batman_the_killing_joke_first_print_coverLast week, in Batgirl #49 – a comic with an apparent target demographic of Millennials – writer Cameron Stewart and artist Babs Tarr told a story that could be seen as retconning the events of Alan Moore’s and Brian Bolland’s 1988 one-shot, Batman: The Killing Joke.In the wake of that story, Stewart argued that his story could be seen as a retconning of The Killing Joke, or not, depending on how you interpret the story… as if the plot of a story that is intertwined in almost 30 years of DC history and countless dozens of titles and stories could be considered subjective to “your own personal truth.”

During that same week, another comics podcast – one hosted by Millennials – that we greatly respect did an episode calling The Killing Joke problematic due to its treatment of Barbara Gordon, and arguably overrated and unnecessary.

These attitudes toward The Killing Joke are somewhat understandable, given the concept of “women in refrigerators” that arose in comics fandom in 1999, and the fact that Moore chose to have Joker sexually assault Barbara Gordon in the story. Because of these elements, it’s easy to dismiss the story as dated and problematic… especially if you weren’t alive and actively reading comics in 1988.

Which we were. Which means that we remember that Barbara Gordon wasn’t Batgirl at the time of The Killing Joke. And that The Joker wasn’t really defined as a character at all after Crisis On Infinite Earths until The Killing Joke. And that comics fandom was, at the time, strongly against even Robin, let alone any character from the 1966 Batman television show.

So we decided to, at least up to a point, defend The Killing Joke. Not just from a historical standpoint, but from one of story, questioning whether Barbara was, in fact, fridged in the classic sense… while still agreeing that the sexual assault aspect of the story is completely unnecessary, and asking once question we’ve never seen asked: why didn’t Moore just have Joker kill Barbara?

We also discuss:

  • Escape From New York #15, written by Christopher Sebela with art by Maxim Simic, and
  • Doctor Strange #6, written by Jason Aaron with art by Chris Bachalo!

And, the disclaimers:

  • This show contains spoilers. While we try to shout out warning ahead of time, be aware that we’re going to ruin the ending of a story written 28 years ago that has been referenced in literally hundreds of comic books since then.
  • This show contains adult, profane language, and is therefore not safe for work. If you don’t want your significant other to learn why Alan Moore could have sold a million photocopies of his butt in 1988, get some headphones.
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x-files_season_10Sorry for last week’s unexpected absence, but something unexpected made its way into our home and made us feel terrible. And on a completely unrelated note…

A couple of weeks ago brought us the conclusion of the much-anticipated return of The X-Files. Presented as six episode miniseries meant to function as an official tenth season of the original series (down to the original, shot-on-video opening credits), the event was intended to satisfy both long time fans and newer viewers alike. Meaning that we were the entire target audience – Amanda watched the show from the first episode, whereas Rob has only seen the first couple of seasons on DVD and the movies.

So we talk about the things about the season that worked, the things that unexpectedly delighted us, the elements that were more distracting than anything else… and the things that were simply, truly, irrevocably awful. And while we didn’t agree on everything, there is one thing in which we are lockstep: of all the things that work in The X-Files, Chris Carter should be George Lucas’ed into the cornfield, Disney style.

We also discuss:

  • The Walking Dead #152, written by Robert Kirkman wih art by Charlie Adlard,
  • Green Lantern #50, written by Robert Venditti with art by Billy Tan and Vicente Cifuentes, and
  • Black Widow #1, written by Mark Waid with art by Chris Samnee!

And, the disclaimers:

  • As we said: we were sick last week. So you’re going to hear more coughing and sniffling than normal. We apologize.
  • This show contains spoilers. While we try to yell out warnings ahead of time, be aware that we will ruin the ending of The X-Files more thoroughly for you than Chris Carter did. Actually, that’s not possible.
  • This show contains adult, profane language, and is therefore not safe for work. Do you want your employer to learn how to violate millions of television viewers with a move I like to call the Sudden Stem Cell Trespass? Then get some headphones.
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Here’s a helpful hint from your old buddy Rob: if you are sick, and you are in a position to skip work to allow yourself to rest, recover, and most importantly, not infect your co-workers with your filthy, dripping scunge? Call in sick. Do you hear me, Andrew, you filthy, diseased animal? You’re a software guy, Andrew; you could’ve worked from home if you’re feeling so Goddamned dedicated to your craft. But no, instead you haul your fevered carcass into the office to sit right across from me, you sonofabitch. Your Trump-over only hides the front of your head, Andrew; I could see individual drops of virulent doom sweat sprouting from the crown of your head, as if you were some kind of pale, awkward Typhoid Mary in a Black Hat conference t-shirt, You suck, Andrew!

