Wait, What?, Ep. 313 — Wisdom, Tenacity, Focus

February 28, 2021

0:01-6:39: Greetings!  As the kids used to say: Who’s Zoomin’ Who? By which I mean—Graeme deflects blame for poor recording processes that have been plagued us. And if you’ve listened more than a minute and a half and are wondering if this “as the kids used to say” opening here is my attempt to imagine an alternate world where Jeff’s choice of “as the kids used to say” phrase led Graeme down the rabbit hole of Don Was’s career rather than Vanilla Ice’s? So am I! Discussed: Rob Van Winkle.
6:39-23:52: Jeff’s attempts to enjoy “Graeme McMillan Unplugged” (not a lost installment of the popular MTV series of concerts but rather just the way Graeme is living life at the moment) is marred by the fact that although Graeme doesn’t necessarily know what’s happening in comics news, he is able to show off books he’s read before the rest of us and talk extensively yet also elliptically about them. Case in point: Infinite Frontier #0! Discussed: Infinite Frontier #0! Also: Moving forward nostalgically, the five to ten year cycle of full and partial reboots for DC, getting what you want but also kinda hoping you’d have gotten something different, and more.
23:52-34:30: I don’t know if you saw that article where Dan Jurgens had some choice quotes about the Linearverse? But Jeff did and was pretty damn confused and, frankly, troubled. If like Jeff, you’re worried about what it might mean for the DCU and how it ties in to Infinite Frontier, you’ll appreciate the info and context Graeme’s able to provide. Also discussed: some announced publishing projects forthcoming from DC.
34:30-37:23: Jeff also wonders about Marvel—are things as quiet over there as it seems to feel to him? God bless Graeme who, again, despite not doing this for a living at the moment (and is in fact mostly taking some time away to recharge the batteries) knows more than Jeff and fills us in.
37:23-38:29: Also! We would probably be remiss if we didn’t mention the teaming of Ta-Nehisi Coates and J.J. Abrams for a Superman movie! Yes, okay, that’s a good point. Far be it from us to be remissing! Also discussed: a Blue Beetle movie? Yep!

38:29-1:01:57: But yeah, it’s definitely mostly on a “cursory mention” side of things, we admit…because we are off to the races with discussion about Justice League: the Joss Whedon version just rewatched by Graeme!
1:01:57-1:11:43: Ah, but then! Graeme reveals he also rewatched Green Lantern, that Ryan Reynolds thing from way back! (Well, re-re-watched it.) And whereas he initially liked it and then on rewatching did not, now is back to liking it on re-rewatching. I mean, that’s fine, right? People are allowed to like what they like right? WELL, NOT IF JEFF HAS ANYTHING TO SAY ABOUT IT! Discussed: Green Lantern, but also those two Fantastic Four movies directed by Tim Story way back in that long lost time of 2005 and 2007; Hector Hammond’s secret identity as…Hector Hammond; and more.

1:11:43-1:21:33: On the other hand, Graeme has also watched two movies, one of which is probably the among the greatest superhero movies we have, Magic Mike and Magic Mike XXL. Also discussed: Ted Lasso (finally, Jeff’s watched it!); It’s a Sin (but still hasn’t watched this); The Little Things on HBO Max; and more.
1:21:33-1:40:12: “I’m curious, did you read the Milestone book?” Graeme asks, thus alerting Jeff to the arrival on Comixology of Milestone Returns #0, a book that arrived on the system only the day prior! Anyway, as of this editing, Jeff still hasn’t read it (though he has purchased a copy, like, pronto) but Graeme runs us through the issue and how they’ve adjusted things with this reboot.
1:40:12-1:54:24: Jeff is partway through the very recent Richard Dragon, Kung-Fu Fighter: Coming of The Dragon collection and he sees some interesting connections between the Milestone books and this old ’70s title…but maybe not in the ways you might expect? (Although full points to Graeme for not only putting up with Jeff’s blather, but mentioning Batman: Soul of the Dragon, the recently released DC animated film that almost certainly explains this collection’s release).
1:54:24-2:25:12: Talking about Richard Dragon (and wondering when the individual issues might hit DC Universe Infinite) leads us to talking about reading stuff on streaming. Graeme has been reading on Marvel Unlimited the current Amazing Spider-Man run written by Nick Spencer. This more or less moves into our speed round, as Jeff goes on to talk about Marvel Action Chillers #1 (also on Unlimited), and the first six issues of The Brave And The Bold from 2007 by Mark Waid and George Perez, in part because of the persistent rumors going around along the lines of “a collective of wealthy fans are going to buy the publishing rights to DC and they’re going to put Mark Waid in charge as EIC” and in part because Jeff would like to be more like Graeme who has the knack of reading not-great material in bulk and extracting things of interest from it. And this leads us into a larger discussion about Waid, Bob Haney, comics that are fun and comics that are “fun.”
2:25:12-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 (and if you want to read the article Jeff references in his comments, here it is!
Next week: Another week! Another episode! Another Wait to What over! Join us!

