http://theworkingdraft.com/media/podcasts/BaxterBuildingEp21.mp3 Previously on Baxter Building: Which was the more important event that happened in the previous episode: The arrival of George Perez as artist, or Reed Richards losing his super powers? Both cases can be…

TT Debut

00:00-17:43:  Greetings and Happy New Year from Graeme “I Didn’t Lose Consciousness, I Just Blacked Out” McMillan and Jeff “No, That Is Exactly What Happens When You Lose Consciousness: You BLACK OUT” Lester, who have a very extended non-comics opening session that involves the Snowpocalypse, bicycles,  learning to ride bicycles, the delay some of us might’ve had in learning to ride bicycles, rude four year olds, growing up out in the middle of nowhere, and, yes, blacking out.
17:43-1:09:46: Okay, so yes comic books.  Don’t worry, we remember! (Or…do we?)  Following on the heels of his recent post here at the website, Graeme and I talk about DC’s Teen Titans. More specifically, DC’s comic book incarnation of the Teen Titans, and even more specifically, the revitalization of that title (which we could more honestly remove the “re-“ and call a vitalization) under Marv Wolfman and George Pérez, as well as what happened to it afterward.  Graeme has read a huge ton of the material recently—including Teen Titans Omnibus 1, 2, and 3, as well as the New 52 trades and the current Titans Hunt series by Dan Abnett, Paulo Siqueira, and Geraldo Borges—whereas Jeff has been out of the Titans loop for a very long time, but was a fan of the Wolfman/Pérez material back in the day. Discussed/referenced:  The Beatles, Chris Claremont, the Uncanny X-Men, the Dark Phoenix storyline, The Judas Contract, that “annoying blond guy,” the second big Trigon storyline and the secret theory about it that Jeff never gets to utter because there’s too much gabbing going on.

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(PODCAST BONUS:  That theory?  About a story Jeff never finished reading? The theory is that Raven was sexually abused by her demonic father and Wolfman thought he could make the icky subtextual link between icky sexual abuse and demonic evil into actual text in the direct market-only Baxter-approved book but then wasn’t able to for whatever reason and then had nowhere else to go…unless that is indeed what happened, in which case it’s just as well I didn’t mention it on-air anyway.)

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Also discussed:  Wolfman’s confession about his years-long creative block and subpar work; the importance of George Pérez as the detailed yang to Wolfman’s scattered yin; the gap between Paul Smith and John Romita, Jr., and between George Pérez and José Luis Garcia-Lopez; Bob McLeod, as penciller and inker; the artistic legacy of the New Mutants; Kurt Schaffenberger; Louise Simonson taking over New Mutants; Doug Ramsey as an example of the limitation of the superhero genre; slowly typing in those stupid programs onto the VIC-20 that never worked right; the movie War Games and The Hacker’s Handbook; Chris Claremont not being down with X-Factor; post-Tumblr DC; the three distinct eras of Teen Titans, including the Geoff Johns and Scott Lobdell’s eras; the Marvel template and the hot-headed feet of clay character; the above-referenced Titans Hunt by Dan Abnett, Paulo Siqueira, and Geraldo Borges (and Stephen Segovia); “racist” Aqualad; the return of Mr. Twister; how to avoid alienating new readers right after attacting them; and more.

TT WhoIs1:09:46-1:23:59: FINALLY, we put the Titans to rest and move on to a new timecode as we segue from how Titans Hunt handles its approach to a reboot with the new nonboot from All New All Different Marvel.  Discussed: Al Ewing’s work on the current incarnation of The Ultimates, and why he’d be the perfect writer for The Fantastic Four; Marvel winning truly new  comic readers and then losing them with a reboot;  the end of the first volume of Ms. Marvel; The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl’s upcoming crossover with Howard The Duck; Chip Zdarsky on Howard The Duck vs. Chip Zdarsky on Jughead; what happens when sales targets are not met and how to measure those sales targets; and whether or not sales on Marvel’s Star Wars books are leveling or actually dropping.

