0:01-3:41: Greetings! Despite sounding otherwise, Jeff is actually pretty upbeat…about everything except for comics. And, Graeme, despite sounding like his usual chipper self, had a hell of a week but sounds like he’s weirdly upbeat. Podcast pull-and-push machine, go!! Discussed: the terror that is the end of year “Best of” lists, especially in a year where buzz books don’t have physical cons where they get the aforementioned buzz.

3:41-6:22: That said, Graeme has started reading a book he strongly suggests is going to make the list: Paul At Home by Michel Rabagliati and Helge Dascher. It’s an excellently, subtly devastating read.

6:22-23:27: One of the things Graeme likes about Paul at Home is that it’s not comfort reading.  Is Jeff restless because it’s been too much comfort reading lately?  And this leads into a quick overview of some of the stuff Jeff’s been reading:  a third (or maybe fourth) reread of Fujita’s Wotakoi: Love is Hard for Otaku; A Side Character’s Love Story by Akane Tamura; Something Like Summer – The Comic: Volume One: Summer by Jay Bell and Cassy Fallon; the first Carthago omnibus by Christophe Bec, Eric Henninot, Milan Jovanovic; and the delightful Gérard – Five Years with Depardieu by Mathieu Sapin.

23:27-42:24: Jeff slows his roll a bit so he can complain at length about Spawn #311 by Todd McFarlane and Carlo Barberi.  Spawn is an eternal source of frustration for Jeff, which he unpacks here, and makes for a good opener to talk about Graeme’s reread of the excellent Poisoned Chalice (the Extremely Long and Incredibly Complex Story of Marvelman (and Miracleman) by Pádraig Ó Méalóid and the lawsuits between Neil Gaiman and Todd McFarlane. And as a bonus, you get Graeme and Jeff also comparing and contrasting McFarlane and Spawn with Erik Larsen and Savage Dragon.

42:24-46:05: The second issue of Friday by Ed Brubaker, Marcos Martin and Muntsa Vicente came out on Panel Syndicate! Is that exclamation point well-chosen? Or does the second issue suffer from being five months later than the first?

46:05-58:22: News! Well…maybe?  But first (and most importantly)  Jeff gets to follow in Graeme’s footsteps and do something he’s always wa(nted to do—talk vaguely about something he knows that he can’t tell you about!  (It felt great.)  And as a result of that undisclosed thing, he received two Marvel digital comics he talks about quickly here:  Champions: Outlawed #1 by Eve Ewing and Simone Di Meo; and Iron Man #1 (2020) by Christopher Cantwell, Cafu, and Frank D’Armata.  We spend a surprising amount of time talking about Iron Man because we both have a surprising number of feels about that issue (spoilers: the feels I’m talking is disappointment.)

58:22-1:06:38: Okay, then: news!  Kinda.  I mean, is it news if a tree falls in the woods and nobody hears it? The answer is yes, if the tree is “Dan Slott” and “falls in the woods” is shorthand for “blows his fucking deadlines” and “nobody hears it” really means “is pretty much the subject of an entire documentary running on Disney+!”  It’s quite a thing, y’all.  Quite a thing.

1:06:38-1:12:45:  Speaking of quite a thing, as a bonus amount of Slott-related eyerolling, we talk about the recent reveal in Fantastic Four #26 that Franklin was apparently…never a mutant?  Huh.

1:12:45-1:15:45: Heck of a week for HBO Max.  DMZ got a full series order! (Didn’t it already?)  Terence Winter ankles The Batman spinoff TV show!  (I mean…what the hell was he doing there anyway, really?)  And the big one: Wonder Woman 1984 simultaneously hits theaters *and* HBO Max December 25th! (for no extra charge for HBO Max subscribers.) 1:15:45-:1:37:48 And related to various HBO Max’s kerfluffles, maybe, kinda: Brian Hibbs has a helluva takedown of DC’s current practices over at The Beat with an amazing opener (Hibbs almost dying) and an amazing closer (Hibbs predicting DC will no longer be publishing periodical comics by 2022).  We discuss because, really, how can we not? Also discussed: the layoffs at DC and Warner Media; and more.
1:37:48-2:06:12: More news in a similar vein, at least as far as superhero comics’ uber-uber masters are concerned:  Disney is not paying Alan Dean Foster royalties.  And that’s a *very* bad thing that could lead to very, very, *very* bad things.  Also discussed: DC’s page rate; Marvel’s stealth layoffs; Marvel Mech Strike (which although he didn’t say so, Jeff heard as Marvel Neck Fight); Marvel Method as a lifestyle brand;  DC Universe’s terrible reality shows versus Marvel’s terrible reality Youtube shows; and more.
2:06:12-2:19:37: Jeff’s frank admission that he will probably be watching Wonder Woman 1984 on  HBO Max on Christmas Eve but there is not way in hell he’s going to see it in the theater leads to something a little more frank and troubling—maybe he’s done with theaters? I mean, you know, chalk it up to COVID-crazy so take it with a very large grain of salt but….maybe?
2:19:37-2:24:31: Did you know Three Jokers is already on Hoopla?  I mean, it make sense since DC rushed that trade out of the gate pronto but….wow.

