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.

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

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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.

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.

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.

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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 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 – 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”

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.

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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

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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

Previously titled: “Batman, Motherfucker!”

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!