Unchained Ghost

0:00-3:41: Greetings! Catch up with us as we catch up with each other.  But honestly it’s not that long before we move along to the comics talk, starting with…
Screen Shot 2016-03-06 at 2.19.21 PM
3:41-40:26: Peter Milligan’s The Discipline!  We talk about Milligan’s latest project with Leonardo Fernandez in light of their other projects together (Greek Street and The Names) and separately (Enigma, Shade The Changing Man, Bad Company, The Human Target, among others).  And this leads to a larger discussion about erotic comics, and whether or not all too often erotic comics are, as Graeme says, “the worst of both worlds,” or whether, as Jeff suggests, the sensuousness of a cartoonist’s technique can mesh with the sensuousness of sex to create an odd area all its own.
Also discussed: Howard Chaykin’s Black Kiss, Barbarella, Guido Crepax, Necron by “Magus” (really, writer Mirka Martini and illustrator Roberto Raviola), Italian erotic comics, and a very long bit of blather from Jeff about Gilbert Hernandez and why Jeff doesn’t think that Beto’s obsession with big breasts is about erotic attraction.  And that leads into a discussion about Twilight Children, Darwyn Cooke, whether one can do a “major” work  with work-for-hire superheroes, and more.
Coming-of-the-Superman-Sphinx
40:26-46:25: And continuing on in our talk about creators who may be past their prime but are still working, Graeme asks Jeff if he’s read the first issue of Neal Adams’ Superman: The Coming of the Supermen #1?  Jeff hasn’t, to which Graeme replies: “That Batman: Odyssey magic is alive.”  Discussed: Neal Adams’ work, that magic age when a cartoonist goes batshit, the foundation for superhero comics, and more.
46:25-1:10:25:  And on a related subject: Dark Knight III #3 by Azzarello, Miller, Kubert and Romita, Jr., which has us talking about The Dark Knight Strikes Again!, Dark Knight Returns, Miller’s original pitch for DKR, Miller’s underlying conservatism (on many levels) in Dark Knight Strikes Again!, how much DKIII really takes place in the future or the present, Miller’s use of satire, a great much-shared piece by Susana Polo, politics on the Internet, and more.
MOS1
1:10:25-1:26:54: With Dawn of Justice on the horizon, Graeme rewatched Man of Steel.  SPOILERS: he likes it!  Jeff hasn’t seen it recently but…SPOILERS: he didn’t.  There’s some tussle over that, Graeme recounts a capsule summation of Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, we try to figure out how financially successful MoS was in its theatrical run, who should be cast as Darkseid and who we would cast as The New Gods, and more.
1:26:54-1:34:16: Because of all the new job craziness, Jeff has kind of been on an accidental vacation from the Internet and he’s kind of okay with it? Discussed: how to adjust one’s internet intake; times when the Internet feels stuck in a rut; Joss Whedon and John Cassaday writing a story for Captain America—a big story or not; and Jeff’s guess at the Whedon/Cassaday story.
Unchained Candle
1:34:16-1:52:24: “Jeff, tell me what you’ve read,” Graeme demands and what choice has Jeff but to comply?  After our last discussion about Scott Snyder’s Batman #49 where Jeff expressed interest in reading Scott Snyder’s Justice League, and Graeme expresed the opposite after strongly disliking Superman Unchained, Jeff bought the digital version of Superman Unchained when it was on sale on Superman’s birthday.  Why does the book not work?  Scott Snyder’s thematic deconstruction of Superman? Jim Lee’s art?  The New 52 incarnation of Superman which still doesn’t quite make sense?  With so many culprits, it’s hard to settle on just one!
WW77 recent
1:52:24-2:03:26: Jeff has also read a handful of Wonder Woman ’77 comics by Marc Andreyko and a variety of artists on which he has a few fast thoughts; and he’s also a read a bunch of issues of Batman and Detective Comics purchased in the Neal Adams Comixology sale, many of which have barely any Neal Adams work in them; Manhunter by Archie Goodwin and Walt Simonson; and more.
2:03:26-end: Closing comments with one more slight digression about our appearances in letter columns and comic books (inspired by Matt Terl’s awesome column from a few weeks ago)! Look for us on  Stitcher!Itunes! Twitter together and separately: Graeme and Jeff! MattTumblr!
Our special thanks to the kind crew at American Ninth Art Studios for their continuing support of this podcast, as well as our continuing special thanks to the Empress Audrey, Queen of the Galaxy…and to all 118 of our supporters on Patreon who make all this possible.
Next week: Baxter Building Ep. 15!  Read Fantastic Four #119-126 with us!
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16 comments on “Wait, What? Ep. 196: Neurotic Comics

