Wait, What?, Ep. 311 —How I Met Your Metal

January 10, 2021

0:01-10:43: Greetings!  Why does it feel like this is our first episode of 2021 despite us having recorded last week, Graeme wonders?  The answer, Jeff suggests, lies in something we left unresolved 9n our previous episode!  The truth may shock you!  Also discussed: Steve Martin’s early film choices; the 1974 horror musical trifecta; Graeme’s secret connection to the 1974 horror musical trifecta *and* OMAC; John Byrne’s OMAC and latter career choices, and more!
10:43-19:14: Speaking of John Byrne’s later period, Graeme did something inconceivable and arguably dangerous this week and read all of Just Imagine Stan Lee Created The DC Universe!  Did he survive, or is Jeff recording a podcast episode with a guh-guh-guh-ghost!?  And if he did survive…how?
19:14-44:14: And from there, we start what ends up (I think, inadvertently) being the main and central conversation of this episode:  the final issue of Death Metal #7 by Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo, Jonathan Glapion, and FCO Plasencia.  It is the big finale and…what happened, exactly?  And if you’re a fan of subtext-being-text and subtlety-being-for-cowards as Jeff so often is, will you enjoy it?  As is sometimes the case, Jeff has a big long theory about the stuff underpinning the issue and Graeme is only armed with doing a complete and thorough re-read of the main issue and all the crossover issues. Who will win? Let’s hope it’s you, dear listener! OH, but it is very much a full SPOILERS conversation so if you need to put it aside, we understand? I mean, it’s big event crossover so chances are good you know the contours of how it ends and what it’ll mean…and arguably what we’re actually doing is warning you about, uh, THEMATIC SPOILERS, I guess? But also in some way ACTUAL SPOILERS if you want to know what happens to the Darkest Knight, for example.
44:14-1:30:44: And in the course of talking about Death Metal, Jeff references the above statement by Jason Fabok over at Bleeding Cool.  But that really is just a data point to support Jeff’s overly expansive thesis about the book?  I just wanted to get that in there, though, since I took the time to screenshot it early.
1:30:44-1:43:59:  Death Metal is done, but there are still other books that Graeme read last week that drove him nuts, and four of them are the Judge Anderson Psi Files, written first by the mighty team of Wagner & Grant and then Grant continuing on his own to write stuff he thinks is powerful, meaningful stuff (made a bit easier when you’ve got Arthur Ranson drawing it!).  Also discussed: a new alternative topic for our next Drokk? Is it Judge Dredd: The Pinball Game?!
1:43:59-1:55:36: “Jeff, tell me about the thing that you love,” Graeme pleads and Jeff of course says, “I’m not, Graeme! I’m not, I’m not.”  But…then proceeds to?  In a way though, Jeff has no choice because he has gone back to reading Chainsaw Man by Tatsuki Fujimoto.


1:55:36-1:57:41: Jeff also picked up Untold Tales of Punisher Max #2 written by Jason Latour and drawn like a sonuvabitch by Connor Willumsen.  Gorgeous stuff!
1:57:41-2:02:44: And then Batman: Future State?  Jeff liked that, too!! what’s your deal this week, Jeff?  It’s almost as if you were super-happy to have your avenues of escapism available to you this week due to having a lot in the real world you wanted to escape from.  What’s the story?
2:02:44-end: Aborted musical number! A quick discussion of Jim Jarmuch’s The Dead Don’t Die!  Hasty scheduling! 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!  Join us for Dredd Case Files Vol. 21 at the end of the third  full week of 2021!

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23 comments on “Wait, What?, Ep. 311 —How I Met Your Metal

  1. Jeff Lester Jan 10, 2021

    Psst! Hey, You! Looking for some red hot cut & paste action?

  2. Chainsaw Man is very much a thing I also love. (I’m reading a LOT of manga in 2021 so far because of Jeff and hearing him talk about his relationship with manga). In particular, the fight between chapters 40 and 52 (… no way to describe it without spoiling it…)… I love that stretch so much! I had so much fun with that part, and I really have a hard time thinking of a “superhero action sequence” (unless you count something like Akira as “superhero action”) that I have been as high off. At least past my teen years. While the Hell stretch that Jeff mentions and comes after has at least two “needle drops” splash pages that I yelled out loud about louder, like “AAAAH THIS IS SO GOOD” yelling, yelling to Crom, I just think that 40-52 stretch was so much fun, just the most fun series of escalations and I think Jeff uses the word “verve”…

    You’re around where you should think about slowing down, though, Jeff! That last arc shouldn’t be read as fast as the rest! Don’t make my mistakes!!!

