When I think of Vertigo comics–I think when most people think of Vertigo comics–I think of the … um … goth-ier stuff. Tarot cards and rings of salt and stories about stories about stories and whatever. If…
The holidays are upon us, and we are working hard to make sure you have more than enough Wait, What? with which to ring in the new year. So I hope you’ll understand if I move right into the “shownotes” portion of this afternoon’s entertainment so I can hustle on to the next podcast-related project:
00:00-01:47: Greetings from Graeme “Making Tea” McMillan and Jeff “Making Lemonade” Lester who start off by talking about tech problems, and worrying about whether or not we’re going to have them (SPOILERS: we are.)
01:47-38:26: Before we get to the comic book talk, we thought it might be worth doing a bit of comic book media talk first—more specifically, the relatively recent first trailer for Captain America: Civil War, and the very recent new trailer for Batman Vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice. We discuss, compare, and contrast both. The cameos! The dialogue! The course corrections! What Jeff’s wife lady thought! Head’s up: because BvS:DoJ was fresher in our memory, we discuss that one in far more detail, including intentionality, dream sequences, Stucky and the possibility of cleaner motivation for Cap in the film version of Civil War as opposed to the comic; Jeff’s not especially correct “Rule of Three” for Marvel trailers; and much more.
38:26-1:15:58: And from there we go to the Marvel/Netflix show, Jessica Jones, via the pivot of wondering if the show—which Jeff has seen all of, and Graeme turned off after the first episode—feel like it’s happening in the same place, the same shared universe, as Daredevil and the Marvel Cinematic Universe? Also discussed: Agents of SHIELD;Heroes; Girls; Mike Colter as Luke Cage; Krysten Ritter as Jessica Jones; Rosario Dawson as Claire Temple; David Tennant as Killgrave; Veronica Mars; what they could do for Season Two; Jessica’s transition in the comics from main character to supporting character; the appearance of [VILLAIN] that seems certain to appear on Season Two of Daredevil; the cutesy little thing Jeph Loeb does that drives Jeff crazy; the appearance of Ernie and Gus-Gus in apparent defense of Jeph Loeb; Jessica Jones vs. The Flash; the very low standards of viewers of Agents of SHIELD; Jessica Jones vs. Supergirl; the slow development of different tones for superhero shows and movies; and more. (And if you’re interested, there’s a whole bunch of stuff Jeff didn’t get around to saying that he finally does just below this very post.)
1:15:58-1:29:28: “But, yes! Comic books! I would like to discuss those!” Jeff announces, a slight and subtle transition for us to move on to the four-colored side of things (although that phrase really isn’t applicable any more, is it?). First up: The Sheriff of Babylon #1 by Tom King and Mitch Gerads, about a military contractor in Baghdad 2003 tasked with training a new Iraqi police force. Jeff utters words he never thought he’d ever say; Graeme admits to reading the first issue multiple times; the phrase “it’s not a perfect comic” utterly multiple times in multiple ways; the movie Green Zone is brought up in a less-than-fond way; and more.
1:29:28-1:35:14:The Vision #2, also by Tom King, with art by Gabriel Hernandez Walta, also came out this week, so Jeff gets compare and contrast it a bit with The Sheriff of Babylon. Discussed: playing out the string; compelling arguments for trade-waiting; the heyday of Marvel decompression; a mix of Alan Moore and Brian Bendis; the second chapter in a trade versus the second issue of comic; which leads to…
1:35:14-1:42:47: The second issue of Unfollow by Rob Williams and Mike Dowling! Graeme thought that Ravan was an utterly compelling lead for the second issue which turns the book into a ensemble book. Interestingly enough, we do our best to avoid spoiling the climax of the second issue which is a thing we do not usually even try to do. As Graeme points out, this is a sign we really like the book and want to encourage people to read it? Also discussed: the stunning art by Mike Dowling and colors by Quinton Winter; Jeff being more willing to tradewait; Graeme feeling like the second issue takes what we see in the first issue and twists it or challenges versus Jeff feeling eh, not so much; and Jeff’s weird feeling that maybe Unfollow #2 might’ve stood out more if he hadn’t already read The Sheriff of Babylon and This Damned Band #5 by Paul Cornell and Tony Parker.
1:42:47-1:50:26: “Where are you on Batman and Robin Eternal?” asks Graeme, and so the truth comes out: Jeff, Batman fanatic who had read all of Batman Eternal, hasn’t made it past issue #2 of the book yet (although continuing to buy and stockpile issues) while Graeme is completely up-to-date on the series and is still digging it. That said, Graeme has been worrying about the future of Batman and Robin Eternal’s satisfying single driving plot approach after getting and reading Earth Two: World’s End Vol. 2 (issues #12-26 of the weekly series) by Daniel Wilson, Marguerite Wilson, Cullen Bunn and, as is usually the case with weekly books, a veritable infantry of comic book artists; Jeff talks about getting in the weeds for weekly comics, the presence of James Tynion IV on both Batman Forever and Batman and Robin Forever, and its sequel; and more.
