I mentioned on Twitter the other day that I’d spent hours putting together a reading list of all the Judge Dredd Christmas episodes, all the way up to this year’s Judge Dredd Megazine installment. To my surprise, a bunch of people wanted me to share the list, so… here it is, in chronological order, to the best of my abilities. (I’m sure I’ve missed at least one story off, but that’s what the comments are for. )

I’ve listed them in terms of the Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files collected editions they appear in for the first half of the list, then we move beyond where those collections have made it to, which is more or less when the stories started appearing on an annual basis. Talking of annuals, when I list 2000AD issues as “Prog 20XX Annual,” I’m referring to the end-of-year specials 2000AD did from 1999-2014, which were all technically numbered as the following year — so, Prog 2004 was really published in 2003, and so on.

Whether you’re getting things through the Case and Restricted Files collections, or through the individual issues in the cases of the uncollected stories, digital editions can be found via the 2000AD webstore. And Merry Drokkin’ Christmas, to all who choose to read along.

Case Files 1: Red Christmas (Prog 44)
Restricted Files 1: Christmas Party (Dan Dare Annual 1980)
Case Files 3: Christmas Comes to Des O’Connor Block (Prog 144)
Case Files 9: Merry Tale of the Christmas Angel (Prog 450)
Case Files 10: A Real Xmas Story (Prog 502)
Case Files 13: Little Spuggy’s Xmas (Prog 658)
Restricted Files 2: The Santa Affair (Winter Special 1989)
Restricted Files 3: Christmas is Cancelled (Winter Special 1990)
Case Files 18: Christmas With Attitude (Prog 815)
Case Files 18: A Christmas Carol (Meg 2.18)
Restricted Files 3: Should Auld Acquaintance (Yearbook 1993)
Case Files 20: I Hate Christmas (Prog 867)
Case Files 20: It’s A Dreddful Life (Meg 2.44-2.45)
Case Files 22: A Very Creepy Christmas (Meg 2.70)
Non-Case Files: Turkey Shoot (Meg 214)
Non-Case Files: The Good Man (Prog 2004 Annual)
Non-Case Files: Fat Christmas (Meg 227)
Non-Case Files: Christmas With The Blints (Prog 2005 Annual)
Non-Case Files: Class of ‘79 (Prog 2006 Annual)
Non-Case Files: Death Row (Meg 253)
Non-Case Files: The Spirit of Christmas! (Prog 2008 Annual)
Non-Case Files: What I Did For ChrissMas (Meg 266)
Non-Case Files: One For The Boys (Prog 2009 Annual)
Non-Case Files: The Gift of Mercy (Meg 279)
Non-Case Files: O Little Town of Bethlehem (Prog 2010 Annual)
Non-Case Files: What’s Another Year? (Meg 292)
Non-Case Files: The Chief Judge’s Speech (Prog 2011 Annual)
Non-Case Files: Blaze of Glory (Meg 305)
Non-Case Files: Choose Your Own Xmas (Prog 2012 Annual)
Non-Case Files: Let’s Kill Santa (Meg 318)
Non-Case Files: Violent Night (Prog 2013 Annual)
Non-Case Files: All Is Blight (Meg 331)
Non-Case Files: The Right Thing (Prog 2014 Annual)
Non-Case Files: Donner & Blitzin’ (Meg 343)
Non-Case Files: The Ghost of Christmas Presents (Prog 2015 Annual)
Non-Case Files: Melt (Prog 1961)
Non-Case Files: Boxing Day (Prog 2011)
Non-Case Files: Echoes (Prog 2061)
Non-Case Files: Jingle All The Way (Prog 2111)
Non-Case Files: The Fright Before Christmas (Meg 403)
Non-Case Files: Snowballed (Prog 2162)
Non-Case Files: Three Kings (Prog 2212)
Non-Case Files: He Sees You When You’re Sleeping (Prog 427)
Non-Case Files: Saviour (Prog 439)

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Previously on Drokk!: Having stayed on topic for the last 33 episodes, I ended the last installment of Drokk! with a question to esteemed co-host Jeff Lester: did he want to step away from Joe Dredd for a bit and spend an episode reading some Strontium Dog instead? The answer was yes, and so… this.

0:00:00-0:09:30: Sure, it’s technically a Drokk!, but at the suggestion of commenter Winty, we’re calling this one Sneck!, because that’s the curse of choice from this particular 2000 AD strip. Anyway, as the episode opens, we introduce the book we’re covering this episode — Strontium Dog: Search/Destroy Agency Files Vol. 2 — as well as the Strontium Dog strip in general, including a suggestion as to how it differs from Dredd despite sharing the same core creators. Indeed, John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra (and Alan Grant) remained the creative team for the majority of the series’ run, unusually…

0:09:31-1:01:01: Be warned, show notes readers — we’re particularly elliptical on this episode, making straight-forward notation more difficult than usual. (Which, I think we all know, isn’t always the most direct as-is.) Anyway, we talk about a lot, including how the strip fits into both Eurocomics and Spaghetti Western histories; the fact that, even more than Dredd, this strip is a showcase for just how amazing Carlos Ezquerra really is; whether or not a 26-chapter extended flashback that delivers a metric shit-ton of expeditionary world building is the best choice to introduce a new reader to the strip; the ways in which Jeff’s expectations of the strip’s limits were exploded by “The Moses Incident”; how wildly variable the tone of Strontium Dog is, often within the same scene (and why it works, even though it shouldn’t), and whether or not that’s something that connects the strip to Underground Comix, as well as things like Howard the Duck and Cerebus the Aardvark; the ways in which the strip feels just seconds away from going wildly off the rails at seemingly any moment. And there’s even more, as you might expect from almost an hour’s worth of conversation. (We really did go on and on, without any clear demarcation. Sorry?)

