0:01-4:00: Greetings from Graeme “Gracious Winner” McMillan and Jeff “Suck It Up” Lester. Are we complaining less in 2019? It’s not just a potentially awesome American Voices topic, it’s also something we contemplate briefly before getting things underway.
4:00-47:51: “Look, I think this whole fight thing from last week was overrrated,” Gracious Winner declares. “Mmm-hmm,” agrees Suck It Up. And so we’re once again unified in our quest to talk comics, comics news, and comics media. So, first up: Aquaman! How has Jeff seen this but Graeme hasn’t? We can’t work that out but Jeff does have some “damning with faint praise/praising with faint damnation” thoughts about the movie. Yes, we have to admit upfront that it’s a shame that Aquaman is going to get much more mouth-time than Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse (unless we turn that around next episode) but, well, Jeff has thoughts and you know what that means. (Cut to montage of calendar pages dropping to the ground one by one). Also discussed: superhero movies where the weakness on the page becomes a strength on film; *spoiler of post-credit sequence at 20:28* if that’s a thing you care about. Also discussed: Justice League 2, Ben Whishaw as Bruce Wayne, Wes Anderson’s Batman movie (and now that I think about it, it should be a remake of Batman Returns with Lea Seydoux as Catwoman, Willem Dafoe as Max Schreck (for double bonus in-joke points!) and Jason Schwartzbaum as the Penguin running amok in Gotham as The Kinks’ Father Christmas plays. Come on!); Riverdale; Legends of Tomorrow; Titans; Trolls; and more.
47:51-58:54: Hey!! Kids Comics! We talk about Aquaman #43 by Kelly Sue DeConnick, Robson Rocha and Daniel Henriques; Wonder Woman issues #58-61 by G. Willow Wilson, Cary Nord, Mick Gray, and Xermanico; Superman #7 by Brian Michael Bendis, Brandon Peterson, and Ivan Reis.
58:54-1:16:40: (Had to start a few seconds earlier so I could get Graeme’s “Oh!” included in this. Speaking of DC Comics, there was a bit of news the other week about DC joining Comixology Unlimited (as well as bringing titles to Kindle Unlimited and Prime Reading). We discuss that news which includes the 15% discount on digital titles; what’s available there as opposed to the DC Universe app; DC’s different approaches to its different readerships; the first volume of Immortal Hulk being on CU; Jeff’s pie-in-the-sky dreams for having these services as the openers of the way to readers and fans, and more.
1:16:40-1:18:42: Also in comics news: the passing of Ron Smith (Judge Dredd, 2000 AD) and Batton Lash
(Wolff & Byrdd Counselors of the Macabre, and Archie Meets The Punisher).
1:18:42-1:33:13: Since we were talking about 2000 AD, Jeff really wanted to talk about The Green Lantern #3 by Grant Morrison and Liam Sharp, which is simultaneously a love letter to 2000 AD, DC Silver Age comic book covers, and, uh, more? Less? We’re still not quite sure, but it may have some big ramifications for Hal Jordan…or not.
1:33:13-1:49:55: We talk a bit about the most recent issues of Batman by Tom King, Mikel Janin and Jorge Fornes, Travis Moore, Mitch Gerads, and others, as well as Batman Annual #3 by Tom Taylor and Otto Schmidt. Also discusssed: Heroes in Crisis; ambition, politics, and Watchmen references; and more.
1:49:55-2:00:40: When is a comic we like not a comic that we like? Sadly, when it’s Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #1 by Tom Taylor, Juann Cabal, and Marcelo Ferreira. We pull apart what doesn’t work for us in a book we really wanted to work.
2:00:40-2:04:18: We point out (mentioned above in the notes but not actually in the podcast) that the first trade of Immortal Hulk is on Comixology Unlimited. We then go on to rave very briefly about the most recent issue, Immortal Hulk #11 by Al Ewing, Joe Bennett, and Ruy José.
2:04:18-2:19:04: And from there, Graeme goes on to talk a bit about what he’s been reading, including: trades of Action Comics: Rebirth by Dan Jurgens, Patch Zircher, and Tyler Kirkham; Young Justice #1 by Brian Michael Bendis and Patrick Gleason; Captain Marvel #1 by Kelly Thompson and Carmen Carnero; Uncanny X-Men by Ed Brisson, Matt Rosenberg, Kelly Thompson and Yildiray Cidar; the Shortbox releases of 2017; the Hilda graphic novels by Luke Pearson; the Asterix graphic novels by Rene Goscinny and Albert Uderzo; and a brief discussion about what constitutes new on Hoopla.
