Listen to ‘Gobbledygeek’ Episode 350, “DC: The New Frontier (feat. Eric Sipple)”

Art from ‘DC: The New Frontier’ by Darwyn Cooke.

Gobbledygeek episode 350, “DC: The New Frontier (feat. Eric Sipple),” is available for listening or download right here and on iTunes here.

For this month’s superheroic Four-Color Flashback installment, Paul and Arlo set out for lands unknown with the late, great Darwyn Cooke’s DC: The New Frontier. Cooke’s ambitious 2004 limited series bridges the gap between comics’ Golden Age and Silver Age, paying nostalgic tribute to the fictional heroes of that time while using the era’s form and style to comment on the day’s social and political ills. They’re joined on their voyage by The Avatar Returns co-host and The Deli Counter of Justice co-creator Eric Sipple. The gang discusses Cooke’s artwork, striking and cinematic in ways few others comics have achieved; how Cooke wisely keeps Superman, Wonder Woman, and Batman in the background to focus on new heroes like Green Lantern and the Flash; how the story of J’onn J’onzz, the Martian Manhunter, compares to that of African-American freedom fighter John Henry; the pretty good animated adaptation; and more. Plus, Eric has some personal news; SDCC happened, including a slew of trailers for the likes of Shazam, Aquaman, and more; and Nathan Fillion gets his Nathan Drake on in the Uncharted fan film.

Next: the end is out there. Wesley “Wezzo” Mead joins Paul and Arlo to talk The X-Files one last time, as the gang discusses the big screen continuation I Want to Believe and both revival seasons.

(Show notes for “DC: The New Frontier.”)

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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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