…but I digress.

My point is that Amanda and I have spent most of today sleeping off whatever horrors that have invaded our bodies. We sound like crap, and we’ve had no time or energy to properly prepare for this week’s episode. Further, since we have a series of commitments for the remainder of the week, we’re just going to, regrettably, call and audible and go dark for this week.

However! Stick with us, because we’ve got one hell of a March full of episodes in the pipeline for you. Next Sunday, we’ll be back with our recap of the X-FIles six-episode relaunch. On March 21st, we’ll be with you with the results of our binge of Netflix’s Daredevil season two. And on March 28th, we’ll be talking about Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice, tentatively with a couple of guests who already feel pretty damn strongly about the movie.

So we apologize for this week, and we thank you for sticking with us. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to sneeze on and furiously shank a homemade doll of a balding geek.

Oh yeah: go Mad Max; Fury Road!

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dc_rebirth_second_teaserOpen registration for San Diego Comic-Con 2016 came to us on Saturday… and it left us in less than an hour. As has become the norm, the convention completely sold out in less than an hour, and, like many of you, we were frozen out. So we spend a few minutes talking about how SDCC attendance has basically become a lottery system over which we attendees have no control, and discuss various options for making the con more available, from moving it to another city, to expanding San Diego’s facilities, to engaging in a mutually assured destruction nuclear showdown with the United States Navy.

Otherwise, the big comics news of the week was that DC Comics finally shared some details about their long-teased Rebirth event. And while story details are still scarce, we talk about how DC swears this isn’t a reboot (Even as all but two of their titles are being renumbered to #1), why DC needs to do something like this, what titles we can look forward to starting in June, speculate about what creative teams we’d like to see on those books, and complain that none of those books are Ambush Bug.

We also discuss:

  • American Monster #2, written by Brian Azzarello with art by Juan Doe, and:
  • Standoff: Welcome to Pleasant Hill #1, written by Nick Spencer with art by Mark Bagley!

And, the disclaimers:

  • This show contains spoilers. While we try to shout out warnings ahead of time, be aware that you will hear more theories than you would like about the unholy nature of PuppyMonkeyBaby.
  • This show contains adult, profane language, and this therefore not safe for work. You want your employer to hear about our devious plan that includes a Deadpool costume, Deely Bobbers and pointed questions about the toilet reading habits of particular members of DC Editorial? Then get some good headphones.
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deadpool_movie_posterThe cold snap in Boston broke enough for us to not only enter our studio without dying of hypothermia or being drowned out by the roar of our furnace, but to head out into the countryside to our local movie theater to see Deadpool.

Deadpool is a movie that shouldn’t exist. It’s based on a character with a lower Q Score than Irving Forbush, who debuted in arguably the worst superhero movie not starring Dolph Lundgren and Louis Gossett, Jr, starring a man who normally spells the end of comic book franchises. It’s a movie produced and rated for adults, featuring at least three decapitations, two unfortunate prolapses, and one naked Morena Baccarin. And yet: 150 million American dollars in one weekend can’t be wrong, so we break the movie down from the comic fan’s perspective: what worked, what didn’t, why Deadpool doesn’t need an origin story, and why Rob desperately wants DC Films to put Ambush Bug on their schedule.

We also discuss:

  • Public Relations #5, written by Matthew Sturges and Dave Justus, with art by David Hahn and Jose Marzan, and:
  • Batman #49, written by Scott Snyder with art by Yanick Paquette!

