0:01-23:08:  Greetings from Graeme “Burp!” McMillan and Jeff “Saliva!” Lester, where your two faithful podcasters are here at your service, despite problems with taxes, and talking, and breathing.  Thanks to tax prep, we look back at the state of digital affairs for Jeff’s library with talk about the amazing month of March and April 2018; do a quick review of the state of comic streaming services we use and what’s changed about them; more singing of the praises of Hoopla (for comics, anyway); whether Jeff should get the DC Universe app, and more.
23:08-35:50: From there, a sort of strange left turn: the new redband trailer for Hellboy resurfaces a tweet from B.P.R.D. and Hellboyverse writer John Arcudi.  Did Arcudi leave Hellboy and B.P.R.D. (and Guy Davis leave comics altogether) based on how they were handled and/or (un)compensated in relation to this?  The Magic Eightball says “All Signs Point To ‘Comics Will Break Your Heart.’”  Also discusssed: reaction to the original trailer; reaction to rough cuts of the film; Vague Recollections of Forgotten Dinner Parties; the filmography of Neil Marshall; the strangeness of having people hype things that don’t seem like what they’re hyping; and more.
35:50-53:52: The Hellboy thing may leave a bad taste in your mouth if you’re a B.P.R.D. fan, but Jeff’s not really into it or Hellboy.  He is, of course, alternately appalled, guilty about, and mystified by the Wikipedia summary of Doomsday Clock, Geoff Johns and Gary Frank taking the Watchmen characters into the DCU.  Graeme has read issue #9 of the book (not out until later this week so Graeme does superhuman work in trying to avoid spoilers of any kind) and we discuss what’s come before, what might be coming next, and what Johns is trying to say (apart from “back up the money truck”).
53:52-1:01:51: And from our discussion about narrative jumps, Jeff goes on to mention the first five issues of Exorsisters by the talented team of Ian Boothby and Gisele LaGace.  Jeff is heavily in the tank for these two, so what did he think of the book? The answer may surprise you…or at least baffle you?  (Jeff is clearly baffled, as you’ll hear.)  Jeff summarizes the book, talks about its charms, and entreats Graeme to read the issues so we can talk about it more.
1:01:51-1:04:57: Jeff’s got a throughline in mind as he transitions from Exorsisters to Action Comics #1008 by Brian Michael Bendis and the terrific Steve Epting.  (Jeff really didn’t talk about it here, but man does Epting’s stuff look gorgeous on the DC characters!)  That throughline, fortunately or unfortunately, tiptoes around Crabby Jeff and tries to hew close to the path of Diplomatic Jeff.  (There’s also an all-too-brief shoutout to Satoru Noda’s Golden Kamuy, which is still flat-out excellent.)
1:04:57-1:53:43: Part of why Epting and Noda get short-shrift is Graeme chimes in with his experience about catching up on Tom King’s Batman, which Graeme hadn’t read since September.  There’s been some grumbling about the pacing and storytelling choices King has made with the title since issue #50—do those grumblings have merit for someone reading all those issues in a oner? (1er?)  Also discussed: Heroes in Crisis #6; subtext becoming text; the futility of a work-for-hire creator as embodied in a work-for-hire creation; Batman RIP; Mortal Kombat and common ground; movie violence in the ‘80s; and, quite obviously, us back to circling around Doomsday Clock again (ha, “circling!”)
1:40:15-1:53:43: Graeme still hasn’t seen Aquaman! But that may well be rectified *very* soon, thank goodness.  And Jeff re-saw Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse, and has a lot of thoughts about, many of which are informed by…Natalie Nourigat’s I Moved to Los Angeles to Work in Animation?  Really?  Warning: big ol’ spoilers for the movie and in-depth descriptions so take a pass if you haven’t yet seen this (really excellent) film.
1:53:43-2:05:35: Graeme has picked up a bunch of old 80 pg. dollar Superman Family comics, describes ‘em for our delight, and sings the praises of low-stakes/no-stakes comics.
2:05:35-2:20:21:  As for Jeff and the old comics routine, thanks to the wonderful David Wolkin, Jeff has read issue #131 of Dark Horse Presents from 1998, and issues #1 and #2 of Nightmares from Doug Moench, Paul Gulacy, and Don McGregor, published by Eclipse all the way back in 1985!
2:20:21-2:37:33:  News?  Well, maybe there’s some somewhere, but the only stuff we can think of worth mentioning is, as Graeme rightly points out, everyone should check out the trio of speeches given at ComicsPro by ex-DC Marketing Director Bob Wayne, and retailers Brian Hibbs and Joe Field.  And there’s also a bit of a lazy roundup of stories, or maybe as much roundup as a week that includes “Marvel Meow.”
2:37:33-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.

