Hey, everyone! This is a big episode in more ways than one: not only is it a two and a half hour episode for you, not only is it our epic conclusion to our discussion Steve Englehart’s amazing run on The Avengers, but it is also the episode to listen to if you want to win one of the five Oily Comics Summer Bundles!
It’s an episode so big, we…had to skimp a bit on the show notes? Join us after the jump for notes, apologies, and your chance to win it big!
As it turns out, I’m writing this from a hotel room down the coast where the missus and I are having a little minication, but I didn’t want to miss our podcasting deadline so…the episode is up, the contest is live, and it’s all pretty great. But the show notes aren’t as image-rific as I personally would like, because god knows it was like I screenshotted ever other page of Avengers #135-151. Maybe I can update at a later point?
Anyway, enough excuses from me! Get listening!
00:00-4:24: Ten syllable greetings to you! Here’s a topic for us to discuss for some episode in the future—Graeme’s distaste (if not open fear) of nicknames!
04:24-19:27: Hey, our Oily Comics Summer Reading Giveaway! These are the rules for how you can win one of the five Oily Comics Summer Bundle we are giving away—although the rules are not at all difficult (if you’ve ever listened to a radio station doing a “listen for the phrase that pays” giveaway, you pretty much know how this works), you will be impressed at how long it takes us to communicate them to you. Also under discussion: Charles Forsman, how great Charles Forsman is, how much we like Charles Forsman, how you should all be reading Charles Forsman, and whether Jeff really does think of himself as the Robin to Graeme’s Batman, or what?
19:27-21:25: Avengers! Jeff is dying to talk about the end of Steve Englehart’s run on Avengers. Although last time we got up to issue #140 or so, Jeff *totally* forgot a really big epiphany he had around issue #135 or so. So drag out your longboxes, or your GT Corp. collection, or trades, or hit up Marvel Unlimited which has all the issues under discussion (although without the letter pages, which may or may not be crucial).
21:25-40:05: Jeff has a theory that arises out of re-reading Avengers #135 in the wake of reading much-mentioned-in-these-parts Sean Howe’s Marvel Comics: The Untold Story. Discussed: The Vision, the original Human Torch, Professor Phineas T. Horton, Carl Burgos, secret histories, the legacy of superheroes and the legacy of the comics industry, and more.
40:05-43:18: A little more about Englehart’s M.O., according to Graeme: his ability to find the most obscure corners of the universe he’s working in and figuring out ways to connect them (see connecting Patsy Walker, The Cat, and his early run on Amazing Adventures to create Hellcat in the pages of Avengers).
43:18-45:07: Intermission! Which is to say that Jeff has to get water and Graeme has to shit-talk Jeff.
45:07-53:25: Back to Avengers talk! The return of The Beast in Avengers #137 and Englehart’s re-creation of Hank McCoy. Also discussed: Grant Morrison’s run in New X-Men, our beloved phrase (though not the one that pays) “Oh my stars and garters!”, Hank’s relationship with Patsy Walker, and more.
53:25-1:40:12: I don’t know, I’m feeling like breaking all this stuff up into discreet units may not be the best way to capture the flow of our conversation (or, even worse, it has a tendency to push Jeff’s talking points—since Jeff is writing this and can remember what he was trying to talk about over Graeme’s) so I’m going to go just a little bit more freeform from here on out. Around here, we’re talking about our appreciation of how Englehart tries something and then, when it works, he builds on it (such as the way he splits the team’s apart over the arcs). Included: a discussion of the title of issue #141; a set-up and punchline that plays across issues; a comparison and contrast of Marvel Earth and DC Earth; the return of the return of the return of Kang as the only “real” fight against a time traveler; Iron Man’s sexual harassment problem; the all-out best “Captain America is a dick” moment in the long history of the Avengers’ “Captain America is a dick” moments; abandoned storylines vs. discarded plot points; The Avengers’ obsession with hospitals and health care; Keith Pollard and the proper placement of tear ducts (which one of us clearly knows and the other of us clearly does not); the letters page from Avengers #151 and how it relates to William H. Macy blowing his brains out in Boogie Nights; plus much, much more.
