Sing, sing a song; sing of oblivion, it’s 36 issues long! For this month’s first (?) Four-Color Flashback, Paul and Arlo are harmonizing about Robert Kirkman and Lorenzo De Felici’s 2018-22 Image series Oblivion Song. It’s an alien invasion saga that questions the very concepts of “alien” and “invasion,” regarding its human and Kuthaal characters with equal levels of empathy and complexity. The boys discuss how Kirkman overcomes The Walking Dead’s biggest flaws, De Felici’s otherworldly artwork, Annalisa Leoni’s eerily beautiful colors, and so much more. Plus, Arlo made a return trip to Austin, TX.
Listener, we would have words with thee! As the Odinson and the Mighty Thor swing their hammers onto the big screen in Thor: Love and Thunder, Paul and Arlo revisit some of the film’s influences for this month’s Four-Color Flashback. The boys dig deep into the early part of Jason Aaron’s run on the golden-haired Avenger, with Thor: God of Thunder #1-25 and Thor (2014) #1-8. Topics of discussion include the dynamite art of Esad Ribić and Russell Dauterman, Thor’s crisis of faith, why Jane Foster wielding Mjolnir makes for such a great reinvention of the character, and more.
NEXT: anything is possible.
00:00:32 – Intro / Banter
00:04:55 – Main Topic
00:11:54 – INTERLUDE: Giving Arlo $#!&
00:14:01 – Back to the Main Topic!
01:55:21 – Outro / Next
“Divine Hammer” by The Breeders, Last Splash (1993)
“Sweet Jane” by Cowboy Junkies, The Trinity Sessions (1988)
For this month’s Four-Color Flashback, Paul and Arlo roll the Die to discuss Kieron Gillen and Stephanie Hans’ dark tale of a group of one-time RPG nerds getting sucked into the world of the game. Gillen has described the book as “goth Jumanji,” and there’s some truth to that–these characters feel everything, hard. Luckily, so do we, and so does special guest Eric Sipple, author of Mimesis and co-creator of The Deli Counter of Justice. The gang discusses how Die takes apart and rebuilds typical D&D classes, its commentary on the entire history of gaming, why Ash is so important to Eric, and much more.
NEXT: by the hoary hosts of Hoggoth, it’s Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness!
Sit back and say ‘Aaaahhhh!’ For this month’s Four-Color Flashback, Paul and Arlo take a trip to the dentist with Raina Telgemeier’s 2010 autobiographic novel Smile. Raina looks back on how her orthodontic woes served as a marker for her adolescence, from the loss of her two front teeth in 6th grade circa 1989 through finally ditching those braces in freshman year ‘92. This prompts Paul and Arlo to recount their own dental dramas in dramatic (traumatic?) detail before praising Telgemeier’s skillful cartooning, her incisive rendering of middle school social mores, the way historical events are set against the backdrop of teen life, and more. Plus, the boys have thoughts on the This Is Us series finale.
NEXT: more drama, more trauma.
00:00:23 – Intro / This is Us
00:35:17 – Smile
01:35:33 – Outro / Next
“Dentist!” by Steve Martin, Michelle Weeks, Tichina Arnold & Tisha Campbell, Little Shop of Horrors (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) (1986)
What happens when a child is born who will invent immortality? According to Ram V and Filipe Andrade’s The Many Deaths of Laila Starr, Death is fired from her job, is cast into a mortal body, and attempts to find and murder this child. Oh, she also dies a lot. On this month’s Four-Color Flashback, Paul & Arlo discuss the book’s unique approach to Indian mythology, Andrade’s beautifully distorted figures, V’s ability to be self-serious without being pretentious, and more. Plus, Paul gets into Severance, the boys aren’t feeling This Is Us‘ final season, and Arlo reads more Superman.
NEXT: it’s an MCU catch-up session. The boys will discuss the trifecta of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Eternals, and Spider-Man: No Way Home.
Sometimes a gorilla is just a gorilla. Sometimes, though, that gorilla–righteously bearing arms though he may be–is a gateway to a story about the power and fluidity of narrative. For this month’s Four-Color Flashback, Paul and Arlo go ape for Si Spurrier and Jeff Stokely’s Six-Gun Gorilla, a sci-fi Western published by BOOM! Studios in 2013. The boys discuss Stokely’s glorious, hyper-exaggerated art; how the book’s entertainment conglomerate dystopia feels like a logical extension of our present; the way Spurrier weaves various pulp genres throughout his story; and more. Plus, Paul got sick in Gatlinburg again and Arlo admits he was wrong about Dune.