1:01:02-1:17:22: We talk for a little bit about the strip beyond this collection: what happened in subsequent collections, as well as the end and afterlife of the strip and the characters involved. (I say here that Garth Ennis’ Gronk makeover wasn’t done as a gag, which is entirely ungenerous and untrue; my point was that it felt as if the joke was that the Gronk was ridiculous as a coward, not that the makeover was inherently ridiculous in and of itself, but mileage may vary; I don’t like the Gronk, per se, but I still feel like he deserved better.) We also, again, talk about how great Carlos Ezquerra is, because really, his stuff here is amazing. Also covered: Jeff loves Johnny Alpha’s hair; is it easier to grasp the appeal and intent of Strontium Dog than it is Dredd?; Carlos Ezquerra likes to draw the same woman over and over.

1:17:23-1:33:15: As we start to wrap things up, we talk again about Ezquerra’s brilliance, answer the question about whether or not this volume is a good introduction for new readers (from the point of view of a new reader), and ask ourselves, how should this be adapted into other media? Jeff and I have differing ideas, but since when is that a new thing?

1:33:16-end: We properly bring things to a close by talking a little about what’s ahead for Drokk! and Wait, What? in general before the end of the year. It’s the last proper recording session for the year, so we share our thanks to everyone for listening along with us for the year, and to each other, too. (We don’t share the usual links to Twitter and Patreon, but assume that we do.) Next week: Our favorite books of the year! Next month: Back to Mega-City One! Right now: Thanks for reading along, as ever.

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00:00-1:45: Greetings, and welcome to our first podcast of December! As Graeme explains here, it’s a bit of a departure for us: due to Jeff’s very busy December, we are recording this Thanksgiving weekend for release the following week.  And so we will not be discussing (and over-discussing) comics news, nor getting updates on soon-to-be-released books that Graeme wishes to tease us all to distraction with.  Instead, we assigned ourselves homework and will be discussing Classic G.I. Joe Vol. 5, by Larry Hama, Rod Whigham, Keith Williams and Andy Mushynsky (and Mike Zeck on covers!), IDW’s reprint of Marvel’s G.I. JOE: A REAL AMERICAN HERO issues #41-60 from 1985.  All of IDW’s reprints were for sale for stupidly cheap prices during the Black Friday sales, but if you missed out and have Comixology Unlimited, you can check out this volume and read it for free. (You can also do the same if you have Hoopla, I should mention.). In short, if you are frustrated by the idea of hearing us talk about 35 year old comics that you haven’t read, please feel free to read them and join along!  It’s always easier to yell at us when you know what we’re talking about, I’ve found.

01:45-41:04:  But first, Graeme wants to talk about toy comics in general, in part because not only did Graeme buy all the G.I. Joe reprint volumes, he also purchased all the sale volumes of Transformers: Classics (reprinting the Marvel run of the 80s) as well as the Transformers: UK volumes.  Since Jeff hasn’t really read the books (a few years back he tried reading the first three or four issues and tapped out), Graeme gives Jeff a schooling on the original miniseries, the British strips and the emergence of Simon Furman. And then beyond that, we talk about the rise of the licensed toy comics at Marvel including Micronauts and Rom: Spaceknight. If you want to find out who Graeme’s favorite Transformers were, this is section of the episode for you!

41:04-1:50:32: And here we go with the Joe—Graeme tells us why he picked Vol. 5 of Classic G.I. Joe and one of the things he hadn’t realized about these issues until reading them now.  We talk about when Graeme started reading them, and how this era of the Joes are basically superheroes. We go on to talk about the greatness of Larry Hama as a writer and storyteller (so much so that Jeff favorably compares Hama’s work on G.I. Joe to Wagner/Grant on Judge Dredd); and we just try and drill down into these comics to see if we can understand and talk about  what makes them so great.

1:50:32-end: We start to veer toward closing comments here with Graeme updating you Whatnauts as to how our December schedule is, uh, scheduled.  I’m sure you’ll think I’m joking when I tell you Hardaway plays a crucial role in that update, but I assure you I am not.  And but finally: Closing Comments with some especially heartfelt thanks to our listeners from Jeff. And so but also finally: look for us on  Stitcher! Itunes! Instagram! Twitter together and separately: Graeme and JeffTumblr, 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:  When is an episode of Drokk not an episode of Drokk? When it’s Spreck! Jeff and Graeme discussing Volume Two of Strontium Dog Search and Destroy Files! (Jeff hasn’t read volume 1 so you don’t need to, either!)

