0:00-7:06: Greetings!  Because Jeff is an idiot, we lost the first hour and sixteen minutes of our recording.  So today’s episode will be comparatively short and it starts up with us telling you what you missed. It’s a surprisingly complete summary of seventy-six minutes jammed into six.  Discussion of what we discussed:  Batman Day (which this episode was recorded on), Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice; Injection by Warren Ellis and Declan Shalvey; 2000 A.D. Prog. 2000; Suicide Squad #2 by Rob Williams, Jim Lee, and Ivan Reis; Jeff’s admiration for Superwoman #2 and Graeme’s for Supergirl; Detective Comics and Chris Claremont’s New Mutants; All-Star Batman #2; and Tom King’s Batman, which is where we catch up, since Graeme has to reiterate his point about…

batmantomking7:06-32:23: Tom King and the connection between The Vision and Sheriff of Babylon (which King has described as being part of an unofficial trilogy with his Omega Men), and how it connects to the first six issues we’ve read of Batman.  Also discussed: Alan Moore and Alan Moore’s Jerusalem; the promotional interviews with Alan Moore for Alan Moore’s Jerusalem; what would be the non-comic related questions we would ask Alan Moore; and mo(o)re.


32:23-36:13:  Jeff wanted to talks about Moon Knight #6 by Jeff Lemire, Wilfredo Torres, Francesco Francavilla, and James Stokoe (!) where Lemire finally has a take on the character that really works for Jeff.
36:13-38:16: Jeff does a loose compare/contrast between Moon Knight and the first issue of Doom Patrol by Gerard Way, Nick Derington, and Tamra Bonvilliain.  A good fun book with some absolutely lovely art by Derington and colors by Bonvillain.

countnefariavsquirrelgirl38:16-57:25: Jeff also wants to give a shout-out to latest issue of Unbeatable Squirrel Girl with fill-in art by Jacob Chabot and another crazily strong script by Ryan North.  And after that, we talk a bit about North’s first issue of Jughead (which sounds *amazing*), which leads us to a not-thrilled impression of Zdarsky’s Howard The Duck, Marvel and hip-hop and much more.
57:25-1:07:55: Also read and also (lightly) discussed:  The Fix #5 by Nick Spencer and Steve Lieber; Paper Girls #9 by Brian K. Vaughan, Cliff Chiang, Matt Wilson and Jared K. Fletcher; Saga by Vaughan and Staples; old issues of Ms. Marvel written by Chris Claremont; and more.


1:07:55-1:11:33:  Sad to say, either Graeme did most of the talking in our lost hour, or maybe Jeff was out of control there too, but Jeff does too much talking this episode, even if it’s for a good cause like showing some love for the insane “Prisoners of Three Worlds” story from 1963’s Batman #153, by Bill Finger, Henry Boltinoff, Jack Schiff and Sheldon Moldoff, recently purchased during Comixology’s Road to Batman Day Sale.
1:11:33-1:15:02: I can’t adequately describe how we got to discussing Denny O’Neil’s career as writer and editor, a case Jeff tries to make by incorrectly assigning at least two Batman characters’ first appearances to the wrong era.
Graeeme has some wonderful stuff to tell us about Books With Pictures, a great little comic book store in Portland, Oregon with a back issue drawer curated by Douglas Wolk, as well as the back issues he, Graeme, picked up from said drawer.  Mentioned: Heroes and Legends; the Legion of Substitute Heroes Special from 1995; Superman’s Girl Friend, Lois Lane issue #115; Superman and Batman: Heroes Against Hunger; and the zines from our colleagues Jay and Miles.

1:19:10-end: Closing comments! Look for us on  Stitcher! Itunes! Twitter together and separately: Graeme and Jeff! MattTumblr,  and  on Patreon where a wonderful group of people make this all possible, including the kind crew at American Ninth Art Studios and Empress Audrey, Queen of the Galaxy, to whom we are especially grateful for their continuing support of this podcast.

Next week:  Baxter Building Ep. 21! Read issues #184-200 of the first volume of The Fantastic Four and deconstruct them with us!  We will see you then!

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13 comments on “Wait, What? Ep. 209: Half-Caf/Half-Cast

  1. Jeff Lester Sep 18, 2016

    And if you need that link for your own cutting and paste-like purposes:

  2. Does anyone want to disabuse me of the impression that Jerusalem is a longer version of Voice of the Fire? I liked the latter well enough to finish it back in the day, but not so much I want to revisit it super-sized.

    • Phil Sandifer says that
      ”[I]t’s enjoyable. It demands attention, but it is not a difficult novel. Certainly it is unlike Voice of the Fire, whose deliberately obtuse first chapter went out of its way to winnow the readership down to its most sympathetic core.”

