Fun Size Episode 41 – Clown Ronin

We sit down some more with Patrick Johnson to share our mixed feelings about Todd Phillips’ bleak and controversial Joker film.

We dig a bit into the film’s strong lead performance by Joaquin Phoenix and its very on-its-sleeve cinematic inspirations from films like Taxi Driver, Death Wish and the King of Comedy, and try to figure out whether it actually works or not. Does it transcend both its pastiche elements and its comic book origins, or is it a well-made and ambitious mess?

The answer is…complicated.

Black Ops Episode 16 – An Infinite Loop of a Second Act [CLIP]

In our new episode, exclusive to our Patreon supporters, we talking about endings!

First, we want your opinion on a very important Patreon crowdfunding question!

We chat a bit about Henry Cavill taking on the lead role in a Netflix Witcher series, and why Disney should make one less live-action remake and do some good in the world!

And finally, we look at recent pop culture endings — Game of Thrones, Avengers: Endgame, Deadwood, the Walking Dead comic book, and the Fox X-Men franchise — and look ahead to future endings with Quentin Tarantino’s to-be-produced tenth and final film.

What stuck the landing, and what left us cold?

To unlock this episode in its entirety — and many episodes more! — just support us on Patreon with at least one measly dollar a month!

Join us!

Episode 39 – Spider-Man

“Spins a web, any size. Catches thieves, just like flies.”

This month, we’re web-slinging through New York with the Fire and Water Network‘s Ryan Daly and Tobiah Panshin of the House of Jack and Stan podcast. We’re climbing the wall over Marvel’s revolutionary and relatable comic book hero: the Amazing Spider-Man!

From his beginnings in a cancelled anthology comic by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko in 1962, Spidey has exploded into multimedia superstardom, and changed the superhero genre forever. He’s headlined literally thousands of comic book issues, seven feature films, and countless animated shows. He’s been a company mascot, a parade balloon, a breakfast cereal, a cartoon pig, and even the star of his own failed Broadway musical.

We dig into all things pertaining to the web-head, try to figure out if the Daily Bugle is a reputable news source, and try to answer that question: is Spider-Man hero, or menace?

Music: 
“Main Titles/Costume Montage” from Spider-Man (2002) by Danny Elfman

Black Ops Episode 13 – Some Stuff in the Basement [CLIP]

In our latest episode, exclusive to our Patreon supporters, we empty the basement.

Mike has been a dedicated, lifelong comics book and superhero fan. And he’s been thrilled to see these characters and stories play out on the big screen… or he did. So he sits down with Casey to talk about how superhero cinema — even most of the “good stuff” — is leaving him feeling pretty blase and desensitized.

It’s a conversation that’s been brewing for at least a year, and Mike wants to get all of it out of his system. He’s sick of complaining about Marvel and Zack Snyder on podcasts, so he attempts in one conversation to purge all of it out of his system in one go. One last time, for our sanity’s sake.

Pray for us.

To unlock this episode in its entirety — and many episodes more! — just support us on Patreon with at least one measly dollar a month!

Join us!

Fun Size Episode 29 – Fighting the Adam West Fight

We jump back into the fray with Greg Hatcher, to talk debate the merits of Star Trek Discovery, the future of the franchise and what we want from a Trek property.

We also look at the trailer for the new streaming Titans series, and wonder why such a fun property would want to be dour and overserious. Why do so many fans –and even creators — just miss the point?

Black Ops Episode 9 – You Are Not a Mistake

In what is an ultra-MEGA-sized two-and-a-half hour episode, exclusive to our Patreon supporters, we really run the gamut.

First, we talk about  popular culture we loved as kids, but are afraid to revisit, because we fear it won’t survive adult scrutiny. In Mike’s case that means a series of epic fantasy novels that he suspects both really hold up in some way, and really really really don’t in other.

We then talk about the evolving nature of stand-up comedy and the divergent attitudes of comics like Jerry Seinfeld, and Hannah Gadsby — and how many older comedians seem to desire to be “above” politics or social commentary. Is that even possible or desirable?

Do genre stories like science fiction and superheroes have a responsibility to touch on questions of social and cultural importance? Why do the calls for political neutrality usually seem to mask a right-wing agenda?

We get into bad movie theater experiences that stretches Mike’s aversion to confrontation to the breaking point, and dive into the thorny issues of intellectual property and online piracy.

And finally, things get a bit emotional when we talk about how profoundly powerful and deeply intimate the new documentary about Mister Rogers is.

To hear this episode — and many more! — just support us on Patreon with at least one measly dollar a month!

Join us!

Fun Size Episode 26 – A Continuity Gumbo of Nonsense

While Casey has to run upstairs and be a dad, Mike continues his talk with Joe Preti and Tobiah Panshin for a full-throated bitch-sesh about the state of the comic book industry. From Marvel and DC’s refusal to change its accessibility, sales methods and whether its time to give up the ghost of the monthly issue, we wonder if the current superhero output from those two great companies just isn’t for us anymore.

And is DC Comics secretly a doomsday cult trying to provoke Alan Moore into ending the world?

