When I think of Vertigo comics–I think when most people think of Vertigo comics–I think of the … um … goth-ier stuff. Tarot cards and rings of salt and stories about stories about stories and whatever. If I’m not thinking of it in those terms, I tend to think of it as an auteurist imprint where artists and writers could indulge their idiosyncratic visions.

But that ignores the other, much simpler fact about Vertigo, which is this: sometimes, it’s just a really reliable source for propulsive, pulpy entertainment. Y The Last Man might be the best example, but even books that are usually lumped under the “auteurist” category were successful because they were gotta-read-the-next-issue engaging–Transmetropolitan and 100 Bullets and stretches of The Invisibles and Hellblazer, and even, for all its many flawsPreacher all may be associated with specific creators, but they’re also just really entertaining stories.

That’s what came to mind when I read these three new(ish) Vertigo collections–the first volumes of Unfollow, Clean Roomand Jacked: these books felt like trad Vertigo to me in that sense, even though there’s not a single wise talking cat to be found.

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[Please note: although we talk about so very many comics in this episode, I decided to pull images exclusively from the brilliant Transformers vs. G.I. Joe by Tom Scioli and John Barber. I accept full responsibility and apologize for any resulting cognitive dissonance.]

0:00-21:06: Greetings from your tech-confused team (or as Graeme suggests far too late for our actual opening, RiRi Lester and Victor Von McMillan), who are dealing with a strangely loud recording.  Adjust your volume to taste, and buckle up, buttercup, as we start in on almost immediately on the exciting world of comic news (Marvel edition).  We cover Marvel’s announcements for its forthcoming Marvel Now! launch (a new Invincible Iron Man, a new Infamous Iron Man, new Champions title, U.S. Avengers, etc.,), the timing of their information release, etc. Discussed:  all of the above, plus: Jeff misunderstands Graeme’s use of the word singularity and so just parrots Graeme’s point; a casual invitation for a tech-talented Whatnaut to put the movie Interstellar to good use; Marvel has never had a black female writer ever; David Walker getting backing at Marvel; and more.
21:06-43:42: A bit more about Iron Man, which Jeff has not been following at all, but Graeme as a reader is a little concerned that the teases that Bendis made when starting the book less than a year ago are already set to either be truncated or abandoned.  Discussed: abandoned storylines; Captain America: Agent of Hydra and Marvel editors and Marvel creators literally saying whatever they want, even if it bears no relation to reality, just to sell a book; Dr. Doom in name only; whether one of the characters in the Champions is a spoiler; and more.
43:42-50:11: After covering Marvel’s outwardly confident movement toward its next nonboot, and DC’s more conciliatory, albeit coded, approach to Rebirth, Graeme wonders if Marvel’s strangely rushed and off announcements have a lot in common with the DC You marketing blunders, which thank goodness at least gives us a little bit of time to talk about Midnighter by Steve Orlandao and ACO, which Graeme fully spoils but also makes sound very satisfying and great.  Also discussed: Black Canary; liking books enough to stick around; Bourne Identity Aquaman; and more.
50:11-58:26: “You’re not reading the DC Rebirth books, right?” asks Graeme, gently, hoping to avoid a prime Jeff rant.  And that almost kind of works?  But Jeff has read the first two issues of Batman by Tom King and David Finch; but Graeme is really onboard with Aquaman after the events of the second issue.  Also discussed: the second issue of Batman, Jeff’s frustration and Graeme’s theory about the last page reveal; and more.
58:26-1:10:46:  Graeme went on a back-issue spree at his excellent local store Cloud Nine Comics where he purchased almost the entire run of Hawk and Dove by Barbara and Karl Kesel, so Graeme gets to recap the history of the original Hawk and Dove, the second team from the late ‘80s, the very, uh, offbeat conclusion to the series, and a lot of discussion about DC’s Armageddon 2001, an event DC does not seem particularly keen to reprint and which *dove*tails with the end of Hawk and Dove.  Also discussed: Armageddon: The Alien Agenda; Zero Hour; and the punting of Captain Atom’s next series.
1:10:46-1:35:01:  The other title Graeme of which bought a lot of back issues?  Marvel Fanfare, the prestige paper anthology/inventory title edited by Al Milgrom; “Every issue is an oddity,” is how Graeme describes it quite nicely but wow, some of these oddities!  An Angel story by Ann Nocenti and David Mazzuchelli, to name just one!  Also discussed: 80s Marvel vs. 70s Marvel; the delight that is the art of Tony Salmons; Trevor Von Eeden in the ‘80s which, of course, makes it all but impossible to avoid bringing up Dick Giordano, Robert Loren Fleming, and Thriller; an amazing Jim Shooter anecdote about Bill Sienkiewicz; spitballing new and exciting Patreon extras; Jim Owsley’s promotional material for The Falcon; and, hoo boy, more.
1:35:01-1:40:39:  And what’s Jeff been reading? He’s re-read and didn’t quite finish the remarkable Transformers vs. G.I. Joe by Tom Scioli and John Barber, having only made it up to issue #10 on this particular go round, but he has many positive things to say including the statement, “Transformers vs. G.I. Joe is the Paul’s Boutique of comic books.”
1:40:39-2:00:52:  Unfortunately, Jeff was not nearly as impressed with Dark Night: A True Batman Story by Paul Dini and Eduardo Risso that he picked up on the long-ago recommendation of a certain nameless someone whose initials are Graeme McMillan.  Part of the problem is clearly Jeff’s expectations for the book, which is not entirely fair to the book, but there are other problems at work, insists Jeff.  Discussion ensues! (To the point of uncomfortable stridency on the part of Jeff.)
2:00:52-2:01:54: By contrast, Jeff read The Colonel Corps, the second issue of promotional DC/KFC (KFDC?) comics starring Colonel Sanders and the DC multiverse.  He thought it was pretty good!
2:01:54-2:29:14: And finally, to wrap up this edition of “Jeff’s Bad Faith Adventures,” after railing about the way the launch of Comixology Umlimited treated creators, he…signs up for Comixology Unlimited?  Jeff, what is up with that?  But also: what’s the deal with Comixology Unlimited? Discussed:  searching on Comixology Unlimited; Doc Savage Archives Vol. 1; As The Gods Will; the generosity of Chris Arrant; Hoopla (which, contrary to what Jeff says, will allow him to borrow graphic novels now); and more.
2:29:14-end:  Closing comments, but with some bonus bits of commentary from Graeme about “Not Brand Echh”!  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!  There are some crazy reasons but join us in two weeks for the next episode of Baxter Building, where we’ll be discussing issues #160 to #170 of the Fantastic Four!

