american_psycho_coverIt has been a weird couple of weeks here in the United States. Any week where the honest-to-God news in your local newspaper is more contentious, rancorous and secret identity-obsessed than your average comic book is one where talking about what comic creators are skipping what conventions in which American states, and which writers are retiring from what social networks feels redundant at best and depressing at worst.

But the good news is that, here at the Crisis On Infinite Midlives Home Office, we learned long ago that’s it’s an unwise decision to publicly discuss religion, politics, or inappropriate self-love over Bret Easton Ellis’s American Psycho. The bad news is that we forgot one of those truisms during this episode. The answer will (probably not) surprise you!

Either way, we decided this would be a good time to take the long view and just talk about this week’s comics. Well, about this week’s comics, about how very different stories can come from similar ideas, and about unreliable narrators. So we discuss:

  • Spider-Man #9, written by Brian Michael Bendis with art by NIco Leon,
  • Batman #11, written by Tom King with art by Mikel Janin,
  • Demonic #4, written by Christopher Sebela with art by Niko Walter, and:
  • Kill or Be Killed #4, written by Ed Brubaker with art by Sean Phillips!

And, the usual disclaimers:

  • This show contains spoilers. If you don’t want to know if Dylan from Kill or Be Killed kills or is killed, then skip this show (and next month’s Image Comics solicitations).
  • This show contains adult, profane language, and is therefore not safe for work. Do you think your mom wants to know what happens to a Daisy Buchanan when she’s bitten by a radioactive Gatsby (Spoilers: she gets greedy and whiny)? Then get some headphones.

And please note: from here on out, we will be publishing the podcast on Mondays, rather than Sundays. Thanks for sticking with us!

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clone_conspiracy_promo_poster_1This week, Marvel and Spider-Man writer Dan Slott announced that this fall’s Spider-Man event will be called The Clone Conspiracy, and will feature The Jackal and the clone of Gwen Stacy, possibly bringing a bunch of long dead Spider-Man characters back from the grave. We initially had a very negative reaction to this news, because any Spider-Man title that includes the word “clone” brings back memories of the 1990s Clone Saga… but then we realized that neither of us had actually read all that much of the original Gerry Conway clone stories from the 1970s, or the Clone Saga stories from the mid 90s.

So we ran out and purchased the trade of the original clone stories from 1975 through 1990, and one of the trades of the 90s Clone Saga, to see how we really felt about the clone stories in the face of the actual works. And we discussed, in the face of actual exposure to the clone stories, whether we wanted to see any more clone stories… and whether we did or not, if they could possibly overcome the reputation of the 90s Clone Saga.

We also discuss:

  • Civil War II #2, written by Brian Michael Bendis with art by David Marquez,
  • Superman #1, written by Peter Tomasi with art by Patrick Gleason, and:
  • Batman #1, written by Tom King with art by David FInch!

And, the usual disclaimers:

  • This show contains spoilers. If you don’t want to learn the ending of who wound up with the mantle of Spider-Man at the end of The Clone Saga 21 years ago, you are a wise person with good taste in serialized graphic storytelling! But we’ll still ruin it for you.
  • This show contains adult, profane language, and is therefore not safe for work. If you don’t think your mom wants to hear how there’s a big bit of Hal Jordan in Carol Danvers, then get some headphones.
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dc_rebirth_charactersIt’s the first full week of DC Comics: Rebirth, and not a single Watchmen character appears in those issues, so we decided it would be a good opportunity to complain again about Watchmen characters appearing in the DC Universe.

Specifically, it was revealed this week that DC Comics didn’t contact Watchmen artist Dave Gibbons to ask him his opinion about adding Watchmen characters to Dc Universe: Rebirth. So we talk about whether that was a bush league move (protip: yeah), some of the history around DC leaving Watchmen alone, and whether DC Editorial really had any choice in asking for Gibbons or writer Alan Moore for even a half-hearted blessing in using their characters in Rebirth.

