Podcast - Episode 150: Supergirl: Being Super

Supergirl banner.jpg

It's our 150th episode and...due to scheduling issues, we have postponed all of our 150th episode stuff until next week. BUT we read a really good book for our bookclub this week!

If you are in the area, come on down to DCAF this Sunday! It's a great little festival and totally free!

Podcast - Episode 39: Sick Day Comics!

Guys, I'm sick. Sick enough that I thought we'd have to cancel the podcast completely this week! Gasp! But instead, inspired by an afternoon spent watching plucky Steve Rogers overcome all obstacles in Captain America: The First Avenger, I wrapped my flu-addled brain around how to record via Skype and Dave and I ended up recording a pretty ok episode!

So this week we share our favourite "sick day" comics. The comics that sooth our souls when we are feeling under the weather. It's pleasant. 

First we talk about a few other things, including the Dr. Strange set photos, which you can see here and here and probably elsewhere. For the record, this one is probably my favourite:


Here's young, hot Steve Rogers looking all hot, thanks to Daniel Acuna:

Yes. Yesssssss.

Let's keep the hotness train rolling. Here's a link to some scans of the Sebastian Stan interview in the Malaysian men's magazine, August Man. And, hey, if you need some incentive, here is a sample photo:

Man, go to hell, Sebastian.

And of course there's a hot behind the scenes photoshoot video:

Which inevitably led to hot gifs made from the video:

Man, I am feeling better by the minute here!

As I mention, fans are calling the glorious age we find ourselves in these past few weeks "Sebpocalypse". There is a great recap here.

And if you like Chris Evans (haven't forgotten about you, babe!), he is on the cover of Esquire Middle East and you can find that interview here. It also has a photo shoot video and gifs and all the stuff. He's also very attractive.

Oh, and who likes adorable J.Bone drawings of Steve and Bucky?

I could look at those all day. I do, in fact. The first one is my lock screen/background. Oh my god those guys are probably going to hug in Civil War. They probably are!!! Guys!!!!

ALSO, J drew a very funny little cartoon based on something Johnathan said on last week's episode about Batman v Superman. Check it out.

So there you go. Follow J.Bone everywhere! (Online. Not in real life. That's terrifying).

I'm running out of steam here. Enjoy the episode. Dave and I rec some pretty great comics, so have your pencils ready. I really am feeling a lot better now. 

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.

This Week's Haul: Wolverine Does Not Appear in This Post

Supergirl #40

I don't know why people think I am trying to fool them when I say that this series is awesome and all superhero comic fans should be reading it. Supergirl is such a well-constructed, likable heroine and this latest storyline has been exciting and fun to read. Plus, Jamal Igle draws Supergirl with realistic proportions, strong stances, and great facial expressions. Even if it didn't tie into the New Krypton event, this series would be worth picking up on its own.



Daredevil #118

I went for the Wolverine art variant because it's pretty cute.

Foggy rips into Daredevil in this issue for being a selfish, insane idiot for the past...oh, thousand issues or so. It's really, really satisfying.

I'm really loving this Kingpin storyline because it allows us to focus on someone else's misery for a change.


Detective Comics #853

 So what did you guys think of this? I thought it was pretty neat but...man, what I would give for some straight-up Batman.

I think Neil Gaiman did a good job of what he was trying to do here. I don't think it holds a candle to Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?, because it is less crazy action and more crazy talking about crazy things. But the art is good and it's got a lot of fun references to things that Bat-nerds and Bat-amateurs will enjoy. It will make a hot-selling trade, I think. I mean, you put Gaiman's name on the cover and that'll sell a lot of copies right there.

Ghost Rider #34


 Well this was hands-down the best trucker horror comic I have ever read. Or at least the best one this year.

Tony Moore is just the perfect artist for this series. Can you imagine a funner comic to work on than this one? I can't. Redneck horror is just not a genre that is used enough in any medium.

Mighty Avengers #24

 I am sure that I have mentioned this before, but I'll say it again: I love that Marvel has the recaps on page one of all their comics. It really helps people like me get into series like this one. I hadn't been following Secret Invasion or its aftermath too closely, and I had never read Mighty Avengers before. But I do know that I love two things: Dan Slott and Hercules. I have been enjoying this series so far quite a bit, despite being a little confused (female Loki? What the hell?). I still feel like I would fail a Marvel exam if I had to take one.


The Amazing Spider-Man #592


 So last week's issue of Spider-Man had a crazy and amusing last page shocker...and this issue has an even crazier and even more amusing last page shocker!

