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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0:01-12:20:  Greetings from Graeme “Can I Say That?” McMillan and Jeff “I Certainly Can’t!” Lester, where of course a comics podcast opens with a brief discussion of reality television.  We also discuss slow radio, make wild promises of Patreon extras we hopefully we will never deliver, notes for Drokk!!, net worth and boy bands, the florida man meme, and more.
12:20-25:07: Drokk!! Ep. 2 is out in the wilds, and once again we’re in awe of the commentary skills of Voord 99.  But he has a question for Graeme, one about Dredd and…Brexit?!  Discussed:  Dredd; Brexit; San Francisco; a few post-Drokk! comments about “The Day The Law Died,” and more.
25:07-47:00:  Graeme saw Captain Marvel! Jeff has not.  We have a pretty spoiler-free convo about the movie (at least so it seems to Jeff editing it now).  Discussed: unearned moments; blah trailers; what will be the first Marvel movie to fail/underperform; movies shot back to back; Star Trek, Planet of the Apes, and the Six Million Dollar Man; the Disney/Fox merger and some of the horrible insanity; leprechaun porn; and more.
47:00-54:00: Jonathan Hickman’s X-Men is a thing! Apparently?  We talk about the announcement of House of X and Powers of X.  Is the savior of the X-Men Marvel’s last remaining architect?
54:00-1:05:39: Jeff is aware a lot of his opinions on Marvel are probably worthless just because he bought
Avengers: No Road Home #6 only because Conan and The Scarlet Witch team up and have adventures.  He talks about that as well as a previous issue of Jason Aaron’s Conan run; the surprising tie-in to Al Ewing’s excellent Immortal Hulk run; and the problem with having opinions.
1:05:39-1:14:03:  Graeme read/re-read all of Royals by Al Ewing, Jonboy Meyers, Kevin Libranda, Javier Rodriguez, and others, and talks about that cosmic Inhumans epic and its mixture of epic scope and humanity. (Because Jeff hasn’t read it, he ganked this lovely double-page spread from the latest Immortal Hulk instead.
1:14:03-1:24:17:  Other stuff Jeff wanted to talk about the comics he’s read over the last few weeks, some of which Graeme has read (and recommended!).  Discussed: Assassin Nation #1; Invisible Kingdom #1, and we talk a ton about Vinland Saga by Makoto Yukimura.  (Graeme sputtered out after Vol. 4 a few weeks ago, and Jeff just got there.)  Graeme was blown away by volume 2 but had diminishing returns—we discuss why.
1:24:17-1:36:42: For our latest installment of “Battlin’ About Batman,” we discusss Batman #67 by Tom King, Lee Weeks, Jorge Fornes, and Lovern Kindzierski.  Warning: it’s not much of a battle as we appreciated this very offbeat issue and take some time to give it up to the amazing Lee Weeks and talk about its possible comic antecedents.
1:36:42-1:51:04: While Jeff is all blah-blah-blah about DC titles, Graeme has been reading old Marvel comics and also Bloom by Kevin Panetta and Savanna Ganucheau, a graphic novel about baking and young love.  Sounds pretty excellent.  He certainly seems a little less surly about it than Jeff does about Wandering Island, Vol. 2 by Kenji Tsuruta.  Also discussed:  assorted manga (really!) and the neophytes leading the neophytes.  [Also: Jeff talks about all the people who’ve read more manga than him, and completely forgot to mention all the well-read Whatnauts who’ve recommended some terrific stuff on Twitter and in our comments.  You people have turned me on to some terrific stuff!]
1:51:04-1:53:15:  Hey, those of you who don’t have DC Universe and/or the cash but are interested in it should check out the service’s plans for Batman Day, which includes a day of free access and a single month for eighty cents?  That sounds…pretty good, right?  And if you’ve been following our Tumblr, you know there’s been some really neat additions to their comics library.
1:53:15-2:04:52: Is this…closing comments?!  Not quite, because we do want to talk about AWA Comics, and how underwhelmed we are.  With bonus comments for Hibbs, thanks to this comments thread at ComicsBeat, and our memories of the “best” of Jemas-era Marvel.
2:04:52-end: Okay, so now,  is this….closing comments?!  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: Skip week! So start digging in on that next Case File!
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Previously on Drokk!: The world of Judge Dredd began with the stories collected in Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files Vol. 1, an uneven collection that introduced the basics but didn’t seem to know what to do with the character beyond that — which led to Dread being promoted to being Moon Sheriff for a few months within the first year of the strip. Where would things go after that? It turns out, to Hell and back. (Well, the West Coast, which some East Coasters would consider Hell.)

0:00:00-0:02:44: We return and begin again, with an introduction, a reference to Jan Michael Vincent that sees me reference this obituary from the New York Times. We’re covering Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files Vol. 2 this episode, which itself contains the Dredd strips from 2000 AD prog 61-115. There’s a lot to deal with.

0:02:45-0:18:29: Before we dive into the stories themselves, Jeff references this amazing comment on the last episode from Voord 99, which we then riff off for a few minutes, including the thought that Dredd isn’t actually a strip about a future America, but a strip about American media and the stories America tells about itself; I also share the connection I share with Dredd co-creator John Wagner, and the newspaper story that made me feel better about my hometown.

0:18:30-0:33:48: We attempt to talk about the first of the two massive storylines contained in Vol. 2, but quickly get sidetracked into a conversation about the differences between Pat Mills’ and John Wagner’s Dredd, and the lengths to which Mills goes to remove Dredd from his natural environment in order to get the character to work for him.

