Podcast - Episode 19: Supergirl!

Ok, here's the thing, guys. We took a big risk and recorded this episode on Halloween and now it's haunted by ghosts! Ghosts that put a terrible static noise in the background of the entire episode!

We tried to fix it, couldn't, and instead we cut out the worst part, which means some of the 'news' section and all of the weekly comic reviews are gone. We pick it back up at This Week in Winter Soldier, where you will notice the static noise is still pretty bad. It does get better as the episode goes on. We didn't want to scrap the whole episode, but we do apologize for this sound problem. The good news is that we have purchased two brand new directional microphones so this podcast should start sounding a lot more professional soon!

I am going to write out some of the highlights of what was cut, because you don't want to miss any of our sublime off-the-cuff ramblings:

First we talk about the possibility that the Ben Affleck Batman movie, if it even gets made, is going to be a Red Hood movie. So I point out that they just want to make a Winter Soldier movie. Dave admits that he liked a lot of the Judd Winick Red Hood stuff. I concur.

Then we talk about Michael Cho's stunning Marvel variant covers that he's doing for February, 2016. You can see some of them here.

Then I mention that Chris Hemsworth has been crushing it on Instagram and Twitter lately. Even though he needs to not post picture of horrifying spiders. 

We also talk about Cullen Bunn deciding to leave Aquaman, seemingly because he was tired of haters on Twitter. That leads to me offering to write Aquaman, which would involve a lot of shirtless underwater push-ups. Dave gives props to writers like Peter David who take on challenging, potentially boring characters and do crazy things with them. I give a legit pitch for an all-ages book where Arthur is young and is just taking over the throne and is maybe romancing Mera and is talking to sea creatures and is cute as hell.

Then we talk about the comics we read this week. Dave read the Hellboy & BPRD 1953 Phantom Hand & Kelpie (is that seriously what it's called?) and liked it and we get into a thing where we both admit to really liking Hellboy, but neither of us are reading the current series. Even though we know it's a really great comic. Very weird.

We both really liked Captain America Sam Wilson #2 and I think it's very sexy.

I read Squirrel Girl #1 and I love it and I love the addition of Brain Drain to the team. I really love them dressing Brain Drain in human clothes to disguise him. This is Brain Drain, by the way:

I also mention that an issue of Squirrel Girl takes me a good thirty minutes to read, which is nice for a change. You guys miss out of hearing me struggle to say 'Squirrel Girl' a lot.

Dave liked Black Magick #1 and praises Nicola Scott's art. I forgot to pick that one up.

And that brings us to This Week in Winter Soldier, which we left in the podcast in its entirety even though the sound is a little rough. It's just a really important edition because I actually watched that movie this week. For more of our thoughts on Captain America: The Winter Soldier, you can check out this post from earlier this year.

I think I should throw in a sexy gif here:

There we go!

The theme this week is Supergirl! We talk about the pilot episode of the new CBS series, and then we get into our favourite Supergirl comics. I am personally a big fan of Kara Zor-el so I really enjoyed this topic.

I mention some specific issues and series. I have written quite a bit about Supergirl on this blog in past years, and I reference a few of them in this episode. Here are some links:

The Supergirl From Krypton Meets Her Asshole Cousin

Supergirl Plays Cupid

New and Improved Supergirl!

An Open Letter in Response to DC Nation #45

Supergirl is (Finally) Awesome!

Interview with Sterling Gates (2009)

And as for that famous panel where Superman is explaining to Supergirl that, sadly, cousin-marriage is not allowed on Krypton, it's from Action Comics #289 (Superman's Super-Courtship!), which is not the comic I was talking about. But it IS awesome.

I love that Superman slips that little fact in there that it is legal to marry your cousin in some countries on Earth. Just testing the waters. I mean, we could move to one of those countries if you really wanted...

There is still the small matter of her being FIFTEEN YEARS OLD.

Yes...how strange, Supergirl.

The comic I was talking about was Action Comics #260, and I wrote a bit about it way back in 2006 here.

You can check out Dave's weekly Supergirl recaps on the Global TV site here.

So that about wraps it up. I love Supergirl.

Sorry again for the lousy sound quality on this episode. Next week's will sound amazing. Promise.

