0:01-3:38: Greetings from Graeme “Jeff Lester?” McMillan and Jeff “Graeme McMillan?” Lester let you know you’ve been robbed of perhaps the greatest opening in our history! (All that said, you probably didn’t miss much?) And, because we have a lot of qiuestions to get to, after a bit of talk about the previous week’s weather, we are off to the races!
3:38-08:00:John Kipling (from Patreon) wants to know:If the MCU makes a Fantastic Four movie who does Doom team up with to defeat Reed Richards? Namor? Mole Man and Fin Fang Foom? Galactus? (And if it is Fin Fang Foom should he wear athletic shorts?)
08:00-16:12:Ed (from Patreon) was wondering:First, Zenescope Comics and Aspen Comics seem to be popular (at least on Comixology). Do you have any sense who the audience for these are? To me, they seem like porn comics minus the porn. Am I missing something?
16:12-22:08:Second, I’ve tried to get into manga a few times but the only series that ever worked for me was Lone Wolf and Cub. I love the art style; the story was compelling, the action was clear; and it didn’t have much of the tropes that I associate with the manga that I don’t like: panty shots, high school, chibi characters, the little visual short hands (vampire teeth, bead of sweat, etc.). Do you have any manga recommendations that might work for me?
22:08-28:17: Steve Lacey asked via email: I’ll keep this brief as I’m on a phone at nearly 2am, under the influence of some very enjoyable birthday celebrations. I have never relied on autocorrect so much…
As fellow travellers on the Fantastic Four journey, I’m keen to hear your thoughts on the 10-or-so issues of the relaunched Fantastic Four so far. Are they any good? Where do they fit in the general FF rankings? And how do they compare to Slott’s other works?
28:17-30:16:In addition, what are your thoughts on the upcoming spinoff books – Invisible Woman, Future Foundation, and Yancy Street? Do the premises and creatives excite you enough, or are Marvel over saturating a limited market?
30:16-36:01: John Q(from email) wonders:In light of the ‘Drokk’ episodes, do either of you have any thoughts on the Marshal Law comic?
36:01-43:26:Jonathan Sapsed muses via email:My question is about creators ‘peaking’ in their careers. People say Chris Claremont peaked with the ’80s X-Men run or Bendis with Daredevil or Ultimate Spider-Man. But do creators really peak or is it that everybody gets used to their style? People are saying Bendis is peaking again after getting really ill and going to DC.
What about artists? Walt Simonson’s current Ragnarok seems as accomplished as his classic Thor. Bill Sienkiewicz is still innovating. I’ve heard Steve Rude say he peaked with Nexus #14. Is it that specific usually? Does anybody peak late in comics?
Is it the same with podcasts? When will Wait What peak? :)
43:26-46:44: Also when Jeff talks about ‘formalism’, usually with Alan Moore or Tom King, what does he mean exactly?
46:44-48:50:Eric Rupe, from email, wants to know: Has Jeff read enough sports manga to have an opinion on them as part of the action genre? Haikyuu in particular seems to work really well as an action story only instead of fights and chases it has volleyball matches. It is not something you see of a lot of in US media (TV, comics or otherwise) and was wonder if Jeff has had similar thoughts.
48:50-53:26:What is the most you’d be willing be spend on a comic because of nostalgia and nothing else?
53:26-1:06:49:Does the direct market inherently limit the possible success of certain types of genre material? Why the seeming lack of successful non-superhero based comedy, romance, slice-of-life, sports or similar types of comics in the traditional 20-ish page floppy format?
When people often talk about the current state of the direct market and various events that happened in the past they tend to a) blame the companies for publishing and marketing various bad ideas and/or b) blame the readers for buying said bad ideas but never seem to blame retailers for going along with it all. Do retailers deserve a certain amount of blame or are they innocent middlemen trying to make the best of a bad situation?
1:06:49-1:07:51:Who is more evil: Graeme, since he owns a Kindle, or Jeff, since he owns an iPad?
1:07:51-1:09:07:Kevin Donlan (from email) asks (but this gets booted to a future episode because it is too good a question to just dash off but we don’t have time and so here is the question for your future reference): So this should lead to a quick discussion if you were to recommend an introduction to comics to different age levels what would they be, they could either be funny books or even scholarly journals (Not Brand ‘Ecch comes to mind):8 and under /9-13 /13-15 /16-18 /19-25 /26-35 /36- fogies /”get off my lawn” to curmudgeon
Obviously there are some things that will overlap. Just curious what you think. [stay tuned, Kevin!]
1:09:07-1:11:52:Martin Gray arrives via Twitter and email to wonder:If Silver Age Marvel had done ‘Family’-style spin-offs a la Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen, who do you think would have could have carried a book?
1:11:52-1:18:14:Douglas O’Keefe (via email) has a couple loaded in the chamber and ready to fire:What was the end of Mister Miracle all about? How do you feel about the series as a wholeYou guys talked a little about #12 when it came out, but your discussion was mostly about the continuity of the series with other DC stuff at the time.I started reading with a lot of enthusiasm but by the last issue I felt like I had learned that the pizza I’d been eating was made out of cardboard.
1:18:14-1:22:02: Tom Shapira from Twitter proposes this thought experiment:If you could have one never-completed work (Big Numbers, 1963 etc.) finished what would it be?
1:22:02-1:28:55:From Twitter, George Johnson wants to know:Has the walking dead peaked or did it earlier and we are in the decline now? [SPOILERS for issue #192, the latest issue of Walking Dead]
1:28:55-1:30:05:Art Lyon (@DarthErr on Twitter) queries:What failed comic book publisher do you miss?
