0:00-16:42: Greetings! Although after a bit of appreciation for people’s clarification of the first appearance of Black Bolt’s full name, we downshift to a more subdued discussion about the passing of artist Rich Buckler, a fact we learned about approximately an hour before recording. Jeff was a big fan of the man in his prime, Graeme has a reawakened appreciation for Buckler during his DC era, and we take a time to talk about  our knowledge of the man’s work, an appreciation of his skill and talent, and a certain amount of wondering about what might’ve happened if Buckler had entered the field just a few years.  RIP, Mr. Buckler.
16:42-28:24: And somewhere in there we start talking about some of the lost indie publishers of the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, the popularity of dudes like Gerber and Englehart and McGregor, and the continuing brain boggler that is Chris Claremont’s unlikely triumph as the most popular and influential creator of the era.
28:24-1:20:59: And then there were technical difficulties! And then we keep talking more about Claremont! Plus: the rise and fall into obscurity of creators over the years; the amazing work of Margaret Millar and its return to print; whether or not Fantastic Four is returning during Marvel Legacy; the cancellation of Black Panther and The Crew, and a lot of speculative discussion about Marvel generally; what Marvel and DC are doing for Kirby’s hundredth birthday; and much, much more.

1:20:59-1:45:16: Here’s the part where we talk about why we’ve been too busy to sit down and just read comics!  Also, a discussion of our current TV obsession and the things we will or won’t do to get it, a certain trepidation over the return of Twin Peaks, and more.
1:45:16-1:58:00: But somehow! We manage to return to the topic of comics and the few that we’ve read recently!  (Always nice to hear in a comic book podcast, I’ve been told.)  Graeme runs us through the new X-O Man of War series by Matt Kindt and Thomas Giorello; Immortal Brothers: Tale of the Green Knight by Fred Van Lente and Cary Nord; Swordquest by Chad Bowers, Chris Sim and Scott Kowalchuk; Vampirella by Paul Cornell and Jimmy Broxton; The Sovereigns by Ray Fawkes, Kyle Higgins, Johnny Desjardins, and Jorge Fornes; and The Greatest Adventure by Bill Willingham and Cezar Rezak (with covers by Cary Nord).
1:58:00-2:22:21:  And in case you care what Jeff has been reading, he runs through his list very quickly:  amazing old issues of The Brave & The Bold by Bob Haney and Jim Aparo;  Interviews with Monster Girls Vol. 2 by Petos; ‘Namwolf #1 by Fabian Rangel Jr. and Logan Faerber (with another shout-out to Kyle Starks’ Rock Candy Mountain); Vol. 1 of Darth Vader by Kieron Gillen and Salvador Larroca; Darth Maul #1 by Cullen Bunn and Luke Ross; America #1 by Gabby Rivera and Joe Quinones; and Medisin #1 by Jeff Dyer, Mark McKeon, and David Brame.  Jeff also read a lot of Deathstroke recently, and promises to talk about that on a future episode.
2:22:21-2:25:50:  And in a future episode, Graeme really wants to talk about Tom King’s Batman.  “It’s giving me the feels, Jeff,” Graeme confesses and goes on to lay down the bones of what he’s interested (SPOILERS for the end of The Button), leaving us hardly any place to go but to…
2:25:50-end: Closing Comments! Look for us on  Stitcher! Itunes! Twitter together and separately: Graeme and Jeff! MattTumblr,  and  on Patreon where a wonderful group of people make this all possible, including the kind crew at American Ninth Art Studios and Empress Audrey, Queen of the Galaxy, to whom we are especially grateful for their continuing support of this podcast.
Next week:  Skip week!  Read some comics, and join us back here in two weeks, won’t you?
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25 comments on “Wait, What? Ep. 225: Where We Died in Dallas

  1. Jeff Lester May 21, 2017

    And for those of you who like the link for copying and pasting purposes:

    http://theworkingdraft.com/media/podcasts2/WaitWhat225.mp3

  2. Does anyone remember the oral histories Newsarama did with early independent comics? I know you guys talked about it when they first came out years ago, but ever since the redesign, I haven’t been able to find it. I know they had information about Epic and First and Ultraverse and a lot of those companies that disappeared due to mismanagement or insanity. I remember being completely enthralled by their dissection of Tundra Studio’s downfall.

