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Wait, What? Ep. 136: Finally, Finally, Finally.

Jeff Lester

 photo OpenSandwich_zpsba347f7c.png
Anyone remember in what book Tolkien references the Battle of the Open-Faced Sandwich?  Infographic/opening salvo by the invincible Kate McMillan.

Oh, man. I hope that infographic does not hog up too much of our precious SavCrit real estate–please don’t miss Abhay writing about Lazarus or that piece about how DC ran its print runs for Villains Month, or other fine entries!

Also, do join us after the jump for shownotes for our latest “Reunited-and-it-feels-so-good-except-Graeme-and-I-exchange-words-about-Game-of-Thrones-so-how-good-can-we-feel-really?” podcast!

0:00-22:17: Hey, we are back and we are discussing some of the groovy NYCC announcements that the savvy Mr. McMillan knew at the time of recording.  Among the various bombshells dropped:  Priest and Bright back on Quantum & Woody; DC’s announcement of the Batman weekly, Batman Eternal;  and a huge block of time wherein Graeme tells us about the Marvel announcements, including Trial of The Jean Grey; the Black Widow’s new title; Al Ewing on a new Loki title; Ales Kot taking over on Secret Avengers; Avengers Undercover; All-New Ghost Rider #1 (which sounds pretty ridiculous but as I’ve since found out Felipe Smith of Peepo Choo fame is writing it, I’d be into it, and ditto on the Disney title written by Witch Doctor‘s Brandon Seifert); and much, much more.
22:17-55:14:  But there were also some pretty great comics that came out in our semi-skip weeks too and we sit down to talk about those too:  a very brief discussion of Paul Pope’s Battling Boy (Graeme had read it; Jeff hadn’t); Saga #14 (see?  It’s been a while, hasn’t it?) which leads into a talk about…TV(?) including the season debuts of Parks & Recreation, Nashville, New Girl, and others; The Star Wars #2 (with some impressive kvetching from Graeme) and which features this:

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(sorry about the dumb reflective lighting in the pic, we have pretty awful lighting in our place)

Empowered: Nine Beers with Ninjette; Fatale #17; IDW’s Powerpuff Girls #1 by Troy Little; Rocket Girl #1 by Amy Reeder and Brandon Montclare; and Batman #24 by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo.
55:14-1:07:50: Additionally, Graeme has read Superman Wonder Woman #1; Green Lantern Corps #24, Forever Evil: Arkham War #1; and the first issue of Coffin Hill by Caitlin Kittredge and Inaki Miranda, and goes on to discuss them, thank goodness, otherwise I would’ve really wasted some time typing those names out.
1:07:50-1:13:01: Graeme has also read Kings Watch #2 by Jeff Parker and Mark Laming, and a copy of First Second’s Fairy Tales Comics in which Chris Duffy has assembled a powerhouse of comic talent–it is worth looking out for. By contrast, Jeff scratches his weary head over Walking Dead #115.
1:13:01-1:17:33:  And yet, we were both surprised and delighted by Afterlife with Archie by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and Francesco Francavilla (The interview with Aguirre-Sacasa that Jeff calls out is available here.  The image Jeff chooses to babble about briefly that you can’t see because we are an audio podcast is this one:
archie undead photo alwarchie1001f_zps12fc6f81.jpg

1:17:33-1:21:16: Compare and contrast with Shaolin Cowboy #1 by Geoff Darrow from Dark Horse Comics?  How can one? And yet, Jeff does.
1:21:16-1:39:56: Lazarus #4.  Lazarus has received a pretty good drubbing on this site, but Jeff continues to read it.  If you want to hear a new, far-more-inarticulate set of frustrations with the title, these are the few minutes for you!
1:39:56-1:45:16: Our most controversial topic yet–the open-faced sandwich!  (See above.)  Little did Jeff know when he recorded his solocast that he was inviting tremendous dissent from many…most especially the formidable Kate McMillan. (Again, see above.)
1:45:16-1:59:44: And, finally: we talk about the long-gestating secret project that’s been keeping Jeff busy seemingly forever — the electronic imprint Airport Books and its first title, the reprint of E.J. Ehlers’ never-before-printed Erotic Vampire Bank Heist.  Although we aren’t the type to shill heavily (for ourselves, anyway), Graeme is kind enough to help Jeff do so here, and we do hope that if this is the sort of thing you’re interested in, you consider picking up a copy for your Kindle or Kindle reading app.
1:59:44-end: Closing comments! A bit of excited blurbing about the Zombo trade leads to the promise/threat of a Zombo book club for next week!  Here’s the cover so you know what to look for:

zombo2 photo zombo2_zpsfd47b01e.jpg
(See, I told you we don’t shill for ourselves….)

And but so!

The podcast is on iTunes (probably, maybe, probably) but it is also here for your audible delectation:

Wait, What? Ep. 136: Finally, Finally, Finally.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go celebrate the launching of my imprint in fine style and go get my teeth cleaned and drilled. (On the plus side, the nitrous will probably give me hallucinations of chatting with Amanda Urban over some choice canapes, so maybe that’s the perfect launch party.)

Thank you for your kindly attention, and we’ll be back with ep. 137 next week!

30 Responses to “ Wait, What? Ep. 136: Finally, Finally, Finally. ”

  1. Okay, haven’t even listened to the podcast yet, but I had to say – that info graphic is the best top image this podcast has had EVER. And Adam Knave has given us some doozies.

  2. God bless Kate. Jeff’s incorrect interpretation of an open sandwich annoyed on my first listen. Kate’s infographic did a brilliant job of enlightening Jeff.

    But now I have a new bee in my bonnet. Graeme states his problem with the idiom “you can’t have your cake and eat it, too.” He points out that of course you have your cake, placed in front of you let’s say, and then you dig in. BUT think of it this way. You know those highly-decorated cakes from Ace of Cakes on Cake Boss? Aren’t they fun? Wouldn’t it be fun to HAVE one around? But wait…you have to EAT it, too. Oh, if only there was some magical way to have this cake (to enjoy it’s decorations and craftsmanship) AND eat it.

    Now, granted, the idiom is actually older than the art of cake decorations. The idiom showed up in the 1500’s, and cake decorations started in the 1800’s. But hey, way back before proper refrigeration having just ANY cake was probably the equivalent of having an elaborately-decorated cake.

  3. okay okay. I am not going to pretend that I completely understand what you are trying to do with the Airport books thing.

    But I had $5 credit sitting around from installing the Kindle app. So now I have a copy of Erotic Vampire Bank Heist, just sitting there looking guilty.

  4. Open Face Sandwich (or just Open Face?) is a villain in The Adventures of Pete and Pete, my favorite show when I was a kid.

  5. An open-faced sandwich is no sandwich. It’s a slice of bread that you put some stuff on top of.

  6. @Mateor: Thank you! That is exactly what I was hoping for!

    @Everyone: Please follow Mateor’s example, please. Thank you!

    @Abhay: where is your cake comment? Did that sucker end up in the spam filter or something? Vexing!

  7. I haven’t listened to the podcast yet, but if one of you didn’t say “mmm…open faced club sandwich” I’m gonna be pretty disappointed.

  8. After reading the infographic, I would argue that the hot brown is the king of the open-faced sandwich in the U.S. Born in Louisville, Kentucky, the hot brown’s heartland origin isn’t the only thing that makes it special. Egg, turkey, bacon, ham, and Mornay sauce on brown bread gives the hot brown the protein, fat, starch and fiber heartiness necessary in the diet of an all-American pioneer or coal miner. Finally, the hot brown is the evolutionary missing link between the old European predecessor the “food soaked trencher”, and modern America’s healthy, complex, and luxurious variations on the open-faced sandwich… and it has one slice of bread.

    Also, having your cake and eating it is in the nature of satire, but the way I measure satire’s effectiveness is where it leaves you at the end. In the case of EMPOWERED, if you are left contemplating gender and violence in comics, then it succeeds. If you are left fantasizing about the characters, writing naughty fan-fic, or having a boner, then it fails. The fact that EMPOWERED is ongoing may make it difficult to leave the reader with any conclusion at all, but instead with a half-boner and a ruffled brow. I enjoy it for a lot of reasons while it is here, and I’ll make a judgement on it when it finally comes to an end. Adam Warren’s art is still pretty incredible and dynamic. His characters are more real and his stories still more dramatic and funny and less sexist than most sit-coms on t.v.

