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Wait, What? Ep. 71: Funk, Soul, Brother

Jeff Lester

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Yep, a bit of a delay but here we are, more or less as promised: Wait, What? Ep. 71, featuring our new theme song courtesy of the hyper-talented Graeme McMillan. This done-in-one episode is not quite two hours and forty-five minutes and covers, um, lots of stuff.

Stuff like OMAC and the other cancelled new52 titles; the current state of George Perez’s career and what Marvel’s marketing team could do with it; Mark Millar’s Trouble and Spider-Man; comments by Charles Vess and Ariel Olivetti about Marvel; Mark Waid’s Amazing Spider-Man/Daredevil crossover, Jason Aaron’s Wolverine and the X-Men as well as Wolverine #300.

Plus, a lot of babbling from Jeff about PunisherMAX #21; a debate how many “good” issues a creator might have in them; Secret Avengers, Astonishing X-Men, Warren Ellis, and in-canon behavior; James Robinson and Shade; the preview issue of Shonen Jump Alpha; and Marvel Two-in-One vol. 4.

See? Worth the wait. (Probably.)

We would like to think it is on iTunes, but we are all but certain you can listen to it here, thanks to the handy link below:

Wait, What? Ep. 71: Funk, Soul, Brother

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

35 Responses to “ Wait, What? Ep. 71: Funk, Soul, Brother ”

  1. Loved the new theme song aside from the fact that it did not have either Graeme or Jeff singing. As for thoughts on the podcast itself…

    1)Toriko and Nura are also going to be way behind SJA when it launches as well and I’d image Viz can’t catch up those three series since they are doing so with Naruto, One Piece and Bleach and don’t have the resources to do all six or it isn’t worth the effort since they probably are not as popular as Naruto and the others. Although, according to Amazon, Bakuman is going monthly starting in June with volume 11 through at least volume 14 so there is that.

    2)Naruto and Bleach can be as labyrinthine and byzantine as anything Marvel and DC have done but, tying it to another point you guys were talking about, it’s not as much as an issue because both are stand alone series by a single creator.

    3)I think TWD and Y’s success is because of both of the reasons you mentioned – there is one just series with an obvious starting point that anyone can figure out with having to consult someone or choice between several competing takes on a franchise. You don’t have ancillary titles adding cluttering to everything the way you do with Marvel and DC.

    4)If DC really wanted to sell trades for the cancelled six series, I think they might be able to do if they did them as an 8 issue collection and sold them as a complete stories. Of course, they could also just not put them out and just tell people to buy the digital editions which I’d probably see as the more likely outcome because it probably isn’t worth their time to do collections. It would be interesting if they did drop the digital price on series that ended up cancelled though.

  2. How do you protest a company without hurting the workers? Do you just purchase the artist’s works (i.e. painted art or novels) in lieu of their comics work? I don’t know.

    There’s got to be a way.

    – l.k.

  3. So you are partially boycotting Marvel over their business practices but you have no problem buying an ipad to read your comics on, despite both pay and working conditions being imeasurably worse at the companies that make them. At least Marvel employees aren’t throwing themselves of the roof ala Foxcom, at least they get a bathroom unlike the asian factory workers producing ipad components who have to piss in a bags at their workstations.

    But then I guess highly paid American creatives are more important than Asian sweatshop workers!

  4. Just wanted to say I love the new theme song, guys.

  5. @ Paul Smith: That was a great episode of This American Life, wasn’t it?

  6. Plenty to say about this one but since I’m apparently sending this message in via Satan’s Plaything (aka the iPad) I will content myself with saying I really enjoyed Shade and look forward to your random lists.

  7. Shade #4 was awesome

    Reguarding Dial H being a serious book, I refuse to believe the writer was serious about that.
    I can’t imagine DC specifically wanting a Dial H book or him approaching them with the character with a serious take.
    Then again, DC has done weirder stuff.

