To call Before Watchmen: Dollar Bill superfluous is, in itself, somewhat superfluous. The one-shot, by Len Wein and Steve Rude, wasn’t one of the originally announced titles, and only appeared when things changed behind the scenes, and the proposed Epilogue one-off was bumped off the to-do list — and let’s, for a brief second, think about how absolutely unnecessary an epilogue to a prequel actually is, so dumping it was a good decision — and, to be honest, it feels very much like an afterthought on almost every single level.

The problem isn’t necessarily that there’s nothing in the backstory of William Benjamin Brady that means that there couldn’t be an interesting story told about him. The circumstances around his death, as portrayed in the original Watchmen — as well as the concept of a corporate mascot who tries to go legit — should offer grist for a mill that’s at least midway interesting, at least.

And yet, Wein insists on offering up a script that is the most generic story imaginable, combining the very specific — yet somehow overused — tale of a football hero brought low by injury who gets a chance to redeem himself through a twist of fate and… Well, you can guess the rest, really. To make matters worse, the few touches that Wein adds to the cliche are… troubling, shall we say. “I don’t know any straight guy in his right mind who would ever wear that outfit,” says Brady when shown the Dollar Bill costume for the first time by the owners of the National Bank, just minutes after another character had declared that he’d never wear the outfit because “it’d make me look like some kind’a fag.”

Oh, and the owners of the bank — identical businessmen called, I shit you not, “Misters Howe, Cheatem and Dewey,” because of course — are, of course, untrustworthy liars who only care about money and in case you didn’t hear the dogwhistle, have dialogue like this: “Would we lie to you, boychik? Go. Have a good time. Let us know how it works out.” “Don’t know about the rest of you, but I could go for a nice pastrami on rye right about now.” That is, I shit you not, a real exchange in this comic. So, yes: it’s a comic where the story is one you’ve read countless times before, filled with lazy homophobic and racism. Is there anything to like about it?

The answer to that is, “well, potentially.” Steve Rude’s artwork is perhaps more mannered than his best work — his figures seem stiffer and more static than I remembered from Nexus — but even with that, he’s an amazing artist with beautifully stylized line work; the pages where he joins the Minutemen are genuinely beautiful, cementing that Rude is a great artist for “classic” superhero comics with interchangeable smiling men in masks and pin-up art in the place of women. (That’s actually meant in a complimentary manner, despite how it reads.)

Even the visuals of the book are ultimately ruined, though, by Rude’s own lettering, which is awkward and draws attention to itself by being just a little too big and too heavy for its own good. The lettering dominates the pages, which is the very opposite of what you’d want it to do. I assume that Rude lettering was some kind of contractual obligation to get him to sign onto the book, but it was a terrible decision not to fight it. The letters absolutely doom the pages and make you long for Todd Klein or whoever to step in and stage an intervention.

Dollar Bill, then, is a pretty bad comic. It’s not the worst of Before Watchmen by a long stretch, but it is probably the most boring, which could be considered the worst sin of all by some. It also stands out as one of the two most inessential strands of the entire project (alongside Crimson Corsair, although Moloch really pushes that envelope as well). Still, they can’t all be winners… which almost feels like it’s the most thematically consistent thing about Dollar Bill’s spotlight as a whole, really.

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For my birthday a few weeks back, I had a couple of beers and then went longbox diving for random things I vaguely remember that are not available digitally, not least because I could then write posts about them here. This is one of those things.

THE BOOK:  Flashpoint #1-3, a limited series published by DC comics in 1999-2000 under the Elseworlds banner. This book was was either so good or so unmemorable that DC has gone on to reuse the title in both print and TV without ever seeming to remember that they’d already used it once! (Seriously: the writer’s entry on the DC Comics website links to the first three issues of the much-later Geoff Johns series instead of the actual book.)

THE CREATORS: Written by Pat McGreal, art by Norm Breyfogle, colors by Noelle Giddings, letters by Rick Parker.

