Tonight’s episode is all about Marvels. Before that however Tech talks about his experiences with Flash Season 2. We get on to comics with INVINCIBLE IRON MAN 12, featuring Riri, Victor, moms and school. It’s OK. INTERNATIONAL IRON MAN 6 Is all about stuff we don’t care about, and frankly, the whole adoption thing adds precisely dick all to the character. DAREDEVIL 10 still has DD eating crap from coworkers and that’s appropriate. BLACK PANTHER 5 features a mind blowingly bad decision T’challa makes that bites him in his ass later, to no one’s fuckin surprise. AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 16 and 18 has developments moving fast toward a new clone saga, which frankly I can do without. But it’s could and well paced. It also features a skanky super villainness junkie, so there’s that. DR. STRANGE 10 has a hell of a fight with the Empirikul and the future Mr Misery. HOWARD THE DUCK 10 is just Batshit. work from that. Ms. MARVEL 10 brings us the unlikley fight between Basic Becky in armor, from where the hell anyone knows, and a guest shot from a vaguely reassuring but always wrong Carol. CAPTAIN STEVE AMERICA 4 needs Maria to account for Pleasant Hill will Steve gives Selvig the lab he stole from Red Ghost. CAPTAIN MARVEL 8 is just, 22 pages of CAROL IS WRONG. Hell with it. SILVER SURFER 200 has the most serious twists you won’t expect, and sigh, SPOILER FUCKIN FREE, i was truly shocked. formula inverted. SPIDER WOMAN 10 has Jess and Rogetr vetting Ulysses visions, a theory that is really not as good as it might sound-and there’s another villain bar. We like villain bars.THOR 10-Sir Ivory Honeyshot. Wow. OK, Golden Thor, minotaur, book’s got it all. We complete the show with BLACK WIDOW 6; with Nat telling Tony that she was the one brought Yinsen to Chu. This angers him, and it’s a good scene.
Rev introduces his latest POP, Lemmy. If you don’t know who that is, then it’s just as well we’re quitting cause we don’t care about you. Tech brings us up to speed hahah with his viewing of the Flash show. We eventually get to the pointless fucking morass that are DC comics from August. We start with SUPERMAN 4 and 5 and the burning question of how soulds are weigned and what their energy is measured in. Bibbo’s back and that’s probably the saving grace of the new series. Batcave on the moon. Fuck You. WONDER WOMAN 4 and 5 is still the origin we just can’t get rid of. It’s fine, it’s not new. Diana commiserating in the middle of a jungle, although in character, seems like the wrong time. Steve’s dying, ’cause that’s really all he does. DETECTIVE 938 and 939 have the bat fam in a tight spot, Robin has a a tete-a-tete with a hacked, and that seriously bores me. Kate is nice, Jacob’s an asshole, and eventually Bruce just calls the President to get a good ole’ fuck you to Colonel Kane from him. ACTION COMICS 961 and 962 While Luthor and Supes handle Doomsday, sigh, again. Eventually DD gets sent to the phantom zone, and that’s probably the best place for him. Although that is already being set up and not worthwhile. LEGEND OF WONDER WOMAN 9 was probably the single best DC book this month, with loose Titans, and Gaia herself providing Diana the kick she needs to end the threat. It’s great. We end it all (and after these books, we really wish we could end it all…) with BATMAN 4and 5. The scenes with Duke and Gotham Girl are really good, but this numerological stuff is straight outta Encyclopedia Brown, and that’s shit. Gotham Girl starts fighting through the Psycho Pirate’s influence, and I liked that. Anyway, that’s the end of this ep but you don’t care, lolwhut.
See, here’s the deal: I love comics. I got into comics when I was 14-relatively late for most people my age, I know; but it ended up to be perfect timing-Miller’s DKR was mere months away, Crisis On Infinite Earths was just wrapping up, and both OHOTMU Deluxe and Marvel Saga had just kicked off, with DC Who’s Who running. Those two right there were so valuable in learning about the comics world of late 1985. I couldn’t, honestly, have understood a goddamned thing about comics without those. In younger years, I knew super heroes existed; there was The Incredible Hulk, Spider-Man, Batman and Wonder-Woman all on tv, live action, with corresponding cartoons all over the place. But you all know this.
