Listen to ‘Gobbledygeek’ Episode 326, “The Rocketeer / Pleasantville: Flying Colors”

Gobbledygeek episode 326, “The Rocketeer / Pleasantville: Flying Colors,” is available for listening or download right here and on iTunes here.

That venerated institution, the Geek Challenge, takes to the bright blue sky with a pair of retro ‘90s flicks. First up, Paul challenges Arlo to Joe Johnston’s 1991 Billy Campbell-starring adventure The Rocketeer, a proto-First Avenger that mixes pulp fiction with ‘30s Hollywood. Then, Arlo challenges Paul to Gary Ross’ 1998 directorial debut Pleasantville, which finds Tobey Maguire and Reese Witherspoon zapped inside the black-and-white world of a hunky dory ‘50s sitcom. These films look backward to say something about the present, and while one admittedly has a lot more on its mind than the other, the boys find both to be unsettlingly timely. From populist demagoguery to villains that no longer feel like an historical artifact, Paul and Arlo mine a lot from these goofy, decades-old movies. Plus, Arlo remembers that comics exist.

Next: after a week off, the boys return to discuss experimental arthouse feature Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi, which will be of interest to only the most devout cineaste.

(Show notes for “Flying Colors.”)

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Listen to ‘Gobbledygeek’ Episode 233, “Sex Class”

sexclass

Gobbledygeek episode 233, “Sex Class,” is available for listening or download right here, and on iTunes here.

Welcome to sex class. Today, Paul and AJ will be teaching you about the repr–wait, no, sorry, that’s later this season. This week, we’re indulging in a four-color Geek Challenge: AJ must read the run so far of Rick Remender and Wes Craig’s Deadly Class, about a wayward teen boy recruited by a school for assassins in the late ’80s; and Paul must read all ten current issues of Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky’s Sex Criminals, in which two lovers stop time when they come. (That one’ll actually teach you a thing or two.) The boys discuss the two Image series, their raw honesty, their radically different yet equally beautiful art styles, and their ridiculously filthy jokes. Plus, there’s talk of films about damaged musicians (Love and Mercy and Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck) and sentient robots (Ex Machina).

Next: on top of Jurassic World, lookin’ down on creation.

(Show notes for “Sex Class.”)

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 178, “Old Testament, Real Wrath of God Type Stuff”

noah

Gobbledygeek episode 178, “Old Testament, Real Wrath of God Type Stuff,” is available for listening or download right here, and on iTunes here.

A storm is coming. No, for real, a storm is coming and it’s gonna wipe me and you and everyone we know right offa this rock: Darren Aronofsky envisions the great flood of Genesis in mysterious ways with his new film Noah. As portrayed by Russell Crowe, Noah’s, uh, a little bleaker than you might remember from Sunday school, as he is forced to grapple with whether or not to allow humanity to persist. Add in some six-armed rock monsters, glowy fingers, and some insane Fountain-esque visuals…and it’s not what almost anyone would expect from a biblical epic. We’ll tell you if that’s a good thing or not. Plus, Paul and AJ watch the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles trailer and talk comics both mainstream (Silver Surfer) and not (Sex Criminals).

Next: though Captain America: The Winter Soldier is in theaters as you read this, because of the way we record, it is not this week’s episode. No matter what that idiot AJ said. So! Next week! Winter Soldier is coming and we are here to talk about it.

(Show notes for “Old Testament, Real Wrath of God Type Stuff.”)

Listen to Episode 150, “Kickstart Your Allies (feat. Magdalena Burnham and Andrew Ruiz)”

allies

Gobbledygeek episode 150, “Kickstart Your Allies (feat. Magdalena Burnham and Andrew Ruiz),” is available for listening or download right here, and on iTunes here.

Paul and AJ have newfound allies in writer Magdalena Burnham and director Andrew Ruiz, who join them to discuss their television pilot project Allies. They’ve taken to Kickstarter to fund a pilot about the queer teen experience, following members of the gay/straight alliance at a Montana high school. That’s right: independent TV, it’s a thing! Magdalena and Andrew discuss the dearth of LGBTQ characters on TV, their influences, and their goals (Kickstarter and otherwise). Plus, the boys are excited about the return of Saga and AJ is disturbed by Berberian Sound Studio.

Next: they warned you, remember the rules, you didn’t listen. As punishment, you’ll have to listen to AJ and Paul revisit Gremlins 2: The New Batch.

(Show notes for “Kickstart Your Allies.”)

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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Listen to Episode 113, “Star-Cross’d Lovers and Space Cowboys”

Gobbledygeek episode 113, “Star-Cross’d Lovers and Space Cowboys,” is available for listening or download right here.

We’re taking a trip to outer space this week as we look at Brian K. Vaughan’s latest comic book series, Saga, which just wrapped its first arc last month; and Joss Whedon’s Firefly, which just celebrated its tenth anniversary. Paul and AJ discuss the weirdness and gorgeousness of Saga, then think about where they were when Firefly first aired and how they felt watching it become a cult phenomenon after its cancellation. Plus, Paul discusses the cassowary presentation he’ll be delivering at the National AAZK Conference, AJ muses on The Master, and more!

Next: do you know the Muppet man? We’ll be discussing the works of Jim Henson.

(Show notes for “Star-Cross’d Lovers and Space Cowboys.”)