2:24:31-2:31:09: We are aware we need to wrap up so, sadly we’re not going to get a chance to get in a fight about Bendis’s Legion of Superheroes!  But here’s a few things Graeme wanted to say about it anyway. (Considering Graeme compares Bendis’s LSH to Gilmore Girls, I think Jeff would’ve gotten slaughtered.)
2:31:09-end:  Closing comments!  Look for us on  Stitcher!Itunes!Instagram! Twitter together and separately: Graeme and JeffTumblr, and  on Patreon where a wonderful group of people make this all possible, including Dominic L. Franco, and 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!  If you are American, have a good Thanksgiving weekend.  If you are not American, you probably feel like you dodged a geopolitical bullet?  Either way, join us in the first week of December for another Wait, What?!

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Previously on Drokk!: Ignore everything we’ve been talking about in recent episodes — well, not entirely, but for the most part — because we’re stepping outside of the regular Case Files chronology to tackle the Restricted Files once again this time around.

0:00:00-0:02:36: In which we introduce ourselves and the fact that we’re covering Judge Dredd: The Restricted Files Vol. 3, covering stories from annuals and seasonal specials from 1990 through 1993. It is, to say the least, a mixed bag.

0:02:37-0:14:59: As we start picking through that bag, we talk about the era of Dredd that these stories were published in — an era that saw John Wagner move away from the strip, at least in 2000 AD, and be replaced first by Garth Ennis, and then by Mark Millar and others — and start discussing some of the more unusual contributions in the volume, in particular Peter Milligan and Shaky Kane’s “Judge Planet,” which Jeff points out has a connection with Milligan’s later Enigma, and “The Juve Mutated Kung Fu Kleggs, which features Dermot Power artwork that either is the best thing about the story or the worst, depending on how attached you are to the central conceit. We also touch on the fact that, despite the wildly varying quality on the writing side, this collection has some genuinely great art throughout, with Cam Kennedy, Colin MacNeil, Edmund Kitsune, and Paul Grist all showing up and showing out.

0:15:00-0:47:54: Unexpectedly, we spend a lot of time talking about Alan Grant’s writing contributions to this collection, and the many ways in which they disappoint, especially when it comes to the one-two punch that opens the book, both of which are based on sexist media from more than a decade prior to when these comics were initially published. (Related to this, we briefly touch on the Carry On movies, but don’t provide adequate explanation; read this for some more context.) Also discussed is whether or not David Roach is too classy an artist to pull off a Russ Meyer tribute (he is), the surprising number of debts this volume owes to Silver Age DC when it comes to concepts being used, and a brief overview of Alan Grant’s career inside the Dreddverse and the ways in which he betrays his own best interests that, I suspect, we may end up coming back to in future episodes.

0:47:55-1:12:25: If Grant is disappointing in Restricted Files 3, his former writing partner John Wagner certainly isn’t; his stories in this volume are, for the most part, incredibly strong, with things like “Top Dogs” — the first crossover between Dredd and Strontium Dog, preceding the Garth Ennis-written “Judgement Day” by a year or so — and “Auld Acquaintance,” which sees Jeff ask if it’s okay for him to find the Scottish stereotypes quite as funny as he does. (It is, speaking as a Scot.) Wagner is as strong as we’ve seen him in awhile here, and it’s a return to form that both of us appreciate, especially when it brings with it not only understated character moments like the return of Walter the Wobot as a changed droid, but also the revival of that most understated of Dredd tropes, the out-of-control truck. It’s good stuff.

1:12:26-1:19:37: It’s not just Wagner and Grant in this book, honest; to prove it, we talk about two of the better offerings from other writers: “Hate, Inc.” from John Smith, and “Kinky Boots,” from Robbie Morrison — although, with the latter, we really spend most of the time talking about just how great Paul Grist’s artwork for the story is.

1:19:38-1:27:43: Jeff asks a surprisingly tricky question: What are the best and worst stories in this collection from Alan Grant, John Wagner and non-Wagner/Grant writers, respectively? I go for “Auld Acquaintance” as best Wagner, “Virtual Unreality” as worst Wagner, “Computer Warrior” as best Grant, “Parallel Line” for worst Grant, “Hate, Inc.” for best other, and “Roboblock” for worst other — and that last one is mostly because I didn’t need to see a shirtless Dredd sweating as the big climactic badass image. Jeff, meanwhile, picks “Top Dogs” for best Wagner, “Carry on Judging” for best Grant, agrees with me for worst Wagner and Grant, and drops either “Kinky Boots” or “Judge Planet” for best other, and “Christmas is Cancelled” for worst other, purely because he really, really doesn’t like Brett Ewins, I guess. (But he does like Mark Millar Christmas Dredds, it seems; or, at least, like to hate them.)

1:27:44-end: So, Drokk or Dross? It’s far too close to call for me, purely because it is such an uneven book, but Jeff is far more upbeat about the whole thing, declaring it a win. With that, we look ahead to next month, and Case Files 20, before going into our regular wrap-up mentions of Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram and Patreon. As always, thanks for reading and listening, and if Alan Grant was checking this out… sorry…?Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

https://twitter.com/MarkRuffalo/status/1309282216141225985

0:01-: Greetings! The latest episode of our “throwsule” finds us recording on the day where Joe Biden officially made it to the Presidency. And so! If you don’t mind hearing two lefties say variations on “oh my god,” and “I feel like I might have the first good night’s sleep in four years” and “whew, wow, whew” a lot, by all means, please join us! If you are not as thrilled by Donald Trump losing, this may be the episode where you fast-forward ahead. Like, a lot. Sorry? Discussed: People voting for Trump in 2020 as opposed to 2016; coup fears; the news coverage during the returns; Four Seasons and Fantasy Island; where does art and satire go from here?; The Avenue 5 airlock scene (see above); “well, okay then” art and comfort food art; the MCU and post-2020; the end of Final Crisis and the end of Secret Invasion in dialog with their elections; and more.

