!  (In part because even we don’t want to bother with Tierigate.)   Look for us on Stitcher! Itunes! Instagram! Twitter together and separately: Graeme and Jeff! MattTumblr, and  on Patreon where a wonderful group of people make this all possible, including Empress Audrey, Queen of the Galaxy, to whom we are especially grateful for her continuing support of this podcast.  (Also, don’t forget about Spotify!)
Next week: Wait, What? Ep. 270!
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Previously on Drokk!: Two years’ worth of Judge Dredd strips have passed, but things are only now starting to congeal when it comes to working out just who the title character is for both creators and readers, it seems, with John Wagner taking over the strip essentially full-time as writer with the length (and wonderful) “The Day The Law Died” cycle of stories. With Wagner installed permanently as the man in charge of Mega-City One, what lies ahead?

0:00:00-0:01:54: We speed through an introduction, and let the people know that we’re covering Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files Vol. 3 this time around, which covers material from 2000 AD Progs 116 through 154, from 1979 through 1980. Really, we’re pretty expedient and impatient this time.

0:01:55-0:17:46: Although Vol. 3 is a collection of short stories — the longest continued narrative is just five episodes — there’s a throughline to be found, and we talk about what we both think is the most obvious candidate: That this is the volume where Mega-City One is solidified as a location, and what that means. (Spoilers: Jeff makes the apt point that the best on-screen depiction of Mega-City One is arguably Springfield in the monorail episode of The Simpsons.) Also, mention of the “Vienna” episode of the strip, which starts the book off, gets us talking about Dredd as an emotional being, and what that means to the strip as a whole, with references to romance comics and Gil Kane in the offing. Does John Wagner have a better idea of what Mega-City One is than he does of who and what Dredd is by this point?

0:17:47-0:26:31: A brief discussion of what it must have been like to be reading these stories when they appeared — not only for the variety and quality of Wagner’s writing, but also weekly art from the likes of Ron Smith, Brian Bolland and Mike McMahon — brings us back to the idea of Dredd as the natural successor to Will Eisner’s The Spirit, and the ways in which the two strips are similar. (And the ways in which they’re dissimilar, as well.)

0:26:32-0:30:31: Mention of Jeff’s love of Ron Smith leads us to a very short digression about the visual evolution of the Dredd strip through the three years to date, and from the Ezquerra/McMahon aesthetic to the more refined Bolland/Ron Smith look, and what that means as a whole.

0:30:32-0:38:17: And then we’re back to talking about the writing — namely, the status quo of Mega-City One, and how the Judges interact with the citizens. We talk about two foundational lines of dialogue that set the stage for everything that happens afterwards, and quite how stacked the odds are against any MC-1 citizen for not having a bad experience with the Judges at some point in their lives. The future, it seems, isn’t just unkind to regular people: It wants to try and break them.

0:38:18-0:53:19: This leads on to a theory I have about this volume offering an unexpected reason for Dredd to be the series’ protagonist — that he’s an aberration as a Judge because he repeatedly is shown to embrace characteristics that are seen as being reason enough to make Judges retire, but is nonetheless successful as a Judge despite (or because of) that. In discussing this, we end up talking about a story in which Dredd deals with animal experimentation, in what Jeff describes as the perfect blend of “radical politics and silver age DC storytelling tropes.” Oh, and John Cooper’s cat drawings, which are uncannily good.

0:53:20-1:06:34: With Jeff having talked about the animal experimentation story being one of his favorites in this volume, we run down the other contenders, which includes an early example of GoFundMe, the first appearance of Judge Death and more — which turns into a discussion about the sense of both continuity and consistency of location that Wagner manages to create around Mega-City One and Judge Dredd the strip in this volume, as well as the tonal variety consistently employed by the series at this point.

1:06:35-1:17:08: We move onto some of my favorite stories, and also return to the idea that the citizens of Mega-City One are doomed to failure simply by living in the time and place that they do, with Jeff dropping a reference to a 1976 novel about man’s inhumanity to… well, everything, really, called Dr. Rat by William Kotzwinkle. Was this a reference on Wagner? Who can tell, but it doubtlessly was less grim as the Umpty Candy story, which both Jeff and I found ourselves fascinated by, not least of all because of how Mr. Ump was dressed, and the moral of the story…

1:17:09-1:29:14: From the sublime to the shit, as we talk about Pat Mills’ sole contribution to the volume, the less-than-good “Blood of Satanus” three-parter; this leads into some chat about the fact that we both felt like Mills was more present in the book than he actually was, and what the legacy of Pat Mills on Dredd actually might be. Come for that, stay for the mention of Henry Ford the Horse, of course, of course.

1:29:15-1:38:37: This volume turned out to be John Wagner’s moment to shine as a solo writer — which will happen again, of course, throughout Dredd history — and I wonder as to his method in writing such a long game-type of a comic strip. We talk about the unique position Wagner is in with Dredd, and also how it allows for a strange sense of realism unavailable in almost every other comic property.

