Strong Female Characters, by the mighty Kate Beaton

It is almost the end of August.  IT IS ALMOST THE END OF AUGUST.  Sorry, but my brain is broken just a little bit by that fact.
But hey!  After the jump, why don’t you check out the show notes for Episode 183 of Wait, What? It’s a two-plus hour episode where Graeme McMillan and I answer questions posed to us by those wonderful people on Patreon who help keep us afloat.  (I’m not sure what that term means for Graeme, but for me “afloat” means, “oh god, Comixology has the entire run of Super-Villain Team-Up for $1.99 an issue, and some of those are by Englehart, hope I can hold out for the first of the month…”)
Join us, won’t you?

00:00-7:22: Greetings from Jeff “Oklahoma” Lester and Graeme “The Music Man” McMillan, who although unable to complete an anecdote about the song “Geary, Indiana,” are able to answer the questions you have for us. In fact, this very episode is us handling the grenades of perceptiveness lobbed from our supporters on Patreon. But before the Q&A kicks in, Graeme has a quick story relating to someone trying to troll him about Marvel’s sixth Inhuman title…or maybe about Marvel trying to troll us by having six Inhuman titles, I’m still not sure. Either way, you should listen to this heart-warming story about two people trying to connect with one another on the Internet (that may also be about a company trying to connect with its upcoming cinematic IP).


7:22-26:20: Eric Phipps asks: “Your guiltiest of guilty pleasures in the world of comics. What it is, what you like about it and why you’re ashamed to like it. Or alternately, your biggest blind spots in comics. What haven’t you read and why?” Graeme takes the blind spot, I take the guilty pleasure and apparently all roads lead to…manga? Discussed: The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Kate Beaton’s Strong Female Characters, American Flagg, Marvel Comics, The Invisibles, Bob Haney, Millennium, Walt Kelly, whether or not Dan Slott is old enough to buy beer, and the name one of us can barely bring to whisper aloud…Kazuo Koike.
26:20-35:52: Mathew Digges asks: “Do either of you have any rituals associated with reading comics? (ie picking books up every Wednesday, making yourself a savory snack to eat while you read them, cueing up some light jazz for background music)?” Discussed: Marvel Unlimited, visits to the comics store, that thing that’s not OCD that you want to describe as OCDish anyway, purchasing spreadsheets, couches, reading spreadsheets, Ernie and Gus-Gus, eating while reading, that damn park neither of us can think of the name of (Duboce Park); and more.
35:52-54:59: Matt Miller asks: “1. Has anybody polled creators (or even reported anecdotally) as to whether creator profits on their Comixology sales went up or down after the iOS storefront closed?  2. What creator known for their 70s/80s/90s work would you say is most likely to produce a late-period masterpiece?” Discussed: good old Jim Zub; the comics code… of silence; good old Steve Englehart; Peter Milligan vs. Peter B. Gillis; good old Ann Nocenti; Vertigo; comics that are born to die; good old Dave Sim; Jeff’s biases about what needs to constitute a “literary comeback”; The Strange Death of Alex Raymond (which I erroneously and repeatedly describe as an encounter between Alex Raymond and Milt Caniff, when in fact it’s Alex Raymond and Stan Drake); and more.


From The Strange Death of Alex Raymond by Dave Sim

54:59-1:08:53: Mark “Das” Bender asks: “What do you guys do with your old, read comics? Recycle? Donate? Sell? Are you living in a house made of thousands of long boxes? As a follow up, when discarding paper, what criteria do you use to decide if you’ll keep it. I try to ask “will I ever read this again?” But there are favorite books that answer “probably not” that I still keep, e.g. Crisis or GIJoe. What do you know you should toss, but can’t bring yourself to do so? #hoarders” Discussed: Donating comics to p:ear; Frankenstein’s Comic Book Swap; and of course, Jeff’s option; ROM: Spaceknight; Millennium again; that magic dollar pricepoint; Steve Englehart Green Lanterns; Marvel Unlimited again, and more.
1:08:53-1:13:48: Roger Winston asks: “So my question is: Do you think the stories (and the early Marvel U in general) would’ve been better if Kirby had had more free reign and Stan hadn’t “rewritten” him so much? As seen with the DC Fourth World, Kirby was very capable of writing on his own with awesome results (appreciated more now than it was at the time), but I think his experiences in the Marvel Mill is perhaps what allowed him to get there.” Discussed: necessary evils. (Roger, your question was great; our answer was short only due to too much squirmy handwringing!)


