walking_dead_153_coverWe have been fans of The Walking Dead since the seventh issue of the comic book. That means that we have hung in with Rick Grimes and company, and their doomed world, for literally almost twelve years. We’ve stuck with them through prisons, and horrors performed in Woodbury, and the semi-friendly takeover of Alexandria, and All-Out War, and The Whisperers. For more than a quarter of our lives. Which meant we were surprised last week, after the conclusion of season six of The Walking Dead series, the opening of Fear The Walking Dead season two, and the release of the comic’s 153rd issue, when Rob said he might not have the wherewithal to watch these people take a beating anymore.

So this week, we examine the state of The Walking Dead. From the TV show’s introduction of Negan and the extended beating that probably means for Rick and company, to Fear The Walking Dead and how its prequel nature means that we will be spending 18 episodes with people we know are doomed to wind up in the world of The Walking Dead no matter what they try, to the comic and its reintroduction not only of Negan, but his “costume” and weapon. And we discuss whether the story, in all its incarnations, has finally become so bleak, depressing and hopeless to want to follow. And we talk about whether the comic book has been transformed from a story into a property, making it impossible to ever end in a satisfying manner.

We also discuss:

  • Moon Knight #1, written by Jeff Lemire with art by Greg Smallwood and Jordie Bellaire, and:
  • Jackpot! #1, written by Ray Fawkes with art by Marco Failla!

And, the disclaimers:

  • This show contains huge spoilers for the end of The Walking Dead season six, the opening of Fear The Walking Dead season 2, and big ol’ chunks of the Walking Dead comic. While we try to shout out warnings ahead of time, be aware the we will ruin the fact that the world of The Walking Dead is a stone cold bummer.
  • This show contains adult, profane language, and is therefore not safe for work. You want your boss to learn about “The Thighs of Death”? Then get some Headphones of Continued Employment.

Thanks for listening, suckers!

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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.

Thanks for listening, suckers!

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heroes-rebornWe’re a couple of weeks out of San Diego Comic-Con, and, even though we can hardly believe it, it turns out that one of the panels we’ll be missing the most? The Heroes Reborn panel on Sunday in Hall H.

I think we can all agree that Heroes kinda went sideways in its later seasons, but we’ve always had a soft spot for the show, ever since seeing the pilot at our very first San Diego Comic-Con. And all these years later, it’s easy to forget just how exciting the show was in its first season. So we discuss what was so exciting about the show in its first season, what went wrong as time went on, what we know about Heroes Reborn, and what we want to see from this miniseries.

We also discuss the Miles Morales-starring Spider-Man book announced by Marvel last week, including what this might mean for Peter Parker, why it was a foregone conclusion that Miles would not only get his own post-Secret Wars book, but keep the name Spider-Man, and what the timing of this announcement might have to do with recent Marvel Studios activity.

We also discuss:

  • We Are Robin #1, written by Lee Bermejo with art by Jorge Corona, and:
  • Gotham by Midnight #6, written by Ray Fawkes with art by Juan Ferreyra!

And, the usual legalese:

  • 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 learning why D-Man is to beautiful and ephemeral a character to ever be put on film.
  • This show has a lot of spoilers. While we try to shout out warnings ahead of time, if you want to find out for yourself if they ever Saved The Cheerleader? Be forewarned.
  • This show contains adult, profane language, and is therefore not safe for work. You want your employer to learn the finer points of performing a Spider-Mohinder? Get yourself some headphones.

Enjoy the show, suckers!

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c2e2_logoWe conclude our coverage of C2E2 2015 with a recap of the Caped Crusaders, Dynamic Duos and Darkest Knight panel (or just the Batman panel when it’s at home), featuring Batman writer Scott Snyder as moderator, with Batman Eternal writer James Tynion IV, Detective Comics writer Brian Buccallato, Gotham by Midnight writer Ray Fawkes, and the upcoming Robin: Son of Batman writer / artist Patrick Gleason.