  1. Jeff Lester Mar 6, 2016

    And if you need that link for cutting, pasting, spindling, mutilating, whatever:

    http://theworkingdraft.com/media/podcasts/WaitWhat196.mp3

  2. deleted_a87430de451372265453 Mar 8, 2016

    Hmm. I think that I see Frank Miller, and his work, as more fearful than political, as more reactive than reactionary. (In recent photographs, Mr. Miller seems so frail, so grey, I wonder whether that fear has aged him before his time.)

    • Jeff Lester Mar 8, 2016

      Thanks for this comment, Susan! As I recall, Miller’s mentioned getting mugged in New York back in the ’70s and how that event some of his material, which ties in nicely with your observation. (As for his frailty, I believe it’s widely accepted his recent battle with cancer took a tremendous toll on his health.)

      • deleted_a87430de451372265453 Mar 8, 2016

        Wow! I did not known that he battled cancer.

        Cancer is terrible.

  3. Jensen Mar 8, 2016

    I think maybe we just don’t understand Frank Miller. I don’t think there’s nearly enough information about him out there for us to try and explain what’s gone on with him.

    And am I missing something, or is the notion that he’s “conservative” (in any semi-coherent way) based on nothing more than several anti-Muslim sentences and three or four anti-Occupy tweets. Is there more out there? Because as it is it seems like we’ve all taken a very small amount of political talk from him and used it as the basis for saying a lot about “Miller’s conservativism” (or whatever)…

    …and then he comes out as as Hillary Clinton…

    …and also says he’s a libertarian…

    …and none of that really makes much sense together, at all.

    But I know people (white-collar, educated, upper middle class) who voted for Bush twice, then voted for Obama twice, and are now supporting Sanders and/or (yes, “and/or”) Trump.

    What I’m saying is that many people’s political opinions don’t really make coherent sense, so we should keep in mind that there’s a lot of over-simplification involved whenever we’re trying to put someone’s thought processes (much less their art) into neat little categories.

    Because for a decade or so everyone in Comics Internet Land has assumed that Frank Miller was totally defined by anti-Muslim sentiment, and yet he’s supporting Hillary, not Donald. So maybe we don’t really know what we’re talking about and actually overrated Miller’s xenophobia circa 2005 and how much he should be defined by it.

    Great podcast and discussion, though.

    You guys actually think that Miller is writing any of DKIII, though? Like, you’re trying to make sense of it in terms of what it says about Miller’s opinions, thought processes, and artistic history? To me this clearly seems to be at least 90% Azzarello (or “Azzarello aping Miller”).

    You actually think there is some sort of orchestration involved here, in which Miller is at all concerned with meshing his vision with “Batman v Superman”, or at least responding to it? Miller isn’t Grant Morrison. He doesn’t care about meta-narratives and responding to popular culture. Miller has said that he isn’t even seeing “Batman v Superman”. Just like he hasn’t watched the Daredevil Netflix series. He comes across as having no interest in this stuff, guys. He is not interested in engaging.

    As to whether DKIII is “conservative”… I’m not sure if simply asking for Superman’s help constitutes “getting the band back together”. I doubt this ends with the JLA doing a group hug. Probably Superman will die by issue six. It does seem “conservative” in terms of being simply a “DCU event comic”, though (good call, Graeme). It seems predictable in its shock value and in how it references the past “Dark Knight” comics. It seems totally like what DC would want Brian Azzarello to write for them in order to market this project, which fits into their schedule instead of an event comic.

    In terms of “crazy cartoonists/creators”, I think part of the reason why guys like Ditko and Miller rankle fans more than Moore and Morrison is because Ditko and Miller actually reference the politics of reality. Moore and Morrison, on the other hand, are off in faery land, saying that our culture “is turning into steam” or that something magical will happen if you wank into tissue paper while looking at a sigil. I would say that Moore and Morrison are actually far crazier than Ditko and Miller, but Moore and Morrison are more amusing in their insanity, so people have tended to indulge them.

