Wait, What? Ep. 137: Zombook Club!

Zombo book Club photo Zombo-You-Smell-of-Crime-1-52834_zps1afe3424.jpgThis and Battling Boy are the subjects of today's book club. Go pick up copies and argue along!

Greetings from the Cosmic Habitrail! (That is how Flash now gets from one dimension to the next, right?) Due to an overabundance of running around and an underabundance of organizational skills, I have very, very brief show notes for Episode 137, our Book Club edition. but! I do also have a two hour long podcast for you, so... <nudge, nudge>. Eh? Eh?

After the jump...both of those things!

00:00-05:28:  Greetings! We start off with a short, but happy bit of news about Erotic Vampire Bank Heist.  At the time of recording, EVBH was #13 in the Heist category in the Kindle store (as of the time of these notes, it's #23).  (If you like pulp adventure, crazed '70s adventure, and a generous dollop of explicit sex but have not picked up a copy, check it out! Yes, those are indeed two hyperlinks to the exact same page.  I am shameless like that.) 05:28-36:48:  Graeme has had a busy week, improved by Marvel's solicitation text of Miracleman that, instead of using Alan Moore's name, uses the impressive nom de plume, "THE ORIGINAL WRITER."  Unsurprisingly, this leads us to discuss the pro & cons of Marvel's approach in reprinting the material.  Other topics included: Neil Gaiman; inappropriate spouses; the brilliance that is Hayley Campbell; beard conditioner; Joel Golby; anal bleaching; Don DeLillo; nostalgia; dick pails; and (somehow) more. 36:48-41:35:  Want more comic talk with less mention of dick pails?  Graeme has read the second volume of the Secret Society of Super-Villains, in a follow-up to the episode where I read the first and he is more than happy to report on his findings. 41:35-44:54: In a bit of compare and contrast, Graeme has also read Justice League of America #8, a Forever Evil tie-in issue by Matt Kindt and Doug Mahnke. 44:54-52:07: Also on Graeme's reading table: Forever Evil: Trinity of Sin: Pandora ("Yes, now it was has two subtitle,s" as Graeme puts it) by Ray Fawkes and Francis Portela, and Rogues Rebellion by Brian Buccellato and Patrick Zircher.  The latter leads us to talk a bit about (of course) The Rogues, The Flash, William Messner-Loeb's run on The Flash, inexpensive Comixology reprints, Kamandi, and more. 52:07-1:04:12: From Kirby, we move on to the first subject of this episode's installment of Wait, What? The Book Club:  Battling Boy by Paul Pope.  It's Paul Pope doing Jack Kirby as a Miyazaki movie! (With a lot of Ditko and Fleischer Brothers' Superman cartoons thrown in there.)  What could be wrong with that? Help Graeme try and solve "The Mystery of The Phantom Grouser" and see! 1:04:12-1:21:32: Al Ewing wrote Avengers Assemble #20, a done-in-one Infinity tie-in issue, which Graeme wanted to talk about, and Jeff asks about Al's Mighty Avengers. Although this is a perfect segue to talk about the next subject for WWBC, Jeff throws in .02 about the latest issue of Batman &…. by Pete Tomasi and Patrick Gleason.  (It's issue #23, the one with Two-Face.)  Jeff also wanted to talk about Detonator X, the pre-Pacific Rim Pacific Rim by Ian Edginton and Steve Yeowell, that's collected as the graphic novel pack-in for issue #341 of Judge Dredd Megazine.  There's a bit of discussion about Beyond Zero, the pack-in from Meg #340, as well. 1:21:32-1:53:37: But finally we do get around to the second topic of the Wait, What? The Book Club:  Zombo:  You Smell of Crime…And I"m The Deodorant, by Al Ewing and and Henry Flint. It's a little tough to just jot out a quick list of stuff we throw into the mix while talking about this because so much is in this book. But needless to say, The Beatles, Robocop, Steve Gerber, the Rutles, Nick Fury, Frank Miller and Jack Kirby, 2000 A.D. and Donald Trump, and much more are mentioned, but the brilliance of this book is actually really, really hard to accurately sum up or oversell.  It's really brilliant stuff and you should pick it up, whether you listen to us blather about it or not. 1:53:37-end:  Closing comments!  We talk about the possibility of "best of" lists, a bit more about Secret Society of Super-Villains, classic DC's weird obsession bylaws, Justice Legion, our future podcasting schedule and more!

The podcast is up on iTunes and it is also below.  Please check out Brian's shipping list, John Kane's fine round-up of comics he's read, and other lovely bits and pieces below  (Brian's piece on understanding how to order books in the direct market over at Comic Book Resources is also great). We wouldn't want to rob you of the experience.

Next week: Next week!  We'll see you then!

Wait, What? Ep. 137: Zombook Club!

Wait, What? Ep. 73: Thicker Than Forget

Photobucket We didn't even come close.

