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.
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fly_outbreak_1_cover_2015It has been, bar none, the crappiest week in comics news in recent memory – when the high point of the week’s news is that Larry Wilmore hosted a nationally televised round table discussion on how comics aren’t diverse enough (bookended by nerds-in-basement gags), it’s probably best to just pretend the whole thing just didn’t happen.

So that’s what we pretend. Instead, we took the occasion of the release of IDW’s The Fly: Outbreak #1, written by Brandon Seifert with art by Menton3, as an excuse to revisit one of our favorite movie franchises. Sure, The Fly might seem like simple Cronenberg body horror, but if you take a few steps back, what you really have is, starting with the original short story, a series of classic tales of science gone wrong, with unintended circumstances that imbue someone with extraordinary abilities in the face of terrible tragedy. Sure, it’s presented as horror… but if Jack Kirby or Steve Ditko had drawn it, we’d be arguing over which actor should be playing Seth Brundle right now.

We also discuss:

  • The Amazing Spider-Man #16.1, written by Gerry Conway with art by Carlo Barberi, and:
  • Batgirl #40, written by Cameron Stewart and Brenden Fletcher, with art by Babs Tarr!

And now the disclaimers:

  • We record this show live to tape. While this might mean a looser comics podcast than you’re used to, it also means that anything can happen. Like a discussion over why real superheroines know to avoid a stack overflow error (and why that isn’t a reference to a wardrobe malfunction).
  • This show contains spoilers. While we try to shout out warnings ahead of time, be aware that we might ruin the ending of a 29-year-old horror movie (that’s based on a 57-year-old short story).
  • This show used adult, profane language, and is therefore not safe for work. You want your boss to know how many Godzilla wangs worth of snow we got this winter? Didn’t think so. Get some headphones.
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secret_wars_teaser_alex_rossIt’s been three months since Marvel announced the Secret Wars crossover event, and since then, speculation has been flying about what it meant for the Marvel Universe: would it be a reboot, or just an event allowing Marvel characters from all their various universes to punch on each other for a few months?

Well, Marvel’s Senior Vice President and Executive Editor Tom Brevoort and Editor-In-Chief Axel Alonso did a press conference about Secret Wars this week, and it turns out the answer is: both!

So this week, we spend a lot of time poring over audio from that press conference, first trying to figure out if this reboot was planned before or after Alonso famously denied that Marvel was planning a reboot. We also discuss whether and what we’ll miss from the Ultimate Universe, what we want to see written out of Marvel continuity, and what we think is absolutely sacrosanct. Further, when it comes to Secret Wars itself, we talk about Battleworld, what battles we want to see between characters and universes, and ultimately, whether or not we’re excited by the idea of a Crisis On Infinite Earths-style reboot of Stan and Jack’s Marvel Universe.

We also discuss:

  • The Amazing Spider-Man #13, written by Dan Slott with art by Giuseppe Camuncoli, and:
  • Powers #1, written by Brian Michael Bendis with art by Michael Avon Oeming!

And now, the disclaimers:

  • We record this show live to tape. While this might mean this is a looser comics podcast than you might be used to, it also means that anything can happen. Like discussions over whether we want to start a Kickstarter to fund the purchase of a Crisis On Infinite Midlives Kill-Bot.
  • This show contains spoilers. While we try to shout out warnings ahead of time, just assume that we’ve ruined the end of Spider-Verse for you.
  • This show contains adult, profane language, and therefore is not safe for work. Unless you want your employer finding out what body part we want to use to trigger the machines guns on our Kill-Bot, get some headphones.
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star_wars_1_jaxxon_variantEven though a big night out last night turned us into shattered wrecks only resembling human beings, we still had a lot to talk about this episode… starting with Marvel’s Star Wars #1, which reportedly will be selling more than 1,000,000 copies… even though Dark Horse’s very similar 2013-2014 Star Wars comic never sold even 50,000 copies in a month. So we try to figure out just where all these comic books are going. You know, besides the quarter bin.

