Wait, What?, Ep. 309 — Very Merry Harried

December 20, 2020
Maybe not especially holiday-like, but this is the page that won Graeme over (again)

0:01-11:16: Greetings!  Our first holiday gift for you is the title of the Hallmark holiday movie of 2025—Hollywood Hibernation!  Who will write the “Uptight woman X down home dude X Xmas spirit” streaming hit?  Well….why not you?  Also discussed: new computers and new workflows; grim portents for the Indy Mac developer scene, maybe?; and more.

11:16-44:07: Time to change things up!  Jeff is very pleased by how much work he put into his Best of 2020 list (ridiculous in a way because it is such a personal list and has so little to actually do with what books actually came *out* in 2020).  But knowing the verbal deluge it will bring, he begs Graeme to give his list first.  Although I’m linking to Graeme’s Top Ten list over at THR, here it is below with handy Amazon affiliate links in case you feel like getting yourself something nice and making sure we get a small smattering of Bezos-coins at the end of the year:

Don’t Go Without Me by Rosemary Valero-O’Connell;
Superman Smashes the Klan by Gene Luen Yang and Gurihiru;
Al Ewing’s MultipleMarvelTitles;
John Constantine: Hellblazer by Si Spurrier, Aaron Campbell, and Matias Bergara;
DreadNoughts by Michael Carroll and John Higgins;
The Loneliness of the Long Distance Cartoonist by Adrian Tomine;
A Map to The Sun by Sloane Leong;
The Magic Fish by Trung Le Nguyen;
Lost Soldiers by Aleš Kot and Luca Casalanguida;
and Paul at Home by Michel Rabagliati.
(With a special secret eleventh pick: Seven Secrets by Tom Taylor and Daniele Di Nicuolo)

44:07-1:26:20: Jeff’s turn!  And Jeff being Jeff, he talks about the books, why he picked them, what they’re about, when they might’ve come out, picks he’s still on the fence about…you know, all that obnoxious noise:
Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files, Vols 12-14 and The Dead Man by John Wagner, John Ridgway, Alan Grant, Carlos Ezquerra, and a flotilla of great artists;
Karate Promby Kyle Starks;
Gangland Allstars #1-3 by Abhay Khosla, Alfredo Torres, Diego Guerra, George Kambadais, Sean Witzke, and more!
The Book Tour by Andi Watson;
Gambling Apocalypse Kaiji by Nobuyuki Fukumoto;
Blank Canvas: My So-Called Artist’s Journeyby Akiko Higashimura;
Wotakoi: Love Is Hard for Otaku by Fujita;
Haikyu!! by Haruichi Furudate;
and Urotsukidoji: Legend of the Overfiend by Toshio Maeda.

Also discussed: “Tentacle Master,” Jeremy Bulloch and Daniel Logan;  Runners-up from the Big Two (Immortal Hulk, Jimmy Olsen, Savage Avengers, Shadow of the Batgirl); and more.  (Note from Jeff: I think I’m going to post my big list in the comments, maybe?)

1:26:20-1:55:15: Graeme points out that Jeff thought we had a lot to discuss and he wonders…what is on Jeff’s agenda, exactly? Discussed: Jeff’s pick for the best manga adaptation of the year; Infinite Frontier and DC’s coming relaunch (and their five year cycle); Death Metal keeping on Death Metalling; the unspoken rules behind crossovers; and more.

1:55:16-:2:11:48: Graeme would love to see the pitch material for the “5G” and Timeline of the DC Universe story/event/direction DC seems to have mostly abandoned? He’d love it if they published the pitch and the development materials so we can see what might’ve been. And this sounds sort of impossible and crazy until you realize (or until Jeff realizes, after Graeme points it out) that DC has already done such a thing in their recent DC Through the 80s: The End of Eras Vol. 1, which reprints in its entirety Alan Moore’s in/famous Twilight proposal. So you can kind of imagine where that leads us…

2:11:48-end: And so we come to the end of the podcast at the end of the year at the end of….something? I don’t know, it feels like something is ending. Anyway, although we take our time getting there—and along the way you get to hear what Graeme’s favorite filmed version of A Christmas Carol is (as well as a link to Chloe providing the receipts)! and Jeff’s ringing endorsement of the Sidebooks app for reading PDFs (that link is for the Ipad but it also exists for Android and other formats)! —you really should consider this the start of…. 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 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: It’s Christmas! And then look for our first podcast of 2021 in…2021!