0:01-20:16:  Greetings from Graeme “I’m In A Great Mood!” McMillan and Jeff “I Most Definitely Am Not!” Lester, where we start in with exactly that state of affairs.  Jeff lays out the details and is especially annoyed at some of the comics he’s been reading; Graeme thinks that Jeff will be entertainingly cranky as a result.  Jeff thinks he’s going to just be a crank.  Good(?) News: you will definitely get a chance to decide for yourself with this episode, because Jeff goes all in on the grouchiness.  Warning:  ALL IN.  But first: we talk a bit about the comics backlog pile; Jeff makes the case for Comixology adding a user-customizable smart list function; reception to the first episode of DROKK!, and more.
20:16-26:20: Is Jeff gaining no joy at all from the news that Conan will be a member of the Savage Avengers a sign that he is truly in a bad place?  (Jeff, not Conan, although arguably the latter—especially if you think of the bad place being “Marvel”—is quite likely a more rewarding conversational topic.)  Or is it that David Finch cover? Or is it just the common sense idea that you don’t garnish your salt with salt? Or you never put the Punisher on team?  Or some other option I haven’t listened far enough into the discussion to list out?
26:20-43:46: Remember Jeff joking about Battling About Bendis, the new podcast (that actually turned out to be Drokk)?  Get a bit of taste of that as an embittered Jeff “reviews” Superman #8 and Young Justice #2.  Graeme has a great theory about what’s going on with Jon Kent, but does Mr. Let-It-All-Burn care?  Also discussed: Sex Criminals; DeFalco & Ryan’s Fantastic Four; and more.
43:46-56:39: Jeff tries to apologize and mentions there are other people whose work he also was frustrated by this week but he won’t be shitting on their work…and then GRAEME DEMANDS THE RECEIPTS.  (Look at me trying to blame it on Graeme even now! What a garbage person I am.)  Anyway, discussed: Goddess Mode #3 by Zoe Quinn and Robbi Rodriguez; Wonder Twins #1 by Mark Russell and Stephen Byrne; moving past Tom King and the feedback on Heroes in Crisis; Fantastic Four #1 by Dan Slott and Sara Pichelli.
56:39-1:08:38: Realizing he has unleashed a monster, Graeme tries desperately to pivot:  “Here’s a question,” he asks, fear all but audible, “what have you read this week that you liked?”  Discussed:   Where does optimism end and self-torture begin?; West Side Story; a quick list of stuff Jeff did like; Criminal #2 by Brubaker and Phillips.
1:08:38-1:36:13: Jeff has read the first three issues of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Tempest (which, as Graeme points out, Jeff refers to as Tempest by The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, which may or may not add an enlightening “senile and addled” sheen to all that has come before now this ep from Jeff).  Thank goodness, Greg is there to help set him straight!  Discussed: LOEG and the Nemo books, Black Dossier, Century, the ways in which Tempest! feels perhaps like a pivot in a number of ways, extra-temporality, the expectations of a artist’s final work, LOEG: The Tempest vs. Twin Peaks: The Return.
1:36:13-1:43:16: After a super quick visit to our safe space—by which I mean Immortal Hulk #13 by Al Ewing, Joe Bennett Ruy José, Belardino Brabo and Rafael Fonteriz—Jeff goes on to talk about Outer Darkness #4 by John Layman and Afu Chan, and, in a similar Trek-based vein, the USS Callister episode of Black Mirror.
1:43:16-1:55:20: Please dear god, let us hear from Graeme!  He wants to talk about the pilot of Doom Patrol now on DC Universe.  What did he love? What drove him crazy? And what will keep him coming back? Is it lifting from Morrison as opposed to Morrisonian, and what’s the difference? (And what’s better?)
1:55:20-2:22:19: On a super-related topic, Graeme has reread Morrison and Case’s Doom Patrol and feels the run doesn’t hold up. Considering Graeme’s re-read of The Invisibles disappointed him, is Morrison someone whose work doesn’t hold up on a second readthrough?  Graeme thinks not, but has a lot of culprits to attribute to those failures.
2:22:19-2:37:03: Static hits, so we call back, and although you would think we would go right to the closing comments, Jeff has a lot of apologizing to do to Graeme (a lot!), but also we feel we should do a very quick rundown of comics news:  Second Coming not coming from Vertigo anymore; rumors about the number of books in DC’s line and where they might be published are discussed; aging up your avatar; and DC’s beautiful-looking Lucha Explosiva figures.
2:37:03-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 their continuing support of this podcast.  And then we’re out!
NEXT WEEK:  Skip week? Indeed!  Enjoy the rest of you February and join us for a new Wait, What? in March!

Welcome to the year 2099, where the law is everything, and one man is the law — even if, in the stories we’re reading in this first episode of Drokk!, Judge Dredd isn’t exactly the fearsome lawman that everyone will come to know and love just yet. But watching how that happens is half the fun, or at least, half the fun of this podcast.

0:00:00-0:02:09: We roll into town — well, Mega-City One — with new music, courtesy of Mr. Jeffrey Lester, and introduce ourselves as well as what we’re actually reading this episode: Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files Vol. 1, which covers 2000 AD Prog 2 – 60, from 1977 and 1978.

0:02:10-:0:04:59: Jeff quickly unpacks his history with Judge Dredd as a character and a strip, including mention of the Eagle Comics reprints that debuted in the U.S. in the early ‘80s. A quick correction to what I said in the show itself: The Eagle Comics reprints launched in 1983 as an offshoot of Titan Books, insofar as they were owned by the same man, Nick Landau. (There are probably many U.S. fans who’ll be familiar with the later Quality Comics reprints, which were like the Eagle reprints if done by someone who had access to a photocopier that destroyed page ratios and were colored by someone in a rush; the Eagle reprints were generally higher quality, and had original covers from Brian Bolland and other 2000 AD artists.)

0:05:00-:0:15:03: We talk about the way in which the early years of Judge Dredd are different from the character and strip we know today, which is another way of saying, “Man, these early strips are often pretty goofy.” They’re also just burning through ideas, as if no-one behind the scenes really expecting Dredd to stick around that long and saw no reason to pace themselves.

0:15:04-0:23:01: “So much of this first volume feels born of desperation,” I say about the first year of the character, in which various writers and artists try and fill the void of Dredd after the immediate departure of his creators for reasons Jeff alludes to. (He’s referencing material from both Pat Mills’ Be Pure! Be Vigilant! Behave!: 2000 AD & Judge Dredd: The Secret History and also the wonderful Thrill-Power Overload: 2000 AD — The First Forty Years at times throughout this episode, starting here.)

0:23:02-0:31:36: We begin to get into the weeds, talking about potential influences in the earliest days of the series, whether that happens to be Silver Age DC Comics or the density of storytelling in earlier British comics that preceded 2000 AD altogether, while also touching on the difference in comics language between UK and US comics a little. (This, I suspect, will be something we’ll come back to a lot across this series as a whole.)

