00:01-5:34:  Greetings from Graeme “Happy New Year!” McMillan and Jeff “Yes, but is everything okay with Jim Lee?” Lester! Because Jeff is inexplicably concerned about Jim Lee (well, barely explicably), we get right off to talk about comics news and, well, what  the fuck is happening with Jim Lee? [Spoilers: apparently nothing?]
5:34-9:22: And from there, Jeff was curious what Graeme thought of some stuff Dan Didio had been saying.  “What stuff was Dan Didio saying?” asks Graeme, leading Jeff to realize just how little comics news he is reading (and especially retaining)!  Discussed: Bleeding Cool being played about 5G and whether or not that’s the same as DC’s upcoming timeline; more stuff about the timeline.
9:22-39:02: And finally, a bit more traction on the third thing Jeff thought we’d be discussing:  the comic book and graphic novel sales charts for 2019.  Discussed:  exactly that, plus also Graeme being fancy; Wonder Woman #750 and Flash #750; “everything matters” and what that means for DC as opposed to what it’s meant for Marvel; doubling down on the aging problem; sadly, the phrase “Time Trapper goatse” used by Jeff in the middle of some very good theories and extrapolations by Graeme; the Shannon and Dean Hale story in Wonder Woman #750 illustrated by Riley Rossmo that Graeme thinks is silly and great; and more.
39:02-1:00:37:  “Was there anything that surprised you in the 2019 best-selling comics and graphic novels?” ask Jeff of Graeme, and boy it’s a good thing he did!  Discussed: accidental embargo breaking; the list for both dollar share and unit share; the last issue of The Walking Dead and the final volume of The Walking Dead; Jeff not tracking that Walking Dead TV show; our confusion about why the companies appear to be sleeping on Tom Taylor; and more.
1:00:37-1:11:40: Robert Kirkman is launching Fire Power, a title with Chris Samnee and Matt Wilson on Free Comic Book Day.  But before then, they’re dropping a full trade prelude! Discussed: testing the direct market; the connection between Mark Millar, Robert Kirkman, and Brian K. Vaughan; Image titles that haven ’t even finished their own storyline; Project Superpowers; and more.
1:11:40-1:24:27: Speaking of things that don’t really wrap up well (or at all): Graeme read Wolverine: Infinity Watch by Gerry Dugan and Andy MacDonald.  Also discussed: the end of Omega The Unknown; the Three Loves of Galactus; and more.
1:24:27-1:57:01:  Remember an episode or two ago when Jeff mentioned Jason Aaron’s run on Avengers as being comparable to Grant Morrison’s run on JLA, to which Graeme scoffed? Well, get ready for some next level scoffing, as Graeme got on Marvel Unlimited to read the twenty issues currently available of Aaron’s run and then also re-reading Morrison’s JLA.  Also discussed: The War of the Realms; Silver Surfer: Black; and more.

