00:00-10:21: Greetings! Podcast chum and all-around good egg Chloe Maveal joins us for Pride 2022, and ho ho ho we hope you like messy episodes because Jeff brings *the mess* to this episode! But first, let’s start us with this, dear listener, the greetings of one another and in our secret way (or so I like to think while editing and composing these show notes) the greeting of you as well!
10:21-25:55: “Community theater done by teens is the best thing that’s ever happened,” declares Chloe (correctly) and Jeff takes this as his cue to ask for Graeme and Chloe’s feelings about Dead Again, the 1991 “thriller” directed by and starring Kenneth Branagh. Jeff isn’t sure if it’s camp or crap, and Graeme and Chloe aren’t sure why Jeff isn’t sure—Graeme in particular feels comfortable in pronouncing it definitely crap—but as has happened in the past, Jeff’s inability to understand or wield the tool called camp leads to some discussiong of that and good ol’ (by which we mean bad ol’) Dead Again. (With some bonus slagging of the movie Belfast.)
25:55-31:27: And here we have some Pride related questions from Jeff about the much-talked-about Homosexual Agenda, Our Flag Means Death, reappropriating “No Homo,” and more that you may well find to be a light-but-cringey precursor of our serious-but-probably-also-cringey conversation to come. (Get excited!)
31:27-37:32: So based on Chloe’s answers, it’s probably better I don’t pay money to subscribe to the Homosexual Agenda Substack? And that leads us into a brief spot of discussion about Grant Morrison’s Substack, including which of the three of us gets called out by name as one of their favorite comics journalists. (Plus: bonus John Wagner content! And bonus bonus Earth Girls Are Easy content, as well as a quick review of Pistols, the Danny Boyle directed relatively entertaining five part miniseries about the Sex Pistols).
37:32-43:23: And Danny Boyle and the Sex Pistols, it seems like an easy jump to Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis, and from there a bit of joyful blab about the Oeuvre de Baz generally.
43:23-1:49:11: Book time! Comic book time! For Chloe’s appearance, we agreed in advance to read the first appearance of Devlin Waugh from 1992—Swimming in Blood by John Smith and Sean Phillips. Jeff is asked first what he thought, and his answer includes Tom Hardy, and some worrying inferences he drew about the staging and about Waugh. The far more aware G&C talk in turn about the Terry Thomas and camp (and perhaps if Jeff had seen or remembered seeing Terry Thomas and had caught on to the star’s influence on Devlin’s appearance and mannerisms); the period in 2000 AD this was published in (not quite contemporaneous with, but certainly part of the run up to, the infamous “Summer Offensive” of 1993); antiheroes as “bad” people or “not good” people; Jeff’s apparent sexual hang-ups about underwater vampires; Morrissey, young and old; and oh so much more.
1:49:11-2:05:45: As for *this* century’s contribution to comics and Pride, we have…the DC Pride: Tim Drake Special #1? Graeme has read it, Chloe and Jeff have not, and it moves into a problem at least two of us are having with cape comics these days—just too much insularity, and (maybe?) not enough work being put on the page to sell readers who are not already sold? But on the other hand, Crush and Lobo sounds pretty good and, as Graeme puts it, “the reader doesn’t have to do all the work?”
2:05:45-2:15:00: PIVOT! To the world’s weirdest announcement from Marvel—they are doing Planet of the Apes comics again! Of course, Graeme is curious as to Jeff’s thoughts what with Jeff being as a big POTA fan as he is….and the Jeff’s thoughts may perhaps match yours: “Why?!” What in God’s name are you thinking, Marvel?”
2:15:00-end: Closing comments! Graeme’s newsletter (https://www.getrevue.co/profile/ComicsFYI!) Stitcher! Itunes! Instagram! Twitter together and separately: Graeme and Jeff! (and Chloe, but also check out the excellent writing available through her Patreon!) 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: Drokk! Read Judge Dredd The Complete Case Files Vol. 36 and join us here next week!!
I’m all for the Belfast slagging, but Dead Again is kind of wonderful.
As soon as I saw DEAD AGAIN as a discussion subject, I knew “Jeff plays the Box Office Game.”
No one will *ever* believe me, but it genuinely popped up in my head the day before the Box Office Game had a week with it!
I quite liked Belfast. I may have been sentimentally biased as my grandpa Wylie grew up a few streets away from where it was set, but taken as an obviously romantised story it was fine. I say ‘obviously’ since we were in the no smoking part of 1960s Northern Ireland, which tipped me off at about the 10 minute mark. People would have been smoking everywhere, on the buses, in the hospital, at the cinema, everywhere and all the time. The reconciliation scene between ma and da really underlines that some of this memories have become gilded in the recollection. Opinions differ and that’s the fun, however anyone who doesn’t recognise the wonder of the older brother and that he deserves an award for ‘most Belfast face on film’ is just wrong.
Mention of Romeo and Juliet and Branagh (Much Ado About Nothing) means I get to ask if the motif of a religious figure suggesting that the answer to your problems is to pretend you’re dead for a few days and then coming back (see also Measure for Measure, but big trigger warning!) is as pointed as my reading of it.
