00:00-3:05:  Greetings! It’s the penultimate Wait, What? (and next to next to the last episode) and Chloe Maveal has once again returned to grace Graeme and Jeff with tales and takes galore! (She just has to wait until Jeff can figure out who is whom. And what day it is.)
3:05-37:51: But once that’s sorted, we’re off to the races! And by “we,” I mean “Chloe” and by “the races,” I mean FanExpo San Francisco. Yes, it’s the first proper comics convention in San Francisco in some years but what exactly does that mean for S.F., and what was it like? Chloe breaks it down for us. Items discussed: Pat Broderick’s beard (vs. Jeff’s beard, for those keeping score at him); the mysterious allure (for some of us) of Lootcrate; Graeme’s dream commission; local identity and comics shows; the rise and fall of Sylvester Escalator and their hit albums Purple Burglar Alarm and Irish Wristwatch; and more!
37:51-51:43: Time for the Chloe and Graeme TV Recommendation! This time it’s two thumbs up for the infectious creepiness of A Friend of the Family, the season finale of Avenue 5; Slumberland, the Netflix movie “shockingly removed” from the source material (Little Nemo in Slumberland); The Northman; and an all-too-brief mention of Mystery Science Theater 3000; and more.
51:43-1:13:53: Comics time! Which is to say, even though we are not fully at the end of the year yet, Jeff has gone and made some little lists—how much has he spent on comics in 2022? How many titles? How many comics has he read? And in what format/source has he read them? If you like thinking about comics and the slow accretion of data into pivot tables of goofiness, this segment is for you! Also discussed: the difference between how Graeme and Jeff read comics; Graeme reading the entirety of the Superman Blue storyline on DCUI Ultra; and more.
1:13:53-1:43:11: A Taskmaster anecdote—the amazingly entertaining U.K. show, not the Marvel villain/antihero—leads to us revisiting the origin of the title of this very podcast, which somehow leads to a distressing obsession with a short-lived catchphrase from the ’70s (and ’90s!). Trivia trumps self-obsession: that’s the Wait, What? motto! (which is a shame because it looks terrible on a t-shirt.) Which leads, somehow, to our Spotify Wrapped lists and some choice words about music from Chloe. (Thom Yorke, maybe skip to the next segment?)
1:43:11-1:52:50: As was mentioned in a “still under embargo kind of way” the other episode, DCUI Ultra has now added *a ton* of Vertigo and Black Label books. (For real, like, *five thousand* of them.) Graeme’s question: now that they have, will that get Jeff reading DCUI Ultra more?
1:52:50-end: Closing comments! Stitcher! Itunes! Instagram! Twitter together and separately: Graeme (and not a Twitter: Graeme at Popverse!) and JeffChloe, and also… Chloe! (And also…Chloe!!) Also: Tumblr, and  on Patreon where a wonderful group of people make this all possible, including Empress Audrey, Queen of the Galaxy, to whom we are especially grateful for her continuing support of this podcast.
NEXT WEEK:  Drokk, it’s Day of Chaos!

[whatnauts, my apologies—since this episode ran very close to three hours and since we are in the “Final Five” episodes, I’m going to take the “L” and post the shownotes without additional graphics.  It’s just late enough on a Sunday night.  I do hope you understand….and that you enjoy the podcast!]

