0:01-06:18:  Greetings from the very first “Wait, What?” podcast of the year! Graeme “Blade Runner Year” McMillan and Jeff “The New Barbarians Year” Lester.  We start off by talking about the list compiled of movies set in the year 2019.  (Probably not this list, but maybe?)  We also talk about other fictional epochs we’ve lived through, pranking the generations to come, and more.
06:18-30:46: How does this lead into our discussion of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Century?  The answer may surprise you! (Unless you’ve listened to us before, I guess.)  But from there on out, it’s the Wait, What? version of Festivus with the airing of the Alan Moore-related grievances. Discussed: Alan Moore and sex; Elizabeth Sandifer’s The Last War in Albion; whether Moore is an Eighties artist or a Seventies artist; a Springsteen analogy that lamentably never comes together; Alan Moore and Star Wars; Who would win in a fight: passive vs. aggressive?; and more.
30:46-1:10:02: We move from there to Shelfdust’s Top 100 Comic Book Issues of All Time, in part as a way to discuss the generation gap as reflected through comics and in part to realize where we fit in the gap and also in part to throw some stink-eye at some of the choices. Also discussed: George Romero; Ernest Hemingway; Chuck Klosterman; the Top Ten of the Shelfdust list; The Top Twenty of the Shelfdust list; being recognized today vs. being recognized “back in the day;” the amount of Azzarello, Ellis, and Ennis on the list; and more.
1:10:02-1:25:21 (or thereabouts): In a sudden surge of anecdotalism, Jeff thinks there’s a sudden uptick in Harry Potter hot takes. And we’re not just talking about the toilet facts recently disclosed about the Potterverse.  Also discussed: big books; Neil Gaiman; what it will be like when Jeff has a stroke; and more.
1:25:21 (or thereabouts)-1:29:38: Back to more Shelfdust talk! Graeme contributed to the list—what book that he picked ranked the highest on the Top 100. And speaking of which Graeme’s list (in *ascending* order):
  1. New Guardians #1
  2. Invisibles #12
  3. Uncanny X-Men #185
  4. Or Else #2
  5. Deadline #5
  6. Mister Miracle #10 (King/Gerads version)
  7. Flex Mentallo #4
  8. OMAC #1
  9. Dork #7
  10. Graffiti Kitchen
1:29:38-2:35:37: Ah, and then, just like the warmth of Spring, the pleasantries of the Shelfdust discussion fade, as we move on to discuss Abhay’s controversial post about Tom King’s employment by the CIA, comic industry vetting, and what and what the industry wants if it wants an ex-member of the CIA writing Batman.  Part of why this post was controversial is in how its reception goes hand in hand with what some of us think about Abhay, what some of us think about his motivations in his post, and what some of us think about what some of us think.  In short: LET’S WATCH GRAEME AND JEFF FIGHT.
2:35:37-2:48:27: (Yes, we really do talk about it *that* long.)  Anyway, we’re aware we’re running horrifyingly long, but neither of us would forgive ourselves if we didn’t try to at least briefly sing the praises of Spider-Man:  Into The Spider-Verse (and talk a bit about how baffling it is that it’s not bigger despite the amount of raving done about it).  Also discussed: Aquaman has made a huge chunk of money and is incredibly financially successful—so why don’t we know anyone who sees it?
2:48:27-end: Closing comments!  We had to make ‘em!  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:  Wait, What? Ep. 262! Probably much shorter and with less fighting!  Join us!

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58 comments on “Wait, What? Ep. 261: Abhay, Maybe Don’t Listen After Minute 92 Or So?

  1. Jeff Lester Jan 6, 2019

    And for those of you looking for just the link:


    (Also, if you don’t like my title episode, feel free to use “Wanly Made Mailman” as an alternative.)

    • Couple things, The Abhay Thing is surprising. I read it, went to Xmas land and came back, and it was a thing. If people were smarter they’d be making a thing out of where Abhay fell on the whole what-is-the-actual-color-of-this-dress or if he’s a Yanny or a Laurel, but that’s just me.

