Hoo boy, the more things change, the more they stay the same, am I right?
Hey, everybody! Here’s a laugh for you — Graeme and I have been racing around like lunatics to get this launch set up so it can go live on this day, setting up a Tumblr, setting up a Twitter, setting up a Patreon page so that people who want us to beat our previous record of 150+ episodes can help us do so, and, with the help of friends and family, getting this new website in place. Seriously, this WP theme we’ve got working can really kick out the jams: I can embed podcasts in their own entries, we can have a rotating series of entries on our top banner…
And I know how to work none of it. And since Graeme and Kate are offline for the night and I want this to get launched on the first day of June… I’m going to be kicking it old school. Which is to say: incompetently.
And to top things off, I didn’t even mean to bite Graeme’s opening entry by using the (kinda dinky?) image that I did…it’s just that Photobucket is acting broken and I can’t upload some lovely art from the new Flash Gordon series by Jeff Parker, Evan “Doc” Shaner, Jordie Bellaire and others. Or at least I can’t yet…maybe by tomorrow, we’ll have worked out the bugs?
Anyway, since we don’t have to worry about pushing aside other fine collaborators, how about we get straight into the show notes, yeah?
- 00:00-07:13: New greetings! Which are a lot like our old greetings except, comically, we are more awkward at them? As you can see, this new house of ours and newish venture has us a little off our game…at first. Presumably, we’ll get back into the swing of things sooner rather than later. But for the first few minutes, it’s us comparing ourselves to The Chevy Chase Show, which is not the most inspiring of comparisons, to be sure.
- 07:13-8:08: Oh, and also check out the Tumblr: for things like our reading lists, images we’ve plucked from those books, links to the show, and what-have-you. That’s got to be, like, a signficant percentage of what one posts on Tumblr, right? What-have-yous?
- 8:08-10:01: Speaking of which, it’s time to play the game that Jeff always loses: Let’s Talk About How Much We’ve Read (But May Not Get Around to Discussing). In Graeme’s corner: Trees #1 (ditto for Jeff); Saga #19 (ditto); Lumberjanes #1 and #2 (ditto for Jeff); Southern Bastards #2 (ditto); Forever Evil #7 and Justice League #30 and Justice League of America #15; the first five issues of DC New 52: Future’s End; the final issue of Nightwing; the first couple issues of Flash Gordon (ditto from Jeff, although listening to it now, I’m not sure if Graeme is being coy and actually has read issue #3 ahead of the rest of us plebes or not); the Gold Key books from Dynamite (Turok, Doctor Spektor (Regina Spektor’s older brother), Magnus Robot Fighter, and Solar, Man of the Atom); Original Sins #1; the most recent issues of 2000 A.D.; the pending ABC Warriors collection A.B.C. Warriors (Mek Files);The Banzai Batallion collection Banzai Battalion: Just Another Bug Hunt; the latest Devlin Waugh collection; Velvet #5; Zero issues #6, 7, and 8 (ditto for Jeff); Shutter #2 (ditto): Starlight #3 (ditto); Dead Letters #2; Petty Theft by Pascal Girard and Nobrow 9: It’s Oh So Quiet (Nobrow Magazine). 10:01-14:14: And in Jeff’s far more anemic corner (especially when he leaves out the ones Graeme’s mentioned above): the Free Comic Book Day edition of Transformers vs. G.I. Joe (ditto Graeme); Aquaman #31 (ditto); Batman #31; Afterlife with Archie #5 (ditto); Batman & Frankenstein #31; Tales From The Con #1; Walking Dead #127; Minimum Wage #5; Bee and Puppycat #1; Star Trek New Visions: The Mirror Crack’d (about which Graeme literally has to jump in and immediately ask questions, so excited is he by the prospect of John Byrne photoshopping a goatee onto images of Leonard Nimoy) (and, really, who can blame him?) (Graeme, I mean, not John Byrne—we blame John Byrne for *sooooo* much); Batman Eternal issues #6, 7, and 8; Crossed Badlands #53; The Fuse #4; and approximately 25 issues of Marvel’s Avengers (we say approximately because we were supposed to read up to issue #138 or so and Graeme, of course, read to issue #141 and Jeff made it to issue #132 (although he read the Giant Size Avengers issues, which means bupkis in the face of all that other amazing crap Graeme read while simultaneously writing for six other websites). And more (but less than Graeme)!
