Previously on Baxter Building: Which was the more important event that happened in the previous episode: The arrival of George Perez as artist, or Reed Richards losing his super powers? Both cases can be made as we make our way through this mammoth episode, which will only take up a 157 minutes of your time. (We’re sorry. Kind of.)
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0:00-7:06: Greetings!  Because Jeff is an idiot, we lost the first hour and sixteen minutes of our recording.  So today’s episode will be comparatively short and it starts up with us telling you what you missed. It’s a surprisingly complete summary of seventy-six minutes jammed into six.  Discussion of what we discussed:  Batman Day (which this episode was recorded on), Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice; Injection by Warren Ellis and Declan Shalvey; 2000 A.D. Prog. 2000; Suicide Squad #2 by Rob Williams, Jim Lee, and Ivan Reis; Jeff’s admiration for Superwoman #2 and Graeme’s for Supergirl; Detective Comics and Chris Claremont’s New Mutants; All-Star Batman #2; and Tom King’s Batman, which is where we catch up, since Graeme has to reiterate his point about…

batmantomking7:06-32:23: Tom King and the connection between The Vision and Sheriff of Babylon (which King has described as being part of an unofficial trilogy with his Omega Men), and how it connects to the first six issues we’ve read of Batman.  Also discussed: Alan Moore and Alan Moore’s Jerusalem; the promotional interviews with Alan Moore for Alan Moore’s Jerusalem; what would be the non-comic related questions we would ask Alan Moore; and mo(o)re.


32:23-36:13:  Jeff wanted to talks about Moon Knight #6 by Jeff Lemire, Wilfredo Torres, Francesco Francavilla, and James Stokoe (!) where Lemire finally has a take on the character that really works for Jeff.
36:13-38:16: Jeff does a loose compare/contrast between Moon Knight and the first issue of Doom Patrol by Gerard Way, Nick Derington, and Tamra Bonvilliain.  A good fun book with some absolutely lovely art by Derington and colors by Bonvillain.

countnefariavsquirrelgirl38:16-57:25: Jeff also wants to give a shout-out to latest issue of Unbeatable Squirrel Girl with fill-in art by Jacob Chabot and another crazily strong script by Ryan North.  And after that, we talk a bit about North’s first issue of Jughead (which sounds *amazing*), which leads us to a not-thrilled impression of Zdarsky’s Howard The Duck, Marvel and hip-hop and much more.
57:25-1:07:55: Also read and also (lightly) discussed:  The Fix #5 by Nick Spencer and Steve Lieber; Paper Girls #9 by Brian K. Vaughan, Cliff Chiang, Matt Wilson and Jared K. Fletcher; Saga by Vaughan and Staples; old issues of Ms. Marvel written by Chris Claremont; and more.


1:07:55-1:11:33:  Sad to say, either Graeme did most of the talking in our lost hour, or maybe Jeff was out of control there too, but Jeff does too much talking this episode, even if it’s for a good cause like showing some love for the insane “Prisoners of Three Worlds” story from 1963’s Batman #153, by Bill Finger, Henry Boltinoff, Jack Schiff and Sheldon Moldoff, recently purchased during Comixology’s Road to Batman Day Sale.
1:11:33-1:15:02: I can’t adequately describe how we got to discussing Denny O’Neil’s career as writer and editor, a case Jeff tries to make by incorrectly assigning at least two Batman characters’ first appearances to the wrong era.
Graeeme has some wonderful stuff to tell us about Books With Pictures, a great little comic book store in Portland, Oregon with a back issue drawer curated by Douglas Wolk, as well as the back issues he, Graeme, picked up from said drawer.  Mentioned: Heroes and Legends; the Legion of Substitute Heroes Special from 1995; Superman’s Girl Friend, Lois Lane issue #115; Superman and Batman: Heroes Against Hunger; and the zines from our colleagues Jay and Miles.

1:19:10-end: Closing comments! Look for us on  Stitcher! Itunes! Twitter together and separately: Graeme and Jeff! MattTumblr,  and  on Patreon where a wonderful group of people make this all possible, including the kind crew at American Ninth Art Studios and Empress Audrey, Queen of the Galaxy, to whom we are especially grateful for their continuing support of this podcast.

Next week:  Baxter Building Ep. 21! Read issues #184-200 of the first volume of The Fantastic Four and deconstruct them with us!  We will see you then!
Image by Ged Carroll, used under Creative Commons 2.0

Image by Ged Carroll, used under Creative Commons 2.0

I’ve been struggling–and I do mean struggling–with a post about Snotgirl. It has been in development on my computer for months, and in draft on this site for weeks. Fortunately, the most recent episode of the podcast that brings y’all to this website touched on a totally separate topic for me to yap about, while Snotgirl continues to, um, coagulate in my head. [NOTE: Now THIS one has been languishing for days. Hopefully that is still the most recent podcast episode. Eeeesh!]

In response to one of your many questions, our fearless hosts (with Jeff leading the charge) discussed the plateauing and/or decline of digital comics sales. This news makes me sad, for two reasons: (1) Digital has become far and away my preferred platform, and; (2) I genuinely believe(d?) that digital offers the best chance to truly expand the reach of comics beyond the direct market.

