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Wait, What? Ep. 117: Sometimes Dead is Better

Jeff Lester

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One of Annie Wu’s great covers from the interior of Hawkeye #8.

Yep, it looks like this posting on Monday thing might be our new podcasting schedule for the conceivable future.  I hope it is not a problem for everyone (including Hibbs, who just posted the shipping list a few hours ago, do go check it out and comment.

After the jump: our charming and trying-hard-to-be-respectable old chum–the show notes.


0:00-5:11:  Here’s our opening, a bit more truncated than usual, just so we can jump in with the Bizarro talk and humor for children.
5:11-11:41:  This is definitely a full spoiler episode for the stuff discussed (although as Graeme points out, a lot of the stuff under discussion have discussed and spoiled by the mainstream press).  And although that sounds like the perfect lead-in to our discuss about Batman, Inc. #8, we actually end up talking a bit about Channel 52, DC’s spoilery back-up feature currently in all its books, Dan Didio’s writing which leads into Graeme’s discussion of…
11:41-18:46:  the latest issue of Legion of Super-Heroes, by Paul Levitz and Keith Giffen.  Graeme makes it sound pretty amazing, let’s put it that way.
18:46-22:26: Graeme has also read Action Comics #17 (which Jeff read last week) and Graeme is far kinder about the work than Jeff was.
22:26-32:24: And so by comparison and contrast, there should be a discussion of Batman, Inc. #8  starting here…but instead we give a shout-out to Excalibur Comics in Portland, Oregon and grouse a bit about the Constantine preview currently popping up in DC books.
32:23-49:13: And then *finally* we get to Batman, Inc. #8.  A lot to talk about here, with Graeme bringing the hard questions and Jeff bringing the jabber.
49:13-1:05:55:  Also, in another round of DC Catch-Up, Jeff read Batman and Robin #17, that strange book that bridges the Morrison and Snyder sides of the Batverse, and what its future might be post-Batman, Inc. #8.
1:05:55-1:08:40:  Getting away from the Big Two books, Graeme and Jeff are both pretty enamored of Jennifer Blood, issues #22 and #23. We are very careful not to spoil any of the very big things going on in this book, but they are pretty darn good.
1:08:40-1:18:18:  Saga #10!  Although we start off by saying we will not spoil the end of Saga #10–Spoiler!!–we totally go on to spoil the end of Saga #10.
1:18:18-1:22:21: Jeff really liked issue #34 of Prophet, since he feels that Simon Roy really bring the “Space Conan” vibe to the issues he works on.
1:22:21-1:33:26:  Graeme and Jeff are apparently really out of the swing of answering questions, but we do have a few things to talk about that have been brought up by commenters in our threads recently about craft and intention and clarity.
1:33:26-1:42:37: It’s been a while since we’ve digressed to cover other areas of pop culture, but Graeme has a recommendation for Jeff: The Following.  What does the show have to do with DC Showcase: World’s Finest, The Strangers and Bad Machinery, both from Oni Press ?The answer may surprise you! (Probably not, but, hey, you never know…)
1:42:37-1:45:21: Jeff has a recommendation in his very-late-to-the-party kind of way.  If you like your comics in digital format, David Boswell has put up (nearly) all of Reid Fleming, World’s Toughest Milkman on his website for “pay what you like” downloads. Even Heart Break Comics, the amazing original graphic novel from back in the day (1984?) is available, and they’re all fantastic.
1:45:21-end: Speed round reviews! From Jeff:  Witch Doctor Mal Practice #4, Black Beetle #2, Flash #17, and Avengers Assemble Annual #1 by Christos Gage and Tomm Coker.  Graeme has things to say about Brandon Seifert’s other work, the excerpt from The Fictional Man, Al Ewing’s latest novel, Angel & Faith #19, Young Avengers #2, and Hawkeye #8 by Matt Fraction and David Aja.  Do we also mention Hook Jaw?  Of course we do!  Also, we thank those who have supported this podcast by sending Jeff digital copies and other materials — a topic about which Jeff was quoted in this article by Todd Allen over at Next Web — and if you listen at the close at the ending, you can hear how Jeff COMPLETELY misunderstood what was happening at the beginning. That’s, like, some serious circularity, man.

