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Wait, What? Ep. 83: As Good As A Feast

Jeff Lester

Lovely

Hoo boy.  Did not think I was going to make this particular deadline.  I won’t bore you with the blah-blah-blahs, but let’s just say: papa needs a new microphone and he needs one bad.  I apologize in advance for all the not-especially-discreet cracking and popping going on at various points in the background of this.  We are maybe two weeks away from a solution to both it and the mild echo chamber effect that’s afflicted us ever since Graeme managed to transcend this corporeal realm.

Buttttttttt, anywayyyyyyy… Gotta keep this short and snappy so lemme just say this:  Wait, What? Ep. 83 is two hours and twenty-seven minutes long, and Graeme and I do not spend all that time trying to remember if the boss at the end of Crazy Climber was a gorilla or not!

No.  Instead, we do our best to cover a lot of lost ground by jawing about Iron Muslim and Zombies vs. Fanboys from Boom Comics, Kirby: Genesis, the current state of comics and the comics internet including Chris Roberson quitting DC and David Brothers’ amazing article over at Comics Alliance, Before Watchmen, Grant Morrison, Brian Bendis and Avengers Assemble #2, as well as the Oral History of the Avengers.

Also?  The eighth issues of Wonder Woman Justice League, OMAC, and Batman, Casanova #3, The Shadow #1, The Boys by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson, Alabaster Wolves, Saga #2, Archie Meets KISS, Prophet #24, more issues of Glamourpuss, and much, much more.

This show was pretty late making its way to iTunes, but if it’s not there yet, it will be there soon.  But even so!  You can also listen to it here and now if you would prefer.  Behold:

Wait, What? Ep. 83: As Good As A Feast

As always, thanks for your patience.  I gotta go jump through hoops for the next ten hours or so, but we’ll have more for you next week–and, of course, thank you for listening!

34 Responses to “ Wait, What? Ep. 83: As Good As A Feast ”

  1. OH MY GOD I MISSED YOU SO MUCH

  2. Ahhhhhh. Now I can shake off these DTs.

  3. Will you guys stop talking about vomiting and diarrhea and please get back to talking about cleanses? Sheesh.

    Glad you’re back and in tip top shape!

  4. You know that old episode of the Simpsons where Marge goes away for a spa weekend? When she comes back Homer and the kids are standing on the train platform looking tired and disheveled and he says, “Never go again. Never!”

    That’s johnK and we’re all hanging off his legs.

    Personally, I haven’t shaved since you left…but then again I have a beard.

    Well, It all falls apart after a bit but the essence remains. You’ve been missed!

  5. RE: “Marvel deserves to fail because these comics are terrible for new readers.”

    Man, Graeme’s cranky. My friend recently decided to jump into (as in NOT “back into,” just INTO) comics with the DC 52 biz. He’s been liking some stuff over there, but knowing I like Marvel-type comics, asked what we could read together in a fun adventure of ridiculous comics friendship party action.

    I said, “It’ll be silly and maybe even bad, but how ’bout AVX?”

    He said sure.

    He’s loving the shit out of it. All of it.

    I think it’s just fine.

    ANECDOTAL EVIDENCE SUBMITTED.

  6. Jeff-I’ve definitely been going through a slow-motion breakdown with regard to mainstream comics. This is more recent: http://4thletter.net/2012/02/best-example-of-industry-rule-4080-2011-the-jack-kirby-lawsuit/ and this one is a little older: http://4thletter.net/2011/12/industry-shady-it-need-to-be-taken-over/ but it’s definitely been an ongoing thing over the past year. I did a lot of reading when the TCJ archives were open to the public (accidentally?), looked up a lot of stuff about comics history, and had a bunch of conversations about screwjobs, not to mention the Stephen Wacker absurdity and my increasing dissatisfaction with corporate comics.

    I haven’t talked about it in a major way (other than rambly blog posts) on an ongoing basis, barring jabs in tweet form. I stopped buying their books a few weeks back, though forgotten preorders for Greg Rucka/Marco Checchetto Punisher and that Flex Mentallo HC bit me in the butt in mid-March. I read a Spurgeon editorial on a Friday (“Sometimes They Make It Hard To Ignore Creators Issues”) and realized that I should write about my feelings on the issues publicly, if only to use my platform and add my voice to the (punishingly rare, at the time) organized dissent. I’d intended one post, and the thing that went up on CA was it. I wrote it in like 90 minutes, if that. And then, the very next day, I saw JMS’s latest poorly-argued broadside against Moore and threw a jab. And that tipped something else over, and my One Creators’ Rights Post turned into five, each on different subjects — the pathetic failure of the press, speeches, The Wire, whatever.