So why has the growth plateaued? Well, I don’t actually know (as I’m not a trained industry analyst), but I certainly have a whole bunch of half-baked guesses that feel convincing to me (as I’m a human being on the internet). So let me share those theories with you, below! (And I’ll get that Snotgirl piece finished and posted soon–I swear it!)

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0:00-3:46: We get right into it, no kidding!  There’s maybe twenty seconds of baffled recognition from your hosts, and then it’s right into answering questions.  BUT!  Before we get into the final round of questions from our Patreon supporters, Jeff has a few questions for Graeme.  First up:  how does Graeme feel about the CW shows (including shows like Flash and Arrow) leaving Hulu?  Discussed:  Seth Meyers monologues; late night TV; and just an eensy bit more before moving into a more substantive topic…

Flash Rebirth One
3:46-17:49:  Earlier in the week, Jude Terror over at The Outhousers wrote a condemnatory piece on the Direct Market that stirred up a lot of reactions and support online.  What did Graeme think about it?  What did Jeff think about it?  And what *is* wrong with the Direct Market? Discussed: Nighthawk; Omega Men; the direct market and cableization of TV; and more.  So much more, in fact, that Graeme jumps the queue on our listeners’ questions to pivot to one related to the topic at hand, and so…
17:49-51:56:  Comic Cruncher asks:  floppies vs GNs/TBPs vs digital – how do you see the market developing and what are the implications for the future?  Discussed: the sales numbers for DC Rebirth; the very strange side-effects of double-shipping; some finger-pointing from Jeff about the plateau/depression of digital comics; Graeme believes a Comixology comic was yanked from his collection (has anyone else had this happen?); Marvel’s reaction to freak hits; Angry Birds vs. DC Super Hero Girls; and more.
Dr Fate TPB1
51:56-55:29: Maxy Bee asks:  how startled are you that Levitz’s Doctor Fate is the last remaining DCYou title, and still kicking at that?  Discussed: the DCYou book that outlived Doctor Fate; Jeff decided to turn cancelled DCYou books into codenames; and more.
55:29-1:07:23:  Jeffrey Brown brings down the interrogation:  what are your thoughts about the Recent Suicide Squad movie compared to Ostrander’s run on the comics post crisis? And The Films Depiction of Harley Quinn, The Joker, Captain Boomerang & the movie’s plot + Enchantress? and lastly what are your thoughts DC Young Animal titles : Doom Patrol, Shade, Cave Carson? Discussed:  all of the above, plus a bit more.
ChaykinSketchbook1:07:23-1:22:23:  Two Qs from Paul R Jaissle:  (1) I recently reread Howard Chaykin’s American Flagg! and was struck by how innovate and influential it really was (there’s definitely a lot more Chaykin in Tom Scioli’s Transformers vs GI Joe than I noticed at first). Why don’t you think it’s more regularly recognized or cited along with DKR and Watchmen as a seminal ’80s comic? (2) Given the success of DCU properties on TV (including Vertigo stuff like iZombie and Preacher) as well as the current popularity of “weird” shows like Stranger Things, how would you two cast and pitch a Doom Patrol TV series? Discussed:  the challenges to establishing Chaykin’s legacy; our dream DC TV shows; Avatar; and more.
1:22:23-1:37:35:  And the ever-welcome Brendan O’Hare drops by to ask two questions: (1) There’s a lot to hate about Superhero comics. What do you enjoy about the new ones coming out?; and (2) For Graeme: What was your favorite interview? Discussed: DC Rebirth; Flash; Deathstroke; Unbeatable Squirrel Girl; Mother Panic; D.C. Fontana; Geoff Johns; Maggie Q; and more.
JaimeTheGreat1:37:35-1:47:55:   Long-term pal o’ the podcast Miguel Corti has quite the question for us:  Why do comics creators, fans, critics, and journalists (on the internet at least) like Archie comics so much? I’m not talking about “Afterlife with Archie” or the new series by Mark Waid, but the traditional Archie comics featuring high school hijinks that have been the staple of the comics for decades. Archie comics always struck me as a four-color version of “Leave It to Beaver” or “Father Knows Best.” They were also the only comics that church people and teachers seemed to approve of, which made me all the more suspect of them. Since my life felt like growing up in an ’80s version of “Leave It to Beaver,” Archie comics were the last comics I ever wanted to read, and, subsequently, the only comics I never saved. (I never bought them; always given them.) I