- 14:14-28:59: Jeff is about a month behind on his 2000 A.D. reading (and don’t even get him started on Shonen Jump Weekly, Whatnauts!) but that does mean that he did get to finish the stunning “Mega-City Confidential” by John Wagner, Colin MacNeil, Chris Blythe, and Annie Parkhouse. And so we talk about this fine piece of unsubtle, polemical, slow-burn storytelling, and what has been a very, very good year for Judge Dredd stories. Also mentioned: the Titan story, Shooter’s Night; the classic storyline Judge Dredd: America (of course); The Dark Knight Returns; The Wire; and more.
- 28:59-1:10:56: From new 2000 A.D. to very old 2000 A.D.: through 2000 A.D.’s iPad app, Jeff purchased The Ballad of Halo Jones (Alan Moore) by Alan Moore and Ian Gibson, a classic early Moore work that Jeff had never read. So, with a minimal amount of shaming from Graeme (thank goodness!), we talk about Halo Jones, the work of Ian Gibson, Miracleman, Mark Millar and the brilliant Shameless by Colin Smith; and The Last War in Albion by Philip Sandifer. Also mentioned: Graeme’s thought experiment about Alan Moore (at 35:44); From Hell; Alan Moore’s work for Image; Graeme’s ambivalence about (especially) Supreme; Jeff natters on about an essay he read talking about a Jim Starlin’s run on DC Comics Presents and how it provided some imagery for one of Alan Moore’s Supreme flashbacks (and because we love you, we can tell you that essay was written by the mighty Tom Scioli; Alan Moore, raconteur; Promethea; America’s Best Comics; and an unexpected compare/contrast that I think suprised both Graeme and me; the announcement of Electricomics; Moore’s stance about DC; the Clovis episode of Veep; comparisons to Thrillbent; Jeff’s reaction as a subscriber thereto, specifically to The Damnation of Charlie Wormwood; and (allen) more!
- 1:10:56-1:13:50: Graeme has interesting news about, believe it or not, Left Behind and Nicholas Cage. Come for the week-old movie news, stay for the creation of our new Patreon milestone: GET NICHOLAS CAGE ON OUR PODCAST. Other news worth mentioning: Shaft becoming a comic book; and Graeme and Jeff being old. So very old, you guys. So old.
- 1:13:50-1:27:44: From Nicholas Cage to Warren Ellis (but of course!), here we are talking about Trees #1 by Ellis and Jason Howard. Also discussed: Ellis and his mailing list; Ellis on Supreme; Ellis off Moon Knight; Ellis Doesn’t Live Here Any More; Ellis Sweet Ellis; Ellis in Chains; and maybe the last two or three of those are just things I threw in to keep myself entertained? But also, what is up with Marvel and their big-name writers leaving books within the first six issues (Aaron, Waid, Fraction, Wells, etc.)
- 1:27:44-1:30:43: “Starlight, why are you still reading it?” asks Graeme, in hopes of beginning our move toward a hastier discussion of the books we’ve read. First off, the third issue of this miniseries by Mark Millar and Goran Parlov.
- 1:30:43-1:36:32: Bouncing quite naturally off that, the second issue of Flash Gordon by Jeff Parker, Evan “Doc” Shaner, and Jordie Bellaire. TRIGGER WARNING: We use the word “fun” a lot. And we also discuss a great interview with Jordie Bellaire that also has an amazing anecdote detailing the difficulty of the freelancer’s life. Graeme also very much liked King’s Watch, the prequel miniseries to the Flash Gordon series.
- 1:36:32-1:44:27: Speaking of books edited and packaged by Nate Cosby, Graeme entreats Jeff to check out the Gold Key revival books at Dynamite (Turok, Phil Spektor Producer of the Occult, Magnus Robot RickRoller, and Solar Man of the Atom). And here’s a problem Jeff has been having—reading very good “superhero” books that don’t manage to *stick* as regulars on his reading list (the very good but frequently ignored Archer & Armstrong, for example).
- 1:44:27-1:48:33: Graeme talks about the last issue of Forever Evil, with some surprising news (at least to Jeff): against all odds, it almost worked! There will be spoilers in this very brief discussion of the last issue, including the last two pages of the miniseries. And because of Justice League #30, Graeme is also interested in the “Luthor Joins the Justice League” storyline that’s developing. Again, spoilers on all this stuff but worth checking out if you’re okay with that.