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21 comments on “Wait, What?, Ep. 309 — Very Merry Harried

  1. Jeff Lester Dec 20, 2020

    And for those of you who want that red-hot cut & paste holiday action:


  2. Jeff Lester Dec 20, 2020

    For those of you who want the whole nine yards of Jeff’s Top Reads of 2020 list:

    A Side Character’s Love Story
    Avengers West Coast Epic Collection: Tales To Astonish
    Batman: Three Jokers #1
    Blank Canvas: My So-Called Artist’s Journey
    Blue Flag
    Conan The Barbarian #57
    Darth Vader Vols 1 and 2
    Don’t Go Without Me
    Don’t Toy With Me, Miss Nagatoro
    Dracula, Motherfucker!
    Fantastic Four: Grand Design #2
    Gambling Apocalypse Kaiji
    Gangland Allstars #1: Death Car
    Gangland Allstars #2: Melody Mink
    Gangland Allstars #3: The Black Ambulance
    Gérard: Five Years with Depardieu
    Icon Vol 1: A Hero’s Welcome
    Immortal Hulk (2018-)
    Invitation From A Crab
    Jimmy Olsen (2019-)
    Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files, Vols 12-14
    Karate Prom
    League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: The Tempest
    Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun
    Old Head
    Parallel Paradise,
    Perdy Vols.1 and 2
    Peter Porker, The Spectacular Spider-Ham
    Punisher: Soviet
    Red Sonja, Vol. 1: Scorched Earth
    Saki the Succubus Hungers Tonight
    Savage Avengers (2019-)
    Shadow of the Batgirl
    Superman Smashes The Klan
    The Book Tour
    The Contradictions (by Sophie Yanow)
    The Dead Man
    The Flash: Savage Velocity
    The Green Lantern, Season 2, Vol. 1
    Urotsukidoji: Legend of the Overfiend
    Wotakoi: Love Is Hard for Otaku

  3. Matthew Murray Dec 21, 2020

    Shadow of the Batgirl…Now there’s a comic that I mostly enjoyed but which was ruined for me in how poorly/inaccurately it portrayed libraries and library staff. (Yeah, yeah, it’s fiction, but it still bugs me…) If you know the author and there’s a sequel (and I hope there is!), I encourage you to have them contact a librarian to ask some questions. : )

    1. A large portion of the books in the library are inaccessible, either through height/size of shelves or aisles. Barbara Gordon is in a wheelchair and doesn’t seem like she’d to be able to access the majority of the collection due to the width of the aisles, even ignoring the ladders and 30 foot tall shelves.
    2. What is Barbara’s job? She seems to do a lot of random things. In a small library this makes sense, but this appears to be a major branch in Gotham (it has at least four floors!). (This is a pretty small quibble tbh.)
    3. Cassandra lives in the library by “hiding” on the fourth floor. She does this by sitting on an easily viewable window sill, leaving a cardboard box full of her things on the sill, taping things to the walls, and stacking up giant piles of books. Like…library have staff who would notice this. They sometimes even provide training to staff to help notice signs of homelessness amongst youth in the library. Just have her hide in a disused storage room.
    4. A patron runs out of the library as a library staff member yells that they owe late fees. This is an invasion of patron privacy and even if we care about fines (a lot of us don’t) we’re not going to stop you from being in the library. At least Barbara tells Cassandra to let him go.

    Yeah, yeah, I know, artistic license and so forth, but I’m unemployed, so what else am I supposed to do but complain about my profession online? ; )

  4. CJ Kral Dec 21, 2020

    Hey, you said you want listener’s top ten lists. Well here’s mine:
    1. Lonely Receiver: a haunting terrifying story about struggling with depression after a break up, it’s like Her as if directed by Takashi Mike
    2. Wonder Woman Dead Earth: the second best black label comic that I have read. Every thing that Last Knight Earth should have been. Also like Wonder Woman as Conan.
    3. X-Ray Robot: Michael Allred’s art really drives this miniseries, however if you don’t like Allred you would hate this, if you like him then yeah, you would love it.
    4. Sex Criminals: Sexual Gary
    5. Harley Quinn Black + White + Red
    6. Immortal Hulk
    7. Witch Hat Atelier: a delightfully fun cute manga.
    8. Decorum: I don’t know what Hickman is doing with this series, but I like it and Huddleston’s art is spectacular.
    9. Safe Sex: Bitch Planet for queer people
    10. A Man and His Cat: I’m sure you’ve seen panels of this manga on the interwebs but if not check it out.

