0:01-35:33:  Greetings!  Graeme “Remarkably Warm” McMillan and Jeff “Remarkably Convincing” Lester are here after a weeklong break to rap about comic books, and what better way to start than discussing the passing of Steve “Remarkably Important to American Comics” Ditko.  Graeme has a great handful of fun facts about Ditko you might not have known, and Jeff has some quality bloviation about the strength of Ditko’s plotting….plus a whole lot more!
35:33-1:13:54:  Pivoting from comics creators to comics, we discuss Batman #50 by Tom King, Mikel Janin, and a buttload of pinup artists.  It’s halfway through King’s hundred issue run, and the issue is, as Graeme put it, “primed for [Jeff] to dislike.”  True? Well… Once again, we are back in the arena pit of King’s Batman, with Graeme liking it much more than Jeff would honestly think possible, and Jeff disliking it not as much as Graeme seems to think.  Welcome to the Batman #50 Thunderdome! Two Podcasters walk in and….uh, two podcasters walk out.  (But thirty minutes do not!)
1:13:54-1:20:30:  Well, now that it’s been over an hour, maybe we can talk about a second comic? Well, all right, if you insist: Graeme has some choice words for Death of the Inhumans #1 by Donnie Cates and Ariel Olivetti.
1:20:30-1:29:21: And, picking up the pace, we also discuss Man of Steel #6 by Brian Michael Bendis and Jason Fabok.  So much to talk about in this issue, and yet how much do you want to bet Jeff just uses it as an opportunity to talk about how the bad guy looks like Anton Arcane from Bissette & Totelben’s Swamp Thing run?
1:29:21-1:32:19: A book that really rang both our chimes?  The Immortal Hulk #2 by Al Ewing and Joe Bennett.  The second issue has a lot going for it, including a vibe that heavily reminded us of classic Michael Fleisher/Jim Aparo Spectre comics—eerie and mean.
1:32:19-1:44:13: Not quite as successful for us on the Marvel front? The first issue of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ run on Captain America, with art by Leinil Francis Yu.  Was it the storytelling choices? Was it the squandering of one of the better writers about the myths of America squeezing himself into the idea of Captain America? Too on the nose? Not on the nose enough? Or was it just the whole post-Secret Empireness of it all?
1:44:13-1:55:17:  Hey, but don’t let us get you down—there’s a lot of great comics out there in the world, and thanks to Kodansha and Amazon/Comixology, we have access to the complete translated Beck by Harold Sukuishi, as well as his Seven Shakespeares series.  Beck was one of Jeff’s favorite reads back when Tokyopop reprinted it (under the title Beck: Mongolian Chop Squad, which is how Jeff refers to it here) and is delighted to revisit it again.  If you’re in the U.S. and have Comixology Unlimited or Kindle Unlimited, you’re in for a treat.  (And if not, as Graeme points out, you can try Kindle Unlimited for the first month free!
1:55:17- 2:35:01: Jeff is ambivalent about Justice League #3 by Scott Snyder and Jorge Jimenez, but Graeme is not, especially after rereading the first three issues.  After some more Old Man Grumpus comments from Jeff about Snyder’s recent work and his nonplussedness at issue #2 of The Unexpected by Cary Nord, Steve Orlando, and Wade von Grawbadger, Graeme tries to gently broach the topic:  maybe Jeff just doesn’t dig American superhero comics any more?  Includes a lot of talk about the comparison and contrast to manga, and what Jeff sees as manga doing better…and a long discussion of what Jeff wants his comics to be. (Plus: also some sales figure stuff there at the very end?  Because that’s who we roll.)
2:35:01-end:  Closing comments already?!  Sure, but first a very quick review from Graeme of Ant-Man And The Wasp? And then:   Look for us on  Stitcher! Itunes! 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.
NEXT WEEK:  Baxter Building!  Join us for a discussion of Fantastic Four issues #362-370.
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http://theworkingdraft.com/media/podcasts2/WaitWhat247.mp3
 [apologies if that link doesn’t turn into something you can auto-play. I have no idea why it’s acting up, but hopefully have got the damn episode encoded elsewhere…]
0:01-13:13: Welcome!  Graeme announces he is weirdly crabby; Jeff announces he just had a visit from Mr. David Wolkin; and there’s a terrifying story about the best pizza place in Portland going *too* Portland, a profile about the man behind Dave’s Killer Bread, and much more “not yet” talk.  Don’t worry!  comic book talk is coming!

