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)
Gobbledygeek episode 461, “FCF: Black Panther – The Intergalactic Empire of Wakanda,” is available for listening or download right here, on Spotify, and on Apple Podcasts.
Panthers…IN SPAAAAACE! For their first Four-Color Flashback of 2022, Paul and Arlo look to the stars, where they find Black Panther: The Intergalactic Empire of Wakanda. The second half of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Black Panther run, these 25 issues–with art by Daniel Acuña, Kev Walker, and Ryan Bodenheim, among others–concern T’Challa’s rise from slave to legend in an alien empire that bears his kingdom’s name. The boys discuss Coates’ bold new direction, the question of expansion vs. imperialism at the heart of the book, Acuña’s photorealistic interstellar action compared to Walker’s more abstract emphasis on character, and that goddamn symbiote. Plus, an acknowledgement of how surreal it is to be reading a comic book depiction of war at this particular moment, Amazon’s evisceration of comiXology, and more.
NEXT: let’s party like it’s 1999-2003. For the first of a two-part exploration of the Wachowskis’ Matrix series, writer Tilly Bridges jacks in to discuss the original trilogy. Whoa.
00:00:23 – Intro / Banter
00:08:21 – Paul’s Unhinged ComiXology Rant
00:34:43 – Main Topic
01:56:36 – Outro / Next
“Intergalactic” by Beastie Boys, Hello Nasty (1998)
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.
Gobbledygeek episode 352, “Thor Visionaries: Walter Simonson – Vol. 1,” is available for listening or download right here and on iTunes here.
Far beyond the fields we know, SyfyWire.com contributing editor Matthew Jackson joins Paul and Arlo for another installment of this year’s superheroic Four-Color Flashback. This time, they venture to the land of Asgard on their loyal steeds to discuss Thor Visionaries: Walter Simonson – Vol. 1. Simonson’s legendary run defined many cornerstones of Marvel’s Thor Odinson, from the deep ties to Norse mythology to the doing away of mortal identity Donald Blake. The gang discusses why his run is so definitive, Simonson’s vibrant art, his long-game storytelling, what makes Beta Ray Bill so cool, and the deadliness of McBurgers. Plus, The Big Bang Theory is finally ending, Veronica Mars is finally coming back, and Paul is Forged in Fire.
Next: we’ll be back! At some point! We’re working on a book, kids!
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.
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.
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.
The Deli Podcast of Justice interview with Kitty Chandler is available for listening or download right here, and on iTunes here.
Superheroes don’t always slap on shiny spandex to soar the friendly skies. They also “lurk in the shadows and skulk in darkness,” as Kitty Chandler puts it. Rashida, the young woman at the center of Kitty’s The Deli Counter of Justice story “Calculated Risk,” is one of those. She spends hours in her basement doing off-the-grid surveillance, dispatching nearby heroes to deal with crimes no one else is paying attention to…until one day, when things don’t go quite as planned. AJ and Eric talk with Kitty about her previous experience with anthologies (including her own, Black Ice), her devotion to any and all X-Men comics, and how guidance from her “editrix” improves her writing.
Next: Paul and AJ interview C. Gayle Seaman, one of two poets whose work appears in the book, on Tuesday, October 21.
Gobbledygeek episode 203, “I’ll Lick the Stamps,” is available for listening or download right here, and on iTunes here.
Close the shower curtain, it’s time for Gobbledyween! Our fifth annual month-long celebration of all things bump in the night gets off to a slashing start with a discussion of Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 classic Psycho. Often imitated (once quite literally) but never duplicated, Paul and AJ dissect the film’s shifting points of view, the many taboos it broke, how its lengthy silences speak volumes, and yeah, that really dumb psychoanalysis scene. Plus, AJ joins Nicolas Cage for a post-Rapture nap with Left Behind while Paul goes to Disney Infinity and beyond with the new Marvel superheroes expansion.
Next: Gobbledyween 2014 comes back to life as Broken Magic author and The Deli Counter of Justice cohort Eric Sipple drops by for a look back at Re-Animator.
Art from ‘The Sandman’ #54 by Michael Allred and Daniel Vozzo.
Gobbledygeek episode 202, “The Sandman: Vol. VIII – Worlds’ End (feat. Ensley F. Guffey),” is available for listening or download right here, and on iTunes here.
After scaling the high point of The Sandman last week with Brief Lives, Paul and AJ fall a little closer to earth with a discussion of Vol. VIII – Worlds’ End. Joining them is Wanna Cook? author Ensley F. Guffey…and they all agree it’s likely the series’ weakest collection. But weak Sandman is still better than most comics, so there’s plenty to say about Neil Gaiman’s final attempt at telling short stories in the Endless’ domain. There’s the return of Hob Gadling, a look at the mythic side of American politics, and a funeral procession passing by the inn at the end of all worlds. Plus, the gang grouses about Gotham and discusses Marvel’s settlement with the Jack Kirby estate.
Next: Gobbledyween 2014 gets off to a slashing start with Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 classic Psycho. The boys will be joined by Mike Brooks.