Listen to Episode 189, “The Sandman: Vol IV – Season of Mists (feat. K. Dale Koontz & Ensley F. Guffey)”

Art from 'The Sandman' #21 by Mike Dringenberg and Malcolm Jones III.

Art from ‘The Sandman’ #21 by Mike Dringenberg and Malcolm Jones III.

Gobbledygeek episode 189, “The Sandman: Vol IV – Season of Mists (feat. K. Dale Koontz & Ensley F. Guffey),” is available for listening or download right here, and on iTunes here.

Just taking a guess here, but you probably don’t want to go to Hell. Probably don’t want to rule it, either. And neither does Lucifer, the original fallen angel himself, which sets in motion the events of The Sandman: Vol IV – Season of Mists. Pop culture academics (and Wanna Cook? authors) K. Dale Koontz and Ensley F. Guffey join Paul and AJ for another installment of their Four-Color Flashback series exploring Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman. The gang finds much to discuss, whether it be the assortment of mythological envoys sent to The Dreaming, Dream’s reunion with one-time lover Nada, or even, uh, the Merkin. Plus, Dale and Ensley went to Slayage, which was the opposite of Hell. Though the squirrels might beg to differ.

Next: we’ll be chatting about independent film and local business with Kurtiss Hare of Akron, Ohio’s brand new Nightlight Cinema.

(Show notes for “The Sandman: Vol IV – Season of Mists.”)

Listen to Episode 188, “The Sandman: Vol. III – Dream Country (feat. Greg Sahadachny)”

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Art from The Sandman #19 by Charles Vess.

Gobbledygeek episode 188, “The Sandman: Vol. III – Dream Country (feat. Greg Sahadachny),” is available for listening or download right here, and on iTunes here.

A dream is a wish your heart makes, or so the song goes. What happens when that wish is fulfilled? Neil Gaiman has a few answers in The Sandman: Vol III – Dream Country, wherein a writer finds his muse, cats rule the world, Shakespeare puts on a play, and an immortal prays for death. Paul and AJ get back on track with their year-long Four Color Flashback exploration of Gaiman’s masterpiece, this time joined by The Debatable Podcast host Greg Sahadachny. Plus, Joss Whedon turns 50, Tim Burton’s Batman turns 25, and How to Train Your Dragon 2 has something to say about strong women.

Next: doubling down on our Four-Color Flashback with another trip to The Dreaming, as Eric Sipple joins us for a discussion of The Sandman: Vol. IV – Season of Mists.

(Show notes for “The Sandman: Vol. III – Dream Country.”)

Listen to Episode 184, “Of Meth and Men (feat. K. Dale Koontz & Ensley F. Guffey)”

wannacook2

Gobbledygeek episode 184, “Of Meth and Men (feat. K. Dale Koontz & Ensley F. Guffey),” is available for listening or download right here, and on iTunes here.

Friend of the show and long-ago guest K. Dale Koontz makes her triumphant return to Gobbledygeek, and this time, she’s brought along her lovely husband Ensley F. Guffey. Together, they’ve written Wanna Cook? The Complete, Unofficial Companion to Breaking Bad, which is pretty much what the title says. Dale and Ensley geek out about Breaking Bad, discuss Michael Slovis’ stunning visuals, and talk about what goes into writing a book with your spouse. They do not, however, tell you how to cook 99.9% pure crystal blue meth. Disappointing, I know. Plus, the gang bemoans Zack Snyder’s grip on DC’s movie world and raves about indie comics.

Next: our year-long Four-Color Flashback exploration of Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman continues, as Greg Sahadachny joins us to discuss Vol. III: Dream Country.

(Show notes for “Of Meth and Men.”)

Listen to Episode 177, “The Sandman: Vol. I – Preludes & Nocturnes (feat. Eric Sipple)”

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Art from ‘The Sandman’ #8 by Mike Dringenberg and Malcolm Jones III.

Gobbledygeek episode 177, “The Sandman: Vol. I – Preludes & Nocturnes (feat. Eric Sipple),” is available for listening or download right here, and on iTunes here.

You ever have that dream where Paul and AJ are discussing the greatest comic book of all time in ten spoiler-free monthly installments? Yeah, us too: beginning with this episode, the boys bring the Four-Color Flashback feature to the show, dissecting Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman through the rest of the year. Friend of the show (at this point, he’s more of a lover) Eric Sipple joins us for a discussion of The Sandman: Vol. I – Preludes & Nocturnes. The great tale of Morpheus, lord of dreams, gets its start in a fashion that’s not always representative of what it would become (DC superheroes), but the gang is on hand to point out all the ways in which it is uniquely Sandman (a horror story about stories). Plus, Amazon’s a little icky and Marvel has a prime opportunity for diversity with Iron Fist.