- 1:48:33-1:50:10: Jeff has peeked at the preview of Superman they’ve been running by Geoff Johns and John Romita, Jr., and wants to get Graeme’s take on it.
- 1:50:10-2:01:00: But to hell with that, because Graeme really wants to tell us about Nobrow 9: It’s Oh So Quiet (Nobrow Magazine) which he does briefly (but passionately!). Jeff, left to pick his one book to talk about, of course ambles all over the place, putting most of his passion into blaming Graeme for reading ahead on Avengers. But eventually he focuses on Saga #19, including his tin-hat conspiracy theory about one of the contributors to the issue’s letter column, and there’s a bit of hand-wringing to be had about Walking Dead #127.
- 2:01:00-end: Closing comments! If you’re reading these words, you’re probably on our website, so do check out our Patreon page and help Jeff’s Nicholas Cage dream come true!
Okay, so yeah. Man, I wish I could do this with all the high-falutin’ stuff this website can do, but I’ll just link to the episode again down here like I did up top? That’ll do for now, right? Hopefully, we can give you a bit more to work with very soon.
So, yes. As always: THANK YOU FOR LISTENING. Yes, I thought I would be all yell-y about that. I hope you’re as glad to have us back as we are!
Wow, look at all those crazy font changes. I know the first thing I’m going to have to work on.
Thanks for all the hard work Jeff – Looking forward to listening tomorrow morning as I am squeezed between sweaty folks on my way to work.
I just noticed that in my bookmarks this page is listed as the “What what ? podcast”
That’s kind of awesome.
Congratulations on the new podcast and I’m looking forwards to listening to your first episode. The crashed spaceship I use as my cave can only parse RSS feeds, so if you can add that to your list of things to do, I’d really appreciate it. See you in the funny pages…
Andrew: Thank you for the congratulations! Actually, until we figure out how to handle our archives and everything, this podcast is still on our old RSS feed:
It’s there as Episode 151 (in true solidarity with Marvel’s confusing numbering strategy, we’re also continuing to keep track of our old numbering while insisting there is new numbering)! If you have any problems accessing, let us know but the last thing we wanted to do was make it hard for loyal Whatnauts to keep listening (so we settled for making it confusing, instead)!
Jeff: Thanks very much for getting back to me on this so quickly and for letting me know.
I’m downloading Wait, What?dotNOWpointONE as I type this (171MB?! More like Wait, WTF?) and will am looking forwards to listening to it tomorrow after I finish the live House to Astonish on the drive home tonight.
Thanks very much again and every success for the future across your various social media outlets, Whatbots.
Wait, What 151 was a fantastic listen. I mirror your feelings about how Flash Gordon and the Gold Key books are what I most enjoy when reading super-hero or adventure stories.
I think the success of Dredd’s characterization over that 30 year run comes from the consistency of John Wagner’s continued involvement. Just read ‘Origins’ and even though it came out years ago, it really shows the conflict of Joe dealing with the fallout of a failing social system and using his will to justify it on his terms.
Wish you guys an exponential success with the Patreon campaign.
Love Graeme’s comparison between DC-era Kirby and ABC-era Moore, even while disagreeing on the relative pleasures of each (but I’m a formalist at heart, so I guess I would). Glad to have you guys back!
It’s great to have you back so soon, I loved the first of the next. But I was so disappointed you never did get to the final issue of Nightwing. It was rather special …
Congrats on the relaunch.
Second what Andrew said about the file size. There’s really not any appreciable increase in audio quality for non-musical audio going from your previous bitrate to this one (most professional ones use that bitrate or even lower, a two-hour WTF would be about 50MB). Doesn’t matter much to me, but it might to people with slower connections, and of course the savings in bandwidth costs on your side could be considerable, depending on what type of hosting plan you have.
I think I’ve mentioned this before, but I remain fascinated by this fantasy “Alan Moore” character that both of you, but mostly Graeme, have concocted in your minds. Where do you get the idea that Moore somehow blames the audience for BIG NUMBERS not finishing? As far as I know, BIG NUMBERS #1 sold great (reportedly around 65k, obviously not WATCHMEN numbers but that’s for a $5.50 book when most comics not about building shopping malls in Northampton were $1 – $1.50) and #2 sold pretty well, enough to continue if it wasn’t taking Sienkiewicz forever to draw more, leaving Moore with the expenses of running a publishing company that wasn’t publishing anything, and then eventually quitting and his replacement Al Columbia doing whatever-the-heck he did. I’ve read a lot about BIG NUMBERS, and Moore’s lament is always that it drove artists away, not that the audience wasn’t there for it when they were given a chance.
