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.
Whew, what a quickly spinning world we live on. As I write this, it was exactly a week ago that Edi and I touched down in Portland, Oregon for a whirlwind visit that, once again, had me missing Rose City Comic-Con by thisssss much. And now here I am typing up the notes for the second in-the-flesh Wait, What? podcast. 185 episodes, and only two of which were recorded with the participants in the same room? Verily, this is the Mighty Wait, What? Age of Hikikomori, True Believer! (Sorry, I’ve been reading too many Roy Thomas introductions recently.)
Without further ado…let’s do, shall we?
00:00-08:41: Greetings from Graeme “On The Street Where You Live” McMillan and Jeff “The Call Is Coming From Inside the House” Lester who dare you to figure out the strange secret of this episode’s recording! [Hint: we recorded it live in the same space, which is why it sounds so different.] [Spoiler: that was really more of a spoiler than a hint.] [Addendum: And that was really more of a hint than a spoiler.] [Postscript: That was actually an addendum, though.] Once again, we are recording live but this time there is no professional microphone to help us, just two men hunched around a single laptop, so we apologize for the slightly less great sound. But for now, settle in and relax as we try out introductions, Graeme tells a story from the recent Rose City Comic-Con, we try to determine how many people hate Graeme, and more.
08:41-25:43: For example, here’s a story about the two of us shopping at Cloud Nine Comics in Portland, Oregon, where one of us was the very model of restraint, and the other one of us was Jeff. Mentioned: Steve “The Stinker” Englehart; whether or not Englehart is still in Oakland, California; whether to eat the brain or the liver; sitting adjacent to Chris Claremont; Englehart’s Coyote and the last cover thereto; meeting pros at cons (wait…is that deliberate?), Graeme’s amazing and entirely accidental pantomime; the ideal price for back issues; Jeff’s visit to Cosmic Monkey Comics; comic t-shirts we have worn and are wearing including these amazingbeauties; and more.
25:43-48:02: Talking about Cosmic Monkey conjures memories for both Graeme and Jeff of Comic Relief in Berkeley, which leads us down the primrose path of memory about how intimidating it was for us to shop in Comic Relief in Berkeley and Comix Experience in San Francisco; being slagged off by comic store clerks; being slagged off by comic store customers; and then back to talking about all the comic book stores in Portland and San Francisco, and what it’s like to live in a city with only one comic book store; which one of us had a “quitting comics” phase and which one didn’t; how living close to a comic book store can help you transcend superhero comics; and more.
48:02-1:10:51: “Hey, why don’t you talk about your Steven Englehart comics?” Graeme asks, so of course we talk about the announcement of Ta-Nehisi Coates writing Black Panther for Marvel. We also talk about the less-covered news of Frank Tieri writing The Black Knight (and Catwoman!); who’s more important to DC, what’s-her-name or what’s-his-name; the news from DC, including the cancellation of Doomed, the un-cancellation of Omega Men, and whether or not the Internet has as much faith in DC as DC has in the Internet. Also discussed: the first issue of Omega Men and whether or not it needed to be more clear; the first issue of Watchmen; the mastery of Dave Gibbons; and more.
1:10:51-1:22:29: Comics we’ve read recently! Sure, we can talk about those! But first let’s talk about reading said comics on the Kindle, because Jeff bought Graeme a copy of the Skull the Slayer collection for the Kindle and Graeme had….problems. Is the Kindle really a digital comic book platform at all? And what did Graeme think of Skull The Slayer? Also discussed is the Kindle version of Super-Villains Unite, Marvel’s collection of the old issues of Super-Villain Team-Up.
It sounds like a weird braggy innuendo, doesn’t it?
1:22:29-1:41:34: In fact, here’s Jeff discussing those very same issues of Super-Villain Team-Up! Learn what you’re (probably not) missing from Victor Loves Namor, the romance comic about two characters who can’t stand each other, as written and drawn by creators who can’t stand them, either. Also discussed: Jim Shooter as writer and artist; Steve Englehart and the guest-star to end all guest-stars; the secret connection between Dr. Doom and Batman; Reed Richards eating his own hair; the crossover that points to a coup; the coup that leads to a new President of Ecuador; and more.
1:41:34-1:52:45: Graeme has read Klang!: A Writer’s Commentary by Priest about the making of Q2: The Return of Quantum and Woody from Valiant. Discussed: Bill Cosby and Mark Waid; transgender in the scripts but cis gendered in the art; dropped plotlines and characters; gossip and process; unreliable narrators; Power Man and Iron Fist, and more.