So despite the malnourished Spider-Man on the cover, the interior of this comic (with art by Mike McKone!) was super. J. Jonah Jameson fans rejoice!


Tales Designed to Thrizzle #5


Fortunately for those of you who haven't yet picked up an issue of Michael Kupperman's hilarious Tales Designed to Thrizzle series, it's being collected into a book that will be out in July.

For those of you who have been Thrizzled before, you'll be happy to hear that there is extended Twain & Einstein content in this issue.


I also read Batman: The Brave and the Bold #4 (did somebody say SUGAR AND SPIKE CAMEO?!).

Battle for the John Buys Comics

Azrael: Death’s Dark Knight No 2 of 3

You know, this isn’t half bad. I didn’t pay too much attention to Azrael the first time out but he had some interesting history, with the secret religious order and the mental conditioning and so forth (and wouldn’t it have been a great idea for DC to have brought him back a few years ago, during the height of Da Vinci Code fever?) but was way too tied into the spiky Early Nineties sensibilities for my taste. Not that I won’t read all his stuff eventually - my quest to read All Batman Ever is a heavy burden to bear.

So this series is concerned with Michael Lane, one of the prospective replacement Batmen from the Morrison run, being offered the role of Azrael by a splinter faction of the Order of St. Dumas. Hey, there’s some cursed armour, some flaming swords, some personal tragedy - lots of fun. Oracle puts in a much better appearance here than she does in her own book, which must be set in the future or the past or something, I guess. Best of all? The League of Assassins! Those guys don’t get used enough, I assure you, and they have the Hook with them to boot, in one of the few comics that I’ve read where the Hook neither kills Boston Brand nor is killed himself. I think that the Hook might just be one of the most frequently-dead characters in comics. Also, Leland McCauley, who is a Legion antagonist, appears, I think.

Anyway, given my expectations going in, this was an enjoyable time.

Battle for the Cowl: Arkham Asylum No 1 (of 1!)

I was going to lead into this one by saying that just like it was interesting to read a story featuring the Hook wherein he doesn’t die it would be so to read a comic about Jeremiah Arkham not going mad, but I’ve changed my mind. All of the best Arkham Asylum stories have ol’ Jeremiah and the very best ones imply that he’s completely off his rocker without stating it outright.

So the Asylum was blown up during Batman R.I.P. and now Jeremiah Arkham is wandering around in the wreckage remembering the good old days when costumed maniacs used to taunt him. It’s a decent enough comic but it’s definitely the final nail in the coffin for Battle for the Cowl as any sort of accurate title for this whole mess. As far as I can make out, the actual Battle for the Cowl comics and maybe Azrael are actually concerned with actual battling for an actual cowl. The rest of these comics (Commissioner Gordon, Man-Bat, etc) are like unto a separate series about what Gotham is like sans Batman - why not call the World Without a Batman and get on with things? Oracle I think is just kind of tacked on because she’s part of the Bat-family.

This issue is notable because it features a new version of No-Face (no doctor, this one), thus showcasing my astonishing prophetic abilities. And he’s interesting! Also, Humpty Dumpty!

Supergirl No 40

WHAAAA? Superwoman is… whaaa?

Neat! Good reveal! What a twist! I have one important question that is totally a spoiler!

You know what I like about the Superman titles right now? That the bad guys are just so thoroughly rotten - even Cat Grant, though I’ll bet a dollar that she’ll have a life-changing experience and mend her ways some day. I’m still a little sad that Agent Liberty is dead, but I just like having as many different superfolk running around the DCU as possible (and it’s not like someone else won’t end up in the suit PDQ). I think I’m going to have to go back and read me some more Supergirl - I’m late to this particular ballgame.

Invincible No. 61

So: last issue insane villain Angstrom Levy brought in a bunch of alternate versions of Invincible (and have I ever mentioned how fond I am of alternate versions of characters? If I were a super-hero I’d eat lunch with a different alternate-universe Johnathan every day. Even the evil ones surely couldn’t resist a good sammich) and they all fought basically everyone in the shared Image Universe and wrecked the whole damn place. I’m sure that you’ve gathered that I’m not fond of the crossover event as a whole but this one was pretty well done, all-in-all, possibly because it was so blessedly short. And this issue was great. Invincible is another of those great series that actually change over time - heck, the status quo has been stood on its head about seventeen times so far, and for good reason. Half a dozen nigh-invulnerable, super-strong dudes slugging it out with dozens of super-heroes? Of course a few cities are going to be leveled, and now we get to read about all sorts of delicious aftermath. Robert Kirkman and Ryan Ottley are a heckuva team - I’m very sure that this comic would swiftly go off the rails into unreadability if someone else tried to write it.

