0:01-11:45: Greetings from Graeme “Jury Duty” McMillan and Jeff “Read a Tom King Comic About Jury Duty” Lester, for reasons those impromptu nicknames probably make clear, leap right in to discussing Batman #53 by Tom King, Lee Weeks and Elizabeth Breitweiser. Like most of King’s Batman, the issue continues to hit Graeme in the feels, whereas Jeff is a little…more…uh, reserved in his praise, shall we say? Discussed: emotional pin-ups; Kirby immediacy plus Moore formalism equals…profit? (I’m leaning pretty heavy here on the ellipses I’m noticing.); Batman: Year One; and more.
11:45-23:30: Jeff, who admits to being crabbier than usual, cedes the ground to Graeme, which is a good thing for us all, as Graeme has read some upcoming graphic novels we should be on the lookout for, and talks about them in exciting (but non-spoilery) ways: the amazing sounding Bastard by Max de Radiguès; Coyote Doggirl by Lisa Hanawalt; Woman World by Aminder Dhaliwal; and the complete collection of Berlin by Jason Lutes (!!!).
23:30-31:18: Graeme has finally read all of Snagglepuss: Exit Stage Left by Mark Russell, Mike Feehan, and Sean Russell. Remarkably, we manage to keep the discussion spoiler-free, despite Graeme talking about how much th ending really makes the whole work really that much stronger.
31:18-46:21: Speaking of Russell, Graeme mentions Russell’s recent appearance on the 2000AD podcast (in part, although not wholly, because of the work Russell is doing on Dredd for IDW), and that spurs us on to talk about Judge Dredd, the Simpsons, and the changing nature of satire and Mega City One.
46:21-1:05:21: Graeme spins off from all this to talk about something he did not love: the coming collection of Batman: White Knight by Sean Murphy. Also discussed: Mark Millar; Mark Millar and Grant Morrison’s Swamp Thing; Batman: The Damned; Batman: Hush; Legends of the Dark Knight; all those god-damned Batman books; and more.
1:05:21-1:22:38: Talking about who we might want to see about Batman leads, oddly, to a new theory Jeff has about the success of Claremont’s Uncanny X-Men and why they work better than the original Lee/Kirby X-Men. And from there, we end up discussing the switch on the book’s focus from gay culture to (maybe?) Israel?
1:22:38-1:41:23: Turns out this is the right week to be talking about old X-Men stories and creators like John Byrne, because this is the week it was announced C.B. Cebulski/Akira Yoshida signed John Byrne to return to Marvel and do an X-Men book. What the hell is going on? We discuss, and that also leads us to talk a bit about sales of Superman under Bendis, Pearl #1 by Bendis and Alex Maleev, and more.
1:41:23-2:00:43: The wonderful Leef Smith of Mission: Comics and Art asked us to read Hey Kids Comics #1 by Howard Chaykin and share our thoughts. Graeme didn’t read it, Jeff did, and…hoo boy.
2:00:43-2:06:36: Jeff also read Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-Kun, Vol. 9 by Izumi Tsubaki. He’s also read Prison School, Vol. 3 by Akira Hiramoto, and believe you me, you won’t mistake one series for the other anytime soon.
2:06:36-2:12:08: Graeme has a recommendation for Jeff: the first two books of Brink by Dan Abnett and I.N.J. Culbard, a 2000 A.D. series that’s kind of a detective story, kind of not: Graeme mentions someone else’s description of it as “True Detective meets Outland.”
2:12:08-2:27:24: In “news,” Jeff wants to know if Graeme knows anything about this weird and more than slightly suspect TokyoPop sale on Comixology. Selling digital versions of books currently available from other publishers? Licensed comics featuring characters they surely can’t still own the licenes for? What is up with this sale? Graeme doesn’t have any answers, but he does point out some strange stuff about the Project Superpowers sale. And we talk about some reading options currently available on Marvel Unlimited, including the entire run of Master of Kung-Fu, which leads Graeme to ask a question—“Jeff, I’ve never read Master of Kung-Fu. Should I?”—Jeff has literally never thought of before.
2:27:24-end: A classic closing comments fakeout!! Look for us on Stitcher! Itunes! Instagram! Twitter together and separately: Graeme and Jeff! Matt! Tumblr, 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. (And then! We talk about the sentencing of comics writer Gerard Jones to six years of prison, which is admittedly a very, very weird way to end the episode.) And then we’re out!
NEXT WEEK: Skip week! Rest up and join us in September!
And those who like a little of the ol’ cut & paste:
Tonight in Smoke-Addled Recollections…is it worth noting that Loeb and Sale made their bones as a team? They started off with the 3-part mini-series The Amazon for Comico, and move up together.
Embarrassing true story from my misspent youth in comics:
I read the first issue of Loeb and Sale’s the Amazon when originally released and thought it looked beautiful and read well. It took me a while to find the last two issues and when I did I read them together, and my lasting impression was admiration for Loeb’s experimental take on non-linear storytelling, although to be honest, I found it confusing.
And then realised I’d read the last two issues in the wrong order.
It’s been downhill for Loeb as a writer since then,..
That’s glorious. :)
The Amazon is Steven T. Seagle and Tim Sale, not Jeph Loeb. Dark Horse recolored and collected it in 2009.
I am pretty sure the earliest Loeb/Sale comic is 1991’s Challengers of the Unknown, which is Loeb’s first credit on comicbookdb.com (after a Who’s Who entry connected to their Challengers series). I’m not aware of them working together outside DC and Marvel.
Well, huh! Thank you for setting me straight! I’ve been carrying around a wrong memory about that for a long time.
Blimey- that’s even further reduced my opinion of Loeb!