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0:01-2:53: Greetings!  Either Graeme has quite the frog in his throat, Yoda has decided to guest-host, or Chloe Maveal has once again joined us for some comic book blabbity blab! (Don’t worry I won’t spoil it for you here—no wait, I pretty much have to.). She’s only here with us for the first hour (don’t worry it ends up being closer to 90 minutes).

2:53-16:44: We had a whole bunch of stuff we’ve been planning on talking about for a while and a lot of it falls under the pop culture side of things than comic stuff (at least to start). For example, I’ve been wanting the three of us to talk about Malignant for *months* now…and now it’s finally here! Dear Cahiers du Cinema: I always thought your letters were made up, but then something happened to me I just had to write to you about… But first, quick talk about For All Mankind, and Annette and then SPOILERS as we talk bout the giddy, messy joys of Malignant.

16:44-30:19: Is there really a link between Malignant and Dune (apart from Jeff’s best friend, HBO Max?). He thinks so, but Graeme and Chloe think there are distinctions to be made considering Dune is, y’know, good. But we talk about Villeneuve’s adaptation, Lynch’s adaptation, the original book, being weird and horny, Graeme having the action figure as a kid, David Lynch’s amazing contest, and more.

30:19-52:21: Another film Jeff has been *dying* to talk about with Graeme and Chloe? Zack Snyder’s Sucker Punch, which Jeff only saw for the first time a few weeks ago! Chloe and Jeff both have some divergent opinions (along with an amazing potential prediction from Chloe about Jeff’s future) and present the case for and against for Snyder’s oddball “epic”. Also discussed: Bjork, Jack Hill, Welcome to Marwencol, I Kill Giants, Showgirls, Burlesque, and more.

52:21-1:31:52: SPOILERS as we talk about season two of Ted Lasso, now that Jeff’s finally finished watching it. Why does Jeff refer to it as “Tad Lesso” and why won’t Graeme and Chloe acknowledge how god-damn brilliant that pun is? Discussed: Twin Peaks Season 2, which Ted Lasso character we all are; Twin Peaks: The Return; Dollhouse; Tank Girl and the career of Malcolm McDowell; Succession; Hackers; SLC Punk; and more.
1:31:52-1:50:37: Chloe splits, leaving Jeff and Graeme with a certain amount of confusion. What….do we talk about now? As it turns out Graeme has an answer and that answer is: Brian Michael Bendis’s run on Superman. Spoilers, I guess, if you haven’t read the end of Bendis’s run, especially with regards to the Invisible Mafia storyline and the fate of Jor-El.

1:50:37-1:59:19: On the opposite end, comfort-wise, of the “I liked it, it was good,” Jeff is incredibly impressed (and conflicted) about Tom King and Jorge Fornés’s Rorschach, which he is reading on DC Universe Infinite. We talk a bit about how the story continues to intertwine Strange Adventures, how the series might’ve gotten way more positive word of mouth if it wasn’t such a poisoned chalice of an IP. (Also, Graeme’s caught up on the first five issues of Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow by King and Bilquis Evely, something I’ve wanted for Martin Gray for literally months now).

1:59:19-2:10:37: Quick rundown of some of the other stuff Jeff’s been reading, super-quick: the second issues of Clear and We Have Demons and the first two issues of The All-Nighter, all on Comixology Unlimited; the first two volumes of Outcast by Kirkman and Azaceta via Hoopla; the finale of The 6 Sidekicks of Trigger Keaton; volume 10 of Sweat and Soap; the latest issue of the Nice House on the Lake; the first issue of Catwoman: Lonely City; and vols. 2 and 3 of Creature Girls: A Hands-On Field Journal in Another World.
2:10:37-end: Closing Comments…although a smooth landing is marred by some literal hemming and hawing from Jeff about our schedule for December. Nonetheless: look for us on  Stitcher! Itunes! Instagram! Twitter together and separately: Graeme and JeffTumblr, 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!  If you’re in the States, have a great Thanksgiving and join us in December!
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Previously on Drokk!: Something is afoot in Mega-City One, and it’s not just John Wagner’s attempt to get something resembling an ongoing continuity going in the strip for, really, the first time in its existence. Cyborg mob boss Nero Narcos has secretly supplied the Justice Department with new weaponry, as part of his plan for… something, while at the same time, Judge Galen DeMarco has left the Justice Department as, essentially, collateral damage in the Cold War between Judges Dredd and Edgar. Wouldn’t it be a thing if one storyline tried to tie those two threads together, while also bringing in an entirely unexpected classic storyline from the early days of the strip? Wouldn’t it?

0:00:00-0:03:53: And so we return and begin again, with Jeff and I introducing ourselves and also the volume we’re talking about this time: Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files Vol. 30. Written by John Wagner, the whole volume is, in theory, telling one singular — if complicated — story, with art from a whole host of talents, including Cam Kennedy, Mick McMahon, and Charlie Adlard. I also take this opportunity to call out a mistake in the credits of Vol. 30, which is honestly kind of impressive when you think about just how many credits have run in the preceding 29 volumes without mistake.