THE CONCEPT: The high-concept backstory is the key here: In an alternate timeline of the DC Universe, Silver Age Flash Barry Allen is shot in the spine while saving John F. Kennedy from the assassination attempt in Dallas. Paralyzed from the neck down, Allen’s only remaining power is his super-speed brain. The world spins off from there.

 

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Amanda Conner and Darwin Cooke’s Silk Spectre is, on some levels, the most faithful of the entire Before Watchmen project. Not only does it begin with a reference to a scene from the original book — the breaking of the snow globe that is hijacked into Dr. Manhattan’s narrative in #9 — but Amanda Conner approaches the visuals of the whole thing with Dave Gibbons clearly in mind; it’s not just that she adopts Watchmen‘s nine panel grid for the majority of the series (There’s one sequence where she breaks the format, and it’s both smart and cute; as Laurie gets high on LSD, the format starts literally falling in on itself), she’s clearly paid attention to Gibbons’ eye throughout the entire thing, and works to recreate his staging in a number of places. Of all the Before Watchmen books, Silk Spectre feels like the one that has spent the most time actually paying attention to Watchmen.

It feels strange to call Conner the unsung hero of Silk Spectre; she co-wrote it with Cooke and drew it, after all. Her’s is the largest contribution to the series, and yet, somehow I feel that she was nonetheless overshadowed by Cooke upon release. Comparing Silk Spectre with Minutemen, it’s clear that Conner was an active voice in writing the book — both in terms of overall tone and individual charactertization, this book reads very differently from Cooke’s solo series.

It’s more fractured and less chronological (More of the Moore Watchmen influence, again), less insular and more curious and concerned with the outside world rather than the internal narrative of its leads — as the original Watchmen explored the 1980s, this takes place for the most part in 1966 San Francisco, with Laurie dropping out into a sanitized version of the counter culture — and, ultimately, more willing to allow its characters to be complicated and contradictory without smoothing out the edges for readers. Once again, it feels more true to what Moore and Gibbons were aiming for in the original book.

It’s tempting to say that this series outstrips its predecessor in a couple of ways, which would be entirely unfair — not only does Silk Spectre have different ambitions than Watchmen, it’s noticeably less ambitious (Although, I hasten to add, I don’t mean that as an insult in any way; Watchmen‘s ambition is its undoing in many ways, for me). Nonetheless, Silk Spectre‘s characters feel genuinely complicated and alive for me in a way that Watchmen‘s never do, with the latter book feeling the hand of its writer all too clearly, shuffling pawns around the board the entire time. Similarly — and perhaps sensibly, considering it’s the sole female-led Watchmen project — it manages to offer up the most three-dimensional, non-cliched women in the entire franchise. Not that that’s hard; Watchmen — the original book and also the larger storyline with all of this Before Watchmen ancillary material — is depressingly, claustrophobically, male.

The teenage Laurie is at the center of Silk Spectre, and Conner and Cooke lay groundwork for Watchmen that deepens her portrayal in that book significantly, both in terms of her complicated relationship with her mother, but also the ways in which her actions in the mid-80s are fueled by a more optimistic, stubborn and ultimately tragic self from two decades earlier. Sally, too, benefits from being shown as something other than the broken figure she comes across as in Moore and Gibbons’ work; there’s something unsettlingly rewarding about seeing her actively being a complicated figure who, over and over again, demonstrates how difficult she is to love, instead of simply having other characters tell the reader in pointed terms.

(In this, Silk Spectre completes a makeover started in Minutemen, in which Sally’s relationship with Larry is flipped so that she’s seen as the dominant one with Larry far more of a nebbish background figure than he comes across in the original Watchmen. Stripping one layer of victim away from Sally sits easier with me than I suspect others would feel, if only because the women in Watchmen have always felt particularly artificial and “male-gaze”-y in my eyes; YMMV, as the internet reminds us.)