1:50:26-2:11:38: In discussing the recent Action Comics and Superman storyline, Graeme brings up a great point about how much depends on his mood when he’s reading. Among the topics discussed: underground fight clubs for mythical creatures; the return of Sand Superman; Robin War #1; mainlining Phonogram, The Wicked & the Divine, and Black Magick; an insightful Secret Convergence post about how podcasts are assembled and the risks of reading too many comics; Spidey #1 by Robbie Thompson and Nick Bradshaw; Spider-Man Chapter One by John Byrne; The Ship of Theseus paradox, as mentioned by both Matt Terl in our DK3 roundtable and Paul O’Connor’s review of Amazing Spider-Man #1 over at his terrific Longbox Graveyard website; and then Graeme starts cutting out in his spirited argument of Ms. Marvel as a great Spider-Man figure but then we do manage to more or less talk about what does make for a great Spider-Man figure and then…
2:11:38-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.
Welcome to the super-early, pre-surgical edition of Wait, What? Jeff is heading in to deal with a minor health condition (that rhymes with pygmy scones) which will kind of make our usual Monday mid-day drop time a bit on the impossible side. So pull up the player of choice, kick back with the following show notes, and try not to think of one of your hosts squirming in discomfort on a hospital gurney somewhere. (Cheery, right? Seriously, don’t worry about me: I’ll be drugged to the gills.) (I hope.) 00:00-9:19: Greetings from Jeff “Whoville” Lester and Graeme “The Graemetown Massacre” McMillan, who feel like they haven’t talked in a while…because they haven’t! It’s a fine jumping off point for a bit of pre-comics talk about human intimacy, Aziz Ansari’s Modern Romance, the atrophying of conversational muscles, Twitter changing from stars to hearts, Countdown to Zero Day: Stuxnet and the Launch of the World’s First Digital Weapon, The Journalist and the Murderer, and other potentially depressing ephemera.
9:19-26:43: Yes, ephemera! Not like good old live-forever-and-can-never-die comic books! Graeme has been thinking about the latter and he’s got stuff to blow our mind with. He’s been looking at sales figures and he’s got some very interesting insights to share with us, including how Star Wars comics are essentially the fourth largest comics publisher in the direct market, how much money DC is seeing from issues of Prez (with help from the info assembled by Alex De Campi, Printing costs and other behind-the-scenes info from Jim Zub). Discussed: DC You and profit, Snakes on a Plane, the Batgirl of Burnside, The Dark Knight Returns and the prestige format books, how to craft a book that is both safe and has the potential to go wide, and more.
26:43-55:46: In the course of talking about books from the Big Two that take some risks, Jeff brings up the first issue of Vision by Tom King, Gabriel Hernandez Walta, and Jordie Bellaire. Graeme has thoughts about it too, some of them relating to the recent first issue roundtable we did with Matt Terl on the website, Impressively enough, we manage to keep the end of the issue unspoiled but otherwise consider it pretty much ALL SPOILERS, ALL THE TIME. but Discussed: tradewaiting, slow burns, second issues sales, a mission statement framed via a semantic argument, Mr. Spock in American Beauty, an almost comical reluctance by Jeff to bring up Alan Moore, the “return” to Marvel’s 70s diversity, our own struggles with comic book cynicism, and more.
55:46-1:03:52: Graeme wants to talk about Ms. Marvel #19 by G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona, which was so satisfying for Graeme that he kind of feels…done with it? With everything happening at Marvel, there’s probably never been a better time to talk about Jumping Off Points (well, okay, except for maybe the New 52), and so that’s something we kick around the old sonic playing field. (I probably shouldn’t tell you this, but you may get a lot more out of the first two minutes of the conversation if you’re aware that Jeff is confused and thinks Graeme is talking about Captain Marvel but is trying to hide it.) Discussed: Alan Moore leaving Swamp Thing, the post-Morrison years of Animal Man, and more.
1:03:52-1:09:21: A mention of Al Ewing reminds Graeme that in approximately two months all of Mr. Ewing’s work on Loki will be available on Marvel Unlimited, and this is a seventeen issue run that Graeme very much recommends. Discussed: whether or not one should read Gillen’s Journey Into Mystery (and Young Avengers) before reading Ewing’s run, Mighty Avengers as a victim of Marvel Eventitis, and more.