    It all sorta spilled out, basically, and now I feel like I’ve said everything I wanted to say. Some of the criticism is a bit out there (I never suggested or advocated a boycott!), especially when it comes to Roberson’s motivations. I wish that I could just put “‘Alan Moore uses other people’s characters, too!’ -An Actual Idiot” at the beginning of every comments thread, just to head that off at the pass.

    The money conversation, who made how what, is pointless to me. We already know that everyone involved is getting a truckload. That’s just basic common sense, and I agree with Graeme in that it’s none of our business. “That’s the cost of Darwyn Cooke’s soul?” Get real. What a stupid thing to say. I don’t care about the money because the money is entirely beside the issue. I don’t care about the quality of the books, either. About a third of the people they got are fantastic writers or artists, so it’s no surprise that the books look nice. But that’s not the argument.

    It’s about ethics. Doing right instead of doing wrong, not exploiting your talent, not engaging in continuous dick moves, and not smearing a co-creator of the work you’re embellishing. Not excusing the sins of the past because you weren’t there or don’t understand how to make ethical or moral decisions. I finally hit a point where I felt I had to choose between A and B, and I made the choice to feel less like a dick.

    Totally disagree with Graeme on Casanova, though! That comic is aces.

  7. Oh, and the Legend from The Boys is Kirby/Eisner/Lee, I believe.

  8. Man, the Casanova discussion re-confirms my belief that Jeff is usually right and Graeme is almost unerringly and perfectly wrong.

  9. I often comment here solely to disagree with you guys, so I’d like to weigh in with some cheerful “I concur” energy:

    GARTH ENNIS IS A CREEPY WEIRDO. And I’m not making fun of you when I say: I started a sincere boycott against the guy’s work after reading the first trade or two of THE BOYS. He’s a sad, damaged person who clearly hates himself and his chosen profession.

    Which is funny because I make fun of people when they say that about other comics writers, but in this case IT’S TRUE.

  10. Questions!

    1. Ignoring any not buying Marvel/DC stuff, what are your top three Marvel Essential and DC Showcase Presents volumes? What three series would you like to see released in this format?

    2. Do you think the situation with Alan Moore, Steve Bissette, and 1963 can be related to what’s happening with Alan Moore and Watchmen? How?

    3. In the hypothetical situation (or imaginary story) where Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons get the rights back to Watchmen, what do you think would happen if Moore decided he just didn’t want Watchmen published again? What do you think the reaction would be if he just said this is what he’d do if he got the rights back? Would people start supporting DC?

    4. What Free Comic Book Day comics are worth checking out?

  11. Okay, I take back the Graeme crack, now listening to his awesome comments on Ennis and sexuality in comics.

  12. I’d be much more sympathetic to Roberson’s position if he hadn’t drawn a paycheck from DC for writing Superman. Anybody with a passing interest in comics learns early on about the terrible treatment of Siegel and Shuster. It’s difficult for me to reconcile Roberson’s distaste for the Watchmen prequel after he had already profited from a character/trademark that’s been the subject of long-time litigation.
    Also, it’s clear to me that conscientious boycotts will do no good because DC/Marvel are in the business of producing product, not art. The “Before Watchmen” creators might be attempting artistic expression, but DC editorial – given the price point, the cursory inclusion of the original editor and colorist, and the promotion – clearly are not. They’re trying to package a product they can sell. Am I going to get mad at a toothpaste company because they treat some of their employees poorly? Maybe I should, and maybe I should find an independent toothpaste company that gives its employees a stake in the ownership of the product…but I won’t, even if that reflects badly on my character.
    Finally, I get a little tired hearing about Image Comics being the paradigm of all that is ethical and holy in the comics industry. I understand how their business model works, but that model still allowed the founders to set up work-for-hire shops in the early 1990s. I’m not saying I know whether those individual shops acted ethically or not, but I can’t recall seeing anyone on the Internet frothing at the mouth trying to determine whether Dan Fraga is being treated fairly in the current Bloodstrike revival.