So in this episode, we bring you a ton of audio clips of these guys (well, mostly Scott Snyder) talking about upcoming storylines in Detective Comics, Gotham by Midnight and Robin: Son of Batman… but at the time of this panel, we were only four days away from the conclusion of Batman: Endgame in the core Batman title, and only a week away from the debut of the new “RoboBunny” Batman in DC’s Free Comic Book Day offering, Divergence. So we feature a bunch of clips of Snyder and company talking about the new Batman, the process in creating him, the reasoning behind the new direction, and a few new tidbits about him that you might not have heard elsewhere, all from the mouths of the creators!

And, since Batman #40 has been released since this panel, we not only feature several clips of Snyder talking about what Batman: Endgame means to him, but we review and discuss the issue!

Thanks for listening to our C2E2 coverage. We return to our normal weekly schedule on Sunday, May 3rd, with an episode about Avengers: Age of Ultron, featuring a couple of very cool guests!

Thanks for listening, suckers!

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holy_fck_1_coverPicture, if you will, a comic book about a world where old gods hide in the shadows. They have amassed monetary wealth and earthly power, and they plan to use it to force humanity to worship them again… by fomenting Armageddon on Earth, and then saving the last surviving dregs of humanity, who will worship the Old Ones while envying the dead. A world where the only one who can save us is a simple nun. Oh, yeah: and Jesus. Who rides a Harley. And carries a machine gun. And enjoys the use of stimulants and prostitutes. Oh, and I forgot: Satan’s there, too. And he and Jesus have a history. In the Sam and Diane, Ross and Rachel sense of the word.

Sound like a fun comic? Well, it actually exists, and this week, we’re excited to have as our special guests: Nick Marino and Daniel Arruda Massa, the co-creators of Action Lab’s Danger Zone imprint’s newest comic: Holy F*ck!

Nick and Daniel spent a little time with us to talk about the book, its origins, how they came to collaborate on the book, how it found a home at Action Lab, and what you can expect from this story of Jesus and Satan against the old gods (hint: there are no helicopters). We also extensively discuss the use of specialty hairpieces in the pursuit of comics work. It’s a damn fun interview.

In addition, Amanda and I talk about:

  • Dan DiDio’s ongoing series of Facebook posts recapping his 13-year history at DC Comics,
  • Star Wars #1, written by Jason Aaron with art by John Cassaday, and:
  • Constantine #21, written by Ray Fawkes with art by Jeremy Haun!

And the obligatory disclaimers:

  • We record this show live to tape (although we recorded our interview with Nick and Daniel separately, and then cut it into the remainder of the show). As such, it might be a little looser than other comics podcasts you are used to, but it also means that anything can happen. Like a detailed description of Zeus’s man-nipples.
  • This show contains spoilers. While we try to shout warnings ahead of time, just assume we’re going to ruin every ending you ever cared about.
  • This show contains adult, profane languange, and is therefore not safe for work. We interview guys who created a book called Holy F*ck, guys; unless you want your boss to hear a discussion about Jesus’s and Satan’s special relationship, get some headphones.

A few other things we want to point out:

Nick and Daniel did a few short comics about what Jesus has been up to between Good Friday and Holy F*ck, if you want to get a taste of the book:

The first two issues are available at Comixology, and:

While we were talking, Nick put together and sent us a drawing that is relevant to our discussion, the comic and the title of this show:

clownmerkin

Enjoy the show, suckers!

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star_wars_logoThe first Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens teaser trailer dropped on Friday. It’s 88 seconds long, it features less than half of that in new footage, it gives us almost no story context… and it’s enough to get the geek world shrieking like teenagers at a One Direction concert.

So we talk about the trailer: why it was so effective, the smart choices director J. J. Abrams made to turn Generation X’ers all giddy like, well, teenagers at a One Direction concert, and how 88 seconds was all it took to change our opinions about the upcoming movie from ambivalence to legitimate anticipation.

