In this week's episode of Snollygoster, Ohio's politics podcast from WOSU, hosts Mike Thompson and Steve Brown discuss the potential consequences of the Supreme Court case on Mississippi's abortion law. Reporter Audra Heinrichs joins the show.
Join NAFI: www.nafinet.org Watch Mike present this content as part of MentorLIVE: https://www.mentorlive.site/program/5.html Claim FAA Wings Credits for this presentation: https://www.faasafety.gov/gslac/ALC/CourseLanding.aspx?cID=506 Certified flight instructors are rarely educators. Many see instruction as a stepping-stone to the next level of their flight careers and assume that merely telling is the equivalent of teaching. We tell, we show, but we rarely teach—and in failing to do so, we do our students a disservice. This mistake is detrimental to both students and the aviation industry. Join veteran flight instructor and educator Mike Thompson as he applies the principles of educational psychology from the FAA-H-8083-9A Aviation Instructor's Handbook to the art and science of teaching.
In this week's episode of Snollygoster, Ohio's politics podcast from WOSU, hosts Mike Thompson and Steve Brown discuss the redistricting process as Ohio loses a congressional seat. Ohio State University law professor and election law expert Ned Foley joins the show.
Wanda Felty (OUHSC Center for Learning and Excellence) and RoseAnn Duplan (OK Disability Law Center) join the show to discuss Oklahoma's disability services waiting list, why it's *still* moving so slowly despite the rhetoric from the Governor & legislature. We also discuss Oklahoma redistricting, the firing of Maj. Gen. Mike Thompson, and Julius Jones. https://www.publicradiotulsa.org/local-regional/2021-11-12/maj-gen-mike-thompson-speaks-with-kwgs-about-being-fired-from-leading-the-okla-national-guard (Public Radio Tulsa story on Mike Thompson) https://www.peoplenotpoliticians.org/post/the-legislature-must-adopt-the-peoples-map (The People's Map) Support this podcast
In this week's episode of Snollygoster, Ohio's politics podcast from WOSU, hosts Mike Thompson and Steve Brown discuss Ohio's Congressional redistricting process that could actually yield more competitive races.
Once again, we're walking the moonlit path of dreams and discussing The Sandman. In this episode, we're talking about the fifth and sixth volumes: A Game of You and Fables & Reflections. ----more---- Mike: I don't think I'm getting a birthday present. I am relatively certain that they want to fire me out of a cannon into the sun Jessika: Hello. And welcome to Ten cent takes the podcast where we cause whiplash from rapid time leaps, one issue at a time. My name is Jessica Frasier and I'm joined by my cohost, the curious collector, Mike Thompson. Mike: Man, my collection has been growing by leaps And bounds lately. Yeah. COVID has not been kind to my closet free space. Jessika: Oh, well, and you recently gave me my first short box, So thing. So Mike: I'm not sorry. Jessika: no, don't be, I needed a place for the, my, I looked over at my, at my bookshelf one day and went, oh no, I have a lot of single issues that are just kind of sitting on a shelf. Mike: you know, you're a collector when you just have the random piles of single issues hanging out, Jessika: I just have random piles of trade paperbacks. And just like, my counter is literally covered. Not only do I have every one of the Sandman series, just like chilling on my counter. I got, um, moon girl and, uh, um, devil devil dinosaur, and that's just chilling. So I've just got all this stuff, like all over. Mike: Yeah, it's a, it's insidious. It takes over. your life. One issue at a time. Jessika: Well, what better way to fill a tiny house shaped like a pirate ship than with comics. Mike: Hm. Fair. Jessika: If you haven't listened before the purpose of our podcast is to study comic books in ways that are both fun and informative. We want to look at their coolest weirdness and silliest moments, as well as examine how they're woven into the larger fabric of pop culture and history. This episode, we are returning to our book club and we will be looking at volumes five and six of the Sandman series. If you haven't checked out the first couple episodes of the series, I highly recommend you go back and take a lesson. It's episodes 15 and 17. Mike: Yeah. And we're covering two volumes at a time. Jessika: Yes, we are. So 15 was one and two and 17 was three and four. So you're joining us for five and six. So welcome aboard. Mike: Welcome to the deep end of the pool children. you don't get an inner tube and we don't have any water wings. Sorry. Jessika: There's absolutely no lifeguard on duty. We are not responsible Dulce at this time. Mike: If You are enjoying our podcast, please go ahead and rate and review on whatever platform you're listening on. If that's an option it's especially helpful. If you can rate us on apple podcasts, there's a lot of discoverability, , or if you have overcast, you can always do a star for the episode and that'll push promotion as well. Or if you're a comic fan and you're liking what we're