Silk Spectre is far from perfect — the analogies of pop culture figures feels really strange and cowardly, especially given their importance to the overall plot, and it doesn’t get around to finishing its thoughts on some of the themes raised early on, particularly on how Sally’s sexuality informs Laurie’s behavior — but it’s probably the best of the Before Watchmen books on a number of levels. That’s not intended as merely faint praise; it’s a solid showcase for Conner not just as artist, but as writer, as well. Laurie is perhaps the most absent of the core Watchmen cast, but this mini feels like the showcase she deserved all along.

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Hey, there!  Welcome to Episode 235!

Today, we have two hours and forty-five minutes of  quality comic book chit-chat for you!  Jeff reads his twitter interview with the talented and generous Gisele LaGace of Menage a 3, conducted back in July; Graeme gives us the 411 on the 212 with his NYCC report, including our discussion of Marvel and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Convention; and we go heavy on the spoilers (so beware!) in our discussions about the third issues of Metal and Mister Miracle by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo and Tom King and Mitch Gerards, respectively, as well as the conclusion of the War of Jokes and Riddles in Batman.

Also!  Golden Kamuy! Delicious in Dungeon!  The conclusion [?] of Rocket by Al Ewing and Adam Gorham! The Stand by Stephen King!  And a discussion about terrible people, art, and the art of terrible people.  We reference two or three different articles in the course of that last talk.  This is one of them.  (I couldn’t find the rest, though I really did try.)

NEXT WEEK: Baxter Building Ep. 34! Come read Fantastic Four issues #304-313 with us!!

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Even if it hadn’t been the first book to arrive at the library, Before Watchmen: Minutemen/Silk Spectre would have been the place to start on this revisit. (Well, part-revisit, as I said before.) The two series collected in the hardcover are, chronologically, the earliest in the expanded Watchmen timeline; this, in theory, is where it starts (There are flashbacks to earlier elements throughout other stories, and the latter mini-additions to Before Watchmen — the Moloch mini and Dollar Bill oneshot — take place earlier, but we’ll get to all of them later).

Of course, it’s not where it starts, really, and that’s perhaps where I should start: A lot of Darwyn Cooke’s Minutemen isn’t just prequel or prologue, it’s an outright retcon — Cooke takes the characters as established — or, more properly, briefly sketched — by Moore and Gibbons — and, in many cases, significantly rewrites them by expanding upon them, transforming in the process from Moore’s obsessions and recurring themes to Cooke’s. (One of said changes: Women have a far less passive role in Minutemen, which leads to a significant shift in the portrayal of Sally Jupiter.) It’s clear from the very beginning that this isn’t Cooke trying to recreate Watchmen in any appreciable way, and especially not formally — everything about Minutemen feels far closer to Cooke’s DC: The New Frontier than the work it’s actually building off, from layouts, pacing and dialogue to, most importantly, morality.

Watchmen is, to me, an essentially amoral book — I’m sure many would disagree (including Jeff of this very parish), but Moore seemed to at least be hinting at that in the interview that made up the 2003 Extraordinary Works of Alan Moore book when he said, “I didn’t want to make any character the one who’s right, the one whose viewpoint is the right viewpoint, the one who’s the hero, the one who the readers are supposed to identify with, because that’s not how life is… it’s up to the reader to formulate their own response to the world — sort of — and not be told what to do by a super-hero or a political leader or a comic-book writer for that matter.”

Cooke strikes me as a creator who is incapable of producing such a thing, however — arguably, he attempted with the Parker books, but those are adaptations and even so, had a particular morality to them — and certainly isn’t even trying with Minutemen; the book is told from Hollis’ point of view as he writes Under the Hood, although Cooke’s narrative voice doesn’t match Moore’s excerpts of the book at all, and is shot through with the need to do the right thing that drove [Cooke’s version of] Hollis. Moreover, that morality infects almost everyone else in the book, in ways that are at odds with Moore’s Watchmen writing; watching the Comedian try to talk Sally Jupiter out of killing someone because of the emotional cost she’ll pay after feels almost quaint, and out of character considering everything else surrounding the characters as established by Moore.