47:33-: Jason Aaron’s Avengers! You may remember some of our earlier conversations which in the past Jeff liked and Graeme…did not. Now, with the latest issue and with a few more gone by that he’s got caught up on, Graeme now feels he likes it….but doesn’t love it and wants to know: why? Discussed: The Avengers #38 (with spoilers, such as they are?); more politics from Jeff; the get-out clause in Aaron’s set-up; My Chemical Romance; writing to the brief; Bendis vs. Aaron vs. Gerry Conway vs. Len Wein; Avengers vs. Savage Avengers vs. Strikeforce; 85 issues of Tom King’s Batman vs. an issue and a half of James Tynion IV’s Batman; the secret of Graeme’s recaps; and more.

1:44:14-1:53:11: Yeah, kind of a shortish notes section as our conversation bobs and weaves a little bit. Jeff talking about what does and doesn’t work in Tynion’s writing for him is a fine intro for Graeme to talk a bit about the Justice League run Tynion cowrote with Snyder and explaining the cliffhanger that wasn’t and other things Graeeme has explained before but Jeff had forgotten.

1:53:11-2:11:09: Jeff wrapped everything up, but then admitted he shouldn’t have! So we talk a bit about the comics news (or “news” as you’ll see) starting with Grant Morrison coming out in an interview as non-binary in the context of talking about the evolution of language which moves into a discussion of when something like someone’s gender identity is, or should be, news; the latest round of Marvel layoffs; and more.

2:11:09-end: Closing comments!  Look for us on  Stitcher!Itunes!Instagram! Twitter together and separately: Graeme and JeffTumblr, and  on Patreon where a wonderful group of people make this all possible, including Dominic L. Franco, and 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: Ladies and Gentlemen, are you ready to Drokk? If yes, then please read Judge Dredd: The Restricted Case Files, Vol. 3 and join us here next week!

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Dracula, Motherfucker!

0:01-2:50: Greetings! Without us telling you, in less than 30 seconds you will know which one of us watched the latest presidential debate and which one didn’t! 

2:50-13:36: And within two minutes, you’ll know which one of us has read Three Jokers #3 and which one of us hasn’t! (To be fair, it hasn’t been officially released yet, so Mr. Big Shot Entertainment Reporter has a big advantage on that front that Mr. Little Fish Writing The Show Notes does not.  But!  Really, would any of us trade places with Graeme after listening to just how much it is killing him not to spoil the issue and talk about some of the choices writer Geoff Johns has apparently made?  And to make matters worse for Graeme, he has also read the next of the upcoming Death Metal one-shots which once again does stuff that kinda feels like it should be in the main event and once again can only be talked around.  It truly is a hard-knock life!

Werewolf By Night; Body By Peloton

13:36-23:39: By contrast, Jeff read the new Werewolf By Night #1 by Taboo and B. Earl (Jackendoff), Scot Eaton, Scott Hanna and Miroslav Mrva and can talk more openly about it (though he doesn’t give away the fact that the Werewolf is basically wearing bicycle shorts which is somehow a perfect summation of the whole book, somehow).  (Also new in stores is the fourth volume of Kaito’s Blue Flag which Jeff read and love but does *not* spend any time talking about in-depth.

23:39-34:25: A newish book Jeff read is the downright beautiful Dracula, Motherf**ker! by Alex De Campi and Erica Henderson, available on Hoopla.  But before we get a chance to talk about it in detail we take a *big* swerve into self-indulgent talk by talking about the little-known (and arguably less-loved) Erotic Vampire Bank Heist by E.J. Ehlers Jeff published digitally a few years back. But we do talk about this book (and how mind-bendingly gorgeous it is!) as well as the series De Campi is publishing through Panel Syndicate, Bad Karma with art by Ryan Howe and Dee Cunniffe.

34:25-42:17: Also read and enjoyed a lot by Jeff; Peter Porker, The Spectacular Spider-Ham: Aporkalypse Now by Zeb Wells, Will Robson, and Erick Arciniega, all five issues of which are available on Marvel Unlimited.  May or may not be Graeme’s jam?  But definitely did the trick for Jeff—truly funny material with a lot of very clever and smart metahumor.
42:17-44:06: Further down the enjoyment scale, but also nowhere near the unenjoyment side of things?  Empyre: Fantastic Four by Dan Slott, artists R.B. Silva and Sean Izaakse, Marte Gracia and Marcio Menyz.  Jeff throws around the hashtag #NotMyFantasticFour but that doesn’t mean this isn’t a charming piece of craft about which you might enjoy even more!  (Again, available on Marvel Unlimited.)

44:06-1:01:53: Also on Marvel Unlimited is Iron Man 2020 by Dan Slott, Christos Gage and Peter Woods.  Graeme has read all six issues of it, and we talk about the charms and shortcomings of the event and of Slott’s writing.  Come for the discussion of Slott’s writing; stay for Jeff not only getting the number of issues of Slott’s FF available on Marvel Unlimited wrong because Jeff read that many issues and forgot everything about them!

(Sorry, putting my new Challs screenshot b/c I forgot to screengrab Icon)

1:01:53-1:12:01: Is it easier to strike a balance between the enjoyment of predicability and the delight of surprise in “comfort food” superhero comics?  Jeff seems to think so, especially if you have new superheroes revisiting classic concepts.  And as evidence Jeff offers up Icon Vol. 1: A Hero’s Welcome by Dwayne McDuffie and M.D. Bright.  (Volume 2, like Volume 1, is available on Hoopla.)  Jeff is enjoying it a ton and it reminds him of Iredeemable?  Graeme thinks Irredeemable is more like Invincible?  What are we, nuts?

