Listen to Episode 111, “Eleventy-One”

Gobbledygeek episode 111, “Eleventy-One,” is available for listening or download right here.

Bust out your robes and light your pipes; the boys take a look at Rankin/Bass’ 1977 animated adaptation of The Hobbit. Which also happens to be trippy as balls. They delight in the film’s weird charm and marvel at the fact that John freaking Huston voices Gandalf, among other hippie-esque things in a very hippie-esque film. Plus, Paul catches up on some comics, AJ is conflicted over the forthcoming Kindle Fire HD, and someone apparently remembered that we have a Formspring.

Next: an enlightening discussion of film criticism, I’m sure.

(Show notes for “Eleventy-One.”)

Four-Color Flashback: Chris Claremont & John Byrne’s ‘Uncanny X-Men’ #108-114

Welcome to our new column, “Four-Color Flashback,” in which we will occasionally discuss classic or interesting comic book runs. First up is the legendary 35-issue span encompassing Chris Claremont’s work with John Byrne on Uncanny X-Men. So legendary, in fact, that I’m amazed I’ve never read it. Claremont’s initial 16-year run on the book, from 1975 to 1991, has been so influential on not just the most successful superteam in the business, but also modern superhero comics as a whole, that at times it can feel like you’ve read the whole thing even if you’ve read nary a page. The four years from 1977 to 1981, during which John Byrne joined the series as penciler and co-plotter, are largely regarded as the pinnacle of Claremont’s work on the title. What with X-Men being in the air as of late, considering the release of X-Men: First Class and my recent purchase of the two hardcover editions of Joss Whedon’s Astonishing X-Men run (itself a loving homage to 70’s-era Claremont), I’ve decided that now is as good a time as any to finally read the thing. If you’d like to play along, I’ll be covering seven issues a week for five weeks, starting with #s 108-114.

First, a little history on both myself and the X-Men. As a big comics fan, I’ve read many X-Men comics over the years, including some of Claremont’s later or more recent work. When I was younger, I cut my teeth on my dad’s comics collection, so I wouldn’t be surprised if I’ve read some of the Claremont/Byrne stuff, as he owned his fair share of 70’s and 80’s X-Men. Though if I did, I don’t remember much beyond certain cover images. As for the X-Men themselves, before Claremont came along, well, Marvel’s mighty mutants were in dire shape. Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, who brought us so many of our popular superheroes, had created the pupils at Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters in 1963. The resulting 19-issue run, which I have read, is fun in the classic Lee/Kirby mold, and even introduced the series’ common sociopolitical themes, with the mutant-hating Bolivar Trask alerting humanity to the so-called “mutant menace” and creating the Sentinels to eradicate all mutant life.

Continue reading

Listen to Episode 47, “The Worlds According To…”

Gobbledygeek episode 47, “The Worlds According To…,” is available for listening or download right here.

Ever wanted to get away? Ever wanted to escape into a world different from your own, if only for a moment? Sure you have. Everyone has. In this week’s episode, Paul and AJ ruminate on which fictional worlds they’d like to live in, even if, as their selections prove, the mortality rate would be fairly high. On our itinerary, there’s Sunnydale, CA; Middle-earth; Toronto (though a very specific Toronto); even Sesame Street. You’ve also got news; upcoming DVD releases; AJ’s reviews of the Simon Pegg/Nick Frost extraterrestrial comedy Paul and Stephen King’s novella collection Full Dark, No Stars; and Paul’s brief look at the Stand by Me 25th Anniversary Blu-ray. And as a bonus, this is the first-ever episode that clocks in at under two hours! Yay!

Next: strong women in fiction.

(Show notes for “The Worlds According To…”)

Comics 201: More Recommendations

In our latest episode, Paul and I mentioned a number of comics recommendations for beginners in a variety of genres. However, we also mentioned that we had to pare down our lists significantly so that the topic would even approach being manageable. Here, as promised, are our other selections.

SUPERHEROES

FANTASTIC FOUR #232-293 (John Byrne)

After his legendary Uncanny X-Men run, John Byrne took over Marvel’s first family, the Fantastic Four. Cinematic storytelling, emotional character shake-ups, shocking betrayals. And he grew up Sue Storm, taking her from the Invisible Girl to the Invisible Woman.

Top 100 Characters in Modern Pop Culture: #50-41

On last night’s show, Paul and I continued our countdown of the Top 100 Characters in Modern Pop Culture with #s 50-41. Be sure to listen to the show for our full run-downs, but here are some choice excerpts:

#50

PAUL: Toothless (How to Train Your Dragon)

In my opinion, the character’s progression throughout the film is pretty spot-on with what feels like natural behavior, from the frightened, wounded animal in the cove to the trusting “pet” that accepts help from his human to ultimately the loyal friend and protector.

AJ: Rick Blaine (Casablanca)

Humphrey Bogart is one of the greatest actors of all time, and no role better defines his appeal than that of expatriate café owner Rick Blaine.

Continue reading

nos·tal·gia: Hawk the Slayer

nos·tal·gia
noun
longing for something past

ORIGIN: 1770, Modern Latin rendering of German heimweh, from Greek nostos “homecoming” + algos “pain, grief, distress.” (i.e., you can never go home again.)

In 1981, HBO had about five movies that played over and over and over again: Star Wars, Friday the 13th, Billy Jack, The Little Dragons, and…Hawk the Slayer. Now, seeing as I was eleven years old, addicted to science fiction, horror, gunslinger/martial arts, cheesy teen romance, and, of course, fantasy, and I already had an obsessive personality, I watched all of these films ad nauseum. This may go some distance towards explaining a great deal about me, but that’s for another column.

My memory of Hawk the Slayer was that it was a dumb but harmless bit of 80’s sword-and-sorcery fluff. Well…I had the dumb part right.

Voltan (the Dark One, we’re informed…many times), played by Jack Palance, confronts his apparently-twenty-years-his-junior father and demands his birthright, the “keys to the ancient power.” Since Voltan (the Dark One) speaks with the Gravelly Voice of Evil Scenery Chewing and wears the Helmet of Evil Burn-Scarred Face Concealment, naturally the wise father refuses. What’s an aspiring tyrannical overlord to do in a situation like that? What’s that you say? Stab his extremely youthful father in the heart? Precisely. Baby-Daddy winces slightly as he’s brutally murdered by his Crone-Son and the bad seed exits stage left.

Continue reading

Top 100 Characters in Modern Pop Culture #70-61

Catching up! In episode 17, Paul and I continued our countdown of the Top 100 Characters in Modern Pop Culture with #s 70-61. Be sure to listen to the show for our full run-downs, but here are some choice excerpts:

#70

PAUL: Daniel “Oz” Osbourne (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)

Buffy the Vampire Slayer was a series filled to the gills with loquacious and snarky characters, but Oz was unique: he was taciturn and snarky!

AJ: Enid Coleslaw (Ghost World)

Enid is so cynical about everything, from her parents to her friends to the customers at the local diner. She can be hard to like at first, especially because she spends most of the book insulting anyone and everything, but eventually the walls she’s built up start to crumble.

Continue reading