Mister X: Condemned No. 4 of 4

Man, I almost wish I hadn’t picked up the first issue of this when it came out a few months ago. It’s great - visually interesting and full of terrific weird characters and set in a city that drives people mad and there are retro-future robots and such everywhere - but as I soon learned it has a lot of prior history and now I’m going to have to go back and read it all to satisfy the information demands of my own fevered brain. Not that it was hard to follow: Mister X has been out of circulation for a while so this story acts as a very effective introduction to the setting and to some of the cast, setting the mood along the way. People use the word “noir” a lot when they talk about this series and it’s very appropriate - lucky for me there appears to be a trade or three on the horizon so’s I can catch up.

Oh! There was an Art Frahm joke in the first issue! Tell me how I could resist that.

Viking No. 1

Good times! This is a gorgeous damn comic, with all kinds of painted art and super nice (non-glossy!) paper. Hell, it even smells good for some reason.

The writing is good and - and I hope that this comes out right - will be better after a few more issues come out. Hmm, wait. By which I mean that once I come back and read this again after getting to know the characters involved and so forth I’ll appreciate it even more. There’s no short story to set the stage and no text box pops in to tell me who every character is as they appear so things must be figured out contextually. It’s a good technique if done well, and Ivan Brandon has managed to do it quite well here. Also, he hasn’t fallen into the trap of over-romanticising the past: the characters aren’t noble, honour-bound warriors speaking solely in archaic terms and neither are they grunting, blood-soaked savages. Like most people in history they speak colloquially and are concerned with making money and dealing with their crazy family and having a good time. And fighting with spears. Big thumbs up, JOHN APPROVED.

Warlord of Io and Other Stories

Oh, good show James Turner. You can always be counted on to write and illustrate something very strange and very wonderful, like the very odd Nil: a Land Beyond Belief or Rex Libris, a book that makes the part of me that loves working in libraries very happy indeed.

The title story, "Warlord of Io" features a lad named Zing who becomes ruler of that whole damn moon when his father retires to the pleasure domes. There are lotsa good weird aliens and space facts and such... I sure hope that this continues as is promised at the end of this chapter, as Turner's imagination is very appealing to me. The rest of the comic follow suit, demons and Tiki Pirates and all.

I mean, just check out the map on the inside cover - there's something called The Great Steel Anenome Brain... can you afford to miss this?

Ho ho ho, what's this?

Showcase Presents: legion of Super-Heroes, Volume 3!

Hooray! And how, you ask, do I feel about this?


Also this week: Batman: The Brave and the Bold No. 4, which remains a very good comic adaptation of a cartoon based on a comic book character, which is a surprisingly failure-ridden subset of the comics field. I am extraordinarily fond of the cartoon and this comic does a great job of capturing some of its energy. And being able to hear Aquaman shout “Outrageous!” in my head enhances the experience to no end.

Johnathan... out!

Wednesday Interview: Sterling Gates

If you have been reading Living Between Wednesdays for a long time, then you might be familiar with my long struggle with Supergirl. It went from apathy to hate to offense to curiosity to optimism to love in only a few short years. Supergirl's role in the current New Krypton event has solidified my love of the latest version of the character. Much of this can be attributed to the current Supergirl writer, Sterling Gates. Today Supergirl #40 hits stores, and the mysterious Superwoman will be revealed! Sterling was kind enough to answer a few questions for me.

1. How did you get the gig of writing Supergirl? Was she a character that you specifically wanted to write?

Well, I liked Supergirl a lot when I was a kid. Like, a LOT. The "Supergirl" movie came out when I was very small, and I was really, really drawn towards Helen Slater and her interpretation of Kara. DC published a comic adaptation of the "Supergirl" movie around that time, and I read it enough times the cover fell off. So she’s always been a character I was interested in and enjoyed.

As for writing Supergirl, it was a combination of wanting to write it, some really hard work, and some fortuitous circumstance. I work as Geoff Johns’ assistant when I’m not writing, and over lunch one day I was telling him all these ideas I had for Supergirl, and what I would do with the title. He gave me some great advice over that lunch, and told me I should just go away and write my first issue. That is, write what I would write if I were to suddenly be handed the title.

I spent a weekend writing an issue on spec and a series proposal and emailed them off to Geoff. Geoff really enjoyed the script, and he sent it off to James Robinson (who writes Superman) to check out. He liked it, too, so the pair of them approached Superman Group Editor Matt Idelson with it.