FlintCoverI was baffled by DC’s Hanna Barbera reboot from the moment it was announced. Where Marvel has a tendency to announce things as throwaway gags only to have them take off (looking at you, Gwenpool!), this was DC announcing an actual publishing initiative that felt like it had to be some kind of elaborate, Andy Kaufmann-esque prank.

And yet here we are.

I haven’t read all the books — I have no recollection of Wacky Races and so don’t care about the Mad Max-ified reboot; I never got into Jonny Quest and so am skipping Future Quest despite a fondness for the creative team. I’ve read the Scooby Doo book and found myself wondering who could possibly care about it, but the main element of WTF-ness there comes from watching two sexagenarians try to write “hip” dialogue for Shaggy.

But this week I read The Flintstones #1, written by Mark Russell and drawn by Steve Pugh, with colors from Chris Chuckry and letters by Dave Sharpe. And hooooooooo boy, the WTF is off the charts on this one.

It’s not a bad book, at all. Russell is good at satire, as he demonstrated on Prez,  and Pugh’s art chops are beyond reproach. And it feels pretty clear to me what Russell’s trying to do, here: you can’t “update the Flintstones” in the sense of setting them in the modern world, because … well, for reasons that are incredibly obvious. But he’s trying to update their satire to be compatible with modern mores, and applicable to modern times. It’s actually a pretty audacious idea, and lord knows everyone involved seems completely committed to it.

But, man, this feels less like an actual comic and more like the satirical comic that would appear in the background of a Paul Verhoeven movie. I’m going to list a few scenarios about the Flintstones and you go ahead guess which one I made up.