  3. David Morris May 22, 2017

    Whenever either of you have mentioned old school 2000ad recently I’ve meant to ask if you’ve read through Kieron Gillen written comic ‘Modded ‘in Cinema Purgatoria? It has that exuberant mashing together of popular things (in this case pokemon meets robot wars meets demons with real swears) delivered in 6 to 8 page chunks.

    • Definitely what I’m finding most enjoyable in Cinema Purgatorio. I like the clean art style, and as a piss take on Pokemon, it’s pretty amusing. It certainly has a 2000 AD feel to it.

  4. I had to laugh when Graeme said he didn’t want to subscribe to Showtime just to watch Twin Peaks because I’m also reluctant about subscribing to a cable channel. Especially just to watch one show. But I’m making an exception this one time because Twin Peaks and David Lynch are simply worth it and I don’t want to wait however many months to buy the series on DVD or download, which I’m going to do anyways.
    About “Fire Walk WithMe.” Not a great film at all and understand it was booed at Cannes. But the film is absolutely essential to the Twin Peaks storyline/mythos. Lunch said it was important to the new episodes. There’s lots of good stuff in there. I loved David Bowie’s inexplicable appearance and Harry Dean Anderson’s grumpy trailer park manager. Flawed, but definitely important viewing.

    • Lunch = Lynch
      Anderson = Stanton
      I gotta proofread this stuff better before I hit send.

    • Jeff Lester May 24, 2017

      The biggest thing I hated about Fire Walk With Me at the time was how much it swerved away from closure. But of course there are bits of it that are crazily haunting and awesome. Even as I resented it, I loved how some of the trailer park stuff freaked me out

      (And I keep hoping Lynch got a Bowie scene in the bag before the man passed, but I don’t think we’re that lucky.)

      (Oh, and I know you sent corrections, but I definitely think the Sesame Street version of Twin Peaks would definitely have a character named David Lunch.)

  5. Mike Loughlin May 22, 2017

    I think Marvel the corporate entity finds Jack Kirby to be more trouble than he’s worth. They can’t celebrate his legacy (a.k.a. almost all of Marvel itself!) without people bringing up how they screwed him over. Not mentioning him at all looks awfully suspicious. Lip service and half-hearted gestures might be their least controversial option.

    I was lucky to meet Rich Buckler at a con 2 years ago (along w/ Don McGregor, Chris Claremont, & Mike Grell. I’d say it was a Bronze Age celebration but they were all shoved in the back. The only comic book creators with much space were Claremont & Neal Adams). There was no line so I got to talk to him for a few minutes. Great for me, as I got to about his experiences on Black Panther & Spectacular Spider-Man (he loved doing the covers in that era because he was allowed to experiment), but I wish he, Grell, & McGregor had more of an audience. It’s sad how comic book artists are chewed up & spit out with little appreciation. Even children’s book art gets more respect. I would love to see the medium gets reappraised by the public someday, at least a source of worthwhile visual art.

  6. When Jeff mentioned Bendis as likely to be today’s Claremont, in terms of influence on the way writers write comics, Graeme’s response, “God that’s depressing” made my day. My thoughts exactly, Graeme!

    Good points also on how sometimes we don’t realize an artist’s or writer’s impact until they’ve passed, which is sad. In that vein, I’ll throw my love for Bill Mantlo into this conversation. As you guys mentioned, he had some very good work back in the 70s and 80s, with Cloak and Dagger and Micronauts being particular favorites of mine. He’s not always included in discussions of great Marvel writers from that era, which is a shame. He deserves to be.

    • Jeff Lester May 24, 2017

      Amen to that. It seems like we are in a little bit of a Mantlo revival period, and I hope it continues to flourish. He’s one of those guys where it seems like very few people loved everything he did, but it’s turning out a lot of people really loved one or two things…and he did a lot.