1:40:12-2:01:52: Jumping decades and comic book companies, we jump over to discuss the first volume of
Injustice: Gods Among Us, Vol. 1 by Tom Taylor, Jheremy Raapack, Mike S. Miller, Bruno Redondo and a slew of other artists and colorists. Jeff was quite surprised by enjoying it, and is also surprised that Graeme enjoyed it. We talk about the how and whys of this turn of events. Also discussed: DC’s digital anthology titles; Earth 2; the phrase “grim & gritty grits,” and more.
2:01:52-2:22:44: Bonus content! We decide to run long so we can talk about the recent DC news about its new royalty structure, colorist credits, and the public reaction thereto. Also discussed: Mark Waid’s reaction on Twitter, Dan Jurgens’ reaction to Mark Waid on Twitter, when Graeme stopped reading Superman in the 90s, Tom Breevort being kinda weird on Formspring, Graeme’s moment of clarity, and more. (Note: if you listen really hard during Jeff’s blathering around 2:18:24, you can hear the bells of his nearby church ringing. They kind of sound like an ice cream truck, which sort of makes Jeff sound to hear now because he sometimes really does wish there was an ice cream truck nearby and not a church.)
2:22:44-2:25:44: Closing comments! Best wishes to all entering our Oily Summer Bundle comics giveaway, “may the odds be ever in your favor,” (or as Graeme puts it oh so wonderfully: Everybody’s a winner, baby, that’s the truth).
2:25:44-end: Psych! Graeme is compelled to at least mention—in a brief and pithy way—Mark Millar and Duncan Fegredo’s MPH #2, as well as praise for Flash Gordon #3, by Jeff Parker, Evan Shaner and Jordie Bellaire; the conclusion of Indigo Prime in 2000 A.D. #1887; and Superman #32 by Geoff Johns and John Romita, Jr. Jeff wants to give a shout-out to Sex Criminals #6, which both he and Graeme thought was really strong; the Ian Bertram issue of Batman Eternal (#11), the Mikel Janin issue (#12); Saga #20, Batman #32 (especially FCO Plascencia!)
Download the episode by right-clicking on this, yeah?
And then we are out!
Your discussion/interpretation of Englehart’s Avenger’s run brought up a memory of how I felt “Avenger’s Forever” by Busiek and Pacheco seemed to turn parts of Englehart’s Avenger’s history (for me, nostalgia) on it’s head and open to re-interpretation, although at times it read like fan fiction. It covered the Space Phantom to Kang and Rick Jones and the Fifties Avengers (What If?) and the Cowboy Avengers and wife-beating Hank Pym and Killraven? and the Vision and The Original Human Torch! The art was beautiful and the story was GOOD ENOUGH… and …ignored by just about everyone. NOT cannon. Yet, it holds a place in my mind as a quintessential Avenger’s tale.
Seconded! I love this book so much, and it and the first four issues of Busiek’s regular run are probably my favorite post-Stern Avengers tales.
It’s a testament to Busiek’s skill as a writer and Pacheco’s skill as an artist (especially back then, before he moved towards Bryan Hitch-style “realism” and drew more fluid characters) that Avengers Forever read so well, given that it’s basically a professionally-published “Fix Fic”.Then again, opague, self-referential, and often incestuous continuity seems to be part and parcel with these classic Avengers stories, as Jeff and Graeme’s great read-through has proven.
Phase that Prays
“The Praise that Feigns”
God, that pun is gorgeous. I adore it.
Hold on a minute a fellas. Hold ON!
At 1 hour 11 minutes.
Are you saying that Englehart intended for Patsy Walker to be…
… A PATSY?!
Sorry, you guys left that on the counter, and I had to pick it up. Also, re: Cap being a dick, I have a separate reading of that scene. I like to think that when Cap suggests donning the outfit, while we are regaled with Patsy’s tale; off-panel Cap and Iron Man are tapping their toes while Patsy stares starry-eyed into nowhere. After 10 un-interrupted minutes of silence, Cap is like, “Yeah nevermind.”