0:03:54-0:26:29: We immediately launch into a discussion about why the book disappoints, because it’s us. It’s not just that it’s uneven, but that the start of the volume is so strong that when Wagner starts losing interest, it’s very obvious. Jeff has theories about the ways in which the arc fails to live up to traditional Dredd mega-epic plotting, and also feels as if this arc is “The Apocalypse War” all over again (but worse); I’m unconvinced, pointing out that at least some of the traditional mega-epic structure shows up here. More of a problem for me is the fact that, as a crossover between the Megazine and 2000 AD, the way the story is collected in this volume hurts the material, which wasn’t that strong to begin with. Also! What is going on with the Judge Edgar non-plot thread in this story? And how great is Wagner when he goes minimal as he does on the first story in this collection?

0:26:30-0:38:13: Our dissatisfaction tour continues, as we talk about the utter failure of Nero Narcos as the villain of the piece — something that even Wagner seems to have realized and accepted inside the text of this story itself, somewhat amazingly. He had the potential to be a mirror image of Dredd himself, but utterly failed on that front. (Except, and we didn’t discuss this on the podcast, what if his failing to live up to his potential and having no ability to stay on mission part of his opposite of Dredd-ness? Did I just blow your mind?!?) But did Wagner undercut things by making sure that the fall of Mega-City One happened off-panel — and could that have anything to do with what Jeff describes as Wagner having grown past the war comic genre?

0:38:14-1:06:17: We return to how uneven the book is, and why the opening works on levels that the rest just can’t live up to. Is it Cam Kennedy’s art? (And Simon Davis’ art, too.) Or is there something about the tone of the writing that is abandoned to a cartoonish ness for the rest of the book, including the conclusion of the very trial story that Kennedy and Davis’ arcs are part of? Also, does the cheapness of Orlok’s escape speak to a structural problem with the strip having a recurring villain based around the idea of his being as tough as Dredd? Does the trial attempt to redeem Dredd’s actions in “The Apocalypse War” and speak to Wagner attempting to retcon Dredd into being less morally ambiguous, and more “Judge Dad”? Am I out of bounds by using future Dredd stories as guidelines for how I read this material? Did I completely and accidentally miss Jeff’s cue that he wanted to talk about DeMarco and instead talk about other stuff? Well, the answer to that last one is easy to answer: yes. (Oops.)

1:06:18-1:25:19: Finally, we get to the DeMarco conversation that Jeff wanted to have earlier, and it goes to unexpected places. That both of us feel that the DeMarco side of the story is a letdown, I’m pretty sure everyone saw coming, especially with Andrew Currie’s artwork failing to serve the story in any appreciable way. It’s similarly not too surprising that we were both disappointed by DeMarco running into two judges she’s previously worked with, or how broadly Rothman’s portrayal is in his brief appearances — for real, he would have been reprimanded for that kind of nonsense, surely…? — but who expected Jeff and I to get into a discussion over whether or not private eyes should exist in Mega-City One, or whether it’s a waste of the potential that DeMarco represents?

1:25:20-1:32:41: The unfortunate fate of Chief Judge Volt is briefly touched upon, with neither of us feeling as if it was particularly earned, nor necessary. Jeff talks about whether or not it’s part of an especially subtextual arc about Volt being a Dredd supporter, whereas I’m more concerned about the seeming overstatement about the importance of whether or not the Psi Division is responsible for the disaster, which comes up more than once in the story. I mean, they did see it coming…

1:32:42-1:42:03: Before we try to close up shop, we talk a little bit about the art in the volume, which includes some genuinely incredible highs — Kennedy, McMahon, Colin Wilson doing some great work — and some utterly destructive swapping out of artists on the “War Games” sequence in particular, which has no less than six artists in seven chapters, and not exactly artists with similar styles.

1:42:04-1:54:19: Drokk or Dross? We both go for Drokk ultimately, despite reservations, which comes as a surprise to me considering some of Jeff’s misgivings. We also talk about the anti-climactic climax to the entire storyline, and the fact that — because of the format of the crossover, and the way it’s collected here — you get to read it twice, just to ensure as much disappointment as possible.

1:54:20-end: As we try and wrap things up, I throw a wrench in the works and suggest that next episode ignores Dredd entirely to, instead, read some Strontium Dog — another 2000AD series created by John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra, and written for the majority of its run by the team of Wagner and Alan Grant — only for Jeff to agree, so: next time, we’ll be reading Strontium Dog: Search/Destroy Agency Files Vol. 2, and it’ll be a lot of fun. Also, we mention Patreon and Twitter, as usual, but that’s not as important as, next month! Strontium Dog! As always, thanks for listening.

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0:01-5:57: Greetings!  You catch us in a very potty mouthed media res as our first five minutes have already happened but without Graeme’s side of things being recorded. (Not much fun to sync up after the fact either, though I think I have it all worked out now.). It probably suits the episode overall, since—as we explain here—this episode was already failing to go according to plan. This was supposed to be the return of the remarkable Chloe Maveal to the podcast in order to discuss Malignant, Dune, and…some other movie, maybe? But due to some unexpected circumstances—of the barking, four-legged kind—she is unable to join us. (Would that Graeme’s half of the recording has nearly as good an excuse.). Fortunately, Graeme remembers the most important part of the lost discussion—Fire! by the Crazy World of Arthur Brown—which you can see in all its remarkability above. (Or so I hope, anyway.)


