Wait, What? Ep. 285: Best Of End Of

December 29, 2019

(hey, everyone!  Jeff here!  Welcome to the final episode of 2019!  Since it is the holidays, and since I spent a kind of stupidly long time putting in Amazon affiliate links in our Best Of lists, I hope you won’t mind if I forego the usual gratuitous image-placement between segments and just give you a pared down version of the show notes this time? Thank you for your patience, I hope you enjoy the ep., and Graeme and I wish you the best for 2020 after giving you the best of 2019!)
0:01-5:03:  Greetings from Graeme “Very Radio” McMillan and Jeff “Coming Up In A Quarter Hour” Lester! There is a brief bit of talk about Batman—well, actually, talk about talk, to be honest, and about Bat Mann—before we actually get things going by talking about the last issue of Watchmen. Well, actually, more like talking about the talk about the last issue of Watchmen?  We’ve apparently decided to very meta for our last episode of 2019, everyone.  We’re sorry.
5:03-59:50:  Actually, since it is the last episode of the year, should we talk about the best books of the year?  (Yep.) Of the decade?  (Nope.)  Although Graeme does talk about the challenges putting together the Best of the Decade for Hollywood Reporter, and Jeff’s challenges in putting together the best of the year.
Aaaaand since Graeme read his full Best of Decade list on the episode, I hope he won’t remind me reprinting it here:
* Hark! A Vagrant! by Kate Beaton (Online, 2010-2018)
* Smile (A Dental Drama) by Raina Telegmeier (Scholastic, 2010)
* The Nao of Brown by Glyn Dillon (Abrams, 2012)
* The Wicked + The Divine by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie (Image, 2014-2019)
* Giant Days by John Allison, Max Darin and Lissa Treiman (BOOM! Studios, 2015-2019)
* Goodnight Punpun by Inio Asano (Viz Media, 2016-2017)
* The Love Bunglers by Jaime Hernandez (Fantagraphics, 2018)
* Mister Miracle by Tom King and Mitch Gerads (DC, 2017-2018)
* The River at Night by Kevin Huizenga (Drawn & Quarterly, 2019)
* The Hard Tomorrow by Eleanor Davis (Drawn & Quarterly, 2019)
And here’s his Honorable Mentions (not Amazon linked because I’m a wastrel):
* Saga by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples (Image)
* Thor: God of Thunder, Thor, The Mighty Thor, The Unworthy Thor, King Thor by Jason Aaron, Esad Ribic, Russell Dauterman et al. (Marvel)
* The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl by Ryan North, Erica Henderson and Derek Charm, et al. (Marvel)
* What Is Left by Rosemary Valero O’Connell (Short Box)
* The Multiversity by Grant Morrison, Ivan Reis, Frank Quitely et al. (DC)
* Zombo by Al Ewing and Henry Flint (2000 AD/Rebellion)
* My Brother’s Husband by Gengroh Tagame (Viz)
* My Lesbian Experience With Loneliness by Kai Nagata (Seven Seas Entertainment)
* Tokyo Tarareba Girls by Akiko Higashimura (Kodansha USA)
* Berlin by Jason Lutes (Drawn & Quarterly)
* This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki (First Second)
* Oh Joy Sex Toy by Erika Moen, Matthew Nolan et al (Online)
* The Flintstones by Mark Russell and Steve Pugh (DC)
* Judge Dredd by Rob Williams, Henry Flint, et al (2000 AD/Rebellion)
* Relish by Lucy Knisley (First Second).
Also discussed:  how good or bad a year Marvel and DC had and why; the back-half of Tom King’s Batman run and the influence of Alan Moore; the comic book creator of Gladiator from the Imperial Guard; comic book entropy; Incoming! #1; Dan Abnett on Titans; your terrifying future; The Comics Journal’s Best of 2019: and more.
59:50-1:04:45: As for his Best of 2019, Graeme has nine titles?  It’s true, and they are:
1:04:45-1:45:55:  Oh, jeez.  Here we go with Jeff’s absurdly long “Best of 2019” list and his equally absurdly long Honorable Mentions list:
And here’s Jeff’s Honorable Mention list (which, like Graeme’s Honorable mentions for Best of the Decade are not linked, because what’s good for the goose is good for the wastrel):
Assassin Nation;
Batman (2016-);
Batman: Last Knight On Earth (2019);
Batman: Universe (2019-);
Chainsaw Man;
Conan 2099 (2019) / Conan The Barbarian (2019-) / Savage Avengers (2019-);
Daredevil (2019-);
Fantastic Four: Grand Design (2019-);
Golden Kamuy;
Master of Kung Fu Epic Collection: Fight Without Pity;
Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun;
My Pink is Overflowing;
Outer Darkness;
Superman Smashes the Klan (2019-);
Superman’s Girl Friend Lois Lane
Also discussed:  list-making; “cheating” in list compilation; the Tracking Your Reading 2020 Challenge; Jeff’s eyes bleeding while reading old Darth Vader books; all the stuff that’s great about Gillen’s Darth Vader; and then…
1:45:55-2:03:52:  Pivot from Graeme!  “Did you have a good holiday?” Graeme asks.  Discussed; the Merrineum; Jeff’s Xmas week at work; Graeme and Jamaica; The Mandalorian on Disney+; Graeme seeing Cats! (in the theater!); and more.
2:03:52-2:36:04:  Closing Comments? Well…no!  Actually we have one final task of 2019 to handle and that’s an update about us!  No spoilers here, so listen in (if you haven’t already).
2:36:04-end:   Closing Comments!!  Look for us on  Stitcher! Itunes! Instagram! Twitter together and separately: Graeme and JeffTumblr, and  on Patreon where a wonderful group of people make this all possible, including Empress Audrey, Queen of the Galaxy, to whom we are especially grateful for her continuing support of this podcast.  (Also, don’t forget about Spotify!)
Next week: Skip week! Happy New Year to you and join us for another ep. right around January 12, 2020!