Plus, we talk about cartoon voice actors and try to make heads or tails out of the design of K.I.T.T. from Knight Rider.

Black Ops Episode 7 – The Twilight of the Pamphlet

In this extra-sized episode exclusive to our Patreon supporters, we talk more with View from the GuttersTobiah Panshin about the past, present and possible future of comic books as a medium and an industry.

We talk about how old Marvel letter columns reveal both angry letters from Tobiah’s mom, and how Wolverine was initially the least popular X-Men character. We react to the puzzling tirades about “SJWs” taking over superhero comics, and reflect on how we can balance the toxic attitudes of creators like Frank Miller and Dave Sim against their groundbreaking work and where he puts them in comics history.

And finally, we wonder if it’s time for American comic books to abandon the floppy monthly issue format and fundamentally change if Marvel and DC are going to survive for future generations

To hear this episode — and many more! — just support us on Patreon with at least one measly dollar a month!

Join us!

Fun Size Episode 24 – By the Way, I Have a Plan to Kill You

We’re joined again by Tobiah Panshin for a stream-of-consciousness style talk about swearing on cable television, the portrayal of violence and smoking in Marvel Comics, and how the hell we’re supposed to pronounce Ra’s Al Ghul’s name.

We also try to square Batman’s paradoxical career as a street level urban vigilante with his sci-fi adventures with the Justice League; and his role as the loving patriarch of a Bat-family who also had a predilection for dreaming up hypothetical schemes for killing his super-powered friends.

Fun Size Episode 18 – A Nesting Doll of Weird

We continue our talk with Greg Hatcher and dive into the world of comic books and beyond!

We reminisce about Marvel’s 1970s misfit superhero team, the Defenders, and an absolutely batshit tale from writer Steve Gerber that includes stolen brains, absurd body horror, elves with guns, and the soul of an evil wizard trapped in the body of a baby deer!

Plus, we look at the strange turn that comic book scribe Mark Millar’s work has taken in his new series Huck, which is a radical departure from his regularly shocking, cynical and violent stories.

We talk about fan entitlement and the ups and downs of finite vs. ongoing storytelling.

Fun Size Episode 17 – Unforgiven Meets Little Miss Sunshine

We continue our chat with Joe Preti, and give our spoiler-iffic review of Hugh Jackman’s final turn as the mutant superhero Wolverine in Logan.

Have we hit peak superhero at the box office? Can a comic book adaptation transcend being just being a fun, popcorn crowd-pleaser, and become an emotionally potent piece of art? Is it time for the studios to stop bombarding us with constant references, callbacks and post-credit scenes, and just make a compelling story with powerfully written characters and strong performances?

Spoiler: The answer to all of these questions is yes.

Plus, we get derailed talking about Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. And try really, really, really hard to say something nice about it. Oh, boy.

Podcasta la Vista, Baby! Episode 6 – Batman & Robin

Batman_&_Robin_Poster

Allow me to break the ice. My name is Freeze. Learn it well, for it is the chilling sound of your doom!

We slide into our sculpted rubber bat-suits with Joe Preti of the View from the Gutters comic book podcast to sink our teeth into Arnold Schwarzenegger’s infamous comic book movie, Batman and Robin!

Gotham City’s be-nippled champions, Batman and Robin, take some time off from bickering with each other to battle a deadly duo of supervillains. In one corner, Poison Ivy, a hammy ecoterrorist with fatal kisses. And in the other corner, Mr. Freeze, a giant blue Austrian armed with a freeze ray and an even deadlier collection of ice puns.

Fun Size Episode 13 – A Digital Effects Orgasma-Ganza

sodense

The bad news is that due to a technical snafu, we won’t be able to share a new full episode with you this month. The good news is that we were joined in the studio by Sam Mulvey for a wide ranging conversation about random goodness — and badness.

We dive into a talk about why we’d like to see filmmaker Quentin Tarantino tackle a science fiction film, and the recent wrongful framing of Pepe the Frog as a racist icon. We also talk about why it’s just weird to pull your pants all the way down to pee at a urinal, and  we compare the highs and lows of Zack Snyder and Frank Miller.

Plus, Sam hates movies! We look at the state of current Hollywood blockbusters and ask: does every theatrically-released movie in the world have to be so damned big?

Fun Size Episode 12 – I’m Just Here for Ka-Ching!

sonnychiba

We continue our talk with Matt Goodman and Matthew Amster-Burton, and get into topics ranging from advertising characters transitioning into movie characters, and why the ultimate thing an actor can do is be photographed holding a skull.

We also get into weird meta-fiction in everything from Batman to Kurt Vonnegut to Will Ferrell movies, where the author themselves become characters directing the action.

Plus, we look at the renewed optimism — both in and about — Star Trek. Not only the return of the utopian aspirational science fiction future, but also how Justin Lin may have course-corrected a second movie franchise with Star Trek Beyond.

Mike Returns to the Secret Origins Podcast!

riddlercoverMike is back on the Secret Origins Podcast to talk with host Ryan Daly about one of a trio of Batman’s iconic villains: the punctuation-garbed Riddler!

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.

Check it out!