  13. Product and art have never been mutually exclusive. Somebody got paid for the Mona Lisa, didn’t they?

  14. “I’d be much more sympathetic to Roberson’s position if he hadn’t drawn a paycheck from DC for writing Superman.”

    Uh: well, I’ve actually drawn a paycheck from DC for writing Superman, too. Superman-adjacent, at least. And– I’ve read the Siegel opinion for fun and I’ve read it for work; read it more than once. And look– me personally, I wouldn’t believe anyone who says they don’t think about where those characters came from, and the history of them, when you write them. Because you think about EVERYTHING, if you can, because they mean so many different things– you’re actively trying to think of everything. Maybe other people do it differently, but.

    But… and maybe this is selfish, but I think there’s critical differences between that and Watchmen 2. They’ve published Superman for a million years– they could publish him for another million. Being the 5 billionth person to make Superman is– well, first off, it’s an honor. Saying no isn’t going to heal anything– those wounds go too deep. And what people want for Superman is not that they don’t MAKE Superman things– it’s just that they pay the heirs for them. It’s that they remove the taint on this … this thing that should be the icon of the best of things, without any asterix on it.

    For me, that’s just a completely different from the Watchmen situation. Saying yes to that– you can’t say the wound isn’t deep. Saying yes is INFLICTING the wound. It’s being part of the hand driving the knife in. And what Moore wants is that they don’t turn his novel, this complete crystalline thing, into… into just another corporate-run plantation. “Pay heirs” vs. “don’t make his life work crass and disgusting” is an inherently different thing.

    I don’t remember who made the point here that what I’m talking about with Superman is as much just a product of how time has warped things, as anything else. I didn’t/don’t really agree, but … I just see them as not the same. Am I a hypocrite for thinking that? I don’t know; I mean, MAYBE but sometimes being selfish = yay. I mean, it’s not something i HAVEN’T asked myself. That’s for sure.

    Getting the check, I know I had that moment of … feeling like i’d have to type all this out someday. And i guess that’s part of it for me too with Watchmen 2 is I know that feeling of, “Oh, well”, that calculus– imagine the Watchmen 2 guys who… who said to themselves, “there are some people who’ll never forgive me for this, and that has value x, and they’re paying me y, and y>x, so… I’m in.” I mean, maybe no one is that coldblooded, but I won’t ever believe that they weren’t, you know? And I can’t ever be okay with that, being part of x… I mean, saying “400,000 is the price of someone’s soul” is pretty stupid because (a) there’s no such thing as souls and (b) I’d stab a grandma for 20 grand, so I don’t even know what I’d do for 400– BAD things. 400 is 380 more reasons than I’d need to do some evil shit. But I have that thing of … 400 was worth more than me ever reading his comics again? Well, then, FUCK HIM. You know? I don’t know. I’m babbling.

    (Plus: I don’t know– it’s why I hate when people use the word boycott. I can’t imagine ever reading another Brian Azzarello comic or Darwyn Cooke comic. Amanda Conner and anyone who hires her? Fuck right off with that. Is that a boycott? No. I’m just not going to spend money on things that make me unhappy. Who spend their money that way? That’s not a boycott– that’s just the basic fundamental rules of spending money. “I’m not going to have a box of nails for dinner.” “Why are you boycotting nails?” That’s not a boycott of nails– you’re not supposed to eat nails! Other people make comics– I’ll just buy those. Buying things that make you happy instead of unhappy isn’t a boycott– it’s just BUYING THINGS). I don’t know…

    Sorry to ramble. Close to home, I guess…!

  15. I only read David’s piece after reading the show-notes up top and I’ll be honest–I don’t understand the Avengers thing.

    I’m totally onboard with Watchmen…that is a crappy thing to do and I feel some action is warranted. But…Kirby’s dead. Why should his heirs get anything? While I agree that the movie should have been credited “Lee and Kirby’s Avengers” or whatever, the monetary aspect is not something that I feel particularly strongly about. Again…maybe I’m misreading into what he’s saying (wouldn’t be the first time…especially since I have yet to have my first cup of coffee of the day)

  16. In another show of harmony and concordance, I’d like to second the above comment about “boycott” being a stupid word. Even though I used it with regard to Mr. Ennis (who probably isn’t as bad as I made him out to be — I just think those comics are creepy) it’s a weird-sounding word and better applied to things like apartheid and blood diamonds than millionaire cranks who burnish their mystique with anti-corporate invective on TV.