Okay, so since this is getting posted at the same time I upload to iTunes, there’s a chance it’s not out in the wild yet, but you can find it below, ripe for the plucking (I’m not the only who finds that phrase a little on the obscene side, am I?):

Wait, What? Ep. 117: Sometimes Dead is Better

As always, we hope you enjoy and thank you for listening!

24 Responses to “ Wait, What? Ep. 117: Sometimes Dead is Better ”

  1. heard the store got robbed this weekend! hope Hibbs is OK. he should think about having a piece behind the counter. I know you guys are san fransisco liberals but you should still consider it.
    and now to start the podcast

  2. I enjoyed the hell out of this podcast gentlemen.

  3. Ugh. @Andrew Brown: Hibbs should have a “piece” behind the counter? So that he could pull it out, make the robber a bit more skittish and incite him to pull the trigger? Sorry, don’t understand the illogic there.

    (apologies for possibly derailing this thread already)

    So, I must agree with Robert G – another fabulous podcast. I love hearing you two talk comics or whatever else may be on your mind. A really enjoyable way to pass the time. Thank you, sirs.

    Something I’ve been meaning to ask you two is whether you’ve had a chance to read Michel Fiffe’s new series, COPRA. If you enjoyed 80s DC comics, particularly Suicide Squad from Ostrander, McDonnell, et al. then this is the book for you. It vies with Saga and Prophet each month for “top of the pile” status and has been a blast.

    Not only is it a fun comic that drops you right in the middle of things, but Fiffe is doing some lovely things with storytelling in the series so far. I wrote a short bit about here:
    http://www.warrior27.com/2013/02/copra-best-comic-you-dont-know-about.html

    And you can check order it directly from Fiffe here:
    http://michelfiffe.com/

    If you get a chance to read it, I’d love to hear your thoughts on it.

    Thanks again,
    chris

  4. “It’s so bad it makes you think Dan Didio was the real talent behind OMAC.”
    Man, that’s COLD. That’s SAVAGE! I hope I never upset youse two!

    Auditory bliss as ever, my thanks to the two a ya!

  5. Just dropping a line to join my voice to the chorus – this episode was particularly excellent, sirs.

  6. Per Graeme’s comment about the death of Damien being as much a return to the Batman status quo as it is a departure from it, the death also reestablishes the idea that there is a Robin that Batman failed, something that’s been missing since they brought Jason Todd back.

  7. Hey Graeme, thanks for suggesting Avengers Assemble Annual! I checked it out on your say and it was great; best Avengers I’ve read in a long time.

  8. Is it just me or is this sound like another case of one of the few new characters that seems to be catching fire getting killed instead? The big two are always accused of not coming up with new characters, but maybe on the few occasions when they do, they shoot themselves in the foot with another death or retcon or need to bring back the Silver Age model.

    Offhand i guess i’m thinking about Stephanie Brown/Spoiler and Cassandra/Batgirl, so maybe it’s just a DC/Batman editorial thing. Others i can’t think of offhand, anyone?

  9. Great show as usual, guys. Great stuff on how Damian’s demise returns the status quo of a dead Robin. But… how is he NOT getting resurrected in a Lazarus Pit anytime soon?

    Tomasi has been doing a great job with B&R for going on two years now. You can tell the guy was an editor back when editors actually did things and sorted out continuity.

    ugh @ChrisBeckett. I definitely don’t believe that every shopkeeper should be armed, but by your logic not even army or police should have guns, since that too might “startle the bad guys into shooting” or whatever. That’s probably the silliest logic ever: “A bad guy is pointing a gun at someone–the LAST thing I want him to think about is that he could get injured unless he backs down”. Responsible, reasonable gun-control is one thing. Then there’s just silly cowardice.