  9. Good luck with Airport Books, Jeff, I have purchased! What do you mean by ‘recreated’ the book – did all original copies of the text turn to dust in the sunlight? Well done to Edie for the cracking cover design and Kate for the website. And yourself for the splendid blurbs?

    Jeff, given that you were wondering if people saying they haven’t seen something is a ‘thing’, and you were talking about how much better it is when people acknowledge an influence, and you believe Greg Rucka doesn’t connect with the warring families stuff because he doesn’t like the material he’s chosen as his subject, I have to ask – do you think Greg Rucka is fibbing when he says he’s not seen Game of Thrones? Because that’s how it came across to me – that you thought he was writing something to catch that particular zeitgeist, but has no feel for it. If I’m hearing subtext that’s simply not there, I do apologise!

    I expect he’s being straight up – like Graeme, I tried GoT and didn’t connect … I really couldn’t be arsed getting to know a bunch of beardy clans and their real estate plans. Similarly with Breaking Bad, I watched the first two episodes but I simply don’t want to spend time with druggie crims and I hate shows set in desert spots. It makes perfect sense that Rucka would avoid a show/book series with thematic links to something he’s writing.

    Kate’s sandwich info graphic is amazing. Nice one. And it even explains what Jeff thinks an open-faced sandwich is.

    Graeme, having read it via PDFs you may not know, but the Afterlife with Archie cover stock is a marvellous matt – it really adds something to the experience.

  10. Did Marvel announce Robinson and Kirk on the Fantastic Four? That story doesn’t seem to be anywhere else.

    Will there be a new episode next week? We need to hear you guys talk about this Miracle Man news.

  11. Probably belongs in the comments for last ep but…Did anybody else notice that the main characters of Sex Criminals looked like Fraction and Kelly Sue. Because I sure did. Because once you notice that, you can’t unnotice it.

  12. @Brendan: do they serve that with a side of atherectomy?

    @Jeff: I have no Kindle (yet I must scream), but I think I have some Amazon credits from being a test subject (looong story, and the side effects are mostly unnoticeable). So the question becomes, do I have the right kind of friends I could give this to as a gift?

  13. Forgot to say, presumably the reason Batman #24 was a big issue was that Zero Year is on an 11-month schedule, so if the issues are to hit the relevant points at the assigned times, it’s catch-up comic time.

  14. @ddt: Dan, don’t worry about having a Kindle — you can download a Kindle app for your computer and for most other smartphones & tablets. I don’t have a Kindle, but I’ve amassed a library of a few score Kindle ebooks.

    Verrrrry occasionally, there will be special A/V content that you can only access only on an actual Kindle Fire or whatever, but 99.9% of the time you can read the Kindle book on whatever device you happen to have or on the Kindle website. So gift yerself. ‘Nuff Said!

  15. @DocK: Oh, right, thanks! I read a ton on my phone when on public transit, etc., but that’s all epub or pdf (using BlueFire reader, though I also have some free books on Readmill). Was avoiding that ecosystem but I’ve a plane flight coming up, so an Airport Books book sounds like the perfect solution.

  16. I’m as weirded out by that double-page spread in Superman/Wonder Woman #1 as Graeme is, but I have to say: at least it’s not a sex scene. I know it’s in silhouette, but they’re clearly clothed and lying next to each other. It’s written as if they’re *about* to have sexy time when the alert comes in and head off to fight the bad guy. So it’s not so much a sex-and-death thing as Graeme thinks.

    Now the rest of the issue is also terrible, and I’m not sure why he gave it a pass. Classic case of bad Superman and Wonder Woman writing.

  17. Reading this, it makes me wish you’d be more responsible in the way you talk about Matt Fraction (and all other creators): http://mattfraction.com/post/63999786236/sorry-to-put-this-on-you-but-i-have-an-honest-question

    I do love the show.