5:57-1:03;58: Having caught you up on all of the above, Graeme leads us into our first big-ass topic of the episode: on Monday, the workers of Image Comics formed a union. Although that is not, as many first assumed, the artists and creators of Image, it is nonetheless explosive news for the North American comics industry which almost universally uses exploitation as the oil to lubricate the engines of creation. So I hope it’s understandable why we would talk about this topic and speculate about what their statement means and what it might mean for the industry, and much, much more. As we mention repeatedly during the discussion, we are as far from experts as can be about situations surrounding unionizing so we definitely invite those of you who know more to correct and/or contribute in the comments to this post.

1:03:58-1:26:06: An hour in and we should talk about actual comics, you say? Welllllll….ok! Graeme sat down since the last time we talked and re-read The Immortal Hulk (in digital, not print, mind you). And after binging it, Graeme thinks that (a) it reads so much better when read in a oner but (b) doing so also makes the dry patch in the second half that much more frustrating? Kick off your shoes and join us as we rap about Cap sulk about Hulk and talk about how good all the material is and yet (for Graeme) still doesn’t quite land.

1:26:06-1:35:23: Graeme also talks about reading the recently completed Die by Kieron Gillen and Stephanie Hans, its pleasures, and how it ultimately isn’t his bag for reasons he lays out. PLUS, Graeme has also read the recent incarnation of Roy of the Rovers by Rob Williams, Ben Wilsher, and Lisa Henke (among others) and talks about the smart choices it makes to update the story and characters. PLUS PLUS, Graeme has been re-reading old Strontium Dog comics (quite possibly the least surprising sentence I will write this shownote entry, and more than likely this month as well) and he thinks we should just do an episode of Drokk! devoted to Strontium Dog and explains why.
1:35:23-1:40:24: PLUS PLUS PLUS, after failing to turn the spotlight over to Jeff’s reading interests, Graeme also mentions he’s been reading some of the sublime Monsieur Jean by Philippe Dupuy and Charles Berberian.
1:40:24-2:14:57: As for Jeff, he’s going to put all his comics discussing eggs in one basket and talk about his recent re-read of Supreme: The Story Of The Year and Supreme: The Return by Alan Moore, Rick Veitch, Joe Bennett (of Immortal Hulk, wildly enough), Chris Sprouse, Ian Churchill and several others, as published in trade format by Checker Books in 2002 or so (although reprinting comics that ran from 1997-2000). It’s a Superman analogue comic that tries to recapture and recontextualize the joys of the Silver Age Superman stories beloved by Moore (including the joys of interplay with other superheroes and continuity callbacks). And it is also, as Jeff tries to put it, a solid beam that Moore later goes on to diffract into all the titles of his ABC work. Jeff brings it up expecting Graeme to be, at best, coolish but the conversation zigs in places you might expect it to zag. Check it out! (Oh, and I *should* create a separate entry for it but at 2:11:43, we go from talking about Erik Larsen’s snotty annihilation of Moore’s Supreme to his apparently earnest reboot of…Ant?)
2:14:57-end: Closing Comments, thank goodness! Look for us on  Stitcher! Itunes! Instagram! Twitter together and separately: Graeme and JeffTumblr, 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: Remember to keep on Drokkin’! Read Vol. 30 of Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files and join us.
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0:01-3:45: Greetings!  Jeff is psyched (out) about this episode for reasons unknown to him and Graeme. Is it because next week is a skip week? Because last week was a Drokk! but so much was happening it should’ve been a Wait, What? Because Jeff can’t count? All those reasons and more? Like Mary Skrenes’ and Steve Gerber’s original ending for Omega The Unknown, it shall probably remain a mystery forever.
3:45-30:15: With one enigma in place, Graeme goes for a second: “A week later—and this is not meant as a diss of DC Fandome at all—but (a) what do you remember about DC Fandome, and (b) does it really seem like something that you ‘re like, ‘well that’s something everybody was talking about after the fact?’ I mean, maybe The Batman trailer, but that feels like it.” And so, you know, let’s unpack that. Said unpacking includes Jeff feeling ooky about the Black Adam sneak peek; slightly less straight after watching Ezra Miller introduce The Flash sneak peek; Graeme recommending Doom Patrol and the joys of the third season; Robins #1 and the Monkey Prince oneshot on DCUI; and the Milestone Initiative, a talent development program.