      Top 6 Comics I Think of When I Was Just Thinking About Comics Just Now:
      1. G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero #21
      2. Milk and Cheese #7
      3. Heavy Liquid #4
      4. Dreadstar v.1 #5
      5. Gangland #3
      6. The Amazing Screw-On Head and Other Curious Objects
      7. Marvel Premier #13 (Honorable mention)

  2. Are you guys planning a surprise party for me? Surprise party! Surprise party!

    As I’m in a very particular place with what I can say about all of this (some of which is for reasons out of my control, at least as I perceive it), I appreciate this very unusual personalized warning! And of course, my warm feelings for the show are unchanged no matter what gets said– thank you for it.

    (Except that I had a weird anger moment in my car the other day, when you guys couldn’t remember the name of the Unstoppable Wasp and I just involuntarily, *angrily* and loudly screamed “Unstoppable Wasp” at my car windshield, all but 5 seconds before Graeme remembered that title– I never before suspected how strongly I felt about the matter, or that I even somehow knew the title. It was a horrible, horrible journey of self-discovery).

    • So I was just wondering why you decided to roast some two-year-old press releases when I got to the “Republic serial villain” line. Well played, Abhay.

      That said, I think the most important question in your piece is not whether King was in the CIA (which I have no reason to doubt) but why comics fans and journalists feel like this is a selling point for Batman comics.

      But the piece I most want to read on Tom King is the one that asks why comics fans and journalists are so desperate to celebrate a writer who has such a limited range and an even more drastically limited repertoire. That one should be an evergreen.

      • Ah, Tom King, he’s the one who writes the things that kind of look like what Alan Moore would would write, if Alan Moore was writing with a severe head injury. But he also helped the US kill people in Iraq, and every time I’m reading Batman punch the Riddler I definitely want to know that someone involved in this has tortured someone in a black site.

        • I don’t agree that a comics journalist should fact check something a comic book writer is saying about himself… if it’s not true that King was in the CIA it would have come out eventually, certainly by now – hasn’t he said it on TV? For me, it’s about as worthy of checking as whether pics of Hemingway big game hunting were staged… we’re talking about writers of fiction here, if they’re embellishing their past to grab interest, what does it matter so long as the works are enjoyed? As for DC, if they were a hospital and King was claiming medical experience, yeah, they should check that out, but King said he was working for the CIA, whether he did or did not is relevant only in terms of publicising Sheriff of Babylon or whatever. Jeff, this is really not comparable with the Berganza business or any other in which real people have been hurt by the actions of another.

          So far as I’m concerned, if Abhay Kosla – who I’d never heard of before last week – wants to sow doubt on King the onus is on him to prove it definitively, and if he can’t then shut the eff up. As I understand it, he didn’t even ask King before strongly suggesting he’s lying.

          • That was a quick segue from “journalists shouldn’t fact check their stories” to “who cares if it isn’t true anyway” to “if he can’t fact check this then he should shut the fuck up.”

          • Nate A. Jan 13, 2019

            To clarify, I wasn’t trying to tell Graham how to do his job. I was just hoping for a little more discussion about how his identity as a journalist informed his reading of Khosla’s post.

    • Nate A. Jan 7, 2019

      Having listened through to the end of that which Abhay shalt not listen, I have a thoughts… Fortunately for everyone I’ll limit myself to expressing one thought.

      First, as Jeff noted the question about journalistic responsibility got lost shortly after Abhay’s initial post. That’s to be expected given the attention span of the comics internet. However, I’m disappointed that Graham (a comics journalist who wrote a profile on King) didn’t address the question. I understand that Graham didn’t think Abhay was sincere in his question, so maybe he decided it wasn’t worth his time. Still, I’d have liked an explanation of what the fact-checking protocol would be for such claims and whether a journalist would consider it worthwhile.

      • Matt M Jan 9, 2019

        Agreed. Graeme’s insistence that Jeff’s personal biases were coloring his opinion, while completely ignoring the fact that his own professional biases could be similarly coloring his own views was a little maddening.

