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.
For Paul and Arlo, existential crises and comic books often go hand-in-hand. Such is the case for this week’s freestyle, wherein Paul’s rumination on the erosion of his teenage self-confidence leads into a discussion of superhero mags. Paul tells Goblin punks to fuck off as he rocks out to Cody Ziglar and Justin Mason’s Spider-Punk, goes undercover with Kelly Thompson and Elena Casagrande’s recently wrapped run on Black Widow, and cloaks himself in Jed MacKay and Alessandro Cappuccio’s Moon Knight. Meanwhile, Arlo rides on horseback through more goofy Silver Age Superman.
NEXT: we will continue to spiral.
“I Just Wasn’t Made For These Times” by The Beach Boys, Pet Sounds (1966)
“Running Water” by Daniel Johnston, Hi, How Are You (1983)
Weigh anchor and hoist the mizzen! Paul and Arlo set sail for a discussion of David Jenkins’ pirate rom-com Our Flag Means Death. The new HBO Max series, a very loose telling of the history between Stede “The Gentleman Pirate” Bonnet and Edward “Blackbeard” Teach, begins as a silly romp very much in the vein of executive producer/star Taika Waititi’s other work. And then…well, it becomes something very much more, depicting a number of queer romances in positive, affirming fashion. The boys discuss this shouldn’t-be-shocking-in-2022 level of representation, the chemistry between Rhys Darby and Waititi, how closely (or not) the show follows the historical record, the series’ moral of not accepting that the way things are is the way they have to be, and more. Plus, up in the sky! It’s a bird, it’s a plane, Arlo is reading old Superman comics!
Imagine a world where a global pandemic killed millions and changed society forever. Spooky stuff, huh? Well, take a break from reality with this month’s Four-Color Flashback: Sweet Tooth: The Deluxe Edition – Book One, comprising the first 12 issues of Jeff Lemire’s offbeat breakthrough about a little deer boy and the post-apocalyptic hell that awaits him in the wilds of Nebraska. Along the way, he meets a Frank Miller-style tough guy named Jepperd, who seems to be the grizzled protector to Gus’ naive innocent. It’s a little more complicated than that, of course. Paul and Arlo discuss Lemire’s weird, idiosyncratic artwork; the way he uses the faces and especially the eyes of his laconic characters to convey so much; and how the new Netflix adaptation is radically different.
NEXT: dust off that mail robot, it’s time for The Americans season 2 with British secret agent Wesley “Wezzo” Mead.
00:00:47 – Intro / Banter
00:19:38 – Sweet Tooth: The Deluxe Edition – Book One
Gobbledygeek episode 422, “Sandman Mystery Theatre – Book One (feat. Vickie Willis Navarra)”, is available for listening or download right here and on Apple Podcasts here.
For the penultimate Gobbledygeek of the year, Paul and Arlo return to an institution they dropped like a bad habit at the start of the pandemic: the Four-Color Flashback! Vickie Willis Navarra, board member of the Comics and Popular Arts Conference at DragonCon, joins the boys to discuss Sandman Mystery Theatre: Book One. Matt Wagner’s resurrection of DC’s Golden Age hero Wesley Dodds, with art by Guy Davis, John Watkiss, R.G. Taylor, and David Hornung, explores the dark dreams of 1938 New York. The gang discusses the art’s sketchy, shadowy noir qualities; Vickie interrupts her praise of Dian Belmont long enough to wonder if Dian falls into the “exceptional female” trope; Paul and Arlo ponder the series’ connection to Neil Gaiman’s Sandman; and more.
NEXT: season 11 comes to a close with a Geek Challenge featuring Thunderheart and Dead Man.
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.