00:00-19:04: Greetings from Graeme and Jeff! Graeme is in the basement avoiding the heat, Jeff is in the living room avoiding everything but the heat, Together, they are here to talk to you about comics! But first, here’s some chitchat about travel: come here about Graeme’s recent trip to Vancouver; Jeff’s less-than-recent trip to Buenos Aires; and an even-longer-ago trip by Graeme to the Venice Biennale….it’s like a special mini-podcast that is all about the untoppable form of stress that is travel-related stress, and the perhaps-untoppable form of kindness that is travel-related kindness.
19:04-23:12: This podcast was recorded during the week that Diamond’s comic shipment came in a day late, so Jeff has a lot of comics to talk about today that are only *kind of* recent? Whereas, Graeme being Graeme, he hasn’t been to the comic store but has been getting all the new DC You books sent right to his door, as well as reading a lot of old Showcases and trades of some New 52 titles he never got around to reading. So we start off with, of all things, Ann Nocenti’s run on Catwoman. This gives Jeff the clever idea of having DC reunite Nocenti and Romita Jr. on a title, but Graeme is enjoying too much the work JR Jr. is doing on Superman with Gene Yang to really be into that.
23:12-25:42: In fact, overall, Graeme has been very pleased with this month of DC: “There’s been some books that don’t work, definitely, and there’ve been some books that just leave me cold, but overall the line is way healthier than it’s been in years…and in ways that are surprising.” In terms of the visual variety on display, DC is catching up to what Marvel’s been doing…and maybe pushing it further? Jeff’s not too sure about that so we bandy about some of the styles we’ve seen on books that we think are outside the standard superhero spectrum, mentioning books like Gotham Academy, Batgirl, Squirrel Girl, Spider-Gwen, Bizarro, Bat-Mite, and more.
25:42-38:44: Graeme asks Jeff what exactly is he reading from Marvel these days, which turns into a very small discussion about the last issue of Spider-Gwen by Jason LaTour and Robbie Rodriguez, presented as the “last issue” despite having a very incomplete ending. We also talk about the announced relaunch of Spider-Gwen, the very odd announcements about for All-New, All-Different Marvel, and the upcoming Marvel Primer. And as long as we’re throwing the term around, the very odd similarities between Spider-Gwen #5 and Black Canary #1 by Brenden Fletcher and Annie Wu. Even more very odd? Jeff insisting after many, many recorded hours of evidence to the contrary that he is not a nitpicker. Nice try, Jeff.
38:44-51:51: We discuss the first issue of Prez by Mark Russell and Ben Caldwell. Jeff and Graeme both like it, but Jeff finds some parts of the first issue very problematic. As a comparison/contrast, Graeme has read the first issue of Constantine: The Hellblazer #1 by Ming Doyle, James Tynion IV, and Riley Rossmo. It’s intriguing for Graeme, especially in the way it doesn’t quite work (ditto for Dr. Fate #1) but in a way he can’t figure out why? Even more intriguing to Graeme is Doomed #1 by Scott Lobdell and Javier Fernandez which Graeme thinks is actually “a pretty fucking good Spider-Man comic.” [??!!]
51:51-58:30: Both Graeme and Jeff have read All-Star Section Eight #1 by Garth Ennis and Jonathan (!!) McCrea, which is (to use the episode’s special phrase) very odd. There’s some hilarious metafictional hijinks we’re trying to wrap our brains around that seem very intentional but there’s also something a bit awkward about the book. “It reads like somebody’s first comic book,” to paraphrase Graeme, who has a great take on the hijinks despite accurately pointing out that some of the humor seems very, very…lazy? Quite the headscratcher.
58:30-1:06:09: Also, a headscratcher: Robin, Son of Batman #1 written and drawn by Patrick Gleason. Graeme thinks it was “fine if scattered, and didn’t present a good enough reason for the book to exist.” Jeff, who has *adored* Gleason’s work on Batman & Robin, is forced to agree and also bemoans how there’s maybe a bit too much of Gleason the writer indulging Gleason the artist. Graeme suggests the book reads like Hellboy Lite which is a pretty solid take on Gleason’s artistic interests and the overall tone. But arguably the book could be more focused than the final year of Batman and Robin by Gleason and writer Peter Tomasi, which gives Graeme an in to fret about some of the current work Tomasi is doing for Superman/Wonder Woman that doesn’t seem to be to his usual standard.
1:06:09-1:13:39: Jeff feels like he did not really answer Graeme’s question from forty minutes earlier, but doesn’t get much farther than mentioning Unbeatable Squirrel Girl by Ryan North and Erica Henderson before we are wringing our hands about the book’s likely demise. Sales figures are discussed, alternate covers are pondered. Jeff also read and enjoyed the first issue of Weirdworld #1 by Jason Aaron and Mike Del Mundo; and Ghost Racers #1 by Felipe Smith and Juan Gedeon, which Jeff didn’t love but also suspects Smith is playing a metacommentary long game that may be worth the time.