      • Martin Gray Jan 9, 2019

        I’m a journalist and, as I say above, wouldn’t bother. Then again, like Graeme, I’m a Brit – US newspapers are a lot more thorough/weirder (‘she said via e-mail Thursday’… who needs that level of detail in print, ‘she said’ is fine, if someone challenges it you can show them your notes later) in terms of fact checking. Unless something someone says raises the hackles I’d doubt, nope. Most people don’t go in for huge public fibbing.

      • Dan Coyle Jan 10, 2019

        Do you really expect the biggest DC stan on the comics Internet* is even going to entertain the idea of a story that paints one of their top writers in a negative light, not when CB Cebluski is still walking free??

        *Pending Dorian Wright making his tweets public again

        • Guy Smith Jan 14, 2019

          Those DC Comics Christmas gift packages don’t come for free, Dan!!

  3. As someone who contributed to The List, but who sits between (I think) Graeme and Jeff’s generation, and the generation cited a few times on the podcast (I’m mid-30s), I wanted to note one really important thing about the Preacher discussion.

    I’ve never read an issue of Preacher.

    I’ve read my trades of Preacher many, many times (and, rather luckily, have them all signed by Ennis and Dillon). I could not choose an issue of Preacher to include on my list because I have never, ever viewed Preacher through the lens of issues. They are nine trades that sit on my bookshelf.

    I think Preacher inhabits this space more than other DC perennials, because Watchmen as one trade is really clearly divided into 12 issues, and lots of discussion about the series talks about each issue as a unit. Sandman has better recognition as single issues due to the number of one-off stories, but things blend more during the longer arcs (I struggle to identify where each issue ends in The Kindly Ones, for instance).

    If they ever do ‘best TPBs’ or ‘best runs’ (and I really want the former, I think it would be fascinating to look at the best individual volumes of collections), then Preacher would feature very, very strongly. I just don’t think it works in the minds of any except those who bought it upon release as a series of issues.

    • Jeff Lester Jan 7, 2019

      This is a really excellent point, Steve, and would quite probably explain the comparatively weak showings of Ennis, Ellis, and Azzarello? Thank you for it!

    • Matt for Hire Jan 7, 2019

      Could some of it also be the Big Two letting the print runs of these collections lapse, only to re-release them in fewer but more expensive volumes? So all of a sudden the “entry fee” for Preacher goes from $15 to $20, or for 100 Bullets goes from $10 to $25. Plus, you know, the time that the series (or at least part of the series) has been out-of-print, making it more difficult to get a hold of.

      • Yeah. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a full run of 100 Bullets sitting on the shelves in the way that I’ve seen full runs of Preacher, Sandman, etc. Same for the big Ellis runs, like Transmetropolitan or Planetary. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Planetary in what I’d consider a collectible format…

    • Dan T. Jan 11, 2019

      I don’t know if it’s contradictory to at once agree with the reevaluation of Preacher as a (one could say) puerile product of its time, but also value a few side stories that were handled with relative grace the main story never saw.

      I’m thinking of the historical and war stories that Ennis seemed far more interested in exploring and telling, all with perhaps the overdose of sentimentality he seems to find endemic to imbibing Irishmen (and he does mean “-men”). He puts a fairly personal face and consequences onto stories of the Troubles, even with his partisan lens in place. Those characters seem to have something at stake, seem to have more solid relationships, and the structure is, if given artificial support of “well, yeah, war stories tend to have this arc”, more coherent and resonant.

      Of course, even these feature this weird view of violence that I can’t ever get over in Ennis’ work. It’s a larf when a bad person gets their jaw shot off or simply killed, but break the leg of a “good guy” and that’s a crime against his family, deserving of a maiming. And the signaling that this woman is a “cool chick” because she can also mutilate or kill.

      But maybe the channeling of this violence into the context of a war, where we assume there are rules to and justification for violence, works better in those side stories in Preacher, so they still feel genuine and less toxic (or the toxins feel like they come from the war, not the men themselves). Maybe there’d be a point Ennis could make if he made that leap.

