Greetings, Groovy Star-Folk!  We are back with more than two plus hours of 2-D space exploration, far past the safe, sea-shaded atmosphere of other comic book podcasts. Remember!  Below, you can find the celestial safety chart so that you may pass securely through the cosmic ray hologram we call “Wait, What? Episode One Hundred and Seventy.”  And remember, if you get lost you can always hitch a ride home on a moonbeam.  (Also, that if you just want the link to the podcast to cut and paste into the browser or player of your choice, look to our first post in our comment threads below.)

FIVE…FOUR…THREE…TWO….ONE….IGNITION…BLAST OFF:

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00:00-03:53: Welcome to, as Graeme puts it, “possibly our doggiest episode ever,” as he tries to record with three dogs in his office.

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03:53-25:57: But with that quick caveat in mind, we are pretty much off to the races as Graeme has read comp copies of Suiciders #1 by Lee Bermejo (which we punt on, since Jeff intends to read) and Black Hood #1 by Duane Swierczynski and Michael Gaydos, which Graeme compares to Bendis and Maleev’s Daredevil saying, “If you like that, you’ll like this.” With the shadow of the Powers TV show looming overhead, Jeff is a bit more interested in talking about his frustration with Bendis: comparisons to Mark Millar are uttered, original content on emerging platforms are discussed, Netflix original programming is bandied about, watching habits about same are confessed, and traditional expectations are upended. Mentioned:  Powers, Arrested Development, Orange is the New Black, and just where the hell does all the time go?

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25:57-45:23: And on that last point, Jeff talks about reading manga on Crunchyroll, more specifically the experience of reading 50+ chapters of Fuuka by Kouji Seo over the course of four or so days. Jeff also talks about the rapturous experience of reading 100 chapters of Masakazu Ishiguoro’s Soredemo Machi wa Mawatteiru, but really the focus here is Fuuka and how the storyline takes some, shall we say, *unconventional* turns.  SPOILERS APLENTY for Fuuka,as Jeff pretty much gives up all the plot points up until now.

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45:23-52:49: Jeff also bought and read all four issues of Marvel’s Night Nurse during the Marvel BOGO sale at Comixology.  Since Jeff was in the process of writing about it, Graeme doesn’t ask him about the series but instead some rather tough questions.  Questions like:  “Now that you’re read them all, would you do that again?” and “how many Kindle versions of Watchmen do you own, Jeff?” “How many print versions do you own?”  “I’m sorry, how many?”  Yes, it’s time for INTERVENTION: THE WAIT, WHAT? EDITION as Graeme and Jeff talk about owning copies of multiple books and multiple options.

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52:49-1:41:43: Fortunately, we don’t dwell too long on “The horror! The horror!” as the almighty Empress Audrey decreed that Graeme and I were to read the first year of Legion of Superheroes: Five Years Later by Keith Giffen, Tom and Mary Bierbaum, and Al Gordon (with editing by Mark Waid and Michael Eury).  Semi-suspect subjects that we are, we managed to get the first six issues read in time to discuss for this episode. Graeme, who has previous history with this title, gives us the context in which he first read these issues.

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Jeff, who only has the slightest history with the Legion, gives us his impressions as he tries to figure out what the hell is going on in those first few issues. Discussed: Giffen’s storytelling verve; the Five Years Later Legion as a reaction and development of a lot of influences in comics at the time; the FYL Legion as an early example of the flash-forward storytelling that grows in influence in late 20th and early 21st Century; the FYL Legion and Watchmen; 5YL era Giffen and modern day Kevin Huizenga; Jeff deciding that “maximialize” is a word, and is perfectly acceptable to use when making a point; issue #5 of 5YL and Mark Waid’s Empire; issues #6 of 5YL and J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek; The bicycle as a surrealist version of a leg; science-fiction names; the legacy of Paul Levitz; and much, much (much!) more.

STARMAN

1:41:43-2:02:26: On a related note, Jeff talks about a single panel he saw in his recent read of the Superman Vs. Mongul trade that he thinks explains Paul Levitz’s legacy perfectly, and how it relates to Grant Morrison. Also discussed (perhaps inevitably): James Robinson and Starman; Steve Englehart; Jim Starlin; Marvel Unlimited; and much more.
2:02:26-2:13:35:  Closing comments?  Well, you would think so, and we thought so.  But then Jeff remembers he really does have some questions he wishes to pepper Graeme about Multiversity: Mastermen by Grant Morrison and Jim Lee.  So we talk about that for close to ten minutes.
2:13:35-end:  Okay, no, really:  Closing comments!  Here’s our recording schedule (Baxter Building tip:  read issues #25-36 plus Annual #2 if you want to be current for our next podcast.) Inherent Tote Bags! Places to look for us at—Stitcher! Itunes! Twitter! Tumblr! and, of course, on Patreon where, as of this count, 95 patrons make this whole thing possible.

