Wait, What? Ep. 94: The Basement Japes

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App Above: The Farm Fusion Waffle, which is a liege waffle topped with mushroom, spinach, roasted pepper, tomato and marinated chevre, from the Waffle Window, Portland, OR.

Yes, that is one mighty tasty waffle, let me tell you -- although let me be honest, I do not tell you in episode 95, I merely mention it to you now. But!  Trust me, it's darn good.

As for what we do discuss in this episode, join me behind the jump for... show notes!

1:20-3:24: The Basement Japes: an introduction
3:24-13:21: The front page of Time.com and how to get there; Jeff makes Graeme break down the process behind his recent Dark Knight Rises
13:21-22:03: Graeme has recently seen Transformers: Dark of the Moon on Netflix Watch Instantly  and would like to talk about it and a certain amount of contemplation transpires about the quote-unquote charms of Michael Bay.
22:03-32:02: By very sad contrast, Jeff has something to say about Melissa & Joey, which he mistakenly calls "Melissa Loves Joey" THE ENTIRE TIME.  Is Jeff really so damn old he would get the title confused with Joanie Loves Chachi?  The answer, sadly, is yes.  Fortunately, Graeme steers Jeff toward Sex House, instead.  Although that seems like a weird lead-in to mentioning Jarett Kobek's new book, If You Won't Read, Then Why Should I Write? (and yes, I also get that title wrong, too), it actually works quite well, honest.
32:02-32:22: This is the point where we acknowledge that we have not really talked about comics at all, yet.
32:22-34:18: So instead of talking about Transformer movies, we mention Transformers comics and GI Joe comics.  Woo!
34:18-40:51: Well, and so you can't really talk about GI Joe Comics without discussing Top Shelf's Double Barrel, can you? No, of course not.  Trust me when I say we speak glowingly of Double Barrel #2.
40:51-56:04: Jeff's other major comic read of the week was catching up on three weeks of Shonen Jump Alpha. Can Jeff handle jumping into Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal on its ninth chapter?  (Spoiler: no.) The pros and cons of reading a mass of serialized information all at a go also gets a bit of the ol' poke & prod.
55:04-1:00:24: This gets us talking about how jumping on points and story density can work both for and against a story's accessibility with mentions of Morrison's JLA in trade, Mark Waid's interview at the AV Club, and whether Marvel's recap pages work.
1:00:24-1:02:59: Kieron Gillen has his own podcast, DECOMPRESSED.  We haven't listened to it, but we are very excited about it!  Check it out here!
1:02:59-1:14:09: Graeme tallks about Dark Avengers #177 by Jeff Parker and Kev Walker, and Wild Children, the recent Image book by Ales Kot and Riley Rossmo
1:14:09-1:16:28: Graeme picked up the new Eddie Campbell graphic novel, The Lovely Horrible Stuff, digitally (for only five dollars, and you can too, here at the SavCrit Digital Store) and tells us about it.  It sounds quite good.  (I admit it, I've picked it up since and can sign off on Graeme's recommendation.  It really is quite good.)
1:16:28-1:29:00: Other books Graeme discusses:  Action Comics #11,which he likes more than Jeff did, Infernal Man-Thing; and Punk-Rock Jesus.
1:29:00-1:45:38: Were you still wondering why Graeme liked the first volume of the Greg Rucka Punisher trade even though he didn't like the individual issues he tried?  He tells us here, and we get in to a bit of a tussle over the nature of The Punisher, and the differences between Rucka's approach and Ennis's approach.
1:45:36-1:58:34: Does that mean we end up talking about Rucka's run on Elektra and his career at NuMarvel as well as his current webcomic, Lady Sabre?  Why yes, it does!
1:58:34-2:03:32: The end (of the episode) is nigh! Although promising earlier to spoil the hell out of Walking Dead #100, Jeff instead tells the comic book collection bet story from Bleeding Cool.
2:03:32-2:10:24: When we recorded this, Neil Gaiman doing Before Sandman was just a rumor.  Want to know what we thought of the announcement before it was announced?  We talk about it here!
...Oh, and also closing comments, which we are still not very good at doing.
If you've got iTunes, it may have already set the nose of your faithful RSS bloodhound stirring.  Alternately, you are welcome to have a listen to it here, and sniff at it dismissively at your leisure:
Oh, and a word to the wise, we aren't recording this week, which means we won't have an episode for you next week -- I've got a trip lined up for this week, and I realized it would actually benefit my life greatly if we baked this kind of thing into my schedule, so expect us to have one skip week a month from here on out.  (Think of it as an opportunity to catch up.)
As always, we thank you for listening and hope you enjoy!