    • Jeff Lester Jan 11, 2021

      You know, it’s funny. When you’d been ranting about Chainsaw Man, my terrible memory with numbers thought you were talking about the action sequence following 40-52. Which, don’t get me wrong, the following sequence is pretty great, but it was definitely the 40-52 sequence where I almost emailed you excitedly a half-dozen times and then I texted Adam Knave? Like you said, that stretch is just so much fun, you just want to find people and drag them to it and show it to them…

      I’m on the lead-up to what’s clearly gotta be the ultimate or penultimate arc (just finished chapter 73 because I just love the post-big fight chapters so much) and…thank god I’ve got work, I guess?! If I’d hit this patch on my weekend, or a skip week where I didn’t have to edit the podcast I’d be in big trouble. But actual “being an adult doing responsibilities” is probably gonna slow my roll.

      Talk about a virtuous cycle—I’m so glad the fun I was having with manga made you dip back in and then drag me into Chainsaw Man. That’s really one of those great payoffs doing this podcast gives me. Thank you!

  3. Gary A Jan 11, 2021

    Two things about Death Metal:
    1) I think what Death Metal undoes is Dan Didio’s version of the DCU. Whatever Doomsday Clock was, that was meant to set up the Status Quo for Dan Didio’s 5G plans. What Snyder does is, in the end, play cleanup for Dan Didio’s version of the DCU. Wonder Woman was pivotal in 5G with her apparent death by a serial killing supervillain? She’s out of the continuity completely. Superboy Prime is the major catalyst for Infinite Crisis and future things? He’s taken out as a villain completely. You have a new universe set up as the DCU reboot with the next generation? That’s now Elseworld and outside of main continuity. Batman who Laughs and Year of the Villain? Taken out. Maybe it wasn’t meant to be what it became, but it definitely becomes the clean up crew to Dan Didio’s ideas. Might as well be the 7th issue show Maxwell Lord, Sue Dibny, and Jean Loring hang out together at a dance party while they’re at it and call it the Exegesis of Dan Didio.
    2) Would this have read differently if it came out on time? I keep wondering if that might be an issue. If they had the proper lead up in April to make this a Summer event, would have read differently? For instance, in reading the Williamson run, you can really see where the break is in his last few issues where this could have easily folded into his introduction of Jay Garrick.

  4. David M Jan 11, 2021

    Phantom of the Paradise? I’m going to mention the Panic Pixie Scream Girls podcast as they talk about this film when they’re guests on the Dr Kino’s Film Emporium podcast. Their own podcast they describe as two people living with anxiety and a love of horror movies. Holly has been one of my daughter’s closest friends since my daughter came to this country. Becky sounds great too.
    I’m with Jeff on wondering if US or English artists influence manga artists. There’s a ‘people-are-shocked’ look Eiichiro Oda uses in One Piece that shouts Harvey Kurtzman to me, but is it? Did Hiroyuki Takei.(Shaman King) really like Jamie Hewlett? Whole lot of shrugging from me.

    • Jeff Lester Jan 11, 2021

      You know, I’m sure they do, though it’s arguably more interesting and productive to see how you the reader clock the influences more than the cartoonist, I guess?

      It’s just…man, I see a lot of Western influence in Chainsaw Man and in a way that someone from outside the culture can just pick up and smashes together the stuff they like assuming it’s all part of a continuum? So I see Jaime Hernandez and David Lapham and Paul Pope, but also Keith Giffen and Warren Ellis (I know, ew but…) in addition to like, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure and other manga. (It really makes me feel like I’ve got to read Bleach, though: I could be totally wrong but I feel like Bleach is something that might be an influence here…or even taking something more ostensibly kid-targeted like Blue Exorcist and ‘roiding it out.