It’s also out of character considering other Before Watchmen books, but let’s leave that ahead of us for now.

I said, “almost everyone else” purposefully; while characters like Silhouette, Dollar Bill and even the Comedian get some redemption in Cooke’s hands, Hooded Justice gets just the opposite, in the name of a feint at the end of the story. Building off the costume’s noose gimmick, he’s shown indulging in what appears to be non-consentual BDSM midway through the story in service of a plot that sees Hollis — and the reader — become convinced that he’s actually the serial killer that the heroes have been hunting for throughout the entire series. It leads to Hollis killing Hooded Justice, only to be told by the Comedian afterwards that the evidence was faked in an attempt to draw out the hero who had otherwise gone into hiding.

It’s a heavy-handed development — although perhaps not as much as when the mysterious new hero who helps the team prevents Japanese terrorists from causing nuclear apocalypse in New York City turns out to be Japanese because, hey, it’s bad to generalize an entire race of people, which also happens. It’s also an ugly and unnecessary one that accomplishes nothing beyond an ugly “Gotcha!” — the reveal happens after Hollis had retired and completed writing Under the Hood, so it’s not even as if it was the motivating factor for either event. Instead, it just demonstrates, not for the first time, how fallible the heroes in the book turned out to be.

(When talking with Jeff about this book, earlier, he said that he remembered that the Hooded Justice plot had drawn people to accuse Minutemen of being homophobic; I don’t think that’s the case — the treatment of Silhouette and her lover throughout would act as an argument against that, I think — but, especially if the complaints came before the final reveal, it’s certainly a thread that invites criticism for its ugliness and the manner in which it seems Hooded Justice is somehow uglier than every other character in the storyline.)

(A second aside, for a second; Hooded Justice’s treatment in this book is curiously reminiscent of Rorschach in the original Watchmen, and I can’t work out if that’s intentional or not, and whether or not Cooke was trying to hint that Hooded Justice was similarly mentally impaired. That, too, would be likely to draw criticism if it were the case.)

Overall, Minutemen feels like a warmer book to me than Watchmen — and than the other Before Watchmen series, for that matter, Silk Spectre aside — although that might simply be because I’m more personally attuned to Darwyn Cooke’s grouchy sentimentality than Moore’s curmudgeonly hippieness of the 1980s. As the first part of this whole expansive reading project, it worked well for me; I felt like I had an emotional “in” to the world that had been missing before, and I found myself wanting to read more. Which, considering the next thing I read was Silk Spectre, turned out to be a good thing.

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As I’ve complained about many times on the podcast, I’ve long been of the opinion that Watchmen isn’t for me. Or, at least, it’s something that I’ve read a number of times and it’s left me cold each time, for different reasons. I get that it’s formally brilliant, but I’ve never really found an emotional core to grab onto as a reader; the hand of the author felt all too visible, and that just stopped me short.

Concerns for my lack of intellectual depth aside — oh, it only seems like I’m joking — this has never really been a problem for me. Sure, when I was 15 or so, I pretended that I was really, really into Watchmen, because that’s what you do when you’re 15: you tell everyone, even yourself, that you like stories that everyone else agrees are important and weighty and telling great truths, despite how you actually feel. Eventually, though, I got over my anxiety and moved on, albeit occasionally returning to see if perhaps I’d changed enough to get something from it now, or now, or now. (Spoiler: Not yet.)

With Doomsday Clock on the horizon, I decided that it was time for one of those periodic re-reads. The book is right there on my shelf — the plus (maybe) side of DC re-issuing it so often is that I’ve been sent no less than three different editions through the years; the one I still have is, I think, the international trade, the one without the smiley face cover because of rights issues (ironically) — so it takes very little effort to revisit it before Geoff Johns and Gary Frank do that thing they do. Which might explain why I decided to make it harder on myself by including Before Watchmen in the re-read.

