Wait, What? Ep. 131: Linkpocalypse

 photo 084ccc28-f6fd-4588-82c8-f035c8c2702c_zpsbfe14488.jpgMotofumi Kobayashi's Cat Shit One: Another great reason to love comics.

Yes, okay! As always, I have nothing clever to say in this space, but unlike always, I'm not going to waste your time saying it. I've got show notes with images! Links! Prizes! (There are no prizes!) Torrid confessions! (There probably will not be any torrid confessions.)

After the jump: Show Note Machine...Go!

0:00-25:22: Bemoaning the fact that we're not nearly as organized as other podcasts, Graeme makes a prediction about we'll be talking about this episode as a way of introducing this episode to listeners. This allows me to retool a favorite aphorism here in the show notes:  "If you want to make God laugh, introduce a podcast." It leads right into our first order of business:  talking about the latest crazy developments in DC's 3-D cover event.  If you've already read Hibbs' post about this already, you'll be a step ahead of most of the points Jeff makes here, although he does bring his own unique tin foil hat spin to the situation.  Also covered, the recent decision in Kirby v. Marvel,  what it means to "hamburger a muffin" and the opening of a  new Salt & Straw right near Graeme. Verily, this is the Mighty Wait, What? Age of Golden Epicureanism! 25:22-34:07:  Also on a non-comics tip, Stephen Colbert and Bryan Cranston, which famous people we've been compared to, the Adult BMI guidelines, Tarder Sauce, and more. 34:07-45:37:  Todd McFarlane, Len Wein and Gerry Conway discussing sexism and comic books! which we discuss without the context provided by some later tweets made by Conway.  And who is…. the Billy Joel of comics?  Find out here, along with a torrid confession from Jeff!  (Oh, okay, so there was one of those, after all.  Huh.) 45:37-58:05: And in this week's installment of "Welcome to Jeff's Big Basket of Sour Grapes," Jeff talks about a Twitter exchange between Rob Liefeld and Erik Larsen and their consideration of comic book criticism.  Graeme, trying to bring the sense, just ends up bouncing the ball of generosity off Jeff's ungenerous blockhead for an impressively long time. 58:05-1:04:00:  Also, under discussion, Mark Millar's comments about rape.  You probably can imagine our reaction to that one but...maybe not? 1:04:00-1:21:40: And now it's time to talk about some comics we've read -- a little bit about AvX  (and the kindness and generosity of the Whatnauts), but also a lot about the genius that is Rogue Trooper and Cat Shit One. This leads to our we-might-as-well-make-it-official-and-call-it-weekly discussion about 2000 A.D., which in turn leads to discussion about comic book covers, which in turn leads to Velvet by Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting, 1:21:40-1:26:08: Jack Kirby's In The Days Of The Mob! It is available! It is…not cheap!  Not cheap at all! 1:26:08-1:27:21: Copra Compendium (which I can't say aloud without thinking of Weird Al-esque lyrics set to "Copacabana" which is probably why I probably called it Copra Companion half the time) Vol. 2!  Jeff loves this like burning, worries that Graeme may not.  But either way, there is so much lovely stuff, including  the panel shown below and discussed in this podcast:

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1:27:21-1:31:33:  That inspires Graeme to talk about Lynn Varley, Trevor Von Eeden, and the Kickstarter the latter is running with Don McGregor for Sabre: The Early Future Years. 1:31:33-1:34:12:  Graeme has read Cartozia Tales, the shared fantasy universe featuring some outstanding work by Jen Vaughn, Jon Lewis, Dylan Horrocks, and more. 1:34:12-1:38:34: Trilium #1 by Jeff Lemire. We've both read it.  We both discuss it. 1:38:34-1:41:55: Jeff fumbles and bumbles through some display problems to try and convey how much he digs Jaco the Galactic Patrolman by Akira Toriyama, as well as Toriyama's brilliantly dopey pre-Dragonball series, Dr. Slump.  One of the panels Jeff discusses super-briefly is this one:

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1:41:55-1:45:04: The first collection of Talon from DC!  Did Graeme like it almost as much as Jeff likes Toriyama…or even more than Jeff likes Toriyama?  Tune in and find out. 1:45:04-1:52:08: The final volume of Bakuman is out, which is very bittersweet for Jeff.  Despite the frustrations with how Viz has handled publication of this manga (and the generally anticlimactic nature of the last volume), man of man, Jeff is going to miss that series. 1:52:08-end: Closing comments! Graeme makes it sound like we won't be back next week but we will!  (I think.)

