Listen to ‘Gobbledygeek’ Episode 217, “The Martian: Part 3 – The Rise and Fall of Ensley Guffey and the Spider-Men from Mars (feat. Ensley F. Guffey)”

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Gobbledygeek episode 217, “The Martian: Part 3 – The Rise and Fall of Ensley Guffey and the Spider-Men from Mars (feat. Ensley F. Guffey),” is available for listening or download right here, and on iTunes here.

What do cannibalism, Elton John, and pirate-ninjas have in common? They all figure into chapters 13-19 of The Martian by Andy Weir, here discussed by Paul, AJ, and Wanna Cook? co-author Ensley F. Guffey. As Gobbledy-Book Club 2015 nears its end, the gang talks about the book’s stylistic and emotional weaknesses, as well as the ways in which Weir effectively builds tension. How will it all end? Ensley knows! But Paul and AJ can only make their terrible, terrible predictions. Plus, the gang gets into that whole Spider-Man business, laments Jon Stewart’s decision to leave The Daily Show, and takes a guess at what Neill Blomkamp has in store for his Alien movie.

Next: an all-star jam band reunion of our Martian readers, featuring Ensley, Kenn Edwards, and Hallie Prime.

(Show notes for “The Martian: Part 3 – The Rise and Fall of Ensley Guffey and the Spider-Men from Mars.”)

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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Paul & AJ’s Top 10 Films of 2014

The new year is less than two days old, so once again, it’s time to look back to our favorites of last year. As always, lists are imperfect, incomplete, and totally subject to change upon reflection and the passage of time.

We’ll start with Paul; he remains skeptical of this whole top 10 business, so this year, his contributions to our lists (including comics, albums, and TV shows) will be presented without comment.

(Mine, of course, will probably say too much.)

~ AJ

PAUL’S FAVORITE (NOT BEST) FILMS OF 2014
10. Boyhood (dir. Richard Linklater)
9. Interstellar (dir. Christopher Nolan)
8. Maleficent (dir. Robert Stromberg)
7. Only Lovers Left Alive (dir. Jim Jarmusch)
6. The LEGO Movie (dirs. Phil Lord & Christopher Miller)
5. Guardians of the Galaxy (dir. James Gunn)
4. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (dirs. Joe & Anthony Russo)
3. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (dir. Matt Reeves)
2. Big Hero 6 (dirs. Don Hall & Chris Williams)
1. How to Train Your Dragon 2 (dir. Dean DeBlois)

HONORABLE MENTIONS
Snowpiercer (dir. Bong Joon-ho)
Edge of Tomorrow (dir. Doug Liman)
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 (dir. Francis Lawrence)
X-Men: Days of Future Past (dir. Bryan Singer)
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (dir. Marc Webb)

DIDN’T SEE
Birdman (dir. Alejandro González Iñárritu)
Force Majeure (dir. Ruben Ostlund)
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (dir. Peter Jackson)

AJ’S TOP 10 FILMS OF 2014

10. BIRDMAN (dir. Alejandro González Iñárritu)

Film Review Birdman

“A thing is a thing, not what is said of that thing,” reads the quote (sometimes attributed to Susan Sontag) stuck to Riggan Thomson’s mirror. One imagines the former superhero actor, played by a back-and-swinging-for-the-fences Michael Keaton, clings to that mantra as he negotiates a shot at artistic integrity with his paranoid need to be loved. It also serves as a warning to anyone trying to dissect the film or Iñárritu’s intentions. After making a career out of overwhelmingly somber dramas, Iñárritu has made a frenzied comedy propelled by a furious drum score from Antonio Sanchez. He also peppers the film with flights of insanity, in which Riggan has telekinetic powers or takes to the skies just like his old alter ego. How much of this is real? What does the film’s beautiful final shot mean? There’s a lot to be said, but you can also take Birdman for the absurd, chaotic, hilarious thing it is.

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Listen to Episode 201, “The Sandman: Vol. VII – Brief Lives (feat. Eric Sipple)”

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Art from ‘The Sandman’ #49 by Jill Thompson, Vince Locke, and Danny Vozzo.

Gobbledygeek episode 201, “The Sandman: Vol. VII – Brief Lives (feat. Eric Sipple),” is available for listening or download right here, and on iTunes here.

Change is important. It’s also a bitch. The Endless turn and face the strain as Paul and AJ continue their Four-Color Flashback exploration of Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman with Vol. VII: Brief Lives. Joining them by request (his request) is Broken Magic author and The Deli Counter of Justice cohort Eric Sipple. The gang discusses Dream and Delirium’s quest to find their brother, Morpheus growing as a person (or whatever he is), the brief stories and briefer lives embedded within the volume’s arc, and how nothing ever stays the same. Brief Lives is the pivotal installment of the series…everything after is fallout. Plus, Paul and Eric gush over Gwen Stacy’s resurgence in Edge of Spider-Verse.

Next: before Gobbledyween takes over the month of October, the boys are joined by Wanna Cook? authors K. Dale Koontz and Ensley F. Guffey to discuss the next Sandman book, Vol. VIII: Worlds’ End.

(Show notes for “The Sandman: Vol. VII – Brief Lives.”)

Listen to Episode 197, “No Means Nostromo”

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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.”)

Listen to Episode 194, “Groot Suit Riot (feat. Kenn Edwards)”

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Gobbledygeek episode 194, “Groot Suit Riot (feat. Kenn Edwards),” is available for listening or download right here. and on iTunes here.

Come and get your love, boys and girls: the Guardians of the Galaxy have arrived. Paul and AJ abduct the young, impressionable Kenn Edwards (So Let’s Get to the Pointhost/Smoke Gets in Your Ears co-host), leading him on a whirlwind tour of the universe, discussing the finer points of James Gunn’s sci-fi blockbuster. Among those points: whether or not, ten movies in, the film marks progress for Marvel Studios; the unlikely (or perhaps the most likely) breakout characters; and that bitchin’ soundtrack. Plus, AJ goes in for a sleep test and gets back up on his Spider-Ham soapbox.

Next: Joseph Lewis returns for another gathering of the Turtle…uh, Tribe? Is that a thing? Anyway, this time the gang’s discussing the new Michael Bay-produced Ninja Turtles movie.

(Show notes for “Groot Suit Riot.”)