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)
Art by Dave Gibbons from ‘Watchmen’ (1986-87).
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)
- “In 1986, Watchmen skewered the way we love superheroes. It’s still as relevant as ever.” by Alex Abad-Santos, Vox
- “Watchmen’s Fearful Symmetry: (almost) frame by frame”by Pedro V. Ribeiro, Medium
- Sam Hamm’s Watchmen Script
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)
- “Deep Red Bells” by Neko Case, Blacklisted (2002)
- “Writer Jeff Jensen Talks Dark Horse’s Green River Killer: A True Detective Story”, diamondcomics.com
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.
(Show notes for “Four-Color Flashback: The Nameless City Trilogy.”)
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.
(Show notes for “Four-Color Flashback: American Born Chinese.”)
Art from ‘Persepolis’ by Marjane Satrapi.
Gobbledygeek episode 371, “Four-Color Flashback: Persepolis,” is available for listening or download right here and on iTunes here.
For the next black-and-white non-fiction graphic novel of Four-Color Flashback 2k19, Paul and Arlo head East to discuss Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis. Published between 2000-04, Persepolis tells Satrapi’s autobiographical story of growing up during the Iranian Revolution and coming of age in a totalitarian society. The boys discuss Satrapi’s simplistic, cartoony artwork and its heavy use of black ink; why comics is the perfect medium to make this story a universal one; how Satrapi challenges our Western notions of Iranian culture; and why Paul had a tough time connecting to the book.
Next: whatever it takes. Avengers: Endgame.
(Show notes for “Four-Color Flashback: Persepolis.”)
Art from ‘Blankets’ by Craig Thompson.
Gobbledygeek episode 369, “Four-Color Flashback: Blankets,” is available for listening or download right here and on iTunes here.
Marks on paper, sheets of snow, first loves crowned with halos. These are some of the images that make up Craig Thompson’s 2003 illustrated novel Blankets, a modern classic if ever there was one. Paul and Arlo continue this year’s “nondenominational” Four-Color Flashback with a discussion of Thompson’s masterpiece, an autobiographical story of childhood, sexuality, first love, and the author’s struggle with faith. The boys discuss Thompson’s brave and uncomfortable truth, their experiences (or lack thereof) with organized religion, Craig’s idolatry of his beloved Raina, and Thompson’s stunning artwork. Plus, scraps of Marvel news that have no business being in this episode but which broke after we recorded the Captain Marvel one. Sorry. We’re professionals.
Next: after a week off, the boys are back and who knows what they’ll be talking about?
(Show notes for “Four-Color Flashback: Blankets.”)
Art from ‘March’ by Nate Powell.
Gobbledygeek episode 365, “Four-Color Flashback: March,” is available for listening or download right here and on iTunes here.
In honor of Black History Month, Paul and Arlo are discussing John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell’s March for their second Four-Color Flashback of 2019. This three-volume set, published from 2013-16, follows Rep. Lewis from his days raising (and baptizing) chickens in Pike County, Alabama, to standing side-by-side with leading figures of the 1960s Civil Rights Movement. The boys discuss how their whiteness both helps and hinders the discussion, their admiration for Lewis’ adherence to the tenets of nonviolent resistance, why comics are uniquely suited to convey a story of such historical import, and Nate Powell’s genius use of lettering.
Next: who knows! Join us for the ride. If you dare.
(Show notes for “Four-Color Flashback: March.”)
Art from ‘The Vision’ by Gabriel Hernandez Walta and Jordie Bellaire.
Gobbledygeek episode 360, “Four-Color Flashback: The Vision (feat. Jed Waters Keith),” is available for listening or download right here and on iTunes here.
This year’s superheroic Four-Color Flashback comes to a close as the Visions of Virginia move into their house at 616 Hickory Branch Lane, Arlington, VA, 21301. In Tom King and Gabriel Hernandez Walta’s The Vision, the synthezoid Avenger creates his own family in an effort to achieve normalcy–and watches as his efforts fail, early and often. Joining Paul and Arlo to discuss one of the decade’s best comics is FreakSugar contributing editor Jed Waters Keith. The gang discusses the foreboding on every page; King’s watchmaker precision; Walta’s subtle emotional modulations; and how by denying his emotions and refusing to learn from his mistakes, the Vision is as human as any of us. Plus, Arlo still hasn’t gone on a poop cruise; and Paul wants to Die while reading Winter Soldier.
Next month: this bizarre roller coaster ride of a season ends with a discussion of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.
(Show notes for “Four-Color Flashback: The Vision.”)