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Welcome to the super-early, pre-surgical edition of Wait, What?  Jeff is heading in to deal with a minor health condition (that rhymes with pygmy scones) which will kind of make our usual Monday mid-day drop time a bit on the impossible side.  So pull up the player of choice, kick back with the following show notes, and try not to think of one of your hosts squirming in discomfort on a hospital gurney somewhere.  (Cheery, right?  Seriously, don’t worry about me: I’ll be drugged to the gills.) (I hope.)
00:00-9:19:  Greetings from Jeff “Whoville” Lester and Graeme “The Graemetown Massacre” McMillan, who feel like they haven’t talked in a while…because they haven’t!  It’s a fine jumping off point for a bit of pre-comics talk about human intimacy, Aziz Ansari’s Modern Romance, the atrophying of conversational muscles, Twitter changing from stars to hearts, Countdown to Zero Day: Stuxnet and the Launch of the World’s First Digital Weapon, The Journalist and the Murderer, and other potentially depressing ephemera.

NewPrez
9:19-26:43: Yes, ephemera!  Not like good old live-forever-and-can-never-die comic books!  Graeme has been thinking about the latter and he’s got stuff to blow our mind with.  He’s been looking at sales figures and he’s got some very interesting insights to share with us, including how Star Wars comics are essentially the fourth largest comics publisher in the direct market, how much money DC is seeing from issues of Prez (with help from the info assembled by Alex De Campi, Printing costs and other behind-the-scenes info from Jim Zub).  Discussed:  DC You and profit, Snakes on a Plane, the Batgirl of Burnside, The Dark Knight Returns and the prestige format books, how to craft a book that is both safe and has the potential to go wide, and more.
Vision
26:43-55:46: In the course of talking about books from the Big Two that take some risks, Jeff brings up the first issue of Vision by Tom King, Gabriel Hernandez Walta, and Jordie Bellaire.  Graeme has thoughts about it too, some of them relating to the recent first issue roundtable we did with Matt Terl on the website, Impressively enough, we manage to keep the end of the issue unspoiled but otherwise consider it pretty much ALL SPOILERS, ALL THE TIME. but Discussed: tradewaiting, slow burns, second issues sales, a mission statement framed via a semantic argument, Mr. Spock in American Beauty, an almost comical reluctance by Jeff to bring up Alan Moore, the “return” to Marvel’s 70s diversity, our own struggles with comic book cynicism, and more.
Marvel
55:46-1:03:52:  Graeme wants to talk about Ms. Marvel #19 by G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona, which was so satisfying for Graeme that he kind of feels…done with it?  With everything happening at Marvel, there’s probably never been a better time to talk about Jumping Off Points (well, okay, except for maybe the New 52), and so that’s something we kick around the old sonic playing field. (I probably shouldn’t tell you this, but you may get a lot more out of the first two minutes of the conversation if you’re aware that Jeff is confused and thinks Graeme is talking about Captain Marvel but is trying to hide it.)  Discussed:  Alan Moore leaving Swamp Thing, the post-Morrison years of Animal Man, and more.
Loki1:03:52-1:09:21:  A mention of Al Ewing reminds Graeme that in approximately two months all of Mr. Ewing’s work on Loki will be available on Marvel Unlimited, and this is a seventeen issue run that Graeme very much recommends.  Discussed: whether or not one should read Gillen’s Journey Into Mystery (and Young Avengers) before reading Ewing’s run, Mighty Avengers as a victim of Marvel Eventitis, and more.
1:09:21-1:19:00: “Marvel Unlimited is such an amazing resource,” says Jeff, before going on to talk about how his mad month-long buying spree on Comixology has him reading purchased stuff instead of all that (amazing!) all-you-can-eat stuff.  Will Jeff disclose how much he spent? Can Graeme find a gentle way to tell his friend has a problem? Discussed: how much Graeme spent at the comic store; the first week of Jeff’s experiment of foregoing floppies (and his store discount) and buying digitally; the issues Jeff bought this week, which leads us to…
Unfollow
1:19:00-1:27:20:  “Hey, so what’d you think of Unfollow, then?” Graeme asks, which gives us both a chance to talk about how much we enjoyed Unfollow #1 by Rob Williams, Michael Dowling, and Quinton Winter.  Vertigo has had a pretty strong batch of first issue launches recently,  but this is so far the strongest.  Discussed:  Survivors Club and Stephen King’s It; The Sheriff of Babylon and Jacked; Dowling’s beautiful art; Mark Millar and Grant Morrison; and more.
