0:01-11:16: Greetings! Our first holiday gift for you is the title of the Hallmark holiday movie of 2025—Hollywood Hibernation! Who will write the “Uptight woman X down home dude X Xmas spirit” streaming hit? Well….why not you? Also discussed: new computers and new workflows; grim portents for the Indy Mac developer scene, maybe?; and more.
11:16-44:07: Time to change things up! Jeff is very pleased by how much work he put into his Best of 2020 list (ridiculous in a way because it is such a personal list and has so little to actually do with what books actually came *out* in 2020). But knowing the verbal deluge it will bring, he begs Graeme to give his list first. Although I’m linking to Graeme’s Top Ten list over at THR, here it is below with handy Amazon affiliate links in case you feel like getting yourself something nice and making sure we get a small smattering of Bezos-coins at the end of the year:
Don’t Go Without Me by Rosemary Valero-O’Connell;
Superman Smashes the Klan by Gene Luen Yang and Gurihiru;
Al Ewing’s MultipleMarvelTitles;
John Constantine: Hellblazer by Si Spurrier, Aaron Campbell, and Matias Bergara;
DreadNoughts by Michael Carroll and John Higgins;
The Loneliness of the Long Distance Cartoonist by Adrian Tomine;
A Map to The Sun by Sloane Leong;
The Magic Fish by Trung Le Nguyen;
Lost Soldiers by Aleš Kot and Luca Casalanguida;
and Paul at Home by Michel Rabagliati.
(With a special secret eleventh pick: Seven Secrets by Tom Taylor and Daniele Di Nicuolo)
44:07-1:26:20: Jeff’s turn! And Jeff being Jeff, he talks about the books, why he picked them, what they’re about, when they might’ve come out, picks he’s still on the fence about…you know, all that obnoxious noise:
–Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files, Vols 12-14 and The Dead Man by John Wagner, John Ridgway, Alan Grant, Carlos Ezquerra, and a flotilla of great artists;
–Karate Promby Kyle Starks;
–Gangland Allstars #1-3 by Abhay Khosla, Alfredo Torres, Diego Guerra, George Kambadais, Sean Witzke, and more!
–The Book Tour by Andi Watson;
–Gambling Apocalypse Kaiji by Nobuyuki Fukumoto;
–Blank Canvas: My So-Called Artist’s Journeyby Akiko Higashimura;
–Wotakoi: Love Is Hard for Otaku by Fujita;
–Haikyu!! by Haruichi Furudate;
and Urotsukidoji: Legend of the Overfiend by Toshio Maeda.
Also discussed: “Tentacle Master,” Jeremy Bulloch and Daniel Logan; Runners-up from the Big Two (Immortal Hulk, Jimmy Olsen, Savage Avengers, Shadow of the Batgirl); and more. (Note from Jeff: I think I’m going to post my big list in the comments, maybe?)
1:26:20-1:55:15: Graeme points out that Jeff thought we had a lot to discuss and he wonders…what is on Jeff’s agenda, exactly? Discussed: Jeff’s pick for the best manga adaptation of the year; Infinite Frontier and DC’s coming relaunch (and their five year cycle); Death Metal keeping on Death Metalling; the unspoken rules behind crossovers; and more.
1:55:16-:2:11:48: Graeme would love to see the pitch material for the “5G” and Timeline of the DC Universe story/event/direction DC seems to have mostly abandoned? He’d love it if they published the pitch and the development materials so we can see what might’ve been. And this sounds sort of impossible and crazy until you realize (or until Jeff realizes, after Graeme points it out) that DC has already done such a thing in their recent DC Through the 80s: The End of Eras Vol. 1, which reprints in its entirety Alan Moore’s in/famous Twilight proposal. So you can kind of imagine where that leads us…
2:11:48-end: And so we come to the end of the podcast at the end of the year at the end of….something? I don’t know, it feels like something is ending. Anyway, although we take our time getting there—and along the way you get to hear what Graeme’s favorite filmed version of A Christmas Carol is (as well as a link to Chloe providing the receipts)! and Jeff’s ringing endorsement of the Sidebooks app for reading PDFs (that link is for the Ipad but it also exists for Android and other formats)! —you really should consider this the start of…. closing comments! Look for us on Stitcher!Itunes!Instagram! Twitter together and separately: Graeme and Jeff! Tumblr, 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: It’s Christmas! And then look for our first podcast of 2021 in…2021!
Previously on Drokk!: As we’ve reached the early 1990s, we’ve said goodbye to Garth Ennis and hello to the next generation of Judge Dredd writers in 2000 AD — including none other than a very young Mark Millar. Thankfully, over in the Magazine, John Wagner has returned to save us all.
0:00:00-0:03:30: We introduce ourselves and admit our lack of fondness for at least half of the book we’re covering in this episode, Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files Vol. 20, which covers material from 1993 and 1994’s 2000 AD and Judge Dredd: The Megazine issues. It’s… not exactly a high point, at least where the 2000 AD episodes are concerned.
0:03:31-0:07:03: Before we get to just how shockingly, appallingly bad the majority of the 2000 AD episodes are this time around, we talk about the one 2000 AD story in the book that we enjoyed: “Roadkill,” written by John Smith, who has turned out to be a bright spot amongst a dark time for 2000 AD writers.
0:07:04-0:44:12: Why is the 2000 AD material so bad this time around? The answer might be found in Jeff’s description of the book as “the most consistently racist volume” in the series to date, with so many of the 2000 AD stories being racist in a variety of ways, each of them genuinely breathtaking in something published so relatively recently. We talk about that, and also the fact that both of us feel as if the 2000 AD material is skewing younger than it has before, even when 2000 AD was officially a “kids’ comic.” Is that because the stories are more simplistic in format and execution, that they revolve around high concept hooks, or that there’s an absence of the ambiguity and complexity that Wagner and Grant brought to the strip in their heyday? Also under discussion: the ways in which Millar (and Grant Morrison, who co-writes one of the serials in this collection) imagine threats to Dredd, and how flawed their understanding of structure and pacing is when it comes to the longer storylines. And just who Sonny Steelgrave, and why is he terrible?
0:44:13-0:50:00: It’s not just Mark Millar who’s disappointing in the 2000 AD stories in this book, and we talk about whether or not they’re at least more interesting than the Garth Ennis era of Dredd stories. (We differ on this, I think.) “The first half [of this volume] was genuinely excruciating,” Jeff says, and he’s not wrong about that.
0:50:01-1:08:19: All isn’t lost, however, and the Magazine stories in this collection turn out to be pretty uniformly good — with one exception that we talk about briefly — thanks to John Wagner having a really strong period around this time. The first of three truly great Wagner stories in this book, “Bury My Knee At Wounded Heart,” is the first to draw our attention, and it brings us to talk about Dredd’s unusual display of moral cowardice, the wonderful staging of the scene by Peter Doherty, and what it means for Dredd to experience shame for perhaps the first time in the character’s history. We also do a quick rundown of all the Magazine stories in this volume, and Jeff explains why “Do The Wrong Thing” flubs what could have been an important response to the racism as displayed in the 2000 AD stories this time out.
1:08:20-1:25:10: The second great Wagner story is “Giant,” and we talk about the ways in which it stacks up against similar stories in the strip’s past — and there have been a bunch — while also quietly building on them, and displaying a potential shift in the way that Wagner is thinking about not only the way the Justice Department runs, but also the way that it should run, with this story offering a couple of wonderfully subtle criticisms of the status quo to underscore just how unsubtle Dredd has been in recent years.
1:25:11-1:41:08: Perhaps the most amazing, unexpected strip of the entire volume is saved for last, with Wagner and Mick McMahon’s “Howler” being unlike anything else in the history of the Dredd strip, and all the better for it. We talk about the “weird performance art” aspect of it, but really, I should just share images, because that says it all.
1:41:09-end: Is this volume Drokk or Dross? It’s a surprisingly close run thing, but not nearly as close is our choice of favorite Wagner and non-Wagner strips in the volume. From there, we close things up by talking briefly about what’s to come, and then wrapping things up with the traditional mention of our Tumblr, Instagram, Twitter, and Patreon accounts, and that’s it for 2020’s Drokk!s. As ever, thank you for reading and listening along; you’re all the greatest, even when the stories are not.
0:01-23:25: Greetings! Pardon us for sounding so chipper, but Graeme McMillan and Jeff Lester are in a pretty good mood because…they think they have a shot at surviving 2020? Because of Christmas? Because we exchange podcast editing tips? Because Jeff finally gets corrected by Graeme about how to pronounce his name?! Because of SAD? We think it might be because we haven’t spoken in a while and we’re…glad to be talking to each other?? WEIRD.
23:25-39:47: Anyway, remember that “because of Christmas” point just above? Graeme fleshes that out by discussing the Bing Holiday/Fred Astaire classic, Holiday Inn, and giving a list of Christmas movies he watches because, hey, tis the season! I mean…I wish I could explain how we get from a Bing Crosby holiday movie to the Terminator franchise and what we would pick as the least awful of the non-Cameron directed movies, but believe it or not, it’s a buttery-smooth transition! And then Graeme mentions The Thing prequel with Mary Elizabeth Winstead? To Jeff, who is the only person on earth (next to Eve Mavrakis) who is *not* in any way, shape, or form a fan of Mary Elizabeth Winstead? Graeme is full of surprises, that one! [Oh, and that clip above was supposed to the musical number in Holiday Inn that Graeme talks about but I started watching it on YouTube and…no. Just no.]
56:54-1:03:07: From Warners to DC in a single bound! Graeme talks about the recent spate of DC creative team announcements and talks about some of the Future State books he’s read. Discussed: Future State Swamp Thing; Future State Wonder Woman; the free Future State promo mag; and more.
1:03:07-1:08:51: By contrast, Jeff really wants to talk about trying to sell his used bidet on Nextdoor?
1:08:51-1:24:53: From used bidets to The King in Black #1 by Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman? That Graeme McMillan knows how to segue! Join us for some impressively dramatic recapping, featuring a bonus recap of Cates’ Guardians of the Galaxy run.
1:24:53-1:41:21: Jeff wants to talk about some recent comics he’s read, and tries to introduce them by talking about a recent tweet he made. (However, one of Jeff’s better tweets was about a dream he had about the latest novel by Don DeLillo which Graeme mentions but pronounces the name so that it sounds like Dan Didio and hoo boy is Jeff tickled by that mistake until Graeme sets him straight! Hoo. Boy.) But then when that’s cleared up Jeff talks about what he thinks might be one of the best first issues of a superhero comic ever published: The Flash by Mike Baron, Jackson Guice and Larry Mahlstedt. Also discussed: the first two issues of The Grackle; The Badger and Nexus; and more.
1:41:21-2:03:37: Graeme’s been starting to get ready for December and the preparation of his best-of list. In preparation for same, he reread the last year or so of Al Ewing and Joe Bennett’s Immortal Hulk and, to Jeff’s huge surprise, doesn’t think it’s as good as it’s been? Also discussed: some of the other titles being considered for Graeme’s list, including one Graeme thinks is similar to IH he’d rank more highly.
2:03:37-2:16:33: After a bit of talking about Santa and Jesus and their respective comic book appearances, we should easily segue into discussing Grant Morrison’s and Dan Mora’s Klaus, we instead swing over to the first trade of The Green Lantern: Season 2 by G-Mo and Liam Sharp. While nobody has even tried to argue Sharp’s work is anything but the bee’s knees, most have been more and more underwhelmed by Morrison’s side of things as time has gone on to the point where even the writer’s fiercest advocates have dismissed it. But Jeff just read this trade on Hoopla…and he kind of loves it? No spoilers, but let’s just his final characterization of the book gets a good laugh from Graeme which is probably the best any of Jeff’s critical arguments can hope for. Come for Jeff forgetting Mike Friedrich’s name (twice! once right after Graeme tells him!), stay for—you know what, come and stay for that bit because it’s humiliating.
2:16:33-2:23:53: Graeme mentioned on our last episode reading, enjoying, and being deeply amused by Andi Watson’s The Book Tour. On the recommendation, Jeff read it and enjoyed it, but also found it disquietingly nightmarish? As the professionals say: “let’s unpack that.” Also included: one or two other genuinely quick recommendations and reviews from Jeff.
2:23:53-end: Closing comments, after a quick rundown of our recording schedule for the month and some confusion as to what volume of Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files we’re reading for the next Drokk. (Volume 20, everyone. Read Volume 20.) Oh, and Jeff will also be appearing on DCOCD to talk about DC Rebirth, so keep your ears open for that, too.
And then! Look for us on Stitcher!Itunes!Instagram! Twitter together and separately: Graeme and Jeff! Tumblr, 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!!
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 Jeff! Tumblr, 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?!
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…?
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 Jeff! Tumblr, 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!
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!
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!
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.
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.
2:31:54-end: Closing comments! Look for us on Stitcher!Itunes!Instagram! Twitter together and separately: Graeme and Jeff! Tumblr, 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!
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.
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).
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 Jeff! Tumblr, 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!!