1:57:01-2:17:32: Chris Arrant on Twitter the other day asked which comic books would make excellent stage musical.   (Great thread!)  Jeff replied on Twitter, but Graeme didn’t, so Jeff cornered him here about which comics he’d turn into a stage musical.  Also discussed: I Started a Joke by Jonathan Hickman; and more.
2:17:32-2:27:27:  Super quick comics talk: Jeff has read and then watched V For Vendetta; read two volumes of Darth Vader; the first volume of Dr. Aphra; and the trade of Marvel’s Tie Fighter; Graeme read Don’t Go Without Me by Rosemary Valero-O’Connell which he loved.
2:27:27-end:   Closing Comments!!  Look for us on  Stitcher! Itunes! Instagram! Twitter together and separately: Graeme and JeffTumblr, 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!! Vol. 11 of Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files! Join us!
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(hey, everyone!  Jeff here!  Welcome to the final episode of 2019!  Since it is the holidays, and since I spent a kind of stupidly long time putting in Amazon affiliate links in our Best Of lists, I hope you won’t mind if I forego the usual gratuitous image-placement between segments and just give you a pared down version of the show notes this time? Thank you for your patience, I hope you enjoy the ep., and Graeme and I wish you the best for 2020 after giving you the best of 2019!)
0:01-5:03:  Greetings from Graeme “Very Radio” McMillan and Jeff “Coming Up In A Quarter Hour” Lester! There is a brief bit of talk about Batman—well, actually, talk about talk, to be honest, and about Bat Mann—before we actually get things going by talking about the last issue of Watchmen. Well, actually, more like talking about the talk about the last issue of Watchmen?  We’ve apparently decided to very meta for our last episode of 2019, everyone.  We’re sorry.
5:03-59:50:  Actually, since it is the last episode of the year, should we talk about the best books of the year?  (Yep.) Of the decade?  (Nope.)  Although Graeme does talk about the challenges putting together the Best of the Decade for Hollywood Reporter, and Jeff’s challenges in putting together the best of the year.
Aaaaand since Graeme read his full Best of Decade list on the episode, I hope he won’t remind me reprinting it here:
* Hark! A Vagrant! by Kate Beaton (Online, 2010-2018)
* Smile (A Dental Drama) by Raina Telegmeier (Scholastic, 2010)
* The Nao of Brown by Glyn Dillon (Abrams, 2012)
* The Wicked + The Divine by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie (Image, 2014-2019)
* Giant Days by John Allison, Max Darin and Lissa Treiman (BOOM! Studios, 2015-2019)
* Goodnight Punpun by Inio Asano (Viz Media, 2016-2017)
* The Love Bunglers by Jaime Hernandez (Fantagraphics, 2018)
* Mister Miracle by Tom King and Mitch Gerads (DC, 2017-2018)
* The River at Night by Kevin Huizenga (Drawn & Quarterly, 2019)
* The Hard Tomorrow by Eleanor Davis (Drawn & Quarterly, 2019)
And here’s his Honorable Mentions (not Amazon linked because I’m a wastrel):
* Saga by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples (Image)
* Thor: God of Thunder, Thor, The Mighty Thor, The Unworthy Thor, King Thor by Jason Aaron, Esad Ribic, Russell Dauterman et al. (Marvel)
* The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl by Ryan North, Erica Henderson and Derek Charm, et al. (Marvel)
* What Is Left by Rosemary Valero O’Connell (Short Box)
* The Multiversity by Grant Morrison, Ivan Reis, Frank Quitely et al. (DC)
* Zombo by Al Ewing and Henry Flint (2000 AD/Rebellion)
* My Brother’s Husband by Gengroh Tagame (Viz)
* My Lesbian Experience With Loneliness by Kai Nagata (Seven Seas Entertainment)
* Tokyo Tarareba Girls by Akiko Higashimura (Kodansha USA)
* Berlin by Jason Lutes (Drawn & Quarterly)
* This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki (First Second)
* Oh Joy Sex Toy by Erika Moen, Matthew Nolan et al (Online)
* The Flintstones by Mark Russell and Steve Pugh (DC)
* Judge Dredd by Rob Williams, Henry Flint, et al (2000 AD/Rebellion)
* Relish by Lucy Knisley (First Second).
Also discussed:  how good or bad a year Marvel and DC had and why; the back-half of Tom King’s Batman run and the influence of Alan Moore; the comic book creator of Gladiator from the Imperial Guard; comic book entropy; Incoming! #1; Dan Abnett on Titans; your terrifying future; The Comics Journal’s Best of 2019: and more.
59:50-1:04:45: As for his Best of 2019, Graeme has nine titles?  It’s true, and they are:
1:04:45-1:45:55:  Oh, jeez.  Here we go with Jeff’s absurdly long “Best of 2019” list and his equally absurdly long Honorable Mentions list:
And here’s Jeff’s Honorable Mention list (which, like Graeme’s Honorable mentions for Best of the Decade are not linked, because what’s good for the goose is good for the wastrel):
Assassin Nation;
Avengers;
Batman (2016-);
Batman: Last Knight On Earth (2019);
Batman: Universe (2019-);
Chainsaw Man;
Conan 2099 (2019) / Conan The Barbarian (2019-) / Savage Avengers (2019-);
Daredevil (2019-);
Fantastic Four: Grand Design (2019-);
Golden Kamuy;
Master of Kung Fu Epic Collection: Fight Without Pity;
Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun;
My Pink is Overflowing;
Outer Darkness;
Superman Smashes the Klan (2019-);
Superman’s Girl Friend Lois Lane
Also discussed:  list-making; “cheating” in list compilation; the Tracking Your Reading 2020 Challenge; Jeff’s eyes bleeding while reading old Darth Vader books; all the stuff that’s great about Gillen’s Darth Vader; and then…
1:45:55-2:03:52:  Pivot from Graeme!  “Did you have a good holiday?” Graeme asks.  Discussed; the Merrineum; Jeff’s Xmas week at work; Graeme and Jamaica; The Mandalorian on Disney+; Graeme seeing Cats! (in the theater!); and more.
2:03:52-2:36:04:  Closing Comments? Well…no!  Actually we have one final task of 2019 to handle and that’s an update about us!  No spoilers here, so listen in (if you haven’t already).
2:36:04-end:   Closing Comments!!  Look for us on  Stitcher! Itunes! Instagram! Twitter together and separately: Graeme and JeffTumblr, 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! Happy New Year to you and join us for another ep. right around January 12, 2020!
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Previously on Drokk!: Technically, last episode we took a detour on the read-through of all the Complete Case Files to dip into the Restricted Case Files and look at Judge Dredd stories from outside the main 2000 AD series, but really: We’re up to the tenth year of Dredd, and Mega-City One is now pretty much a hellish dystopia and the Judges are as trapped by the system as those they’re technically protecting. That’s all you really need to know.