We also discuss the solicits for week three of DC’s Convergence event. This round, which drops on April 22nd, seems to feature versions of DC heroes from before Crisis On Infinite Earths, with antagonists from the Tangent Universe. So sit back, relax, and hear about a week designed to somehow simultaneously appeal to 50-year-olds and Millennials!

We also talk about:

  • Gotham By Midnight #1, written by Ray Fawkes with art by Ben Templesmith, and:
  • Spider-Man 2099 #6, written by Peter David with art by Will Sliney!

And now the disclaimers:

  • We record this show live to tape. While this might mean a looser comics than you might be used to, it also means anything can happen. Like comparing Teen Titan Jericho to a specific form of intestinal distress.
  • This show contains spoilers. While we try to shout warnings ahead of time, consider this your master caution alarm.
  • This show contains adult, profane language, and is therefore not safe for work. Don’t be a filthy Jericho; get yourself some headphones.

Enjoy the show, suckers!

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star_hunters_4_coverOver the past week, announcements have come down that TV versions of Teen Titans and Supergirl are being developed… mere weeks before the premieres of Gotham, Constantine, The Flash, and a new season of Arrow. And all this on top of DC’s efforts to build a Marvel Studios style cohesive universe with their own movies.

So Amanda and I discuss who they could possibly use in Titans, what with all these other disconnected properties being released (spoilers: if we see Jericho, there will be blood). We also talk about whether, with these series as well as Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.Agent Carter, and the four Netflix series, we could be driving the non-comics reading public into superhero burnout, and if DC is fouling their own nest by pulling possible movie characters out of play for basic cable TV shows.

We also talk about:

  • Batman: Futures’ End #1, written by Ray Fawkes with art by Aco, and
  • The Death of Wolverine #2, written by Charles Soule with art by Steve McNiven!

And now the disclaimers:

  • We record this show live to tape. While that might mean a slightly looser show than you are used to, it also means that anything can happen. Like talking about Matthew Perry wearing Leifeld leg pouches stuffed with Vicodin.
  • This show contains spoilers. While we try to shout a warning ahead of time, consider this the official one.
  • This show contains adult, explicit language, and is therefore not safe for work. If you don’t have headphones, find Jericho, clock him in the head and take his. He’s got it coming, and besides: he can’t cry for help anyway.

Enjoy the show, suckers!

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constantine_5_cover_2013160553189Editor’s Note: With a magic word… SPOILERS!

Okay: can we all start out by admitting that, simply on paper, the idea of taking cynical con-man and master magician John Constantine – you know, the guy who once performed surgery on a succubus, who once was pregnant with the child of an angel, with a lit cigarette and the snarl, “this’ll hurt” – and turning him into Shazam is a stupid fucking idea?

Seriously, there are some characters that you just do not give powers to. If someone came up to you in a bar during San Diego Comic-Con and told you that The Comedian should get the powers of Doctor Manhattan, or that Deathstroke The Terminator should be given the abilities of Brainiac, you would either finish your beer and back away slowly, or ask him what the hell he was thinking when he characterized Starfire that way in Red Hood And The Outlaws #1.

Without any context, the idea of taking John Constantine and imbuing him with the powerset of a 12-year-old American child historically best known for having a talking tiger and responding to the worst of human tragedy with a heartily shouted “holy moley,” is ridiculous. Which is how I responded to the idea when it was dropped during DC’s Trinity War panel last week, and how I was prepared to view it when I opened Constantine #5 last night.

Well the bad news is that the idea of Captain Constantine is still kinda stupid. But the good news is that writer Ray Fawkes gives the move some reasonable context within the scope of the Trinity War crossover, adds consequences to the action that I wasn’t expecting, and most importantly: keeps the whole thing short.

Because no matter what, seeing John Constantine in a spandex suit shouting, “Shazam!” is still really kinda silly.