13:13-1:08:08: In fact, it’s here!  Our ALL-SPOILERS, WE GIVE-IT-ALL-AWAY talk about Avengers: Infinity War has arrived.  Discussed:  Some really smart choices; what happened to Hawkeye; what are the gimmes for the sequel, including Jeff’s beautiful theory that Graeme is more or less entirely sure will not happen; the JMS-ification of MCU Spider-Man; the bit that broke the movie for Graeme; Jeff’s pinko anxiety about the MCU’s neolib anxiety; the Kingsman: The Secret Service connection; the choices made for MCU Thanos; and more (Carboat)!
1:08:08-1:21:31: In fact, Carboat leads us into a discussion of contrarian social media and the motivations behind it; 9/11 and superhero movies, which lead us to…
1:21:31-1:33:06:  Actual comic book talk!  About comics!  Jeff just read Dead Dead Demon’s Dededede Destruction, Vol. 1 by Inio Asano, and it gave him an abundance of feels!  We circle back to the MCU and the military-industrial complex; how Marvel Comics treats the MIC, reflected in, for example, the work of Brian Michael Bendis.
1:33:06-1:55:02:  Speaking of Bendis:  how is he going to fit into the DCU, considering some of his takes on things at Marvel?  Are we going to see something different from him, considering he’s writing Superman, who, as Graeme puts it, “is one of the more establishment characters.”  Which ropes us into a discussion of DC Nation #0: the Bendis story in it, but also the pieces in the recent free (or near-free) comic. Also discussed: Justice League: No Justice #1; Dial L for Loeb; discussing Bendis’ final Marvel work, including his work on Iron Man; a summing up of the Superman and Action Comics Rebirth titles up to now; and more.
 
1:55:02-2:19:48: A comic book round-up of various titles, including:  Batman #46 by Tom King and Tony Daniel!  Jeff does not like it, but can give a spirited defense of it nonetheless?  Discussed: Alan Moore; cheap comedy; and more; You Are Deadpool #1 by Al Ewing and Salva Espin—a Deadpool comic that is a Choose Your Own RPG comic! Absolutely an impressive formalistic achievement…but then why are both Graeme and Jeff left a bit cold? Additionally  Jeff caught up on issues #3-5 of Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles by Mark Russell, Mike Freeman, and Mark Morales, and wanted to check in with Graeme about his feelings about the book; and Jeff also caught up with something like six chapters of Platinum End by Ohba and Obata, and is happy to report…he now kinda maybe likes it?  Plus: Vampire Tales, Vol. 3!
2:19:48-2:38:53: Finally, a very important Infinity Wars-related question:  if you could cast Hawkeye but only with an actor named Jeremy, who would you pick? Also discussed: CQ, what happened to Josh Holloway; are we ever going to see Gambit: The Movie; the Avengers relaunch and the preview of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Captain America; and more.
2:38:53-end:  Closing comments!   Look for us on  Stitcher! Itunes! 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.
NEXT WEEK:  Baxter Building!  Join us for a discussion of Fantastic Four Annual #s 19, 22-24, but also feel free to check out the 40 pages of Barry Windsor-Smith’s unpublished Thing graphic novel that several people have pointed us to. We probably won’t discuss it….but we might?
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Panther1