    Reguarding how long can a series go before it length scares off readers, does price play a part? Is Naruto like a billion volumes long but each volume is less than a trade Y: the Last Man would be? Also I heard speculation that the length of the series was part of the reason that Ostrander’s Star Wars title was cancelled?

    And finally, ignoring the sales/marketplace/business aspect of the whole thing, how long would you prefer a series to last? I mean, I read and loved all of Y: the Last Man but that was back when I was ok with piracy. Now I find myself looking at things like Transmet and Elephantmen and thinking to myself ‘that is way too long and expensive to even consider’ Fear Agent even seems a little on the long side and that tops out at 6 volumes.

  8. The best part of Wolverine & The X-Men is the main class of kids with Kid Gladiator being the standout and the best new character at Marvel & DC in years. The attitude of Gladiator in a kid that age is such the perfect meeting.

    Also Kirkman is kinda scary to me because I have heard that he is going to be writing those two books until they stop selling.

  9. In defence of Levitz (who I’ve been quite enjoying having back on Legion… to me it feels like he never left the book… so Magic Wars era Levitz as opposed to early Baxter-era Levitz… but still! I’ll take Levitz and his way with words over just about any of the other writers out there)…
    Rather than this book being a case of Levitz trying to remember how to do the writing thing or figuring out how to do his writing thing for the modern audience, I think it’s more a fact that he plans long term stories and he had the rug pulled out of his long term stories a couple of times during his run.

    You have to remember that when he launched the book, he had 32 story pages to play with and so, he was planning his stories accordingly. When all the DC books suddenly went to 20 pages mid-way through his run, that had to impact the stories that he was telling. That’s a lot of story to get cut out of his narrative. Plus… although this is pure speculation on my part… there had to have been some editorial interference in the way his final story ended. Months and months of build up and dropping clues leading us to believe that the big blue baby was going to be Krona and then… it turned out to be just a big blue baby because Krona was being used elsewhere? Meh!
    I suspect that if you look in on the series now, you’ll find that it reads much more like the Levitz you remember. Or not.

    Also… where did Newsarama get the idea that the JSA series was a mini-series? Every time that they have mentioned the series in the last year, they have called it a mini-series. When they announced the series at Fan Expo this August, Robinson was very clear that it was an ongoing both in panels and in jibber jabber at his table.

    Finally… it makes my little heart sad to hear the lack of love for Perez. sigh. I’ll take his overwritten stories *in a heartbeat* over the incredibly underwritten stories of Geoff Johns and all the rest of those writers that like to let their artist tell the story with their big splash pages and panels full of pretty pictures and no words. Ugh! Are Jim Lee and Ivan Reis that awesome that they can’t handle a sound effect or word balloon or text box every once in a while?

    And Perez’ pencilling? Again, I’ll take his detailed and crammed panels over some of the current crop of hot artists anyday. Granted his style isn’t for everyone… but to suggest that he’s gone past his “sell by” date? sad sigh. I’m just going to go over in the corner and look at his New Teen Titans and read his Wonder Woman run.

    Lest you get the impression that I wasn’t enjoying myself while listening to you – perish the thought! You guys are always a ton of fun to listen to and I find that more often than not, I’m jibber jabbering right back at you while your words are shooting through the ipod.

  10. On Perez; I find his style dated when it comes to superhero work, but I feel like he might be better served working in other genres. (I mean, it’s been long enough since Crimson Plague that maybe he could give it another shot, right?)

    On Batwoman: Man, am I conflicted about this book. The art is gorgeous, but Williams’ love of 2-page spreads means it’s not ideal for tablet reading. I still have residual fondness for the character from the Rucka run, but the writing just isn’t doing much for me. (Also, it grates seeing how they’re portraying Cameron Chase these days. I probably shouldn’t complain, since JHW3 is her co-creator and all, but still.) I actually rather like Amy Reeder’s art, so that’s not necessarily a dealbreaker either. But I keep finding myself wishing both artists would move on to something I’d like better.

