0:01-32:37: Guh-reetings! (In our truncated way, at least for an eensy bit.) Graeme has had quite a week, a week with something he hasn’t had in a very long time—three days off from work. As Jeff puts it: “Gasp!” By contrast, Jeff has been working a lot and is trying to handle the challenges of training a new employee remotely. The latter takes the stage for a longer comic-free chat about work, Zoom, social media, the media, and the strangeness of 2020. Feel free to take a pass if you want your comic book and pop culture podcast to be a bit more about comics and pop culture? (But personally I think Graeme has some good things to say.)
32:37-39:21: Speaking of comics: are we caught up? As Jeff so charmingly put it, “comics didn’t shit the bed in the past week!” Uh, we think? Graeme passes one or two little tidbits of news but it’s very difficult to categorize it as bad, much less bed-shittingly so?
39:21-1:00:20: On the other hand, depending on how you feel about it, Jeff’s desire—a strong one, let us to be clear—to talk about Batman: Three Jokers #1 by Geoff Johns, Jason Fabok, ahd Brad Anderson could be why (as William Blake so poignantly put it) we’re not allowed to have nice things? Discussed: BATMAN: THREE JOKERS #1. (Amazingly enough, I’m pretty sure this is a spoiler-free conversation, at least as far as plot points are concerned.)
1:00:20-1:17:44: Another thing Jeff strongly desires to discuss? Bill & Ted Face The Music. This unlike our talk about Three Jokers is a full-on spoiler-filled discussion of a goofy movie that really…resonated with us? I wouldn’t listen if you’re planning on seeing the film, but if you have already, tuck in!
1:17:44-1:30:27: Jeff also rewatched Francis Ford Coppola’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula because he was high and thought it wasn’t a terrible idea to do so. (Spoilers: he was very wrong.) Whereas Graeeme rewatched Alien and Aliens for the first time in something like three decades and as a result he has what Elizabeth Barrett Browning once poignantly called “a hot take.”
1:30:27-1:35:55: Back to comics, although still with a strong basis in genre films with franchises running over a quarter-century: Graeme has caught up on Blade Runner 2019 by Michael Green, Mike Johnson and Andres Guinaldo, a comic Graeme quite likes. “It’s a really fucking smart spinoff of, honestly, like, movies that if you’d suggested to me that there could be a comics spinoff, I would be like ‘oh, fuck.’” Graeme has also grabbed off Hoopla one of the first collection of Aliens comics to go with his film watching.
1:35:55-1:41:15: Next week is the release of Death Metal Trinity Crisis which Graeme has read an advance copy of, and he does a great job of discussing it without giving away any spoilers while still mentioning that, as he puts it, “it feels so tied in to the primary story, that I’m not sure how you could skip [it] and fully understand what’s going to be happening in Death Metal.” By contrast, Graeme has read the end of Empyre and enjoyed it, calling it “a really solid mainstream Marvel superhero story.”
1:41:15-1:45:16: As for Jeff’s corner, he talks super-briefly about the first issue of We Only Find Them When They’re Dead by Al Ewing and Simone DiMeo (with color assists by Mariasara Miotti). Jeff’s review is not particularly detailed, at least compared to his reaction to the news that John Layman and Afu Chan’s Outer Darkness has been cancelled?
1:45:16-1:49:16: Jeff has much more to say (and less bad news to react to) about the first ten issues of The Last Of The Atlases, a band desinée by Gwen De Bonneval, Fabien Vehlmann, Frédéric Blanchard and Herve Tanquerelle translated into english and published digitally by Europe Comics.
1:49:16-1:53:43: And in the “news I hope is still valid by the time you read this,” Jeff wanted to point out that there’s more than 256 Black Panther comics available for free on Comixology at the moment (as well as books like Killmonger, Shuri, and Doomwar). Not Jeff’s beloved Jungle Action, mind you, but—yeah. That’s kind of impressive? Also! Related but utterly different: Abhay has three comics he collaborated on with some terrific artists, and you can buy them digitally on Kickstarter before the end of the month (along with add-on stuff like the comics Abhay both drew and wrote). Jeff has read them and, no fooling, Jeff loves them. So you should get on that! Seriously!