  18. @Jeff Lester: Great conversation. Looking forward to Erotic Vampire Bank Heist when I get the chance.

    @Daniel: Weird, weird, weird! Now it’s like a sex tape in comic form… and when will the sex tape leak? WEIRD! And try unseeing Fraction getting his nipple pierced! Melly Sue can do their thing, but I’m probably not going to pay to see. This is why I’d rather read Empowered than any other sex comic. No one looks like Ninjette.

    @dan t. (ddt): No atherectomy, but a nice glass of Kentucky all-day Sunday sippin’ bourbon whitens up the grout pretty nicely, we all know.

  19. Just wanted to throw in a word or two of defense for Geoff Darrow in here, since I thought the return of Shaolin Cowboy was fucking glorious!

    The comic is mostly silent and is incredibly absurd, yet is full of the characteristic Darrow violence and oddly detached self-seriousness. It moves and operates like a kung-fu Looney-Tunes poem for adults who enjoy panel-to-panel action and illustrative detail above just about everything. Darrow’s panel and page compositions are near-perfect, Dave Stewart’s colors are immaculate as always, and the two-page text piece that opens the whole is an utterly hilarious ramble of silly bullshit.

    Sure, most of the sardonic dialog from the characters that surround the silent cowboy is gone, but I think that works to the book’s benefit. The book feels more properly zen. More open and poetic.

    And I don’t think it’s lazy at all! If I may pillory Jeff for a moment here, I think the feeling of laziness comes from a combination of a lack of dialog and a relatively sparse plot in the book itself, as well as a possible inability to either perceive, appreciate, or explain the nature of the work that’s gone into the choreography of the visuals on the part of the reader here.

    The book moves more rhythmically than it ever has before and Darrow has put a great deal of time into the, well, timing, of most of the actions in the book. The layouts and the choreography get more chaotic as the book goes on, and it’s difficult to tell whether this is intentional. The concrete and very stayed but perfectly harmonic beat structure of the first six or so pages quickly dissolves and Darrow is unable (or does not wish to for thematic reasons) recapture that same feeling of rhythmic beauty in the rest of the issue.

    Anyway, I liked it a lot. I think it’s kind of a near-perfect execution of what it intends to be. If you like yourself some intricately woven stories with a focus and character and plot and all that, stay far far away. If you like, y’know, comics, not just stories-in-comics-form, Geoff Darrow’s got the absurdist action experiences you’ve been cravin.

    @Jeff: Did Airport Books get its name from the old idea that one would usually need some sort of trashy but enjoyable throwaway reading for long air travel?

  20. I don’t know why I’m bothering, but:

    http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=48522

    “The book is “Empire of the Dead,” a 15-issue series”

    “Empire” was thought of as a comic book from the beginning. It’s not a movie or TV series that I decided to convert to a different format.”

    But it’s understandable that Graeme misses this; it’s not like he writes about this stuff for a living.

  21. @Terry N. DeP: Thanks for the link and the kind words. (And terrific username, btw.) I think our discussions about Mr. Fraction have (a) dwindled *a lot*; and (b) we have tempered our comments more than in the past.

    But–at the risk of driving everyone (including myself) crazy–is anything that Graeme & I ever said on the podcast truly irresponsible? I mean, we don’t buy into the “compliment or be quiet” school of feedback so there’s that. But maybe I just cut my critical eyeteeth on The Comics Journal in its early years or something or soemthing…but I think our comments haven’t really been any worse than (a) there are times when he hasn’t lived up to his hype or potential, or (b) we’ve actually worried about him and his mental/emotional state.

    Admittedly, my memory for things we’ve said is pretty bad so maybe I’m forgetting something pretty crucial but…to the best of my recollection I don’t think we’ve said anything especially terrible.