We’ll talk again next week!  Until then, we wish you safe re-entry!

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16 comments on “Wait, What? Ep. 170: Daze of Futures Past

  1. Jeff Lester Mar 2, 2015

    As promised, here’s that link:

    http://theworkingdraft.com/media/podcasts/WaitWhat170.mp3

    Enjoy!

    • Just started listening, sounding good. Wasn’t that murder on House of Cards just the U.S. version of Matty off the roof in the BBC original?

      I tried an episode of West Wing. Lots of people walking down corridors.

    • I grabbed those first six Legion issues and read them for the first time since they came out. It’s all so much more coherent in a big lump. I loved the ambition even at the time, and the enforced business with the Mordruverse was extremely clever, and turned out really well, giving us the likes of Andromeda. Still hate the random shadows on faces, though.

      I think this was the first comic to move the continuity forward. Suicide Squad followed soon after with a one-year leap.

      And Graeme old chum, if you’re going to insist on Jeff getting the Legion names right, that’s Dirk MORGNA* and Rokk KRINN.

      I hope Jeff does indeed read more of this run, especially th pe Ultra Boy/Glorith annual – it’s amazing what the Bimbums (love it!) did with a one-off character who’d not been seen for two decades.
      * Except for that one issue in the Seventies when he was indeed, accidentally, Dirk Morgana…

  2. I would pay for a whole podcast consisting of Jeff explaining the plot of Manga series to Graeme.

    Another fine pod gents. Loved the 5 years later chat. Some of my favourite comics art ever there. I love Giffen’s Munoz phase and am much more forgiving of his plagiarism/influence than most it seems.. Legion, Ambush Bug, Heckler, fuck it Jonah Hex, all great. When it evolved into his bezerk art for Trencher it reached nigh abstract levels. He’d shaken off the heavy blacks of Munoz and found a style that was pretty damn singular.

  3. I’m so glad you guys decided to read these Legion books. I’d followed the Legion off and on before, particularly in the Levitz/Giffen heyday before Giffen changed his art overnight, but for some odd reason these were the books that turned me into a Legion fan for life. I think it’s because I was the prime age (17) to read the obvious Watchmen influence as a sign of artistic maturity and experimentation and not, say, a set of derivative stylistic gestures that couldn’t sustain an ongoing series for long.

    If you haven’t decided to go on and read issue 13, you really should… not only does it resolve the Kent Shakespeare cliffhanger (easily the most classic Legion-y moment in the run) but it’s the last good one before the series went off the rails. The bulk of that run embarrasses me today (or worse yet, bores me), but I still treasure those early issues, especially the Mordruverse one–a little slice of Phildickian characters-in-an-alternate-timeline-discovering-they’re-in-an-alternate-timeline that remains one of my all-time favorite comics.

    By the way, if you’re up for something a little off the beaten path, check out Raymond McDaniel’s Special Powers and Abilities, a book of poems entirely about the Legion of Super-Heroes:

    http://coffeehousepress.org/shop/special-powers-and-abilities/

    It even has a poem about the Mordruverse!

  4. Matthew Murray Mar 4, 2015

    I’m really enjoying the Fantastic Four readthrough. I’ve picked up a few of the Essentials and have been reading along with you guys. I’ve never read these comics before, so it’s all new to me!

    As for Legion, I’ve never really gotten into it, but someone gave me a pile of ’90s comics last year, and amongst them were some of the post Zero Hour Legion, and I liked it far more than I expected to. Someday I’ll find some cheap trades or a well stocked library and read more of that series in general.

    Also, weren’t you guys supposed to announce the Rogue Trooper contest winners?

  5. Colin Mar 5, 2015

    I just want to let you know that my all time favorite quote from this show and the one that has stuck with me and continues to pop up in my mind is from when Jeff was making up a quote about what Jim Starlin would say about his influences: “The bible is great and all, but it’s no Michael Moorecock.” (Especially since I started reading Moorecock since then)

    By the way, Jeff, did you continue reading Marvel’s Transformers? I’m still looking forward to hearing you guys talk more about that series. It was one of my favorites as a kid, but I’m sure it’s actually terrible and I really enjoyed you guys tearing it apart.

