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Don’t Ask For Questions When You’re The Big Question Mark, or Something

Graeme McMillan

Firstly, if you haven’t seen Hibbs’ post from earlier today, you should go and read it right now. I’ll wait. It’s relevant to your interests, if your interests are “buying comics” and “things that’ll be happening to this site.”

Back (or didn’t click on the link to begin with)? Okay, now I’ll do my bit.

Savage Criticians*! Jeff and I are doing another round of question-answerin’ for next week’s Wait, What?, which we’ll be recording tomorrow. This gives you, oh, 20 hours or so before we start recording to leave questions/comments/declarations of undying love in the comments of this post that we’ll either get around to tomorrow or, as we all saw last time we did this, the following week. We promise to try our best to answer as many as possible, but you know us; we tend to go off-topic and on-tangent more often than we mean to.

Anyway, go and leave us questions (Or, if you do the Twitter thing, send them to @graemem and @Lazybastid there). Thankyouverymuch in advance.

(Oh, and Eric Rupe and Matthew Murray, we’ll try and remember to answer your questions from the comments to the last ‘cast, promise. Although I can reveal that I’m not in the pocket of Big Question Mark, because that bastard hasn’t even spoken to me since he broke up the Mysterons way back when. I cried 96 tears, let me tell you.)

* – I may have made that word up.

45 Responses to “ Don’t Ask For Questions When You’re The Big Question Mark, or Something ”

  1. I really like, among other things in your podcast, how you guys analyze the industry gossip and personalities. Who are the genuine good guys you know in the industry? Also, give me your thoughts of two of my favorite comics works, Walt Simonson’s Orion and Scott Morse’s Soulwind. And when is Tim Hunter (Books of Magic) coming back?? Thanks Graeme & Jeff.

  2. Well, I read this right after watching Justice League: Doom and that movie left me with the question “When did writers start treating Superman’s heat vision like it was a laser?”

  3. More of a review request than a question: How is Memorial? I like iZombie, but don’t love it, and at least half of the appeal there is Allred.

    Which leads to a different question: how sensitive are you to price on the non-big-two? I seem to have stuck in my head that the “right” price is $2.99 for b&w or $3.50 for color. I balk at the extra 49 cents that IDW wants me to pay. It’s too small a difference for this to be rational, but it keeps me from trying their books.

  4. I’ve got 20 bucks to go spend on Comixology (or somewhere else digital if you want.) What do you suggest I go buy.

    Now I’m giving you 20 bucks, what do YOU go buy digitally? (It’s a hypothetical 20 guys. Sorry)

  5. If you had the chance to ask the current editor of 52, Daredevil, Punisher, Captain Marvel, and Amazing Spider-Man any question, what would it be?

  6. Who is your favorite cheesecake artist?

  7. Gah! I keep having questions while I’m listening, and then I forget them. But! I’m sure I’ll come up with something.

    …okay, I’ve got one: Preacher or Hitman, which is the better latter-’90s Ennis series? Inquiring minds, read: me, want to know.

  8. Do you have an opinion on Gail Simone? I fear that her loyalty to DC has ended up derailing her career. Am I being unfair, or have her groomers at DC failed her?

  9. Also, do you have any thoughts on Hama’s GI Joe? I’ve been reading IDW’s reprint volumes, and, personally, I’ve been loving them. I just want to hear your thoughts.

  10. In one of his ‘Doctorow Doctrine’ blogposts recently Jim Shooter suggested comics companies needed to hire World Class Visionary Editors, who qualifies?

    The larger point of the post was about Shooter suggesting a New Business Model for comics, assuming you’ve had a chance to read it what did you think? Given your disgust for how things are run now I’d be interested in your take on a suggested alternative.

    Personally, for all I rolled my eyes at some of it, I thought it was intriguing to see someone put actual thought into where to take the comics industry from here rather than just shrug and write it off as doomed. I have no idea of the practicality of any of it but there seemed to be some genuinely good ideas there.

    Link to the post in question: http://www.jimshooter.com/2012/03/doctorow-doctrine-and-other-techno_12.html

  11. I’d love to start reading 2000 AD, but i have no idea where to start. Should i just dive right in with the current issue, or is there an earlier point you’d recommend? I’ll be picking them up digitally, if that makes any difference. Thanks!

