Whew! Hey, Whatnauts, Jeff here. My apologies for getting this up a bit later than usual: ironically, part of the reason is that I’m trying a new method for editing the podcast that should make it faster. (The other part of the reason is that I caught a double feature of Lady Snowblood movies at the New Mission Cinema and ate deviled eggs and drank milkshakes with booze in them and it was pretty god-damned great.)
And that said, I should warn you there is the growing likelihood that the responsibilities in my day job may be changing in the very near future and Graeme and I have been trying to figure out how to make sure we still manage to deliver Wait, What? quality in a timely way. I hope you remain patient with me as I go through the process of working all that out. Fortunately, you have lots of excellent, high quality writing from Graeme and Matt to keep you happy in the meantime.
Anyway, enough of that. Let’s get shownoting, shall we?
0:00-6:24: The greeting thing (this time with proper microphones); the Three Stages of Muppet; Muppets Most Wanted; Disney’s trifecta of the Muppets, Star Wars and Marvel.
6:24-17:10: Discussions of pop culture cocktails leads us to talk about Lego Dimensions, the video game IP orgy competitor to Disney Infinity. And this leads to a discussion about the crossovers you stage with your own toys as opposed to officially sanctioned IP crossover play. Also discussed: playing with action figures (in which Jeff accidentally mentions using Star Wars figures to fill in as SHIELD agents when he really meant using Star Wars figures); the scramble for new action figures for Return of the Jedi; which leads to discussing…
17:10-25:15: Jeff loves the fact that Star Wars fans love the bounty hunters from The Empire Strikes Back even though, as Graeme points out, even Boba Fett doesn’t appear for more than ten minutes total in the films. Also discussed: George Lucas’s dislike of Boba Fett; Lucas’s official slogan for the making of the prequels; and the ballad of General Grievous.
25:15-49:18: We segue so organically it’s actually hard to chop it up, but if you want to hear Graeme and Jeff argue about whether Star Wars is an epic about redemption or an anti-redemption without a lot of action figure talk, you can start here. Please note we talk about Star Wars: The Force Awakens just a teeny tad and, depending on your view, we either do not spoil a darn thing or we talk about stuff that can lead the overheated mind to make some suppositions it might consider spoiler-y? As Graeme points out, it’s probably not a big deal since everyone who’s wanted to see TFA by now already has BUT JUST IN CASE here’s your soft spoiler warning. Discussed: whether or not Star Wars is pro- or anti-redemption; the handling of Jedi in the prequels; Jeff is a big fan of the theory put forward by Chris Ready over at his awesome Disaster Year 20xx blog about Return of the Jedi, where Graeme has a different view about the film, and is armed with facts in hand from his recent read of J.W. Rinzler’s Making of Star Wars books; the Ewoks in Vietnam; and Jeff’s discussion of the real phantom behind The Phantom Menace.
49:18-1:04:48: “Whatnauts,” sez Graeme, “once again, this is a podcast about comic books where we’ve talked about Star Wars for the first forty-eight minutes.” And he’s got a point! So we change up to talk about Batman #48 by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo, and the high strangeness that is “Superheavy,” the current arc. Discussed: the scene between two characters by the side of a lake; Mr. Bloom as DC Comics; Snyder’s metatext reaching the levels of Morrison’s Calvin Ellis issue of Action; Snyder’s take on Batman and Morrison’s take on Batman as it reflects their views on depression; and more.
1:04:48-1:19:18: Talking about Morrison’s darker works, we talk about Nameless #6 by Morrison and Burnham. FULL SPOILERS, I think we give it all away—in our vague sort of way—and I’ll tell you now one of us thought it was great, and another of us…did not.
1:19:18-1:34:17: And as long as we’re running through the hall of mirrors, let’s move from Snyder to Morrison to the first three issues of Mark Millar and Rafael Albuquerque’s Huck, which Graeme read all at a go, and he gets a chance to compare and contrast it a bit with Valiant’s Faith #1 by Jody Houser, Francis Portela & Marguerite Sauvage. Pop quiz: which book do you think Graeme described as “weirdly cynical for a comic that theoretically should be the opposite” and which got described as “utterly fucking delightful”? And this leads us to talk about other books that are working in the absurd and delightful parts of town, and how they differ from other previous, more self-conscious works.
1:34:17-1:54:05: And this leads us to a discussion about Spider-Gwen, particularly Radioactive Spider-Gwen #4 which Jeff has read. His take on the reasons for the book’s tone are quite different from Graeme’s and quite possibly far less generous. And from there we talk about which books we’re reading in All-New, All-Different Marvel and whether or not Marvel Unlimited actually raises the bar for books we’re willing to pay money for. Discussed: Star Wars, The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Patsy Walker AKA Hellcat, Vision, Spidey, Spider-Man/Deadpool, The Ultimates, the upcoming Power Man and Iron Fist, and more.
1:54:05-2:10:28: And although we are just about out of time, Jeff cannot resist asking Graeme what he thinks about the IDW reboot of Judge Dredd by Ulises Farinas, Erick Freitas, and Dan McDaid, in no small part because that and a ton of time spent playing the Judge Dredd pinball game, Jeff has a question he doesn’t know the answer to: What makes for “good” Judge Dredd?
Our special thanks to the kind crew at American Ninth Art Studios for their continuing support of this podcast, as well as our continuing special thanks to the Empress Audrey, Queen of the Galaxy…and to all 113 of our supporters on Patreon who make our show possible.
Next week: There’s a break but we’ll back in two weeks with Wait, What? Ep. 194. The march to Episode 200 has begun! (Well, technically it started around episode one, but let’s not quibble.)
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.
http://theworkingdraft.com/media/podcasts/WaitWhat169.mp3 Obviously, I’ve become hooked on embedding YouTube clips in our browser. Dunno why, and I think it’s arguable that it’s more than a little insulting to put video in a comics podcast blog but…eh. …