The Riddler has appeared in comic books, television, animation and feature films. He’s one of the Dark Knight’s most recognizable foes, yet one of the least consistently defined, being depicted as both a manic mentally unstable puzzler, and a cold mercenary thief with a penchant for matching wits with Batman.
They get into the history of the character in his many incarnations, including his kinda-sorta-but-not-really origins as depicted in DC Comics’ Secret Origins Special #1 from 1989.
Loosely based on a novel by Pierre Boulle, this science fiction masterpiece follows a cynical astronaut, played by Charlton Heston, who finds himself stranded on a planet where talking apes rule, and a species of mute, brutish humans are hunted for sport and scientific experimentation.
Mike dives into why this film will forever be his favorite, and how it successfully checks off all of his favorite things — from time travel to courtroom drama to gorillas with rifles — into a timeless piece of cinema.
Mike and Casey sit down with Jeremy Whitman to try to wrap our brains about two strange things that defy description and even logic.
First is a used book Mike snatched up at work — possibly written by someone on an F.B.I. watch list — that is a far-too-comprehensive instructional manual for beating the shit out of people with a maglite flashlight.
And then Mike and Casey try to decompress from the experience of recently watching Nicolas Winding Refn’s bizarre new film, “The Neon Demon.”
“Nothing like it has ever been on Earth before. It came from another planet for the thrill of the hunt. It picked the wrong man.”
It’s time to return to the decade of Reagan with Jeremy Whitman of the Rated80s podcast, and look at one of Arnold’s most iconic action films, 1987’s Predator.
When an elite team of commandos embark on a rescue mission in the South American jungle, they find themselves the prey of an extraterrestrial big game hunter. One by one, they’re slaughtered until only one man remains.
And he’s not about to become the monster’s latest trophy.
Mike and Casey sit down with Kinsey Burke, Patrick Johnson, and Sam Mulvey to bat around a contentious and complicated topic: adaptations, reboots and remakes.
How faithful should a work be to its source material when it’s adapted from one storytelling medium to another? What happens when it deviates over time? What about when a beloved past work is rebooted in ways we cannot stand? Is it really worth getting worked up about, now that the floodgates are open?
And can a bad adaptation transcend the source material and become a wonderful hypnotic disaster? Is it time to make peace with changes to Game of Thrones, and the Ghostbusters remake?
Also, Mike fights — against all odds — to protect a young friend from a 43 year-old movie spoiler.
Mike makes no secret of the fact that he’s a superhero fan, and one of his favorite series was Justice League International, the 1980s incarnation of DC Comics’ premier superhero team. A stark contrast to a lot of the grimness and grittiness that was popular at the time, JLI was a light-hearted and character-centric book starring a collection of second and third tier characters like Blue Beetle, Booster Gold, Guy Gardner, Martian Manhunter, and Mr. Miracle.
“I was an adventurer like you, then I took an arrow in the knee.”
Mike and Casey completely abandon their quests to consolidate their pixelated criminal empires and save the kingdom from dragons, so that they can play darts and brew potions with video game journalist and YouTuberKinsey Burke, and returning panelist Patrick Johnson.
Our non-essential side quest? To dig into the massive phenomenon of Open World Video Games. From Fallout 3, to Skyrim, to Grand Theft Auto V, there is an video games where the storyline is optional and immersive player-initiated exploration are their biggest sell points.
What is the appeal of a game that lets you make your own agenda in a fictional city, or epic fantasy realm or post-apocalyptic future? What are the limits of a game that aspires to let you be and do anything you want?
We’re joined by Ask an Atheist‘s Sam Mulvey, who politely tolerates listening to Mike and Casey talk about Captain America: Civil War. And evidently, both of us take different sides.
And we ask the question, what are conspiracy theorists like in the Marvel and DC Universes? When you live in a world where the president can be — and has been — replaced by an alien duplicate, are there any ideas that left that can make you look like a crackpot?
We wax poetic about the 2004 Denzel Washington vigilante movie, Man on Fire, and how for many years, it was Mike’s Punisher movie.
And Mike says goodbye to legendary comic book creator Darwyn Cooke.
We’re back with a dive into a mythic time — in more ways than one — with Ask an Atheist‘s Sam Mulvey to test our endurance against the herculean labor of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s first starring role, in 1969’s Hercules in New York!
Bored of his idyllic life on Mount Olympus, Greek demigod Hercules provokes his father Zeus into sending him to modern day Earth. There, he beats up longshoremen and bullies college athletes. He eventually becomes a successful professional wrestler, and battles both the machinations of the gods and gangsters alike.
You’ve gotta ask yourself one question: ‘Do I feel lucky?’ Well, do ya, punk?
Mike and Casey sit down with Pól Rua and Greg Hatcher of Comic Book Resources’ Comics Should Be Good blog, for a comprehensive and thoughtful discussion of urban crime and its many complicated causes.
And we talk about how pulp novels and grindhouse cinema recommends fixing these problems. Namely, angry middle-aged men with oversized handguns.
This month, we’re talking about urban vigilante fiction. Hyper-violent anti-heroes pumping thousands of rounds of ammunition into scumbags and drug dealers. From Dirty Harry to Death Wish; from the Punisher to Mack Bolan, we’re digging into the vigilante genre, and asking ourselves: why do bleeding heart liberals like us enjoy this stuff?
Based on the play of the same name, and on the real-life Scopes Monkey Trial, Inherit the Wind tells the story of a small town schoolteacher put on trial for teaching his students Darwin’s theory of evolution to his students. With the town — and the entire country in an uproar — a former populist presidential candidate stands for the prosecution, and a famed civil right attorney for the defense, and sparks fly!
Mike gets into why this is one of his favorite films, how its a refreshing departure from the usual portrayal of atheist/agnostic characters in fiction, and why a movie made in 1960 — and based on events from the 1920s — is frighteningly still relevant today.