never enjoyed their cookie-cutter stories, or their never-changing art style. I’d like to think this 21st-century internet love for Archie comics is some ironic hipster thing, but it feels more sincere than that (or I’m bad at perceiving ironic interest). I don’t want to denigrate anyone’s interests, but what am I missing? Are those old-school (or pre-reboot, if you will) Archie comics good by whatever definition you have for the word? After the years of accolades I’ve heard for “Afterlife with Archie” I’m sorely tempted to check it out, especially since I like zombies, but then I remember how much I dislike Archie comics and that stays my hand. When I was a kid, I wasn’t a Jack Kirby fan, but now I can really appreciate him and I rank him as one of my all-time favorite comics artists. Unfortunately, I can’t re-assess Archies comics favorably. Maybe I’m the only one, or maybe no one wants to say anything against Archie comics in public.  Discussed:  Riverdale; David Lynch; Dan DeCarlo; Bob Bolling; Jaime Hernandez; Love & Rockets; and more.
1:47:55-:  Good ol’ Ed Corcoran asks: The subscription based all-you-can-consume model seems to be where most other media types and media companies are going (Spotify, Netflix, etc.). Comixology (or at least their Amazon bosses) seemed convinced enough that it’s the future for comics so they created Comixology Unlimited. Marvel Unlimited seems to be doing well for Marvel, but what if they went all-in on subscription and put all comics on there the day they were released? They would probably still sell floppies and trades and might sell single digital issues, too. But what do you think would be the effect on what comics they publish, what comics they emphasize, etc. if Marvel Unlimited became the primary method by which Marvel distributed its comics?  Discussed:  the Marvel BOGO sales; the direction Marvel Unlimited is taking now; and more.
1:54:19-2:07:54:  Query from Cass, or to put it another way:  QUESTION. Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot, as I often do, about Spider-Man. I tried reading some of the later Dan Slott stuff, post renumbering, but I can’t get on board because I can’t recognize that character as Spider-Man. But then, I started thinking, who is the character of Spider-Man really? When Cap 3: Civil War came out, everyone said “That’s it; they finally got Spider-Man right.” But Civil War’s Spider-Man was in awe of the other heroes, whereas Stan and Steve’s Spider-Man was mistrustful and even hostile toward other super-types (the first issue of his series sees Spidey calling the FF “pikers”). The Tom Holland Spider-Man reminds me more of Bendis’s goofy, generally good-natured Ultimate Peter Parker. So I guess my questions are:  (1) When people talk about “classic” teenage Spider-Man, do you think most really have Ultimate Spider-Man in mind?  (2) What would you say are the essential characteristics of Spider-Man (or any comic hero) – what needs to be there in order for it to be Spider-Man? Is it just powers? Does the character have to have significant guilt? Anything else? Discussed: the various Spider-Man actors; Spider-Man and Civil War; Spider-Man and college; cosmic Spider-Man; understatedness; Dan Slott, Hannah Blumenreich, and Matt Fraction; etc.
2:07:54-2:16:45: Stephen Lacey of the fabulous Fantasticast asks:  This is a question I posed to my listeners a couple of years ago, and I’m interested in your take on it. When it comes to the FF, pretty much everyone can agree that Lee/Kirby, Byrne, Simonsson, Waid/Wieringo and Hickman are the consistent peaks in the title’s history. But what are your underrated runs/stories, the gems that get lost in the gaps between these runs?  Discussed:  Steve Englehart’s run on the Fantastic Four; the Waid and ‘Ringo run; the Tom DeFalco and Ryan run; the Chris Claremont and Salvador LaRocca run; the run of Dwayne McDuffie and many artists including Paul Pelletier; Steve Gerber; and more.
2:16:45-end: Closing comments! Next week will be a Q&A session so please feel free to tweet or email us your questions. Look for us on  Stitcher! Itunes! Twitter together and separately: Graeme and Jeff! MattTumblr,  and  on Patreon where a wonderful group of people make this all possible, including the kind crew at American Ninth Art Studios and Empress Audrey, Queen of the Galaxy, to whom we are especially grateful for their continuing support of this podcast.
Next week:  Skip week! And then the week after that: Wait, What? Ep. 209!  And that ep may be an all-review podcast? Catch up with us catching up two weeks from now!