2:19:04-2:45:00: Jeff’s turn! He’s read and wants to talk super-briefly about Die Wergelder Vol. 2 by Hiroaki Samura; Vinland Saga by Makoto Yukimura; Conan The Barbarian #1 by Jason Aaron and Mahmud Asrar; Criminal #1 by Ed Brubaker, Sean Phillips, and Jacob Phillip; Outer Darkness #3 by John Layman and Afu Chan; Gunning for Hits (Music Thriller) #1 by Jeff Rougvie and Moritat; Keeping His Whims In Check by PI; I Moved to Los Angeles to Work in Animation by Natalie Nourigat; Go-Bots #2 by Thomas Scioli; and Man-Eaters #3 and 4 by Chelsea Cain, Kate Niemczyk, and Lia Miternique; and from there we talk about Chelsea Cain’s very problematic tweet from the other week.
2:45:00- end: Closing comments! 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’re out!
NEXT WEEK: Another episode of Wait, What? Yes, somehow!
Okay, and here’s the link for cut and pasting purposes (although the player for our main link in our post may not be working so maybe everyone will need this?):
i’m an American who LOVES Asterix. So much so that when i found out that the Jewish Museum London had an exhibit on René Goscinny, I made time from my honeymoon to go.
My introduction to Asterix was thanks to a relative who would visit Germany and buy the UK versions from English language book shops. A love for Asterix is one of those things I’ve carried with me through four decades thus far.
I remember being in my 20s and 30s and never being able to find the books in America, even in large cities like Washington DC. It’s possible that they were carried by Diamond but I just never saw them physically.
I haven’t seen the Asterix movies, save for watching Asterix And Obelix in Britain which made me laugh out loud on a Eurostar train several times. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WzFkhMp7MOs
Anthea Bell was the translator for Asterix. She passed away recently, and The Guardian ran a great article on her role in bringing that comic to the English speaking world. I have no idea if there were updates, but based on what I read I think they were just very good translations, which is to say they captured the spirit and substance without getting hung up on fidelity. Basically, the translator became part of the writing process, especially once the comic crossed the channel.
I grew up with a best friend who had all the Asterix novels (translated into English). Perfect for two friends who loved learning how to suss out and laugh at all the pun names! That’s sad to hear about Bell’s death, but interesting to learn what she brought to it.
Growing up in Canada in the 1970s, English translations of Asterix were everywhere. Bookstores, supermarkets, libraries – you name it! Same with Tintin.
By the way, anyone hankering for a Baxter Building-eque treatment of the Tintin volumes should check out the Totally Tintin podcast by Ian Boothby and David Dedrick. Along with their fun and insightful commentary, Dedrick throws in loads of great historical/biographical details. https://www.sneakydragon.com/category/podcast/totally-tintin/
Maybe someday they’ll do an Absolutely Asterix podcast, too…
I’m on episode 7 of titans and am processing it not as a Young Justice-generation thing, but as a really pretty weird hybrid between the original comics and Zack Snyder’s Watchmen, with crappier special effects than either. Suffused with a weird semi-horror vibe and a bit of wry humour. It doesn’t quite work all the time (quite a lot of the time) but on the whole I’m enjoying it way more than I thought I would. Script’s quite lively, plus Anna Diop as Starfire is kind of awesome. And Brenton Thwaites has more or less won me over as Dick Grayson, though it took a while. All in all, it gets kudos for at least trying something different (even if I haven’t quite worked out exactly what different thing it’s trying yet).
But I’m with Graeme: somehow find it hard to imagine it really being Jeff’s thing. Unless for some reason the idea of semi-psychopathic (but not quite as semi-psychopathic as Jason Todd) Dick Grayson and Starfire in bed while Gar is running around naked in the background, waiting for an excuse to turn into an unconvincingly CGI-rendered green tiger, appeals to him. If that’s case, this might just be the show he’s been waiting for …
I think there was a last minute artist change on that Spider-Man book, which supports Graham’s speculation about a time crunch.
The overall quality of the Shortbox catalog is really something else. Zainab Akhtar is doing some editorial work for P.E.O.W., so I’m looking forward to seeing what she does there.
Jeff Lester’s discussion of Aquaman really nailed down for me what I think about it, especially the bit about it being like a comic that you read for the art.
I mean, it’s a terribly written film — just awful. Plodding. Spoiler warnings would be meaningless, because there is not one scene in the film that you do not know is going to happen before it does. But somehow, even though I was sitting there noticing just how dull and unimaginative the plot is and how paper-thin the characterization is — and I was noticing them; it wasn’t one of those cases where you’re just swept away by the visuals in the moment and only think about the writing later on — it didn’t *feel* terrible.