  5. David Austin - Cinema Strikes Back Jan 11, 2021

    Ah, I’m so happy you’re digging Chainsaw Man. Talk about a comic that quickly outgrows what seem to be its weak beginnings. For the first 5-10 chapters I thought it was mildly amusing but then it really takes off.

  6. Other Chris Jan 12, 2021

    I guarantee everyone here has put one hundred times more thought into Death Metal than its author did.

  7. Jared Jan 12, 2021

    Not reading DC’s current output, I don’t have much to say about DC Metal. But oh man, Alan Grant’s Judge Anderson. That I can talk about, because they really put into relief who was bringing what to the Wagner/Grant partnership. The Anderson strip falls into three categories: Anderson has issues with the Judges, Anderson investigates a child abuse case that parallels her own abuse, and Grant just read a new book and is going to write a story to tell you all about what he just read. In ever case, Grant does not give the material any of the depth is deserves. Would Anderson questioning the Judges be a good story to run? Yes, in other hands, because Grant has the same problem Pat Mills does with Dredd, his anti-authoritarian side (that would eventually send him into the Randian world of late 90s internet libertarianism) cannot let him write any of the Judges except Anderson as anything other than cartoon goons. I mean, he’s got a bad judge beating up a Rodney King analogue literally named Judge Goon. Who is a recurring character in the strip, in case you missed what he’s going for with the name. The worst, though, are the child abuse stories. Grant has nothing to say on the subject, but keeps coming back to it, even at one point going for the Alice in Wonderland story frame for one of them, because that hasn’t been done before by anyone. Ultimately, the Anderson strip shows the weakness of Grant as a writer: He cannot write character development so much as he asserts that it has happened, and his ambition to deal with big issues far, far outstrips his commitment to actually delving into the issues he brings up. It amounts to Grant saying “Hey! I’m talking about child abuse! It’s bad!” and thinking he’s accomplished something.

    The Anderson in space sequence does have a hilarious historical note: Grant wanted it to continue for much longer, but had to bring Anderson back to Earth for the third Batman/Judge Dredd crossover, which didn’t end up happening for another two years after the end of Grant’s story because Glenn Fabry took forever with the art. Which is still for the best, because as Graeme pointed out the Anderson in space stories are terrible.

  8. Jared Jan 12, 2021

    One other thing about the Anderson scripts. Grant is apparently really proud of aging Anderson in realtime, but as Graeme said, maybe half the artists who work on the strip remember that. And then there’s Boo Cook, who had this to say about why he drew Anderson as full sexbomb even though she’s over 50.

    “this is by far my favourite Anderson script that i’ve worked on and i just love trying to realise the world of Mega-city One. considering she is meant to be 50 years old, concerns have been raised about Cassandra’s youthful looks during the run, about which i have 2 things to add: firstly, this is the future. health care, vitamins, skin care, free radical retardants etc. have developed greatly from our era and there is a fair chance that people would look younger for longer. but secondly, (and perhaps more honestly) i’ve been dreaming of getting the chance to draw Judge Anderson since i was 12 years old, and frankly i couldn’t bring myself to draw her as a wrinkled up prune faced, non-curvy, menopausal mature lady – so, sorry about that, but tough ; )”

    Found on Cooks old blogspot, link here: http://boocook.blogspot.com/2011/06/psi-panelage.html

  9. Jason1749 Jan 13, 2021

    OK, I tagged you on on this on twitter but here is the collection strategy for DK Death Metal:
    Dark Nights: Death Metal: Deluxe Edition: Collects DK:DM 1-7 (the solicit says 1-6 but I assume this is incorrect)
    Dark Nights: Death Metal: The Darkest Knight – Collects Dark Nights: Death Metal Legends of the Dark Knights #1, Dark Nights: Death Metal Speed Metal #1, Dark Nights: Death Metal Trinity Crisis #1, Dark Nights: Death Metal Multiverse’s End #1, and Dark Nights Death Metal Guidebook #1.
    Dark Nights: Death Metal: The Multiverse Who Laughs – Collects Dark Nights: Death Metal Infinite Hour Exxxtreme! #1, Dark Nights: Death Metal Robin King #1, Dark Nights: Death Metal Rise of the New God #1, Dark Nights: Death Metal The Multiverse Who Laughs #1, and Dark Nights: Death Metal The Secret Origin #1.
    Dark Nights: Death Metal: War of the Multiverses – Collects Dark Nights: Death Metal The Last 52: War of the Multiverse #1, Dark Nights: Death Metal The Last Stories of the DCU #1.
    Just what the hell man?

