We have winners! We have arguments! We have arguably our most unlikely topic of extended lengthy discussion! More adorable dog pics! Plus: some hasty kinda hasty, but very Youtube-y show notes, and probably a surplus of exclamation points. All after the jump!
00:00-5:33: Greetings from the post-post-industrial wasteland of Graeme’s basement! Perhaps it’s the Portland heat, or the San Francisco malaise, but you are in one for one heck of a wacky, contentious ride, Whatnaut, and it’s probably best if you either (a) are willing to listen to us talk about that “pop culture” stuff we’re always threatening to drop into our podcasts; or (b) use the hell out of the time indicator of these show notes to steer to you the comforting shoals of funny book funny talk.
5:33-11:58: But at least on one topic, we are on our game (almost): our 2014 Oily Comics Summer Giveaway! Finally, the winners are announced: first, the first three fast-fingered fellows who wrote in. Give it up for:
And then comes the two lucky drawing winners, which you can see being picked by Justice Ernie and Judge Gus:
Yes, that’s right—the winners were chosen by Graeme’s dogs and we are all well-pleased by the results. Let us all cast envious glances toward:
Again, congratulations! Remember: “Wait, What? The Podcast Where Winners Win!”
11:58-37:40: And so from the sublime to the ridiculous—Jeff has had the song Pipes of Peace stuck in his head, thanks in part to a reference to Ebony and Ivory in an earlier review by Graeme, so now it’s time for MegaMacca: a terrifying wide-ranging conversation that includes Give My Regards to Broad Street; Prince’s Purple Rain; Jeff’s tricky memory, movie runs in the early ‘80s; Rupert the Bear (full video, complete with McCartney’s introduction here, or you can cut to the musical number about 1:17 in here — having heard it now I can testify it is clearly a very deep misunderstanding on Mr. McCartney’s part as to what Liverpool FC would consider an acceptable fight song); Linda McCartney, Angela Lansbury and Murder She Wrote; Macca as Sinistar; Jeff’s obvious delight in knowing that Paul McCartney’s nickname in the U.K. is/was “Macca,” Zardoz (“ZARDOZ!”); and more.
37:40-48:48: This is around the time we stop talking about the Beatles and being “trapped” with a popular band, as opposed to the “freedom” of today’s pop culture, how fragmentary it is and how that may result in less freedom for the artists…and also about Zero #9 by Ales Kot, Tonci Zonjic, and Jordie Bellaire which Graeme has read in advance of release and talks about here.
48:48-49:22: Unfortunately, just as Graeme begins telling Jeff about Mr. Kot’s new Winter Solider series, our Internet connection takes a turn for the glitchy and it takes us a bit of time to get it cleared up.
49:22-51:51: Let’s do it again! Not just a great Bill Cosby-Sidney Poitier movie with Jimmie Walker, it’s also a fine way to start the second part of our podcast. Anyway, we’re back and trying to figure out how Ales Kot will manage to work together the finer points of Zero and the broader points of Secret Avengers into the new Winter Soldier.
51:51-1:04:04: Graeme wants to talk Prince comics, but Jeff wants to talk about how Purple Rain is a pretty decent Marvel comic, an early prototype of the modern superhero movie, if you will. Graeme disagrees, and we go on to disagree about whether Prince’s persona is interesting (actually, I think Jeff ducks Graeme challenging Jeff to say that Prince’s persona is more interesting that his music, and then Graeme wisely goes on to duck Jeff’s points altogether); Prince’s comics; Prince’s twitter; that collection of Belle and Sebastian themed comics; George Harrison doing an album with Mike Skinner; and then—when nobody is paying attention—WE ARE BACK TO TALKING ABOUT PAUL McCARTNEY AND THAT GOD-DAMNED PIPES OF PEACE VIDEO.
1:04:04-1:16:08: Graeme tries to save the podcast by talking about something other than Paul McCartney—namely, pre-SDCC comic book news. Jeff is not sure if this will work but gives it a shot. Finally, we are back on familiar Wait, What? territory! Topics include: Boom!’s pre-SDCC news; prequel comics; DC’s announcements; the new Batgirl title by Cameron Stewart, Brenden Fletcher, Babs Tarr, and Jordan Bellaire; Ann Nocenti on Klarion the Witchboy; The New Adventures of Old Lobo; and Tony S. Daniel on Deathstroke the Terminator. (yesss!!)