Next: despite the words that come tumbling out of AJ’s idiot mouth, Captain America: The Winter Soldier is not next week’s episode. We’ll force him to come up with something.

(Show notes for “The Sandman: Vol. I – Preludes & Nocturnes.”)

Paul & AJ’s Top 10 Comics of 2012

We’ve already listed our favorite TV shows and movies of last year, and we’ve got a couple more lists just before the new season begins. Here are our favorite comic books of 2012; check back tomorrow for our favorite albums (though, considering our extensively detailed history of not knowing how to talk about music, with YouTube clips instead of commentary).

PAUL: 10. THOR: GOD OF THUNDER (Marvel)

Thor in 'Thor: God of Thunder' #1. Art by Esad Ribic.

There was a period of time when Thor was my favorite character in comics. The golden Walt Simonson era was for me the height of otherworldly sword and sorcery super heroics. And while its been quite some time since the character has achieved anything close to that level of wonder, in recent years he’s enjoyed something of a renaissance. From his “death,” to his literal return to Earth under the guidance of J. Michael Straczynski, to his big screen debut, the petulant son of Asgard is kind of back in a big way.

Thor: God of Thunder is the newest incarnation of the title, with the unlikely writer Jason Aaron giving us a triptych of thunder gods, a tale of an alien butcher seeking to torture and destroy all deities told across three different periods of Thor’s life. We see young, arrogant Thor (pre-Mjolnir) and his first meeting with Gorr the God Butcher; modern-day Avenger Thor going full CSI trying to solve the mystery of who or what Gorr is; and far-future Thor, old and broken, sitting on the throne of an empty Asgard, the last surviving god, waiting for Gorr to finish him. It’s a brutal, bloody, and fascinating premise, though I do wish Gorr was slightly more imposing-looking rather than just being a Voldemort rip-off. Aaron creates a genuine mystery and sense of danger with real stakes for our hero, and the painterly art of Esad Ribic suits the romantic epic nature of the story. It’s not quite Simonson-level Mighty Thor (there’s thus far no Beta Ray Bill here), but Thor: God of Thunder is the best the character has been in a long time.

AJ: 10. ANGEL & FAITH (Dark Horse)

Angel, Willow, Connor, and Faith in 'Angel & Faith' #14. Art by Rebekah Isaacs.

I know Whedon fandom is crazy, but I might just be the biggest Buffy fan on the planet. That’s a huge claim, and while I haven’t tattooed James Marsters’ face on my ass or anything (yet), it really is difficult to describe how much Joss Whedon’s world means to me. Without Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I wouldn’t be here today. You wouldn’t be reading these words and I would have even less of an idea of what I want to do with my life. So it pains me greatly to say that the canonical Season 8 and Season 9 comics, though they have certainly had their moments, are largely disposable and occasionally worse. But then there’s Angel & Faith, which has done the impossible, making a monthly comic book series feel like the weekly television shows we fell in love with all those years ago. Christos Gage knows these characters inside and out, both their voices and their motivations. It’s never a question of if the comic will tie back into the shows’ stated mythology, but when and how spine-tingling those connections will be. These are the characters I have loved for a good deal of my life in a story that’s being brilliantly told by Gage and brought to life with wonderful clarity by artist Rebekah Isaacs. If you’re skeptical about Buffyverse comics, you have every right to be, but this one should be a priority.

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Paul & AJ’s Top 10 Films of 2012

Last week, we discussed our favorite TV series of the last year. This week, we turn to the big screen.

PAUL: 10. DJANGO UNCHAINED (dir. Quentin Tarantino)

Jamie Foxx in 'Django Unchained'

With Django Unchained, director Quentin Tarantino takes us once more back to a terrible moment in our history, and once again asks us to indulge him his little anachronisms and revisionist revenge fantasies. This time, instead of Nazis and baseball-bat-wielding Jews, we get slavers and bounty-hunting dentists. Set in the pre-Civil War Deep South, Unchained is Tarantino’s homage to the Spaghetti Westerns of Leone and Corbucci, which he prefers to call his Spaghetti Southern. I’ll say that the absence of editor Sally Menke is sharply felt here, though. If I, of all people, notice the nearly three-hour runtime, then there could’ve been some tightening. The cast is great across the board, including a list of hidden cameos longer than my arm (among others, original Django Franco Nero makes an appearance). Jamie Foxx is great in the title role, though I imagine what Will Smith could’ve done with the part, as was the original intent. Leo DiCaprio, Samuel L. Jackson, and Walton Goggins all shine in their respective roles. Kerry Washington was reduced to little more than the damsel in distress, however, which is unusual for a Tarantino picture. But the standout here is Christoph Waltz. He is every bit as charmingly heroic and admirable this time as he was charmingly repulsive and hateful in Basterds.

