Podcast - Episode 147: Hellboy Omnibus vol 1

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We're back! Are you ready for another installment of the Living Between Wednesdays summer book club?

We read the first Hellboy omnibus, which is basically perfect in every way.

We also talk about all the news from SDCC (well, some of the news, anyway), and about James Gunn, which is a whole confusing thing.

Next week we are talking about my beloved Super Sons! HANEY 4 LIFE!!!!!

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Podcast - Episode 120: Creator-owned Characters


This week we are looking at some of our favourite creator-owned characters. Basically this episode is a convenient way to talk about some characters who have barely gotten a mention on this podcast in the past. Characters like Nexus, Madman, Grendel, Bone, and Martha Washington.

I don't do a good job at all of describing what I love about Nexus in this episode. I blame a lack of sleep, and a brain that has been knocked around my skull due to constant coughing fits for the past three weeks. But trust me when I say, Nexus is amazing and everyone should read it. Also: he's a total dreamboat.

I have no time to write a blog post this week, but here are a couple of quick things:

You should read Mackenzi Lee's YA novel, The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue. It's a fun adventure story and a truly sweet and sexy romance. The audiobook is great, if you prefer those. I can't wait for her Loki book.

I have my author website and Twitter account set up now, so you can check those out if you like. Not much content yet, but I did post this short piece I wrote about my childhood determination to play hockey in a town that had no girls' hockey team.

Thanks for listening! See you next week to talk alllllll about The Last Jedi!

Podcast - Episode 57: Cosmic Odyssey

DCAF is over and Dave and I had a nice time! We recorded via Skype this week because I have somehow injured my neck and cannot drive. I think I'm really getting the hang of this Skype recording stuff, though. Sounds good!

It's week 7 of our summer book club and we read the 1988 DC space adventure, Cosmic Odyssey, by Jim Starlin and Mike Mignola. It really is great. We poke fun at it a lot in this episode, but we sincerely both love it.

Here is that article in the Washington Post I was talking about that talks about fan entitlement and the importance of submitting to the vision of the artist.

Here's the birthday tweet Chris Evans posted for Sebastian Stan that made news headlines (for some reason):

Here is the sketch that Michael Cho did for me of Captain America (dreaming about Bucky):

And here's the Plastic Man sketch he did for Mitchell:

Both totally excellent. We're very happy.

Speaking of happy, I was very excited to receive a package in the mail this week from our pal J.Bone! It included this ADORABLE little sketch of The Summer Soldier:

@originaljbone gives me the best presents. 💕 #wintersoldier

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The Stucky fanzine by Jess Fink and Yuko Ota is, I believe, no longer available. But you can check out their awesome Tumblr sites, which will lead you to other great stuff you can read or buy: Jess Fink and Yuko Ota

Anyway, it's full of cute stuff like this:

I did buy a Winter Soldier dinky car, because obviously. On the Instagram post, Dave asked Steve Epting if he knew about this thing. He replied! He owns one himself. I like to think he means a full-size version. Like, that car is Steve Epting's ride.

JUST LIKE IN THE COMICS!!!! #wintersoldier

A photo posted by Living Between Wednesdays (@livingbetweenwednesdays) on

What a weird thing.

And, of course, I also got a hot Wal-Mart exclusive Winter Soldier figure.

Got a new boyfriend. Wal-Mart exclusive. #wintersoldier

A photo posted by Living Between Wednesdays (@livingbetweenwednesdays) on

And I am totally not putting him in weird, somewhat sexy scenes with my Captain America figure. 

Valium is a really good drug.

Here's the panel from Cosmic Odyssey that really cracks me up:

"What? Oh, I don't care about that anymore. Look at this computer thing I did..."

Next week we're reading and discussing Batgirl: Year One/Robin: Year One

John Buys Many Comics But Only Has Eyes For One

This was a very good week for me, comics-wise. New Tick, new King City, new Astro CityStumptown, Secret Six and I, Zombie, Strange Science Fantasy and Gorilla-Man. Any one of these is enough to make me happy and a week that includes all of them makes me feel like I might have done an especially excellent good deed while I wasn’t looking and this is my reward. I’d better find an old lady to conspicuously help across the street, just in case.

Despite this bounty of riches, though, the thing that [really] got me going yesterday was the fact that The Amazing Screw-On Head and Other Curious Objects was there, just waiting for me to shell out some dough and take it home.