Previously on Baxter Building: The mid-70s were a strange time for Marvel’s first family, who have found themselves dealing with cosmic hockey goalies, Puppet Master-possessed heroes for hire and rampaging Hulks in the last few issues as Roy Thomas, George Perez and Rich Buckler try hard to bring a new energy to what was already becoming a flagging flagship title. But just how flaggy can things get? Oh, you’ll regret asking that question very soon…
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0:00:00-0:04:28: Welcome, dear friends, to the show that feels like it never ends — especially when we’re covering Fantastic Four #171-183 (Not #184, as I’d declared in the past; that really belongs with the next batch of issues; sorry, all). To say that I’m not a fan is an understatement, but Jeff really is, setting up the long-awaited contentious Baxter Building: Civil War: Jeff v. Graeme: Dawn of Chatting episode that Whatnauts have been hoping for.
0:04:29-0:13:47: Jeff wants to know if I’m being too harsh on these issues by disliking them so much; after all, last episode, it took me a re-read to properly appreciate what Roy Thomas was doing in them. Me, I’m not having any of it, and take a brief detour into my childhood to explain the first time I read them to set up just one more reason why I’m disappointed by them. What if Roy Thomas isn’t a thief, but is an artiste doing a homage? What if Jeff is a Roy Thomas apologist? This is what we’re all about the find out. (Spoilers: Jeff makes a case for the former, the latter I just threw in there right now.)
0:13:48-0:21:03: If this is the “Jeff and I fight” episode, we make a poor start of it with Fantastic Four #171, “Death Is A Golden Gorilla!”, an issue that both of us not only enjoyed, but feel pretty similarly about. But, really, how could anyone feel that angry about a pastiche that mixes King Kong and the first appearance of the Silver Surfer? Jeff makes a good argument for Thomas-as-Homage-King with this issue, even if his parallel argument about George Perez’s art as a true heir of Jack Kirby is let down slightly by using a Rich Buckler-drawn splash as Exhibit A. There’s also a remarkable claim about the quality of #176 made along the way that… well, we’ll get to that issue soon enough.
0:21:04-0:33:59: FF #172 has what I call “a classic Roy Thomas title,” missing the point entirely (although Jeff caught it on Tumblr earlier) that the issue was actually scripted by Bill Mantlo. Take that, “Cry, the Bedeviled Planet!” Does that affect our subsequent discussion about the flaws of this issue insofar as the lampshading of a ridiculous fight sequence or the way that info dumps replace forward momentum in the issue…? Potentially, but only insofar as we should’ve been saying “Mantlo” instead of “Thomas” when throwing around the blame. Still, at least you get Perez and Sinnott doing stuff like this:
Also, we talk about repetition and whether or not it’s okay to repeat yourself if you’re improving on the same idea each time, and Jeff introduces a metaphorical reading for this storyline that, to be honest, I just don’t think is actually there. But Jeff’s read is infinitely more interesting than what’s on the page, to be honest.
0:34:00-0:56:19: Even Jeff is beginning to falter on the quality on this storyline by Fantastic Four #173. “There is a point in #173, looking at that cover, [when] you realize that things are getting sort of dire, in a way,” he says by way of introduction to “Counter-Earth Must Die — At The Hand of Galactus!” But, guess what?!? This issue sees the reintroduction of Torgo, the I-Bet-You-Forgot-Him robot from the end of the Lee/Kirby run, when Roy Thomas cycles in the old All-Star Comics formula one more time. We also get into a brief discussion about the development of the FF’s characters, and also compare the nostalgia and continuity porn of Roy Thomas versus that of Steve Englehart (The teacher versus the trickster, perhaps…?) and touch on Thomas’s tendency to introduce interesting ideas and find himself unable to explore them fully. All this, and the sensational new oath of 1976 and Jeff talking about foot fetishes. No, really.
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0:56:20-0:56:56: We literally skate over Fantastic Four #174 with a very bare bones summary of the plot you need to know. Really, we’d said anything and everything that we needed to say earlier.
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0:56:57-1:10:32: “Let’s get to #175” I say, with the air of a man who really would rather do anything else. Even Jeff agrees that this one is a disaster, because John Buscema — who pencils and inks this issue — is really, really not the man to deliver the ending to this storyline, which is even more of a problem because Thomas completely fails to deliver in the writing, as well. How best to end a five-issue wannabe Galactus epic? With rehashes of earlier Galactus stories, a fight in the sky by two giant guys in armor, an absolutely out-of-nowhere Thing reversal and an absolutely surreal denouement where Galactus kind of dies of terminal indigestion. (Don’t worry, he gets better later, because of course he does.) For all the flack we give Roy Thomas for being trapped by his own nostalgia, I’m actually surprised neither of us really harped on more about the revival of a one-issue joke character who hadn’t shown up in more than 150 issues. I guess there was just so much to complain about this time around…?
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1:10:33-1:20:04: “Is it fun because we read Marvel Comics: The Untold Story and it’s not actually a fun comic?” I ask about Fantastic Four #176, which sees the Impossible Man terrorize the Marvel Comics offices of 1976, before deciding, “I don’t really care, because I enjoyed it.” This is essentially a massive in-joke for Marvel obsessives turned into an entire issue, with some special highlights, whether it’s a Stan Lee who reads surprisingly like J. Jonah Jameson and a fascinating scene that demonstrates, in the words of Jeff, that “Roy Thomas’s portrayal of Jack Kirby is far more generous than Kirby’s treatment of Thomas.” (We’re referring to Houseroy, the toady of Funky Flashman, for those not in the know.) Jeff also refers to this amazing What If…? issue, as well, and if you’ve never read it, you should check it out — it’s on Marvel Unlimited.
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1:20:05-1:28:36: We pretty much move away from going issue-by-issue through the “Brute” arc of Fantastic Four #177-183 (with the exception of #180, which is a fill-in), in large part because I think it’s such a mess — listen to the lack of joy in my plot description! — and in part because it’s such an odd formless run that has feels so sloppy that we’d be repeating much of our commentary across issues. But we start with #177, which is the second fun (and funny) issue in a row. Thomas does comedy very well, and this issue cements the value of the Frightful Four as really great comic relief. If only we could have more of this kind of comic and not the Brute storyline that we get. Oh, God. The Brute… Necessary to note: when I’m recapping the storyline, I say that Alicia doesn’t appear in these issues, just before talking about Sue talking to Alicia. What I meant was that Alicia isn’t part of any scenes dealing with the Thing/Tigra/Thundra/Alicia love quadrangle. Obviously.
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1:28:37-1:53:52: Jeff is entirely unconvinced by my adoration of the Ron Wilson/Joe Sinnott art team for a couple of issues, and doesn’t seem to be that interested in the Sal Buscema/Sinnott team, either. I find both more attractive than the George Perez/Sinnott pairing, but horses for courses, etc. We spend just as much time talking about the writer changeover, because Roy Thomas disappears two issues before the end of this storyline, leaving no less than four writers struggling to bring things to a close. (Jeff makes the case for Thomas having grand plans and intentions that he just couldn’t carry off, whereas I’m just seeing repeated tropes offering nothing new this time around. Which one of us is right? Your answer depends on how much you love Roy Thomas — although his triple President cameo scene is every bit as wonderful as Jeff says it is, I have to admit.) Also, Bill Mantlo is underrated, which I feel is an argument we’ve made more than once before. Otherwise, we’re stuck in the mire of the Brute — the second fake Reed Richards the series has seen in a little over a year, which works for Mr. Lester and really, really doesn’t for me.
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1:53:56-end: We bring it all home by looking back over the last few storylines and discuss how we define success and failure for comic stories, in an oblique sense. It’s something worth remembering as we head into next episode, where we’ll take a run at Fantastic Four #184-200, a run that even Jeffrey Lester is not looking forward to. Until then, don’t forget to look for us on Twitter, Tumblr and Patreon, where there will be so much less Roy Thomas talk in comparison to this episode. As always, thank you for listening and reading, Whatnauts. May none of you ever be replaced by your own concussed Counter-Earth duplicates.