See, look at all that. Links! Images! Torrid confessions. (Well, a torrid confession.)  Nice, eh?  So you should go hear it!  It is on iTunes -- eventually -- and it is here for your convenience:

Wait, What? Ep. 131: Linkpocalypse

As always, we thank you for listening and hope you enjoy!  (Now if you excuse me, I have a new chapter of Jaco The Galactic Patrolman to go read....)

39 years later, and does anyone care?

What do C.C. Beck, Vaughn Bode, William S. Burroughs, Eisner, Fellini, Moebius, Kirby, Barry Smith, Tom Wolfe, and Frank Zappa have in common? THE SOMEDAY FUNNIES

Really, you need to read Bob Levin's exhausting account of the book in THE COMICS JOURNAL #299 -- a fine fine piece of reporting -- for why this book, tabloid sized, on glossy paper, purporting to be an examination of the 60s by many of the era's greatest thinkers, in comics form, was never printed in the 1970s.

That tale telling was so compelling, it got Abrams to finally pull the work together (why Abrams, and not FBI? Surely Fanta was given a crack at it?), and, boom, here it is, "the El Dorado of comics"

Sadly, however, it's kind of not that good.

Part of it, I think, is the format: Tabloid size hardcover, on super-archival paper, and a fiddy-five dollar price tag gives the work a huge weight of expectations upon it. This isn't helped by the history of the work, either, but I found far too many of the pieces to be self-indulgent, nearly tossed off, or otherwise inconsequential tellings that can't support the expectations upon them.

But packaging defines some of one's reaction to a work, and I think if this had been mag sized, on white, but not archival paper, it might have come off much better. Part of the problem is that most/many of the American artists appeared to be working with the idea that their art would be sized down -- look at that Kirby piece for example -- it really would look better in comics dimensions; same with the BWS pages.

If it had been priced at half the asking price, I could see a lot of people being super-curious and wanting to have a copy of their bookshelf.

I also found the Michael Choquette drawings on most pages to be extremely arrogant and mostly out of place.

The thing is, there's quite a few terrific pieces in the book -- I didn't know Tom Wolfe cartooned, for example -- but when you juxtapose those against, say, Asterix or Spirit pages the latter seems incredibly... man, I don't know, I sort of want to say "self-serving", but that's not it... maybe I can't do worse than "unambitious"

One thing the book is good for is to remind me of how much I love some of what I've always thought of as the "National Lampoon Stable of Cartoonists" (Shary Flenniken, Bobby London, Ed Subitzky, and Charles Rodrigues especially), and how much I wish there were some in print collections of NatLamp comics. I bet most of it doesn't really hold up that well either, but there is a passion in that stuff which was very appealing to me.

There are pleasurable suprises, as well -- Steve Englehart writing AND drawing (basically) "What If Captain America was really defrosted today?" -- Englehart has a surprisingly strong Golden-age-style style, or a nice little four-panel strip from Louise Simonson. Fellini's cartooning chops are actually pretty crazy strong, too.

There really is a lot of lovely art that's fun to look at in the book, and if the book were presented as "Look at this crazy mishmash of cartoonists -- it's nothing important, but you're never going to see this pile of people together again", then maybe I'd be raving about the book, but the format of the book itself argues against treating it like ephemeral frippery -- it instead screams "Look! Important People saying Important Things about an Important Era!", but you know, most of them actually don't have anything all that interesting to say.

And, I'll give them this: it probably IS a fairly Important Work, but it just isn't all that compelling or wise with what to do with its format. Sadly, this is largely a failure of editorial stewardship, because people were clearly being told to do whatever they wanted (except leave space for the editor to make his own [physical!] mark on each page). At half price this might be a great curiosity to have on your shelf, but at over $50? (ESPECIALLY when the text is explicit that each contributor got a flat $100? And, it's clearly implied that Abrams got the book without any really significant editorial costs?) Yowchies!

There's some EXCELLENT work in here, as well as some purely AWFUL stuff, but the "Anthology Problem" rears it's ugly head here, and the book as a whole doesn't feel, to me, like anything better than an EH.


What did YOU think?