Matt and the other super-editors at that time, Nachie Castro and Tom Palmer, Jr., had been actively looking for someone to take over that book. They responded to what I’d written, and a few days later, Matt called me and asked if I’d be interested in being the new Supergirl writer.

Naturally, I freaked.

After I’d picked myself up off the floor, I told him that I’d absolutely love to write the book. And the spec script that I’d written turned into Supergirl #34 and the very lovely and talented artist Jamal Igle signed on to draw the book a few weeks later.

But I really owe Geoff and James and Matt and Nachie and Tom for giving me the chance to write Supergirl. I can’t possibly thank them enough.

2. It seems that Supergirl's return, starting in the Superman/Batman title, has been awkward and only very recently have we seen her find her place in the DCU. I feel that in the past year or two, DC has really thrown a lot of support behind Supergirl as a character and as a title, and including her in this crossover New Krypton event is a good example. Do you find it to be an exciting time to be writing Supergirl as a character, and have there been a lot of discussions about the future of the character?

Well, personally, it’s one of the most exciting times I’ve ever had in my life. Every day I get to go to work and write the adventures of the strongest girl on the planet. No, scratch that -- strongest girl on TWO planets, Earth and New Krypton. And yes, I’m thrilled that DC has put so much support behind Supergirl. Jamal and I have been working hard to make sure Supergirl’s as good a book as we can possibly make it, and I’m grateful that DC has been so supportive of us.

I know that I have discussions with my editors Matt and Wil Moss and the other super-writers almost every day about Supergirl’s future, and her as a character, and what the best possible stories are that we can tell to service her character.

At the end of the day, I want Supergirl to not only be an iconic superhero in the DCU, but also a good role model for kids and adults alike. Jamal and I’s take on the character is a little different from how other writers and artists have interpreted her, I know. But in my head, she’s a member of the Superman Family, so I’m going to write her as such, y’know?

That isn’t to say we’re going to tell “boring” or “safe” stories with her, which are accusations I’ve seen leveled against Superman before. What I mean is: Supergirl’s a hero, and I’m going to write her as a hero. A hero that makes mistakes, sure, and lives and learns from them. Her flaws can be very noticeable, and I don’t think that’s a bad thing. Supergirl should be someone we can all identify with and support and root for and learn from.

3. New Krypton seems like a very tight crossover. Are there regular meetings or discussions between yourself and the rest of the New Krypton team (Geoff Johns, James Robinson, Greg Rucka)? Have you found it challenging to write a series that ties into a larger story?

It can be a challenge, yes, but it’s also part of the job, taking into account what’s going on in the bigger picture as you write.

James and Greg and Geoff are really a blast to work with, and I feel that I'm very, very blessed to be working alongside such talented writers.

Greg and James and I have a weekly conference call with editorial where we sit down and plot and plan and break stories and figure out the beats in August’s crossover and just how long has Jimmy Olsen known how to ride a motorcycle and where could we find a good Kryptonian animal for Non to fight? “Oh, what about a torquat?” “What’s a torquat?” “Who’s got reference for a torquat?” “Well, they’ve only appeared once before, in Krypton Chronicles #2, I can send you a scan…” It can be a madhouse on the phone sometimes, but I think all of us really want to make the Superman Family of titles as strong as possible, and we're working hard towards that goal.

Plus, there’s a HUGE endgame in mind, which you’ll start to see the first few strains of in August’s big Superman crossover. It's not going to be an easy couple of years for Kal or for Kara.

4. Is Superman going to stick a braided wig on Kara and force her to live in an orphanage again?

Ha. No.

…although, that does give me an idea for something...

5. What other projects are you working on now, and what have you got planned for the future?

Well, today I’m working on Supergirl Annual #1, which I think is scheduled to come out in September. As I said before, we’re doing a month-long Superman crossover in August across the four main Superman titles, and we’re producing a pretty extensive Superman Secret Files to go along with that story. It won’t quite be on the scale of the Green Lantern: Sinestro Corps Secret Files that Geoff and I wrote, but it’ll be a really great resource, with extremely detailed maps and profiles and stuff.

As for future plans, there are things in the works, but nothing I can announce yet. Sorry!

I can tell you that I’m planning on staying on Supergirl as long as DC will let me write it. Maybe, just maybe, I can figure out a way I can put Supergirl in the braided wig at some point. 

If I do, you’ll know it’s just for you, Rachelle.