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.)
Okay, so you survived the American Thanksgiving, Black Friday (apparently also known as “Brown Friday” because of the propensity for people in line to shit in odd places so as not to lose their places…
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!