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First, big thanks to Ed Corcoran for providing the perfect title for this episode!

Second, here we are!  This episode is a little early due to: the holiday weekend, some weird scheduling, and the desire to get a jump on the coming week which promises to be a bit of a sledge hammer.  So let us begin, shall we?

00:00-12:51: Greetings from Graeme “Cheers” McMillan and Jeff “Dora the Explorer” Lester, who are here once again for you!  Not only do we mention those two TV shows in the first two minutes, we also talk about Spider-Gwen #1, as read recently on Marvel Unlimited (under threat of physical violence)!  Although we both enjoyed the first issue, we talk about Jeff’s impressions of the book based on later issues, whether the book’s appeal rests solely with the creative team or not, whether or not the term “What-If’ing” is a thing or not, and more.  And this is also a fine time for Jeff to gripe about the Spider-Verse hardcover he got for super-cheap during an Amazon pricing SNAFU.  Did Marvel take passive-aggressive revenge on the advance order pilferers? Or is it just that a lot of the stories at least semi-terrible? Discuss!
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12:51-45:06: Then, our whistles whetted, it’s time for us to Q our little A’s off, with part two of our Q&A ‘cast, answering questions submitted to us by our mighty squad of patrons!  First up is Chris Carfora, who asks:  “1. Discussion Point: Have we reached the end of the age of Superhero comics? Seems like superhero movies are going through a bit of a golden age but i can’t say the same for the comics. With the reboots coming every two years now it just feels like the creators are constantly going over old territory and rehashing old ideas. Is there just not anything left to say about Superheroes? With the rise of independent comics and the availability of self-published comics through comixology and the like, do you foresee a shift away from superhero comics? 2. What would be your dream creative collaboration on your dream comic? Just to clarify, it can be past creators or current, so if you want Grant Morrison and Jack Kirby on Challengers of the Unknown go for it. 3. What cancelled or lapsed title would you most like to see resurrected? 4. In what way has the rise of marvel unlimited, comixology and other digital platforms changed the industry? Is this change a good thing?”
(Whew!) Discussed: the Direct Market; Jim Lee’s 1:5000 variant for Dark Knight III; Marvel’s troll response with a Deadpool variant cover; creator participation; Starbrand and Nightmask; the illusion of change versus the illusion of the illusion of change; Irredeemable, Incorrigible, Incorruptible, Incontinent, and Insufferable; Graeme not understanding Jeff at all;  crazy lists of dream teams for his dream comics including the Steve Gerber comic in heaven; Jason Aaron and Jason Latour on the amazing Marvel character, Razorback; Al Ewing and Henry Flint on Fantastic Four; the sequel to last year’s Judge Dredd epic, Titan, again by Rob Williams and Henry Flint; Aimee Bender and Pascal Ferry on Machine Man; Graeme summarizes the short but lively run of DC’s The Chosen; the crazy price discrepancies between some digital trades on both Marvel and Comixology (such as the Skull The Slayer and Weirdworld trades which are $10 cheaper on the Kindle); and more.
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45:06-58:27:  Carlos Aguilar asks: “1. Let’s say Image was formed in the 80s instead of the 90s, what 7 artists would you like to have seen leave Marvel (and if you want, DC) to form Image about ten years earlier? 2. Tons of Star Wars news coming out, so, Let’s say you got to pick creative teams for 4 different Star Wars books. What would the four titles be, and who would you have working on them? 3. Who would you like to see run the new incarnation of Heavy Metal instead of Grant Morrison?” Discussed:  Miller, Byrne, Perez, Golden, Simonson, Chaykin, and Art Adams (or Dave Cockrum?; the WaP! newsletter and Creator Bill of Rights crowd; being burnt out on Star Wars on the eve of Force Friday; Marvel’s Darth Vader series by Kieron Gillen and Salvador Larroca; Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba on Boba Fett; Jason Shiga on C-3PO and R2-D2; Richard Corben on Chewbacca; the return of Walt Simonson to Star Wars; Brandon Graham editing Heavy Metal; Douglas Wolk editing Heavy Metal; Warren Ellis editing Heavy Metal; and more.
 Demon1558:27-1:04:09:  Max Brown asks: “It’s been a little while since Jeff has posted or talked about Jason Shiga’s Demon- and since it was Jeff that got me and a bunch of others reading it, it would be great to hear his thoughts on how the book has gotten 10000000x more insane and awesome since then, and on the recent announcement that First Second will be publishing it in collections. Thanks!” Discussed:  Jason Shiga’s Demon.  [Please note: Jeff actually screws up his issue numbers by one.  The amazing chase sequence is in issue #15 and the existential malaise is in issue #14.]
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1:04:09-1:36:16: Kevin Moreau asks, “1. What other podcasts, comics-related or otherwise, do either/both of you listen to/recommend? (Aside from Rachel and Miles and Into It, although please feel free to plug those, as well.) 2. What are your go-to sites/publications for comics news, insight, etc., other than your own website and Graeme’s various employers? 3. What are Marvel’s biggest problems today, and what can be done to correct them 3a. Are Secret Wars/All-New-All-Different and the continuing push to make Inhumans happen signs of creative bankruptcy? 4. I know I’ve read (Wait What mascot/patron saint) Steve Englehart comics over the years, but what would you point to as his most important/must-read work, or where should someone start in order to gain a greater appreciation? 5. Would you ever consider a Wait What Facebook group as a place for fans of the show to gather together and talk comics and related interest?Discussed:  House to Astonish; Silence!; Comic Books Are Burning in Hell; Travis Bickle on the Riviera; the Nerdist Writer’s Room; the Guardian’s political podcast; 538’s What’s The Point; a Slate podcast called Working; Serial; Bleeding Cool and its recent trend for crazily biased news stories; The Outhousers; the terrific comics analysis columns by Paul O’Brien and Marc-Olivier Frisch; the surprising read that is comicbook.com; the surprisingly apt metaphor to describe DC’s new relationship to the Direct Market; the Steve Englehart stories you should start with; and more.
 1:36:16-1:41:18:  Paul Lai asks, “Seems we’ve thrown up our hands after Golden, Silver, Bronze, and the unfortunately named Modern Ages. Should we take for granted that comics are so diverse, diffuse, and mainstream now that maybe marking eras like that will be impossible/irrelevant? Or what about calling it a “Spectrum Age” where all that can really be taken for granted is the diversity?” (Paul actually had a long article he’d written about this that wasn’t accessible when Jeff tried to read it beforehand but it’s up now and it’s a pretty great read that makes a pretty compelling argument.)  Discussed:  Our less compelling arguments.
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1:41:18-1:44:53:  John Kim asks, “There are a lot of resets to the status quo in comic (Spiderman, Batman) after said comics try something different. Are the reasons for the resets mainly fan backlash and low sales? Here I am trying to sneak in another question… Are there any good legacy characters in comics?”  Discussed:  Wally West, Wally West, and Wally West; Batman: Year Zero; and more.
1:44:53-1:57:46:  Lewis Smith asks, “Of all the aborted story-lines, new directions, and false starts you guys have read in superhero comics, what was the one you really wanted to see play out?”  Discussed:  Firestorm as a fire elemental; Steve Englehart’s Fantastic Four and West Coast Avengers runs; the Amazing Spider-Man and headcanon; does Marvel need a reboot; and more.
1:57:46-2:08:12:  Ed Corcoran asks, “In a couple of previous episodes, you’ve mentioned the effect the library market has on how trade paperback collections are made and marketed. Can you talk a little more about the economics of that? What kind of comics rely so heavily on libraries? What do libraries look for? Also, are there any plans to collect the Avengers read-through into one big mega-episode?” We’ve tied this in with Drew Meger who asks, “It feels like every episode we hear a mention of some comic or other borrowed from your local library. As a librarian who buys comics for his library, I need to know: What comic titles would you want to see in your Ideal Library? Should we focus on the critical Top 10 list darlings and easy entry points for new readers or should we go obscure and get the titles readers might have been interested in, But not 30 dollar hardbound trade interested?” Discussed: how little we actually know about the economics of graphic novels and the library market; Kate Beaton, Vertical, Fantagraphics, Drawn and Quarterly and Pantheon; a bad maritime metaphor from Jeff, and more.
Celestials2:08:12-2:15:48:  Paul Spence asks, “Would the Whatnauts offer their views on Kirby’s Marvel series The Eternals. I read The Eternals for the first time this year courtesy of marvel Unlimited and it provoked a mixed response from me. The mythology appeared to be Fourth World Lite mashed up with some of the ideas from Kirby’s 2001, and a serving from Erich Von Daniken’s Chariots of the Gods. The Fourth World of the New Gods becomes the Fourth Host of the Eternals and DC’s Orion becomes Ikaris in The Eternals. This does appear to be a case where Kirby was recycling ideas. My second Kirby related question pertains to the Joe Casey penned Captain Victory and the Galactic Rangers. You covered the early issues in the series on the podcast and expressed both hope, and some trepidation, that it could be a masterpiece, or it could become a train wreck. Now that the mini-series has finished what do you think of the entire run?”  Discussed:  The Eternals by Jack Kirby, and Joe Casey’s Captain Victory and the Galactic Rangers; and not much more.
2:15:48-2:22:55: Louie Whitford asks, “Why didn’t Eclipse or First Comics survive? Or: What’s your favorite Eclipse series?”  Discussed:  quick shout-outs for books like Badger, Aztec Ace by Doug Moench and Dan Day; Alec by Eddie Campbell; Sabre by Don McGregor and Billy Graham; Destroyer Duck by Jack Kirby and Steve Gerber; the end of First and Eclipse; and so on.
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2:22:55-2:33:01:  Michael Loughlin asks, “1) In your opinion, what recent comics (2000s & 2010s) will be regarded as classics in the future? 2) Of all the writers who never worked with him, which writer would have made a good scripter for Jack Kirby? Feel free to choose one of his contemporaries or a current writer.”   Discussed;  our weird handwringing about the term “classic,” Al Ewing’s Loki and Kieron Gillen’s Journey Into Mystery; Bryan Lee O’Malley’s Scott Pilgrim; and more.
2:33:01-end: Closing comments!  Due to some crazy real-life events, I’ve cut out our talk of upcoming episodes and gone straight to Graeme telling you where you can find us on the Internet.  Stitcher! Itunes! Twitter together and separately: Graeme and Jeff! Tumblr!  And, of course, on Patreon where, as of this count, 109 patrons make this whole thing possible! Speaking of which, Jeff has an apology that, thanks to an incisive email from Steve H, we have been tardy in providing the “recommend a book for us to read” perk to long-time patrons. We are in the process of getting organized and it is coming….soon!
http://theworkingdraft.com/media/podcasts/WaitWhat184.mp3
Whew!  Okay, so we hope you enjoy this episode, keep an eye on this space for what’s coming next, and remember: keep reading those comic books—you never know when you’re going to spend two and a half hours talking about them!
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Howdy, chums!  We’ve got a two and a half hour podcast for you today—we hope that’s okay?