What I never dreamed in 1985 was that I’d find comics not a crutch for life, not straight up escapism, (and yo, hand to god, I hate that fucking phrase) but a part of my entertainment taste I’d keep (so far) the rest of my life. We didn’t have a lot of outlets for comics in 1985 Connecticut. There was literally the General Store, Kenny’s, which had a lot, and 35 years later I’m no longer scared to admit-I stole a lot of issues from; there was the Madison bookstore, it’s proper name lost to the mists of time, (and yeah, it was probably Madison Bookstore) and, if we were really adventurous or a mother was particularly gracious with her time and gas, Arrow’s Attic in Essex-a good 22 mile round trip on bicycles. So anyway, all through high school I was able to indulge myself on Claremont, Byrne, Miller, Romitas, Zeck, Maguire, Simonson, Colan, oh god, so many amazing artists and writers because of my job at the restaurant, and under the table pay, and incredibly unethical time-keeping practices kept me in comics-dough.
Invariably I amassed probably 6 long boxes in those years; 1/4 of what I have now, but it was only 4 years, what can I say. Also invariably, I started learning about the industry-through the amazing resource that was Comics Buyer’s Guide. For years before Hero and Wizard, long, long before internet, this was the single reliable, frequent way to get the inside shit to comics. And here’s the kicker about that-it was honest and they considered themselves the old school version of journalists. None of this Bleeding Cool crap. But that’s for another time.
What I’m trying to get across is that I’ve been involved for a very long time and I’ve indulged differing levels of involvement. After a more than 8 year forced-financial hiatus from comics, 2007 came, and I heard there was a new comic shop just a couple miles away-and it all re-ignited. I couldn’t get enough. The ridiculousness and over the top horseshit from the 90s was gone-there was Bendis and Brubaker and Phillips and Maleev; and honestly, comics in the last ten years are better than any I’ve ever read. Spidey is kicking so much ass, Captain America has proven a viable property again, Ms Marvel is the goddamned Arkenstone-and the Image books-my god, if you told us in 1996 that we’d be buying almost as many Image books as Marvel, we’d have laughed you out of the room. So comics…goddamn, I love them.
But here’s the real point. Eventually at cons like NYCC, I noticed another outlet for comics opinion, news and analysis-podcasts. For a long time I had heard about the existence of podcasts, but I frankly wrote them off as…I don’t even know what I wrote them off as, ’cause I thought they were for Ipod owners, and I thought those guys were pretentious jerks. I didn’t that know anyone could produce or listen to a podcast just because they were mp3s. Had no idea. I talked to podcasts like Ian Levenstein and the guys from Raging Bullets; wonderful guys, listen to their shows, seriously. So since my best friend is too goddamned lazy to help a guy out with his vision of a Star Wars fan film, I pressed him into service as the *ahem* “talent” of a podcast. Podcasting is funny. Making a show seems easy, and all the people claiming to know how to promote one all say the same stuff-but I’m here to tell you, you also have to have pretty amazing content, and you have to have such insane luck. So that right there is the crux. There’s a prevailing attitude that all you have to do is “put yourself out there” and you’ll get the attention you “deserve”. When we started, the consensus was that there were probably around 200 comics podcasts. Easy to make a mark. Now, there’s almost that just as a part of Comics Podcast Network. It’s nearly uncountable. After seven full years releasing podcasts, I’ve come to the conclusion that we’ve hit just that-the attention we deserve.
I’ve come across a piece of log-reading software that finally gives me a proper view of our download activity, page visits, and bot activity, and boy howdy, we must suck! In previous years I was misled as to downloads by poor charting and logging presentation-and simple arithmetic to divide total bandwidth by size of latest episode. That gave me a rosier and more positive view than could reasonably be expected of our popularity.