1:16:08-1:42:31: And in Round 2 of Shouty and Cantankerous, Graeme and Jeff discuss Jeff’s recent post raking any number of free comics from Comixology over the coals using reasoning that runs the gamut from flimsy to specious. Also discussed: why Jeff hates everything; why Jeff is wrong about Letter 44; why Jeff is wrong about hating everything; what is wrong with Jeff; why is Jeff incapable of feeling joy; seriously, Jeff, what is wrong with you, Jeff. Oh, and also, Graeme reaching through the screen and slapping Jeff.
But also, more importantly—art with a point of view: is there not something to be said for raising a point, then letting a reader take it further themselves? I mean, clearly, there is. Raising a point of view and then hammering home how the artist feels about it leads us down the road of dull propaganda, terrible self-serving work, and, worst of all, The Newsroom by Aaron Sorkin. So…what’s wrong with Jeff?
Also discussed: Jason and Werewolves of Montpellier; the joys of being perfectly cromulent; and a lot, lot more. We should all appreciate Graeme McMillan’s patience and good will here (I certainly do!), because he not only listens to a crazy, swerving monologue from Jeff, he also asks: “So what do you like these days, Jeff?” Also discussed: Jiro Hurawata’s Batman, now on Comixology; Chris Weston on Judge Dredd; and Southern Bastards #3.
1:42:31-1:53:17: We also talk about Shutter #3 and #4 by Joe Keatinge and Leila Del Duca. Jeff thought issue #3 was enjoyable and quite strong; Graeme thought issue #3 was stronger than #2 but also decided the book is not for him. Also discussed: District 9, District 12 from The Hunger Games; District [or Banlieue] 13, and District 14 by Pierre Gabus and Romauld Reutimann , and how the number of titles called District [Number] is a bit overly confusing.
1:53:17-1:56:06: Jeff asks Graeme if he’s read Infinity Man and the Forever People #2 (Graeme has not); Graeme asks Jeff if he’s read The Life After by Joshua Hale Fialkov and Gabo (Jeff hasn’t). We each talk about these books for a bit.
1:56:06-1:59:51: after his excessive biovating about the search for meaning in his comics, Jeff takes a tip from John Kane and picks up the long-lasting chewing pleasure that is SpongeBob Comics Annual-Size Super-Giant Swimtacular #2. A beautiful Fletcher Hanks parody by Paul Karasik and R. Sikoryak is only the capper of this handful of terrific comics.
1:59:51-2:21:34: Oh, god. Graeme has three quick things to talk about and Jeff unfortunately goes off another (another!) tirade! Will it be over (a) The Wicked and Divine, by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie (of which Graeme has seen issue #2 in advance)? (b) Meteor Men, by Jeff Parker and Sandy Jarrell (an advance copy of which Graeme has seen)? or (c) I Was The Cat, by Paul Tobin and Ben Dewey (an advance copy of which — surprise, surprise — Graeme has also seen)? Instead of wrapping up neatly at the two hour mark, we tussle for another twenty minutes.
2:21:34-end: closing comments! A taste of next episode’s Avengers conversation as Graeme McMillan gives us a preview of our Avengers discussion from next issue.
I’ve heard y’all like to have a handy link to download from. It is below, and the player should be…above? And the whole thing is on our RSS feed, so….you should be set?
Wait, What? Ep. (15)4: Macca Attacka
Keep an eye out for posts from Graeme and I this week (and next week), look for us on Twitter, drop us a note, think about throwing money at us on Patreon if you like what we do. And from the bottom of Graeme’s heart and whatever the strange lumpy tumor that is mine, we thank you for listening and for your support, and we hope you enjoy!
