Photo May 19, 8 30 56 PM

(Not many people know this, but the enmity between Moondragon and Thanos started after the failure of the Disco album (cover pictured here) Mind-Warring You, Mind-Warring Me.)

Oh, good grief.  It looks like I will get this podcast posted today (well, technically tonight but I know you’re feeling me).  That is a tribute to something, I have to say.

Annnnnyway,  show notes are nasty, brutish and short (and, hey, can we get a rapper named Brutish so we can do Nasty, Brutish, and Too Short joke, please please please) but the podcast is a soothing and pleasing two hours.  That’s practically the soul of wit for us, amirite? So groove on behind the jump and dig it:

00:00-2:21 : Greetings, we are back with not a cold open, but maybe a bit of a slow open?  Which is to say, Graeme is finally complaining about the same model of headphones Jeff is always complaining about but not even remotely for the same reason, no sir.

Not to bite our own style but…wait, what?

02:21-32:50:  Fortunately, it is brief as we move along to the finale of Convergence which Jeff has not even remotely read (with the exception of two very lovely issues of Convergence: Shazam, well worth your time and coin) but which Graeme has and about which he has some things to say.  Discussed: sentient planets, cosmic world grabbers and their tortured heralds; the surprise return of Multiversity (shut up spell check, it is too a word); the surprise return of Scott Lobdell; Waveriders old and new and different and/or maybe not; the identity of our favorite ham-handed airline hijacker; the last eight issues of Future’s End; Tom Taylor and the conclusion(s) of Earth-2; Tom Taylor and Superior Iron Man; Tom Taylor and where is Tom Taylor these days (as asked by two guys unwilling to actually go on the internet and look); Marvel and how it develops its writers; and more.

Come Back to the Five and Dime, Sam Hiti, Sam Hiti.

32:50-53:17: I think the lead-up isn’t that important, so I left it in the previous section, but here is where Jeff asks Graeme if he heard about what’s going on with Sam Hiti and how long it took to find out what’s actually going on, which leads to a surprisingly wide net of somewhat downbeat stuff, including some alarming ruminations from Evan Dorkin on Twitter (starting here and going from there)

Tom Scioli’s (fortunately) short-lived departure from comics and (hopefully) the game-changer that is Transformers Vs. G.I. Joe; the Comics Alliance piece on proposed page rates for comic creators in 1978 ; two articles by James Rocchi on The Marvel Industrial Complex; the any-minute-now Image relaunch of Airboy by James Robinson and Greg Hinkle; and that leads us into…
53:17-58:44:  Zero by Ales Kot and His Howling Commandos!  Graeme is caught up on it, Jeff is still behind, and Graeme has some thoughts about how the book is setting up its final gambit by going in a very unexpected direction. Normally, I would flesh this out with about 90% more yadda but I’m running on about four hours sleep and have large stretches where it is all I can do to remember to bring up new notes when we change topics.

Yup, I’m biting an image from my Sunday write-up. A guy’s allowed, right?

58:44-1:08:20: And speaking of which, here is where Jeff talks about Pope Hats #4, the D&Q comic by Ethan Rilly beloved by both Graeme and Jeff; Jeff compares and contrasts with Optic Nerve #14 by Adrian Tomine.

Fight Club 2; Literature 0. (Ha, ha, I just thought of that joke now!)

1:08:20-1:25:29:  Graeme then defers to Jeff and lets him blab about the comics he’s been reading during the break.  So, because Graeme asked for it, we discuss Fight Club 2 #1 by Chuck Palahniuk and Cameron Stewart.  Also discussed: the movie Fight Club; the novels Choke and Lullaby (and maybe some other book by CP that Jeff’s read) (oh, and Jeff talks about how CP is a fan of Aimee Bender who Graeme is also a fan of, but it turns out Jeff really meant CP is a fan of Amy Hempel which Jeff is also a fan of, although for what’s it worth, I think if Graeme read Hempel’s “In The Cemetery Where Al Jolson is Buried,” Graeme would also be in the thank for Hempel as well.); bringing Ales Kot back into the conversation; and etc.
1:25:29-1:30:36: From Fight Club 2 to Oh, Killstrike by Max Bemis and Logan Faerber!  Jeff liked this, spends some time talking about it, and if you listen closely you can hear Jeff trying to figure out whether he’s talking himself into or out of liking this comic about a grown man’s complicated relationship to the ’90s comics of his youth.
1:30:36-1:36:14: An all-too-quick mention of Oni’s Kaijumax #2 by Zander Cannon!  Jeff is much more unreservedly upbeat about this “prison movie meets the kaiju genre” book but doesn’t talk about it as much as he probably should because he knows there’s a better way to talk about it than it being a “prison movie meets the kaiju genre” book, but he still hasn’t figured it out yet, so he goes on to talk about The Black Hood #4 by Duane Swierczynski and Michael Gaydos, which goes on to have a really strong fourth issue after what Jeff thought was a super-lackluster issue #3.  (They’re both good, but believe me if Kaijumax sounds at all appealing to you, it’s kinda surprising how good it is.)  I loved issue #4, but Graeme dug issue #3 much more.

