0:01-36:20: Greetings! It’s just Jeff and Graeme, so of course we open with Jeff explaining the joke he forgot to make at the opening, and then Graeme starts talking about Below Decks, the current ongoing non-comics obsession of this comics podcast! And this leads to a longer discussion—surprisingly so!—about watching reality television. When we watch reality television, what are watching for? And how do we describe what we’re watching? As is (probably sadly) standard for this podcast, Graeme has the experience, Jeff has the theories, and together they have…a conversation! Also discussed: Colton Underwood coming out as gay; reality show crushes; the first season of Real World; and *much* more.
36:20-52:33: Okay, the reality TV talk is over, but the TV talk continues! Graeme has watched Kid Cosmic over on Netflix (created by Powerpuff Girls maestro Craig McCracken) and thinks (a) Jeff should watch, and (b) it’s a superhero show that also is a little more than just that, and (c) why can’t DC and Marvel make things like this, considering they’re the template for so much of it? Relatedly, Jeff read the first volume of long-running manga megahit Case Closed (also known as Detective Conan) by Gosho Aoyama and sees some surprising similarities!
52:33-1:18:00: A question about the continuity in Case Closed (is it 98 volumes of a teen detective trapped in the body of a little kid *still* having to fool people into listening to him?) leads to Graeme talking about catching up on Judge Dredd from publication year 2018 to the present, and how the “big” stories are handled differently than they used to, how multiple writers have learned how to write Dredd and how the editors at 2000 A.D. have learned how to coordinate multiple editors on Dredd.
1:18:00-1:40:49: Coordination and editorship is something Jeff seizes on, in no small part because he’s recently read to Digital First issues on DC Universe Infinite: the first issue of Sensational Wonder Woman by Stephanie Nicole Phillips and Meghan Hetrick, and Truth and Justice #1 by Geoffrey Thorne and ChrisCross. And he’s a little bummed out about what he sees, quality-wise, from a program DC has had for seven years now. This moves to a discussion about editors being overextended, and the massive percentage of DC’s publishing strategy is Batman (maybe as high as a third?). And so…
1:40:49-1:50:35: Since Tom King’s Batman/Catwoman is one of those titles and since Graeme is a Tom King fan, he talks about it and the other King titles currently running: Rorschach, and Strange Adventures.
1:50:35-2:14:15: “All this,” sez Graeme, “and I haven’t talked about Geiger!” And so begins the great Geiger debate of 2021, in which we discuss the first issue of the Image comic by Geoff Johns and Gary Frank. We both agree it’s terrible, but if that’s the case….then why is Jeff name-dropping Kanye West? And…Jack Kirby? “What’s going on?! You won’t believe it! You’ve heard ‘talking points’ before! You’ve heard ‘rebuttals!’ But you’ve never heard anything like….’The Geiger Counters!?!'”
2:14:15-end: Closing Comments! Oh, but fortunately some things never change: 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 Empress Audrey, Queen of the Galaxy, to whom we are especially grateful for her continuing support of this podcast.
Next week: Skip you, skip me…skip it together…that’s the way it should be… Join us in two weeks for our next episode!
Need a cut? Prefer a paste? Look no further:
I’m not far in yet, but so far as reality telly goes, we had a bit of a mystery on the BBC’s Masterchef: The Professionals last year – a contestant was cut for reasons that weren’t given, and edited out of the episode. Occasionally, a sinister elbow would appear… no amount of Googling explained what had happened.
There was also a whole series centred on woodcutting cancelled after a promotional clip was shown and viewers pointed out that a heavily tattooed contestant appeared to have Nazi numbers on his face. Usefully, it was titled The Chop.
Anyway, looking forward to the Tom King talk and hoping you’ll touch on Supergirl.
I like Kid Cosmic as well. I suppose it’s just the pop culture blender that leaves The Kid looking like a young Paul Williams. Wander Over Yonder seems to be the most direct antecedent to Kid Cosmic, if Graeme hasn’t checked it out.
