Fun Size Episode 19 – This Human Centipede of Cinematic Nonsense

We’re back in the studio for a continued conversations with our friend Kit DeForge, to dig into why Dwayne Johnson may be the most likeable human being in the world.

And then we tempt fate by taking a critical look at the first DC superhero movie to get universal critical acclaim in nearly a decade!

Kit has an unpopular opinion about the new Wonder Woman film. What are the reasonable expectations we can have for a blockbuster superhero film? We talk about how we can unfairly pile our hopes and dreams onto a piece of entertainment, and how it can often be difficult to be honest about something that we really, really want to love.

Episode 29 – Make Comics Great Again

“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

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

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“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?

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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 Appears on the Justice League International: Bwah-Ha-Ha Podcast!

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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.

Mike was very happy to make a guest appearance on “the Irredeemable” Shagg MatthewsJustice League International: Bwah-Ha-Ha Podcast! We dig into the fourth issue of the series from 1987, which introduced Booster Gold to the team’s roster.

Check it out!

Episode 24.5 – Not Everybody is You, Grant Morrison!

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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?

Episode 24 – Batman, Motherfucker!

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“It’s an omen. I shall become a bat!”

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.

Music: 
“The Batman Theme” from Batman by Danny Elfman

Mike Makes a Guest Appearance on the Secret Origins Podcast!

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Mike makes a guest appearance on Ryan Daly‘s Secret Origins Podcast, highlighting DC Comics’ classic anthology series from the 1980s.

In this episode, he joins Ryan and fellow guest Tim Wallace to talk about Mike’s favorite DC character, western anti-hero Jonah Hex! We dig into the character’s publication history, his botched 2011 film adaptation, and his lasting appeal as the nastiest son of a bitch in the world.

From his classic status quo as an Old West bounty hunter to his brief sojourn into a Mad Max-style post apocalypse, Jonah Hex continues to be the most successful Western comic book character of all time.

Check it out!

Episode 20.5 – I’ve Been Peeing Into a Jar This Whole Time

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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.”

Episode 20 – You’re Gonna Like This. It’s Got G. Gordon Liddy in it!

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 “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.
Music: 
“Pruit Igoe and Prophecies” from Watchmen (and Koyaanisqatsi) by Philip Glass

Mike’s Guest Appearance on the Fire and Water Podcast

fwpA couple of months ago, Mike recorded a guest-hosting spot over at the Fire and Water Podcast, a weekly show dedicated very specifically to a pair of DC Comics superheroes, Aquaman and Firestorm.

The episode is now live for your listening pleasure!

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!