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1:27:20-1:30:33: Jeff wants to talk about the first issue of Platinum End, by the Death Note/Bakuman team of Ohba and Obata and very much in the vein of the former than the latter.  At the time of recording, it hadn’t seemed like a lot of people knew that you can buy each chapter digitally for ninety-nine cents at the same time as its Japanese release. You can get it at Viz; you can get it at Comixology; you can get it on Amazon for the Kindle.  As Jeff puts it, “If you want to see what Mark Millar is going to be ripping off two years from now, check it out.”
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1:30:33-1:35:11:  Graeme wants to know if Jeff’s picked up Monstress by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda.   Is it, as Graeme calls it “the ultimate Image book?” We go on to discuss it, along with Sarah Horrocks’ piece on Bitch Planet, Graeme utters the phrase, “I don’t even like fantasy, and this book is stunning to me.” (At the time of recording Jeff hadn’t, but he did not long after based on what Graeme says here and was pretty impressed… as you can see here.) The first issue is 71 pages for $4.99, it looks beautiful, and as Graeme says (and I go on to agree with in my piece), “Marjorie Liu is bring some really impressive fucking chops to it.”
1:35:11-1:39:51:  The other first issue?  The new James Bond book, Vargr, by Warren Ellis and James Masters.  SPOILERS:  It sounds pretty good…certainly better than Jeff’s take on what might happen.
Klaus
1:39:51-1:43:58:  We’ve both read Klaus #1 by Grant Morrison and Dan Mora. Considering it’s a comic book about Santa Claus, you would think Graeme would love it, right?  Did he? Didn’t he?  You’ll find out but you’ll hear a lot more about it from Jeff who refers to it as The Game of Thrones Christmas Special.  (Which it’s really not, but come on, that would be AMAZING.)
1:43:58-1:48:10: If you did read the first issue roundtable, you’ll know both Jeff and Greeme were pretty underwhelmed by the first issue of Paper Girls by Brian K Vaughan and Cliff Chiang. So along comes issue #2 and….we happily eat ourselves some crow.  Discussed: Whether Brian K. Vaughan is doing Lost even though he worked on Lost, or whether Brian K. Vaughan is doing Under the Dome even though he worked on Under the Dome; FULL SPOILERS for plot developments in the issue; Jeff compares the second issue of Survivors Club versus the second issue of Paper Girls, and an eensy bit more.
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1:48:10-2:11:16: Just to finish up talking about books we discussed on the roundtable…Jeff is a few issues behind on reading Batman and Robin Eternal, but Graeme is still reading it and, remarkably enough, is onboard!  Discussed: the delight of a monoplot; how long this weekly book lasts; how long it takes before the “everything changes!” trick wears thin; Batman comics written by Scott Snyder’s clique and Batman comics written by people outside Scott Snyder’s clique; Pete Tomasi and the Curse of Pete Tomasi [Note: not officially referred to out loud as the Curse of Pete Tomasi], the Justice League Darkseid War one-shots, and issues #40-45 of Justice League which we revisit because Jeff picked them up after Graeme talked about them last time.  (Seriously, we talk about them a lot.)
2:11:16-end: Closing comments! We try to figure out what’s coming up next…which is confusing in part because next episode is our Secret Convergence of Infinite Podcasts episode.  Graeme won’t be here (he’s on episodes 1, 3, and 5 of the crossovers) but Jeff will be joined by Chico Leo, Gary Lactus, and Paul O’Brien, discussing “The Worm Turns:  Characters, Comic Books, and Creators We Used to Love But Now Hate, and Vice-Versa.” 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 114 of our supporters on Patreon who make all this possible. Look for us on  Stitcher! Itunes! Twitter together and separately: Graeme and Jeff! MattTumblr!  And, of course, where, as of this count, 114 patrons make this whole thing possible!
Okay, so check out the first comment if you need a link to cut and paste into the player of your choice, and, hey, maybe even drop us a note if you want?  That might be…nice?  Either way, as always, thank you for listening!
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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.
NewPrez

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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