Frankenstein is anything but harmless. Get it? Armless?

Frankenstein is anything but harmless. Get it? Armless?

There’s something very odd about the way that the various DC weekly books are paced. By necessity, they launch amazingly slowly — I re-read 52 recently, and was genuinely surprised at how poorly the opening issues read in retrospect, and how long the series takes to come into focus — because they have to juggle and sustain what are essentially disparate single plots for an impressively long time, meting out developments slowly enough so that they don’t exhaust material too quickly. They’re the ultimate “decompression” comics, even if they normally receive some kind of “Well, that’s different because they’re weekly comics” excuse from traditional complaints from readers.

All of which is to say, The New 52: Futures End #0-7 may feel like it’s dragging and a little directionless right now, but I still have this odd confidence in the series that, I’m worried, it may not actually deserve.

I said on the podcast that, in terms of the spectrum of DC weekly (or bi-weekly) series, this is far more 52 than Countdown to Final Crisis, and that’s still the case. The 2006 series definitely feels like the model for Futures End in almost every way, from the world-building, expansive cast of essentially b-listers or below with links to the Big Guns, almost comically-visible attempts to point to Grand Themes (By now, the “What Does It Mean To Be A Superhero” and “Technology Can Be Used to Dehumanize Us” signposts have been fairly well hammered into readers’ consciousnesses) and the asking of Big Questions that may or may not be answered before the series finishes. It’s also a model in terms of creative construction, with four writers contributing to each issue creating the fun guessing game where you can try and figure out who wrote what (I’m pretty sure Dan Jurgens is handling the Lois plot, and Brian Azzarello the Batman Beyond one, but beyond that, I have no real idea).

That clear connection to 52 creates a strange goodwill in me towards the series that I’m not sure I’d have otherwise; certainly, there are plots that I have almost no interest in whatsoever (The Frankenstein/Ray Palmer/Amethyst teaming leaves me cold, for example, despite the Phantom Zone jaunt in the last two issues) and there are moments that feel distinctly Countdown-esque in tone and execution (The villains planning the heist, the heavy-handedness of the Red Robin scenes). And yet, I’m in, I’m down with this series far more than I am for the arguably-superior Batman: Eternal, and I’m not quite sure why.

Well, that’s somewhat facetious; I prefer reading about Mr. Terrific and Firestorm than I do Batman and Batwing, for one. I also like the expansiveness of Futures End more than the relative claustrophobia of Eternal’s Gotham-centric focus.

Futures_End_Vol_1-3_Cover-1More than that, I like the feeling that Futures End is additive to its fictional world, however temporary those additions — Lois as the Perry White of the Internet, the clearly-not-going-to-last-past-this-series post-Earth War status quo, Mr. Terrific’s Steve Jobs-meets-Kanye empire — may end up being. There’re things being set up here that I appreciate as a longterm DC fan, things that I kind of wish would happen in the “mainstream” DCU, whether it’s Black Adam in the Phantom Zone, the new Firestorm situation (and definitely costume), or Cadmus Island patrolled by OMACs. It’s nothing new, per se, but it’s something different and potentially interesting, and that’s enough to keep my attention right now.

For those who haven’t been reading DC books for more than two decades at this point, though — I’m not sure there’s enough there there to keep them engaged. At only eight issues released (and DC, seriously: That zero issue was really issue one. Let’s stop with this “zero issue” bullshit, please — anyone who started the series with “issue one” would have been rightfully confused), we’re still at the point where things are being set in motion and put into place, and all plots are on a slow burn. I get that. For the good of the series and keeping the attention of those who don’t have irrational attachments to either the DCU as a historical narrative engine or 52 as a series, I do kind of wish that everyone involved could find a way to set everything in motion in a way that’s just a bit more fun and interesting in its own right.


Hey, so here are Jeff’s reviews! They have a common thread, I think! Click through to read them with your eyes, or don’t click through to read them with the power of your imagination.

Continue reading


A hastily-written grab bag of reviews! Of things you wanted me (Graeme, because as pointed out in the comments, that’s not immediately obvious)  to write about, Whatnauts! You only have yourself to blame!

