Wait, What? Ep. 258: No Longer A Bear

November 11, 2018

[Not actually the bear bathing image Jeff talks about in the episode,  but let’s roll with it]

0:01-15:53:  Greetings! After a very long time, Jeff “Japan!” Lester and Graeme “NYCC!” McMillan have returned after a hiatus!  And we’re starting off with a relatively detailed story about…kidney stones?! Wait, what?  (Plus: a patreon giveaway like no other?)

15:53-28:13: But, as mentioned in the shout quotes above, Jeff has also been to Japan, and Graeme has also been to NYCC, so we turn the topic to the strangeness that was this year’s New York Comic-Con, which Graeme attended, and why, if nothing else, he thinks that show may have replaced San Diego Comic-Con as the year’s TV and movie convention.
28:13-1:06:23: We start to catch up on news that’s happened in our absence, but Graeme really boils it down to one topic of discussion: the firing of Chuck Wendig from Marvel because of his social media presence.  It’s the opening for a larger talk about the industry’s history with creators and with unionization, with Graeme using as a springboard for discussion the excellent American Comic Book Chronicles: The 1990s by Keith Dallas and Jason Sacks.
1:06:23-1:07:56: The other thing Graeme has been reading is Poisoned Chalice by Pádraig Ó Méalóid, the history of Miracleman / Marvelman and who owns the copyright to the character.  He takes a few minutes to recommend the book, and the we’re off to…

1:07:56-2:09:41: Japan!  Or to be more precise, Jeff’s impressions and recollections, about the country and his recent nineteen day visit there.  He mentions time spent with pals of the podcast Miguel and Cormac, Japan’s tremendous visual culture, conbinis (and more specifically the amazing onigiri), and, perhaps above all, Golgo 13 and manga.  (A lot of my info about Saito and his publishing company is badly paraphrased from Jason Thompson’s excellent entry on Golgo 13 over at House of 1000 Manga).
Also discussed: liking oneself more in Japan; Shibuya Crossing; the suicide rate in Japan; the awesomeness that is Mandarake; the language barrier; the story of our soft no, and much, much, much more.

Me at Mandarake (Shibuya).

2:09:41-end: Closing comments!  Look for us on  Stitcher! Itunes! Instagram! 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.  And then we’re out!
NEXT WEEK:  Baxter Building! Read issues #397-405 of volume 1 of Fantastic Four by Tom DeFalco and Paul Ryan and join us!

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17 comments on “Wait, What? Ep. 258: No Longer A Bear

  1. Jeff Lester Nov 11, 2018

    And if you’re looking for just the link for reasons nefarious (and non-nefarious), here it is:


  2. There are a bunch of differences between folks like Chuck and Waid on the one hand and the Comicsgate scumbags on the other, but here’s an important one: the non-fascist folks are honest and consistent. I don’t know Waid, but in decades of following comics news, I’ve never seen him suggest that people who don’t like his work must shut up and refrain from ever communicating with his employers. I do know Chuck back to his beginning writing for RPGs, long before he got into fiction, and he’s never said in public or private that people have no right to express their dissatisfaction with anything he does. He never dishes out anything he’s unwilling to receive.

    Meyer and his (past and present) buddies, on the other hand, want themselves free to call others pedophiles, to assert that creators they don’t like got their positions through sex, to delight in hounding people (particularly women) with such volume of intensity of abuse that the targets feel obliged to disappear from public presence online, the whole deal. They do all that, and they lie about it or boast about it as they wish, and they can’t take any of it at all. They’ve tried their best to get people fired and blacklisted. If their complaints about Waid were valid, and they had the slightest scrap of integrity, they’d have to turn themselves all in for having done far worse. But they don’t.

    And that really matters, at least to me.

  3. So Japan is on my bucket list, but I’m kind of dreading that flight. Is it merely twice as bad as a trans-Atlantic flight, or does being trapped in a metal tube scale exponentially?

    • Jeff Lester Nov 12, 2018

      It all depends on if you can sleep on a plane: for both the flight there and back, they did all kinds of stuff to make it feel like an overnight flight (tinted windows and stuff), so most people just crashed out. If you can sleep, you’re in better shape for the time change, I think. I was okay going there–I was only jetlagged for maybe two days tops, although both Edi and I tended to run out of gas and need a low-key recharge day every three or four days or so. And I just watched a ton of movies and fussed with games on my iphone, so I wasn’t in agony while I was on the plane.

      But the return killed me: a 16 hour difference means that it’s midnight in Japan when it’s 8am here. So between feeling like I was trying to sleep through the day and work all night when I returned, I was kind of a mess.