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0:00-2:28: Greetings from the Sleepy Duo, Graeme and Jeff!  One of is justified in their tiredness, one of them is not, but they still can manage to work up enough steam to discuss…
2:28-16:15: Wonder Woman: Earth One by Grant Morrison, Yanick Paquette, and Nathan Fairbairn.  Graeme feels like he read it forever and a day ago (which is to say two months ago, even though review copies circulated much farther back than that), whereas Jeff describes it as “disappointing and generic” with even Paquette’s lovely art having a fatal flaw to it.  Also discussed:  Morrison’s take on Wonder Woman in Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne; Zach Snyder’s take on Darkseid in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice; Graeme’s thoughts about some of the ideas in Final Crisis and how they might manifest in future DC movies; the set reports from Justice League; Wonder Woman Rebirth #1 and Wonder Woman #1 and forward movement compared to the other DC Rebirthings; Shakespearean structure in Wonder Woman: Earth One; and more.
16:15-25:33: Since we were still reeling from the results of the Brexit vote, Jeff had what he thought would be a great tie-in book:  Jupiter’s Legacy by Mark Millar and Frank Quitely (with colors by Peter Doherty and Rob Miller as the digital art assistant), which Millar put on Comixology for free for a day.  As Jeff puts it, “I couldn’t turn down that much Frank Quitely art for free,” but…at what cost, Jeff?  At what cost!?  Discussed:  The Dungeon Master’s Guide; The Incredibles; Kick Ass: The New Girl; the event horizon of cynicism; and more.
25:33-36:49: “But let me tell you about a cynical thing that I read that was actually great,” sez Jeff and then goes on to talk about the first three issues of The Fix by Steve Lieber, Nick Spencer, and Ryan Hill. Discussed: Jeff having to rescind his antipathy for Nick Spencer after reading The Fix; the tremendous command of body language and pacing possessed by Steve Lieber; Superior Foes of Spider-Man, a title by the same team that’s just sitting there on Marvel Unlimited, aching to be read; DeMatteis’s and Giffen’s Justice League; Spencer’s Ant Man; Spencer’s Captain America as a revisit to Mark Gruenwald’s Captain America; and more.
36:49-44:15:  Graeme’s turn!  Graeme has been reading lots of old stuff this week, including a lot of The Brave and The Bold written by the aforementioned Bob Haney after reading other older team-up books; the first volume of Chip Zdarsky and Erica Henderson’s Jughead (engendering comparisons to Unbeatable Squirrel Girl as well as Mark Waid’s Archie, and discussing Archie the publisher’s current approach to trade paperbacks).
44:15-56:52: Graeme also read Jet City’s graphic novel for Girl Over Paris by Gwenda Bond, Kate Leth, and Ming Doyle, which is a spin-off of Bond’s YA novel series (Girl on a Wire, Girl in the Shadows), and he is also loving the storyline going on over in 2000 AD and Judge Dredd Megazine and the big twist that he is dying to talk about but refrains.  “It’s a staggeringly simple and obvious idea,” Graeme tells Jeff, “that they’ve never done before. And also an idea that could only really happen right now in the Dredd mythology because of what’s happened in the various other big stories over the last few years.”  Graeme also has some very good things to say about Lawless over the Megazine, and we both express some admiration for Dan Abnett, who’s been writing comics forever but is currently on a bit of a hot streak with Lawless, Aquaman, Brink, and more.
56:52-1:02:56:  With not much finesse, Jeff turns the topic to something that Graeme has recommended that Jeff liked tremendously—Hannah Blumenreich’s superb free compilation of her various Spider-Man comic strips.  Blumenreich’s take on Spider-Man is just one of the greatest takes on Peter Parker as a teen.
1:02:56-1:18:33:  Jeff has “somehow” come into a copy of Civil War II #1, and hoo boy, he did not like it.  WARNING: Graeme has a theory about what happens in issue #3, the death of a major character, and he discusses it openly.  So…I don’t know.  It’s not really spoilers since it’s just a theory? But if that’s the kind of thing that bothers you maybe jump over to Jeff’s stammering at 1:04:39.  Discussed: the odd continuity of the FCBD, issue #0, and issue #1; an inability of Bendis to construct a rational-sounding argument or solid characterization; how long will the deaths in this series stick; the wackiness of the current comics marketplace including the number of Marvel titles selling under 20k; and more.
1:18:33-1:32:22: Well, but hold on: how did Jeff get this copy of Civil War II #1?  The shameful, or sorta-shameful or not-shameful-at-all-answer (depending on how you look at it):  the recent Women of Marvel box from Funko’s Marvel Collector Corps.  “What is the purpose of signing up for a box like this?” Graeme asks.  “Because I genuinely don’t get it.”  Discussed: Slurpee cups; old nerds with potato bodies; Spider-Gwen; presents; drunk internetting; how many bobbleheads does one person need; and just as Graeme sits down to critque each and every previous Marvel Collector Corps box offered so far….TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES!!!
1:32:22-1:37:37:  And we are back!  The fuse Graeme talks about blowing isn’t the one in Jeff’s head upon hearing his spending choices so sharply critiqued, but rather one in Jeff’s apartment that took out the Internet in one swell foop.
1:37:32-1:52:27: In the course of trying to predict the themes of future Marvel Collector Corps boxes, we turn to upcoming Marvel Now!, featuring the debut of Mosaic. We have a bit of discussion about Mosaic and why Marvel is making such a big deal out of it.  Also discussed: the death of Rhodey in Civil War II; Deadman and Quantum Leap; and Graeme’s pretty on-point critique of the premise in this context.  Also discussed:  The Clone Conspiracy; Howard Mackie; a fantastic possible new ringtone from Graeme; is it time for Dan Slott to move on from Spider-Man; and more.
1:52:27-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:  Skip Week!  It’s Independence Day in the U.S. so we will be attending barbecues and getting crunk, but there’s some scheduling shenanigans involved in July, we’re betting.  So you may have to be patient with us.  But until then…enjoy!