      So, anyway (I’m on hold for customer support, hence the endless typing). There might be single issues of Preacher I’d hold up as genuinely good short-story war writing, but I’d not want to revisit the entire series again.

      • Voord 99 Jan 11, 2019

        If we’re talking about Preacher, specifically, I don’t find its handling of Irish history very successful. Granted, I have a significant stake in the issues.

        But “Proinsias” is not actually a funny name, any more than “François” is, and it’s ridiculous that young Cassidy has managed to get to that age without knowing that his mother is Protestant. ‘Because they love one another” is one of the most bathetic things that I’ve ever read. The complexities of 1916 deserve so much more than this.

        On the other hand, Ennis’s ruthless dissection, in Cassidy, of the way in which it’s poisonously tempting for Irishmen [sic] to play the fun-loving outrageous stereotype as a cover for being a complete [expletive deleted] — that’s uncomfortably on point. I find Preacher troubling in that there are so many ways in which it’s crass and terrible, and yet other ways in which it’s profoundly sensitive and well-observed.

        • Well said, and thanks for making me think things through a bit more clearly. I think what I was getting at was that the frame of Irish history, which is something Ennis cares about, made him ground things a bit more — even if, true, he hit bathos and oversimplification (which seemed again to be his “the people I agree with are the good guys, so fuck the bad guys”).

          I think we’re in agreement?

          • Voord 99 Jan 12, 2019

            I didn’t mean it as strong disagreement – after all, there are a lot of “one-off” Preacher stories, and I was only commenting on the one that’s actually about Irish history.

            I’ve wondered if Irish issues are something that Garth Ennis maybe doesn’t want to address (fair enough) but does because everyone expects him to. That was definitely the case with Troubled Souls, at least to an extent: Ennis has admitted that there was an element of cynical calculation based on the accurate perception that he and John McCrea would find it a lot easier to break in to the English [sic] comics industry if they traded on the fact that they were Northern Irish.

  4. Zeb A. Jan 7, 2019

    I have never felt older than I did while listening to this episode. I’m in my mid-30s so technically part of that generation that seems to hail the issues that figured on that Top 100 list so highly and I just found it so…uninspired.

    Most of it was incredibly safe; incredibly recent and as Graeme pointed out, does seem to (trying to avoid being patronizing…) suggest a great disconnect between the industry’s past and present. Which is fine! I’m glad everyone has something they like so much in the oh-so-recent past! But dear lord it felt disheartening not to see an issue of ‘Love and Rockets’ or ‘Akira’ (Epic reprints…) or even fucking ‘Bone’ anywhere in the Top 30. (Never mind the stuff that would personally speak to me like Eightball or Palookaville or Gay Comix etc). I did appreciate the Rumiko Takahashi shout-out with Mermaid’s Promise (I assume that was David Brothers?) even though I think some of her strongest work was from the one-shots she did as part of the Rumic Theater cycle.

    A friend forwarded the list to me actually and his only opinion was one I had to resist the urge to echo: “Have most people compiling this read any comics by people not named Grant Morrison or Matt Fraction?”

    But as you guys say, art is incredibly subjective. And hey, who knows, maybe this is the *shudder* canon of comic greatness going forward?

    (I do want to highlight that I love Morrison; but come the fuck on with that Top 20)

  5. Tom Shapira Jan 7, 2019

    “Century” was a terrible comics: all the worst instincts of Moore framed through a crotchety-old-man “kids these days!” gaze: ‘the stuff I read as a kid is so much better than what kids read these days.’
    League of Extraordinary Gentlemen as a whole is the beginning of the end of Moore as a great creator for me, but “Century” was just sad.

    • Dan Coyle Jan 8, 2019

      Mina suffers for 50 years and the reader suffers for 300 pages just to hear Moore scream “I HATE U HARRY POTTER UR UGLEE AND U SMELL” What a spectacular waste of time that series was.

      I mean, his Harry Potter jokes are kind of amusing, but they’re not worth the time it takes to get there.