From The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina #3.

1:36:14-1:39:22: Also on the Archie tip, Jeff read The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina #2 and #3 back to back, and loved them despite the troubling realization that he read all of issue #2 last month and forgot all of it except for the first four pages. Sign of a lackluster comic? Or the beginning of Jeff’s whirlwind descent into dementia?  The book by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, Robert Hack, and Jack Morelli is damn near Tarantinoesque in its layering of references (and maybe to similar ends, maybe?) But seriously, if you have to read only one Archie comic depicting a witches’ initiation, make it this one!
Photo May 24, 1 22 29 PM

Sorry, Saga #28: I had to work in this absolutely accurate portrayal of the 1970s in Daredevil #107 by Steve Gerber, Don Heck, and Don Perlin.

1:39:22-1:47:17: Saga issue #28 by Brian K. Vaughn and the amazing Fiona Staples. Jeff starts off by talking about his love for the issue when IN A SHOCKING TWIST, Graeme reveals he’s just read three issues in a row and is may be ready to jump off what he refers to as “a great book.”  So of course we talk about things being fun, contrivances, the suspension of disbelief, a last page that Graeme thought was too on the nose and Jeff thought was clearly the next t-shirt, and more.
Photo May 24, 1 24 28 PM

Again, I assure you: an entirely accurate look at the Seventies as they happened.

1:47:17-2:01:20: And since he still has been ceded the soapbox, Jeff wants to talk about the beautifully bonkers Daredevil #105-107 by Steve Gerber, Don Heck, Don Perlin, Bob Brown and Sal Buscema, currently unavailable on Marvel Unlimited (alas!) but available on Comixology individually and as part of the  trade (both digital and in print, I think).  As one might guess, it’s part of Starlin’s saga (and features an origin of Moondragon by Starlin himself) but it is an absolutely bananas Gerber-style kiss-off to the Sixties, replete with crazy hippies, dead hippies, San Francisco at the mercy of a walking compost pile, an exploration of anti-life (as opposed to death), Melvin J. Belli as the ultimate supervillain, a sighted Daredevil, a cover right out of DC’s Silver Age, Rick Jones refusing to go into action without ice cream, and oh my god so very much more.
2:01:20-end:  Closing comments!  Was this our most bifurcated podcast ever?  If so…we’re sorry?   Come back next week for more Wait, more What!  (Also, we have no time, but as mentioned above, we both liked Convergence: Shazam #2 by Jeff Parker, Evan “Doc” Shaner, and Jordi Bellaire.)    Tote-Lands! Places to look for us at—Stitcher! Itunes! Twitter together and separately: Graeme () and Jeff! Tumblr! And, of course, on Patreon where, as of this count, 105 patrons make this whole blessed thing possible!
Check out the first comment for a link you can copy and paste as per your whimsies, and come back next week for more podcasting goodness, yes?

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24 comments on “Wait, What? Ep. 177: When Good Books Happen To Bad Industries

  1. Jeff Lester Jun 1, 2015


  2. Gillen writes the Siege miniseries for Secret Wars . He’s not shoved over.

  3. I read Convergence Issue 8 as Didio finally accepting the concept of Hypertime, about 15 years late. But, as Graeme points out, who the hell actually knows at this point?

    • LAndrew Jun 4, 2015

      Plus, you can’t really get too comfortable with any sort of Bold New Universal direction that DC picks, as they change their mind near-constantly.

      I forget who said it, but there’s a lot of truth in the phrase “The Multiverse is the scab DC can’t stop picking at.”

      • And the whole “evolved” comment — and the art choice of the “old” ghosts and “revised” solid figures — is so weird. Maybe what’s bugging me is there’s no consistency (the Charleton universe -> Pax Americana is not at all like the visual refresh of the Zoo Crew is not at all like the old JSA -> World’s End Earth 2 and I could go on). It’s a weird forced accounting, trying to shoehorn editorial decisions into plot holes.