For people coming here to listen to the latest episode of the podcast: Scroll down one entry! It’s right there! Continue reading




Time, time, time…see what’s become of me…

(And the worst part is I have no doubt Graeme will read this and think of the Bangles cover, while I definitely have Simon & Garfunkel in mind.  Oh, the curse of being young at heart and old everywhere else.)

Jeff here with the latest episode for your enjoyment (see above).  And although “Hazy Shade of Winter” is really about, I dunno, the passage of time and how part of growing old enough to really appreciate life is pretty much exactly at the point you realize you are also going to die and life will proceed on without you just as it did before, I’m kind of using it for a quick catch-all for “Holy cow, we are so incredibly grateful for your Patreon support and for getting so much of it so soon, although because of that I am actually a little bit sandbagged with stuff to do!”



Graeme has a post coming up in the next day or two, I’m rushing to get something put together for later and then we have to do it all over again?  That’s amazingly great!

But, for whatever reason, this week’s show notes may end up feeling a little light, maybe?  I don’t know if that’s actually the reason why, though.  It may well have been the fact that, for whatever reason, Graeme and I didn’t jump all over the place topic-wise, so it’s not like there’s a lot of changed subjects to map out?  Or maybe I’m just getting used to changing gears and after we’ve had a few of these, I’ll be able to switch seamlessly between writing show notes, my weekly entries, and the other writing I’m trying to press forward on?

Anyway, after my really impressive bout of salesmanship, join me after the cut:  show notes!

Continue reading


Batman Eternal 6-10 or something: Look, I’ve learned a lot of things about myself from doing the podcast with Graeme, things that I’m more than a little mortified by—and while I can’t say that learning what a complete and utter idiot I am for Batman is the most mortifying, it should probably be mentioned first because it is arguably the mouth of the river Nile: whenever I find myself picking up some irredeemably stupid shit, chances are good I’m doing it because of Batman.


Continue reading


While Jeff does comic reviews, I’m apparently doing graphic novel reviews this week because that’s how… I… roll…? Okay, I admit it. I got nothing aside from this pairing of what the Internet used to call “OGN”s.

Petty Theft by Pascal Girard and Shoplifter by Michael Cho: In case the titles don’t give it away, there’s a kleptomaniac connection going on between these two books (I tried to write “kleptomaniac konnection,” like it was some kind of alliterative Kinks rip-off, but auto-correct pulled me up, thankfully). They’re hardly the same book: Girard’s book is a “heavily fictionalized memoir” that sees him investigating, and ultimately falling for, a woman he sees stealing one of his books in a store by chance, whereas Cho’s debut graphic novel is… I’m trying to think of a nice way to say “like an extended remix of a story Adrian Tomine would’ve written a decade ago, only the movie version that would star Zoe Kazan playing Asian” and utterly failing. Continue reading


You know, I totally volunteered to write this first post since I was completely unsure if I was going to have my act together enough next week, and there were some holes in this week’s schedule where I was, like, “Yeah, I can do that, I think?  Plus, you know, it’ll give me a chance to get a post in before Graeme raises the damn bar…”

But the idea of writing something that can really measure up to the importance of the first post on a site that is being underwritten by dozens of people who support the podcast and (I hope) our plans for this website has been a bit hobbling.  It’s like I volunteered to put my foot into the bear trap first?  (And keep in mind here the bear trap represents my own worries about perfection and import and all that other crap that somehow seems paradoxical stemming as it does from a lover of a disposable pop medium.  I don’t want you to infer I’m talking smack about the support we’ve received.  Far from it, I’m talking smack about the inside of my own head.)

All of which is to say: ignore that stump where my foot used to be!  Join me behind the jump, and let’s talk comics! Continue reading


Well, that went better than we had expected.

For those who aren’t Jeff or I and haven’t been avidly watching the results of our Patreon campaign, you probably don’t know that we broke the $200 barrier today. This is a big deal to both of us — if we’re honest, we didn’t think that we’d manage to do this in our first month, never mind our first week, so we’re almost at a loss for words that it happened so quickly. Almost.

