Hey, everyone!  Maybe you’re discovering this right in the thick of Cyber-Monday, busily hitting refresh for the opportunity to get a $1.99 DVD copy of Jonah Hex  (confession:  I did this) or maybe you’re ignoring all the folderol, and are busy hitting the web for what’s really important: podcasts of two grown men speaking in conspiratorial tones about comic books.  Either way, we decided to give you the hook up almost a day early so you can re-sharpen those forks and knives and tuck in to our two hour and thirty minute episode!  Remember: if you want just the straight link to the episode, check out OUR VERY FIRST COMMENT where I will give you the connect along with the bonus of MORE WORDS IN ALL-CAPS.

But first (for me, you can skip straight down there if you want): Show notes ahoy!

00:00-16:20: Greetings (of a sort)! Things are a bit wonky right at the beginning and, us being us, there’s even more conversational scratchings of the head than other podcasting teams might otherwise give you. And yet! We are talking about the Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer almost immediately out of the gate so…take that, competent podcasters! We talk the trailers for the prequel trilogy; exposition versus imagery; the Jurassic World trailer (which I thought about linking you to or even embedding and then went nahhh); the charms of Chris Pratt; and the secret appeal of Zack Snyder movies; all of which leads us into:
16:20-1:11:14: Movie talk! Jeff has seen some movies so…let’s talk about movies! Discussed: The Wolverine; Baz Luhrmann and “Everybody’s Free (to Wear Sunscreen)” the most terrible songs or musical artists we can confess to liking; Jesus Jones; The Jesus and Mary Chain; Hugh Jackman pooping in the woods; The Lego Movie; and the glory of Lego Batman; the movies we’ve seen the most (incomplete conversation due to Jeff’s curiosity about the commentary tracks on the Scott Pilgrim movie); Wim Wenders; 22 Jump Street; Tom Cruise’s movie Edge of Tomorrow (with a brilliant stealth retitling as Live, Die, Repeat); and more. By contrast, Graeme has been catching up with the TV series Helix, currently available on Netflix Streaming; Jeff forgot to mention Le Quattro Volte in his list of recent movies and somehow (don’t ask us how), that brings us around to:

1:11:14-1:55:11: Pax Americana! Yes, 70 minutes in and we finally start talking comics on our comic book podcast. The spoiler warning here is at Defcon Full Spoiler Jacket, because we discuss this remarkable Grant Morrison/Frank Quietly meditation on Watchmen from just about every possible angle including the stalker love letter angle; the critique of formalism angle; the hole in things angle; gnostic and Christian interpretation angle; the misremembering of Watchmen angle; the digressing about From Hell angle; the incomplete Bleeding Edge anecdote angle; the “but isn’t Alan Moore paranoid?” angle; the “where does Obama play into all this?” angle; and the “maybe Jeff talked too much and Graeme didn’t get to talk enough” angle; and then…

1:55:11-2:10:45: Annihilator! Grant Morrison and Frazer Irving’s strange twin to Multiversity. Graeme has a great take on the idea that Pax Americana is Morrison on Moore, and Annihilator is Morrison on Morrison. Jeff thinks maybe it’s Morrison on Morrison’s influence? (Spoiler: Graeme’s take is much, much better.) Also mentioned: Flex Mentallo; The Filth; Wanted; Change; Grayson: Future’s End; and more.
2:10:45-2:32:21: Graeme quick-reviews Transformers vs. G.I. Joe #4 by Tom Scioli and John Barber; Superman/Wonder Woman #13 by Peter J. Tomasi and Doug Mahnke; Supergirl #36 by Mike Johnson and K. Perkins with art by Emanuela Lupacchino; Dr. Spektor, Master of the Occult #4 by Mark Waid and Neil Edwards; and then there’s some talk about the holiday that might make you think we are getting ready to get to our closing comments, but don’t be fooled because Graeme also has a comment or two up his sleeve about the Flash Gordon Annual! And Jeff blurb-blabs The Fade Out #3 by Brubaker and Phillips; Southern Bastards #5 by Aaron and LaTour; Batman & Robin #36 by Peter J. Tomasi, Patrick Gleason and Mick Gray; Wytches #2 by Scott Snyder and Jock; and Justice League of America issues #139, 140, 141 by Steve Englehart, Dick Dillin and Frank McLaughlin. Also, why are gifs so hard to search for? There’s a related gif I’m having trouble finding. Oh, no wait, here it is!

