Welcome to Comics Squee, issue 24. Each podcast our panelists, with the strength of 10 tigers, 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; comics journalist and media consultant, Erin Polgreen. Erin is also co-founder of Symbolia magazine, where comic books and journalism meet.
In this issue of Comics Squee we have: my favorite comic from the 80s ; a history of hip hop ; a surreal silent webcomic ; and… OOGA CHACKA OOGA CHACKA* ;
* We had a lot of fun singing the “Hooked on a Feeling” song from the Guardians of the Galaxy movie’s commercials.
April: Hip Hop Family Tree, vol 1 by Ed Piskor (starts at 00:02:20.750)
Ed Piskor is amazing and Hip Hop Family Tree is SUPER RAD. And it talks about the birth of hip hop through the very early 1980s, starting mid 1977/78. It throws you right into everything that’s happening, introducing you to this players that you already know; like Grand Master Flash, and The Furious Five. And takes them through guys who are playing in basketball courts to serious recording artists.
Piskor does a great job of keeping things brisk and interesting. And he does a great job of using the lettering and visual effects to really get the personalities of these people across. Like the panels with Afrika Bambaataa, who is SO LOUD THAT THE PANELS VIBRATE WITH THE SOUND to the point that they are blurry.
April took forever to finish vol 1 of Hip Hop Family Tree because she kept getting inspired to go back and listen to the music. And a lot of these early hip hop tracks are loooooonnngggg.
Hip Hop Family Tree was actually one of guest Erin Polgreen’s favorite reads from last year (2013). So much so that she accidentally ordered two copies of it.
And this is a big, beautiful, quality book. Fantagraphics always does a fabulous job getting you your money’s worth. So even if you prefer digital books the physical copy of this book is something you’ll want to have and hold on to.
Everyone gave it two, highly audible, thumbs up.
Erin Polgreen: Haunter by Sam Alden (starts at 00:13:36.050)
This is a surreal, silent comic from The Study Group. You can read it online.
Erin fell in love with Haunter, in book form, when she backed them Kickstarter. It’s a super saturated comic, done in water color, divided into three or four panel layouts. But despite using techniques that typically denote slow pacing, Haunter is a fast-paced thriller.
Haunter starts with a lone female hunter stalking a boar through this post-apocalyptic jungle. Then turns into an intense chase scene as the hunter disturbs something terrible in a golden temple, and hunter becomes hunted. And it’s phenomenal how Alden intensely and purely uses colors, utilizing complimentary golds and scarlets to create tension.
This was something really special to Erin, showing how comics can be a really good format buster. It put John in mind of Nausicaa; the female protagonist, the post-apocalyptic jungle setting, the tones, and overgrown nature of the setting.
Chriss: Power Pack by Louise Simonson (writer) and June Brigman (artist) (starts at 00:22:10.202)
This is Chriss’ favorite comic from the 1980s. It was co-created by the legendary Louise Simonson and drawn by the fabulous June Brigman. Power Pack is about a family of kids who get super powers from a horse alien after their inventor father is kidnapped by the evil Snarks.
This comic has hands-down Chriss’ favorite aliens in all comics. Simonson and Brigman did such a fabulous job of making aliens who were alien. Even down to what the insides of space ships and furniture is like as a result of alien body shapes.
The villains, the Snarks, are sort of grasshopper-ey lizard aliens with these HUGE legs bent at weird angles. So there are no chairs in their ships and everything they build is very wide and open. They have no hair and refer to the kids as ‘hatchlings.
The helpful aliens, by contrast, are the horse-like Kymellians. Their horsey legs mean they don’t move or stand like humans and the chairs in their ships tend to be loungey. They also all have powers. So they’re an entire society were superpowers are default.
Power Pack is just fun and adventurous. It was relaunched in the early 2000s with a more intentional ‘kiddy’ feel. You can get collected volumes of the ‘classic’ series, and the issues themselves are pretty easy to get hold of for not much money.
- 3a) Tangent 1: No cellphones in 1980 (starts at 00:23:02.125)
- 3b) Tangent 2: Comic book ads and X-babies (starts at 00:28:50.125)
- 3c) Tangent 3: Our innuendo jar (starts at 00:31:10.844)
John: Guardians of the Galaxy movie (starts at 00:31:11.125)
John saw the Guardians of the Galaxy movie in August (a few days before we recorded this show) and he can’t get the music out of his head. It’s like Quentin Tarantino scored a Marvel movie. He bought the album.
But what John REALLY wanted to squee about is the movie itself. And the fabulous job it did of integrating the soundtrack into the movie. Not only do the songs set the tone of scenes, but the songs themselves mean something to the main character, Star-Lord/Peter Quill. Heck, there are even dance offs!!
Of course the good guys defeat the villain. Big shocker, right. But this movie’s not really about the struggle to beat the bad guy, John feels, Guardians of the Galaxy is actually about the growth of the characters; not only as individuals but as a team.
Question Time: What’s your favorite comic you’ve read lately? (starts at 00:36:29.900)
I posed this question to our listeners on the Twitters and Book of Face and here’s what you chimed in with:
Keenan Kibrick, who joined us as a fan guest back on show 16 – “I just read Bandette and it is amazing. Thanks for the Recommendation! One not from your show that I
read that’s also good is called War Dogs. Also I read Pencil Pup.”
@Tamahome02000 – “Action Comics 33 by Greg Pak and Aaron Kuder had kickass art and women; unfortunately it was part of a crossover.”
And our answers…
Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, and Me by Ellen Forney
- Erin Polgreen:
Up on The Nib the week of recording, The Secret Moonshiners of Saudi Arabia by Andy Warner
Afterlife With Archie #6, where we get back to what happened to Sabrina after she started the zombie apocalypse.
Owlgirls by Rachele Aragno
- 5a) Tangent 4: Burka Avenger, first cartoon in Pakistan (starts at 00:31:10.844)