30:15-43:04: It was Wonder Woman Day on October 21! How did we celebrate? Jeff retweeted Linda Carter, downloaded some free Wonder Woman comics and bought a few others; Graeme read a whole pile of Wonder Woman comics, many of which were sent out on Wonder Woman Day, and reports back to us on the state of Wonder Woman 2021. (Spoilers: it sounds pretty good!)
43:04-57:29: Graeme also did a re-read of all the Action Comics material since Future State which works much better when read all at once. This is of interest to Jeff, who quite liked Superman And The Authority, the four issue miniseries that ties in to the same storyline. Graeme, having read both, talks about the ties—some pretty tenuous—between the connected stories and their very different takes on the Man of Steel. Also discussed: the CBR interview with Morrison about the final issue of the miniseries; and more.
57:29-1:09:09: There’s a new She-Hulk series! And it sounds…kinda like most of the other She-Hulk series(es). Between that and the upcoming Donny Cates/Ryan Ottley run on Hulk, is Marvel just rolling back the status quo on the Hulk books? Well…probably. But Jeff, who *really* loved the finale of Immortal Hulk by Al Ewing, Joe Bennett, Ruy José, Bellardino Brabo and Paul Mounts wonder if rather than following Sinatra, it might be better to pivot? Also discussed: holy shit, that run of The Immortal Hulk! And yet…was the follow-up about it on social media very quiet? (Jeff admits to termsearching because some of the people he normally sees tweeting about comics didn’t mention it.). Graeme dropped off—more than once!—and came back, so we talk a bit about why people step away from good books, the two sides of Al Ewing’s work and how each side to each of us differently, and more.
1:09:09-1:40:57: Remember when Jeff favorably compared Jason Aaron’s Avengers run to Grant Morrison’s run on JLA? Well, the bloom’s off that rose, baby! And yet, it’s Graeme who sat down (for the…third time?) to re-read all of it and this time around? He…still doesn’t like it. SURPRISE! (But we also unpack a lot of stuff in that, be it who popularized the “never ending story” trick, the ‘disrespect’ of reading digital, and much, much more).
1:40:57-1:54:41: Jeff has been, as he puts it, “Restoring The Snyderverse” by reading the first issues of the three(!) titles Scott Snyder published this month through Comixology Unlimited (We Have Demons with Greg Capullo; Clear with Francis Manapul; and Night of the Ghoul with Francesco Francavilla) as well as the wrap up of the first arc of Snyder and Tony Daniel’s Nocterra.
1:54:41-2:05:39: A substack joke inspires Graeme to talk about the free Substack newsletter of ND (formerly Noelle) Stevenson and the autobio comics posted there and how good they are. Sounds awesome, so you should do what Jeff did and go to imfineimfine.com and sign up for updates!
2:05:39-end: Closing Comments…or are they? Look for us on  Stitcher! Itunes! Instagram! Twitter together and separately: Graeme and JeffTumblr, 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: Trick or Treat! Smell Our Feet! Join us again in about two weeks!
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Previously on Drokk!: With co-creator John Wagner now seemingly fully installed as the primary — indeed, seemingly the sole, Dredd writer once again, the strip seems to be once again finding its feet even as it appears to be quietly trying to reinvent itself…

0:00:00-0:02:51: After one of my favorite cold opens in Drokk! history, we introduce the volume we’re reading this time around — Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files Vol. 29, covering material from 1998 and 1999, by Wagner, a small army of artists, and the surprise return of Alan Grant, who writes two stories herein — before getting down to business. Jeff also makes a great choice in naming the block this time around, too.

0:02:52-0:14:54: Jeff feels as if a way in to talking about this volume is to compare the returning Alan Grant to John Wagner, and so we talk about their differing approaches to Dredd, and the world of Judge Dredd the comic strip; according to Mr. Lester, Grant is “shaggy” in a way that Wagner isn’t, whereas I think that he’s just sillier — or, really, that Wagner plays his own silliness more straight. “He knows where he wants to hit his marks,” Jeff points out, but is that it? Is Wagner just a more assured, successful writer?

0:14:55-0:58:57: Because it’s us, we then go into the most frustrating portion of the entire book: “Worst of Frendz,” which is somehow even more disappointing than that title would suggest. Is it the “weird flex,” as I put it, of the threesome scene between two unnamed, unclothed women and the cyborg villain Nero Narcos, who has a checks notes telescopic penis? Is it the sub-Mark Millar dialogue? Is it the genuinely appalling artwork? Sure! All of the above and more. In theory, the story is a lead in to “The Scorpion Dance,” which is arguably the heart of this volume — one that I enjoyed and Jeff did not, and there’s a lot of back and forth about the reasons between the two opinions: I enjoyed the art, Jeff thought it was too crowded; I enjoyed the DeMarco arc, and Jeff thinks it’s a sign that neither Dredd nor John Wagner care about her as an individual; I like Judge Edgar as an antagonist, Jeff thinks she’s a sign that Wagner might be a misognynist, and so on. Jeff’s feeling that the storyline doesn’t go far enough is, arguably, somewhere that I think he’s on firmer ground, even if it’s a feeling I didn’t share because I’ve read further stories, but let’s just be happy that we can agree that “Worst of Frendz” is, by any stretch of the imagination, bad.

0:58:58-1:10:35: Fearful that we’re just spending an episode talking about what we don’t like, I ask Jeff about his favorite stories from the volume, and then share some of mine. We talk all-too-briefly about “Mega-City Way of Death,” which is genuinely great and should have been discussed more, as well as “Dreams of Glory” and a handful of other good stuff, before we somehow end up back on the topic of the slow burn of the Narcos plot and where it’s leading next volume. Look, apparently, we were in a circular frame of mind when we recorded this.

