This is Issue 22 of Comics Squee. Each podcast our panelists, who live and write in a cake made of strawberry, discuss the comic books, graphic novels, and general sequential art geekery that excites them.
I’m your host, Chriss Cornish. Joining me are regular squeesters: John Oliver, a dark fantasy author online at JohnWOliver.com; and April Taie, leader of the Geek Girls Meetup in San Diego.
Taking the revolving 4th chair this issue is our guest, comic fan and friend of the podcast Khai Krumbhaar.
In this issue of Comics Squee we have: comic book history told with comics ; a great superhero cartoon ; an awesome kids’ comic with space adventures ; and a sad yet beautiful tale of war.
Chriss: Zita the Space Girl by Ben Hatke (starts at 00:02:52.594)
This is a wonderful kids book with all-ages appeal. On their way home, Zita and her friend find a strange device. When they activate it a portal appears and her friend gets pulled into it. Zita reacts the way anyone would, which is to say she freaks out and runs away. But then gets control of her fear and goes back to rescue her friend. So the book follows her adventures.
April loves this book as well; it is straight-up adorable. And the various friends and antagonists that Zita meets along the way are interesting and different. Like Strong-Strong, a sort of giant potato-looking dude with a star on his chest. And 1, a battle-robot sphere that’s all talk and bluster. Zita is a very fun and cute book.
There’s also a second book out right now, Legends of Zita the Spacegirl, and a third book coming out soon. It’s a great series to start a new comics reader on.
Khai Krumbhaar: Pride of Baghdad by Brian K. Vaughan (writer) and Niko Henrichon (artist)(starts at 00:07:37.617)
Spoiler warning! This book came out in 2006, so if you don’t want it spoiled jump to the next squee.
This book came out in 2006 and follows the group of lions, and extended group of animals, who were in the Baghdad Zoo back in 2003 when the Americans came in and there was a lot of combat and fighting. The story follows the family of lions; the old female, the new young female, the male, and a cub. When the zoo is shelled they have to survive. The younger lions are excited and want to go be free, but the old lioness doesn’t want to go – she knows it’s work to survive and wants to stay at the zoo and be fed by the humans.
Other then the characters being talking lions, Pride of Baghdad is pretty true to what happened. And if you follow the news you know what happened, though even if you don’t the fact that it’s written by Brian K. Vaughan should be enough to warn you that there will be tears.
The art is beautiful though, with great colors. And while the story deals with war the art isn’t grotesque; the emotion is graphic, not the artwork. There’s one scene where the zoo is shelled after being abandoned and there are pages of the kind of thing you’d expect to see in a thing about humans. Vaughn and Henrichon take the kind of care and empathy with these lions that you’d see in a war fic, and it’s intense enough that if you’ve been to war you have to sit down and have a cup of tea.
Warning! Scary yet interesting fact ahead!
Our guest was stationed in Iraq. She told us that, before the conflict started, the Hussein regime used to feed dissidents to the lions at the Baghdad Zoo. Which is why they had to be put in down in real life; they saw humans as food. Before she was deployed, one of the old units told her that and she thought it was a joke – until she landed and found out it was true. So in 2002, being fed to lions was a thing that could have happened to you in Iraq.
This book is very easy to get ahold of. All the public libraries stock copies because it’s about real events. And if your local shop doesn’t have any in stock they can very easily order a copy for you.
April: The Comic Book History of Comics by Fred Van Lente (writer) and Ryan Dunlavey (artist) (starts at 00:15:44.367)
Comic Book History of Comics is SUPER good. And it has so much information. As someone who came late to comics, April really appreciates a book that can entertainingly sum up the history and major periods. And even long-time comic fans can appreciate the book and learn interesting tidbits.
The history of comics told in comic book form seems so obvious. A total why-didn’t-someone-think-of-this-before idea. And Van Lente and Dunlavey do an amazing job, with the art style of the book changing and evolving as they talk about the style and history of comics changing. They’ll do an “Innovation” and talk about Jack Kirby, and then the art is in his style.
Van Lente and Dunlavey. When those two get together they do such wonderful non-fiction comics. Their Action Philosophers is a wonderful thing you must read if you haven’t.
John: Young Justice cartoon from DC (starts at 00:00:00.000)
This is a great cartoon. John spent a week marathoning it. And that isn’t a thing he usually does. The set-up is that the sidekicks arrive to join the Justice League. They get shown to the waiting room, and then the Justice League has to go off to deal with something important and they all get told to stay there. But Robin convinces the others (Aqua Lad, Kid Flash, and Miss Martian) to go check out something the League was going to investigate but had to back burner when this crises came up. And it leads them to Super Boy, who’s a clone being raised by Project Cadmus.
There are 26 episodes of finely plotted story that builds on itself the way you wish comics would more often.
And a lot of other characters get introduced. Like Zatanna, Rocket, Beast Boy, Speedy, Artemis.
What makes it even more awesome is that the second season starts 5 years after season 1. Robin is now Nightwing. Some of the characters have joined the Justice League while others have left Young Justice and have gone on with their lives. And they’re all dealing with the fall out of the end of season 1, where they had to deal with the mind-controlled Justice League.
- 4a) Tangent 1: Metaphorical pizza puts nickles in the jar (starts at 00:30:15.258)
Question Time: What is your favorite thing you’ve read recently? (starts at 00:31:32.312)
What We’re Looking Forward to Reading Next (starts at 00:56:21.125)
Female Thor!!! Other people have held the hammer; a space horse, a frog, Jane Foster. And a storyline where Thor’s the old king and his daughter is Thor. Chriss theorizes that Angela will become Thor.
A potluck in the park and comic book swap she’s organized for September.
He picked The Empty Man, until he realized he’d looked forward to it in another show. So he switched to finishing up Young Justice
She was particularly squeefull this show and had a list of thing she was looking forward to
- Big Questions by Anders Nilsen
- Pretty Deadly volume 1
- More of Sandman: Overture