0:00-18:02: Greetings from Graeme McMillan and Jeff Lester! It’s only a few seconds in when Graeme says, “Welcome to the Mellow Wait, What? Hour,” and although he’s only riffing on Jeff’s low-key opening…he’s kind of on the money! (Although, y’know, not an hour, of course.) Yes, *un*-strap your seatbelts as two semi-overworked dudes let down what’s left of their hair to talk comics with a certain je ne sais atténué. We move quickly on to talk about the world of comics news, but there is a certain indolence there as well because, as Graeme puts it, “a lot of people are, to be honest, shitting themselves before San Diego.” Discussed: supporting examples; the few announcements that have popped up, the lack of even embargoed news for Graeme to have up his sleeve; Previews Night; a thought experiment about what might have happened if DC had tried to do a prequel to Watchmen; and what happened to bookstore sales of Wonder Woman after being the biggest movie of the summer; and more.
18:02-29:27: By the way, if you’re Dan Coyle—and hopefully that is only applicable to one person and there’s not a small army of people using that monicker to snark at us in our website’s comments—our discussion of a conspiracy theory about Marvel’s role in keeping Wonder Woman from making any of the sales charts on Amazon leads to us both explicitly agreeing: Yes! Yes, we will talk about John Byrne’s run on Star Brand! And then us being us, we go on to talk a bit about our memories of John Byrne’s Star Brand, the end of the New Universe (and Graeme being Graeme, he admits to having already just read what he’s just agreed to read), a sly serving of three way mid-80s beef, and more. But first! We talk a bit about digital buffet fatigue, the reduction of prices in the 2000AD online store (which Jeff can’t even think about too much or he will lose his mind and most of his most recent paycheck), and other sundries. If you haven’t gotten the sense this is an even more meandering episode than usual, dear Whatnaut, hopefully the fact I just talked about stuff I remember us discussing before it even actually got mentioned in the logical order you would expect it in should give you a clue.
29:27-41:57: And here’s another clue: “Oh man, Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe,” Graeme sighs,” what did you do to me?” If you think that means we are going to tread on the edges of sacred House to Astonish ground and discuss both the Handbook and Who’s Who in the DCU, give yourself a cigar! A thirty-plus year old cigar! One inked by Josef Rubenstein! And then was pressed in a Tuska-era issue of Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes! (Don’t worry, it will all make sense if you listen.)
41:57-58:12: “Ah, Graeme, do you want to talk about recent comics that you’ve read?” Graeme admits (not entirely accurately, as it will turn out) the only recent comics he’s read is Dark Days: The Casting by Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV, Jim Lee, Andy Kubert, John Romita, Jr., Scott Williams, Klaus Janson, and Danny Miki (with Alex Sinclair and Jeremiah Skipper on colors)! But should you be surprised when talk turns to which Super Powers action figures and which Secret Wars action figures each of us had? Probably not, no.
58:12-1:01:21: Want to hear Graeme recap the amazing “City of the Damned” storyline from Judge Dredd The Complete Case Files, Vol. 8? If not, skip the section but hoo boy you will be missing out. I *really* want to read this storyline now!
1:01:21-1:06:57: And then we’re back to talking about Dark Days: The Casting again!
1:06:57-2:01:02: And then Jeff wants to blab about the other recent comics he’s read because he thinks—possibly quite mistakenly—that would be something the listeners to this podcast might want to hear about: Discussed: Rocket #3 by Al Ewing and Adam Gorham; Suicide Squad #21 by Rob Williams and Gus Vasquez; Deathstroke #21 by Christopher Priest, Diogenes Neves, and Jason Paz; Batman #25 and #26 by Tom King and Mikel Janin; Chilling Adventures of Sabrina #7 by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and Robert Hack, which leads to a very long discussion/disagreement between Graeme and Jeff about who would be on a list of the best-selling/most reliable creators of the current generation of Image creators, with a lot of Graeme looking up sales figures and dates; Kill or Be Killed #10 by Brubaker and Phillips (and Elizabeth Breitweiser!); Rock Candy Mountain #4 (so good!) by Kyle Starks and part of an ongoing underlying conversation across these titles—why aren’t more good comics discussed as they go along? Are we *all* addicted to dissecting the next new thing?
2:01:02-2:08:11: Also read by Jeff: Motor Girl #1 by Terry Moore (“as if Greg Rucka was writing Angel & The Ape?” Well, kinda!); Wave, Listen To Me!, Vol. 1 by Hiroaki Samura; and some preliminary comments on Manga Poverty by Sato Shuho (translated by Dan Luffey).