Just started on the podcast, but I had to relate that, during your tirade on Paul McCartney, as soon as Jeff said “Endless fields of offal” I couldn’t help but hear “Endless fi-elds of offal” as sung to the tune of “Strawberry Fields Forever.” And the swarmandel goes Bing bang bang bang bang bong bong bong…
I’ve had this revised version stuck in my head on and off for three days now, James. Thanks.
Yay! Something to look forward to next Sunday. Was a little afraid reading through the shownotes that there was no Avengers talk….but phew!
I’m probably weird. I never followed any musicians growing up, and the only pop star comic I ever read was an issue of a Marvel Premiere about Alice Cooper. Or something. I much prefer Dazzler. So all the Paul and Prince talk left me a bit lukewarm.
But I will treasure the Angela Lansbury/Paul McCartney comparison forever.
(So I’m typing this when I should be going to bed, but I need to get thoughts down now, so it’s probably gonna be a bit scattered.)
Jeff! So, in regards to your long, long rant that was perfectly great, you kinda helped me to crystallize some of my thoughts that I’ve been working on. I’ve been having a really tough time with the “Guys! Look! It’s awesome!” aesthetic, something that I kinda feel like Axe Cop or the Aw Yeah guys are sort of avatars of. It’s kind of a feeling of being told “What, you don’t like fun?”, when I feel like fun for me means I get to actually think about something. It’s not enough to just have dinosaurs with Gatling gun arms; let’s have it try to talk a little bit about something about the world around us or whatever.
Also, Graeme, your Lord Death Man bit was probably the loudest I’ve laughed at a podcast ever. I was really glad I was listening to that in my car on my own.
Matt, I think you split the difference between Graeme and I perfectly. Unfortunately, I both agree with your statement and yet am also very firmly in the “fun for fun’s sake” camp? (Like I know Graeme doesn’t much care for Axe Cop but I’ve liked it in the past?)
You and other responders in this thread are far more sensible than me and make some excellent points and recommendations. Me, I’m in a weird place–kind of cranky old hedonist, I guess? First and foremost, I want stuff to be thoughtful or challenging. Barring that, give me a dinosaur with gatling gun arms…but make it be either (a) a vividly drawn example of such (William Stout, for example); and/or (b) part of a larger phantasmagoria that feels artistically consistent? So I think a lot of Axe Cop at least falls into (b) for me, and is occasionally thought-provoking to me if only by making me go “hmm, what’s the difference between this and a terrible comic?”
We’ve just wrapped up our Compleatly Beatles podcast where for the last few months I’ve been saturated by them. I’m currently in the middle of a Beatles fast and noticed that your podcast was back. Oh happy day! Fun, funny comic book talk! I sit back, listen and… oh dear. So… much… Paul.
Still enjoyed the show and glad you’re back at it!
Sorry about that, Ian! If you haven’t checked ’em out yet, the other three eps. since our return have chock full o’ comic book gibbity-gab.
Glad to have you back!
Fantastic episode, gents!! Best one since the return for my money. Jeff, your points about current comics writers not having a voice or a POV on the world are right on. I made that exact point once to a Scottish friend of mine (not Graeme), as I was in particular bemoaning the lack of a voice in mainstream American comics writers; my friend pointed out that in Britain they had no underground comix scene to speak of, so all of their writers with counter-culture leanings HAD to write for the mainstream outlets which existed (like 2000 AD). My feeling is, in general, American comics writers write solid genre fiction (Bendis, Brubaker, Van Lente, etc) whereas the Brits tend to aim higher and write more original, ambitious stories (Moore, Morrison, Milligan, Delano, Ennis, Mills, and on and on). The best American comics writers don’t come anywhere close to the best Brits; and it all comes down to exactly what you said — they are SAYING SOMETHING.
Oh, and The Wicked + The Divine #1 was utterly meh. The plot twist that led to the courtroom at the end was indeed nonsensical. And the reporter scene in the middle was a massively awkward, lazy exposition dump. Cheers!