      But I’d absolutely do it again in a heartbeat.

  4. Robin Nov 12, 2018

    This is one of my favorite episodes! I burst out laughing several times which made quite a few heads turn as I was walking (I’m a distance walker).
    Jeff, I hope that stone rolls on out and you feel better soon! Your recounting of your ER visit is priceless! No bear or bear, I’m looking forward to your next episode—I’m assuming you’ll have something or two or more to say about Stan Lee—the good and the not good. I respect your balanced podcasts.

    • Bruce Baugh Nov 12, 2018

      But we didn’t get a chance to win the kidney stone! What slackers these podcasters be.

  5. Jason L Sacks Nov 12, 2018

    Graeme, I am so flattered by the very kind comments you made about my American Comic Book Chronicles: the 1990s. You’re definitely part of the target audience for these books, and it’s great to hear it sparked so much insight from you.

    For anyone who wants a glimpse at the book, TwoMorrows has a 34-page preview at http://twomorrows.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=95_94&products_id=1373

  6. Rob G Nov 13, 2018

    Hey Jeff, I’m the guy who tried to engage with you on Twitter regarding your re-tweet of the Waid Go-Fund-Me proposition. You clearly misinterpreted my point and my analogy regarding getting you fired from work because of some abhorrent or despicable thing you might have said on the internet. That wasn’t my point. At all. Obviously, it’s hard to communicate a nuanced legal argument on Twitter given the character limit involved. It’s just as difficult for me to do so here, because this is not an appropriate forum either, but I will try my best. See, I’m a lawyer. I was responding to a legal issue, which naturally also has moral and ethical implications. Specifically, I was addressing the legal claim of “tortious interference with a business relationship or contract,” which is what Waid has been sued for. It has nothing to do with the fact that Meyer may be a bad person, or you diasagree with him or his beliefs, or that he’s an asshole or mysoginist. That’s irrelevant to the tort claim. This is: Waid was not a party to the contract between Antarctic Press (AP) and Meyer. When a third person, who’s not a party to a contract (Waid) steps in to ostensibly warn AP of Meyer’s reputation, and the harm AP’s reputation could suffer, Waid’s clear intent is to convince AP that it should not do business with this despicable person because he does not like this person. Oh sure, Waid will claim he was only being charitable by trying to help AP (because AP’s reputation will suffer, it will be harassed, etc.). Waid can claim he was innocently trying to “help” AP, but we know better given the history between Waid and Meyer, with Waid threatening to take Meyer down at a comic convention years ago. Waid had no prior interest in AP and no judge or jury will believe Waid was doing this simply because he’s a “good” guy. He did it so that AP would not publish Meyer’s book. I followed this in real time when Waid posted on Facebook his intent to talk to AP. When I read his post, I hoped someone would get to Waid and stop him and explain the legal ramifications. I saw the train wreck as it was about to happen. It’s really this simple: The law says you can’t interfere in a contract between two or more other parties if you’re not a party to that contract. That’s different than someone contacting your employer and saying you’ve been acting up on social media and that you should be fired. Maybe my example was a bad one and open to misinterpretation, but again, it’s hard to convey ideas in short tweets. It has nothing to do with social media or a persons’ behavior on social media or elsewhere. It has to do with a contract between two parties that gets interfered with because you happen to not like a person, whether that dislike is justified or not. Maybe this is a better example: You Jeff, hire a clown to entertain at your niece’s birthday party. Because I don’t like you (in real life I do), I convince the clown to break his contract with you and to not appear at that party. Maybe I tell the clown you’re a pedophile and he should stay away or a maybe I just promise him I can get him more paying jobs in the future. Whatever the reason, you have to agree I had no right to do that. You were harmed. I was wrong to do that. That’s tortious interference. That’s what Waid did. You can say Meyer is a bad person and deserved what he got. You might say that and Waid should be lauded and given money because he hurt a “bad” person. Maybe that’s where we disagree. Maybe the punishment doesn’t fit the crime. Maybe Waid lied by telling AP Meyer’s a white supremacist. That’s part of the defamation claim. Good luck to Mark Waid proving Meyer’s a white supremacist, because that’s gonna be impossible unless he can prove Meyer’s affiliated with a recognized white supremacy group like the KKK. Maybe Waid promised AP work or referrals in the future. I don’t think any of that is right. The law has moral implications as I said earlier. What Waid did was against civil law, immoral, and unethical. Do you really want to condone that type of behavior? Is this how we want society to function? Do you believe the ends justify the means? What kind of hate do we have in our hearts towards our fellow man. If Meyer is a bad man, Waid is equally so. Undeserving of our respect or support. I don’t want to live in a world where a man can convince a clown not to appear for another man’s niece’s birthday party. Where does it end. Fuck social media. It’s cancer. Peace.