What's distracting me from comics this time increment?

So: I wrote something on this blog for the first time in forever the other day (read: several weeks ago). I liked doing it - I enjoy writing in general and writing about comics in particular - so why don't I do that all the time? There really is no good reason, but in thinking about it I realized that there are a whole lot of terrible reasons. Thus, this post.

First, some backstory. I started writing on Paul and John Review, the blog that would eventually be folded into Living Between Wednesdays, in 2006. I had just moved back to Nova Scotia after impulsively moving to BC for a few years. I was broke, single and had a terrible call centre job. I also had an Internet connection and time on my hands. This combination led very naturally to me reading/writing about a lot of silly Silver Age comic books, those being my most frequent Muse.

Eight years have passed. I am chunkier, baldier and beardier. I got hitched, I got a dog (not necessarily in that order). Most critically, I am no longer broke all the time, and I still have that Internet connection, which means that I have an absurd array of interesting things to occupy my time with. No reading silly Silver Age comics precludes writing about silly Silver Age comics.

But! Most of these things are incredibly nerdy, and thus a perfect fit for LBW. Plus, I am woefully out of writing trim, and getting back in practice while simultaneously expanding my horizons is just plain a good idea.

Here's the first thing, and the one that I probably have the least to say about: new comics. There are so dang many good comics coming out right now. And! I'm (temporarily) living far away from Strange Adventures, which means I'm using Comixology - I am basically inundated with the dang things! Oh, the woes that I have to face.

In any case, tune in next time increment for more discussion of the incredible hardship that I face every day. 

The Long Dark Period of Mourning is Over

Yes, though my old computer is dead as a doornail at the tender age of one year, I have found solace in the arms of a brand new model. In celebration and jubilation I offer you this image, from

The Brave and the Bold

No. 62, as it brought me great solace over the long dark two weeks of sadness that have just ended.

That is, of course, old school villain Sportsmaster and his wife Huntress riding a flying putting green on their way to steal a golf bag literally stuffed full of cash as part of a tournament prize. The Huntress is wearing her usual tiger-print swimsuit, cape and boots, while Sportsmaster has changed into themed golfing duds for the occasion. He is hitting exploding golf balls to bedevil his enemies.

This is the most Silver Age thing you will see all day.

Unprecedented Carnage

Lois Lane No. 27. 1961. "The Last Days of Lois Lane." There are three interesting things about this story, and one of them pretty remarkable.

The first of these things is the setup: Clark Kent and Lois Lane are on location covering a story.

Now, I'm not saying that there is no place in this world for atomic energy, and we definitely need to do research to ensure that what technology we do have is as safe as possible, but the experiment that Clark and Lois just observed was a nuclear explosion. A nuclear explosion has very few peacetime applications, and I can't imagine that any of them require a rigorous series of experiments. Wait a second, I've just worked up a little questionnaire that should render further research unnecessary:

1. Can the problem at hand conceivably be solved by a massive explosion?

2. Is the problem worse than a heavily-irradiated landscape?

If you've answered yes to both questions, then call the Atoms for Peacetime Project today! 

The second interesting thing about this story is fact that Superman has nothing to do with Lois' dilemma. Unlike the bulk of the "something bad is happening to Lois" stories that I've read, this isn't a prank or a lesson or a scheme to keep his secret identity a secret, it's just a plain old mistake - Lois believes that she is dying of radiation poisoning. She believes it so hard, in fact, that when she asks the doctor about it, well,

He tells her that she is fine and she takes that as proof that she is so bad off that he's lying to her. Frankly, I didn't realize that doctors were allowed to do that.

The third interesting thing, and this is the remarkable one, is not that she immediately starts taking crazy risks in order to become an even more renowned reporter whose memory will live on forever,

And it's not quite the fact that a lot of the stunts that she tries seem... unlikely to result in good stories, seeing as they'll probably cause her grisly death before she can get her byline.

Not that that's not odd - heroically writing a story only to have it consumed by flame or the ever-hungry sea seems less like the sort of thing that people will remember one fondly for and more like a Darwin Award in the offing.

No, the strangest thing about this story is its fairly high body count. This is a time in which almost nothing - man, monster, animal, whatever - died in the DCU. Stories would go out of the way to mention that Superman had only hit a rabid bear hard enough to knock it out, say.