I loved podcasting. I loved getting together as often as possible with my best pal and talking about comics in “real” ways-complaining. Now, I was a soldier and generally my attitude was one of “it’s a soldiers’ God-given right to complain”. So that’s what I did on my podcast. People don’t want that shit, no matter how funny you make it, or what bits of ethical and moral hoo-ha and comics history you intersperse with it. And after a while, realizing who the most probable listeners to our bitching were-man, I don’t want to appeal to those people anymore. We started as The Mean Geek-which we ourselves perceived more as Howard Stern than random assholes. Our marketing guy suggested, rightly, that modifying the name would help-and it sorta did, as we became TMG_Cast. But on an absolute level, the bump in listenership did not equate to bumps in feedback. And that bump turned out to be transient at best. We straight up don’t know if more than eight people like anything we have to say. And that’s not even exaggerating. Regular feedback for us is right about eight people. We can’t even generate enough ire to get a hearty “go fuck yourself, Brett Blevins is the greatest artist going!”
There’s a tremendous amount of effort to be placed in the creation, distribution, and promotion of a podcast. You can just sit around a shitty mic at the kitchen table, with some ridiculous echo overriding anything you say, have some half assed cousin of the guy that only shows up every twelve episodes make you music, and you can only set yourself up on Libsyn and hope. You can do all that-but you’re never going to be noticed.
So you end up spending all kinds of money on websites; on lots of different microphones; on mixing equipment; on software; on Skype numbers. You spend a lot of money on website memberships; on promotional materials; on gigantic vinyl signs; on scaffolding to support those signs; on booths at cons, on flights to get to those cons, on promotional materials to show people at those cons. You talk to a lot of people you’ll never see again, you talk till you’re blue in the face. You’ll interview and interview and interview. You’ll buy stuff you don’t want anything to do with so you can make the appearance that you don’t *just* want filler time for your con episode. You’ll spend postage sending out hundreds of (albeit bad) comics from your own collection because you know someone wants to read those and will love them.
And you know what happens after that?
Podcasting and the promotion of podcasting has taken up so much time that now reading comics is a chore. Literally. Reading the comics I love is now an actual job task in the service of the show. It’s secondary, even tertiary, to getting people to notice what you’re fucking saying about those books. I get a shipment of 50-60 books the last week of the month. Under optimal circumstances, it might take 2-3 days to read them. But notes and analyses and opinions have to be written and formed on each and every one of them; drawing things out to a week or more. It’s work. And I don’t want reading comics to be fucking work. The practical solution to that is to cut back books, or to cut back the books we talk about. Which seems the right way to go, but listening to other shows go through one book an episode, sometimes page by page and panel by panel is annoying and ridiculous and stupid. So the shotgun/machine gun approach suited us. But I’ve come to dread the summaries; come to dread the writing. Come to dread the interminable process. Merely knocking it down in scale would no longer be sufficient.
I’ve had to learn Apache, php, and WordPress. I’ve had to buy storage and bandwidth. I’ve had to learn Skype, Sandra, and xml. I’ve paid for avatars to put on websites and badges; we’ve stood in front of, after all these cons, probably 150,000 people. Not once in seven years has anyone come up to us and said “oh, yeah, I heard of you guys!” Not once have I handed out a card and gotten an email or tweet back. Not once.
We appreciate you eight. We really do. It’s a bit of a thrill to have someone come back and say “that was some funny shit about Power Girl 12”. It opened up some connectivity and Chris, Jon, Mike, Josh, James, John, Spacechief, Dani-we consider you pals. Honestly. But I have to weigh all the effort above versus all the other things there is to be done in life. I want to make more Trooper Johnson. I want to read novels again. I want to build Lego and play Arkham Origins and I want to build fucking Macross VF-1S models. I want to up my investing. Also, and this is really the single biggest goddamned thing-I want to spend time with my best friend talking about SOMETHING BESIDES COMICS AND A SHOW FOR ONCE, GODDAMMIT.
I could say a lot more, and I have, actually-I’ve deleted 3 paragraphs devolving into whiney assed lists of things I do to no point to get the show out. But nah, there’s no purpose to that either. The final point is that getting recognized in podcasting has taken up so much time that it’s now an overriding concern for my whole life-and I don’t want that. I’m going back to just reading comics. Maybe making some. At least when I put out a page of Trooper Johnson on Instagram, someone has something to say about it. I actually got a “goddamn that’s cool!” this week.
So goodbye, kids. It’s been fun. It’s been a pretty amazing experience, but it’s time has come and gone. We will finish out episodes for books released through 2016, hopefully with all eps published no later than 5 March 2017-our eighth anniversary.
Bless you, Fuckers….and Away!
