We’re all about lending a hand here at Gobbledygeek, so for this month’s Four-Color Flashback, we’re slicing and dicing our way through Daniel Warren Johnson’s Extremity. The ultra-violent 12-issue series follows Thea, an artist who lost a core piece of her identity when a rival clan chopped off her drawing hand. As her father leads their clan on a bloodthirsty quest for revenge, she and her brother Rollo must question whether they will perpetuate this endless cycle of violence. Paul and Arlo discuss the series’ surprising commitment to pacifism, Johnson’s insanely detailed artwork, why the book’s violence isn’t at odds with its intent, and some quirky sound effects.
NEXT: tune in to find out.
00:00:28 – Intro
00:01:46 – Extremity
01:29:55 – Outro / Next
“I Want to Hold Your Hand” by The Beatles (1963)
“The Winner Takes It All” by ABBA, Super Trouper (1980)
What’s more American than ruthless bastards sucking dry the poor, hardworking souls that make this country what it is–all in the name of progress? We’re not just talking about capitalism here, we’re also talking about the bloodthirsty monsters at the heart of Scott Snyder and Rafael Albuquerque’s American Vampire. For this month’s Four-Color Flashback, Paul and Arlo sink their fangs into the first two volumes of Snyder and Albuquerque’s (with an assist from Stephen King) decades-spanning Vertigo series. The boys discuss how Snyder charts the path of American history through three distinct time periods; the seriously cool vampire taxonomy; Albuquerque’s ghastly, gorgeous art; the way King cusses; and, yes, what the book says about capitalist conquest. Plus, Paul chills with three very different Netflix projects: Moxie, Ginny & Georgia, and Behind Her Eyes.
NEXT: Michael Holland, post-production supervisor on American Horror Story and ABC’s For Life, joins us to discuss Disney+’s first MCU series, WandaVision.
00:00:50 – Intro
00:07:14 – American Vampire
01:34:36 – Outro / Next
“American Girl” by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers (1977)
“Walking on Sunshine” by Katrina and the Waves, Walking on Sunshine (1985)
Two hosts, unalike in dignity, in fair Gobbledygeek, where we set our podcast. For this month’s Four-Color Flashback, Paul and Arlo pull out a boombox blasting Romeo and Juliet side B. In Prince of Cats, Ronald Wimberly passes the mic to Juliet’s cousin Tybalt, a sideways entry point into the events that lead to and inform the soapy classic. Oh, and did we mention this version stars a Black cast living in an ‘80s NYC where everybody participates in an underground samurai swordfighting ring? The boys discuss Wimberly’s ingenious distortion of Shakespearean language; his manga-influenced art; how the book enriches (perhaps even improves upon?) the play; and what it means to tell this story from a race-conscious perspective.
NEXT: oh hey, it’s that Christopher Plummer Geek Challenge we promised. Mike Nichols’ Wolf and Michael Mann’s The Insider go head-to-head.
00:00:48 – Intro / Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet
00:23:00 – Prince of Cats
01:03:45 – (Interlude: Paul reads NSFW Shakespearean dialogue from Prince of Cats)
Gobbledygeek episode 422, “Sandman Mystery Theatre – Book One (feat. Vickie Willis Navarra)”, is available for listening or download right here and on Apple Podcasts here.
For the penultimate Gobbledygeek of the year, Paul and Arlo return to an institution they dropped like a bad habit at the start of the pandemic: the Four-Color Flashback! Vickie Willis Navarra, board member of the Comics and Popular Arts Conference at DragonCon, joins the boys to discuss Sandman Mystery Theatre: Book One. Matt Wagner’s resurrection of DC’s Golden Age hero Wesley Dodds, with art by Guy Davis, John Watkiss, R.G. Taylor, and David Hornung, explores the dark dreams of 1938 New York. The gang discusses the art’s sketchy, shadowy noir qualities; Vickie interrupts her praise of Dian Belmont long enough to wonder if Dian falls into the “exceptional female” trope; Paul and Arlo ponder the series’ connection to Neil Gaiman’s Sandman; and more.
NEXT: season 11 comes to a close with a Geek Challenge featuring Thunderheart and Dead Man.
Art by Dean Ormston (pencils/inks) & Dave Stewart (color) from ‘Black Hammer: Age of Doom’ (2018)
Gobbledygeek episode 397, “Four-Color Flashback: Black Hammer,” is available for listening or download right here and on iTunes here.
Don’t you just hate it when you’re a superhero who saves the world and then gets zapped to a shitty little farm town in another dimension that you literally cannot leave? In Jeff Lemire and Dean Ormston’s Dark Horse series Black Hammer, Abraham Slam, Golden Gail, Barbalien, Talky-Walky, Colonel Weird, and Madame Dragonfly sure do. For this month’s Four-Color Flashback, Paul and Arlo discuss the recently concluded “main” storyline of Lemire and Ormston’s ever-expanding creation, consisting of Black Hammer issues #1-13 and Black Hammer: Age of Doom issues #1-12. From a backwater farm to the furthest reaches of time and space, our heroes explore every facet of the superhero genre. Along the way, they confront the metatextual realities of comics storytelling–and the just plain textual fact of aging.
Next: we have no plans.
Total Run Time: 02:33:48
00:00:37 – Intro
00:02:14 – Black Hammer
02:29:10 – Outro / Next
“(Don’t Go Back To) Rockville” by R.E.M., Reckoning (1984)
“How You Gonna Keep ‘Em Down On the Farm” by Andrew Bird, Soldier On (2007)
Gobbledygeek episode 395, “Four-Color Flashback: Watchmen (feat. Greg Sahadachny).” is available for listening or download right here and on iTunes here.