  7. Matthew Murray May 23, 2017

    I think that if Marvel actually had any interest in diversity among their creators (instead of headlines) they would have gone out and hired some diverse comic book creators, instead of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ friends who (as far as I can tell) had little-to-no previous interest in making comics*. Roxane Gay even said that Marvel didn’t realize she was the first black woman to write for them before they hired her.

    (Yona Harvey apparently wrote “Flatbush Maiden” in the early ’90s, but there’s no mention of it online. I think it was for an issue of “Flatbush Native” in 1993, but I can’t find any details about whether her story was ever published or not. She said “All my closest friends at that time … were guys and they started a comic book company. So I wrote a guest issue for that and that was my real intro to looking at comics more seriously.”

    This page: https://www.mycomicshop.com/search?TID=275841 says that “Flatbush Native” was written by Kemp Powers, who according to Harvey’s Wikipedia page is someone she went to school with. But at this point I seem to have done more research than anyone else, so…)

    • Jeff Lester May 24, 2017

      Huh, I kind of really want to check out Flatbush Native now. Thanks for the additional info, MM!

  8. John Q May 24, 2017

    I saw the Margaret Millar reprints mentioned somewhere else fairly recently, so it’s nice to see her work getting some love. I also really enjoyed your thoughts on Rich Buckler’s influence and potential legacy. Great job as usual, guys.

    • Jeff Lester May 24, 2017

      Thank you, John Q!

      I hope Margaret Millar hits huge this time around (although I’m cynical to wonder who’s going to pick up an omnibus of five novels by someone almost nobody remembers). I’m only three novels in, but I’m in awe of her.

  9. Ethan May 24, 2017

    Regarding that haunted episode season finale of Twin Peaks…
    Imagine, hypothetically, having watched that on VHS on LSD.

    • Jeff Lester May 24, 2017

      I just can’t even imagine that scenario, Ethan. I mean I can, but I don’t know how anyone could come back from that and still be sane. Jesus.

    • George May 30, 2017

      Did they mention that’s the specific episode they think is haunted? I missed that!

  10. David M May 24, 2017

    Your remembrance of Rich Buckler got me started re-reading his Deathlok work. I was pleased to find the first issue still had a lot of punch. It does meander after that, but I’m looking forward to the issues Janson inks and colours. I’ve peeked forward and I’d forgotten how much I liked Klaus Janson’s colouring. I’ve been having a renewed appreciation recently for how good some of the colourists were before computers. It’s a pity he never seemed to create a long lasting relationship with a writer who’d write to his interests (his ‘Claremont’). I don’t know how someone would go about appraising the work of an artist who was so willing to fit his work to whatever the job required. I lost interest by the time the 70s were over, so maybe his art did develop. Perez isn’t to my taste, but there’s a very clear progression decade by decade from the 70s at least into the noughties to being a better George Perez. It’s not a comparison that seems to work in Buckler’s favour. I’d be happy to be corrected.
    Great to see that Aparo page. He’s so good.

    • Jeff Lester May 24, 2017

      I love his Deathlok work. Like you said, it meanders but it’s amazing how strong it is in places. And like you said, it’s really hard to appraise someone who could do so much, but without enough of that extra spark. It seems like the Steranko-infused layouts of Deathlok were closest to his heart (since he created the character and plotted the stories): in a way, I wish Buckler could’ve done for Steranko what Aparo did for Adams: mimicked his strengths but drew so much more for so much longer we can see him for himself.

      • David M May 27, 2017

        That would have been good. As much as Adams is great and influential, I may now prefer Aparos’ work as comics. Looking back even to the 60s many of Adams characters over-emote, as in his X-Men run, there are quiet parts of an Aparo story.
        Is it useful or unfair to compare Rich to Barry Windsor-Smith? Here’s another artist coming in with big Kirby and Steranko influences and a smaller amount of Adams in the mix. You look at their first work on Marvel Unlimited and it’s not as though Smith starts off with obviously more talent. It’s tough, but I don’t think that what I think of as Smith’s artistic success means it wouldn’t be better if there was a culture that was more encouraging to others to do work that was more personally expressive.
        I’m probably going too far, I would hope that Buckler found his work engaging, rewarding and a source of satisfaction, that he did what he wanted to.