1:30:05-1:35:02: From email, Eric Grill challenges: Given Marvel’s previous attempt at creating manga inspired work with (to be charitable) less than successful results, what Marvel or DC characters / concepts would work if done in the true manga style by Japanese writers and artists? The natural choice would be students at the Xavier Institute like Generation X in a slice of life manga, but given the Xmen’s propensity to play sports whenever they have downtime, a baseball manga with a team of mutants could be great.
1:35:02-1:43:23:Our good chum Adam P. Knave asks via email:What music do you think goes with your current favorite series and why?
Bonus: Best Englehart storyline ever? All books he wrote are up for grabs.
1:43:23-1:46:20:Flashhe (a.k.a. Roger Wilson) asks via the electromagnetic temporal communication field (a.k.a. email):In the wake of the Swamp Thing cancellation etc, and the forthcoming Warner streaming service, is DC Universe doomed? Certainly seems like Warner would want to save the original content for its new all-encompassing streaming service. I am worried about the future of Stargirl, which I really want to see. Maybe DCU will exist only as a platform for the comics? Can the two services co-exist and the original content would premiere on both at the same time? I know it’s all just speculation at this point, but you guys seem closer to the mouth of the Oracle than I am.
1:46:20-1:47:33:Also, who is your favorite Legionnaire? I guess mine is Phantom Girl. I always dug the bell-bottomed costume.
1:47:33-1:50:55: Leef Smith wanders in from email to wonder:Where do you see the comics industry in 10 years? And more specifically, what happens to Marvel Comics after it’s wrestled from Ike Perlmutter’s cold, dead hands? (Not to wish death on anyone, but… )
1:50:55-2:03:48:Good ol’ Dan Billings writes:My comic shop has an issue with pull lists because customers with extensive asks or specific graphic novels disappear. In addition, the number of large pull list customers has significantly declined. A few questions related to that:
1. Do you think pull lists are a positive or negative for shops?
2. From what you hear, is the same loss of large customers happening everywhere?
3. If so, what do you think could change that?
4. Is there something on your pull lists you seemed to never be able to drop – either in the past or today?
2:03:48-2:08:53: David M stymies us via email with:Who was Scott Free’s mum? Bearing in mind Izaya seems to have aged about 50 years since Avia was killed and it’s probably longer as he’s a god.
Has Graeme been reading John Allison online from early on? I started with the first issue of Giant Days and then started on Bad Machinery and have only recently been exploring Scary-Go-Round and found it’s all part of the same continuity. Some of it is pretty surprising and spoilerific.
Do you have favourite Kirby monster stories? ‘I Created The Colossus!’ is mine, both because he cuts loose on the art in a way that looks years ahead of the rest of the work he was doing then and as it’s the best of his ‘monster as golem’ stories.
What’s Graeme’s favourite manga and Jeff’s favourite Legion of Superheroes story?
2:08:53-2:15:02: Retired Podcasting King Chad Nevett asks us via twitter:With the Vertigo rumours this week and Wicked and Divine ending soon, I was wondering if it being at Image at all instead of Vertigo is a good measure of the imprint? Is WicDiv the first/best example of a post-Vertigo Vertigo type of series/run?
2:15:02-2:16:42:Tiny Skeffrn (via twitter) ponders:Is it time to put the FF out of it’s misery? (Again!) Or rather, should we have left the FF in cold storage? I love Dan Slott but it’s all feeling a bit stale…
2:16:42-2:18:02: Earl Stevens via Twitter twoots:Question: This has probably been spoken about – but as a long time listener I still don’t know how you two became pals?
2:18:02-2:22:02: Credible Hulk arrives from Twitter to smash us with:Which Marvel and DC heroes would host the best podcast and on what topic? Other than Blue Beetle and Booster Gold reviewing fast food restaurants, of course.
2:22:02-2:27:14: Phil Southern tweets to break Graeme’s brain with: In my mind, you guys have tens of thousands of loyal listeners; for lack of a better way of putting it, what are your ratings? Are you comfortable sharing that kind of information? Irrespective, thanks for 10 years of great podcasts! I like them a lot, especially “comics news” and old comic discussions.
2:27:14-2:30:47: Twitter’s very own ComicCruncher asks:In your time in and around the comics industry, are there any non-obvious changes that have had a big impact? (obvious changes = stuff that everyone talks about like Amazon, digital comics, diversity, etc) Love the show!
2:30:47-2:39:44: Here’s a little slice of fried gold from Thibaut Josse via email:Hey guys,Reponding to your call for questions, here’s something I’ve been thinking about lately : do you think the dc universe (the shared superhero universe, not the multimedia app which is still not available out of the States, damn it !) is instrisically more interesting than the marvel universe ?
What leads to this question is that I noticed that you were spending a great deal of time discussing the narrative and editorial implications and the overall mythology of the comics published by dc, something you rarely do about marvel (or at least about current marvel continuity). I thought it might be just because Graeme seems to be the most interested of you two in discussing the continuity and in reading the comic books in the context of a larger universe and he’s more invested in the dc universe. But maybe you also think there’s something that makes them more interesting from this point of view. I remember Jeff saying that after some time (20 years ?), every shared universe collapse under its own weight and I think he’s absolutely right about that. There not having been a real reboot in the marvel universe could have contributed in making the marvel universe flatter (Al Ewing’s Ultimates though !).
Anyway, sorry about my English, I hope I’m still understandable. Thank you for the podcast and thank you for making me read Judge Dredd, I really, really dig it!
2:39:44-2:50:47: Jonny Kiehlmann had a few things on his mind and he emailed to say:Image’s rise over the last ten years has been fascinating — from the Chew launch literally the same month as you guys, June 2009, through to Saga and the boom following it, with things like WicDiv, Sex Criminals etc. How this period is looked at will probably depend on how well Image manages to replace Saga and WicDiv, with a lot of delayed titles, as well as Luna and Chaykin type content issues. How do you think this time will be looked on?