I’ll try to avoid any Sally Field-esque moments, but we’re insanely grateful to everyone who has signed on to support us, especially when we see that so many of you have never supported a Patreon campaign before. It really means a lot to us that you’ve been so generous, and we’ll do our best to… keep talking about comic books and getting distracted to entertain you for a long time to come, I guess? I feel like there should be something more that we can do in return for your kindness and money.

Well, there’s always the rewards we’ve promised, I suppose. For those who have signed up at the levels that give you access to stickers and/or the digital grab bags, we’re working on getting those out to you. Links to the digital grab bag should go out in the next couple of weeks, once Jeff and I firm up exactly what’s going to be contained therein (For those who remember my Wolverine impression, I believe that’s in there; for those who have never heard it, I’m sorry in advance). The stickers should start going out… at the end of the month, barring production delays. Expect updates on both via Patreon.

Hitting the $200 milestone also means that we’re going to be writing a couple of regular review posts a week, one by Jeff and one by myself. Think of it as a chance for us to review the comics we never quite get around to talking about on the podcast itself. Jeff starts with a post that should go up tomorrow, and then I’ll have one early next week; ideally, we’ll go with a “Graeme in the first half of the week, Jeff in the second half” routine after that. If you heard me mention the new Pascal Girard book during the last episode, I’ll finally get around to it in my post, along with the Michael Cho book that’s due out later this year; there’s a thematic link, I swear.

We’ve both been bowled over by how this (re-)launch has gone; instead of the polite interest of a Fantastic Four relaunch — well, until Marvel cancels the book for insane reasons, if rumors are to be believed — we’re the Scott Snyder/Greg Capullo Batman relaunch. Except with less owl masks and flashbacks to our origin stories. Although, you never know — do you think I could talk Jeff into Wait, What? Zero Year…?

More seriously: Thank you, thank you, thank you, to everyone for the support you’ve shown us. We’re all verklempt.


omac1Wait What? Ep. 1.What Now?

Hoo boy, the more things change, the more they stay the same, am I right?

Hey, everybody!  Here’s a laugh  for you — Graeme and I have been racing around like lunatics to get this launch set up so it can go live on this day, setting up a Tumblr, setting up a Twitter, setting up a Patreon page so that people who want us to beat our previous record of 150+ episodes can help us do so,  and, with the help of friends and family, getting this new website in place.  Seriously, this WP theme we’ve got working can really kick out the jams:  I can embed podcasts in their own entries, we can have a rotating series of entries on our top banner…

And I know how to work none of it.  And since Graeme and Kate are offline for the night and I want this to get launched on the first day of June… I’m going to be kicking it old school.  Which is to say: incompetently.

And to top things off, I didn’t even mean to bite Graeme’s opening entry by using the (kinda dinky?) image that I did…it’s just that Photobucket is acting broken and I can’t upload some lovely art from the new Flash Gordon series by Jeff Parker, Evan “Doc” Shaner, Jordie Bellaire and others.  Or at least I can’t yet…maybe by tomorrow, we’ll have worked out the bugs?

Anyway, since we don’t have to worry about pushing aside other fine collaborators, how about we get straight into the show notes, yeah?