Adrian TechJedi Hunter
With Bill Reverend Mad Duck McGuinness
Since there are so fewer Star Wars books now, this is the last time we do them all at once. After this, we’ll mix them with DC to fill out that dwindling episode. Rev reveals the Wookie story book from 1979, and I’m close to mutilating him to get it. We get down to STAR WARS 22 and 23, bringing a spectacular space battle for the Harbinger. 23 reveals the reason 21 happened, setting up the situation on Tureen, and the plan to steal this ISD. After theorizing about Sgt Kreel’s Bad Assed Squad of Badasses we jump to DARTH VADER 24. It’s pure “I am Vader, and Fuck This”. That’s all you need. POE DAMERON 5 and 6 has Poe trying to deal with Grakkus, and Terex makes double cross deals with crime bosses. BB8 throwqs down like a champ on a security droid, and disengages the prison’s artificial gravity, winning the day. Terex has to eat some shit from Phasma, but resolves to strike off on his own to pursue Poe. We finish off with HAN SOLO 3-The Imperials pull some weight and threaten the race-and the race admin threaten to cut off fuel to the Empire. It all works out. Turnabout is spare play as Ace helps out Han, and that’s where we call it even.
TJ missed the premiere of Supergirl, and wonders about why Lex has to be there. Mentions S2 of Gotham; all while watching “Pod”, about a freakazoid living in the woods. It’s better we don’t have the sound up. July Marvels eventually come into play, starting with BLACK PANTHER 4, whihc is hugely dense, incredibly talky, and unplumbably deep. BLACK WIDOW 5 completes the backfiring of doublecrossing and blackmailing, with the Weeping Lion releasing private info-starting with Tony. INTERNATIONAL IRON MAN 5 features Howard’s funeral, where Fury fails to convince tony Howard loved him. INVINCIBLE IRON MAN 11 goes corporate, as the board hires Ghost to break into Tony’s lab, whom they have declared dead. SPIDER-WOMAN 9 is the All Wendigo All The Time until Carol interferes and becomes a giant ass to her best friend issue. SILVER SURFER 5 has a planet grateful enough to SS that they shower him with privileges, titles, and gifts. It freaks him out, and Uatu2 confirms he’s wiped all of Zenn-La from all memory. DAREDEVIL 9 is a team up book we like with Spidey making an appearance, but Pete doesn’t trust him anymore because of the mystical whozwhatsis re-hiding his identity. AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 15 Iron Spider-MJ to the rescue. That’s where I’ll leave that. HOWARD 9 reveals that Mojo has been kidnapping Lea Thompson, and that’s goddamned genius. STEVE-CAP 3 is incredibly convoluted and Rick Jones is a hacker elite and that drives me nuts. CAPTAIN MARVEL 7 is the trial of Carol Danvers number 14. the whole book is just a long exposition of “Carol is right!” THOR 9 has 14 different things happening, as Oubliette tortures Agger, the SHIELD agents serve Cul with warrants, and the Agger Imperative is in effect. We end it all with MS. MARVEL 9, where the overzealous Carolteens apprehend Josh-and their complete lack of understanding civil rights send Kamala to talk to Carol. The teens’ out of nowhere uniforms are a tad on the nose, we think as well.