A certain member of the team—I won’t name names but let’s just say it was neither Graeme nor Matt—overcommitted to a certain amount of family activity this weekend, so join us behind the jump for some thorough but speedy show notes, won’t you?

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james-gunn-loved-ant-man-its-his-favorite-marvel

Yup, one of us saw it.

Greetings, Whatnauts!  Welcome to the 181st (or so) episode of Wait, What?  The 181st!  It sounds like it should be a platoon or a squadron or something, right?  “The Fighting 181st!”

Anyway, start listening, and join us behind the jump for show notes detailing our battles on the shores of Ant Man (The Motion Picture), revealing how we stormed the first issue of Strange Fruit, and pointing out there may have been some minor infringements of the Geneva Convention in our discussion of the first two volumes of My Love Story!!

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Yup, here we are with another two hour episode!  Somehow we managed to squeeze in right after Image Expo and right before SDCC, which I personally think is appropriate.

Anyway, yes: Grab the episode!  Read the show notes!  Trade with friends!

00:00-15:24:  Salutations!  Once again, Graeme is hiding from the heat in his basement (and by “the heat,” we don’t mean “the legal authorities,” we mean, you know, temperature and stuff) while Jeff is more than happy to gloat about the amazingly mild weather in San Francisco.  Also discussed: movies and shows that make it a point to destroy San Francisco; what kind of earnings might we expect from Magic Mike XXL and will Channing Tatum see RDJ money; how Magic Mike XXL will win the holiday weekend (it didn’t); if Channing Tatum will become the next Will Smith (he didn’t); Graeme’s super-crazy week of preparation for San Diego Comic Con; and more.
15:24-38:19: Speaking of San Diego Comic Con, right around the time of recording this episode, the City of San Diego announced Comic Con would be there through 2018, a two year extension.  Graeme and Jeff talk about that, then swap stories about what’s happened at previous Nerd Viet Nams, and what surprises it might hold for Graeme this year; Graeme’s confusion about the Fourth of July; our last attempt to podcast during SDCC; San Francisco being without a comic book convention; Graeme not-so-discreetly trying to get Portland to bully in on SF’s possible future; and more comics precursor conversation.
38:19-56:37: And so we finally get to…no, sorry, no comics conversation yet, we’re afraid.  Instead Graeme has some thoughts about the first season of Fargo.  Jeff hasn’t seen it, but he has seen Twin Peaks so when Graeme tries to talk about BOB on Twin Peaks being a cop-out (especially compared to Fargo), Jeff has some choice words.  CHOICE. WORDS.  And I thought about trying to balance the Twin Peaks clip above with a Fargo one below, but I wasn’t sure how spoilery they might ended up being.  They had one clip on YouTube with Billy Bob Thornton pulling a kind of modified Takeshi Kitano gun fight thing that I liked, but there was a credit sequence at the end for some reason that went on wayyyyy too long.  So I went with this bundle of show trailers:

56:37-1:06:34:  Wait, when are they going to talk comics?  Now….after a fashion.  Which is to say, we talk about the All-New, All-Different Marvel announcements now that they’re finally out.  Oh sure, Al Ewing has three books and Tom Taylor has one, which is good news but weren’t the announcements kind of…blah?  Where is Jessica Jones? A solo queer lead?  Where is fucking RED WOLF, a character shown in the ads?
1:06:34-1:10:28: Quick segue: Graeme read Action Comics #42 by Greg Pak and Aaron Kuder and really liked it.  And Graeme’s description sounds pretty great.  And then after that, we talk about Omega Men #2 by Tom King and Barnaby Bagenda and some of the formal playfulness therein.
1:10:28-1:18:18: Which is why Graeme thinks if any of the All-New, All-Different Marvel books are going to be the next Hawkeye, it’s probably going to be The Vision by Tom King and Gabriel Hernandez Walta. And we’re back to discussing the other announcements, and Marvel’s different publishing pushes, and writers who have stepped away from writing Marvel titles, Kaare Andrews not being allowed in the Marvel offices; and more.
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(Sorry; could not find a bigger version…)

1:18:18-1:46:16: And because that Kaare Andrews story came out of the Image Expo, it’s a fine time to pivot and talk about the Expo 2015.  In the past, we’ve been underwhelmed by Expo announcements but we thought this was a pretty good year!  Among the topics discussed: Bryan Lee O’Malley (!!) writing a regular ongoing; Brian K. Vaughn and what Jeff sees as an ongoing attempt to calibrate against Robert Kirkman; the return of Warren Ellis and Tula Lotay; Sunset Park and Slave Punk, both by Ronald Wimberly, and much, much more, along with an ongoing contrast of the announcements from Marvel and DC (is it just us, or do the X-Men plans look kinda super-weird?).  Join us for a huge bowl of first impressions, idle guesses, rampant speculation, and anticipatory glee!

1:46:16-1:57:12: At some point, I decided to mark off another segment, since it’s arguable we run from the subject of new book announcements and have moved directly to talking about stuff we’ve read on the Internet, like Jeff Lemire being challenged to live up to adjectives, or a super-long “discussion” between John Byrne and Dan Slott that, depending on your age and/or outlook on life, will either depress you about the state of John Byrne or give you some hope about the state of Dan Slott.