1:12:01-1:38:32: What looks like it’s going to be a break for station identification (that’s what we call it when Jeff has to go pee) turns instead into a discussion about DC’s recent revival of The Challengers of the Unknown and the other books in the marketing banner under which it returned: The New Age of Heroes!  Also discussed:  Cary Nord; G. Willow Wilson’s Wonder Woman run; Matthew McConaughey(?); Werner Herzog (!); Graeme’s summaries of the eight-page stories that appeared in the dollar issues of Adventure Comics in the 70s; and more!

1:38:32-2:04:09: Okay, we’ve hit the part where slicing up the topics is more than a tad arbitrary here as our discussion about Adventure Comics went to the JSA, the Earth 2 Huntress, trademark retention, creators being *too* clever* in their approaches to legacies, and that’s how we get to our discussion about the introduction of the speed force in The Flash. From there we talk about the return of the Superman Family, a plot point in Man of Steel that made Graeme reconsider the Superman origin story; us weighing in on the Phantom Zone; continuity and lack thereof back in the Silver Age; and more

2:04:09-2:16:18: Bendis brought back the Superman Family but is departing from the Superman titles very, very soon. What’s next? According to DC, it’s the Future Tense event coming at the beginning of 2021. Graeme breaks down for us—by which I mean a very baffled Jeff—what has been announced so far.

Yes, more Spider-Ham….I couldn’t decide which one to use!

2:16:18-2:31:54: Poor Graeme! Not only does he have to deal with a very chatty (and kinda way too interrupty) Jeff, he also has to summarize the comics news and keep his eye on the clock! So Marvel is now only holding its comics for three months before dropping the issues on Marvel Unlimited! That’s kind of a big deal. Also, DC and UCS Distributors have parted ways and Lunar is now the only domestic distributor for DC. Plus, there’s now order levels and no buyer’s clubs are allowed, only stores. More aftershocks in the seismic shake-up of 2020 for the direct market, though if you have listened to us a for a while you will not be surprised that we quickly get sidetracked by shit-talking Skype’s contact choices.

(Blue Flag vol. 4;: just good, good stuff)

2:31:54-end: Closing comments!  Look for us on  Stitcher!Itunes!Instagram! Twitter together and separately: Graeme and JeffTumblr, and  on Patreon where a wonderful group of people make this all possible, including Dominic L. Franco, and 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! We wish you a happy Halloween, good health, and a successful voting process! Join us in two weeks for a new episode!

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Previously on Drokk!: As we got tired by the ongoing reign of Garth Ennis on the 2000 AD episodes of the Dredd strip, two things in the previous episode pointed towards the future: John Wagner’s return to the series in the pages of the Judge Dredd Megazine, and a one-off 2000 AD story written by none other than a very young Mark Millar…

0:00:00-0:02:21: A brief-enough introduction lets everyone know that we’re reading Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files Vol. 19, which collects material from 2000 AD and Judge Dredd Magazine — or, as it was called at the time, Judge Dredd: The Megazine — from 1993, written by Ennis, Wagner, Millar… and Grant Morrison, whose 12-part “Inferno” serial dominates both this volume and our discussion thereof.

0:02:22-0:50:44: What looks as if it’s going to be a discussion of Mark Millar’s surprisingly strong contribution to the collection gets detoured into a lengthy discussion of “Inferno,” via the fact that Millar wrote a (not-collected-here) prologue series for 2000 AD called Purgatory. I compare that, perhaps unfairly, to DC’s Countdown to Final Crisis, and talk about Millar’s tendency towards nastiness, and then we end up talking all over “Inferno” properly, and what Grant Morrison gets right — the high concept at the heart of the story — and wrong, with the latter being, basically, “the execution of that high concept.”

Jeff makes the argument that “Inferno” is Morrison using the story as a calling card for writing Dredd in the future, and we discuss the ways in which it works and doesn’t — the emptiness, the odd pacing and seeming disinterest in engaging with Dredd in any ways beyond the surface quips and violence, transforming it into a summer blockbuster movie… which it actually works relatively well as. Despite that, there’s an accidental lesson to be learned from the whole thing, when it comes to the Judges self-policing and the limits of their attempts to clean up their own messes. All this, and I also explain 2000 AD’s 1993 temporary relaunch the Summer Offensive!

0:50:45-1:06:32: With Morrison out the way, we approach Garth Ennis’ last work (for awhile) on the series and bemoan just how bad it is — at least he was consistently off, I guess…? — and talk about how surprised I am to enjoy Millar’s contributions as writer, as unsubtle as they may be. Under discussion: Is British newspaper the Daily Star an unexpected influence on Millar’s Dredd? Can Morrison and Millar write more entertaining Dredds because they’re not necessarily fans of the character or the strip? And, really, just how bad is Ennis’ last contribution, which seems to be entirely based around how much he didn’t like early 1990s late night show The Word?

1:06:33-1:17:36: The unsung hero of Case Files 19 is, undoubtedly, John Smith, and as we move onto the Megazine material, Jeff and I marvel at how well he manages to “get” what John Wagner has done with the strip in a way that no-one else with the exception of Alan Grant has really managed — and, in the process, come up with the math for an ideal Dredd story: “Smart + Funny + Cruel.” Also discussed: John Smith’s love of the overwritten caption and the strange way in which Wagner will, eventually, follow Smith’s lead in that respect. (Kind of; Wagner doesn’t do “overwritten.”)

