00:00-29:40: Greetings from Graeme “Happy Holidays!” McMillan and Jeff “Who to the What Now?” Lester who start off by talking about 2016 right around the bend and all that will bring but also the oddness of recording on December 17: “Star Wars Day (Unofficially).” Yes, by the time you read these words, you probably will have seen Star Wars: The Force Awakens movie and Graeme probably will have as well. We try our hands at fake spoilers, Graeme tells us when he will be seeing the film and, more importantly, what it was like to attend a press screening of Twilight with specially invited fans of the books. Discussed: the phrase “vocal fans,” the phrase “you’re not MY Grand Moff Tarkin,” Star Wars “line frenzy,” the career of Kenny Rogers, Graeme insisting that Jeff knows the plot of the The Force Awakens, and Jeff insisting he doesn’t, rumors from months ago about the third act reveals, the very strange rumor about Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice, the return of Jaxxon and the very first Marvel Star Wars comic arc after the adaptation of the original movie, learning to do Star Wars right, the career of Don F. Glut, Abhay’s interview with him, and more.
29:40-44:42: “Hey, Jeff!” sez Graeme. “Because this is the last episode we’re recording this year, I know I made a totally half-assed attempt at a ‘Best of/Favorites of 2015. Did you?” And Jeff did! HOWEVER, we also had promised to address certain other topics in this podcast before we got around to that. (We had? asks Graeme. We had, confirms Jeff.) Because Whatnaut Kris Peterson had requested it, we read The Horror of Loon Lake, an anthology of comics edited by Carl D. Smith. [EDIT: Ooo, really big oversight on our part as pointed out to us on Twitter: Smith wrote all the stories, which were drawn by different artists. A real mistake on our parts, but also maybe a good sign at how many different types of stories he undertook? You decide!] Discussed: Smell A Rat by Stan Chou; all-ages horror comics; House of Scary by Jeff Manley; Cartozia Tales; and more.
Batman and Robin Eternal #11 by Snyder, Tynion IV, Brisson, Blanco, Duce, Rauch
44:42-1:10:02: And as for our second “we promised we would do this last time (we think?”), we are discussing the first eleven issues of Batman and Robin Eternal, plotted by Scott Snyder and James Tynion IV, and executed by a fleet of talented writers and artists. We discussed it as part of our first issue roundtable on the website but here we dig in to discuss it length. FULL SPOILERS for the first eleven issues so, y’know, spoilers and all. Discussed: Genevieve Valentine, Alvaro Martinez Bueno, and Raul Fernandez; Valentine’s Catwoman; the first few issues of Robin War; more plot-heavy discussion of B&R Eternal; the possible character-breaking plot twist that might be coming; and more.
1:10:02-1:16:30: Graeme steers us back to our Best of 2015 lists, which we finally dig into. Our lists are kinda problematic, in that we didn’t necessarily try to read to keep up with everything, and also because so much of what we thought as the “best” reads of the year either existed before it was published this year or because we just finally got around to it. As we say in the podcast itself, the difference between ‘new’ and ‘new to you’ is almost meaningless these days.
That said: lists! Graeme’s pick for favorite book of the year is Noelle Stevenson’s Nimona (which was a webcomic before it was collected by First Second). Jeff’s only read a page or two but we still get a chance to talk about it for a bit.
1:16:30-1:18:22: Another pick by Graeme for his favorite thing he read this year is 2014’s This One Summer by Jillian Tamaki and Mariko Tamaki, also published by First Second. “It’s so beautifully illustrated, so beautifully observed,” sez Graeme.
Giant Days by Allison, Tremain, and Cogar
1:18:22-1:24:16: Also on the list? Giant Days by John Allison, Lissa Tremain, and Whitney Cogar about kids going off to college. It’s not as magically realist as Bad Machinery but it’s equally funny for Graeme, if not more so. In a similar vein, but more superhero-y is The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl by Ryan North and Erica Henderson (which made both of our lists for best of the year). And even more superhero-y, and also on both our lists are the two issues of Convergence: Shazam! by Jeff Parker and Evan “Doc” Shaner which is, as Graeme so perfectly describes it, “another joyous superhero book that embraces the superhero.”
1:24:16-1:28:28: Graeme goes from that to almost the opposite with Martian Manhunter by Rob Williams and Eber Ferreira. Graeme’s review is kinda spoilery, but makes the book sound intriguing as hell. Not on Graeme’s list but definitely considered and most definitely discussed is Action Comics by Greg Pak and Aaron Kuder.
The Omega Men by King and Bagenda
1:28:28-1:34:34: But on the list: The Omega Men by Tom King and Barnaby Bagenda, and which Graeme refers to as “I think I’ve come to terms with it being my favorite Tom King.”
1:34:34-1:36:25: Another book from Graeme for which he has some complicated feels: Zero by Ales Kot and collaborators. With The Surface and Material as both runners-up and also of a piece.
1:36:25-1:37:54:Transformers vs. G.I. Joe by Tom Scioli and John Barber: it’s on both our lists (despite Jeff being four to five months behind).
Nameless by Morrison and Burnham
1:37:54-1:49:06: “Okay, I’m going to speed through the rest so you can do yours,” announces Graeme, so here goes: this year’s 2000AD Judge Dredd material from Rob Williams and Henry Flint, particularly their sequel to Titan(which Graeme actually talks about for longer than his last two picks put together); The Wicked and Divine by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie; Multiversity by Grant Morrison and collaborators (also on both our lists), as well as other Morrison works this year: Annihilator with Frazier Irving, and Nameless with Chris Burnham; Unfollow by Rob Williams and Mike Dowling (also on both of our lists); and finally Drawn & Quarterly: Twenty-five Years of Contemporary Cartooning, Comics, and Graphic Novels, edited by Tom Devlin. With special runner-up status for two monthly books that are too early in their run to call the “best” of 2015 (but which both Graeme and I dig a lot): Monstress by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda, and Unfollow by Rob Williams and Mike Dowling.
1:49:06-2:17:55: Jeff’s turn! And since he wrote them all down and is the guy doing the show notes, you can get them in one big pile with notes as to how he read them, albeit one he divided up in a few different categories: manga, stuff that was published this year, stuff that was not published this year, and honorable mentions. (Please note Graeme thought to limit his list to roughly ten titles. Jeff wasn’t that organized.)
Night Nurse #1-4 (digitally, Marvel Comics via Comixology)
Revenger by Charles Forsman (print and digitally, Oily Comics via Comixology Submit)
(With the surprising conclusion that, although he dearly loves his Marvel Unlimited all-you-can-eat subscription, he probably read more comics digitally via Crunchyroll’s all-you-can-eat subscription and also via sales and subscriptions on Comixology…and both of these experiences are still being overshadowed by print. Huh!)
Fantastic Four, by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee
Oh yeah, and truth be told, Graeme and I both really enjoyed reading the first 102 issues of the Fantastic Four by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee for the Baxter Building podcast. Good ol’ Reed Richards has a way of grating on a guy’s nerves, but it was also an *amazing* ride!
2:17:55-end: Closing comments! Our special thanks to the kind crew at American Ninth Art Studios for their continuing support of this podcast..as well as our special thanks to the Empress Audrey, Queen of the Galaxy…and to all 115 of our supporters on Patreon who make all this possible.
(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!