    So there you have it, my top ten list. I hope you enjoyed reading through it. If not then fuck you.

    • Jeff Lester Dec 22, 2020

      Thanks for this list, CJK! I actually haven’t seen A Man and his Cat but will check it out. [EDIT: just googled it now, and went, “oh yeahhhh!”]

      Witch Hat Atelier had such a lovely cover, I have at least two volumes…that I haven’t even cracked.

      Anyway, again, thanks for the list! Hope you didn’t need like you *had* to throw in that punk closer but rather that you wanted to…

  5. David M Dec 22, 2020

    This year has involve a lot of re-reading for me, so I don’t think I’ll list 10, but excluding a few things on your lists some newish things this year I’ll recommend are:
    Tartarus from Image. You can read the first issue for free on their site.
    The End of Summer arc from Lumberjanes. I’d dropped off a while a go, but I got to feel stuff in an enjoyable way with this.
    Steeple by John Allison- the continuation online (for free) is better than the opening arc from Dark Horse.
    I’ll echo CJ Kral’s recommendation of Wonder Woman: Dead Earth. Although I describe the first issue as Wonder Woman as Kamandi and not just because I’m pitching it here.
    I continued to enjoy Monstress and Crowded a lot, but the continuity is so tight for both, I’m not sure their arcs are reasonable jumping on points.
    Once and Future is an honourable mention. Gorgeous artwork and seeing Gillen address identity in mythic terms at this point in this island’s history is very engaging. It probably has enhanced appeal to anyone whose granny ever hid guns.

    • Jeff Lester Dec 22, 2020

      Thanks for this list, David! Definitely the love for Wonder Woman: Dead Earth here (in addition to the love Graeme showed it when it came out) makes me think I’ll be checking it out soon.

  6. Ed Corcoran Dec 22, 2020

    Any recommendations on books from the Marvel Masterworks that are worth buying even though I have Marvel Unlimited? I’m thinking of things that are not on Marvel Unlimited, or have great bonus content or at least collate a bunch of assorted single issues that would be hard to piece together on Mu.

  7. Matthew Murray Dec 23, 2020

    David: “Steeple by John Allison- the continuation online (for free) is better than the opening arc from Dark Horse.”
    I liked the miniseries from Dark Horse okay, but the webcomic sequels have been so much better. They were on my top ten things I read this year.

  8. Tom Fellrath Dec 23, 2020

    My favorite titles of 2020 in alphabetical order….

    Blade Runner 2019 (now Blade Runner 2029) – Titan’s “canon-friendly” title, written by actual movie screenplay writers, brings me back to the world of replicants and the Tyrell Corporation every month. I’ve enjoyed watching Ash develop as well as the universe building that’s going on in the title. Every licensed property could learn volumes from how this title is handled.

    Fire Power – Specifically, the prequel OGN. The ongoing Image series is good (and Samnee’s art throughout the OGN and the series is fantastic), but the self-contained prequel story is really, really well done. Kirkman is a talent with an easygoing writing style that is so accessible and engaging. Looking ahead, I can see this title going for a long, long time in the vein of Invincible and The Walking Dead if that’s what Kirkman wants to do.

    Green Lantern: Legacy – DC YA book – Makes zero sense in the DC continuity universe, but it’s a well-written, entertaining story in its own right with what I presume are the right cultural touchstones (Vietnamese, not exactly my wheelhouse) and characters you really care about by the time it’s done. And it actually crosses the generation gap as my kids like the book even more than I do.

    Hedra – Image’s reprint (new to me!) of this visually dynamic, text-free one-shot is unlike anything else I read all year long. It plays with comic page conventions in ways I never would have considered. Cute story, too, but that’s kinda secondary in this case. Prepare to have your artistic sensibilities challenged, and enjoy the ride.