1:23:59-1:37:59: And because Jeff has finally(!!) seen Star Wars: The Force Awakens, we move into moderate spoiler territory as we talk about the difficulty Marvel might have in doing Star Wars comics in The Force Awakens milieu, even though they absolutely should despite [SPOILERS] and [SPOILERS] and [SPOILERS].  Also discussed:  the awkward comic book shenanigans caused by the end of Star Trek III: The Search for Spock; Stars Wars: The Road to the Force Awakens—Look Out, Here Comes The Force Awakens;  iZombie, Lucifer, and the twelve recent Vertigo launches including by Slash And Burn by Si Spencer who is NOT Si Spurrier; and more.
HSD gpoy
1:37:59-1:46:39: And that “more” lets Jeff steer the convo over to High School Debut, his newest manga crush from Kazune Kawahara who is the writer of other current manga crush object, My Love Story!!  High School Debut is Kawahara’s earlier project where she was both writer and artist, and Jeff may like it even more that MLS!!  Discussed: a comparison of buying for the Kindle and reading on Comixology to smuggling cigarettes; the hook for High School Debut; and an eensy bit more.
HSD hook
1:46:39-1:50:58: “But let’s flip it back to you Graeme,” sez Jeff.  “what have you been reading recently, apart from a shit-ton of Teen Titans?” Although Graeme insists at first he’s been reading nothing but Teen Titans, in fact he’s also been catching up with the Valiant titles, in part after reading the CBR list of the Best 100 comics of 2015. Find out the books that Graeme would pay money to keep reading and which books had potential and lost momentum.
1:50:58-2:12:30: Graeme has also been reading a lot of prose, including Elvis Costello’s Unfaithful Music & Disappearing Ink.  Come for the book review, stay for Jeff’s encounter with Mr. C and, more importantly, something somone once said about the film classic Gregory’s Girl that he unconditionally believed for thirty years. And then…
2:12:30-end: *No* closing comments! That’s right, due to some miscommunication between Jeff and the wife lady, he has to leave Toot Sweet (which, no, does not mean he has his throat cut with a straight razor by Mickey Rourke).  And so, we do not get a chance to extend on-air our special thanks to the kind crew at American Ninth Art Studios for their continuing support of this podcast..as well as our special thanks to the Empress Audrey, Queen of the Galaxy…and to all 113 of our supporters on Patreon who make our show possible.
Fortunately, Graeme does have the time before we go to check out the Gregory’s Girl story and disprove it, crushing a three decade long belief by Jeff. Right. Into. The. Fucking. Dirt.  And maybe it’s just me, but Graeme seems actually pretty delighted to do so? I mean, Jeff was basically like this:

Anyway, look for us on  Stitcher!Itunes! Twitter together and separately: Graeme and Jeff! MattTumblr!  And, of course, where, as of this count, 115 patrons make this whole thing possible!
Next week:  episode 13 of Baxter Building!  Read up on issues #103-112 of the Fantastic Four and join us for your monthly dose of semi-historical comic analyses.  We’ll see you then!
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You said it, Vandal.

You said it, Vandal. You said it all.

Hello, I must be going! 

To Portland!

(Oregon.)

Hmm, that required more clarification than I had planned.  Nonetheless, it is true.  So, you know, I’ve got to pack my special waffleware, my Graeme McMillan cosplay outfit, my map of the maze of secret passageways in Powell’s Books, that special shrug I only use when somebody mentions Voodoo Doughnuts, and more.

Thus, here are the show notes just the way Thomas Hobbes conceived of them: Nasty, Brutish, and Short.  (Also the name of the unsuccessful competitor to Bone Thugs-n- Harmony I was in back in the day.)  We hope you enjoy them, us, the accompanying podcast, and your place in the universe. (Oh, which reminds me, I gotta get the address of that floatation tank place near Graeme!)

OH, AND HOLY HELL, BEFORE I FORGET:  Graeme and I are BOTH guests on the only movie podcast that has ever existed or will exist in pan-dimensional spacetime:  Travis Bickle on the Riviera! Listen to Sean Witzke, Graeme, and Jeff talk Carrie, Funny Face, The Trip to Italy, and even a little bit of….superheroes!  We may not be on that link when you first click on it, but keep following up.  That sucker is going up today, giving you a double dose of Wait, What action!  (And only a single dose of Sean Witzke, but that’s okay, you only need a single dose of Sean to clear up that nasty infection, as well as most of the helpful bacteria in your GI tract.)

Where was…oh, right.  The notes for this show:

00:00-23:07: This podcast, as you will soon discover, was recorded on Jeff’s wedding anniversary and the day of Scotland’s historic vote for independence. We don’t talk so much about the former, but about the latter? We have some thoughts. And for those who would actually like some comic book talk with their comic book podcast, tune in around 10:28 to hear Jeff talk about the “insights” the debate over Scottish independence has given him about Mark Millar and Grant Morrison. Discussed: conservative liberals, liberal conservatives, lying liars, liberal opportunists, and many more permutations of same.
23:07-41:03: And here come some comics! More specifically, Grant Morrison comics. Super-specifically, Annihilator by Grant Morrison and Frazer Irving,G and Multiversity: Society of Super-Heroes, by Grant Morrison, Chris Sprouse, Karl Story, Walden Wong, and Dave McCraig. Graeme has yet to read Annihilator, so you get to hear a lot of Jeff, but we’ve both read Multiversity: SOS so there’s a lot of excited yapping and verbal scrambling around the furniture from both of us. Come for the Morrison talk, stay for the weary tone in Graeme’s voice when he talks about the Darkseid War!
41:03-47:18: Speaking of DC, a bit of discussion about Batman Future’s End #1 and Batman and Robin: Future’s End #1, and a dissection of how the two books work, as well as what the two titles do differently.
47:18-51:38: Batwoman: Future’s End #1 sounds pretty terrible, but almost appealingly so? Warning: Graeme spoils the whole issue for us (but….almost appealingly so?) necessitating a certain amount of covering your ears and going “la, la, la! can’t hear you! la, la, la!” if you want to go into it cold.
51:38-55:42: Graeme also goes full metal spoiler on the Wonder Woman/Superman & Wonder Woman Future’s End issues by Charles Soule and Co., which he touched on in an earlier W,W? post and develops a bit more here.
55:42-1:03:25: Zen koan: if you tell a story about playing superheroes with your nieces at a park playground…and if your story has a cameo from an award-winning cartoonist…and that cartoonist tells a story about that award and the difficulties it presents getting into the Smithsonian…are you still talking about comics? Jeff humbly attempts to answer this timeless riddle.
1:03:25-1:09:31: All of the above was an intro to Jeff quickly talking about talking two books he’s read in the last week or two including: Demon by Jason Shiga and Sirens #1 by George Perez.  (Don’t worry, he doesn’t confuse one for the other and then just pretend like he was talking about both the whole time.)

Yikes! Glad this is just a comic book...

Yikes! Glad this is just a comic book…

1:09:31-1:50:49: Which bring us to….Avengers time! Yes, Graeme and I read Avengers #201-225 for your sins (and for our sins, you have to hear us talk about it). Discussed: the betrayal of Bill Mantlo; Who Weathers The Weathermen; Graeme turns into a bowl of Rice Krispies at one point; The ghost of Jim Shooter; the destruction of Hank Pym; the handling of The Wasp; the romance of Tony Stark and Jan Van Dyne; whether we should keep paying for Marvel Unlimited; strange cameos; Beast and Wonder Man a la Infantino; Moondragon and the inversion of the Shooter narrative; how to make superheroes grow up; and more.  Here, have a screenshot or two!

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Yikes (again)!

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Yikes (the finale)!

1:50:49-2:06:01: Trying to figure out if there’s comic news we should be discussing, we turn our gaze to the wonder that is Alison Bechdel winning a MacArthur Genius Grant and ponder other cartoonists we’d love to see get the award. (Don’t worry: only one of us picks Jim Shooter.) [Disclaimer: neither of us pick Jim Shooter.]  [Further disclaimer: both of us talk like Ms. Bechdel is the first cartoonist to receive the Genius grant, completely overlooking Ben Katchor.  We regret the error.]
2:06:01-end: Moving toward closing comments! Graeme tells us what he’s got on his desk to read, what we hope to talk about in the future, and Jeff’s upcoming trip to the PDX. And then: closing comments! Including places to look for us at—Stitcher! Itunes! Twitter! Tumblr! and, of course, on Patreon where, as of this count, 78 patrons make this whole thing possible.

Okay, so here is a link to the podcast for those of you who don’t like the play button thing we have going on:

Wait, What? Ep. 159

And here’s a link to our actual RSS feed.  I know it says iTunes in the name, but believe me, it should work with any RSS feeder you might like.

http://theworkingdraft.com/ItunesRSS.xml

And, again, Stitcher!  iTunes! Patreon!  Waffle Window!  (Oh, Farm Fusion, how I’ve missed you!)

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Here Comes The Fear Again.

Here Comes The Fear Again.

 

00:00-10:01: Greetings! It’s a very subdued greeting this time around—probably because Jeff tried to outsource all of the introduction work to Graeme. It’s been a tough couple of weeks, and we find ourselves clinging to the potential optimism of current pop nerd releases. Also mentioned for its timeliness: Genius by Marc Bernardin and Adam Freeman, currently being released weekly from Top Cow.

Wow, he beat up both Ant-Man *and* Yellowjacket!

Wow, he beat up both Ant-Man *and* Yellowjacket!