  10. Wooooo! Gun control discussions in the comment section of a comic book podcast! Wooooooo!

    @Chris Beckett: Do you know if there is any way to read COPRA in Australia. I hear a heap of good things about it but it seems impossible to get.

    I’d read Love Fugitive by Annie Wu

  11. Really good comics talk and associated digressions.

    As many have said the talk surrounding Inc 8 was really good and interesting. It wasn’t necessarily for any one thing in particular but more of the diaspora of opinion, execution, marketing spoilers etc that really show what an unwieldy company DC has become. The current leadership felt they needed a huge revitalization to prove their worth to the new ownership and were successful from a mid term standpoint. However, you have to wonder how sound a gambit it was to reboot the universe practically on top of the acquisition.

    Too many balls in the air.

    Saga 10 was a well executed and constructed story. It’s our nature to niggle but I’ve found most of Vaughn + Staples to be thoroughly bulletproof.

  12. Great podcast! But you guys have set a high bar. (Cue Jeff’s anxiety.)

    CE got hit? Sorry to hear if true — hope everyone’s okay.

    I’m surprised that Geffen’s return to LSH is bad. The “Five Years Later” interregnum was one of my favorite incarnations and I’ve always been at a loss as to why it seems to be totally ignored when people talk about their favorite LSH periods. Sure, it’s not unbridled optimism, and people get hurt, characters are cynical and tarnished, and [SPOILER] the last challenge they face is The Whole Damn Planet. But it was moving and interesting, despite being fractured in terms of narrative and sometimes flip. Thoughts?

    (On the other hand, I peeked at the double-page spread of Duplicate Girl and Bouncing Boy’s wedding by Cockrum in a library volume and that brought back warm fuzzies, too.)

  13. @Awekye:

    Your inexplicably (and ridiculously) broad-brush extrapolation, with regards to my gun comment, is a bit silly, and a bit stupid. Not sure much more need be said, except that, again, I apologize for any derailment.

    BACK TO COMICS TALK!

    chris

  14. @chris I merely suggested considering a gun for the protection of business and employees, and you call it illogical, stupid and silly. you sir are a coward. good luck when you’re robbed

    the podcast, however, ruled as always

  15. Graeme is wrong, wrong, wrong! Giffen’s return to the Legion was glorious! Totally, totally AWESOME! It was the shot in the arm that the book needed and I’m really bummed that he’s only going to be around for two issues.

  16. I second Chris Beckett’s recommendation for COPRA. Just got my copies in the mail and they are glorious.

  17. “Is it just me or is this sound like another case of one of the few new characters that seems to be catching fire getting killed instead?”

    —oh good lord. Grant has been very clear that this was his plan with Damien from the start. Not good enough for you?

    why does everything have to be a goddamn conspiracy?

  18. Just commenting on Batman Inc. #8, I have to say that one of the aspects of the come I enjoyed most was Burnham’s cartoonish de-aging of the desk girl. This felt reminiscent of perhaps a chibi type way of conveying the fear of the situation, being literally shrunk to be as powerless as a scared child. Then again, it could be an important plot point too: is she a genetically engineered Leviathan plant who, in the stress of the situation, is de-aged? Only time will tell.
    After finishing Batman Inc. #8 I turned over the page to find that one now has to wade through a bizarre reboot of the Hostess cupcakes comics, which for some reason are now centered around a TV news station that’s named after DC’s new tagline. Having heard Graeme’s objections to it on the show, I did pay attention to the artwork in the Constantine preview and felt the DC design team did a really great job at imitating a Scholastic published supernatural OGN for pre-teens. I assume this was not the vibe Graeme was looking for.