1:13:48-1:26:46: Charles Forsman asks: “What legacy, if any, did Epic Comics leave behind on the industry? Were they just before their time? Were you sad when they went away? And tied into this, what were some of your favorite comics published by Epic?‘  Discussed: Jeff’s very accurate memories about the launch of Epic; Jeff’s disastrously inaccurate memories about the end of Epic; the return of the phrase ‘necessary evil’ again; books like Dreadstar, Elektra: Assassin, the first Starstruck graphic novel, Marshal Law, Moonshadow, Akira and the Airtight Garage, Metropol, Video Jack, Cadillacs and Dinosaurs, Coyote, Clive Barker’s books, Sachs & Violens, Elfquest, Groo The Wanderer, and how long until the first Marvel/Star Wars crossover hits the stand.

1:26:46-1:32:16: Tom Broadhead asks: “Are there any artists or writers who have done something so offensive to your preferences that you just can’t forgive them. For me it’s Leandro Fernandez who’s run in Queen and Country saw Tara Chase in a GODDAMN MESH TOP FOR NO REASON and generally drew her like a sex fetish. So angry. Probably 10 years ago but still angry. Also what ever happened to Sam Kieth? Did either of you read The Maxx when it came out or since – it was one of my first books when I started getting into comics. It was great and strange but the strange seemed to grow and great seemed to fade.” Discussed: Paul Gulacy on Catwoman; Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale; the Brendan McCarthy issue of Solo, and more (although we don’t cover Sam Kieth and maybe we’ll return to that next month, or something?).
1:32:16-1:33:44: Martin Gray asks: “Who was the worst FF substitute member?” Discussed: The worst substitute member of the Fantastic Four.  (Sorry, Martin!  We’ll probably have a more in-depth issue in a year or two!)
1:33:44-1:39:49: Patrick Gaffney asks: “The easy one: Besides the Byrne run, what is the thing you look the most forward to getting to in your quest to read all of Vol 1 of Fantastic Four. This question may be a little too much of a deep cut for the podcast, but I’ll throw it out there anyways. I remember reading Graeme back in the day, and I would like to ask him what stands out to him about doing that blog (I have memories of following the Waid/Ringo FF firing on there), how he thinks it lead him to his current career.” Discussed: Walt Simonson, all the stuff Jeff read up to about issue #200, and Fanboy Rampage, a.k.a., the internet origin story of Graeme McMillan.

1:39:49-1:47:23: Michael Tomasulo asks: “Have you guys talked about Transformers: More Than Meets The Eye by James Roberts, et al.? It is inexplicably excellent for a book about toy robots. I would very much recommend reading the first 3-issue storyline from 2012 if you haven’t.” Discussed: who the hell is Windcharger? A very hard working series that economically accomplishes a tremendous amount in three issues, and more.
1:47:23-1:48:39: We stop to look at how many more questions are left, how much time is left in the episode, and make the decision to break this into a two-parter BUT also opening up questions to everyone. So if you have a question you want us to answer when we return in two weeks, send them to us at ! But since we think we have time for one last question, let’s go with…

1:48:39-2:10:40: Tim Rifenburg asks: “I was curious if there was a run, a title or series that you have always wanted to read or try to get into that for various reasons you have not. G man’s post on Judge Dredd sparked the question. I have tried to get into it and it just leaves me cold. I can appreciate the art or a story point but overall I don’t engage with it. I was wondering if there was a particular title or character that you both do not get the buzz about. Thanks for considering the question and for the entertainment.” Discussed: Cerebus The Aardvark; Copra; recent issues of New Suicide Squad by Sean Ryan and Phil Briones; Gail Simone and the secret identity of Duke in The Secret Six; Valiant comics; American Flagg again; Give Me Liberty; Binky Brown Meets the Holy Virgin Mary; Jim Starlin; Graeme’s review of The Hospital Suite; Guy Delisle; and more.
2:10:40-end: Closing comments! Gravity’s Totebag! 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, 107 patrons make this whole thing possible!  Next week is a week off so look for us in two weeks for the exciting finale in Wait, What? Ep. 184!