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trinity_war_panel_sdcc_2013883375167I have been hearing about DC Comics’s The Trinity War crossover for what feels like every week since DC launched the New 52 Reboot. God knows that DC wanted to tease the Goddamned thing right out of the gate, what with sticking Pandora (or, as we knew her at the time, “The Hooded Woman,” or perhaps, “The Obvious McGuffin,” and sometimes, “The Stalking Chick With Psoriasis Seriously What’s With The Hood Is She Hiding A Third Eye Or Some Kind Of Suppurating Nipple On Her Forehead” (at least in our Home Office).

Well, we are almost two years into the DC reboot, and now we finally have our war. It started in last week’s Justice League #22, with Shazam (nee: Captain Marvel) tossing half a beating on Superman before Superman apparently wiped out Doctor Light’s head with a stern gaze, and it will continue through just about all the main Justice League related titles, including the upcoming miniseries Trinity of Sin and then dealing with the fallout in September, during Villains’ Month, in the Forever Evil miniseries. That’s a lot of story considering how long its taken to kick the damn thing off.

But kicked off it has, and since it started one week before the San Diego Comic-Con, that means that DC was ready to talk about it. And talk about it they did, in a dedicated panel discussion yesterday, moderated by VP of Marketing John Cunningham, with writers Geoff Johns, Jeff Lemire, and Ray Fawkes, and Group Editor Brian Cunningham. And quite a panel it was, teasing that the Trinity War might tear the various Justice Leagues apart, allowing the villains to win, and for John Constantine to gain the powers, and costume, of Shazam.

Wait, what?

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constantine_1_cover_2013Editor’s Note: I’m the one who steps from the shadows, all trenchcoat and cigarette and arrogance, ready to deal with the spoilers.

Let’s start by talking about that cover. It is terrible.

It’s not terrible in a visual sense; it is a perfectly serviceable Ivan Reis cover with a sense of dynamism, and enough flashy lights to attract the casual browser’s eye as he or she wanders through the comic store. So from a pure advertising standpoint, the cover does its job. The problem with the cover is that, for a Hellblazer fan trying Constantine #1 in the hopes that this new title will deliver something even close to what they loved for about a quarter century in the earlier series, it delivers the worst message in the world.

Hellblazer’s John Constantine was a dude who worked in the shadows, mostly by reputation, braggadocio and ruthless cynicism, who used the traditional magics of sigils and binding when he needed to use it at all. The cover to Constantine #1 advertises Constantine as a refugee magic user from Diablo III, chucking force bolts around like there’s some pimply teenager driving him with a joystick while mashing the A button.

The cover promises John Constantine as fantasy action hero, throwing around “magic” ways that Gandalf would find ostentatious and flamboyant. It hints at the polar opposite of what Hellblazer fans like, and it gave me a sinking feeling in my stomach… particularly since I know that it wasn’t the first cover planned for the book. The original cover featured Constantine in a graveyard surrounded by monsters, before it was replaced by this monstrosity… and even then, someone made the decision to airbrush the cigarette out of Constantine’s mouth, further emasculating the character. Hell, based on that carefully-placed force bolt, for all I know they actually took John’s balls as well.

This was the wrong cover if anyone at DC editorial wanted to attract Hellblazer readers in the wake of that book’s cancellation. It is the equivalent of a bar pulling all the single malt scotch off their shelves and replacing it with Four Loco; sure, scotch isn’t a taste for everybody, but you ain’t attracting Islay aficionados with cans of Teenager-Punches-Cops juice.

And finally, this cover is a huge misfire because it commits the cardinal sin of comic covers: it in no way reflects what’s happening in the actual comic book. Constantine #1 has no force bolt slinging action hero in it. Sure, there’s some more straight-up action in the book than you’d find in Hellblazer, including more ostentatious magic of the force bolt variety than you’d find in the original title. But none of it comes from John Constantine, who writers Jeff Lemire and Ray Fawkes seem to have a pretty decent handle on.

My point is, for an old Hellblazer fan, there is enough good character stuff in this book to make it worth checking out, despite that Godawful “Pew! Pew! Pew!” cover.

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