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Wait, What? Ep. 52.2: Jerks, Fighters, and Jus’ Folks

Jeff Lester


I admit it. I love “Our Valued Customers” even though it caters to the worst stereotypes about comic store customers. (Although I had my share of crazy people stories when I worked the counter at CE, none of them ever seemed quite as bad as what apparently walks into Mr. Tim’s store on a weekly basis — and honestly, most of the crazy people we had were “it’s San Francisco and there are mentally ill people on the streets” crazy as opposed to “I must talk to you about Spider-Man so hard spittle is always flying off my lips” crazy.)

In any event, none of this is especially relevant to the conclusion to Episode 52 of our podcast, although it might be pretty easy for you to imagine Graeme or I coming off like this guy as we discuss Marvel and what might happen to the direct market in 2012;   Chris Roberson’s Superman, recommendations for crazy silver-age DC stories, NuMarvel, comic book movies, Bendis and Ultimate Fallout, New Dark Avengers, Frank Darabont and Walking Dead, and much, much more, thanks to our listeners, colleagues, and fine friends who follow us on Twitter.  Itunes should have the episode all queued up for you, or alternately, you can listen to us gab about all of the above here:

Wait, What? Ep. 52.2: Jerks, Fighters and Jus\’ Folks

We hope you enjoy and as always, thanks for listening!


23 Responses to “ Wait, What? Ep. 52.2: Jerks, Fighters, and Jus’ Folks ”

  1. Other skinny bald comics writers: Brian K Vaughn, Dan Clowes, Brian Azzarello.

  2. IIRC, at the time the rumored reason Jemas left was because he had pissed off Grant Morrison so badly W/R/T the proposed Marvel Boy 2 it drove Morrison back to DC.

  3. You already talked about my question about swinging single supers? Foiled! Which episode was that, btw? I’ve been trying to recall, but the Stan Lee reminder caption refuses to pop up.

  4. The Legion vs. X-Men debate reminds me of what Patton Oswalt(?) said about Dune and LotR. In early middle-school geekdom, you were either into the analytical and “world building” of Lord of the Rings or you were into the passionate and sexually charged/religious overtones of Dune. The Legion is basically LotR, especially when you think that their best seller was “Great Darkness Saga”, a LotRs inspired Legion story. X-Men is definitely a Dune analogue, where you have something like genetic-based transcendence in the Phoenix and Morrison’s New X.

    Lord of the Ring is all about the small, seemingly meek character changing the world. Dune is all about a genetically enhanced messiah that will eventually lead his people to freedom, but eventually doubting and sometimes falling into darkness. If that doesn’t show the primary difference between DC and Marvel, I don’t know what is.

  5. “Lord of the Ring is all about the small, seemingly meek character changing the world. Dune is all about a genetically enhanced messiah… If that doesn’t show the primary difference between DC and Marvel, I don’t know what is.”

    Um… wha-huh?

    One of the things that always turned me off about DC was that the primary motive of half the big guns appeared to be noblesse oblige. Last Ubermensch of a Superior Race, deigning to walk amongst we wee folk. Amazonian Princess. Atlantean King. Billionaire heir who can basically buy superpowers. Even the “ordinary” guys who got bestowed their power… weren’t “ordinary” but guardians of the “square” world, cops (looking at you, Barry Allen) or military officers (Hal Jordan). Hell, even Hal was picked by a Higher Force for his innate Superhuman Specialness.

    Marvel, instead, was full of Frodos — guys who got their powers from being at the Wrong Place at the Wrong Time and getting irradiated (e.g., Parker, Banner, Rogers)and had to deal with the Great Power that came from accidental responsibility. Even the cats who started off with high status (Dr. Stephen Strange, Tony Stark) had to be humbled and work their butts off to earn their powers. Instead of being “messiahs,” I always read the X-men as outsiders bestowed with a burden by dumb genetic chance — and early DC editorial just read all of Marvel as freaks and weirdos, resulting in their attempted Marvel knockoffs being characters like Metamorpho and the Doom Patrol.

    ‘Nuff said!

  6. Okay, let me change that around:

    Lord of the Ring is all about geography, like DC Comics. DC is always about the person venturing out and finding new worlds explore. That’s like Frodo’s journey outward to the bigger world. DC is always about the expansiveness of the universe.

    Dune is all about the relationships, like Marvel Comics. Marvel is about a person exploring themselves. Paul Muadid interacts with others as way to explore themselves. Marvel is all about the relationships between characters.

  7. I think Mr. Lester is way off base on his theory that you either like the X-Men or you like the Legion of Super Heroes. I think it may have to do with age. That, and I don’t like small-minded absolutes.

    I enjoyed the Legion when I was a kid back in the late 60’s. I grew up with the Legion. Shooter, Cockrum and Grell rocked my Legion world. The fact that the Legion were teenagers (like me) meant a great deal to me at the time. It was very empowering. The X-Men also were also very cool as I got older.