0:31:37-0:40:14: After a rough start, things start to fall into focus a bit more with the arrival of co-creator John Wagner on the strip, nine episodes in. (Yes, that seems to make little sense; we explain it, honest.) If nothing else, he’s the first writer who seems to be okay not only not trying to make Dredd heroic, but just the opposite: Understanding that Dredd works really well as a character without any great depth, or any noticeable sympathetic features. Oh, and also as kind of a bastard, too.

0:40:15-0:50:19: Mention of Walter the Wobot gets us onto the topic of sidekicks and their place in comic book tradition, as both Walter and, to a lesser extent, housekeeper Maria, are placed in a spectrum of characters that includes both Woozy Winks and Dennis the Menace’s Walter the Softy. (That’s the British Dennis, I should make clear.) Also! What is with John Wagner and racist stereotypes when it comes to sidekicks, and does Dredd being so unsympathetic make the racism somehow more palatable?

0:50:19-0:57:44: “The Return of Rico” marks Pat Mills’ greatest contribution to the series to date, and it’s a story packed with all kinds of great stuff that also happens to be ruined by a particularly terrible punchline. How did the Hollies get in here? Also! Jeff’s love of sentimental pop — revealed!

0:57:45-1:14:10: Rico’s debut isn’t the only bit of world building that stuck around from the second six months of the character’s existence, and we talk about the fact that John Wagner (and, to a lesser extent, others) seem to find their footing after a shaky start. This leads into a very brief diversion about Wagner working through different comic book crime influences as he tries to work out what kind of comic Judge Dredd is, especially — as far as I’m concerned — Will Eisner’s The Spirit.

1:14:11-1:21:16: “We haven’t talked enough about the art,” I say, and considering this book features Mike McMahon, Brian Bolland, Ian Gibson and many more, that’s a particular oversight we try to address here. Of note: Jeff loves Ron Turner’s work but isn’t a fan of early Gibson, which we both agree is a little bit too busy. (Maybe we should do a spin-off Robo Hunter podcast to deal with more Gibson throughout the years…)

1:21:17-1:30:51: We talk about our favorite stories from the collection; I talk about the Dream Palace done in one, which Jeff likens to The Spiritstory about Gerhard Shnobble, while he can’t resist tales about Billy Jones, criminal apes — with me forgetting the name of Harry Heston in response, to my shame — and, of course, robots that want to rise up and free themselves of the shackles placed upon them by their makers. (Updated to add: Harry Heston was created by Stewart Perkins and Jake Lynch, as Henry Flint corrected me on Twitter.)

1:30:52-1:38:06: Another brief diversion, as we talk about whether or not the “Robot Wars” storyline scared creators off longer storylines for awhile afterwards, and whether “Luna-1,” the status quo change that ends this volume, is an attempt to pretend to have a continued storyline without actually going through with it. Also under discussion: The workload involved in making a weekly comic without break, and Jeff and I discovering a connection between 2000 AD and American Golden Age comics that we didn’t know we knew about.

1:38:07-1:52:14: Sure, it’s the first volume of the series and it’s the first Dredd stories, but is Complete Case Files Vol. 1 a good place for newcomers to start? Jeff says maybe, depending on what they’re looking for — dropping a Bob Haney reference in the process — while I’m unconvinced, instead likening it to the earliest issues of Fantastic Four. High praise, or merely a sign that the best is yet to come? Why not go with “both”?

1:52:15-end: We wrap things up with a truncated farewell (There was more cut for crackly audio purposes), but what you’re missing is that Drokk! will be back next month with the second volume, which brings both “The Cursed Earth” and “The Day The Law Died,” and really kicks the series into high gear. In the meantime, there’s a Tumblr, Twitter, Instagram and Patreon. Grud!


0:01-32:14:  Greetings from Graeme “Gradiated Purple” McMillan and Jeff “Privacy Tab” Lester, with an opening about the joys of Skype updates.  Also discussed: Superbowl Sunday, watching commercials as their own thing compared to watching movie trailers as their own thing; the Hobbs & Shaw trailer; the Harley Quinn teaser; James Gunn rumors; and more.
32:14-1:07:51: Remember all that great stuff Jeff was saying about Vinland Saga?  Well, Graeme has read the first volume and has his own take.  So we talk about that first volume and what we liked (and didn’t!) and why we are on different pages about Vinland Saga’s different pages.  Also discussed: contemporary colloquial historical language; Jackie Chan’s Police Story; the conclusion of the first arc of Action Comics and Young Justice #1; teasing our next podcast; reader buy-in; and more.

1:07:51-1:31:21: Jeff thinks he can tie in our talk about genre and medium conventions and audience buy-in by talking about the first two seasons of Netflix’s The Punisher.  Let’s…see how that goes for him?  Discussed:  The Punisher on TV vs. The Punisher in the Marvel Universe vs. The Punisher Vs. The Marvel Universe vs. The Punisher Max universe; and more.
1:31:21-2:17:26: As he’s discussed here recently, Graeme has been doing a pretty hefty read of the post-Kirby New Gods, and it’s only getting bigger and bigger as he goes on.  Join us for an update on his readthrough experience.  Discussed: the different takes on the mythology when written by Mark Evanier, Tom Peyer, and Jim Starlin; the upcoming Female Furies miniseries by Cecil Castellucci and Adriana Melo; what part of the New Gods mythos works best today; the very recent Justice League Annual #1 by Scott Snyder, James T Tynion IV, Juan Albarran, Daniel Sampere; and more.
2:17:26-2:30:31: And finally, we’re pleased to officially announce our next readthrough podcast now that Baxter Building, our Fantastic Four readthrough, is done.  Next week will be the first episode of Drokk!, our readthrough of the Judge Dredd Casefiles.  Here we talk about our decision to do this readthrough, what scares us and excites us about this new podcast, the monthly giveaways we hope we’ll be able to institute, and more.
2:30:31-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 the kind crew at American Ninth Art Studios and Empress Audrey, Queen of the Galaxy, to whom we are especially grateful for their continuing support of this podcast.  And then we’re out!