You might remember, back in June, that I did bi-weekly posts about the first month of DC’s Rebirth, with the intent that I’d keep that up while the new launches continued. And then, well, I didn’t.

I have the best excuse: at the start of July, construction — actually, demolition, initially — started on my house, which meant that my wife, myself and our two dogs had to move out, and things have been ridiculous ever since (We’re still out of the house now), especially when you factor in San Diego Comic-Con in there as well. Not only has my writing schedule been off, so has my reading schedule. Updating things on a bi-weekly basis? Are you joking?

Which means, basically, I have a bunch of titles to catch up on. Let’s do the July books, shall we?

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0:00-4:06: Greetings!  How’s the weather, you ask?  Well, Graeme McMillan and the rest of Portland, Oregon are boiling alive!  Jeff’s fine, thanks for asking, but since he knows fine doesn’t carry well—podcasts being what Marshall McLuhan would call a “hot” medium—he moves us to the towering mountain of remaining listeners’ questions!  Will he and Graeme get through all of the questions by the end of the podcast?  Place your bets now!


4:06-16:24:  Kevin Moreau asks:  I have two questions that I hope you can find the time to answer as you’re patrolling Hub City to keep us all safe from crime. 1.  It’s well known that Graeme is not a fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies. Is there a comic-book movie (MCU, DC or otherwise) made since the dawn of the MCU (so since 2008) that you love or at least like, and what does it do right that the MCU movies largely don’t? (Primarily for Graeme, but Jeff please feel free to chime in as well.)

death notice

16:24-27:51: Kevin also wants to know:  2. Largely for Jeff, but if Graeme has any input, please feel free: I find manga largely impenetrable, but I want to give it a fair shake. What is it that appeals to you about the form, and what would you recommend for a newbie who finds it hard to get past the cartoon-y expressions and overall exaggerated nature of what little I’ve glimpsed?
27:51-35:51:  Charles Forsman inquires:   1. Spawn/Batman or Batman/Spawn?  2. What’s the deal with all these comic books coming out every week?