    PROBABLY IRRELEVANT SIDENOTE BUT I ALWAYS THINK ABOUT IT WHEN READING PEOPLE HYPERVENTILATE ABOUT THE VICTIMIZATION OF THE MILLIONAIRE CRANK:

    Ever read that pitch for Twilight of the Superheroes or whatever it was called? He talks about how great it will be for SELLING TOYS, you guys. This is after he’d completed his novel, that complete crystalline thing.

    I’m not making any kind of point here — this issue doesn’t really engage me on an ethical or entertainment level — but I do think the martyrdom of Mr. M. gets rather blown out of proportion with regard to his commitment to pure art and rejection of craven capitalism. It’s that whole silly “imagine no possessions? but he was already totally rich!” argument, right?

    But seriously, don’t buy blood diamonds.

  17. Just out of curiosity, does the Avengers movie really omit Kirby´s name, crediting only Lee? The IMDB lists both of them as creators, but that mustn´t necessarily be true for the actual cut.

  18. So apparently I don’t really know anything about copyright law, and that probably invalidates my third question. And maybe makes my second one irrelevant too. Still, I gave you two others, so carry on!

  19. I wish Mr. Lester would have elaborated on his story/structure issues with MANHATTAN PROJECTS #2. For one thing, it seems an odd criticism for a chapter of story so early in the telling. But apart from that, having read nearly all of Hickman’s work, I’m not sure I see how this complaint can be applied.

    I’m not exactly disagreeing, I would just like to hear the case fleshed-out. For example, I feel it could be rather persuasively argued that up until a few issues ago, F4/FF was ALL “messy middle.” I happen to like that brand of messy middle, but I expect it frustrated others, who might have been more than happy to have him “skip to the denouement” some forty issues earlier.

    In any event, MANHATTAN PROJECTS #2 was my personal fave rave from last week, and nothing about it made me feel like a dirty, union-busting scab!

  20. Ok, here’s a particularly brain-dead question I’ve been wrestling with… You have the orginal Omega The Unknown series created by Steve Gerber back in the 70s. You also have the reimaging of it in 2007 by Jonathan Lethem. Which do you enjoy more?

  21. I am genuinely puzzled by the animus generated by DC’s decision to publish “Before Watchmen.” Is it because I don’t hold the same reverence for the original story and characters as others do? I was on a hiatus from reading comics at the time it was first published so I missed that boat when it left shore. I read the graphic novel shortly before the movie came out and while it is well written and beautifully conceived and all that, it just wasn’t my cup of tea. It’s a work of art and literature for sure, but it’s also a commercial product and the characters themselves are nothing more than commercial properties. In some ways, to me at least, Rorschach is indistinct from Captain Crunch.

    Or is it because I agree that from a purely legal standpoint, DC has the absolute right to do what it wants with it’s commercial product? I get the whole legal, moral and ethical argument of going against the creator’s wishes and unequal bargaining power. But ultimately, if I understand correctly, the characters were derivative analogues of Charlton Comic characters. They were Moore creations, but only kind of? I don’t know, but that seems to mitigate things in my eyes. If DC “owns” these characters (i.e., commercial properties), why should they not be able to do with them what they want? Use them to market breakfast cereal for all I care. I’m not personally invested in these characters or in Alan Moore’s original work. Alan Moore will be just fine. The original work will remain. It will not be diminished by these prequels.

    People will either buy them or they won’t. I won’t, but only because I’m not interested. As Abhay said above, I’m not going to spend money on things that make me unhappy, or in my case, on things that I have no interest in whatsoever. I’m just not interested and am genuinely puzzled by those who are.

  22. I’ve only been buying comics that I enjoy and it’s been working out pretty well for me. I think it’s a sound comics buying strategy! If I don’t like the creators past work, or if I think there is a moral or ethical reason not to pick up a book, or I’m just not into the book, or any combination of the above, I don’t buy it. Because there are SO MANY COMICS that are published each week, why would I bother with work that I didn’t like or makes me feel gross by buying it?