2:50:47-2:53:56:I assume you’ve already had someone ask what your favourite comics of the last ten years are (I’m probably the only person who’ll say Daytripper), but more specifically, what have your favourite Image comics of the last ten years been?
2:53:56-2:58:28:You mentioned Rise of Arsenal as a nadir of bad comics. Is it the worst? What stands out as the worst comic ever?
2:58:28-3:08:18: Here comes John Wheaton from email to say :(1) I loved and miss Comics Alliance. How did you feel about the site? Was it just economics that undid it or do you think something about what they offered made their fall inevitable?
(2) What’s the best comic book site now? CBR? Newsarama? ComicsVerse? Bleeding Cool? (Please don’t say Bleeding Cool)
(3) What is the best character from the Big 2 created since your podcast started?
3:08:18-end: Closing comments…of a sort. Graeme is overjoyed we made it halfway through the questions (even after Jeff points out that we’re only a third of the way through the questions). By which I mean, we kinda can’t shut up, in part because Graeme wants to talk about reading Roger Stern’s run on Amazing Spider-Man and how good it is, and Jeff is Jeff. Look for us on Stitcher!Itunes!Instagram! Twitter together and separately: Graeme and Jeff! Matt! Tumblr, and on Patreon where a wonderful group of people make this all possible, including Empress Audrey, Queen of the Galaxy, to whom we are especially grateful for her continuing support of this podcast. (Also, don’t forget about Spotify!)
Next week: Drokk, Episode 5! Which is also our…400th Episode? Go get some cake, read some Dredd, and join us!
0:01-15:25: Greetings from Graeme “I Have To Share With The World” McMillan and Jeff “I’m A Little Worried” Lester dig into our ten year anniversary of this podcast with a deep dive Q &A episode. But, first, we’re sure you’re asking yourself: what was happening in the pages of Marvel Age magazine preview for 1992? Thank goodness for you Graeme has the answer. Also discussed: the second Nomad, the third Nomad, and what happened to the second Nomad and who was responsible; vagueness related to possible tenth anniversary celebrations; Graeme shocked that Jeff hasn’t been high during recordings; how many episodes we’ve actually posted (that to be clear, Jeff was *not* high for); how in-depth the following questions are, and more.
15:25-32:17: And we’re off to the races! Matthew and Anna (from Patreon) ask: I left this a comment on the last Drokk episode, but I’ll ask it again here. Do you think there have been any comics that have been effective at capturing the idea of “punk”? There have been a few titles in recent years that have been, at least on the surface (e.g. in the title), about punk, but none of them seem even remotely like the punk scene/community/ideas that I’m familiar with. Why do you think this might be? Could it be at least in part due to the idea of “punk” within the minds of the people writing these comics still being stuck in the ’60s and ‘70s?
32:17-54:27: Supercontext Ifrom Patreon) wonders: I’m curious what your take is on several newish comics publishers that have arisen in the last couple of years. I’m specifically thinking of companies like Action Lab, AfterShock, Black Mask, Lion Forge, TKO and Vault. The recent Lion Forge/Oni acquisition probably has a connection to this. While promoting creator-owned work, they seem to mainly be backed by venture capital investments, despite the small percentage of the market that remains for them to make a return on. I don’t often hear you guys talk about their books, so I’m curious if you are reading them. What do you think about their chances for success? How do you think they’re affecting the industry? And finally, what do you think differentiates them from one another? Thanks for the show. I look forward to listening every week.
54:27-1:02:58: Daniel Mckay (from Patreon): I’ve always been a bit curious about Jeff’s day job but I feel he’s been carefully quiet so barring any more details, I’ll just thank you guys for everything with words rather than just dosh. Thanks.
1:02:58-1:13:06: Dan White (from Patreon): my question is what value do you think there is in engaging with problematic work or problematic creators?
1:13:06-1:21:34: Ethanlj (from Patreon):I grew up a Marvel guy and didn’t start reading DC until post-Crisis with Legends and then JLI. I know there must be a ton of great stuff right before that time. What storylines or creator arcs from the first half of the 80’s really stand out? I’ve read and enjoyed Judas Contract and Great Darkness Saga but other than that it’s an unexplored world.
1:21:34-1:31:29: Follow up q from Ethanlj:Oh, another one (feel free to answer just one or none). With Fox’s X-men and Fantastic Four now dead and buried, how would you introduce these concepts into the MCU. Specifically, can you launch the Original X-Men (Scott, Jean, etc) in the year 2020, or does that really have to be in the Civil Rights Movement time in the 60’s? And same question for the FF… do you need a Space Race to make it work?
1:31:29-1:57:26: Patchen Mortimer via email:As I tweeted to Jeff, I’m currently going through your archives, and your Baxter Building and Star Brand re-reads were like getting two chapters of a psychobiography that now I cannot stop thinking about.
Like, when was he good? When was he great? When and why did he go wrong? And why did he hold such sway in the industry for so long, despite being—at least as a writer—manifestly hidebound, boring and bad?
Some background: As I think I’ve mentioned previously on Twitter, I always resented John Byrne for driving me off Iron Man, which was the title that got me interested in comics. I’d been reading comics for a year when he delivered the “Armor Wars II” storyline—a lifeless slog featuring neither Armor nor Wars. The supporting cast largely vanished; the Madam Masque subplot disappeared; there was a retelling of the origin. I held on for a year and then gave up mid-arc—7th-grade me had no patience for Fin Fang Foom (at least not Byrne’s version) and the X-titles had lured me away (coincidentally, just before the big 1991 X-summer shakeup that saw Claremont leave).