  • 00:00-07:13: New greetings!  Which are a lot like our old greetings except, comically, we are more awkward at them?  As you can see, this new house of ours and newish venture has us a little off our game…at first.  Presumably, we’ll get back into the swing of things sooner rather than later.  But for the first few minutes, it’s us comparing ourselves to The Chevy Chase Show, which is  not the most inspiring of comparisons, to be sure.
  • 07:13-8:08: Oh, and also check out the Tumblr: for things like our reading lists, images we’ve plucked from those books, links to the show, and what-have-you.  That’s got to be, like, a signficant percentage of what one posts on Tumblr, right?  What-have-yous?
  • 8:08-10:01:  Speaking of which, it’s time to play the game that Jeff always loses: Let’s Talk About How Much We’ve Read (But May Not Get Around to Discussing).  In Graeme’s corner: Trees #1 (ditto for Jeff); Saga #19  (ditto); Lumberjanes #1 and #2 (ditto for Jeff); Southern Bastards #2 (ditto); Forever Evil #7 and Justice League #30 and Justice League of America #15; the first five issues of DC New 52: Future’s End; the final issue of Nightwing; the first couple issues of Flash Gordon (ditto from Jeff, although listening to it now, I’m not sure if Graeme is being coy and actually has read issue #3 ahead of the rest of us plebes or not); the Gold Key books from Dynamite (Turok, Doctor Spektor (Regina Spektor’s older brother), Magnus Robot Fighter, and Solar, Man of the Atom); Original Sins #1; the most recent issues of 2000 A.D.; the pending ABC Warriors collection A.B.C. Warriors (Mek Files);The Banzai Batallion collection Banzai Battalion: Just Another Bug Hunt; the latest Devlin Waugh collection; Velvet #5; Zero issues #6, 7, and 8 (ditto for Jeff); Shutter #2 (ditto): Starlight #3 (ditto); Dead Letters #2; Petty Theft by Pascal Girard and Nobrow 9: It’s Oh So Quiet (Nobrow Magazine). 10:01-14:14: And in Jeff’s far more anemic corner (especially when he leaves out the ones Graeme’s mentioned above):  the Free Comic Book Day edition of Transformers vs. G.I. Joe (ditto Graeme); Aquaman #31 (ditto);  Batman #31; Afterlife with Archie #5 (ditto); Batman & Frankenstein #31; Tales From The Con #1; Walking Dead #127; Minimum Wage #5; Bee and Puppycat #1; Star Trek New Visions: The Mirror Crack’d (about which Graeme literally has to jump in and immediately ask questions, so excited is he by the prospect of John Byrne photoshopping a goatee onto images of Leonard Nimoy) (and, really, who can blame him?) (Graeme, I mean, not John Byrne—we blame John Byrne for *sooooo* much); Batman Eternal issues #6, 7, and 8; Crossed Badlands #53; The Fuse #4; and approximately 25 issues of Marvel’s Avengers (we say approximately because we were supposed to read up to issue #138 or so and Graeme, of course, read to issue #141 and Jeff made it to issue #132 (although he read the Giant Size Avengers issues, which means bupkis in the face of all that other amazing crap Graeme read while simultaneously writing for six other websites).  And more (but less than Graeme)!
  • 14:14-28:59: Jeff is about a month behind on his 2000 A.D. reading (and don’t even get him started on Shonen Jump Weekly, Whatnauts!) but that does mean that he did get to finish the stunning “Mega-City Confidential” by John Wagner, Colin MacNeil, Chris Blythe, and Annie Parkhouse.  And so we talk about this fine piece of unsubtle, polemical, slow-burn storytelling, and what has been a very, very good year for Judge Dredd stories.  Also mentioned: the Titan story, Shooter’s Night; the classic storyline Judge Dredd: America (of course); The Dark Knight Returns; The Wire; and more.
  • 28:59-1:10:56:  From new 2000 A.D. to very old 2000 A.D.:  through 2000 A.D.’s iPad app, Jeff purchased The Ballad of Halo Jones (Alan Moore) by Alan Moore and Ian Gibson, a classic early Moore work that Jeff had never read.  So, with a minimal amount of shaming from Graeme (thank goodness!), we talk about Halo Jones, the work of Ian Gibson, Miracleman,  Mark Millar and the brilliant Shameless by Colin Smith; and The Last War in Albion by Philip Sandifer.  Also mentioned: Graeme’s thought experiment about Alan Moore (at 35:44);  From Hell; Alan Moore’s work for Image; Graeme’s ambivalence about (especially) Supreme; Jeff natters on about an essay he read talking about a Jim Starlin’s run on DC Comics Presents and how it provided some imagery for one of Alan Moore’s Supreme flashbacks (and because we love you, we can tell you that essay was written by the mighty Tom Scioli; Alan Moore, raconteur; Promethea; America’s Best Comics; and an unexpected compare/contrast that I think suprised both Graeme and me; the announcement of Electricomics; Moore’s stance about DC; the Clovis episode of Veep; comparisons to Thrillbent; Jeff’s reaction as a subscriber thereto, specifically to The Damnation of Charlie Wormwood; and (allen) more!