2:08:11-2:22:15: Closing comments? No, not quite! Jeff wanted to correct an earlier misstatement of his from a few weeks back when he said that all episodes of Wait, What? are currently available on iTunes. Turns out iTunes’ podcast lists top out at 300 so…happy tricentennial to us? And also, though we tried to avoid doing our quickly-becoming-a-standard-shtick of complaing about Marvel: you guys did you see that damn t-shirt variant cover thing? What the hell?!
2:22:15-end: “I have, I’ve got to admit, really enjoyed this meandering episode,” announces Graeme. “Because it really is so close to San Diego that this is exactly where my mind is at right now.” And with that—after some debate as to when we will return (spoilers: three weeks!), we move to..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.
In Three Weeks: Wait, What?, Ep. 230 (or three hundred and something, but who’s counting?) Have a nice little summer break and come back and join us here in August!
And if you want the direct download:
Jeff, it was a glorious moment when you literally said that you didn’t think Karla was in the Karla trilogy. Complex compound clauses, they do not love us, they only use us for our cerebellums. :)
As a matter of scorecard, Karla isn’t in The Spy Who Came In From The Cold. That’s all about East German hierarchies, and while there’s mention of Moscow Centre in it, I don’t think Karla gets mentioned at all. If he does, it’s just in passing. He’s all over Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (including the scene in an Indian jail cell, where he was played excellently by Patrick Stewart facing off against Alec Guinness’ George Smiley), and The Honourable Schoolboy, and Smiley’s People. Those three books are the Karla trilogy.
I swear, if you two keep this up, I may not be able to refrain from a 2000 AD subscription much longer.
I bought the newly released Superboy and the Legion of Superheroes Vol. 1 hard cover. The description states that it continues directly from the last Archive issue. (Which they aren’t doing anymore thank goodness. Too pricey). This book doesn’t have any Cockrum in it. It’s mostly Mike Grell and James Sherman. Sherman’s art is exceptionally lovely. The Grell story is is from the oversized Collector’s edition which features the wedding of Lightening Lad and Saturn Girl. There’s a cool Ultra Boy story from Jim Starlin which is also gorgeous. This is when Paul Levitz begins to take over on writing. His Earth War story starts in this volume and it’s the first appearance of Dawnstar. It’s definitely with owning. D.C. Is releasing the Legion of Superheroes Silver Age Omnibus soon, which will supplant the b&w Showcase. It may be a year or so until we see the Bronze Age stories though.
It’s a shame we didn’t get a lot more from James Sherman. I imprinted very hard on his art – I can recall a bunch of pages from his short run despite it having been a bunch of years since I last got to re-read them. That Wildfire splash page remains one of my favorite Legion panels yet. :)
Yeah, that splash page is burned into my brain as well. Unfortunately, it’s not in this volume, (but will be in the next one). You’re right, it was too short of a run. He also did some Challengers of the Unknown issues and Captain Marvel/Shazam, but his output is sadly not very extensive.
Hi Graeme and Jeff,
Just heard the bit where y’all are talking about the fact that there are over 300 episodes now, and I just wanted to drop in and tell you guys how much I’ve enjoyed listening to you over the years.
I have literally listened to every episode from the beginning back when they had abcd suffixes for every numbered episode that was broken up and y’all were still on Savage Critic. When you guys moved to a Patreon I think I waited awhile but eventually became a contributor.
I’ve listened to you guys as my own taste in comics has changed and evolved drastically. I think I remember calling you guys old in some blog comment here years ago because of some stupid Hickman FF comic. And that stuff can’t even really hold my attention now.
Anyway, you guys have been a wonderful constant in the insane world of comics, and your meandering rapport, genial good nature, and intelligent and empathetic self-awareness have all been a joy to listen to all these years.
Here’s to many more!
TS: Thank you so much for this great comment. I can’t speak for Graeme, but for myself it was truly appreciated. There are times when it can be harder to remember than it should be that this is a thing other people appreciate, enjoy, and benefit from…hearing it helps make it much, much easier.
And no worries about the Hickman FF thing! (A) we *are* old (well, I’m old, anyway, and Graeme, like the rest of you, are getting there), and (B) if only all comics disputes had been so generous. Like you say, our tastes in comics changes and evolve dramatically, but sometimes a good ol’ dumb comic is worth defending, even if it doesn’t stand the test of time for you.
Again, thanks for writing!
So, speaking of old episodes…I think one of my favorite listening experiences is when I went back and listened to the episode after Disney bought Marvel (I can’t remember exactly why, but I had a good reason, promise!), and it was absolutely joyful to hear not only how much of Jeff’s hand-wringing wasn’t right, but how much of it actually was, and how much of it was just “Jeff, you just needed to give it an extra year for your prediction!” Which is to say, you guys are still super-smart and super-enjoyable to listen to.
I was really worried about where this comment was going to go once we got to the phrase “how much of Jeff’s hand-wringing wasn’t right,” but I’m happy to discover I was completely wrong about this, too! Thank you very much for the kind words, Matt.