Technically, including Before Watchmen meant that it wasn’t actually a re-read, per se; I hadn’t made it through all of the 2012 prequels before, because my frame of mind was honestly life is too short to read Brian Azzarello’s Rorschach. Not for me, the principled stand of calling everyone who worked on the books scabs! I just didn’t like the books themselves, and so they remained unfinished. But, I figured, if I was going to go back to Watchmen before Doomsday Clock, why not include DC’s other attempt to stripmine the original book?

Part of my curiosity about Before Watchmen was just that: Morbid curiosity about the comics, their quality and how they’d not only fit together with the original Watchmen, but also Doomsday Clock (if at all; I have no idea if anything from Before Watchmen will apply to Doomsday Clock). But it was also a strange compulsion to treat Before Watchmen more legitimately — arguably more legitimately than it deserves — and accept it as part of the same story as Watchmen, and to read them in something resembling chronological order as “one story,” even if that’s not how they were originally intended.

And so, that’s what I’m going to do. Over the next few weeks, I’m going to work my way through Before Watchmen, and then Watchmen itself, and I’m going to share the experience here. Will I finally have reached a point where Watchmen works for me? (It’s something I am genuinely curious about, considering how much older I am now compared with previous readings, and also the generally apocalyptic world in which we’re living today.) Will Before Watchmen have any gems hidden inside? Will the whole experience prove so distasteful that I’m put off Doomsday Clock before it’s even started?

Let’s find out together. The end is nigh, but not nigh enough, just yet.

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Hey, everyone!  Show notes are so short as to be little more than an intro to the episode, and on top of that I wanted to give you the same warning I gave at the beginning of the episode (albeit a little more coherent)—Graeme and I have made it a point since the election to make this podcast much less about the politics and much more about the comics, because we know a lot of people who would prefer/need a place they can escape to and not have to deal with all of that.  However, in this episode, because I’ve had a lot of my plate and on my mind, that unspoken agreement gets breached in a pretty big way. For a good chunk of the episode, we talk about empathy, Nazis, communication, and whether or not fictional narratives mostly help create empathy, or reinforce solipsism.  (not that I was smart enough to put it like that at the time, damn it!)

I mean, don’t worry, we also discuss Marvel Legacy #1, Harley Quinn: A Celebration of 25 Years, the movie IT and the novel The Stand, Audobon, On The Wings of the World by Fabien Grolleau and Jérémie Royer,  Rocket #5 by Al Ewing and Adam Gorham, Kamandi Challenge #9 by Tom King and Kevin Eastman and Freddie Williams II, and much, much more.

Like I say at the end of the episode, I’m sure when we reconvene (in two weeks!), I will be back to babbling about Hookjaw, but this episode…not nearly as much.  Forewarned is four-armed, as the Tharks used to say. And nonetheless, we hope you enjoy the episode.

NEXT WEEK: NYCC for Graeme!  Some relaxing maze books for Jeff! Join us in two weeks for another Wait, What?

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Previously on Baxter Building: The John Byrne era is over, with the writer/artist who, let’s be honest, left his stamp on the series more than anyone else aside from Lee and Kirby, departing after five years mid-storyline. In his place, we got a couple of fill-in issues leading up to what should be a big deal: two big anniversary issues within six months of each other. Will they live up to the occasion? Spoilers: No.

0:00:00-0:05:34: A punchy opening — for some reason, Jeff and I talked for an hour and a half before recording, don’t ask me why — leads us into introducing the issues we’re covering this episode: Fantastic Four #296-303. Or, as Jeff puts it, the issues in which “a whole bunch of people [are] trying to wrestle with where Byrne was steering the work, and trying to make it work, and frankly just not being able to fucking do so.” On the plus side: these issues are also kind of terrible. Wait, did I say plus side…?