00:00-18:16:  Greetings! We start off with an apology for Jeff being more of a windbag than usual (but not in exactly the same way, mind you). It was a warning that needed to be made. I guess it’s a good thing that we’re retiring soon as between the dog dick and the flatulence we’re getting more Chaucerian by the minute! But fortunately we change up topics relatively soon and so you can listen to Graeme tease Jeff mercilessly about his bad luck with headsets, and then a discussion about our storied history, Graeme’s terrible memory, and possible confusion about our start date.
18:16-33:08: Not a lot on the news front: DC announced its Dawn of DC event with a slew of new titles (but ongoing? limited? half & half?) and an “embracing of the light” which sounds, at least to Jeff, a bit euthanasiatic. Plus, a bit of behind the scenes with Graeme about the risks and rewards of embargo’d press releases. Hang around as Jeff almost breaks embargo with news of DCUIU’s upcoming digital release of a bunch of Vertigo titles!
33:08-38:09: Also in the news recently and uncovered by us: some big losses for comics and entertainment with the deaths of Carlos Pacheco, comics legend Kevin O’Neill, and voice actor Kevin Conroy. They’ve been eulogized elsewhere so we don’t even try but do mention how many people they inspired before they passed. And then finally….
38:09-49:11: Time for your Questions and our Answers! First out of the gate with a strong, assured stride it’s Devin King: I really love hearing about the industry stuff. One of my favourite “segments” of the show is when Graeme clearly knows something and we all wait with bated breath to see if he’s allowed to say it. Usually he can’t! Maybe now that the show is ending you can speak to some of it!
Was there ever an interesting piece of news/gossip that either of you couldn’t share at the time but has now become safe to do so? Like – did you hear about a release that was about to be announced that just…never materialized? I’m not looking at gossip in terms of people. Nothing so salacious. But maybe none of this is appropriate to say anyway!
49:11-50:20: A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away: Brian McCormick inquires: Before you guys finish can I ask if you are able to recommend any other shows that you listen to about comics? At present I listen to House to Astonish and Mangasplaining but nothing else gives me the weekly hit of industry news that I get from Wait, What.
50:20-57:10: Look out for Stephen Conway: Here’s a question for the Q&A – what is the best comic you have read because of the podcast that you probably wouldn’t have read otherwise, either because one of you recommended it or one the projects? And if I can add a followup, what’s the worst comic you have read because of the podcast?
57:10-1:01:00: Longtime pal of the podcast Adam P. Knave busts out the pro moves : SO FIRST A Q TO A: Which two chars – in both Marvel and DC – would host their universes versions of Wait, What? and why. SMALL CATCH – you must pick each other’s characters in each universe but not tell the other.
1:01:00-1:11:12: Dan White wants to know: Can you talk about the exact moment that you two really clicked as friends – that moment when you realise that someone is fucking ace and that there’s a good chance that you will be in each other’s orbit for a long time?
On a less soppy note, if each of you had to force the other into doing a podcast about something you love and that they hate, what would it be?
1:11:12-1:11:31: Patchen Mortimer puts it all in perspective: I take one week off to catch up on my library audiobooks and you RETIRE on me?!?
1:11:31-1:19:26: This was originally going to be The Revenge of Brian McCormick, but Graeme pointed out that Brian McCormick is above revenge and so it’s The Return of Brian McCormickCan you share with us your favourite comic book critics/journalists/podcasters? If you had continued to podcast, did you have plans for your next long read-through after Drokk? Can we have a year-end best of list from you guys?
1:19:26-1:31:16: Descending from the fringed firmament of Patreon, it’s Jonathan Sapsed: When Graeme didn’t emphatically say ‘genuinely’ when reviewing something, was he lying? Who is Empress Audrey, Queen of the Galaxy, and what does she really do? Why don’t you just pay some sound monkey to do the editing with the Patreon money and carry on?
1:31:16-1:40:51: God bless Dan Billings, that’s what I say.  As for Dan, he says: What aspect of your life do you think would be drastically different if you never got into comics?
What’s the best way for someone to meet their “Graeme” or “Jeff”? THANK YOU!!!!
1:40:51-1:44:26: I joked about this being a Q and A to Z, so here’s Ed C: What was the drama with Matt Fraction? It happened before I started listening.
1:44:26-1:58:43: Twitter lived long enough for Fraidy Cat to ask: Super obvious question but nonetheless I’d love to know what your absolute must-read recommendations are, no matter how mainstream or ubiquitous they may already be?
1:51:31-: Here comes Dasbender to check in: How are you going to spend all your new non-podcasting time?
1:58:43-2:05:17: Here’s a good one from Peter LaVenia: What do you think DC & Marvel could do to improve the general quality of their super†hero comics, if anything, over the long term?
2:05:17-2:12:54: Swinging ’round the old inbox, it’s Thomas Williams: What did you think of Bendis’ run at DC? It feels like he went with big plans and just never had the chance to do them. I have a feeling his plans were diverted by whatever Snyder was given at the time, making it similar to Geoff Johns ending. Announced post-DC work feels like a Kamandi pitch that never happened. A follow-up question given the podcast’s fate, what are your favorite endings or retirements in comics, film or tv?
2:11:12-2:12:54: Patrick Gaffney speaks the mind of the common man:
1) Why?
2) Do you hate me?
3) What were you considering as your follow up to Drokk?!
4) if the answer to number 3 was Legion, again I am going to ask, DO YOU HATE ME!?!
The real #4) Graeme, what happened to your newsletter? I was enjoying it and it stopped.
5) Your podcast will be missed. But I guess I get that 5 bucks a month back in my pocket again. Good luck in all that you guys do! (Okay- not a question- but still heartfelt).
2:12:54-2:20:23: Colleague/seasoned comics duo podcaster Chad Nevett wants to know: Given event season is coming to an end, my particular fondness for them, and Shelfdust just did its countdown of the greatest events of all time, what are your favourite comicbook events and why is the only right answer The Infinity Gauntlet?
2:20:23-2:37:17: Coming at us with the tough one, it’s Eric Rupe: Who would win in a no holds-barred, knock-down, drag-out fight – Jeff or Jeff’s beard? What are the lessons of the MCU, good and bad? Do you think anyone will learn those lessons, besides no? How much longer do you think the MCU can sustain itself – is collapse inevitable or could it keep going as long Disney wants to keep funding it?
What are the respective legacies of Dan Didio and Joe Quesada? Who you think had a bigger impact on comic culture, broadly defined? What is one lesson from manga that Marvel and DC could or should learn?
2:35:19-2:37:17: Paul Jassle is a rapper and he’s here to say /he’s got some questions the Wait, What? way: 1. If, hypothetically obviously, Marvel did a licensed Rockford File series in 1975, what creative team would you put on it?
2. What fictional band, from movies, TV, or comics, do you wish was real and could see live?
2:37:17-2:41:45: Roger Winston wonders: 1) What jobs do the Earth-2 versions of Jeff, Graeme and Chloe have? (Actually, I’m not even sure what job Earth-1 Jeff has, other than “some kind of manager at a law firm”.) 2) If you were James Gunn and given the task of reviving the DCEU, what would your first move be? 3) What would have been the 3rd bonus podcast read-through (after Baxter Building and Drokk)? I’m guessing Legion of Super-Heroes.
2:41:45-2:49:19: Wait, What? is a spooky old haunted house and Patchen Mortimer is its ghost! Three old questions I’d still love an answer to; 1) Whenever people talk about early Image comics, no one ever mentions Brigade. Isn’t that weird? Especially since it was originally a Rob Liefeld creation. And it even came out on a somewhat regular basis! But no one ever references it! What’s up with that? Seriously, when people talk about image, even Pitt gets more mentions. Theories? (2) In many of the early Wait What episodes, Graeme really digs IDW’s Dungeons & Dragons comic. If I wanted to track those down, what runs or years would he recommend? And speaking of which… (3) Did either of you ever read DC’s Advanced Dungeons & Dragons comic at the very end of the ’80s/early ’90s? If so, what did you think? (4) What are your favorite series in genres you *dislike*? What books are so good that they defy your resistance to their genre? Graham liking IDW’s D&D is one example…any others? How about from sci-fi, Western, Gothic horror, Lovecraftian horror, pulp, etc.?
2:49:19-2:50:09: And a sneak peek for next time from good ol’ Chloe Maveal: What 3 comics changed the way we read comics, and in what way?
2:50:09-end: Closing comments! Stitcher! Itunes! Instagram! Twitter together and separately: Graeme (and not a Twitter: Graeme at Popverse!) and Jeff! Also: Tumblr, and  on Patreon where a wonderful group of people make this all possible, including Empress Audrey, Queen of the Galaxy, to whom we are especially grateful for her continuing support of this podcast.
NEXT WEEK:  Skip week! Thanksgiving in the U.S.! Black Friday sales! Buyer’s Regret Saturday! Swear to Reform Sunday! Digital Monday! Join us the week after…if you dare!

