Listen to ‘Gobbledygeek’ Episode 305, “Y: The Last Man – Vol. 3: One Small Step (feat. Kenn Edwards)”

Listen to Gobbledygeek episode 305, “Y: The Last Man – Vol. 3: One Small Step (feat. Kenn Edwards),” is available for listening or download right here and on iTunes here.

Hallelujah, it’s raining men! As Yorick Brown discovers he may not be the last man in the universe thanks to a space shuttle carrying two others, Paul and Arlo invite Kenn Edwards to join them on their year-long Four-Color Flashback discussion of Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra’s Y: The Last Man. With Vol. 3: One Small Step, the gang discusses the book’s self-referential devices, the prominence of fiction as a theme, and how Yorick’s progression from boy to man is coming along. There’s also talk of guest artist Paul Chadwick, who fills in for Guerra on the two-issue departure “Comedy & Tragedy”; depending on who you ask, the story is either a Gaiman-esque delight or the height of masturbatory self-indulgence. Fun times! Plus, Arlo and Kenn discuss Dave Chappelle’s new Netflix specials, Jerrod Carmichael’s 8, and, you know, the role of comedy in modern society. Meanwhile, Paul twiddles his thumbs.

Next: throw out your meds, drop the needle on The Dark Side of the Moon, and get ready for a discussion of Noah Hawley’s brain-breaking FX/Marvel TV series Legion.

(Show notes for “Y: The Last Man – Vol. 3: One Small Step.”)

Listen to ‘Gobbledygeek’ Episode 302, “Y: The Last Man – Vol. 2: Cycles (feat. Donora Rihn)”

Art from 'Y: The Last Man - Vol. 2: Cycles' by Pia Guerra and José Marzan Jr.

Art from ‘Y: The Last Man – Vol. 2: Cycles’ by Pia Guerra and José Marzan Jr.

Gobbledygeek episode 302, “Y: The Last Man – Vol. 2: Cycles (feat. Donora Rihn),” is available for listening or download right here and on iTunes here.

Bringing a much-needed feminist perspective to a story about a man surrounded on all sides by women, Jeff Bridges poet Donora Rihn joins Paul and Arlo for their year-long Four-Color Flashback exploration of Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra’s acclaimed Vertigo comic book series Y: The Last Man. This time, the gang discusses Vol. 2: Cycles, which collects issues #6-10 of the original series. Donora asks Paul and Arlo how they perceive the book as men, and if they think it shows Yorick growing into his role as the last man on Earth; in turn, Paul and Arlo ask Donora if she finds Vaughan’s narrative voice to be overwhelmingly male and if it fairly represents its many female characters. In between, Arlo can’t stop recommending things to comics newbie Donora, there is yet more praise of Guerra’s clean and beautiful artwork, and there are select readings from Valeria Solanas’ SCUM Manifesto. Plus, Donora has a new name and the gang remembers the late great Bill Paxton.

Next: after a week off for another of Arlo’s poop cruises, the boys sharpen their claws to discuss the final Wolverine film, Logan.

(Show notes for “Y: The Last Man – Vol. 2: Cycles.”)

Listen to ‘Gobbledygeek’ Episode 299, “Y: The Last Man – Vol. 1: Unmanned”

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Gobbledygeek episode 299, “Y: The Last Man – Vol. 1: Unmanned,” is available for listening or download right here and on iTunes here.

FIVE SECONDS AGO: Arlo cracks open the first volume of Y: The Last Man. FOUR SECONDS AGO: Paul berates Arlo for not turning on his mic. THREE SECONDS AGO: Arlo rolls his eyes, turns on mic. TWO SECONDS AGO: Arlo loudly eats into the microphone. ONE SECOND AGO: Paul presses record.

NOW: Gobbledygeek‘s 2017 Four-Color Flashback series is here. This year, the boys will be discussing all ten volumes of Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra’s acclaimed Vertigo series Y: The Last Man, in which every male mammal on the planet drops dead at the same time…save one young escape artist cum layabout and his pet monkey. With Vol. 1: Unmanned, the boys dive into the adventures of Yorick Brown, the laconic Agent 355, and the many varied women they come across during their adventures. Under discussion are the series’ politics, its place in Vaughan’s career, and what makes Guerra’s simple and clean artwork so effective. Plus, Arlo was on a boat, Paul sang along to Moana, and they both struggle to find the joy in discussing pop culture during this incredibly despairing time in American history.

Next: the mythical episode 300 is upon us. Dr. Kenn Edwards, PhD will plumb the tender, fragile psyches of Paul and Arlo. The show will never be the same. They will never be the same. You will never be the same.

(Show notes for “Y: The Last Man – Vol. 1: Unmanned.”)

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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Listen to Episode 136, “Bloody Awful Man Parts”

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NOTE: This episode should have been up a few days ago, but sickness, owl attacks, and life in general sorta got in the way. Bat-Turkey forces the boys to apologize.