    I think your view on the Legion owes to Mr. Lester’s ignorance more than critical taste. People who grew up on the Legion know what I am talking about.

    Geoff Johns and Gary Franks did a spectacular take on the Legion I grew up with in Action Comics. Sad you gentlemen forgot that great series.

    Please don’t comment on the Legion unless you know what you are talking about.

  8. I forgot to add that without the Legion, there would not have been a modern day (post Stan Lee and Jack Kirby) X-Men. Without the Legion there would have been no Roy Thomas and Neal Adams X-Men (way overlooked run) or Claremont and Cockrum/Byrne run on the X-Men. You guys make me sad.

  9. P.S. That said, I really like waffles.

  10. Any chance the next time you guys do a Q&A podcost you could do a post on the site asking for questions for those of us that don’t use Twitter?

  11. @Eric: Yes, we will make it a point to do so. (It’s something we keep meaning to do but keep forgetting.)

    We also have an email set up now–waitwhatpodcast@gmail.com–if you want to send us questions (and/or waffle pics) that way.

    @Robert G: Also, we wouldn’t have the modern-day X-Men without Blackhawk. Does that mean I have to like them, too? I don’t think I was proposing the X-Men/LOSH dichotomy as being a line in the sand just an idea I had (that apparently others have agreed with), and I think it’s fun in the same way the LOTR/Dune, Partridge Family/Brady Bunch, Elvis/Beatles thing is. Glad we can agree on the waffles, but sorry I roused your ire re: the Legion.

    @Everyone else: Work is hopping so I’ll try to respond more soon.

  12. Does it really matter who was responsible for NuMarvel since its end and the return of the event cycle were kind of inevitable given the success DC had with Infinite Crisis? If Jemas stayed around do you think that Marvel wouldn’t have done its year events starting with Civil War? Also, going in the opposite direction, do you think the ever diminishing returns on events might lead to another NuMarvel type situation, at either Marvel or DC, where the company’s forgo the yearly events and just let the writers try to tell the best self-contained stories they can or is that impossible given the current market and editorial staffs?

  13. Like Eric Rupe, I feel a bit left out by the Q&A’s being Twitter-specific (or Twitterific? Twitterimited?) The e-mail is fine but if you could give us a heads-up when you’re planning a Q&A podcast that would be cool.
    This is the wrong podcast for this comment but since you mentioned Blackhawk, I’d want to see Moench and Gulacy on it. And maybe David Anthony Kraft and Rich Buckler on Stormwatch.
    Re: NuMarvel – it’s interesting that Bill Jemas was the businessman and Joe Quesada the artist but in hindsight Jemas might have been the guy pushing the creative chances while Quesada as EIC has proven to be a more corporate bottom-line guy. Can you see the current Marvel allowing Kurt Busiek’s Kang Dynasty story in Avengers to run without some linewide corporate-controlled crossover plan (and without the Sentinels destroying Washington DC a month after 9-11)?
    But the real reason that I went here to post a comment is because I went to ITunes to see if there was a new ‘cast up and saw that you hit … wait for it … 100 Episodes! So this is the historic 100th podcast! But what? No renumbering? No Graeme succumbing to the Cleanse only to come back as some more horrible, gritty version of himself? No Jeff dying from abusing waffles only to return in an act of redemption to make the world safe for waffle-eaters everywhere? Despite my disappointment at the uneventfulness of the whole thing, champagne corks, confetti, congrats and a sawbuck to the Buy us a Beer fund. May you have a hundred more.

  14. @James: This is interesting, because I knew we were *very* close to having 100 installments on iTunes. The thing is, when I couldn’t get that one installment to load the other week into iTunes, I actually wondered if the RSS feed was too long and so trimmed a bunch of entries (in the mid-twenties, I think) out of it.

    So when *I* look on iTunes, I actually only see 72 episodes.

    But yeah, we knew we were close and I wasn’t going to make a big deal out of it. (Maybe I was terrifed about the prospect of Graeme Rebooted.) I am however, thrilled by all your other ideas and kinda wish we had now. Thanks for the great comment, and all your great comments, throughout our whole “however-the-hell-long-it’s-been” run. Believe it or not, there’s more to come.

    Oh, and I came so, so, *so* close to putting Moench and Gulacy on the list for Sea Devils. That Gulacy could draw a mean wetsuit, and those guys could’ve worked up some stellar spy hijinks on the book without too much rejiggering of the concept. Ultimately, I left the choice off because I already felt I’d dipped too firmly into the obscure.

    I never would’ve thought to put Kraft and Buckler together on Stormwatch, though: that’s pretty damn intriguing.

  15. Oh, and I should add that I left the Challengers of the Unknown off the list for similar reasons, even though they’re far less obscure than Sea Devils. Also, so many people have had their hand at them, I couldn’t really think of anyone from my glory days who I’d want to see on it.