    Join the Future – Aftershock’s 5-issue dystopian sci-fi-meets-western title. A great story concept, strong core character in Clementine, real stakes played out in meaningful character struggles of both the physical and emotional type. Very nice art/coloring, too. I love how the “city” scenes are colored cold and metallic while the “rural” scenes are awash in earth tones…and then the transformation scenes where the city destroys the rural are apocalyptic reds and oranges. This is a book that makes me happy that the indie publishing world exists, because I can’t see either of the Big 2 biting on it. But it’s here, and it’s great, and I’d love to see more. Like, “just take my money” love.

    Upshot NOW – AWA/Upshot’s sampler series, by far the best $5 spent on comics in 2020. They took glossy, colored comics and printed them in b/w on newsprint…and literally offered multiple, entire issues of current books in a single issue. Such a great way to get introduced to a new publisher’s offerings – and one that got me hooked on The Resistance and Year Zero while keeping me intrigued with Hotell, Red Border and so much more. It seems to be petering out with issue 5, but I hope they keep it going.

    Wonder Woman: Dead Earth – DC’s best book of 2020, bar none. One of the best titles of the year from anyone. A radical revisioning of Wonder Woman and the entire DCU that sucks you in and won’t let go. It’s a visceral book, blowing you away with horrific action while also taking the time to keep the humanity that we love in Diana. Daniel Warren Johnson is a gifted creator, no doubt about it.

    And here are the Honorable Mentions, but only because they’re newer books and have yet to fulfill their potential. Late 2020 had a rash of dystopian books (I wonder if a nearly year-long COVID shutdown had anything to do with that), and gosh are they promising…

    Giga (Vault) – Life after the giant robot battles end. A religious order maintains dominance while trying to crack the code of the dead robots. A once-promising member of the order, now cast out, survives as a scrap collector. It only gets better from there.

    Origins (Boom!) – “Life” after the tech apocalypse…but perhaps the most high concept of all of the recent dsytopian books. And the art…it’s like every page is a painting. Gorgeous, challenging.

    Red Atlantis (Aftershock) – Political/spy thriller written by people who know the business (Spoiler: Russians BAD!) Just enough fantasy elements to keep it light, just enough reality to keep it grounded.

    We Live (Aftershock) – A small handful of kids are the future of humanity, and they have to reach the planetary evacuation ship before it leaves. I’m sure the destination is going to be interesting, but the voyage to get there has me intrigued so far.

    Honorable Mentions that didn’t quite push up into the stratosphere…

    Seven Secrets (Boom) – OK, the exception. It’s been out for a while, and it’s good…and Taylor’s writing truly makes me care about the core, albeit strained, family relationship…but I feel like there’s a foundational issue still in flux that makes me not care enough. I think that I am stuck on not entirely appreciating/understanding the Secrets themselves. Sure, there’s a whole infrastructure to protect them and everyone wants them…but WHY? I probably need to go back and reread…

    Suicide Squad – Taylor again, bridesmaid but not the bride. The stories for this DC series are strong, the new characters are refreshing, some of the individual moments are epic (Deadshot seemed to get most of them). I wouldn’t think twice about putting a Revolutionaries book on my pull list.

    Year Zero – A bit of a surprise to be on the list, but hindsight is 2020 (pun?). This book stuck with me. It’s a fresh take on the zombie apocalypse, presented in parallel-running vignettes from all over the globe. I like that Percy didn’t try to tie them together in a shared narrative but rather let them exist on their own to demonstrate how the end-times were felt literally everywhere.

    And, lastly, a hat tip to Brian Michael Bendis, whose Superman, Action, and (post-first arc) Legion specifically have been as consistent as the day is long. I would read a book of his, enjoy it, never LOVE it. The last issue of his that I LOVED was Superman #18 – the reveal – but that was 2019. His 2020 ceiling for me largely was around 6.5/10, his floor was around 5.5. Thanks for the memories, Brian…you inspired me with the idea of Superman being the best person imaginable. Let’s see how it goes with Justice League and Naomi S2!

    • Jeff Lester Dec 31, 2020

      Thanks for this list, Tom. A ton of stuff I’m going to try and check out in 2021!

