Preacher solotable

A few weeks back, Jeff, Graeme and I spent like a billion words revisiting the Preacher comics. One of the primary motivators for that lookback was the then-imminent debut of the Preacher TV series; I was skeptical of the show going into the reread, and doubly so after finding how much the passage of time had dulled my fondness for the book.

“Obviously there are going to be some major changes across the board,” I wrote, full of my characteristic optimism and good cheer, “but … I’ve gotta be honest, I left this re-read thinking that if the show is even remotely faithful to the book, it’s going to be unwatchably bad. I just don’t see any way that these elements can work onscreen, no matter how they’re reconfigured.”

That’s the attitude I took into Sunday night’s public debut screening of the show’s pilot episode, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that nearly every change the creators made–and there were a lot of them–was a marked improvement over the rapidly-aging source material. It’s not a perfect show, and I’m not even 100% sure that I’m fully onboard with it yet, but #realtalk, that pilot was about 2,000 times better than I expected. Here are a few reasons why (chock full of SPOILERS, so stay away if you’re planning to go in clean).

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Previously on Baxter Building: The old order changeth! Sue Richards has left the team — and her husband! (Feminism is to blame, and certainly not Reed Richards’ offensively paternal attitude, oh no.) She’s been replaced by Medusa, because one of the rules of the FF is that, when Sue goes, an Inhuman has to take her place. Meanwhile, Johnny Storm is reconsidering his life choices after breaking up with Crystal, Reed Richards is sinking into as much of a depression as superheroes could in comics from 1973, and Ben Grimm is… well, just being Ben Grimm. The world’s greatest comic magazine? More like the world’s soapiest soap opera, am I right?
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0:00:00-0:11:36: “Jeff is much more positive than either of us feel about these issues,” I say about Fantastic Four #134-146, issues I describe by saying “some of these are just not very good comic books,” even though Jeff says that some of his favorite comics are in these batch (He’s talking about #136-137, as you’ll find out). Is that because he grew up reading them? We discuss, with references to Steve Englehart’s Avengers, Gerry Conway’s Amazing Spider-Man and how children are willing to accept bad writing as genuine emotional content because they don’t know better. Also, what is “Star Trek Syndrome”? Jeff explains!
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0:11:37-0:28:29: Fantastic Four #134-135 launch the awkward nostalgiafest that is Gerry Conway’s run as writer (Yes, he scripted the previous issue, but that was from a Roy Thomas plot; this is Conway flying solo for the first time). Marvel at my ability to accidentally mash-up Fantastic Four and Scott Pilgrim, which is arguably more entertaining than the two issues that make up this storyline because who wanted to see Gregory Gideon and Dragon Man again? We talk about bad nostalgia, and the way that that nostalgia is almost subverted by good character work on Conway’s behalf — except where Franklin Richards is concerned. But, oh, that Johnny scene with Dorrie…
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0:28:30-0:51:15: According to Jeff, FF #136-137 are “practically Grant Morrison levels of insanity,” although he then corrects himself by saying that maybe he means Mark Millar. The esteemed Mr. Lester attempts to summarize “Rock Around The Cosmos!” but we immediately sidetrack ourselves in a discussion about the portrayal of Medusa versus Crystal or Sue Storm, the potential for this storyline being a Venture Bros. episode and Jeff’s unexpected — even by him — fandom for the Shaper of Worlds, and the metatext that he gives this particular era of Fantastic Four. (How self-aware is Roy Thomas, anyway?) Oh, but that’s before we even get to the exciting, surreal antagonists of this storyline, who look like this:
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Oh, yes. And that’s before we get to the wonderfully racist anti-racism message and the possibility of one of Oakland’s favorite sons showing up as the villain of the story. All this, plus a panel that might predict Tarantino’s Kill Bill and the surprising creepiness of the cliffhanger of #136.
0:51:16-1:10:58: Help us, Whatnauts: is this opening page of #137 a reference to something that neither of us recognized? Both Jeff and I are sure that it is, purely because of the rendering used, but we couldn’t even guess at what beyond Jeff’s EC suggestion.
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Meanwhile, the FF are at war with each other thanks to some brainwashing, but that only lasts until the introduction of Warhead, whom Jeff recognizes as Robot Monster, which… can we talk about Robot Monster for a second? Look at this:

That is amazing. I mean, amazing — and, yes, the monster really is Warhead in this story, weirdly. I guess it’s period specific…? But we shouldn’t get too distracted by that because there’s some well-meaning racism at play because it’s the 1970s, ya dig? Sorry, there I go with the slang of the sixties again…! Face it, buster. It really is the most Star Trek issue of Fantastic Four yet, and that’s including those late Kirby ones which literally rip off the plot from “A Piece of the Action.” But does it actually work?
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1:10:59-1:27:55: Hey, everyone! Fantastic Four #138-139 brings back Wyatt Wingfoot, even if he’s more of a background player than ever before. But he’s back nonetheless! He’s back to graduate from college and act as a living Macguffin to bring the Miracle Man back into the lives of the Fantastic Four, which is… well, we all could have done without this. Also discussed: Flame toupees! More well-meaning racism! Jeff accidentally conjuring the idea of Ben Grimm as Donald Trump!
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1:27:56-1:46:41: All things Franklin come to a head with FF #140-141, the latter of which proclaims “The End of the Fantastic Four!” But before we get there, we get the return of Annihilus — disappointing to Jeff, even though we get his origin as a nerd alien insect who was bullied by the jock alien insect — and the chance to talk about how John Buscema’s art has changed for the better across his Fantastic Four run (These are his last issues for awhile). Also, what gets Jeff going? Apparently the sight of Reed Richards shooting his kid with a massive gun. No, really: “It’s kind of great, you get to see Reed Richards shoot his kid with a big gun,” he says. Who knew that would be Jeff’s thing? Still, it does lead to some good character work, which really is Conway’s strength in these issues, so let’s just accept it all and move on.
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1:46:42-2:16:36: We move straight into Fantastic Four #142-144, which sees Rich Buckler arrive on art and bring a less subtle, and definitely more Kirby-inspired look to the book. (Really, #143 is filled with Kirby swipes.) It also sees the return of Doctor Doom, the arrival of Darkoth the Death Demon — who, as Jeff points out, feels like a strange dry-run for Deathlok in some ways — and the idea of curing Alicia’s blindness. We end up talking briefly about why the latter bothers me both as a general concept and specifically when it comes to Alicia, and also about the Medusa/Reed relationship both as it appears in the text and in the subtext of the issue, and how it affects the general reading of Medusa in these stories. Also! Is Johnny losing it? Does Gerry Conway really, really have issues about being bullied at schools? What happened to Darkoth’s tail? And what the hell happened to the pacing in this storyline? Oh, and this panel:
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Really, no-one thought they should perhaps redraw that panel?
2:16:37-2:26:53: Jeff calls FF #145-146 “somehow a fill-in issue that became two fill-in issues,” and he’s not wrong; not only does it feature guest art by Ross Andru (again, not being served to well by Joe Sinnott’s inks) but it feels very disconnected from everything else that’s been going on in this run to date, being essentially a Johnny/Medusa issue of Marvel Team-Up that ended up in FF because of an extended Thing cameo. On the plus side, we do get to talk about Marvel’s institutional love of all Asian men being wise old ancient ones in their own right, so there’s that. (There’s honestly not much else going for these issues, sorry.)
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2:26:54-end: We wrap things up looking back over these 13 issues and wondering what the reason was for the swing towards nostalgia, while also planning our next adventure into this part of the Marvel Universe: next time out, we’ll be covering Fantastic Four #147-159, wrapping up the current era of the book — finally, we’ll get to a conclusion of the Sue/Reed split plot! — and trying to do so in a slightly shorter time frame than this episode. Maybe. Possibly. For those who want to find us elsewhere, we remain available on Twitter, Tumblr and Patreon, and otherwise, we beseech you to return in one month for more Baxter Building or just one week for more Wait, What?. Thank you, as ever, for listening and reading.