talking about, and you've got some friends who you think would actually enjoy it? as Well, please let them know any little bit helps. We really appreciate all of you who are spending your time with us. Jessika Audio: We also want to support other podcasts that we really like in this space. So this week spotlight is on the last comic shop podcast. Here's a quick review of what to expect from them. If you want us to feature your show, go ahead and drop us off. Jessika: before we leave into our main main topic, Mike, what is one cool thing you've read or watched? Mike: I was on hooplah the other day and I came across a new series by Jeff Lemire, who is the guy who wrote Sweet Tooth along with a bunch of other excellent. But it's called Gideon Falls and they have the first five volumes on there. it's a really interesting series. It starts off feeling kind of like a horror supernatural thriller involving a Catholic priest who comes to this town and he's very quickly wrapped up in nefarious things going on and it's really creepy. And then there's a B- story involving a guy who is in this kind of weird dystopian, urban environment, far away from the small town of Gideon falls. as the story continues, it morphs from being a, , supernatural horror murder mystery into a bit more science fiction and mad science while still keeping those original vibes. , and also there's a lot of personal tragedy involved with the main characters. That's really cool to read too, which I mean, that's what Jeff Lemire does is he writes these things that just, they make you a lot of times feel like you need to watch Schindler's list for a pick me up. They're excellent, but they are brutal at times. so after I read that, I then proceeded to read through the, what if omnibus that they had on hooplah and I needed something a little bit lighter to cleanse by. Jessika: That's very relatable. Definitely been in that situation myself. Mike: but what about you? Jessika: Well, I have, I recently purchased the book herding cats, which is a black and white anthology comic by Sarah Anderson Mike: like this is the woman who did hyperbole and a half, right? Jessika: yes. Yeah. And also the one that I've spoken about before fangs. Mike: Yeah. The love story between the vampire and the werewolf. Jessika: Aha. Aha. Mike: Yes, I listen. Jessika: you do, you're very good, probably multiple times because we record and then edit and relisten relisten. And this style of comic is definitely way different than the fangs one. , it's more of a simple design and it's just, it's a really fun time to begin with. I highly recommend her stuff to begin with. So hurting is a part of her Sarah scribbles collection. And if you've seen some of those strips floating around online, they're pretty cute. each page of the book is showing like a small relatable instance about daily. And it's definitely a mood booster. If you're looking for a different palette cleanser, this is definitely it, it kept me giggling the whole way through. And despite it's title, it's definitely not a whole book of cat Comics. I promise. Cause I'm not necessarily a cat person per se. I mean, they're fine, but I'm, I'm not a cat person, but you will see some in there. Mike: I'm more of a cat person than you are Jessika: You've truly are you are with your little dog cat. Mike: the Duchess Sprocket fonts adipose. Jessika: Oh goodness. The names we give our pets. I swear. I think the most fun part about this book though, is that there's also a section at the back. , and it has advice to young artists and it's complete with Comics to go with the advice, which is super cute. Mike: Oh, that's awesome. That's really cute. Jessika: Yeah. That's really sweet. All right. Now onto the meat of our episode, this one's going to be a chunker buckle up everyone. So volume five of the Sandman series is titled a game of you and was published in 1991 and 92 it's composed of issues. 32 through 37 of the Sandman series and was written by Neil Gaiman and illustrated by Sean McManus. Colleen Duran, Brian Talbot and Stan. We begin our tail in somewhere called the land and voices stadium may needed to find help and that the lane was in great peril and that they were waiting for the person, destined, to save them. Ultimately, one of the voices states their decision to go find the person that is supposed to save them. Meanwhile, Barbie, which was a surprise for me to see her again, is a woken by her neighbor, Wanda. And it's revealed that even though she sleeps, Barbie is unable to dream. Mike: And we should note who Barbie and Wanda are, because the last time that we saw them was in the doll's house and Barbie at the time had been married to a yuppie named Ken who, when the dream, the vortex, was that what it was the dream for techs. Jessika: Yeah, it was the dream vortex caused by Rosewall. Mike: Yeah. So when the dream vortex hit and. Ripping everybody's dreams into one another. There's this weird kind of overlap. Ken and Barbie had some sort of a fight. We don't know exactly what about, but it was basically, I think it was tied to the fact that