0:00-50:13: Greetings! We are right into it because we have a lot to talk about! Because Dan Coyle demanded it, we are going to talk about the entire run of Star Brand from the 1980s.  But first!  Jeff has to talk about The Defenders. the eight episode miniseries on Netflix that is the culmination of Marvel and Netflix’s strategy for the last three years.  Full spoilers as Jeff vents, decries,  and bemoans the experience.  SPOILERS for the full series as we discuss not only it, but the two seasons of Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, a little bit of Iron Fist, the Inhumans IMAX flick, and even the Punisher trailer (see above).

50:13-1:03:11: Also, on Netflix: an American adaptation of genuine manga classic Death Note directed by Adam Wingard!  While less worthy of Jeff’s ire, it has some very interesting adaptation choices he cannot stop fixating on, and so I guess it seemed like a really good idea to share with you here?  (It beats livetweeting, I guess?)  (Lakeith Stanfield, tho!)
1:03:11-2:09:31:  But then finally…there was nothing else for us to do but finally discuss Star Brand, Jim Shooter’s flagship title for his burgeoning New Universe line back in 1986.  Fortunately[?] for us, all of Shooter’s issues, as well as the follow-up stories by various writers until John Byrne steps in to steer the book from issue #11 until its end, are collected in two trades by Marvel, and we are here to talk about *all* of it.  Discussed:  Jim Shooter and his remarkable take on morality and sex, the difference between supporting characters who seem based on real people and people who don’t, Bobbie Chase’s amazing annual, the “rules” of the New Universe, The Greatest American Hero, South Park, The Pitt, and much, much more.
2:09:31-2:33:10: So much more, in fact, that Graeme has supplemental material about the New Universe, including an overview of Spitfire and the Troubleshooters, a fun fact about Strikeforce: Morituri, the Quasar epilogue issue, and of course…much, much more.  And then…
2:33:10-end: Closing comments! Look for us on  Stitcher! Itunes! Twitter together and separately: Graeme and Jeff! MattTumblr,  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:  Wait, What? Ep. 232!  Look for it on Labor Day U.S.A., Monday!

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24 comments on “Wait, What? Ep. 231: Off Brand

  1. Jeff Lester Aug 28, 2017

    And for those of you into that hip, underground cut & paste scene:

  2. David Aug 28, 2017

    Hey guys, Jeff’s voice gets a bit too low at some points, might be worth messing with the sound levels with the new headset.

    • Jeff Lester Aug 28, 2017

      Thanks, David, for the heads up! I was worried I may have mixed that a little too quietly. Here’s a link to a remix where, undoubtedly, I have probably mixed myself too loudly into the mix:


    • I’ve been having the same problem with the last couple episodes.

      • Jeff Lester Aug 31, 2017

        With both Baxter Building and Wait, What?, Marc? (That was a fun sentence to punctuate.) Because I know I’ve been guilty of mixing my voice lower in worries my mic was being too loud and I was being too shouty: I’m thinking I’m going to have to have a lighter hand on the sweeping mix and maybe better at fine-tuning my shoutier moments.

        But if it’s also happening on Baxter Building (which Graeme edits), then…maybe he also hates the sound of my voice?

        • Definitely on Wait, What?. (;*!) I’ll have to go back and listen to see if it was an issue on Baxter Building as well.

  3. Bruce Baugh Aug 28, 2017

    Wow. Now that is the pure-D Wait, What? experience. I can only imagine various comics talking about you like the monster talks about his creator in Young Frankenstein:

    For as long as I can remember people have hated me. They looked at my face and my body and they ran away in horror. In my loneliness I decided that if I could not inspire love, which is my deepest hope, I would instead cause fear. I live because this poor half-crazed genius, has given me life. He alone held an image of me as something beautiful and then, when it would have been easy enough to stay out of danger, he used his own body as a guinea pig to give me a calmer brain and a somewhat more sophisticated way of expressing myself.

    Also, if y’all want to share any good links on New Universe history (Strikeforce Morituri, one of my favorite series ever?!?), please do.