NEXT WEEK:  Drokk!


0:01-6:54:  Greetings from Graeme “Has A Cold” McMillan and Jeff “Has Gone Vegan” Lester, here to talk about the charms of Nyquil and Theraflu.  And if that wasn’t exciting enough: weather talk! Exciting!
6:54-14:05: Fortunately, we remembered we’re ostensibly doing a comic book podcast, so Jeff breaks out one of the few topics on his brain:  talking about vol. 1 of Mad Bull 34 by Kazuo Koike and Yoshinara Inoue.  When is a lowbrow manga too lowbrow for Jeff? And why?  Tune in and find out.
14:05-37:06: And from there, what seems like a digression is probably a more interesting topic for discussion: the absurd amounts comics and manga available digitally for a very low price.  Also discussed: Vinland Saga; Graeme’s Year of Reading More Manga; After Hours; My Boyfriend Is A Bear; Goddess Mode by Zoe Quinn, Robbi Rodriguez, and Rico Renzi; Action Comics #1000; and more.
37:06-1:04:39: After talking about a bunch of stuff that didn’t really float his boat, Jeff grows audibly relieved to be talking about something he did read and like Invincible: Justice and Fresh Vegetables by Pascal Jousselin. (Huge thanks to kotgb for the recommendation.) Also discussed: Kirkman and Ottley’s Invincible; Hobo Mom; Die #2; Avengers #12; Master of Kung-Fu the omnibus vs. MOKF the digital collection; double page spreads; Barrier #1 and the Marvelscope annuals; and more.  (Oh, and George Perez announced his retirement the day we recorded so we spend a lot fo time trying to figure out why he’d already retired?)
1:04:39-1:10:45:  Graeme has read the Target exclusive DC Primal Age 100 pg. giant, and has some thoughts about this eccentric (but not uncharming!) toy line tie-in!
1:10:45-1:28:10: What else has Graeme been reading? Why, the Secret Society of Super-Villains, Vols. 1 and 2, of course!  The reason why Graeme has been reading it might surprise you (unless you follow our tumblr, in which case you’ll already be in the know).  Come for Graeme’s strangely otherworldly echoey voice, stay for the amazing post-Kirby Fourth World shenanigans.
1:28:10-1:46:44: And as long as our eyes are turned to a four-color past, Back Issue Magazine #110 has a long article about the storylines Steve Englehart planned to write for Marvel in the ‘80s when he was canned.  (Thanks to Martin Gray for the tip!)
1:46:44-1:51:05: Talking about possibly subscribing digitally to the TwoMorrows books leads us back to the current digital glut and our growing backlog of material to catch up with.
1:51:05-1:58:14: Graeme read two first issues from Marvel he enjoyed a great deal: Black Widow #1 by Jen & Silvia Soska and Flaviano; and Invaders #1 by Chip Zdarsky, Butch Guice, and Carlos Magno.
1:58:14-2:14:47: We talk a bit about Diamond’s bestselling comics for 2018 as well as the top ten graphic novels.  Also discussed:  the power of Saga; the power of Paper Girls; the power of ongoing publication; the power of repeatedly typing “the power,” and much more.
2:14:47-2:28:50:  Symbiote Spider-Man #1—an attempt for Marvel to flood the the market, or a sign of the possible influence of C.B. Cebulski as E-I-C?  And related to that, a bit of comics news, Graeme remembers just now: Rob Liefeld returning to X-Men with Major X, a new series.! (That he’s writing, not arting.)  Also discussed: what is Jonathan Hickman up to these days?
2:28:50-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 the kind crew at American Ninth Art Studios and Empress Audrey, Queen of the Galaxy, to whom we are especially grateful for their continuing support of this podcast.  And then we’re out!
NEXT WEEK:  Skip week!  But join us in two weeks for a new episode and maybe the official announcement of our next read-through!

0:01-4:00:  Greetings from Graeme “Gracious Winner” McMillan and Jeff “Suck It Up” Lester.  Are we complaining less in 2019?  It’s not just a potentially awesome American Voices topic, it’s also something we contemplate briefly before getting things underway.

Seal bitch-slaps man with octopus

4:00-47:51: “Look, I think this whole fight thing from last week was overrrated,” Gracious Winner declares.  “Mmm-hmm,” agrees Suck It Up.  And so we’re once again unified in our quest to talk comics, comics news, and comics media.  So, first up: Aquaman!  How has Jeff seen this but Graeme hasn’t?  We can’t work that out but Jeff does have some “damning with faint praise/praising with faint damnation” thoughts about the movie.  Yes, we have to admit upfront that it’s a shame that Aquaman is going to get much more mouth-time than Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse (unless we turn that around next episode) but, well, Jeff has thoughts and you know what that means.  (Cut to montage of calendar pages dropping to the ground one by one).  Also discussed: superhero movies where the weakness on the page becomes a strength on film; *spoiler of post-credit sequence at 20:28* if that’s a thing you care about. Also discussed: Justice League 2, Ben Whishaw as Bruce Wayne, Wes Anderson’s Batman movie (and now that I think about it, it should be a remake of Batman Returns with Lea Seydoux as Catwoman,  Willem Dafoe as Max Schreck (for double bonus in-joke points!) and Jason Schwartzbaum as the Penguin running amok in Gotham as The Kinks’ Father Christmas plays.  Come on!); Riverdale; Legends of Tomorrow; Titans; Trolls; and more.

