Some weeks, you don’t record a podcast when you’re ready. You record when you’re awake.

Rob had a long weekend of late nights being on call for his day gig, leading to a slim, two-hour window where he’d had enough coffee to be able to say something longer than his own name, yet not enough liquor to actively slur those things. And this strange state put him in a mood to rant. About the golden days of Marvel after the bankruptcy and before Civil War, when they were willing to take chances. About acceptable Mark Millar stories. About how Batman’s most driving personality trait might be hoarding. And, God help us, how there might be redeeming qualities to Secret Empire.

So strap in: this is a weird one, and we talk about all of those things, plus:

  • Old Man Logan #25, written by Ed Brisson with art by Mike Deodato, Jr.,
  • Secret Empire #4, written by Nick Spencer with art by Leinil Francis Yu,
  • Dark Days: The Forge #1, written by Scott Snyder and James Tynion IV, with art by Jim Lee, Andy Kubert and John Romita Jr., and:
  • The Defenders #1, written by Brian Michael Bendis with art by David Marquez!

Ah, we have disclaimers:

  • This show contains spoilers. If you don’t want to know Captain America’s political affiliation on Secret Empire, well, you’re not alone, but you have also been warned.
  • This show contains adult, profane language, and is therefore not safe for work. We talk about Batman being a Howard Hughes style hoarder. That involves Mason Jars. You want your mom to know what’s in those jars? Then get some earbuds.

Thanks for listening, suckers!

doctor_who_doctor_mysterio_poster_2016It is the holiday season, and while that means things like delayed flights, family political battles and regifting, it also means the annual Doctor Who Christmas Special. And this year’s, The Return of Doctor Mysterio, was a double whammy: not only was it the first Doctor Who story in almost a year, but it was about an American superhero.

So we discuss the story, both on a Doctor Who and a superhero story level. And while we don’t want to spoil anything, we learn that there’s a reason why it’s maybe not a good idea for a British television writer to tackle an American superhero story. We’re guessing it’s the same reason it wouldn’t be a good idea for the guy who created The Cape to write an episode of Doctor Who.

We also discuss:

  • Civil War II #8 written by Brian Michael Bendis with art by David Marquez, and:
  • DK III: The Master Race #7, written by Frank Miller and Brian Azzarello, with art by Adam Kubert, Klaus Janson and Frank Miller!

And, the usual disclaimers:

  • This show contains spoilers. So if you don’t want to know who loses at the end of Civil War II, you should avoid this show. And probably mirrors.
  • This show contains adult, profane language, and this therefore not safe for work. Unless you think your mom wants to know what Marti Noxon might do with Naked Batman, maybe use your holiday Airpods.

Happy New Year, suckers!

civil_war_ii_7_cover_2016Last week was Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday where family members travel for hours and miles to share a table with family members and take a moment to express gratitude for the good things in their life. Then they follow that moment with hours of barely-suppressed acrimony, sarcasm-dipped references to long-buried grievances, and barbed rejoinders about the political beliefs of family. They then disperse to Black Friday sales around the map, taking their frustrations out on fellow shoppers and leading to those awesome fight clips on YouTube.

Rob and Amanda did not go to any Black Friday sales. They did, however, read Civil War II #7, and they do have a comics podcast.

Due to vagaries of comics publishing (and the fact that Civil War II has been late almost since it was solicited), this week we not only discovered the result of the battle between Captain Marvel and Iron Man, but we began to learn the price that certain characters will apparently pay for their roles in suspending the Constitution, ignoring the First, Fourth, Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments, contributing to the deaths of at least three Avengers and arguably sending the Marvel Universe on the road to literal apocalypse.

And we found that price to be wanting.

So we spend a lot of time complaining bitterly about:

  • Civil War II #7, written by Brian Michael Bendis with art by David Marquez and Andrea Sorrentino,
  • Captain Marvel # 10, written by Ruth Fletcher Gage and Christos Gage with art by Thony Silas, and
  • The Ultimates 2 #1, written by Al Ewing with art by Travel Foreman.

But, since we can’t be negative about everything, we also discuss:

  • Deathstroke #7, written by Priest with art by Larry Hama and Carlo Pagulayan,
  • Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season 11 #1, written by Christos Gage with art by Rebekah Issacs, and:
  • A. D.: After Death Book 1, written by Scott Snyder with art by Jeff Lemire!

And, the usual disclaimers:

  • This show contains spoilers. If you don’t want to know what happens in Civil War II, just try to forget some of your biggest disappointments before reading it.
  • This show contains adult, profane language, and is therefore not safe for work. If you said to your mom what we say about Civil War Ii over the Thanksgiving table, you’d be disowned. So get yourself some headphones.

Thanks for listening, suckers!

get_jiro_blood_and_sushiThis week, the paperback edition of celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain’s graphic novel Get Jiro: Blood and Sushi, was released. This book is a prequel to his 2012 sci-fi comic Get Jiro!, and like the original, it is steeped in modern foodie culture. Luckily, Amanda is also steeped in foodie culture.