  6. In my opinion the final word on the subject has to be that Morrison is Brett Anderson; Alan Moore is Damon Albarn and comics are Justine Frischmann.

    And all of Moore’s artists are the Gallagher Brothers.

    ‘Nuff said.

  7. Bruce Baugh Jan 7, 2019

    Scattered thoughts:

    1. Jeff, this episode had an amazingly high density of incidents of you saying “again” in comments you’re making for the first time. :)

    2. Grant, Manley Wade Wellman is a huge influence on Mike Mignola. His American folklore stories are not swipes like, oh, Grant Morrison’s first storyline in Doom Patrol is of Jorge Luis Borges’ “Tlon, Uqbar, Orbius Tertius”, but they are seriously steeped in the ambience. If you liked those (and if you’ve read them, of course), you’ll like the Silver John stories; if you read them and didn’t like them, probably you won’t.

    3. Jeff, at some point, I’d like you to read Stephen King’s Revival. It’s kinda big, but it’s self-contained – it’s not part of the Castle Rock/Gunslinger/etc. mythos in any way. It’s very much a mature writer’s book, with a narrator who’s managed to disastrously blow early opportunities and kinda sorta clawed his way back to something worthwhile in middle age. And above all, it’s classic King humanistic compassion set against a true cosmic horror backdrop, and his take on dealing with the burden of a truly crushing awful knowledge, “things that can’t possibly do us any good”, as Ligotti says of Lovecraft’s revelations. It’s fascinating.

    • Bruce Baugh Jan 8, 2019

      Why on Earth did I type “Grant” instead of “Graeme”? Memetic contagion from mentions of Morrison, maybe.

  8. To go on record, everyone at Bickle loves Albert Brooks and we have done a Broadcast News show.
    (also Brooks is IN Taxi Driver!)

  9. Isobel Jan 7, 2019

    I’m just listening to the episode and I wonder if either of you is familiar with Alan Moore’s book about porn, “25,000 YEARS OF EROTIC FREEDOM”. It was originally published as “Bog Venus Versus Nazi Cock-Ring: Some Thoughts Concerning Pornography” in Arthur magazine.

  10. Mike Loughlin Jan 7, 2019

    I read and enjoy Abhay’s writing, and will continue to do so. I agree with his points about comics journalism, DC’s personnel issues, and the notion that CIA employment makes one ideal to write Batman.

    That said, I think the Tom King piece was terrible. Whatever Abhay’s intent, he had no proof that King did not work for the CIA,. Implying that King was lying while including a disclaimer and saying the piece was not about King was a dick move. King should not have to prove the semi-accusation false. The more I think about, the more it irks me. The lack of proof, calling someone’s integrity into question needlessly, the weaselly tone… Like I said, I’m a fan of Abhay’s work, but publishing that essay was a bad move.

  11. Mike Murdock Jan 7, 2019

    Graeme, I don’t know if you remember this, but you actually brought up The Last War on Albion way back in the first episode on this current website. I’ve tried to read it before, but it feels so unnecessarily long. It kind of reminds me of a High School student trying to get the minimum number of words for their paper by just filling up space. It’s an utterly fascinating topic, but it takes forever to read.

    • Voord 99 Jan 8, 2019

      I think the important thing about it that our host didn’t mention is that it’s serialized blogging of something that Elizabeth Sandifer is going to collect and self-publish as a book, or rather, multiple books. So it’s writing at that level of detail.

      I find it fine to dip into and out of myself, just as I did her similar Doctor Who series of blog-posts-that-became-books. Once you’ve read enough to familiarize yourself what Sandifer’s commitments are and who her heroes and villains are (Sandifer tends to write very strongly in favor of creators who are the former and very strongly against the latter), you can pick up the thread of her argument in any given installment without needing to have read the previous one.

      She’s always interesting, even when she doesn’t convince me. I do think that Jeff Lester would find the book worth reading, given many things that he’s said on this podcast, and shouldn’t be deterred by the Moore vs. Morrison framing. Sandifer’s coming at that from a different angle than the usual — she considers (or at any rate used to consider) Moore a central figure as a theorist in how she thinks about literature and indeed everything.