    The Big Two have been saying variations of “We make comics that people want to buy/The audience votes with their dollars” for some time. I’m telling you: “Buy only the comics that you like” is good advice.

    @Matthew Murray – I thought hypothetical Q3 was the interesting one. I’m not sure people would start supporting DC? I think people would be disappointed with Moore to put it mildly. But because so much of DC’s argument is based on the legality of the situation, and in your hypothetical situation Moore and Gibbons would legally own the rights and could do what they wanted with the material, I don’t think DC would have a leg to stand on. I’m curious what other people think about this one.

    @Robert G (and everybody I suppose) – I think the main difference between working on follow up material to Siegel and Schuster’s Superman run and working on these Watchmen prequels is that Siegel and Schuster must have gone into their work on Action Comics knowing that it was a serialized ongoing work. And I’m saying this without trying to get into the fair compensation aspect of things at all, that’s a different issue. I think (and please correct me if I’m wrong) that when they got to the end of their run of the Superman stories that they did, they were fully aware that there would be more Superman stories to come. The work that they created was part of an ongoing serial. This is vastly different to a limited series with original characters. Moore and Gibbons told a complete story and didn’t intend for there to be any follow up material.

    And if you really think that Rorschach is “indistinct” from Cap’n Crunch, you should give Watchmen another read/check out some more Cap’n Crunch commercials. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EnkxoMlL1AM

    Or did you mean this guy? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Draper

  23. I’ve only been buying comics that I enjoy and it’s been working out pretty well for me. I think it’s a sound comics buying strategy! If I don’t like the creators past work, or if I think there is a moral or ethical reason not to pick up a book, or I’m just not into the book, or any combination of the above, I don’t buy it. Because there are SO MANY COMICS that are published each week, why would I bother with work that I didn’t like or makes me feel gross by buying it?

    The Big Two have been saying variations of “We make comics that people want to buy/The audience votes with their dollars” for some time. I’m telling you: “Buy only the comics that you like” is good advice.

    @Matthew Murray – I thought hypothetical Q3 was the interesting one. I’m not sure people would start supporting DC? I think people would be disappointed with Moore to put it mildly. But because so much of DC’s argument is based on the legality of the situation, and in your hypothetical situation Moore and Gibbons would legally own the rights and could do what they wanted with the material, I don’t think DC would have a leg to stand on. I’m curious what other people think about this one.

    @Robert G (and everybody I suppose) – I think the main difference between working on follow up material to Siegel and Shuster’s Superman run and working on these Watchmen prequels is that Siegel and Shuster must have gone into their work on Action Comics knowing that it was a serialized ongoing work. And I’m saying this without trying to get into the fair compensation aspect of things at all, that’s a different issue. I think (and please correct me if I’m wrong) that when they got to the end of their run of the Superman stories that they did, they were fully aware that there would be more Superman stories to come. The work that they created was part of an ongoing serial. This is vastly different to a limited series with original characters. Moore and Gibbons told a complete story and didn’t intend for there to be any follow up material.

    And if you really think that Rorschach is “indistinct” from Cap’n Crunch, you should give Watchmen another read/check out some more Cap’n Crunch commercials. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EnkxoMlL1AM

    Or did you mean this guy? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Draper

    (Sorry if I double posted, I got an error the first time around.)

  24. Abhay: Personally, I don’t have a problem with creators working on Superman titles. Navigating the “ethical comics” landscape is too difficult — I know about Superman and Watchmen, but I have no idea if IDW or Dynamite are treating their creators fairly, and I have no idea how I might obtain that information. Also, if I buy Walking Dead, am I helping to screw over Tony Moore? Are only high-profile comics the ones we should be concerned about?

    In typing this, I feel a certain level of guilt — I don’t want to add to the problem — but I don’t know how to buy commercial comics while being absolutely certain I’m not helping to screw someone over. Having said that, I won’t buy something that makes me feel dirty. Maybe Superman titles would bother me if Siegel/Shuster were still alive and still actively being screwed over…it’s hard for me to muster the energy to pump my fist in protest over someone’s grandkids not getting rich. I’ve preordered the first issues of Before Watchmen, too. Though I recognize these aren’t the Charleton characters, the inspiration is a little too close for me to view Watchmen as Alan Moore’s precious snowflake. BUT, if this was Before V for Vendetta, there’s no way in a million years I could support that. (Now I feel like a hypocrite.)