0:00:00-0:08:26: We introduce ourselves and the fact that we’re reading Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files Vol. 10, which covers 2000 AD Prog’s 474-522, from 1986 and 1987, and then we almost immediately derail ourselves by talking about the fact that this collection offers a coherent deconstruction of Dredd and his world despite the fact that it wasn’t originally intended to be collected. Were writers John Wagner and Alan Grant just looking for an excuse to redefine Dredd, or trying to keep themselves interested?

0:08:27-0:22:28: Is the idea of being a success in the comics industry the cruelest joke ever told in Judge Dredd? We talk about “The Art of Kenny Who?” and what it says about the strip’s relationship with comedy and authority. We also talk about the impossibly strong opening to this book, the influence of both EC Comics and Kafka, and what the strip is actually about at this point in its existence.

0:22:29-0:47:28: Is Judge Dredd a bully? Well, yes, but this volume really seems to be determined to demonstrate that, to the point where it’s difficult to see Dredd as anything but. We talk about that, as well as how cruel the character has become, and how slowly that change has been. (Also, has the character changed? Jeff thinks it might be that the creators have changed, instead, which is an interesting point of view.) Also, because it’s Dredd from the 1980s, racism rears its ugly head in “The Fists of Stan Lee,” and we get into the fact that this is very clearly an era of the strip where Wagner and Grant are lifting directly from whatever they’re watching, listening to, and so on.

0:47:29-0:59:14: Jeff, bless him, thinks that I managed to time this volume to this month because of the very strange Christmas episode in the book. I didn’t, and I’m not as taken by the story as he is, but we talk about whether or not it’s a wink to the audience that everything’s fine, really, or a sign that things are worse than they seem. My need for narrative closure shows up, and Jeff is a prince amongst men for not making fun of me for it.

0:59:15-1:26:57: We speed through another few stories in the volume, touching on the greatness that is the name “Slick Dickens,” Jeff’s being creeped out by Kevin O’Neill art (and my sharing a possibly apocryphal story about Kevin O’Neill and the Comics Code Authority), and the greatness that is Brendan McCarthy’s artwork on “Atlantis,” a storyline which Jeff compares to Jim Thompson, of all people. We also talk about about Jack the Ripper and Michael Jackson, or at least the versions of them that re-appear in this volume in a way that may or may not be connected. All this, and Harlan Ellison, too!

1:26:58-1:39:11: Finishing off going through stories, we touch on a few more, and talk about the brutality and rejection of nostalgia present in this book, even as the strip celebrates its 10th anniversary. Jeff talks about what might be his favorite moment in the book, while I share what I think is the most important line in the entire volume, and we end up talking about how prescient the series is in its approach to certain topics, even if that seemed like science fiction three decades earlier. Is this the British version of Jack Kirby’s OMAC in that respect…?

1:39:12-2:02:34: We wind down by talking about just how much we love this book (Spoilers: a lot), and the level of craft that Wagner (and Grant) have maintained for almost a decade at this point, and the complexity of tone and content that we’ve just come to accept and expect from Judge Dredd as a strip without really thinking about it. We also talk briefly about yet another short serial in this volume, this time one that I’m a big fan of while Jeff is far cooler. Basically, though, these are comics done right and we want to see more of this if possible. (There are many more volumes, so it’s pretty possible, really.)

2:02:35-end: As the end approaches, we swiftly wrap everything up by mentioning the Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram and Patreon, while somehow failing to wish you all a happy Christmas and Hannukkah if you celebrate either What were we thinking? As always, thank you for listening and reading; we’ll have a year-end episode next week, but until then, I’ll do it here: Happy Holidays, Whatnauts.