We also talk about the information gleaned from the Sony Pictures leak that Sony has been in talks with Marvel Studios about bring Spider-Man into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. We discuss where Marvel might fit Spidey in quickly, where he just wouldn’t work, what storylines they might use in a standalone Spider-Man movie, and who should play him (hint: with the Russo Brothers from Community possibly directing Avengers: Infinity War, it can only be… Chevy Chase! Wait, what?).

We also review:

  • Bitch Planet #1, written by Kelly Sue DeConnick with art by Valentine DeLandro, and:
  • Afterlife With Archie #7, written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa with art by Francesco Francavilla!

And, as usual, the disclaimers:

  • We record this show live to tape. While this might mean a looser comics podcast than you are used to, it also means that anything can happen. Like a discussion about the fine line between a Disney toy and a marital aid.
  • We use a lot of spoilers in this show. While we try to shout out a heads-up ahead of time, consider yourself warned.
  • This show contains adult, profane language, and is therefore not safe for work. Unless you want to explain to your employers who Sgt. Douchenozzle is, get yourself some headphones.
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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.
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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.
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ConvergencePromo_1200Pre-registration for San Diego Comic-Con 2015, for people who attended SDCC in 2014, came and went yesterday, and it marked the first disappointment for would-be attendees who didn’t manage to snag passes… including us. So we spend some time talking about the process, how it differed from registration procedures over the past ten years, and whether there are any other fair options that can balance the need to allow as many people as possible to experience the con, against the horrors of being forced to impotently watch the Blue Ring of Disappointment.

In addition, DC announced their spring crossover event, Convergence, and it was interesting in that it could bring back some pre-Flashpoint characters, it might roll back some New 52 changes, and it sounds suspiciously similar to Marvel’s upcoming Secret Wars event. So we talk about how these respective events might affect their greater continuities, for which publisher this might be a better and stronger move, and ultimately, which one we’re most looking forward to.

We also talk about:

  • Grayson #4, written by Tim Seeley with art by Mikel Janin, and:
  • Spider-Verse #1, written by Dan Slott with pencils by Olivier Coipel!

And now the legalese:

  • This show is recorded live to tape. While this might mean a looser comics podcast than you’re used to, it also means that anything can happen. Like the observation that, if people bitten by radioactive spiders throw off irresistible pheromones, then Spider-Verse will become a very sticky place for reasons other than webbing.
  • This show contains spoilers. While we try to shout out warnings ahead of time, just assume that we might ruin everything you love.
  • This show contains adult, profane language, and is therefore not safe for work. Your boss doesn’t have Spyral’s nano-bugs, so all you’ll need is some headphones.

Oh, and here’s that Marvel Secret Wars video we talked about:

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tmp_amazing_spider-man_2_one_sheet_poster-1438492544Yes, we know, it’s been a couple of weeks since our last podcast, but we have a good excuse: we were drunk we were busy catching up on the latest in pop culture and comics after a weekend pretending we were still young reintroducing ourselves to classic video games!

So we are tan, rested and ready to talk about the biggest comics and geek events of the past week! Including:

  • A discussion of a weekend spent playing video games at the American Classic Arcade Museum at the Funspot Arcade in Laconia, NH
  • A talk about the highs (Andrew Garfield as Spider-Man) and lows (Jamie Foxx as Electro) of The Amazing Spider-Man 2
  • A dissection of the upcoming death of Wolverine, why it feels empty and corporate, why most recent comic book death stories feel the same, and a few comic book death stories that break that mold (and why)
  • A review of Jason Aaron’s and Jason Latour’s Southern Bastards, how it feels like a modern High Noon, and how it plays into (and stymies) views of the South from a couple of inveterate yankees
  • Quick discussion of DC’s Futures End Free Comic Book Day release, and Batman: Eternal #4

And, as usual, here are the disclaimers:

  • This episode was recorded live to tape, which means that there may be more dead air, ill-advised language, and “ummmms” than you are used to in your standard comics / pop culture podcast
  • This show uses explicit and profane language, and is not safe for work. If you have the choice between listening to this show on speakers and being reprimanded for faking a disability for wearing an earplug to listen to this show? Take the write-up. Sure, your hearing-impaired co-workers will give you the stinkeye tomorrow, but at least you’ll still be employed to see it.
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spider-man_web_shooter_toy_70sWhen I was a kid, every time my grandmother would visit, she would bring me Spider-Man web shooter toys like the one pictured at the left. They were basically the spring-loaded suction cup dart guns that you could buy at the drug store for three bucks, only modified with the handle yanked off, a wristband attached, and a button instead of a trigger. You strapped the thing to your wrist, tied a string to the suction cup dart, socketed the dart in the “web shooter,” and blasted it at stuff.

