Episode 33 – Akira

“KANEDAAAAAA!!!” “TESTUOOOO!!!”

We’ve returned with a long-awaited panel episode! This time, we’re popping some capsules and tearing our motorcycles through the ruins of Neo-Tokyo with Tobiah Panshin and Joe Preti of the View from the Gutters comic book podcast. We’re digging into Katsuhiro Otomo’s groundbreaking 1980s apocalyptic manga epic about psychokinetic powers and mass destruction, Akira.

From its serialized origins in the Japanese Young Magazine to the pioneering animated film, this is a seminal masterpiece of explosions, body horror, secret military programs, and disaffected youth, and it’s cast a long shadow over all of modern popular culture.

Music: 
“Kaneda” from Akira (1988) by Geinoh Yamashirogumi

 

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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Episode 32 – The Flintstones by Mark Russell and Steve Pugh

Yabba Dabba Doo.

In another one of our Single Serving Selections, it’s time to pull on the little bird’s tail and slide down the brontosaurus’ neck for a chat with Tobiah Panshin of the View from the Gutters comic book podcast. This month we’re talking a deep dive into the DC Comics 2016 gritty reboot of Hanna Barbera’s modern stone age family in The Flintstones.

We explore how Mark Russell and Steve Pugh took a 1960s animated sitcom about cavemen in the suburbs, and turned it into one of the most surprising comic book series of the past decade, with equal parts humor, biting social satire, and existential dread. You’ll laugh; you’ll cry; and you’ll never look at your appliances the same way again.

Fun Size Episode 23 – Whacking Off to the ’80s

In which, we join Matthew Amster-Burton to circle the dead horses of popular culture with clubs and go to town.

We sift through the dirt shoveled over the recently aborted attempt at a Universal monsters cinematic universe. Did it have to be bad? We ponder the question: If we’re inevitably going to revisit established characters and franchises, why not make new and surprising things out of them?

What could the movie industry learn from Image Comics, and where is the line where product placement becomes unbearable?

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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Fun Size Episode 20 – You Don’t Deserve My Hat, Shia LaBeouf!

We sit down to continue our chat with Joe Preti and Bryon DiGianfilippo, and are joined by View from the GuttersTobiah Panshin to talk about Keanu Reeves’ Constantine movie and debate what makes a good adaptation.

We also dig into the admirable and visually stunning mess that was Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets. How can a movie have such high peaks and such tragic, debilitating valleys?

Plus, we talk about how ham-fisted ways that movie executives force blatant business decisions onto the screen. And is there really that much demand for multiple “shared cinematic universes” in the wake of Marvel’s success?

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 16 – The Billy Martin Experience

We continue our chat with Kit DeForge and Joe Preti, and veer into stories about strange liberties taken during menial high school jobs — and the potential spy thriller plots that can result from them.

We talk about the comics we love, swap nerd stories and the joy of pop culture recommendation. Mike finally takes his comic book fandom into the world of manga, and we might have just invented a very specific baseball fetish.

Plus, Joe really really really dislikes Wil Wheaton, and the entire world must know. Comments can be left below.

Episode 29 – Vertigo Comics

“Magic’s just when you trick the universe into believing some incredibly outrageous lie.”

Mike and Casey hop into Chas’ cab for a journey to the realm of Dreams, because it’s time to go on a road trip across America. Our traveling companions, librarian Kit DeForge and Joe Preti from the View from the Gutters podcast.

This month we dig into the Vertigo line of mature-readers comics from DC. From its inception with Karen Berger’s editorial work with Alan Moore on Swamp Thing in the 1980s through massive hits like Sandman, Preacher, Fables and 100 Bullets, we dissect some of the most influential, critically acclaimed and popular comic books of the past thirty years.

Is Vertigo dead, even if its spirit for creator innovation and quality live on at other publishers?

Music: 
“Main Theme” from Constantine (2014) by Bear McCreary

Previously titled: “Make Comics Great Again”

Mike Makes an Appearance on the View from the Gutters Podcast!

Mike sits in with the folks from the View from the Gutters comic book podcast to dig into the first two volumes of Image Comics’ latest series by Warren Ellis, Declan Shalvey, and Jordie Bellaire: Injection.

When a secret think tank made up of two scientists, a detective, a super spy and a wizard-in-denial crunch the numbers and see that imagination, innovation and human advancement is heading toward stagnation, they take a radical step to fix it, and in their hubris, may have irrevocably broken the universe.

It’s got super science, malevolent pixies, ancient folklore, feral artificial intelligences, human ham sandwiches, gun battles and some of the most wonderfully biting and funny dialogue around.

Check it out!

Hex & Violence Episode 2 – Swamp Folk

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“I’m gonna show ya one last trick I picked up offa Cheyenne ‘afore I let you die in the kind of pain no white man has ever known.”

In our second episode, Mike and Casey follow professional badass Jonah Hex into our worst blue state nightmares, and a fictional trope that we never tire of: Murderous hillbillies.

First, we delve into an issue of Hex’s classic series in 1978’s Jonah Hex (vol.1) #12. In a story by Michael Fleisher and Vincente Alcazar, entitled “The Search for ‘Gator Hawes.” Wounded by an alligator during a search for a missing friend in bayou country, Hex is taken captive by a murderous backwoods family and is forced to fight his own friend to survive.

Then it’s back to the Louisiana swamp in 2006’s Jonah Hex (vol.2) #10 by Jimmy Palmiotti, Justin Gray, and Phil Noto, titled, “Gator Bait.” Jonah Hex is hired by a dying man to find rescue his wife and child from the savage Lamont family, killer swamp folk who even local law enforcement is afraid to confront. Escaping capture himself, Hex is wounded, unarmed, and looking for bloody revenge.

JONAH HEX CONFIRMED KILL COUNT: 32 (+9 this episode)

Hex & Violence Episode 1 – First Impressions

JH1

“Normally, I’d hang you, but I figure your actions warrant something really cruel and unusual.”

In our premiere episode, Mike and Casey dig into two Jonah Hex stories from two different eras.

First, we look at the character’s first appearance in 1972’s All Star Western #10. In a story by John Albano and Tony DeZuniga, entitled “Welcome to Paradise.” When famed disfigured bounty hunter Jonah Hex is hired by the business leaders of Paradise Corners to deal with a violent gang of killers, he gets a chilly reception from the the local townsfolk he’s protecting.

Then we revisit the first issue of Hex’s most recent relaunch in 2005’s Jonah Hex (vol.2) #1 by Jimmy Palmiotti, Justin Gray, and Luke Ross, titled, “Giving the Devil His Due.” When Hex is hired by a wealthy man to find his kidnapped son, he wanders into an ugly world of underground dog fighting and child murder.

JONAH HEX CONFIRMED KILL COUNT: 23 (+23 this episode)

Hex & Violence Episode 0 – Who is Jonah Hex?

HexandViolence

He was a hero to some, a villain to others… and wherever he rode people spoke his name in whispers. He had no friends, this Jonah Hex, but he did have two companions: one was death itself… the other, the acrid smell of gunsmoke.

In our series prologue, Mike and Casey get into their mutual love of a largely unknown comic book character: DC’s western anti-hero, Jonah Hex.

We get into the character’s origins, his lasting appeal and why this merciless bounty hunter with a hideous facial scar has outlived the genre that spawned him.

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!

Fun Size Episode 9 – Something, Something, Iron Man

Civil-War

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.