Flash Rebirth OneWe’re now four weeks into DC’s Rebirth push, which is trying to right its superhero line by going back to basics in everything other than publishing schedule — which’ll explain why we’re already at second issues of the books that’ve been launched so far, even though they’re all #1s, because of the unnecessary Rebirth prologue issues. Unnecessary in more ways than one, considering that almost all of the series have better #1s than their official Rebirth relaunches. But let’s get to the capsule reviews, shall we…?

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Previously on Baxter Building: It’s all gone wrong! Sue Richards has left Reed and the team! Reed has managed to zap his own son with a ray gun that might have saved his life, but pushed him into a catatonic state! And to make matters worse, the book is just kind of… boring? Where next for our fightin’ foursome? Reed on! (Yes, that pun was intentional. Not good, mind you, but intentional.

0:00:00-0:04:16: A quick introduction — in large part edited down from a longer conversation that was, due to audio quality, almost unlistenable; we were beset by technical troubles this time around, and the audio quality on my side of the conversation is unusually bad, for which we apologize — lets you know that we’re covering Fantastic Four #147 through 159 this time around, with a brief mention of Avengers #127, an issue that crosses over into this run. We’re also not covering the Giant-Size Superstars and Giant-Size Fantastic Four issues that were published parallel to these issues, primarily because I didn’t read ’em… but we might do that at some point in the future. (For those wondering, the annuals that we haven’t talked about for awhile have either been reprints or not actually been published annually; they return soon, though.) And for those wondering what I was talking about when I referenced the Oakland police chief, this is a reasonable round-up.
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0:04:17-0:23:00: What’s that, you say? You want to see Gerry Conway write a storyline with a denouement that is so out of character, you might wonder if he’s been possessed by a 1950s issue of World’s Finest? Well, you’ve got it with Fantastic Four #147-149, a trilogy that not only doesn’t hang together well, but has a final episode that seems to feature what I remain convinced is a swift walking back of what had been intended as a sincere opener, turning the whole thing into a weird and weirdly wrong practical joke played by a character who not only isn’t known for their practical jokes, but also doesn’t really care about the people he’s professing to do a nice thing for. (Despite that, I really liked this storyline, purely because the climax is so silver-age DC-ish; Jeff disagrees, however.) We talk about whether or not the final issue is the result of a last-minute rethink, an explanation which would also serve to make the middle chapter less like disconnected filler — but it wouldn’t really help with the fact that neither Reed nor Sue have any real agency in a story that serves to close out their marital dispute. As Jeff puts it, “there’s no internal life to the characters.”
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0:23:01-0:33:34: Taking a brief sidestep, Jeff talks about the underwhelming nature of all the issues we’re covering in this episode and wondering if their flaws are the result of Marvel as a company. I then point out a couple of final things I noticed about the issues we’re talking about — that Gerry Conway seems to think that the FF believe that Namor is telepathic, and that Medusa is already being written out the book a full ten issues before she leaves — and then we move on to…
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0:33:35-0:50:33:Fantastic Four #150, which is the second part of a crossover with Avengers #127. “Let’s dive on,” I say, inventing a new phrase which sounds like I’ve just learned english and don’t understand common phrases yet. But dive on we do, nonetheless, talking about how painfully half-assed this issue feels in comparison to the Avengers issue — which, admittedly, is written by Steve Englehart, whom Jeff and I are always marks for. It’s an impressively rushed finale for the crossover, though, with Conway seeming disinterested in the entire premise, and Rich Buckler delivering what Jeff calls a “wet fart” in terms of the artwork. He’s also got a theory that the issue is a stealth re-do for Fantastic Four Annual #2, but I’m not entirely convinced, and think that they’re trying to out-do the Avengers/Defenders War. Also discussed: creeping nostalgia and the end of the Franklin subplot that forgot that Franklin was actually a person and not “the child.”