0:05:35-0:30:57: We open with the 25th anniversary issue of the series, Fantastic Four #296, which is handled with all the sensitivity and appropriateness it deserves — which is to say, almost none. Jeff and I talk about Jim Shooter’s plotting skills, whether or not Stan Lee is Reed Richards (and, if so, who does that make Sue?), John Byrne’s original plot for the issue before he was fired, and the perils of jam issues when so many artists are involved in general. All this, plus the secret origins of Frank Miller’s Sin City art style, too!

0:30:58-0:41:58: FF #297 introduces a short-lived new regular creative team of Roger Stern, John Buscema and Sal Buscema, and somehow, the combination is far less than the sum of its parts. Still, we do get to talk about the production schedule of the book, the bad advice of Reed Richards, the subtext of the issue’s villains — well, as Jeff reads it, anyway — and Roger Stern’s abandoned plan for Benjamin J. Grimm.

0:41:59-0:47:37: In the immortal words of Mr. Jefferson P. Lester, Fantastic Four #298 is “also dull as fuck.” He’s not wrong; the conclusion of the two-parter begun in the previous issue, the highlight is probably the sight of a villain trying to choke himself to death. (See above.) We end up talking about the fact that the series can’t allow Ben Grimm to evolve emotionally any more, and the possible reasons for that beyond a misguided attempt to make the book “grittier,” because the late 1980s weren’t a kind time for those unimpressed by anti-heroes.

0:47:38-0:54:51:
You know who the hero of FF #299 is? She-Hulk. You know who’s about to entirely disappear from the series without explanation? I’ll give you a clue: She’s seven-feet tell and bright green. As a swan song, this is kind of a good issue and offers what could be closure for Grumpy Ben Grimm™ if he was allowed to have closure. Meanwhile, the rest of the Fantastic Four continue to be the worst, She-Hulk and Wyatt Wingfoot explain the downside of the First Family’s closeness and you will really wish Jeff was writing the ongoing adventures of 1986’s Johnny Storm.

0:54:52-1:01:39: There are a few things that Jeff and I really enjoy about Fantastic Four #300 — Doctor Doom’s response to Johnny and Alicia’s wedding, for one thing, as well as the Yancy Street Gang’s method of therapy and the fact that even the Puppet Master isn’t a complete dick, not to mention the single greatest Franklin Richards drawing ever — but for those looking forward to the kind of anniversary bonanza that celebrates the history of the comic and makes you feel excited for what lies ahead… yeah. Maybe not. Still, at least John Buscema has the chance to draw random nobodies as wedding guests.

1:01:40-1:09:27: Say what you like about FF #301, but you can’t deny that the Mad Thinker knows how to exit a conversation. (He’s also not a kid killer, so there’s that.) After Jeff comes up with the best description of Tom DeFalco and Paul Ryan’s upcoming Fantastic Four run — “Dad Squared” — we talk about the drawbacks of the Wizard’s plan and discuss even more evidence that Johnny Storm might actually be even more “the worst” than Reed Richards. What in the world is happening?!?

1:09:28-1:31:15: The final issue of Roger Stern’s run — although Fantastic Four #302, like the last issue, is only plotted by Stern and scripted by Tom DeFalco — brings discussion of Johnny Storm’s new catchphrase and name, as well as the dumbest plot to avoid nuclear apocalypse ever, and Reed and Franklin’s awkward father/son talk. Also, Jeff gets into a fugue state about Alicia’s desires and I make a pun so bad that it temporarily stops Mr. Lester in his tracks. Success!


1:31:16-1:41:00: Limping towards the finish line, FF #303 brings Roy Thomas back, but it’s Thundra’s return that gets Jeff Lester excited. The same can’t be said about the Thing, who’s continuing to dominate the series just months after returning, with Thomas offering up even more potential closure for the character that manages to contradict everything that the series had been claiming to this point. But this is perhaps better, so… yay… ish…?