  11. Mike Murdock May 24, 2017

    Looks like you recorded before the Marvel Solicits. They’re celebrating Kirby in the most Marvel way possible – variant covers and reprints!

    Actually, seeing Devil Dinosaur, his Amazing Adventures Inhumans issues, his first Eternals story, his original Captain America, etc. through the $1 True Believers imprint is cool (at least, it would be if I ever saw my store sell those books). I am hoping there’s more to come, but the FF can’t come back until October (I’m assuming that’s when Legacy launches) so it won’t be for his Birthday. The only new material that could remotely qualify as Jack Kirby-inspired is the Chris Priest Inhumans mini-series.

    • The funny thing is, 12 “True Believers” Kirby reprints, and not one of them is an issue of Fantastic Four. Groot, Devil Dinosaur, Eternals, yes. FF, no. Also no X-Men. So doesn’t look like the reluctance to promote characters Fox has the movie rights to is going to lift anytime soon.

      • Mike Murdock May 25, 2017

        April’s Solicit reprinted X-Men #1 so it didn’t make any sense to reprint it again for August. They also reprinted Giant-Size X-Men, New Mutants #1 , New Mutants #87, X-Force #1, X-Men Vol. 2 #1, Uncanny X-Men #281, Generation X #1, and Joss Whedon’s Astonishing X-Men #1 so I would say the suggestion they aren’t promoting the X-Men (at least with True Believer reprints) is overblown.

        Now the Fantastic Four I haven’t seen. I would still imagine October is the logical time to do it, not August, if they’re planning on bringing them back.

  12. Buckler was never a favourite of mine, being mostly familiar with his 1980s work, but he was always solid. I don’t think his chameleon tendencies helped his reputation, whether powered by direct swipes or not, with different work looking like Adams or Kirby or Kane or Buscema. I just pulled out the four issues of TITANS he did right after Perez’s run (TALES #51-54), and I’m not sure anyone could identify them as Buckler if they were uncredited. Not sure if there are direct swipes from Perez, but I wouldn’t be shocked. It’s only more recently I’ve seen some of his earlier work in reprints and begun to appreciate it.

    Never did finish watching the original Twin Peaks, which I tried back in the days when that involved borrowing actual DVDs from improbably large stores dedicated to that task (in fact, it may have still been VHS tapes). Maybe I’ll get to it by the time the new series is complete, I don’t have much else to watch right now.

  13. Jensen May 26, 2017

    Re: “Coates’ Black Panther sales would have tanked no matter what”

    Eh… quality and word-of-mouth matters in the Marvel marketplace. Do you realize that Old Man Logan was selling 150% as much as All-New X-Men and Uncanny X-Men? When the hell has a Wolverine series outsold the core X-titles by that margin? OML has had solid word of mouth and a creative team that seemed to care about the stories they’ve told, whereas ANXM and UXM had mediocre word of mouth and no one talked about them as good titles.

    Black Panther actually had bad word of mouth. A lot of people gave it a shot and a lot of people were disappointed. I don’t see how deflecting this off as “his audience would have been trade readers anyway” comes into it at all. The floppy sales numbers were there big enough at first that he could have retained hit sales if the quality was actually there. It wasn’t.

    I see positive word of mouth being another big reason why Rebirth numbers have continued to be good, even for titles that I don’t like very much personally.

    However the market’s changed, I don’t hear so much anymore about “great little titles that don’t sell very much”, which is something I used to hear about constantly 5-10 years ago. I think the market and the readership has consolidated enough that pretty much the only people left are those who follow positive word of mouth, or run from titles like Black Panther that have negative word of mouth.

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