What if Superman was one of us? Just a slob like one of us? Just a stranger baling hay, trying to till his own farm? That’s part of the appeal of Alex Ross and Mark Waid’s Kingdom Come, the subject of our latest superheroic Four-Color Flashback–Ross’ painted artwork brings DC’s pantheon to vivid life. Of course, Superman isn’t one of us. He makes this clear when, after a decade in exile, he descends upon Metropolis to mete out cold hard justice to a new, irresponsible generation of heroes and villains. Kingdom Come was intended as a statement on the Xtreme anti-heroes of the ‘90s, and as its human protagonist Norman McKay witnesses the fantastic devastation around him, the book explores issues of faith and fascism. Paul and Arlo discuss how Ross and Waid’s tale holds up more than 20 years later, how it reconciles the heroes’ godlike power with fragile human will, why it may be Ross’ best work, and its nigh definitive portrait of DC’s Trinity. Plus, Arlo finishes his Disney marathon while catching Pokémon, and we tease a future discussion of Spider-Man PS4.
Next: we switch religions from DC to Marvel as our pal Chance Mazzia joins us to talk Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli’s Daredevil: Born Again.
Gobbledygeek episode 352, “Thor Visionaries: Walter Simonson – Vol. 1,” is available for listening or download right here and on iTunes here.
Far beyond the fields we know, SyfyWire.com contributing editor Matthew Jackson joins Paul and Arlo for another installment of this year’s superheroic Four-Color Flashback. This time, they venture to the land of Asgard on their loyal steeds to discuss Thor Visionaries: Walter Simonson – Vol. 1. Simonson’s legendary run defined many cornerstones of Marvel’s Thor Odinson, from the deep ties to Norse mythology to the doing away of mortal identity Donald Blake. The gang discusses why his run is so definitive, Simonson’s vibrant art, his long-game storytelling, what makes Beta Ray Bill so cool, and the deadliness of McBurgers. Plus, The Big Bang Theory is finally ending, Veronica Mars is finally coming back, and Paul is Forged in Fire.
Next: we’ll be back! At some point! We’re working on a book, kids!
Gobbledygeek episode 306, “Unmaking Soup,” is available for listening or download right here and on iTunes here.
This week, Paul and Arlo turn on and tune into the wonders and terrors of the superhuman mind by taking a gander at the first season of Legion. The FX series, developed by Fargo‘s Noah Hawley and theoretically set in the X-Men universe, is unlike most other superheroic media. David Haller is either schizophrenic, an extremely powerful telepathic/telekinetic mutant, or both. Witnessed through his eyes, the world is fractured, bizarre, disturbing, and a tad surreal. As such, the typical X-Men plot–David is rescued from a mutant-hunting government organization known as D3 by a group of rebels with a Magneto-esque leader–is given a swift kick in the pants. The boys discuss this inventive telling of a simple story, the show’s many visual flourishes, why it’s a powerful exploration of mental health, and Aubrey Plaza’s revelatory turn as a 50-year-old man. Plus, a surprise Rick and Morty pre-empts Samurai Jack, overjoying one of our hosts and causing considerable frustration in the other; and the boys rave about the fifth season of another brilliant FX drama, The Americans.
Next: film critic and horror expert Jess Byard joins Paul and Arlo to ask, “Where has all the good sci-fi horror gone?”
Gobbledygeek episode 277, “Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Records Your Podcast (feat. Matthew Jackson),” is available for listening or download right here and on iTunes here.
After many months of mounting obsession, Paul and Arlo finally tackle Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Broadway phenomenon Hamilton: An American Musical. (We hope you’ve been willing to wait for it.) Joining them is fellow Hamilton superfan Matthew Jackson, a contributing editor for Blastr.com and entertainment writer for Playboy.com. The gang discusses the impact Hamilton has had on them, its dizzying structure (both in terms of story and stage), the radical way it melds hip-hop with theater with history, and its new behind-the-scenes book Hamilton: The Revolution. Plus, there’s a remembrance of the late, great comics artist and writer Darwyn Cooke.
Next: Paul and Arlo continue their year-long Four-Color Flashback exploration of Matt Wagner’s Grendel with “Devil’s Legacy, Pt. 2,” collected in Grendel Omnibus: Vol. 2, pp. 247-370.
Gobbledygeek episode 275 is available for listening or download right here and on iTunes here.
Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to get through this thing called life. Sometimes, that means mourning one of our fallen heroes. This week, Paul and Arlo celebrate the work of one Prince Rogers Nelson, who hybridized funk, rock, R&B, and soul into his own distinct brand of ass-wigglin’, housequakin’ music before passing away last month at the age of 57. The boys discuss their favorite songs and albums, from the iconic (“Purple Rain,” “Kiss”) to the more obscure (“Starfish and Coffee,” “7”). Then they set their sights on four of the Purple One’s films: 1984’s melodramatic, kinetic Purple Rain; 1986’s black-and-white curiosity Under the Cherry Moon; 1990’s baffling Graffiti Bridge; and 1987’s incredibly hard to find concert film Sign ‘o’ the Times. Let’s go crazy. Plus, Paul went to a Beyoncé concert and there are brief, spoiler-free discussions of High-Rise and Keanu.
Next: it’s patriotism vs. capitalism, independence vs. regulation, retro ’40s ideals vs. cutting-edge smarm. Guffey und Koontz stop by to chat Captain America: Civil War.
The Avatar Returns is available for listening or download right here, and on iTunes here.
Another four chapter episode of The Avatar Returns sees our hosts debating chemical castration, the ‘Shipper Wars, and whether it’s okay to lie sometimes. Its look at the larger context of the Avatar in microcosm (and some creepy canyon crawlers) earns “The Great Divide” more respect than expected, while meaningful character moments and truly hilarious dialogue don’t quite raise “The Fortuneteller” up as high as you’d think. The two middle chapters this week, however, stand out as Paul, Eric, and AJ all agree “The Storm” and “The Blue Spirit” are truly among the finest chapters in the series to date.
Next: we take another week off before heading into the home stretch of Book One with chapters 15-17, “Bato of the Water Tribe,” The Deserter,” and “The Northern Air Temple.”
Gobbledygeek episode 228, “The ‘Man Was Not Meant to Meddle’ Medley,” is available for listening or download right here, and on iTunes here.
Killer robots. Mind-controlling witches. Suits of armor from space. Dudes with frosted tips. All of this and so! much! more! is contained within Avengers: Age of Ultron, the highly anticipated sequel to Joss Whedon’s 2012 extravaganza. The reception has been decidedly less rapturous than that which accompanied the first film, so Paul and AJ dig into what works about the movie, what doesn’t, whether or not Whedon goofed up Black Widow, and just how much creative control a filmmaker can have over one of these things. Plus, AJ makes a case for a much smaller film, Seymour: An Introduction.