2:32:21-end: Grame begins his transformation back in to The Fly, so the closing comments are mighty, mighty hasty! But of course, we have nothing but love for you listeners, especially everyone who’s contributed to us on Patreon where, as of this count, 85 patrons make this whole thing possible.) Tote For Your Life, Charlie Brown! Places to look for us at—Stitcher! Itunes! Twitter! Tumblr!

Thanks for listening!  Follow our posts here and/or come back in two weeks for more!


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20 comments on “Wait, What? Ep. 164: Crackle & Hum

  1. Jeff Lester Nov 30, 2014

    And, as promised, the beloved link:



    • Aztek Camera? Good God.

      1) Billy Joel is just trying very hard to be Paul McCartney. Nylon Curtain is just a homage to the Beatles that is much better than, say, the strange Deface the Music. But Glass Houses and 52nd Street are two my favorite albums. If you haven’t tried out Hussalonia’s “Glass Houses” (where they do this really Iron Man-esque version of Leyna that kind of validates Chuck Klosterman’s idea that Billy Joel is this psuedo-punk/Striper analogue).

      2) Baz Lurhman is like the theatrical Grant Morrisson. Part of me wants to see Baz Lurhman adapting Vimanarama, or maybe just Baz Lurhman comics where he and Frank Quietly do some weird romance comics.

      3) Oblivion is a Jack Kirby 2001/Eternals comic book with Tom Cruise as a Captain America/Machine Man analogue. I watched it like that and it made it so much more enjoyable.

      4) The way you discuss the avatars of Grant Morrison, it sounds like you’re describing James T Kirk from Star Trek: Generations.

      • I’m only through the movie/music discussion so far, but I needed to confess that 15-year old kag was into Pat Benatar for some reason.

        My more recent shame is that I bought Kenekie purely because Phonogram told me to.

    • I’m not far into the podcast – no comics talk yet, sadly! – but I have to say, I don’t get the point of raking over the coals of supposed musical bad taste. So what if someone liked Baz Luhrmann’s record back in the day, or They Might Be Giants, Huey Lewis, Hall & Oates or whomever? Times and tastes change, it doesn’t mean the things you liked were, in fact, objectively shite. I’d rather hear about current enthusiasms than have you patronise your younger selves.

  2. Yay discussing Annihilator.
    The thing that got me about Annihilator is that each issue seems to change what Max Nomax is.
    In #1 it seems that the house is the cause of him appearing (the weird bottomless bit being compared to both the full stop on the word processor, the tumour and the black hole).
    In #2 Max says that the tumour is just a bullet full of information that he shot into Ray’s brain and the creepy house basically vanished from the story.
    In #3 theres a large middle section about how Max is a derivative character from a series of old pulp novels, which seems to undo the notion of Max being a real person who actually did do adventures out in space.
    Also Ray is explicitly trying to apply storywriting techniques to Max’s life (archs, relatability, etc), the ongoing writing of the script is the main thing driving the characters. Nothing about this story is pinned down.
    To me, at the moment, it seems to be about having to reinvent yourself when starting another part of your life (which Morrison presumably has/will do when he stops working for DC). Im guessing the girl they keep hinting about wont be with Ray at the end of the story and he will have to get over her, Max (whether real or imagined) will have to get over his dead wife.

    Also, the first shot of the first trailer for the first Disney Star Wars movie being a black protagonist hit me way harder than I thought it would. It made the idea of how rare black protagonists are in genre stories click in an emotional way for me. Also spaceships flying close to the ground is rad.
    However good the trailer was doesnt undo the fact that in Abram’s last movie they had to call up oldSpock so he could explain why Khan was a bad guy because they had completely forgot to show that he was.

  3. Hey, commenting is back! I get a chance to jump into conversations in less than a week after the podcast goes up.

    So, loved the deep and critical thinking on Pax Americana. I’m in the tank for Morrison, even most of his weaker work, largely for many of the reasons implied in the podcast — his thematic thinking, how carefully elements are thought out, his love for many of the things I remember fondly about comics — but first among these is that he makes it feel like shit is actually at stake. Whether it’s the overblown diction of the Super Young Team during Yet Another Crisis, or trippy pan-dimensional being probing your soul, Morrison isn’t so formalistic that he doesn’t ground it all in some character moment that’s been given weight and context. In the comments to a previous post, someone remarked on how the cat’s death in The Filth hit him hard; me too. I had to put down the book and leave the room. Morrison had shown us that this animal meant something dear to someone, and it worked.

    Oh, yeah, I do think he was tweaking Moore with the captions and the reflected footbridge and all — but it felt playful, or maybe a bit dismissive, but not malicious. You could see more of the last in how the Mr. A/Question ranting about Objectivisim was literally painted over and bitched about.