  12. @Voodoo Ben The current run on Judge Dredd is the culmination of John Wagners decades of work on a character who has aged with him. Start with the Tour of Duty (progs 1650–1693) run and then jump to the current Day of Chaos (1743–…) arc.

    Otherwise 2000ad have been very good at collecting their major properties into essentials type trades recently. The Dredd ones are pretty sprawling but with Strontium Dog, Nemesis the Warlock, Rogue Trooper ect you can just start at the begining and read the whole thing if it grabs you.

  13. How are we saying criticians? Critickians? Critishians? Kardashians?

    Anyway my question: You have been given the power to commission a single new issue of any run in the history of comics, what is your choice? The powers granted to you allow you to pluck the creators from that time so death or faded ability are of no concern.

  14. @McGaveson

    I am nearly certain Graeme wants another issue of Green Lantern: Mosaic.

  15. With 20th Century Boys and Bakuman with definitive ends, which series is worth keeping on the shelf for multiple rereads and which can be borrowed from the Graeme McMillan Magical Library for a single session?

  16. There seems to be a bit of a kerfuffle (or perhaps a multitude of kerfuffles, I’m not entirely sure how kerfuffles actually work) in the comics internet world lately: you’ve got Before Watchmen, people hating on Moore, people hating on people hating on Moore, creators leaving books, creators taking books other people have an issue with them taking, digital comics extremists clashing with floppy comic traditionalists, rights denied to heirs of creators, bathrooms denied to the Marvel offices, etc.
    And in this time of upheaval and uncertainty it seems that purchasing a comic is now more than just that, it’s making a statement and taking a side. More and more the language is changing from “I bought a comic” to “I supported that book, that creator”. Buying a comic from Marvel or DC is taking their side, it’s supporting mistreatment of creators.
    Is it possible anymore to buy a book because you enjoy it, no matter which company published it and what atrocities they committed to do so? Or is that something that died with comics on the news-stands?
    I guess really my question is if I can buy the “Avenging Spider-man/Daredevil/Punisher Omega crossover” or the latest “Girls of Steampunk Halloween” issue without it being an ethical dilema?

    (on reflection, I think that post made it sound like I’m against most of the views I hold but whatever).

  17. Comics are a visual medium, obviously, but in mainstream North American comics, at least, the focus is almost always on the writer at the expense of the artist (or artists), who actually do most of the work and are primarily responsible for establishing the tone and flow of the story. You’ll hear people refer to “Bendis’s Daredevil” or “Morrison’s All-Star Superman” more than they refer to “Bendis and Maleev’s Daredevil” or “Morrison and Quitely’s All-Star Superman,” for instance, even though I can’t really imagine either of those runs without their respective artists (certainly, you never hear them referred to as “Maleev’s Daredevil” or “Quitely’s All-Star Superman”).

    There seems to be this underlying assumption in mainstream comics that writing is what really matters and that artists are essentially interchangeable cogs that can be swapped in and out at will (we can certainly see the logical extension of this in Marvel’s current attitude toward artists). My question is: where do you think this “cult of the writer” comes from? Do you think it just comes naturally – that is, that writing really is the most important aspect of comic production? Or do you think something else is skewing the way comics readers, critics, and the industry at large perceive the value of art and artists?

    (My own theory is that this stems from the assembly line nature of production in American comics, which breaks up the act of comic creation into a series of specialized tasks, and essentially makes the writer into a kind of factory foreman, passing on orders from management to a team of increasingly exploited and undervalued workers.)

  18. Where do you stand on the following topics:

    Viz Comic
    BBC Micro vs ZX Spectrum
    Reverse Aquaman
    Before Reverse Aquaman

  19. Two questions, both hopefully brief:

    1) You guys had alluded to their being a lot of connections between the recent Thor film and Jack Kirby’s Fourth World. I’m a big Thor fan, but way behind on my Fourth World reading, so I probably missed most/all of these. What were the major ones?