So we talk about Get Jiro! and other foodie-related books (like Starve and Chew), and how some are good about catering to new culinary enthusiasts, while others depict a subculture where not knowing the unwritten insider foodie rules mean that you literally deserve to die… all while being part of a comics culture that is trying desperately to shed a long reputation of being hostile to outsiders. And if that all sounds heavy, fear not: there is also a story about Rob eating a pile of rock salt at a fine French restaurant that is just plain funny and dumb.

We also discuss Civil War II #6, written by Brian Michael Bendis with art by David Marquez!

And, the usual disclaimers:

  • This show contains spoilers. If you don’t want to know if Jiro survives Get Jiro: Blood and Sushi, well, you’re probably being willfully obtuse considering it’s a prequel, but consider yourself warned.
  • This show contains adult, profane language, and is therefore not safe for work. We talk about C. B. Cebulski’s Lucky Peach. You want to risk your mom hearing about that? Then get some earbuds.

Thanks for listening suckers!

The new Ghostbusters movie opened this week, after a long production period marked by a non-stop screeching hate frenzy from Bill Murray fans, enthusiasts of old-school J. Michael Straczynski Saturday morning cartoons, and people who think that comedy has been redundant since Rick Moranis donned a track suit to dry hump the windows at Tavern on The Green.

We here at Crisis On Infinite Midlives have long and storied histories with the original Ghostbusters, from Amanda’s devotion to its scientific approach to the paranormal that led to her being interested in applying to Duke University’s Parapsychology Laboratory, to Rob’s appreciation of the flick as an teen-safe entryway to early Saturday Night Live and the National Lampoon. And even with that long and beloved history, we have long been looking forward to the more modern interpretation of the franchise.

So we discuss our feelings about the franchise at large, how we liked (and didn’t like) the new movie, what we’re hoping for from any possible sequel, and Amanda’s theory about how this movie not only doesn’t turn its back on the original movie, but actually makes the concept that it’s a sequel as likely as not.

Regardless, we have no sympathy for those who say that the new Ghostbusters has destroyed their childhood. And we’re not alone.

We also discuss:

  • Nightwing: Rebirth #1, written by Tim Seeley with art by Yanick Paquette,
  • Wonder Woman #2, written by Greg Rucka with art by Nicola Scott, and:
  • Civil War II #3, written by Brian Michael Bendis with art by David Marquez!

And, the usual disclaimers:

  • This show contains spoilers. If you want to avoid knowing whether every molecule in Melissa McCarthy’s body explodes at the speed of light in a total protonic reversal, consider yourself forewarned and forearmed.
  • This show contains adult, profane language, and is therefore not safe for work. You want your boss to learn a whole new definition of “hard but fair”? Then buy some earbuds.

Thanks for listening, suckers!

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.

Thanks for listening, suckers!

homer_superman_shirtMy God, it’s a miracle: we’re actually releasing a new podcast on our regularly-scheduled Sunday! Sure, we had to tape it on Saturday to get it done, and during a time when we were forced by circumstance to remain sober while we did it, but what the hell; it’s a small price to pay for being able to rant about comics and pop culture on a predictable schedule.

In this week’s episode, we discuss:

  • Television! Particularly, the announcements this week that Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was renewed (and whether or not that is a good thing), and the announcements that various networks have picked up season orders of Agent Carter, Gotham, iZombie, Constantine, and Flash, and which shows we think might be good or horrible, depending on their direction
  • Moon Knight #3, written by Warren Ellis with art by Declan Shalvey
  • Miles Morales, The Ultimate Spider-Man #1, written by Brian Michael Bendis with art by David Marquez, and
  • Why you should never allow a kitten into a recording studio when you are, you know, recording.

And, a few notes (and please let us know in the comments if we mentioned something obscure and forgot to include it here):

  • The “Maurissa” whose name we were trying to remember was Maurissa Tancharoen, one of the showrunners for Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
  • When we talk about Beacon Hill and Dorchester, you might not know that Beacon Hill is a Boston neighborhood populated almost exclusively by people who use the word “summer” as a verb, and Dorchester is a place where you go to witness or participate in a knife fight (it is the home neighborhood of Mark Wahlberg, so you know almost nothing good has come from there)

Finally, the nitty gritty pseudo-legalese:

  • This show may contains spoilers, and it may spoil something with no warning whatsoever (although we make an effort to chuck a “spoiler alert!” in now and again)
  • This show was recorded live to tape and is unedited, so there may be more “ums”, pregnant pauses, and vile, ill-advised humor than you are used to from your everyday comics / pop culture podcast
  • This show includes the use of explicit and profane language, and is most decidedly not safe for work. Unless you have the kind of job that requires you to know what a “Tunguska Reacharound” is, in which case, listen away and feel free to tell your pimp that we think you deserve a larger cut of the take.

