CBABIH 2 - Show Notes

Being a series of comments -- hopefully the final such set at this ultimately near-incapacitating length -- of Episode 2 of Comic Books Are Burning In Hell, a podcast by Matt Seneca, Tucker Stone, Chris Mautner and myself.

00:00: As Robert McKee once remarked, nothing screams 'accessibility' quite like spoofin' & goofin' on Pennsylvania public radio institutions; worse yet, Chris and I had (unbeknownst to each other!) planned to do a gag opening exactly like this for weeks and weeks. Tragically, this will not be the final 'NPR'-related jest of the hour, although we did make sure that absolutely nothing we referenced is actually syndicated by National Public Radio - because we keep it real.

01:16: Tucker's "fast and loose" remark references the fact that -- unlike most episodes, even the preliminary ones -- we didn't have a set schedule of what to talk about. It was kind of an experiment in extremes for the July 8th block, as the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen episode was devoted entirely to one comic; here, we decided to race through as much as we could hit off a single amorphous list floating around multiple emails. We actually do hit everything besides Nicolas Mahler's Angelman (a pleasant enough bit of superhero industry satire from a very much non-industry artist, if exceedingly lightweight and unmemorable, especially if you read a lot of trumpeting on the internet).

01:36: Once again, we futilely attempt to draw the podcasting Excalibur that is banter from its internet scabbard; any week now we'll be hitting it as big as the SModcast line, and then we too will have our lives irrevocably validated by material success in the form of a cable television program - created in large part, admittedly, to piggyback off the success of a prior cable television program, albeit with a wacky 'geek culture' twist. In fact, I've concluded that the last bit is probably more important than even having a podcast, and so the reason why these show notes are (once again) late is because I've been feverishly wracking my brain for a way to hybridize ourselves with World's Worst Tenants. The details are still a little cloudy, but this is basically why I've been hitting the gym.

02:40: I'm almost certain this is the Octomom post to which Tucker refers. No, no - please, no roses, applause is enough! Hey, maybe we can do an on-air fleshlight ad...? But anyway: Jack Reacher; distressing lack of Werner Herzog Eurovillain footage.

03:45: Hero Worship #1 (of 6), by Zak Penn (story), Scott Murphy (story, script) and Michael DiPascale (art/color). Zealously detail-oriented listeners will note that I somehow never mention the comic's title. Many samples of DiPascale's visuals at the link; the interview I reference is an interview with him ("Zak Penn and Scott Murphy wanted something that they could reproduce for movies..."). Creators' rights wonks are hereby informed that the comic is trademark and copyright the writers and the publisher; cutting the artist out of such considerations is the general SOP at Avatar, so that, for instance, Crossed is TM & © Garth Ennis. Unsurprisingly, virtually all of the ad copy -- and, as far as I know, literally all of the semi-formalized conversation save for this goddamned show -- has focused on Penn's screenwriting credits on various Marvel-derived superhero blockbusters, up to and including a story credit on this season's bazillion-grossing The Avengers. So omnipresent is the specter of nerd media around the guy that (anecdotally) not a few people seem to assume that Herzog directed Incident at Loch Ness himself - although, given the heavily improvised nature of the project, it likewise cannot be said that Herzog didn't command considerable influence.

(And none of this is to say that Werner Herzog worship is not considered by certain connoisseurs to be a facile and geeky infantilization of the rich and varied project of the New German Cinema; Film Comment recently had a nice overview of Werner Schroeter, for instance, and obviously a world without Fassbinder is not one in which I'd care to live.)

06:14: Ferals, by David Lapham & Gabriel Andrade. Maybe nobody's interested in this stuff besides me, but Ferals appears to be a work-for-hire project, going by the legal indicia - it could be the publisher is hoping for another crossover horror hit. Dan the Unharmable, in contrast, is TM & © Lapham & Avatar, in a more typical Vertigo-ish 'creator participation' setup, if my reading is correct. Andrade is probably the most traditionally skilled of the present crop of Avatar artists, although the only prior work of his I know are a handful of issues of the Howard Chaykin-written Die Hard: Year One (#5-8). As I imply, Ferals #6 closes with a suitably ridiculous concluding image, which I sort of wish would permanently close the series, since I prefer the moments in these Avatar projects where Lapham throws up his arms and goes fuck it - Caligula was peppered with just enough such scenes to maintain my interest.

07:14: My diet has me hungry for burgers, I guess. Excluding everyone who does longform work for Marvel/DC superhero comics and any webcomics people, the Four Other Guys right now would be Brian K. Vaughn, Robert Kirkman, Brian Wood and the Atomic Robo team, which I will count as a collective Guy. Tucker's Age of Apocalypse thoughts are here, Matt's Young Liars thoughts are here (also recommended: this Mindless Ones chat with Lapham).