1:17:37-1:52:19: And so, to the Wagner material in Case Files 19, which includes our joint favorite story in the book, “Hottie House Siege” — a one-off so silly that we take a second to appreciate how much we enjoy Wagner’s stupid stories. (As opposed to his more serious stories.) An all-too-brief (in retrospect) mention of the Return of Slick Dickens leads us onto discussion of the third “Mechanismo” story, which is actually a discussion about how abruptly a character relationship shifts, and whether or not this is a problem of a character being shared between writers — and whether Dredd, by this point 16 years old as a strip, has started to encounter the problem that all long-running comic strips do, when audiences have to start picking and choosing their own head canons for the character. We also find out that Jeff is nostalgic for Case Files 10 and that era of Dredd, but really, after three volumes of Garth Ennis, who isn’t…?

1:52:20-1:58:24: All told, is this volume Drokk or Dross? The answer might surprise you — it certainly surprised me — and we pick our favorite and least favorite stories from the volume: Good news for John Wagner, slightly less good if you’re Garth Ennis or Mark Millar. (Surprisingly, Grant Morrison skids through without getting near either category.)

1:58:25-end: As I tease the fact that we’re skipping out on regular Dredd for the next episode — we’ll be covering Judge Dredd: The Restricted Files Vol. 3 — we sign off in our regular fashion, by mentioning Tumblr, Twitter, Instagram, and Patreon. For those who’ve been reading and listening along, bless your collective cotton socks, as ever.

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0:01-19:16: Greetings, but without our traditional greetings bit!  Hopefully, you know which one of us is which by now as you are getting us in media fucking res after a *small* tech snafu on Jeff’s end, but from there we move on to talk about the stressful week that was, and try to scooch quickly past the reasons we can’t talk about to the ones we can such as….New York Comic-Con!  It was happening as we spoke, it’s happening as I edit this, and almost nobody is talking about it.  Is everyone burned out on the virtual comic cons of 2020?  Or are there things IRL cons offer that virtual cons just can’t?  Discussed: Mike Mignola; Scott Snyder in conversation with James Tynion; BarCon; Endless Winter (and its prequel event, Careless Whisper); and more.

19:16-32:53: Graeme re-watched Spice World! Then gave Jeff crap for seeing it in the theater when it first came out! What the hell, Graeme?  Also discussed: other movies Graeme watched, some of which he doesn’t actually give Jeff crap for also watching. [AQUAMAN! We finally get to talk about Aquaman!]  

32:53-41:39: Jeff wants to talk about what he’s been reading comic book wise despite the fact that most of it is not new (but is at least newly collected).  West Coast Avengers: Tales to Astonish (I should call it by its proper title “Avengers West Coast: Tales to Astonish” but I find that title annoying and stupid, even if I understand why for shelving purposes Marvel would call it that) which not only collects the final issues of West Coast Avengers written by Steve Englehart, but also has Avengers Annual #16, West Coast Avengers Annual #2, and…Emperor Doom?!  To badly paraphrase Goody Rickles: Don’t Ask, Just Listen!  (Or, alternately, buy if you’re punctual enough to hear this episode within 24 hours of it getting out into the wild in which case you can either shop Comixology’s BOGO sale or just get it at Amazon for half-price).  

Oh Hoopla, you did make me very happy with that author credit….

41:39-50:40: On a completely different but similarly Avengers-related tip, Graeme reread The Korvac Saga, Jim Shooter’s magnum opus of The uptight Avengers versus a horny, middle-class God. It’s on Hoopla (and is also part of the Marvel BOGO sale but is *not* half-price on Amazon, super-weirdly).  

50:40-1:10:55: And then! After all this “Jeff reads one Avengers trade, and Graeme reads another,” it turns out that we unknowingly both read the *same* trade at roughly the same time:  Hardware: The Man in the Machine by Dwayne McDuffie and the amazing Denys Cowan (and JJ Birch, apparently?)  Graeme also recommends Icon by McDuffie and the also-amazing Mark D. Bright, and we talk about what Milestone returning might mean to us now in 2020.  

1:10:55-1;20:50: And if *that* isn’t proof we’re going seriously old school with this podcast, Jeff also read Bloodstone and the Legion of Monsters (also covered in the BOGO), a trade which has the much more recent (and pretty decent!) Legion of Monsters mini by Dennis Hopeless and Juan Doe, but also the original Ulysses Bloodstone series which gets an *amazing* final issue written by Steve Gerber that’s….really something to behold.  

1:20:50-1:26:31: Sadly, in the “more recent” debacles column, Jeff read the amazingly titled President Werewolf #1 and is here to let you know that, yes, it is amazingly titled. And he read (recently arrived on Marvel Unlimited) Marvel Premiere #27, a Satana issue drawn by The Tribe and written by a very young and very “knew what he liked, even back then” Chris Claremont.  

1:26:31-1:43:37: Continuing in this vein of “Jeff drags Graeme down memory lane,” Jeff talks about rebuying the very first issue of Conan The Barbarian he ever read, and the semi-atypical way in which it came into his possession.  WARNING: this story is so heavily ‘70s, it should come with its own eight-track player.
1:43:37-1:48:16: But enough of that memory lane jazz? What about comics news? The new Alan Moore interview? The film deal for the comic Black? A weird way to connect the two?  

