Podcast - Episode 111: Favourite Single Issues (Part 1)


This week we tasked ourselves with each choosing five of our favourite single comic book issues. It was not easy, but between us we have a pretty solid list of ten comics. Because it was so challenging to get it down to so few, we are probably going to make this a recurring episode theme. Maybe monthly? I dunno.

Here are the lists, so you can head to your local shop and hunt them down:


Avengers #154
GI Joe #21
Doom Patrol #19
Tom Strong #1
Eightball #22


Jonah Hex #50
Captain America (and Bucky) #620
All-Star Superman #5
Wolverine Weapon X #11
Batman Legends of the Dark Knight #125

And here's that very important Jeremy Renner Instagram post:

Good stuff. 

Alright, we will see you next week! Thanks for listening!

Podcast - Episode 53: Wilson

Week three of the book club and we are talking about Wilson by Daniel Clowes! Because we can't talk about super heroes all the time!

We do talk about super heroes a lot in this episode, though. We read a whole lot of comics that we discuss, including Sam Wilson Captain America #11, Batman #2, Superman #1, Justice League #1, The Fix #4, Green Arrow #2, Green Lanterns #2 and more!

We also talk about the statue of (Steve Rogers) Captain America that is going to be installed in Brooklyn to commemorate the character's 75th anniversary (and, um, 5th year of being from Brooklyn). You can read more about that here. Here is the image of the concept for the statue:

"I'm just a kid from Brooklyn." Alright. Whatever. Fine.

But just imagine a statue based on Kirby's art in the Lower East Side. Right? Right?


Here's that hilarious "candid" photo of true, real, authentic, unstaged love from Taylor Swift's Fouth of July party:

Ryan Reynolds in that photo is my favourite thing.

And here's that Tom Holland selfie from the set of Spider-Man:

I'm gonna keep this post short because I am writing it way in advance before I leave for NYC.  I recommend listening to the Daniel Clowes interview on the WTF podcast with Marc Maron. And please do read (or re-read) Batman: Hush for next week because we have so much to say about it. We are very excited to talk about this one.

Dave's Faves of 2010! Well Into 2011, Even!

This should have ideally been finished and posted somewhere around, oh, December, but general holiday craziness (and ongoing work on my comic Slam-A-Rama, on sale now!) kept me from compiling a list of my favourite comics of 2010. Better late than never, eh? Anyways, here goes. In no particular order...


STRANGE SCIENCE FANTASY By Scott Morse (IDW): Definitely not for everybody, but this six-part mini almost single-handedly restored my faith in single-issue comic books in 2010. Genres collide in this loving mash-up of sci-fi, film noir, and any number of other styles and tropes that might have at one point or other influenced Morse. The perfect antidote to Big Two event fatigue (see my original review here).


ELMER By Gerry Alanguilan (SLG): This absurdist fable imagines a world where chickens have gained the ability to think and speak, and chronicles their ensuing struggle for civil rights. Alanguilan's highly detailed, expressive artwork perfectly realizes the concept's equal potential for both humour and horror (see my original review here).


SET TO SEA By Drew Weing (Fantagraphics Books): A gentle giant of a poet is abducted into a life of high-seas adventure, with scary and ultimately uplifting results. This handsome little hardcover tells a story in full-page illustrations, in an intricately-detailed style reminiscent of conflicting influences like Tony Millionaire, Eric Shanower, Craig Thompson, and Steve Purcell. A special LBW shout-out goes to my pal Chris MacLaren to recommending this one to me after it initially flew under my radar.


THE SIXTH GUN By Cullen Bunn and Brian Hurtt (Oni Press): The weird, wild West comes alive in this supernatural oat opera. A roguish thief and an innocent young girl join forces to prevent the forces of evil from taking possession of six magically-endowed pistols, possibly at the cost of their own souls. A more rewarding monthly read than most offerings from the big two, but the first six are available in trade paperback form now too.


PARKER: THE OUTFIT By Darwyn Cooke (IDW): It’s hard to imagine how Cooke could have stepped up his game any further after his initial Richard Stark adaptation, The Hunter (see my review here), but this latest Parker caper effortlessly blows its predecessor away. Parker’s criminal fraternity wages war on the organized crime cartel of the book’s title, and the myriad of cons and stick-ups are presented in a dazzling array of different artistic styles.


THOR: THE MIGHTY AVENGER By Roger Langridge and Chris Samnee (Marvel): I hate that I live in a world where a book as charming and fun as this can’t even get a lousy twelve-issue commitment from its publisher. Marvel would likely blame it on the poor sales of all-ages books, but I’m gonna say it has more to do with the roughly eighteen zillion other Thor titles this book had to compete with for shelf space and reader dollars. It’s a damn shame, because this is easily the best of them. This freshly reimagined origin story for the Thunder God is a true "all ages" book--meaning, it's a great read for anybody, no matter their age or gender.