Previously on Drokk!: The last time we did an episode, we looked back at the past of the series with the fourth and final (to date) volume of the Restricted Files collections of ancillary Dredd stories, and it really, really wasn’t good. Both of us hoped things would pick up for this, the final episode of Complete Case Files reading, and… spoilers… it really, really did.

0:00:00-0:06:03: We introduce ourselves, and the fact that we’re talking about Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files Vol. 40, a book published in the US within the last month, judging by the number of times we saw it on New Release shelves at the end of last month. We also quickly talk about how much we love the book, which is easily the strongest this series has been in a long time — and that’s not meant to suggest that it’s been bad up until now; this is just a really great volume.

0:06:04-0:10:05: In what is a brief prelude to what’s about to come — but, in its inability to complete the thought that we think we’re staying so strongly on topic for — we talk about one of our reasons for loving the volume so much: that the book, at least in its 2000 AD chapters, feels like one coherent story, starting from an event that massively re-energizes the strip. And that event is…

0:10:06-0:54:20: …the storyline “Total War,” which is a mega-epic unlike anything we’ve seen in Dredd before, in large part because it treats the apocalyptic events as something truly traumatizing and not easily recovered from. Is this because it’s the first widescale “Mega-City One gets fucked” story created since 9/11, we wonder, and think about what 9/11’s aftermath felt like when this story was published in 2004. We also talk about the ways in which this storyline feels like a practice run for “Day of Chaos,” a storyline that would be published some years later — laying some foreshadowing of our own — as well as John Wagner being a “both sides” writer, and the wonder that is Henry Flint, whose work in this arc is genuinely staggering. (We spend more time than usual talking about a particular sequence, and what Flint and colorist Chris Blythe achieve here, but it’s entirely deserved.) At some point, one of us describes this arc as a masterclass in comics, and I’m standing by that as I type these words.

0:54:21-1:17:48: We’re not done with “Total War” yet, because we dig into the B-plot, which worked for me more than it worked for Jeff, who was arguably objectively right on this particular topic. I also love the very last page of the story, which leads Jeff into one final(?) classic “Jeff is perhaps reading too much into what’s on the page” moment of the run, but at the same time, I suspect that he’s spot on when it comes to some of the subtext, so… that’s a win…?

1:17:49-1:35:40: Having spent more than an hour on ~70 pages of a 200+ page book, we start speeding through the rest of it, in an attempt to keep the episode to a reasonable length. As a result, we rush through the following topics when discussing the remainder of the 2000 AD episodes in the book: Is Jason Brashill’s art too cartoonish for the subject matter of a grim John Wagner arc? Why is Gordon Rennie returning to the pairing of Vienna and Rico? How fucking great is D’Israeli? (Very; he’s very fucking great.) Is Ian Gibson too cartoonish for the subject matter of a downbeat Gordon Rennie arc? Also, why do neither of us really care or even remember that much about Judge Karyn, who’s obviously meant to be a major player in the arc she appears in? (Also also: Boo Cook’s colors are amazing.) It’s pretty all over the place for 18 minutes, really.

1:35:41-1:52:33: And yet, somehow, it sounds coherent and considered next to our rush through the Megazine episodes of the book, which include a John Smith-written Devlin Waugh cameo — which nonetheless has nice art from John Burns — as well as the strongest Alan Grant story we’ve seen in this series in recent memory, a Gordon Rennie one-off with Simon Coleby called “Meat Patrol” that is up there with Wagner’s work, and Jeff’s favorite thing in the world: John Wagner writing sportscasters. (That said, the story in which those sportscasters appear also got him thinking about Chloe’s piece about underground comix from The Gutter Review, so there’s more here than just Jeff loving the banter.)

1:52:34-1:57:41: Oddly enough, we’ve spoiled our traditional format by announcing that this volume was Drokk and not Dross all the way at the start of the episode, and it’s also pretty clear what our favorite stories in the volume are, as well, so clearly we should once again return to our shared love of Henry Flint by talking about his placement in the Dredd artist pantheon. (I suspect this is going to get some people thinking we were too generous, but you know what? We really weren’t.)

1:57:42-2:01:02: We’re caught up with the Complete Case Files, so what are we going to do for our (shiver) final Drokk!? How about the afore-mentioned Day of Chaos, which fucks MC1 up to a degree previously unseen in Dredd, and lets Wagner go for the slow, horrific dread (no pun intended) for almost a year’s worth of stories. I tease what to expect here.

2:01:03-end: And then, it’s almost all over, bar the regular wrapping up of Twitter linkage and Jeff telling everyone about Patreon — oh, and us going over the fact that we’re ending the podcast at the end of the year, as well. Go leave us messages and questions for next week’s Wait, What? Q&A episode either via email (waitwhatpodcast at gmail etc.) or @WaitWhatPodcast on Twitter before it implodes, and come back next week for the near-end of Mega-City One, and the definite end of Drokk! As always, thanks for listening and reading along.