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0:50:34-1:09:28: Gerry Conway becomes the third writer to leave the series in the middle of a multi-part storyline, vanishing before the final part of the Thundra origin in Fantastic Four #151-153. I suggest that he jumped ship to DC, but Jeff (rightfully) points out that Conway would briefly be Marvel E-i-C in 1976, so who knows where he went this time around — perhaps he simply ran away in embarrassment over a storyline that prompts Jeff to describe one scene as “a sexier version of Planet of the Apes,” and introduces a new villain called Mahkismo. Yes, it’s the Battle of the Sexes, 1974-Marvel-Style, and it’s everything you think it’d be and more, thanks in part to a terrible fill-in inking job in #152 that sees Reed Richards have three hands on the splash page and the editors actually apologize at the end of the story for how bad it looks. Things improve greatly with the final installment, which sees the underrated Tony Isabella step in — Jeff and I are fans, it turns out — and Joe Sinnott return, but make no mistake: this is a horrible storyline. “Gerry Conway does not go out on a bang,” I say, in part because his final issue ends like this:
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1:09:29-1:19:32: How do you know that you’re scraping the bottom of the barrel? When you have an issue that’s in part a reprint of a Strange Tales story featuring the Human Torch, surrounded by a framing sequence featuring temporary new writer Len Wein (and artist Bob Brown) that literally repeats the gimmick of the original, so that you get not one but two reveals that make little sense whatsoever. Say hello to FF #154, everyone! We discuss the way in which this issue contrasts “current” (1970s) Marvel with the classic Stan Lee period, Jeff references Speed Racer, and then compares Len Wein to Frank Miller, which just seems cruel, let’s be honest.
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1:19:33-1:41:23: Fantastic Four #155-157 are, according to me, “Fantastic Four on automatic pilot,” and I’m sticking with that. These are, after all, three issues where the second issue is called “Middle Game,” and the third “And Now… the Endgame Cometh!” They’re also issues with an impressively off-model Silver Surfer both visually — he’s newly buff! — and intellectually, because he’s apparently such a sap that he’ll willingly work for Doctor Doom in order to win the heart of a complete stranger just because she looks like his ex-girlfriend. (It’s more complicated than that, but that’s the main thrust. Kind of.) It’s a three parter that combines the fear of the independent women vibe of the last year-or-so of issues with the rehashing past glories nostalgiafest that has plagued the title for around the same time to come up with a plot that manages to steal from not one but two Lee/Kirby Doctor Doom storylines while still managing to feel impressively underbaked. There are two things going for it, on a purely “oh, shit, no” level, though: the caption explaining Roy Thomas’ use of the word “zugzwang,” and an epilogue that really has to be experienced for the full effect. Don’t worry; we talk about both in detail.
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1:41:24-2:07:57: “The best thing, and I shit you not, about [FF #158-159] is the title of #158,” I say, and I’m not wrong. (That title is “Invasion From The 5th (Count It, 5th!) Dimension,” which really is pretty great.) When the thing that amuses us the most about a two issue storyline is the term “Thunderhorn,” you know you’re on a loser, but we also get to talk about the out-of-nowhere career suggestion that Sue should become a private detective — I’m for it, Jeff is against — as well as how great Joe Sinnott’s inks are when it comes to drawing blue guys from the 5th Dimension. Oh, and John Romita makes a surprise (uncredited) inking appearance at the end of #159, for some mysterious reason.
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Impressively, we get so derisive about the fact that FF is dipping back into the Strange Tales well for the second time in six months that we forget to mention that the issue ends with Sue officially rejoining the team, but, as Jeff puts it, “these two issues seem like the definition of weak sauce,” so can you blame us? (Yes, you can. Sorry.) Also! The magic of Joe Sinnott and why he makes Fantastic Four feel like the Fantastic Four perhaps even moreso that even Stan Lee or Jack Kirby, and the problems with the Marvel Method when it comes to dealing with younger artists.
2:07:59-end: We close things out by explaining that we’ll be reading Fantastic Four #160-170 next time, and reminding you that you can find us on Twitter, Tumblr and Patreon. Thank you for suffering through the bad audio this episode, and for reading through the shownotes — next time, we’ll try to be better. Excelsior…?


It feels like a cliche to say, man, superhero comics used to be so much weirder. It feels like the sort of thing that grumpy old men say because they can’t wrap their heads around Squirrel Girl, and Civil War II isn’t doing it for them like the first one anymore, and who wants to be that guy?

Nonetheless, the primary takeaway I had after reading Justice League International #52-60 the other day — a decision brought on by nostalgia for the early ’90s and for Gerard Jones’ writing — was “well, that was strange.”