OFFICER DOWNE By Joe Casey and Chris Burnham (Image): The hyper-violent offspring of books like Judge Dredd and Marshal Law, this double-sized Image one-shot, starring an unkillable (or, at least, easily resuscitated) supercop, takes the prize for intricately-drawn carnage (see my original review here).


WILSON By Daniel Clowes (Drawn & Quarterly): Soon to be a film from Alexander Payne (Sideways, About Schmidt), this chronicle of an aging, disaffected loner trying desperately to connect with his estranged wife and daughter deepens with every re-reading. Come for the one-page Sunday Funnies styles, stay for the crippling emotional despair! (See my original review here.)


ATLAS By Jeff Parker and Gabriel Hardman (Marvel): I figure this latest relaunch of the revived 1950s-superteam-that-never-was (which I previously praised here) probably suffered as much from having a “Heroic Age” banner atop it as its previous incarnation (Agents of Atlas) did from having a “Dark Reign” banner atop it (take a note, Marvel, line-wide banners don’t encourage new readers, they drive them away!). Either way, five issues isn’t nearly enough to savour the globe-spanning fun of a team that featured a talking gorilla, a spaceman, and a 3D Man (among others). Let’s hope these guys make their way back into the spotlight sooner rather than later.


"Snapshot: Revelation!" from DC UNIVERSE: LEGACIES #8, By Len Wein and Frank Quitely (DC): A reasonably faithful 10-page retelling of NEW GODS #1 (with some other assorted Fourth World recaps thrown in for good measure). For straight-up clarity, call it the anti-FINAL CRISIS. And Quitely drawing Kirby's New Gods? Get outta my dreams, DC UNIVERSE: LEGACIES! Kudos to Mr. Quitely for drawing the most hideous “true face” of Orion I’ve ever seen—dude looks like he just snuck a peek into the Ark of the Covenant:


"I Presume Those Are Tears Of Happiness?"

Me: “Hey, Dan Clowes has a new graphic novel coming out from Drawn & Quarterly! It’s called Wilson!”

Tiina: “Oh yeah? Is it another story about an isolated, socially awkward weirdo?”

Me: “…”

 Okay, so Clowes’ new book isn’t exactly a big departure for the Eightball cartoonist. Like Ice Haven, it’s composed of a series of shorter strips that, when read together, compose a larger narrative. Like Ghost World, it wanders the streets of a small town that is slowly turning into yet another strip mall. And yes, like pretty much everything else Clowes has done, it stars an arrogant, acid-tongued loner who longs for the comfort of simpler times while looking down his nose at everyone around him. There are certain themes and tropes that we’ve come to expect from the trailblazing cartoonist who, along with Chris Ware, Adrian Tomine, and Peter Bagge, came to define alternative comics in the 1990s, and honestly, a huge departure would have been fairly jarring at this point. It would be like Lars Von Trier suddenly deciding to make a G-rated comedy.

The star of Wilson is an aging, bitter malcontent, disgusted with nearly everything and everyone around him, with the exception of his beloved dog Pepper. When his father—his last living blood relative (that he knows of at this point)—dies of cancer, a suddenly despondent Wilson attempts to reconnect with his ex-wife, who informs him that the two have a now-teenaged daughter who was given up for adoption at birth. The tentatively-reconciled couple track down their daughter—a sullen creep not unlike her old man—and what begins as an uneasy family reunion almost casually morphs into a kidnapping. This is followed by incarceration, a marriage of convenience, further isolation, and a final, long-sought-after, last-page spiritual revelation that has most likely arrived way too late.


Each page of Wilson reads as an individual comic strip, rendered in its own style and colour palette, capped by a punchline that is usually either profane or heartbreaking, or both. The various cartoon styles keep things fresh as the impossible-to-like protagonist becomes more and more unpleasant. That’s not to say that Clowes doesn’t manage to evoke some sympathy for his title character—there’s a devastating (yet still kind of funny) scene near the end when the visibly aging Wilson desperately attempts to connect with his grandson via Skype; Wilson chirps happily at the kid, who is only interested in “playing the catapilla game” on the computer. Wilson is a character who, like Enid in Ghost World, willfully refuses to become a member of society, perennially disgusted by the dying bookstore market, the internet, and the proliferation of nail salons in his neighbourhood. We laugh at Wilson’s antisocial observations, while recognizing that his is a cautionary tale; if you stand outside the rest of the world long enough, you may be forever denied re-entry.


Wilson is Clowes’ first book with Canadian publisher Drawn & Quarterly, and it’s a handsome hardcover volume.  However, the $21.95 price tag for 77 pages of story may be a little off-putting for some consumers. It may make you long for the days when guys like Clowes actually put out individual issues to be collected in a volume like this later, but that’s just the way the business is headed, I guess—when your periodicals only usually move a few thousand copies or so, it makes more financial sense to put the whole work out as a completed volume. Still, given the choice between several ad-ridden installments of the latest Marvel or DC crossover or an attractive, oversized hardcover that someone clearly put a few years worth of work into, I’d go with Wilson any day. The territory it covers may be familiar, but Clowes certainly knows his way around it by now.