0:00-10:43: Greetings! For the third time or so?! A lot of problems we talk about briefly and then move right into the horrifying heat wave that moved through San Francisco, Graeme’s sympathy (or lack thereof), Jeff’s grumpiness (and hyper-abundance thereof), and more.
10:43-39:49:  But let’s move on to comic book-related stuff, if your definition of such things is generous enough to include the Imax screenings of The Inhumans and even more carping about The Defenders TV show.  (Yes, really!)
39:49-59:53: Moving from that and the reaction to our Star Brand readthrough, Jeff wants to wax rhapsodic about the sublime My Pretty Vampire by Katie Skelly, and the absurd Werewolf by Night Omnibus by Gerry Conway and Mike Ploog (at least at the point Jeff is at, anyway).  But perhaps by discussing the two subjects too closely together, Jeff runs the risk of sounding like he’s doing the whole “these indy creators are terrific, but think how great they could be if only they were toiling away with no rights for corporate owned IP!”  (Which is not where he meant to go with that, at all.)  Also discussed:  Dastardly & Muttley #1, the end of Secret Empire, and the very delightful Spider-Gwen #23 by Hannah Blumenreich and Jordan Gibson.
59:53-1:26:41: Speaking of idiosyncratic Marvel titles, Graeme, the recommendation of Jeff and others, went and checked out the most recent issues of The Unbelievable Gwenpool by Christopher Hastings and Gurihiru.  And he’s got some questions for Jeff, first and foremost is: “why do you like this?”  Ulp.  Also discussed:  Gwenpool, Animal Man, The Punisher, plus a bit at the end about Spy Seal.
1:26:41-02:02:23: And then it’s time for a lively round of Graeme Has A Thought Experiment (That Jeff Reacts To Like It’s A Trap)!  This time out:  “How would you feel if 2000 A.D. gave Halo Jones to someone else?”  Discussed:  Marvelman/Miracleman, Watchmen, Doomsday Clock, Omega The Unknown, the late capitalism comfort matrix, and more.
2:02:23-02:18:32:  Jeff has been dying to say a few words about Metal #1 by Scotty Snyder and Greg Capullo—not just for the majority of this episode but for weeks.  RANT MODE ENGAGED (although it’s really more of a conversation because Graeme himself also has some things to say and some excellent points).
02:18:32-2:25:08: Other things we’ve been waiting to discuss and keep forgetting to:  Graeme really liked Fred Van Lente’s 10 Dead Comedians, a very witty and clever take on Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None!  Jeff is very grateful he took Graeme’s recommendation and read Reflections: An Oral History of Twin Peaks by Brad Dukes, and is very sad he won’t be able to buy for Graeme the Men Drawstring Waist Twin Peaks Owl Cave Map Shorts for Men!
2:25:08-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:  Wait, What? Ep. 233!  Due to Jeff’s semi-annual pilgrimage, it will be up later than usual—look for it by Thursday, September 14!

 

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16 comments on “Wait, What? Ep. 232: Thought Experiments

  1. Jeff Lester Sep 4, 2017

    And here’s that direct link for your cutting and pasting pleasure:

    http://theworkingdraft.com/media/podcasts2/WaitWhat232.mp3

    • Martin Gray Sep 8, 2017

      If you were doing questions in Portland I’d ask what Graeme reckoned to Marguerite Bennett’s Bombshells. I liked it at the start but as time went on the constant singing and anachronisms chased me away. Tiresome.

      You probably know, but heatwaves were what got US people into the cinema-going habits – it was indeed all about the air conditioning.

  2. Bouncing off of Graeme’s thought experiment, what if Gerard Way decided, as part of Young Animals, to finish Sonic Disrupters?

  3. I think some incredible straw men are created in this episode, also a mis-remembering of the tenor around Before Watchmen. As I recall there was a vocal section of people that wanted no part of this and that DC was in the wrong for undertaking it, however the far larger group were for whom the issue was either not important or that Moore’s work with things like LoEG and Lost Girls invalidated all complaints people would make about it. It was far from a majority in the favor of Moore in fact it was almost the reverse.

    The other major difference is the uncanny tenacity in which DC stalked Moore’s projects and antagonized him from outside his control like the ABC stuff, makes that whole thing extra complicated on top of it.