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[This post contains spoilers for Watchmen, both the HBO show and the original comic series (and, by extension, the 2009 movie). It basically presupposes that you’ve read the comic, to be honest, and probably makes more sense if you’ve also seen the show. Which you really should anyway.]

Every so often, I walk away from experiencing some kind of media totally energized. At this sensation’s most pronounced, it feels like my individual atoms are each vibrating like a guitar string tuned too tight, like I may never go to sleep, like I’ve been downing Sudafed with an energy drink. It’s usually a one-time event that prompts this feeling—an unexpectedly good live show, say, or my team winning the World Series—or, at a minimum, after finishing for the first time a piece of content that immediately becomes one of my all-time favorites.

When this happens, I don’t want to talk—or even think—about anything else. I’ll go online and read whatever people are saying about it, I’ll search for unfamiliar podcasts discussing it, I’ll try to find some friend, real-life or online, who shared the experience and wants to discuss. I’ll wonder why anyone anywhere is talking about anything else.

It doesn’t happen that often with TV shows. There’s too much routine there—you know when they’ll air and how long they’ll be and, often, roughly what’s going to happen. But for nine straight weeks, it happened with HBO’s Watchmen.

This show has no right to be as good as it is.

Continue reading

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0:01-02:19:  Greetings from Graeme “Master of Time and Space” McMillan and Jeff “Insert Suggestion Here” Lester! Because it’s been three (or four!) weeks since our last podcast, we really do make it a point to speed through the small talk and get to…

02:19-1:07:39: CCXP!  Also known as Comic-Con Experience São Paolo!  Also known as the comic convention that might’ve ruined Graeme for all North American comic shows!  Pull up a chair and sit back as Graeme gives a very complete overview of the show he attended at the beginning of December in Brazil.  It’s a very complete overview of a fantastic show, and gives us opportunity to discuss what makes it such a successful show, what American shows can learn from it (and if they will)!  Also discussed: the 20+ minute Kevin Feige Experience; the rapture of Money Heist and the multimedia presentations; the Frank Quitely panel; whether cons “for” fans might be different from cons “for” pros; the joys of last minute and long-distance travel; going to war with Disney; freelancing duties while traveling; and much, much more in this hour-plus discussion.
1:07:39-1:33:03: Speaking of Graeme’s freelancing work, he’s been tasked with preparing both Best of the Year and Best of the Decade lists.  In doing so, he realized there was a fatal shortcoming on his decade list—no manga!  So he asked on Twitter for recommendations, checked a lot of stuff out, and these are his reactions to what he’s read.  Discussed:  Delicious in Dungeon; Tokyo Tarareba Girls; One Piece; Goodnight Punpun; and more!
1:33:03-1:52:13: From manga of the decade to American comics from last week:  we both read Dark Knight: The Golden Child by Frank Miller, Rafael Grampá, and Jordie Bellaire (Jeff doing so after Graeme said good things about it on Twitter) and we both want to rave about it here.  It’s a….surprising book for a lot of reasons that we unpack here. Discussed: Kirby, Mantlo, mugged liberals, and much more.
1:52:13-2:04:05: “I’m not going to say a lot about Doomsday Clock #12,” announces Graeme “Tease” McMillan, “but I am going to say this…”  Don’t worry, it’s spoiler-free, but it is a tantalizing set of impressions from Graeme.  Also discussed: the difference  between Watchmen the HBO series (also spoiler-free in our discussion) and Doomsday Clock; and more.
2:04:05-2:13:53: “You know, Graeme,” Jeff sez, “the really sad thing is we can’t just talk for six hours.”  Really, Jeff?  REALLY? Well, anyway, here are some of the things we talk about talking about if we had the time to talk about them: CBR meets the outsourcing content mill; Brian Bendis’s Superman issue called “Truth” about Superman revealing his identity, and the Superman issue called “Truth” about Superman revealing his identity that happened all the way back in, uh, 2015; The Wonder Twins: Activate collection by Mark Russell and Stephen Byrne; and more.
2:13:53-end:   Closing Comments!!  Look for us on  Stitcher! Itunes! Instagram! Twitter together and separately: Graeme and JeffTumblr, 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, it’s time for Drokk!! Join us next week as we discuss Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files Vol. 10!
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Hey, everyone.  Don’t be fooled–this isn’t an episode.  It’s just seventeen minutes of Graeme and Jeff talking about when we will next be podcasting and the reason for the delay.  (Hint: international travel is involved.)  I mean, I hope it’s amusing…because goodness knows it goes on long enough?  And it even touches on comics news and other things…but it’s more of an amuse bouche at best, rather than one of our usual super-sized meals.