1:57:12-2:03:49: It’s almost the end of the show!  Graeme has read a chunk of the original Micronauts by Bill Mantlo and Pat Broderick and it’s very game and very, very shameless.  He’s also read the last few issues of Steve Englehart’s West Coast Avengers, which are fascinating in the set-up for the new status quo, and then how the run gets  wrapped up by Tom DeFalco and Ralph Macchio.  Also included: the secret Simpsons reference Graeme didn’t get; more closure with Hank Pym.
2:03:49-end:  Opening comments! I mean: closing comments!  Gravity’s Totebag! Places to look for us at—Stitcher!  Itunes!  Twitter together and separately: Graeme and Jeff! Tumblr )!  And, of course, on Patreon where, as of this count, 106 patrons make this whole thing possible.
Remember: next week—skip week!  The week after that: Baxter Building Ep. 7, featuring issues #61-67 of the Fantastic Four by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee!  And then Wait, What, Ep. 181 right after that!
Also: if you want just a link to the podcast to copy and paste for your own nefarious ends, check out the very first comment to this post.  If you’re going to SDCC, have a great convention: we’ll be here when you get back!
 http://theworkingdraft.com/media/podcasts/WaitWhat180.mp3
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00:00-19:04:  Greetings from Graeme and Jeff!  Graeme is in the basement avoiding the heat, Jeff is in the living room avoiding everything but the heat, Together, they are here to talk to you about comics!  But first, here’s some chitchat about travel:  come here about Graeme’s recent trip to Vancouver; Jeff’s less-than-recent trip to Buenos Aires; and an even-longer-ago trip by Graeme to the Venice Biennale….it’s like a special mini-podcast that is all about the untoppable form of stress that is travel-related stress, and the perhaps-untoppable form of kindness that is travel-related kindness.
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19:04-23:12: This podcast was recorded during the week that Diamond’s comic shipment came in a day late, so Jeff has a lot of comics to talk about today that are only *kind of* recent?  Whereas, Graeme being Graeme, he hasn’t been to the comic store but has been getting all the new DC You books sent right to his door, as well as reading a lot of old Showcases and trades of some New 52 titles he never got around to reading.  So we start off with, of all things, Ann Nocenti’s run on Catwoman.  This gives Jeff the clever idea of having DC reunite Nocenti and Romita Jr. on a title, but Graeme is enjoying too much the work JR Jr. is doing on Superman with Gene Yang to really be into that.
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23:12-25:42:  In fact, overall, Graeme has been very pleased with this month of DC:  “There’s been some books that don’t work, definitely, and there’ve been some books that just leave me cold, but overall the line is way healthier than it’s been in years…and in ways that are surprising.”  In terms of the visual variety on display, DC is catching up to what Marvel’s been doing…and maybe pushing it further?  Jeff’s not too sure about that so we bandy about some of the styles we’ve seen on books that we think are outside the standard superhero spectrum, mentioning books like Gotham Academy, Batgirl, Squirrel Girl, Spider-Gwen, Bizarro, Bat-Mite, and more.
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25:42-38:44:  Graeme asks Jeff what exactly is he reading from Marvel these days, which turns into a very small discussion about the last issue of Spider-Gwen by Jason LaTour and Robbie Rodriguez, presented as the “last issue” despite having a very incomplete ending. We also talk about the announced relaunch of Spider-Gwen, the very odd announcements about for All-New, All-Different Marvel, and the upcoming Marvel Primer. And as long as we’re throwing the term around, the very odd similarities between Spider-Gwen #5 and Black Canary #1 by Brenden Fletcher and Annie Wu.  Even more very odd?  Jeff insisting after many, many recorded hours of evidence to the contrary that he is not a nitpicker.  Nice try, Jeff.
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38:44-51:51: We discuss the first issue of Prez by Mark Russell and Ben Caldwell.  Jeff and Graeme both like it, but Jeff finds some parts of the first issue very problematic. As a comparison/contrast, Graeme has read the first issue of Constantine: The Hellblazer #1 by Ming Doyle, James Tynion IV, and Riley Rossmo. It’s intriguing for Graeme, especially in the way it doesn’t quite work (ditto for Dr. Fate #1) but in a way he can’t figure out why?  Even more intriguing to Graeme is Doomed #1 by Scott Lobdell and Javier Fernandez which Graeme thinks is actually “a pretty fucking good Spider-Man comic.”  [??!!]

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51:51-58:30:  Both Graeme and Jeff have read All-Star Section Eight #1 by Garth Ennis and Jonathan (!!) McCrea, which is (to use the episode’s special phrase) very odd. There’s some hilarious metafictional hijinks we’re trying to wrap our brains around that seem very intentional but there’s also something a bit awkward about the book.  “It reads like somebody’s first comic book,” to paraphrase Graeme, who has a great take on the hijinks despite accurately pointing out that some of the humor seems very, very…lazy?  Quite the headscratcher.

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58:30-1:06:09: Also, a headscratcher:  Robin, Son of Batman #1 written and drawn by Patrick Gleason.  Graeme thinks it was “fine if scattered, and didn’t present a good enough reason for the book to exist.”  Jeff, who has *adored* Gleason’s work on Batman & Robin, is forced to agree and also bemoans how there’s maybe a bit too much of Gleason the writer indulging Gleason the artist.  Graeme suggests the book reads like Hellboy Lite which is a pretty solid take on Gleason’s artistic interests and the overall tone.  But arguably the book could be more focused than the final year of Batman and Robin by Gleason and writer Peter Tomasi, which gives Graeme an in to fret about some of the current work Tomasi is doing for Superman/Wonder Woman that doesn’t seem to be to his usual standard.
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1:06:09-1:13:39: Jeff feels like he did not really answer Graeme’s question from forty minutes earlier, but doesn’t get much farther than mentioning Unbeatable Squirrel Girl by Ryan North and Erica Henderson before we are wringing our hands about the book’s likely demise.  Sales figures are discussed, alternate covers are pondered.  Jeff also read and enjoyed the first issue of Weirdworld #1 by Jason Aaron and Mike Del Mundo; and Ghost Racers #1 by Felipe Smith and Juan Gedeon, which Jeff didn’t love but also suspects Smith is playing a metacommentary long game that may be worth the  time.
1:13:39-1:16:56:  It’s not a Marvel book, but Jeff has also read The Fiction #1 by Curt Pire and David Rubin and dug it, in part because it hit his Stephen King sweet spot:  if you can imagine It meets The Unwritten, then you’ve got an idea of what this first issue has lined up for you.  Jeff also thought it was a very solid first issue in terms of putting everything on the table, keeping it interesting, and then changing things up for the final page.
1:16:56-1:37:42: Confession time!  Both Jeff and Graeme have falled behind on the pop spectacle that is Transformers vs. G.I. Joe by Tom Scioli and John Barber, but Jeff sat down with issues #5, 6, and 7 and came out feeling very strongly that issue #7 is one that Graeme would really, really dig.  SPOILERS for the issue as Jeff clumsily tries to make his case and SPOILERS for Jean-Paul Sartre’s writing style.  Also discussed:  Annihilator, forgetting about a series and then chain-reading previous issues; No Mercy by Alex de Campi and Carla Speed McNeil; Zero issues #16 and #17 by Ales Kot, Stathis Tsemberlidis, Robert Sammelin, and others; Graeme’s impressions after reading the first issue of Surface; Terry Southern’s Magic Christian and Phil Dick’s VALIS; the worry of getting too old to track stuff from month-to-month; Afterlife with Archie #8; and more.
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1:37:42-1:45:23: Graeme asks after another Archie book, The Black Hood, in part because that title by writer Duane Swierczynski is what Graeme digging through the the old New52 Birds of Prey title and also three of Swierczynski’s prose novels which Graeme talked about in this post  and which he also goes into more detail about here.  By contrast, Jeff tries to tease a strip he thinks Graeme would really dig: Santa Claus, Private Eye by Jeremy Bernstein and Michael Dorman, currently exclusively available on Thrillbent.
KingCatUseIt1:45:23-1:55:13:  Also a book Jeff read and enjoyed: King Cat Comics #75 which is an issue-long tribute to John Porcellino’s cat.  It is a truly touching and heartbreaking read, even by typical King Cat standards. Also mentioned: the Pixar movie Inside Out, Jeff’s recent post about movies [link?], Jeff’s Hulk, Jurassic World, and more.
1:55:13-end:  Closing comments!  We tease what’s coming up next week when we record (a lot of bitching and news).  We do talk a bit about both with Evangeline Lilly’s shit-talking of recent Ant Man comics, as well as our befuddled acknowledgment of our the one year anniversary of our relaunch.  The Tote Bag Integration!  Places to look for us at—Stitcher!  Itunes! Twitter together and separately: Graeme and Jeff! Tumblr!  And, of course, on Patreon where, as of this count, 105 patrons make this whole thing possible!