10:01-1:04:21: Should we talk about Avengers #175-200, first? Yes! Are they some of the dullest comic books we’ve ever read? YES. Join Graeme and Jeff as they wonder how 25 issues with art by John Byrne and George Perez, writing by Steven Grant, Mark Guenwald, Roger Stern and especially David Michelinie, the debut of Taskmaster, an “epic” restructuring of the origin of Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch, giant robots, and the Absorbing Man can be so distressingly dull. PLUS, the jaw-dropping Avengers #200, an issue involving time-displaced rapey incest and not just some of the worst treatment of a superhero ever. Although we start talking about it earlier, Graeme tries to recount the plot around 37:27, which is followed up with Jeff’s dramatic reading of a truly terrifying infodump. Ever-timely Jeff brings up Luke & Laura from General Hospital, and much-more-timely Graeme mentions the 17th episode of Rachel & Miles X-Plain The X-Men wherein Rachel and Miles discuss Avengers Annual #10 and how it very specifically addresses this story. (Although we didn’t re-read AA #10 for this podcast, we also discuss it but, really, who cares about us.) If you’re interested, here’s a link to the fandom article about Avengers #200 that first addressed a lot of this issue’s problems.
1:04:21-1:30:14: As for comics from this century: The Multiversity #1 by Grant Morrison, Ivan Reis, Joe Prado, and Nei Ruffino. We are indebted to the annotations of the first issue by David Uzumeri, and a stellar post by Cheryl Lynn over at Digital Femme. But don’t worry, we also have our own thoughts about the book. (Boy, do we.) Discussed: Cartoon physics, the forces of pessimism, Bryan Hitch, All-Star Superman, JLA One Million, and the need for fluidity, possibility and the possibility of ideas.
1:30:14-1:36:23: The same week Jeff picked up The Multiversity #1, he also picked up a book from a few weeks earlier with a story that takes many of the same ideas and proceeds down a different path with them: “Grandeur and Monstrosity,” by Alan Moore and Facundo Percio (colors by Hernan Cabrera) in Avatar’s God is Dead Books of Acts Alpha.
1:36:23-1:49:01: Another interesting comparison/contrast to The Multiversity, courtesy of : The Fade-Out #1 by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips.  Is it the ultimate Brubaker/Phillips book in the same way The Multiversity feels like the ultimate Morrison book? Also mentioned: Abhay’s follow-up discussion over at the SavCrit of the conclusion of Fatale; female agency in Fatale and in Velvet; the conclusion to the first arc of Catwoman as recounted by Darwyn Cooke (and as recounted by Jeff) ; and more.
1:49:01-1:53:23: Little Nemo: Return to Slumberland #1, by Eric Shanower and Gabriel Rodriguez, with colors by Nelson Daniel. A gorgeous book, but how does it read? Is it worth the dosh? Does Nemo end up all a-tumbled out of bed with one leg higher than his head?
1:53:23-2:10:13: Infinity Man and the Forever People #3 by Dan Didio and Keith Giffen, Jim Starlin, Rob Hunter, and colors by Hi-Fi. Jeff appreciated the Starlinisms; Graeme pretty much hated the Starlinisms but what did Graeme really like? Teen Titans #2 by Will Pfeifer, Kenneth Rocafort, and Brown. Ladytron, Manchester Black, and Josiah Power?! Those are some crazy characters to be popping up in a book, dontcha think? And Jeff has some mixed feelings about Batman and Robin #34 and how it leads in to the Five Years Into The Future/Future’s End event. And because of Graeme’s review of Grayson #1 and #2, Jeff picked up those issues and really liked them.
2:10:03-end: Closing comments! Places to look for us at—did you know we’re on Stitcher now? Is that a thing you use? If so, follow and review us there! And, of course, we encourage you to check us out on Twitter (), Tumblr, and, of course, on Patreon where, as of this count, 73 patrons make this whole thing possible.

You should be able to play this episode above, below, on iTunes, on Stitcher,  and RSS:

Wait, What? Ep. 157: Poptimists!

As always, thank you for listening, and we hope you enjoy!

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Oh, Robin.

Oh, Robin.

Man, no sooner have you survived the bombardment that was San Diego Comic Con than here comes the two hour and forty-nine minute missile that is Wait, What? Ep. 155, with Graeme and Jeff talking about San Diego Comic Con….and the Image Expo….and Marvel’s diverse attempts to diversify its diversity…and Bryan Lee O’Malley’s Seconds, and Supreme: Black Rose, and G.I. Joe Vs. Transformers #1 and, oh yes, more than an hour spent discussing Avengers #152-178 (give or take a few issues.)

Join me after the leap for the show notes, eh?

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The original Hurts Donut

The original Hurts Donut

Hey, everyone!  This is a big episode in more ways than one:  not only is it a two and a half hour episode for you, not only is it our epic conclusion to our discussion Steve Englehart’s amazing run on The Avengers, but it is also the episode to listen to if you want to win one of the five Oily Comics Summer Bundles!

It’s an episode so big, we…had to skimp a bit on the show notes?  Join us after the jump for notes, apologies, and your chance to win it big!

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