Being a middle-schooler, I didn’t think to blame the writer; I just knew things had Gone Wrong. But years later my grad school roommate and I would try X-Men: The Hidden Years and it was dreck. At the same time, we were re-reading my old comic collection, and lo and behold I suddenly connected the dots.
Then in the last year or so, I’ve been listening to podcasts like yours, and discovered he did this nonsense to COUNTLESS titles. For DECADES.
You guys have perspective and omnivorous habits I don’t. Any way you can take some time to shed some light on this? What drove him to be the way he was, what were his peaks and valleys, etc.? When you look at his career in total, is there a Unified Theory of Byrne beyond a guy who was envious of Claremont and who desperately wanted comics to go back to the way they were when he was 10? Is it that simple or is there more?
Anyway, just a thought, and thanks for the podcast!
1:57:26-2:10:15: Tomas Syrstad Ruud from email: Are the big two basically unable to make good Fantasy and Science-Fiction comics, because the creators are used to the character-focused Super-Hero genre, and take it for granted that they can make drastic changes to the underlying worldbuilding in a book when they take it over? See e.g. Wonder Woman, Legion of Super-Heroes.
I recently binge-read a lot of european (not british) comics. (Storm, Thorgal, Lanfeust). When listening to your latest episode it struck me that this is the one area of comics I can’t remember hearing you discuss. Do you have any interest in this section of comics? I don’t know how much is available in english.
2:10:15-2:14:35:Skye Adamczyk from email: A few episodes ago you [Jeff] mentioned your love of “incredibly well researched but batshit insane manga” and so you came to mind when I learned about Drops of God by Yuko and Shin Kibayashi.
To try and give an elevator pitch: it follows the formula of a lot of other battle manga, being about a young man who recieved brutal torturous training from his father to heighten his senses facing off against a rival who turns out to be a secret brother with the same training. The twist is, instead of fights its all about wine tasting.
Personally this is a field I know nothing about but the manga has a great reputation among the wine tasting community, effectively increasing the sales of each wine mentioned.
2:14:35-end: Closing comments…of a sort? Graeme is overjoyed we made it halfway through the questions (even after Jeff points out that we’re only a third of the way through the questions). By which I mean, we kinda can’t shut up, in part because Graeme wants to talk about reading Roger Stern’s run on Amazing Spider-Man and how good it is, and Jeff wants…to be Jeff, basically. Look for us on Stitcher!Itunes!Instagram! Twitter together and separately: Graeme and Jeff! Matt! Tumblr, and on Patreon where a wonderful group of people make this all possible, including Empress Audrey, Queen of the Galaxy, to whom we are especially grateful for her continuing support of this podcast. (Also, don’t forget about Spotify!)
Next week: Part 2 of Our Q & A episode! Why not ask us a question at waitwhatpodcast A T g mail.com?
0:01-14:30: Welcome back to part two of our sorta-annual “asked and answered” episode! Jeff is no longer in in Portland, Oregon, so we are once again “back on the cans,” as Graeme puts it. Others (not nearly so generous) might say we are “back on our bullshit”, as not even two minutes go by before we are discussing this CBS news story about Marvel in which C.B. Cebulski and Sana Amanat are interviewed and…hoo boy. We would say the story speaks for itself…but, really, what would be the point of us if it did?
14:30-37:45: And now, on with the questions! Cinema Strikes Back asks: If you could install new leadership for Marvel and/or DC, who would you pick? With an cold eye towards improving sales and market relations while also trying to improve less tangible metrics like quality and diversity. Also, read the original Battle Angel Alita series yet?
37:45-40:16:Carlos Aguilar wants to know: What are either of your thoughts/critiques on DEVILMAN (manga or anime)? Thanks!
40:16-57:14: Jesse Morgan wonders: How did DC manage to keep the quality up on Rebirth? What did they do different, and can they keep it up?
57:14-1:07:38: Here’s Lee, who would like to find out: As someone moving across coasts soon, how would you decide which (if any) physical comics to keep, especially given how cheap digital comics are nowadays?
1:07:38-1:17:08: K. Jeffrey Petersen is curious: What do you think of the numerous similarities between Stan Lee and Donald Trump? Would the world be better if Trump had gone into publishing and Lee into politics?
1:17:08-1:24:34: Raphael Duffy asks: Kind of a selfish question and I know you’ve answered it before but it’s quick: for people who have never read UK comics before what’s a good/fast to get into 2000AD since Graeme is raving about it?
1:24:34-1:35:44: Simon Russell queries: Are most (all?) of superhero comics poorer fo the loss of thought bubbles? HINT: It means done-in-one stories are harder to do (less compact), character development is massively truncated, and everything is so bloomin’ SERIOUS all the time.
1:35:44-1:42:35:Dan White says: Could you please fantasy cast the following 2000ad movies: Strontium Dog, Zenith, Nemesis, Rogue Trooper and Bad Company?
1:43:57-1:46:48: Lee Carey wonders: Graeme, which Jack Kirby character do you think Jeff most resembles, and visa versa?
1:46:48-1:53:11: Tom Shapira would like to know: if you had to staff 2000AD with American creators – who would work on what strips?
1:53:11-2:00:47: For half our semester grade, Jonathan Sapsed quizzes: Why did the ‘British Invasion’ happen in the 80s? Which country/culture is best positioned to ‘invade’ US comics now?
2:00:47-2:01:40: Just when Dan Billings was settling down for the night, he realized he also wanted to ask: What price do you think a single floppy will cost in 2025?
2:01:40-2:11:54: Max Blanchard demands to know: Waffle window?