Living dangerously by commenting before listening, but unless something changed between when you posted the link and this morning, the Tokyopop sale looks legit… the vast majority of stuff there is original material that TP retained the rights to thanks to their infamously bad contracts (yes, even King City, there was a lot of hoop-jumping to get the Image reprint/continuation going) and they do appear to still have some kind of license with Disney, since some of those books post-date their return to publishing (I think they were the first wave of books they came back with) and there is no way they’d be able to get away with that without Mouse lawyers noticing. This doesn’t seem to be a repeat of the time they uploaded a fan-subtitled anime to their YouTube channel just for kicks…
The Sophie Campbell zombie book in that sale has kind of a funny story attached… at one point she started up a webcomic that’s kind of a spiritual sequel, and it recontextualizes the earlier work as one of the cast’s recurring nightmare, which is funny on a couple levels now that I think about it…
I’ve listened to about 17 minutes of the podcast, and wanted to question who could possibly have any problems with Lee Weeks?!? He is one of the sweetest, most open, and talented creators who have ever interacted with this long-time, low level employee of one of America’s longest running and best true comic conventions.
Is this a Twitter thing? It must be, because Twitter seems to be a cesspool with an endless supply of $#!T.
Anyway, thanks as always for the podcasts, gentlemen!
The “we’ll get our retelation first next time” line is from the Daily Dredd strips (which did the whole Apocalypse War saga in one amazing page!).
The regular story is actually pretty straightforward and serious most of the time, there’s some early comedy with Walter and Maria in the Block Mania phase but it gets pushed to the side as the story progresses, but Daily Dredd take is going for a ‘whacky’ feel.
They had Chris Claremont and Louise Simonson books that started where their stories left off (X-Men Forver, I think). So I think John Byrne makes sense in that context even if it feels like it’ll be terrible.
That being said, I still love the story of why John Byrne left the X-Men. He drew a panel of Colossus easily pulling up a tree stump and Chris Claremont’s dialogue made it seem like he was struggling to do it. That was the straw that broke the camel’s back and he left the book. So, maybe in Byrne’s X-Men book, Colossus can rip up all the tree stumps to his heart’s content.
I just read some of Byrne’s statements about his project on John Byrne Says*, and he says that although set in 1980, it will lean more towards “2019” [sic].
Which raises the question – does Byrne actually produce stuff that feels of the moment any more? Genuine question: I haven’t read any of his work in recent years, so for all I know he’s bang up to the minute, bringing the reader today’s tomorrow today.
But Byrne has obviously perfected his cranky old guy schtick, so I’m wondering.
*Which I didn’t know about. And helped me to procrastinate** instead of getting on with my work. So thank you to our hosts, I guess?
**Which I’m still doing right now. Time to make myself stop.
The Breitweiser’s are not that far removed from EVS in terms of comics pros and shitty hate campaigns are concerned just fyi.
I wrote my comment before I saw this one from Rick… So yeah, what he said. Also, I should note that the Breitweiser’s support for EVS are reason enough for me to avoid books of which they’re a part.
Mitch and Elizabeth Breitweiser explicitly support EVS’s comics efforts, and implicitly support the comicsgate movement (via “likes,” retweets, and appearances on comicsgate affiliated YouTube streams. That having been said, as far as I know neither have indulged in any explicitly hateful or even controversial discourse.
Your discussion of essays by Glen David Gold makes want to ask if you’ve read The Red Sheet by him about Jack Kirby and PTSD. Obviously, if you have read it, what do you think? It’s in the Comic Book Apocalypse catalog and I love it.
I’m pretty sure The Cursed Earth turns up just a little after the first year of 2000ad, but I may be mis-remembering. It was the story that got me hooked on the comic. I’d disagree that this was the story where Dredd came together, as Mills, oddly for him and the character, writes one of the more heroic versions of Joe. There is the feeling that out of the city he can concern himself more with justice than the law.
I never read Men of Tomorrow, despite the praise it received. I had read his book in the 80’s called (I think) The Comic Book Heroes. It was very readable and full of wonderful stories about creators and the background to the books. I was enjoying it until I reached a section on The Fourth World where it said Darkseid had created the Black Racer. Then I thought it was probably a good idea to forget what I thought I was learning.
Regarding Graeme and MOKF: as Graeme hasn’t read these comics, I’d be curious if he finds Gulacy’s work here as off-putting. I like Gulacy’s work, but the work on this comic is my favourite of his. There’s the meta-excitement early in his run of an artist being better each issue and then the terrific body of work he does from #29 on. There’s a muscular volume and movement to his art here that’s absent in some of his later work, which often uses a thinner line and less brushwork. I wonder if these differences would address Graeme’s flatness issue. There’s also the snarky pleasure of reading a pre-Internet comic and seeing Gulacy’s conception of London. His Victoria Station is a particularly game effort.
Batman 53: I liked the emotional content, but I think King lost the plot a bit. I know the guilt or innocence of Mr. Freeze was not the point of the story, but I don’t recall if we found out whether or not he committed the crime. I don’t think Bruce Wayne would have convinced the jury with his speech, no matter how passionate- we don’t really see why any of the jurors would change their votes. I think Jeff’s right, there’s a better story to be told from that set-up. I enjoyed reading the book, however, and the art was beautiful.
Lee Weeks is a very religious person. I don’t know his political affiliation, but I bristle at the thought of people getting mad at him if he hasn’t said or done anything awful. Lots of people don’t share my political beliefs and somehow manage to be decent human beings.
As for John Byrne, I met him at the recent Boston comic con, and attended the Byrne panel later in the day. He had the “friendly curmudgeon” thing down, and didn’t end up blowing up at his fans. The room was only half-full, however, and he never had a long line for signing. It made me wonder if he still has enough of an audience to sustain a monthly X-book, especially after Claremont’s X-Men Forever didn’t last long. I