35:51-47:20: Tom Bondurant queries: DC/Warners are putting out an animated version of The Judas Contract, in which a spunky 16-year-old superheroine is (spoilers!) revealed to be a stone-cold sociopath who hates the Teen Titans, is probably sleeping with the much-older Deathstroke the Terminator, and dies after being literally buried by her own rage-spawned freakout. I still have a lot of affection for TJC, especially in the context of New Teen Titans generally, but a) does it seem that problematic to you and b) what changes, if any, do you expect the adaptation to make?
47:20-55:50:  Matt Miller wonders:  Already asked one of my questions on Twitter, so here’s my 2nd: You two are starting a Crossgen-esque company dealing in popular (but non-superhero) genres. What two writer/artist teams (or cartoonists) would you recruit and what genre do you put them on?
55:50-1:02:40:   Evan Harrison Cass interrogates:  Jeff, what is your current ethical stand regarding the purchase of Marvel product? I’ve lost track.  Also:  When Tim Seeley and Tom King were co-writing their critically acclaimed Grayson run, most critics – including you two – assumed Seeley’s contribution wasn’t as ‘key’ as King’s. I know for a fact that Tim felt frustrated that he wasn’t given fair credit for bits that were his that were critically celebrated. What shapes the impression that a Seeley type writer is B-list while a King type is A-list?
1:02:40-1:11:46:  Ray Mescallado queries:   You get to greenlight a Legion of Super-Heroes movie. What era of Legion would you use (Grell 70s, Levitz/Giffen, Five Years After, reboot, threeboot, etc) and why? Would you connect it to the cinematic DCU and how? Which Legionnaires would you focus on, and who do you imagine playing their roles?
1:11:46-1:22:18:   Levi Tompkins ponders: Do you think the lack of lgbtqi characters in Marvel books now is a result of them worried about how to deal with presenting those characters in other mediums like cartoons and movies? What do you think of valiant’s plans to create a movie-verse, or valiant’s attempts at extending their brand into other media formats in general?
Celestials1:22:18-1:30:58:  Garrett asks:  My question(s) are: Could a Jack Kirby (creative output and brand new ideas) exist in today’s comic’s industry? Are there any writers, artists, or writer/artists currently working today that come close?
1:30:58-1:41:52:   Adam Wolfe inquires: 1st question: I read the first Flintstones by Mark Russell and I have the same feeling about it that I usually do after reading a Thomas Pynchon book: amused, a little perplexed, not sure if I get everything the author put in, but ultimately this feeling that I read something intellectual that I should feel smart for having read. Ultimately I think I enjoyed it but I was wondering, what are your thoughts on this series and is Russell’s Prez going to see a second volume? 2nd question: Do you think that Grant Morrison steal his idea of transporting to different universe through a musical instrument in Multiversity from the Heman Masters of the Universe movie from the 80s? There’s a dwarf like creature in that movie that uses a type of flute if I recall to travel back and forth from our realm to that Eternia.
1:41:52-1:52:48:   Roger Winston (Flasshe) cross-examines: 1) As a big time Legion of Super-Heroes fanboy from way back (Cockrum, Grell, Levitz/Giffen, beyond) I am incensed that DC doesn’t know what to do with the LSH these days. Why is that? Is the concept just not something that connects with modern audiences? Or have they just not found the correct approach or creators to make it work nowadays? What do you think DC should do with the property? (I’m counting all this as one question, though you are free to handle it as you see fit.)  (2) What is your preferred comic reading environment? For me, it’s iPad/recliner/beer/music on the headphones, usually after work and before dinner. If I try to read in bed at night, it’s snooze-land and no retention.
1:52:48-1:53:04:  Yonatan offers: when DC finally brings the Legion back, what creative team? 
1:53:04-1:56:18:  Dave Clarke requests: compare and contrast Judge Dredd big summer events with those of the big 2?
1:56:18-1:57:44:  Steven E. Chambers plays good cop:  easy one: have you two been keeping up with Rucka and Lark’s Lazarus?
1:57:44-2:01:10:  Scott Rowland is bad cop:  I’m 100 episodes behind, so you may have covered, but any thoughts on Steve Ditko’s independent work over the years? And thoughts on Ditjko’s string of modest, but successful Kickstarters to publish new material? 
2:01:10-2:06:08: Art Lyon is dramatic reading cop:  What long-run title would u analyze a la your Baxter Building eps if u weren’t doing FF or – gasp! – *after* u finish FF?
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2:06:08-end: Closing comments! Next week will be a Q&A session so please feel free to tweet or email us your questions. Look for us on  Stitcher! Itunes! Twitter together and separately: Graeme and Jeff! MattTumblr,  and  on Patreon where a wonderful group of people make this all possible, including the kind crew at American Ninth Art Studios and Empress Audrey, Queen of the Galaxy, to whom we are especially grateful for their continuing support of this podcast.
Next week:  Baxter Building Episode #20!  Fantastic Four #171-184!  Join us!

[NOTE: Blog posts are like buses. So before you read me on WicDiv, please be sure to check out Graeme and Jeff doing a back-and-forth on DC Comics anniversary books. Oops. I’ll schedule better next time, I swear!]

I always put a spoiler warning in these things, even when there are no spoilers. And I always use the page break jump, just to keep the front page here streamlined and clean.

So let me be very clear, to avoid confusion or disaster: I am going to be discussing the big ol’ spoileriffic climax of The Wicked + The Divine #22, by Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, Matthew Wilson, and Clayton Cowles. I am going to discuss in at least some degree of detail, and there may even be a picture or two depending on how ambitious I’m feeling.

If you have any interest at all in WicDiv and haven’t read this issue, just stop here. Right here. Yes, that’s good. We can talk about something else soon. For everyone else ….


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GRAEME: For those who haven’t already heard the last Wait, What?, there’s a question from Tim Rifenburg that we ended up punting on, because we thought we might need a little more reflection and/or the space to turn it into a written post. It went a little something like this:

I have recently been buying (on the cheap) a bunch of the DC anniversary compilation books that have come out in the last year or so.  Every time I see the stories (or parts of stories that are picked) I  am astounded on what they pick for a celebration book.  If you were asked, which character or title would you like to put together a compilation for and  what are some of the stories you would pick.

If you don’t know what anniversary books Tim’s talking about, he means things like this and this and this. They’re very strange books: not quite Best Ofs, but something along the lines of a quasi-historical overview, with (very) brief essays ahead of a selection of stories that try and talk about the era in which they were created and, to be blunt, fail more often than not. As Tim suggests above, the selection of stories for each book is more than normally utterly confounding, avoiding standalone graphic novels or collections but not unafraid to pick one issue of a multi-part storyline (or even, in some cases, some pages out of an incomplete issue) to use, because… well, that’s a very good question.