If you’ve never read Mike Mignola because you weren’t that into horror comics, or because you’re daunted by the volume of material in the Hellboy library, or for no good reason at all, you should check this out. First of all, while it’s not exactly light and fluffy, it’s lighter and fluffier than Mignola’s other books, and it’s damn funny as well. It's his atmospheric, portentious horror done as an absurdist farce (and I guess that's the reason to read it if you do already read Hellboy), complete with zombie Prussians, Victorian pseudoscience and TNT-powered rocket transports.

Secondly, this is it. There are no other Screw-On Head stories, and tragic as that may be it makes it very easy to catch up. And fourthly, the “other curiosities” of the title are similarly absurd and irreverent and include both a new tale featuring Emperor Zombie's unfortunate companion Dr Snap and "The Magician and the Snake", a comic co-written by Mignola's then-7-year old daughter Katie. 

I’ve been carting my floppy version of the Screw-On Head comic around for years. It’s been from one end of this country to the other with me. It may be the first thing that Dave ever convinced me to buy. And the reason that I have never left it behind or shoved it up in my parents' attic or failed to retrieve it from a friend's grubby mitts is because it is delightful. I own a lot of comics and I love a lot of those comics but for sheer every-damn-time joy it's basically The Amazing Screw-On Head and Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen No. 72. 

Now if you'll excuse me, I must go and read it again.

Bat and Switch

As I'm sure basically nobody noticed, I haven't done any weekly reviews for the last couple of weeks. June seems to be a pretty by-the-books month as far as the comics that I'm buying is concerned - the good series are maintaining their goodness and the less-good series aren't driving me to the heights of nerd-rage necessary for a tirade. 

I did, however, pick up Batman No. 700 this week. I'd passed on buying it last week out of despair over missing the Mike Mignola variant cover (not only is Mignola the only person to ever make me care about variant covers, he's the only person to inspire true collector's lust in my breast. I will someday track down all Mignola covers, this I swear). Good ol' Dave worked some magic, though, and now I have this beauty:

After a week of reviews of the thing, I was expecting some sort of explosive mess, but what I found was a pretty danged enjoyable Batman yarn. Granted, it suffered the common Morrison comic problem of having 1.5 to 2 comic worth of plot and ideas crammed into a single issue, compounded by the slightly galling pinup section - not that the pinups weren't great, but a little more story space or even a couple extra future Batmen (Batmaniacs? Batman Year 100?) would have been great.

But this isn't really a review of that comic. No, it's merely an elaborate segue. And not a very good one, either, because it's based on the fact that I read a review that critiqued the plot of Batman 700 and maybe called into question just how much sense some aspects of it made. And even though I can no longer find or remember where I read that review, I'm still going to respond to it by taking a look at the Batman story in Detective Comics No. 422, and a plot element that blows reason completely out of the water.

The story in question is set during the period in which Robin has gone off to college and Bruce Wayne has left his stuffy old manor and its associated cave for the hurly-burly life of downtown Gotham. We find him relaxing in his penthouse apartment, when suddenly a plot hook in the shape of a trucker comes bursting in:

Despite the guy's general craziness, Bruce elects to look into this and other truck disappearances. Possibly because he owns a lot of stock in the company, but probably not. Probably. He finds some truckers, beats them up and gets a quick crash course in the art of the long haul.

Trucker Batman reasons that the missing men were drugged somehow and abducted under the cover of their hallucinations. He dons a truly majestic outfit and starts hitting likely spots:

... and hopefully hasn't been stopping at a lot of places, because he acts like a total dick.

It's considered polite to find a potted plant, Bruce.

Batman hits the road, starts hallucinating - that's right, the fact that he was completely wrong about the coffee just adds insult to injury - shakes off the effects and finds out how the trucks have been disappearing:

And here's the first of two very strange things about this comic. The reason that these trucks were stolen and sunk at sea, at presumably great expense and via a complicated plot?


You heard the man: his trucks were manufactured with a defective break line and rather than issue a recall he chose to commit multiple acts of murder-by-proxy. I want you to pay attention to this, everyone who was complaining about Toyota a couple of months ago. I'll bet you'd have cut them more slack if you'd known that they had rejected the option of drugging everyone who had a defective car and then dumping them in the ocean via helicopter, eh?

Strange/insane as the reason for this crime is, it's actually one of the means by which it was committed that I want to point out. Specifically, the drugging. Batman didn't partake of the coffee, so exactly how were he and the truckers doped up?


Drugged soap. Drugged soap. The entire plan hinged on truckers washing their hands after using the washroom.  

Never has my suspension of disbelief been more tested. My father is a former trucker, and, well, let's just say that he wouldn't have enjoyed the Doors any more than usual after visiting this diner. This is the most utterly unreal panel in any comic, ever.