  4. Rob G Aug 28, 2017

    Graeme, you mentioned you heard good things about Marvel’s “Runaways” and I wonder if you aren’t confusing that with Fox’s “The Gifted.” I have seen the trailers for “The Gifted” and it looks pretty good, and I’ve also heard good things about it. I saw a brief teaser trailer for “Runaways” and it looks pretty bad (I think Marvel has pulled the trailer. Not a good sign.)
    “The Gifted” is about young Marvel mutants (a coming of age story) and is a Fox property/production “in association with Marvel” (meaning Marvel doesn’t have a whole lot of involvement). It’s in the same universe as the X-Men movies and Bryan Singer is producing it, so the quality level should be high. Same with LEGION, which is also a Fox property/production “in association with Marvel” and is essentially the creation of Noah Hawley.
    I guess what I’m getting at is that Marvel television shows produced by Marvel lacks the quality of the Fox shows because it does not hire auteurs like Noah Hawley or has the involvement of someone of Bryan Singer’s stature and experience. Instead, you’ve basically got Jeph Loeb pulling the levers. As you guys said, I believe Marvel relies almost exclusively on mid-level people with marginal experience who they can hire cheaply. Which shows, I think, that talent (and by extension, money) is important to the success of these things. That’s why I don’t expect “Runaways” to be very good.

    • Sorry to be the bearer of bad tidings, Rob, but I’ve heard multiple good things about Runaways, but also bad things about The Gifted. Bear in mind, these come from people unfamiliar with the comics in both cases — well, actually, a couple of Runaways raves came from people who loved the BKV run — so your personal mileage may vary. Me, I think The Gifted looks like an update version of Mutant X, but that might just be me.

  5. joshua Aug 29, 2017

    Jeff mentioned some sort of memo from Jim Shooter regarding the sexuality of the Legion of the Superheroes. I did some Googling but came up empty — anybody else know where to read this document?

    • Jeff Lester Aug 31, 2017

      Sorry this sat in moderation hell for so long, Joshua!

      I tried to find that memo again to link it and also come up empty-handed…which worries me now that I made it up in some kind of weird fugue state brought on by wondering about Jim Shooter and sexuality. Hopefully, someone will be able to turn it up–I swear I only read it in the last year or so?

      • David M Aug 31, 2017

        I think you’re referring to some thoughts Shooter wrote down about the Legion characters like this:
        Jim Shooter on Duo Damsel: The only girl with a frail enough ego to make Bouncing Boy secure. She is bright, pretty, clever, thoughful and artistic chick with a lousy self-image. One of the best catches of the Legion girls—note that B.B. got her! All the way through the courtship he probably told himself, “Naw, she really can’t like me.” And with the same ruthless resignation he faces danger, he courted and charmed her until he got her, surprising no one more than himself! She recognizes Chuck’s value. She even recognizes her own value, but insists on judging herlsef against starndards carefully suelected to paint a failure. Like the hopeless crush on Supes. I’m sure there were some jokes made about the two for one bit long before B.B. courted D.D.—probably the Legion guys were afraid of messing with D.D. because of the razzing they’d get, werd sex humor and suspicion of troilistic perversion, etc. I’m sure D.D. got some funny looks occasionally from the Legionnaires. A girl with a power so weirdly suited to weird sex (and not much else) has reason to wonder what’s aid behind her backs. —Interlac (1976)
        if so, that’s (as should be obvious) from the Interlac apa from 1976. I couldn’t find the whole doc, though I read it some years ago.

  6. The Netflix Death Note keeping so much of the basic structure but changing damn near everything else put me in mind of one of those interpolated parody books like Pride & Prejudice & Zombies– you have big stretches of the original text butting right up against somebody’s jarring fanfic. For a brief moment I thought they were really gonna go off-script and have Light and L team up to take out Ryuk, which would have been a lot more interesting than the place they did.

    I propose we refer to Shooter’s Rules of the New Universe as Dogme ’86.

    Have either of you guys read Byrne’s Next Men? I read the first half or so a couple years back when IDW collected it, and it very much reminds me of the post-Pitt direction of the New U, with the way it has a “normal” world quickly become engulfed in total chaos by the often unwitting actions of naive, well-meaning superhumans.

    • Didn’t IDW put out a Essentials-style collection of the first half of Next Men? I’m pretty sure I read that when it came out, only to be impressively non-plussed by it.