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0:00-41:30: Greetings from the site of the Portland Prince Memorial Party.  (Well, party-adjacent, anyway.)  If that’s not enough of a tip-off that we’re not going to start talking comics right away, give yourself a gold star, Whatnaut, because we have a long, long trail of non-comics content to hike down!  Because this was recorded within an hour of Jeff getting back from a viewing of Federico Fellini’s La Dolce Vita, Graeme and Jeff give their takes on La Dolce Vita, 8 1/2, Nine, All That Jazz, Fellini’s proposed Sub-Mariner movie, Flash Gordon (both the 1980 film and the film serial from 1936), which Fellini movie is the Jeff movie and which one is the Graeme movie, Radiohead’s theme for Spectre, the video for Partyman, and molto, molto, molto di piu.
41:30-1:05:12:  All that said (and we did indeed say a lot), we are a comics podcast, and maybe we should talk about those for a change?  Maybe?  For those of you who haven’t checked it out, Graeme wrote a very fine set of capsule reviews covering the week 1 and 2 of the DC Rebirth titles over on the website, which Jeff relies on a bit here to talk about some of the books we cover in our discussion, starting with Batman: Rebirth by Scott Snyder, Tom King, Mikel Janin, and June Chung. Also discussed: Superman #1 by Pete Tomasi, Patrick Gleason, and Mick Gray; Detective Comics #1 by James Tynion IV, Eddy Barrows, and Eber Ferreira, some grousing about which was lousier, Batman Eternal or Batman and Robin Eternal; and more.
1:05:12-1:19:57: And from there, Jeff runs semi-quickly down the stuff he’s read recently and enjoyed including The Walking Dead issues #154 and #155 by Robert Kirkman, Charlie Adlard, Stefano Guadiano, and Cliff Rathburn; Spider-Man/Deadpool #5 by Joe Kelly, Ed McGuinness, Mark Morales, and Jason Keith; issues #5-#7 of The Sheriff of Babylon by Tom King and Mitch Gerads; and The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl (V2) #8 by Ryan North, Erica Henderson, and Rico Renzi.  Also discussed:  Jughead by Chip Zdarsky and Erica Henderson; and Madwoman of the Sacred Heart by Alejandro Jodorowsky and Moebius.
1:19:57-2:01:35:  And Graeme?  Graeme has some things to say about Sugar and Spike by Keith Giffen and Bilquis Evely, currently appearing in Legends of Tomorrow; Imperium by Joshua Dysart and Khari Evans (which Graeme calls “one of the best superhero books on the stands around); Something New: Tales From a Makeshift Bride by Lucy Knisley; and Rolling Blackouts by Sarah Glidden which Graeme does not hesitate to name as one of the books of the year.  Also read by Graeme:  The Keith Giffen/John Rogers/ Cully Hamner, Rafael Albuquerque, and others; and the first years of Uncanny X-Men after Whilce Portacio has taken over as artist; old Star Trek: The Next Generation comics published by DC; and the current Judge Dredd arc going on in 2000 AD and the Megazine.  [Also, my apologies to Graeme for not including images from all my books in these notes and none of his, really: there wasn’t a lot of overlap and this was stuff I could easily screenshot.)
2:01:35-end: Closing comments!  Look for us on  Stitcher! Itunes! Twitter together and separately: Graeme and Jeff! MattTumblr,  and our special thanks to the kind crew at American Ninth Art Studios for their continuing support of this podcast, as well as our continuing special thanks to the Empress Audrey, Queen of the Galaxy…and to our supporters on Patreon who make all this possible. (Also, keep an ear out for some Platinum End grousing.)
Next week:  Baxter Building Ep. 18!  Read up on issues #147-159 of the first volume of Fantastic Four and join us!


So, the first two weeks of Rebirth books are out for DC — only nine of them, which feels almost glacial compared with the 13-very-week roll-out of the New 52 back in 2011. But how does this latest round of reboots, relaunches and respositionings work, compared with the more extreme makeover of five years ago? Judging by the evidence so far, the answer seems to be “It’s better, and yet…” Let’s go through things old-school, with a round-up, shall we?

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0:00-05:25: Greetings! Graeme and I are still recovering from our version of Civil War—the DC Rebirth #1 roundtable from just a few days back.  Fortunately, Graeme knows just what it takes to heal the wounds of battle: a story about  his friendly nieghborhood Chatty Cat!  (Chatty Cat No. 2, no less!)

05:25-12:51:  From Chatty Cat No. 2, to comics we’ve read this week.  Jeff has not read much—although he quite liked Revenger and the Fog #2—and Graeme has read a lot, but some of it is still under embargo (for those of you that are wondering, no, Graeme did not go on to tell Jeff about the books off-air).  So instead we kinda bitch a bit about the difficulty of keeping track of what you’ve read on Marvel Unlimited and Comixology.  Discussed: what percentage of Graeme’s Comixology In Progress list is for work; Jack Katz’s First Kingdom; and spending hours in school drawing barbarian arms.