    It’s actually kind of my problem with the other New 52 books I’m still reading: if they were just a little better, I’d be perfectly happy, and if they were just a little worse, I could drop them in a heartbeat and never look back. But they’re all kind of in this weird middle ground.

    The bit about getting “a whole story” vs. “THE whole story” reminded me of a tangent I’d been thinking about: the latest issues of Uncanny X-Men and Wolverine & the X-Men, for instance, both pick up plot threads from Uncanny X-Force. I read all three books, so it’s not a problem for me, but I can’t help but think there’s some kind of rule being broken here. They seem to do a good job of explaining the information necessary to understand each story, but if I were just reading one book, I think I’d still feel like I’m missing something.

    (Also, speaking of Wolverine & the X-Men, and related to an earlier episode about how much Marvel embraces social media… the @JeanGreySchool twitter account is so fun.)

  11. @Eric Rupe: Believe me, you are lucky we’re not singing!

    And, yeah, good points about Toriko and Nura. I’m just gonna have to suck it up and jump ahead, I guess. I mean, it’s obviously absurd to think Bakuman would get the same treatment as the big boys, but I was in big-time denial about making that leap. Like you, I’ll be really interested to see how DC handles the digital end of their cancelled books.

    @gary: Ideally, the workers protest and you support them? After that, I don’t know. Really clear communication would help, which is something I feel like wishy-washy me is having a bad time at here.

    @Paul Smith: Actually, I’ve spent a lot of time agonizing over Apple, as well. As it stands, I am a lot more conflicted about it because although Foxconn treats their workers horribly, Apple was one of the few companies that released the results of their internal audits, is now allowing audits of outside companies, and continues in the post-Jobs era to respond to pressure. This at least seems mildly better to me than all the dozens of other tech companies that also use parts from the Foxconn plant and have done even less.

    Also, if things are to be believed, the pay at Foxconn is much, much better than other opportunities in the region, with stories of even harsher farming work and child prostitution. Apple has done and continues to do troubling things, but I do feel there is the possibility of change.

    By contrast, the workers at Marvel have slightly more opportunities open to them than just working in the fields. It’s not like this is the best job in New York and it’s not like there’s the weird workaround of these workers being outside contractors. This is directly at their doorstep. I could spend more money at Marvel per year than I do at Apple (and have spent way, way more in the course of my lifetime).

    Anyway, I understand your frustration and hope this alleviates them, at least in some part.

  12. Oh and it is fascinating to hear you use American comics to reference Shonen manga because me personally got out of comics at a young age and then was drawn back into by manga and then through that drawn back into comics. So all the reference points are reversed.

    Was looking forward to SJA until I noticed that VIZ doesn’t seem to have any plans right now to support any APP market other than Apple which is a shame.

  13. Okay, I haven’t had a chance to listen to the whole podcast yet, but if I don’t make these comments now I’m not sure when I’ll get a chance to do so.

    Dial H for Horror sounds amazing, I wish that was being made.

    As far as I can tell these are the dates for Ultimate Spider-Man

    Ultimate Spider-Man #1 – October 2000
    Ultimate Spider-Man #72 – February 2005

    So four years four months? 52 months?

    Here are the estimates for the bottom ten Nu52 titles (plus newer miniseries, with ++). Cancelled titles are in **.

    I VAMPIRE #4 – 19,441
    BLUE BEETLE #4 – 19,267
    ++PENGUIN PAIN AND PREJUDICE #3 – 19,131++
    ++SHADE #3 – 18,922++
    VOODOO #4 – 18,633

    **HAWK AND DOVE #4 – 18,014**
    ++RAY #1 – 17,779++
    CAPTAIN ATOM #4 – 17,917
    **OMAC #4 – 16,534**
    **MISTER TERRIFIC #4 – 16,167**
    **STATIC SHOCK #4 – 15,763**
    **BLACKHAWKS #4 – 15,129**
    **MEN OF WAR #4 – 14,977**

    So OMAC was one of the lower selling books (well below Voodoo), and (ignoring Hawk and Dove, because Liefeld presumably costs more and is being moved to other books), there’s a pretty big gap between OMAC and the book above it.

