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Wait, What? Ep. 47.1: Treat Them Mean to Keep Them Keen

Jeff Lester


Honestly, our goal is to hit a sweet spot — somewhere between filling you up to the tippy-top and leaving that last little bit unfulfilled such that you want more.  And given our druthers with the podcast, Graeme and I usually err on the side of “too much.”  Like….maybe way too much?

However, this last time, we ended up talking for a little over two hours and that seemed, you know, maybe a bit excessive to listen to all at one go.  So, here is Wait, What? Ep. 47.1, with nearly an hour and fifteen minutes of of-the-moment discussion ranging from Steve Englehart’s The Strangers and the Ultraverse line of comics to more gossip about the DCnU and Warren Ellis’ thoughts about same.  We also manage to discuss Ultimate Spider-Man #160 and…more.  Yes, I think it’s safe to say more.  And by the end of the week, I think we can modify that to read “and…much, much more.”  (This also may be a good time for you to get caught up since it looks like Graeme and I won’t be recording this week so it’s more than likely we won’t have an installment for you next week….)

This first installment should be available already on iTunes, or you are more than welcome — in fact, consider yourself invited! — to listen to it here and now:

Wait, What? Ep. 47.1: Being Mean To Keep Them Keen.

Oh, and for those of you who enjoyed Graeme’s stellar interpretation of Logan, here’s his no-really-it’s-totally-different-we-swear-it take on Ultimate Captain America:

Ultimate CapGraeme America


And, as always, we hope you enjoy the podcast and thank you for listening!

17 Responses to “ Wait, What? Ep. 47.1: Treat Them Mean to Keep Them Keen ”

  1. Hazy memories of the Ultraverse aside, Firearm by James Robinson was really excellent and is worth picking up.

    On the surface it definitely sounds like a typical 90’s grim-and-gritty Punisher knock-off, but it’s got the sensibility of Guy Ritchie crossed with Starman.

    And since it was some of Robinson’s earliest work, it doesn’t have the “remember those guys who used to be good” vibe of Strangers, Sludge (which I remember liking) or Mantra (which was disturbing).

    Nice Cully Hamner art for the early issues, too.

  2. Hey Guys. Have really been enjoying the podcasts and the new material posted to the site. It has been highly enjoyable. The Ultraverse stuff was an interesting read though not necessarily unforgetable. The art fluctuated quite a bit on all titles and not all the “name” creators stuck through with their series. I’ll echo Chris’s comments on Firearm. I also enjoyed Nightman (mostly Englehart), Early issues of Prime and Mantra. The problem with the line was a major fluctuation in quality, too much shared universe / crossing over of characters and change of direction (or termination) of series at the drop of a hat. I say if you see them in a quarter bin they are worth a look. Especially the early issues.

    I had been reading Ultimate Spider-man sporadically until a buddy sent me about 25 issues andthen I started buying up the trades. They lost me just as Ultimatum hit. The Ultimate Universe suffered from the same problems as the Ultraverse books and a great series got decimated in the process. Tim

  3. Let me put in a vote for Hardcase as an Ultraverse book worth picking up from the quarter bins. It did the whole “super-hero as celebrity thing” without having to get all meta about it.


  4. When are we going to get the podcast that is nothing but Graeme doing dramatic readings of Steve Englehart comics?

  5. Great show.

    I thought I was the only person who went and bought weird, awful comics after the fact out of sheer morbid curiosity! :)

    Interesting that others have come to that “the emperor has no clothes” feeling in regards to Bendis. When I shrugged off his work a few years back, I eventually came to think that I had been hasty in going from being a rabid supporter of his to dropping all of his stuff… but it seems that the kind of trajectory I experienced is becoming more apparent.

    I also stayed away from the Ultraverse, despite being a huge fan of most of the founders. In retrospect, Ultraverse stuff that I’ve gone back and found decent:


    Maybe the first year or so of Prime

    Whatever issues of Rune BWS drew

    Whatever issues of Ultraforce Perez drew

    Maybe Sludge and the wacky Englehart stuff.

    And I kind of liked the Marvelized Ultraforce that Ellis wrote… but I can certainly see why true blue Ultraverse fans wouldn’t.

  6. Great sign of the industry when Bendis & company are making so much coin that they can just pay lip service to retailers and not feel compelled to come up with an alternative.

    Maybe it’s because there are a lot of critics like y’all that laugh about how hard it must be to work at DC. No wonder Marvel thinks its OK to be mean to keep retailers keen. At least Ellis leavened his critique with a word of support to Dan and Jim for trying something different.

    There are some that argue that the role of critic isn’t just to be snarky, but to try to elevate the whole medium. I found you because I respect the writings of Hibbs, but sadly this site isn’t living up to that.

  7. Guess you’ve never read old back issues of the Comics Journal, huh? :)

  8. This is some weird shit, that makes me feel I must be living inside the Matrix. I’d never seen the word “hebetudinous” before today, and now I’ve seen it twice in the last two hours.

    Anyway, McMillan, you made soda go through my nose. Excellent work. I too look forward to the day when the podcasts are all-Englehart, all the time.

  9. I guess it would be remiss of me not to point out that FIREARM was designed and (co?)conceived by one Howard Victor Chaykin, which fact led me to get the issues later in life. I didn’t think they were very good but then I guess I’m not a James Robinson man. Nice covers by HVC though. FIREARM was one of those British characters whose “accent” was so bizarre it was frequently the source of consternation in the letters page.

    That guy who writes USM helped out my LCS recently when I gave all (Every. Single. One.) of my comics written by him back to the LCS to stick in their back issue boxes. That way they got to make money on them twice! Well done guy who writes USM!