1:13:39-1:16:56: It’s not a Marvel book, but Jeff has also read The Fiction #1 by Curt Pire and David Rubin and dug it, in part because it hit his Stephen King sweet spot: if you can imagine It meets The Unwritten, then you’ve got an idea of what this first issue has lined up for you. Jeff also thought it was a very solid first issue in terms of putting everything on the table, keeping it interesting, and then changing things up for the final page.
1:16:56-1:37:42: Confession time! Both Jeff and Graeme have falled behind on the pop spectacle that is Transformers vs. G.I. Joe by Tom Scioli and John Barber, but Jeff sat down with issues #5, 6, and 7 and came out feeling very strongly that issue #7 is one that Graeme would really, really dig. SPOILERS for the issue as Jeff clumsily tries to make his case and SPOILERS for Jean-Paul Sartre’s writing style. Also discussed: Annihilator, forgetting about a series and then chain-reading previous issues; No Mercy by Alex de Campi and Carla Speed McNeil; Zero issues #16 and #17 by Ales Kot, Stathis Tsemberlidis, Robert Sammelin, and others; Graeme’s impressions after reading the first issue of Surface; Terry Southern’s Magic Christian and Phil Dick’s VALIS; the worry of getting too old to track stuff from month-to-month; Afterlife with Archie #8; and more.
1:37:42-1:45:23: Graeme asks after another Archie book, The Black Hood, in part because that title by writer Duane Swierczynski is what Graeme digging through the the old New52 Birds of Prey title and also three of Swierczynski’s prose novels which Graeme talked about in this post and which he also goes into more detail about here. By contrast, Jeff tries to tease a strip he thinks Graeme would really dig: Santa Claus, Private Eye by Jeremy Bernstein and Michael Dorman, currently exclusively available on Thrillbent.
1:45:23-1:55:13: Also a book Jeff read and enjoyed: King Cat Comics #75 which is an issue-long tribute to John Porcellino’s cat. It is a truly touching and heartbreaking read, even by typical King Cat standards. Also mentioned: the Pixar movie Inside Out, Jeff’s recent post about movies [link?], Jeff’s Hulk, Jurassic World, and more.
We will see you in seven (or even sooner, if you come back for our individual posts)! And look to the first comment in this post if you just want a straight link for you to copy and paste into the player of your choice. Spa fon!
Overall, it’s been a pretty great week for good news—subsidies for The Affordable Care Act upheld, gay marriage legal a nationwide right, Evangeline Lilly shitting on recent Ant Man comics—but, me being me, there’s a piece…
http://theworkingdraft.com/media/podcasts/BaxterBuildingEp6.mp3 Previously on Baxter Building: After four episodes of build-up, we reached what Jeff and I both agreed was “The Good Stuff” with the fifth episode of the podcast, as Joe Sinnott joined Stan Lee…
(From Star Wars #4 by Jason Aaron and John Cassaday.)
Ho, ho, howdy, Whatnauts and True Believers of all stripes! As you can see, Graeme just put in a lovely little contribution to our website, so I decided to make this post image-free so as to take up less room (and because I’m sweating a big deadline, so….you’ll forgive me this once, right?) 00:00-13:42: Greetings from your anxious friends, Jeff and Graeme, currently recovering from a hell of a week over at McMillan Manors. So of course, Jeff decides it’s the perfect time to interrogate Graeme about his reading habits: how does Graeme read so much? And when the hell does he find time to do it? It’s a hard-hitting investigation, Wait, What? style! Graeme recommends a book to Jeff, Overwhelmed: Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time by Brigid Schulte, which is a book that Jeff really, really needs. Also discussed: why Jeff hasn’t seen Mad Max: Fury Road yet, why we like people except when they’re around, spontaneity as a counterpoint to planning, Jeff’s terrible work habits, how Graeme McMillan got his groove back, and we all learn just how accurate Graeme’s nickname as “The Hardest Working Man on the Internet,” and more. 13:42-23:24: Oh, but don’t worry we have comics to start talking about: in particular, we have Drawn & Quarterly: Twenty-five Years of Contemporary Cartooning, Comics, and Graphic Novels, a book so big Graeme is worried it would turn out to be a dog-killing vanity project. And yet, as it turns out, Graeme thinks it is is very, very good with excellent new comics from Kevin Huizenga, Adrian Tomine (or is that a reprint), Guy Delisle, Kate Beaton, and many more. (Jeff, for his part, is so consumed with envy he can’t really speak.) The book is costly but it’s about the price of ten copies of Secret Wars #3 and, according to Graeme, you will get more than ten times the amount of enjoyment. Or, as Jeff asks, will you? Certainly if you’re Graeme (or Jeff) but what about others? Sadly, we aren’t able to render the perfect irreducible unit of comic book comparison but for a second, we do consider giving it a go, but only after a certain amount of quasi-reviewing/quasi-gabbing from Jeff about Secret Wars #3. 