  14. Another fantastic episode. I do love listening to you two go on.

    re: boycotting Marvel. It’s been a fair number of months since I’ve picked up any new comics (having gone through the whole unemployed/underemployed thing threw me and my family for a slight loop and comics had to go). As things improve, I’ve been considering getting some new books including Daredevil and Wolvering & the X-Men, but with that Vess comment, it’s the last nail in the coffin for me. I can’t support Marvel, despite wanting to support good work. When the collections come out, I will be seeking them out through my library. That may seem like having my cake and eating it too, but there you go.

    and Jeff. Regarding your way with titles, you should get into TV development work. Just coming up with ideas all day that may or may not go anywhere. And you don’t necessarily have to write them (thanks to Graeme for pointing me to the Nerdist Wrtier’s panel, where that idea came from)

    chris

  15. Also Tom Brevoort commented on the Beat that Vess not getting paid was an “error” that could be fixed and that Vess should get in contact with him.

    I’m not defending Marvel, but some people might have missed that follow up comment.

    (http://www.comicsbeat.com/2012/01/12/the-surprising-state-of-marvel-graphic-novels-and-the-diamond-2011-list/)

  16. I used to do ordering for an independent bookstore, and the part about Diamond distribution piqued my memory. DC definitely goes through a larger publishing house’s system — I want to say HarperCollins, but I’m not sure. I remember books like LoEG: Century and the Scott Pilgrim books coming to the store through Diamond. Being a large and “respected” independent, we went for slightly “artier” titles – the only DC books I remember us ordering in were the two volumes of All Star Superman. Appropriately enough, I don’t think we ever ordered and Marvel titles.

    Thanks for all your OMAC talk, which prompted me to pick up some back issues. Minor squibbly interest: Is your pronunciation of Didio – “Dih-dee-oh” – the accepted way? I’ve always said “Diddy-o” in my head, but I’ve never heard it said aloud.

  17. With her current, looser style, I would say that Emma Rios is the closest artist I’ve seen recently to inherit Gene Colan’s mastery of movement and shadow. Her action sequences have a grace that strikes me as very similar to Colan’s. So if she became Martin’s permanent replacement on Daredevil I’d be a happy puppy.

  18. Re Punisher MAX: Read the latest issue last night, didn’t think too highly of it, but then listening to your take on it cast the book in a very new and flattering light to me. You mention that Aaron is leaving things up for interpretation. While I agree that he’s not spoon feeding his themes (hopefully anyway, since they mostly flew over my head), now that I’ve heard your reading of the issue, I must say it’s pretty hard to dispute. In particular, the scene with young Frank at the funeral home, where he freezes at the question of his wife’s favorite color. That pretty well clues you in on the kind of husband Jason Aaron takes Frank to have been.

    To chip in a bit of my own reading, I also see Aaron’s take on Frank as being about a person who thrives on pain and suffering. Not just the bit about his mother in Vietnam, but going back again to the funeral scene, where he asks the mortician “Do they come in KID’S sizes?” – that kind of self-pity, emphasizing how much has been taken from him, this is a man who cherishes the pain of loss more than the memory of his family when they were alive.

    I can see why Graeme and others can’t get into the Punisher, or Aaron’s take on the Punisher, because it really is an unbelievably macho book. Frank always survives everything, and he always survives stoically and soldiers on to the next day, the ultimate manly characteristic. And in his narration and the way Dillon depicts Frank’s body languague, he always seems to be saying, without ever saying it, “Look what I survived and will continue to survive everyday.”

    That’s why I don’t believe for one second the not-so-subtle intimations of Frank’s impending death. Even barring the cynical reasons that the Punisher is a money-making character (even specifically this version) who could never be returned from the dead in a story that fits the parameters of the MAX universe, to kill him off would just be so antithetical to all I feel Aaron has underlined in his grand statement on the character. Frank has to live on to fight another day.