Wait, What? Ep. 93: Thrill Power Overboard

PhotobucketAbove: The Chocolate Waffle, which is a liege waffle covered in dark chocolate, from The Waffle Window, Portland, OR

Yup, Episode 93.  I would say more but I'm slightly overwhelmed with the amount of shite multitasking I'm currently doing (kinda dashing back and forth between two computers at opposite ends of the room at the moment, which neither makes me feel like a mad scientist or a keyboardist in Journey but just someone who is old, Internet, so terribly old).

On the other hand (and behind the jump):  show notes!

0:00-7:51: Greetings; getting schooled by Graeme on Tharg and the mascots of 2000AD and other British comics, with a half-hearted attempt by Jeff to pitch Mascot Wars [working title] 7:51-11:37:  By contrast, Jeff guiltily admits he's been reading the first volume of the Vampirella Archives 11:37-13:37:  Somehow this leads to a discussion of the fascinating copyright information found in Dynamite Books 13:37-15:51: Bless him, Jeff is not giving up so easily on his Mascot Wars idea 15:51-18:55: Jeff gripes about getting back into the routine after his Portland trip, Graeme gripes a bit about getting back into his routine after the 4th of July holiday 18:55-20:52:And so, finally, we start talking comic news--the announcement of Marvel NOW! and the launch of Monkeybrain comics. 20:52-24:35:  Graeme has a thing about the Uncanny Avengers cover and I really cannot blame him; 24:35-25:57: And since we are on the subject, Graeme has a few things to say about that Marvel NOW! image by Joe Quesada, too. 25:57-38:25: And so we talk about Monkeybrain instead, including Amelia Cole by friend of the podcast Adam Knave, Bandette by Colleen Coover and Paul Tobin, the other launch titles, and what we would like to see from the line in the future; 38:25-41:54:  Speaking of fantastic digital comics, the second issue of Double Barrel is out!  And neither of us have read it. But it is out!  And you should consider getting it.  Because it is also Top Shelf and also coming out in digital, we talk James Kochalka's American Elf. 41:54-49:57: Jeff talks about League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Century: 2009. Here there be spoilers! 49:57-1:06:42:Graeme's interesting rebuttal concerns whether bad art can be forgiven if it is suitably ambitious. We have a tussle of sorts and then move on to discuss when does the creator develop that "not so fresh" feeling.  (Bonus: Graeme does a pretty great job of justifying our existence, pretty much). 1:06:42-1:15:37: Incentivizing the singles? Does it work?  Brian Wood's The Massive, Ed Brubaker's Fatale, and more discussion of the Monkeybrain publishing plan and a discussion of what works in the direct market. 1:15:37-1:29:48:  Who is stronger, Watchmen or Walking Dead?  Fight! 1:29:48-1:38:32:The possible Thief of Thieves TV show and the need to keep creating new IP for Hollywood; and when or if the Big Two will come around on that. 1:38:32-1:42:37: Uncanny Avengers.  We are a little fixated. Also, Graeme sings the ballad of Cafe Gratitude (except he doesn't sing and it's not a ballad).  And then some clever Brass Eye jokes that Graeme has to explain to Jeff.  Again. 1:42:37-1:47:36: On the other hand, Jeff did get to the comic store that week so he has that going on for him.  His quickie reviews while Graeme listens on helplessly:  Batman, Inc. #2, Fatale #6, The New Deadwardians #3 and 4; Mind MGMT #2; Prophet #26; Popeye #3 (which is awesome and must-have-ish); Tom Neely's Doppelganger; Flash #10; and Action Comics #11. 1:47:36-2:04:08: San Diego Comic Con! Graeme has two questions about it.  Crazy predictions are made and anxiety dream stories are exchanged. [brrt! brrt! David Brothers alert! brrt! brrt!]  Also, Jeff once again tries to coin the term "Nerd Vietnam" to describe SDCC. 2:04:082:09:20-: Closing comments, and a few reviews of waffles from the Waffle Window.  And then....sign off!