1:10:36-1:20:04: Jeff asks about two particular stories — “Wounded Heart” and “Christmas Angel,” both of which are sequels to earlier (more successful) Dredd stories — and I admit my disappointment in both, particularly the former, which I fully believe exists purely so Wagner can both meet his deadline requirements and use the pun that ends the strip. I also share my disappointment in “Simp City,” another strip that returns to old material trying to find something new to say, only to fail, and Jeff talks about how he initially believed better things were in the offing… only to quickly realize his mistake.

1:20:05-1:30:00: As we both agree that this volume, despite its shortcomings, is Drokk, not Dross, I suggest that the material from the Judge Dredd Magazine is stronger than its contemporary 2000 AD material, which Jeff takes issue with — we talk about that for a little while, before talking about favorite stories from the volume: Mine is “The Contract,” Jeff’s is “Mega-City Way of Death.” (Our least favorites are “Grud’s Big Day,” and “Worst of Frendz,” for the curious.)

1:30:01-end: As we close out the episode, I ask Jeff what he’s expecting from the next volume before teasing what’s actually coming up in the next volume. If that was my attempt at a surprise, though, he’s got me beat, by scheduling future recording sessions without me knowing, as you’ll hear me discover on air — and then we’re talking about Patreon and Twitter before skedaddling altogether. As always, thank you for reading and listening; we’ll be back in a month for a Dredd crossover with a difference.