47:51-58:54: Hey!! Kids Comics!  We talk about Aquaman #43 by Kelly Sue DeConnick, Robson Rocha and Daniel Henriques; Wonder Woman issues #58-61 by G. Willow Wilson, Cary Nord, Mick Gray, and Xermanico; Superman #7 by Brian Michael Bendis, Brandon Peterson, and Ivan Reis.
58:54-1:16:40: (Had to start a few seconds earlier so I could get Graeme’s “Oh!” included in this.  Speaking of DC Comics, there was a bit of news the other week about DC joining Comixology Unlimited (as well as bringing titles to Kindle Unlimited and Prime Reading).  We discuss that news which includes the 15% discount on digital titles; what’s available there as opposed to the DC Universe app; DC’s different approaches to its different readerships; the first volume of Immortal Hulk being on CU; Jeff’s pie-in-the-sky dreams for having these services as the openers of the way to readers and fans, and more.
1:16:40-1:18:42: Also in comics news: the passing of Ron Smith (Judge Dredd, 2000 AD) and Batton Lash
(Wolff & Byrdd Counselors of the Macabre, and Archie Meets The Punisher).
1:18:42-1:33:13: Since we were talking about 2000 AD, Jeff really wanted to talk about The Green Lantern #3 by Grant Morrison and Liam Sharp, which is simultaneously a love letter to 2000 AD, DC Silver Age comic book covers, and, uh, more? Less? We’re still not quite sure, but it may have some big ramifications for Hal Jordan…or not.
1:33:13-1:49:55:  We talk a bit about the most recent issues of Batman by Tom King, Mikel Janin and Jorge Fornes, Travis Moore, Mitch Gerads, and others, as well as Batman Annual #3 by Tom Taylor and Otto Schmidt. Also discusssed: Heroes in Crisis; ambition, politics, and Watchmen references; and more.
1:49:55-2:00:40: When is a comic we like not a comic that we like? Sadly, when it’s Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #1 by Tom Taylor, Juann Cabal, and Marcelo Ferreira. We pull apart what doesn’t work for us in a book we really wanted to work.
2:00:40-2:04:18:  We point out (mentioned above in the notes but not actually in the podcast) that the first trade of Immortal Hulk is on Comixology Unlimited.  We then go on to rave very briefly about the most recent issue, Immortal Hulk #11 by Al Ewing, Joe Bennett, and Ruy José.
2:04:18-2:19:04:  And from there, Graeme goes on to talk a bit about what he’s been reading, including:  trades of Action Comics: Rebirth by Dan Jurgens, Patch Zircher, and Tyler Kirkham; Young Justice #1 by Brian Michael Bendis and Patrick Gleason; Captain Marvel #1 by Kelly Thompson and Carmen Carnero; Uncanny X-Men by Ed Brisson, Matt Rosenberg, Kelly Thompson and Yildiray Cidar; the Shortbox releases of 2017; the Hilda graphic novels by Luke Pearson; the Asterix graphic novels by Rene Goscinny and Albert Uderzo; and a brief discussion about what constitutes new on Hoopla.
2:19:04-2:45:00: Jeff’s turn! He’s read and wants to talk super-briefly about Die Wergelder Vol. 2 by Hiroaki Samura; Vinland Saga by Makoto Yukimura; Conan The Barbarian #1 by Jason Aaron and Mahmud Asrar; Criminal #1 by Ed Brubaker, Sean Phillips, and Jacob Phillip; Outer Darkness #3 by John Layman and Afu Chan; Gunning for Hits (Music Thriller) #1 by Jeff Rougvie and Moritat; Keeping His Whims In Check by PI; I Moved to Los Angeles to Work in Animation by Natalie Nourigat; Go-Bots #2 by Thomas Scioli; and Man-Eaters #3 and 4 by Chelsea Cain, Kate Niemczyk, and Lia Miternique; and from there we talk about Chelsea Cain’s very problematic tweet from the other week.
2:45:00- 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 the kind crew at American Ninth Art Studios and Empress Audrey, Queen of the Galaxy, to whom we are especially grateful for their continuing support of this podcast.  And then we’re out!
NEXT WEEK:  Another episode of Wait, What?  Yes, somehow!

0:01-06:18:  Greetings from the very first “Wait, What?” podcast of the year! Graeme “Blade Runner Year” McMillan and Jeff “The New Barbarians Year” Lester.  We start off by talking about the list compiled of movies set in the year 2019.  (Probably not this list, but maybe?)  We also talk about other fictional epochs we’ve lived through, pranking the generations to come, and more.
06:18-30:46: How does this lead into our discussion of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Century?  The answer may surprise you! (Unless you’ve listened to us before, I guess.)  But from there on out, it’s the Wait, What? version of Festivus with the airing of the Alan Moore-related grievances. Discussed: Alan Moore and sex; Elizabeth Sandifer’s The Last War in Albion; whether Moore is an Eighties artist or a Seventies artist; a Springsteen analogy that lamentably never comes together; Alan Moore and Star Wars; Who would win in a fight: passive vs. aggressive?; and more.
30:46-1:10:02: We move from there to Shelfdust’s Top 100 Comic Book Issues of All Time, in part as a way to discuss the generation gap as reflected through comics and in part to realize where we fit in the gap and also in part to throw some stink-eye at some of the choices. Also discussed: George Romero; Ernest Hemingway; Chuck Klosterman; the Top Ten of the Shelfdust list; The Top Twenty of the Shelfdust list; being recognized today vs. being recognized “back in the day;” the amount of Azzarello, Ellis, and Ennis on the list; and more.
1:10:02-1:25:21 (or thereabouts): In a sudden surge of anecdotalism, Jeff thinks there’s a sudden uptick in Harry Potter hot takes. And we’re not just talking about the toilet facts recently disclosed about the Potterverse.  Also discussed: big books; Neil Gaiman; what it will be like when Jeff has a stroke; and more.
1:25:21 (or thereabouts)-1:29:38: Back to more Shelfdust talk! Graeme contributed to the list—what book that he picked ranked the highest on the Top 100. And speaking of which Graeme’s list (in *ascending* order):
  1. New Guardians #1
  2. Invisibles #12
  3. Uncanny X-Men #185
  4. Or Else #2
  5. Deadline #5
  6. Mister Miracle #10 (King/Gerads version)
  7. Flex Mentallo #4
  8. OMAC #1
  9. Dork #7
  10. Graffiti Kitchen
1:29:38-2:35:37: Ah, and then, just like the warmth of Spring, the pleasantries of the Shelfdust discussion fade, as we move on to discuss Abhay’s controversial post about Tom King’s employment by the CIA, comic industry vetting, and what and what the industry wants if it wants an ex-member of the CIA writing Batman.  Part of why this post was controversial is in how its reception goes hand in hand with what some of us think about Abhay, what some of us think about his motivations in his post, and what some of us think about what some of us think.  In short: LET’S WATCH GRAEME AND JEFF FIGHT.
2:35:37-2:48:27: (Yes, we really do talk about it *that* long.)  Anyway, we’re aware we’re running horrifyingly long, but neither of us would forgive ourselves if we didn’t try to at least briefly sing the praises of Spider-Man:  Into The Spider-Verse (and talk a bit about how baffling it is that it’s not bigger despite the amount of raving done about it).  Also discussed: Aquaman has made a huge chunk of money and is incredibly financially successful—so why don’t we know anyone who sees it?
2:48:27-end: Closing comments!  We had to make ‘em!  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 the kind crew at American Ninth Art Studios and Empress Audrey, Queen of the Galaxy, to whom we are especially grateful for their continuing support of this podcast.  And then we’re out!
NEXT WEEK:  Wait, What? Ep. 262! Probably much shorter and with less fighting!  Join us!