0:33:49-1:26:15: When we actually get to “The Cursed Earth” — which runs 25 parts, although four episodes are missing in the Case Files for reasons we cover; we also talk about those episodes — it emerges that both of us have a fair amount of reservations about it, not least of which the fact that it’s less a story than a framework for a bunch of different stories, and one that neither makes sense per se, nor pays off in the end. (It is, instead, Chekhov’s Gun, but only if that gun fails to fire twice.) That’s not to say there’s not a lot to enjoy about it, including the role of the movie Damnation Alley as an inspiration, the strength of two of the “censored” episodes, the fact that Pat Mills seemingly invented Jurassic Park 12 years before the original novel was released (something that Mills himself denies, as Jeff gets into), and just how lurid and pulpy the whole thing is. Also discussed: The totemic nature of Dredd’s preferred mode of transportation, the story’s two main supporting characters, Spikes Harvey Rotten and Tweak (with Jeff schooling me on why my dislike for the latter is doing a disservice to both him and Pat Mills), and just how underwhelming the finale is, not to mention the possible reasons why that might be the case. Oh, and we also reference the in-canon “apology” strip that appeared after one of the controversial now-“censored” episodes, which is reproduced below for those who are curious:

1:26:16-1:37:26: The suggestion that “The Cursed Earth” was truncated leads to a brief discussion about whether or not the underwhelming nature of the story’s climax was the result of editorial mandate or exhaustion on the creators’ parts. Was Mills just done with Dredd by the time he reached the end, or did editors want to wrap it up in order to let John Wagner take over? (I also tease something that we’ll get to in two episodes’ time, when we finally reach “The Judge Child Quest,” because I am bad at foreshadowing, apparently.)

1:37:27-1:44:20: From the ridiculous to the sublime, we move from “The Cursed Earth” into the extended Judge Cal storyline, which sees John Wagner take over as the primary writer on the strip — a position he has essentially held ever since; he’s doing it under the “John Howard” pseudonym with this story, though — and basically give everything from Judge Dredd to Mega-City One itself a quiet reboot. It begins with a three-part prologue that doubles as a fake-out, however, and Jeff and I talk about the red herring, the wonderful Silver Age quality of the three-parter, and also how racist Wagner’s Judge Giant looks forty years later. (No, really; why should a Judge be talking jive?)

1:44:21-2:29:45: “The Day The Law Died” transforms the Dredd strip on multiple levels, taking it into new areas of satire and tonally transforming it from sci-fi pulp into something more operatic and, honestly, darker. It starts with an unforgiving first episode and just doesn’t stop until things finally wrap up. We discuss all kinds of things, not least of which Wagner’s mastery over the serial format (and the 2000 AD episode length); what the reader expects from the Judges as a narrative device, and how easily we believe that they can be used for evil; the origins of the term “Scrotnig”; Judge Cal being the anti-Dredd, being as self-indulgent as Dredd is self-controlled; the Donald Trump parallels that utterly derailed us; Fergee and why Jeff and I don’t get the joke; the arrival to the strip of Ron Smith and the visual evolution of the character and the strip across the two years it had existed by this point, and much, much more. Suffice to say, we really loved this storyline.

2:29:46-2:38:37: As we try to wrap things up relatively quickly — we had, after all, been going on for more than two hours by this point, we reach what might be Jeff’s first-ever Dredd story (featuring a reference to Whispering Bob Harris of all people), and take the very shortest trip into the question of whether or not John Wagner is sympathetic to the Judges as a concept. I mean, surely not, but yet…!

2:38:38-end: Finally, we discuss overall impressions of this volume, whether or not we’d recommend it as a good starting point to a Dredd newcomer — the phrase “kind of like huffing a lot of paint and then reading a bunch of Jack Kirby’s comics” might be used — talk about our favorite episodes in the book and then get to bringing everything to a timely close with mentions of our Tumblr, Instagram, Twitter and Patreon. We’ll be back in a month with Vol 3 of Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files; until then, thank you for listening and reading, and never forget: Easy the Ferg.

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Just a quick announcement to let you know we managed to get ourselves added to Spotify’s voluminous podcast directory!  We’re currently a little hard to find, what with being new to the neighborhood and all, but here’s a helpful link:

(I’ll put that in as straight text in the comments just to be safe.)

We hope this makes it easier for you to disagree with us, and/or facilitate you yelling answers to our rhetorical questions when it’s late at night and/or you’re on the bus trying not to look crazy!

 

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When Joe Quesada and Jimmy Palmiotti launched the Marvel Knights imprint that would revitalize, reshape, and (basically) rescue Marvel, they grabbed four properties to launch with. Three of them were massive successes, whether critical, commercial, or both. The other one was The Punisher.

Written by Christopher Golden & Tom Sniegoski with penciled art from horror comics legend Bernie Wrightson, this four-issue limited series made the bold choice to take the Punisher out of his familiar Death Wish-esque milieu and put him in the middle of a war between heaven and hell. This take on the character made such a middling impression that Garth Ennis would retcon it away with a single-panel shrug, and Ennis’s rendition became the one that people refer to as “Marvel Knights Punisher.”

When these issues made their (extremely belated) debut on Marvel Unlimited almost the same day as Graeme and Jeff’s discussion of what makes a successful Punisher series in Wait What episode 264, it seemed like fate. So Matt suggested that all three of us should read this legendary misfire for the first time.

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