    • Rob G Nov 13, 2018

      There’s one last point I intended to make. Please keep in mind, that what Waid did, in addition to causing financial damage to another human being, was succeed in stopping a book from being published. My understanding is it was non-political in nature, but that’s beside the point. Unless the book is full of hate speech, which by all accounts it is not, Waid is now a censor. He has taken it upon himself to determine what we should be allowed to read and what we shouldn’t be allowed to read. All because he’s vengeful and thin skinned. For a writer, he’s sure scared of words. Thats all it is really, isn’t it? Meyer’s guilty of calling people names and offending them and Mark Waid can’t handle it and had to cause actual damage to a person because of words. That’s why I found it despicable that people like Neil Gaiman and other creators contributed to Waid’s indefensible defense. This case should settle, as they usually do, but if it doesn’t, Waid is going to lose. I’ve tried enough of these kinds of cases to know, and while no outcome can be guaranteed, Waid is going to lose. The best he can do is mitigate damages. I feel like I’m making a summation to a jury, but I feel real sorry for this world because it appears to me there are real assholes on both sides of this issue.

      • Jeff Lester Nov 14, 2018

        Hey, Rob.

        Thanks for taking the time to post and clarify. I have to say that while your’e a lawyer, I don’t think you’re arguing your points particularly well. You ask me to put aside all of my preconceptions about Meyer, since it’s being irrelevant to a tort claim, and then piledrive on the language about Waid and his intentions as if those are established fact.

        Let’s see if we can back this up to the most basic statements, as devoid of opinion on both ends as we can: Meyer is suing Mark Waid for tortious interference and defamation. Waid started a GoFundMe for his legal defense. I RT’d a link to that fund, and you expressed disappointment in me for doing so, and things grew from there as far as our communications.

        At the most fundamental? There’s nothing wrong with Waid running a GoFundMe for his legal defense. You and I both have opinions about Waid and Meyer, but those opinions have no weight in a court of law. I would think that, as a lawyer, you would not feel there’s something wrong with Waid actually going to court. You seem to think he has no case and will lose; I don’t. Either way, it’ll get settled in court. A legal lawsuit is an expensive process, in part because it aims to be thorough and fair. Depositions are taken; the course of discovery is run. Until the court decides, Meyer is right to bring a suit and Waid is right to defend it. I’m sure that you, as a lawyer, believe that’s the best way for a disagreement to be resolved.

        So that’s the best I can do to drain the situation of all personal opinion, bias, and possible animus.

        Beyond that, I think we move into murkier waters: you think it’s wrong to fund Waid or to support him, I don’t.

        If you think it’s important to go there, we can. I don’t think it’ll be a particularly rewarding conversation for either of us, truth be told. But I think it’s important to put this out there as a baseline for agreement.

        • Rob G Nov 14, 2018

          Jeff, I have nothing further to say. You’ve stated clearly where you are coming from and I would t attempt at this point to dissuade you. Discussions with strangers over the internet are pointless and I admit to being the fool for thinking otherwise. Peace.

  7. Rob Means Nov 14, 2018

    Hi, Jeff:

    I really enjoyed your account of your trip to Japan. My wife is from Japan and I’ve been there twice, and many you your observations about Japanese society resonated. Hope you don’t mind if I respond to a very small point: The “American style” yam biscuit. For the most part, Japan seems to use “biscuit” in the British sense — that is, what we Americans call a cookie (google “Japanese biscuit”). So even if it includes an ingredient that very few Americans would put on a biscuit (like yam), maybe calling it “American style” makes it clear that it’s more like a fluffy buttermilk biscuit than a cookie.

  8. Daniel Mackay Nov 19, 2018

    While I’m only a med student, not a doctor I thought I’d throw my thoughts in on foods that can cause kidney stones. I remember being most shocked about is strawberries but https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/kidney-stones/prevention/ has a good list of foods and general prevention advice. I think the reason they didn’t shock your stone is just the size, small stones are hard to see on Xray which is how they aim the shockwaves and will pass on their own anyway.

    • Jeff Lester Nov 25, 2018

      Daniel, my hearty apologies for this comment being trapped in moderation hell forever! I thought it was a great comment, but also thought it’d been approved, not one I needed to let into the wild. That bit of info about the size of the stone and the difficulty in seeing them to aim the shockwaves is incredibly good to know!