Previously on Baxter Building: It’s all been leading to this — literally; we’re at the final episode of the series, and have made it through 405 issues (and 27 annuals, and 4 Giant-Size special issues) to get here. All you really need to know, though, is that the current incarnation of the team is an untraditional one, because the Human Torch is off running Fantastic Force and Reed Richards is dead. (Spoilers: As you’ll see momentarily, he’s not.) So, right now, the team is Sue Richards, Ben Grimm, Kristoff the kid adopted and brainwashed by Doctor Doom, and Namor the Sub-Mariner. No, really.

0:00:00-0:08:16: We introduce this episode, in which we cover Fantastic Four #s 406-416, with a shocking reveal: We liked these issues far more than we expected. I think I probably liked them more than Jeff, but considering how much both of us have grown to dislike earlier DeFalco/Ryan issues, this is nonetheless cause for celebration and then some. Or should we be concerned about the problem of Stockholm syndrome?

0:08:17-0:30:17: “There’s a wonderfully, like, strange self-conscious or self-aware energy” about Fantastic Four #406, which helps wins us over immediately; Doctor Doom returns, the book gains a pep in its step — and a sense of humor — that it’s been missing for a long time, we discuss what may (or may not) be Paul Ryan’s best character design in the entire series, and Jeff shares a very sound theory about Tom DeFalco’s approach to character development that includes a get-out clause if people don’t happen to enjoy the change. (Also, catch Jeff’s burp that I forgot to edit out. Oops.)

0:30:18-0:57:02: Barbarians are a letdown in FF #407, but there’s a lot to enjoy in this issue nonetheless, not least of which is the series’ new-found brevity and some subtle character work that may or may not actually exist and perhaps we were just reading far too much into it. More importantly, though, Reed Richards returns, in what is probably the least shocking plot development this series has ever seen; this has been coming for, what, two years plus at this point…? Even more importantly than that, in our final Baxter Building, Jeff finally decodes what Fantastic Four actually is as a series. Or, as I complain in the episode, “it takes us fifty months to realize that FF is a romance book.”

0:57:03-1:11:47: The fact that Fantastic Four #408 features the first full teaming of the original Fantastic Four in… two years or so… comes as a surprise to both of us, and part of that is the surprise that they’d let the team be apart for that long. Meanwhile, Reed continues to be traumatized — but there’s a surprisingly good moment when he snaps when you least expect it. Oh, and we get an explanation for the powers of the new big bad, and Jeff snaps back into Tom DeFalco’s Science Isn’t As Bad As It Sounds mode. Are we… are we actually genuinely digging these issues…?

1:11:48-1:25:18: …Okay, perhaps not. The fourth and the final part of the storyline that brings Reed and Doom back pretty much falls apart thanks to an end that makes absolutely no sense, but that’s not to say that there’s no fun to be found in FF #409, especially when it comes to how wonderfully complicated Reed’s return is because he doesn’t fit in with things anymore. Do we just love dysfunction? Perhaps, but I feel that’s not a bad thing when it comes to this series. Oh, and there’s a brief Kristoff/Cassie scene, which will always recharge the batteries of one Mr. Jeff Lester, especially when he describes one character as looking like “a fetus with pants.”

1:25:19-1:33:31: If we’ve decided that we can’t get enough soap opera, then good news: Fantastic Four #410 forgets that it’s a superhero comic altogether and just gets with the soap operatics. There’s a love triangle between Ben, Lyja and Johnny! Kristoff can’t play soccer! And we uncover the previously unknown link between 1980s pop sensations the New Kids on the Block and the Fantastic Four! (Sad but true: I honestly thought the New Kids were a ‘90s band and then I looked them up and now I feel old. Thanks, Tom DeFalco.)

1:33:32-1:37:46: After a run of fun to genuinely great issues — albeit in reverse — FF #411 proves that DeFalco, Ryan and Marvel are true believers in the idea that you can have too much of a good thing, which is the only possible explanation for this stinker about Black Bolt going insane because his forehead antenna was damaged. Oh, I only wish I was joking. “What the hell is happening here? I don’t understand,” I say, and I think that’s entirely appropriate.