  4. Wait! You have been unable to read Chuck Palahniuk novels but you have such a thorough critique of everything he does and stands for? I have not really managed to get into his novels either, but I wouldn’t claim to know all about him based on that! Your dripping disdain for the body of work of someone you haven’t actually read a lot of reaches towards a pseudo-intellectual bullshit black hole of Bevis and Butthead proportions.
    I guess it really ticks you off that a working class gay man found success writing novels outside of the usual Ivy leagued halls of creative writing programs? Worked that gained a readership outside of middle aged women’s book groups in Connecticut.
    I was actually starting to respect your opinions of late, probably based on some great Baxter Building episodes, but this serves as a reminder of the level of your thinking.

    • Where do I go to download the version of the podcast that you listened to?

        • I did, and your opinion is still based on nothing. This is a podcast that idolizes Jack Kirby above all else, and you’re accusing the hosts of prejudice against working class creators? Wut? Also homophobia? Double wut?

          Please direct me to the specific parts of this episode (hell, of any episode) where there’s any indication that Graeme or Jeff would be bothered by a working class gay man having success.

          The critiques put forward this episode are specific to the work. Jeff complains that it needs more thought and revision, Graeme complains about the “white guy ennui” of Fight Club feeling dated, Jeff complains that the portrayal of sex addiction in Choke was not convincing. There is also specific praise being given along with the apparently “dripping disdain.”

          But hey man, whatever, let’s just call people pseudointellectuals and imply that they’re homophobic elitists because… ??? … well yeah just cuz, fuck them.

          • My original comment was an attempt to imitate the podcast’s own wildly over the top way of pigeon-holing and jumping to wild conclusions about artists and writers. It’s often entertaining but often wildly unfair to said creators, in my opinion ..and in this case struck a nerve for me as being particularly based on hasty assumptions, half-truths and the like, an so I couldn’t resist (an apparently failed, at least for you) zing back, attempting to compare them to Bevis and Butthead.

            If it’s so insulting to these two, think how all the creators they’ve zinged feel.

          • @Sleepy Reader
            Jeff and Graeme are some of the most cordial and careful people on the comics Internet that still manage to come out as passionate and sincere about the topics and people they discuss. At most they play armchair psychologists with some creators.

            So you really must be listening to a completely different podcast. Otherwise you would be concern-trolling then moving the goalposts invoking humor when your attempted insults were deflated.

          • I seem to be blocked from replying to Alin R.’s comments below, about me being a troll.
            I honestly feel that the hosts of this show are not “careful people” when it comes to talking about creators and believe they go off on colorful riffs on things where they often don’t know what they are talking about because it sounds funny or clever. I think that people should be careful about taking what they say as based in reasonable, knowledgeable analysis.
            I truly tried to make my point with my own, apparently lame, reflection of what I take to be their style.
            I don’t think I’m an idiot, or a troll. But you are free to think so.

  5. LAndrew Jun 3, 2015

    Man, I need to read those Daredevil issues. The collision of Starlin (however tangentially) and Gerber’s obsessions in a DD story is too appealing a notion to pass up.

  6. I’m liking the left-turn of the last 3 issues of ZERO as well, but I have to imagine that the TV exec who greenlit the adaptation is anxiously calling his bank to see if the check they cut Kot has cleared yet.

    • LOL!

      (Yeah, that’s me)

      • Hey, I have a place to share this story! I got someone I know (who ONLY reads poetry, and then only poetry in translation) to get interested in Secret Avengers. The hook was Borges.

        • That is hilarious. I hope they follow to the Burroughs part in Zero. Thanks for sharing!

          Related, I pitched Marvel on She-Hulk as a Kathy Acker heroine but that dinnae work out

          (ok, maybe I made that up)

          • Juuust got to the Patti Smith panel so obviously I am not qualified to do anything but shut up and enjoy your work, Ales.

            Though I have met both Burroughs and Ginsberg (and perhaps the best poet of the three, Corso). Burroughs was seated between the two at a panel discussion where they recalled how they met (NSFW), talking rapidly back and forth, words screeching by Bill’s nose, Ginsberg with his late-night FM voice and Corso with his scratchy Nuyawkian.

            As with Kafka, we forget that when these guys read their own work, they were often cracking themselves up. “Perhaps the appendix is on the left side doctor that happens sometimes you know.”

          • HAHAHAH yes!