The problem with the toy was that the suction cup would only reliably stick to one thing: the refrigerator. So Grandma would roll in, hand me the toy and catch up with my mom, while I spent hours shouting at an imaginary Green Goblin, licking the suction cup and shooting the fridge with a loud “thwack!” This was excellent fun for me. For my mom, who had to clean about 700 kid-spittled suction cup marks off the front of the refrigerator, it was less so.

I always seemed to lose the toy within a day after Grandma packed up and went home… by which I mean that, when I was about 25, my mom finally copped to throwing the damned things away the minute Grandma’s taillights went around the corner and my back was turned. She must have chucked about 10 of the things… and considering that the last auction for one of them that I could find showed it selling around $425, I will make sure that, when the day comes, she knows that that is the reason she was put in the cheapest nursing home available. And I will pay the rotten orderlies extra to put drooly suction cup marks on her refrigerator.

The sting of those lost toys was alleviated somewhat for me today when I came across this video made by an German gentleman named Patrick Priebe, who makes, as you might guess from his Web site, laser gadgets. But he also does other more practical (and by “practical,” I merely mean “they don’t exclusively use lasers”) gizmos, like this wrist crossbow, or this other crossbow that shoots buzzsaw blades.

Well, his latest invention is a web shooter. And not a web shooter that works like Spider-Man; Priebe seems like a clever fella, but inventing an industrial solvent that can support hundreds of pounds and then completely disappear in an hour is above almost anyone’s pay grade. No, this is closer to the long-lost toys of my childhood: it fires a dart on a string. Of course, that dart is a sharp, barbed monstrosity fired via a powerful capacitor-driven electromagnet, but it’s in the same ballpark.

It is somewhat unfortunate that I am aware this device exists, because now I may need to contact this guy and see if it’s for sale. And once that happens, it is only a matter of time before the line, “A Massachusetts man was arrested on Christmas Day for repeatedly firing a harpoon into his mother’s refrigerator while shrieking, ‘We’ll be even when I do $5,000 worth of damage!'” appears in a Florida newspaper.

Ah well. You can check this nifty little modern throwback out, in action, after the jump.

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superior_spider-man_31_cover_2014Editor’s Note: Yeah. That sounds just spoilery enough to be right. Let’s go.

It’s been about 16 months since Doc Ock took over as Spider-Man, which has been just enough time to forget that Spider-Man is supposed to be fun, dammit.

Spider-Man’s supposed to be a wisecrack and an acrobatic move and a triumphant battle against insurmountable odds, while simultaneously Peter Parker’s a self-defeating complaint, an overdue bill he can’t afford to pay and a ruinous relationship that disintegrates against, well, predictable odds. Is it a formula? Sure. Is it soap operatic? Hell, yeah. But it’s a thing that works, and which has been working for 52 years. And it seems like a simple enough formula that we’ve seen so often over the years that we wouldn’t miss it if it was gone for a while… but I did, dammit.

Doc Ock as Spider-Man has been an interesting thought experiment to help reinforce that it’s the character of Peter Parker that makes the comic and not just a power set and a red and blue leotard, but nobody falls in love with a thought experiment unless it’s the Milgram Experiment, and even then it’s only if the enthralled already had a closet full of jackboots. So while it’s been a kinda cool distraction to watch a darker, more obsessed version of Spider-Man, I was ready for it to be over since I already have Batman.

So not only is it just plain good to see Peter back in the saddle in The Superior Spider-Man #31, writer Dan Slott clearly knows it. Because throughout this issue, characters react to Peter being back in costume (despite ostensibly not really knowing that he ever wasn’t the guy in the costume) with a general sense of relief and a sense of return to normal.

And so did I.

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