As we say in the non-episode, we hope you have a great Thanksgiving if that’s a holiday you celebrate, and look for us on December 15th!

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Previously on Drokk!: We’ve made it nine years into the comic book career of Judge Dredd, and we’ve watched the character come into his own after a number of missteps, with the eventual return of co-creator John Wagner midway through his second year being the turning point. With that in mind, the prospect of tackling a collection of one-off stories from throughout that same period, originally published in annuals and special issues, sure sounds like fun, right…?

0:00:00-0:03:34: In which we briefly introduce ourselves, the intro gets away from me — note that I’m literally in the middle of a sentence when throwing it to Jeff to introduce himself, and he just runs with it — and we briefly touch upon the fact that both a dog’s breakfast and a dog’s bollocks are somehow noteworthy, but not as the layman might expect. More importantly, we talk about the fact that neither of us really liked the volume we’re talking about this episode, Judge Dredd: The Restricted Files Vol. 1. It’s… not good.

0:03:35-0:11:04: Stumbling into a discussion about the book, we talk about the unevenness of the book, especially as it relates to the (high) quality of the artwork versus the not-so-high quality of the writing. Are stories intended for annuals and specials by their very nature underwhelming, even if they’re written to be (as Jeff puts it), “visually big”? We also talk about how long it takes to get to the good stories, and our different ideas of what that actually means. (Spoilers: Jeff is far more forgiving of early Alan Grant than I am.)

0:11:05-0:17:37: Perhaps a little later than would be useful, I give a little bit more context about 2000 AD annuals in general, and their prospective audience and purpose, before we talk about the appalling casual racism on show in one of the stories — really, it’s astonishing — and whether or not “Pinboing Wizard” is the first actually enjoyable story in the volume — “only” twelve stories into the book itself.

0:17:38-0:30:47: If annuals and specials were intended to act as introductions to the characters, then surely a collection of those stories would be a great introductory volume for a new reader, right…? Well, not exactly, and we start to break down quite why that might be the case. Is there a lack of nuance in these stories, or simply a lack of darkness? It’s surely no coincidence that the stories Jeff and I enjoy most in the volume are the more downbeat ones, and the moments in the comedy stories are the more… grim jokes…

0:30:48-0:42:25: We take a brief diversion from the meat of the volume to talk about the Strontium Dog strip in 2000 AD — also created by John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra, with Alan Grant co-writing the majority of the stories — which, for me, heavily influences some of the more supernatural stories in this volume. Also discussed: My odd head canon concerning the limits of Dredd as a strip, Jeff seeing an influence on Simon Bisley from the stories contained in this book, and “William Nilly”’s success as a pseudonym.

0:42:26-0:49:06: We return to the idea that the value in this volume is almost entirely in enjoying the visual stylings rather than the writing, talking about the ways in which the off-model early stories have a lot of things to enjoy in them, at least in how they look, such as Kevin O’Neill drawing in what looks like a quasi-early McMahon style for a couple of stories, or a wonderfully pop-art Brett Ewins/Brendan McCarthy collaboration.

0:49:07:-1:13:05: Can everyone take a moment to enjoy the fact that Jeff and I take quite so long discussing one 14-page story, purely because we cannot get over quite how bad the John Byrne artwork for it actually is? And, oh, friends; it’s very bad artwork indeed, all the worse for being presented next to some truly great stuff from the likes of Brian Bolland, Mike McMahon and Ian Gibson. I mean, just take a look.

This was when he was being considered one of the finest artists in the American comic book industry. Just think about that.

1:13:06-1:23:46: Jeff is clearly trying to wrap things up early, but I won’t let him; instead, we end up talking about how surreal the story from the Dan Dare annual is. It’s so off-model that it reads like a parody that accidentally got published, but it’s also one of the meanest parodies you can imagine, making everyone depicted — and involved — seem a little worse by comparison. Of course, we come up with some conspiracy theories about the story’s creation and just who was actually behind it, because it’s us.