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Someone on Twitter–I can’t remember who, but it was some comic creator that got RT’ed into my life–made the point that more comic reviewers needed to review second issues, and fourth issues, and other non-“jumping on” issues. It stuck with me, for some reason, as I think I tend to be pretty guilty of writing only about things that (a) are first issues and/or notable jumping-on points, or (b) random runs of old comics that are of specific interest only to me.

Which isn’t exactly how I decided to look at The Fix #2 and Black Panther #2 this week, but it did make me feel retroactively good about the decision. No, what got me to associate these two books in my head was (siiiiigh) a random run of old comics that are of specific interest only to me. Specifically, Christopher Priest’s run on Black Panther.

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0:00-3:38: Greetings! And welcome to episode 200, where our long-term special guest star, Technical Difficulties, almost dropped by for an opening visit. Those of you who’ve heard our early episodes recently might enjoy listening to Graeme and Jef try to reminisce about their early days when they can barely remember them.
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3:38-33:29: And then it’s on to a discussion about Captain America: Civil War the movie that somehow both Graeme and Jeff saw during its first week of release.  Jeff liked it, Graeme didn’t, and so we’re off to the races!  FULL SPOILERS AHOY, so please do be careful if you haven’t seen it yet. (Because otherwise you might end up like Graeme, as this conversation will make clear.)   Discussed:  Batman vs. Stupidman; reasons why you might not thoroughly spoil a movie for yourself before you see it; Robert Downey Jr.’s performance in CA: Civil War; Tom Holland as Peter Parker/Spider-Man; Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa/Black Panther; the overstuffed nature of Marvel films; Emily VanCamp as Sharon Carter; J.Law vs. J.Gar vs. J.Lo vs. J.League; Joss Whedon, J.J. Abrams, and how the works at the front of the nerd zeitgeist age over time; good movies vs. good Marvel movies; the action sequences in CA: Civil War; John Wick and the legacy of Hong Kong movies; different special effect houses; Graeme shit-talking CA: Civil War in emails or not; and then…SPECIAL GUEST APPEARANCE BY ERNIE AND GUS-GUS! YAYYYYYY! (It’s like they knew it was our 200th episode!) (And yet Graeme swears to me he didn’t tell them.)
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33:29-39:41: “Yes, yes,” you’re saying.  “I suppose I have enjoyed all two hundred or so episodes of Wait, What?  But I do wish they had more cheesy tie-in discussions to big movie events that one of them doesn’t even like…”  Well, face front, true believer, because we’ve organized the Wait, What? Civil War 200th Episode Event where each of us picked a team  of five comic book characters to fight for us!  Who will win?  #TeamGraeme,  who assembled two separate teams, or #TeamJeff, which assembled a team with *six* comic book characters?  (Maybe a more important question is, why can’t these guys follow their own rules?) Discussed: Wildfire from the Legion of Superheroes; erotic Sears bedsheets; Dave Cockrum and the secret word of the podcast, which when uttered leads to….
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39:41-53:32:  As you probably know, Darwyn Cooke passed away the day we recorded this podcast, not long after it was announced he’d been fighting cancer.  Although Jeff thought we’d talk about Cooke and his legacy at the end of the episode, and Graeme was surprised we didn’t discuss it at the beginning, here we are talking about it now.
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53:32-55:03: And so with that we’re back to our discussion of the Wait, What? Civil War Teams, this time picking up with #TeamJeff and the second team for #TeamGraeme.  And then it’s time for: CALLS FROM LISTENERS. In order to make it easier on my tippy-tappy little fingers, and also in order to provide you with a modicum of suspense, I will not transcribe the whole call but rather than provide you with a meaningful excerpt as provided by Google Voice’s auto-transcription feature, which as you can imagine is absolutely 100% accurate, for example:
55:03-1:02:57:  Here’s Zack:  “Gradulations on 202 question any crap man. You know so if there’s anything more we can do to make them to is interesting and failing that and if there’s anything they can do to make expensive and less paranoid. Thanks gradulations.”  Discussed:  X-Men fans, what makes the Inhumans interesting, and more.
1:02:57-1:05:13:  Here’s Aaron (lickthestar) from Detroit: “I remember the first time I came across your podcast kind of by chance after you getting back into comments after a long hiatus and I listen to you guys for an hour and a half rip apart on my favorite marvel comics and tell me what a horrible writer, pinnacle been disses […]Discussed: we are terrible human beings, Ernie and Gus-Gus have opinions; and more.
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1:05:13-1:30:19:  Here’s Paul McCall (parts 1 and 2):  “Hello, my name is Paul mcAll and I’m a comic book attic and superhero Chunky […] I have not yet hurt. I know you both drunk or some kind of clear view website, but I want details.”  Discussed: DC’s 80 page and 100 page giants; when one becomes a Whatnaut; how the two of us met; writing the Onomatopoeia newsletter for Comix Experience; how we ended up doing the podcast;  influences on the podcast (for Jeff, anyway);