Also, seriously, Ian Gibson better in colour? Crazy talk.
“Trashcan Man farting into a gumball machine”—I guess I have to read THE STAND now
Welcome back! I missed you guys.
Jeff’s comments on the Valiant relaunches hit a chord with me… I feel the exact same way about them, but I actually DO have nostalgia for those books; Barry Windsor-Smith’s Archer & Armstrong was my favorite original Valiant book when I was thirteen or so (right before the excesses of the ’90s made me drop comics for a few years), and Priest’s Quantum & Woody came along when I getting back into comics during college. I love Fred van Lente and what I’ve seen of his A&A is good, and I’ve read a friend’s copies of the Asmus’ Q&W and that seems good on its own merits too, but I’m just not motivated to follow either of them.
I think at least part of it has to be that I associate those books so strongly with their original creators, that the current runs just can’t help but seem like cover versions no matter how good they are (Asmus is even using Priest’s scene-transition writing tic, which seems REALLY odd). I wonder if I’d feel the same way about, say, Superman or Spider-Man if those hand-offs hadn’t been a done deal before I was even born.
But on the other hand, maybe (hopefully?) my tastes have changed since I originally read those books and I’m just no longer interested in more stuff in that vein; I’m not reading the current versions of most of the other comics I read then either.
It was exciting to have the new Wait,What? pop up on the iPod this week. Thank you, thank you, thank you. True to form, you guys tangented all over the place, and it was entertaining, enlightening, and … some other “e” word.
I particularly enjoyed your discussion of Alan Moore. Admittedly, I am a member of the Magical Moore Marching Society, but I felt the insights made by both Graeme and Jeff were valid. It does seem like Big Numbers was a huge turning point for Moore. He had set off to do his own thing, trusting in the “intelligence” of the readership and was rebuked. He tried reviving it as a television serial at one point too, and that also went nowhere.
If it had succeeded, I agree, Moore’s trajectory could have been far different, and if he’d been immediately successful with all three of those projects from that time – From Hell, Lost Girls, and Big Numbers – we might not continue to get the questions surrounding his ire with DC and the rights to Watchmen & V for Vendetta. But the fact that it took so long for those first two to finally see publication, along with the failure of Big Numbers, makes it feel like fans/journalists/whomever view these endeavors, and that time period right after Watchmen, Killing Joke, and V, as such a monumental failing on Moore’s part. And it almost feels as if interviewers come from a point of view that Moore should have remained in the corporate sphere of comics creation rather than branching out on his own (though that could be my biases showing through).
Finally, didn’t the collapse of Mad Love publishing coincide with the dissolution of Moore’s marriage? All around, it was a bit of a shit time for the man – his self-published books weren’t successful, he lost money on the endeavor, his personal life was in a bit of ruins, and he’d consciously burned bridges with the larger comic companies that might have been able to help him with the financial part of that equation. I have to imagine that period of his life haunts him a bit and has colored his view of the world since, even if unconsciously.
Apologies for rambling. Thanks again for all the work you guys put into this. I really appreciate it. And congratulations on the successful patreon campaign, thus far. Looking forward to when Nic Cage comes on the show.
At the time, the failure of “Big Numbers” was chalked up to Bill Sienkiewicz leaving the book due to stress, and Tundra going under. Eddie Campbell elaborated on this a little, adding in the story of Al (Sienkiewicz’s assistant at the time) Columbia falling-out with his mentor and Eastman. This is pretty much the received history, and I don’t recall there being much of a to-do over what the market would or wouldn’t support. DId I miss something?
As angry as I was over this slip-up, I really enjoyed the podcast. And I’m glad to see the website up and running… Here’s to another 150!
Not to belabour the point, but since I just came across it in Lance Parkin’s MAGIC WORDS (pages 254-5), here’s Moore on BIG NUMBERS:
“We were selling tons! For a black-and-white book that isn’t about superheroes, the first issue sold 65,000 copies, which is better than most DC titles, I believe. There was a potential there for establishing alternative comic publishers as a real force . . . but unfortunately the perception will be that Big Numbers isn’t out anymore so it must have been a commercial failure. It was by no means a commercial failure. It was a massive success that earned me more money than any other comic I’ve ever done.”