2:04:33-2:11:54: Darth Selfie brings the noise! What Marvel character do you hope they never adapt for the MCU? If you weren’t doing a podcast about comics, what would you be podcasting about? If you weren’t into comics, what fun/weird/stupid hobby would fill the vacuum in the lives of an alternate universe Jeff and Graeme?
2:11:54-2:15:25: Tom Shapira returns with a bonus question for @Lazybastid – what mangaka would you take to work on 2000AD?
2:15:25-2:20:35: And to close us out, Scott asks: Are either of you reading Kill or be Killed by Brubaker and Phillips? What do you think of it?
2:20:35-end: No more questions so…. (eventually, after talking about Solo, You Are Deadpool, Deadpool 2 ): closing comments! Look for us on Stitcher!Itunes! Twitter together and separately: Graeme and Jeff! Matt! Tumblr, and on Patreon where a wonderful group of people make this all possible, including the kind crew at American Ninth Art Studios and Empress Audrey, Queen of the Galaxy, to whom we are especially grateful for their continuing support of this podcast.
NEXT WEEK: Baxter Building! Join us for a discussion of Fantastic Four issues #356-361.
First, big thanks to Ed Corcoran for providing the perfect title for this episode!
Second, here we are! This episode is a little early due to: the holiday weekend, some weird scheduling, and the desire to get a jump on the coming week which promises to be a bit of a sledge hammer. So let us begin, shall we?
00:00-12:51: Greetings from Graeme “Cheers” McMillan and Jeff “Dora the Explorer” Lester, who are here once again for you! Not only do we mention those two TV shows in the first two minutes, we also talk about Spider-Gwen #1, as read recently on Marvel Unlimited (under threat of physical violence)! Although we both enjoyed the first issue, we talk about Jeff’s impressions of the book based on later issues, whether the book’s appeal rests solely with the creative team or not, whether or not the term “What-If’ing” is a thing or not, and more. And this is also a fine time for Jeff to gripe about the Spider-Verse hardcover he got for super-cheap during an Amazon pricing SNAFU. Did Marvel take passive-aggressive revenge on the advance order pilferers? Or is it just that a lot of the stories at least semi-terrible? Discuss!
12:51-45:06: Then, our whistles whetted, it’s time for us to Q our little A’s off, with part two of our Q&A ‘cast, answering questions submitted to us by our mighty squad of patrons! First up is Chris Carfora, who asks: “1. Discussion Point: Have we reached the end of the age of Superhero comics? Seems like superhero movies are going through a bit of a golden age but i can’t say the same for the comics. With the reboots coming every two years now it just feels like the creators are constantly going over old territory and rehashing old ideas. Is there just not anything left to say about Superheroes? With the rise of independent comics and the availability of self-published comics through comixology and the like, do you foresee a shift away from superhero comics? 2. What would be your dream creative collaboration on your dream comic? Just to clarify, it can be past creators or current, so if you want Grant Morrison and Jack Kirby on Challengers of the Unknown go for it. 3. What cancelled or lapsed title would you most like to see resurrected? 4. In what way has the rise of marvel unlimited, comixology and other digital platforms changed the industry? Is this change a good thing?”
(Whew!) Discussed: the Direct Market; Jim Lee’s 1:5000 variant for Dark Knight III; Marvel’s troll response with a Deadpool variant cover; creator participation; Starbrand and Nightmask; the illusion of change versus the illusion of the illusion of change; Irredeemable, Incorrigible, Incorruptible, Incontinent, and Insufferable; Graeme not understanding Jeff at all; crazy lists of dream teams for his dream comics including the Steve Gerber comic in heaven; Jason Aaron and Jason Latour on the amazing Marvel character, Razorback; Al Ewing and Henry Flint on Fantastic Four; the sequel to last year’s Judge Dredd epic, Titan, again by Rob Williams and Henry Flint; Aimee Bender and Pascal Ferry on Machine Man; Graeme summarizes the short but lively run of DC’s The Chosen; the crazy price discrepancies between some digital trades on both Marvel and Comixology (such as the Skull The Slayer and Weirdworld trades which are $10 cheaper on the Kindle); and more.
45:06-58:27: Carlos Aguilar asks: “1. Let’s say Image was formed in the 80s instead of the 90s, what 7 artists would you like to have seen leave Marvel (and if you want, DC) to form Image about ten years earlier? 2. Tons of Star Wars news coming out, so, Let’s say you got to pick creative teams for 4 different Star Wars books. What would the four titles be, and who would you have working on them? 3. Who would you like to see run the new incarnation of Heavy Metal instead of Grant Morrison?”Discussed: Miller, Byrne, Perez, Golden, Simonson, Chaykin, and Art Adams (or Dave Cockrum?; the WaP! newsletter and Creator Bill of Rights crowd; being burnt out on Star Wars on the eve of Force Friday; Marvel’s Darth Vader series by Kieron Gillen and Salvador Larroca; Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba on Boba Fett; Jason Shiga on C-3PO and R2-D2; Richard Corben on Chewbacca; the return of Walt Simonson to Star Wars; Brandon Graham editing Heavy Metal; Douglas Wolk editing Heavy Metal; Warren Ellis editing Heavy Metal; and more.
58:27-1:04:09: Max Brown asks: “It’s been a little while since Jeff has posted or talked about Jason Shiga’s Demon- and since it was Jeff that got me and a bunch of others reading it, it would be great to hear his thoughts on how the book has gotten 10000000x more insane and awesome since then, and on the recent announcement that First Second will be publishing it in collections. Thanks!”Discussed:Jason Shiga’s Demon. [Please note: Jeff actually screws up his issue numbers by one. The amazing chase sequence is in issue #15 and the existential malaise is in issue #14.]