    I liked AFTER DARK MY SWEET too. Jason Patric was good in it but: The Dernmeister!

    Thanks very much Mr. Jeff Lester and Mr. Graeme McMillan for an entertaining and informative listen!

  10. @hebitudinous1

    With all criticism there is elevation and there is burial. The fact that time is invested at all is enough to know that reviewers and critics care – DEEPLY – about the medium / genre / business.

    Individual taste and mileage may vary as with all things. You know, it’s the internet.

    I like our brand of Snark here but I also like listening to people wax rhapsodic on Kirby or some person I’ve never heard of, or to touch off a JohnK HVC post by mentioning a relatively obscure comic from the 90’s.

    I, personally LOVE this site.

    I also really enjoy http://toobusythinkingboutcomics.blogspot.com/ for digging deep into form and content. Colin is a swell guy and is just now getting some wider notice. His archives are great and he runs the gamut from elevation to burial.

    Good job fellows!

  11. Here’s an idea. Split the podcast in two. One podcast can be for talking about shitty comics, Graeme’s dumb gritty super hero voice and Jeff cackling at unfunny comments. The other can be about, you know, comics. It makes me miss the Splash Page podcast. Tim and Chad didn’t think they were funny. They just talked about, you know, comics.

  12. I was one of the people that read the entire Ultimate Spiderman with Ultimates and Ultimate Avengers and I think the Spiderman stuff does make sense in the context of those stories. SHIELD doesn’t go after Norman Osborn because Tony Stark’s brother is a traitor in charge of SHIELD. He’s the one that sets Osborn free, for the most part, to get people distracted from the protest in China where he has a Chinese Spiderman protest. I think that’s also why Spiderman getting shot gets weird coverage because, at the same moment, a dissident in China dressed and powered like Spiderman is trying to topple the government.

    As for why no one picks up Peter Parker from the Bridge, I have no idea. Punisher freaks out and shoots Peter and goes nuts because he just shot a kid. The other Ultimates/Avengers go into hiding. Nick Fury and his group is brought back to the carrier and is being shot in the head by Tony Stark’s brother. It’s all sorts of “WTF is going on here?”

    /sigh/ I guess it really doesn’t make any sense. And from what I read, the USM and the death of Peter Parker is the cornerstone of the new Ultimate Comics. I’m thinking its going to be similar to Bendis’ Powers.

  13. Off Topic – I just read Fear Itself #3. Holy crap is that a bad comic! Can Graeme please, please, please do a dramatic reading of it? Or at least parts of it?
    Thanks in advance.

  14. “I’m thinking its going to be similar to Bendis’ Powers.”

    What’s happened with that book? I thought “Who Killed Retro Girl?” was pretty good, but bailed on Powers when it seemed like it was just the same frickin’ thing over and over again.


  15. I like your podcasts. That’s why I listen to them. There are some other podcasts that I don’t enjoy, so I don’t listen to them. I don’t listen to them and then post on their sites how much I disliked it. I don’t know, I’m weird that way.

    By the way, Graeme, if you need something to fill your tv time until new episodes of Decoded air, I recommend Finding Bigfoot.

  16. I like Jason Patric for the main guy on Powers. If the show sticks with the whole superheros-as-metaphor-for-celebrity that the comic does (and I can’t conceive why they’d get rid of that), Patric’s interesting because… like Walker used to be a superhero? Patric used to be famous. I mean, not super-famous, but dude was in Lost Boys. He probably thought he was going to be famous after Speed 2: Cruise Control, the way Speed 1: Bus Control made Keanu famous.

    It’s almost cruel casting in a way but Patric seems smart enough (for an actor at least, if I remember interviews he was doing after Your Friends and Neighbors right) that he’s probably in on it.

    “What’s happened with that book?”

    It’s become extremely difficult to describe the plot in any coherent way– it’s gotten pretty hard to follow as a lot of plots get started in Powers and I’m not sure which have ever been finished. The book never comes out so it’s just crazy-hard to remember what’s happening from issue to issue at the rate it does comes out. It never comes out.

    But it’s not the same thing over and over, though (except for the mystery-of-the-week format– but I like that format so I’m glad they stuck with that). It’s just there are these larger stories going on that… I have no idea where we are in them because the book never comes out. (Is the government still evil anybody? Wasn’t the government evil at one point??)

    I remember feeling like the story (at least Walker’s story) had just moved into its third act at the end of the last volume but … nothing in this volume seems to reflect that they’re thinking that way so… I don’t know. It’s hard to tell because the book never comes out.

    This volume has been frustrating– I think they had one of their all-time best issues (the one with the car chase), but the big plot developments… I’m not sure how I feel about at least one of those. Also: because it never comes out.

    I’m happy they finally got their TV pilot but if the TV show doesn’t happen, I just really want them to end the series. I feel like the book’s been building to an ending, and at the rate the series is going, if they don’t start working purposefully towards an ending at some point, I’m worried it’s just going to stop mid-mystery inexplicably, and never get there…

    (On the other hand, that Portal 2 comic Oeming did for Valve– I thought that was one of the best things he’s ever done, art-wise. I thought that was terrific work. So… you know, trade-offs.)

    I’m still confused what happened to Scarlet… Wasn’t that a thing that was supposed to come out? is that series still happening, or is that over? I know they’re saying end of book one at the end of that last issue but… had they ever said we were reading book one before that? I don’t know. It’s so goddamn… I don’t know. Comic books.

  17. “What’s happened with that book? I thought “Who Killed Retro Girl?” was pretty good, but bailed on Powers when it seemed like it was just the same frickin’ thing over and over again.”

    You jumped off with the second arc as well?
    And I thought it was just me.

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