We will see you in seven (or even sooner, if you come back for our individual posts)!  And look to the first comment in this post if you just want a straight link for you to copy and paste into the player of your choice.  Spa fon!

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Yup, here it is: our 174th episode (by one count, at least), just in time for you to snort some Hitler and celebrate Mary Jane Watson’s birthday!

*coughs*

*taps mic*

Well, since I’m sure you’ve got a busy day ahead of you, allow me to present to you…without further ado…our show notes!

00:00-6:00: Greetings! Death threats! As Jeff says, “Listeners! Welcome to what may be the last episode of Wait, What?” Yes, it’s a bone-chilling opening for a podcast that jumps right in and barely looks back, with an introduction of what we’re going to be talking about length: a frank (and profanity-filled) discussion of Avengers #1-36, New Avengers #1-24, and Infinity #1-6, all written by Jonathan Hickman and a elite cadre of Marvel’s shock troops!


6:00-25:42: But first, before we do that, since this was recorded on the day the second Star Wars trailer dropped (embedded above), we have to talk about it first. Also discussed: Return of the Jedi, The Empire Strikes Back, Star Trek Into Darkness, the franchise that taught you not to trust franchises, class struggle in Star Wars, the Mad Max: Fury Road trailer (also embedded above), Terminator Genisys trailer, the Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer, the weird fragmented point trailers are at right now, the second Ant-Man trailer, and more.
25:42-1:11:05: And now we get back to Jonathan Hickman, Avengers #1-36, New Avengers #1-24, and Infinity #1-6, with liberty and spoilers for all.  Because we are trying to be better with context, fasten your seatbelts as we try to describe everything that’s going on and break down our reactions. (And if you want to read along, all issues discussed are currently available on Marvel Unlimited). Discussed: plot hammering, what Jeff characterizes as the “contemporary American spirit” at the heart of Hickman’s story, the powers and drawback of repetition, a story about the inevitability of mortality as told in a story featuring characters who we know technically will not actually die; Marvel’s former series What If, #NotMyTonyStark, shared universes, D&D references, Stan Lee’s pubic hair, Secret Wars, the Nick Spencer train, the latest iPad update for the Marvel Unlimited app, the 500 Star Wars comics dropped on the app this week (seriously, if you find yourself hankering for the Dark Horse Expanded Universe, or you just want to re-read that issue where Michael Golden drew a really keen lightsaber fight, it is now exceptionally easy to get your hands on with a subscription to MU), and more.

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Very, very, terrifyingly easy.

1:11:05-1:20:58: The mention of the iPad (and more specifically, Jeff’s not-subtle hint that Graeme should get one) leads to a story from Graeme about what he’s been up to since the last time we podcasted. (Spoiler: a lot of what he’s been up to involves sitting in the Apple Store.) Throw in a cameo from Ernie and Gus-Gus and you’ve got a lovely non-comic intermission!

Here is Herbie

(Did not crop after ganking; probably should’ve)

1:20:58-1:43:20: Returning from that intermission, patron Scott Ashworth requested that we read one of the oldest cult comics, Herbie the Fat Fury, by Richard Hughes and Ogden Whitney, which Graeme with his superior library skills (and superior library) is able to do! Discussed: Alan Moore, a certain type of “satire,” Groundhog Day (the movie, not the holiday), JFK (the person, not the airport), Stockholm Syndrome, Gold Key Star Trek comics, Daniel Pinkwater, pre- and post-war America, and coming up next on our to-read list: Opus by Satoshi Kon, as requested by Eric Rupe.  Also, not mentioned in our discussion, but let me throw in a counterbalancing opinion about Herbie from Bill Reed, and an uncovered connection between Herbie and Watchmen. Those “Comics Should Be Good” guys are great, aren’t they?

HerbieJFK
1:43:20-1:55:21: Graeme also read the first week of Convergence titles from DC, which he wrote about for the website  but also discusses at a bit more length here. Mentioned: Alisa Kwitney on Batgirl, Lee Weeks on Superman, Jeff Parker and Tim Truman on Hawkman (upcoming), someone’s butt talking to someone else’s boobs, editorial inconsistencies, Convergence as an event where you can read the crossover books without having to read the main event title; and more.

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To quote Jackie Kennedy:  Sigh.

1:55:21-2:06:51: Although he didn’t have anything special planned to say (or anything planned at all), Jeff nevertheless wanted to talk about the passing of Herb Trimpe, comic artist, writer, and teacher who managed to fuse the imperatives of a Marvel house style with his own more unique one, and gave us a lot of great comics along the way: the Incredible Hulk, Shogun Warriors, Godzilla, and G.I. Joe, a fill-in issue of Captain America written by Bill Mantlo (issue #291, which Jeff does an impressive job of partially misremembering here (and again, thanks to Marvel Unlimited, I dug up that issue, read it and screenshot it just now), the Phantom Eagle in Marvel Super-Heroes #16, issues of G.I. Joe Special Missions that he wrote, and more. Thank you, Herb.