    2) Any theories as to how Bendis has been able to keep it going on Avengers so long? Is it pure marketing? Is it the constant Avengers-focused event cycle? Or are there people out there who really like his cliche ridden faux-Tarantino dialogue and reliance on deus ex machinas?

  20. Which book/universe of Alan Moore’s would you like to see continued? (Personally i would have loved more issues of 1963.)

  21. People often talk about the slow movement of comics into the digital arena as a sign of strength of both the medium/format and the DM. However, couldn’t the lack of movement on the digital front simply mean that there isn’t enough popular demand to overcome the entrenched interests in the market? In other words, comics are resistant to the larger cultural trend towards digital content because comics are by and large irrelevant to the culture at large. If so, to you see this as a good thing or bad thing?

  22. It may be my perception, but it seems that marvel does a lot of crap which they often get a pass for, while DC gets burned at the stake for every bad decision they make. Why the disparity? Is it just my perception? Is it because there are more marvel fanboys than DC fanboys that forgive and forget? Is it because DC has done more dastardly or heinous crap than marvel? Do the creators know more and that has trickled to the fans? Do speculate.

  23. Reverse Aquaman lives in the sky and talks to birds, but only Geoff Johns thinks he’s cool.

  24. As far as Marvel and DC go are comics moving more toward celebrity creators or cartoon TV-show-on-paper machine operators, in your opinion?

  25. I can partially answer one of these questions:

    Q: “Or are there people out there who really like his cliche ridden faux-Tarantino dialogue and reliance on deus ex machinas?”

    A: I enjoy Brian “Michael” Bendis’s cliche ridden faux-Tarantino dialogue and reliance on deus ex machinas (I don’t really get the Tarantino thing, but let’s not argue!). However, I don’t buy thirty thousand copies of every issue he writes, so I can’t fully account for his continued employment.

    And now onto MY question:

    For whatever reason, the only two comic-book-type podcasts I listen to with any regularity are this one and WORDBALLOON (Fresh Air with Terry Gross doesn’t count, sadly).

    On the one hand there’s you guys, who (let’s face it) are pretty rough on writers, artists, editors, other comics critics/journalists, the internet, and the state of COMICS IN GENERAL. And with good reason! You are, after all, SAVAGE. It’s fun and provocative and the theme song is hilarious to me.

    On the other hand there’s John Sciuntres, who is pretty upbeat and seems to maintain warm relationships with virtually all his interview subjects, without (I’d argue) giving off a sycophantic, Billy Bush vibe. He’s a smart interviewer and knows his pop culture STUFF. And his theme song(s) are hilarious to me.

    Both programs are very enjoyable and provide a nice balance for my listening pleasure. While I recognize the two have entirely different aims and approaches, it would be interesting to hear Mr. Lester and Mr. McMillan give their thoughts on the Word Balloon podcast, and comics-related podcasts in general.

  26. Can I ask non-comics questions?

    1) Carrying over from the last comments section, I would like to hear Jeff pontificate on The Raid more.

    2) I want to hear Graeme talk more about attending the Portland mayoral debates. Now that he can vote here, what does Graeme look for in a candidate?

  27. Hey guys, thanks so much for taking questions again! Here’s a bunch of ’em, quick and dirty from the top of my head, feel free to pick and choose as you see fit!

    1) Print collections of webcomics. Have you bought any besides Gingerbread Girl? If not what would get you to do so? Extra material? Excellent physical quality as just an objet d’art?

    2) Why will no one hire Steve Rude?

    3) Will we ever see Brenden McCarthy reprint Swimini Purpose? Likewise Pope for THB?

    4) Read any good minicomics lately? And yeah, it’s cool if Jeff just goes on about The End Of The Fucking World here (assuming he’s still picking it up).

    5) I know it’s hard to comment on now since it’s not yet really launched, but do you guys have anything to say about Waid’s Thrillbent collective-thingie? Corollaries: Will “Insufferable” be as unreadable as it sounds from its description? And Waid’s really just trying to grab some superhero readers with another cape-comic-with-a-twist that uses the same “In” prefix to tie his stuff together in a marketing sense, right?