  9. Voord 99 Dec 23, 2020

    Reading everyone’s top ten prods me to realize how much I’ve drifted away from comics this year, even from reading 6- or 12-month old stuff on Marvel Unlimited and DC Universe. I don’t think I *have* a top 10 – I’ve read more than 10 titles for one reason or another, but I don’t think that as many as ten rise to the minimum level of liking them enough to put on a list.

    So my Top Not Actually Ten, in no particular order.

    – Die. It’s not quite doing it for me as much as it did at the beginning, but it is still the one comic that I buy in physical format, mostly to support my local comics shop.

    – Strontium Dog, Search/Destroy Files, from towards the end of Volume 1, perhaps The Schicklgruber Grab, through Volume 3. I had read all of this stretch of stories as a child, but this was the first time that I’d read them since they came out, and reading them as an adult, I could really appreciate how lucky

    – Judge Dredd, The PIt. New to me, and it doesn’t seem to be a Dredd story that attracts much attention nowadays. Which I think is a shame, because it’s a damn good. I get to the end of one volume, and find that the story goes on into the next, and I immediately have to buy that next volume. I actually stopped my reading ahead of Drokk! at that point, because I was happy to have the volume of the Case Files in which The Pit ended be a pause in my reading of new (to me) Dredd.

    -I was reading and liking The Immortal Hulk on Unlimited, but I drifted away from it. Some of that, though, was because Marvel Unlimited was being horribly unstable, and it took a while for me to get around to reinstalling the app and fixing that. So I think it can still go on here, because I intend to get back to it some time when I can read a bunch of issues in a row.

    And that might be it. I hear about a lot of interesting titles, including on this podcast. But I haven’t found the energy in me actually to check them out. No doubt this is because my library has Libby rather than Hoopla, the bastards.

  10. Tim Rifenburg Dec 26, 2020

    Ed, I won’t speak for our hosts and I do not have Marvel Unlimited, but I thought I would chime in with a couple of worthy Masterwork reads or titles worth a look.They present many different titles and stories in one spot.

    Ant man / Giant man Masterworks Vol 3: It has a good mix of Hank Pym Ant Man, Bill Foster Black Goliath and the first few Scott Lang Ant man stories. A bunch of different mini runs, ones shots and guest appearances in one place.

    Champions Masterwork Volume 1: 15 issues (whole run), guest appearances in other titles and the wrap up of the dangling story lines in a Spectacular Spider-man two part story.

    Deathlok Masterwork Vol 1: All the Astonishing Tales issues and appearances in other titles. All appearances in one place.

    Human Torch Masterworks Vol 1 & 2: Early Johnny Storm stories and later featuring Johnny and the Thing, in the period before the FF actually became the Worlds Greatest Comic. Interesting reading to see how Lee and others were working in FF territory but definitely in a different neighborhood. All the Strange Tales issues and an Annual.

    Iron Fist Masterworks Vol 1 & 2: All the iron Fist appearances from Marvel Premiere, Iron Fist 1-15 and the 2 tie up issues in Marvel Team Up.

    Kazar Masterworks Vol 1 & 2: All Kazar appearances and solo stories from the 60’s through the 70’s and as a bonus the early 70’s Shanna the She Devil stories as well. (The 2 characters cross over and get enmeshed in a Daredevil story that covers a few different titles and ties up plot threads from their early appearances.)

    Killraven: All 70’s appearances and the Graphic novel that wraps up the dangling plot threads. Weird but worth a read.

    Nick Fury Agent of Shield Vol 1, 2 and 3: All the early appearances, Strange Tales stories and his own title. Kirby, Steranko and an assortment of others but worth a look.

    I picked up the Marvel Team Up trades just because I enjoy the title and and they had the Giant Size Spider-man giants included with them. I keep looking at Golden Age titles and I am afraid they would just take up electronic space. Hard to pass them up at those prices but I don’t think I would really look at them.

    • Jeff Lester Dec 27, 2020

      Tim, thank you for this *exquisite* list. I kept telling myself I was going to sit down and crank out a list and the holidays kept getting in myh way.

      And most of these were on my list (that is, Deathlok, Iron Fist, Champions, and Killraven, along with the most recent MTU with Spidey’s cross-time adventures and the Shroud/Jean Dewolff storyline (Vol.5)) as well as a few that weren’t—gotta snap up that Ant-Man with the Black Goliath issues appearances and both Ka-Zars!

