Welcome to Marvel's Corporate Structure, Avengers! Hope you survive the experience!

Welcome to Marvel’s corporate structure, Avengers! Hope you survive the experience!

Holiday’s greetings, everyone!  It’s next to next to the last day of the year, and Graeme and I are here to shut it down in style, with  a two point five hour podcast of Avengersdissing, predictionmaking, shadethrowing hyphenignoreing adventure!  We recorded this one the day after Christmas, I mixed it yesterday, I’m uploading it today, I’m having a quiet nervous breakdown tomorrow and then we are streets ahead into 2015!  So join us for a very quick piece of shownoteisms, won’t you?

00:00-16:13: Holday greetings! As mentioned above, this podcast was recorded on Boxing Day, 12/26/14, so our opening is long on the holiday catch-up news and short on the comics news. Oh no, wait, I’m sorry: We’re actually talking about renowned Marvel supervillain, Swarm…

Image ganked from our fine friends at Comics Alliance.

Image ganked from our fine friends at Comics Alliance.

within the first ninety seconds. How that leads into a big long discussion about Dr. Doom, I wish I could tell you. Well, I mean I could tell you, but wouldn’t you rather hear that for yourself?
16:13-49:37: Is Captain America Marvel’s Superman? Does Marvel have an aspirational hero the way DC has Superman? These are things that Graeme is wondering about—is there a lack of inherently good heroes in Marvel right now? This talk actually turns pretty quickly to Graeme filling Jeff in on the state of Superman right now especially in comparison to how Supes started off in the New52. Also discussed: the Charlton characters and which one would be most likely to end up in 2000 A.D. unchanged, and our appreciation for the ludicrously deep back catalog of DC characters, all of which culminates in our discussion of Showcase #100…

If you like reading about superheroes in bulk, this is the issue for you.

If you like reading about superheroes in bulk, this is the issue for you.

by Pauls Levitz and Kupperberg, Joe Staton and Dick Giordano, which in turn leads to a big description of Gardner F. Fox’s Justice League of America, the best reboot of Hawkman ever hatched, Green Arrows then and now, and more.
49:37-2:07:30: AVENGERS TALK! We had one job for this podcast…! One job!!

Fortunately, we do indeed get around to discussing issues #275-300 (after first talking shit about 2014) and talk about what it was like reading these 300 issues of Avengers, generally, where the high points were and why; the difference between Marvel in the ‘60s, ‘70s, and ‘80s, and writer Roger Stern and editor Mark Gruenwald as the embodiments of that last era; the last ten issues (#290-300) written by Walt Simonson and what a strange batch of issues they are;

Simonson giving G-Mo a run for his money...

Simonson giving G-Mo a run for his money…

the dialing down of the Marvel Universe; Nebula, Marinna, and (again) these amazingly weird issues by Walt Simonson; the next 50 issues as summarized by Graeme; the idea that The Avengers is a book that only works by accident: why is that? Also discussed: the retconning of the retconning of the retcon of Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch; Jeff’s analogy about Jonathan Hickman’s work which he’s still somewhat pleased by; how many issues you can read until you get to have an opinion; Serial, fiction, and serial fiction; Twin Peaks (another story about a murder that first infatuated and then infuriated people), Reflections: An Oral History of Twin Peaks; whether or not Jeff should jump ahead and read the Kurt Busiek issues;  and much more.
2:07:30-2:17:06:  You’d think this would be where our closing comments go, and it sorta/kinda starts that way, but instead we talk about what we expect and/or what we want from 2015, as summed up by the guy who knows nothing of what’ll be going on (that would be Jeff) and the guy who knows pretty much everything (that would be Graeme).  Discussed:  Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Butcherology; Star Wars; Secret Wars; Convergence; the article title that will make Graeme turn the Internet upside-down; the prices of comic books; and more.
2:17:06-end: Closing comments!  The Crying of Tote Bag 49! Places to look for us at—Stitcher! Itunes! Twitter! Tumblr! And, of course, Patreon, where, as of this count, 89 patrons make this whole thing possible.

Happy New Year to one and all—we hope 2015 brings you everything you need and all that you might want!  We will talk to you in the New Year!



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17 comments on “Wait, What? Ep. 166: New Year’s New Ears

  1. Jeff Lester Dec 29, 2014

    And although I didn’t mention it in the show notes, here’s the handy text only link to the show:


    Once again, Happy New Year’s!

    • Just a quick thanks for a splendid last podcast of the year, and a great library of shows in 2014. But I remain down in the mouth about your ending the Avengers read at #300. To never hear your thoughts on the Jacketed Avengers, the Crossing, Gilgamesh… I forget, what was the reason again?

      Oh, pleeeeeeease.

      Anyway, a Happy New Year to you both, and your very own Superhero Women.

      • Jeff Lester Jan 7, 2015

        Thanks, Martin! Happy New Year to you as well! I’m not sure if we could’ve handled another 50 issues of the Avengers (I may not have been able to handle another five) but we hope you’ll be on board with us for the Fantastic 416!