1:09:21-1:19:00: “Marvel Unlimited is such an amazing resource,” says Jeff, before going on to talk about how his mad month-long buying spree on Comixology has him reading purchased stuff instead of all that (amazing!) all-you-can-eat stuff. Will Jeff disclose how much he spent? Can Graeme find a gentle way to tell his friend has a problem? Discussed: how much Graeme spent at the comic store; the first week of Jeff’s experiment of foregoing floppies (and his store discount) and buying digitally; the issues Jeff bought this week, which leads us to…
1:19:00-1:27:20: “Hey, so what’d you think of Unfollow, then?” Graeme asks, which gives us both a chance to talk about how much we enjoyed Unfollow #1 by Rob Williams, Michael Dowling, and Quinton Winter. Vertigo has had a pretty strong batch of first issue launches recently, but this is so far the strongest. Discussed: Survivors Club and Stephen King’s It; The Sheriff of Babylon and Jacked; Dowling’s beautiful art; Mark Millar and Grant Morrison; and more.
1:27:20-1:30:33: Jeff wants to talk about the first issue of Platinum End, by the Death Note/Bakuman team of Ohba and Obata and very much in the vein of the former than the latter. At the time of recording, it hadn’t seemed like a lot of people knew that you can buy each chapter digitally for ninety-nine cents at the same time as its Japanese release. You can get it at Viz; you can get it at Comixology; you can get it on Amazon for the Kindle. As Jeff puts it, “If you want to see what Mark Millar is going to be ripping off two years from now, check it out.”
1:30:33-1:35:11: Graeme wants to know if Jeff’s picked up Monstress by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda. Is it, as Graeme calls it “the ultimate Image book?” We go on to discuss it, along with Sarah Horrocks’ piece on Bitch Planet, Graeme utters the phrase, “I don’t even like fantasy, and this book is stunning to me.” (At the time of recording Jeff hadn’t, but he did not long after based on what Graeme says here and was pretty impressed… as you can see here.) The first issue is 71 pages for $4.99, it looks beautiful, and as Graeme says (and I go on to agree with in my piece), “Marjorie Liu is bring some really impressive fucking chops to it.”
1:35:11-1:39:51: The other first issue? The new James Bond book, Vargr, by Warren Ellis and James Masters. SPOILERS: It sounds pretty good…certainly better than Jeff’s take on what might happen.
1:39:51-1:43:58: We’ve both read Klaus #1 by Grant Morrison and Dan Mora. Considering it’s a comic book about Santa Claus, you would think Graeme would love it, right? Did he? Didn’t he? You’ll find out but you’ll hear a lot more about it from Jeff who refers to it as The Game of Thrones Christmas Special. (Which it’s really not, but come on, that would be AMAZING.)
1:43:58-1:48:10: If you did read the first issue roundtable, you’ll know both Jeff and Greeme were pretty underwhelmed by the first issue of Paper Girls by Brian K Vaughan and Cliff Chiang. So along comes issue #2 and….we happily eat ourselves some crow. Discussed: Whether Brian K. Vaughan is doing Lost even though he worked on Lost, or whether Brian K. Vaughan is doing Under the Dome even though he worked on Under the Dome; FULL SPOILERS for plot developments in the issue; Jeff compares the second issue of Survivors Club versus the second issue of Paper Girls, and an eensy bit more.
1:48:10-2:11:16: Just to finish up talking about books we discussed on the roundtable…Jeff is a few issues behind on reading Batman and Robin Eternal, but Graeme is still reading it and, remarkably enough, is onboard! Discussed: the delight of a monoplot; how long this weekly book lasts; how long it takes before the “everything changes!” trick wears thin; Batman comics written by Scott Snyder’s clique and Batman comics written by people outside Scott Snyder’s clique; Pete Tomasi and the Curse of Pete Tomasi [Note: not officially referred to out loud as the Curse of Pete Tomasi], the Justice League Darkseid War one-shots, and issues #40-45 of Justice League which we revisit because Jeff picked them up after Graeme talked about them last time. (Seriously, we talk about them a lot.)
2:11:16-end: Closing comments! We try to figure out what’s coming up next…which is confusing in part because next episode is our Secret Convergence of Infinite Podcasts episode. Graeme won’t be here (he’s on episodes 1, 3, and 5 of the crossovers) but Jeff will be joined by Chico Leo, Gary Lactus, and Paul O’Brien, discussing “The Worm Turns: Characters, Comic Books, and Creators We Used to Love But Now Hate, and Vice-Versa.” 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 114 of our supporters on Patreon who make all this possible. Look for us on Stitcher!Itunes! Twitter together and separately: Graeme and Jeff! Matt! Tumblr! And, of course, where, as of this count, 114 patrons make this whole thing possible!
Okay, so check out the first comment if you need a link to cut and paste into the player of your choice, and, hey, maybe even drop us a note if you want? That might be…nice? Either way, as always, thank you for listening!