      • Jeff Lester Aug 31, 2017

        I have never had any interest in Next Men, but there’s part of me that’s tempted now as I continue to free fall down the rabbit hole of Byrne’s career.

        Something we should revisit for the Byrnglehart podcast, maybe?

    • Jeff Lester Aug 31, 2017

      Also, Joe, I wanted to add your description about the Netflix Death Note was good stuff. You’re absolutely right about how things might’ve gone.

      And while it might’ve been more interesting, part of me hopes this gets enough viewers we get a sequel, where Light’s in college and we get those amazing Light/L shenanigans as well as a viewpoint on Light’s part much closer to the original character.

    • “Dogme ’86” = hilarity.

  7. Daniel Langsdale Aug 31, 2017

    You rag on Starbrand a couple of times for not following up on The Pitt very much, but to be fair Gruenwald’s DP7 spends many, many issues dealing with just that.

    I think one thing that really hurt Byrne’s run on Starbrand is the fact that he put it out bi-monthly in a format that still held the conceit of time passing in the comics roughly at the pace it was in the real world. So much story had to be elided over or left to other titles to cover.

    FWIW, I bought & read ALL of the New Universe books as they came out, and still own them. It’s been maybe 10 or so years since I read them, so maybe in a few more it’ll be time to revisit them again.

    • There’s also a reference to the Draft and the War as coming at the end of the New U – the Draft is the follow-up GN to the Pitt where the lack of comprehending exactly why Pittsburgh was destroyed leads to a superhuman draft (also, Reagan is unmasked as a paranormal). Eventually Iran claims responsibility for the Pitt incident, thinking they can bluff about how powerful their paranormals are, leading to the War.

      And yeah, DP7 was all over the Pitt as they spent several issues there and revisited it later on (where it had become a full-blown volcano).

      What I’m driving at, is, a lot of the elements which aren’t followed-up in Star Brand belonged to different comic books completely. Byrne was kinda playing nice by showing what the status quo of the New U was.

      Gruenwald was pretty much the only person who believed in Shooter’s original concept but was also willing to adapt after he left. I should probably also point out that the Witness debuted in Gruenwald’s DP7 Annual #1 prior to the Pitt.

      (oh, and maybe point out I wrote a couple of text pieces for Untold Tales of New Universe for Mark Paniccia’s office and tried to get the stories on-point with the original New U continuity)

  8. Thank you Dan Coyle.

    [Starbrand] was my only direct exposure to the New Universe initially. Shared with a friend who picked up Merc at the time. Early eBay, and I picked up the entire original New Universe suite. Spottily read it all (mostly Goodwin) over the course of years and sold it all off eventually. Found the first 10 issues of Starbrand for $2 a coupla years back and read that again.

    Am currently Starbrand-free.

  9. Chris K Sep 1, 2017

    I’ve never heard about Strikeforce Morituri being a NU title before, but Peter Gillis and Kelley Jones did a short lived series called Chrome that was initially prepared for the New Universe: https://www.comics.org/series/37797/

    As I recall from the first issue text page, Gillis liked his idea enough to hold onto it for himself, and a friend of his had a start-up indy and was looking for something to publish. It’s actually a pretty decent book, and the premise fits in well with the “real world..ish” directive of the NU. I would have liked to have seen where it went, but it ended after 3 issues. (Gillis uses Michael O’Donoghue’s “Then everybody got hit by a truck” joke to close out the final issue.)

    So it doesn’t look like Gillis ever got far as part of the New Universe crew. I don’t know if he conceived Strikeforce Morituri at the same time as Chrome and brought it over to Marvel after Hot collapsed, or if it was always intended for Marvel (I believe he was still working on Doctor Strange through all of this, so he was still “in” at the company.)

  10. David M Sep 2, 2017

    Maybe I misheard Graeme, But the Starbrand sticks around in Quasar for maybe 30 issues. Quasar uses it to get home from the New Universe, passes it accidentally on to his girlfriend Kayla, It’s stolen from her by a Deviant called Ereshkigal for #50. I think it’s the macguffin in the Starblast crossover after that, but I haven’t read that.
    I don’t think I’ll be reading the Starbrand comics you talked about, entertaining as your discussion was. I’m pretty sure re-reading those issues of Starblazer that Alcatena drew are way ahead in my personal reading list..