1:53:43-end: Closing comments with bonus impromptu scheduling session! Look for us on Stitcher! Itunes! Instagram! Twitter together and separately: Graeme and Jeff! Tumblr, and on Patreon where a wonderful group of people make this all possible, including Dominic L. Franco, and 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: Another Wait, What?! Join us?!
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Still at the Three Jokers stage of listening to the podcast but just wanted to thank Jeff for the heads up on the Gangland All-Stars Kickstarter that looks beautiful and now has another backer. I’m looking forward to reading this in October.
Thanks, Carey! And thanks for the support to Jeff. I got *really lucky* on the artists that were available (though boy, the internet’s really overflowing with such talented artists right now… it’s rare that I don’t go online and see someone who’s really got something going on, lately…!).
The Outer Darkness news had gotten by me– what a bummer. That book seemed like it should’ve been a hit…? I can’ figure why that one wouldn’t have caught on…
I seem to have missed the ‘Last of the Atlases’ sale, but would recommend the ‘Green Manor’ books by Fabien Vehlmann and Denis Bodart. Tales of Victorian murder with witty and unpleasant twists. From Cinebook in english. Unfortunately, they don’t seem to be available in a digital version presently.
Speaking of Jokers: Could’ve sworn Gaggy got killed in Morrison’s Clown at Midnight prose piece, but sure can’t find him there, now. Would rather Morrison had done the last rites for this fondly remembered felon. I know Jeff is a fan of his one and only cover-appearance you’ve got here on the blog.
Speaking of Mignola’s Coppola Dracula adaptation from Topps Comics. Did you all ever read the other Dracula comic by Topps at the time, Don McGregor and Tom Yeates’ Dracula vs. Zorro?
If one of the Jokers needs another evil DC short person, there’s always Giacomo from the original Doom Patrol, he’s well overdue for a comeback.
Since Jeff mentioned being bummed about the paucity of comments I figured I’d pop in to thank you all for giving me something to listen to on the final Monday of my 3 day weekend.
On the topic of comments, when Jeff mentioned it during the Q&A episode it occurred to me that the podcast medium just doesn’t lead to the sort of conversations typical of the comment threads on blogs or the message boards of old. The time it takes between my having a thought and getting over to the website is generally far too long for precision, and it’s not as if there’s a post immediately above the comments field that allows for easy reference. I think this is why it’s tough to wring much beyond, “Hey, great episode, why do you always talk about stuff you can’t talk about, and, what about that Abhay guy?” For my part, none of those things really bother me, though I do have a fantasy that every time Graham can’t discuss something it’s because he’s scared Abhay will sue him, because secretly Abhay is a lawyer for Time-Warner.
As you can probably guess I don’t have a ton of specific points to make about this episode. Your discussion of Three Jokers did recall a thought I had in an earlier episode. You were talking about the difference between Batman and Superman, and the degree to which the former allowed for a wider variety of stories to tell. On a good day, this extends to his rogue’s gallery. Of course, leave it to Johns to impose a reductive order on a formerly allusive artifact of continuous publication. His vision of DC is clearly one of Before Moore/After Moore, which is itself reductive. But hey, now I’m just ranting.
Anyway, here’s hoping for more conversation, wherever and however it plays.
I know Jeff answers comments here, but if you lads occasionally responded on the show, I guarantee more folk would interact. So if I type the following, but never know Graeme has even read the comments, I’m less likely to bother next time.
I’m not far into the show, but I do disagree with Graeme’s assertion that Superman can be anybody… yeah, he’s an extraterrestrial, but he’s an extraterrestrial white guy and while race isn’t relevant on the wireless, so why not Daniel Dae Kim, yeah, gender is. We have a female Kryptonian in Supergirl. We have a second Superman-level powerhouse in Wonder Woman. We have a brilliant, underused Black Superman Family member in Steel. Why can’t heroes and heroines have some level of specificity? I don’t want to hear Storm played by a white guy, I want to hear a female voice – gay, straight, African, whatever, but the wrong gender is just distracting and gimmicky. I get gender-flipped Shakespeare plays, because there are so many complex male roles that actors of the female persuasion should have a crack at, but much as I love Superman, Shakespeare it isn’t.