1:48:16-2:08:59: Meanwhile, it’s time for another installment of Graeme Grapples with Death Metal! In this latest ep., Graeme reads all of Death Metal (and its related tie-ins) and concludes, “it actually does make slightly more sense if you read it all in a oner.”  Includes discussion of Death Metal: Speed Metal and Death Metal: Multiverse’s End.
2:08:59-end: Closing comments, but with Jeff also remembering to mention the very good Humble Bundle currently running with over 100+ volumes of horror manga from Kodansha!  Look for us on  Stitcher!Itunes!Instagram! Twitter together and separately: Graeme and JeffTumblr, and  on Patreon where a wonderful group of people make this all possible, including Dominic L. Franco, and Empress Audrey, Queen of the Galaxy, to whom we are especially grateful for her continuing support of this podcast.  (Also, don’t forget about Spotify!)  

Next week: Drokk!! We’re reading Volume 19 of the Complete Judge Dredd Casefiles. Join us!!

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Previously on Drokk!: Sure, Garth Ennis might be a well respected comics writer for work on titles including Preacher, Punisher, and Some Guy and A Gun or Something these days, but did you know that, when starting out, he wrote some really poor Judge Dredds? Because we sure do after the last couple of episodes.

0:00:00-0:02:32: Before diving into what is, ultimately, an uneven book — but one that’s far better than we’ve enjoyed in recent episodes! — we introduce ourselves, and the fact that we’re reading Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files Vol. 18 this episode, featuring stories from 2000 AD and Judge Dredd Magazine from 1992 and 1993. Yes, there’s more Ennis, but there’s also more John Wagner than we’ve had for awhile, too, so… yay…?

0:02:33-0:34:59: As is our tradition, we immediately dive into the Garth Ennis material, because apparently we hate ourselves. Ennis writes all but one of the 2000 AD episodes in this volume, and we discuss the way in which these stories have all of his bad Dredd habits and then some, and Jeff floats a theory that, perhaps, editors were trying to position 2000 AD’s Dredd stories for the audience that was buying not-for-kids comedy comic Viz at the time. (I’m not convinced.) Also discussed: Mark Millar’s first Dredd story (it’s not good) and what it might owe to Pat Mills, whether or not Ennis has grown at all in how he approaches Dredd as a strip, and just why Garth Ennis’ sense of humor doesn’t really work in this strip, at least in this incarnation.

0:35:00-0:59:38: We’ve talked about Ennis’ seeming sympathies for the more fascistic parts of the Dredd mythos in episodes past, and we’re back at it now after Jeff talks about Ennis’ tendency to be a bully when it comes to the targets of his comedy. Is Ennis pathologically afraid of weakness, and if so, how does that factor into his support for might-makes-right as an ideology? We also talk about two storylines in which Ennis is at his most Ennis-y: “Raider,” in which someone is almost as hard as Dredd, but isn’t, and Ennis’ only P.J. Maybe story, in which he… utterly misunderstands the entire point and appeal of the P.J. Maybe character. Things are grim, Whatnauts.

0:59:39-1:01:22: Are the 2000 AD stories in this volume Drokk or Dross? Anyone who’s been paying attention wouldn’t be surprised that we’re not fans.

1:01:23-1:22:52: Onto the good stuff, as we get to the Magazine material, and “Mechanismo,” in which John Wagner asks the important questions: “What is policing without a human element?” and “What if I did a story based on that question but also referenced Robocop and Short Circuit, because they’re about robots?” Jeff also brings up good points about what the Mechanismo robots say about policing in 2020, and the ways in which John Wagner and George Romero have similar approaches to long form storytelling. No, really!

1:22:53-1:34:51: It’s not all “Mechanismo,” though, and Jeff raves about “A Christmas Carol” — both Dickens parody and statement of intent on Dredd’s place in the world by John Wagner, as it turns out — while we’re both confused and slightly non-plussed by John Hicklenton’s artwork on another of the strips. I’ll be honest, we pretty much shortchange the Alan Grant material in Case Files 18, but I think there’s also an argument to be made that we’re giving it exactly as much attention as it deserves. (Sorry, Alan.)

1:34:52-1:45:07: We start to wrap things up by looking back at the Magazine material as a whole in this volume, and then Case Files 18 in its entirety. Which is my favorite of the two “Mechanismo” stories in this book? Is the book Drokk or Dross overall? What are our favorite stories in the book? The answers can be found within!

1:45:08-end: And then we really wrap things up by looking at what awaits us next episode — Grant Morrison, and it’s not good — and by mentioning the usual suspects: Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram and Patreon. Thank you as always for reading along and putting up with our meanderings, and I hope you’ll come back next month for an episode we’ll pretend is spookier than usual, because, you know, Hallowe’en and stuff.

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0:01-32:08: Greetings! We continue our trend in “we don’t really want to talk about 2020 too much, but on the other hand we should let you know how we’re doing since we’re both on the coast that is on fire” discussions.  I don’t want to totally spoil Graeme’s discussion of what things are like in Portland, but here’s the money quote: “Yesterday, We rewatched Robocop, the original Robocop? And that feels tame compared to our reality today.”  

32:08-35:59: As we transition to talking about comics, Graeme has a very hearty recommendation for the latest issue of the Judge Dredd Megazine.  Not only is it the 30th anniversary of the the megazine, not only does it feature a strong lineup of strips, it also has the first installment of the 2000AD Encyclopedia, which is more or less as Graeme says, “The Official Handbook to the 2000AD Universe.”  For those who’ve been listening to Drokk!! and intrigued by the idea of jumping in on the current day action, it sounds pretty great?

