Welcome, lovely listeners, to issue 21 of Comics Squee. Not ONLY issue 21, but our 1st anniversary show! The Squee is now 1 year old – tangents, tentacles, and all!!!
Each podcast, our peerless panelists (bitten by radioactive spiders) share the comics, graphic novels, and sequential art related goodies they love in an oft tangent riddled outpouring of geekery and glee.
I’m your happy host, Chriss Cornish. As always, I’m joined by my comic carrying crew of squamous squeesters: April Taie, leader of the Geek Girls Meetup in San Diego; and John Oliver, a dark fantasy author online at JohnWOliver.com.
Piloting the invisible guest mobile this issue is comics writer, creator, and editor Brandon Montclare. Among his writing credits are titles like Fear Itself: Fearsome Four and Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight. He’s edited Sweet Tooth, Rising Stars of Manga, All Star Superman, and many others. AND he’s co-creator and writer of the fabulous Rocket Girl,starring a teen girl jetpack cop from the future sent back to the 1980s to save the world; I squeed about it back on show 5.
In this issue of Comics Squee we have: my favorite horror manga ; some current cartoon action ala Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends; a webcomic universe of talking dots that are gods; and a noir classic.
April: In His Likeness by James Hatton (starts at 00:02:45.175)
This webcomic has been running for 10 years. April started reading it way back, but has lapsed due to trying to spend less time in front of the computer. It started out with just a black dot, who is the Abrahamic god, telling jokes in a four panel layout. Then it added the devil (a red dot with horns). Over the years more and more characters have been added. All gods. All different pantheons. All dots.
Even though it’s just a dot, you can guess them all because they’re specific to who they are. Bast is a dot with cat ears and whiskers. Athena is an armored owl dot.
The webcomic In His Likeness is silly, cute, wacky, and a lot of fun. And with ten years of strips there’s a lot to read. And there are books.
- 1a) Tangent 1: Kid forts, West Coast style vs East Coast (starts at 00:08:05.562)
John: Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon (starts at 00:11:01.300)
This cartoon is in the vain of Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends, much more modern at this point. We’re in the midst of watching the second season on Netflix, because we don’t have cable and are always a year behind.
Ultimate Spider-Man is so fun and engaging. He breaks the fourth wall all the time in goofy asides as he talks to you. The premise is that the Ultimate Nick Fury, who’s the foundation of the Samuel Jackson movie Fury, recruits Spider-Man to S.H.I.E.L.D. He ends up with a team consisting of a young Nova, White Tiger, Power Man, and Iron Fist. Coulson is even Peter Parker’s principle at school, and Stan Lee is the janitor. And Aunt May is a hipster, active woman in her late 50s instead of the traditional frail, foot-from-deaths-door old lady.
The writing’s clever and fun. And they have new, interesting takes on these classic heroes and antagonists.
Ultimate Spider-Man is on Netflix. And it airs on the Disney channel.
- 2a) Tangent 2: Who’s got the better rogues gallery, Batman or Spider-Man? (starts at 00:17:17.175)
- 2b) Tangent 3: Man-Wolf, space werewolf, and the effects of nostalgia on comic writers (starts at 00:19:09.300)
Brandon Montclare: Sin City by Frank Miller (starts at 00:22:46.950)
Brandon is a big fan of Frank Millers. And, with the release of the new giant omnibus Big Damned Sin City, he wanted to talk about Miller’s masterpiece. We discuss how the characteristics black and white artwork is a result of Frank experimenting with a style he could get pages done quickly with so he’d have work on the shelf while his more detailed art projects would take months of productions time. The really impressive thing is that the figures are formed by the white/negative space on the page instead of by the black inks. One of John’s favorite stylistic touches is how a character will be outlined by nothing but slashes of rain, their entire outline formed merely by the water ricocheting off.
Brandon brought up the point that Sin City actually is a pretty funny book. As much as Frank gets talked about as being one of the progenitors of grim-and-gritty in comics, his work actually has a lot of dark humor in it. Unlike modern attempts by Marvel and, especially, DC to be ‘grim’ where there’s no humor or hope and the publishers pander to the lowest denominator and shove lines like “I didn’t live to die like this” in our faces for fear we won’t be smart enough to notice how ‘grim-and-gritty’ they’re being.
- 3a) Tangent 4: Cap-Wolf, that time Captain America was a werewolf (starts at 00:22:17.950)
- 3b) Tangent 5: Plop magazine and humor at Vertigo (starts at 00:32:54.687)
Chriss: Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service by Eiji Otsuka (writer) and Housui Yamazaki (artist) (starts at 00:34:36.250)
This is Chriss’ favorite horror manga. These may be triggery for some people. These are ghost stories, but they’re sold bound in plastic because there are corpses, and corpses tend to be nude, and hey’re not squeamish about drawing genitals or breasts; it’s not gratuitous but they’re there. Also, there are some stories about people up to no good with lady corpses; again, not graphic but the sort of thing that can be triggery for folks.
Kurosagi is well written, paced, and drawn. Each of the characters has a purpose on the team; the guy who can communicate with corpses, the guy who can dowse for corpses, the cute girl who’s an embalmer and serves as their CSI tech, the boy who’s a channeler and uses a sock puppet to communicate with aliens, and the leader who’s a hacker. Their tag line is, “Your body is our business.” Their company finds corpses that still have souls trapped in them, because they died in anger, were killed, died in madness or sorrow, or had a disease. And they take the bodies where they need to go in order for the souls to find peace and go on to the next life.
Question Time: What is your favorite superhero tv show music? (starts at 00:42:10.733)
And now it’s Question Time, when I pose a vaguely thematic query to my pragmatic panel of savvy squeesters and invite you at home to play along.
A twist this time, though! For Comic Squee’s 1st birthday issue I gave YOU, the listeners, the present. Namely, I invited you, via the Twitters and the Book of Face, to pose your own
Question Time queries to us. As always, feel free to play along at home.
The flood of…one response… we have: From listener @tamahome02000: “What is your favorite superhero tv show music? Some of
mine are the 1960’s Spider-Man, Battle of the Planets, and Wonder Woman.”
The theme from Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends cartoon
The Captain-America cartoon’s theme (because John will sing it at random moments)
That classic Batman TV show theme. Nanna nanna nanna nanna BATMAN!
- Brandon Montclare:
The theme from Jethro Tull’s “Too Old to Rock ‘n’ Roll: Too Young to Die!” album, the gatefold LP cover for which had a comic illustrated by Dave Gibbons of Watchmen fame.
What We’re Looking Forward to Reading Next (starts at 00:46:23.500)
Buying the Whitzend collection from Fantagraphics
Looking forward to finding out what the dickons is going on in Shutter, which Chriss describes as Buffy meets Grandville.
Issue #3 of The Empty Man
- Brandon Montclare:
The end of Starlight
- Tangent 6: Eerie and Creepy magazines (starts at 00:51:52.509)