Gobbledygeek episode 461, “FCF: Black Panther – The Intergalactic Empire of Wakanda,” is available for listening or download right here, on Spotify, and on Apple Podcasts.
Panthers…IN SPAAAAACE! For their first Four-Color Flashback of 2022, Paul and Arlo look to the stars, where they find Black Panther: The Intergalactic Empire of Wakanda. The second half of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Black Panther run, these 25 issues–with art by Daniel Acuña, Kev Walker, and Ryan Bodenheim, among others–concern T’Challa’s rise from slave to legend in an alien empire that bears his kingdom’s name. The boys discuss Coates’ bold new direction, the question of expansion vs. imperialism at the heart of the book, Acuña’s photorealistic interstellar action compared to Walker’s more abstract emphasis on character, and that goddamn symbiote. Plus, an acknowledgement of how surreal it is to be reading a comic book depiction of war at this particular moment, Amazon’s evisceration of comiXology, and more.
NEXT: let’s party like it’s 1999-2003. For the first of a two-part exploration of the Wachowskis’ Matrix series, writer Tilly Bridges jacks in to discuss the original trilogy. Whoa.
00:00:23 – Intro / Banter
00:08:21 – Paul’s Unhinged ComiXology Rant
00:34:43 – Main Topic
01:56:36 – Outro / Next
“Intergalactic” by Beastie Boys, Hello Nasty (1998)
“And cast ye the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” So says Matthew 25:30, and in John Layman and Afu Chan’s Outer Darkness, there is plenty of weeping–and so, so much gnashing of teeth. For their last Four-Color Flashback of the year, Paul and Arlo discuss Layman and Chan’s 2018-19 Image/Skybound series, which imagines a far-flung future where spaceships need exorcists onboard and the dead can be resurrected so long as you cast a net wide enough to catch their souls. The boys discuss the book’s ingenious mash-up of space opera and supernatural horror, how Layman & Chan expertly juggle a number of timelines, why the visceral splorches of Chan’s art are so satisfying, and the depressing realities behind the series’ cancellation.
NEXT: what if…we did another MCUTV episode with Hollywood’s own Michael Holland? We’ll be discussing, you guessed it, the animated Marvel series What If…?
00:00:57 – Intro
00:04:39 – Outer Darkness
01:37:00 – Outro / Next
“Spirit in the Sky” by Bauhaus, Singles (2013)
“Furries!” by Pony Death Ride, Not a Foal, Not Yet a Horse (2012)
For their latest Four-Color Flashback, Paul and Arlo are exploring the world of Si Spurrier and Jeff Stokely’s 2015 mini-series The Spire. Our location is a massive, tiered city surrounded by a desolate wasteland; our cast of characters include privileged aristocrats and the undesired “Sculpted,” hybridized from human and animal DNA; and our story is one of noir sleuthing, extreme violence, racial intolerance, and classism. The boys discuss Spurrier and Stokely’s deceptively simple storytelling; the “soft edges” around their world-building; Stokely’s manga-influenced art; and just how in-spire-ing it all is. Plus, a number of previous FCF selections are hitting the small screen, including Y: The Last Man, The Sandman, and most unbelievably of all, Grendel.
NEXT: what’s that? It’s October? Time for Gobbledyween 2021. Our annual horror-fest kicks off with a discussion of Ti West’s 2009 indie phenom The House of the Devil, featuring our old pal Greg Sahadachny.
Gobbledygeek episode 443, “FCF: Sweet Tooth: Deluxe Edition – Books Two and Three,” is available for listening or download right here, on Spotify, and on Apple Podcasts.
Nature is healing. For this month’s Four-Color Flashback, Paul and Arlo conclude the post-apocalyptic journeys of The Boy and the Big Man with Jeff Lemire’s Sweet Tooth: Deluxe Edition – Books Two and Three. The remnants of humanity fight tooth and nail for survival against the paws and claws of the human/animal hybrid children, who only seem to be increasing in number. Which begs the question, Whose apocalypse is this, exactly? The boys discuss the obvious influence of Lost on the book, whether or not Lemire should have thrown back a certain Fish, the series’ beautiful finale, and how horses are just really tough to draw.
NEXT: could be Loki, could be low-key.
Paul and Arlo rave about Jeff Lemire’s use of watercolors throughout Sweet Tooth. That praise should actually be reserved for brilliant colorist José Villarrubia. Sorry, José!