      Mind you, you need a very high tolerance for absolutely everything always being about Blake. :)

    • I don’t remember what we talked about last month, but I feel happy to be slightly consistent at least? (Thinking about it, that was probably the time I had just discovered Sandifer, or thereabouts.)

      • Mike Murdock Jan 8, 2019

        I had gone back to listen to it and it sounds like that. In fairness, I binge-listened to you guys when I discovered your podcast about two years ago, so it was far fresher in my memory than yours.

  12. Kevin Moreau Jan 7, 2019

    I’m not very familiar with Mr. Khosla’s work, so I can’t judge his Tom King post against what he usually writes. Heidi McDonald called him “one of the most entertaining and brutal comics pundits/reviewers out there,” and Jeff, who is an extremely smart guy, is apparently his ride or die, so I can only assume he’s a fine writer and a decent human being.

    That said, maybe he was having an off day?

    If his point is “Why did DC tout Tom King’s alleged CIA credentials as a qualification for writing Batman almost three years ago?” (which I guess is a reasonably legitimate question to ask, if not especially timely), why obfuscate that point with a metric ton of snark? If that is his sole thesis, and the piece is not, as he claims, about Tom King, why write to the CIA?

    I have no reason not to believe Tom King, even after the letter Mr. Khosla “received” from “the CIA.” (Sorry, I can’t help myself.) But seriously, folks, as Graeme rightly points out, those two checked boxes would seem to cancel each other out.

    That said, for a guy who purportedly used to work for one of the world’s most clandestine organizations, King sure does love talking about it. Whether he ever did actually work for the CIA — that’s a valid question to ask. Why not come right out and ask it, without the “I’m just sayin'” posturing?

  13. I teach a university-level course on Harry Potter. It’s pretty reliable for getting students into seats (for example, this term’s enrolment sits at over double our introductory Shakespeare course), though I’d say the peak in actual student enthusiasm was probably just as the last films were coming out. The books have a tendency to grow on you; I found myself growing quite fond of them around the third time I completely read through the series.

    That may not actually be an endorsement.

  14. Matt M Jan 8, 2019

    I’ll admit that I dismissed The List out of hand when on Day 1 it featured a comic by Scott Lobdell.

  15. Mike Walker Jan 8, 2019

    For whatever it’s worth, I shared Abhay’s Tumblr Blog post with a few of Comic Fans who are not plugged into Comics Internet. Neither of them felt like this was a take down of the institution of Comics/Entertainment Journalism. But why believe me, a person on the internet? Am I even a person? How will you ever know? (HAHA, I only actually shared it with two people, you’ll believe anything!)

  16. James Jan 8, 2019

    On the top 100 list. I started reading comics in 2012, so my introduction to comics was through the new 52 and Marvel Now!, so I’m less suprised to see Hawkeye and Ms. Marvel so highly rated. I myself have only read 40 of the issues listed, but for a lot of them I don’t really think of them as individual issues, but more as chapters in a story, since I mostly read in trade. I suspect the reason so many #1s are on this list is that the reviewer is thinking more about the overall story rather than the single issue. (Example: I don’t think that Batman: Year One #1 or Dark Knight Returns #1 are the best issues in either of those books).

    I was more surprised that there was so little manga on the list, especially that there was no shounen at all. I’d assumed that those were more popular than they are,

    • By my understanding of the rules of the list, most manga wouldn’t qualify, because the vast majority of manga released in the US is not a single issue, but a trade paperback. Perhaps that explains it?

      • James Jan 8, 2019

        Well, there are three manga chapters listed, so there doesn’t seem to be a rule against them.

        I do think you’re right that manga is mostly consumed in trades (though with the whole Shonen Jump releasing their backlog for free thing, that’s might change), and so reviewers might be less inclined to think about individual issues within those books.