00:00-19:57:  Greetings! It’s our first episode of November, and during our October skip week, we were hanging out in Portland together.  Time being time (the 21st century edition thereof, anyway), we are mystified at how something so recent can feel so long ago, whether we were working our sweet ass off (Graeme) or alternating between naps, video games, and horror movies (Jeff).  (Oh, and Jeff’s old headset just isn’t working with his Mac anymore and his new one is a bit weird so apologies if things sound a bit muffled on his side of things.)  But if you want a recap about our time together in Portland—a recap that involves a troubling amount of dog dick—this is the place to be!
19:57-28:56: To follow up with more non-comics, hilarious at-home stories (but with less dog dick) Graeme has a great story about the ten year old trick or treating.  It’s no Chewbacca autoerotic asphyxiation speculation but in many ways I’m even more tickled?
28:56-1:35:48: “Speaking of sucking, maybe we should talk about comics?” is Jeff’s delicate segue to the comics talk.  And that sounds a bit harsh, admittedly, but keep in mind Jeff’s topic of discussion is The Spawn Compendium, a collection of the first 50 issues of Spawn, which he read in all of a day and a half.  We talk about the unspoken influence on the title, the most enjoyable issues in the fifty issue run, a semi-lengthy digression about the genius of Avenue 5, where the Spawn fans come from, Doom Force, Keith Giffen being salty about Image, and much, much more.
1:35:48-1:43:28: What has Graeme been reading?  He’s been reading old back issues of Amazing Heroes and The Comics Journal, including things like an eighteen page interview with Marv Wolfman, and ruminating on how and why interviews have changed in the decades since.
1:43:28-1:48:29: Another thing Graeme’s been reading?  The Fuse by Antony Johnston and Justin Greenwood.  Like Graeme fave Brink, it’s a detective series on a space station.  “BBC Sunday evening series detective fiction,” is what Graeme calls it, which is very close (I think) to Alan Moore’s description of The Fuse as “terrifically thought-through SF in collision with a Scandinavian noir police drama.”  And all four volumes are on Hoopla!
1:48:29-1:56:37: And from there, Graeme talks about attending a screening of Mission Hill, the animated sitcom that ran for a few episodes on the WB at the turn of the century before becoming a cult hit on Adult Swim and TBS.  Graeme and Chloe were there to watch the screening with an audience and the creators who’d never seen it with an audience before.
1:56:37-2:27:26: Big comics news! Well, that is to say…big news about us and so therefore in a weird way, big news about comics.  After thirteen years, we’re ending the podcast at the end of the year.  We are in very different places in our lives to the point where the time we spend doing this is in direct competition with a lot of other commitments.  We are not leaving with any animosity or regrets…but we are leaving.  And we’re gonna be kinda weird and confused about it?  Oh, but shoot us questions for a (final?) Q&A episode in two weeks!
2:27:26-end: Closing comments! Stitcher! Itunes! Instagram! Twitter together and separately: Graeme (and not a Twitter: Graeme at Popverse!) and Jeff! Also: Tumblr, and  on Patreon where a wonderful group of people make this all possible, including Empress Audrey, Queen of the Galaxy, to whom we are especially grateful for her continuing support of this podcast.
NEXT WEEK:  Drokk! Read Judge Dredd The Complete Case Files, Vol. 40 and join us next week!

00:00-18:53:  Greetings! From Graeme, Chloe, and Jeff!  (Good luck figuring out who’s whom—Jeff certainly had troubles!) On the day or recording, Graeme and Chloe spent an hour at the Frankenstein Comic Swap, a beloved Portland comic book tradition that involves the chances to accumulate and/or let go comic book ballast.  If you happen to be the very lovely Whatnaut from whom Graeme bought back issues of The Further Adventures of Indiana Jones, Graeme is very, very sorry!  No, not for purchasing those issues of Indy (at least not yet) but for getting embarrassed and fleeing in distress!  (But with the comics because, hey, ya boy got his priorities…)  As for Chloe, they made out like a bandit with early issues of Omaha The Cat Dancer and Weirdo (“huffing the comics glue,” as Jeff puts it), and more stuff you can’t get digitally.

18:53-27:04: The nice thing about a three person podcast is when one of the people’s pugs starts eating something mysterious and wrong, they can tap out to solve it while the other two talk.  Let’s see what Graeme and Chloe talk about for a few minutes while Jeff is out of commission, shall we? UPDATE: Jeff comes back to hear more about the insanity that is Nighmare Weekend. Also discussed: Baba Yaga.  Maybe not the best film adaptation of a Guido Crepax comic but may well be the Guido Crepaxiest?
27:04-33:43: [obligatory Black Adam discussion without any of us having seen Black Adam]  Also discussed: Zardoz, the Planet of the Apes magazines,  and more.
33:43-1:07:43: What has Jeff been watching, if not a lot of spooky movies? Well, not much of anything—it’s been much more of a comics fugue state month for Jeff—but we do get our spooky on enough to talk about His House, the surprise cult hit on Netflix from last year (and which leaves the service on October 29, so check it out if you don’t have access to the BBC iPlayer); Midnight Mass, Mike Flanagan’s impressively heartfelt Catholic horror miniseries;  and he has a quick quiz for Graeme and Chloe—out of the three horror movie musicals of the ’70s, which one was their favorite?  Also discussed: Vampire’s Kiss; The Lair of The White Worm; our go-to horror comfort movies (Rosemary’s Baby for Chloe; the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre for Jeff), and more.
1:07:43-1:20:40: The latest Hellraiser movie is on Hulu!  And Chloe has some opinions.  Also discussed: Mark Kermode’s Hatchet Job, movies we revisited and were not so down with; Holly Hunter; and more.
1:20:40-1:49:10: “This is ostensibly a comics podcast,” Graeme reminds us all which, you know, fair point.  And so for those of you wondering if you were ever going to get to the comic talk, sit back and enjoy this summary of Graeme and Chloe’s NYCC experience. Discussed; Denis Kitchen; Chloe’s talk with Simon Bisley; Graeme’s talk with Tom King; the whole not-so-great masking enforcement; Star Trek: The Next Generation; The Green Team; and much more.
1:49:10-2:03:09: Graeme has a comic recommendation!  And it’s Radiant Black, which has the first three trades available on Hoopla, which he describes as a “straightforward well done superhero comic.”  Chloe’s recommendation? (But first, there is where they mentions their site The Gutter Review, which I want to link to multiple times so let’s start doing that here.) It’s Big Dave, the Mark Millar/Grant Morrison/Steve Parkhouse satire strip that not just courted controversy, it more or less openly wooed controversy with flowers, a big box of candy, and a sparkling ring.  Chloe calls it a “tangled rat king of satire” which I think is a great metaphor.
2:03:09-2:07:53: A bonus recommendation! Graeme was sure Chloe would talk about Punisher: Blood on the Moors by John Wagner, Alan Grant with painted art by Cam Kennedy.  It’s a Marvel original graphic novel from the very early ’90s which Chloe describes (in between Graeme’s description) as “a continuation of Bogie Man.”
2:07:53-2:15:16: Jeff read *a ton* but we’re over the two hour mark so he tries to keep it to one NYCC news story we didn’t discuss (DC Universe Infinite Ultra!  Where subscribers for a higher rate than the regular DCUI subscription can get access to titles *one month* after release!); one “we gotta talk about this later” comic mini that comes out of Jeff getting that DCUI Ultra piece of the action; and Diabolical Summer, a French coming of age OGN in which the mysterious relationship between a boy’s father, secret histories, and the superspry Diabolik is unspooled in ultra-gorgeous art by Alexandre Clerisse (written by Thierry Smolderen).  I read it on Comixology Unlimited, but it’s also available on Hoopla.