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

10:45-22:04: Comics!  We realize right around here that we can talk about comics: y’know, just dive right and start talking about comics we’ve been reading on our over the last three-plus weeks that.  So of course we spend some time talking about public reception to the upcoming Captain America: Civil War movie. Also discussed: anger and the Internet, surgery, scheduling, commercials and Marvel Comics, and more.
22:04-37:38: Speaking of which, we discuss the first issue of Black Panther by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Brian Steelfreeze, and Laura Martin: Discussed: price points; Hickman’s Avengers; Don McGregor’s Panther’s Rage; the Marvel BOGO sale at Comixology and the Marvel Half-Price Off Sale at Amazon; Black Panther as Batman; Jack Kirby, Grant Morrison, and Geoff Johns.
37:38-52:58: in fact, Graeme has read *a lot* of Geoff Johns material recently so he has some opinions on this very topic. Discussed: JSA, Hawkman, Brightest Day, Flash: Rebirth, and Green Lantern: Rebirth; Captain Britain; Geoff Johns’ Flash and TV’s Flash; and more.
52:58-1:19:17: “Are you into Flash?” Graeme asks. “Like, as a character?”  This is a potentially great topic for conversation—who are our favorite heroes, and why?—but it catches Jeff surprisingly off-guard.  Discussed:  DC heroes and Marvel heroes; every Wildcat story ever; the template behind Morrison’s JLA and how it’s being used by Waid right now in All-New, All-Different Avengers; Nick Spencer and Daniel Acuna’s Captain America; Jeff’s Captain America theory; Avengers Standoff: Welcome to Pleasant Hill; DC’s Legends; where the name “The Phantom Stranger” came from; and more.
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1:19:17-1:34:37: A thing Jeff re-read very recently and greatly enjoyed but not in the ways he expected: Elektra Assassin by Frank Miller and Bill Sienkiewicz. Also discussed:  David Mazzuchelli and Daredevil: Born Again and Batman: Year One; Dave McKean; Barron Storey; and more.
Wheaton11:34:37-1:40:06: Other things Jeff re-read and enjoyed: two collections of Brubaker’s and Phillips’ (and Staples’ and Breitweiser’s) ’ Criminal:  Bad Night and Last of the Innocent, while also checking out the recent 10th Anniversary Special Edition Magazine.  Discussed: Archie, Encyclopedia Brown; Britt Black; Wil Wheaton; Matt Fraction; and more.
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1:40:06-1:52:39: Also on the “Jeff read and enjoyed this” list: 4 Kids Walk Into a Bank by Tyler Boss and Matthew Rosenberg; Unbeatable Squirrel Girl V2 #7 by Ryan North, Erica Henderson and Ricco Renzi; The Vision #6 by Tom King, Gabriel Hernandez Walta and Jordie Bellaire (with a possible spoiler for Civil War II); the problem with Ms. Marvel; and more.
1:52:39-2:09:30: Jeff also read via Marvel Unlimited the first issue of Amazing Spider-Man (2015) by Dan Slott and Giuseppe Camuncoli and he had, let us just say, “all the feels” about it. Discussed: Spidey’s love interests; how to have your spider-cake and eat it too; grown-ups and Richie Rich; #NotMyBlackPanther; and more.
secret ending
2:09:30-2:14:46: Because we’ve run long, Graeme can only briefly extol the virtues of The Panther by Brecht Evens (now out in English) and Hot Dog Taste Test by Lisa Hanawalt, both from Drawn & Quarterly); and Jeff manages to work in how much he enjoyed the first issue of Sun Bakery by Corey “Rey” Lewis.
2:14:46-end: Closing Comments!  Look for us on  Stitcher! Itunes! Twitter together and separately: Graeme and Jeff! MattTumblr (where Graeme posted a really fantastic little Spider-Man story by Hannah Blumenreich.  If you haven’t seen it already, you should check it out)! And our special thanks to the kind crew at American Ninth Art Studios for their continuing support of this podcast, as well as our continuing special thanks to the Empress Audrey, Queen of the Galaxy…and to all 120 of our supporters on Patreon who make all this possible.
NEXT WEEK:  For some of the reasons discussed above, but also because of the schedule (we think?), there’s a skip week! Catch us in two for more audio gaga!
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00:00-9:21: Hello, hello, hello!  Today you’re in for something out of the ordinary, as Gary Lactus (from Silence!), Chico Leo (of Fan Bros), and Paul O’Brien of House To Astonish join Jeff Lester on Battlepod for an infinite secret podcast crossover!  Yes, Graeme was whisked away by the Beyonder to another part of the strange dimension known as Battlepod, leaving me to fend for myself against three of the sharpest knives in the comic book podcasting drawer. First up are speedy introductions to one another—punctuated by a lot of “Fer Sure! Fer Sure!” in what is a sudden thickening of my native Californian accent—and then more formal introductions of each of our esteemed guests so you know who they are, where they’re from, and why they’re awesome.

