Art from ‘Maus: A Survivor’s Tale’ by Art Spiegelman.
Gobbledygeek episode 384, “Four-Color Flashback: Maus: A Survivor’s Tale (feat. Eric Sipple),” is available for listening or download right here and on iTunes here.
For the latest installment of this year’s spandex-free Four-Color Flashback, Paul and Arlo tackle a big one: Art Spiegelman’s Maus: A Survivor’s Tale, still the only comic book ever to be awarded a Pulitzer Prize. Joining them to discuss Spiegelman’s harrowing account of his father Vladek’s time in the concentration camps of Nazi-occupied Poland–and Art’s own tense relationship with Vladek–is Broken Magic author and The Deli Counter of Justice co-creator Eric Sipple. The gang discusses Spiegelman’s provocative choice to depict Jews as mice, Nazis as cats, Poles as pigs, etc.; how Spiegelman follows in a tradition going all the way back to Mickey Mouse; and why it’s specifically disturbing to read Maus in 2019.
Next: Paul and Arlo will return.
(Show notes for “Four-Color Flashback: Maus: A Survivor’s Tale.”)
Gobbledygeek episode 320, “Dunkirk: Beach Battle Bingo,” is available for listening or download right here and on iTunes here.
Sun, spray, bullets, and blood: Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk recounts the worst beach trip in history, as 400,000 Allied troops were trapped by the Nazis in Dunkirk, France. The word Paul and Arlo keep coming back to as a descriptor is “relentless.” 107 minutes of third-act intensity, Dunkirk may be the purest expression of Nolan’s watchmaker-precise skill. The boys discuss the film’s three interweaving time strands, the lack of overt character development (except for that moment), Hans Zimmer’s ticking time bomb of a score, and why the movie never names or shows its Nazi enemies. Plus, Arlo is convinced the rest of the world is experiencing a mass delusion regarding Arrested Development season 4; and the boys take a look at the SDCC trailers for Ready Player One, Justice League, Thor: Ragnarok, Stranger Things, and The Defenders.
Next: it’s another Four-Color Flashback, as Ensley F. Guffey, co-author of Wanna Cook? The Complete Unauthorized Guide to Breaking Bad, joins Paul and Arlo to discuss Y: The Last Man – Vol. 7: Paper Dolls.
(Show notes for “Dunkirk: Beach Battle Bingo.”)
Gobbledygeek episode 266, “Nazis and Nightcaps,” is available for listening or download right here and on iTunes here.
For the penultimate installment of Hitchcock Month, Paul and AJ continue their tour of Hitch’s limited-setting films with a look at 1944’s Lifeboat, wherein a group including Tallulah Bankhead’s socialite reporter winds up sailing under Walter Slezak’s Nazi; and 1954’s Dial M for Murder, in which the dashing Ray Milland conspires to murder the unfaithful Grace Kelly. Joining them is Ensley F. Guffey, one-half of Guffey und Koontz, the writing team behind Wanna Cook? The Complete, Unofficial Companion to Breaking Bad. Ensley is also admittedly not much of a Hitchcock fan, which makes for some interesting discussion. The boys debate the merit of these films, which by some accounts may be the least interesting selections so far; delve into the political climate that birthed Lifeboat; wonder what Dial M for Murder would have looked like in 3D; and take a guess at what drew Hitchcock to confined spaces.
Next: Hitchcock Month closes with a leap of faith from Broken Magic author and The Deli Counter of Justice co-editor Eric Sipple, as the gang talks 1945’s Spellbound and 1958’s Vertigo.
(Show notes for “Nazis and Nightcaps.”)
Gobbledygeek episode 227, “You’ll Believe a Man Can Fly (feat. Kenn Edwards & Joseph Lewis),” is available for listening or download right here, and on iTunes here.
Our month-long celebration of Japanese animation master Hayao Miyazaki reaches its bittersweet conclusion with a look at Miyazaki’s purported final film, 2013’s The Wind Rises; and Mami Sunada’s documentary about its making, The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness. Joining Paul and AJ for their final descent into the world of Studio Ghibli is Smoke Gets in Your Ears: A Mad Men Podcast co-hosts Kenn Edwards and Joseph Lewis. The gang discusses the parallels between Miyazaki and The Wind Rises‘ aviation engineer Jiro Horikoshi, Miyazaki’s surprisingly fatalistic outlook on life, and–naturally–the grand folly of art. Plus, Joe makes an exciting announcement!
Next: leaping from one Disney-distributed universe to another, Paul and AJ enter The Avengers: Age of Ultron.
(Show notes for “You’ll Believe a Man Can Fly.”)
Gobbledygeek episode 108, “Grave of the Rabbits,” is available for listening or download right here.