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11 comments on “Wait, What? Ep. 183: Asked and Answered, Asked and Answered

  1. Jeff Lester Aug 24, 2015

    And for those who prefer just a straight link to copy and paste in the player of their choice:


  2. Matt M Aug 24, 2015

    Thanks for answering my question, guys. For the record, I knew asking about 70s creators producing a late period masterpiece was a longshot, but I wanted to give Jeff the chance to say Starlin. (Knowing Graeme read the new Thanos books, didn’t figure I needed to make the same caveat for him.)

  3. LAndrew Aug 25, 2015

    Don’t feel bad, Jeff–GOLGO 13 has much of the same difficult to reconcile question of “is the craft at work enough to cover for content that’s more than a little problematic” as CRYING FREEMAN, though the latter has the benefit of being stronger artistically and being one vision.

    • daustin Aug 26, 2015

      Crying Freeman is the very definition of a guilty pleasure – I remember reading those many years ago. Koike’s Mad Bull 34 may be even more offensive, while still being highly entertaining. The films Koike scriptedare very much in the same vein, like the Hanzo the Razor trilogy (based on the Goyokiba manga) where Shintaro Katsu (Zatoichi himself) plays a samurai police officer who coerces confessions out of culprits with his enormous penis. Not as fun as the Lone Wolf films, but still enjoyably insane.

  4. Jon Sapsed Aug 26, 2015

    American Flagg! Coyote from Epic! ‘Approved by the Cosmic Code’ with the peyote and all, those were the days when comics were opening out and felt grown up, like Sabre from Eclipse, who overcame his erectile dysfunction problems in issue 1- what a set-up! Nexus too, which is the only one of those sort of series which still struggles on in different formats. I wonder what would have happened if they were allowed the shelf space to bloom…

  5. Matt Terl Aug 26, 2015

    What trips me up in the Transformers books is the art. Not that it’s bad — it’s not, at all — but it’s just exceptionally BUSY, with lots and lots of little lines and bright, glossy colors, and for some reason my eye has a REALLY tough time figuring out what I’m supposed to be looking at in half the panels. (“Is that … a robot’s … chin, maybe? Or … a drink dispenser? But why would words be coming out from right above a drink dispenser?”)

    That, combined with the naming issue that Graeme & Jeff discussed (“Wait, which one is Swerve again?”) make it a harder read for me than it should be, which is a real shame because whenever I get into a groove of reading through it, it’s EXACTLY the kind of thing that I enjoy.

    • daustin Sep 8, 2015

      I’ve been having the same problem after buying a bunch of collections in a Comixology sale. Everybody is bulky, largely red and white, and has a very indistinct look. Compare that to Transformers Windblade, of which I read a couple of issues. No trouble telling characters apart in that one. MTME needs to better visually distinguish its characters, even if it’s as simple as “the blue one, the purple one, etc.” I’m not having this problem with Scioli’s work on Transformers/GI Joe.

  6. Matthew Murray Aug 26, 2015

    I’m totally in the same boat with Graeme for buying backissues. It’s only after I’ve exhausted every option available to me that I’ll consider spending more than a buck for something I’m looking for. Most recently I decided I’d spend more than that for the Top Ten Special that was never reprinted. (I owned it before, and gave it away, but wanted to reread it.) Of course, I then found it for a dollar! Hurray!

  7. Tim Rifenburg Aug 26, 2015

    When it comes to price of comics it factors into my enjoyment of them. If I pay full retail for a book or trade I have a higher expectation for the book. If I get it for a buck or less I am more forgiving of the short comings of the story or art. Also since I buy a lot less new issues the sales become much more of a way to see the stories I missed the first time around. Makes bargain hunting in the bins and sales more fun and helps me feel I get more for my dollars. When Graeme talked about the swap meets I was envious. Thanks for answering my question in the podcast. It is neat the tangents you guys go off on from one question.

  8. Bill Reed Aug 28, 2015

    Looking forward to the issue-by-issue ROM Spaceknight podcast once Baxter Building finishes up.

  9. Mike Loughlin Aug 31, 2015

    I read the Transformers humble bundle and really liked it. I also found tfwiki to be a great resource. MTMTE came alive for me when the focus was on Chromedome and Rewind. I ended up actually caring about two robots, one of whom turned into a cassette tape in the ’80s. Like Matt Terl, I found the business of the art distracting. I wish the comic was being drawn in a simplified “animated” style, even though the art’s not bad.