The first official day of San Diego Comic-Con 2017 was yesterday, and we are doing shows live (to tape) from the belly of the beast.

Being our first day back to SDCC in three years, we discuss what’s changed in the intervening time, including a brand new requirement to bend the knee and pledge fealty to Rick Grimes. We also discuss some of our strategies for working the floor, some interesting observations about the state of the convention, and some protips on how to ask a question at a panel (The protip being to ask a question, and remember that your life story is not a question).

We also discuss some observations and news tidbits from the Karen Berger / Paul Levitz panel, and the DC Meet the Publishers panel!

And a few points to remember:

  • We encoded this episode at a slightly lower bitrate than usual. We did this to try to save bandwidth and to ensure we’d have enough space to deliver episodes from San Diego Comic-Con. So we apologize if the sound isn’t quite as clean as it usually is. Luckily, you don’t need a lot of bits to record drunken profanity.
  • This show contains adult, profane language, and is therefore not safe for work.
  • While we will be uploading podcasts periodically throughout the convention, you should follow us on Facebook for uploads of photos and other media we grab during SDCC.

Thanks for listening, suckers!

all_new_miracleman_annual_1_coverIt’s the first episode of 2015! In a week where there’s no comics news since everyone in comics is on vacation, and there were almost no new comics for exactly the same reason! Which means most comics podcasts and news sites are doing their Best Of / Worst Of lists this week… while we did ours last week. Clearly we don’t plan well.

So this week, we decided to look back to a couple of events from 2014 that we haven’t previously talked about in a lot of detail:

  • The Doctor Who Christmas Special, Last Christmas, and:
  • Luc Besson’s superhero-ish movie from last summer, Lucy, starring Scarlett Johansson!

And while it was a light week for comics, there were a couple of big, highly-anticipated issues. So we discuss:

  • All-New Miracleman Annual #1, written by Grant Morrison and Peter Milligan, with art by Joe Quesada and Mike Allred, and:
  • S.H.I.E.L.D. #1, based on the TV show Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., written by Mark Waid and drawn by Carlos Pacheco!

And now the legalese:

  • We record this show live to tape. While this might mean a looser comics podcast than you are used it, it also means that anything can happen. Like the definition of a Face Dream Herpe.
  • This show contains spoilers. While we try to shout out warnings ahead of time, just assume that you will be told the villain of 1988’s Miracleman #15. 27 years is enough of a cushion.
  • We use adult, profane language, so therefore this show is not safe for work. This week’s title is “Wookie Shoe Porn,” for God’s sake. We shouldn’t need to warn you to get some headphones.

Enjoy the show, suckers!

multiversity_pax_americana_1_coverThe world of comics is big, complex, and sometimes even literary… and we are not. So we open this show talking about the return of Underoos. Which might sound frivolous, but when you consider that those underwear packs were the only place we middle-aged geeks could get a decent superhero t-shirt in the late 70s, it means something to us.

In addition, we also talk about the radical change in Batgirl to appeal to younger readers, we talk about whether that re-imagining of the character was the right way to go, and what other efforts the Big Two publishers might use to attract readers who aren’t middle-aged white guys with massive disposable incomes. We cover reboots like Batgirl’s, new characters in old costumes like Ms. Marvel, and the good old days, when Avengers and Justice League were places where new and B-List characters could get a fair shake at building a fanbase that could maybe carry a solo title for them.

We also go over the recently announced week two books of DC’s Convergence event, speculate on which titles seem most likely to hold hints about the permanence of this event, and again despair why some creators are on books that don’t seem like the best possible fit (why is Keith Giffen not writing Justice League International, for the love of God?).

And finally, we talk about:

  • Multiversity: Pax Americana #1, written by Grant Morrison with art by Frank Quitely, and:
  • Spider-Verse #2, written by Dan Slott with art by Olivier Coipel!