I suppose it was sort of like some musical theater — the film was trusting you to accept that the writing was just there to be a structure to which to peg the images, like big musical numbers.
I have a vague impression, based on nothing very systematic, that Aquaman benefited in critical response from the fact that traditional film reviewers still have that lingering presumption that all films in the genre must be this badly written, and so that Aquaman is astonishingly badly written even for a superhero film does not register as much as it would if this was, e.g., a conventional action movie.
But rarely have screenwriters done so little to earn their cocaine compared to direction, cinematography, visual effects, etc.
Also, what is Arthur Curry’s day job, exactly?
I think the only thing that needs to be mentioned re: Aquaman’s writing is that it uses “so’s your mother” as a completely sincere line of dialogue.
“I have a vague impression, based on nothing very systematic, that Aquaman benefited in critical response from the fact that traditional film reviewers still have that lingering presumption that all films in the genre must be this badly written”
I think this is probably true for most superhero movies. It’s the soft bigotry of low expectations at work.
I think that’s true. I think you definitely see that with something like Logan, which really wasn’t *that* good. (although well-suited to play to US film critics’ predilections). But I’d put Aquaman at the extreme end of the spectrum for the sheer obviousness of how perfunctory the writing is, how little it bothers to pretend that it is anything but a reason for the next visual sequence to happen.
I kind of want some journalist to ask the writers some pretentiously intellectual question like “What do you think the film is saying about the function of the sea in the current American imaginary?” just to see what the reaction would be.
As someone who checks every box for Graeme’s definition of “tumblr” I’d like to report that me and most of the people I’ve seen talk about Titans are in the market for it because we grew up with the Teen Titans cartoon, and were incredibly turned off by that trailer. I’m all for a more nuanced take on characters I loved as a kid but Robin stomping a man to death and Raven being reduced to scared little girl from a horror movie is not that.
Aside from that, as a listener, I’d like to say please reconsider how you talk about spoilers. Trying to figure out what could’ve happened in Green Lantern, looking it up, and then having to guess which plot point you were actually talking about was not a good listening experience.
Thanks for the introduction to Hilda! I’m waiting to get one or two from the library (sorry, Jeff, Oakland interlibrary loan), but have watched a few episodes of the animated show on Netflix and I’m astounded to find not only is there even more great and smart animation in these last few years, but that there are more unique voices and takes. And I am a sucker for brave and compassionate little kids.
When I was a kid (80s in Sweden) the libraries comic collections was overwhelmingly French/Belgian, Asterix, Tintin, Lucky Luke, Spirou, The Bluecoats, Valerian, Blueberry, The Smurfs. The only British/American stuff I can recall was Prince Valiant, Modesty Blaise, and The Spirit, definitely no big two stuff. Watchmen and Dark Knight Returns started popping up in the 90s. So that was pretty much all comics I read then.
When the rss feed on this site was out for a couple of weeks I started looking around and found http://theworkingdraft.com/ItunesRSS.xml which has all Wait What episodes from the start! When I started listening I only found what was on this site, i.e. from 150, so this is a treasure trove I thought I’d share. Listening to Jeff and Graeme bag on Fear Itself is hilarious even years later.
Btw, all of Wait What (and Baxter Building) is slightly over 28 days. :)
This was another great entertaining podcast.
I just want to bring up a couple of points:
1. Comixology Unlimited is not available world wide. We cannot get it in Canada. I believe that other countries are in the same boat. Thankfully, the new Shonen Jump app is cheaper and available world wide. I signed up for it the day it dropped. I suspect I won’t even care on the day Comixology Unlimited becomes available in Canada. The people who run Shonen Jump want everyone in the world to access to their products. It expands the market. Comixology appears to have a different philosophy, although to be fair to them, the country restrictions could be due to digital rights issues.
2. I have read all 10 volumes of Vinland Saga currently available in North AMerica and I encourage Jeff to get all of them. The story and character development just improves as the series goes on. The evolution of Thorfinn’s character is surprising and goes in directions that you would never suspect from the early installments. It is one of the best manga series currently being produced. You do not have to like Vikings to become enthralled with the epic storytelling.
I’d like to check in with a follow up to one of this week’s stories. After trying to appeal with that odd Watchmen shoutout, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez checked in this weekend to a charity livestream of the videogame Donkey Kong 64. https://twitter.com/AOC/status/1087134510251163648?s=20
At time of writing the event has raised over 200,000 dollars for Mermaids, a UK charity focused on helping transgender children in the UK