Then, since we were on a Rebirth roll, we discussed all this week’s titles from that event:

  • Superman: Rebirth #1, written by Peter Tomasi with art by Doug Mahnke,
  • Green Arrow: Rebirth #1, written by Benjamin Percy with art by Otto Schmidt,
  • Green Lanterns: Rebirth #1, written by Geoff Johns and Sam Humphries with art by Ethan Van Sciver and Ed Benes, and:
  • Batman: Rebirth #1, written by Scott Snyder and Tom King with art by Miken Janin.

And, just so Marvel doesn’t feel neglected, we close the show by talking about:

  • Civil War II #1, written by Brian Michael Bendis with art by David Marquez!

And, as always, the disclaimers:

  • This show contains spoilers. If you want to avoid knowing how the DC: Rebirth books end (spoiler alert: no matter what happens, it probably won’t matter next month), then consider yourself warned.
  • This show contains adult, profane language, and is therefore not safe for work. You want your mom to know what “giddy bottom” means? Get some ear buds.
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flash_arrow_crossoverAfter a busy week of vacationing, video gaming, and day job hunting, we are back, just in time to deal with the latest comics vs. filmed adaptation battle!

If you are a fan of The CW’s The Flash, you know that the current storyline involves Zoom from Earth-2, and his relationship to Golden Age Flash Jay Garrick. There was quite a twist around that relationship in the show, and it’s one that infuriated long-time Flash comic book writer Mark Waid, who complained that it was a betrayal of Garrick’s comic book past.

And while this is unique given that it comes from a comic creator, it reminded us about years and years of comic fan outrage over differences between the comics we love and the adaptations that they beget… and yet it also reminded us that some movies and TV shows based on our favorite characters have made much bigger changes than have happened on The Flash, and yet no one seemed to mind.

So in between fan outrage over Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice and fan excitement over Captain America: Civil War, we talk about what makes we fans excited about some adaptations and nitpick over others, and why we’re okay when Superman kills Zod in Superman II but not in Man of Steel.

We also discuss:

  • Batman #51, written by Scott Snyder with art by Greg Capullo, and:
  • 4 Kids Walk Into A Bank #1 written by Matthew Rosenberg with art by Tyler Boss!

And, as usual, the disclaimers:

  • This show contains spoilers. If you don’t want to find out about plot points in The Flash, or who has the title of The One True Ringworm, tread lightly.
  • This show contains adult, profane language, and is therefore not safe for work. You want your mom to know who or what “The DIck Flash” is? Then get some headphones.
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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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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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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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heroes-rebornYes, we are back, after yet another long week of trials and tribulations in the hunt for a new Crisis On Infinite Midlives Home Office forced us to miss another episode, for which we humbly apologize. We believe our Long National Nightmare has ended, and that we will have no further service interruptions… at least until November 1, when we will be in the new Home Office, but likely with no Internet service. But that is a problem for the future.

As for today’s problems, well, how do you solve a problem like Heroes Reborn? The sequel to the 2006 – 2010 series that captivated the world before reminding it why many kids abandoned comics once they reached the age of reason (“How about evil carnies? Just write it! I’m taking a long lunch! Did I say ‘long?’ I meant ‘liquid!'”) debuted on NBC last week. We are huge fans of Heroes, going back to when we saw the pilot at SDCC 2006, and had high hopes for this return to the world of Peter Petrelli, Hiro Nakamura and visions of the future via Tim Sale. So we spend some time talking about what works, what doesn’t, and whether you should tune into this show if you aren’t already fans of the Enemies of Sylar (short answer: probably not)!

We also discuss:

  • Batman Annual #4, written by James Tynion IV with art by Roge Antonio, and:
  • Gotham By Midnight #9, written by Ray Fawkes with art by Juan Ferreyra!

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 a conversation about how Heroes‘s Noah Bennet is a (terrible) role model to America’s youth via his never giving a woman his real name.
  • This show contains spoilers. While we try to shout out warnings ahead of time, just assume that we reveal Hiro Nakamura’s message from the future.
  • This show contains adult, profane language, and is therefore not safe for work. Unless you want your co-workers to hear the tale of Drunken Mexican Batman, consider using headphones.
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