No, I am only one person, at least last time I checked. And I’m overjoyed that you have decided to do Star Brand. And really, you need to do all of it to get the full effect.
I got both trades for Christmas and reread it last January and it was one of the most unpleasant reading experiences I had in recent memory. So much ugliness and sloppiness and hey one of Mark Bagley’s first comics.
I put Remender in a similar camp to Millar – weak writer, but absolutely impeccable taste in artistic collaborators. Now, to be fair, Remender’s writing is not offensive and shitty like Millar’s, it’s just not usually very good. When he made the jump to Image, everyone was talking up his X-Force, so I decided to try his new stuff. I picked up Tokyo Ghost, Low, Black Science and Deadly Class. They all look great – but with the exception of Deadly Class (and even that one took quite a while to grow on me), they aren’t engaging and I kind of wish I’d never picked them up. Low in particular is super one note and annoying, Black Science has its moments but ultimately keeps killing its own attempts at character work, and Tokyo Ghost was just trite and unengaging. I do rather enjoy Deadly Class, but that one didn’t really work for me until the second arc, when the characters got less generic.
All that said, I tried one issue of 7 from Eternity, didn’t dig it, and dropped it immediately. One other strange thing – Remender has this weird tendency to use the sound effect “Yeragh!” and now when I read his comics all I can see is people going “Yeragh!” It’s his own Wilhelm scream – takes me right out of the story.
I loved Remender’s Uncanny X-Force and really liked his Venom issues. Then came Uncanny Avengers…. He went from “maybe I should check out more of his work” to “NOPE” overnight.
Regarding reliable Image creators, David Lapham has published over 30 pretty much monthly issues of Stray Bullets since bringing the comic to Image.
I think it falls under the category of great comics no one talks about. I love it, but I don’t see much buzz about it. Hopefully, since he does everything himself, it’s profitable.
Stray Bullets coming out on a regular basis has been my favorite thing happening in comics for the last 3 years. I had resigned myself to the short story in Dark Horse’s Noir anthology being the last gasp and was overjoyed to see Lapham return to his world. It’s been consistently excellent, and I hope he gets to telling what happened after issue 41 at some point.
Another great episode, gents. Thank you!
I usually listen to the podcast at work (if not, I’m probably doing housework, so it’s the same thing), and I find myself making remarks and having conversations with the two of you, in my head. (I imagine — or hope? — this is a similar phenomenon for most of the listeners) My responses are always pithy, incisive, and thought-provoking . . . and then I finish the episode and I find I have nothing, or little, to say. You can be the judge as to the honesty in my description of my thoughts while listening. Therefore, I do not find myself posting here often. But know that I love the show, and it always goes to the “top of the pile” whenever a new one hits.
That all said, I do have two comments — one in response to the episode, one responding to responses here.
First, your quick discussion about the strong push DC gave to Neil Gaiman’s Sandman, with issue #8 of that series. Yes, indeed, that was the case, and that was the issue that started me down the Gaiman rabbit hole (and I still love his work, for the most part, though his comics work outside of Sandman & Miracleman is nothing I return to). At the time, I was ordering my comics through Westfield. And somewhere in the catalog — possibly in the description for Sandman #8 — it was noted that, if any customer included a note with their order asking for a copy of issue #8, it would be included with their shipment, free of charge. Free comics? I was in! And, when my next shipment of books arrived, there it was in the pile. That issue did have a prose piece at the front, interspersed with art from the previous seven issues, written by Gaiman that encapsulated the story, thus far, affording readers a bit of context for the story that followed. It was a fairly lengthy piece, a couple of pages, at least, and that, along with the story proper, hooked me. I know DC included this prose piece at the front of the “Doll’s House” collection for quite a few years along with issue #8, which was also included in the first Sandman collection, as well.
Second: just want to add my voice to the Stray Bullets love. Lapham has consistently been producing new issues, and they have been as good as any issues of the book. I love Stray Bullets, and it is great that Lapham has brought it back.
Thanks again for the show, gentlemen. I really appreciate the time you put into it.
Thanks for taking the time for the kind words, Chris! I’ve talked to a few other listeners and they’ve also mentioned having that internal conversation with us.
And thanks also for throwing in your two cents on Stray Bullets: I loved the book back in the day and realize now I’ll have to figure out a way to check it out.
I was interested in the bit about Brett Breeding having worked with Joe Rubinstein and I suppose I can see some influence now. However I mostly thought he was influenced by Tom Palmer. Certainly when Ron Frenz is doing his John Buscema and Breeding is inking him that’s how it looks to me. In my own odd classification of inkers, Rubinstein is a ‘dry’ inker, but the best of those. My taste leans towards ‘wet’ inkers, such as Royer.