      One thing the Marvel Masterworks have started including (by which I mean, they’ve probably been doing it for a decade or more but I only started buying these in digital recently) are essays by either creators or historians on the historical context, some of which are bracingly candid. Because I just picked up some Kirby’s return to Captain America for personal ease and convenience, I know that Jon Cooke has a great essay in Cap Masterworks Vol. 10 that talks about Kirby’s return to Marvel that is definitely worth $1.99 for me. (Hell, the news that the Madbomb storyline would’ve been the third Cap movie if talks fell through with RDJ is worth the $1.99 for me!)

      Even more so, the Black Panther Masterworks is a must-have for me: not only does it collect the full Don McGregor run on Panther in Jungle Action, it has a long essay by McGregor that is scaldingly candid. I love this work so much I can’t see how anyone could pay $0.99 and feel like they lost money, even if they don’t like Don McGregor’s writing. (You still have amazing work by Rich Buckler and Billy Graham.)

      (Sadly, but perhaps unsurprisingly, the first volume of the digital Dr. Strange Masterworks has removed that revelatory memo included in the first edition of the print volume that explicitly names Strange as Ditko’s creation…so there are still some limits to Marvel’s candor in these intro essays).

      Finally, Ed—as much to keep me from sitting here typing for hours as anything—Warlock Masterworks Vol. 2 has all of Starlin’s Warlock material up through the two annuals (MTIO and AVENGERS) in one place, as well as another tidy essay by Cooke. I can’t imagine you don’t have that material in another format already but if not, it’s got an all-in-one place convenience I appreciate.

  11. Miguel Corti Dec 29, 2020

    Unfortunately, I haven’t had enough time to read in the past year let alone read stuff from this year. so I can’t really add to the reading lists here.

    I will say it was a nice Christmas surprise to hear the two you discussing my favorite topio–Alan Moore. It was the two of you discussing him many years ago that brought me to the podcast in the first place. 2020 continues to prove to be a topsy turvy year, because I think, for the briefest of moments, I heard Graeme defending Moore there. A double Christmas suprise!

    • Jeff Lester Dec 31, 2020

      This made me do the ol’ literal LOL, Miguel. Thank you!

  12. Tim Rifenburg Dec 29, 2020

    Glad I was on the same page with you, Jeff, in regards to the Masterworks. I was kind of surprised at a few characters / titles that haven’t made the Masterwork format. Black Widow for one. (Though an epic collection and Omnibus were just released with her earlier appearances, Amazing Adventures stories, Marvel Fanfare 4 parter and a couple of prestige format stories where she was center to the story.) I mean Dazzler got one before her. The Invaders, Super Villain Team up (Could do that as a Doctor Doom related Masterwork run) and Ghost Rider are also not represented. I was also surprised the Not Brand Ecch volume wasn’t offered digitally. It is one of the few hard copy Masterworks I own and it is quite a lot of fun to dip in and out of. I would have gotten that since it is a nice 60’s send up of Marvel by Marvel.. It also has a nice essay by Roy Thomas about how it came to be published that was interesting and informative about publishing decisions. The introductions are a nice feature and add to the overall package.
    The pricing of the sale makes the books hard to pass up even though I have either the single issues, trades or Essential books and don’t need another format of material I already have. But the Luke Cage ones keep calling to me and the Marvel Two in One volumes as well. The 70’s sweet spot of my reading teen age years. But when you can get 30 plus issues for roughly the price of today’s annuals or two modern comics, it is tough to walk away without purchasing something.