    • In the torture scene with the corrupt cop, the Question is explaining Beck and Cowan’s Spiral Dynamics, rather than Rand’s Objectivism, hence the references to colour in the dialogue.

      Morrison himself used Spiral Dynamics as a loose thematic structure for Seven Soldiers in 2005, with each of the protagonists embodying one of the stages in the model.

      • Jeff Lester Dec 12, 2014

        Oh, and I’ve been meaning to thank you for weeks for this, Andrew. Once I read your comment, I remembered Morrison himself mentioning it in an early interview? Quite helpful.

        • You’re welcome, Jeff. I remember it only because Seven Soldiers was the last of his series for which I read the interviews.

          In an odd synchronicity, the same week that I read Pax, someone in my office referred to the application of Spiral Dynamics with regard to organisations during a work meeting.

  4. Mike Loughlin Dec 3, 2014

    Like a lot of kids in the ’80s, I liked dumb pop & hair metal. I’m not embarrassed by that because I was under 13. Unfortunately, that doesn’t account for old-enough-to-know-better me buying the first 2 Korn albums. Or (*choke*) the first Limp Bizkit c.d. I didn’t like it but I did own it for a few weeks. I liked good music too, I swear…

  5. Briefly on Pax Americana: Nora is actually murdered by Iron Arms, an old Charlton Comics character, not Sarge Steel as identified in the podcast.

    I’d thought it was the Sarge too, until 50 Reasons I Should Not Write Comics identified the character as Iron Arms, distinguishable from SS by his… well, his iron arms, whereas Sarge Steel has a single mechanical steel hand, as seen in the scenes with the four scientists and during Peacemaker’s interrogation.

    • Simmered Dec 11, 2014

      No, we see the prostheses that Iron Arms uses are in the Pax museum when the Veep walks through it. Somebody used them to kill Nora, but it’s never identified who.

      • Thanks very much for the clarification. I hadn’t noticed his exhibit in the museum, and hadn’t considered that they could have been used by another person.

  6. Oh man, you guys railing on Scritti Politti… so wrong! Green Gartside is one of the most fascinating people in pop, and the Scritti project’s journey from angular Marxist agit-poppers, to eighties pop-soul maximalists and all the way through to the laptop DIY soul of Black Beer, White Bread…all great. (Not forgetting the strange detour into hip hop in the mid-90s). Not worthy of your derision gentlemen…

    Great episode though.

    • Jeff Lester Dec 12, 2014

      Thank you for schooling us, Beast! These are excellent points.

  7. I just had to stop listening to the podcast midway just to come here to back Graeme up in love of “New Adventures in Hi-Fi”. Have you listened to it lately? It’s aged marvelously. It still suffers from coming out at a time when no one knew what to do with it. It wasn’t jangly; it wasn’t loud; it wasn’t “Automatic for the People.” But now it can be appreciated for what it is, a collection of really solid songs. It’s really horribly overlooked.

  8. Pax Americana got me thinking: what if Alan Moore and Grant Morrison are the same person, a creative madman orchestrating a decades-long feud between two ficticious personas of legendary comic writers? A madman who goes completely hairless in his Morrison identity, and puts on a massive wig and Rasputinian beard in his Moore persona? Have we ever seen the two men in the same room, or are they both pieces of a crazier force’s metatextual back-and-forth?

    Sure that’s not the case, but I’d love to see a story about that premise, preferrably drawn by JH Williams.

  9. Nothing like waiting until the day before a new ep drops to comment on the last one!

    Anyway, I am 100% with Jeff on his reading of Pax Americana as being a thematic takedown of Moore AND a piss-take on his style, especially on the ‘walk down the stairs’ page. I think the impediment to Graeme seeing this may be that it’s not a riff on anything in Watchmen, but on a device Moore refined much later, and used repeatedly in Promethea. Between this and the explicit critiques of the book in Seven Soldiers: Zatanna, I think Promethea might be the Moore comic Morrison hates the most.

    • Jeff Lester Dec 20, 2014

      Okay, I’ve been wanting to reply to this for a week now with a defensive comment, and now I think you were talking about *you* waiting until the day before a new ep drops to comment on the previous one…

      So (a) never mind, and (b) great catch on the stairs page being a later Moore device and one used extensively in Promethea. And I really need to go back and reread Seven Soldiers: Zatanna because this is not the first I’ve heard about the explicit critiques bundled into that book, and I was just way too dumb at the time to catch ’em.