After a year of pointedly discussing no superhero stories, Paul and Arlo revive Four-Color Flashback for a new decade with the big kahuna of all superhero stories: Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ 1986-87 maxi-series Watchmen. Aided by emotional sherpa Greg Sahadachny, once and future host of The Debatable Podcast, the boys openly admit there is no new light to shed on perhaps the most analyzed comic book of all time–then get to shedding. What’s it like reading Watchmen in 2020? In the wake of Damon Lindelof’s TV sequel? The gang finds that, like all great art, Watchmen has not changed in the 33 years since its run wrapped, but we have. In a world where fascism seems much more tangible, where superhero fiction reigns supreme, Moore and Gibbons’ work has taken on a renewed sense of meaning. The gang discusses the book’s formalist genius; our heroes’ utter contempt for those they claim to save; why, for a certain type of reader, Rorschach is a morally just idol; and plenty more.
Next: we continue watching the Watchmen with a discussion of Lindelof’s HBO show.
Total Run Time: 01:50:43
00:00:21 – Intro
00:04:00 – Watchmen
01:47:43 – Outro / Next
“Desolation Row” by Bob Dylan, Highway 61 Revisited (1965)
“Cosmic Charlie” by The Grateful Dead, Aoxomoxoa (1969)
Art from ‘Daytripper’ (2010) by Gabriel Bá, Fábio Moon & Dave Stewart.
Gobbledygeek episode 392, “Four-Color Flashback: Daytripper,” is available for listening or download right here and on iTunes here.
It took Brás de Oliva Domingos so long to find out, and he found out. What, if anything, he found out is the central question of Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá’s 2010 Vertigo series Daytripper, subject of our final Four-Color Flashback for 2019. You see, Brás writes obituaries for a São Paulo newspaper–and at the end of most chapters in this book, he dies. Twin writers/artists Moon and Bá pave the way for an existential journey along the many turning points of a life, from the imperceptible to the unmistakable. Paul and Arlo discuss Daytripper’s hint of magical realism; the coherent, airtight structure that grounds the book’s absurdity; how the series’ hopeful attitude brushes up against horrific tragedy; Moon and Bá’s distinctive (though not so distinctive we know who is penciling and/or inking what!) art style, accentuated by master colorist Dave Stewart; and more.
Next: on the Gobbledygeek season 10 finale, Christmas gets twisted with John McPhail’s 2018 horror-comedy-musical Anna and the Apocalypse.
Total Run Time: 01:32:47
00:00:42 – Intro
00:06:30 – Daytripper
01:26:40 – Outro / Next
“Day Tripper” by Sergio Mendes & Brasil ‘66, Herb Alpert Presents Sergio Mendes & Brasil ‘66 (1966)
“Circle of Life” by Carmen Twillie & Lebo M, The Lion King (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) (1994)
Art from ‘Green River Killer: A True Detective Story’ by Jonathan Case. Dialogue by Jeff Jensen.
Gobbledygeek episode 385, “Four-Color Flashback: Green River Killer,” is available for listening or download right here and on iTunes here.
For another installment of this year’s non-superhero Four-Color Flashback, Paul and Arlo look at the story of a real-life hero in Green River Killer: A True Detective Story, Jeff Jensen and Jonathan Case’s loving tribute to Jeff’s dad, Detective Tom Jensen. Detective Jensen was instrumental in catching Gary Leon Ridgway AKA the Green River Killer, America’s most prolific serial killer. The boys discuss Paul’s connection to (and possible culpability in?!) the case, the comparisons or lack thereof to the father-son dynamic in Maus, Case’s beautiful character acting, and more.
Next: leaves are on the ground, blood is on the screen. It’s time for Gobbledyween. We kick off this year’s festivities with a(nother) discussion of Drew Goddard’s 2011 mega-meta horror film The Cabin in the Woods.
Total Run Time: 01:15:25
00:00:35 – Intro
00:02:00 – Green River Killer
01:09:47 – Outro / Next
“Green River” by Creedence Clearwater Revival, Green River (1969)
Art from ‘The Nameless City’ by Faith Erin Hicks & Jordie Bellaire
Gobbledygeek episode 377, “Four-Color Flashback: The Nameless City Trilogy,” is available for listening or download right here and on iTunes here.
For the next installment of this year’s superhero-free Four-Color Flashback, Paul and Arlo leave the realm of autobiography, semi- or otherwise, for some thrilling adventures in fictional China. Faith Erin Hicks’ The Nameless City trilogy has everything: young men and women coming of age in trying times, political intrigue, backstabbing, betrayal, and some pretty cool martial arts fights. The boys discuss Hicks’ deceptively simple artwork, how she incorporates sound effects into her storytelling, Jordie Bellaire’s stunning color, and why The Nameless City is a love story but not a romance.
Art from ‘American Born Chinese’ by Gene Luen Yang & Lark Pien.
Gobbledygeek episode 376, “Four-Color Flashback: American Born Chinese (feat. Johny Ho),” is available for listening or download right here and on iTunes here.
For the next installment of this year’s non-superheroic Four-Color Flashback, Paul and Arlo are joined by their pal Johny Ho to discuss Gene Luen Yang’s American Born Chinese. While they’ve previously discussed Yang’s work on the Avatar: The Last Airbender comics, Paul and Arlo discover a whole new side of Yang in this semi-autobiographical novel; while Johny finds pieces of his experience reflected in the story of Jin Wang, an Asian kid enrolled in a Western school. The gang discusses Yang’s simple yet exciting artwork; Lark Pien’s vibrant colors; the horrifying stereotypes Yang spotlights; the meaning of the Monkey King’s journey; and more.
Next: game over. Sarah Kosheff rides in on her dragon to talk Game of Thrones’ final season.