Paul’s Top 10 Comics of 2014 (and AJ’s Lament)

'Saga' art by Fiona Staples.

‘Saga’ art by Fiona Staples.

Last week, we brought you our top 10 films of the year. It was different from past years in that while I still wrote words and words and words, Paul presented his list without comment. He continues that trend with his top 10 comics of 2014. Meanwhile, I’m getting into some unusual territory by admitting that I don’t have a list. Sure, I could have scraped something together, but it wouldn’t have felt right.

I adore comic books–look no further than the year-long Four-Color Flashback series on Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman we just wrapped in December–but this was the year they unfortunately fell by the wayside of my pop culture habits. There are a few reasons: comics are expensive, often going for $2.99, $3.99, or even more for a bundle of 20-25 sheets of paper; reading is a solitary, time-consuming activity which requires laser focus, unlike a lot of movies and TV (I’ll probably get in trouble for that), and this year I chose to devote much more of my reading time to prose; and lately, I’ve grown to prefer sitting down with one-and-done graphic novels or trade paperback collections to only getting a single hit of a story each month.

Then there’s the fact that 2014 was the year I (and Paul, and frenemy of the show Eric Sipple) published a book. I’ve always considered myself a creative person, but actually putting blood, sweat, and tears into finishing a real product available for purchase left me with a lot less free time. Video games were the first casualty–I played the very comics-oriented LEGO Marvel Superheroes for a few days, but that was about it–and then, completely by chance, I noticed comics becoming the second. Which is ironic, considering how heavily indebted The Deli Counter of Justice is to superhero comics.

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Listen to ‘The Deli Podcast of Justice’ Interview with Kitty Chandler

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The Deli Podcast of Justice interview with Kitty Chandler is available for listening or download right here, and on iTunes here.

Superheroes don’t always slap on shiny spandex to soar the friendly skies. They also “lurk in the shadows and skulk in darkness,” as Kitty Chandler puts it. Rashida, the young woman at the center of Kitty’s The Deli Counter of Justice story “Calculated Risk,” is one of those. She spends hours in her basement doing off-the-grid surveillance, dispatching nearby heroes to deal with crimes no one else is paying attention to…until one day, when things don’t go quite as planned. AJ and Eric talk with Kitty about her previous experience with anthologies (including her own, Black Ice), her devotion to any and all X-Men comics, and how guidance from her “editrix” improves her writing.

Next: Paul and AJ interview C. Gayle Seaman, one of two poets whose work appears in the book, on Tuesday, October 21.

(Show notes for The Deli Podcast of Justice #7.)

Listen to Episode 203, “I’ll Lick the Stamps”

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Gobbledygeek episode 203, “I’ll Lick the Stamps,” is available for listening or download right here, and on iTunes here.

Close the shower curtain, it’s time for Gobbledyween! Our fifth annual month-long celebration of all things bump in the night gets off to a slashing start with a discussion of Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 classic Psycho. Often imitated (once quite literally) but never duplicated, Paul and AJ dissect the film’s shifting points of view, the many taboos it broke, how its lengthy silences speak volumes, and yeah, that really dumb psychoanalysis scene. Plus, AJ joins Nicolas Cage for a post-Rapture nap with Left Behind while Paul goes to Disney Infinity and beyond with the new Marvel superheroes expansion.

Next: Gobbledyween 2014 comes back to life as Broken Magic author and The Deli Counter of Justice cohort Eric Sipple drops by for a look back at Re-Animator.

(Show notes for “I’ll Lick the Stamps.”)

Listen to Episode 202, “The Sandman: Vol. VIII – Worlds’ End (feat. Ensley F. Guffey)”

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Art from ‘The Sandman’ #54 by Michael Allred and Daniel Vozzo.

Gobbledygeek episode 202, “The Sandman: Vol. VIII – Worlds’ End (feat. Ensley F. Guffey),” is available for listening or download right here, and on iTunes here.