Zaragosa: Thanks for having my back on all that. I think you’ve got a very good point about the Brits. Though I might be a little hand-wringy about saying the best of the U.K. trumps the best of the U.S.A. writing-wise…for the vast part, I think that’s true. Most of the really good North Am writers end up also being cartoonists which isn’t the same thing…
I’ve yet to read W+D #2, but I’m surprised that Graeme was, um, surprised by the INVISIBLES influence…I thought it was front and center in the first issue. Its opening line is almost identical to the first line in INVISIBLES #1! Then you’ve got the Jazz Age gods’ seance-thingy, which played like a lost scene from the v2 King Mob time-travel arc.
Great show, guys. I was wondering if Jeff can give more examples of comics that “say something” or have a point of view. I’m not sure what that means exactly although I agree that the comics these days are missing “something”. Thanks and keep up the great work.
I know you asked Jeff, but here are a few examples off the top of my head of comics that say something: Moore’s whole SWAMP THING run, with the single issue story, “POG,” being a particularly affecting case in point; V FOR VENDETTA; PROMETHEA; THE INVISIBLES; WE3; AMERICAN FLAGG; AMERICAN SPLENDOR; YUMMY FUR… More recent examples would be drawn mostly from indie publishers, which I believe was part of Jeff’s point: at a certain time, the mainstream included singular idiosyncratic voices like Gerber, Mantlo, Moore, et al… Which have these days been replaced by a sort of bland professionalism across the whole field. Comics that you cannot love and cannot hate, for their raison d’être is merely existence. And you could not begin to pick out the unique worldview of any of the current “big name” mainstream writers. It all feels like journeyman work, as opposed to the kooky individual voices and imaginations that mainstream comics used to encourage, which made comics so much more of an exciting medium to engage with than most in the generically barren pop culture landscape.
Okay, I seriously can’t be the only person who heard this and thought, these guys need to do a spin-off pop music podcast, a la Holds to Astonish. That was entertaining as hell. Then again, I too have a strong dislike for McCartney.
Thank you for mentioning the Potato Salad Kickstarter. I have several friends who want to monetize everything and this was yet another example of the get-rich-quick-scheme that fuels so many “we should Kickstart that” conversations.
I hate/love the internet but I “like” Wait, What.
Don’t stop thinking about tomorrow, gents.
Glad you dug it, VB–as for the pop music spin-off, I really don’t have the chops to keep up with Graeme, just certain choice vitriol deposits that might carry me through for the occasional ep. or two.
But I would love to see Mr. McMillan doing a pop music podcast–especially if he could convince fellow pop omnivore Douglas Wolk to join him…
Whoa, a Douglas Wolk – Graeme McMillan joint? Count me in.
Jeff, I totally empathize with your desire for voice. Yes, Graeme, entertainment can exist without having anything to “say” about the world. I doubt Jeff’s favorite Tony Daniel Batman comics say anything deep about the meaning of life. I know for a fact many of my favorite comics don’t say anything of importance.
But you’re not entirely fair to the spirit of (what I assume is) Jeff’s point. A good author doesn’t need to have a radical agenda. But I want them to be able to communicate a point of view to me. Show me a VISION. Don’t just manufacture pages. Sure, that vision might simply be “I think this is why Aquaman is a top tier hero.” At least there’s a point to be made. Even if that particular point was poorly made.
If Van Lente (whom I’ve loved on other books) was arguing “Here’s why Magnus has remained a compelling concept” or “I’m using Magnus as a stand-in for everyman to explore feelings of XYZ.” Or even “Magnus is amusing if you look at it through wavy glass.” I’d be onboard. He needs to show me he cares about this story, and he needs to communicate that perspective to me so I can see through his eyes. But Magnus reads like it exists to tell me what happens next to Magnus. Sorry dude, I’m out.
Say what you will about the tenets of national socialism but at least it’s an ethos.
I can totally get behind a book even if that vision is as stupid as “Batman is awesome.” But I can only LOVE a book if it’s got something more emotional or meaningful to say. To your example, Southern Bastards is definitely exploring the contradiction of both loving and hating your redneck heritage. Scalped was about wanting to break free of the Life Trap. Giffen-era League was about how you shouldn’t take superheroes too seriously. Hawkeye is about absurdity contrasted against normalcy, through a lens of being your own worst enemy.
