Black Ops Episode 9 – You Are Not a Mistake [DECLASSIFIED!]

[As we continue our show hiatus, it has been decided by the fine people who support us on Patreon that we are going to make public — or ‘declassify’ — one of our Patreon-exclusive Black Ops episodes every month. This month, our patrons have personally selected this episode to help fill the gap! Consider it a look back at the ‘Before Times’]

Original Patreon release date: July 26, 2018

In what is an ultra-MEGA-sized two-and-a-half hour episode, 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.

Fun Size Episode 50 – It’s Just the End of the World as We Know It

In our double-sized fiftieth Fun Size episode, in the middle of a global pandemic and nationwide uprisings against systemic and racist police violence, we sit down with Sam Mulvey of KTQA radio in Tacoma, to….talk about something something…

Did we mention that Zack Snyder broke the third seal by announcing the release his own — inevitably underwhelming — cut of a superhero movie you don’t remember? What are the limits of escapism in a real world on fire? Is it even possible to watch a cop show with ungritted teeth anymore? We try to keep it together, and dig through the wreckage for some kind of meaning.

PLUS: a major announcement about the show at the end of the episode!

Fun Size Episode 48 – The New Quarantine Titans

As time bends and brains melts in the heart of the “Quar,” we’re joined by longtime friend of the show and writer for Emmys.com, David Gutiérrez… and things get weird.

We get into everything from circumcising our children to wanna-be movie theater comedians. We try to understand the confusing relationship of rockstar film critics Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert, and try to figure out when Bruce Willis and Harrison Ford stopped trying to be good at their jobs.

Finally, we try to retroactively fix the Rambo franchise (and action/revenge films in general) into something a bit less racist and burdened with conservative “white guy baggage.”

Fun Size Episode 46 – Quarantine Titans

We’re back! Sort of…

In a special remotely-recorded quarantine edition of the show, we sit down with Joe Preti of the View from the Gutters comic book podcast to pine for long lost sources of food, like the cafeteria at Joe’s work and a couple of local sandwich shops.

We ask: has the quality of McDonald’s food gotten worse since we were kids, or were we blinded by a child’s epicureal standards? Has junk food in general gotten worse?

We also talk about how good Adam Sandler movies could be if only he tried. And Batman v. Superman comes up, and… we just can’t not.

Episode 43 – Condorman

He Spies! He Flies! He Death-Defies!

In this month’s Single Serving Selection, we take to the skies above Monte Carlo with Greg Hatcher of the Atomic Junk Shop blog to swoop into Disney’s superhero/spy film that sank at the box office, only to rise again as a cult favorite: 1981’s Condorman!

When bumbling comic book artist Woody Wilkins is chosen for a simple courier mission  for the CIA, he makes an impression on a beautiful KGB agent who wants to defect. Now the only man she trusts to escort her to the West is Woody, who she believes to be a highly skilled secret operative.  Woody agrees to the mission, but only if the CIA will use its resources to turn him into the high-flying superhero from his own comic book: Condorman!

Fun Size Episode 42 – Hey, I Know That!

We chat a bit with Tobiah Panshin about that great intangible that gets people’s ire up: Fan Service!

What is it? Why is it used as a pejorative? Is it ever a welcome thing? Why does it both delight and frustrate? Amuse and Annoy? We delve into the wherefores and whyfores and try to figure it all out.

Note: This episode was recorded before our last Fun Size episode in October, and we hadn’t seen Joker yet.

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.