35:59-57:00: From there, there’s a bit of news pivot because Jeff is confused that this weekend was apparently *another* DC Fandome weekend?  And more confusingly, Graeme was *not* covering it? We talk about that, the season two finale of Doom Patrol, what is news, why the follow-up weekend,and then transition into Represent #1 by Christian Cooper, Alitha E. Martinez, and Mark Morales, a free digital comic that DC dropped with no forewarning last Tuesday. It’s a promising and challenging book—but is it going to be something DC keeps walled off in its own little corner, is its viewpoint going to be embraced and reinforced by the rest of the messaging in DC’s other books, and a lot of other questions and possibilities.

57:00-1:01:33:  After Graeme talked about it last week, Jeff felt compelled to pick up Death Metal: Trinity Crisis #1 and Graeme is right that it’s an event tie-in book that feels like it should be an issue of the event, even though the whiplash between Francis Manapul as the artist here and Greg Capullo as the artist on the event it makes imagining the upcoming collection very difficult.

1:01:33-1:05:01: And also in “last week/this week” news, after talking so much about the Bill and Ted movies, Jeff picked up Bill and Ted Are Doomed, written by Evan Dorkin, the original creator on Bill & Ted’s earlier comic series and drawn by…Roger Langridge?  Dorkin are two great tastes, but do they taste great together?

1:05:01-1:22:41: And to get the final entry into Jeff’s Trifecta of Meh, he read the first two issues of Adventureman by Matt Fraction and Terry & Rachel Dodson, a book he had no idea had even been released. We discuss the pulps, casual comics readers, long-gestating projects, and more.
1:22:41-2:09:08: Back to our obsessions from last week!  Graeme continued to make his way through the rest of the Alien movies (AvP movies excepted) as well as some amazing stories about the first Aliens omnibus!  Come for the stories about “Billie” and “Wilks,” stay for Graeme’s comparison of Alien: Resurrection to “a Mountain Dew commercial from the same period.” 
2:09:08-end: Closing comments with bonus impromptu scheduling session!  Look for us on  Stitcher! Itunes! Instagram! Twitter together and separately: Graeme and JeffTumblr, and  on Patreon where a wonderful group of people make this all possible, including Dominic L. Franco, and 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 (and thank goodness, sez Jeff).  Read Volume 18 of the Complete Judge Dredd Casefiles and Join us in two weeks for Drokk!!

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0:01-32:37: Guh-reetings! (In our truncated way, at least for an eensy bit.)  Graeme has had quite a week, a week with something he hasn’t had in a very long time—three days off from work.  As Jeff puts it: “Gasp!”  By contrast, Jeff has been working a lot and is trying to handle the challenges of training a new employee remotely.  The latter takes the stage for a longer comic-free chat about work, Zoom, social media, the media, and the strangeness of 2020. Feel free to take a pass if you want your comic book and pop culture podcast to be a bit more about comics and pop culture? (But personally I think Graeme has some good things to say.)
32:37-39:21: Speaking of comics: are we caught up?  As Jeff so charmingly put it, “comics didn’t shit the bed in the past week!”  Uh, we think?  Graeme passes one or two little tidbits of news but it’s very difficult to categorize it as bad, much less bed-shittingly so?
39:21-1:00:20: On the other hand, depending on how you feel about it, Jeff’s desire—a strong one, let us to be clear—to talk about Batman: Three Jokers #1 by Geoff Johns, Jason Fabok, ahd Brad Anderson could be why (as William Blake so poignantly put it) we’re not allowed to have nice things? Discussed: BATMAN: THREE JOKERS #1.  (Amazingly enough, I’m pretty sure this is a spoiler-free conversation, at least as far as plot points are concerned.)
1:00:20-1:17:44: Another thing Jeff strongly desires to discuss?  Bill & Ted Face The Music.  This unlike our talk about Three Jokers is a full-on spoiler-filled discussion of a goofy movie that really…resonated with us?  I wouldn’t listen if you’re planning on seeing the film, but if you have already, tuck in!
1:17:44-1:30:27: Jeff also rewatched Francis Ford Coppola’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula because he was high and thought it wasn’t a terrible idea to do so.  (Spoilers:  he was very wrong.) Whereas Graeeme rewatched Alien and Aliens for the first time in something like three decades and as a result he has what Elizabeth Barrett Browning once poignantly called “a hot take.”
1:30:27-1:35:55: Back to comics, although still with a strong basis in genre films with franchises running over a quarter-century:  Graeme has caught up on Blade Runner 2019 by Michael Green, Mike Johnson and Andres Guinaldo, a comic Graeme quite likes. “It’s a really fucking smart spinoff of, honestly, like, movies that if you’d suggested to me that there could be a comics spinoff, I would be like ‘oh, fuck.’”  Graeme has also grabbed off Hoopla one of the first collection of Aliens comics to go with his film watching.
1:35:55-1:41:15: Next week is the release of Death Metal Trinity Crisis which Graeme has read an advance copy of, and he does a great job of discussing it without giving away any spoilers while still mentioning that, as he puts it, “it feels so tied in to the primary story, that I’m not sure how you could skip [it] and fully understand what’s going to be happening in Death Metal.” By contrast, Graeme has read the end of Empyre and enjoyed it, calling it “a really solid mainstream Marvel superhero story.”
1:41:15-1:45:16: As for Jeff’s corner, he talks super-briefly about the first issue of We Only Find Them When They’re Dead by Al Ewing and Simone DiMeo (with color assists by Mariasara Miotti). Jeff’s review is not particularly detailed, at least compared to his reaction to the news that John Layman and Afu Chan’s Outer Darkness has been cancelled?
1:45:16-1:49:16: Jeff has much more to say (and less bad news to react to) about the first ten issues of The Last Of The Atlases, a band desinée by Gwen De Bonneval, Fabien Vehlmann, Frédéric Blanchard and Herve Tanquerelle translated into english and published digitally by Europe Comics.
1:49:16-1:53:43: And in the “news I hope is still valid by the time you read this,” Jeff wanted to point out that there’s more than 256 Black Panther comics available for free on Comixology at the moment (as well as books like Killmonger, Shuri, and Doomwar).  Not Jeff’s beloved Jungle Action, mind you, but—yeah.  That’s kind of impressive?  Also!  Related but utterly different: Abhay has three comics he collaborated on with some terrific artists, and you can buy them digitally on Kickstarter before the end of the month (along with add-on stuff like the comics Abhay both drew and wrote).  Jeff has read them and, no fooling, Jeff loves them.  So you should get on that! Seriously!
1:53:43-end:  Closing comments with bonus impromptu scheduling session!  Look for us on  Stitcher! Itunes! Instagram! Twitter together and separately: Graeme and JeffTumblr, and  on Patreon where a wonderful group of people make this all possible, including Dominic L. Franco, and 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: Another Wait, What?! Join us?!
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Previously on Drokk!: We are firmly in the Garth Ennis era of Judge Dredd by this point, which has so far included a climax to the growing democracy story arc that concluded, stunningly, that fascism is apparently really cool because Judge Dredd is tough. If you think that’s the nadir of the strip, just wait.