12:51-30:03:  Speaking of squandering precious time, Jeff has been playing Marvel Future’s Fight on his iPad, but before he can get to the point of something he finds quite sad, we have to get through a brief history of RPGs, Diablo, and free to play games.  Discussed:  who the hell is Singularity; all of the above, plus the absence of The Fantastic Four and The X-Men; and Graeme having read Contest of Champions and loving it but being art-blocked on New Avengers; all those teams featuring Johnny Storm; and a moment of lovely humanity, courtesy of Gene Yang.


Cap sketch by Cameron Stewart, modified slightly on Twitter.

30:03-48:00: We have listener questions!  And we do want to answer them, we assure you, but Jeff also kinda wants to talk about Hydra Cap, the big reveal that somehow managed to outshine—or at least consume as much internet chatter—DC’s big reveal in DC Rebirth #1.  Discussed:  Old school Hydra; The MCU’s Hydra and people’s conception of the Marvel characters; Ed Brubaker’s Captain America run; what will happen to Alan Scott in post-Rebirth; and more.
48:00-49:40: “Graeme, are we ever going to get to listener’s questions?” asks Jeff.  Fortunately, we are!  Thomas Williams asks: “I’ve always wanted to know what Graeme thought of the last page ending of Archer and Armstrong. I thought it’s one of the best last pages of a series.”
KIRBY panther
49:40-59:55: Ahmed Bhuiyan says:  “You guys have come a long way, I remember back in the day when the first half hour of each episode seemed to be you guys comparing juice fasts/cleanses. I kind of miss those to be honest. Anyways, on to questions! Answer as many or as few as you like of course.
1. Is the concept of a shared universe hurting or helping comics these days?
2. What work of Jack Kirby wouldn’t you recommend? (Thanks to you all and the Baxter Building segments I have been trolling eBay for the Fourth World Omnibii…only volume 2 left!)
3. Why are you two so awesome? Seriously, funny, insightful, and pretty relatable, despite how pretty hardcore do you analyze the story/creator, love it!
Keep up the great work guys, stay well, and tell Graeme to relax more and send Jeff some waffles, we haven’t had a Waffle Window update in ages it feels!”
59:55-1:13:31:  Adam Knave throws us this hypothetical: “You need to put people on the dc rebirth books. You can’t change the titles themselves, only creative teams. What are a few of your choices? (Besides giving me Super Sons, obviously…)”
batman #420 pg00
1:13:31-1:23:59:  Gary Katselas (LeonK) asks : “Gentlemen, it seems I’m one of the few people who enjoyed ‘Man of Steel’ and ‘Batman Vs Superman’ more than Marvel’s many film offerings, including the recently released ‘Civil War’ which has garnered widespread acclaim among mainstream critical circles. This irks me slightly because I am most assuredly a Marvel fanboy and I find their conservative production approach too constrictive to produce interesting results. I much prefer the operatic pretensions of ‘Batman vs Superman’ and the troubling uncertainty that was injected into the Superman mythos in ‘Man of Steel’ (as well as numerous moments of sheer filmmaking insanity). Which brings me to my question: having read very little in the way of DC comics, I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on what comic series or storylines (Superman, Batman or otherwise) most closely match these films in tone and thematic concern?”

1:23:59-1:29:21:  Devin King asks:  “My question: Why is Watchmen a bad movie? I know its reputation but can’t find any critical responses to it. I know the common reaction was that it tries too hard to emulate the book but…isn’t that supposed to be a good thing?”