1:30:19-1:33:11:  Here’s Steve from Los Angeles:  “you guys are just f****** fantastic, and I will also say that the first time I listen to the show. I absolutely hated it, and I think I first turned in on some episode where there was a lengthy discussion of the waffle window and various. You know walkal related topics, and I was like what the f*** is this […]”  Discussed:  our secret ingredient.
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1:33:11-1:34:32: Welcome, Peter from Atlanta:  “‘I’ve been a listener for about a year now, and I really enjoyed how much you guys just kind of break-ins it just feels like me and my friend alright conversations. I’ve had with friends and bars where it goes you start one place, and you end up of millions of miles away from where you are and so it’s on a few my hair thing about the show.[…]”  Discussed: THE TANGENTS
1:34:32-1:41:37:  And here’s Special Guest-Star Voodoo Ben!:  “I‘ve loved every minute of it to get to a classic wait what conundrum? I was wondering if you guys would consider. What if Jack Kirby’s post Marvel work on that community before as well this address.Discussed:  What waffles Jack Kirby’s DC work would be if Jack Kirby’s DC work (and some of his Pacific Comics work) were waffles.
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1:41:37-1:43:09: Leef Smith of Mission Comics and Art: “I went back in I’ve actually listening to some of the first episodes this week, and it’s amazing how consistent you guys are alright.”  (Leef has the diction that Google Voice apparently loves because this auto-transcribed excerpt is very, very close to what he actually said. IMPRESSIVE!) Discussed (all too briefly):  Mission Comics and Art is a fantastic comic store in San Francisco and you should go for a visit if you haven’t already.
1:43:09-1:44:42:  Levi Tompkins is here to say, among other things: “I love you guys is rambling but they just thought well. I think they’re informative. I think they’re making me the email love comics, but also sometimes heat them[…]” Discussed:  victory via SCOIP; Jeff being unfair to Graeme, and the snarkiest intro Jeff has ever made.
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1:44:42-1:47:57:  Matt Terl!  (Who really is one of our favorite people, and we had to badger him into calling):  “I figured I would do go up one of the old emails. I had sent you guys with a question that I want to point out you never ever answered posted to you know see if maybe you would take the time to answer it the question is this is from june 2012.”  Discussed: no, really, Matt, we love you; the JMS law; and more.
1:47:57-1:49:51:  David Morris from Bristol calling:  “David Morris calling from Bristol thanking you for 200 Apple Foods looking forward to more[…]” Discussed: David’s brilliant Wait, What parable.
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1:49:51-1:51:01: And here’s Martin Gray [inaccurate transcript unavailable] who took time out for the excellent work he does over at Too Busy For A Girl to leave us a message.  Thank you Martin!
1:51:01-1:59:41:  And, similarly, here’s another delightful-but-impossible-to-distort-via-Google-Voice’s-autotranscription call, this time from Daniel McKay asking: if we could have a fantasy dinner party with anyone from comics, who would you invite and why?  Discussed:  Ryan North, Gil Kane, Alan Moore, Olive Byrne, and Jill Lepore’s The Secret History of Wonder Woman,  why there’s a transcription of an orgy, Clark Kent, Alec McGarrity, Kid Eternity, Wallace Wells, Diabolik, the best version of Clue, and more.
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1:59:41-2:08:15: We are also lucky enough to get a message from Al Kennedy and Paul O’Brien of the brilliant House to Astonish! And they ask: “how do you see the comics landscape and your work in comics podcasting having changed since you started?”  Discussed:  Uh, exactly that, although Graeme comes up with much more well thought out points about the topic than Jeff.  (Sooooo much more thought out!)  But also: Bill Mantlo! Patreon!  and more!
2:08:15-2:12:23: And finally from Jay Edidin of Jay and Miles X-plain The X-Men: “As you look back over the first two hundred episodes, what do you want to revisit, and what are you looking forward to leaving in the dust?”   Discussed: Nashville, Jane The Virgin, and more.
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2:12:23-2:16:27: “Oh, but what about those listener questions?” you ask (which is itself a listener question, if you think about it).  Jeff was such a space cadet he didn’t think we got any but Graeme, fortunately, knows better.  However, there’s no way we’re going to be able to answer them this go-round so, episode 301, which will be the episode after next week’s Baxter Building episode, will tackle all those questions…and any more you want to send to waitwhatpodcast@gmail.com!
2:16:27-end: Closing Comments!  Look for us on  Stitcher! Itunes! Twitter together and separately: Graeme and Jeff! MattTumblr (where Graeme posted a really fantastic little Spider-Man story by Hannah Blumenreich.  If you haven’t seen it already, you should check it out)!
Our special thanks to the kind crew at American Ninth Art Studios for their continuing support of this podcast, as well as our continuing special thanks to the Empress Audrey, Queen of the Galaxy…and to all 125 of our supporters on Patreon who make all this possible.
NEXT WEEK:  It’s Baxter Building, Ep. 18! Read Fantastic Four issues #134-146 with us!
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Judge Dredd is dead.