    I think there is a growing amount of why even work for hire or adapt/update old things when you can create your new things (often being a riff on those old things anyway) so the people who are on Moore’s side are also not ones clamoring for other relaunches/remakes.

    • Voord 99 Sep 6, 2017

      I don’t know how one would go about establishing which side was the larger.

      But while I remember both groups that you mention, what I don’t remember is any significant number of voices greeting the idea of Before Watchmen with positive enthusiasm.

      I.e., there was the “Oh God, no!” crowd and there was the “Alan Moore doesn’t have a leg to stand on,” was there anyone at all going “Yes! This is the story that I didn’t know that I always wanted.”?

  4. Ed Corcoran Sep 5, 2017

    I think it’s interesting that so many people told Graeme to skip episodes 1 & 2 of Defenders as those were the ones I found most enjoyable. Maybe it’s because it just revisits these characters I liked from the previous shows (plus Iron Fist, who I hate) or maybe it’s because I started watching the right after I had got back from a near-empty showing of Inhumans.

    I liked that episodes 1 & 2 of Defenders were lit & shot in a way that made each character’s scenes look and feel different; it sort of felt like mini-episodes of Daredevil, Jessica Jones etc. Not a ton happened but it had some nice character stuff. But then the plot train gets started and it immediately goes off the rails.

    But even when the scripts were awful, Defenders still looked good and most of the actors were doing the best they could. There’s a level of professionalism that keeps it compelling enough that I didn’t mind finishing it. Iron Fist, by contrast, was an utter chore to finish.

    Inhumans is so so much worse than even Iron Fist was. Everything about it looks like a cheap fan film: the costumes, the sets, the visual style. The effects are vaguely competent but they clearly had so little budget that THEY SHAVE OFF MEDUSA’S HAIR SO THEY DON’T HAVE TO ANIMATE IT ANY MORE.

    And the script was just dull dull dull. Maximus takes over Atillan and the Royal Family escapes to Hawaii to just hang out and kill time. Gorgon chills with some surfers on the beach. Black Bolt tries on a suit at a store. Karnak wanders the woods and then goes to sleep.

    It’s hard to believe that a major studio let this something this bad out into the wild.

    • Thomas Sep 5, 2017

      lol I wasn’t going to get into it until it aired but yes!
      come see the thrills of Inhumans:
      Blackbolt vs mall security!
      Medusa vs hair clippers!
      Gorgon fights waves!
      Karnak vs woods!
      Crystal gets grounded!
      Lockjaw doesn’t know directions!

  5. Thomas Sep 5, 2017

    I have to say since you guys did the 5 week event you have really been doing some of my favorite shows. I really liked the Gwen Pool discussion, I find it to be really good comics. I remember Animal Man being more of a meta discussion of existence and I see Gwen Pool as a fan/comics story comedy. I have to admit I am reading all the Gwen comics now and I was so against their existence when they launched.

    • Voord 99 Sep 6, 2017

      I enjoy Gwenpool, too (via Unlimited, so six months behind). With regard to the “But is she a sociopath?” question – I think that the tone of the book is a little too self-consciously cartoonish for that to be an ideal way to look at it. Despite ostensibly coming from the “real world,” I don’t know that Gwen is a character to whom real-world standards apply.

  6. Mike Murdock Sep 5, 2017

    Regarding Watchmen, I think it’s less Alan Moore (although that’s clearly part) so much as it’s a complete story. It’s its own contained thing they’re now trying to add on to without the original writer (anything designed as an ongoing is different).

    I don’t want to say Doomsday Clock is more crass than Before Watchmen because that’s obviously very crass, but it’s a different kind of issue. Making it part of the DC Universe feels like it’s undermining its uniqueness. It seems like it’s missing the whole point of the universe in that story.

    That being said, if you ignore Watchmen and just take the characters themselves, it could be fun. Who doesn’t want to see The Question and Rorschach team up?

    • “Who doesn’t want to see The Question and Rorschach team up?”

      Me. I don’t want to see that, at all.

      • Voord 99 Sep 8, 2017

        If Steve Ditko wrote and drew it, maybe. “He’s like Mr. A. Except that he’s insane.” I’d be ghoulishly curious to see how someone who sincerely accepts Steve Ditko’s viewpoint – who I suspect would have to be Steve Ditko – would turn Rorschach back on Alan Moore.