AJ: 10. MOONRISE KINGDOM (dir. Wes Anderson)

Kara Hayward and Jared Gilman in 'Moonrise Kingdom'

Wes Anderson’s films often have a childlike quality about them, whether it be his colorful storybook compositions or the petulance of many of his characters. So it’s fitting that he’s finally made a film about children, one in which the kids are on the run from what’s expected of them and their adult guardians are forced to accept the roles they’ve played in their children’s abandonment of them. Newcomers Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward, both in their first screen acting roles, give perfectly awkward performances. Anderson regulars Bill Murray and Jason Schwartzman are in their element here, while Frances McDormand and Tilda Swinton join the auteur’s troupe with ease. Perhaps most encouragingly, Moonrise Kingdom is the first sign of life in years from Bruce Willis–who, with a movie soon to appear on our lists, proved later in the year that he’s most definitely still kicking–and Edward Norton, two actors who really needed a movie like this.

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Listen to Episode 123, “Twisted Christmas: How Horrible Our Christmas Will Be!”

'The Nightmare Before Christmas'

Gobbledygeek episode 123, “Twisted Christmas: How Horrible Our Christmas Will Be!,” is available for listening or download right here.

Christmas is upon us once more, which can only mean one thing: it’s time to get twisted. I don’t know what that means, but how about you join us in watching The Nightmare Before Christmas? The boys take a look back at the 1993 stop-motion classic, raving about its music (even misguidedly singing a bar or two), praising its glorious stop-motion animation, and take an honest look at Jack’s (possibly regressive?) character arc. Plus, the boys bemoan DC’s treatment of Gail Simone and AJ addresses the Homeland controversy.

Next: it’s the one you’ve been waiting, the one that’ll shut us up for a whole month! It’s the SEASON FINALE! We’ll talk about our favorite and least favorite things of the year 2012.

(Show notes for “Twisted Christmas: How Horrible Our Christmas Will Be!”)

Listen to Episode 122, “Gobbledygeek Gift Guide 2012″

Art by Michael Cho.

Art by Michael Cho.

Gobbledygeek episode 122, “Gobbledygeek Gift Guide 2012,” is available for listening or download right here.

The season of giving is once more upon us. Ever helpful, Paul and AJ list a number of Christmas gift options for that special geek in your life: from movies (like In the Mood for Love on Criterion Collection Blu-ray) to TV (the complete series of Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!), comics (Saga: Vol. 1) to books (Alan Sepinwall’s The Revolution Was Televised), toys (cute lil’ Funko Pop figures) to games (Dishonored), and more. Don’t forget to thank us for rescuing your Christmas.

Next: the holiday gets twisted with The Nightmare Before Christmas.

NOTE: Links to every single item we mention in the episode can be found in the show notes.

(Show notes for “Gobbledygeek Gift Guide 2012.”)

Listen to Episode 110, “#12″

Gobbledygeek episode 110, “#12,” is available for listening or download right here.

It’s been one year–and exactly half the show ago–since DC rebooted their entire line, dubbing this bold creative decision/shameless marketing ploy the “New 52.” Paul and AJ check back in on the New 52, pointing out what’s working (Animal Man, Swamp Thing) and what’s not (Justice LeagueDetective Comics). Has this whole thing been worth it? Has it made a difference for the company? And what are we to make of the editorial troubles that have been messily dragged out into the public? We can’t promise any good answers, but we sure try! Plus, AJ talks about the best birthday present he received and Paul has exciting adventures at the zoo.

Next: celebrate Gobbledygeek’s eleventy-first episode as the boys discuss the 1977 Rankin/Bass animated musical television special The Hobbit. BYOPW (bring your own pipe-weed).

(Show notes for “#12.”)

Gobbledygeek Gift Guide 2011

On the new episode of Gobbledygeek, Paul and AJ told you about all the things you should buy this Christmas season, and now here’s a comprehensive guide! (Including a few items that weren’t even mentioned on the show.)

Note: Most links and prices are from Amazon.

BOOKS/COMICS

READY PLAYER ONE by Ernest Cline
$14.33

Hands down one of the best science fiction books I’ve read in recent memory. It’s like my admittedly overdeveloped nostalgia gland were milked and distilled onto the page. This book is my geeky, pop-culture DNA printed in ink. ~ Paul

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