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0:01-6:25: Greetings!  Tech mishaps are a thing of the very recent past, so you get to hear Graeme and Jeff talk about those as they clear the decks for another scintillating episode of Wait, What?! And what’s a better way to cleanse the palette than complaining about tech, we ask you? (No really, we need to know, clearly, because we not only go on about it for far too long, we use some amazingly inapt metaphors…)
6:25-42:35: Fortunately, Jeff goes on to blame all of our tech problems on the return of SAGA, which is a very good segue (if I do say so myself) because it allows us to talk about, yes, the return of Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staple’s beloved sci-fi family epic! We talk about how long it’s been gone, how much of its audience will return with it, the Game of Thrones prequel (House of the Dragon), The Matrix Rebooteration, Daredevil: The Target, the return of the Busiekverse, Love and Rockets, Jeff’s experience reading Wotakoi: Love is Hard for Otaku, Vol. 5 (the American version, so vols. 9 and 10 of the Japanese tankōbon), Graeme McMillan: the Littlest Hobo, and more.
42:35-49:49: Graeme has re-read (and as he says, in some cases, read) Evan Dorkin’s Pirate Corp$ and its continuation, Hectic Planet. It kind of ties in to what we’re talking about on many levels—it like some of the examples from our first half-hour remains unfinished—but was also read just as its own thing that Graeme, a fan of Dorkin, wanted the chance to fully (re-)experience. Also discussed: this thread from Dorkin talking about stepping back from comics for a bit.
49:49-1:02:50: Good news/bad news: if last episode you enjoyed us shit talking Scott McCloud’s Reinventing Comics based on our memories of more than twenty years, you’ll be interested to know that Graeme sat his ass down, got a copy from the library, and re-read it. And what he discovered in revisiting it may…surprise you?! It’s a great little segment if you’re interested in setting the record straight, less so if (like Jeff) you just wanted complain about it some more?
1:02:50-1:15:49: And to add faux insult to nonexistent injury, Graeme has read the first arc of Kieron Gillen and Esad Ribic’s The Eternals series for Marvel, despite the potential for tsk-ery from Jeff. With great restraint, Graeme manages to avoid spoiling the end of the first arc (since it’s not yet out on Marvel Unlimited) but also talks about all the good stuff Gillen and Ribic bring to the book. It is a blissfully spoiler free discussion that nonetheless digs into why Graeme thinks the book is quite possibly the best thing Marvel is publishing right now.
1:15:49-1:34:19: Graeme’s also been swigging from DC’s well of Outsiders comics, re-reading not just the 80s incarnation by Mike W. Barr and Jim Aparo (and others, as Jeff finds out) but also the very different re-incarnation by Barr in the ’90s. The Outsiders, the quintessential 80s super-team, as a 90s title? Graeme tells us what works and what doesn’t and we speculate about why.
1:34:19-1:49:54: Are you ready for another round of My Four Manga? Graeme is (thank goodness) and Jeff kind of is? So join us as we talk about The Walking Cat; You’re My Demon Lord, Senpai!; Booty Royale, Never Go Down Without A Fight; and Reborn as a Vending Machine, I Wander the Dungeon! Can Graeme guess the fake? Can Jeff stump Graeme?
1:49:54-1:55:35: You might’ve missed Joe (“Jog”) McCulloch’s brilliant obit/tribute to Takao Saito, creator of Jeff’s beloved Golgo 13 (Jeff is far from alone in that regard, as you know.). He takes the time to mention Jog’s excellent piece, in part so he can link to it here. (Jeff also talks quickly about some of the other stuff he’s read recently.)
1:55:35-1:58:27: And Graeme mentions how much he’s enjoyed reading The Phoenix Colossal Comics Collection, a—you guessed it—very big collection of comics from the UK’s Phoenix magazine.
1:58:27-end:  Closing Comments are a go! Look for us on  Stitcher! Itunes! Instagram! Twitter together and separately: Graeme and JeffTumblr, 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: Rock out with your Drokk out! Read Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files, Vol. 29 and join us!
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0:01-4:25: Greetings!  A smidge of an opening leads to us very quickly brainstorming ideas for the newest Scottish children’s book star, Smidge The Midge, and quite probably gives you a head’s up for what kind of episode you might be in for. (In retrospect, it should’ve for us but I don’t know if we were aware of it at the time…).
4:25-30:49: But don’t you worry yourself none, we are off and talking about comic books (though Jeff, as you soon hear, starts off for more than a bit hobbled) with Graeme reading a lot of Venom comics, more specifically, Venom Epic Collection: Symbiosis, the stuff that basically leads up to Venom being Venom. (And I’m including the Comixology link because Marvel is currently having a BOGO for the next twenty-four hours or so that this is up, so if you have some other Marvel collection you’ve been wanting to pick up and want nearly 500 pages of what Graeme describes as “nuts…genuinely wacky,” this is your chance?) But reading it Graeme finds himself a little put off by the Micheline/McFarlane stuff that launched Venom and is still considered one of the defining runs on Spider-Man. Why? Does Jeff feel the same? How many more rhetorical questions can be used to pad out this entry? Two?
But beyond that is a larger discussion about where the sweet spots are for superheroes, when that passes, and whether or not Spider-Man works better as a visually dynamic character in a less dynamic artistic presentation, or as a dynamic character in artistically dynamic stories.
30:49-41:53: Kind of an awkward place to put in a show note transition, but our discussion of Spider-Man’s design led us to talking about the redesign of DC characters for the New 52, and so here we are at this particular point in things where we go from talking about Flash’s New 52 redesign (which has stuck) to what’s happening with Wally West, Barry Allen and the semi-but-not-5G approach of having Barry off doing adventures in Infinite Frontier, and some quality harrumphing from Jeff about the latest issue of Nightwing that gets pulled from its current storyline into the Batman Fear State event.
41:53-47:15: The talk of subtext in one of the Batman-related books leads Graeme to talk very elliptically about the final issue of Strange Adventures by Tom King, Mitch Gerads, and Evan “Doc” Shaner and how it plays against the conclusion of Rorschach by King and Jorge Fornes. It’s a spoiler-free discussion which will either intrigue you or find you clamoring for more solid details…but at least it’s spoiler free!
47:15-59:47: Rorschach, Spider-Man…it’s almost like we planned to talk about the direct and indirect influence Steve Ditko has had on the American comics industry as a way to give a sense of context to the news that his estate has filed a termination notice for the rights to Spider-Man and Doctor Strange (as well as other creators such as Larry Leiber and Gene Colan also represented by Marc Toberoff). It may—or may not—end up being a very big deal.
59:47-1:08:36: A stray wocka-wocka leads us into what I would call “prime Wait, What? digression territory?” as we end up discussing—and, really, try to stop discussing—which muppets would play which Marvel staffers/creators in the Muppet Marvel biopic. Graeme calls repeatedly to listeners to chime in with your suggestions in the comments. *Please* do! It’s fifteen hours later and I can still barely think of anything else!
1:08:36-1:39:01: From the absurd to the less-than-sublime: we talk about our experiences with the Infinite comics released on Marvel Unlimited as well as the Batman Family comic (among others) on Webtoons. The future of comics? Maybe we can only fully understand the future of comics by scrutinizing a fragment of its path—that is, Scott McCloud’s tremendously underwhelming follow-up to Understanding Comics, Reinventing Comics. Yes, as a wise man once said, “those who don’t complain about their past are doomed to repeat it (and by it, I mean ‘complaining about the present’).”
1:39:01-1:47:49: Jeff *very* much wants to deliver a new installment of “My Four Manga” but cannot since he’s almost entirely been reading stuff previously mentioned and therefore offering no guesswork possibilities: Fist of the North Star, Vol. 2 by Buronson and Tetsuo Hara; Sweat and Soap, Vol. 9, by Kintetsu Yamada; and chapters of Drowning Love by George Asakuara (which Jeff calls Drowning God which is, um, wrong).
1:47:49-2:18:56: Graeme, by contrast, has been catching up on and was hugely impressed by The Many Deaths of Laila Starr by Ram V and Filipe Andrade; Jonna and the Unpossible Monsters by Chris and Laura Samnee and Matthew Wilson; and Joshua Dysart’s Valiant “trilogy” of Harbinger, Imperium, and The Life and Death of Toyo Harada. And some thoughts Graeme has had about trying to compare Dysart’s story with what Hickman’s done with X-Men leads to us discussing talking about Hickman’s departure from the x-books, some of the more extreme theories surrounding them, and areas of Graeme’s discontent with the redirection of the X-titles. Also discussed: Russell T. Davies returning to Dr. Who and his previous track record of understanding U.S. history; and much more.
2:18:56-end:  Closing Comments…or are they? Look for us on  Stitcher! Itunes! Instagram! Twitter together and separately: Graeme and JeffTumblr, 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 again!  Join us in a fortnite for the first episode of October!
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