1:38:38-end: Coming in hot as we try to wrap things up, Jeff and I both talk about whether or not we’d recommend this volume to newcomers, tease what’s happening in the next episode of Drokk! and do the traditional mention of our Tumblr, Twitter and Instagram accounts, not to mention the Patron that’s responsible for this whole thing. It’s a lot, I know, but Grud thanks you for reading and listening as ever.

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0:01-02:38:  Greetings from Graeme “Technically, I’m Sick?” McMillan and Jeff “Techncally I’m Sick, Too!!” Lester, where we both feel like a pair of draggy, draggy asses.

02:38-9:12: But don’t worry, we don’t let the dragginess carry over to our discussions, we move right into a discussion of the film Shazam!, which Graeme has seen opening weekend (while Jeff still hasn’t seen the other Captain Marvel film.)  We talk a little about the film in a way that you should consider spoilers at least in regards to one scene with Dr. Sivana (around 4:46 to 5:36) but is just a general overview, otherwise.

9:12-49:11: We both also saw “Us,” and since it’s relatively rare for both of us to see the same movie within a week of each other (much less a horror movie) we talk about Jordan Peele’s overstuffed sophomore film.  We talk about how we admired it more than we loved it but both ended up haunted by it in different ways—Graeme by the Minnie Riperton song (see above), and Jeff by one of the theories about the metaphor of The Tethered.  There’s a lot to unpack, and a lot to appreciate, but we still get squirmy about saying we loved it.  You should consider this discussion one big spoiler pretty much, so pass it on by if you haven’t seen the film yet. Also discussed:  The Blair Witch Project; Stephen King’s Silver Bullet; the new Twilight Zone and CBS All Access; the preshow experience; Graeme’s new hero, and more.

49:11-1:05:31: Next week is a skip week because Graeme is attending Star Wars Celebration.  We talk a bit about what Graeme is looking forward to attending, what he’s dreading, and more. Discussed: Jeff’s love of failed immersion; the amazing Buck Rogers Burger Station in Glasgow; Tom Sawyer’s Island; The Wizarding World of Harvey Porter; and more.
1:05:31-1:20:49: I’m too embarrassed to tell you how we got from those topics to discussing The New Gods movie vs. The Eternals movie—I’ll let you listen and figure it out for youself—but we did and since Graeme has read a terrifying amount of New Gods, we discuss the top three pitfalls to avoid when doing a New Gods comic. But before we that, we discuss recent news about DC’s upcoming DCeased.

1:20:49-1:58:10: You probably heard the news about the DC Universe app deciding to go full “Marvel Unlimited” with their comics selection and make a total of 20,000 comics available, supposedly by the end of this month.  Jeff signed up for DC Universe app after hearing the news.  Here, we talk about his experiences with the app (and the only thing he’s bothered to watch with the app so far), what it might mean for DC Universe to add that many comics at once, the difference between having a curated collection and having curators; peak streaming; and more.
1:58:10-2:03:33: Comics! Or, well, a comic.  But a very good one, according to Jeff!  It’s The Secret Voice, Vol. 1 by Zack Soto, and it’s the indy cartoonist epic fantasy you didn’t know you needed.  Jeff throws around a lot of descriptions to try and capture this very unique volume, but maybe he gets closest when he describes it as being like “Michel Fiffe’s Bone”?  (Although thanks to an awesome Twitter thread of Zack’s
2:03:33-2:12:05: Jeff also read (while high as a kite) half of vol. 2 of Batman and the Outsiders by Mike W. Barr, Jim Aparo, Trevor Von Eeden, Bill Willingham.  Also discussed: JLA Detroit; Sgt. Rock; DC Universe wishlist items again; Al Ewing and the latest issue of The Immortal Hulk; and more.
2:12:05-end:  Closing comments? Yes, because Graeme has, for the first time in a while, transformed once again into The Lord of the Flies!  Look for us on Stitcher! Itunes! Instagram! Twitter together and separately: Graeme and Jeff! MattTumblr, and  on Patreon where a wonderful group of people make this all possible, including Empress Audrey, Queen of the Galaxy, to whom we are especially grateful for her continuing support of this podcast.  (Also, don’t forget about Spotify!)
NEXT WEEK: Skip week!  Imagine Graeme being trapped inside the Darth Vader VR Experience while you peruse vol. 3 of  Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files!  (I know I will…)
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The transformation of DC Universe from, essentially, a TV and movie delivery system with some comics to what will be DC’s version of Marvel Unlimited with some TV shows and movies is something that I’m sure Jeff and I will be talking about in the next episode, if only because it’s an announcement that finally got Jeff to sign up for the service. That said, I’m going to take a few minutes to share some thoughts right now, just because. Follow along under the jump.
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