I mean, he’s not, obviously; even beyond the “he’s a fictional character, so what is death, really?” nature of the concept, there’s also the reality that 2000AD isn’t going to kill off its most popular character anytime soon, especially when you factor in the fact that he’s also got a spin-off title to carry, the only 2000AD character to do so.

But as far as almost everyone — including, until this week, the reader — knows, Judge Dredd has been dead for the last month or so, after his shuttle exploded in mid-air at the end of 2000AD Prog 1977. Since then, both the Dredd strips in 2000AD and Judge Dredd Megazine have become aligned in terms of continuity, with both telling simultaneous, parallel stories about a world in which Dredd is presumed dead, and exploring how that information is handled by those around him and the (political and personal) impact it’s had. It’s a wide-ranging story about a Dredd-shaped hole, and it’s kind of wonderful.

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Oh, hello, everyone. Nice to see you all again. Sorry for having been so … intermittent, I guess, over the last while. The usual internet-content-provider excuses apply–“life got in the way,” “busy time at the ol’ dayjob,” etc.–but there’s also been a bit of that familiar pop culture malaise, a feeling not so much that I don’t enjoy anything I’m consuming, but that I don’t really care about any of it. Anything I would’ve written would’ve reflected that (you can probably actually see some of it in my PunisherMax post from a few weeks back–there were ideas that I wanted to explicate but just couldn’t muster the enthusiasm for), so I wound up largely not writing.

And that’s where things stood this week, this crazy-busy and generally weird week (in which I somehow wound up on sportstalk radio in San Diego discussing baseball?), when my wife and I realized that we had childcare and money and time Thursday night and could sneak away for a showing of Captain America: Civil War. Surely that would engage me, right? At one of those fancy theaters with leather seats and local beers and decent food, no less! Fun! Cheerfulness! Joy!

Orrrrrrrrr a film that leapfrogged my malaise the other way, by being just frustratingly not-as-good as I wanted it to be. Let’s put in a page break, because I didn’t enjoy the film nearly enough to be careful tiptoeing around any SPOILERS.

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It struck me, recently, that my oft-repeated (to myself, at least) belief that I am not really that into the whole autobio comics scene was utterly flawed. Despite proudly proclaiming this for a number of years while announcing that Eddie Campbell’s Alec — autobio in all but name, literally; it’s well-known that the series presents barely fictionalized versions of Campbell’s true-life tales, with names changed to protect the innocent, guilty and everyone in between — was the exception that proved the rule, I have been forced to accept that it’s simply not true. What I’m really not that into, it seems, are bad autobio comics.

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0:00-10:45: Greetings! And a slow burn of a greeting it is, too, what with Graeme actively (actively!) asking questions about Jeff’s storage space moving plans. And then a discussion of media mail?! Are you kidding me??  Just how lucky are you, you guys? It’s almost impossible to gauge.

10:45-22:04: Comics!  We realize right around here that we can talk about comics: y’know, just dive right and start talking about comics we’ve been reading on our over the last three-plus weeks that.  So of course we spend some time talking about public reception to the upcoming Captain America: Civil War movie. Also discussed: anger and the Internet, surgery, scheduling, commercials and Marvel Comics, and more.
22:04-37:38: Speaking of which, we discuss the first issue of Black Panther by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Brian Steelfreeze, and Laura Martin: Discussed: price points; Hickman’s Avengers; Don McGregor’s Panther’s Rage; the Marvel BOGO sale at Comixology and the Marvel Half-Price Off Sale at Amazon; Black Panther as Batman; Jack Kirby, Grant Morrison, and Geoff Johns.
37:38-52:58: in fact, Graeme has read *a lot* of Geoff Johns material recently so he has some opinions on this very topic. Discussed: JSA, Hawkman, Brightest Day, Flash: Rebirth, and Green Lantern: Rebirth; Captain Britain; Geoff Johns’ Flash and TV’s Flash; and more.
52:58-1:19:17: “Are you into Flash?” Graeme asks. “Like, as a character?”  This is a potentially great topic for conversation—who are our favorite heroes, and why?—but it catches Jeff surprisingly off-guard.  Discussed:  DC heroes and Marvel heroes; every Wildcat story ever; the template behind Morrison’s JLA and how it’s being used by Waid right now in All-New, All-Different Avengers; Nick Spencer and Daniel Acuna’s Captain America; Jeff’s Captain America theory; Avengers Standoff: Welcome to Pleasant Hill; DC’s Legends; where the name “The Phantom Stranger” came from; and more.
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1:19:17-1:34:37: A thing Jeff re-read very recently and greatly enjoyed but not in the ways he expected: Elektra Assassin by Frank Miller and Bill Sienkiewicz. Also discussed:  David Mazzuchelli and Daredevil: Born Again and Batman: Year One; Dave McKean; Barron Storey; and more.
Wheaton11:34:37-1:40:06: Other things Jeff re-read and enjoyed: two collections of Brubaker’s and Phillips’ (and Staples’ and Breitweiser’s) ’ Criminal:  Bad Night and Last of the Innocent, while also checking out the recent 10th Anniversary Special Edition Magazine.  Discussed: Archie, Encyclopedia Brown; Britt Black; Wil Wheaton; Matt Fraction; and more.
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1:40:06-1:52:39: Also on the “Jeff read and enjoyed this” list: 4 Kids Walk Into a Bank by Tyler Boss and Matthew Rosenberg; Unbeatable Squirrel Girl V2 #7 by Ryan North, Erica Henderson and Ricco Renzi; The Vision #6 by Tom King, Gabriel Hernandez Walta and Jordie Bellaire (with a possible spoiler for Civil War II); the problem with Ms. Marvel; and more.
1:52:39-2:09:30: Jeff also read via Marvel Unlimited the first issue of Amazing Spider-Man (2015) by Dan Slott and Giuseppe Camuncoli and he had, let us just say, “all the feels” about it. Discussed: Spidey’s love interests; how to have your spider-cake and eat it too; grown-ups and Richie Rich; #NotMyBlackPanther; and more.
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2:09:30-2:14:46: Because we’ve run long, Graeme can only briefly extol the virtues of The Panther by Brecht Evens (now out in English) and Hot Dog Taste Test by Lisa Hanawalt, both from Drawn & Quarterly); and Jeff manages to work in how much he enjoyed the first issue of Sun Bakery by Corey “Rey” Lewis.
2:14:46-end: Closing Comments!  Look for us on  Stitcher! Itunes! Twitter together and separately: Graeme and Jeff! MattTumblr (where Graeme posted a really fantastic little Spider-Man story by Hannah Blumenreich.  If you haven’t seen it already, you should check it out)! And our special thanks to the kind crew at American Ninth Art Studios for their continuing support of this podcast, as well as our continuing special thanks to the Empress Audrey, Queen of the Galaxy…and to all 120 of our supporters on Patreon who make all this possible.
NEXT WEEK:  For some of the reasons discussed above, but also because of the schedule (we think?), there’s a skip week! Catch us in two for more audio gaga!
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There is, I think, a New Teen Titans issue where the framing device is a narrator asking “What do you do after the day after you’ve saved the world?” or something similar over and over again. As cloying as it seemed at the time, it did get over the idea of anti-climax involved in coming down from such a high, and the question (or something similar) was in my head over and over as I read the solo Captain Britain stories that followed Alan Moore’s run.

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Don’t get me wrong; in many ways, I prefer much of the Jamie Delano and Alan Davis-written episodes to the Moore run, because it’s not as endlessly dour and grim; there are even happy moments in there, every now and then! But it’s also a run that feels as if it’s lost and wandering around in search of a reason to exist and a story to tell, as well as one where subplots are set up and then forgotten about for months before being rushed to a conclusion needlessly. (The return of police chief Dai Thomas, who’s figured out Captain Britain’s secret identity, literally disappears between the first and final issues of the second Captain Britain series, released thirteen months apart, and its resolution is essentially, “I figured out your secret identity.” “Oh. Okay, then.”) In other words, it’s a bit of a mess.

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I’ve written before, I’m sure, about the cognitive dissonance in listening to the Beatles for the first time at any point after, say 1990-something; it’s not just that the work is “old” — although, let’s go with “classic,” that feels more respectful — but that it’s been entirely stripped for parts to the point where everything that once felt revolutionary or novel about it feels everyday or even tired; at best, you have a feeling of “That must have seemed amazing back then!”

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Re-reading Alan Moore’s Captain Britain evokes the same response; I’m sure that this all felt revelatory when it was being published back in the 1980s, but I can’t get through it today without thinking, “Oh, there’s a bit that feels like Grant Morrison told the language for Zenith, and that’s something that Mark Millar nicked for Saviour” and so on, and so on, and that’s even before considering the pieces of the mythology that Moore introduces that are similarly borrowed from other sources (Ever since I first read these stories in the mid-90s, I thought that this was in part a homage to DC’s multiverse, I admit).

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