1:37:47-1:44:50: I have to say that there is a very good case to be made for [Fantastic Four] #412 being a mistake,” Jeff says, and he’s entirely right. Or perhaps you’re someone who thinks that it’s time for a showdown between Reed and Namor over who objectifies Sue more that ends up being a feint on the part of Namor because it’s the only way to un-traumatize Reed. If you are that person, please no. Jeff, at least, has a reason for this being a disaster beyond the toxic masculinity of it all, and it’s because it undercuts a story two issues from now. So, you know; all told, it’s a mess.

1:44:51-1:55:00: But… is it as much of a mess as FF #413 is? That’s a good question, because at least the previous issue didn’t have to deal with an inexplicable, narratively pointless guest shot by Doom 2099, which happens because… it’s a crossover with that book? Maybe? This issue does provide the chance for Jeff to resurrect his theory of the Negative Zone as a metaphor for the Shadow Self, even if — as has become traditional by this point — I am unconvinced that the Silver Surfer is anyone’s shadow self. Nevertheless, I’m genuinely glad we got to go back there in our final episode…!

1:55:01-2:07:56: It’s clear, from quite how packed Fantastic Four #414 is, that Tom DeFalco knew that cancellation was around the corner, which would explain this busy final chapter to the Uber-story he’s been telling, on and off, for the past 40 issues or so. Who is Hyperstorm, the new bad guy behind everything? What role did Nathan play in everything? What the hell is Reed’s plan supposed to be, anyway? We ask the questions that matter, and only get slightly perturbed that some of the answers make no sense at all.

2:07:57-2:30:23: There’s no way to get around it; FF #415 and #416 are terrible ways to say goodbye to Marvel’s onetime flagship book. Gone is Paul Ryan, as well as any notion that this is actually a Fantastic Four series, because these are Onslaught crossover issues, and that means we’re reading comics that are literally designed to be middle chapters in a story about the X-Men and maybe the Avengers, at a stretch; the FF don’t get much of a look in, despite a game — if, as Jeff points out, potentially sneakily surly — Tom DeFalco, and a final issue that has both cameos from dream versions of the FF’s rogues gallery and a back-up story that is… well, just very strange and unnecessary altogether. As ways to go out, they’re shockingly underwhelming.

2:30:24-end: As we approach the end, we pivot to what we’ll take from the DeFalco/Ryan run, and then the Fantastic Four comic as a whole. Who was our favorite member? Our favorite writer? And will we miss the comic now that it’s done? (Clearly not enough to do the other volumes, at least, not immediately; we have a different plan, which we pointedly don’t tease nearly enough, in retrospect.) As we close up shop on the Baxter Building, it’s time to thank you all for paying attention, listening and reading along with us. As always, there’s a Tumblr, Instagram, Twitter and Patreon, but the real message for all of us is this: How the hell did both Jeff and I wish there was a Lyja and Kristoff spin-off book at the end of all of this?!? Happy holidays, all. We’ll be back in 2019 with more Wait, What?s and… something else.


0:01-32:16:  Greetings from the very last “Wait, What?” podcast of the year! Graeme “The Best of” McMillan and Jeff “The Rest of” Lester. As the nicknames suggest, we immediately jump into discussing the idea of the Best of 2018 list: Graeme has an in-process list, Jeff doesn’t, and it’s been a damn odd year for it for some reason. We discuss why, and also what Graeme currently has on his list.  Discussed: Martian Manhunter #1, Bitter Root #1, Goddess Mode #1, the joys of serialization, Bryan Lee O’Malley’s Seconds, whether or not Marvel should do a Daredevil: Season 4 comic; what happened to the Netflix-Marvel deal; spoilers for the finale of s2 of Iron Fist at 20:29 to 20:44); the sales of Marvel’s digital first comics; Marvel’s recent selection of back titles on Marvel Unlimited; Agents of SHIELD makes it to a seventh season, somehow; what the fuck happened with The Inhumans, including The Death of the Inhumans; and more.
32:16-44:44: Section break just in case you need to get your bearings, and also because we linger on this topic for a bit:  there’s been “a report” that a screenwriter is working on adapting Master of Kung-Fu.  Is Jeff excited? Nonplussed?  Halfplussed? We talk it all out.

44:44-56:24: The discussion of MOKF causes Jeff to ask in turn for for Graeme’s feeling about the Bright Burn trailer.  “What’s the Bright Burn trailer?” Graeme asks, so Jeff makes him watch it during the podcast so we can talk about it [Graeme’s real-time reactions edited for length].  Discussed: Bright Burn (which Jeff keeps calling “Bright Born” and still maintains is a better title than Bright Burn).