    6) Given that Jeff isn’t reading any Marvel right now, what would DC have to do to get him to stop reading them as well? And if Graeme didn’t have to read for work, would he not be reading Marvel right now either, and what would DC have to do to get him to stop? Basically, where’s the line for you personally?

    Thanks again for bein’ awesome gentlemen!

  28. 1) Are you reading Bulletproof Coffin and if so what are your thoughts? It may not quite reach Glamourpuss levels of weirdness, but man is it a fascinating thing.

    2) How awesome is the Mindless Ones podcast? Or I guess to be objective, what do you think of their podcast (on a scale of great to awesome)? Do you like their structured approach? Will we be seeing theme songs from you guys (as the Mindless ones have) now that the title of Bomb-Diggedgyest Podcast is in contest?

    3) Thoughts on Shia LaBeouff’s comics? Thoughts on current online commentary of Shia LaBeouff’s comics (e.g. Sean Collins piece)?

    4) I’m gonna be that guy and repose a question that was skipped last time, because I think it’s an interesting topic. What do you think of introductions in comics collections? Favorites, least favorites, what goes into a good introduction, who should be writing them and isn’t, etc.

    5) Can Jeff describe more things as “chill?”


  29. Three questions:

    Overall, has the quality of DC’s line of comics improved as a result of the reboot? And if so, by how much?

    Related question: which property improved the most from rebooting? Which suffered the most?

    Why do you think it is that comic fans get so angry and spiteful whenever a critic dares say he doesn’t like a superhero movie? Why do they take it so personally and get so vengeful? On Rotten Tomatoes every critic who entered a negative review, people are commenting and attacking them like they insulted their mothers.

  30. If Todd MacFarlane called you up and said he needed a new writer for Spawn and would pay you the equivalent of one Mark McGuire ball, what would your pitch be?

  31. Who would win an epic battle between Orion of the New Gods and Ikari of The Eternals?

    Who would win in a space fight between Nova and Green Lantern?

    Who would win a Pre-Nu52 race – Wally West or the recently returned Barry Allen?

    And… Who would be considered the biggest dork (by those who don’t see their inner goodness) – Peter Parker or Clark Kent?

    (If that too many questions, feel free to go with ‘The reader’ as your answer for all of them).

  32. Questions for the both a youse!

    1) Which creative team would you choose to do the duties on a licensed ZARDOZ comic?
    2) Have you seen the motion picture GENTLEMEN BRONCOS? If you have, what did you think of it?
    3) Is ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN really the “best reviewed comic in the world”? If so does this make the world seem an even darker and colder place?
    4) Aren’t there laws about false advertising anymore? (Murder’s still illegal, right?)
    5) Why doesn’t George Freeman draw comics anymore?
    6) Is the idea I just had for a series of James Ellroy adaptations written by Howard Victor Chaykin and drawn by Jordi Bernet making you both ‘phone/Twit all your industry contacts to make it a reality?
    7) When I was a young 2000AD reader I thought Colin Wilson (who was then drawing mostly ROGUE TROOPER) was a pseudonym for Jean Giraud Moebius. Does this make me an idiot?
    8) Have you ever met anyone who has actually read the ‘80s DC “maxi-series” LORDS OF THE ULTRA-REALM or SONIC DISRUPTORS?
    9) Am I the only one that grinds their teeth in the night because DC stopped that DOC SAVAGE series without finishing the story off? It only had one part to go! By Vishnu’s ringlets!!!!
    10) Are DC refusing to fulfil their promise to publish Howard Victor Chaykin’s BLACKHAWK and C.C. Beck’s MONSTER SOCIETY OF EVIL in collected format because they hate me in particular? Can I legally force them to make good on their solicitations? How dead and poor would I be at the end of the legal proceedings? On a scale of VERY to TOTALLY.
    11) Is Brian “I Like Ike!” Hibbs’ favourite comic Jack Kirby’s CAPTAIN AMERICA’S BICENTENNIAL BATTLES? Is Jack Kirby’s CAPTAIN AMERICA’S BICENTENNIAL BATTLES everybody’s favourite comic? If not how can we make this beautiful dream a magnificent reality?
    12) Did I miss the deadline for questions? I did didn’t I?