1:04:09-1:36:16: Kevin Moreau asks, “1. What other podcasts, comics-related or otherwise, do either/both of you listen to/recommend? (Aside from Rachel and Miles and Into It, although please feel free to plug those, as well.) 2. What are your go-to sites/publications for comics news, insight, etc., other than your own website and Graeme’s various employers? 3. What are Marvel’s biggest problems today, and what can be done to correct them 3a. Are Secret Wars/All-New-All-Different and the continuing push to make Inhumans happen signs of creative bankruptcy? 4. I know I’ve read (Wait What mascot/patron saint) Steve Englehart comics over the years, but what would you point to as his most important/must-read work, or where should someone start in order to gain a greater appreciation? 5. Would you ever consider a Wait What Facebook group as a place for fans of the show to gather together and talk comics and related interest?” Discussed: House to Astonish; Silence!; Comic Books Are Burning in Hell; Travis Bickle on the Riviera; the Nerdist Writer’s Room; the Guardian’s political podcast; 538’s What’s The Point; a Slate podcast called Working; Serial; Bleeding Cool and its recent trend for crazily biased news stories; The Outhousers; the terrific comics analysis columns by Paul O’Brien and Marc-Olivier Frisch; the surprising read that is comicbook.com; the surprisingly apt metaphor to describe DC’s new relationship to the Direct Market; the Steve Englehart stories you should start with; and more.
1:36:16-1:41:18: Paul Lai asks, “Seems we’ve thrown up our hands after Golden, Silver, Bronze, and the unfortunately named Modern Ages. Should we take for granted that comics are so diverse, diffuse, and mainstream now that maybe marking eras like that will be impossible/irrelevant? Or what about calling it a “Spectrum Age” where all that can really be taken for granted is the diversity?” (Paul actually had a long article he’d written about this that wasn’t accessible when Jeff tried to read it beforehand but it’s up now and it’s a pretty great read that makes a pretty compelling argument.)Discussed: Our less compelling arguments.
1:41:18-1:44:53: John Kim asks, “There are a lot of resets to the status quo in comic (Spiderman, Batman) after said comics try something different. Are the reasons for the resets mainly fan backlash and low sales? Here I am trying to sneak in another question… Are there any good legacy characters in comics?”Discussed: Wally West, Wally West, and Wally West; Batman: Year Zero; and more.
1:44:53-1:57:46: Lewis Smith asks, “Of all the aborted story-lines, new directions, and false starts you guys have read in superhero comics, what was the one you really wanted to see play out?”Discussed: Firestorm as a fire elemental; Steve Englehart’s Fantastic Four and West Coast Avengers runs; the Amazing Spider-Man and headcanon; does Marvel need a reboot; and more.
1:57:46-2:08:12: Ed Corcoran asks, “In a couple of previous episodes, you’ve mentioned the effect the library market has on how trade paperback collections are made and marketed. Can you talk a little more about the economics of that? What kind of comics rely so heavily on libraries? What do libraries look for? Also, are there any plans to collect the Avengers read-through into one big mega-episode?” We’ve tied this in with Drew Meger who asks, “It feels like every episode we hear a mention of some comic or other borrowed from your local library. As a librarian who buys comics for his library, I need to know: What comic titles would you want to see in your Ideal Library? Should we focus on the critical Top 10 list darlings and easy entry points for new readers or should we go obscure and get the titles readers might have been interested in, But not 30 dollar hardbound trade interested?”Discussed: how little we actually know about the economics of graphic novels and the library market; Kate Beaton, Vertical, Fantagraphics, Drawn and Quarterly and Pantheon; a bad maritime metaphor from Jeff, and more.
2:08:12-2:15:48: Paul Spence asks, “Would the Whatnauts offer their views on Kirby’s Marvel series The Eternals. I read The Eternals for the first time this year courtesy of marvel Unlimited and it provoked a mixed response from me. The mythology appeared to be Fourth World Lite mashed up with some of the ideas from Kirby’s 2001, and a serving from Erich Von Daniken’s Chariots of the Gods. The Fourth World of the New Gods becomes the Fourth Host of the Eternals and DC’s Orion becomes Ikaris in The Eternals. This does appear to be a case where Kirby was recycling ideas. My second Kirby related question pertains to the Joe Casey penned Captain Victory and the Galactic Rangers. You covered the early issues in the series on the podcast and expressed both hope, and some trepidation, that it could be a masterpiece, or it could become a train wreck. Now that the mini-series has finished what do you think of the entire run?”Discussed:The Eternals by Jack Kirby, and Joe Casey’s Captain Victory and the Galactic Rangers; and not much more.
2:15:48-2:22:55: Louie Whitford asks, “Why didn’t Eclipse or First Comics survive? Or: What’s your favorite Eclipse series?”Discussed: quick shout-outs for books like Badger, Aztec Ace by Doug Moench and Dan Day; Alec by Eddie Campbell; Sabre by Don McGregor and Billy Graham; Destroyer Duck by Jack Kirby and Steve Gerber; the end of First and Eclipse; and so on.
2:22:55-2:33:01: Michael Loughlin asks, “1) In your opinion, what recent comics (2000s & 2010s) will be regarded as classics in the future? 2) Of all the writers who never worked with him, which writer would have made a good scripter for Jack Kirby? Feel free to choose one of his contemporaries or a current writer.”Discussed; our weird handwringing about the term “classic,” Al Ewing’s Loki and Kieron Gillen’s Journey Into Mystery; Bryan Lee O’Malley’s Scott Pilgrim; and more.