      • Thanks for the link. That was one of the more informative reviews I’ve ran across. Short of disconnecting the internet, I doubt I’ll clear a 1250-page space in my schedule for it, but I might sample it at some point.

  3. Person of Con Sep 19, 2016

    Zdarsky rant!

    I liked North’s Jughead issue (especially the swerve–I would have bet money it was Ethel under the hamburger suit), but I really wish Zdarsky had a few more issues. I wasn’t that much into the first arc; I know the popular opinion is not with me on this, but the fantasy asides felt like deviations from the story that killed the momentum of the main plot. But the two parter in the woods was awesome–some great Weatherbee, a Mantle family reunion, and some really character-driven exchanges between Archie and Jughead.

    Speaking of Zdarsky, at the end of the Howard the Duck run, it feels like it’s finally getting into the media satire part, with the plot being that an alien whose clearly a Zdarsky stand-in admitting he was hired by Mojo to manipulate Howard’s life so that it got better ratings in Mojo’s secret broadcast. Some of it’s standard “ha ha we’re putting Marvel editors and creators into the book” but some of it’s really interesting metacommentary–Howard telling Chipp that he isn’t nearly as good at making Howard’s life interesting as the original manipulators suggests even Zdarksy admits this run isn’t clicking. And a part of me finds something very biblically epic about a writer literally wrestling with his character.

    I haven’t read much of the Gerber run, so I don’t have that reference to the character; my knowledge of Howard starts with the 90s Daydreamers series where he’s basically part of a babysitting team for Artie, Leech, and Franklin Richards (which was a hell of introduction). I basically agree with Graeme that the series felt largely formless. But for me, it all clicked together in issue 8, where he finds Bev and utterly fails to reconnect with her, and I went, oh; this is a series about loneliness, about trying to find a place for yourself and failing, despite your best intentions and (almost worst) the best intentions and efforts of everyone around you. Read through that lens, I think the series hangs together much better; even the seeming digression with the gender-swapped Howard and Rocket Raccoon has a melancholy sense to it, that this Howard clone can find a family when he seems so unable to do it. The sense of sadness alongside the comedy makes the book something a little different from the other Marvel comedy titles.

    I don’t know if the outsider media satire part of the character works anymore; as Jeff and Graeme say, coming from Marvel, there’s a hypocrisy to it that’s hard to get over. My pitch would be to take Howard in the direction of the female leads of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend or You’re The Worst, and go even further in the melancholy direction, turning the title into an examination of clinical depression. Which, um, isn’t a topic known for laughs, but they make it work.

  4. Matt for Hire Sep 19, 2016

    A. If you want more Moon Knight by Stokoe, check out issue 5, too. It’s where the split narratives start up (though, technically, it’s the end of the arc).

    B. So…the one question I would want to ask Alan Moore, even though it’s comics, is…well. Watchmen is clearly his legacy now; the comics-reading public has basically decided that. But what does he want it to be? What does he feel would/should have the most impact on the comics world?

    C. I found this link not long ago, which, yeah, Alan Moore has an ego, but this is just charming as anything.

  5. Garrie Sep 19, 2016

    Another round of applause for the new Doom Patrol. It appears Way will be referencing other past attempts for the title… does this mean we’ll see Super-Hip soon, too?

    Regarding Richard Case: I got the feeling he (and Chas Truog on Animal Man), with such a conservative style of story-telling may have done a good part towards helping sell Morrison’s ideas to the readers. Kind of like Sal Buscema on Gerber’s Defenders (or Jim Mooney on Gerber’s Man-Thing). No? I’m still mulling it over.

    I celebrated Batman Day going through the old 80 Page Giants, which also brought me to another read of the awesome Robin Dies At Dawn. Something possibly unique about the story is the Ant-Man ‘prologue’ to the two-part “Dies At Dawn.” I can’t remember any other Batman issue from those days where one story actually referenced the other. Normally they would be completely separate pieces, could’ve been published in another issue of Batman or Detective without harming the other. “Dies At Dawn’ , in fact, is usually reprinted without the Ant-Man feature. I’m wondering if this was the only time they tried this trick, or if there are others I haven’t seen. Maybe a reaction to the relatively-new Marvel Age of Comics?

    Regarding Denny O’Neil: Yeah, a lot of his award-winning work doesn’t really re-read well today, but his work on the Shadow and his personal take on The Question still hold up for me. And I have a real fondness for his brief run on the Challengers of the Unknown. And his Sergius O’Shaugnessy scripting on Ditko’s Creeper.