    He’s written some lovely generous things I admire the shit out of. He’s written and said some unkind kinda-lousy things I don’t much admire. And he’s written the occasional comic I really like, and a bunch of comics that frustrated me. I don’t know him, but I’m sure he’s a regular person, with all the good and bad and in-between that entails. I’d like to think even when we worried about his mental state, it wasn’t in a “oh god, I hope he doesn’t jump…no, wait, wouldn’t it be great if he did? JUMP JUMP JUMP” kind of way. It was in a “I’m worried about a person I don’t even know, isn’t that weird?” kind of way.

    He’s incredibly funny on Twitter and he’s written some really great posts on depression and substance abuse. I wish his comic work was more hit than miss for me, because I keep buying his books, I’m emotionally invested in the guy, even if that investment has a fair share (probably more than a fair share) of “I wish I felt like this guy was fulfilling his potential.”

    Those are harsh words, but I don’t think they’re irresponsible. Does that help at all? Or were there other things you had in mind?

  22. @Brendan: Thank you! I hope you dig it.

    @TS Moreau: Yes, exactly. As a kid, I was in awe of all the great, weird trashy stuff you used to find in airport bookstores. That’s the inspiration for the name.

  23. RE: Rucka’s Lazarus.

    I get where Jeff is coming from here. Lazarus’ premise is pregnant with the promise of some great world-building. I think the problem with the execution, or more to the point, our expectation of it, are the choices that Rucka makes. The majority of the readers point of view is tethered to Forever. So we are only seeing a fragment of the world. We still have comparatively little information about the other families. I feel that the book would benefit greatly from shifting the narrative to another perspective. Yes Game of Thrones does this (to great effect) but thats not the point. Rucka’s narrative isn’t failing because he doesn’t write like Martin. He’s quite clearly telling the story he wants to tell, the problem is that he’s choosing to tell the tale in such a way that people who like the premise and are willing to give him money (Graeme, Jeff, me, any number of others) are becoming “detached” from the book. Rucka has fallen in love with his protagonist, but the trouble is his protagonist isn’t as compelling as the setting (yet). Hell, take Martin’s name out of the conversation! Insert Brandon Graham. Essentially the argument is: if our POV was divvied up among several characters, wouldn’t we be more engrossed with the world that he’s building? This would give rise to some problems regarding how to choose which information to vouchesafe from the reader vs. the protagonist. But even then, just the tension of making that decision would make the book more engaging. More of the legwork that Rucka has put in, which we hear in spades in interviews and even in the back matter of the book, needs to make its way into the structure of the book. Not just the plot. Again, its not about style, its about craft. My two bits anyway.

  24. Thanks for the great response Jeff. I should have been clearer about what I was referring to. It’s completely fair to discuss Fraction’s work. If he puts out an interview for public consumption, by all means share your feelings on what he was saying. But I’m remembering…and if I’m misremembering I apologize because this is going far back…a show near the end of 2012…might even been 2011…around Christmastime…where Fraction’s mental state and the possibility of suicide was brought up.

    It was probably near the end of 2011, coinciding with Fear Itself.

    It’s your show, say whatever you want. But you don’t know him personally, and when the discussions get very personal (using just his work and public interviews as the basis) it feels wrong. I think I remember a show later on where Graeme felt he may have overstepped a line. Argh, these discussions kind of all run together in the mind.

    Granted, he gets really personal in his public persona (hence the link I posted earlier). But I don’t know if it’s fair to return these particular volleys (the suicide stuff, the addiction stuff). They shouldn’t be bandied about. These sentiments should be given space, given deference. Maybe I’m wrong.

  25. Quantum & Woody! Oh, that’s awesome. I didn’t hear about that– that’s great news. At least I remember that book so fondly– it’s obviously been years since I read it…

  26. The only way the main characters of Sex Criminals look like Matt Fraction and Kelly Sue DeConnick is if you’re one of those people who think all white people look alike.

  27. I haven’t read Sex Criminals, but… ugly shoes, dead eyes, all white people do look alike.

  28. If you can’t see it I envy you because you don’t have to live in the world where analogues of comic book creators rawdogged it in a comic book that I read.

  29. Or maybe I just have my own issues. It’s probably that.

  30. Terry, if this is information that he himself is making public, that’s on him if people decide to take that and run with it, especially when his work seems to be drawing from those same experiences.

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