John Buys Comics, the Saga Continues

Battle for the Cowl No. 2

Okay. So Batman is (dead? missing? a caveman?)and everyone even vaguely associated with the Batman franchise is running around Gotham and some of them are dressing up like Batman and some or all of the inmates have been sprung from Arkham Asylum (again) and Commissioner Gordon has to deal with an unsympathetic new DA who doesn't cotton to vigilantes (again) and there's a gang war brewing and the Batmen are fighting and one of them is really homicidal.

Way to reset the franchise!

This isn't actually a bad comic, but it ain't anything especially new. It kind of reads like a better-written-and-drawn Knightfall or Knightbat or whatever part of that whole interminable series of comics was the birt where Azrael was the Batman.

However (SPOILERS, the rest of this sentence contains SPOILERS), way to try to tell us that Jason Todd is the murderous, unrepentant Batman and then show him fighting side-by-side with Robin as Red Robin in DC Nation. THAT DOESN'T GIVE ANYTHING AWAY AT ALL. 

World of New Krypton No. 2

You know, I've really been enjoying Superman for the last year or so - I must admit I was slow to notice that Geoff Johns was doing some neato things and really didn't start reading the Supes until the Legion and Bizarro arcs of Action had hammered the point home. One of my favourite things about the stories that have been happening since then is the fact that I have been regularly saying  "Augh, what? No, that's a terrible idea!" when I find out the next plot twist and then I read the comic and it's great. I'm really hoping that things keep on in this mould regardless of eventual creative team.

World of New Krypton seems to be delivering. Enlarging the inhabitants of Kandor? Having them make an artificial planet on the other side of the sun? Having them all be assholes? These are terrible ideas that I love. Seriously, this is great. This vision of Krypton is entertainingly alien and flawed without being the dour, frilly Byrne version, which never quite struck a chord with me. Plus, Zod.

Plus, Thought Beasts.

Thought Beasts! 

Green Lantern No. 39

Speaking of terrible ideas that make for great comics... Seriously, if someone had told me about this whole multi-Corps thing two or three years ago, well, I might have gotten excited, but I'm hardly typical. Green Lantern and Green Lantern Corps have been consistently great for quite some time now, though, and the process of meeting the various Corps has been a big part of that. Jerkass Sinestro Corps? Villainously fun! Crazy, blood-spewing Red Lanterns? Gross and fun! Blue Lanterns, one of whom is basically an elephant? Also fun!

The Orange Lanterns, my friennds, do not disappoint. I will be looking forward to the next installment of this little saga eagerly.


Secret Six No. 8

It's date night for the Secret Six!

I enjoy this comic so much that it's going to get cancelled soon, I just know it. I'm sorry everyone. I'm sorry Gail Simone - you did such a good job writing such immoral, homicidal characters and making me care for them that my curse is sure to kick in any month now.

I can't think of much to say that isn't spoiler-ific, so I'll just point out that everyone is extra-delightful in this issue.



B.P.R.D.: The Black Goddess No. 4

Hmm. If you were a follower of Paul and John Review you might have caught on to the fact that I am a big fan of the Hellboy comics and all of their various spinoffs and so forth. It's true, all true. I love horror comics and mysteries and mythology and people punching things that maybe they shouldn't and monsters and good writing and weird characters. To various degrees, these comics deliver on all of those. I am highly, highly in favour of Guy Davis as an artist on B.P.R.D. - his style is so far removed from Mignola's that there is no question of him being a style-copier and so his art can be apreciated on its own merits. His art is great! Also, Dave Stewart is a fantastic colourist.

Okay, so now that that's out of the way I promise not to do it every time I buy a Mike Mignola comic. Maybe I'll weigh in at the start of every mini-series, I don't know.

As for The Black Goddess, it's been highly satisfying so far. Last issue was the one that really made me sit up and go "Hot damn!" but this one - as per the cover, left - has lotsa dragons and frogs and little tidbits of information about the evolving story. That's one of my very favourite things about these series, by the way, the fact that they are a part of a very long story in which things have the potential to and frequently do change radically in the course of an issue or two. I can't deny I love the types of comics that have essentially maintained a status quo for sixty years, barring the odd Bat-Hound or two, but the act of reading a proper, evolving story fills me with delight. 

Okay, that's it! Oh, I also bought Booster Gold No 19 this week but couldn't think of much to say, other than that it was a decent read but that the events of the issue could have been handled in about two pages, except maybe what Rip was doing. It felt like trade paperback padding.

So long, folks.