    To Roberson’s credit, he addresses Superman in the opening paragraph of the new TCJ interview (which I haven’t finished reading yet). Also, I agree 100 percent with your stance on boycotting.

  25. I’ve only been buying comics that I enjoy and it’s been working out pretty well for me. I think it’s a sound comics buying strategy! If I don’t like the creators past work, or if I think there is a moral or ethical reason not to pick up a book, or I’m just not into the book, or any combination of the above, I don’t buy it. Because there are SO MANY COMICS that are published each week, why would I bother with work that I didn’t like or makes me feel gross by buying it?

    The Big Two have been saying variations of “We make comics that people want to buy/The audience votes with their dollars” for some time. I’m telling you: “Buy only the comics that you like” is good advice.

    @Matthew Murray – I thought hypothetical Q3 was the interesting one. I’m not sure people would start supporting DC? I think people would be disappointed with Moore to put it mildly. But because so much of DC’s argument is based on the legality of the situation, and in your hypothetical situation Moore and Gibbons would legally own the rights and could do what they wanted with the material, I don’t think DC would have a leg to stand on. I’m curious what other people think about this one.

    @Robert G (and everybody I suppose) – I think the main difference between working on follow up material to Siegel and Shuster’s Superman run and working on these Watchmen prequels is that Siegel and Shuster must have gone into their work on Action Comics knowing that it was a serialized ongoing work. And I’m saying this without trying to get into the fair compensation aspect of things at all, that’s a different issue. I think (and please correct me if I’m wrong) that when they got to the end of their run of the Superman stories that they did, they were fully aware that there would be more Superman stories to come. The work that they created was part of an ongoing serial. This is vastly different to a limited series with original characters. Moore and Gibbons told a complete story and didn’t intend for there to be any follow up material.

    And if you really think that Rorschach is “indistinct” from Cap’n Crunch, you should give Watchmen another read/check out some more Cap’n Crunch commercials. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EnkxoMlL1AM

    Or did you mean this guy? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Draper

  26. Apologies in advance for all of the questions.

    What’s with the lack of waffle talk in the podcast recently?

    Is Graeme in the pocket of Big Question Mark and, if so, what are the perks?

    What are your Top 3 event comics from Marvel and DC that have been published after the year 2000?

    How long before all Marvel comics either have Avengers or X-Men in the title?

    Any chance of revisiting the conversation about Saga/The DM/Mark Waid given that Jeff would have a chance to read the articles in question?

    Is the best way to solve the Before Watchmen controversy is a no-holds-barred cage match between Moore on one side and Lee and Didio on the other? If so, who do you think would win?

    Why do you think Geoff Johns has seemingly been uninvolved with Before Watchmen on both a creative and promotional level?

    Is creator owned vs. corporate owned the new Marvel vs. DC?

    Given the way the DM is set up and works, including the retailers and readership, is it actually possible for companies like Image, Dark Horse and others to gain market share from Marvel and DC over the recent controversies or is that just the pipe dream of crazy idealists and scornful haters?

    Is Creator Owned Heroes the worst name for a comic book ever? If not, what published comic does have the worst name?

    Given that one of the current pushes for creator-owned work is that it is less ethically dubious than corporate-owned work when it comes to things like ownership and compensation, do you think there will be any discussion from creator-owned advocates that it is just as easy for creators to be screwed over by fellow creators as it is by corporations in light of things like the Gaiman/McFarlane and Moore/Kirkman suits?

  27. I’d love to see you guys tackle WILDCATS when it comes to sexuality. WildCATS is X-Men without the civil rights metaphor. WildCATS is all about sexual repression (Kheribum) and sexual exhibition (Daemonite). All of the writers touch upon the weird sexual nature of WildCATS. Jim Lee is about sexual inuendo and double entendre (Voodoo: “If you get too big, Maul, I’ll calm you down”). Claremont had the traditional bondage-CATS. Robinson touched upon how other people are sexualized (i.e. the Black Razers). Alan Moore talks almost explicitly about sex, especially the Voodoo/Zealot fight where sex=fighting and daemonite blood=AIDS. Then you have some really crappy WildCATS that deal with time traveling and a sort of “Second Generation ThunderCATS” characters running the show and it sucked big time because it didn’t touch upon the metaphor. Then you have the Corporate Cats that have really sexy characters again and deal with ideas about sexuality, power, and rape in very metaphoric (and non-metaphoric) ways. Morrison’s issue of WildCATS had a pop-art sex scene. Heck, even the WildCATS/X-Men had this weird Wolverine in a colar and leash held by Savant for some weird reason.