        And the list is pretty focused on mainstream American comics

  17. Jason Sacks Jan 8, 2019

    As a guy who’s also 52, my Shelfdust list also shows my age and biases:

    1. Watchmen #1
    2. Daredevil #181
    3. All-Star Superman #10
    4. Frontline Combat #5 (may be the best single war comic ever)
    5. Daytripper #10
    6. Swamp Thing #24
    7. Dark Knight Returns book four
    8. Love & Rockets #29, “Flies on the Ceiling”
    9. Hutch Owens Working Hard (mini comic by Tom Hart)
    10. Sandman #54 (Prez/Bill Clinton)

    That Sandman Issue is basically my New Guarduans #1, but it makes me smile and giggle like a young child.

  18. Jason Kim Jan 8, 2019

    Really interesting show especially with regards to the various generational shifts in regards to the comics audience. Not sure I have much to add about the list itself but the thing that did come to mind throughout weirdly is the elasticity of superhero universes and how far concepts can be pushed specifically within the context of DC. One example from my point of view in terms of the generational shift is that for me Zero year would be higher on my list than year one.

    • Benjamin Robinson Jan 13, 2019

      LOL. Imagine thinking a Snyder/Capullo comic is better than a Miller/Mazzuchelli one. I can’t wait to hear how you think Bendis/Austen’s Elektra is better than Elektra: Assassin.

  19. Jeff Lester Jan 9, 2019

    For those who might miss it otherwise, Abhay has pointed a follow-up:


    • Dan Coyle Jan 10, 2019

      Abhay is mentally ill and you’re enabling him.

    • Jonny Jan 12, 2019

      Jeff, I think you’ve listed Graeme’s top 10 in reverse order — he thought Graffiti Kitchen made it on by the strength of just his vote, so it has to the the top.

      • Jeff Lester Jan 12, 2019

        Jonny, you’re totally right. Like a dope, I specifically said they were listed in descending order when I meant exactly the opposite. Thanks for the catch—I’ve fixed my word choice.

  20. Voord 99 Jan 10, 2019

    I’m a bit late commenting on the Khosla-King contretemps. I wanted to make sure I got to the end of our hosts’ discussion, then think about whether there was anything that I thought someone should say.

    One thing that I felt was important is that our hosts’ debate was largely, maybe even overwhelmingly, about the question of Mr. Khosla’s intentions. That makes sense — they know him personally (in an Internet way).

    But I think it’s a problem. “Intentions aren’t magic” is a phrase with whose use I don’t always agree. But intentions *aren’t* magic, The question of whether Mr. Khosla’s motives were good or not is not as important as the question of whether this was the wrong thing to do.

    I’m just some guy on the Internet, and I don’t have any knowledge of Mr. Khosla beyond reading various of his posts over the years. Personally, not to be too pompous about it, I’m going to assume that, since he said in his piece that he was trying to draw attention to a problem with the comics industry, I really have to take that in good faith as what he was trying to do,

    But I don’t think this was a very good way to go about that. I don’t think it really makes much difference either way, but I don’t think that this did anything to advance Mr, Khosla’s case, and probably harmed it to the extent that it did anything. We’re not just responsible for what we want to achieve, we’re responsible for the means that we choose to achieve it. The rhetorical effect of what we do is not an optional extra.

    And there’s another thing. This feels uncomfortably similar to Birtherism to me. You know, “Can he produce a document to prove what he’s saying? I’m not saying that X is the case – but it’s a legitimate question, right?” Or “Can Elizabeth Warren prove that she has Native American ancestry?.”

    I really do think that the one thing that we all know nowadays is that there is a non-trivial chance that *anything* that we do online that resembles an attack on an individual (it doesn’t have to be intended as such) is helping those who will weaponize that same thing and use it in an attempt to destroy someone who does not deserve it.

    Let me give you a couple of examples. G. Willow Wilson’s public image as an observant Muslim is an important component of how readers look at her Ms. Marvel work, just as King’s CIA background is an important component of how readers look at The Sheriff of Babylon or Grayson. Noelle Stevenson’s sexuality is relevant to Lumberjanes. Michelle Perez.

    Etc. This sort of thing could go to some places that make me, at least, feel very uncomfortable.