  33. Oh by the way, the movie I was talking about in my question in comment #29 was the Avengers movie.

  34. John UK:

    1) Jason Aaron and Sean Murphy
    2) Funny, I guess, but you’ve got to wonder what it is about Jared Hess that he considers Roger Zelazny, Ursula K. LeGuin, Ben Bova, Barry Malzberg, or basically any prominent science fiction author of the 70s or 80s to be The Worst Human Beings Who Have Ever Lived, and spend millions of dollars and six months of his life and 90 minutes of viewer’s time making them pay, making them ALL pay!
    3) Best reviewed Bendis comic, maybe
    4) there’s always a loophole
    5) I don’t know Butchie instead.
    6) How about something NEW by Chaykin and Bernet instead?
    7) no.
    8) I haven’t, but I’d like to… no I wouldn’t.
    9) How do you think J.G. Jones feels about it?
    10) Er, Blackhawk was collected years ago, wasn’t it?
    11-12) 404 not found.

  35. I read Sonic Disrupters. If DC hadn’t cancelled it, I probably would have bought the whole thing, in hopes of it all turning out right in the end. I used to be so trusting.

  36. Wow! I knew by the time I listened to this week’s podcast I would be too late for questions, but damn! if I can’t wait to hear the answers to what’s above….

    @ John K
    First, it’s not just you, I want that Blackhawk & Monster Society of Evil too! That being said, I think your answer is “totally.”

    And I read BOTH Sonic Disruptors AND Lords of the UltraRealm, and all I can say is this: “I’ve read Watchman, and you, you are no Watchmen.” That’s all I can recall, so take what you will.

  37. “I don’t know Butchie instead”


  38. Not comics related, guys, but your opinions on the new Mad Men season so far? Granted, it’s not even quite at the halfway mark, so it might be too early to ask, but any thoughts?

    …or it might be too late to ask, since you put the call for questions up what, four days ago? Oops.

  39. @Baroza If you haven’t checked it yet, Mindless Ones is doing an epic breakdown of this season show by show.

  40. Are there any collections of old material that Jeff sort of wishes he had picked up before his Marvel boycott?

    Ive recently dropped big 2 books and the things I regret picking up are: Flex Mentalo, the upcoming Gene Ha Action Comics, rest of the Invisibles, upcoming Punk Rock Jesus and Miller’s Daredevil. Oddly DC focued :\

    Favourite non big 2 superhero books? Of all time and currently.

  41. @Dan Coyle: thanks for the answers, I enjoyed ’em! Importantly though: yes I would like NEW stuff! Always! I would not want to give any other impression!

    Has anyone actually seeen this BLACKHAWK TPB?!? It has an ISBN and everything but whenever I order it off sellers I get a copy of #1 of the mini-series. Well, okay, that happened twice. But that’s twice more than I want that to happen. Did they just print about 50 copies or something? I need to get out more.

    Awesome to hear somebody actually read SonDis and LotU! I’ve been wondering about them since I saw the house ads. Yes, I know: get out more.

  42. If fringe sticks the landing in the final season (or at least doesnt completely fuck it up), will it be remembered as the best of the 3 major sci fi mythology shows of the last 10 years (fringe, BSG, and Lost)? Or do too few people watch it,and fringe is not in the zeitgeist the way the other 2 are that it won’t matter.

  43. One more I wanted to throw in: Is Jeff still reading Detective? I really enjoyed his summary of the first story arc and would love to hear more.

  44. Occams: actually, in terms of audience numbers, isn’t Fringe on the same level as BSG, and Lost pisses on them both from a great height?

    I will say that although I gave up on the show a while ago, its overall arc holds up slightly better than Lost’s or BSG, but in terms of a coherent mythology for a genre show, it’s not a patch on Supernatural.

  45. I thought of another question listening to the last show.

    There was an anecdote I heard about World of Warcraft that if you go online to talk about the game all you will find is piss and vitriol of the masses discussing the game online. You tend to forget that for the % of the people who are online complaining there are multiples of that people just enjoying the game and not discussing it online. To what extent is the comics internet still that vocal minority?

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