And now the disclaimers:

  • This show is recorded live to tape (There is one edit in this week’s episode to cover when I nearly revealed my secret identity). While this might mean a looser show than other comics podcasts, it also means that anything can happen. Like mangling the name of a classic comic to make it sound like Green Arrow is a gentleman of leisure who favors baseball bats.
  • This show contains spoilers. While we try to yell out warnings ahead of time, be aware that they can come at any time.
  • We use adult, profane language, and therefore this show is not safe for work. Unless you, like Green Arrow, are a gentleman of leisure, consider wearing headphones.

Thanks for listening, suckers!

miracleman_annual_1_coverThere are two types of people in this world: superhero comic fans who love Miracleman by Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman, and superhero comic fans who haven’t read all of it yet. Rob is in column A, and Amanda is in column B. Which means that they had very different reactions upon hearing that Marvel has announced that they will be publishing a Miracleman annual, with stories by Grant Morrison and Peter Milligan. This announcement begs the question: should new creators be allowed to jump into a story like Miracleman, which is a combined yet singular vision between two epic creators? And being two different types of people, Amanda and Rob have differing views on the announcement.

But there is more to comics than a couple of new short stories tacked onto a 30-year-old narrative. So Amanda and Rob also discuss:

  • The Death of Wolverine #1, written by Charles Soule with pencils by Steve McNiven,
  • Original Sin #8, written by Jason Aaron with art by Mike Deodato and
  • Big Trouble In Little China #4, written by Eric Powell and drawn by Brian Churilla!

And now the legalese:

  • We record this show live to tape. While this might mean a slightly looser show than your normal comics podcast, it also means that anything can happen.
  • This show contains spoilers. While we try to throw out a verbal warning before we cut loose, consider this fair warning.
  • Amanda and Rob use adult, explicit language, and therefore this show is not safe for work. The janitors portrayed in Miracleman had Walkman headphones for work, and that was 1984. What’s your excuse?

Enjoy the show, suckers!

doctor_who_capaldiThis week was the much-heralded premiere of Doctor Who season 8, with Peter Capaldi’s first turn as The Doctor. Like most geeks, Amanda and I watched the show, with our special guests, long-time Crisis On Infinite Midlives contributors Trebuchet and Pixiestyx, and spent some time talking about the episode itself, and Doctor Who as a whole. Between us all, we have a wide range of experience and interest in Doctor Who, from one recent and casual fan to one who’s been watching since Tom Baker was broadcast of UHF PBS stations in the early 90s, so it made for a pretty interesting conversation, even with our crippling, debilitating hangovers!

We also discuss:

  • Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season 10 #6, written by Christos Gage with art by Karl Moline, and
  • Multiversity #1, written by Grant Morrison with art by Ivan Reis (and considering Rob is the only hardcore superhero fan with a soft spot for Morrison, this gets a little contentious)!

And now the disclaimers:

  • This show was recorded live to tape. While this might mean it’s a little looser than some comics podcasts, it also means that anything can happen! Including the rank mockery of Matt Smith!
  • This show not only contains spoilers, but it is supersaturated with spoilers. So while we try to throw in warnings ahead of time, consider this a big, blanket, spoilery-woilery warning.
  • Everyone involved in this show uses explicit, adult language, so the show is not safe for work. Even the BBC, which allows full frontal nudity, would bleep this show. So get yourself some headphones.

Enjoy the show, suckers!

batman_incorporated_13_cover_2013-1620456523Editor’s Note: I don’t know if Batman’s dead or not. All I know is this. Parts of the city out there, it’s like Spoiler Year all over again.

Grant Morrison has been working on his Batman story since 2006. During that time, DC has gone through a Final Crisis and a full reboot, Batman has died and been reborn after traveling through history, had a son and lost him (despite a couple of stories predicting his future as Trenchcoat Gunslinger Batman), and I have been infuriated at least as often, if not more often, as I have been delighted by what Morrison has done with the character in the past seven years.