    • Nate A. Jan 13, 2019

      I think you have a good point about how this sort of speculation could go off the rails. I depart a little on the grounds that employment status is different from sexual and religious identity, at least insofar as the latter are more fluid and less given to black-and-white confirmation than is employment.

      One thing I am bothered by is the speed with which everyone took the photo and screenshot as proof of employment. I’d be fine with people simply saying that King’s statements are proof enough for them, but the idea that these sorts of documents are sufficient seems like an admission that comics “news” sites have zero interest in acting like legitimate news sites.

      For the record, I’m as bothered by the idea that King was part of an organization that engaged in torture on behalf of an administration that lied the country into an unending war that killed more than half a million Iraqis and 5,000 Americans as I am by the idea that he lied about his participation in the same. And like Khosla, I’m bothered by the fact that said participation is seen as a selling point and news hook.

      • Voord 99 Jan 13, 2019

        I’m with you on the last point – quite strongly so. But it’s a separate point. I think one of the flaws in Mr. Khosla’s original piece was in fact that he mixed the two points up in the same piece.

        About the fact that employment is different from religious and sexual identity. Certainly. My point, though, was that in our current environment, one should probably think about how what one is doing online might be misused. You can’t assume that people will be scrupulous about respecting distinctions like that — in fact, you can assume that some people will not be.

        It’s trivially easy to imagine someone inverting that argument and saying that because religion and sexuality are more important, they deserve more scrutiny not less. I mean, racial and ethnic identity is also more important. And you can’t say that you can trust Marvel to vet G. Willow Wilson’s story about her conversion to Islam, not after the revelation about “Akira Yoshida.”

        Which is an argument that Mr. Khosla did indeed make about King, I can’t see any reason to make it about King that couldn’t as easily be turned against Wilson. Fairly and honestly? No. Successfully? I’m afraid that it could very easily be successful.

        Basically, my view is that Mr. Khosla, for reasons that, as I said, I take at good faith as being about the expression of valid concerns, went down a dangerous rabbit hole here.

        • Voord 99 Jan 13, 2019

          Left this out: and it’s precisely because things like religion and sexuality are harder to document that I think one needs to be careful. Basically, that CIA form letter is too low a standard for insinuating that King is lying.

          You might say, “Well, it’s employment. It should be easier to document.” But I think the way it would be used is, someone goes through G. Willow Wilson’s memoir of her time in Cairo and finds something that they can colorably claim is “doubtful,” (Note: not that she actually fabricated – something that, in the heat of social media – can be made to seem dubious.). Challenged on it, he (and it would bloody well be a he, I’d say) points to Mr. Khosla’s CIA letter and says “Look, it’s no weaker than that.”

          Like it or not, there needs to be a minimum threshold before one accuses someone specific of something specific, even if the general likelihood is that someone could be getting away with something like that somewhere.

          • Nate A. Jan 13, 2019

            I find your concerns pretty compelling, and I’m coming around to your way of thinking on the potential for a slippery slope. I do think there’s a place for responsible journalism on these things, (sorely lacking in the Akira Yoshida case), but it’s easier to imagine your scenario.

  21. Sorry, Nate, I was replying to Martin Gray, not you. I agree with your point, and even moreso with Matt M’s point that Graeme is always very quick to accuse Jeff of speaking from his biases (and not just in this conversation) while never considering his own.

    • Hmm. And now it looks like comments are getting shuffled around all over the place, so maybe Nate wasn’t replying to me either? In any case, no worries.

      • Nate A. Jan 14, 2019

        I was indeed replying to Martin Gray… Yeah, the shuffling is weird and hard to follow.

  22. Dasbender Jan 20, 2019

    Guys, I can’t believe you spent as long as you did arguing over Abhay’s post. I know a big piece of art criticism is discussing the supposed intent of the artist versus the effect of the art, but I felt especially aware listening to the both of you that none of us have any business assuming intent of our fellow humans. That’s what got us into this whole mess. Argue about his actions and your own reactions, but never assume insight into his intent. Neither of you are Imra Ardeen or Jean Grey.