  10. Voord 99 Jan 13, 2021

    Sort of amazed that this comment section has not already been deluged with people asking whether Graeme McMillan was ready for the world that was coming.

  11. David M Jan 13, 2021

    I pictured him in the crate Omac throws. A Graemecrate, if you will.

  12. I’m 234 chapters into One Piece right now, and there’s a lot of character drawings I’d *swear* were Jamie Hewlett if you could show them to me out of context, especially in the last couple chapters. But maybe he’s just looking at Hiroyuki Takei since they were contemporaries, and getting Hewlett second hand through him.

    (Of course, people find their own styles, too– I’m seeing Oda at about 5 years into a 20 year run so he’s evolving plenty on his own just from that, or probably adjusting more to working with assistants, etc. I just like that mental game I guess of “where did this come from” even if it’s unanswerable, except that there’ve been a few manga artists that have explicitly shouted out Mignola or Frank Miller over the years)

    I see the Harvey Kurtzman, but I wouldn’t guess it– that would be a surprising pull by Oda if it is since you never hear people talk about Kurtzman’s work travelling like that. Or that kind of deformation feels like a very manga technique to me– I’d at least guess an earlier manga creator took it from Kurtzman first, anyways…

  13. Miguel Corti Jan 15, 2021

    I think I learned more about Death Metal and metaphysics in this episode than I could ever hope (or even want) to learn from anywhere else. If you two are looking for a TED talk topic, I think you find your meal ticket.

    Very disappointed to hear the Judge Anderson books aren’t all that hype. I’ve been tempted like you wouldn’t believe to dip into them because the Ennis/Morrison/Millar Dredd stuff is just so damn dire. Maybe I should jump ahead to Titan? (Not you guys, though. You need to continue to do Drokk in its soul-crushing chronological order.)

    @David M: There are more than a few manga artists who were influenced by U.S. artists. Both Akihito Yoshitomi (of Eat Man fame) and a certain Shonen Jump artist who I shall not name were big Jim Lee fans. The problem is availability, and most U.S. comics weren’t readily available in translation until the Image era, or with concomitant media (e.g., the Fox X-Men cartoon, Capcom Marvel games, etc.). So unless they went in search of imports, you’re not going to find a manga artist who was big into, say, Dave Cockrum or even Jack Kirby. Osamu Tezuka was famously influenced by Golden Age American comics (and Disney animation), but a fair number of artists are more likely to be influenced by European artists because of the widespread availability of their work in translation. Moebius is a rather outsized influence. If anything, many artists are influenced directly or indirectly by the aesthetic of superhero comics without having a specific artist that influenced them aside from, say, John Romita and Ross Andru’s art being used on Spider-Man merch. Just like many American artists, especially in the last 10 years, have added a manga-inspired flavor to their art, such as Humberto Ramos; but I wouldn’t look at his Spider-Man work, for example and say, “Oh, yeah, you can see the [insert manga artist name] in his work.” It’s just a general aesthetic, and, if we’re being honest, more anime influenced than manga, I would bet.

    I know a number of people into the Gorillaz’s music in Japan. It’s quite possible Oda learned of Jamie Hewlett through their albums and videos. But, believe it or not, Tank Girl enjoyed a measure of popularity in Japan among those who like non-Japanese comics thanks to the movie. I believe the comic was even translated at some point, but I don’t know if that was early enough to have influenced Oda.

    And speaking of One Piece, while I enjoy Oda’s cartooning and his imagination, I had to tap out on One Piece at around volume 45. Every story was just so repetitious, and Oda keeps throwing away world building as it suits his whim. Trying to suss out the motivations of the characters that aren’t Luffy and his crew just had me throwing my hands up. Nothing made sense. Also the small size of the collections in Japan weren’t doing his art justice. Felt like a lot of stress just to enjoy some interesting cartooning. But, hey, if others are enjoying it, more power to them! Glad it floats their boat.

