When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, it might just be because Thessaly’s pulled it to Earth, wreaking all sorts of havoc on the ground. This Paul and AJ learn in the latest installment of our year-long Four-Color Flashback analyzing Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman, this time focusing on Vol. V – A Game of You. Joining the boys again are Wanna Cook? authors K. Dale Koontz and Ensley F. Guffey, who have much insight to offer on Gaiman’s depiction of transgender character Wanda, artist Shawn McManus’ use of the classic nine-panel layout, and, uh, polar bears. Add to this many Wizard of Oz illusions and discussions of identity, and you’ve got something we promise makes sense. Sort of. Plus, the gang riffs on Comic-Con, including the unveiling of Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman.
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.
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.
Welcome back to the land of Berk, where the dragons soar, the adults have Scottish accents, and the kids have grown up. Frenemy Eric Sipple joins Paul and AJ to discuss How to Train Your Dragon 2, which–spoiler alert–they all agree is a fine film indeed. Among the points of discussion are the more mature tone, the stunning animation (with an assist from the great Roger Deakins), and Cate Blanchett’s role as Valka, Hiccup’s mother. In a strong year for sequels, this is one of the strongest, and we’re here to tell you why. Plus, in other dragon-related news, the gang dissects the Game of Thrones season finale.
Next: getting back on our track with our monthly Four-Color Flashback series discussing Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman. Greg Sahadachny of The Debatable Podcast joins us for an analysis of Vol. III – Dream Country.
With How to Train Your Dragon 2 prepared to soar into theaters this weekend, you’d better believe superfan Paul was going to find some way to celebrate it. And celebrate it he has, with frequent guests Eric Sipple and Kenn Edwards joining Paul and AJ for a commentary of the first film. The gang discusses how the film overcame their initial low expectations, why having Roger Deakins as a “visual consultant” was crucial, the way the movie expertly moves the plot forward at only 90 minutes, and which of them is a dog person (much to the shame of the other three). Watch along and enjoy.
Paul and AJ are, you know, they’re…I think the word is “geeks”? Geeks. Yes. And sometimes, they challenge each other. Lord knows they challenge each other. And sometimes such a challenge between geeks is bestowed the rank of Geek Challenge. For the first time in far too long, such a plague has befallen the podcast: AJ challenges Paul to watch the 1957 Ingmar Bergman classic The Seventh Seal; in return, Paul challenges AJ to John Boorman’s 1981 Arthurian epic Excalibur. There is much sadness and mythmaking and fast-and-loose historical accuracies as our knights ride off on a journey of the soul. Plus, Fargo makes for a pretty great TV show and The Superior Spider-Man has reached its blessed end.
Next week: the second installment of this year’s Four-Color Flashback, as the boys discuss the second volume of Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman, The Doll’s House.
The Debatable Podcast‘s Greg Sahadachny has bullied his way onto another podcast. This time, he forces Paul and AJ to discuss storytelling in video games, and whether or not harder games are more fulfilling than easy ones. Throughout this, the words “ludology” and “narratology” are bandied about as if anyone involved has the faintest idea of what they mean. Before the games discussion, the gang talks about Amazon’s acquisition of comiXology and what that might mean for the world’s premiere platform for digital comics; after, they get into this week’s shocking Game of Thrones and–of course–the nature of spoilers.
Next: for the first time in a while, the Geek Challenge rears its challenge-y head.
A storm is coming. No, for real, a storm is coming and it’s gonna wipe me and you and everyone we know right offa this rock: Darren Aronofsky envisions the great flood of Genesis in mysterious ways with his new film Noah. As portrayed by Russell Crowe, Noah’s, uh, a little bleaker than you might remember from Sunday school, as he is forced to grapple with whether or not to allow humanity to persist. Add in some six-armed rock monsters, glowy fingers, and some insane Fountain-esque visuals…and it’s not what almost anyone would expect from a biblical epic. We’ll tell you if that’s a good thing or not. Plus, Paul and AJ watch the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles trailer and talk comics both mainstream (Silver Surfer) and not (Sex Criminals).
Next: though Captain America: The Winter Soldier is in theaters as you read this, because of the way we record, it is not this week’s episode. No matter what that idiot AJ said. So! Next week! Winter Soldier is coming and we are here to talk about it.
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.
If you were a sentient human being at any point in the last 30-some-odd years, Harold Ramis made some sort of impact on your life. When Ramis passed away last week at the age of 69, Paul and AJ knew they had to pay homage to him in some way. This week, the boys discuss four of Ramis’ films: Meatballs (which he co-wrote), Stripes (which he co-wrote and starred opposite Bill Murray in), Ghostbusters (which he co-wrote and starred in), and Groundhog Day (which he directed, co-wrote, and if you look at it from a certain angle, played the crucial role in). Ramis made a lot of people laugh, including us. Here we do our best to pay him back. Plus, Paul and AJ suffer through the Oscars.
Next week: as part of an epic pod crawl (check the show notes for more information!), Paul and AJ will be discussing the final film of Krzysztof Kieslowski’s Three Colors trilogy, Red.