We know that every episode of Gobbledygeek makes you cry, but this one might especially depress you. It’s Geek Challenge time once more, so Paul has tasked AJ with watching the 1978 animated adaptation of Watership Down; in turn, AJ has challenged Paul to watch the 1988 anime Grave of the Fireflies. One is about the brutal escape of a group of rabbits from their soon-to-be-demolished warren. The other is about the brutal attempts at survival made by a very young brother and sister after their home is demolished in WWII-era Japan. Both are very sad. To lighten the mood, AJ talks about watching every episode of Childrens Hospital over the last week, and both of them discuss the addition of Ciarán Hinds to the cast of Game of Thrones.
Next: as summer winds down, it’s time to take a look ahead at the Fall/Winter Movie Preview.
(Show notes for “Grave of the Rabbits.”)
Gobbledygeek episode 90, “Once Upon a Time…in Nazi-Occupied France,” is available for listening or download right here.
Atten-SHUN! It’s the last week of Tarantino Month, so that means one thing, and one thing only: we’re here to discuss Inglourious Basterds, Tarantino’s charmingly misspelled WWII epic. Points of interest for the boys include Brad Pitt’s ridiculous accent, the puzzling nature of Christoph Waltz as Hans Landa, the film’s Spaghetti Western stylings, the greatness of Mélanie Laurent, and what Tarantino has to say about the power of cinema. Plus, AJ recounts his Lez Zeppelin experience and Paul has a few extra thoughts about The Hunger Games.
Next: The Geek Challenge returns when AJ challenges Paul to Donnie Darko, and Paul retorts with Real Genius.
(Show notes for “Once Upon a Time…in Nazi-Occupied France.”)
Welcome to Last Month’s Comics, in which I discuss, uh, last month’s comics. I get my comics in bi-monthly shipments from Discount Comic Book Service, and as such, I can be a little behind. So here we are. This feature started last month.
So, September 2011, what kind of havoc did you wreak? Let’s find out…
BEST RETURN TO FORM
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 9 #1
Writer: Joss Whedon
Art: Georges Jeanty (pencils), Dexter Vines (inks), Michelle Madsen (colors)
Publisher: Dark Horse
To say that I was pleased upon finishing the first issue of the new “season” of Buffy is an understatement. Season 8 started off very well, with Buffy leading an army of 500 Slayers and trying to unmask the mysterious foe Twilight. And to tell the truth, it was great for much of its run, with an occasional stumble (vampires being outed to the public wasn’t handled with much finesse). But the last story arc, with the reveal of Angel as Twilight, cosmic sex, and general batshit insanity, was so damaging that even someone who considers Buffy the Vampire Slayer to be the greatest piece of entertainment ever given us by man had come to the conclusion that it might be for the best if Ms. Summers was finally laid to rest. The final issue of Season 8, though, was a dramatic 180 from the pace and structure of the last few issues leading up to it, and the Season 9 premiere continues in that vein. With Giles gone and magic vanquished, Buffy is depressed and adrift, working as a waitress and getting blackout drunk. It’s all done with Whedon’s razor-sharp wit and keen sense of twenty-something angst. The final “shock twist” is so humdrum and everyday it’s hilarious. In many ways, the metaphorical “party” is over for our Scoobies; now what? I can’t wait to find out.
HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN (DVD/Two-Disc Collector’s Edition DVD/Collector’s Edition Blu-ray & Digital)
Hobo with a Shotgun is the feature-length adaptation of a contest-winning faux trailer shown with some Canadian prints of 2007’s Grindhouse; I haven’t seen the trailer, but maybe this stuff was amusing at two-and-a-half minutes. At 86 minutes, it is grim, nasty, and joyless. In aping the sleazoid vigilante flicks of the 70’s, I’m sure that was the intent of director/co-writer Jason Eisener. But that doesn’t mean I have to like it. Look, Planet Terror is great because it’s a well-crafted, old school adrenaline-pumper; Death Proof is great because it subverts grindhouse tropes while still managing to celebrate them. Both of them have moments of shocking violence, but they’re both clearly heartfelt love letters to the movies of Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino’s childhoods. Hobo with a Shotgun feels like their obnoxious little shit of a brother who’s trying to outdo them at every turn, in effect making himself look all the more pathetic. There’s not much fun here. What there is, is a lot of sadism and stupidity. If that’s your thing, by all means, but I’ll be slowly backing away now. Extras on the Collector’s Edition (because apparently making less than $1 million at the box office warranted such a thing) include a making-of doc; a behind-the-scenes interactive mode; an alternate ending; deleted scenes; vlogs; an HDNet featurette; the original trailer; TV spots; theatrical trailers; commentary with Eisener and star Rutger Hauer; and another commentary with Eisener, producer Rob Cotteril, co-writer John Davies, and original hobo David Brunt.
(Originally reviewed by me in “Wow.”)