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14 comments on “Wait, What? Ep. 285: Best Of End Of

  1. Jeff Lester Dec 29, 2019
    • Martin Gray Jan 3, 2020

      I’ve tried the odd issue of Jason Aaron’s Avengers but while I could take a classic-style line-up not based in Avengers Mansion, or a dull line-up living in New York, a new Ghost Ridery line-up living in a new robot, with the classic villains absent? Just dull.

      • Martin Gray Jan 22, 2020

        Well, reading Wonder Woman #750 and was excited to reach the story Graeme said was wonderful… I guess I’d forgotten just which artist Riley Rossmo was… dynamic cartooning, yes, but his wonky-eyed, massive-chinned Diana is just hideous to look at. The script was amusing, in a Sixties unaired five-minute TV pilot way.

  2. David M Jan 1, 2020

    Well, I’m facing it squarely, I’m starting the year as I intend to go on: Berlin is great, but it was begun in 1996, which is not even this century, let alone this decade. I probably don’t understand the rules. Similarly, I didn’t understand what Graeme said about Morrison’s JLA run. I remember it being broken up by stories by Waid, Millar and DeMatteis. I thought a fair job was done matching the tone.
    I did like the lists though. Would you consider starting to keep these in some accessible folder on the site, so they could be conveniently accessed and build into a bigger list?
    Anyway, all best wishes for the life changes already enacted and those ahead. Your affirmation of your friendship was pretty touching.

    • Voord 99 Jan 3, 2020

      I think there’s also at least three other key differences between Morrison’s JLA and Aaron’s Avengers.

      1) Context. The late 1990s were a very different time in the genre. Morrison’s JLA has some claim to be the culmination of the nostalgic turn that reacted against trying to be edgy and grim and have umlauts. It was the big characters doing big high-concept things in a big heroic way in self-conscious reaction against what it would have been about five years earlier.