2:06:51-end: Closing comments, a.k.a., “when the hell is our next episode, we honestly have no god-damned idea.” (Hint, it’s a skip week coming up, so look for us in a fortnight.)  The Small Tote Bag! Places to look for us at—Stitcher! Itunes! Twitter! Tumblr! and, of course, on Patreon where, as of this count, 102 patrons make this whole thing possible.


Next Week: there is no next week!  (As far as a podcast episode is concerned) but then come back the week after that! And the week after that!  Etc., etc.  And remember, if you need just a straight text-only link to cut and paste into your browser or program of choice, check out the first comment!

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Oh, Pope Hats. Will we ever stop loving you?

So sorry, chums! Time is really nipping at my heels today so I don’t have time to festoon the show notes with images and links and youtubes and subliminal acrostics (you have been keeping up with the subliminal acrostics, right)?  I’ve got to—as Graeme always says—”hit and quit it,” so you can get these show notes in a timely manner and I can collapse on the divan like the bearded grungefop that I am.  (And yes, look for The Bearded Grungefop to be getting his own Oni series in 2019.)

Please do not let me keep you from enjoying this episode though, oh mighty Whatnauts!  It is a pretty good one, with the questions coming from our patrons from Patreon, and the answers coming from…well, us, of course.  We are probably the weak link in that two-link chain but what are you gonna do?  (If you have a beard and you answered “collapsed on the divan?” you are—to again quote Graeme—”biting my style,” and I’ll have none of it, damn you!)

As always, I’ll throw the text of the link in the first comment so you can copy, paste, spindle, mutilate or fold, as per your choices.  [Note: do not ingest link.  If link is swallowed, do not induce vomiting.  Prepare and drink approximately eight ounces of a solution made from the following ingredients: two tablespoons sodium bicarbonate, two egg whites, one Bill Mantlo comic, three pogs, and one blatant untruth released from the publicity department of a major comic book company.]

And, lo, there shall come a:

00:00-5:17: Greetings! And almost immediately we are off and running because this episode is overdue.  Yes, it’s the Q&A episode where the Qs come from our supporters on Patreon, and the As come from us!  But first, in explaining that we find ourselves explaining where to find us on Patreon, and so at the beginning of the podcast for a change:
Under The Tote Bag!  Places to look for us at—Stitcher! iTunes! Twitter! Tumblr! and, of course, on Patreon where, as of this count, an eye-popping 100 patrons make this whole thing possible!  And then Graeme tells us how we have the order we have, and then we get right to it. Surprisingly, it seems like there are just as many questions about the state of the industry as there are questions of taste or critical acumen and, unsurprisingly, there are questions about waffles.
(I’m not sure if I should just list the questions or also things we mention in our answers or what…so let’s just see how that comes together, shall we?)
5:17-17:22:  Eric Rupe asks:  “With the years of dire predictions for the direct market and some of the major publishers therein, on the podcast and otherwhere and by many people not on the podcast, why have none of them ever really come true? A truly captive audience? Lack of better options for various players in the market, however you chose to define that? Something else?”
(Discussed: captive audiences and the direct market, returnability and non-returnability, the New 52, the difference between how Marvel and DC incentivize ordering, (the last of which is very thoroughly covered by the Mighty Brian Hibbs over at CBR this month), the number of Secret Wars titles being launched by Marvel; an old conspiracy theory from the ‘80s; and more.)
17:22-23:25:  Eric Rupe asks:  If Diamond put the Previews catalog together in a more egalitarian manner, such as getting rid of premier publisher section and listing all publishers alphabetically or doing a rotating spotlight, do you think that it would lead to an increase in sales for non-Premier publishers?
23:25-30:58:  Eric Rupe asks:  “Which is the more important decade for superhero comics, the 60s or 90s? What do you think is the most important decade for comics in general?”
30:58-41:21:  Eric Rupe asks:  “Are the intentions of the editors and writers on recent outreach titles like Captain America, Ms. Marvel, Thor and Captain Marvel comprised by the fact that Marvel, as a company, is horrible when it comes to things like ethics, morals and general human decency? Does the larger cultural situation with a general lack of diversity in things like blockbuster movies and the fact that most companies are just as bad if not worse than Marvel on an ethical level matter? Or is simply a matter of giving one set of values priority over another.”
41:21-52:14:  Eric Rupe asks:  “Is Image’s current success based around Eric Stephenson and, if so, do you think that continued success is possible if Stephenson left the company? Also, do you think Image will be able to continue with it’s current publishing strategies or will the founders will want to reassert their presence in some way and mess things up in some fashion or another?’
52:14-53:32:  Eric Rupe asks:  “If Jeff’s beard could be described as a kind of waffle, what kind of waffle would it be? If Jeff’s beard were sentient would it a) prefer Marvel or DC, b) be editorially mandated or creator driven, c)follow characters or follow creators and d) be a Grant Morrison fanboy or an Alan Moore fanboy? If Jeff’s beard fought Alan Moore’s beard, which would win? Does Jeff’s beard have plans for world conquest?”
53:32-55:17:  Scott Ashworth asks:  “Aside from the Wait, What Holy Trinity of Kirby, Engelhart, and Gerber, who are your choices for most consistently interesting writers at Marvel in the period between Lee and Shooter’s editorships?”
55:17-56:13:  Dave Clarke asks:  “At what Patreon tier do we get a monthly ‘Jeff tries to explain manga to Graeme’ podcast?”
56:13-56:34:  Dave Clarke asks: “Have you guys seen the tv series Utopia? (the british thriller one that lasted 2 seasons, not the australian comedy one) If so talk about it. If not consider giving it a go, I think you guys would dig it and the first season revolves around hunting down a comic.”
[Note from Jeff:  After recording this podcast, I just found out that Gillian Flynn (Gone Girl) has gotten the assignment to write the scripts for the American remake of the show and now I am VERY EXCITED.]
56:34-1:03:23:  Dave Clarke asks:  “The cultural implications of the new Batgirl series being a magnet for internet controversy.”
1:03:23-1:08:47:  Dave Clarke asks:  “Isn’t it weird that comics are still pencilled, inked and coloured? Inking was originally developed to work around technical limitations of mass productions which dont really exist any more. Even though a tonne of illustration is done for the film and video game industry very very little of it is of the ‘black linework + colour added behind it’ variety. Thoughts on why its still going strong in comics? Predictions for the future?”
1:08:47-1:10:46:  Adam P. Knave asks: “What breakfast foods are each of the classic avengers?”
1:10:46 -1:15:57:  Paul Spence asks: “Could the Whatnauts give us an assessment of Brandon Graham’s Prophet. I believe that Jeff likes it, but Graeme does not. I really like Prophet and I believe that it is the most original and challenging of all the sci-fi titles that Image has launched over the last four years. A number of the Image sci-fi offerings seem the same to me. Too many of them are formulaic post-apocalyptic dystopias.”
1:15:57-1:21:23:  Paul Spence asks:  “Can you voice an opinion about Graham’s earlier magnum opus King City. I have been rereading it recently and I keep finding new layers in the work to enjoy. Graham’s art is stunning in its detail and it looks gorgeous in black & white. I love Graham’s off-center sensibilities and the way he embraces surrealism. He is not a creator that everyone can enjoy, but I appear to be on whatever quirky wavelength he is on and his work really speaks to me.”
