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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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?
In the shadow of our Batman discussion, Mike and Casey continue their discussion with Joe Preti and Pól Rua. We dig into the weapons-grade weirdness of comic book writer Grant Morrison, and why his work probably shouldn’t be your introduction to the medium.
We get into the contrast of revolutionary artistic experimentation vs. conventional competence that doesn’t reinvent the wheel.
We dive into the stick and meta-textual question of comic book continuity, and whether it’s better to hold a Crisis on Infinite Earths-style event to get rid of story elements you don’t want to keep, or whether it’s better to simply ignore them without explanation.
And finally, how exactly did the Ewoks perceive the Battle of Endor at the end of the Return of the Jedi?
Criminals are superstitious and cowardly lot, so Mike and Casey are joined in the Batcave to compare case notes with our friend Pól Rua, and first-time panelist, Joe Preti of the View from the Gutters podcast. Our topic, DC Comics’ Caped Crusader, Batman.
We dig into the character’s ridiculous versatility and unique ability to upend the normal rules for the suspension of disbelief. From the campy do-goodery of Adam West to Frank Miller’s dark avenger of the night, we discuss the wide range of tone and genre that the character has had in his seven decades of publication.
This is the podcast you deserve, but maybe not the one you need right now.
On one of our last Fun Sized episodes, Mike announced the first Radio vs. the Martians! “non-test.” It’s like a contest, just without prizes or promotion, because of our crippling fear that no one would actually enter it.
Thank you for proving Mike wrong!
So, we wanted to see your Frank Miller-style reinterpretations of childhood favorites and all ages media characters.
It’s B-roll time, as we wrap up the Watchmen discussion with Sam Mulvey and Rob Kelly.
We get a little bit more into why Zack Snyder’s movies fail — and why they also don’t fail enough to be fun or interesting. We talk about Uwe Boll’s recent crowdfunding meltdown, Steve Ditko’s Objectivist superhero, Mr. A, and why you should be able to hear criticism of your favorite things like a grown-up.
We talk about the possible consequences of Disney’s purchases of Marvel and Lucasfilm, and wonder how truly terrifying it would be to have to repossess the American Nazi Party’s “Hate Bus.”
“Dog carcass in alley this morning, tire tread on burst stomach. This city is afraid of me. I have seen its true face.”
Mike and Casey are charging our electric cars, voting for Richard Nixon, and getting a booth in the Gunga Diner with Ask an Atheist‘s Sam Mulvey, and Rob Kelly of the Fire and Water Podcast. Our topic, the 1986 mini-series that has been labeled “the greatest comic book of all time,” Alan Moore and Dave Gibbon’s Watchmen.
We dig into the series’ aggressive and intentionally unflattering deconstruction of the superhero genre, the often uncomfortable morality and motivations of its characters, and the controversial and underwhelming 2009 Zack Snyder film adaptation.
*for those interested in donating to a great cause we mention on the podcast, please check out the Hero Intiative.
The Fire and Water Podcast is a really fun show and probably has the best interactive community of any podcast I’ve ever heard. They talk about their respective favorite characters in particular, and usually DC Comics in general. But this time they did something a little different.
Mike sat down via Skype with Rob Kelly – of the Aquaman half of the show – to talk about a weird and complicated issue: comic book continuity.
In short, Mike make the argument that comics would be all the better for dropping a line-wide shared universe where everything is supposed to fit together, and just letting the creators interpret the characters and stories in their own ways.
The new episode is now live and available for your listening pleasure! Give it a listen and let Mike know how wrong you think he is!