With all the talk of the things going into Devlin Waugh, I was surprised there was no mention of Evelyn Waugh. I feel a bit nervous bringing it up, like I’m insulting people, because actually he’s a global household name, but can’t help myself.
Thick skin. I became aware I was attracted to boys as well as girls when I was 13 in 1972. I was surrounded by a virulently contemptuous culture. I didn’t think it had got to me until nearly 50 years later I found myself weeping at how hard it had been. I’ve a gay friend who is pulled to make appalling jokes about every dreadful thing he hears. He’s also probably the most compassionate man I know when he’s in a position to do something. He’s a game of two halves.
Thanks for this lovely comment, Shadavid! I appreciate the extra context on all the topics you mention!
Belfast is the film that was put on earth specifically for my father. It’s a bit too sentimental for me. But my father is from a not dissimilar community to the one portrayed in the film (he’s older than Branagh, and had left earlier, and the working-class Protestant area in which he lived was more of a housing estate, but there are commonalities), and he loved it. He was just really happy to see anything about Belfast that reflected him and his childhood onscreen.
It was curious to me to read American reviews, some of which didn’t quite seem to get that the film was about Northern Irish Protestants and not just a generic “Irish” story as Americans understand that. It’s a curiously uncompromising film, because it doesn’t actually explain the history it depicts. It throws around e.g. “the B Specials” as if everyone knows what that means, and frankly I doubt many people in England, Scotland, or Wales know that, let alone people in the US.
Also, “It’s biological!” is a good line.
As a cis hetero guy in my 40s who tries to be open-minded but is kind of clueless sometimes, I didn’t find Devlin Waugh: Swimming in Blood to be homophobic. He’s not a paragon of virtue, but he’s the smartest and toughest character in the story. Having that character be a gay was probably revolutionary in 1992. Hell, it’s still uncommon. The closest descendent in comics is probably The Midnighter.
If you take out the one line about being raised to be misogynist (which I thought was supposed to be tongue in-cheek), I found him to be cheerfully misanthropic. Also, the vampires in the story were not portrayed as sexy, they acted more as gross cannon fodder than anything else.
– Most American readers would not have the historical/cultural context re: English entertainers and homosexuality. Thanks for explaining, Graeme & Chloe!
– Most modern readers don’t have the other ’90s 2000 AD strips to compare it to. Similarly, most American readers don’t know much (if anything) about John Smith.
– I think Judge Dredd & other 2000 AD characters have had limited success in the USA because the tone of most strips can be cynical, nasty, and bleak. I can see Jeff’s p.o.v. when viewed through that lens. The “cuddly” anti-heroes of American entertainment tend to lack nuance while adding sympathetic back stories or motivations. Killing bad guys while rejecting polite society and a right to a fair trial seems to be the point.
Thanks for another good listen, I’m so sorry to hear about Chloe and Graeme’s loss. My other half, Steve, always worries when the cats go in for dental work. I hope Chloe’s son is OK.
On to happier subjects, I loved Dead Again, saw it when it came out – it was very watchable and entertainingly daft, with it’s cheesy twist and Grand Guignol acting.
How do you feel about Absolute Beginners? That was Julien Temple-directed, wasn’t it? I suspect I’m the only fan, but I really enjoyed the brazen artificiality of it all.
I’ve not heard that Tom Hardy is a terrible person. How can he be, he did the CBeebies bedtime story?
When you bring up a film or comic for a long discussion, could you give us a quick précis at the top, as a reminder or primer? I know nothing about Devlin Waugh: Swimming in Blood bar the title character*, or films such as Showgirls and Earth Girls Are Easy. Sometimes it seems Wait What assumes a canon of pop culture to which we’ve all been exposed. It isn’t so.
I’m interested to hear that Chloe reckons ‘queer’ is OK to be reclaimed but ’faggot’ isn’t. I’m ok with ‘queer’ now, having grown up with it as an insult but how is ‘faggot’ different? Both would often be accompanied by a punch in the face. In my experience it’s never been a popular UK insult, perhaps because ‘faggot’ is a hilarious piece of meat produced by one Mr Brain.
Chloe is spot on about the trend for heroes to be gay or bi or otherwise and writers assuming that’s enough to be considered a ‘story’. Give us an actual point, or just let it be background as CIS tends to be.
I’m not sure we really need a Pride episode or Wait What, just integrate LBGTetc material throughout the year.
I do disagree with Graeme that there’s anything off about a non-gay writer like Bendis revealing that Bobby was gay, or Hickman and the polycule business. This is like the ‘only gay actors can play gays’ argument, which is trying too hard to write wrongs. Let’s have more opportunities for traditionally silenced voices, but don’t tell everyone who doesn’t tick a certain box they can’t play too. Unless writers want to specialise in a subset of society, they have to be allowed to wrote about the whole world and all kinds of people; if they get it badly, hubristically wrong, they’ll be called on it, but meanwhile, no ghettos please. As a chap who happens to be gay, I don’t want to be told I can mouth off on only queer stuff, or should be interested in certain things (such as, say, drag).
* Mind, Graeme had me at ‘musclebound people sweating’.
Thanks, everyone, for your comments and insights!
I thought this episode had either gone unlistened to, unloved, or uncommented upon—but it turns out gmail just decided every comment notification I got was instead spam.