TechJedi proves jsut how extensive his sports knowledge is, and that’s damn little. We explicitly make known our anticipation of both a new Batwoman book and the WOOHOO! RETURN OF UBER!. TechJedi loves the second season of Gotham, even though Jim Gordon needs to come back to the side of the Angels. TJ finally finishes Deep Suck Nine. Rev watches Supergirl, so that’s a start. We mention the latest Midtown Sale; eventually we get to July indies, and we start with the masterpiece of weirdness that is MANIFEST DESTINY 21, which is all Squatch all the Time. HARROW COUNTY 14 brings to the fore Emmi’s “kin”, other pseudo witches and magical beings, and of course there’s an agenda. MIDNIGHT OF THE SOUL 2 begins the chase to find his wife, meeting instead Patsy. PTSD steps in..SHADOW-DEATH OF MARGO LANE 2 has Shadow in a tight spot, and Margo goes out bad ass. EMPRESS 3,4-issue 2’s cliffhanger gets resolved in both disgusting and awesome ways, The Emperor goes all scorched earth looking for the fam, a serious amount of plot and action occurs and it’s worth your dough. PREDATOR, ALIENS, DREDD 1 presents Dr Rheinshtott harvesting facehuggers, injured Yaujta, and THE LAW. ROM 1 is too basic and setty-uppy to really say much about, but it’s ok. DESCENDER 13 is Telsa’s story-and as high quality as it is, it’s pretty standard. AMERICAN MONSTER 4 pretty much continues to make no sense, and is probably our last issue. LOBSTER JOHNSON METAL MONSTERS OF MID-TOWN 3 concludes the standard wackiness in high fashion and pleases us. CONAN THE SLAYER 1 is, jeez, once more, standard Conan, but likable standard Conan, not boring standard Conan. REVIVAL 41 begins the build up to countdown hard, with Dana and Em cornered, Amish Ninjas to the rescue, and rioting getting out of hand…RAGNAROK 9 has the Fire Demons defeated, and the mythology of goats. VELVET 15 ends it all-go read it. Go buy it. That’s where we’ll leave it. Ending it all is Sabrina 6, the strange and twisted tales fo the familiars. That concludes episode 260, now fuck off.
We two goof off for a bit and mention current tv watching trends. TechJedi talks about his experience with the new Ghostbusters. We watch MOST LIKELY TO DIE. It’s a about as good as it sounds. Eventually it comes down to another DC Week, Starting with LEGEND OF WONDER WOMAN 7+8 featuring some amazing Nazi ass-kicking. Lord Deception kicks around, Diana gives up her power, and through much plot contrivance, Diana, and the Holiday Girls fly into combat culminating in the activation of…A TITAN! We move on to POISON IVY 6, the final issue, with the standard mad-scientist origin, the standard big fight, a fake out death, and the single most boring end page ever-let’s get on a bus, bye. SWAMPT HING 6 ends the torture with Arcane revealed, Stranfer, Spectre, and Zatanna fighting the good fight, and some pretty nice stuff between Stranger and Swampy talking about his place in the universe. DKIII number 5 show Bruce in his final prep for the BIG BATTLE, the mob incited by Kandorians, Carrie and Arthur release Clark, and it’s all comin to a head. ASTRO CITY 36/37 continues the unbroken and pristine streak of comics perfection, completing the backstory of Mr Drama and the motivation for Drama Queen avenging him. The palate cleansing issue is the music history of Astro City, and it’s pretty damn cool. Additioanlly we talk about BATMAN 2 and 3, WONDER WOMAN 2 and 3, DETECTIVE 936 and 937, SUPERMAN 2, and kick it all out the door with ACTION 959.
YAY STAR TREK!!! We talk everything we know and like and hate about Star Trek for it’s 50th Anniversary! Then we talk some comics but whatevs. We watch “Spiders!” which is just the weirdest. Eventually we get to the June Marvels. We begin with AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 13 and 14; It’s really all Regent’s story, starting with Orka attacking, Pete ditching business work, and the ridiculously comedic and heartwarming one upsmanship with Pete and Tony, but poor Miles suffers for it. It’s genius and fun and action packed. Make sure you read it. DR STRANGE 9 feature the startling revelation of the Empirikul facing the horrible Stephen creature, the theft of the Ancient One’s bones, and Stephen’s turn at Robin Hood. BLACK WIDOW 4 has an old mentor of Nat’s, Iosef, tending her wounds, and providing all the cool old spy-tech to get her into the base, and gets confronted by Anya, now rival, formal friend. It’s good stuff and worthwhile. DAREDEVIL 8 pleases us with a Casino Royale riff, and that’s what you should take away and go buy it for. HOWARD 8 is a pretty great issue, with Howard visiting Bev, who still adores him, and an attacking Sentinel. AVENGERS 10 is a pretty cool bit of character, with the team in space, kamala fangirling, Miles nervous and….ANNIHILUS! SPIDER-WOMAN 8 continues to please us immensely with a nice twist on Tiger Shark, of all possible fucking villains, and Roger the Porcupine amusing us. MS MARVEL 8 present al cool story of Kamala’s grandparents. Character and feelling run through every issue and if you don’t read Ms Marvel, you’re a terrible human being and hate comics. THOR 8 has some big business intrigue that doesn’t quite make it to over the top, but is pretty close, and watching bunches of villains going ‘hey, you’re ruinin’ our game’ is just awesome. INTERNATIONAL IRON MAN 4 shows us that yes, all the expected betrayals really were so, Tony starts the hunt for his birth parent documents, and Cassie and Tony actually have a nice heart to heart. It’s a good issue. INVINCIBLE IRON MAN 10-Tony is a Spidey mask-that’s all I got to say. Steve Rogers-Captain America 2 shows us the breaking of the Cube that created Kobik, Kobik fixing Sin’s face, and the obvious and called by TechJedi the second the news story broke revelation that Kobik recreated Cap’s entire history retroactively. CAPTAIN MARVEL 6 kicks off the real meat of Carol’s involvement in Civil War. She’s WRONG, and that’s the official position of TMGCAST. We finish off with BLACK PANTHER 3, is as dense as lead. Packed to the ceiling with high concepts and vengeance, it’s almost too much to jam into one issue, particularly this early on,. but damn it’s good.