    Regarding an omnibus edition of Aaron’s run, I can’t support the idea more. When the last chapter of “Bullseye” came out, I read the previous 12 or so issues in a go and my mind was fucking blown. I think a nicely dressed hardcover edition would go a long way to getting this book the critical attention it deserves.

  19. “I wish Mark Waid could write Spider-Man forever”

    Seriously, reread issue #583 or any of the Waid written Michelle Gonzales stories again before you say something that ridiculous.

  20. The phrase “shitting the bed” is one I don’t have particularly strong feelings about either way, but Jeff referring to Millar’s Spider-Man as a “bed-shitting nightmare” cracked me up.

  21. Another great podcast guys – Graham, hurry up and read Leviathan strikes. I won’t have closure until I’ve heard your opinion

  22. Also, Greg Lang vs the Dodsons is like asking who was the best actor in Baywatch

  23. Another great talk guys- the comparison of Land & the Dodsons on Uncanny alone was worth the time!

    @Matthew Murray- thanks for posting those numbers. I’d looked at them before and had the same thought about Hawk & Dove– unless Captain Atom was saved for some Watchmen 2 reason….

    As for boycotting Marvel, maybe a limited purchase might help split the decision between supporting creators and not supporting Marvel. Limit Marvel purchases at say, 5 titles (or $20, whatever works)a month with the selection made expressly to support the creators you think are doing good work.

    Of course, as Jeff points out, you’d also need to talk about it. If this caught on participants could post the list of titles supported and why. If this started to affect sales on specific books (in any way that wasn’t just a blip) I think it would be more effective than just line-wide falling sales.

    Oh, and Mutants Sans Frontiers (I’m sure I killed that spelling) was a creation of the Morrison X-Man run, though I don’t think anyone has used it since, save Ellis.

  24. If Frank Castle could externalize and explicitly interpret his violent rage as a coping mechanism for being unable to emotionally engage with family life, and if he could understand that his thirst for revenge stems from his guilt at running away from his emotional commitments, then he would put away his guns and open a flower shop. Which isn’t going to sell many comics. I figure the options you have with Punisher is to obliquely explore his guilt as Aaron does or ignore it completely like Ennis – you can’t risk self awareness with Frank or you really do have yourself a final issue.

  25. Dear John (i.e., Marvel),

    Now that corporations have been legally declared persons, I’ve come to the unmistakeable conclusion that you are a complete asshole. While you can occasionally be mildly entertaining, I’m tired of giving you my money and getting so little back in return. When we first met, you used to seem to care about our relationship, but lately you’ve grown cold and distant. You used to seduce me with your stories and talent. Now, you just slip me roofies and ass rape me.

    This is goodbye. While I would like to wish you the best, frankly, I hope that this hurts you more than it hurts me.

    Robert G

  26. RE: Boycotting Marvel, I’m keeping up with my current partial boycott, which is boycotting anything $3.99 without extra content (excluding Icon and MAX titles, which play to a more selective audience). So I still get to enjoy Daredevil and Journey Into Mystery, while somewhat obsessively flipping through Uncanny X-Force when it comes into the shop hoping there’s some extra preview or backup or something. The 1st issue of Wolverine & the X-Men was fun enough that I’d probably buy it at a dollar less, but I can do without it.
    And wow, you really nailed why I like the Dodsons art but never seem to like any book they do. Very amusing.

  27. @BD Montgomery: Not that it matters a whole lot, but Chris Claremont created Mutantes Sans Frontieres in the short-lived Genoshan Excalibur. The only writers I believe ever mentioned it were Claremont, Ellis, Yost/Kyle, and a few others. It’s typically only mentioned in relation to Archangel as he was the founder and it’s only been the focus of a story once in it’s first appearance.

  28. @ Nate S- ah yes, I’d forgotten that Excalibur series (and will do so again after I type this) and mixed the MSF up with the X-Corporation from Morrison’s 2001 annual. Thanks!