Don't get me wrong--we certainly tried.  But give Graeme and I more than four dozen questions with an amorphous time deadline and you're not going to get the bulk of those questions answered even with us putting in two and a half hours to get it done.  [Though we do so at the expense of Haruki Murakami's 1Q84: if you are currently reading that book, please skip over the 20-25 minute section of the podcast to avoid some ship-sinking spoilers.  (Sorry again, Luke.)]

So consider this Part 1 of our answers to your questions, with Part 2 to come next week.  If we go to Part 3, I give you permission to begin hunting us as the most dangerous game.  (Although, really we're a far cry from that: I'd say I'm about on par with hunting sloths or maybe opposums, and Graeme might be at the level of a squirrel, though the squirrel might be rabid, maybe.)

The Ancient Prophecies foretold this episode would be found in the land of iTunes. But lo, also shall ye find it here:

Wait, What? Ep. 73: Thicker Than Forget

As always, we thank you for listening, and for your questions, and for your patience.  We hope you enjoy!

Musing on Miracles

I've been thinking a lot about the news that Mirac...er, I mean MARVELman has been bought by Marvel comics.

As I think I mentioned here in passing, Marvel has a couple of really big problems they're going to have to overcome in bringing this work to market -- and I don't just mean the lingering legal/creator issues.

My read of the internet's reaction to this was a significant amount of "Huh?...Who?". Which kind of makes sense -- it has been something like 15 years since an issue of MIRACLEMAN has been released. For all of the talk of the "aging" readership, and whatever, I bet if you took a poll, less than half of today's readership has ever read a printed copy of MIRACLEMAN -- MM is more known for it's not being available than from something that the majority of the readership has any personal knowledge of, or affection for.

At this instant in time the only thing we can really be sure that Marvel has firm rights to is the 1950s/60s Mick Angelo material -- basically a direct Captain (Shazam!) Marvel ripoff. I've not read a ton of these, but the bits I've read were pretty uninspired and formulaic work. The market is unlikely to have a great deal of affinity for this material -- any more than it is falling over itself for ACTUAL Captain Marvel reprints. I mean, DC's semi-recent GREATEST SHAZAM STORIES EVER TOLD sold like 2400 copies into the Direct Market. I have a hard time seeing MARVELMAN reprints doing any better than that.

(Except MAYBE in the UK? Maybe? I dunno, we have any UK retailers/readers who have an opinion there?)

There's also the interesting question if DC would object to reprinting THAT material in the first place -- they possibly need to protect their Shazam! trademarks? I really don't know. The MIRACLEMAN material would seem to me to being sufficiently different from Shazam! but who can say if they want a direct, and well-acknowledged, rip-off of Shazam! to see print in the first place? *I* wouldn't, if I were DC/Time-Warner, especially if I had hope that a Shazam! movie or TV show could someday be made...

Maybe more importantly, I think RELAUNCHING "Marvelman" with musty reprints is nearly a sure way to kill market-interest in the Moore/Gaiman material before it even gets there. I wouldn't think it would be wise to reprint that old stuff until AFTER the Moore/Gaiman material is well into its reprint cycle. And, even then, it would still be pretty financially risky in my considered opinion.

I've been rereading the Moore material the last few days, and I have to say it, too, is somewhat problematic. Even putting aside some of the technical details (wow, those all have to be COMPLETELY re-lettered!!), the first few chapters are... well "weak" might be too strong a phrasing, but the material certainly isn't as strong as it's reputation.

The first few chapters are written in, like, 6 page chunks, and it very much reads that way. The first chapters are also Moore-before-his-prime, and read that way as well. They're certainly CLEVER, but they aren't GREAT. By 2010 standards of comics writing, the first book of MIRACLEMAN feels a little quaint and creaky and antiquated. I got a real sense of "Hm, I've read THAT before" (and not, smart-ass, from me literally reading it before!) because we've had 20 years of people reusing Moore's tricks and tropes since then.

Book two is really sadly choppy. There's part of me that thinks that maybe they even want to go so far as to redraw the Chuck Austen issues -- it isn't that it is BAD, but sandwiched between (early) Alan Davis and Rick Veitch, there's a definite "huh" factor that I don't think is going to hold up great in serialized reprinting (And they're be dumb NOT to serialize the reprint before they go to the inevitable hardcover and TP collections)

There's also, in book two, the vaguely racist Evelyn Cream, and his musings on "the White God" and all of that. It reads really weirdly in the 21st century. Plus, like, what the fuck was up with his sapphire teeth anyway?

Now book three... well, book three I'd hold up there with nearly anything else published in the last twenty years, or even anything else that Moore has written since. These are AMAZINGLY good comics: thoughtful, thrilling, and utterly game-changing. But is the modern audience willing to sit through somewhere between 9 and 11 not-as-good comics to get to that point?

On the Savage Critic scale, I think I might call book one OK, book two bouncing around a (low) GOOD, and book three absolutely EXCELLENT. But is the audience willing to wait? That's an open question, I very much think.

What do YOU think?