CBABIH 3 - Show Notes

Being a series of comments on Episode 3 of the all-new, all-shorter Comic Books Are Burning In Hell, a podcast by Matt Seneca, Tucker Stone, Chris Mautner and myself.

00:00: Finally, the secret premise of this show stands revealed. Four men, standing alone against the forces of tyranny in an ashen, faceless society. Devils today, at home tomorrow! Pray we will never need --

Comic Books Are Burning In Hell

"We are the only people."

00:47: So anyway, we decided to slash 15 minutes from the runtime. Part of that's because it makes the whole galumphing mess a little easier to handle -- much easier to annotate, I've gotta say [DELETE IF THIS POSTS AFTER 7/29] -- though some of it's in recognition of the fact that podcast listeners don't always listen to a show all the way through, preferring to skip around the mass of content to get to the topics they know they'll find interesting. So, consider the next few weeks an experiment in moving against the grain. Like most comics podcasts, our content tends to track what we've been reading recently, though many shows tend to stop the recording when the conversation's over; we're going to try and hone it all down to encourage a more classically 'show-like' presentation, hopefully to create a more focused listen (perhaps so you'll be sure to catch exactly when the highway pileup begins). Or, if nothing else, we'll be asking for less of a time commitment, since it's absolutely fucking insane to expect people to have enough free space in their days to listen to all of the bloody comic book podcasts out there, much less #346,221 in prominence. 

01:22: Obviously, there is nothing funny about the crimes committed by Jerry Sandusky. However, in ironclad proof of Antoine Lavoisier's law of conservation of humor, absolutely everything is funny about the Joe Paterno statue, from its jolly outstretched finger forever jostling a departed society for just one more word, to its abrupt shrouded removal in the manner of an overheated press conference concluding with the speaker hustled off the podium with a jacket over his head. My definite favorite, though, was the mystery villain issuing threats via the lost terror medium of airplane banner, because that's totally something that would happen in a Bob Haney script. John Wagner, in contrast, would probably have invented the minor subplot of Sandusky's memoir, had it not been real.

01:51: Part of what we're trying to do with the show is set up little schedules of topics to discuss, with space provided for particular books or general topics we can somehow spin out into discussion; we'd decided there was a little too much in the way of speech-making, not enough interaction, and the result was making fun of prospective Sandman prequel titles for almost a full minute. I am confident this breakthrough will launch us to #346,219 in e-prominence.   

02:51: Specifically, Warren Ellis wrote the script for an animated film titled Castlevania: Dracula's Curse; an official site still exists, although the project appears to have stalled at the animation production stage (Ellis did finish his role). The movie was supposed to be based on the 1989 NES game Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse, although my favorite installment remains 1997's PSX Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, which made good on the series' occasional proclivity toward mixing non-linear exploration elements in with the whipping skeletons in the face.

03:43: Gaiman has stated:

"I wanted to do a 20th anniversary story and it broke mostly because DC Comics would have loved me to do a 20th anniversary story at the same terms that were agreed upon in 1987 when I was a 26-year-old unknown. And my thought was, 'You know what guys, it really doesn't work like that.' I wasn't going to do a deal at the same terms we had in 1987 and they were not willing to do any better than that."

04:32: As a matter of fact, J.H. Williams III does have at least one spread of Batwoman issues drawn, beginning with the very next installment, #12. It should also be noted that the new Sandman stuff has been in production, apparently, for almost a year.

08:12: I can't recall when exactly I started reading Sandman; I was a timid boy in the '90s, and my first peek into that Mature Readers suggestion gave me a Marc Hempel vision of someone puking up a live stag in the midst of The Kindly Ones. By dint of sheer reputation, though -- and the fact that bookstores actually kept it in stock -- it was one of the few comics (along with Akira) I slowly pursued in book form in the late '90s once I had disposable income, so I actually wound up getting a lot of exposure to Neil Gaiman before his Brit comics forebears. I felt the series only really started to cook with A Game of You; it probably bears revisitation. Mike Allred's issue was #54; the colorist was Daniel Vozzo. Bryan Talbot did one of the Fables and Reflections stories (#30), part of A Game of You (#36), framing sequences for World's End (#51-56) and the crucial 1991 Special, along with the aforementioned 2001 Dead Boy Detectives spin-off with writer Ed Brubaker.

11:15: While I'm saying this I'm scrambling to recall how many issues of Miracleman Gaiman wrote; it was eight, #17-24, not counting the framing bits of the Miracleman: Apocrypha anthology series.

14:29: The Pact! appears in The New Gods #7, Feb./Mar. 1972. 

14:42: I had told Tucker this pants-shitter of an Armageddon 2001 joke a few days before, and you can tell he's just thrilled to hear it again, knowing it will be recorded and made available on iTunes to everyone from Anne Hathaway down to our parents.  

14:59: Specifically I wrote about Before Watchmen: Ozymandias for Tucker's column at The Comics Journal. My hope for the Before Watchmen project -- resigned as I became to the reality that the comics were really going to happen -- was that the new work would function in much the same way as the Moore/Gibbons book did to Steve Ditko's Charlton creations, i.e. as a learned, confrontational means of addressing the implications of the earlier text(s). Jae Lee sort of begins to do this in a purely visual capacity, but I can't say it goes anywhere lashed to such a completely lame script; but then, just as Tucker calls the the very idea of prequels like this "a way of attacking literature," they represent a sort of meta-textual 'confrontation' with Watchmen in terms of rejecting the very idea of a freestanding literary work in favor of burrowing themselves -- respectfully, of course! -- into the earlier work as a means of revitalizing it along the lines of the endlessly revisited, boundlessly 'relevant' superhero comics of today... the state of which, you'll recall, is due in large part to the reluctance of anyone involved to create original works out of legal worry or concerns for economic self-preservation.