I don’t know which of the three Superman actors whom Graeme mentions is gay, but why should that be something I’m thinking about while listening? So long as the casting process was fair, all that matters is that they can give us their best Man of Steel.
Let’s fix the entertainment industry in terms of equality of opportunity, but not stunt cast to make a point.
There could well be clumsiness and opportunism on the path to equality, we are humans after all, but those things will be present if we stay where we are. An elegant perfection of justice would be ideal, but it seems unreasonable not to expect some awkwardness and stumbling.
My favourite thing in the Hamlet Michelle Terry played the lead in was the way they pushed the comedy. It was like the cast didn’t know they were in The Great Tragedy.
I think Superman’s whiteness is important inasmuch as it reflects on his moment of creation and a set of assumptions about what constituted an ideal person. There’s a deeply racist undercurrent there, (which isn’t to say his creators were racist, just that their creation reflected the racist assumptions of the day).
Of course, the national imaginary is rife these assumptions to this day, and a characteristic response in the media has been to reimagine American icons of greatness as non-white people. The extent that casting non-white actors to voice Superman is working in that mode, I’d suggest that the message isn’t that anybody can be Superman, but rather that as a society we’re committed to decoupling Superman from an image of whiteness that pushes non-white folks to the margins.
That having been said, the fact that this is voice casting suggests a certain lack of commitment to that project, which in turn suggests that Superman’s whiteness is more important to the brand than I, or Graham, would like it to be.
Part of this is that Superman has come to be intrinsically associated with a particular idealized vision of the Midwestern small town as defining both moral decency and Americanness.
And this has intensified over time, especially after John Byrne’s conservative reinvention in the ‘80s. Once upon a time, Superman stories presented him as essentially Kryptonian; now it’s become fixed in the character that the most important thing that shaped his personality and outlook was the patriarchal down home wisdom of Pa Kent. As for Pa Kent, there was a time where he owned and managed a store in Smallville; eventually the Kents became farmers out in the countryside near the town.
And obviously, there’s a rich set of Americana images and tropes to draw on there. But there’s no way of getting around the fact that all that is stereotypically monochromatically white. I mean in popular culture, not in reality, because it’s popular culture that gives those images and tropes their currency and power. How many iconic portrayals of a nonwhite farmer in American culture can you think of? Exclude the South and the Southwest. Now how many? Limit it to the agricultural Midwest. Any at all?
And it goes without saying that identifying Superman’s defining quality of being a perfectly good person with that upbringing does inevitably draw on an ingrained opposition between the small town and the rural (defined as good, decent, traditional) and the big city (defined as crime-ridden, evil, and corrupting), and that particular contrast Is shot through with fear of the city as the place where Those People live.
In any case, as we’ve seen, Marvel had difficulties with the idea of Spider-Man being nonwhite, and one of Spider-Man’s defining qualities is that he’s from New York City.
God I love this podcast (this one’s for Jeff’s self-esteem). But seriously, I really do love this podcast.
Not gonna lie—I need it and appreciate it. Thank you!
The only problem with the work talk was that it wasn’t a deep enough dive for me. :) Would love to hear how Jeff arranges his training program for new hires, and am very curious about Graeme’s day-to-day routine. How much time does he spend writing as opposed to doing research or emailing back and forth with editors? Inject that process junk into my veins!
Graeme’s spicey hot take on “Aliens” was indeed very spicy, but I felt a bit persnickety considering (*looks at IMDb quickly*) every action movie ever made in ’80s. I hope he doesn’t lean over to someone during movies and says, “You know, bullets don’t really spark when they ricochet, and that’s why this is not good.”
“Dracula” was something I liked because I was a horny teen, but, yeah, does not hold up. Considering how much of a fan I was, the only thing I remember is the lecture Anthony Hopkins is giving to scientists? and he says something moronic like, “This is where civilization meets syphilis-ation,” then everyone “claps” by rapping a fist on the desk, like people never do. You know what NEVER held up even upon release? The “Dracula” Sega CD video game. If Keanu Reeves had been doing John Wick-style leg sweeps in the movie, it would have been much better, me thinks.