2:33:01-end: Closing comments! Due to some crazy real-life events, I’ve cut out our talk of upcoming episodes and gone straight to Graeme telling you where you can find us on the Internet. Stitcher!Itunes! Twitter together and separately: Graeme and Jeff! Tumblr! And, of course, on Patreon where, as of this count, 109 patrons make this whole thing possible! Speaking of which, Jeff has an apology that, thanks to an incisive email from Steve H, we have been tardy in providing the “recommend a book for us to read” perk to long-time patrons. We are in the process of getting organized and it is coming….soon!
Whew! Okay, so we hope you enjoy this episode, keep an eye on this space for what’s coming next, and remember: keep reading those comic books—you never know when you’re going to spend two and a half hours talking about them!
Strong Female Characters, by the mighty Kate Beaton
It is almost the end of August. IT IS ALMOST THE END OF AUGUST. Sorry, but my brain is broken just a little bit by that fact.
But hey! After the jump, why don’t you check out the show notes for Episode 183 of Wait, What? It’s a two-plus hour episode where Graeme McMillan and I answer questions posed to us by those wonderful people on Patreon who help keep us afloat. (I’m not sure what that term means for Graeme, but for me “afloat” means, “oh god, Comixology has the entire run of Super-Villain Team-Up for $1.99 an issue, and some of those are by Englehart, hope I can hold out for the first of the month…”)
So sorry, chums! Time is really nipping at my heels today so I don’t have time to festoon the show notes with images and links and youtubes and subliminal acrostics (you have been keeping up with the subliminal acrostics, right)? I’ve got to—as Graeme always says—”hit and quit it,” so you can get these show notes in a timely manner and I can collapse on the divan like the bearded grungefop that I am. (And yes, look for The Bearded Grungefop to be getting his own Oni series in 2019.)
Please do not let me keep you from enjoying this episode though, oh mighty Whatnauts! It is a pretty good one, with the questions coming from our patrons from Patreon, and the answers coming from…well, us, of course. We are probably the weak link in that two-link chain but what are you gonna do? (If you have a beard and you answered “collapsed on the divan?” you are—to again quote Graeme—”biting my style,” and I’ll have none of it, damn you!)
As always, I’ll throw the text of the link in the first comment so you can copy, paste, spindle, mutilate or fold, as per your choices. [Note: do not ingest link. If link is swallowed, do not induce vomiting. Prepare and drink approximately eight ounces of a solution made from the following ingredients: two tablespoons sodium bicarbonate, two egg whites, one Bill Mantlo comic, three pogs, and one blatant untruth released from the publicity department of a major comic book company.]
And, lo, there shall come a:
00:00-5:17: Greetings! And almost immediately we are off and running because this episode is overdue. Yes, it’s the Q&A episode where the Qs come from our supporters on Patreon, and the As come from us! But first, in explaining that we find ourselves explaining where to find us on Patreon, and so at the beginning of the podcast for a change:
Under The Tote Bag! Places to look for us at—Stitcher!iTunes!Twitter!Tumblr! and, of course, on Patreon where, as of this count, an eye-popping 100 patrons make this whole thing possible! And then Graeme tells us how we have the order we have, and then we get right to it. Surprisingly, it seems like there are just as many questions about the state of the industry as there are questions of taste or critical acumen and, unsurprisingly, there are questions about waffles.
(I’m not sure if I should just list the questions or also things we mention in our answers or what…so let’s just see how that comes together, shall we?)
5:17-17:22: Eric Rupe asks: “With the years of dire predictions for the direct market and some of the major publishers therein, on the podcast and otherwhere and by many people not on the podcast, why have none of them ever really come true? A truly captive audience? Lack of better options for various players in the market, however you chose to define that? Something else?”
17:22-23:25: Eric Rupe asks: If Diamond put the Previews catalog together in a more egalitarian manner, such as getting rid of premier publisher section and listing all publishers alphabetically or doing a rotating spotlight, do you think that it would lead to an increase in sales for non-Premier publishers?
23:25-30:58: Eric Rupe asks: “Which is the more important decade for superhero comics, the 60s or 90s? What do you think is the most important decade for comics in general?”
30:58-41:21: Eric Rupe asks: “Are the intentions of the editors and writers on recent outreach titles like Captain America, Ms. Marvel, Thor and Captain Marvel comprised by the fact that Marvel, as a company, is horrible when it comes to things like ethics, morals and general human decency? Does the larger cultural situation with a general lack of diversity in things like blockbuster movies and the fact that most companies are just as bad if not worse than Marvel on an ethical level matter? Or is simply a matter of giving one set of values priority over another.”
41:21-52:14: Eric Rupe asks: “Is Image’s current success based around Eric Stephenson and, if so, do you think that continued success is possible if Stephenson left the company? Also, do you think Image will be able to continue with it’s current publishing strategies or will the founders will want to reassert their presence in some way and mess things up in some fashion or another?’
52:14-53:32: Eric Rupe asks: “If Jeff’s beard could be described as a kind of waffle, what kind of waffle would it be? If Jeff’s beard were sentient would it a) prefer Marvel or DC, b) be editorially mandated or creator driven, c)follow characters or follow creators and d) be a Grant Morrison fanboy or an Alan Moore fanboy? If Jeff’s beard fought Alan Moore’s beard, which would win? Does Jeff’s beard have plans for world conquest?”
53:32-55:17: Scott Ashworth asks: “Aside from the Wait, What Holy Trinity of Kirby, Engelhart, and Gerber, who are your choices for most consistently interesting writers at Marvel in the period between Lee and Shooter’s editorships?”
55:17-56:13: Dave Clarke asks: “At what Patreon tier do we get a monthly ‘Jeff tries to explain manga to Graeme’ podcast?”