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12 comments on “Wait, What?, Ep. 313 — Wisdom, Tenacity, Focus

  1. Jeff Lester Feb 28, 2021
    • Dan Billings Mar 9, 2021

      Thanks for talking about your attention span struggles. I have been dealing with that for a while too and I asked you during a Q&A how to refresh and your advice to find something to remind you of why you love something really did help. Now, I push myself to read things that are difficult to get through (not because of quality, just attention span problems) and also peppering in fun things, like video games or sitting in the yard. It’s been a weird release the last few months but also I don’t know where my tension should go. The struggle is real, but sometimes that cooking music in Zelda is all you need to breathe.

  2. Random recommendation: Infinity 8, a science fiction series from Lewis Trondheim and a who’s who of European comics artists. The high concept is that an intergalactic cruise ship runs across a graveyard the size of a solar system. The captain of the ship is from a species that can open up parallel timelines for eight-hour stretches, at which point they can either rewind back to the start or continue down that timeline. They can do this up to eight times.

    There are eight books in the series. Trondheim wrote the high-concept and bridging dialogue, then collaborated with a series of writer/artist teams who produced the individual volumes. The individual stories are very different and it really sticks the landing in an unexpected way.

  3. OMG I needed this episode! I’ve been doing the superhero thing for 4 decades and for some reason I can’t make any sense of WTF is going on in the DCU. I never thought aging out of the capes & tights scene would look like this. I thought I’d just wistfully trail off leaving it all for the next generation. Instead it feels like this combination of Mandela Effect and gaslighting and pure speed of change. Jesus, I’m in my mid-40s and I’m looking at all of this shit and I’m thinking “Thanks, I hate it”?

    What I am thankful for is you guys sorting it and getting to the choicest cuts. Ultimately I think my experience will wind up being drifting away from comics and following comics-adjacent material (podcasts, Marvel movies, etc) to scratch the itch. Oh, and metric shitloads of back issues. I remember coming into contact with what I’ve become: old. :)

  4. Nate A. Mar 2, 2021

    I liked Jeff’s assessment of Marvel Unlimited vs. D.C. Infinite. The former is rickety and the database can be hard to search, but the latter just isn’t well indexed, (search really isn’t effective), and I find the collection really hard to skim. Comics series appear as tiles (either alphabetically or chronologically), and when you go into a book you can’t easily go back; you usually get bounced back to the main list, and not even to the title you selected, but to the beginning. So if you dipped into the wrong version of Metal Men and want to go back, the interface sends you back to the “A’s,” which means you have to scroll through a billion Batman series to get back to where you were. It’s aggressively bad user interface, and I’m going to discontinue the service because of it. It just bums me out.

  5. Matthew Murray Mar 2, 2021

    Okay! Time to put on my research hat!

    “Kung-Fu Master Richard Dragon- Dragon’s Fists” is listed as “Co-written and copyrighted by Dennis O’Neil and James R. Berry” in Michigan State University’s catalogue. Also, the publisher (Tandem) doesn’t seem to have been or become part of Warner Bros. Back Issue #49 says “It’s also unfortunate that O’Neil, who wrote all but two issues, is reluctant to look back on the series due to legal considerations regarding the title character.” (but if there’s any more info there I can’t see it in the preview). I can’t find any more details on this anywhere.

    Milestone! So far the only issues available digitally are ones that DC had previously collected about a decade ago. (So, two Icon trades of non-consecutive issues, one of Static, and one of Hardware). Blood Syndicate has never been collected, so it’s more work on DC’s (or someone) part to make them available. Blood Syndicate #1 is listed on Comixology as coming out next week (along with issues of Hardware, Static, and Icon, though there’s no cover. I can’t find any other Milestone series listed as “coming soon”, but you can still buy the 2011 Xombi series (which I thought was good).

  6. Voord 99 Mar 2, 2021

    Like our hosts, but perhaps more so, I have a certain amount of affection for those early 2000’s Fantastic Four films, although like Jeff Lester, it’s really more the first one. And I think they touched on it when Graeme McMillan brought up the appeal to the fabled eight-year old.