  7. Good points on Tom Taylor. I borrowed some of the mentioned work and tried to suss out what’s so good about it. It is firmly in the established tropes and plotlines that I suspect Taylor didn’t have that much influence over, and it’s not exactly rethinking genre. But there are some things he does well that stand out. Different characters speak in different cadences and tones (hi, Bendis!). There’s that optimism. And his pacing in each issue is really good — he’s not bebopping or syncopating story beats, which tend to hit when you’d expect them to, but they really hit, like a great chord change in a pop song.

    • Yeah, I haven’t read Superior IM, but his run on Injustice was really surprising, mainly because it really read like he was putting his all into what should really be a throwaway video game tie-in and showing a very clear love and affinity for the material. It was also kind of hitting a nostalgia buzz for me, partly because he was more or less setting it in the pre-New 52 continuity, but mostly because it felt a lot like one of those old What Ifs where the answer was “everyone died”.

      I’d be interested in seeing what he can do on a book without the mission statement of “heroes turn evil”.

  8. As someone who also disliked the Fight Club novel, but enjoyed the book, I was surprised, Jeff, that you felt the same way.

    I completely agree that Palahniuk’s writing seems designed for writers and critics of those writers to hold up his prose as a modern-day Kerouac (a comparison I am not the first to make), but the novel held a much more focused message than the film did.

    What I mean is that the movie seemed to portray Tyler Durden as an anti-hero, where the book showed him as more of a villain. All of the niceties we see associated to Durden in the movie (Brad Pitt’s charm & good looks, the character’s unwillingness to harm innocents in bombing those buildings, the scale and intelligence of his underground Ocean’s 11-type endeavor) are not in the book. Indeed, Tyler Durden in the book actively kills people in bombing that building. And the narrator is left trapped and alone instead of some kind of reborn messiah.

    But what the book seemed to be saying is that the ennui and white male angst at the center of Tyler Durden’s manifesto was total bullshit. He saw people as disposable and threw them away in ways that made him much less sympathetic than the movie.

    The movie, on the other hand, suffers from the Tommy syndrome. It says, “Here’s this false messiah that leads everyone down this path, but, even though his followers are all foolish and mindless, we…the filmmakers…really kind of agree with him. So we never outright say he’s wrong. Until, kind of, the end when it comes out of left field.”

    This is deeply problematic in the movie and has lead a lot of people I know to completely reject the white male privilege at its core. But what’s fighting against that are the wholly likable performances by the lead actors in the film, and the (for the time) surprisingly fresh visuals from David Fincher–combined with that sucker punch ending.

    Another thing that, I think, contributed to the movie’s success over the novel (and it should be said that the movie was a box office failure that lead to the firing of then-head of Sony, Bill Mechanic) was that the theme of male empowerment was strongly shared with American Beauty, which was a box office success and was released the same year.

    Also, you guys didn’t talk a lot about Lullabye. What did you think about the more fantastical elements of it? I agree with both of your assertions as to Palahniuk’s writing (particularly with regard to his inability to convincingly write women), but Lullabye seemed particularly weird, as Palahniuk seemed really uncomfortable with the idea of writing magic. It almost seemed like he’d run out of things to write about and just said, “Eh. Fuck it. Magic.”

    • Jeff Lester Jun 8, 2015

      Great comments, Chris. Thank you—you were far more clear in parsing out Fight Club the book from Fight Club the movie. (Also, good call on pointing out that, yeah, the movie was a *tremendous* box-office flop and critically reviled by baby boomer critics.)

      As for Lullabye, I want to say Palahniuk went through a phase of talking about horror fiction as one of the last hold-outs for transgressive fiction in our post-9/11 culture? Also, this is pure speculation on my part, but I think he saw Mark Z. Danielewski’s House of Leaves as embodying a lot of things Palahniuk wanted in his fiction and his career? But it really didn’t sit well at all, you’re right. To be (even more un)fair to Palahniuk, I don’t think he fixes a lot of stuff in rewrites, and figured instead he could spin the promotion and reception of the book to make the elements come off better than they did.

      • You know, Jeff, I idiotically never put together the Baby Boomer mentality with why Fight Club was reviled while American Beauty was embraced. When I look at the mentalities and visuals of both movies, it seems completely obvious now. Great call.

        Also, an interesting note on House of Leaves. I remember Danielewski and Palahniuck were both being held up at the time as part of a new literary avant garde, along with Dave Eggers. Other connecting tissues had to do with the publishing gimmicks the authors’ books employed.

        Thinking, specifically, of the strange typographical and binding tricks employed in Palahniuck’s Survivor, Danielewski’s House of Leaves, and Dave Eggers’…well…pretty much everything he’s written.