23:24-25:18: Graeme has also read all of the Swords of Sorrow crossover over at Dynamite, and has surprisingly positive things to say about the Swords of Sorrow: Chaos Special by Mairghread Scott and Mirka Andolfo. But does he like them $3.99 worth? Hmm… 25:18-49:39: And, on a related note (inspired by Jeff thinking that there’s a chance that people may not have to pay $3.99 for the book if it ends up on sale at Comixology, not that he ever bothers to say that aloud), Jeff asks Graeme to handicap the first three weeks of The New DC52 Universe sale happening over at Comixology. Turns out Graeme has already read a big ol’ chunk of the New 52 titles: what would he recommend? And what books are DC offering to put on sale that don’t actually exist? Although this will get posted just as the first week of the sale is ending, we have weeks two and three covered for you, wonder if there’s going to be a week four, brief reminiscing over the Dr. Fate run by J.M. DeMatteis and Shawn McManus; some love for the Jeff Lemire scripted issues of Justice League Dark; the Tom Taylor stuff from Earth-2; Prez #1-4 (YES, GOD, YES); the first 40 issues of Hitman; Graeme points out some flaws in Jeff’s compulsive buying tendencies; and the paradox of DC offering up a big sale of New52 issues to get us excited about the “DC You” launch when, frankly, the DC You launch is a corrective to titles that weren’t working under the New52. It’s a little bit of “you like this? Well, great, here’s a bunch of stuff you *won’t* like!” Although, as Graeme points out, the series does serve as an inexpensive way to fill in the backstory for DC You books people enjoy but are jumping in cold, and he follows this up with some discussion of The Batgirl of Burnside trade by Brenden Fletcher, Cameron Stewart, Babs Tarr, and Maris Wicks. 49:39-1:05:58: But then there’s stuff like all those issues of Omega Men which are tonally inconsistent with the new first issue by Tom King and Barnaby Bagenda, which Graeme has read about and also recommends. In fact, Graeme read all of the DC You launches from the first week and is very, very positive about them overall. (Jeff, for his part, dug the book he picked up: Bizarro #1 by Heath Corson, Gustavo Duarte, and Peter Pantazis.) But Graeme also has praise for Midnighter (which he says looks amazing), Action Comics, and (not a DC You title but still enjoyable) Justice League #41 by Geoff Johns and Jason Fabok; and then we return to talking about the first issue of Omega Men some more, some parts of the discussion guided by the interview Graeme did with writer Tom King for Wired. 1:05:58-1:18:36: From one galactic rebellion to another, Jeff has read Star Wars issues #4-6 by Jason Aaron, John Cassaday, and Laura Martin. WARNING: JEFF SPOILS THE BIG REVEAL IN ISSUE #6. We discuss action figure fun, a very odd Watchmen shout-out, the difference between fan-service and suffocating nostalgia (if there is one), the embarrassment of mixing up Kyle Katarn and Dash Rendar, the Venn diagram of good superhero comic, and more. 1:18:36-1:44:22: Pivoting from that, we discuss the All-New, All-Different Marvel announcements and Marvel’s attempt to get publicity without actually announcing anything. Graeme runs it down for us. Also a discussion about Secret Wars running late leads to much rampant speculation on Jeff’s part about reasons for some of the odder delays in Marvel’s schedule. Also discussed: the backsliding of diversity in mainstream comics; the company that won’t be reported on; taking the phrase how the sausage is made to ludicrously literal extremes; and more. 1:44:22-1:55:20: But enough of that! Let’s talk about comics! Jeff has read the first issue of Providence by Alan Moore and Jacen Burrows, is kinda coolish about it, but unpacks the first issue in detail for Graeme. Jeff has also read issue #5 of The Humans by Keenan Marshall Keller, Tom Neely, and Kristina Collantes, which he describes in less detail but frankly enjoyed much more than Providence; Bizarro #1 (as mentioned above); and Minimum Wage: So Many Bad Decisions #1 and #2 by Bob Fingerman (also reviewed by Jeff here). 1:55:20-end: For the second time in two episodes, Jeff starts sounding weird on Graeme’s side so we decide to call it a day. And so….closing comments! Was this our most bifurcated podcast ever? If so…we’re sorry? Come back next week for a Baxter Building podcast, and feel free to read Fantastic Four issues #54-60 (plus Annual #4) to experience the episode in 5-D! Mortality and Tote Bags in Vienna! Places to look for us at—Stitcher!Itunes! ] Twitter together (t) and separately: Graeme and Jeff! Tumblr! And, of course, on Patreon where, as of this count, 104 patrons make this whole thing possible!
Need a context-free link to cut and paste and make your very own—see this post’s first comment!
The problem, really, is that the name was just asking for trouble. “All-New, All-Different Marvel” is branding that makes sense from a couple of angles — firstly, it teases novelty, which is what people always…