    That first film isn’t a good film for adults, but when watching it, I can’t help but feel that it would have been a film that I absolutely would have adored when I was a child. These were created to be children’s characters — it’s OK for filmmakers to approach them as that, and not try to burden them with more significance. The film does a good job with Ben Grimm, Johnny Storm is fun, the other two are effective as the straight man and straight woman, and when you get down to it, I don’t know that Doom is really filmable, anyway. Honestly, on the level on which that film is trying to work, it works fine.

  7. Miguel Corti Mar 4, 2021

    When I listen to a Wait, What episode, I’m mentally prepared to engage with a conversation on topics I’m not prepared for. Long-time listeners will remember the hour-long discussion of the show Misfits, which, at the time, only Jeff and Graeme had seen. I even remember the 30-minute discussion of country songs that pre-date the Ford administration. And with the upcoming release of the Snyder Cut, it was only inevitable you would discuss superhero films from days gone by until now. But nothing–and I mean nothing–could have prepared my gentle ears for hearing a defense of that terrible, terrible Green Lantern movie. I almost crashed my bike into a wall once Graeme let out with, “But you know…” Still, I can see his point. Moreso, I can see Jeff’s point on how the whole film is just a collection of missed opportunities.

    The first few times Graeme said “It’s A Sin,” I thought he had said “Binge Sin.” Unfortunately, there’s no TV show called that. I looked.

    I’m looking forward to checking out those Milestone collections when they drop. (Not sure about this new stuff, although Graeme’s enthusiasm has me piqued my curiosity.) I remember checking the series out when they first debuted, mainly on the strength of the creators, but giving up on them pretty quickly. Not because they were bad, but because by the time Milestone debuted, I was pretty much done with superhero comics. I mean I was so done I flat out refused to pick up Alan Moore’s Supreme and Wild C.A.T.S. runs, something I now regret. I’m glad DC is doing something with those characters, but more importantly I hope they do right by their creators.

  8. Shadavid Mar 5, 2021

    At this point all I recall of the Green Lantern movie was the Auditorium of Overcompensation the Guardians have. Nice bit of canonical nonsense.
    Thinking about Mark Waid being in charge of DC, I just get stuck wondering if he’s the contemporary Roger Stern

  9. Shadavid Mar 7, 2021

    Just read Asadora! volume 1. It’s got me excited, but ‘Naoki Urasawa has produced a good manga’ is definitely a ‘dog bites man’ story.

  10. I found Infinite Frontier all but unreadable and insular to the point of devouring its own tale (pun intended). Its art style reflected its writing style, mistaking density for substance, and tonally identical. The only part that was readable to me we’re the three pages written and drawn by Joelle Jones and coloured by Jordie Bellaire, having space and contrast. Going ahead I imagine their Wonder Girl will be the only DC comic I’ll be reading for the foreseeable future.

    For all the talk of comparing Infinite Frontier to the Marvel Point Ones from around ten years ago I’d say the better comparison is 1997 Marvel as a whole: directionless, inward looking and misunderstanding the definition of fun.

    In terms of who should be the EIC of DC I’d posit that the best candidate was sacked toward the end of last year, Michelle Wells. She oversaw the most readable line of DCComics for over a decade in the YA books, and had a fresh eye unbeholden to fandom or continuity. But continuity will always win out and in however long DC has left as a directly controlled Warner Bros entity it will spend its time thinking stories trying to explain its own fictional history are far more important than anything even remotely human. When was the last time a relatable love story was told within the pages of a regular DC comic? Instead let’s give Supergirl an axe/sword (delete where applicable) as an external visualisation of angst.

    Finally, in my honest opinion the biggest problem with any Fantastic Four film is trying to build it as a traditional superhero movie (origin, villain, cgi climax). The perfect template for an FF film is A Hard Days night: a day in the life of beloved celebrities trying to maintain as ordinary existence as possible while it keeps being interrupted by external forces. And above all else, fun.

    In the meantime, once again thanks to you both for allowing us to eavesdrop on your friendship. It genuinely puts a smile on my face (in a good way) and makes life better for the two plus hours I listen to it and is deeply appreciated. Take are.

  11. Josh Lambert Mar 15, 2021

    I don’t know if you all look at comments on the site after a certain period, but I usually listen to these about 2-3 weeks after they’re posted. As far as a recommendation, have either of you read Copra by Michel Fiffe? Only superhero comic I read after giving up even a cursory attempt to follow new Marvel/DC 10 years ago. Takes some familiar beats and facsimiles early on into something now completely it’s own 40 issues in. It’s always been awesome, and visually, at the top of any type of action comics out there. Also on comixology.