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 ‘Green Arrow: The Longbow Hunters’ by Mike Grell.
Gobbledygeek episode 359, “Green Arrow: The Longbow Hunters,” is available for listening or download right here and on iTunes here.
Ollie, draw back your bow and let your arrow go straight to that killer’s heart. For the penultimate Four-Color Flashback of the year, and the final DC installment of our Age of Heroes project, Paul and Arlo head to the asphalt jungle of Seattle as Oliver Queen stalks his street punk prey in Mike Grell’s 1987 miniseries Green Arrow: The Longbow Hunters. As was common practice in the ‘80s, Grell reimagined the character of Green Arrow as grimmer, grittier, and existing in a real world full of boobs and blood. The boys discuss why Grell, by and large, does not really pull this off; the two really interesting moments of subversion he does manage; his stellar, sketchy, detailed artwork; and Dinah Lance’s near-fridging. Plus, the boys honor Stan Lee; Arlo cooks up some groovy spaghetti with the new White Album set; Paul needs a Bodyguard; and things get horrifying with The Immortal Hulk and Outer Darkness.
Next: happy Thanksgiving! Paul and Arlo return next month to close out the Age of Heroes with Tom King and Gabriel Hernandez Walta’s The Vision, joined by their pal Jed Waters Keith.
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.
Art from ‘Spider-Man: Origin of the Hobgoblin’ by John Romita Jr., John Romita Sr., and Andy Yanchus.
Gobbledygeek episode 350, “Spider-Man: Origin of the Hobgoblin (feat. Jed Waters Keith),” is available for listening or download right here and on iTunes here.
Paul and Arlo continue to swing through this year’s superheroic Four-Color Flashback to discuss Spider-Man: Origin of the Hobgoblin, joined by FreakSugar managing editor Jed Waters Keith. This early ‘80s story, primarily written by Roger Stern and drawn by John Romita Jr., finds Peter Parker faced with the emergence of a horrific new villain in the grotesque figure of the Hobgoblin. Who is this masked man? Who knows! In true Parker fashion, Spidey tries to unmask Hobby while snapping pix for the Bugle and juggling his crazy love life. The gang discusses the convoluted behind-the-scenes drama surrounding the Hobgoblin’s identity, the evolution of JRJr, how Peter Parker is kind of a huge ladies’ man for being such a dork, and more. Plus, Paul attended this year’s Slayage conference, while Arlo and Jed are reading a whole mess o’ comics.
Art from ‘Wonder Woman by George Pérez: Vol. 1″ by George Pérez, Bruce D. Patterson, and Tatjana Wood.
Gobbledygeek episode 344, “Wonder Woman by George Pérez: Vol. 1 (feat. Heather Wiley),” is available for listening or download right here and on iTunes here.
In the winding, physics-defying halls of Mount Olympus, the idea for the noble Amazon race was hatched among the gods. In the presumably plain, ordinary offices of DC Comics circa 1987, the idea to reboot one of their most iconic heroes was hashed out by George Pérez, Greg Potter, Len Wein, Karen Berger, and more. And on this typically long, rambling podcast, Paul and Arlo continue this year’s superheroic Four-Color Flashback by discussing Wonder Woman by George Pérez: Vol. 1, collecting the first 14 issues of Diana’s post-Crisis series. Heather Wiley joins them to discuss how Pérez revitalized the character by leaning hard into her mythological aspects; why it’s important that the series touches on uncomfortable subject matter; the minute details that make Pérez such a terrific artist; and why this run hasn’t lodged its place in the public consciousness alongside The Dark Knight Returns and Man of Steel. Plus, Heather fails to keep quiet about Hush, and Paul reads comics.
Next: we inch closer to oblivion with Wesley Mead, who joins us once more to discuss Chris Carter’s seminal sci-fi series The X-Files. This time? It’s season 9, the original final season. So. Yeah.
Gobbledygeek episode 342, “Captain America and the Falcon: Secret Empire (feat. Ensley F. Guffey),” is available for listening or download right here and on iTunes here.
An American feels betrayed by his government, which has revealed itself to be nothing but a bureaucratic system designed to conceal criminal activity. Sounds familiar, right? It’s also the basis for the superhero classic Captain America and the Falcon: Secret Empire. Steve Englehart, Mike Friedrich, and Sal Buscema’s Nixon-era tale finds Cap on the run from a populace that no longer trusts him. Joining Paul and Arlo for this Four-Color Flashback installment is Wanna Cook? author and Cap superfan Ensley F. Guffey. The gang discusses why a story like this couldn’t be told today, how it’s difficult to understand Watergate’s importance given today’s political climate, the uncomfortable jive-talkin’ racial stereotypes, and why the outrageous cornball of old superhero comics doesn’t dilute its power. Plus, Arlo makes an apology and the gang shares what comics they’ve been reading.
Next: it’s all been leading to this. Avengers: Infinity War.
Gobbledygeek episode 340, “Batman: A Death in the Family (feat. Kenn Edwards),” is available for listening or download right here and on iTunes here.
For the (belated) inaugural installment of Four-Color Flashback 2018, wherein Paul and Arlo will be discussing a different classic superhero story each month, they’ve recruited their old pal Kenn Edwards to help them discuss Batman: A Death in the Family by writer Jim Starlin and artist Jim Aparo. Kenn knows a thing or two about the Caped Crusader, having been part of the Batman Immortal fan film project. However, he’s never read this particular story, in which the Joker savagely beats Robin to death. That puts him on equal footing with our hosts: it’s one of Arlo’s blind spots and Paul hasn’t read it since it was published in 1988. They’re all a little shocked by how anachronistic its goofy plotting and dialogue seem given its release in a post-Dark Knight Returns landscape. Superhero comics were starting to mature, and this one feels like it may have gotten left behind. The gang discusses the impact of Robin’s death; whether Bruce’s hypocrisy is a bug or a feature; the ludicrous political implications of the Joker’s scheme; and why the follow-up story A Lonely Place of Dying is much better. Plus, Arlo is still watching Disney cartoons.
Next: be vewwy, vewwy quiet. The boys and their pal Nate Curtiss are hunting Krasinskis for a discussion of A Quiet Place.