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0:00-4:22: Greetings from Lost Lake Loop—okay, it’s actually Portland and San Francisco but we swear LLL (a location that sounds like a love interest for Superman when I abbreviate it like that) is actually involved.  Graeme had a nice little getaway which is wonderful, but then barely managed to make it back in time to podcast which is…less wonderful by all accounts. But after that tale of terror and woe (and lunch) is recounted, we move on to the Q&A section of our podcast, and what an impressive set of Q’s you fine people have proffered. We told our patrons they could ask two questions each if they wanted, and they did indeed deliver.  SPOILERS: We don’t even make it through them all this episode.  But let’s get to them, shall we?
4:22-25:46: Zaragosa, a.k.a. thelegendarypanda a.k.a. Glengarry Glen Panda asks: I have a few friends who are professional comics artists and something that comes up all the time in discussions with them, regarding creator-owned work, is the whole bullshit concept of the writer owning everything in terms of IP, etc.  Robert Kirkman is the most egregious example of this.  Mark Millar is a counterpoint, splitting all ownership 50/50 which clearly helps him work with top tier artists.  I don’t really think Millar does this out of the goodness of his heart, but hey, if you save a guy from a burning building because he owes you money, you’re still a hero… I guess?
Anyway, it seems like most big name writers are on what I believe is the only ethically correct side of this issue: Alan Moore, Brian K. Vaughan, Bendis, Hickman, Jason Aaron, Ed Brubaker, the aforementioned Millar…
…but there are still quite a lot of writers on the “wrong” side: Warren Ellis certainly has been with all of the books he did for Avatar, I think Grant Morrison pretty much owns all or the majority of his Vertigo work outright (my understanding is that Grant has the same unique deal with Vertigo as Neil Gaiman, where he basically owns/controls media rights/IP for all of his work with them; and I heard Sean Murphy outright say on a podcast that Grant gave Murphy a 30% ownership stake in Joe the Barbarian, as if that were a generous thing); it seems like GM and Warren Ellis basically feel like if an artist is “big” enough to warrant co-ownership, they will give it to them (as I assume Ellis has done with Declan Shalvey on Injection). 
The worst and most craven example of this bullshit that needs to be called out, to my eye, is… Robert Kirkman, not only with TWD and Outcast, but every single book under his whole Skybound sham of an imprint — where Skybound (meaning, Kirkman) owns a majority interest in all of those books.  He controls the IP, period.  He and his business partners, not the creators.  That just seems so awful to me, as to defy all decency.  The whole reason, of course, that Kirkman happens to occupy such a rarefied position is because Image gave him (and Tony Moore) the right to have FULL ownership of The Walking Dead.  Kirkman, naturally, then screwed over Tony Moore, but that’s another story.  
Maybe I’m wrong here (I don’t think so), but Kirkman seems like the kind of guy who makes it across a bridge, in a warzone, by the skin of his teeth, and then blows up the bridge so that no one else can follow him.  Am I being too harsh?  It just seems like we should either be past this kind of nonsense in this industry, since we all know the awful history of the way so many of our great artists were screwed over and died penniless.  Or, at the very least, we should be, as a community, publicly shaming creators like Kirkman who hoard and snatch away IP from less fortunate creators.  I hear many artists discussing this privately, but it seems like it’s barely a thing in the online community (even after Tony Moore took Kirkman to court over Kirkman’s dishonest dealings with Moore, his childhood friend).  Is everyone just afraid of alienating the mighty Kirkman or other name writers by openly discussing how wrong this practice is?
As much as I find Ales Kot to be kinda annoying, personality-wise, I do appreciate the novelty/integrity of his move in splitting ownership of the IP for the comics he does with the artist AND the letterer AND the colorist AND the book’s designer (in Zero’s case, the incomparable Tom Muller).  That seems like it would be a nightmare, contract-wise, but maybe not; anyway, as far as the comics industry goes, it’s certainly a bold move to err on the side of being overly fair.
25:46-29:16: Matt Miller inquires: What is your esteemed co-host’s worst opinion? 
29:16-49:58: Paul Spence asks:  I have three questions, but one is really aimed at just at Jeff.
Jeff – Could you elaborate on your criticism of Platinum End. At the end of an earlier episode this year, I believe you said that it was a betrayal of Death Note. I would like to hear you expand on your comments. The team of Ohba and Obata have produced great work in the past, but with Platinum End, it seems that Obata’s art is carrying the show. 
Jeff & Graeme – My favourite 70’s Kirby is Kamandi. How would the Whatnauts rank Kamandi in relation to Kirby’s other 70’s era work.
Jeff & Graeme – Could the Whatnauts comment on Grant Morrison’s metatextual masterpiece Flex Mentallo. The Flex Mentallo beach towel brought the book to mind. I really love it and I have read it three times so far this year. Perhaps I need to get a life.
49:58-52:18:  Andrew Bayer asks (but not very seriously: Which is your preferred Question? (See top image for context.)