2:15:16-end: Closing comments! Werewolf  Barmitzvah! Next week is a skip week and then join us for the first podcast of the next-to-last month of the year!  In the meantime:  Stitcher! Itunes! Instagram! Twitter together and separately: Graeme (and not a Twitter: Graeme at Popverse!) and Jeff! Chloe’s awesome Twitter! Her awesome website, The Gutter Review! Oh!  And yeah: Sara Century’s fantastic piece about The X-Men at TGR is worth you checking out! As well as Charles EP Murphy’s piece on Paul Grist, superhero comics, and Britain!  And Tom Shapira’s piece of Deathlok as a transhumanist manifesto! Also: Tumblr, and  on Patreon where a wonderful group of people make this all possible, including Empress Audrey, Queen of the Galaxy, to whom we are especially grateful for her continuing support of this podcast.
NEXT WEEK:  Skip week! Have an excellent Halloween, everyone!

Previously on Drokk!: We’re approaching the end of Drokk!, as unlikely as it seems — with just one volume of the Complete Case Files remaining before we catch up with Rebellion’s publishing schedule, it felt like time to finally take care of some unfinished business. Namely, Judge Dredd: The Restricted Files Vol. 4. This… was a mistake.

0:00:00-0:05:31: With very little preamble, Jeff and I are very quickly sharing just how much we dislike this volume — a collection of stories from 2000 AD and Judge Dredd Mega-Specials, Annuals and Yearbooks, from 1994 through 1996, and some other ancillary, non-regular issues material — which we both agree features some of the worst stories we’ve ever covered on Drokk!. This leads to…

0:05:32-0:10:58: …Jeff managing to make me feel particularly bad for complaining about the art on one particular story, “Sugar Daddy,” by letting me know that the artist I’m criticizing is actually a competition winner in the age 6-12 group. So, yeah, I was unknowingly being a dick about a kid’s artwork. How quickly can I backtrack? How often will I bring it up again this episode through embarrassment? Just wait and see…! (None of this explains away the terrible lettering, which I also criticize.)

0:10:59-0:19:41: Attempting to try to steer things back onto the straight and narrow, we talk about the one story in the collection that we both loved without reservation: “House of Death,” as originally published in the 1980s short-lived anthology Dice Man. It’s a role playing game that we both played more than once, and get excited about sharing our experiences doing so; enjoy listening, because this is arguably the most fun we have all episode. Also touched upon: the format requirements of British comic annuals, back in the day, because why not…?

0:19:42-0:28:54: From there, we take a brief tour of John Wagner’s pretty underwhelming contributions to the volume, which are… fine, I guess? We talk about stories including “Could You Be Judge Dredd?” and “On The Job,” both of which are intended to act as introductions to the characters, as well as “Strangers on a Zoom,” and it’s odd page layout in its opening pages, and just how generally throwaway even the Wagner stories in this volume end up feeling — especially when it comes to the 2000 AD Poster Prog stories reprinted here.

0:28:55-0:46:10: I wish there was an easier way to summarize this section beyond, “Jeff and I really don’t like almost every other story here and talk about that shared hatred in the most haphazard way imaginable,” but there we go. Under discussion: the odd editorial dictates that seem to have been put in place for some of the stories, the lack of actual story in “Judge Planet II,” and our complete confusion — and by “our,” I really mean ‘my” — when it comes to “Confessions of a Vegetarian,” a story that continues to confound me even now.

0:46:11-1:02:52: What starts with Jeff’s upset over the idea of crossing over Cliff Richard and the Golden Girls — and the briefest of discussions about the lack of inventiveness when it comes to using the cultural touchstones present in this collection, as parochial as they may be — quickly morphs into a conversation about completist tendencies and whether or not we should have even covered this book. How bad is it, you might ask? Well, Jeff invents a whole new third category when asked if it’s Drokk or Dross, which might answer your question, and then I think Jeff is talking about the movie It’s A Wonderful Life when he was clearly talking about A Christmas Carol, to the point where he even said the name. What can I say? This book had the effect on me that I couldn’t hear properly. That we end up calling it a failure of imagination of behalf of everyone involved might give you an idea about just how bad it really is, hopefully.

1:02:53-end: In which we wrap things up, and (as is the tradition) almost derail ourselves by talking about how the next episode features the last Case Files in the run, and how genuinely unexpected and emotional we find ourselves about that fact. Just imagine what we’re going to be like next month…! As always, thanks for listening to this short, and filled with complaining, episode, and for reading along.