And, some disclaimers:

  • This show contains spoilers. While we try to shout out warnings ahead of time, be aware that you might discover that Deadpool is a knockoff of Deathstroke The Terminator.
  • This show contains adult, profane language, and is therefore not safe for work. You think your boss would be more impressed with your performance if he heard about Amanda’s first exposure to George Michael’s I Want Your Sex? Then get some headphones.
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Look, here’s the deal: it is just about the coldest day in recorded history here in Boston. This means a couple of things, the first being that there are a lot of miles between us and the closest theater playing Deadpool, and those are miles that would have to be covered in an uninsulated convertible that might, or might not, start on either leg of the trip. It also means that it is cold enough that, were we to deactivate the furnace in our recording studio to prevent a horrible and pervasive droning sound, the show would start okay, devolve into a shivering vibrato and end like The Shining, or perhaps Alive.

Furthermore, it is Valentine’s Day, and about the least romantic thing we can think of is arguing about whether Scott Snyder has too much pull at DC Comics if he can allow a new artist to take over on the penultimate chapter of the Superheavy arc and therefore screw up the visual flow for the trade paperback. Or at least it’s the least romantic thing we can think of when it would followed by our inevitable deaths by hypothermia, or auto-cannibalism.

But fear not! The arctic snap will break tomorrow, so we will have our 103rd episode online tomorrow, with talk about Deadpool, the final Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice Trailer, Batman #49, and at least one or two other comics!

Now, if you’ll excuse us, we’re off to set fire to Amanda’s Essential Dazzler books to stave off death. And because disco sucks. It really, really sucks.

Talk to y’all tomorrow!

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dc_rebirth_first_teaserIt’s been a couple of weeks since DC Comics Co-Publishers Dan DiDio and Jim Lee tweeted their first teasers toward something called “Rebirth,” and  since then, there has been, well, absolutely no concrete hard news whatsoever.

But what there are are rumors. Many, many rumors. From where did the rumors originate? Who knows? But rumors there be, about book cancellations, creative team changes, new books, new first issues, and partial to total reboots. So we talk about them, kick around which sound like good ideas, which seem like terrible mistakes, and wind up in a short-term, love-hate bromance with Dan DiDIo.

We also discuss:

  • Batman: Europa #4, written by Matteo Casali and Brian Azzarello, with art by Gerald Parel, and:
  • Spider-Man #1, written by Brian Michael Bendis, with art by Sara Pichelli!

And, the usual disclaimers:

  • We record this show live to tape, with minimal editing. While this might mean a looser comics podcast than you are used to, it also means that anything can happen. Like finding a very valid, but… shall we say, alternative, use for your comics.
  • This show contains spoilers. While we try to shout out warnings ahead of time, be aware that you might find out that Batman talks like Phillip Marlowe, and why that’s maybe not a great idea.
  • This show contains adult, profane language, and is therefore not safe for work. You want your boss to find out what “Gank the wingman” means? Then get some headphones.
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legends_of_tomorrow_bannerIt’s been a week since Dan DiDio and Jim Lee hyped an upcoming project or event with a photo of some curtains and the word “Rebirth.” Last week, the comics Internet was abuzz with rumors that it meant a reboot or a return to pre-New 52 continuity or any number of other things. Well, it’s been a week, and in that time, we’ve learned… exactly nothing new whatsoever. But a few tidbits and Tweets have let us to come up with a new theory about the project, which, since we are, after all, part of that selfsame comics Internet, we are more than happy to discuss and kick around.

But one concrete new thing we can all address is the CW show DC’s Legends of Tomorrow. The pilot to the new show aired over the past couple of weeks, so we talk about what parts of the show work, which ones don’t, which characters are gonna need some attention, and why Hawkgirl is part of columns B and C.

We also discuss:

  • Grayson #16, written by Tim Seeley and Tom King, with art by Mikel Janin, and:
  • Old Man Logan #1, written by Jeff Lemire with art by Andrea Sorrentino!