52:18-56:03:  Adam P. Knave throws down the gauntlet:  You can only save one character to be brought back EVER again. This is it, the one you don’t choose can never be used in a story ever again: METAL MEN or METAMORPHO.
56:03-1:01:46:  Rick Vance wants to know: How is the subscription to Shonen Jump going Jeff, are you keeping up with it in the slightest? My second question is only if either of you have read My Hero Academia, it is a perfect fusion of Superhero Teens and Shonen Action and I think you both would greatly enjoy it, it is in print and digital and probably easily obtained through libraries.
1:01:46-1:08:55: Here’s an inquiry from JONATHAN SAPSED: My question is which, if any industry awards should we take notice of and why? Eisners or Harveys? Eagles or British Comic Awards? Or if you prefer, what’s the best way into Hellboy and the Mignolaverse for the uninitiated, or is it worth bothering at this point now it’s finished?
1:08:55-1:21:08:  Say, Steve H has two things he wants to ask and here it is: If it’s not too late, I thought of two questions for you. Here goes: 1) So, I feel like A-Force has fallen off a cliff, not coincidentally right when G. Willow Wilson stopped co-writing it. Now I can finally stop buying it. The whole idea of an all-female team, which all-too-obviously only exists so you can have an all-female team, just seems very third-grade to me, very girls-against-the-boys, ewww-cooties kind of thinking. It’s not even the case that it somehow rights past wrongs, that Marvel always had all-male teams. Not the FF. Not the Avengers. Not the X-Men. Not the Defenders. Do you find anything wrong with this kind of shoehorned, quote-unquote “diversity”? When the book was just plain good, I put up with it, but now the “no boys allowed” sign on the clubhouse looks silly and halfway to offensive.
2) Have you followed the news about Kickass Torrents? (The owner got busted and the site is down, possibly for good.) Of all the industries affected by piracy, I feel like the death of KAT is heaviest in comics. You can download “The Force Awakens” or “The Life of Pablo” anywhere, but this seems much less true of comics, especially catalog stuff. Maybe week to week the new books will still be online, but sales of trades and collections could rise. Do you think there will be any noticeable impact?
[daddy cool image?]
1:21:08-1:29:53: Kenneth A Graves has a doozy of a query and it’s: What nearly-forgotten gem would you like Dover or It’s Alive to reprint? Which incomplete 80s masterpiece should get revived and finished?
end of the century club
1:29:53-1:33:20: Questions and a plug from Steven Prince: Love the podcast, but am a bit behind cause I have a newborn at home and every time I try to listen he starts screaming. Is it Jeff? Is it Graeme? Or is he just trying to assert his dominance?  I dunno, but I hope to catch up soon. In any case, questions…
1) I recently re-read the entire METABARONS saga by Jodorowsky and Gimenez. Do comics get any more awesome? Are there any you can think of?
monster matador cover
2) Can I get a shout out for my comic, MONSTER MATADOR? (yeah, it’s more of a trick question, but you didn’t say anything about those. Next issue will be on comixology soon. I’m a little behind because baby.)
1:33:20-1:43:34:  Here’s Tomas Syrstad Ruud with the first of several LOSH questions we received: 1) What do you think DC has to to do make a new Legion of Super Heroes comic work? 2) Will Marvel be able to continue a successful comic about Kamala Khan when G. Willow Wilson eventually leaves?
1:43:34-1:53:33:  Here’s excellent q’s from Tim Rifenburg: (1) I have recently been buying (on the cheap) a bunch of the DC anniversary compilation books that have come out in the last year or so.  Every time I see the stories (or parts of stories that are picked) I  am astounded on what they pick for a celebration book.  If you were asked, which character or title would you like to put together a compilation for and  what are some of the stories you would pick. (This might be a question better suited for a written post if you were so inclined.)
A little too ironic? And yeah, I really do think.
(2)  My other question is if Bob Haney was alive ( in his prime, writing comics) which Marvel character or title would you have liked to see him put his Haney spin on.
Screen Shot 2015-09-21 at 8.25.23 AM1:53:33-1:58:53: Jason Hopkins has gazed into the abyss, and it told him to ask:  Hey fellas, who would you consider your dream creative team on Fantastic Four (if it came back today), and what characters would you like to see in the supporting cast?


1:58:53-2:04:43: Here is the wonderful cracking wise and wisecracking Martin Gray! 1) What character can you not stand, (mine is ‘honourable murderer’ Deathstroke)  


2) Which gone comic co would you bring back?
2:04:43-2:21:27: Here’s two parting shots from Devin King: 1. If you were a high school English teacher (as I am), which graphic novel/trade paperback would you teach and why? (Or, should they not be taught in English classes?) 2. When you’re looking about thoughtful approaches to comics criticism, who/what do you read for particularly enlightened opinions?
2:21:27-end: Closing comments! Next week will be a Q&A session so please feel free to tweet or email us your questions. Look for us on  Stitcher! Itunes! Twitter together and separately: Graeme and Jeff! MattTumblr,  and  on Patreon where a wonderful group of people make this all possible, including the kind crew at American Ninth Art Studios and Empress Audrey, Queen of the Galaxy, to whom we are especially grateful for their continuing support of this podcast.

Next week: Skip week!  And then, in two weeks, join us for the shocking conclusion!