Seriously: for every awesome speculative story about a future Batman presiding over the end of Gotham City, there is Batman with a handgun shooting Darkseid. For each interesting revival of obscure Silver Age ephemera, there is a Joker story that is mostly text with the occasional odd computer-generated image (seriously, Grant: if I wanted to read a giant block of text, I’d read this Web site). And for every moment where Damian does something awesome, there are about 700 moments where Damian speaks, breathes and / or exists. I was not a fan of Damian, I guess is what I’m saying.

But Morrison’s Batman story is over now, completed in this week’s Batman Incorporated #13, where Batman finally has his last showdown with Talia al Ghul (who started this all by dumping that little rugrat Damian on Batman’s doorstep back in the first place), with the fate of Gotham and six other cities hanging in the balance. And in the issue, Morrison tries to have things a lot of ways, simultaneously tearing down and destroying Batman and Bruce Wayne while asserting that that could never happen, and pointing out the ridiculousness of the idea of Batman while also calling it timeless and classic.

All of which should be a filthy Goddamned mess, and in certain ways it is, as Morrison makes a couple of choices here that directly contradict other things that he did earlier in his run. However, there is no denying two things: while I don’t always enjoy or agree with his story choices, there is no question that Morrison is an excellent writer… and if you’ve been following his career since Animal Man, you know he can write one hell of a final issue when he wants to.

And while Batman Incorporated #13 might not be the best wrapup to an epic storyline I’ve ever read, it is, in fact, one hell of an interesting statement on Batman himself.

grant_morrisonIt is not a secret, if you peruse the Batman or Grant Morrison tags on this Web site, that we are not necessarily fans of Grant Morrison’s seven-year Batman story that has run through the primary Batman title, Final Crisis and, most recently, Batman Incorporated… although the recent death of Damian Wayne in Batman Incorporated #8 was satisfying in the way that hitting yourself in the head with a hammer is: it feels so damn good when you stop.

Part of why Morrison’s long-form story has never completely grabbed us is that, as a generation who grew to love comics into adulthood partially due to Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns and Batman: Year One, we don’t have a lot of love or need for Batman stories from the 50s and 60s, when Batman was surrounded ridiculous leering villains who tied up the young boy who lived with Batman, not only giving the character a dull edge, but giving the jocks reasons to give us swirlies from junior high until our growth spurts occurred.

So Morrison’s embrace of the tropes of some of those early stories simply didn’t work for us, as we were unable to really understand why Morrison would bring up those old stories that got us so savagely beaten back in the early 80s. Morrison, however, has gone on record with his through process for including that entire weird and often campy history into his Batman story, in a podcast with Kevin Smith, that YouTube user swank has excerpted and paired with illustrations from the history of Batman. And while the story still leaves me lukewarm, it explains the logic behind the decisions Morrison made… and you can check the whole thing out after the jump.

batman_incorporated_10_cover_2013Editor’s Note: Criminals are a cowardly, spoilered lot…

On my initial readthrough of Batman Incorporated #10, I was fully prepared to lower the boom on writer Grant Morrison. Here’s why.

Did you ever get really drunk or high and have an epiphany? One of those moments where, seriously under the influence of something, you realize something that is so seemingly obvious that you can’t believe nobody else ever came up with the idea, yet so seemingly transcendant and perfect that you firmly and totally believe, in your stupor, that your idea will change things deep down at their core? So you stumble around and you find a piece of paper and a pen and you write it down… and then you wake up in the morning, praying for relief and wondering if you should consider shaving your tongue, and you find the piece of paper… and it says something like “pizza beer.” Or maybe “Dorito-flavored rolling papers.” And you look at that piece of paper, and you think, “Yeah, that’s a pretty obvious idea… but it’s also really kind of obviously stupid,” and you chuck the piece of paper and you lurch into the sunlight, looking for greasy food.

In a bunch of ways, Batman Incorporated #10 lives and dies by that kind of late-night, shitfaced, obvious idea that never survives the harsh light of day… except Morrison missed that part where you sober up and realize that the whole concept is a little on-the-nose and kinda dumb.