      Nostalgia has long since calcified as the dominant element in superhero comics. That’s not to say it can’t still work, but it’s been a long time since we were at a point when nostalgia could, paradoxically, feel new and different.

      2) The Avengers in any line-up just aren’t as suited for this as Morrison’s JLA. Superman and the rest respond well to being simplified to the point where they barely count as characters any more — it raises them to a sort of epic level. Doing that, from a practical perspective, creates the space for the plots to be these mad kaleidoscopic things.

      The Avengers suit a different kind of nostalgic “feels like a classic” story, I think, one that’s rooted in past continuity and character-focused soap-opera. It’s why the more effective parallel to Morrison’s JLA is Busiek’s Avengers — they’re different on a superficial level, but mutatis mutandis they’re supplying the reader with (different kinds of) nostalgic experiences.

      3). It’s an obvious point, but Morrison is just better at *doing* this sort of high concept than Aaron, and execution does matter. As a particularly close comparison, compare what Morrison does with Kirby’s New Gods in Rock of Ages with what Aaron does with Kirby’s Eternals in his opening arc. I don’t really follow exactly how Aaron’s whole infected Celestial thing is supposed to exploit possibilities in the basic concept that are worth exploiting. In fact, I’m not sure that I even have the details straight on a plot level, and it’s because I couldn’t bring myself to care enough to put it all together.

      This is not because I don’t like Aaron — I’m a big defender of his X-Men work, which was a breath of fresh air.. And while I’m not as big a fan of his Thor run as everyone else seems to be, I do admire the way in which Aaron kept control of the whole architecture from beginning to end so that it does add up to a single coherent story. But his Avengers just are not grabbing me, with the telling exception of Gorilla-Man, who is one of the least Morrison-JLA elements.

  3. Nate A. Jan 2, 2020

    Happy New Year!
    Glad to hear you’re both weathering your life changes and that you’re entering 2020 stronger for them.

  4. Brendan Jan 2, 2020

    Happy New Year Graeme, Jeff and Whatnauts. My Wait What highlights were Jeff making me lmao every episode and Graeme’s tale of two cons. Also, after this episode I’m thinking of how funny it will be when someone walks into Jeff’s home for the first time and says “It’s great! Reminds me of that movie… what’s it called… you know the one with Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem?”

    Anyway, I liked Jeff’s lengthy list and I also enjoyed Graeme’s great best of decade writeup for Hollywood Reporter. A nice end to the year. Cheers.

  5. Voord 99 Jan 2, 2020

    Best wishes to you both for a more stable and less stressful 2020.

    I might be reading this into your tone, but you both came across as strangely apologetic about not telling us listeners earlier. Perhaps it’s not my place to say this, and perhaps it’s the experience of being back in my parents’ house making me go all south Dublin middle-class lace-curtains about the importance of privacy — but you don’t owe us any information about your lives at all, especially not about something as personal and private as what Mr. McMillan went through. Say as much or as little on the podcast as is personally helpful to you, when you want to and at no other time!

    • David M Jan 4, 2020

      Very much agree. Apart from any other consideration, oviously us who would owe you more. Thanks guys!

      • Martin Gray Jan 6, 2020

        Ditto. I’d noticed Graeme had stopped talking about parts of his life and just hoped everything was OK – we listeners are gifted a great podcast, we’re owed nowt! Thank you both for the entertainment you give us.

  6. And I’ve now reached the end of the episode. Sorry you lads have had such a tough year, but delighted that things are on the up.

  7. Michael Wells Jan 20, 2020

    I don’t know why Jeff’s coinage of the phrase “je ne sais pummeling” didn’t get gales of laughter from Graeme, and I demand that construction (“je ne sais _____”) be used regularly in your conversations from here on out. Thank you.

    • Jeff Lester Jan 20, 2020

      Thank you, Michael! And thanks for keeping us on the straight and narrow.

  8. Michael Wells Jan 20, 2020

    Now that I’ve listened to the end… that was beautiful. I’m glad both of your intensely dramatic years had happy endings, and best of luck in the sequels.