    Anyhow, looking forward to the next round of Baxter Building, though my memories of those issues are not fond ones. Hope to have them re-read in time for your show! Or will I still feel the same after having done so?

  6. Howard the Duck was Steve Gerber and Steve Gerber was Howard the Duck. That’s why Howard the Duck will never work as a character for me again. That, and my Howard the Duck looks like how he looked when drawn by Val Meyerik and Gene Colan. May he rest in peace.
    It was surreal listening to you guys speed talk about what you talked about earlier, but your Readers’ Digest condensed version was ultimately frustrating as you teased what sounded like an interesting discussion.
    Jeff, you might want to adjust your preferences so as to require you to manually authorize your Skype updates instead of having updates downloaded automatically when you aren’t looking.

  7. Matt M Sep 20, 2016

    Regarding Marvel’s repeated use of Run the Jewels imagery–it’s probably worth pointing out that the principals in RTJ almost always retweet those images (implying approval), and that Killer Mike wrote the intro to the collection of the Marvel hip hop covers.

  8. Dasbender Sep 20, 2016

    Not surprised you’re both not feeling the love for Saga anymore. But I AM surprised you’re just now understanding that BKV doesn’t know how to land his story. This is why I was very late in even sampling Saga, which I only finally did because of your (and Hibbs’s) rave reviews. BKV *never* has an ending. He has a really cool set-up and dynamic in mind with an awesome hook surrounded by possibilities that really engage the readers’ imagination. “How did all the men die?” “Imagine a superhero politician!” “Imagine finding out your parents were supervillians!” Then the story meanders and eventually slows to a halt and he gets off. Happened to Runaways. Happened to Y. Happened to Ex Machina. Happened to Private Eye (on a more compressed timeline). He doesn’t have an answer to the secret that keeps you on the edge of your seat. There’s not an amazing conclusion where all this build-up is planning to pay off. BKV is great (and I do mean truly great) at the cliffhanger, but not so much the conclusion.

    I hope he proves me wrong some day. And when that happens I’ll buy the trades. I’ve been burnt too many times buying a directionless monthly hoping for a pay-off that never comes. Fool me once, shame on you…

  9. Kind of a weird drive-by on Dennis O’Neil there. “A mediocre comics writer”? Even I’ll admit that he had periods where he was writing on auto-pilot, but you can’t call someone with the multiple high-water marks he’s had “mediocre”. THE QUESTION alone puts him in the upper echelon. Except for a few early missteps, his run on DAREDEVIL between Miller’s two runs is great, especially once Mazzucchelli joins (and more when he starts inking his own work). Even IRON MAN, probably his textbook auto-pilot run, ended with just a spectacular run once Mark Bright was drawing. I’ve only read about half his AZRAEL run, but there’s almost always something interesting going on there, when it’s not mired in a Bat-family crossover. And that’s just his later stuff, never mind the stuff where he made his bones.

    Meanwhile, I think you kind of seriously over-rate him as an editor. Does any of the 1990s Batman stuff he edited really hold up? I always thought he kept the Dixon/Moench/Grant triumvirate on long after their “best before date” had passed (and, based on what some of them have said, was kind of unprofessional in finally replacing them). I kind of think he used to just win “Best editor” awards because he was editing Batman and he was the one name voters recognized. Plus don’t forget he inherited Frank Miller as artist on DAREDEVIL (he did give him the writing gig after a few issues, and in the long run I’m not sure that’s a good thing…), and I think he actually inherited “Year One” in BATMAN as well (it began four issues into his editorship, but I’m pretty sure it had a lot of lead time).

  10. David Morris Sep 22, 2016

    I seem to be in a minority regarding ‘Voices from the Fire’. I read it once about 15 years ago and didn’t find it a difficult read. The only book I’ve thrown across the room was ‘Nova Express’, but I was in my teens and much more volitile. I’m struck by how much I remember of it’s stories, an increasingly rare feature of the material I read.
    So I’m a Gerber duck guy, reading it as that more volitile teenager Howard’s frustration and impatience with the world imprinted hard. That said Zdarsky’s duck is the first one I’ve stuck with since then. Admittedly some of that is Joe Quinones drawing a regular comic, but it’s also that Chip is writing Howard as a character who has resigned himself to this world. It’s the source of the melancholy Person of Con refers to (I think…). Instead of a pastiche of Gerber’s run, we get what might reasonably be viewed as another point in this character’s life. Let’s see how he handles the dismount, shall we?

  11. Daustin Sep 23, 2016

    Finally read Robin Dies at Dawn in the sale and was surprised to realize that the premise was totally ripped from a Twilight Zone.