0:00:00-0:03:08: Another swift introduction for this episode, as Jeff and I let everyone know who we are and that we’re reading Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files Vol. 17 and Batman/Judge Dredd: Judgement on Gotham this episode, with the latter perhaps the sole thing from preventing both of us from being overwhelmed by the Young Garth Ennis of it all.

0:03:09-0:26:16: I misdirect us a little bit at the start by pointing out that, at the same time Ennis was writing these (very bad) Dredd stories, he was also writing Hellblazer for DC, which was… far better than this…? This leads us to a somewhat more-fragmented-than-usual discussion about the importance of artists on making Dredd work — especially Carlos Ezquerra, in this volume — and what Jeff calls the “zen koan” of what makes an effective Dredd story in terms of writing. We also touch on Judgement on Gotham earlier than intended, Simon Bisley and Chris Halls, and debts owed to Bill Sienkiewicz.

0:26:17-1:06:59: We dive into “Judgement Day,” the massive mega-epic that takes up fully half of Case Files 17 and fails so utterly on so many levels. On the one hand, it’s a big deal — not just the first crossover between 2000 AD and Judge Dredd Magazine, it’s also a crossover between Judge Dredd and Strontium Dog, with the latter guesting in basically the entire story. Unfortunately, as we cover at length, “Judgement Day” is a mess — a zombie story that doesn’t really understand zombie stories or know what to do with them, that passes up every available opportunity to say something interesting about its characters, that doesn’t necessarily comprehend how to pace a story, and one that doesn’t seem to understand that telling the reader that a bunch of people are in trouble isn’t the same as actually demonstrating it. Jeff suggests that Garth Ennis is getting worse when it comes to Dredd, but I’m not necessarily convinced, and we approach the idea that this is Ennis at a stage in his career where he’s not yet realized that other people aren’t quite as fascinated by the myth of the tough guy that can withstand everything thrown at him as he, himself, is. Suffice to say, we’re all in on just what a bad choice for Dredd Ennis is, at least in this particular phase of his career.

1:07:00-1:15:57: Spinning out of the above, Jeff suggests that the comics in Case Files 17 might be both creatively and morally bankrupt — at least in the eyes of a fictional Gary Groth — which brings us to a discussion of whether or not this is the fault of creators who clearly weren’t ready for the gig just yet. Was 2000 AD that creatively desperate, or was this the result of those involved feeling that Dredd needed a reinvention after more than a decade, and just making poor decisions when approaching that reinvention?

1:15:58-1:37:33: If the new guard creators is failing Dredd, then surely the old guard are doing better, especially in a high-profile project like Batman/Judge Dredd: Judgement on Gotham? The answer is… fine, more or less…? The first crossover with Batman is a fun read, but a throwaway one that relies more heavily on Simon Bisley’s artwork than the writing to make it work. Jeff has an explanation as to why that may be, even as both of us are disappointed by how some of the characters are written. This brings us back to a comparison between John Wagner and Alan Grant, and Garth Ennis, and how disappointing the latter seems by comparison — and whether or not that’s his “fault,” or simply a sign that, perhaps, a 22-year old fan didn’t stand much of a chance when replacing creators who have been working for pretty much as long as he’s been alive.

1:37:34-1:44:33: As we start to close things up, I talk about it having been a rough episode in terms of reading material, and admit that I cheered myself up by reading the current Dredd serial in 2000 AD, which prompts Jeff to detect a sign of optimism — that we know that both Dredd and 2000 AD have better days ahead after just how poor this particular material is.

1:44:34-end We look ahead to the next episode, which sees John Wagner come back for more than three episodes at a time, Jeff asks about my love for the final panel in “Judgement Day” despite my intense dislike for the rest of the storyline, and we mention, as always, the Patreon, Twitter, Tumblr and I-swear-I’ll-use-it-again-soon Instagram. If you made it through all of this, we’re very grateful. It wasn’t easy.Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail