0:01-02:07:  Greetings from Graeme “Oh My Stars & Garters” McMillan and Jeff “Oh My God, Oh My God, Oh My God” Lester! Our intro is a bit different than usual because instead of diving right in to talking to each other, we instead take a moment to explain about how we are and what we do.  Is this our attempt to be more inclusive to new listeners?  Heck, no!  It’s our attempt to be more inclusive to our special guest, Mr. Steve Englehart!  The writer, raconteur, and mastermind behind dozens of classic stories helps us celebrate Wait, What’s tenth anniversary by joining us for a nearly two hour chat.  So without further ado…
2:07-20:19:  Graeme kicks off the questioning by asking about SE’s entrance into the comics industry—one of our very favorite comics writers started off as an artist.  How and when did that change? Discussed:  the first Marvel story SE wrote; The Beast’s series in Amazing Adventures (issues #12-17); confidence; working Marvel method vs. full script; working on Detective Comics; working with artists who won’t draw your plot; and more.
20:19-24:35: Speaking a bit more about the Marvel method, Jeff asks if the method as Englehart’s preferred working was aided by some of the very tight collaborations with artists and friends in the early days of SE’s career:  Discussed:  working with Frank Brunner, Jim Starlin, and Al Milgrom on Captain Marvel and West Coast Avengers.
24:35-40:29: Graeme asks about how the early days of Englehart’s career—where he was living the dream of working alongside friends in the The Bullpen—contrasted with his return to working on comics in the Eighties. Did he see the change in the comics industry happening toward what it would become when he came back?  Discussed:  the shadowban of the word supervillain; Shooter vs. DeFalco; the end of the Marvel age and the end of Englehart’s run on the Fantastic Four; Jeff’s melodramatic RL fanfic; and more.
40:29-55:36: I think everyone should give Graeme McMillan so many kudos for managing to hold out for forty full minutes before asking about The New Guardians!  (To be fair to Graeme, it is a brilliant tie-in to talking about the end of Englehart’s work at Marvel because the New Guardians represented the end of his work at DC.  Discussed:  sex, drugs, and rock & roll; Snowflame!; devil’s advocate, devil’s devil’s advocate, and devil’s devil’s devil’s advocate with mention of storylines in Green Lantern Corps and West Coast Avengers; Coyote as a comic outside the Comics Code that takes its cues from Englehart experiencing freedom as a novelist; crafting stories with recognizable characters inside and outside the Comics Code; using the X-Men during their lost era; and more.
55:36-1:08:38: Graeme has an “entirely random” question for Steve: “How did you get involved in video games?”  Discussed: an epiphany via Dick Giordano; Ted Richards and Dopin’ Dan; writing for video games; The Tribe project at Atari (in the early 2000s) and Games.com; 21st Century pop culture; and more.
1:08:38-1:32:34:  They’re doing a Shang-Chi movie (as we’re all aware)!  That must be an odd and amazing feeling for SE, right? Discussed: Starlord; royalties and revenue streams and Marvel//Disney vs. DC; looking for movies and TV licensing with the self-owned properties; having readers and instant feedback for your work; a deep cut question about the letters page of Captain America #148, and a question (or two) about comic continuity and whether it has a limited shelf life; The Malibu Ultraverse and why those characters and stories have not returned despite some initial plans;  and more.
1:32:34-1:50:03: Could Steve see himself working for Marvel again? Or DC?  The answers may surprise you!  (By which I mean: Jeff.  It definitely surprised Jeff.)  Also discussed: Hollywood’s interest in making comic book movies; the difficulty of doing that well; the reinvention of Batman (again!); comics as a collaborative force; favorite comic book artists; the Buscema brothers; and more.
1:50:03-end:  “Do you still love superheroes.  Do you still read comics?” Jeff apologizes (a lot!) and we thank Steve Englehart (hopefully even more?) for joining us. Instead of our regular closing comments, we had to just go recline on the divan and recover.  (So much so, that next week is a skip week—we will return in two weeks with a new episode of Drokk!!)  But I will say here that you can look for us on  Stitcher! Itunes! Instagram! Twitter together and separately: Graeme and Jeff! MattTumblr, and  on Patreon where a wonderful group of people make this all possible, including Empress Audrey, Queen of the Galaxy, to whom we are especially grateful for her continuing support of this podcast.  (Also, don’t forget about Spotify!)
Next week:  Skip week, as we’ll be recovering.  But join us in two weeks for the seventh episode of Drokk!!
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0:01-10:36:  Greetings from Graeme “Derry Girls” McMillan and Jeff “New Mic, Old Mac” Lester!  We hope you like our occasional forays into non-comic book talk, because that is definitely how we start out episode 276!  Like the smoothest of stones, we skip from Keyser Soze to Derry Girls to Hobbs & Shaw to one of your hosts moving to artisanal cobwebs in under two minutes.
10:36-22:26: But, hey, we do swerve back to comic news before too long, as we discuss a pretty interesting tidbit recently come to light:  Rob Liefeld doesn’t own the rights to Youngblood!  Weird, right?  And yet somehow true?  Also discussed: buying Comico, licensing Amazing Heroes, and more.
22:26-25:01: Back to Hobbs & Shaw!  Did you know Drew Pearce, who wrote No Heroics and Iron Man 3, also wrote H&S?  That’s pretty cool right?
25:01-1:03:59: But since neither of us have seen Hobbs & Shaw, Jeff goes on to talk about Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood.  No spoilers, sorta?  (Depending on how well you know Tarantino films, we probably give away by what you can infer from our discussion.)  We talk about this problematic movie from this problematic auteur and Jeff’s thoughts and feelings about the movie being (surprise!) troubled (and probably problematic).  Also discussed:  Tarantino movies; feet; ER and X-Files; Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Joss Whedon’s new series, The Nevers; and Neil Gaiman’s work for Marvel.
1:03:59-1:18:49:  Speaking of which, guess what Graeme just reread this last week?  No joke, it’s The Eternals by Neil Gaiman and John Romita, Jr.!  As you know, bagging on Neil Gaiman is like catnip for Jeff, but Graeme manages to get some good points in there.  Discussed;  the next phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and where The Eternals might help or hinder that; and more.
1:18:49-1:22:39:  Hey, that Powers of X #1 came out this week from Jonathan Hickman and R. B. Silva and it sure was something, wasn’t it?  We talk about how ambitious and crazy and impressive it was, and what ends up exciting comics readers, Paul O’Brien doing annotations for House of X and Powers of X (yay!!!); and more.
1:22:39-1:29:26: Batman: Last Knight on Earth #2 by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo is out and Jeff is digging on it.  But is he reading Justice League?  And if not, why?
1:29:26-1:44:51: Two hits and then a stunning miss:  The Green Lantern Annual #1 by Grant Morrison and Giuseppe Camuncoli. It’s not our cup of tea, in no small part because it’s terrible.
1:44:51-1:52:28: We circle back to Powers of X #1 because, as we were saying earlier, it sure was something!  We talk more about what that something is, and we debate whether or not we can really talk full-on spoilers or not?  Graeme talks a few things that may or may not be spoilers, depending on how things turn out.  We kick in with this at theory at 1:49:01 and it only lasts for a few minutes and is really just spoilery theories, I guess?
1:52:28-1:56:46:  Also impossible to  spoil is Skull-Face Bookseller Honda-san, a very goofy little book by Shingo Honda about the trials and tribulations of working in the manga section of a Japanese bookstore and dealing with, among other things, westerners needing help finding their disquieting manga selections?
1:56:46-2:03:37: One of the ongoing joys of DC Universe for Jeff is that more often than not every week they upload an issue of Superman’s Girlfriend, Lois Lane #9, featuring Pat Boone.
2:03:37-2:07:44: Speaking of DCUniverse, Jeff has *finally* checked out Doom Patrol right?  Well, wrong.  Here more about his self-defeating TV choices.  We also have a fast update about Graeme’s read of The Boys and how it reflects on the TV show.
2:07:44-end:  Closing comments!  Look for us on  Stitcher! Itunes! Instagram! Twitter together and separately: Graeme and Jeff! MattTumblr, and  on Patreon where a wonderful group of people make this all possible, including Empress Audrey, Queen of the Galaxy, to whom we are especially grateful for her continuing support of this podcast.  (Also, don’t forget about Spotify!)
Next week:  STEVE ENGLEHART
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0:01-18:33:  Greetings from Graeme “Back From The Wars” McMillan and Jeff “Loverman” Lester!  We only have time for the briefest of Billy Bragg references before we’re off to the coverage of San Diego Comic-Con 2019, as only our embedded correspondent can provide!  It was a very weird show, with some strange arrangements and a lot of off-kilter preparation.  It’s not worth putting a time stamp but at one point, Graeme mentions that the combined DC/Warner Brothers booth was so big Jeff’s apartment could’ve fit in it four times.  Well, in editing this, Jeff checked with Edi (who actually has an ability to remember numbers and understand spatial relationships), and ran the actual booth size—two floors of 6500 square feet total—and the actual answer?  Jeff and Edi’s apartment could fit in that total square footage EIGHT TIMES. Also discussed: the Strange Adventures announcement from DC; the Undiscovered Country announcement from Image; the Hickman announcement panel at Marvel; the panels Graeme moderated; and more.
18:33-23:20: I don’t know if I can cleanly split this stuff up, but here’s where we started talking about Marvel Studio’s announcements for their upcoming film slate.  Graeme lists them out, along with the Disney+ TV shows.  And then we whipsaw back to the new X-Men titles announced at the Hickman reveal panel, along with some fun facts revealed there.
23:20-29:00: But here’s what Graeme thinks may have been the biggest story to come out SDCC and it seems like it’s been super-slept on:  Comichub which does point of sales software in the retail market, has announced a partnership with NPD Group, and so sales will be entered into Bookscan.  Retailers who use Comichub POS software will have their sales counted by Bookscan *and* will also have access to Bookscan data.  This could be a huge boon for those retailers and help gain a better understanding of total sales for comics and graphic novels (which, as Hibbs will tell you, is pretty tricky stuff to try and even remotely guess at).  For Jeff, there was the announcement of IDW collecting all of Steve Ditko’s Mr. A, and the disquieting acknowledgment (when someone asked) that Ditko quite specifically did not want the material reprinted.  Discussed: It’s problematic.

29:00-38:57:  From out of the problematic frying pan and into the problematic fire, we talk about HBO’s Watchmen Comic-Con trailer and Damon Lindelof’s comments at the Television Critics Association about his relationship to Moore’s reaction to the show. (comic by Kenny Keil).

38:57-1:07:49:  Here’s some good news from SDCC.  Doom Patrol the TV show?  It got a Season Two, and pretty much thanks to HBO Max.  I for one welcome our corporate synergistic overlords!  Also discussed:  the Harley Quinn animated show trailer.  Also discussed: The Great British Bake-Off; the secret behind Midsommar; the offsite Batman experience; the transition of SDCC from being a movie-based convention to a TV-based convention; the most popular cosplay of the show, maybe?; Kevin Huizenga’s The River At Night; new work by Adrian Tomine, Lisa Hannawalt, and more; what Graeme spent too much money on; the difference between New York Comic-Con and San Diego Comic Con; and much, much more.

1:07:49-1:28:16:  Graeme has watched all eight episodes of The Boys on Amazon Prime, and he…liked it?! So much so that he went and got the omnibi off Hoopla and is re-reading them?  UNEXPECTED! Discussed: how faithful the adaptation is, who seems to like and who doesn’t on social media, the differences made and their effects; Ennis and his thematic concerns, early Boys with Darick Robertson and later Boys with Russ Braun; the original pitch for The Boys.  (And yet, this is mostly a spoiler-free review?)

1:28:16-1:32:54: As long as we’re talking about shows on Amazon Prime, also on Prime is Under The Silver Lake, the follow-up film from It Follows director David Robert Mitchell starring Andrew Garfield, a comedic L.A. noir that mulls over Mulholland Dr., Hitchcock films, Pynchon novels, conspiracy theories and cultural legacies. Jeff really wants to talk about it and talk about it and talk about it, but you guys all get off lucky.
1:32:54-1:42:24:  However, all of that is probably the perfect prelude to talking about House of X #1 by Jonathan Hickman, Pepe Larraz, and Marte Gracia.  It’s a big batch of comics in one (not cheap but still satisfying!) issue and we muse over its mysteries and finding that comic book sweet spot.
1:42:24-2:00:35:  But Jeff may be fronting a bit on the superhero score.  He loved House of X #1, he read and liked some other superhero books—here’s looking at you, Batman Universe #1—but what was really his jam these last few weeks was fourteen volumes of You’re My Pet by Yayoi Ogawa.  Jeff adores the cartooning, the characterization and the storytelling and it’s all available to those who have a Comixology Unlimited subscription.  Also discussed: the first volume of Mars, more of a Shojo manga (You’re My Pet seems to be much more Josei, for these keeping track at home) similarly available on CU by Fuyumi Soryo.  Also discussed: Jimmy Olsen #1 by Matt Fraction, Steve Lieber, and Nathan Fairbairn; Superman: Up In the Sky #1 by Tom King, Andy Kubert, Sandra Hope, and Brad Anderson; Batman #75 by Tom King, Tony S. Daniel, Mitch Gerads, and Mitch Gerads; and Bad Weekend TPB by Ed Brubaker and Sean & Jacob Phillips.  Also discussed: the end of Walking Dead and reaction about it at SDCC; the resurgence of Todd McFarlane; and more.
2:00:35-2:14:29:  Graeme read the aforementioned Huizenga book; got a lot of print stuff from 2000 A.D.; and he runs Jeff through The Batman Who Laughs miniseries, a mini Graeme thought he was only an issue or two behind on but in fact hadn’t checked it out after issue #1.  It’s…. a very strange little series?
2:14:29-2:20:25: Oh, and Jeff also tried to get his ass in gear and get out of the big two rut, and read The Wrong Earth #1 and #2 by Tom Peyer, Jamal Igle, Juan Castro, and Andy Troy; and Second Coming #1 by Mark Russell, Richard Pace, Leonard Kirk, and Andy Troy, both published by Ahoy Comics.  He liked one and loved the other.  Care to wager which is which, Mr. Bond? (And for bonus points, Mr. Bond, can you tell us how Irredeemable ends? Oh wait, never mind, we’ve both checked Wikipedia by now.)
2:20:25-end:  Closing comments, interspersed with apologies!  Look for us on  Stitcher! Itunes! Instagram! Twitter together and separately: Graeme and Jeff! MattTumblr, and  on Patreon where a wonderful group of people make this all possible, including Empress Audrey, Queen of the Galaxy, to whom we are especially grateful for her continuing support of this podcast.  (Also, don’t forget about Spotify!)
Next week:  Pretty sure it’ll be Episode 276!!
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Previously on Drokk!: Mega-City One as we know it — or, at least, as we’ve gotten to know it over the previous five episodes — is no more, as the result of the Apocalypse War, a storyline that both redefined the world Dredd lives in and the strip that’s named after him. But what can you do after that kind of monolithic event?

 

0:00:00-0:09:05: We quickly get into things, introducing that we’re talking about Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files Vol. 6 and diving into the fact that neither of us really knew quite what to expect in the fallout of the last volume — a feeling only amplified by the fact that the first storyline features a wrestling robot called Precious Leglock.

0:09:06-0:19:11: Jeff has a theory about this volume, and it’s that John Wagner and Alan Grant are using the stories in this volume to set out their theory of the Judges and where they stand on the fascism of it all, prompted not only by this volume, but also what’s happening in the world at this moment. I also have a theory about what Wagner and Grant are doing as it relates to the Judges and judicial overreach in the wake of the Apocalypse War… but then, there’s all this weird humor getting in the way of the darkness…!

0:19:12-0:40:48: We dig into the unevenness of this book — never in terms of quality, but in terms of story and tone, certainly, with the combination of darkness and comedy being something we talk about. We also talk about cultural insensitivity in Wagner and Grant’s writing, and also the way the line of what’s acceptable culturally has shifted in the 30+ years since these stories were first published, and also the debt Paul Verhoeven’s Starship Troopers may owe Judge Dredd, in terms of the use of satirical propaganda as storytelling tool. All this, and a tiny little note about a sneaky change in the world building of the strip, as the Cursed Earth sneaks inside the walls of Mega-City One.

0:40:49-0:53:01: In a volume where almost everything else is in constant flux, Wagner and Grant remain the constant, writing every strip. As they push against expectations for what Judge Dredd is as a character and a strip — in the process, pretty much demolishing those expectations by showing off how versatile the latter can be — Jeff and I talk about the way in which the writers are setting out their command and control of the series. And, getting back to Jeff’s theory, is this the volume where the two decide that the ultimate purpose of Dredd is simply to entertain?

0:53:02-1:18:06: We turn, eventually, to our favorite stories from the volume, beginning with mine: “Destiny’s Angels,” in which Wagner, Grant and Carlos Ezquerra take what would in someone else’s hands be a very dramatic epic and push it in an ever-more silly direction, leading to us talking about the multi-layered approach of the writing in Dredd. There’s also an impressively over-the-top conclusion to the story, which prompts Jeff to use the phrase “This remarkable achievement in the world’s grimmest whimsy,” which feels very appropriate, considering.

1:18:07-1:58:44: Then, to Jeff’s favorite story in the volume, “Shantytown,” which has a particular hold over him, as he explains. It brings a lot of subjects with it, not least of which the inherent fascism of the Judge system and Judge Dredd as a comic strip, and how complicit both the readers and the creators are in supporting that. Amongst the many things under discussion: Is “Shantytown” an occupation story in which we’re expected to root for the occupation force merely because it’s their name on the series’ title? Are the Judges evil? Are Wagner and Grant co-signing onto a cruel, dehumanizing system? What constitutes a happy ending, and what undercuts one? Is Dredd inherently trustworthy, despite everything? Is anyone else surprised by Jeff dropping a Mitchell & Webb reference? Okay, that one’s not actually discussed, but still.

1:58:45-2:19:59: We move onto other things that are particularly grim about this volume, including the unofficial imposition of martial law and constant growth of the Judges’ power in this volume. Does this represent the most honest depiction of political power in comics, and if so, is that accidental, considering that 2000 AD was still very much a kids’ comic at the time these episodes were printed? Also, we talk about Jeff’s fear that Wagner and Grant may have fascist tendencies based on comics’ history of important creators drifting in that direction, and once again touch on the idea that the tension in Wagner’s writing in particular when it comes to the idea that the Judges serve a purpose in their community is an important one to Judge Dredd as an overall strip.

2:20:00-end: We wrap things up with mention of the fact that, for those showing up at San Diego Comic-Con this week, I’m going to be on the Judge Dredd: Satire or Super-Cop panel on Thursday afternoon, before going into the usual mention of Tumblr, Instagram and Twitter, not to mention our Patreon. Next month, we’ll be back with Vol. 7, in which there are werewolves, competitive eating contests and, most importantly, the arrival on the strip of Cam Kennedy. As always, thanks for listening.

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0:01-3:42:  Greetings from Graeme “Recorded Saturday But Thought It Was Sunday” McMillan and Jeff “Edited Sunday But Thought It Was Monday” Lester!  On this long holiday weekend, we are recovering from a busy week, mainly by listing all the things we are not doing to relax.  Does that sound like we have a problem?  It kind of does, doesn’t it?
3:42-14:31:  While we’ve either been off-air or Drokking, things have been happening in the world of comics news.  In fact, we are at the end of no less than two eras!  And we start off by talking about the first one:  the announcement that Mad Magazine will cease publishing new material.  We talk about the amount of upset online despite not paying much attention to it online, the change in American humor, and much more.
14:31-1:06:28:  Mad Magazine comes after the news that Vertigo is being shuttered (along with new imprints Zoom and Ink) and…did we even talk about that?  We honestly can’t remember!  So we tackle it (again, for the very first time?), and talk about what’s happening to the books scheduled to come out under Zoom and Ink, the Hill House imprint, their announcement of creator-owned titles, how the rollout could’ve been handled differently, why DC Black Label is going away as an imprint but staying on as an age group, Batman as brand, DC as a “distracted, nonsensical publisher,” DC before Vertigo, the current publication status of Second Coming and Safe Sex; AND MUCH MORE.
1:06:28-2:12:39:  The other end of an era news?  The Walking Dead has ended as a comic book. Abruptly.  As in the most recent issue (#193) is the final issue, the issues already solicited to be published after that were apparently fakes, and Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard’s latest issue is now also the last.  That is a surprising end to the largest independent comic of our era (and arguably any era, depending on how you want to quantify the success of things like TMNT) and we talk about how it ended, why it ended, and what it means for Image now that their three biggest comics (TWD, Saga, and WicDiv) are now, essentially, over.  Although we try at first, this conversation is definitely a full-SPOILERS discussion of the final storyline and the final issue.  Discussed:  the final story arc for TWD; why sales collapsed for the series; how Jeff, long-term reader of TWD, feels now that it’s over; what caused the zombie apocalypse and the Star Trek finale feel to the end of the series; the last Image book that sells over 20k in the North American market; the new announcement from Image that came out ahead of SDCC; Kirkman’s other publishing strategies through Skybound; and speaking of SDCC, are DC and Image going into SDCC and being perceived as being in trouble; comic book marketing as compared to the marketing of other entertainment media; and a lot more.
2:12:39-2:24:40:  We are more or less aware that somehow the entire episode has flown by, Drokk!! Ep. 6 is next week, and we both think there’s something we’re forgetting to talk about?  Jeff suggests people go to Deb Aoki’s twitter which is normally filled with all kinds of goodness but is extra-full-to-bursting recently with Anime Expo news, such as the first episode of Vinland Saga appearing on Prime Video on July 8; the release of the Project Anime whitepaper about the status of manga in North America; and many, many other tidbits.
2:24:40-end:  Closing comments!  Look for us on  Stitcher! Itunes! Instagram! Twitter together and separately: Graeme and Jeff! MattTumblr, and  on Patreon where a wonderful group of people make this all possible, including Empress Audrey, Queen of the Galaxy, to whom we are especially grateful for her continuing support of this podcast.  (Also, don’t forget about Spotify!)
Next week:  Drokk!!  Next week!!
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Previously on Drokk!: John Wagner has been joined by his long-term writing partner Alan Grant, as the world of Mega-City One comes ever more defined by the episode. We’ve survived the Cursed Earth, the Day The Law Died and even the Judge Child Quest. But can anyone survive… the Apocalypse War…?

0:00:00-0:01:37: We jump into the episode in a remarkably quick fashion, so eager are we to discuss Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files Vol. 5, which covers material from 2000 AD Prog’s 208 through 270 — which is to say, far more than a year’s worth of material. Which makes it all the more surprising that the quality in this book is so high. A note on the podcast as a whole I’ll sneak in here: We’re so in our own heads that we never actually give the full names of the writers of the entire book; it’s John Wagner and Alan Grant, co-writing each episode. I mean, we’ve talked about them before in earlier episodes, so chances are everyone already knows, but yet.

0:01:38-0:09:35: We just right into things by talking about how strong the book is as a whole, with almost no filler, and even the stories we think might be filler are particularly strong. The whole thing, I argue, reads like one larger narrative about the fragility of the block system (and, arguably, Mega-City One as a whole). We talk about that, as well as the dark humor especially present in this volume, and the ways in which Judge Dredd (the strip) uses continuity differently from other comics.

0:09:36-0:23:30: Is this volume so strong because Wagner and Grant have found the perfect balance between world building and storytelling? That’s something I suggest, while we also talk about the two writers — and, specifically, their work in this volume — as being an unrecognized inspiration for a lot of subsequent British writers. Also, is the work in this book a response to 2000 AD’s then-contemporary interest in the concept of “future war,” and how would “The Apocalypse War” storyline stand up against fellow 2000 AD icon Pat Mills’ Invasion strip?

0:23:21-0:31:49: Intentionally or otherwise, Vol. 5 is very clearly a book of two halves, with the first half managing to create an atmosphere and understanding in the reader’s mind that supports the final “Block Mania” and “Apocalypse War” storylines. We discuss how organic this feels as a reader, while Jeff points out something that I’d missed: The first half of the book also contains a storyline which is, in many ways, the overarching structure of this volume in miniature.

0:31:50-0:39:10: We take a brief detour to talk about one of the so-called filler stories, which nonetheless proved to be surprisingly chilling to both Jeff and myself. Can a story about a man with a gun read “innocently” any more; when it first was published almost 40 years ago — and in the UK, where gun violence is far more rare — was it as removed from reality as the other, more outrageous, strips that surrounds it?

0:39:11-0:50:01: If the book is, as I argue, actually two books, then it’s impressive that the “lesser” of the two is still some of the best Dredd there is. Jeff and I talk about our love for “The Hotdog Run,” a three-parter that precedes “Block Mania” and “The Apocalypse War,” as well as touching on something that’s important and somewhat new about this volume’s strips: The suggestion that the Judges are, in fact, far more fallible than they’d previously been portrayed — something that is necessary for what’s to come.

0:50:02-0:58:05: Another detour of sorts, as the artists in the volume come up for discussion. We bid farewell to both Mike McMahon and Brian Bolland with this volume, both of whom go out on top — that McMahon art in particular is amazing — while Colin Wilson arrives with some art that suggests that Bolland’s influence will remain in this strip for quite some time. Even inside the mind of Ron Smith, who isn’t otherwise a particularly Bolland-esque artist, portrayals of Dredd aside.

0:58:06-1:04:04: If Joe Dredd is the eponymous lead of the strip, Jeff argues that Mega-City One is the primary co-star, which is why what happens to the city in this volume is so impactful; Wagner and Grant essentially manage to convince readers that the big co-star is going to get killed.

1:04:05-1:15:12: We finally arrive at the “Block Mania”/“Apocalypse War” cycle — which lasts 34 issues, all told, and is one massive story that pretends otherwise. There’s a quick plot synopsis, and then we’re into talking about how bold a piece of storytelling it is, and how it continually wrongfoots the reader in a genuinely impressive manner, continually outpacing expectations. As Jeff argues, it not only lives up to the hype that surrounds the storyline, it transcends it. (Bold, I know, but really; this is entirely earned praise.)

1:15:13-1:27:41: As bleak as it is — and “The Apocalypse War,” especially, is one of the most bleak storylines in all of Dredd, if taken literally — there’s something surprisingly entertaining and enjoyable about these two storylines. Is it simply that we’re ready for anything, even scenes of Walter the Wobot and racist stereotype housekeeper Maria, to break the existential horror of what is happening elsewhere? We also discuss the names of the various city blocks that show up in “Block Mania,” and what might be the most unlikely-to-be-picked-up-by-the-kid-demographic reference in Dredd yet.

1:27:42-1:34:33: Let’s take a moment to appreciate just how staggeringly good the art is throughout the 25-part “Apocalypse War,” with Carlos Ezquerra returning to the strip for the first time in five years to draw the entire thing. Jeff describes his take on Dredd and the world of the strip as “understated iconic,” and that feels entirely appropriate. There’s discussion of his style, of an amazing method of differentiating a flashback scene from the “present day,” and of the ways in which Ezquerra was like Jack Kirby.

1:34:34-1:49:28: This leads onto a conversation about Ezquerra’s past drawing war comics for the UK, which turns into a discussion about the influence of British war comics — which John Wagner had also worked on, of course — on this particular strip. I make the suggestion that, for the length of “The Apocalypse War,” the strip actually stops Judge Dredd as we know it, even as the storyline makes the most explicit argument for Dredd being a broken, damaged, dangerous man instead of a hero. Jeff runs with this, and points out the criticism of Dredd present in the story’s conclusion, which implicitly recasts the entire storyline as Dredd’s fault in an entirely new way.

1:49:29-1:59:02: Dredd is actually missing for significant chunks of “The Apocalypse War,” and we talk about the strip growing past him for this particular storyline. Also discussed: Carlos Ezquerra’s fine art inspiration for one particular panel, and the fact that I read this while watching HBO’s Chernobyl, which made for some strange parallels. (Something not mentioned in the podcast, but consider this an extra: I wondered how much influence the iconic British anti-nuclear war TV drama Threads had on “The Apocalypse War,” and the answer is none; it came out afterwards.)

1:59:03-2:03:42: As we start to wrap things up, Jeff answers the traditional question: Would this be a good place to start reading Dredd? Despite having compared “The Apocalypse War” to Watchmen, he argues against it, thinking that the book requires the build-up offered by earlier volumes; I also think it’s not the best idea, but mostly because “The Apocalypse War” would utterly skew new reader expectations of what Judge Dredd actually is, as a longform narrative and give false expectations of future volumes.

2:03:43-end: We finally head towards the exit sign by talking ever-so-briefly about the fact that this is actually the 400th episode of Wait, What?, as we close out of month of 10th anniversary programming. (Thank you, everyone, for listening, for however much of that decade you’ve been there for.) Then, as ever, we talk about our Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter and Patreon accounts, and Jeff sings us out. Happy Apocalypse, everyone…!

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0:01-3:38:  Greetings from Graeme “Jeff Lester?” McMillan and Jeff “Graeme McMillan?” Lester let you know you’ve been robbed of perhaps the greatest opening in our history!  (All that said, you probably didn’t miss much?)  And, because we have a lot of qiuestions to get to, after a bit of talk about the previous week’s weather, we are off to the races!
3:38-08:00:  John Kipling (from Patreon) wants to know:If the MCU makes a Fantastic Four movie who does Doom team up with to defeat Reed Richards? Namor? Mole Man and Fin Fang Foom? Galactus? (And if it is Fin Fang Foom should he wear athletic shorts?)
08:00-16:12: Ed (from Patreon) was wondering:First, Zenescope Comics and Aspen Comics seem to be popular (at least on Comixology). Do you have any sense who the audience for these are? To me, they seem like porn comics minus the porn. Am I missing something?
16:12-22:08: Second, I’ve tried to get into manga a few times but the only series that ever worked for me was Lone Wolf and Cub. I love the art style; the story was compelling, the action was clear; and it didn’t have much of the tropes that I associate with the manga that I don’t like: panty shots, high school, chibi characters, the little visual short hands (vampire teeth, bead of sweat, etc.). Do you have any manga recommendations that might work for me?
22:08-28:17: Steve Lacey asked via email: I’ll keep this brief as I’m on a phone at nearly 2am, under the influence of some very enjoyable birthday celebrations. I have never relied on autocorrect so much…
As fellow travellers on the Fantastic Four journey, I’m keen to hear your thoughts on the 10-or-so issues of the relaunched Fantastic Four so far. Are they any good? Where do they fit in the general FF rankings? And how do they compare to Slott’s other works?
28:17-30:16: In addition, what are your thoughts on the upcoming spinoff books – Invisible Woman, Future Foundation, and Yancy Street? Do the premises and creatives excite you enough, or are Marvel over saturating a limited market?
30:16-36:01: John Q (from email) wonders:In light of the ‘Drokk’ episodes, do either of you have any thoughts on the Marshal Law comic?
36:01-43:26: Jonathan Sapsed muses via email:My question is about creators ‘peaking’ in their careers. People say Chris Claremont peaked with the ’80s X-Men run or Bendis with Daredevil or Ultimate Spider-Man. But do creators really peak or is it that everybody gets used to their style? People are saying Bendis is peaking again after getting really ill and going to DC.
What about artists? Walt Simonson’s current Ragnarok seems as accomplished as his classic Thor. Bill Sienkiewicz is still innovating. I’ve heard Steve Rude say he peaked with Nexus #14. Is it that specific usually? Does anybody peak late in comics?
Is it the same with podcasts? When will Wait What peak? 🙂
43:26-46:44: Also when Jeff talks about ‘formalism’, usually with Alan Moore or Tom King, what does he mean exactly?
46:44-48:50: Eric Rupe, from email, wants to know: Has Jeff read enough sports manga to have an opinion on them as part of the action genre? Haikyuu in particular seems to work really well as an action story only instead of fights and chases it has volleyball matches. It is not something you see of a lot of in US media (TV, comics or otherwise) and was wonder if Jeff has had similar thoughts.
48:50-53:26: What is the most you’d be willing be spend on a comic because of nostalgia and nothing else?
53:26-1:06:49: Does the direct market inherently limit the possible success of certain types of genre material? Why the seeming lack of successful non-superhero based comedy, romance, slice-of-life, sports or similar types of comics in the traditional 20-ish page floppy format?
When people often talk about the current state of the direct market and various events that happened in the past they tend to a) blame the companies for publishing and marketing various bad ideas and/or b) blame the readers for buying said bad ideas but never seem to blame retailers for going along with it all. Do retailers deserve a certain amount of blame or are they innocent middlemen trying to make the best of a bad situation?
1:06:49-1:07:51: Who is more evil: Graeme, since he owns a Kindle, or Jeff, since he owns an iPad?
1:07:51-1:09:07: Kevin Donlan (from email) asks (but this gets booted to a future episode because it is too good a question to just dash off but we don’t have time and so here is the question for your future reference): So this should lead to a quick discussion if you were to recommend an introduction to comics to different age levels what would they be, they could either be funny books or even scholarly journals (Not Brand ‘Ecch comes to mind):8 and under /9-13 /13-15 /16-18 /19-25 /26-35 /36- fogies /”get off my lawn” to curmudgeon
Obviously there are some things that will overlap.  Just curious what you think. [stay tuned, Kevin!]
1:09:07-1:11:52: Martin Gray arrives via Twitter and email to wonder: If Silver Age Marvel had done ‘Family’-style spin-offs a la Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen, who do you think would have could have carried a book?
1:11:52-1:18:14: Douglas O’Keefe (via email) has a couple loaded in the chamber and ready to fire: What was the end of Mister Miracle all about? How do you feel about the series as a wholeYou guys talked a little about #12 when it came out, but your discussion was mostly about the continuity of the series with other DC stuff at the time.I started reading with a lot of enthusiasm but by the last issue I felt like I had learned that the pizza I’d been eating was made out of cardboard.
1:18:14-1:22:02: Tom Shapira from Twitter proposes this thought experiment: If you could have one never-completed work (Big Numbers, 1963 etc.) finished what would it be?
1:22:02-1:28:55: From Twitter, George Johnson wants to know: Has the walking dead peaked or did it earlier and we are in the decline now? [SPOILERS for issue #192, the latest issue of Walking Dead]
1:28:55-1:30:05: Art Lyon (@DarthErr on Twitter) queries: What failed comic book publisher do you miss?
1:30:05-1:35:02: From email, Eric Grill challenges:  Given Marvel’s previous attempt at creating manga inspired work with (to be charitable) less than successful results, what Marvel or DC characters / concepts would work if done in the true manga style by Japanese writers and artists? The natural choice would be students at the Xavier Institute like Generation X in a slice of life manga, but given the Xmen’s propensity to play sports whenever they have downtime, a baseball manga with a team of mutants could be great.
1:35:02-1:43:23: Our good chum Adam P. Knave asks via email: What music do you think goes with your current favorite series and why?
Bonus: Best Englehart storyline ever? All books he wrote are up for grabs.
1:43:23-1:46:20: Flashhe (a.k.a. Roger Wilson) asks via the electromagnetic temporal communication field (a.k.a. email): In the wake of the Swamp Thing cancellation etc, and the forthcoming Warner streaming service, is DC Universe doomed? Certainly seems like Warner would want to save the original content for its new all-encompassing streaming service. I am worried about the future of Stargirl, which I really want to see. Maybe DCU will exist only as a platform for the comics? Can the two services co-exist and the original content would premiere on both at the same time? I know it’s all just speculation at this point, but you guys seem closer to the mouth of the Oracle than I am.
Wildfire
1:46:20-1:47:33: Also, who is your favorite Legionnaire? I guess mine is Phantom Girl. I always dug the bell-bottomed costume.
1:47:33-1:50:55: Leef Smith wanders in from email to wonder:  Where do you see the comics industry in 10 years? And more specifically, what happens to Marvel Comics after it’s wrestled from Ike Perlmutter’s cold, dead hands? (Not to wish death on anyone, but… )
1:50:55-2:03:48: Good ol’ Dan Billings writes: My comic shop has an issue with pull lists because customers with extensive asks or specific graphic novels disappear. In addition, the number of large pull list customers has significantly declined. A few questions related to that:
1. Do you think pull lists are a positive or negative for shops?
2. From what you hear, is the same loss of large customers happening everywhere?
3. If so, what do you think could change that?
4. Is there something on your pull lists you seemed to never be able to drop – either in the past or today?
2:03:48-2:08:53: David M stymies us via email with:  Who was Scott Free’s mum? Bearing in mind Izaya seems to have aged about 50 years since Avia was killed and it’s probably longer as he’s a god.
Has Graeme been reading John Allison online from early on? I started with the first issue of Giant Days and then started on Bad Machinery and have only recently been exploring Scary-Go-Round and found it’s all part of the same continuity. Some of it is pretty surprising and spoilerific.
Do you have favourite Kirby monster stories? ‘I Created The Colossus!’ is mine, both because he cuts loose on the art in a way that looks years ahead of the rest of the work he was doing then and as it’s the best of his ‘monster as golem’ stories.
What’s Graeme’s favourite manga and Jeff’s favourite Legion of Superheroes story?
2:08:53-2:15:02: Retired Podcasting King Chad Nevett asks us via twitter:  With the Vertigo rumours this week and Wicked and Divine ending soon, I was wondering if it being at Image at all instead of Vertigo is a good measure of the imprint? Is WicDiv the first/best example of a post-Vertigo Vertigo type of series/run?
2:15:02-2:16:42: Tiny Skeffrn (via twitter) ponders:  Is it time to put the FF out of it’s misery? (Again!) Or rather, should we have left the FF in cold storage? I love Dan Slott but it’s all feeling a bit stale…
2:16:42-2:18:02: Earl Stevens via Twitter  twoots: Question:  This has probably been spoken about – but as a long time listener I still don’t know how you two became pals?
2:18:02-2:22:02: Credible Hulk arrives from Twitter to smash us with:  Which Marvel and DC heroes would host the best podcast and on what topic? Other than Blue Beetle and Booster Gold reviewing fast food restaurants, of course.
2:22:02-2:27:14: Phil Southern tweets to break Graeme’s brain with:  In my mind, you guys have tens of thousands of loyal listeners; for lack of a better way of putting it, what are your ratings?  Are you comfortable sharing that kind of information? Irrespective, thanks for 10 years of great podcasts! I like them a lot, especially “comics news” and old comic discussions.
2:27:14-2:30:47:  Twitter’s very own ComicCruncher asks:  In your time in and around the comics industry, are there any non-obvious changes that have had a big impact? (obvious changes = stuff that everyone talks about like Amazon, digital comics, diversity, etc) Love the show!
2:30:47-2:39:44: Here’s a little slice of fried gold from Thibaut Josse via email:  Hey guys,Reponding to your call for questions, here’s something I’ve been thinking about lately : do you think the dc universe (the shared superhero universe, not the multimedia app which is still not available out of the States, damn it !) is instrisically more interesting than the marvel universe ?
What leads to this question is that I noticed that you were spending a great deal of time discussing the narrative and editorial implications and the overall mythology of the comics published by dc, something you rarely do about marvel (or at least about current marvel continuity). I thought it might be just because Graeme seems to be the most interested of you two in discussing the continuity and in reading the comic books in the context of a larger universe and he’s more invested in the dc universe. But maybe you also think there’s something that makes them more interesting from this point of view. I remember Jeff saying that after some time (20 years ?), every shared universe collapse under its own weight and I think he’s absolutely right about that. There not having been a real reboot in the marvel universe could have contributed in making the marvel universe flatter (Al Ewing’s Ultimates though !).
Anyway, sorry about my English, I hope I’m still understandable. Thank you for the podcast and thank you for making me read Judge Dredd, I really, really dig it!
2:39:44-2:50:47: Jonny Kiehlmann had a few things on his mind and he emailed to say: Image’s rise over the last ten years has been fascinating — from the Chew launch literally the same month as you guys, June 2009, through to Saga and the boom following it, with things like WicDiv, Sex Criminals etc. How this period is looked at will probably depend on how well Image manages to replace Saga and WicDiv, with a lot of delayed titles, as well as Luna and Chaykin type content issues. How do you think this time will be looked on?
2:50:47-2:53:56: I assume you’ve already had someone ask what your favourite comics of the last ten years are (I’m probably the only person who’ll say Daytripper), but more specifically, what have your favourite Image comics of the last ten years been?
2:53:56-2:58:28: You mentioned Rise of Arsenal as a nadir of bad comics. Is it the worst? What stands out as the worst comic ever?
2:58:28-3:08:18: Here comes John Wheaton from email to say :(1) I loved and miss Comics Alliance. How did you feel about the site? Was it just economics that undid it or do you think something about what they offered made their fall inevitable?
(2) What’s the best comic book site now? CBR? Newsarama? ComicsVerse? Bleeding Cool? (Please don’t say Bleeding Cool)
(3) What is the best character from the Big 2 created since your podcast started?
3:08:18-end:  Closing comments…of a sort.  Graeme is overjoyed we made it halfway through the questions (even after Jeff points out that we’re only a third of the way through the questions). By which I mean, we kinda can’t shut up, in part because Graeme wants to talk about reading Roger Stern’s run on Amazing Spider-Man and how good it is, and Jeff is Jeff.  Look for us on  Stitcher! Itunes! Instagram! Twitter together and separately: Graeme and Jeff! MattTumblr, and  on Patreon where a wonderful group of people make this all possible, including Empress Audrey, Queen of the Galaxy, to whom we are especially grateful for her continuing support of this podcast.  (Also, don’t forget about Spotify!)
Next week:  Drokk, Episode 5!  Which is also our…400th Episode?  Go get some cake, read some Dredd, and join us!
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0:01-15:25:  Greetings from Graeme “I Have To Share With The World” McMillan and Jeff “I’m A Little Worried” Lester dig into our ten year anniversary of this podcast with a deep dive Q &A episode.  But, first, we’re sure you’re asking yourself:  what was happening in the pages of Marvel Age magazine preview for 1992?  Thank goodness for you Graeme has the answer.  Also discussed: the second Nomad, the third Nomad, and what happened to the second Nomad and who was responsible; vagueness related to possible tenth anniversary celebrations; Graeme shocked that Jeff hasn’t been high during recordings; how many episodes we’ve actually posted (that to be clear, Jeff was *not* high for); how in-depth the following questions are, and more.
15:25-32:17:  And we’re off to the races!  Matthew and Anna (from Patreon) ask:  I left this a comment on the last Drokk episode, but I’ll ask it again here. Do you think there have been any comics that have been effective at capturing the idea of “punk”? There have been a few titles in recent years that have been, at least on the surface (e.g. in the title), about punk, but none of them seem even remotely like the punk scene/community/ideas that I’m familiar with. Why do you think this might be? Could it be at least in part due to the idea of “punk” within the minds of the people writing these comics still being stuck in the ’60s and ‘70s?
32:17-54:27:  Supercontext  Ifrom Patreon) wonders:  I’m curious what your take is on several newish comics publishers that have arisen in the last couple of years. I’m specifically thinking of companies like Action Lab, AfterShock, Black Mask, Lion Forge, TKO and Vault. The recent Lion Forge/Oni acquisition probably has a connection to this. While promoting creator-owned work, they seem to mainly be backed by venture capital investments, despite the small percentage of the market that remains for them to make a return on. I don’t often hear you guys talk about their books, so I’m curious if you are reading them. What do you think about their chances for success? How do you think they’re affecting the industry? And finally, what do you think differentiates them from one another? Thanks for the show. I look forward to listening every week.
54:27-1:02:58: Daniel Mckay (from Patreon):  I’ve always been a bit curious about Jeff’s day job but I feel he’s been carefully quiet so barring any more details, I’ll just thank you guys for everything with words rather than just dosh. Thanks.
1:02:58-1:13:06: Dan White (from Patreon):  my question is what value do you think there is in engaging with problematic work or problematic creators?
1:13:06-1:21:34: Ethanlj (from Patreon):  I grew up a Marvel guy and didn’t start reading DC until post-Crisis with Legends and then JLI. I know there must be a ton of great stuff right before that time. What storylines or creator arcs from the first half of the 80’s really stand out? I’ve read and enjoyed Judas Contract and Great Darkness Saga but other than that it’s an unexplored world.
1:21:34-1:31:29:  Follow up q from Ethanlj:   Oh, another one (feel free to answer just one or none). With Fox’s X-men and Fantastic Four now dead and buried, how would you introduce these concepts into the MCU. Specifically, can you launch the Original X-Men (Scott, Jean, etc) in the year 2020, or does that really have to be in the Civil Rights Movement time in the 60’s? And same question for the FF… do you need a Space Race to make it work?
1:31:29-1:57:26:  Patchen Mortimer via email:   As I tweeted to Jeff, I’m currently going through your archives, and your Baxter Building and Star Brand re-reads were like getting two chapters of a psychobiography that now I cannot stop thinking about.
 
Like, when was he good?  When was he great?  When and why did he go wrong?  And why did he hold such sway in the industry for so long, despite being—at least as a writer—manifestly hidebound, boring and bad?
 
Some background: As I think I’ve mentioned previously on Twitter, I always resented John Byrne for driving me off Iron Man, which was the title that got me interested in comics. I’d been reading comics for a year when he delivered the “Armor Wars II” storyline—a lifeless slog featuring neither Armor nor Wars.  The supporting cast largely vanished; the Madam Masque subplot disappeared; there was a retelling of the origin. I held on for a year and then gave up mid-arc—7th-grade me had no patience for Fin Fang Foom (at least not Byrne’s version) and the X-titles had lured me away (coincidentally, just before the big 1991 X-summer shakeup that saw Claremont leave).
 
Being a middle-schooler, I didn’t think to blame the writer; I just knew things had Gone Wrong.  But years later my grad school roommate and I would try X-Men: The Hidden Years and it was dreck.  At the same time, we were re-reading my old comic collection, and lo and behold I suddenly connected the dots.
 
Then in the last year or so, I’ve been listening to podcasts like yours, and discovered he did this nonsense to COUNTLESS titles. For DECADES.
 
You guys have perspective and omnivorous habits I don’t. Any way you can take some time to shed some light on this? What drove him to be the way he was, what were his peaks and valleys, etc.?  When you look at his career in total, is there a Unified Theory of Byrne beyond a guy who was envious of Claremont and who desperately wanted comics to go back to the way they were when he was 10?  Is it that simple or is there more?
 
Anyway, just a thought, and thanks for the podcast!
1:57:26-2:10:15: Tomas Syrstad Ruud from email:  Are the big two basically unable to make good Fantasy and Science-Fiction comics, because the creators are used to the character-focused Super-Hero genre, and take it for granted that they can make drastic changes to the underlying worldbuilding in a book when they take it over? See e.g. Wonder Woman, Legion of Super-Heroes.
I recently binge-read a lot of european (not british) comics. (Storm, Thorgal, Lanfeust). When listening to your latest episode it struck me that this is the one area of comics I can’t remember hearing you discuss. Do you have any interest in this section of comics? I don’t know how much is available in english.
2:10:15-2:14:35:  Skye Adamczyk from email:  A few episodes ago you [Jeff] mentioned your love of “incredibly well researched but batshit insane manga” and so you came to mind when I learned about Drops of God by Yuko and Shin Kibayashi.
To try and give an elevator pitch: it follows the formula of a lot of other battle manga, being about a young man who recieved brutal torturous training from his father to heighten his senses facing off against a rival who turns out to be a secret brother with the same training. The twist is, instead of fights its all about wine tasting.
Personally this is a field I know nothing about but the manga has a great reputation among the wine tasting community, effectively increasing the sales of each wine mentioned.
2:14:35-end:  Closing comments…of a sort? Graeme is overjoyed we made it halfway through the questions (even after Jeff points out that we’re only a third of the way through the questions). By which I mean, we kinda can’t shut up, in part because Graeme wants to talk about reading Roger Stern’s run on Amazing Spider-Man and how good it is, and Jeff wants…to be Jeff, basically.  Look for us on  Stitcher! Itunes! Instagram! Twitter together and separately: Graeme and Jeff! MattTumblr, and  on Patreon where a wonderful group of people make this all possible, including Empress Audrey, Queen of the Galaxy, to whom we are especially grateful for her continuing support of this podcast.  (Also, don’t forget about Spotify!)
Next week:  Part 2 of Our Q & A episode!  Why not ask us a question at waitwhatpodcast A T g mail.com?
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0:01-7:38:  Greetings from Graeme “Swallow At The Wrong Time” McMillan and Jeff “We Are Probably All Dying Faster Than Previously” Lester who are back for another bout of two-fisted audio comics fun!  And we start with the startling news that June is the ten year anniversary for Wait, What?!  No, really, we were suprised, too!  We look back at our humble origins.
7:38-20:21: And for more craziness, Graeme looked up the best-selling comics from June 2009, and the best-selling comics of 2019, to give us an idea of what the direct marketplace was like and who was shaping and moving it back then.  It’s…not too different in some ways from how things are now?  Discussed:  the comics we’d owned, read, and didn’t read; The Green Lantern movie prequel comics; the comics career of Michael Green and the Curse of Supergirl; and more.
20:21-28:20: speaking of the Curse of Supergirl, she and her current creative team popped up in the Superman: Leviathan Rising one-shot, which we talk about a little bit here (and come back to throughout the episode).  Also discussed:  indirect translation; the new obsession in DC with parents; and more.
28:20-41:55: Doomsday Clock #10 by Geoff Johns and Gary Frank came out this week, and there’s a lot to unpack there, according to Graeme.  Discussed: The multiverse and the metaverse; what people expect from Doomsday Clock and what people (by which I mean, Jeff) want from Doomsday Clock; JLA/Avengers; The Rise of Arsenal; and more.
41:55-57:02: Also out the same week as Doomsday Clock #10 is the finale of Heroes in Crisis by Tom King and Clay Mann, which seems to present an interesting contrast, worldview-wise, to Johns’ when it comes to the DCU and especially Mr. Wally West.  This is a very spoiler-rich discussion of that contrast, and the issue and miniseries overall.
57:02-1:04:21: It’s kind of tough to talk about Tom King and not mention the weird last couple of weeks that guy has had.  So even though it’s very old news by this point, we talk about his removal from Batman, his new replacement series, and the announcement of his co-writing the New Gods screenplay of Ava DuVernay.  Graeme breaks down the news, the rumors, and pieces together a theory about how it all went down.
1:04:21-1:48:03:  But don’t think DC was the only one with problems!  Jeff refers to this period as The Month of People Stepping In It.  We run down the zenith of the nadirs, and discuss the Oni/LionForge merger, Marvel Comics #1000, Priest’s interview at CBR about Vampirella; Joshua Luna’s book at Image; and more. Is it comics, or will late stage capitalism will break your heart?
1:48:03-1:57:29: As extension of the above, we mention the numbers from Hibbs’ latest analysis of Bookscan sales for 2018.  The future is here, and it’s kids and diversity.  As Graeme puts it, “you realize how small and small-minded the Direct Market is.”  We talk about that future, and the elements of the past and present that communicate to it.
1:57:29-2:18:41: And so we circle back to Superman: Leviathan Rising! Actually, we use that as a jumping off point to talk about what we’re reading—and almost more on point, not reading?  Graeme is having trouble trying to find some disposable junk that he can also recommend or consider good, whereas Jeff is all about that, my friend, all about it.  Whereas, Jeff was quite pleased with Batman: Last Knight on Earth #1 by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo; we both loved Immortal Hulk #18 by Ewing, Bennett, José, and Mounts; although he didn’t love it as much as the rest of the Internet, Jeff quite liked the final issue of Peter Cannon: Thunderbolt by Kieron Gillen, Caspar Wungaard and Mary Safro;  and thanks to the Shonen Jump app, he’s now eight volumes into Haikyu, a superlative sports manga about volleyball by Haruichi Furudate.  Jeff also dug both volumes of My Solo Exchange Diary by Kabi Nagata which finally hit Comixology; vol. 1 of Emanon by Shinji Kajio and Kenji Tsurata, which Dark Horse just puiblished digitally and which Jeff calls a “sci-fi version of Before Sunrise.” Jeff also read and surprised himself by not loving the first volume of Gleipnir by Sun Takeda. It was okay.
2:18:41-2:38:48:  Although he hasn’t doesn’t have any strong reading recommendations, Graeme quite liked the second season of Fleabag and the first season of What We Do In The Shadows.  (About the latter, be warned, Graeme gives away a spectactular sounding scene.)  Also discussed: the new casting of Robert Pattinson as the new Batman; the Atlas Comics news; Teen Titans Go To The Movies; The Lego Movie 2; John Wick 3: Parabellum; and more.
2:38:48-end:  Closing comments?  About damn time!! Look for us on  Stitcher! Itunes! Instagram! Twitter together and separately: Graeme and Jeff! MattTumblr, and  on Patreon where a wonderful group of people make this all possible, including Empress Audrey, Queen of the Galaxy, to whom we are especially grateful for her continuing support of this podcast.  (Also, don’t forget about Spotify!)
Next week:  Our Q & A episode!  Why not ask us a question for it?
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Previously on Drokk!: After a somewhat uneven first couple of years, Judge Dredd as a strip has settled into somewhat of a groove as co-creator John Wagner took full control of the writing chores and set about transforming the series’ setting Mega-City One into an important character in its own right. Who would want to separate Dredd from Mega-City One at this point?

0:00:00-0:02:46: With the kind of rustiness that comes from not having recorded a Drokk! in awhile, we stumble through an introduction that explains that, this episode, we’re covering Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files Vol. 4, covering 2000 AD Progs 156 through 207, running 1980 through 1981. But before we get too meander-y, I have a question for Jeff…

0:02:47-0:09:59: Is Vol. 4 a collection full of re-runs and deja vu? We discuss that Judge Dredd as a serial has been around for long enough to have a history, and the drawbacks that brings — namely, that there’s now the opportunity (taken often in this volume, it feels like) to repeat ideas and storylines, as well as merely reference them, although that happens as well. Aw, Judge Dredd, you’re old enough to have continuity now…!

0:10:00-0:25:36: In response to my question, Jeff brings up his theory about a running theme in this particular collection: The importance of free will, and the lack of free will when it comes to the characters in Dredd. (Well, outside of Owen Krysler, AKA the Judge Child, and Dredd himself, perhaps.) Is Wagner arguing that people can only exist within the confines of their character, but that their characters are purely defined by external influences? And we’re not talking about those external influences being the Judges, either… They might be as trapped as the rest of the citizens.

0:25:37-0:38:38: Another potential running theme is Dredd as both contrarian to everything around him, but also as an unchanging monolith that everything and everyone else has to work around. But is that a problem? Both Jeff and Judge Macgruder think so, but Jeff goes so far as to suggest that it might be a particular problem because Dredd doesn’t have any control over his own actions because he’s been programmed into being a machine — something that this volume in particular isn’t shy in presenting a case for.

0:38:39-0:51:29: It isn’t just questions of free will that this volume is obsessed with; I also think it’s an era of the series that is focusing on satirizing (and criticizing) consumer culture, with the return of Otto Sump and televised war games being the most obvious examples. In response, Jeff brings up the work of Italian director Segio Corbucci, whose spaghetti westerns presented a particularly bleak worldview that may also have informed some of the episodes of the strip on show here, especially in the Judge Child storyline.

0:51:30-1:08:19: There’s always been an undercurrent of dark humor in Dredd, but does this volume represent a new level of that? Nuclear apocalypse and body horror fuel some of the “weird darkness,” as Jeff calls it, in these episodes, with Basil Wolverton and Ken Reid being referenced as potential influences on Ron Smith’s artwork in particular. We also discuss the morality (or lack thereof, potentially) in Dredd as a character, whereas he may be the most moral character in the series but that doesn’t mean he’s especially moral — especially when it comes to passive aggressive confrontations with other Judges over facial hair. (Not mentioned in the podcast, but I’m mentioning it here: Dredd also has a real problem with accountants, and appears twice in this volume.)

1:08:20-1:19:44: Has John Wagner created such a unique tone to the series at this point that no-one else will be able to capture it? We talk about the future evolution of Dredd, and how it impacts the work of future creators when it comes to working on the character, and then we talk about the seeming lessening of the parallels between this strip and Will Eisner’s The Spirit, which has become somewhat of a running theme on this podcast.

1:19:45-1:31:48: There are a lot of new characters introduced in this volume who’ll show up again in the future, bringing about a discussion about supporting casts both in Judge Dredd as a strip, and British comics in general. Did British comics, historically, not really care that much about character because there wasn’t enough space to include anything other than plot and high concept?

1:31:49-1:39:18: For a comic that has often been referred to as being particularly punk rock, this volume of The Complete Case Files gets punk pretty wrong, borrowing a lot of the surface imagery but surprisingly little of the underlying attitude. I refer to it as a Bob Haney version of punk, which feels odd given the timing of both 2000 AD’s launch and these strips in particular, but perhaps we’re reading too much into Ron Smith’s aesthetic as a whole. There’s also a slight reprise about the free will question, thanks to the conclusion of the “Unamerican Graffiti” storyline that prompted this particular diversion.

1:39:19-2:00:01: We get into our favorite stories in the volume, with Jeff choosing between “Unamerican Graffiti” and “Loonie’s Moon,” and my choices being either “Pirates of the Black Atlantic” and “The Fink.” While we’re at it, we talk about foreshadowing what’s to come, whether it’s creative legacies of these stories — you can see shades of future 2000 AD and Wagner/Grant collaborations at times — and also stories that are about to show up in the Judge Dredd strip as a whole. Also, I come up with a theory about how the strip treats animals versus humanity.

2:00:02-2:05:02: We quickly wrap things up for the episode, mentioning that we have Tumblr, Twitter and Instagram accounts, as well as the Patreon account that makes all of this whole thing possible — and then there’s the fact that, next episode, we’re literally heading towards nuclear armageddon in a storyline that’s actually called “The Apocalypse War.” So, you know, good times ahead, I guess.

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