  14. Voord 99 Jan 15, 2021

    @Miguel Corti: If you hold out, you’re close to the end of Ennis/Morrison/Millar Dredd. The upcoming volume is heavily Wagner. Although warning: Morrison and Millar are back for 22, and the story is, umm, very Morrison and Millar.

  15. Miguel Corti Jan 16, 2021

    @Vord 99: Thanks, hoping that Wagner stuff can be the salve I need. Dreading that upcoming Millar/Morrison combo in 22. I can take another bad one as long as it’s not also unapologetically racist as well.

  16. Jeff — I don’t know if anyone’s hit you directly about this, but in terms of physics books, are you thinking about Katie Mack’s book?


  17. Matthew Murray Jan 19, 2021

    The one manga creator who had (to me) unexpected American influences was Monkey Punch, who drew Lupin III saying he was influenced by Mad magazine. Copying and pasting from WIkipedia (though I’ve seen this in other places): “Monkey Punch acknowledged the influence Mad magazine artists Mort Drucker and Sergio Aragonés had on his work.”

  18. Appropo of nothing specific to this episode, I just wanted to thank you guys for the podcast. In this dreary Great Lakes winter, in the midst of a socially stifling pandemic, when I’m pretty much ready to throttle most everyone in my house….you guys are there. You’re expanding my horizons, providing fresh perspectives, sharing my love of the comics (and, to a degree, pop culture) medium…and doing it with a laugh and a smile. I eagerly look forward to your next installments. Thank you, so very much.

    • Jeff Lester Jan 25, 2021

      Thanks so much for this, Tom! I can’t speak for Graeme—I have to settle for speaking over him—but this really means a lot as it’s something I’ve told myself on occasion when it’s been hard to find or summon the strength to sit down and spend a couple hours editing my stupidly labored breathing or making semi-coherent show notes about what issue or event we’re about to completely spoil.

      Thanks for listening, and thanks for hanging in there. I’m very glad to know we’re helping.

  19. Dan Billings Jan 26, 2021

    Is Snyder still writing a new JSA book? I know it was announced last summer but it faded from any conversation. Great episode as always!

  20. Colin Taylor Jan 30, 2021

    Long time listener, first time ranter. Jeff please don’t listen to Graeme, follow your instinct and read the Anderson PSI Files, they are brilliant, well the earlier volumes are, I’ll give Jeff volume 5 which does start to go down hill quite steeply. Prior to that though its pretty spot on comics. Especially the first two volumes up to the end of Shamballa that starts volume 2. There is a great deal to love in the rest of volume 2 and volumes 3 and 4.

    The thing that I get from it that Jeff doesn’t seem to its not as bound by Dredd’s world… okay that’s nonsense of course it is literally, of course it is, but what its about is exploring different things and escaping from a view of Dredd’s world through the lens of Dredd. So yes it lurches from religion, to child abuse, to the abuse of power by the Justice Department, to the need to escape yourself and the world that defines you etc etc but as Jeff points out read in real time this will have felt less dramatic as there could be years between stories in real time which makes it feel like development rather than lurching. Even here if you allow yourself to take into account its not meant to be as ‘structured’ as Dredd, but rather deliberatelya vehicle to explore very different things, in a very different way to the main strip it still works read in these volumes.

    Alan Grant crafts a more dramatic and emotional development in Anderson here, if only as it all happens over far fewer pages that the more glacial changes in Dredd. Which given her purpose as a character, and the actual character this makes her, and therefore the stories she serves (or serve her) makes entire sense. Here the Justice Department is used a little as a tool to support the stories so i accept there are moments when you question whether they’d let her back, if she’d get away with x or y. Similar as its not Dredd, Dredd when he’s used he is used for a purpose and that can twist him a little out of shape. Therefore is cool that he’s used pretty sparingly.

    Anyway Blah so what… well all I want to be said is much as I respect soooommmmeee of what Jeff says here he talks poppycock and as such he must be shunned! Snubbed and ignored. Run, run from him, run far away from him and read and enjoy these lovely comics…
    … if nothing else there’s a heck of a LOT of very lovely art.