16:51: Parker: The Score, by Darwyn Cooke, adapted from a novel by Donald E. Westlake. The previous volumes in Cooke's Parker series are The Hunter (2009) and The Outfit (2010); Tucker did a long interview with Cooke at Comics Alliance in the buildup to the second volume. The "point" Tucker refers to my making was via email in preparation of our all-important schedule, not in some deleted sequence or anything. The AV Club interview to which I refer is here; in all fairness, several people in the comments section do bring up the conspicuous absence of Parker (mentioned in passing in the piece's introductory text), which may well be due to some tacit or explicit urging on the part of DC's publicity folks to keep the chat on target; a review of the book was posted elsewhere.

19:11: Seriously though, I'm certain something exactly like this happened at some point in Cooke proving ground Batman: The Animated series or etc., and you bet your ass there's a blog post or an essay out there on some pop/geek culture site singing that episode's praises. Particularly if it's coming from the sort of writer that's decided that "real, legitimate, lasting work[s] of art" are nothing that's ever coincided with what they've found moving or profound or meaningful. You might even say that sort of impulse powered a lot of the earlier underground comics - an antipathy toward abstract expressionism and the accordant rejection of figuration prolific in institutional education. The irony's that the impulse has been turned toward benefiting corporate institutions - see how easily, intentional or otherwise, that AV Club talk turns the subject of Before Watchmen away from notions of ownership and toward the idea of 'strong' female characters, a real and virtuous discussion that nonetheless positions the corporate entity as less an assertive owner of IPs than the very inevitability of navigable terrain.

23:18: According to the title link above, Cooke is next planning to adapt The Handle, which jumps over an additional two books in the series. At this point the series might break format to do a small standalone (comic book?) version of Slayground, which jumps ahead five books, and possibly then Butcher's Moon, which is the second book after that, unless something else pops up in between.

26:09: HAW HAW HAW

26:51: The prospective Jason Statham vehicle is simply titled Parker. The Mel Gibson ("Porter") movie was Payback, the Lee Marvin ("Walker") was all-time classic Point Blank, the Robert Duvall ("Macklin") was The Outfit, the Jean-Luc Godard (Anna Karina as "Nelson") was Made in U.S.A. (not a faithful rendition), and the Jim Brown ("McClain") was The Split.

29:01: To wit:

Much is said in the transition from the girl's contented face in panel 1 to the naivete expressed through her simplified 'long shot' form in panel 2, to say nothing of the stolen glance in panel 4 - stolen, we can tell, both from her expression and her proximity to the panel border. Excellent stuff. 

33:04: I wrote a little more about the contrasting Jacques Tardi & Darwyn Cooke crime aesthetics here, in case the metallic tinge of my voice is driving your body wild.

33:40: Barry Sonnenfeld's Dinosaurs vs. Aliens, by Grant Morrison, Barry Sonnenfeld, Mukesh Singh and "Liquid Studios." The legal indicia does list the title as simply Dinosaurs vs. Aliens, though the publisher, as you can see at the link, files it under "B." I hope I don't sound too gratuitous detailing the catastrophic levels of tackiness involved in the packaging/promotion of this thing, but I honestly do believe it's contributed to the relative low profile of the release even beyond it being a twenty dollar unfinished graphic novel you can read in under 15 minutes - for an author as fond of going on about the "pop" of things as Morrison, he really is involved here with the geek culture equivalent of a Nickelback album. Merits aside, 'the kids' wouldn't be caught dead with such a gaudy-ass thing, and that's the first time I've ever felt the need to say that about a Grant Morrison comic.

35:55: No, seriously - Tucker blogged it.

 "I'm not a Perez Hilton fan, but no bullshit, he was the best host of one of these type of things I've ever seen, and while no, I haven't seen very many 'reunion' specials, he was in no way similar to those creepy freaks that host shit on MTV, he wasn't like Ryan Seacrest, he was a foul mouthed jackal intent on telling the girls he liked that he liked them, and even more intent on telling the girls he thought were whores things like 'You're a whore.' I won't be keeping up with his blog anytime soon, unless 'anytime soon' also means 'never', but well played sir. Well fucking played."

Hilton appears to be commenting on the cross-platform announcement itself on the back cover; I doubt he's even aware of the comic's particulars. Same goes for io9:

"Tired of X Vs. Y movies? Too bad! Now shut up and eat your awesome... are there any 'Versus' movies that can top aliens against dinosaurs?"


38:57: No, allow me.

41:14: I got my comics-format movie pitches mixed up here; Jeevan Kang drew the Garth Ennis/John Woo 7 Brothers, while Mukesh Singh did the Andy Diggle/Guy Ritchie joint Gamekeeper; none of these folks stuck around past the series' first storylines, btw. Aside from what I list aloud, Singh also did the first five issues of the Top Cow-ish pretty girl comic Devi, and *every* issue of the immortal Jenna Jameson's Shadow Hunter. For the record, 18 Days was a rendition of the Mahabharata, of which the Bhagavad Gita is part. Virgin also put out 16 issues of Ramayan 3392 AD, based on the other huge Sanskrit epic.

42:02: From this:

to this:

44:39: "Do they show them applying the war paint with their little arms?" Yeah, as much as I value imagination and metaphor - sometimes you just crash against the rocks of concept. I'll say no more tonight.