Yeah, I was ready to do that. And on a lot of levels, I still am: the final reveal on the last page (not like it’s much of a reveal, given the book’s WTF gatefold cover that gives up the ghost before page one) simply stinks of a guy ripped to the tits on absinthe and psilocybin screeching, “Wait a second, wait a second and hear me out… what if Batman… actually was a bat? Stop laughing and gimme that one-hitter…” But with that said, there’s some decent imagery here, a tease that some characters we saw months ago might come back into play in an unexpected way, and a tease that Talia might be facing some trouble on all fronts.

But that ending really should’ve been held until someone sobered up, man.

action_comics_18_cover_2013Grant Morrison is done with Action Comics now. And I am okay with that.

I am okay with that because, with the benefit of  hindsight over the entire run, his story was meant for Superman fans. By which I mean, real, hardcore, longtime Superman fans. The kind of Superman fan who thinks Superman will never look right again now that Curt Swan is dead. The kind of Superman fan who knows, without consulting Wikipedia, that Silver Kryptonite makes Superman PCP-level paranoid, while Red Kryptonite makes him grow four dicks in each armpit. The kind of Superman fan who calls his penis “Beppo.”

Morrison’s run started with Superman fighting corrupt businessmen, as he did in the early issues of the original Action Comics, and ended with a battle with Mr. Mxyzpltk, effectively “modernizing” Superman for the New 52 by bringing him from 1938 all the way to 1965, via a mescaline bender. Sure, there was the odd stop to examine what Superman might mean to the modern world, but all in all, this series started out, and ended, as a celebration of the earlier, more out-there elements of the Superman mythos.

So, as I’ve said in other reviews of Morrison’s Action Comics issues, how you feel about Action Comics #18 will largely depend on how nostalgic you are for Fifth Dimensional imps, multi-colored Kryptonite, super-powered animals, the Legion of Super Heroes, and yet another bold statement about how important Superman is to the DC Universe and to America. You know, bold statements like Morrison made in All-Star Superman and DC One Million.

Personally? I can take them or leave them.

batman_incorporated_8_cover_2013Editor’s Note: Holy Spoilers, Batman! …yeah, that’s all I got.

And with that, our long national nightmare is over. Maybe.

For the second time in my life, Robin has been murdered, only this time I didn’t get the perverse satisfaction of dialing a 900 number to strike one of the killing blows myself. Back in the late 80s, I called to kill Jason Todd because he had become a petulant, impulsive little snot who had slowly drifted into becoming a murderer. Conversely, Damian Wayne was introduced as a petulant, impulsive snot, who was a trained assassin before he even made an appearance on the page. Damian Wayne was hateful, an entitled, imperious little prince who, if you found yourself sitting in front of him on a crowded airplane, would make you willing to gladly do time in Guantanamo for attempting to rush the cockpit and crash the plane just to make the self-important yammering just fucking stop.

In the six and a half years since Damian was introduced (not counting his appearance as an infant in Mike W. Barr’s 1987 Son of The Demon, which also included the Batman / Talia al Ghul fuck scene I used in high school to stop the abuse I took claiming Batman was gay. It didn’t work.), Grant Morrison and other writers like Scott Snyder and Peter Tomasi have been somewhat successful in rehabilitating Damian, slowly edging him away from a kid you would happily pepper spray just to see the superior light in his eyes go out, and more toward a hero with a tragic upbringing that he is trying to overcome. Which is a long road to travel for a character who was designed to initially cause intense dislike toward him, but one that must be traveled to make his death, in Batman Incorporated #8, anything but a blessed, bloodthirsty relief.

Well, that road’s over, because the kid’s dead now – for the moment, anyway; after all, this is a comic book. So the immediate question is: does Morrison make Damian’s death poignant because it is the death of a hero? Or because you realize you’re reveling in the death of a 10-year-old boy?