  • 1:10:56-1:13:50: Graeme has interesting news about, believe it or not, Left Behind and Nicholas Cage.  Come for the week-old movie news, stay for the creation of our new Patreon milestone: GET NICHOLAS CAGE ON OUR PODCAST.  Other news worth mentioning:  Shaft becoming a comic book; and Graeme and Jeff being old.  So very old, you guys.  So old.
  • 1:13:50-1:27:44: From Nicholas Cage to Warren Ellis (but of course!), here we are talking about Trees #1 by Ellis and Jason Howard.  Also discussed:  Ellis and his mailing list; Ellis on Supreme; Ellis off Moon Knight; Ellis Doesn’t Live Here Any More; Ellis Sweet Ellis; Ellis in Chains; and maybe the last two or three of those are just things I threw in to keep myself entertained?  But also, what is up with Marvel and their big-name writers leaving books within the first six issues (Aaron, Waid, Fraction, Wells, etc.)
  • 1:27:44-1:30:43:Starlight, why are you still reading it?” asks Graeme, in hopes of beginning our move toward a hastier discussion of the books we’ve read.  First off, the third issue of this miniseries by Mark Millar and Goran Parlov.
  • 1:30:43-1:36:32: Bouncing quite naturally off that, the second issue of Flash Gordon by Jeff Parker, Evan “Doc” Shaner, and Jordie Bellaire.  TRIGGER WARNING: We use the word “fun” a lot. And we also discuss a great interview with Jordie Bellaire that also has an amazing anecdote detailing the difficulty of the freelancer’s life.  Graeme also very much liked King’s Watch, the prequel miniseries to the Flash Gordon series.
  • 1:36:32-1:44:27: Speaking of books edited and packaged by Nate Cosby, Graeme entreats Jeff to check out the Gold Key revival books at Dynamite (Turok, Phil Spektor Producer of the Occult, Magnus Robot RickRoller, and Solar Man of the Atom).  And here’s a problem Jeff has been having—reading very good “superhero” books that don’t manage to *stick* as regulars on his reading list (the very good but frequently ignored Archer & Armstrong, for example).
  • 1:44:27-1:48:33: Graeme talks about the last issue of Forever Evil, with some surprising news (at least to Jeff): against all odds, it almost worked! There will be spoilers in this very brief discussion of the last issue, including the last two pages of the miniseries. And because of Justice League #30, Graeme is also interested in the “Luthor Joins the Justice League” storyline that’s developing.  Again, spoilers on all this stuff but worth checking out if you’re okay with that.
  • 1:48:33-1:50:10:  Jeff has peeked at the preview of Superman they’ve been running by Geoff Johns and John Romita, Jr., and wants to get Graeme’s take on it.
  • 1:50:10-2:01:00: But to hell with that, because Graeme really wants to tell us about Nobrow 9: It’s Oh So Quiet (Nobrow Magazine) which he does briefly (but passionately!).  Jeff, left to pick his one book to talk about, of course ambles all over the place, putting most of his passion into blaming Graeme for reading ahead on Avengers. But eventually he focuses on Saga #19, including his tin-hat conspiracy theory about one of the contributors to the issue’s letter column, and there’s a bit of hand-wringing to be had about Walking Dead #127.
  • 2:01:00-end: Closing comments! If you’re reading these words, you’re probably on our website, so do check out our Patreon page and help Jeff’s Nicholas Cage dream come true!

Okay, so yeah.  Man, I wish I could do this with all the high-falutin’ stuff this website can do, but I’ll just link to the episode again down here like I did up top?  That’ll do for now, right?  Hopefully, we can give you a bit more to work with very soon.

Wait What? Ep. 1.What Now?

So, yes.  As always: THANK YOU FOR LISTENING.  Yes, I thought I would be all yell-y about that.  I hope you’re as glad to have us back as we are!