If you are of an iTunesian inclination, you may have already chanced upon us.  But if not, we offer you the chance to give a listen right here and now:

Wait, What?, Episode 93: Thrill Power Overboard

And as always, we hope you enjoy--and thanks for listening!

Keeping the Con in Content Free: Jeff describes the geekiest thing he did in San Diego

Someone will one day write a post that will catch San Diego Comic-Con in all its current monstrousness--a long New Yorker-esque post filled with telling details. Hell, at the size it is now, maybe only a Moby Dick sized book will be able to catch it in all its wonder and peculiarity, filled with digressive chapters on the history of comic books, and conventions, and cosplay. Believe me, I want to write the fucking thing but can't figure out how.

Also, impossible as it seems, I want to try to avoid the six or so types of SDCC posts so prevalent this year (the "SDCC is too big" post; the "no, it's not" rejoinder post; the "here's my interaction with a celebrity" story and the "who cares about the celebrities" post (you can sometimes find these two just a few entries apart on the same blog); the "here are my pictures" post; the "this is the panel I was on" post; and the "here's the news I found exciting" post). I want to just cut straight to the chase: what was the nerdiest thing I did at San Diego? When I tell friends I went, this is usually what they want to know, although they approach the subject in a roundabout way. "Did you dress up as a jedi?" they'll ask. "Did you get your picture taken with a chick in a skimpy outfit?" they'll inquire. "Did you buy something you can wear when you play Dungeon Master?" "Did you wait in really long lines to see the cast of Stargate?" "Did you bathe?" (No, no, no, no, and not as much as I would've liked, frankly, but that's more the heat and humidity than any sort of hygiene mishap.)

The runners-up to the nerdiest thing I did?

**I took pictures of the cast of The Greatest American Hero. Unironic pictures.

**I was on a panel with awesome people. (See? I'm cheating already.)

**I paid so much money for that stupid FLCL Ultimate Edition DVD I'm scared to tell my wife. Although now that I look at the prices they're going for on Amazon, I kinda wish I had bought two.

**I gave unsolicited advice to a total stranger about the best way to play her Region 3 Battle Royale DVD.

**I coveted a Brother Voodoo lego figure that also glows in the dark. (That was before I saw these.)

**I stood in the line to meet Grant Morrison, and then ducked out at close to the last minute because I had nothing for him to say and nothing for him to sign.

**By contrast, I not only bought a mini comic from Nat Hernandez (Gilbert's daughter), I paid extra to have her do a sketch on the inside.

But the geekiest thing I did at San Diego? Is after the jump.

I played Golgo 13: The Arcade Game.

I first came across it on Thursday night. We were walking up Fourth Street to the DCOnline/SOE party at some bar that looked like it should've been called "Senor Roofie's:" nice, well-lit, but when you try to leave you realize how many freakin' stairs you have to climb and how far from the street you actually are. When Eli Roth gets around to filming the inevitable Hostel: Con Night, he should keep Senor Roofie's in mind.

Anyway, yeah, on the way there, I looked over as we were walking and saw:

in a darkened window.

Somehow, I did not manage to lose my shit. While my love for Golgo 13 is well documented on this site, I may not have confessed my shameless love for the Silent Scope arcade games, and the two month period I spent driving to a miniature golf course in Redwood City twice a week just to play Silent Scope 2: Dark Silhouette to the unconcealed amusement of the fifteen year olds behind the concession counter. I think I'd read about Namco's Golgo 13 sniper game long ago and assumed I'd never see or play it, or maybe it was the video game had visited me in my dreams, but there a strange twinning effect happened as I glanced over and saw it: I was both shocked and nonplussed, disappointed and sanguine. After all, I had seen it. All I had to do was find it again, come back and play it.

So, allow me to qualify my earlier statement: the geekiest thing I did in San Diego was leave the Con on the middle of the day Saturday, skipping innumerable panels and the chance to better pan for the bits of awesome in that seemingly endless convention floor, so I could go play Golgo 13: the arcade game.