10:40: New York Mon Amour, by Jacques Tardi, Benjamin Legrand & Dominique Grange. Specifically, it is the eighth release in the present Fantagraphics Tardi series. When Tucker asks about the photo collage bits in Cockroach Killer and Chris goes "you're talking about the little coda at the end," that's a signal for me to stop flipping through my Cheval Noir back issues on the other end of the couch because I'm not going to find it; my comments are entirely off the cuff.

20:31: When Matt calls Eisner/Miller "vastly underrated," he's no doubt impliedly referencing a scalding 2006 critique by Gary Groth, whose name Chris raises in the background as we all bow our heads and sign the cross.

26:19: For more of Chris' Tardi preferences, you are directed to the most recent installment of his Comics College series.

27:35: Nestor Burma is the creation of crime writer Léo Malet, who detailed the detective's exploits in 33 novels and various short stories created from 1943 to 1983. There was also a tv show and some movies. Tardi's first two comics adaptations were Fog Over Tolbiac Bridge (1982), translated in Fantagraphics' Graphic Story Monthly #1-5 in 1990, and The Bloody Streets of Paris (1988), published in English by iBooks in 2003; the artist did three more in 1990, 1996 and 2000, although the '90 piece (Une gueule de bois en plomb) was actually a licensed fan fiction excursion that Tardi wrote himself in Malet's style.

30:24: Example:

Dig the blood squirt in panel one. No, the backgrounds aren't supposed to be solid black.

30:59: Monsieur Jean: The Singles Theory, by Philippe Dupuy & Charles Berberian. Humanoids' L'Association knockoff line was called Tohu Bohu. Regarding Tucker's question, Jean's specific in-story description of his own writing is "novels that draw from everyday life," although we might not want to take this as a particularly complete explanation, given that at this point in the story he has just accidentally killed a tiny dog to rib-tickling effect. Then again, I was just paging through Dark Horse's Creepy Presents: Richard Corben collection earlier, and there's this epically lame, overwritten, altogether flop sweat-drenched Doug Moench thing (The Slipped Mickey Click Flip) that not only humorously kills off a dog, but then stops the story and has the horror host narrator mock the reader for feeling bad over an animal getting killed, you ridiculous child; surely animal cruelty laffs have long been a punk rock staple of anxiously mainstream comic books. The interview to which Tucker refers is in The Comics Journal #260.

44:16: Gluyas Williams, Saul Steinberg.

45:02: That's Michel Rabagliati, also a Drawn and Quarterly veteran, and also now with a new publisher for his latest book-in-translation: The Song of Roland, via Conundrum Press.

45:28: Fallen Words, by Yoshihiro Tatsumi. Speak of the devil, and it doth publish something by some guy. Chris wrote a tiny bit more about it here. The Wikipedia entry for Rakugo utilizes the excellent descriptor "verbal entertainment," which is the standard we yearn for here at Comic Books Are Burning In Hell each and every week. Yonkoma manga is also known as "4-koma"; it's probably best known among NA readers as the format for Yotsuba&! creator Kiyohiko Azuma's Azumanga Daioh, although you can see examples in roughly every third back-of-the-book bonus section in manga.

54:27: Chris' review of Oji Suzuki's A Single Match is here. Be sure to read the comments for a valuable Ryan Holmberg post that further solidifies Shigeru Mizuki's position as a sort-of godfather to various early-ish Garo contributors, making his recent publication by Drawn and Quarterly all the more apropos.

56:24: Birdseye Bristoe, by Dan Zettwoch. For an alternate take, see Tom Spurgeon's mixed reaction. Matt has written a bit more about Zettwoch's style.

58:10: Holy shit, there's more than two dozen books in the Amelia's Notebook series, which has been going on since mid-'90s.

01:00:25: "...some pretty hardcore art comics...":

01:03:02: Tucker refers here to Amazing Facts... and Beyond!, which I don't believe any of us knew had posted its very last strip only four days prior to our recording. There's been five minicomics-format collections of the stuff, available here (look under "Dan Zettwoch" for easiest navigation).

01:04:39: Ha ha, joke's on me - A Prairie Home Companion is neither NPR nor PRI, but APM, American Public Media. Much of my perception of Garrison Keillor's unpopularity stems from his Good Poems series of poetry anthologies, which are quite widely popular among a casual readership as far as such things go, in addition to being absolutely loathed by literally every single dedicated poetry reader I have ever encountered with whom the subject has been somehow broached. Although I suppose another school of criticism hits at the very Midwestern feel (which Matt identifies) as a fundamentally noxious, elitist commodification of such, cutsied and filed smooth for bourgeois consumption with a sign of condescension. I'm pretty sure The Simpsons also made fun of him once, which basically the end as far as certain corners of the internet are concerned. I liked the Robert Altman movie. Lake Wobegon Days was 1985.

01:08:09: Tucker has AIDS.