Gobbledygeek episode 136, “Bloody Awful Man Parts,” is available for listening or download right here, and on iTunes here.

Paul and AJ accidentally read some Latin so they were forced to see the new Evil Dead. And they talk about it. It ain’t pretty! More unprettiness: AJ talks Spring Breakers, Paul talks To the Wonder, and they both discuss the Saga/comiXology controversy. There’s also some fun conversation about pee. Everybody loves pee.

Next: FREESTYLE MADNESS. Or just another lame episode.

(Show notes for “Bloody Awful Man Parts.”)

Listen to Episode 134, “Britain’s Got Wezzo (feat. Wesley Mead)”

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Gobbledygeek episode 134, “Britain’s Got Wezzo (feat. Wesley Mead),” is available for listening or download right here, and on iTunes here.

Proving definitively that America and Britain are allies, the very British Wesley Mead joins the very American duo of Paul and AJ. Wesley–or Wezzo, as the cool kids call him–is one of AJ’s fellow Ann Arbor Review of Books contributors. They’ve also been good friends for years…yet this is the first time they’ve ever communicated vocally. It is literally history in the making. As they speak voice-to-voice for the first time, they discuss the best of British TV, the new Tomb Raider game, Britain’s lack of peanut butter-and-chocolate combos, and the new online comic book The Private Eye from Brian K. Vaughan and Marcos Martin. Plus, AJ has a very special questionnaire for Wezzo.

Next: nothing next week, as it’s a certain bunny-oriented holiday (that’s a pagan bunny thing, right?). When we return, the boys will be chatting with The Debatable Podcast host Gregory Sahadachny.

(Show notes for “Britain’s Got Wezzo.”)

Paul & AJ’s Top 10 Comics of 2012

We’ve already listed our favorite TV shows and movies of last year, and we’ve got a couple more lists just before the new season begins. Here are our favorite comic books of 2012; check back tomorrow for our favorite albums (though, considering our extensively detailed history of not knowing how to talk about music, with YouTube clips instead of commentary).

PAUL: 10. THOR: GOD OF THUNDER (Marvel)

Thor in 'Thor: God of Thunder' #1. Art by Esad Ribic.

There was a period of time when Thor was my favorite character in comics. The golden Walt Simonson era was for me the height of otherworldly sword and sorcery super heroics. And while its been quite some time since the character has achieved anything close to that level of wonder, in recent years he’s enjoyed something of a renaissance. From his “death,” to his literal return to Earth under the guidance of J. Michael Straczynski, to his big screen debut, the petulant son of Asgard is kind of back in a big way.

Thor: God of Thunder is the newest incarnation of the title, with the unlikely writer Jason Aaron giving us a triptych of thunder gods, a tale of an alien butcher seeking to torture and destroy all deities told across three different periods of Thor’s life. We see young, arrogant Thor (pre-Mjolnir) and his first meeting with Gorr the God Butcher; modern-day Avenger Thor going full CSI trying to solve the mystery of who or what Gorr is; and far-future Thor, old and broken, sitting on the throne of an empty Asgard, the last surviving god, waiting for Gorr to finish him. It’s a brutal, bloody, and fascinating premise, though I do wish Gorr was slightly more imposing-looking rather than just being a Voldemort rip-off. Aaron creates a genuine mystery and sense of danger with real stakes for our hero, and the painterly art of Esad Ribic suits the romantic epic nature of the story. It’s not quite Simonson-level Mighty Thor (there’s thus far no Beta Ray Bill here), but Thor: God of Thunder is the best the character has been in a long time.

AJ: 10. ANGEL & FAITH (Dark Horse)

Angel, Willow, Connor, and Faith in 'Angel & Faith' #14. Art by Rebekah Isaacs.

I know Whedon fandom is crazy, but I might just be the biggest Buffy fan on the planet. That’s a huge claim, and while I haven’t tattooed James Marsters’ face on my ass or anything (yet), it really is difficult to describe how much Joss Whedon’s world means to me. Without Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I wouldn’t be here today. You wouldn’t be reading these words and I would have even less of an idea of what I want to do with my life. So it pains me greatly to say that the canonical Season 8 and Season 9 comics, though they have certainly had their moments, are largely disposable and occasionally worse. But then there’s Angel & Faith, which has done the impossible, making a monthly comic book series feel like the weekly television shows we fell in love with all those years ago. Christos Gage knows these characters inside and out, both their voices and their motivations. It’s never a question of if the comic will tie back into the shows’ stated mythology, but when and how spine-tingling those connections will be. These are the characters I have loved for a good deal of my life in a story that’s being brilliantly told by Gage and brought to life with wonderful clarity by artist Rebekah Isaacs. If you’re skeptical about Buffyverse comics, you have every right to be, but this one should be a priority.

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