All the nerd obeisance surrounding the Con had led me to believe I'd find the game in the window of some trendy tattoo shop with a "Welcome Comicon!" poster I hadn't noticed earlier right above it. Inside, the game would be nestled right next to copies of Drifting Classroom and a Betty Page lookalike behind the register whose arms would be tattooed with sleeves recounting, on the left, the entire Planet of the Apes film series, and, on the right, Logan's Run, modified to include tattooed adaptations of both Logan's World and Logan's Search.

Actually, the Golgo 13 arcade game was located in a combination liquor store/laundromat/hobo joint. Dudes in unwashed sweatshirts slouched by the hostess products, staring at the scowling counterman as he sold cigarettes and liquor. On the laundromat side, clothes tumbled like nervous acrobats while a man with a sunburned face and dirty feet adjusted two plastic chairs so he might transition from nodding off to dozing off. A Marvel Vs. Capcom console growled and burped its way through its attract mode, the screen faded nearly to the color of clouds. Not only was there no Betty Page lookalike, the counterman looked at my request for a few dollars in quarters with a perfect marriage of disgust and suspicion.

Although it looks just like Silent Scope, the Golgo 13 game runs on an entirely different dynamic. As I recall, Silent Scope has a monitor inside the rifle scope that synchs what you see on screen, only magnified, and as you pass the scope of your sniper rifle across the screen, the area coved by the scope magnifies as well. So you're able to scan terrain quickly and, actually, make some of the sniping shots without bothering to look through the scope.

By contrast, from what I could tell, G13: TAG has a genuine magnifying lens within its scope, and a monitor built into the rifle stock which reads when your shoulder is in place. When you're in position, the entire video game screen switches to a zoomed in version of the scene, but you need to look through the scope for further visual amplification.

What's awesome about this is nerds who groove on the whole science of sniping (says the guy pretending he doesn't have John Plaster's Ultimate Sniper on his bookshelf) can actually deal with issues of parallax and eye relief and looking at the location of the crescent to check whether you're positioned appropriately. What sucks about this is that if the lens is screwed, you're screwed: it's like playing Missle Command with a broken trackball.

Additional impediments to the enjoyment of G13:TAG include not a word of English to be found anywhere in or on the game, a baffling initial scene where you're shown where to point your rifle for it to zoom in on the scenario (which leads me to think Namco had originally designed the game to have two stages, one of which tested so badly all that remains is this vestigial sequence), and a distressingly aroused hobo who was very eager to turn my tender pas de deux with the video game into a tawdry menage a trois: "Yeah, dude, shoot, shoot, shoot!" He suddenly gurgled over my shoulder. "Blast that fucking diamond, bro! Do it! Do it!"

As Golgo 13 would say: "..."

One of the cool things about the game is each scenario is introduced by a quick bit of G 13 manga (presumably done by Saito and Co.) to set up what you need to do: gang boss needs executing; detonation trigger on skyscraper bomb needs to be shot off of a rooftop; perfect diamond (sigh) needs to shot and destroyed during the one moment of transfer between two safety deposit boxes. It's done in a panel by panel presentation and is such a keen little thing all its own--the first two-thirds of a Golgo 13 story compressed into seven or eight screens--I continued to put money in a busted video game just so I could see the different scenarios. There are something like 20 scenarios, but they're tiered so you have to try all of the first four before you can access the next four so I didn't see very many. So if there was a scenario where you snipe hobos so a middle-aged nerd can have a few minutes of rhapsodic interaction with a busted video game that hates him, I sadly wasn't able to access it.

It was definitely my geekiest moment, although it technically was more like forty-five (since the experience was disappointing in the first five but I hung out for another forty). And what's weird is, if it'd been awesome I'm not sure who I would've told. Tim Leong? Whoever was working the Viz booth? It's not like I saw any Golgo 13 cosplayers running around the floor. I pass it along to you, however, in the hopes that if you find yourself down San Diego way, anytime soon, and you're inordinately fond of Golgo 13, busted video games, and scary hobos, you'll be able to look it up for yourself.

Next: Content, I absolutely swear. Content!