After scaling the high point of The Sandman last week with Brief Lives, Paul and AJ fall a little closer to earth with a discussion of Vol. VIII – Worlds’ End. Joining them is Wanna Cook? author Ensley F. Guffey…and they all agree it’s likely the series’ weakest collection. But weak Sandman is still better than most comics, so there’s plenty to say about Neil Gaiman’s final attempt at telling short stories in the Endless’ domain. There’s the return of Hob Gadling, a look at the mythic side of American politics, and a funeral procession passing by the inn at the end of all worlds. Plus, the gang grouses about Gotham and discusses Marvel’s settlement with the Jack Kirby estate.

Next: Gobbledyween 2014 gets off to a slashing start with Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 classic Psycho. The boys will be joined by Mike Brooks.

(Show notes for “The Sandman: Vol. VIII – Worlds’ End.”)

Listen to ‘The Deli Podcast of Justice’ Interview with Eric Sipple

The Deli Podcast of Justice interview with Eric Sipple is available for listening or download right here, and on iTunes here.

For their first interview with authors from The Deli Counter of Justice, Paul and AJ talk to the other man who makes up the Deli braintrust: Eric Sipple. Eric discusses his start writing SeaQuest fan fiction, his introduction to the world of superheroes via Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman film, how he created Carl Cook’s daughter Tabitha for his story “Pixelated” (who may wind up becoming the anthology’s Wolverine), and much more.

Next: Paul and AJ sit down with Rahne Ehtar, the author of “Without Masks.”

(Show notes for The Deli Podcast of Justice #3.)

Listen to Episode 197, “No Means Nostromo”

alienjohnhurt

Gobbledygeek episode 197, “No Means Nostromo,” is available for listening or download right here, and on iTunes here.

Before there was Juno, there was Alien, the ultimate film about unwanted pregnancy. Eggs shooting down throats, penile heads devouring yours, a brand new lifeform bursting forth from your body…Ridley Scott’s 1979 classic pokes and prods you where you don’t want to be poked and prodded. Paul and AJ kick off an epic podcrawl (see information on participating podcasts in the show notes) about the Alien and Predator films with a look back at the one that started it all, in all its psychosexual glory. Of course, there’s more underneath its skin, including gorgeous photography, eerie sound design, slow-mounting tension, a realistic ensemble, and a star-making performance from Sigourney Weaver. But it’s mostly about dicks. Plus, Gwen Stacy returns to the pages of Spider-Man comics in an unexpected way.

Next: Paul and AJ continue the podcrawl on September 3 with a discussion of John McTiernan’s 1987 classic (?) Predator.

(Show notes for “No Means Nostromo.”)

Listen to Episode 196, “The Sandman: Vol. VI – Fables & Reflections”

Art from 'The Sandman: Fear of Falling' by Kent Williams and Sherilyn Van Valkeburgh.

Art from ‘The Sandman: Fear of Falling’ by Kent Williams and Sherilyn Van Valkenburgh.

Gobbledygeek episode 196, “The Sandman: Vol. VI – Fables & Reflections,” is available for listening or download right here, and on iTunes here.

Rulers–whether they be corrupt, wise, or both–make rules. They establish boundaries, set parameters within which a person lives their life. Should those rules be broken, there will be consequences. Neil Gaiman explores some of those consequences, joined by an incredibly talented string of artists including Bryan Talbot and Jill Thompson, in The Sandman: Vol. VI – Fables & Reflections. Paul and AJ continue their year-long Four-Color Flashback exploration of The Sandman, discussing everything from barophobia to Greek myth, from the once-great city of Baghdad to the “Thriller” video. Plus, Donald Glover finally gets to be Spider-Man and AJ offers his thought’s on Netflix’s first animated series for adults, BoJack Horseman.

Next: on September 1, Paul and AJ kick off an epic podcrawl (see information on participating podcasts in the show notes) discussing the Alien and Predator films with a look back at Ridley Scott’s 1979 classic Alien.

(Show notes for “The Sandman: Vol. VI – Fables & Reflections.”)