So far as DC’s dire treatment of their Digital First readers goes, it sounds like Graeme doesn’t know just how bad it’s got during the last six months or so. I cajoled Rich to do a piece at Bleeding Cool, supplying him with some appalling examples:
And Meghan Hetrick seems to have been trying a different approach on that Wonder Woman comic, she’s usually much better (which isn’t to deny that an awful lot of the artists on show aren’t apparently cheap beginners). The Digital First Wonder Woman: Agent of Peace #7, for example, a delightful Etta Candy spotlight by Andrea Shea, looks great as coloured by Arif Prianto. And that line of DC Digital First books never had the broken art issue because they were simply regular comic pages (presumably originally commissioned for the Walmart DC books). I really don’t get the reason DC think their Digital First series should be formatted for landscape tablet views, there’s just no need – but if they are going for that approach, they need to let the artists know).
Haven’t gotten to the end of the first part, but felt the need to ask that Jeff try to erase whatever he remembers from the article he read about argument. A lot of ink has spilled on the topic of argument and its purposes, psycho and social dynamics, relationship to persuasion, etc., and anyone who tries to tell you there’s a strong evolutionary psych theory of argument and its origins is telling you a story designed to support an implicit argument about society that you might not want to sign on to. I’d be especially wary of any discussion of argument that suggests it has origins in trying to free ride on the hard work of others, as that strikes me as a pretext for some pretty dodgy claims about what to think about people who argue against dominant power arrangements.
Now that I’m done playing the scold I’m going to get back to listening.
Nate, thanks for this. I suspect I read the article someplace where your very good points were overwritten by me thinking, “Oh, but I’m reading this in [blank] so they’re just telling me the straight poop.”
Honestly, I took this as less of a scolding and more of a “Get Out of Jail Free” card, so thank you!
Funny enough, the digital series could be a good place for what Graeme suggests. You already have these books centered on Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, etc. Creative teams cycle in and out. Why not have a few rotating teams that can follow their own threads, and those threads can work with the other creative teams’ plans? Got to have a management team that’s really going to keep a close eye on things, though.
I haven’t read Case Closed/Detective Conan, but I feel asking “doesn’t anyone figure out that it’s this kid solving all the mysteries?” can be seen as the same as asking “doesn’t anyone ever figure out that Clark Kent and Superman are the same person?”
I mean…I kinda felt the same? It certainly wasn’t at the top of my list of questions in the first volume…
But I also think I get it, in that Graeme was using a metric of current comics (and by current, I dunno, the last twenty years or so) where it almost seems like those questions have to get asked and answered satisfyingly…which is why the continuity reboots every five years.
Hey, I was just listening, and I got to the part where Graeme “catches up” on all Judge Dredd from 2018 – current, and I’m wondering if “how” to do that? Is that like reading all the Dredd Megazines digitally in that time period? Or 2000ad? Both? It’s not the IDW stuff, right? I’m asking because I haven’t read too much of Dredd, and thought it sounded like a fun thing to do, just not sure about the logistics. :)
Love the show, thanks!
Darren, hopefully Graeme will weigh in but that’s a good question? I sorta assumed he just read the back issues of the Megazine and 2000AD (pretty damn sure it didn’t include the IDW stuff, but it wasn’t just that stuff, if so). But considering he was mentioning how Rebellion collects Dredd stories by writer and team, maybe it’s all in collections?
And I should mention, if you have a tablet and the dosh, getting a digital subscription for either/both and having a weekly comic downloaded for you to read can be quite fun. So that might work for you as well?
Geiger 1 – Best. Review. Ever.
I’ve been saying for a long time that Johns is a remix artist, and your Kanye comparison is spot on. Bless you, boys.
As someone who was there for The Real World’s debut, I appreciated the Below Deck discussion, especially the angle of what is the real narrative versus what the producers want you to see. This podcast is predominantly focused on narrative across various media, so even if it wasn’t comics, I still got something out of it. I remember being disappointed when I learned The Real World held auditions for the cast. “Real” it was not. Weird to think that a certain comics writer of note is an alumnus of that show.