  28. Speaking of Garth Ennis, have you guys read Hitman? I always thought that was one of Ennis’ better works because it didn’t delve into strangely sexual terrain because, for the most part, it was a Bat-book and it also had humor and levity that The Boys seems to lack. I think part of it was that he was following the “Sandman” format of 4 issues and a 5th issue coda style that allowed you to get “breather” issues and also it seems like he was doing a John Woo/Boondock Saints riff that seemed to respect the characters a bit more because it was a riff on those stories.

    – Gary

  29. Can we please hear Jeff talk about The Raid more? Even if it isn’t the type of film Graeme likes, I think ten minutes or so of Jeff remarking on this amazing film is fair to ask, yes?

  30. Also, Jeff, Logan’s Run the TV show is now on DVD: http://www.avclub.com/articles/logans-run-the-complete-series,72954/

    I am sure you will make up 25% of the audience for this product.

  31. “I don’t know how to buy commercial comics while being absolutely certain I’m not helping to screw someone over.”

    I absolutely don’t mean this in a JMS-esque, “everything is rotten so let’s revel in the rottenness” way, but… I’m not sure one can buy anything, period, without being certain that anyone is being screwed over. That doesn’t just mean comics – that means everything from the paper they’re printed on (produced from clear-cutting of forests that fucks over the environment and ruins nearby farms through the destruction of soil – yes, even the paper that’s marketed as being harvested “sustainably”) to everyday grocery items like coffee and sugar (typically produced through slave labor – yes, even the coffee and sugar that’s labelled “fair trade”). It’s less the case that there are individual instances of individual artists and workers being fucked over by corrupt and exploitative business practices, or even that there are individual corporations that are corrupt and exploitative, as much as it’s the case that we live under a political and economic system in which the most successful entities are inevitably the most corrupt and exploitative ones.

    And again, I’m not saying this to say “don’t cry for Alan Moore because people are being worked to death assembling iPhone batteries in China,” just pointing out a larger picture which indicts a much larger system. When J. Michael Straczynski points out that shitty contracts are the norm in the industry, that’s not an exoneration of “Before Watchmen,” it’s an indictment of the industry, and of the system in which that industry developed, grew, and is now struggling to survive. If that industry is going to change, particularly in respect to its treatment of its workers, it’s going to take more than a handful of people individually choosing to stop reading corporate comics – it’s going to take an organized, collective effort to bring pressure on these companies, both from within and without (from outside in the form of something like an organized boycott, from inside in the form of something like an attempt by artists, writers, etc. at actual collective bargaining to establish fair contracts for themselves).

    Now, I don’t know that that many people talking about dropping Marvel and DC are actually trying to pressure the industry to change, so much as they’re simply opting out of something that personally squicks them out. As I’ve said before, I think that’s fine, in and of itself, but we should be clear about what we’re talking about when it comes to stuff like this.

  32. There is a lot of homophobia in Ennis’ comics, but there is always a character – usually the main character, and almost always an analogue for the writer – who is appalled and angered by the prejudice, and the bigots always pays for their hatred. It’s never, ever condoned.

    I do genuinely enjoy The Boys, because I think there is so much more to it than the tedious superhero decadence, from the abuse of power to the hollowness of all that macho bullshit. The past year or so of the title has been quietly stunning.

  33. Captain Crunch was cerealized.

  34. Sex & comics.
    Wait, What? indeed.

    I was surprised at a couple of omissions. Truly, what is a discussion about sex in comics without Jim Shooter’s truly creepy comments about the Legion’s roster to fanzine Interlac:
    http://interlac.us/legionnaires.html
    or
    Larry Niven’s “classic”; Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex:
    http://www.rawbw.com/~svw/superman.html