I am Happy you guys are Back ! Wait what .Now ! :D I am going to follow your Tumblr and I am going to check out and read that Interview with Jordie Bellaire about her Insane Hours she has to keep to color so many Books and her life as a Free Lancer , I am interested in checking out trees and Moon Knight ( to compare the different shifts in the Quality of Warren Ellis`s writing . ) after listing to this episode has sparked my interest . also I used to read Freak Angels like crazy back in 2008/09 just because I had read little bits of Ellis`s Stormwatch work and Doom 2099 work from that time period while I binge reading a lot of Grant Morrison`s New X-Men and Doom Patrol runs in Trade . ^_^ they was the best of times and the most surreal of times . its was when I was heavy into reading the late 80s /Early 2000s comics written by Grant , Warren ,Mark Millar ( Ultimate X-Men and later on Kick Ass vol 1 ) and Alan Moore`s Watchmen and V for Vendetta (mostly because of the movies that was coming out on separate occasions during that time period . )
anyways I enjoyed your conversation about the current state of Alan Moore and the compare and contrast of the quality of his Old and Newer works ( I personally find his Wildcats run and his one issue in spawn interesting reads but I favored 1963 more because of how much more invested he seemed in that series . shame it will never be collected in trade -_- )I am feeling a little optimistic about his latest endeavor Electric comics ( I mean he is going to have to do something spectacular if he is going to compete with the Likes of Monkeybrain , Madefire ,Aces Weekly and Thrillbent ) but at part of me has some doubt and the other hopes that it is something truly spectacular .
anyways I enjoyed this All New Episode . the Alan Moore /Jack Kirby comparisons on level of Creativity and Productivity . and Nick Cage ( if only you could score him on the show that would be sweet and I love Con Air it was a Brilliant movie worthy of its all star cast :D ) in the end everybody went to Disney Land . also One last thing Jeff will you be reading The Wicked + the Divine by Gillen , Mckelvie and Matt Wilson ?
In the event that you ever end up in the same room as Nic Cage; for the love of god do not bring up the possibility of a Power Man & Iron Fist movie. The man starred in the remake of “Bangkok Dangerous”, a Thai film about a deaf-mute hitman. In which Mr. Cage was neither deaf, mute, or Thai. Alls I’m saying is that I really don’t want to see Nic Cage saying “Sweet Christmas”. Use your powers for good fellas.
Welcome back, Jeff and Graeme! Don’t know if that’s the right sentiment since my iTunes feed doesn’t think you left. So, congratulations on the new site and the sponsored podcast!
I found your Judge Dredd talk fascinating. I’ve always wanted to ask someone (you guys, other comics critics, and any British person I meet) what’s so great about Judge Dredd? I really only know him through Batman and some really terrible crossovers (I found Aliens vs. Judge Dredd in a garbage pile. After reading it, I hastily returned it to that pile and walked away whistling, but a little dead on the inside.), and have rarely read much of the 2000 A.D. stuff. On paper he seems like many of your Marvel/DC characters: company-owned superhero developed into perpetuity by musical-chairs creative teams. Why recommend 10 years worth of Dredd to someone over, say, 10 years Superman or Spider-Man? What makes Dredd different, and by different I do mean “better” since that’s the impression I get from people who talk him up? I’ve never asked anyone because I knew it would sound snarky, but as a non-Dredd reader, I’ve always been curious. You guys started to chip away at those questions I had with this discussion, so thank you for that.
As for Marvel creative teams leaving after six issues, I think you could chalk it up to being a marketing scheme, the ol’ bait-and-switch and nothing more. How do you convince readers to pick up yet another X-Men series? Add a hot name like Jason Aaron and people will pick it up. Aaron probably knows he can’t fit another full-time book into his schedule, but I bet he’s willing to knock out just six issues, especially since he’ll get the money off the #1 issue, which will be the best selling issue of the series. Same goes for Moon Knight. No one really wants a Moon Knight series, but they’ll take one by Ellis. I can’t remember the last time Ellis has committed to a monthly book. I’m sure he’s willing to do six issues just for some cash, acclaim, and self-promotion. (You like the guy who made Moon Knight readable? Then check out his book trees!) As for Zeb Wells, I’ve always been under the impression that he does comics if they don’t interfere with his TV work. He knows where to get the butter for his bread, and it ain’t comics.