Enjoy the show, suckers!

all_new_x_men_8_cover_2013I have a recurring dream where I wander into a keg party at my college in 1991, grab a Natural Light, and wander around until I find myself, at 20 years old, in a corner somewhere. And I say, “Rob: for the love of God, don’t stick your dick in Lynn Mansfield. She will make you into a whinier, more irritating moron than usual for at least a couple of years. Now for Christ’s sake, give me a fucking cigarette. You don’t smoke yet? Well c’mon, let’s get you a pack. You like Marlboros… no, trust me: you like Marlboros.”

Because that’s the fantasy, isn’t it? If we could just go back in time and spend a few minutes with out younger selves, we could impart the wisdom that we wish we had when we were younger, and maybe avoid pain, heartache and perhaps an embarrassing social disease. And in this fantasy, we always assume that we will be grateful for these pronouncements from on high… even though, if you stop and think about it for a second, these pronouncements are largely the same as the ones that came from your father at the time. And not only did you ignore those bits of wisdom at the time, now you look like your father, meaning that the response to your benevolence would likely only be, “Um, when did we decide that lard was part of the food pyramid, fat man? And no, you can’t have any of my cigarettes! They’re, like, a buck-eighty a pack!” And then you will kill your younger self in a fit of rage, and then where will you be? But I digress.

The point is that All New X-Men has, for eight issues now, been an excuse to address that fantastical question: if you could talk to yourself 20 years ago, what would you say? And would it make any difference? Which is not particularly new ground for a science fiction story – hell, Van Damme did it in Timecop, and attempting to follow in the footsteps of Van Damme-age has never been a good long-term plan for anybody. But here, writer Brian Michael Bendis addresses the situation in s slightly different way: what if meeting yourself when you are older corrupts you? What if seeing that things didn’t turn out the way you planned when you were 20, rather than inspiring you to try harder to achieve your plan, instead hardens you, and makes you more cynical and ruthless? Or maybe it just fucking horrifies you, to the point where you’ll do anything to avoid whatever makes you into whatever you become?

It’s an interesting take on your standard Travel-Into-Your-Own-Past (or Future) story… but the question is: with five different original X-Men to follow, along with a bunch of new X-Men, is there enough of a focus to really make any particular point?

One thing I’ve learned over several years of attending the San Diego Comic-Con is that DC Comics panels are more entertaining than Marvel panels. That’s a harsh reality but for me, a true one.

Panels from each company are jam-loaded with hype, and each does its damndest to try and whip the crowd into a screeching nerd frenzy, which is fine; Comic-Con panels aren’t press conferences, they’re public relations exercises that happen to include some pieces of legitimate comics news. And often that news is exciting – Neil Gaiman back on Sandman, anyone? – so I don’t blame either editorial staff for trying to whip the crowd into a slavering geek frenzy. But for me, the difference is that Marvel is just so self-congratulatory about things.

Here’s an example: last year, DC Comics blew up their entire universe and ran a real risk of alienating a huge chunk of their core audience. Instead, the move allowed DC to overtake Marvel in sales for he first time in recent memory, and their sales have reportedly stayed damn solid since then. We have attended no less than five DC panels so far at SDCC, and the biggest pat on the back DC gave themselves was when Bob Wayne opened the New 52 panel yesterday by asking the crowd how many people spent SDCC last year thinking that DC was insane for making the move… and followed up by asking why more people didn’t think that at the time.

Compare that to Marvel, who last year introduced a black / Hispanic Spider-Man. In the Ultimate Universe, which thanks to the recent 616 universe crossover in Spider-Men, is the equivalent of DC’s Earth 2 – a sandbox where Marvel can mess around with characters without it affecting the valuable core titles from which they make movies. Was is a bold move? Sure it was… but compared to blowing up your entire continuity, it’s about the same as comparing dropping a washer slug into a Coke machine to sticking up the Federal Reserve with a dynamite belt: one’s a little easier to walk back if the plan goes sideways.

However, if you listened to the panelists at yesterday’s Marvel Ultimate Universe panel, you’d think they cured the common cold. “This was a big risk,” said Marvel Editor in Chief Axel Alonso, “It was harder for us to kill [Peter Parker] than it was for you guys.” Alonso also said that the new Ultimate Spider-Man was the best work of Brian Michael Bendis’s career, and make no mistake: it’s a pretty good story, albeit utterly decompressed. But the hype was, personally, a little hard to take. My notes from the panel read, “Lot of ‘We’re so awesome and brave’ shit on the panel for killing Peter and having an Afr.-Am. kid as SM. There’s no news here, just fucking hype.”

And then Alonso announced that Ultimate Spider-Man artist David Marquez just signed an exclusive deal with Marvel. And my notes read, “There’s your news, writer prick.”