1:41:01-end: Exhausted by bad comics, we talk about whether or not the high number of shitty Fantastic Four comics means that the Fantastic Four is a shitty concept, and end up in a food analogy that just made me hungry while editing the episode. Are there three sides to a successful FF story, and will we remember to use this metric on future runs? The answer to one of those questions is no. As everything gets wrapped up, we lay out the next batch of issues we’re going to cover — FF #s 304-313 — and remind you to visit the Twitter, Tumblr and Patreon, as usual. As with every episode, thank you for listening and thank you for reading through these show notes. Next time, I promise, will be more fun. It’s Englehart time!

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For my birthday this year, my family was kind enough to take me to a couple hotspots in Hampton, Virginia. First, the relatively new Oozlefinch Craft Brewery; then longtime comic store Benders Books. Benders is one of those good old-fashioned stuff-on-top-of-stuff-on-top-of-stuff comic stores, the kind that have quite rightfully gone out of fashion in favor of clean, slick design; welcoming, clear aisles; few-if-any store cats; and an organizational system that makes sense to people who just kinda want to buy a book or something. It is a delightful throwback to the comic stores of my youth, where it seemed like any book could maybe be uncovered if you just knew which six longboxes to shift over.

Because we hit the brewery first, it seemed like a really good idea to go longbox diving for random things I vaguely remember that are not available digitally, not least because I could then write posts about them here. This is one of them.

I was originally going to start somewhere else, but then Graeme randomly posted about this series of Marvel event books over on the tumblr, so I decided to swerve to keep up.

THE BOOK: According to the cover, it’s Marvels Comics Group Codename: X-Men #1. According to the indicia, it’s Marvels Comics: X-Men #1.

THE CREATORS: Written by Mark Millar, art by Sean Phillips & Duncan Fegredo (?!?!), colors by Kevin Somers.

THE CONCEPT: In 2000, Marvel decided it might be a fun idea to publish six one-shots that were comics from within the Marvel Universe. I have no idea why they decided this, but I kinda have a suspicion that it’s in some way a dry-run for the Ultimate line, which it predates on the shelves by about half a year. (That’s for Ultimate Spider-Man. The Ultimate X-Men book, which Millar would also write, is still almost a year away.) There’s that same vibe of probing to find a way to make a concept new and old, of trying to put fierce hats on childish heads, and so on.

Anyway, this is an especially weird book because, theoretically, everyone in-universe at Marvel hates and/or fears the X-Men. (Grant Morrison’s hip-subculture take is also still in the future when this hits shelves.) So there are a few ways that the real-world creators working on it could play this. One is as a sympathetic look from the point of view of an oppressed minority–maybe something in a mock counter-culture alt-comix style. Another is to write it carefully, subtly, as a critique of prejudice under the guise of propaganda.

OR you could hand it to Mark Millar.

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0:00-2:01:14:  Greetings! We are talking face-to-face in Portland after eating at the very delicious Farmhouse in San Francisco.  Jeff, despite what Graeme insists, is not drunk. (Just a little tipsy.)  So in in the interest of getting this episode up without any more delay, I’m going to take a pass on the regular show notes, and just tell you:
  • This podcast is just a little over two hours, which is pretty amazing because we’d hung out all day talking and figured we’d have maybe 45 minutes left in us, tops;
  • Jeff is not drunk;
  • and a quick pile of topics discussed: how we attend cons; some of the stuff Jeff bought at Cosmic Monkey before the show; Bill Mantlo’s Micronauts; print vs. digital; Tom King’s interview on the Slate working podcast; Mister Miracle #2; Mark Gruenwald’s Squadron Supreme; our ongoing obsession with Defenders; the new Captain Phasma comic; Jaws on the big screen, and more!
And that’s it!  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.
TWO WEEKS FROM NOW: Baxter Building A.B. (after Byrne).  Issues #296-302!  Read ’em and weep (with us)!
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