And, as usual, some disclaimers:

  • We record this show live to tape, with minimal editing. While this might mean a looser comics podcast than you are used to, it also means that anything can happen. Like a discussion why Rip Hunter’s time ship should be called “The Re-TARDIS.”
  • This show contains spoilers. While we try to shout out warnings ahead of time, be aware that we will spoil why Old Man Logan spoils Frank Miller’s and Chris Claremont’s Wolverine.
  • This show contains adult, profane language, and is therefore not safe for work. You want your boss to find out what happens when a podcast host eats about a million chocolate-covered coffee beans and stares at Batman’s utility belt area? Then get some earbuds.
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willard_scottAll right, it’s our one hundredth episode. Let’s not make a thing out of it. Seriously: we don’t. Sure, we spend a few minutes reflecting on where we are and where we came from, and maybe have a little too much Liquid Celebration to commemorate making it this far, but honestly? There was too much comics and genre news this week to spend too much time naval gazing.

We start off by discussing this week’s announcement that Star Wars: Episode VIII has been delayed from May to December, 2017. We talk about how the rumor is that the screenwriters want to rework the story to focus more on Finn and Poe, and how the move is a slap in the face to the fortieth anniversary of the debut of Star Wars… but mostly we talk about how waiting for a Star Wars movie is different when you stop being half a decade away from being just a glint in your dad’s eye and start being half a decade away from being a card-carrying member of AARP.

We move on to the news that Doctor Who showrunner Steven Moffat is leaving the show in favor of writer and longtime fan Chris Chibnall… eventually. You know, after 2016, when there will only be a Christmas special. And after Moffat’s farewell season sometime in 2017. Chibnall really should read The Late Shift, that’s all we’re saying.

But that’s not all! Being that kind of week, it was also when Bleeding Cool ran some stories about DC Comics maybe rebooting the DC Universe, maybe returning it to its post-Crisis, pre-New 52 state… or maybe about them doing not very much at all. So we discuss the rumors versus the actual concrete knowledge, and wind up bemoaning the idea of comics that slavishly follow their movie and television counterparts.

And on the comic book front, we discuss:

  • Batman #48, written by Scott Snyder with art by Greg Capullo,
  • Titans Hunt #4, written by Dan Abnett with art by Stephen Segovia, and:
  • I Hate Fairyland #4, written and drawn by Skottie Young!

And, even after 100 episodes, the disclaimers:

  • We record this show live to tape, with minimal editing. While this might mean a looser comics podcast than you’re used to, it also means that anything can happen. Like learning that, on some level, the only difference between Star Wars and Barney Miller is finger counting.
  • This show contains spoilers. We try to give you warnings ahead of time, but go into this assuming that we are going to screw up your ability to think of Star Wars without contemplating the sweet release of death.
  • This show contains adult, profane language, and is therefore not safe for work. Do you think your employer’s life will be enriched by learning the origin of the phrase, “The Wet Thunk”? Then get yourself some headphones.
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secret_wars_9_2016_coverSecret Wars #9 was released this week, marking the official end of the Marvel Universe as created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby (or by Kirby and Lee, depending on whose version you prefer) in the November, 1961 issue of Fantastic Four #1.

Purely by coincidence, this was also the week that our local comic store put used copies of the first two volumes of Marvel’s Essential Fantastic Four reprints on sale. And also purely by coincidence, this was the week we obtained a copy of last year’s Josh Trank-directed movie version of Fantastic Four, with the original plan being to watch it so we could, in good conscience, list it as our worst genre movie of 2015.

However, with both the beginning and the end of Stan and Jack’s Fantastic Four and Marvel Universe in our hands, as well as this wretched little celluloid deviation, we decided it was a perfect time to revisit the team, how much of the Marvel Universe just those first few issues laid down for decades to come, how the comic really was a product of its time (and how the movie was proof of that), and how Jonathan Hickman laid those characters, as they have been since 1961, to rest. And, ultimately, we discuss whether this team, that was born during the Space Race, when Kennedy was President and World War II was closer in history than the Y2K Bug is to us today, could have a future in 2016.

And now, the disclaimers:

  • We record this show live to tape, with minimal editing. While this might mean a looser comics podcast than you are used to, it also means that anything can happen. Like a discussion why Sue Storm makes Helen of Troy look like Willie Lumpkin.
  • This show contains spoilers. While we try to shout out warnings ahead of time, be aware that we will spoil the fact that the Fantastic Four movie just sucks.
  • This show contains adult, profane language, and therefore is not safe for work. See that “Ring Job” in the title? Don’t let your boss hear about that. Get some earphones.
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