1:21:23-1:30:35:  Jeff Lang asks: “What did you guys think of the Captain Marvel/Warlock stuff when you first read it and why do you think the PTB behind the Marvel Cinematic Universe have embraced that particular sliver of the mid-1970s? Convenience? Fannish devotion? A mix of the two? Something else?”
1:30:35-1:43:20:  Kevin McCandless asks: “A simple question but out of all the non-Big Two series you’ve reviewed in the last year, which one would you recommend to someone getting back into alternative comics after a long hiatus?  By which I mean, upper middle-brow, appealing to NPR-listeners (which describes me to a T) stuff like Palookaville or Bone?”
1:43:20-1:47:11:  Chris Jarzombek asks: “Given the Lee-Kirby tension in the FF stories (i.e., Kirby wants to go one way with the story, Lee wants to go another), would there be any value in re-scripting some (or all) of the pages so that they better match the ideal (which I would assume for you guys would be Kirby’s intention)? I’m thinking particularly of pages where the art suggests Sue wants to stay with Namor, but the script is pulling her toward Reed; or ones where the heroes appear weaker than Lee is willing to concede. Or put another way: Would theses stories be better if they were “fixed,” or is the tension part of the fun for you?”
1:47:11-2:08:54:  J.D. Smith (that you, Smitty?) asks: “With Private Eye bowing at ten issues what do we take away from the model? What are you guys enjoying on the broader culture spectrum?  Books? Music? Film? TV?”
[Please note.  This response features the phrase: “Brian K. Vaughn is the Amanda Palmer of comics.”]
2:08:54-2:11:39:  Chris Beckett asks:  “With the upcoming Daredevil series on Netflix, what DD comics would you recommend, outside of Frank Miller’s work? (Personally, I love the Nocenti/JRJr run, which was my proper introduction to the character.)”
2:11:39-2:18:09:  Roger Winston asks: “What are your feelings about DC’s “announcement” that they are no longer going to be slaves to continuity? (Assuming you believe it.) Apologies if you’ve already covered this in the podcast and I forgot. I’m interested in how important continuity is to you and if that has changed over the years. I know that in my younger days I was quite insistent that everything matches up, but these days I don’t care as much. How important is it to a company’s reputation (for lack of a better term) that they are consistent with what they’ve established or are trying to establish?”
2:18:09-2:18:32:  Daniel Mackay asks: “What do you think of the original Batman TV series and should the Batman vs Superman film be a spiritual sequel to the series? I think we all want their fight to be Batman whipping out his Bat Superman Repellent Spray.”
2:18:32-2:26:07: Dan Billings asks: “Not sure if anyone has asked this before but a friend gave me a bunch of his 1970s comics which included Welcome Back Kotter comics and it made me think about recent non-animated sitcoms and if they would make decent comics. Any jump out at you? Who would write and draw them?”
2:26:07-2:27:35:  Martin Gray asks: “Here’s a question, then. If DC and Marvel were waffle toppings, what would they be?”
2:27:35-2:29:42: And, finally, Graeme runs though a thank you of our patrons, because we said we would and also because you are awesome and deserve it:
Andrew Bayer
J.D. Smith
Kristoffer Peterson
Chris Tanforan
Terrence Stasse
Neil Kapit
Lawrence Cruz
Carlos Aguilar
Paul Holmes
David Brown
Roy Rogers
timothy rifenburg
Leef Smith
Scott Ashworth
Stephen Williamson
Jeffrey Lang
John Kipling
Martin Gray
Robert Grzech
Dan Billings
Dan Turner
Ford Thomas
Derek Moreland
Max Brown
Leighton Connor
Stephen Andrews
Eric Phipps
Al Ewing
Chris Jarzombek
Heath Edwards
Steve Huang
Daniel Mackay
Jason Hopkins
Sean McTiernan
Eric Rupe
Roger Winston
Doug Aiton
Jesse Morgan
Steven Prince
Justin Harman
Aldin Baroza
Carla Hoffman
Matt Terl
Dominic Soria
Jon Copeland
Patrick Gaffney
Rick Vance
Mark Bender
Matt Digges
Matthew Johnson
Cass Andrew Sherman
Matt Miller
Chris Beckett
Ryan Watkins
Charles Forsman
Adam P Knave
Christian Sager
Corey Dvorkin
Anthony Casaldi
Ryan Fitzgerald
Luke Stacks
Brian Ruckley
Chris Bentley
Mairead Ryan (Ryan Mairead?)
Jose Maneira
Thomas Martin
Rich Barrett
Andrew Foley
Brendan O’Hare
Garrett Berner
Adam Polakoff
Dylan Todd
Jacob Shemkovitz
Jamaal Thomas
2:29:42-end: Closing comments!  At the time this was recorded we were wondering what we would do when we got to our 100th patron.  We’ve since hit that milestone, and still don’t know what to do.
Reboot!  And it’s pretty much also our “closing comments!” section, with us talking about how next week is *not* a skip week and how you’ll be getting Ep. 173 next week and *then* a skip week.  And again:  Under The Tote Bag!  Places to look for us at—Stitcher! iTunes! Twitter! Tumblr! and, of course, on Patreon where, as of this count, we are grateful to our 100 patrons, and especially to those who asked questions for this very episode.
Okay, that divan is close.  I will try to flesh out the tags later. Look to the skies! Look to our comments! Look to your longboxes!
http://theworkingdraft.com/media/podcasts/WaitWhat173.mp3
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Greetings, Groovy Star-Folk!  We are back with more than two plus hours of 2-D space exploration, far past the safe, sea-shaded atmosphere of other comic book podcasts. Remember!  Below, you can find the celestial safety chart so that you may pass securely through the cosmic ray hologram we call “Wait, What? Episode One Hundred and Seventy.”  And remember, if you get lost you can always hitch a ride home on a moonbeam.  (Also, that if you just want the link to the podcast to cut and paste into the browser or player of your choice, look to our first post in our comment threads below.)