  6. daustin Mar 6, 2015

    I loved the 5YL Legion at the time, and think it holds up pretty well despite a lot of glaring flaws. I kind of backed into the series – having never read a single LOSH book before (and being a Marvel, not DC, guy), I picked up the concluding issues of Giffen’s run (the end of the whole earth war) plus the new Legionnaires series, and then had to go back to fill in the whole 5YL run. With no internet at the time, I found the series pretty challenging – the enormous cast and reliance on first names and street clothes made it tough – but ultimately I found it very rewarding. It definitely dips in quality in the middle and has WAY too many digressions (the universe rebooting, the Quiet Darkness, Ultra Boy in the past), but I think the final run of Giffen issues that set out and conclude the Earth war are very, very strong.

    After Giffen leaves, the twin series have a pretty quick degradation of quality that is ameliorated by some excellent artists at very early stages in their careers – Jason Pearson, Chris Sprouse, Stuart Immonen. The immediate post-Giffen issues managed by the Bierbaum’s are … okay, generally inoffensive, but once Tom McCraw took over, things went pear-shaped so fast I dropped the series within a couple of issues. His work on LOSH, along with Lobdell and Nicieza on the X-Series and some other true crap, was part of what convinced me to switch entirely to auteur-driven independent books for years before dipping my toes back into Marvel/DC IP (though never LOSH).

    Still, for all that it is a lot of work, I’d encourage you guys to finish out the run through at least issue 40 or so. I still revisit this run every few years along with other favorite runs.

  7. JEFF ” If the American comics industry had been run like the Manga industry there’s a chance we would of had PREZ back in like 1994 or something like that”

    We did. It was a Vertigo one-shot called ”Vertigo Visions: Prez – Smells Like Teen President” written by a young Ed Brubaker! : )

    • Jeff Lester Mar 9, 2015

      Good point! Although to be fair, that one-shot was very, very one-shottish, with Brube working more off the observation that Prez kinda looked like Kurt Cobain. It wasn’t a reboot as much as a meditation on how much the ’90s resembled the ’70s (not very). But I guess if it had sold a bajillion copies, maybe we would’ve seen a full series from it.

  8. So,

    Always late to the party, me (I actually held this ‘cast in my back pocket, since I believed this week of March 9th was a skip week…anyway).

    Just beginning the podcast and listening to your discussion of Netflix’s House of Cards and wanted to share a couple of points:
    1) episode 5 of season 1 is directed by Joel Schumacher
    2) I agree completely with Graeme’s contention that House of Cards is a show made to be binge-watched, owing to the fact of the absurdity of the schemes crafted by Frank Underwood and his ilk, much as Graeme states. But, I come to it from a different perspective. Due to a variety of reasons, not least of which is our 7-year-old son, my wife and I only carve out time to watch television together once or twice a week. House of Cards, the first 2 seasons, is one the shows we would watch, and we watched it weekly. When afforded the opportunity to stew upon an episode over the course of seven days, the inanity of some of the plot points can become a bit overwhelming, to the point where we don’t plan on watching any more. That may change, but for now, we’re taking a pass.

    Thank you, again, for all you gents do. Now, back to the podcast.

    -chris

  9. Interesting discussion of the 5YL Legion. For me it’s one of the few sustained runs I’ve read on the book which holds up and even gets better with age (Levitz had a few good highs, but his low points are terrible, so his average isn’t great).

    If you’re going to continue reading it (or want some more context for the stuff you’ve read), Tom Bierbaum posted a bunch of stuff about the issues (and on specific Legion characters) on his site a while back. You can get links to the earliest ones here: http://itsokimasenator.livejournal.com/2009/03/ and go through the archives for the rest (he’s still got another dozen issues of LEGIONNAIRES to go).

    • Oh, and just a quick word of warning to anyone who might follow the above link to Tom Bierbaum’s site, major spoilers if you haven’t already read the full run. The entry for #7 might casually drop a story twist that doesn’t come until late in the run.

      • Jeff Lester Mar 13, 2015

        Thanks for the additional note and the warning, Bob. Until I figure out my future strategy for the 5YL books, I’m gonna keep my distance.

  10. David Morris Oct 5, 2016

    I quite like this run of Legion stories, but Giffen’s ‘commitment’ to the nine panel grid is one of my least favourite things. That he imposes it over single splash images, where it serves no narrative purpose, just looks affected to me and takes me out of the story.

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