I’ve been working on (and procrastinating around) this Star Wars-y post for a few days. I’m sad to be finishing and posting it just after hearing the depressing news of Carrie Fisher’s death, which also…
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.
(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.)
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.
1:09:46-1:23:59: 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.
I had promised myself that I was going to stick to Marvel Unlimited to read the Star Wars books (as described in nauseating detail here), but then I was in Orlando for wayyyyyyyyyy too long and…
Perhaps it’s because I have written more words than any human being should, over the last few days, about Star Wars, but I keep finding myself surprisingly blocked when it comes to expressing how I…
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?
I’ve noticed something odd recently: I no longer care about the recency of the comics I’m reading, or reading about — or reviewing, for that matter. Once upon a time, I thought reviews that went up Sunday for…
Ho, ho, howdy, Whatnauts and True Believers of all stripes! As you can see, Graeme just put in a lovely little contribution to our website, so I decided to make this post image-free so as to take up less room (and because I’m sweating a big deadline, so….you’ll forgive me this once, right?)
00:00-13:42: Greetings from your anxious friends, Jeff and Graeme, currently recovering from a hell of a week over at McMillan Manors. So of course, Jeff decides it’s the perfect time to interrogate Graeme about his reading habits: how does Graeme read so much? And when the hell does he find time to do it? It’s a hard-hitting investigation, Wait, What? style! Graeme recommends a book to Jeff, Overwhelmed: Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time by Brigid Schulte, which is a book that Jeff really, really needs. Also discussed: why Jeff hasn’t seen Mad Max: Fury Road yet, why we like people except when they’re around, spontaneity as a counterpoint to planning, Jeff’s terrible work habits, how Graeme McMillan got his groove back, and we all learn just how accurate Graeme’s nickname as “The Hardest Working Man on the Internet,” and more.
13:42-23:24: Oh, but don’t worry we have comics to start talking about: in particular, we have Drawn & Quarterly: Twenty-five Years of Contemporary Cartooning, Comics, and Graphic Novels, a book so big Graeme is worried it would turn out to be a dog-killing vanity project. And yet, as it turns out, Graeme thinks it is is very, very good with excellent new comics from Kevin Huizenga, Adrian Tomine (or is that a reprint), Guy Delisle, Kate Beaton, and many more. (Jeff, for his part, is so consumed with envy he can’t really speak.) The book is costly but it’s about the price of ten copies of Secret Wars #3 and, according to Graeme, you will get more than ten times the amount of enjoyment. Or, as Jeff asks, will you? Certainly if you’re Graeme (or Jeff) but what about others? Sadly, we aren’t able to render the perfect irreducible unit of comic book comparison but for a second, we do consider giving it a go, but only after a certain amount of quasi-reviewing/quasi-gabbing from Jeff about Secret Wars #3.
23:24-25:18: Graeme has also read all of the Swords of Sorrow crossover over at Dynamite, and has surprisingly positive things to say about the Swords of Sorrow: Chaos Special by Mairghread Scott and Mirka Andolfo. But does he like them $3.99 worth? Hmm…
25:18-49:39: And, on a related note (inspired by Jeff thinking that there’s a chance that people may not have to pay $3.99 for the book if it ends up on sale at Comixology, not that he ever bothers to say that aloud), Jeff asks Graeme to handicap the first three weeks of The New DC52 Universe sale happening over at Comixology. Turns out Graeme has already read a big ol’ chunk of the New 52 titles: what would he recommend? And what books are DC offering to put on sale that don’t actually exist? Although this will get posted just as the first week of the sale is ending, we have weeks two and three covered for you, wonder if there’s going to be a week four, brief reminiscing over the Dr. Fate run by J.M. DeMatteis and Shawn McManus; some love for the Jeff Lemire scripted issues of Justice League Dark; the Tom Taylor stuff from Earth-2; Prez #1-4 (YES, GOD, YES); the first 40 issues of Hitman; Graeme points out some flaws in Jeff’s compulsive buying tendencies; and the paradox of DC offering up a big sale of New52 issues to get us excited about the “DC You” launch when, frankly, the DC You launch is a corrective to titles that weren’t working under the New52. It’s a little bit of “you like this? Well, great, here’s a bunch of stuff you *won’t* like!” Although, as Graeme points out, the series does serve as an inexpensive way to fill in the backstory for DC You books people enjoy but are jumping in cold, and he follows this up with some discussion of The Batgirl of Burnside trade by Brenden Fletcher, Cameron Stewart, Babs Tarr, and Maris Wicks.
49:39-1:05:58: But then there’s stuff like all those issues of Omega Men which are tonally inconsistent with the new first issue by Tom King and Barnaby Bagenda, which Graeme has read about and also recommends. In fact, Graeme read all of the DC You launches from the first week and is very, very positive about them overall. (Jeff, for his part, dug the book he picked up: Bizarro #1 by Heath Corson, Gustavo Duarte, and Peter Pantazis.) But Graeme also has praise for Midnighter (which he says looks amazing), Action Comics, and (not a DC You title but still enjoyable) Justice League #41 by Geoff Johns and Jason Fabok; and then we return to talking about the first issue of Omega Men some more, some parts of the discussion guided by the interview Graeme did with writer Tom King for Wired.
1:05:58-1:18:36: From one galactic rebellion to another, Jeff has read Star Wars issues #4-6 by Jason Aaron, John Cassaday, and Laura Martin. WARNING: JEFF SPOILS THE BIG REVEAL IN ISSUE #6. We discuss action figure fun, a very odd Watchmen shout-out, the difference between fan-service and suffocating nostalgia (if there is one), the embarrassment of mixing up Kyle Katarn and Dash Rendar, the Venn diagram of good superhero comic, and more.
1:18:36-1:44:22: Pivoting from that, we discuss the All-New, All-Different Marvel announcements and Marvel’s attempt to get publicity without actually announcing anything. Graeme runs it down for us. Also a discussion about Secret Wars running late leads to much rampant speculation on Jeff’s part about reasons for some of the odder delays in Marvel’s schedule. Also discussed: the backsliding of diversity in mainstream comics; the company that won’t be reported on; taking the phrase how the sausage is made to ludicrously literal extremes; and more.
1:44:22-1:55:20: But enough of that! Let’s talk about comics! Jeff has read the first issue of Providence by Alan Moore and Jacen Burrows, is kinda coolish about it, but unpacks the first issue in detail for Graeme. Jeff has also read issue #5 of The Humans by Keenan Marshall Keller, Tom Neely, and Kristina Collantes, which he describes in less detail but frankly enjoyed much more than Providence; Bizarro #1 (as mentioned above); and Minimum Wage: So Many Bad Decisions #1 and #2 by Bob Fingerman (also reviewed by Jeff here).
1:55:20-end: For the second time in two episodes, Jeff starts sounding weird on Graeme’s side so we decide to call it a day. And so….closing comments! Was this our most bifurcated podcast ever? If so…we’re sorry? Come back next week for a Baxter Building podcast, and feel free to read Fantastic Four issues #54-60 (plus Annual #4) to experience the episode in 5-D! Mortality and Tote Bags in Vienna! Places to look for us at—Stitcher! Itunes! ] Twitter together (t) and separately: Graeme and Jeff! Tumblr! And, of course, on Patreon where, as of this count, 104 patrons make this whole thing possible!
Need a context-free link to cut and paste and make your very own—see this post’s first comment!
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!
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.
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!
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?
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.
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!
First off, there’s the first episode of Baxter Building, our long-awaited Fantastic Four readthrough, right below this post. I’ll cut the main part of this off under the jump and let you scroll down and…