  13. Gary Ancheta Dec 30, 2020

    Top 10 Proposals I’d like to see Published other than Twilight of the Superheroes (which is the most open-secret in the DCU)

    10) The King of Hell Proposal: which is the original pitch by Veitch before things went south with Swamp Thing. It was to link all the “hell-based” storylines, including Sandman, Swamp Thing, and even Green Arrow.
    9) Marvel: the World of Tomorrow: the original pitch for what would become Marvel 2099 by John Byrne and Stan Lee.
    8) Crisis of the Soul: which eventually morphed into Legends, where Paul Levitz creates a “Randall Flagg”-type character that ends up “infecting” with propaganda the Earth and having all the space-based Aliens locking it down.
    7) Grant Morrison and Mark Millar’s 2099 pitch, which had stuff like Atlantis Rising, a Tony Stark that was like Stephen Hawkings, a hardened Captain America, and the aliens from War of the Worlds
    6) 1963 Annual: which was the culmination of all the 1963 stories that compared/contrasted the light and the dark of the Image Universe
    5) Chris Claremont’s Mutant Wars Pitch: which was what all the titles were leading up to before X-Men #1 pushed him out of the book. Highlights included Wolverine dying and coming back as an agent of the Hand, Magneto and the Grey King doing Hellfire Club stuff, and the true reason why the Shadow King was doing what he was doing.
    4) Morrison’s Boy Commando’s pitch that eventually morphed into the Invisibles.
    3) John Ostrander and Kim Yale’s Seventh Generation: Where the 7 generation of superhumans are sent back through time to stop a nuclear war in 1989. The modern issues would be the culmination of the Suicide Squad run where we get 24 hours before nuclear war happens while the future issues are all about the heroes of the future trying to find a way to travel back through time.
    2) Space Ranger miniseries – An eight-issue miniseries starring the science fiction character was to ship in October 1992, written by Michael Jan Friedman and pencilled by John Calimee. What I loved about this was Paul Levitz dedicating an entire column about why Space Ranger was interesting and how this story would be cool. I was always intrigued by what this miniseries would have been.
    1) Steve Gerber and Frank MIller’s original pitch for the Post-Crisis DCU called Metropolis which had titles like Amazon, Man of Steel, and Dark Knight. They even created a new Supergirl that they wanted to share ownership.

    • Jeff Lester Dec 31, 2020

      This was a fantastic list, Gary. Thank you! I think I knew less than half of these (though I do know enough to mention that I believe G-Mo mentioned some elements of that Boy Commandos pitch made into The Filth.)

  14. Richard Baez Dec 30, 2020

    I’d love to read a lot of these, esp the Ostrander/Yale pitch and the Gerber/Miller one. I wonder if a lot of Gerber’s Superman ideas got put into the DC Comics Presents epilogue to his Phantom Zone mini, which always felt a bit like a whole run jammed into one big issue.

  15. Hey, this is late, to me a while to circle back and finish listening to this episode. Couple things first before the list:
    First, glad Graeme mentioned Scrooged, the first movie I had to lie about my age to get into.
    Second, Toshio Maeda, for a tentacle king he’s a pretty genial guy. Another dad and I took our daughters who are friends to a comic convention a couple years ago and lo and behols, who’s got a booth but Toshio Maeda. Nothing gross on display over the booth and he drew a really cute sketch for my friend’s daughter for free.

    On to the best of the year stuff. Have to say, I’m always a year or two behind and this year is much worse than usual (haven’t been to a comic store since March). I read an absolute ton of comics this year but very few of them (outside what popped up on MU) were from 2020. Plus I have hard copies of Dead Earth, Downfall, and Jimmy Olsen sitting on my table waiting for a read (and am about a year behind on Immortal Hulk). But here’s some of what I did read and really enjoy that came out in the last year, in no particular order.

    1. The Out – Dan Abnett and Mark Harrison for 2000 AD. Really enjoyable sci-fi from the Grey Area team that felt very atypical in the prog.
    2. Chainsaw Man – Shonen Jump, again very atypical for its mag, really dug this punk rock craziness that quickly coalesces into a story with a lot of heart. And chopped up hearts.
    3. Grendel: Devil’s Odyssey – only got to read the first couple issues before Covid hit, but it felt like a real return to form for Wagner with funky sci-fi overtones.
    4. Blue Flag – echo everything Jeff said, great romance manga.
    5. Delicious in Dungeon vol 8 – story keeps deepening but the author never loses sight of the fun.
    6. Marauders – I don’t know if this really would make a proper Top 10, but it feels like the character-based heart of the post-HOXPOX world, people having fun, X-Men play baseball for now.

    On recs from everyone else, I haven’t read Witch Hat Atelier, but my daughter really digs it. Voord mentioned The Pit and I totally agree, that or Block Judge would be such perfect Dredd stories to hand to someone not super familiar with the world.