00:00-15:36:  Greetings! It is, by some people’s system of counting, our 350th episode! And we celebrate it as only we can—(a) by not mentioning it during the recording at all, because (b) we forgot! But we are at least able-minded enough to point out that it’s October, and thus also (1) Chloe’s birthday on October 2, the day this episode gets released; (2) Graeme’s birthday on Wednesday, October 5, when he will be traveling to NYCC; and (3) Jeff’s birthday right smack dab on Halloween itself. So if you’re wondering if this means there will be an abundance of indulgent small talk this episode, we can only offer this segment, and its expansive discussion about Graeme’s wishlist on Amazon, as Exhibit A. And Jeff talks about the stuff what he would like for his birthday. (Please note: the link to this amazing looking Love & Rockets: The First Fifty is already covered, no need to even think about purchasing it for me. I’m just linking to it here because I think everyone should see it.) And then there’s some exciting shed talk! Yes, nothing says four hundred and fifty issues of a comic book podcast like (as Graeme refers to it): “Wait, What? Shed Edition!”
15:36-46:54: As mentioned above, NYCC is almost upon us, so we discuss a bit of the reason that fact alone seems surprising and uncomfortable…which leads us to talk about so much of Graeme’s experiences working comic book cons and what it means to actually, you know, work them.
46:54-51:46: Return of the shed talk? Well, maybe a little. But also, because Jeff is heading up to Portland for the first time in three years (or more?), there is some Broforce-related talk.
51:46-57:12: Comics talk does happen, though! For example, Jeff wants to point everyone toward Graeme’s talk with Todd McFarlane over at PopVerse, Graeme wants you to know that ReedPop is going to be streaming a lot of NYCC content for free during the show, and (and I hope I have the right link for this), if you want an inexpensive way to get beyond the PopVerse paywall to read things like Graeme’s extensive chat with Grant Morrison plus VOD panels from NYCC, there are NYCC 2022 digital tickets!
57:12-1:o7:54: Comics rundown (Jeff edition)! Jeff had a strong finish to September and talks a bit about the stuff he read and dug: Fist of the North Star, Vol. 6! Conan The Barbarian, issues #84-98! Cross Play Love: Otaku x Punk Vol. 1! Chapter 1 of The Game Devil (readable on MangaPlus)! Turning the Table on the Seatmate Killer (on Azuki)! My Dear Detective: Mitsuko’s Case Files (also on Azuki)!
1:07:54-1:36:05: Graeme is kind of curious how the Conans are, and Jeff needs no more than that to talk a bit about the run he’s about to finish—the Queen of the Black Coast years—and how much he sees now that writer Roy Thomas was doing his Roy Thomas-y thing and patching continuity holes, tying threads and references from later stories and tertiary materials into the comic, and how, essentially, Jeff thinks there’s the bones for a very good Game of Thrones style series in place thanks to that work. (My apologies for talking too quickly that when I said “Roy Thomas’s Continuity Cross Fetish” that Graeme wasn’t able to jump in and add “Otaku x Punk” because the absence is felt.) We also talk about Alter Ego the magazine from Two Morrows that Thomas edits—it’s a continuation of his fanzine! He turns 82 next month—he has a story in X-Men Legends!
1:36:05-1:57:28: Graeme wishes he could appreciate fantasy, but it’s not really his jam. “Great is in the eye of the beholder,” he opines before going to on to talk about what he’s been reading (and/or re-reading depending on the issue): The Thing series from the 80s, now fully available on Marvel Unlimited! And we also talk about the charms of Marvel Two-In-One, the previous series featuring The Thing that at least had a gimmick that functioned as a story engine.
1:57:28-1:59:21: And if you want to hear the part of the podcast where Jeff clearly loses his mind… 350 issues and I don’t think we’ve ever had extensive corpsing…until now!
1:59:21-end:  (More than a little hysterical) closing comments! Next week is a skip week and then join us for Drokk wherein we read and discuss volume 4 of Judge Dredd: The Restricted Case Files! But don’t forget about:  Stitcher! Itunes! Instagram! Twitter together and separately: Graeme (and not a Twitter: Graeme at Popverse!) and Jeff!  Tumblr, and  on Patreon where a wonderful group of people make this all possible, including Empress Audrey, Queen of the Galaxy, to whom we are especially grateful for her continuing support of this podcast.
NEXT WEEK:  Judge Dredd The Restricted Case Files, Vol. 4!  In two scant weeks!!

00:00-5:28:  Greetings, or as all the cool kids say: Howdy-do! Some tech trauma opens the episode but it turns out to be largely self-inflicted. But we’re quick to try and move beyond it, but we find ourselves momentarily stymied by the clumsiness of an earlier recording time and by…comics themselves? Well yeah, kinda.
5:28-23:08: But having said that, Jeff just read the first three issues of X-Men Red by Al Ewing, Stefano Caselli, Federico Blee and Fernando Sifuentes, and very much enjoyed it. It’s the first X books Jeff has read since HOX/POX and so finds himself in the thick of a very rich fantasy setting far from the usual superhero tropes. Graeme gives Jeff (and you) more of an overview of the post-HOX/POX books, (both first and second wave in case you are intrigued).
23:08-43:27: Considering how closely Ewing’s work at Marvel is entwined with Kieron Gillen’s, Graeme uses this as a segue to talk about an X-related title: A.X.E. Judgment Day, of which five out of six issues are currently out, in which Gillen takes an inciting event from the one of the marching orders of the Eternals (destroy deviancy outside an expected range) to create what first seems to be a standard Marvel “franchise vs. franchise” event and becomes something much different and miuch more interesting. Graeme also delves into Gillen’s run on The Eternals with Esad Ribic and what he enjoyed so much about it. (Jeff, it should be said, finally made it through the first collected trade and also ended up enjoying it!)
43:27-1:06:51: And moving from one big event to another (with the sadly as-of-yet-unrealized “Board War” event helping), Graeme has some compare and contrast style observations about Dark Crisis on Infinite Earths by Joshua Williamson and Daniel Sampere. This is an event that Graeme had very much followed the build-up on and was a fan of the first few issues but as it’s gone on…there’s something missing? It gives us the space to talk about event comics a bit, and how often things go missing in them, and why, while also interrogating what it is DC’s latest event is actually trying to do.
1:06:51-1:33:41: As alluded to at the beginning, Jeff hasn’t had the best luck this month with his comic reading choices (or at least it just wasn’t the cornucopia of the previous month) but also encountering a fave doing work one would consider…not very good. The genius Jason Shiga has a new book out, Leviathan, the first in what may be a series of “Choose Your Own Adventure” comics (in the style of his Meanwhile…) and it underwhelmed. In fact, it was very far from whelming. And then, thanks to the magic of Hoopla, he was able to be deeply underwhelmed by Alex Ross’s Fantastic Four Full Circle for free? As it turns out, Graeme also did not appreciate the book very much, and so it’s an informal Baxter Building reunion stealth mini-ep as we look at what Ross is doing, why, and how it failed to land with us.
1:33:41-1:43:23: Graeme quite enjoyed the other Judgment Day—the 2000 AD 30 year celebration of the earlier zombies vs. 2000 AD characters event, “Judgment Day”—as well as the Marvel Comics adaptation of Terminator 2: Judgment Day by Klaus Janson and Gregory Wright. Come for the unexpected praise of a Marvel Comics movie adaptation, stay for hearing Graeme describe the ten year old’s reactions to T2 and The Last Action Hero.
1:43:23-1:51:56: Movies? Sure, we do this too! Graeme and Chloe watched a horror movie called Meander, a movie Chloe called “Cube’s much more boring cousin, Tube.” We also talk in a spoiler-free way about Confess, Fletch (and boy if you were to tell me this was the point where Graeme, Adam Knave, and I form a spinoff podcast just discussing the Gregory McDonald Fletch and Flynn books, I would totally believe you), as well as the Shudder exclusive movie, Saloum, a very enjoyable African addition to the “bad guys vs. monsters” genre (currently exclusive on Shudder).
1:51:56-end:  Closing comments!  Stitcher! Itunes! Instagram! Twitter together and separately: Graeme (and not a Twitter: Graeme at Popverse!) and Jeff!  Tumblr, and  on Patreon where a wonderful group of people make this all possible, including Empress Audrey, Queen of the Galaxy, to whom we are especially grateful for her continuing support of this podcast.
NEXT WEEK:  Another Wait, What?  And our 350th episode to boot?! See you then!

