PATREON EXCLUSIVE: 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!

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PATREON EXCLUSIVE: 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!

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PATREON EXCLUSIVE: Black Ops Episode 6 – The World Outside of Travis Bickle’s Car

In an episode exclusive for Patreon patrons, we look at the perhaps-necessary anachronism of period stories where the protagonist has strangely modern social attitudes. Does anyone really want the cowboy you play in a video game to be casually racist for the sake of accuracy?

And we look at the way that outlier characters like Jonah Hex, John Constantine, and the Punisher nominally co-exist in a shared universe that they’re mostly incompatible with.

To hear the episode, subscribe to us on Patreon and pledge at least one tiny dollar a month!

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PATREON EXCLUSIVE: Black Ops Episode 5 – What is the Zombie Version of Deep Space Nine?

In an episode exclusive to Patreon supporters, we continue to shake our canes at Hollywood blockbusters, spin offs, crossovers and shared universes, as Mike explains his rocky relationship with Fear the Walking Dead.

What motivates the creation of a spin-off? Are they doomed to be pale imitations? Is the massive blockbuster franchise bubble heading for a burst?

To hear the episode, subscribe to us on Patreon and pledge at least one measly dollar a month!

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PATREON EXCLUSIVE: Black Ops Episode 4 – Death is Kinda Stupid

In a bonus “Black Ops” episode exclusive to our Patreon patrons, we sit down with Sean Duncan and Sam Mulvey to dig into the concept of immortality.

From Doctor Who to Highlander, we look at the trope of the ageless person who mourns their own lack of death and ask each other, is the trope of sad immortal nothing but bullshit?  Shouldn’t never dying actually be pretty great?

We get into armchair biology, the continuity of consciousness, loneliness, the ability (or inevitability) of change over time, theological questions, muse on transhumanism and the ability to opt out of immortality at any time.

Does death serve any useful purpose? Are we really the same person throughout our lives? Would you really want to live for thousands of years. Would you really be sad or grumpy if you had all the time in the world? Aren’t vampires really kind of stupid?

Who, truly, would want to live forever?

This and three other “Black Ops” will available to all Patreon subscribers who donate at least one dollar a month! Check it out!