Back to Van Lente, Archer & Armstrong is about discovering yourself, even though you already thought you knew who you were. I’ve read enough of his work that I trust his Magnus vision isn’t getting miscommunicated through bad craft. It might be that he doesn’t even know what Magnus is about yet, and he needs time to figure that out. Or maybe I’m just not seeing it because of what I bring to the table myself. Tell us if it gets really good and maybe I’ll catch it later on down the road.
In the meantime I’ll read about how people are all shit and only pretending to be civil to get what we want (Stray Bullets). Or how with great intention comes great burden (Miles Morales). Or how life can be awesome if you forget about your drama and live in the small moments (Daredevil). Or how G.I.Joe fights bad guys (yeah, I like that too).
Not sure what Saga is about yet. But I’m enjoying the ride.
Add me to the list of people who were on board with Jeff rant about books without some sort of meaning being frustrating.
Have you experienced similar frustrations with other types of media Jeff or is this something specific to superhero comics? This could just be me but it seems like a lazy sitcom episode has more to say about the human condition than a lazy superhero comic. Possibly might be a fantasy vs. drama kind of thing.
Also thanks for picking my name out of the Oily Comics giveaway . Also double thank you for remembering that I was the Dave Clarke who sent you guys my minicomic and not the Dave Clarke whos a DJ (who screws up any attempt to google search me)
Forgot to mention, I laughed embarrassingly loudly at “God Loves, Fraggle Kills.”
Regarding Jeff’s rant about the lack of passion and meaning in modern comics; I half agree and half disagree. I agree that the principle is important and that there are a lot of comics that, while technically sound, don’t really have anything special to say. On the other hand, comics by and large are still a hell of a lot more diverse and creative than more mainstream media.
Sure, DC and to a lesser extent Marvel tend to stick with their formulas, and even the creator-owned publishers may favor creators with more sellable and less risky stories. But look at the MOVIES based on these comics, the ones which reach an audience a thousand times larger. There is NOTHING meaningful about the world or the human condition that these movies have to say. The closest we got in the Marvel movies was Captain America: The Winter Soldier’s obvious critique of the NSA surveillance state. Even then it just boils it down to something Cap can punch, and ends up with a happy ending (not addressing the consequences of the power vacuum that destroying the US’ biggest intelligence agency would create, even if it was the right thing to do). Iron Man 3 is a far worse offender, since it acts like it has something to say but abandons it by the third act; Tony Stark’s PTSD is all but forgotten over the course of the movie, and the Mandarin who makes genuine complaints about US Imperialism and draws on real-world terrorists is just a cover for Eighties-Haired Corporate Badguy, who is easily dispatched by God Mode Pepper without any lingering questions about the system not working (since, like Obadiah Stane or Justin Hammer in the previous IM movies, they were just a few bad apples and everything’s fine the way it is).
These are the movies that are making the most money nowadays, siphoning off the budgets of other potentially more meaningful films and staying within very conservative territory thanks to the massive investments made into them. Compared to that, even Marvel’s main superhero comic line seems like a bastion of creativity and thoughtful discourse. Kieron Gillen’s Iron Man may not have lived up to the expectations many (including myself had), but at least it read like a Kieron Gillen comic, and had some unique moments that weren’t just Shayamalan-style mandatory twists. Joss Whedon’s Avengers movie does not seem at all like a Joss Whedon film or show. Aside from a few quippy lines in the script, Whedon’s voice is lost within the demands of the movie’s blockbuster format.
I’m from the same place as you; I want to see the authors bring their voices and their opinions to their stories. But it could be a lot worse.
Jeff, enjoyed the show especially your brief analysis of Purple Rain, it’s themes and overall appreciation of the generally misunderstood music/persona of Prince and would have listened to you rant on this for another two hours (please feel free to in future episodes).
I get the impression that maybe Graeme does not ‘get’ Prince?
Really? Young people have read more then you so they’ve merely consumed whereas you have “experienced”. What a desperate attempt to try to hold on to the importance of your useless knowledge now that everyone else has more of it.
And you need comics to have a message before you think they’re good. Fuck you two pompous assholes.