Previously on Drokk!: The 38th volume of Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files was a high for the series to date, and arguably the best of this latter era of stories thanks to some strong work from writer and character co-creator John Wagner. So… what happens when we have a volume where Wagner takes a bit of a back seat to other writers again…?

0:00:00-0:07:18: We’re approaching an end to Drokk!, with this episode covering Complete Case Files Vol. 39, a volume released earlier this year and the second-to-last volume of the series currently available. Unfortunately, as we quickly get into, this is also a volume that falls far short of the heights we’ve come to expect from Judge Dredd in recent episodes — so much so that we end up taking quite a tangent about our shared love of Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace. (For those who were unaware of the novel I mention, read here.)

0:07:19-0:21:14: I’d love to say that we quickly got back on track, but this is an episode where we meander more than a little; nonetheless, as this is a volume that features not only John Wagner writing, but also that of Pat Mills and Alan Grant, Jeff shares his “My Three Dads” theory of Dredd, and we pick apart the ways in which the three writers differ, which comes down in large part to a lack of subtlety and nuance, but also intent. Does Pat Mills still bring the Thrill Power, as Jeff suggests? Has Alan Grant entirely lost it? And what of John Wagner, who also underwhelms in some of his work here? Also under discussion: just how much I dislike John Ridgeway’s artwork in this volume, which mostly comes down to, “I hate bad computer coloring.”

0:21:15-0:31:51: What do we expect from Dredd stories at this point is the matter under discussion, as we talk about two genuinely weird product placement ads — one of which stars the band Placebo, of all things — as well as some stories that are genuinely terrible, but in ways that feel acceptable and appropriate for this series. Questions we ask, even if we don’t necessarily answer: What makes some kind of failures seem disruptive, while others are just fine, if underwhelming? How old is Si Spurrier? And is it okay to tell a bad Dredd story if it’s one that Wagner and Grant have already told?

0:31:52-0:47:58: A conversation about the importance of the artist to Gordon Rennie’s stories — mostly centered around Simon Davis’s and D’Israeli’s art for two separate stories in this volume, both written by Rennie — leads into a more narrow discussion about the story “Prodigal,” and Rennie’s understanding (or misunderstanding) of two important recurring characters for the strip, and what kind of interactions we’re looking for from background characters in Dredd. Which itself leads into…

0:47:59-0:53:58: …Just how does John Wagner handle character arcs for Judges that aren’t Dredd? Does Wagner allow for that kind of thing? I suggest so, and offer some examples, but Jeff and I talk about the rules attached to such stories.

0:53:59-1:14:48: A sign of how smart Jeff is, and how not smart I am, comes when we discuss the story “Terror,” one of two great Wagner stories in this volume: Jeff is immediately drawn the strip’s meta-commentary on the Northern Irish “Troubles” in this story about terrorism, and I didn’t even notice that when reading, because I was too focused on whether or not Total War as a terrorist group is intended to be an allegory for the Judges themselves. I explain my reasoning, and Jeff explores it, and we talk about the ongoing war between terrorists and Judges that’s been happening in the background of the strip for decades by this point, as well as parallels that this story has with “America” (the Dredd story, not the country).

1:14:49-1:29:06: The other great Wagner story in the book is “Six,” which sees a return for P.J. Maybe after far too long, in such a way that immediately recalls the movie Seven — the title’s the clue — and lets Jeff talk about his unfamiliarity with Kevin Spacey back in the day. We also touch on how wonderfully small Maybe appears in his newly victorious form, and the commentary that allows the story to offer.

1:29:07-1:46:23: What looks as if we’re going to start talking about the artists in this book (we almost do) veers off into a discussion of “My Beautiful Career,” a story that I like far more than Jeff, which then itself veers into a discussion of how Wagner undercuts some of his own positioning about how bad the Judges are by letting Dredd have a moral conscience. This leads into an idea that, in general, this book just can’t quite get it straight what it wants to say about Judge Dredd and the world he lives in, but perhaps we’re imagining that…

1:46:24-1:56:34: An attempt to wrap things up has us talking, again, about how weak this volume feels especially in comparison to the last one we read. No wonder we end up pronouncing it Dross instead of Drokk, with obvious favorite stories (“Terror” for Jeff, “Six” for me), and obvious least favorite stories (“At Home with the Snozzburns,” which is Alan Grant at his worst), too. It is, as we point out, a very strange experience to have such a bad volume out of nowhere this close to the end of things.

