Fun Size Episode 31 – Beauty and Meaning in the Wreckage of Late Stage Capitalism

We sit down with Tom Satwicz to muse on how various fictional interpretations of New York City and New Yorkers have shaped our perceptions of the place and its people. And does Detroit get a bad rap in fiction, or is Michigan part of the Mad Max universe?

We all but plead with you to watch AMC’s Lodge 49,  the greatest television show you’re not watching. How can it be about so many heartbreaking things, and still make you feel better for watching it?

Casey gives his highest possible recommendation to Nicolas Cage’s new bonkers revenge movie, Mandy, that miraculously marries a low brow to high art.

NOTE: Due to a scheduling issue, we’re reversing the release order of our main episode and Fun Size episode this month! Worry not! It’s still on the way!

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!

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 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?

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.

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 14 – Who Doesn’t Want to See Dwayne Johnson Punch a Hippo?

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In a wide-ranging conversation, Mike and Casey talk about whether Jabba the Hutt’s little monkey-rat creature, Salacious Crumb, is a person or a pet, and dig into the sort of bullshit rumors and urban legends that we both fell for in the pre-internet world of our middle school years.

We get into the recently-released Doctor Strange, and the question of diversity in the Ancient One’s casting, and well as the dearth of strongly written villains in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

And finally, Mike really really wants to cast Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson in the next big cinematic blockbuster based on a children’s board game.

Episode 26 – Vigilante Fiction

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You’ve gotta ask yourself one question: ‘Do I feel lucky?’ Well, do ya, punk?

Mike and Casey sit down with Pól Rua and Greg Hatcher of Comic Book Resources’ Comics Should Be Good blog, for a comprehensive and thoughtful discussion of urban crime and its many complicated causes.

And we talk about how pulp novels and grindhouse cinema recommends fixing these problems. Namely, angry middle-aged men with oversized handguns.

This month, we’re talking about urban vigilante fiction. Hyper-violent anti-heroes pumping thousands of rounds of ammunition into scumbags and drug dealers. From Dirty Harry to Death Wish; from the Punisher to Mack Bolan, we’re digging into the vigilante genre, and asking ourselves: why do bleeding heart liberals like us enjoy this stuff?

Music: 
“Getting Into Shape / Listen You Screw Heads / Gun Play” from Taxi Driver by Bernard Herrmann

Previously titled: “A Noir Carnival of Fright and Insanity”

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 16 – Expanded Universes

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Read the Bantam Book!

This month, Mike and Casey look at the inevitable result of truly popular culture: that it can and will not be contained by it’s original medium. Star Wars, the Planet of the Apes, and even Murder She Wrote have escaped the confines of film and television to reward their fans with series of books, comics and video games that feed our appetites for more stories in the worlds we love.

We’re joined by veteran panelist Roslyn Townsend and game designer Ryan Chaddock to chat about the concept of the Expanded Universe! We debate canonicity and ask why we just can’t get enough of our favorite media franchises, no matter the format!

Music: 
“Luke and Leia” from the Return of the Jedi  by John Williams

Previously titled: “Ant-Man’s Lawyer”

Episode 8.5 – Rise of the Planet of the Nerds

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 In an age where jocks wear T-shirts with Iron Man on them, and mainstream audiences pack theaters to watch three-hour adaptations of the Hobbit, the world has become a very different place for geeks over the last few years. Somehow, geekdom has become as mainstream as American football.

So Mike and Casey have posed the question to our listeners on the latest installment of Radio vs. the Mailbag: “What was the turning point that pushed geek culture into the mainstream of popular culture?”

We dig into your answers, and put the question to recent panelists Sam Mulvey and Roslyn Townsend to give us their thoughts on the matter.

And finally, Mike and Casey make an earth-shattering announcement that will forever change this podcast! Listen….if you dare!