56:13-56:34: Dave Clarke asks: “Have you guys seen the tv series Utopia? (the british thriller one that lasted 2 seasons, not the australian comedy one) If so talk about it. If not consider giving it a go, I think you guys would dig it and the first season revolves around hunting down a comic.”
[Note from Jeff: After recording this podcast, I just found out that Gillian Flynn (Gone Girl) has gotten the assignment to write the scripts for the American remake of the show and now I am VERY EXCITED.]
56:34-1:03:23: Dave Clarke asks: “The cultural implications of the new Batgirl series being a magnet for internet controversy.”
1:03:23-1:08:47: Dave Clarke asks: “Isn’t it weird that comics are still pencilled, inked and coloured? Inking was originally developed to work around technical limitations of mass productions which dont really exist any more. Even though a tonne of illustration is done for the film and video game industry very very little of it is of the ‘black linework + colour added behind it’ variety. Thoughts on why its still going strong in comics? Predictions for the future?”
1:08:47-1:10:46: Adam P. Knave asks: “What breakfast foods are each of the classic avengers?”
1:10:46 -1:15:57: Paul Spence asks: “Could the Whatnauts give us an assessment of Brandon Graham’s Prophet. I believe that Jeff likes it, but Graeme does not. I really like Prophet and I believe that it is the most original and challenging of all the sci-fi titles that Image has launched over the last four years. A number of the Image sci-fi offerings seem the same to me. Too many of them are formulaic post-apocalyptic dystopias.”
1:15:57-1:21:23: Paul Spence asks: “Can you voice an opinion about Graham’s earlier magnum opus King City. I have been rereading it recently and I keep finding new layers in the work to enjoy. Graham’s art is stunning in its detail and it looks gorgeous in black & white. I love Graham’s off-center sensibilities and the way he embraces surrealism. He is not a creator that everyone can enjoy, but I appear to be on whatever quirky wavelength he is on and his work really speaks to me.”
1:21:23-1:30:35: Jeff Lang asks: “What did you guys think of the Captain Marvel/Warlock stuff when you first read it and why do you think the PTB behind the Marvel Cinematic Universe have embraced that particular sliver of the mid-1970s? Convenience? Fannish devotion? A mix of the two? Something else?”
1:30:35-1:43:20: Kevin McCandless asks: “A simple question but out of all the non-Big Two series you’ve reviewed in the last year, which one would you recommend to someone getting back into alternative comics after a long hiatus? By which I mean, upper middle-brow, appealing to NPR-listeners (which describes me to a T) stuff like Palookaville or Bone?”
1:43:20-1:47:11: Chris Jarzombek asks: “Given the Lee-Kirby tension in the FF stories (i.e., Kirby wants to go one way with the story, Lee wants to go another), would there be any value in re-scripting some (or all) of the pages so that they better match the ideal (which I would assume for you guys would be Kirby’s intention)? I’m thinking particularly of pages where the art suggests Sue wants to stay with Namor, but the script is pulling her toward Reed; or ones where the heroes appear weaker than Lee is willing to concede. Or put another way: Would theses stories be better if they were “fixed,” or is the tension part of the fun for you?”
1:47:11-2:08:54: J.D. Smith (that you, Smitty?) asks: “With Private Eye bowing at ten issues what do we take away from the model? What are you guys enjoying on the broader culture spectrum? Books? Music? Film? TV?”
[Please note. This response features the phrase: “Brian K. Vaughn is the Amanda Palmer of comics.”]
2:08:54-2:11:39: Chris Beckett asks: “With the upcoming Daredevil series on Netflix, what DD comics would you recommend, outside of Frank Miller’s work? (Personally, I love the Nocenti/JRJr run, which was my proper introduction to the character.)”
2:11:39-2:18:09: Roger Winston asks: “What are your feelings about DC’s “announcement” that they are no longer going to be slaves to continuity? (Assuming you believe it.) Apologies if you’ve already covered this in the podcast and I forgot. I’m interested in how important continuity is to you and if that has changed over the years. I know that in my younger days I was quite insistent that everything matches up, but these days I don’t care as much. How important is it to a company’s reputation (for lack of a better term) that they are consistent with what they’ve established or are trying to establish?”
2:18:09-2:18:32: Daniel Mackay asks: “What do you think of the original Batman TV series and should the Batman vs Superman film be a spiritual sequel to the series? I think we all want their fight to be Batman whipping out his Bat Superman Repellent Spray.”
2:18:32-2:26:07: Dan Billings asks: “Not sure if anyone has asked this before but a friend gave me a bunch of his 1970s comics which included Welcome Back Kotter comics and it made me think about recent non-animated sitcoms and if they would make decent comics. Any jump out at you? Who would write and draw them?”
2:26:07-2:27:35: Martin Gray asks: “Here’s a question, then. If DC and Marvel were waffle toppings, what would they be?”
2:27:35-2:29:42: And, finally, Graeme runs though a thank you of our patrons, because we said we would and also because you are awesome and deserve it:
Cass Andrew Sherman
Adam P Knave
Mairead Ryan (Ryan Mairead?)
2:29:42-end: Closing comments! At the time this was recorded we were wondering what we would do when we got to our 100th patron. We’ve since hit that milestone, and still don’t know what to do.
Reboot! And it’s pretty much also our “closing comments!” section, with us talking about how next week is *not* a skip week and how you’ll be getting Ep. 173 next week and *then* a skip week. And again: Under The Tote Bag! Places to look for us at—Stitcher!iTunes!Twitter!Tumblr! and, of course, on Patreon where, as of this count, we are grateful to our 100 patrons, and especially to those who asked questions for this very episode.
Okay, that divan is close. I will try to flesh out the tags later. Look to the skies! Look to our comments! Look to your longboxes!