  29. A piece of well-intentioned criticism: I love you guys, but you should really work on using more adjectives besides “interesting,” especially Jeff. You use the word for a huge range of topics from the mildly intriguing to the utterly fascinating. It makes the word meaningless at the end of the day.

    Other than that, great podcast as usual fellas!

  30. So it just hit me that two of the three highest quality Marvel books (not the highest selling, or most popular, but just genuinely WELL DONE comics that are worth reading) star Wolverine. As the TEAM LEADER, no less. How weird is that?!

  31. I started reading comics in the 90’s… and I love Perez and Maguire art! I found myself enjoying the New Teen Titans issues I bought during the comixology sale, and I think Perez and Waid were great on B&B! I feel like a man out of time!

    Although it was fun to hear my name said, I can’t take credit for those comments you cited on your boycott. I mentioned it in John’s post, but I’m happy to take full credit for Marvel taking back their ‘Homosexuality only belongs in MAX’ policy announced in the wake of Rawhide Kid to please bigots – I boycotted them until Joe Q denied it was a policy (and denied ever saying, despite internet searches proving otherwise). I don’t know how he knew I was doing it, as I only mentioned it on a few message boards, but clearly the message was received! In reality, it made my soul feel clean, and I missed New Avengers and Civil War! Win/Win.
    As for creators who work for Marvel suffering due to boycotts… so what? They know who they get their money from, and they know why people should be angry with the company. They get the same page rate regardless.
    I think you need to show some sack and dive right in if you want to boycott – it’s not a boycott if you keep reading the books you really like, and just don’t buy the books you wouldn’t buy anyway.
    (The moral: You won’t affect change at a company ran by Ike, so boycott them because it will make you feel better. After a month you won’t even feel like you are missing out.)

    As for Marvel’s books – as a regular ASM reader, I did feel a little let down by the crossover. It wasn’t up to par with what Slott has been delivering every fortnight (It’s the great tragedy of the podcast for me, hearing Graeme and Jeff so dismissive of Slott’s Spidey, yet it’s got everything they say they crave, and is the best Spider-man run I’ve ever read! Woe, Woe is me).
    Having read part 2, the crossover worked great for DD, but it didn’t really work for Spider-man. The tone was off for how he’s been portrayed by Slott – he’s certainly not running around moping about his break-up.

    As for Wolverine And The X-Men being awesome… wait, what?
    I just re-read the two issues I got, because you guys seem to have read a different book! Feels more planned than New X-Men? To me this book felt like the poster child for throwing stuff at the wall and seeing what sticks – the first issue is nothing but introducing characters, the second has a battle and utilizes none of the characters just set up. Also, rather than a big heart shining through, it reads to me like a hammy sitcom – every other line of dialogue reads like it needs a tinny laugh track to accompany it!
    Maybe I’m just dead inside (when it comes to x-men)?

    This must be the podcast where I disagreed with you guys – and have the day off work and it’s raining, thus the time to tell you about it – but as ever, it was a fun listen!

  32. *Note: Me Whinging about Waid on Spider-Man is a reflection for my blind love for Slott’s Spider-Man, not a slam on Waid’s writing. If the darkest of days comes to be, and Slott does leave, Waid would be great on the book!

  33. Ellis has always been pretty torture-happy. Those interrogation scenes he loves so much almost always involve torture or the threat of torture; off the top of my head, I think he’s featured heroic acts of torture in Stormwatch/Authority, Fell, Desolation Jones, and the short-lived Jack Cross. Even Transmet ended up descended into Spider Jerusalem doing all his “research” by beating the shit out of people.

  34. Kudos for your description of the Dodsons in having great art style, but failing as their characters have bad acting.

  35. So it just hit me that two of the three highest quality Marvel books (not the highest selling, or most popular, but just genuinely WELL DONE comics that are worth reading) star Wolverine. As the TEAM LEADER, no less. How weird is that?

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