It’s the Star Wars episode, and the timing is weird because now Kenny Baker is dead. We talk about the fun that was Terrificon-with sigs, books, pals, stories, man. Especially fun was the Dan Slott writing story. We watch DragonFyre with a Y! Eventually we get to the Star Wars books with the new HAN SOLO1- which, initially, seems far out of character-until the race across the galaxy brings the brash out. POE DAMERON 2, 3, 4 presents us with egg hatching gods, Imperial agents, dogfights, and Lor Sen Tekka’s next stop. Then Poe and company become captives of the Hutts-There’s some small romantic scenes, and the triumphant return of GRAKKUS THE HUTT! STAR WARS 19 finishes up Rebel Prison, and the end making fun of both Luke and Han was worth everything. STAR WARS 20 then switches gears back to Obi-Wan’s history-featuring Black Krrsntan tracking Ben down through Owen and Luke. Ben is summarily beaten senseless, till Luke drives Krrsntan off. STAR WARS 21give us teh newly bad-ass Sergeant Kreel and his Elite Squad of White Armored BAD ASSES. You don’t need anymore than that. Except the lightsabre! DARTH VADER 21-23–it’s all coming to a head as Aphra is apprehended, Vader has to take out a Star Destroyers’ worth of troops, fights the cyber-rancor to a standstill, and there’s just massive intensive awesomeness every page. We eventually shoehorn the boring and execrable Obi-Wan and Anakin 5 last ish that we so don’t care about it.
The Rev tells us about his Suicide Squad watch. It takes a long time to get through. But eventually we get to the June DCs, being: ACTION COMICS 957-958-which confuses the crap out of us. Honestly. We dunno where the kid comes from. We dunno why Clark is dead, or even WHICH ONE IS DEAD. That’s poor. Doomsday is back again, but that ship has sailed. WONDER WOMAN 1 is all about Diana, in the jungle, on walkabout, trying to find the jungle oracle to reveal herself. Followed by animal men and…CHEETAH! AQUAMAN 1 is the same as all other Aquaman 1’s-a lot of set and Black Manta attacks. FLASH 1 teams Barry with Bats and Wally makes his appearance. He wanders, morose, that he can’t do more FOR JUSTICE!. It’s ok but it’s not exactly an award winner from our perspective. GREEN LANTERNS, PLURAL 1 brings Simon and Jessica to what was supposed to be an alien crime scene, but end up with a hobo with a shotgun. DETECTIVE 934 and 935 Is Bats kickin Azraels ass, and I’m fine with that-but that’s where I drop off. Gotham’s heroes are under observation-by COLONY! BATMAN 1 is now the second Batman #1 I own, and I’m still not rich, so what does THAT tell ya. Bruce officially gains the capability to completely ignore fuckin all physics, including comics style. It’s too much, frankly. Batman is not fucking Maud ‘Dib riding a goddamed sandworm. Bah. SUPERMAN 1 The Kents move in and rebuild the farm, and kid-supes meets the neighbor girl. GREEN ARROW 1 continues the Rebirth 1 story with human trafficking and Ollie and Dinah’s relationship rocketing forward despite their manufactured disagreements. We close it off there for another week.