1:23:47-1:34:21: If this is, as we describe it, a book for completists only, then what kind of completist? (An art-lover, if nothing else.) Do we think that because we’ve been spoiled by “better” Dredd in earlier Case Files volumes, or is this genuinely lacking — and if so, is that the case because these stories exist outside the context in which they were originally published? All of that gets brought up, if not necessarily resolved, here!

1:34:22-end: We have a long, meandering trail towards the end by talking about the inherent flaws of the annual as a narrative chapter in an ongoing story, talk more about just how disappointing this volume is, and then finally wrap things up by talking about the Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram and Patreon of it all. Next month, we get back to the Case Files proper with the 10th volume, and let me just tell you, Jeff and I are very much looking forward to it, thank you very much. And while I’m thanking you, thank you for reading through all these show notes, as ever.

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[Sorry, we didn’t get to discuss this on the episode, but Jeff read a couple of terrific “Superman has taken on a new secret identity stories” on DCU, courtesy of intel from Martin Gray and Doc Beechler. Thought those of you who enjoyed hearing about the Secret Year imaginary event might get a kick out of seeing this.  Thanks, Martin and Doc!]

0:01-7:14:  Greetings from Graeme “Excited Slash Cautious” McMillan and Jeff “manic chatterbox” Lester! Jeff is coming off a daylong manic tear, and Graeme is, well, Graeme, so we try to spend a bit of time setting up a safeword. Sadly/Happily, things get a lot more conventional from there but at the time we were pretty sure we would *all* be in for a very wild ride!
7:14-45:33: Comics news!  It’s the kind of thing we’ve been kinda/sorta veering away from for a while, but decide to officially start things off with the news of the upcoming 12 month limited series, The Best of 2000 A.D. launching in North America in 2020.  It’s an exciting announcement in a lot of ways, but there are a lot of factors that could help its chances of success.  Also discussed: comics anthologies; dreamcasting American creators on 2000 A.D.; British weekly anthologies, with a focus on the Marvel reprint titles in the U.K.; The Phoenix; Alan Grant and Action Comics Weekly; the awesomeness of Rick Burchett’s art generally and his work with Greg Rucka on Detective Comics in particular; and more.
[asterix]
45:33-1:03:25:  Other big “from overseas to the U.S.” news:  Papercutz has cut a deal to bring Asterix to North America in 2020!  Graeme, who is fluent in the ways of the small Gaul, fills in Jeff (who is not all).  And since Graeme is Graeme, our discussion about beloved-comics-international-treasure Asterix quickly becomes a discussiong about the-opposite-of-that: Doomlord!
1:03:25-1:10:05: Graeme talks about Prestige Plus, the title DC’s giving to their larger size Black Label titles, in particular the upcoming release Wonder Woman: Dead Earth by Daniel Warren Johnson.  It sounds terrific!
1:10:05-1:27:17: Something that also sounds terrific, according to Jeff?  Mark Bagley’s Wikipedia page!  Discussed: Mark Bagley’s Wikipedia page.
1:27:17-1:37:06: Mark Bagley drew the recent well-received Spider-Man: Life Story written by current fan favorite, Chip Zdarsky.  Graeme, however, did not like Life Story, and although it’s easy to assume that’s just because Graeme doesn’t much like either Spider-Man or Mark Bagley, listen in and you’ll discover that’s not the case.
1:37:06-1:56:16: Curious what Jeff’s been reading?  We hope so, because he’s going to tell you, especially about Immortal Hulk #26, Savage Avengers #7, Ryuko Vol. 2, and the second octet of Initial D volumes by Shuichi Shigeno.
1:56:16-2:04:21: Legion of Superheroes #1 by Brian Michael Bendis and Ryan Sook came out this week, and Graeme not only read it and has a take—he has two takes!  And he also has some spoiler-free discussion of upcoming Bendis books, the latest issue of Superman and the finale of Event Leviathan.