  19. I really enjoyed your thoughts about Batman Inc. #8. However, I just wanted to point out that the young woman Robin saves has appeared several times during Morrison’s run, which actually may lend credence to the idea she might become Robin. In Batman #664, Batman gives Ellie a business card and tells her WayneTech is hiring receptionists. They meet again during the R.I.P: The Missing Chapter story (#701), and Ellie says she got the job and thanks Batman for remembering her. Of course, we see her working for Wayne Enterprises in the second volume of Batman, Inc.
    I think it’s interesting that she has been a recurring character in Morrison’s run because a major theme of it has been the relationship between the Bruce Wayne and Batman personas. If Damien is Batman’s son, and reflects that element of the Batman/Bruce Wayne dyad, then Ellie is falls on the Bruce side: someone Bruce can take under his wing and protect because he cares about her. It reminds me of the ‘Victims Inc.’ idea from the late 1960s stories, and fits well with Morrison’s whole attempt to showcase the altruistic aspect of the Batman character.
    Of course, now that I write this out, it seems less likely that Ellie would become Robin since Bruce would not want to endanger her after what happened to Damien…

  20. Obviously, she could become increasingly central to the plot in the final push of the series (she is left holding the trigger, after all), but right now I’m getting a strong Audrey Murray (Invisibles) vibe from Morrison’s use of Ellie.

  21. Obviously, she could become increasingly central to the plot in the final push of the series (she is left holding the trigger, after all), but right now I’m getting a strong Audrey Murray (Invisibles) vibe from Morrison’s use of Ellie.

  22. My copies of Copra #1-4 just arrived, and wow. Wowie wow wow. Thanks for the recommendation.

  23. I strongly doubt that the next Robin is going to have been introduced in Morrison’s run (unless the plan really is going to be to just resurrect Damien and put him back in the Robin suit, which would feel like a huge cop-out at this point). All signs point to the Bat-books taking the lead from Snyder, for better or for worse (okay, for worse), which means whoever’s unfortunate enough to fill in as Batman’s sidekick (which really is a shit job – it really is becoming the “drummer for Spinal Tap” of the superhero world at this point) is likely to be introduced (or already have been introduced) in Snyder’s book.

    A couple lingering questions left in the wake of Damien’s demise:

    - Was the Dark Batman of issue #666 really supposed to be Damien’s clone-brother, and not Damien? How, exactly, was that supposed to have happened? Because Damien’s monstrous clone is portrayed as out-and-out evil – why would he bother trying to do good at Batman, in however inept and compromised a fashion as we see him try, following Bruce Wayne’s death? Further, that clone is clearly full-grown, while the Robin we see mourning Batman in the not-too-distant future (in the flashbacks of those flash-forward issues) is clearly still a child. So how does any of that work?

    - How does Batman justify having a child sidekick at this point? Really, this is a question that was never satisfactorily resolved after Jason Todd’s death, the answer being something like “if Batman doesn’t have a little kid in a bright costume bouncing around with him, he’ll go crazy.” But doesn’t that imply – especially after the deaths (and/or quasi-deaths) of Jason, Stephanie and Damien – that Batman is just being a giant selfish asshole, repeatedly endangering the lives of children to bolster his own sanity so he can more effectively pursue his own obsessive and futile war on crime? Is that a version of the character anyone really wants to read about?

    - I wonder if the plan for Damien will be to bring him back from the dead, but have him not return to being Robin, satisfying both the remit to effectively write him (and Morrison’s legacy) out of the Bat-books while ending Morrison’s run on something other than the bleakest note possible (and it’s hard to imagine a bleaker note than the corpse of Batman’s ten-year-old child, other than the actual end of the world).

  24. Sorry gents: have to totally disagree with you on the “was Before Watchmen worth the damage to the brand?” question.

    First, arguably for DC it WAS worth it. Last month’s figures have the final issues still charting in the mid 40,000s. That is BETTER than Daredevil or Hawkeye, and puts them Top 50. In fact there are less than 20 Marvel books which outsold them. So while fan rage may be loud in some quarters, they ARE a sales success.

    Secondly, I can see where DC would want to revive the brand. The brand cannot continue to be “here is a book we did in 1986, isn’t it special?”. Setting aside the movie (which I loved, while the rest of fandom seems to hate it) this may be a case where “any press is good press”. Sales of the GN could not continue indefinitely. There simply is no “brand” to damage. Sad but true.

    Not trying to be a troll, just trying to be realistic.

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