captainamerica-thumbsup9:21-18:41: Intros out of the way, it’s time for us to turn to this episode’s theme (yes, a themed Wait, What? episode—the stakes get higher by the minute!): “The Worm Turns:  Characters, Creators and Books that we used to hate but now love or vice-versa.”  First up:  Paul O’Brien and Captain America!  Discussed by the group: propaganda, the monarchy, Frank Miller and Ales Kot, Mark Millar, good ol’ John Walker, and more.
18:41-36:34: Next, Chico Leo is at plate to talk about…Spider-Man! Discussed by the group: how a simple concept has grown less simple over time, and how attempts to simplify have somehow only made it more complex in some ways; The Simpsons vs. Harry Potter; John Byrne’s take vs. Dan Slott’s comic; the grating gear change at the end of Claremont-infused X-Men stories; Marvel continuity versus the imaginary stories of the DC Silver Age; the idea of the crossover as “naughty universe touching;” and more.
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36:34-48:41: Gary Lactus is up next to talk…Bloodstrike! After discussing the history of the 90s and running into the arms of Dan Clowes, Peter Bagge, and Dan Clowes, Mr. Lactus has come around to talk the charms of one Robert Liefeld.  Discussed: feet; penises in jars; the Inkstuds interview with Rob Liefeld; the first issue of Prophet; the road from sunday school to Black Mass; “he’s a one note creator but sometimes all you need is that one note;” Rob Liefeld’s The Covenant; a quick break as one of Gary Lactus’s former heralds shows up to cause disarray; when the phrase “remarkably sane” is disappointing; and more.
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48:41-54:12: “We’re definitely in the realms of freeformville,” Jeff announces.  “Is there anyone else who maybe has a creator up their sleeve that they have switched on over time?”  And of course Paul chimes in with the name everyone was surely just about to say:  Bret Blevins.  Also discussed: BRET BLEVINS; Louise Simonson; New Mutants; Meltdown: Havok and Wolverine; the importance of watercolors to telling a serious story in the Nineties; and more.
54:12-1:00:36: For follow-up, Chico Leo talks about both a creator with whom he went from “hate” to “love”—the mighty José Luis García López—and from love to hate: Mr. Frank Miller.  Discussed:  “the goddamned Batman;” the term “mind enema;” Woody Allen, Bill Cosby, and the difference between the artist and the art; the secret career of JLGL; and more.
1:00:36-1:10:33: Gary Lactus gets another turn at the creator flip and this time he brings up an excellent choice: Mr. Joe Matt.  Discussed:  confessional comics as the big thing of the ‘90s and what happened; our ability to share and get instant affirmation; Jeff doing strange things to the word “reportage”; Chester Brown’s Paying for It; guys growing up isolated in smaller industrial cities; and more.
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1:10:33-1:29:43:  The book round!  Paul has an excellent choice for this, just as Gary did for creator:  Cerebus The Aardvark.  Mentioned:  The gnostic heresy, the perfect phrase “one of the most technically competent pieces of outsider art ever made;” the literal disbelief with which the turn of Sim’s intentions was greeted by on the Internet; the idea of Cerebus as three different comics; Speakers’ Corner; Gary’s inability to get into Cerebus; The Strange Death of Alex Raymond; watching someone box a stump; Terry Zwigoff’s documentary Crumb; Steve Ditko and Alan Moore; and more.
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 1:29:43-1:36:52:  Gary Lactus has one last worm to turn, and it’s in regards to the Golden Age hero, Mr. Terrific.  It’s a delightful tale well told by GL, one that’s well worth a listen and also a great way to wrap up our adventure.
1:36:52-1:41:28: Because the shimmering cosmic curtain that has gathered is about to dissipate, a call is put out for closing shots.  Chico Leo weighs in with the book he once loved that now he hates:  Mad Magazine.  You may get a glimpse into the time displacement involved in the recording of this episode by our discussion of contemporary politics at the moment…
1:41:28-closing: Closing comments, in no small part because our bladders are incredibly full: each of us tells you where you can find us next. Since I covered a lot of that up in the intro, let me just add the twitter accounts for Mr. Lactus, Mr. Leo, Mr. O’Brien and myself.
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And look out for Episode 7 of the Secret Convergence on Infinite Podcasts over at House to Astonish.
NEXT WEEK:  Graeme returns in a brand new black costume for Baxter Building Episode 11!!
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Hey!  Remember that Hawkeye series where we saw what Clint Barton was up to when he wasn’t an Avenger? You know, the series that was more of a crime series with laughs but also a melancholic…

Welcome to Marvel's Corporate Structure, Avengers! Hope you survive the experience!