2:04:21-2:22:50: And on the non-comics media tip, Jeff has very quick words about The End of the Fucking World Season 2, Terminator: Dark Fate, and a very quick easy/hard comic book movie pop quiz! Plus: talk about the MCU and the Disney+ shows; Star Wars: Resistance Reborn; and more.
2:22:50-end:   Closing Comments!!  Look for us on  Stitcher! Itunes! Instagram! Twitter together and separately: Graeme and JeffTumblr, 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!)  But does Graeme also let us know that you should go to the Barnes & Noble in Clackamas, Oregon so you can hear him talk with Josh Williamson about Flash: Year One?  Maybe!
Next week: Drokk!  We’re reading Judge Dredd: The Restricted Case Files, volume 1.  Join us!
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0:01-7:55:  Greetings from Graeme “Finger Guns” McMillan and Jeff “Were We Facetiming” Lester! Let us paint a picture for you—a picture painted of words—so you know where we’re at when we record that (because wanting you to know that is apparently where Graeme is at).
7:55-54:26: What could be even better than DC’s next big event, The Year of the Villain?  Could it be…a dream Jeff had one feverish night for DC’s next big event? It probably couldn’t, but Jeff makes Graeme listen to it anyway, and we talk about Year of the Villain, the nature of crossover events, truffle oil, opt-in events, the upcoming Superman reveal, an excellent point by the ever-awesome Cheryl Lynn Eaton, Naomi, whether or not secret identities are out of favor, some of the details emerging from DC’s upcoming timeline, and much more.
54:26-1:15:13: Moving out of our discussion about DC and how to handle having characters age out, Graeme answers one of the burning questions on Jeff’s mind (no, really): what the hell happened to the New52 Superman?  Also discussed:  Forever Evil, postcreditsequenceitis (not one of Prince’s later albums, although it does look like that, doesn’t it?), Spider-Man: Far From Home, the sequel for Into The Spider-Verse and Jeff’s half-assed pitch for it; the terror that is Marvel’s Spider-Verse collection; and more.
1:15:13-1:36:45: Would you believe all of Jeff’s thoughts about secret identities came out of reading a bunch of manga—namely, Shuichi Shigeno’s Initial D?  Strange, but true!  Jeff was really impressed with a lot of the structure of this car racing manga and grew to love an unconventional art style.  Here, Jeff definitely goes on at almost comedic length about a series he’s only eight volumes in.
1:36:45-1:44:53: And on the end of the spectrum, Graeme has been reading a lot of Nicolai Dante, a 2000AD series that he openly admits doesn’t work for him.  “The art’s nice, but the writing’s overlooked,” sez Graeme after reading three volumes of the material.  Discussed: Rogue Trooper, Chris Claremont, and “cringe” as an adjective.
1:44:53-2:13:17: To top things off, Graeme’s just purchased two classic late era Kirby comics:  Destroyer Duck #1 by Steve Gerber, Jack Kirby and Alfred Alcala; and 2001: A Space Odyssey #5 by Jack Kirby and Mike Royer.  Join us as Graeme walks us through these two amazing books with a lot of savage and incisive things to say about the company and industry where Kirby (and Gerber!) made his name.  Also discussed: the next Frankenstein Comic Swap; the Secret Origin of Lightray (!) by Gerry Conway (!!) and Don Newton; Supertown/Soup Or Town and the appearance of either in Grant Morrison’s JLA; Adventure Comics #460; Tom Taylor’s excellent handling of Green Arrow in Deceased and more.
2:13:17-2:25:18: Closing comments? Well, kinda—we talk very briefly about Batman Annual #4; the pain of passing on Fantastic Four: Grand Design by Tom Scioli; the upcoming John Constantine: Hellblazer book by Si Spurrier and Aaron Campbell; and a possible mystery surrounding the first issue of Joe Hill’s Basket Full of Heads #1. (Thanks, Graeme!)  And then…
2:25:18-end: Closing Comments!!  Look for us on  Stitcher! Itunes! Instagram! Twitter together and separately: Graeme and JeffTumblr, 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!)  But does Graeme jam in even a few more last minute recommendations?  Maybe!
Next week: W,W?, 283 4 u!
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Previously on Drokk!: The eighth volume of Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files was the first to leave Jeff and I underwhelmed, and doubting whether it was possible that Wagner and Grant, who had seemed near invincible for the run so far, had utterly lost it completely, or whether they were just in a lull and recovery mode…

0:00:00-0:04:49: As we introduce ourselves and the fact that we’re covering Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files Vol. 9 — AKA stories from 2000 AD Prog’s 424-473, from 1985 and 1986, written by John Wagner and Alan Grant and illustrated by a bunch of people — Jeff and I also very quickly get into the weeds explaining the references in the names of our particular city blocks this episode. It’s not a great start, let’s be honest.