1:29:21-1:34:35:  Check this out from Heath Edwards:  “Hey fellas, super huge congratulations on getting the 200th episode! If I may suggest a topic for discussion:
mutants = minority groups
Inhumans = generation hashtag
How do the different methods of the mutants /inhumans getting their powers inform today’s readers of their own methods of empowerment?
Mutants gain their powers genetically (internal), whereas the inhumans gain their powers from the terrigen mists (external).
The mutants have no choice in their empowerment: “I was born this way”
Though, I can’t remember if there hasn’t been a story about subconscious choice being a part of the empowerment of the inhumans: “I am shy, I shall be a window” type thing
How, if at all, do these ideas play into contemporary empowerment?”
1:34:35-1:42:09:  Hey it’s Gar Berner!  And he asks: “I just wanted to wish you two continued success on the podcast and your other endeavors and that I’m looking forward to the next 200!
My probably late question is:
Which Legionnnaire (from the Legion of Super Heroes, not the French army) do you most identify with?
The lack of Legion support by DC Comics is sad. Granted, it’s a concept a bit past it’s prime as you both mentioned. There is some angle or 2016 twist that needs to be unlocked for the LSH to be the success that it should.”
1:42:09-2:01:01:  Here comes Levi Tompkins, you guys!  Levi has four big questions for us:
Q1 You guys have talked a lot about some of the weirdness that guys like Englehart, Claremont, and even Shooter have brought to comics do to their own particular sexual ideals and hangups.  Do you think that modern big 2 comics has divorced itself from that sort of thing, and if so do you think its better off for it?
(As someone who has been rather warped by things read in Claremont comics and other places as a kid its one of those things I think about a lot)
Q2 What would Modern Marvel events be like under people like Englehart or Kirby.  What would a Kirby Event look like?
Q3  With the Gotham Academy Lumberjanes crossover coming, any other non big two books you think it would be interesting to have crossover with the Marvel or DC?
Q4 Who are your favorite new Big 2 characters.  I find myself really adoring some of the newer X-characters, or Gotham Academy kids, any people from the last 10 years you adore and think could last?”
2:01:01-2:01:55: Maybe not a question per se, but Bruce Baugh has a beautiful white-hot burn:
“What we need is a little Wait What app that would grab from a list of Jeff’s favorite favorite nouns, with audio of him saying them, and drop into sentences of the podcast as needed. So when Jeff says “It’s not just Kirby, though, so much as, well, his approach to, but not fully until the DC, yeah no, it also appears, or least I think it’s suggested in some of the coloring for, hmm, yes, him and also some of the others who were in…”, We’d get “”It’s not just Kirby, though, so much as, well, his approach to [recontextualization], but not fully until the DC [collection], yeah no, it also appears, or least I think it’s suggested in some of the coloring for [Don Heck], hmm, yes, him and also some of the others who were in [editorial]…”
2:01:55-2:06:29:  And here’s the matching “question” from long-time chum of the podcast Robert Grzech:
“In light of the critical failure of BvS and Graeme’s on-air lukewarm reception and off-air distaste for the latest Captain America movie, I’m truly curious as to what your opinions are as to what exactly makes for a good comic book movie?
What are your expectations? Graeme doesn’t like Marvel in general so he’s not exactly the audience for Marvel movies. This makes me wonder why Graeme even went to Captain America, especially if he knew what he was going to get and went into it with what sounds like a predisposition to hating the movie. And if Graeme didn’t like Captain America, what exactly would he have done differently?  What would have made the movie work for him? I thought the movie was far better than the comic book version of Civil War. I realize this is all subjective, but Graeme’s shock (shock, I say!) that any reasonable person would like Captain America was frankly insulting. All he had to say was he didn’t like it because he’s Graeme.
I paid $5.95 to watch Captain America at a Saturday matinee. $5.95 for a 2 hour movie!  I was highly entertained. I’ve bought floppies for almost that much, which I’ve read in 10 minutes before throwing them into the garbage can. And no, it’s not 2 hours out of my life. I don’t want those 2 hours back or I wouldn’t have gone in the first place. I look at these movies as comic books brought to life, and Marvel does a decent job of staying true to the characters. If the characterizations are to be criticized because they seem stilted or cartoonish or underdeveloped, that’s because these are comic book characters!
If they had made these movies back when we were kids, we would have gone crazy. Yeah, I know, the technology would have sucked and the early Captain America movie was an obvious example of that. These movies are comic books brought to life. That’s how I look at them. Some are harder to watch than others (Fantastic Four and Green Lantern, I’m looking at you), but generally they have met and at times, exceeded my expectations. I’m not looking for The Godfather or Annie Hall here. Just entertainment for a few dollars.
Why so serious?
Relax and enjoy them or stay home.”
Infinity Imperative
2:06:29-2:22:22:  Chad Nevett, here is your question!  (Also, I apologize for being an absolute idiot!):  “I just finished your 200th episode and have a question for episode 201: I don’t remember either of you ever saying much about John Constantine or Hellblazer (maybe you did and I forgot or didn’t hear it, because I rarely listen — not because I don’t enjoy the podcast, purely because wife, kid, job, sleep, and everything else gets in the way), but what are your thoughts on the character/comics?”
2:22:22-end: Closing Comments!  You can tell Jeff is tired when you hear him go straight to the closing without the comments!  Look for us on  Stitcher! Itunes! Twitter together and separately: Graeme and Jeff! MattTumblr,  and our special thanks to the kind crew at American Ninth Art Studios for their continuing support of this podcast, as well as our continuing special thanks to the Empress Audrey, Queen of the Galaxy…and to our125 supporters on Patreon who make all this possible.
NEXT WEEK:  is a skip week! Let your ears rest and recover, and then join us for Wait, What? Ep. 202!