Ken was, he was an eighties, yuppy, Wallstreet, wannabe, and his fantasies involved, things that Barbie found kind of testable. And then Wanda was the landlord, right? Jessika: No, actually that was a different person, but, um, Wanda. Yeah, Wanda's a new, person and she's in the new place. The Barbie moves to, Mike: Okay. Like I totally read that wrong. I have spent, I've spent decades thinking that Wanda was the same person as, Jessika: I Mike: uh, Jessika: name now, Mike: yeah. Jessika: but he was, he was queer in the sense that he was like cross-dressing, but not necessarily like, he wasn't necessarily trans from my understanding. Mike: Yeah. but the other thing is that on the back of the book, I think they sit there and they refer to the drag queen. for, for this volume, Jessika: oh, well that's just rude. Mike: Yeah. Jessika: That's just transphobic. Mike: yeah. Hold on. Let's, let's take a look at this now. Jessika: Well, I am going to yell about the transphobia, so we'll , just wrap it up now. We'll get started here. Mike: Yeah, so it's literally the promo text on the back is taken apartment house, add in a drag queen, a lesbian couple, some talking animals, talking severed, head, a confused heroine and a deadly Kuku. So I don't think that's on Neil Gaiman. I think that's more DC comics than anything else, Jessika: I agree. That was whoever was writing the cover script. Mike: but that is something that, because I read that description, I thought it was the landlord Hal from doll's house, because Hal was someone who clearly was like tight with Barbie and also had a drag persona? Jessika: there was a one-off statement about how pal gave her be addressed to the landlord for this place where she moved to New York. Mike: I missed that. Okay. Jessika: It's again, one of those, you know, I'm glad I could catch something you didn't. Cause it's usually the other way round. Mike: Yeah. No,, but honestly between that and, the, uh, the promo text on the back, I thought that one had moved on from her assigned gender and was now living in her actual identity. But that was clearly not the case. And that was a little confusing to me. But the other thing is that, you know, the art style had changed. And so I wasn't sure if it was just a new artist rendering an old character. So on me. Jessika: that's caught me a few times though, where I'm like, wait, the art's a little bit different. Mike: Yeah. Jessika: Am I like, is this the same character? And I had to kind of suss out who the character was , which is fine. It was easy enough, Mike: That's kind of shocking that they sit there and still identify Wanda as a drag queen. Like these days Jessika: yeah. Mike: anniversary book. Jessika: Yeah. That was very disappointing to me. didn't realize that. And that just Mike: Not great. Jessika: Neil, that one probably wasn't Neal. Awesome. It was God dammit. Mike: I doubt it was like, I don't, that, reeks of marketing . Jessika: Well, there are absolutely people who write the, the covers and whatevers. Mike: yeah. Jessika: So Barbie is living once again, an eclectic type living situation, but has moved to New York. Like we were saying beside Wanda, her neighbors include a lesbian couple named Hazel and Foxglove and a seemingly square bear of a young woman named Thessaly and a middle-aged man named George, who seems to keep to himself for the most part. Barbie also gets very creative with her makeup for the day, painting a black and white checkerboard onto half of her face. And Wanda has decided that spite their lack of money, they should go shopping and at Tiffany's even, Mike: Yeah, I really liked Arby's makeup because it felt very much like what you see on Tech-Talk these days, which is all optical illusions and cool stuff like that. So, Neil Gaiman, oddly prescient, or the 1990s. Jessika: He's doing us good right now. So we quickly cut to the dream realm where Dream is talking with Matthew, the Raven and his son, something happening in a far part of the dream realm, that there was some sort of transition. We zip back to Barbie and Wanda who are on the subway. A woman approaches them for change and Wanda brushes her off. While Barbie throws a of quarters in her cup, the woman becomes very upset when she sees that she is sharing the subway car with a puppy and starts yelling and panicking saying that she doesn't like dogs. The dogs scare her and she exits the car. The first available stop then up the stairs and out of the subway onto the main road, still yelling about not liking dogs. She is immediately face to face with what looks like a giant yellow dog with a large mustache that had to be bigger than a bus. This thing was huge. Mike: Yes, Jessika: And it didn't even really look like a dog, but that was probably the closest approximation to what you could call it, Mike: it's kind of this weird amalgamation between a Saint Bernard and a lion. Jessika: Yeah. Yeah. That's a good way to say it. Mike: as we learn we have seen him before in Barbie's very kind of like Alison Wonderland meets Lord of the rings dreams that she was having before the events