0:04:50-0:26:56: You know what is a great start? The first story in this volume, “Midnight Surfer,” which boasts some amazing artwork from Cam Kennedy and supremely confident writing from Wagner and Grant, who clearly have their mojo back and then some. We talk about both things, and also why this story is the ideal introduction to this book, as well as Chopper’s place in the wider Dredd narrative as a hero, Dredd’s place as, as Jeff puts it, “an instrument of the government,” and also Jeff’s joy of balancing his ignorance of what’s to come with my, and the commenters’, knowledge of future storylines. All this, and whether or not Dredd shaves in our personal head canons!

0:26:57-0:31:41: The unmistakable greatness of “Midnight Surfer” is followed by the… dubious pleasures of “Nosferatu,” which I describe as being “shambolic on some level,” yet nonetheless not without its charms. Why do Wagner and Grant return to such generic monster gimmicks on a recurring basis? We talk about potential answers.

0:31:42-0:50:54: In a relatively wide-ranging section, we talk about the value of stories not outstaying their welcome in this volume, and the fact that this allows Wagner and Grant to both follow their interests and show off their diversity, even as their showing off may prove to be less showy than, say, Alan Moore. This leads into a discussion of influence — I ask whether Jeff can see the influence of Wagner/Grant (Really, Wagner) and Pat Mills on Alan Moore, and Jeff counters by talking about the clear influence Wagner/Grant had on Garth Ennis. Somehow, from there, we talk about the relative impact of Dredd as a strip relative to its strengths as great comics, and then get briefly into some of those strengths: namely, the expositionary powers of Wagner and Grant and the fact that these comics were written for children but not written down to children.

0:50:55-0:55:39: Another brief diversion, as we pit Otto Sump against the Fatties, as Wagner and Grant revive two running jokes once again in this volume, and Jeff and I have different favorites, and different reasons why each story works (or doesn’t) for us. Who knew that Jeff wasn’t into happy endings?

0:55:40-1:11:14: It’s not all greatness in this volume, as our discussion of the (almost impressively racist) “The Warlord” story underscores. We talk about cultural differences on either side of the Atlantic in the mid-80s, the failures of this story outside the racism, but also the things that come closest to saving graces: Cam Kennedy’s artwork, and also the surprising impact of continuity on this storyline’s final episode, but also the aftermath of it all. Slow world building — and the fact that Jeff and I have read nine years’ worth of this strip over nine months — means that, when the story suddenly and unexpectedly leans on the mythology of it all, the result can be surprisingly effective.

1:11:15-1:33:36: We skip through a couple of done-in-ones before reaching the story that is, arguably, the heart of the volume: “Letter From A Democrat,” which I describe as the story that breaks Judge Dredd as a strip — in a good way, I hasten to add — and which is also, potentially, a story that breaks Dredd. What happens when Wagner and Grant just wholeheartedly go in on the fact that the Judges are the bad guys? It’s a choice that has, arguably, informed so much of this volume — we touch on a few more examples — but it’s also something that resonates more today than it would have five years ago, Jeff suggests. It’s a wonderful, breathtaking story that makes what was already a great volume into something even better.

1:33:37-1:39:34: I confess that this volume exhausts me — it’s more than 400 pages long — as we talk about some other stories, including an extended Christmas episode that suggests, not for the first time, that Wagner and Grant do not properly understand how lobotomies work. Also, we talk Gribligs — not good — and Lemmings — very good — even as Jeff admits that he doesn’t like Brendan McCarthy’s art. (I know, I know; he’s ”problematic” to be very, very kind, but I still like his artwork a bunch; sorry.)

1:39:35-1:59:59: Is this a volume to recommend to newcomers? Jeff and I split on the answer, because he’d rather recommend it as a second volume, whereas I think it’s strong enough on its own merits to work as an introduction. We also list our favorite stories in the book — we both like “Midnight Surfer,” while Jeff adds “Letter From A Democrat” and “West Side Rumble,” and I go for “The Man Who Knew Too Much” (which we discuss a little) and “The Lemming Syndrome” — and I ask whether Jeff expected the volume to go quite as dark as it ended up going. Also under discussion: D notices, Ron Smith, and whether the decision to go full villain with the Judges was what revitalized Wagner and Grant.

2:00:00-end: We wrap things up our usual way, mentioning the Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram and Patreon, and also let everyone (including Jeff!) know that we’re not going to be doing Case Files Vol. 10 next time; instead, we’re going to be doing Judge Dredd: The Restricted Files Vol. 1, which includes stories from special issues and annuals from 1977 through 1985. Get ready, everyone; it’s like a crash course in the evolution of Dredd.

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