    • Jensen Mar 8, 2016

      Sorry for typo(s)! Meant “…and then he comes out as a Hillary Clinton supporter”. Obviously. Sorry!

    • ”As to whether DKIII is “conservative”… […]It does seem “conservative” in terms of being simply a “DCU event comic”,”

      That’s what I think they mean when they say DKIII three is conservative. But it’s a bit confusing when it’s mixed with political talk.

      I too find it weird that they talk about DKIII as being in any sort of manner a Miller project.

  4. Mike Loughlin Mar 8, 2016

    I’m curious, Jeff, have you read Beto’s Marble Season or Bumperhead? They’re both nostalgia pieces and quite different than his Fritz stories. If you like any recent Gilbert Hernandez work, it would probably be those two works.

    I have a hard time with his recent Fritz stories. In L&R. The body-horror/erotica stuff does not appeal to me in the slightest. On the other hand, I find that he ends his comics well and creates memorable characters. Palomar remains the best comic ever made, in my opinion, so he’s hooked me for life. I like a good amount of his recent work. I think the problem is that his obsessions are not mine, and I only connect with his work when a) craft outweighs subject, and b) he reigns in the outré.

    I always assumed Luba’s big breasts represented feminine power, but I could be reading too much into it. She was always larger-than-life, especially compared to the small-towers she spent much of her on-panel life around. I miss her character a lot, as well as her daughters, Chelo, Ophelia, Vicente, Carmen, Heraclio, Pipo… It’s amazing how many great characters popped up in Palomar, however briefly.

  5. Joss Whedon writing a Captain America story seems to be on the level now of J.J. Abrams writing a Star Wars story. The news is the director of the incredibly successful film is doing a short with characters that most people are familiar with from that film or film series.

    How Runaways was received isn’t that big a deal after the last two big films you directed made about three billion dollars total.

    • Jeff Lester Mar 11, 2016

      And yet if the announcement had been J.J. Abrams and John Cassaday doing an eight page Star Wars story, I would’ve been all over that (and I suspect Graeme would’ve as well).

      I’m sure that’s probably down to me being a jaded comics nerd, but I do also wonder if Age of Ultron didn’t do as much for Whedon’s standing as it did for Disney’s balance sheets.

  6. Nate A. Mar 9, 2016

    This might have been covered somewhere, but everyone knows that this podcast, and specifically Mr. Jeff Lester, plays a pivotal part in Jarett Kobek’s book “I Hate the Internet,” right? Kobek explicitly takes JL’s ideas about Jack Kirby and turns them into a screed against the Internet economy, which he argues is the same as Internet culture, which he argues is inflected by the technology of packet switching, which basically makes the book an essay in political economy, which isn’t to say that it is isn’t a fun, breezy read.

    • Wait, what?

      • Jeff Lester Mar 11, 2016

        It’s true! I’m hoping to talk about it on the next Wait, What? But, yes, I Hate The Internet is a really smart, funny thumb-in-the-eye that I enjoyed tremendously so I’m looking forward to taking with Graeme about (even if we are in it)!

  7. Brendan Mar 9, 2016

    Man of Steel may end up being the most discussed superhero movie of all time. It came out nearly 3 years ago, and people are still talking about it. Mainly, they are talking about what a dick Superman is.

    I still don’t care as much about killing Zod as letting Pa die. I mean, what is more morally dubious? “I just wish he could have been here to see it finally happen.” Didn’t think about that when you watched a tornado kill him and his dog? Your dad would risk his life for the dog, but you couldn’t risk your identity to save both of them?

    Anyway, I think the movie is still talked about because there was so much good in there, and yet there were a few (most Goyerish) moments that were unearned, as Jeff and Graeme said.

    I’ll end with this polemic: “Thanks to Zack Snyder’s artistry, MAN OF STEEL is THE GODFATHER of superhero movies.” -Armond White

    • eugenehaston Mar 11, 2016

      Wow, I didn’t know about that review – Armond White gets it right everytime – lol!

  8. Thanks for making me aware of NECRON! That looks cool!
    I loved the Beto discussion, mainly because I always flounder on wether the illustration of the women characters are a fetish or if he just likes to highly exaggerate them to a ridiculous degree for a laugh.
    I would really like to hear what you two would think of BLUBBER from Gilbert Hernandez! I’ve read both issues and loved them, I think that conversation would be great! My prediction: Jeff will love it, Graeme will have major issues with it.

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