    As far as implicit/explicit sexuality in comic art, I’m intrigued by Graeme’s assertion that Jim Lee is the originator of modern comics hyper-sexualization (paraphrasing). Originator? Perhaps, though to be honest, I kinda feel like all of the Image founders (with the exception of Valentino, though I could be wrong as I haven’t read enough of his output) were all pretty explicit in how they portrayed lead female characters in their books during that era. Lee stands out strangely enough, because he has a working understanding of anatomy (he was going to med school) that allows him to embellish the human form without rendering it wholly unnatural. Think about it. Lee’s X-men is a given sure, but Silvestri’s later runs on X-Men & Wolverine are very inspired by Lee’s style. Silvestri’s pencils get much tighter and more rendered after Lee joins the X-office. Looking at Silvestri’s early stuff, I’m surprised at how loose and gestural it is. Some of it wears a heavier Simonson influence than I remembered:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/stormantic/5151501725/
    Whilce Portacio’s work bears a passing resemblance to Lee’s, and its no surprise considering he grew up with Lee’s primary artistic collaborator Scott Williams. All of the X-books of that era had a uniform look, the Spidey books did too. During McFarlane & Larsen’s respective runs on Spider-man & Amazing I seem to remember Mary Jane being in lingerie. A lot.

    But below the surface of the cheesecakey art, lies an unspoken conspirator. Puberty. Its not all that shocking that in a book like X-Men, where evolutionary change is catalyzed by puberty, that sexuality would find its way into the main narrative from the fringes. Or that in Spider-man, which deals with the trials and tribulations of a male teenager and his biological changes; would edge into the same territory. And all this creative ground being tilled at the same time as the burgeoning sexual revolution? Its a wonder it took 20 years for the art to catch up to the soap opera trappings of the genre. Just saying.

  35. Good to have you back fella’s!
    Here’s some thoughts you sparked I had to share with someone, yet wanted to spare the GF.

    Ennis’ constant mocking of people who make works that are anti-homophobic is explained in his Hellblazer ‘Fear And Loathing ‘ arc – basically, he doesn’t think a piece of entertainment is going to change anybody’s minds in the long run.
    He’s a product of the 80’s and early 90’s – wasn’t he 21 when he was on Helllazer? – and got sick of political correctness and people trying to make their art socially important and packed full of messages. He doesn’t feel either actually address the issue, just make the person doing them feel better about themselves.
    He says it in interviews, and it shows up in is work regularly.
    As for sex and superheroes… Again, he’s a product of the 80’s and early 90’s, when the age of a superhero reader started getting extended, and adult elements started getting worked in, and T&A became quite prominent- and he thinks superheroes are silly. Sure, his work does have an odd thing where the vast majority of people who have sex are evil, but mocking pent up sexual frustration in superhero characters, and readers wanting to see them shag, seems pretty fair game.
    I quite enjoyed the Tek Knight arc in particular – it took the piss, rightly, out of real world issue based superhero comics – an odd fit often made by those not up to the task – and ended with the funniest asteroid fucking sequence I have ever read.
    That said, The Boys… It’s not one of his best. I think it’s just a poor use of the form, and neither he nor Robertson are giving it their all. I made it far into the run, but have an un-finished trade I’ve had a long time now, that I just can’t be bothered to finish.

    Johns’ JL would be better if he showed us stuff, instead of told us stuff. I thought you gave him a free pass on some terrible massive chunks of exposition in that last issue.
    SHAZAM was much better though. It had a proper story, a structure, and wasn’t just seeking to piss off people who liked the character. And it made me feel sad when Billy felt sad for that girl who felt sad.

    I’ve started cutting back on my books from the big two this month – a combo of losing interest in stories that aren’t going anywhere except into other books, having no faith these companies will deliver, and revulsion on the suits behavior. I’m still getting some, but a, consciously cutting anything that isn’t awesome.
    It’s easy as there’s lots of good stuff at other companies – the two best superhero books I read this month were from Image.

    @Zeb – I find myself pointlessly explaining this on message boards all the time, so why not once more?
    Kirby’s heirs deserve money from Marvel because Kirby deserved money from Marvel. It’s their rightful inheritance.

  36. Sorry Zeb, you don’t deserve the snark of the first line in my response to you. It’s a tick of sorts, caused by the amount of comments I’ve seen of folk calling the heirs greedy and that they flat out deserve nothing – often followed by ‘I didn’t inherit intellectual property so why should they’. (I’m not joking, people say that).
    BUT, there was no sign of that in your post, so I should have shown some restraint.

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