        But not ghoulishly curious enough to think that Before Watchmen was a good idea.

  7. David M Sep 6, 2017

    Cold baths, Jeff. Cheap and easy way to bring your temperature down. It really cheers me up in hot weather. I realise this may sound like a wind-up, but it’s sincerely meant. Unlike the following jibe about being heartened that Graeme is embracing the Lord’s Day Observance which I suspect brought such municipal joy into both our young lives. Also thanks for your mention of Werewolf by Night. It triggered a thought about werewolves that’s a germ for a story. You’re an inspiration.

  8. I actually started having Feelings about comic revivals without the original creators after the Valiant revival, of all things… probably because it’s the first set of new properties I saw start up, die, and return during my time in comics. The Quantum & Woody reboot in particular made me feel very, very strange seeing a book I so strongly associated with Priest’s voice more or less doing a cover version of his some of his authorial tics, and then realizing that the only reason I don’t feel the same way about, say, Superman or Spider-Man is because the creative turnover was a done deal before I was even alive.

    I’m increasingly of the opinion that work-for-hire creative contracts and the mire of predatory business behaviors around them are the original sin of the comics industry. A lot of good work has come out of creators doing their own spin on existing characters, in dialogue with the stories and creators that came before, but I really really wish doing that in comics didn’t usually mean cutting the original creators out of approval or revenue (and giving same to companies reaping the dividends of long-ago misdeeds). On a related note, I also really wish things still went into the public domain…

  9. To me, I don’t think the issue with BW and Doomsday Clock is that it’s Moore, or that it’s a complete work, or that it reeks of crass commercialism (though of course, it does… They didn’t even bother coming up with a creative name for “Before Watchmen”). Instead, it’s that, for many people, myself included, Watchmen is the most prominent example of a comics creator getting screwed out of his rights. Whenever I see a Doomsday Clock cover or think about reading the Cooke issues of BW or read The Button (My lame excuse? I was already subbed to Batman), it’s hard not to become consumed by the fact that DC essentially conned Moore out of his ownership and has then acted like HE’S the ungrateful one for three decades. Granted, comics history is full of raw deals, but this one is so clear cut (and relatively recent compared to, say, Finger or Simon and Schuster) that it’s impossible to fully ignore, even if I wanted to.

    • Voord 99 Sep 9, 2017

      I don’t entirely agree. Yes, Siegel and Schuster, for instance, was a long time ago – but it’s more extreme in every other way. The fame and profit value of what they created, the extremes of poverty they suffered, the humiliation of, in Siegel’s case, having to come back to writing Superman and being treated in an abusive way, and, above all, the straightforward theft involved in the creation of Superboy. Yes, it was sort of put right when the movie came out, but that’s only to the extent that decades of this sort of thing could ever be put right. And so on: while Jerry Siegel is at the top of the list for me, there are several others before Moore and Watchmen.

      I don’t think Moore would disagree with that, of course. That’s one of the ways that Watchmen stands out: not the egregiousness of the offence, but Moore’s willingness to call it out and to put it in the context of the history of the comic book industry’s practices. (Which is, and he acknowledges this, because he’s lucky enough not to have suffered in the way that others did, and so can afford to stick his neck out.). In many ways, I think Moore’s case is actually pretty marginal. It’s a case where someone aggressively exploited a loophole in a contract, which happens a fair bit in all walks of life, unfortunately.

      The big way in which Watchmen stands out for me, however, is the sheer bloody stupidity of DC’s short-sightedness. Is it really possible to doubt that, if DC had gone to Moore (and Gibbons) and said, “Look, no-one ever expected Watchmen to be as big as it’s turned out to be. We obviously could hang onto the rights by keeping it in print, and it would turn a profit that way. But we don’t want to do that. Let’s renegotiate so that we can be your publisher for the foreseeable future, and in return we get to maintain what looks to be a very productive working relationship between us and you. So, what’s your next project?” that would have been, from a purely business perspective, more profitable in the long run?

      OK, so Moore might eventually have walked away over something-or-other. But in the meantime, you’d probably have gotten something like Sandman out of him, possibly a fair few Sandmans: multivolume perennials that sell pretty much indefinitely into the future.

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