ICV2 had the most detail on the DC participation plan changes:
“The new thresholds, which are higher than the old but incorporate digital copies as well as print, are 60,000 for comics, 15,000 for original graphic novels, and 3000 copies for book collections of previously published content. ”
I might be wrong, but I think the previous print threshold was 40k for direct market only comics, 75k for newsstand releases (not sure if there are any of those anymore), while digital and collected editions had royalties from the first sale (not sure what original graphic novels was before, the only numbers I ever saw for those treated the page-rate as a straight advance which had to be earned out before royalties were paid, but that was for a Vertigo book).
So the effect will be that a lot of material which would have paid modest royalties before now will not (example, a book that sold 50k in print, 10k digital and 3000 tradepaperbacks would have paid royalties on 23k copies, maybe about $3000 per issue (spread among the writer(s) and artist(s)), now would pay nothing (including to the colourist)).
Even for the digital first material, I doubt very many of them would ever hit the combined 60k in digital and periodical threshold to qualify, though a few of them are definitely selling more than the 3000 collected editions threshold to qualify for that. ICV2 doesn’t have any details on the percentages (except that they’ve gone up, but are now applied to net revenue rather than cover price, so the numbers aren’t directly comparable) , but it sounds like people getting the highest royalties now will get even more (good time to be Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo, Geoff Johns or Jim Lee). If you calculate it right, the “net revenue” on copies 160k to 170k could be higher than the 60k to 70k copies, and if a collection of your work is going to sell 30k, getting a even slightly higher royalty on 27k is better than being the guy going from getting royalties on 3001 copies now getting the new rate on 1 copy.
Excellent show lads, and you inspired me to read Avengers #151 for the first time. ‘The Bullpen’ really were showing Englehart who’s boss, it seems, kicking Patsy out of the book after setting her up to be a member. And Moondragon too.
(I never saw the appeal, did Iron Man look at her and see three boobs?)
Hi there guys, any chance you can post a download link for those of us who need such a thing? Thanks for putting out such a great podcast.
If it helps, you can navigate to the RSS subscription url (on the right margin of the page) and you’ll have access to the show feed with the encapsulated mp3 files, which you right-click to save.
Thanks so much, you’re aces!
I’ve actually always felt like Jeff was the Batman and Graeme was the Robin.
And if we ever implement “like” buttons on our comments, y’all can blame David. Really, it won’t be my fault at all.
As usual, a week late to the party, but that’s how the cookie crumbles. Nevertheless, a great podcast, especially the Avengers talk (and the reference to my comment on the previous show re: Englehart not really planning everything out in advance). Yeah, Engelhart’s website does present Stainless Steve as somehow responsible for everything that ever happened (I’m still not sure how his Detective Comics run influenced Burton”s Batman movies), but I tend to give Englehart a lot of leeway. Interestingly, in your talk of where the Hellcat plot could have gone, and how she may have discovered her feminist side, I’ve read Englehart say he was never interested in feminism as such, but only that he present his female characters in as strong a light as the men. I may be misremembering a bit and if I can find the online quote I’ll post it here.
That discussion of the editorial throwing Steve under the bus reminded me of something very similar in Steve Gerber’s final Defenders issue (which I’ll cut and paste from my own blog).
“In any event, we’re not necessarily sorry you disagree with Steve Gerber’s plots or that they disagree with you, because Gerber’s been relieved of his duties on the book. Next issue, Gerry Conway takes over the scripting and he promises that THE DEFENDERS will shortly resemble a super-hero book – and not the outtakes from “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman” – in plotting and dialogue once again.”
Notice Conway’s involvement again?
Oooo. That is very interesting, Terence. Thank you for passing that on.
And just like Avengers, Conway isn’t on for very long, right? I’m starting to wonder if part of the reason Conway got that coveted EIC ring was a willingness to be the hatchet man before Jim “Hatchet Man” Shooter really got settled in. Hmmm….
Possibly, but I think Englejhart percieved it as more of a power play by Conway to get the two books that had been given a higher profile by he and Gerber (and that a lot of the Dreaded Deadline Dooms were orchestrated by Conway to get him off the The Avengers).
Found one quote re: Englehart and feminism but unfortunately the full quote was on a website that is now dead.
Steve Englehart didn’t like the Cat, and still says so. “I wasn’t real interested in the Cat. I read the books and they seemed like pandering, frankly — not very good stories written to appeal to a demographic.”