Gobbledygeek episode 340, “Batman: A Death in the Family (feat. Kenn Edwards),” is available for listening or download right here and on iTunes here.
For the (belated) inaugural installment of Four-Color Flashback 2018, wherein Paul and Arlo will be discussing a different classic superhero story each month, they’ve recruited their old pal Kenn Edwards to help them discuss Batman: A Death in the Family by writer Jim Starlin and artist Jim Aparo. Kenn knows a thing or two about the Caped Crusader, having been part of the Batman Immortal fan film project. However, he’s never read this particular story, in which the Joker savagely beats Robin to death. That puts him on equal footing with our hosts: it’s one of Arlo’s blind spots and Paul hasn’t read it since it was published in 1988. They’re all a little shocked by how anachronistic its goofy plotting and dialogue seem given its release in a post-Dark Knight Returns landscape. Superhero comics were starting to mature, and this one feels like it may have gotten left behind. The gang discusses the impact of Robin’s death; whether Bruce’s hypocrisy is a bug or a feature; the ludicrous political implications of the Joker’s scheme; and why the follow-up story A Lonely Place of Dying is much better. Plus, Arlo is still watching Disney cartoons.
Next: be vewwy, vewwy quiet. The boys and their pal Nate Curtiss are hunting Krasinskis for a discussion of A Quiet Place.
(Show notes for “Batman: A Death in the Family.”)
Gobbledygeek episode 278, “Grendel: Part 3 – Devil’s Legacy, Part 2,” is available for listening or download right here and on iTunes here.
Times are tough in Matt Wagner’s nightmarish neon near-future New York as Paul and Arlo continue their year-long Four-Color Flashback trip through Grendel. This time, the boys finish out “Devil’s Legacy” with chapters 8-12 of Grendel Omnibus: Vol. 2 (that’s pp. 247-370, if you need to know). What exactly is the devil’s legacy? How do Hunter Rose’s actions reverberate through the generations, as his “step-granddaughter” Christine Spar once more puts on the mask and picks up the fork? Paul and Arlo search for an answer while drawing a through-line between Grendel and fellow class of ’86-ers Watchmen and The Dark Knight Returns, poring over the myriad bizarre details of the Pander Brothers’ artwork, and lauding the achievements of one McGruff the Crime Dog. Plus, a brief, spoiler-free discussion of the pilot episode of AMC’s Preacher adaptation.
Next: strap on your aprons and grab your spatulas! The Deli Counter of Justice authors man their own deli counters, each cooking two burgers apiece from The Bob’s Burgers Burger Book.
(Show notes for “Grendel: Part 3 – Devil’s Legacy, Part 2.”)
Came across a pleasant little surprise on Netflix Instant last night: Comic Book Confidential, a 1988 documentary by Canadian filmmaker Ron Mann which takes a look at the history of comic books. It’s interesting from a historical perspective, since this was right when comics were really beginning to be embraced as an artform by the public, what with Watchmen and The Dark Knight Returns having been released to critical and commercial acclaim. Obviously, there was still a long road ahead, and even now most people continue to think of comics largely as kids’ stuff with flashy superheroes and WHAMMO! sound effects. At around 85 minutes or so, it briskly takes you through the early funnies, the whole Fredric Wertham/censorship debacle, the first superheroes, and the Marvel boom before going on at length about the underground scene. We hear and see from a lot of comics legends: Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Will Eisner, Bill Griffith, Robert Crumb, Art Spiegelman, Frank Miller, and Harvey Pekar, among others. Interestingly, neither in the brief look at then-current superhero books nor in the Frank Miller interview is Watchmen mentioned. Anyway, it’s a cool movie and a nice condensed history.