1:56:35-end: And speaking of the end, we wrap things up with the usual mentions of the Twitters and the Patreon. As always, thank you for reading along, and thank you for listening. Commenters, feel free to sound off below as to whether or not we were being too unfair on this volume, but I promise: I really don’t think that we were.


00:00-2:36:  Greetings!  And ignore Jeff’s vanquished sigh at the very beginning of the episode: as Graeme quickly explains, it’s because we had been talking for close to half an hour *without it being recorded*, and so we’re starting over. From Scratch. Again. Yayyyyyyyy. But Graeme brings you up to speed, and resuscitates us all with his natural perkiness. Then before you know it we are off to talk about….Mike Deodato’s buttocks?
2:36-8:49: Yep, that’s right! Mike Deodato’s buttocks—and the rest of his crazy naked ass—made the news as he attempted to…body-shame the actor playing Namor in the new Black Panther movie?! It all seems a bit to ridiculous to be real, doesn’t it? To quote Jon Lovitz’s pathological liar character from SNL: “and yet it happened.”
8:49-37:16: “I’m kind of weirdly salty, Graeme,” announces Jeff in what may prove to the understatement of the episode, “because I read Batman: The Earth One Collection.” “It feels very much like something I would do,” adds Graeme. Why did Jeff read/re-read the three volume collection by Geoff Johns and Gary Frank? In part because wondering why he remembers so little of, in part because wondering what parts of it might’ve made in to The Batman, the Matt Reeves/Robert Pattinson joint. It takes us a while to get going on that side of the talk because we spend a certain amount of time catching up on what Johns is up to, his imprint plans for DC that seem right on the border of self-parodic, and but also we spend an embarrassingly long time trying to remember the name of the Image he did with Gary Frank. There’s a lot to unpack at least if, like us, you can’t seem to take an item out of the suitcase without identifying it first and neither of us can remember the word for “shirt.” I guess the real Batman: Earth One talk starts around the 16 minute mark or so…
37:16-47:40: Okay, so after Jeff moaning and groaning about Batman: The Earth One Collection, Graeme has some words about Flashpoint Beyond, a mini he’s five issues in on (of six!) and, as he puts it, “I have no idea what this comic is about.” (To be fair—or, I don’t know, unfair—we should mention here in the notes that Xermanico who we normally quite like is doing the art, and Johns is aided and abetted in the writing by Jeremy Adams and Tim Sheridan.) Johns and team make some very, uh, interesting storytelling choices, including spoiling the end of Dark Crisis (on Infinite Earths) before it’s been published. Come for the befuddlement, stay for Jeff digging the idea of a cold war happening within DC, with Johns taking revenge on DC for them letting the air out of the tires of his Doomsday Clock series, and John Le Carre-esque interoffice bureaucratic shenanigans! (Bureaucratic shenanigans are probably Jefff’s favorite because they’re the only kind so slow-moving he can keep up with them.)
47:40-52:21: Speaking of the Justice Society, Jeff didn’t know that the JSA was basically the heroes of two different comic companies teaming up until, uh, some spectacularly shady stuff happened…but Graeme does, and gives us the scoop (as well as lamenting the fact that one of the hands-down best books about the early history of the comics industry, Men of Tomorrow, was written by a convicted owner of child pornography).
52:21-1:07:30: Perhaps smartly turning away from the relatively dark cul-de-sac we had entered, Graeme asks, “Jeff, have you read something that you liked?” And the answer, of course, is yes but maybe a far more scattered one than Jeff would have liked—he shouts out Chainsaw Man, Even If You Slit My Mouth, Kaguya-Sama: Love is War—but pivots to talking about maybe having too many manga streaming sites and maybe how some of what he’s been liking is how he’s reading more than what he’s reading? This leads us to talk about Marvel Unlimited and the stuff we’ve both recently read on there—Jason Aaron on Avengers and Punisher, Zeb Wells and JR JR on Amazing Spider-Man—and how much we want it to scratch the itch and yet somehow isn’t quite? Related to that is Amazing Fantasy #1000 which Graeme read, wanted to not be underwhelmed by (I mean…Armando Iannucci writing Spider-Man, for Christ’s sake!)
1:07:30-2:24:22: Oboy. So here is where maybe things go off the rails…or not? Thanks to DCUI, Jeff is five issues into the Human Target mini by Tom King and Greg Smallwood—and oh my god, in a way I’m so sorry we will not be spending the next hour-plus talking about our mutual love, admiration, and awe for Greg Smallwood’s art here? It’s exceptionally gorgeous which we’ve both mentioned before and will again but never really quite dig into enough about just how *fucking* good it is? But no, instead, although it ramps up verrrry slowly, what emerges is one of our semi-annual fights about Tom King’s work, and how that fight—or so it seems by the end—highlights and/or possibly amplifies our different approaches to, I guess, this podcast? It’s a little hard to unpack here, so you just gotta listen. Oh, but I’ll probably talk about some of our major discussion shifts—like for example our discussions about what we both took away from Strange Adventures and Rorschach (and boy oh boy do I wish we’d had *that* discussion while both books were still fresh in my mind). Oh, and FULL SPOILERS for the sixth issue of Human Target which came out months ago but still is not on DCUI, and also spoilers for Strange Adventures and Rorschach! And good news, this is pretty much how the conversation goes for something like a full ninety minutes so….we’re sorry? (As Graeme would say.) Oh, and among other things, we have very different readings of this but it ties into the discussion so if you haven’t read it yet, that may clarify parts of our chat.
2:24:22-end:  Closing comments! Read Volume 39 of Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files and join us here in two weeks!  Stitcher! Itunes! Instagram! Twitter together and separately: Graeme (and not a Twitter: Graeme at Popverse!) and Jeff!  Tumblr, and  on Patreon where a wonderful group of people make this all possible, including Empress Audrey, Queen of the Galaxy, to whom we are especially grateful for her continuing support of this podcast.
NEXT WEEK:  Another fortnight wait? What? Drokk!!