First, you have Lois in an experimental moon rocket, one doomed never to return to Earth:

Note the brave animals. Even though Superman went and got this particular rocket, I'm certain that they were eventually jammed into another. Not far from the old JLA Watchtower lies a tiny skeleton in a miniature spacesuit. You can still see the look of betrayal on the wizened face.

More tiny martyrs, though as the former owner of an ungodly number of guinea pigs, I have to admit that I can sympathize with someone who might want to blast the occasional screaming poop-factory with radiation, if only to teach them a lesson.

This, however, was the biggie:

After all, the sacrifice of animals in the name of science was much less controversial back in the day than it is now, but this is a Superman comic and people have just fallen off of a mountain, and Superman doesn't show up for a couple of hours. A couple of hours! Not one second later! This might, in fact, be the only instance of a death by falling in any Superman comic, ever. I'm still flabbergasted. 

I'm Not Even Certain There's an Award For This...

... but I'd like to nominate a comic for the title of Most Tenuous Link Between Cover Image and Actual Story.

It's a much-bandied-about fact that the covers for Silver Age comics, and especially Silver Age DC comics, were occasionally drawn long before the story that they were connected to was even written - that the cover was essentially used as the seed idea that the story was later grown around. I've certainly encountered plenty of olde tyme comics that were probably put together in that way but this is the one time that I am absolutely confident in pointing my gnarled finger and screeching like Donald Sutherland at the end of Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

First, the cover:

Within, the number one story (Mystery in Space being an anthology comic) is entitled

The hero: a brown-haired, strong-jawed dude, but not the same brown-haired, strong-jawed dude.

Whoops, I guess that image doesn't really show his hair colour. In any case, it's not the same guy and he has to run around getting the titular seven wonders for those evidently lazy aliens. And the wonder on Mercury is:

And that's about it for the jewel-folks, which probably means that this  is the only Silver Age comic that I can think of that features the (implicit) death of the standard-issue leggy dame/ chiseled-featured dude duo.

I'll bet that the Jewel Full of Murder was a big attraction at the Seven Wonders museum they end up putting together at the end of the story.

Hat Week: The Hats of Romance Comics Explained

Hats and head-wear play an important role in romance comics. By studying the trends of the era, and using hats as signifyers we can gain understanding about social norms and the political climate in romance comics.

In other words, let's look at the crazy crap people put on their heads in the Silver Age.

Head wraps were a popular look that seems to have pretty much died out. I like it. It'd be cool to just wrap a towel around your head after you get out of the shower and not have to worry about blow-drying or flat-ironing or curling your hair.

The head wrap diminished in popularity when girls began to discover that having so much warmth around their heads affected their brains, sometimes turning them violent.

The swim cap is another obsolete head piece you'll see a lot of in romance comics.

I understand the practicality of it: you can go for a swim, but still have your hairdo looking fine when you're relaxing on the beach afterward.

But to me, those swim-hats seem to make a girl look like ol' Cabbage Head.

Men's hats are often a subtle indication of their personalities, or their likes and dislikes.

Most pervasive head-piece of the Silver Age? The headband, hands down. But there are distinct differences between the types of headbands, and the way they're worn.

There's the evening headband:

A girl's got to wear a bow to bed, in case Dennis (or Arthur or Tommy) show up in the middle of the night.

The basic headband, worn across the top of the head, is incredibly common, and indicates an average, demure, chaste girl.

But flip that thing down, and wear it across your forehead, and oh boy. That's the way hippies wear headbands, so a girl rocking that style is in for crazy, European sex parties:

And getting caught up in dangerous revolutionary politics:

Wear a headband across your forehead and you'll undoubtedly find yourself in a situation like this:

Lastly, romance comics have lead me to believe that there was some sort of baldness epidemic in the Silver Age because wig ads are everywhere.

Wigs are the hats of yesteryear. I wish I could find a hat with a built in scalp that looks like skin.

But even wigs could lead a good girl down the bad path of political rabble-rousing.

So if you're having trouble following the complex plot of an issue of Teen Age Love, Sweethearts, or Secrets of Young Brides, take a look at head-wear, and that'll clear everything right up.