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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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                                 Strong Female Characters, by the mighty Kate Beaton

It is almost the end of August.  IT IS ALMOST THE END OF AUGUST.  Sorry, but my brain is broken just a little bit by that fact.
But hey!  After the jump, why don’t you check out the show notes for Episode 183 of Wait, What? It’s a two-plus hour episode where Graeme McMillan and I answer questions posed to us by those wonderful people on Patreon who help keep us afloat.  (I’m not sure what that term means for Graeme, but for me “afloat” means, “oh god, Comixology has the entire run of Super-Villain Team-Up for $1.99 an issue, and some of those are by Englehart, hope I can hold out for the first of the month…”)
Join us, won’t you?

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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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