  16. Surely Challengers of the Unknown should have been a Stan Lee/Jack Kirby collaboration?-)

  17. Yeah, other skinny bald guys I was thinking of were Brian K. Vaughan and Brian Azzarello. But I guess Azzarello has a beard, doesn’t he? And then you’ve got your bald beardies like Aaron and Ellis, which is a whole ‘nother category.

  18. I’d add to the Superman list: Joe Casey’s final year on Adventures of Superman (612-623). Pacifist Superman is the best Superman. (And I dig Azzarello’s run.)

  19. I never heard that X-Men/Legion thing before. Back in my most fervent days of fandom, I liked them both, but my favorite was New Teen Titans. This was the early 80s, and I would have ranked them 1) Titans 2) X-Men 3) Legion, though now I realize both DC books were taking their lead in terms of style and tone from the Claremont/Byrne X-Men.

    I share Jeff’s lack of interest re: superhero movies. When I was younger, I really did crave any sort of live-action adaptation of comics, which lead to my wasting too many hours watching Lois & Clark and that Flash TV show.

    I think our culture does view it as the ultimate validation to have a movie made about something. A few years ago, I was at an academic conference at an Ivy League school about the radical abolitionist John Brown, and one of the speakers was novelist Russell Banks. He talked for an hour about his Pulitzer-nominated novel Cloudsplitter, and mentioned in passing that it had been optioned for a film and had been ‘in development’ for years. During the audience Q&A, literally every question from this crowd of academics and historians was about this theoretical, never-to-be-really-made movie, including the sort of “Who would play ______?” game that superhero fans love to play. It was weird.

    I do like good superhero movies, but there’s no real correlation between the source material and the adaptation. I mean, I really liked Iron Man the movie, but never gave a shit about the character in comics. X-Men: First Class was pretty good, but what does it have to do with any comic book that was ever published? Frank Miller’s Daredevil run is a favorite, but that Ben Affleck movie doesn’t reflect it at all.

    That said, my dream comic book movies would be Guillermo del Toro adapting Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing, and for some reason I see Baz Luhrman adapting Frank Miller’s Daredevil/Elektra stories.

  20. @Carey: Yeah, I think someone would probably argue Lee & Kirby did a helluva good run on Challengers already. :-)

    @Bill R.: I actually had a joke about how comic writers were like dog breeds and that someone had carefully bred the bald bearded ones into separate strains, but…it never really came together. I feel like there’s an awesome Venn diagram to be done with comic writers, too–kinda wish I had the graphic moxie to undertake it.

    @CBrown: I adored Wolfman/Perez’s New Teen Titans: I jumped on right around issue #20 or so (looking for exactly what they were promising, more stuff in the style of Claremont & Byrne’s Uncanny X-Men), and kept going until they split the book into the newsstand/prestige format nonsense. I remember thinking The Judas Contract just felt like one of the most satisfying stories I’d ever read.

    The stuff never quite holds up for me now, but I dug it then. And I owe it a huge debt, actually: it was in the pages of New Teen Titans that I saw house-ads for Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing which I went out and picked up. That work kept me in comics right at the time I might’ve otherwise left.

  21. Hi guys,

    I’ve got two questions for you.

    First, what do you think Marvel is thinking (if they actually think) with this whole Shattered Heroes thing? Fraction recently said, “This is the story of how the Marvel heroes get back up after being knocked down.” Wasn’t that the point of the Heroic Age following up on Dark Reign and everything else before it. Why did Marvel give up on the Heroic Age so quickly? Do they just not know how to tell that type of story?

    My second question is shorter: do you consider the current X-Factor run to be an X-book? I dont’ think either of you read it, but I’m still curious.


  22. Hi Jeff & Graeme,

    Based on comments from this episode it is obvious you guys loathe Marvel’s current promotional gimmick, “Who is…”. How would you promote a title’s mini-event/arc/whatever?

    I would also like to thank you guys for helping me figure out why I love the Legion and the X-Men. It is obvious that I have some sort of Jekyll and Hyde superhero team complex. On ‘happy days’ I adore the Legion and on ‘grim days’ I prefer the X-Men.

    Graeme, what is your take on the Archie Legion of the 90s? Some of the stories were really great twists on old school Legion arcs. Though after a while it felt like the creative teams ran out of places to go.

    @Basic A – If X-Factor was not considered an X-title before it will be once X-Men Regenesis occurs (http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=34040)

  23. I’m a little disappointed in Jeff’s refusal to see anything in LSH except Superboy, shutting Graeme down with his mirthless laughter. For crying out loud, it’s not Superboy’s Legion of Superboy Replacements, it’s a group that has adventures one thousand years after the rest of the DCU. So anything that hasn’t been mentioned in a while–like Superboy existing, or only Superman, let alone his stopping by–can be just not referred to, and the present-day DCU referred to as a historical event that they may or may not have gotten ‘right.’

    Treating the Legion as if it’s Jimmy Olsen was never necessary. But since DC did it for so long it makes sense that many people have that problem too.

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