Graeme, thanks for recommending Cosmic Kid. I think I’ll be watching it with my kids soon.
Ah, Detective Conan (Case Closed). I gave it a shot back in the day, and by giving it a shot I mean reading 45 volumes before tapping. To answer Graeme’s question about how they keep his secret, they do some very hand wavy stuff to keep it from getting out, very Silver Age-y. They even go as far as to expand the number of characters who know his secret to the point that it’s everyone but Ran, his love interest, who knows. Where it gets even more like a Silver Age comic is first it introduces a brash teen detective from Osaka who acts as foil/rival to Conan (and who figures out his secret pretty quickly), and even an “evil” version of the teenaged version of Conan in a the form a master thief who is a dead ringer for him.
If you like locked room mysteries or are a fan of Columbo, you’d probably did this series. But the A plot about the people who poisoned him quickly gets pushed to the B plot then D then P the W then Z, until they run out of alphabet and just drop it for long stretches. Most of the episodes are one and done, and it’s fun to see how Conan figures out the Rube Goldbergian ways in which the murders committed their crimes. But it’s not a binge comic, because the overarching narrative is very thin. (I guess one of the strengths of the anime is you can just dip in and out without worrying about continuity because every crime is resolved in one or two episodes, like the Batman ’66 show–another Silver Age connection!) The flaws of the setup can be grating, as in every where Conan goes someone gets murdered! And he has a weakness in that he can only solve murders that happen in front of him. Couple that with the fantastical sci-fi elements in the gadgets the professor makes for him, and it strains credulity. I think Conan has seen more murders in a few months than actually occur in Tokyo in a year. It’s very much the CSI of manga both literally and figuratively. It’s long running, and you can just read some and jump out without having to get hooked on it.
Of interest though, there have been two times when Conan crossed over with Lupin the Third, once in a movie and once in the TV show. It was fun to see how fascist cop-loving Conan deals with the thief who has a heart of gold.
Your discussion about DC being bad at digital single issues and the way Dredd is collected made me think about how terrible DC’s collections were during the initial New 52 phase.
Superman: Action Comics Volume 6: Superdoom collects parts 1, 5, 9, 11, 14, 17, & 18 of 24 part story. No information is given on where to read the other parts and literally the only place you can read several parts of the story are in the Superman: Doomed collection. There is no reason for this collection to exist and nobody should ever buy it.
Batman/Superman Volume 6: Universe’s Finest contains three “unpublished” issues that they’ve numbered 33, 34, & Annual 3.
Batman: Detective Comics Vol. 5: Gothtopia collects the main three issues of that event, but none of the 7 tie-ins. To read those you have to buy the individual collections of four other series. Batgirl Vol. 5: Deadline includes one tie-in issue, as the first issue in the collection, with literally no explanation of what Gothtopia was or where to read the rest of the storyline.
Stuff like those happened again and again and again that I have to assume there was a mandate saying “every issue of a series has to appear in each collection, don’t skip anything.” And sure, okay, but saying “this is part of a crossover, here’s where you can read other parts” seems like a really basic thing to do in a collected edition. I certainly hope DC has gotten better about this in recent years.
I also miss the footnotes in superhero comics that told you which other issues to read.
Ya know what, Graeme, I misremembered the name of the Star Trek cartoon Lower Decks, and so whenever you would talk about Below Decks I thought that was what you were gonna talk about. Then the conversation kept shifting onto this boat show I did remember you having talked about before, and I thought it was just preamble to the Star Trek, a planned comparing of the Star Trek cartoon to reality tv. Though since the talk was all about ships and such, parts of the conversation did become to me about Star Trek, though just as suddenly jerking me back into realizing you were actually talking about reality tv instead. Then you’d mention the title “Below Decks” and I’d think “ah, finally lets hear what Graeme has to say about the Star Trek cartoon Below Decks!” only for you to continue talking about the yacht show. It took me a while to remember that Lower Decks was the name of the cartoon and that Below Decks was actually the name of the yacht, show, so the first part of this episode was actually a pretty weird listen for me.