56:24-1:15:34: Jeff had mentioned earlier there were some news stories he thought we’d be discussing this episode.  What stories were those, Graeme wonders? There was a big announcement of what Shonen Jump is doing starting December 17.  Also discussed: an amazing story from Graeme about Doomsday Clock #8, but the bulk of it is us talking about the Shonen Jump deal, what the expectations are, and who is the deal for, and some other consideration that won’t end in a preposition and make me uncomfortable.
1:15:34-1:33:06: We expand the discussion about the new Shonen Jump to have a larger discussion about other comix streaming services currently available in the U.S.  Who’s the audience for Marvel Unlimited?  Who’s the audience for Comxology Unlimited? What’s the real DC Unlimited service?  And how much does Jeff actually use the streaming services he subscribes to?  That last question is a potentially very embarrassing can of worms for Jeff, but on the upside it does allow him to talk about the first volume of Vinland Saga by Makoto Yukimura, which really is as good as everybody says, and which Kodansha is offering the whole first volume of on Comixology Unlimited.  Also discussed: the Hit Reblog anthology on Comixology Unlimited; what comics are on the DC Universe app; and more.
1:33:06-1:49:49: Comics that we are reading!  This is a thing we occasionally talk about on our comics podcast!  And in case you were wondering, this is where Graeme finally gets a chance to break out that incomplete list of the year’s best books, so it’s worth paying attention to this part, probably?  Discussed and/or listed:  Brazen by Penelope Bagieu; Woman World by Aminder Dhaliwal; Berlin by Jason Lutes; Mister Miracle by Tom King and Mitch Gerads; The Immortal Hulk by Al Ewing, Joe Bennett and others; My Boyfriend is a Bear by Pamela Ribon and Cat Farris; Sabrina by Nick Drnaso (which features a longer discussion between Jeff and Graeme); Judge Dredd: The Small House, by Rob Williams and Henry Flint and just wrapped in 2000 AD; Prism Stalker by Sloane Leong; and (honorable mention) Justice League by Scott Snyder, Jorge Jimenez, and others.
1:49:49-1:54:5o: The mention of Justice League and how, while not being the best book of the year may well be the most improved, leads Graeme to talk about the new Uncanny X-Men series which Graeme describes as “astonishingly bad.”  And also, because I’m too lazy to make this a separate entry, Graeme also discusses the first issue of Shazam! by Geoff Johns, Dale Eaglesham, and Mayo “SEN” Naito.
1:54:5o-2:03:48: And then Jeff just talks about stuff he’s been reading, most of which is far from the best (and some of which, like volumes 21-27 of S&M by Mio Murao is just inexcusable). Discussed: Vinland Saga again; Die #1 by Kieron Gillen and Stephanie Hans; and others I think I’m too tired to link to, although some of them deserve it.
2:03:48-2:35:44:  Are we through yet? No, not yet!  A listener sent us the first seven issues of Plus Ultra by Jon Hughes and Matthew Weldon, and so we dig into this comic series about a superheroine dealing with supervillians and self-identity even as her creators deal with telling superhero stories, engaging in worldbuilding, and injecting ideas about self-identity into a comic book story with only so many panels, so many captions, so many scenes in any given issue.
2:35:44-2:41:49: Closing comments? Nope, psych!  We end up talking a bit about Dan Slott’s Fantastic Four and recording plans for our final episode of Baxter Building!
2:41:49-end: Closing comments–for real this 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 the kind crew at American Ninth Art Studios and Empress Audrey, Queen of the Galaxy, to whom we are especially grateful for their continuing support of this podcast.  And then we’re out!
NEXT WEEK:  Baxter Building Episode 50! The conclusion of Volume 1 of The Fantastic Four.  Join us!

Previously on Baxter Building: As Jeff and I prepare to finish up the series — the next episode of Baxter Building may be the final one! — we double back in time to take care of the last few Fantastic Four Annuals of the run. Spoilers: These are not comics that people would choose to read otherwise.

0:00:00-0:02:26: We start the episode with Jeff understandably giving me into trouble for getting the issues for this episode wrong when we set up reading plans last episode; I said we’d be doing Annual #s 24 through 27, even though we’d actually covered that one before, back in May. (How time flies…?) As it happens, our shared dislike for the issue actually acts as a great segue into talking about…

0:02:27-0:11:46:Fantastic Five #1-5. That’s right, you thought we were going to talk about FF Annual #25 straight away? Of course not. Jeff caught up with the 1999 mini-series by Tom DeFalco and Paul Ryan after I brought it up on the Wait, What? Tumblr, and much to his surprise, liked it a lot. He (properly) compares the art to Jerry Ordway’s, and we talk about the difference in soap operatic writing when it’s rooted in joy or misery. Who would’ve thought that a follow-up series to a bunch of storylines we didn’t like by a creative team we didn’t like would’ve resulted in something that we did, in fact, like?


0:11:47-0:37:15: Meanwhile, in Fantastic Four Annual #25, we get immediately derailed by a discussion around whether or not Herb Trimpe’s 1990s art style was a parody or simply a very unsuccessful attempt to swipe the Hot Image Style of the season. Also, the Avengers come up with a new slogan that neither Jeff nor I are convinced by, a brief synopsis of the Avengers Annual that ties in with this issue helps us realize that Kang is into some freaky stuff — even if I don’t remember one of the details that Jeff brings up — and whether or not Mark Gruenwald’s reputation is hurt by this comic. (Yes.)

0:37:16-0:57:03: FF Annual #26 brings back one of the more memorable villains created by DeFalco and Ryan — which is to say, Jeff forgot him — and pits him against one of the more interesting, yet entirely forgotten, characters that Tom DeFalco created in connection with the Fantastic Four. Well, I say “pit against,” but one of the many complaints we have about this issue is that it manages to make all three of the protagonists bystanders in a struggle between Dreadface and a random gangster introduced and (spoilers) killed in this issue. But that’s not the only thing wrong here, because Herb Trimpe is doing the art once again. On the plus side, Jeff does dig the back-up feature, because he’s a sucker for Marvel Cosmic Concepts, so it’s not a total loss. And talking about that back-up leads us straight into…

0:57:04-1:16:58:Fantastic Four Annual #27, which sees Mark Gruenwald return to write an extended — really, over-extended — in-joke about his fictional counterpart feeling dissatisfied with his job at Marvel, no, wait, I mean the Time Variance Authority. It’s staggeringly self-reflective, yet somehow not self-aware, but you’ll be surprised how long a boring comic in which the Fantastic Four are, once again, just bystanders despite their names being on the cover actually can be. Far more successful is the back-up strip, which wins points by being far too ambitious in its own right, and also bringing back the Beyonder when everyone least expected it. (But really, did anyone expect to see the Beyonder again?)

1:16:59-end: These three annuals are so bad that I raise the idea that, maybe, Fantastic Four Annuals are just bad in general, which prompts us to go back and consider when they were last good, and wonder what happened since that point. We also talk about the potential for Baxter Building to finish with episode 50, because we’re going to try to cover #406 through 416 — the end of the series — next episode. And then, we remind everyone to check out the Tumblr, Twitter, Instagram and Patreon accounts while you wait for the next Wait, What?; as ever, thanks for listening and reading. We’re sorry for all the Herb Trimpe.