Welcome to Marvel’s corporate structure, Avengers! Hope you survive the experience!

Holiday’s greetings, everyone!  It’s next to next to the last day of the year, and Graeme and I are here to shut it down in style, with  a two point five hour podcast of Avengersdissing, predictionmaking, shadethrowing hyphenignoreing adventure!  We recorded this one the day after Christmas, I mixed it yesterday, I’m uploading it today, I’m having a quiet nervous breakdown tomorrow and then we are streets ahead into 2015!  So join us for a very quick piece of shownoteisms, won’t you?

00:00-16:13: Holday greetings! As mentioned above, this podcast was recorded on Boxing Day, 12/26/14, so our opening is long on the holiday catch-up news and short on the comics news. Oh no, wait, I’m sorry: We’re actually talking about renowned Marvel supervillain, Swarm…

Image ganked from our fine friends at Comics Alliance.

Image ganked from our fine friends at Comics Alliance.

within the first ninety seconds. How that leads into a big long discussion about Dr. Doom, I wish I could tell you. Well, I mean I could tell you, but wouldn’t you rather hear that for yourself?
16:13-49:37: Is Captain America Marvel’s Superman? Does Marvel have an aspirational hero the way DC has Superman? These are things that Graeme is wondering about—is there a lack of inherently good heroes in Marvel right now? This talk actually turns pretty quickly to Graeme filling Jeff in on the state of Superman right now especially in comparison to how Supes started off in the New52. Also discussed: the Charlton characters and which one would be most likely to end up in 2000 A.D. unchanged, and our appreciation for the ludicrously deep back catalog of DC characters, all of which culminates in our discussion of Showcase #100…

If you like reading about superheroes in bulk, this is the issue for you.

If you like reading about superheroes in bulk, this is the issue for you.

by Pauls Levitz and Kupperberg, Joe Staton and Dick Giordano, which in turn leads to a big description of Gardner F. Fox’s Justice League of America, the best reboot of Hawkman ever hatched, Green Arrows then and now, and more.
49:37-2:07:30: AVENGERS TALK! We had one job for this podcast…! One job!!

Fortunately, we do indeed get around to discussing issues #275-300 (after first talking shit about 2014) and talk about what it was like reading these 300 issues of Avengers, generally, where the high points were and why; the difference between Marvel in the ‘60s, ‘70s, and ‘80s, and writer Roger Stern and editor Mark Gruenwald as the embodiments of that last era; the last ten issues (#290-300) written by Walt Simonson and what a strange batch of issues they are;

Simonson giving G-Mo a run for his money...

Simonson giving G-Mo a run for his money…

the dialing down of the Marvel Universe; Nebula, Marinna, and (again) these amazingly weird issues by Walt Simonson; the next 50 issues as summarized by Graeme; the idea that The Avengers is a book that only works by accident: why is that? Also discussed: the retconning of the retconning of the retcon of Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch; Jeff’s analogy about Jonathan Hickman’s work which he’s still somewhat pleased by; how many issues you can read until you get to have an opinion; Serial, fiction, and serial fiction; Twin Peaks (another story about a murder that first infatuated and then infuriated people), Reflections: An Oral History of Twin Peaks; whether or not Jeff should jump ahead and read the Kurt Busiek issues;  and much more.
2:07:30-2:17:06:  You’d think this would be where our closing comments go, and it sorta/kinda starts that way, but instead we talk about what we expect and/or what we want from 2015, as summed up by the guy who knows nothing of what’ll be going on (that would be Jeff) and the guy who knows pretty much everything (that would be Graeme).  Discussed:  Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Butcherology; Star Wars; Secret Wars; Convergence; the article title that will make Graeme turn the Internet upside-down; the prices of comic books; and more.
2:17:06-end: Closing comments!  The Crying of Tote Bag 49! Places to look for us at—Stitcher! Itunes! Twitter! Tumblr! And, of course, Patreon, where, as of this count, 89 patrons make this whole thing possible.

Happy New Year to one and all—we hope 2015 brings you everything you need and all that you might want!  We will talk to you in the New Year!

 

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This will be a very speedy post and, as always, I apologize.  Unlike always, this isn’t because of my own personal scheduling shortcomings this time around, but because—as mentioned in the header—this post is kinda…