  2. Nate A Dec 31, 2014

    The funny thing about Cap as Marvel’s Superman is that he’s a continuity implant and explicitly of another era. With that in mind, one could argue that he’s a deliberately anachronistic counterpoint to the Marvel take on superheroes, where more power means more problems. Aspiration sits uneasily with the perspective. After all, who aspires to more problems?
    Interestingly, this angle is largely absent from the Marvel Movie Universe, where power leads to problems, but more important to solutions that largely redound to the benefit of the hero. I suppose this happens in the comics, too. However, the benefit is more short lived, in part due to the rate of publication.
    Anyway, thanks for another great year of podcasts, and I join you in your single-finger salute to 2014!

  3. “Justice League fight a giant crocodile that is yellow, magic and on fire” sound flipping awesome and had me laughing my ass off on my train ride home.

  4. Rob G Dec 31, 2014

    This was my favorite episode of the year. Not to be confused with “My Favorite Year”, which is a movie I highly recommend. (Look it up and watch it and you will be amazed you missed this dusky jewel).

    You gents were totally on your game. Very entertaining.

    Maybe because I finally got a car with Bluetooth connectivity and can now listen to you on my commute to and from work while I’m awake, instead of listening while falling to sleep at night and sleeping through most of the podcast.

    Witty banter. Check!

    Jeff keeping his ever annoying “mmhmm’s” (http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=mmhmm) to a minimum and letting Graeme cut loose. Check!

    Looking forward to 2015, though I’m not sure why.

  5. I did not know that bit about the Black Knight turning into a paralyzed weapon, but that gives a whole new meaning to “beat a motherfucker with another motherfucker”.

  6. Tom G Jan 2, 2015

    Just wanted to let you guys know that I’m super excited about this years Fantastic Four read through. I started that myself last year and have been slowly chipping away at it. I breezed through the Lee/Kirby, but have stalled out in the late 1970’s era. I should just power through and get the Byrne stuff right around the corner, but I got sidetracked with the Lee/Kirby Thor run on Marvel Unlimited. I’m very much looking forward to hearing your take on it and this is just the shot of adrenalin I need to finish.

  7. Garrie Burr Jan 3, 2015

    Happy New Year, you two…

    Re the Justice League discussion: That would be writer Mike Friedrich, not Gary Friedrich…

    Mike was the regular Justice League writer before Len Wein took over, one of Julie Schwartz’ young turks who even got assigned writing Batman 200. I was also partial to his attempted revival stories of Sargon the Sorceror in Flash and Justice League.

    Re-reading his Johnny Dune JLA story I found its depictions of Vietnam vets, protests, and young people’s frustrations to be much less strident than I remember, less overblown than some other work of the time. Dune’s power, called his ‘mutant power’, was the ability to control people with the sound of his voice and it was revealed to him during a particularly nasty scene in Viet Nam. No magic guitar.

    (On a nice nostalgic side-note, the letters column for the issue featured the late great Richard H. Morrissey, as well as comments from Bob Rozakis and Mark Gruenwald.)

    In 1971 there were most definitely people who needed to hear some of these “relevance” messages and though I still don’t believe DC Comics characters were the best vehicle for the thoughts it was an honest depiction of what else was going on in culture of the time. A short list from the year would include John Lennon’s Imagine and Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On, All in the Family premiere on CBS, half-a-million anti-war protestors to Washington, the Equal Rights Amendment passed by Congress (but didn’t have the support to be approved the states). Also in comics that same month saw the first appearance of John Stewart in Green Lantern.

    Mike’s place in the history of comics would admittedly be more for his publishing venture, Star Reach, which he started after his stint at Marvel. It was in those pages we got to see some of the first published work for people like Brunner, Chaykin and Starlin.

    Anyhow, thanks for another enjoyable year! Looking forward to what you all come up with in 2015!

    • Jeff Lester Jan 3, 2015

      Thank you, Garrie! I knew I wasn’t going to say the right Friedrich and was kicking myself even as I said it…

      And you’re absolutely right: Mike Friedrich has had a career to be lauded, not just for his writing at DC, but his publishing venture and, if I’m remembering correctly, his prescient move into representation for artists like Chaykin and Starlin, allowing them opportunities to do great artwork without being crushed by great paperwork. Reading it for the first time years later, I found his work in JLA to be delightfully over-earnest and melodramatic but its heart is in the right place, and I actually love similar work from that time that is even more over-earnest and melodramatic.

      Thanks for setting us straight. Cheers!

      • Just thought I’d follow up on the “toys back in the box” theory that you talked about in this episode: although I initially thought it was an odd assertion, the more I think about it the more likely it seems. Reading Nick Fury vs SHIELD, it has a similar goal: destroy the massive bureaucracy that SHIELD has become and replace it with something smaller and leaner. The editor? Gruenwald. Similarly, it was an Avengers “family” crossover that brought us the Subterranean Wars, which brought mass genocide to the various mole folks (which Gruenwald was in charge of).

        All of this is surprising to me, because Gru really loved comic’s bizarre and convoluted history and would regularly trot out obscure weirdos in his own series. So why go after the big name stuff? Did he feel it had become mundane through overreliance? Did he believe that these concepts needed to be “shaken up”, introducing change to force New stories?

        I can’t think it was the “world outside your window”, as Gruenwald loved stuff like the Stranger’s artificial world full of crazy monsters, a race between all the super-speedsters, etc. Anyways, quite the mystery.

  8. I am very behind in all my podcast listening, and just heard this one today. But I have to say, I never, never, ever caught onto the “King Faraday” pun before now.

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