FIVE…FOUR…THREE…TWO….ONE….IGNITION…BLAST OFF:

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00:00-03:53: Welcome to, as Graeme puts it, “possibly our doggiest episode ever,” as he tries to record with three dogs in his office.

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03:53-25:57: But with that quick caveat in mind, we are pretty much off to the races as Graeme has read comp copies of Suiciders #1 by Lee Bermejo (which we punt on, since Jeff intends to read) and Black Hood #1 by Duane Swierczynski and Michael Gaydos, which Graeme compares to Bendis and Maleev’s Daredevil saying, “If you like that, you’ll like this.” With the shadow of the Powers TV show looming overhead, Jeff is a bit more interested in talking about his frustration with Bendis: comparisons to Mark Millar are uttered, original content on emerging platforms are discussed, Netflix original programming is bandied about, watching habits about same are confessed, and traditional expectations are upended. Mentioned:  Powers, Arrested Development, Orange is the New Black, and just where the hell does all the time go?

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25:57-45:23: And on that last point, Jeff talks about reading manga on Crunchyroll, more specifically the experience of reading 50+ chapters of Fuuka by Kouji Seo over the course of four or so days. Jeff also talks about the rapturous experience of reading 100 chapters of Masakazu Ishiguoro’s Soredemo Machi wa Mawatteiru, but really the focus here is Fuuka and how the storyline takes some, shall we say, *unconventional* turns.  SPOILERS APLENTY for Fuuka,as Jeff pretty much gives up all the plot points up until now.

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45:23-52:49: Jeff also bought and read all four issues of Marvel’s Night Nurse during the Marvel BOGO sale at Comixology.  Since Jeff was in the process of writing about it, Graeme doesn’t ask him about the series but instead some rather tough questions.  Questions like:  “Now that you’re read them all, would you do that again?” and “how many Kindle versions of Watchmen do you own, Jeff?” “How many print versions do you own?”  “I’m sorry, how many?”  Yes, it’s time for INTERVENTION: THE WAIT, WHAT? EDITION as Graeme and Jeff talk about owning copies of multiple books and multiple options.

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52:49-1:41:43: Fortunately, we don’t dwell too long on “The horror! The horror!” as the almighty Empress Audrey decreed that Graeme and I were to read the first year of Legion of Superheroes: Five Years Later by Keith Giffen, Tom and Mary Bierbaum, and Al Gordon (with editing by Mark Waid and Michael Eury).  Semi-suspect subjects that we are, we managed to get the first six issues read in time to discuss for this episode. Graeme, who has previous history with this title, gives us the context in which he first read these issues.

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Jeff, who only has the slightest history with the Legion, gives us his impressions as he tries to figure out what the hell is going on in those first few issues. Discussed: Giffen’s storytelling verve; the Five Years Later Legion as a reaction and development of a lot of influences in comics at the time; the FYL Legion as an early example of the flash-forward storytelling that grows in influence in late 20th and early 21st Century; the FYL Legion and Watchmen; 5YL era Giffen and modern day Kevin Huizenga; Jeff deciding that “maximialize” is a word, and is perfectly acceptable to use when making a point; issue #5 of 5YL and Mark Waid’s Empire; issues #6 of 5YL and J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek; The bicycle as a surrealist version of a leg; science-fiction names; the legacy of Paul Levitz; and much, much (much!) more.

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1:41:43-2:02:26: On a related note, Jeff talks about a single panel he saw in his recent read of the Superman Vs. Mongul trade that he thinks explains Paul Levitz’s legacy perfectly, and how it relates to Grant Morrison. Also discussed (perhaps inevitably): James Robinson and Starman; Steve Englehart; Jim Starlin; Marvel Unlimited; and much more.
2:02:26-2:13:35:  Closing comments?  Well, you would think so, and we thought so.  But then Jeff remembers he really does have some questions he wishes to pepper Graeme about Multiversity: Mastermen by Grant Morrison and Jim Lee.  So we talk about that for close to ten minutes.
2:13:35-end:  Okay, no, really:  Closing comments!  Here’s our recording schedule (Baxter Building tip:  read issues #25-36 plus Annual #2 if you want to be current for our next podcast.) Inherent Tote Bags! Places to look for us at—Stitcher! Itunes! Twitter! Tumblr! and, of course, on Patreon where, as of this count, 95 patrons make this whole thing possible.

We’ll talk again next week!  Until then, we wish you safe re-entry!

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http://theworkingdraft.com/media/podcasts/WaitWhat169.mp3 Obviously, I’ve become hooked on embedding YouTube clips in our browser.  Dunno why, and I think it’s arguable that it’s more than a little insulting to put video in a comics podcast blog but…eh. …