of adult's house. Jessika: Yes. And we will definitely be talking about those Mike: No. Jessika: and the woman upon seeing this huge dog what's herself and then faints meanwhile, Wanda and Barbie have made it to their stop and go forward breakfast prior to their shopping spree. After being asked about the subject, Barbie explains that she hasn't been able to dream after a weird night back where she used to live. And after that point, things fell apart with her relationship with Ken, she said she stopped communicating with him anymore and they weren't really being intimate. And then Ken found another woman and was like bringing the other woman over, even though Barbie was there. It was super wack. Mike: Yeah, And I mean, I dunno, good for her for, knowing right out of that situation. Jessika: Yeah, exactly. She didn't deserve that. Mike: No, Jessika: So pan back to giant dog thing who is looking super rough, it. Mike: uh, Jessika: He's still trying to complete his quest, even though he's limping along, the police are trying to cordon off the area and Barbie and Wanda are passing along that same way. Barbie recognizes her friend calls him by name Martin. And as he's trying to make his way towards her, the police fire on him from multiple angles, he falls in a heap to Barbie's feet and tells her that she needs to go back. The land needs her and gives her the serpentine, which appears to be a large pink stone in an ornate fitting on a necklace, one a pulls away as Martin dies from his injuries. She gets Barbie home and helps her into her apartment. And Barbie realizes that the necklace was from her dreams. And then her whole room fills with blackbirds who turn white, which was, that was a wild thing. And outside the door, George seems very interested in the situation and tries to ask Wanda, but she just brushes him off. Mike: Right. And it's , kind of creepy, like his demeanor is that he seems like that weird sorta infatuated in cell who's uncomfortably interested in one of his neighbors. Jessika: yeah, he's like at the door with his head down. He's like post Barbie. Mike: Yeah. Jessika: I wish you could see me, everyone. Cause I'm just like girl. then he goes and grabs a whole ass Raven and puts it in his mouth and swallows it whole and grinning the whole time and mentioned the. Mike: Yeah, by that point in time, it's not surprising that he is off in a creepy, supernatural way. there've been enough weird little hints about them throughout the issue. Jessika: Yeah. He's just kind of a lurking most of the time, which is very strange. Mike: Yeah. Jessika: There's a whole lot of other apartment drama, of course. And , Hazel was taken advantage of while drunk and is now pregnant, but hasn't told her partner Fox glove. she's also pretty naive about how reproduction works in the first place, which is super depressing. Like she didn't know basic things. Mike: It felt like she was written to be unbelievably dumb about this one topic, even though she's in a queer relationship in New York, she works as a chef. And when we're first introduced to her, she seems very no bullshit because when we first meet her, it's Wanda trying to get milked for Barbie and Hazel is like, kind of. Antagonistic towards Wanda. And you're not sure if it's because she's possibly transphobic or if she's just not a morning person, because they let Wanda come in and grab some milk and it just seems like they're kind of cranky people who are not thrilled to be woken up in the morning. Jessika: Yeah. Yeah. Mike: But then like later on, she has these moments that are just, literally unbelievably naive and I don't think her character was written like she should have been. I don't know. I, I'm curious if, when they do an audio book of this, if they ever get around to it, how Gaiman's going to rewrite her. Jessika: Yeah. Same as I, I just think, yeah, there was a lot missing from this character. Just didn't feel like you said believable as a character, just in all of these different pieces to her. So Barbie is still waking out a bit about her experience and with the birds and everything else, and Martin 10 bones, all that stuff, and tries to decompress while watching TV. And she starts drifting in and out of sleep. And by extension in and out of the dream realm, Nuala actually does show up again. I know we had said prior that we weren't sure if she does, but she does, Mike: yeah. And new Allah was the ferry who had been given to Dream as a gift in volume four without her consent, by the way, it was kind of like surprise you now serve the dream Lord, Jessika: Yeah. You're not coming home with me. Sorry. This is now your problem. Ugh. Mike: which, I mean like, admittedly, we all kind of wish that we could do that with our siblings at one point or another, Jessika: well, Mike: I mean, Jessika: my brother doesn't listen to this anymore, so it's fine. Oh goodness. So Nuala does show up and she tries to warn Barbie. That shit is about to get complicated at which point Barbie does fall asleep and passes into the dream. cut to creepy George, who is cutting himself open. He pulls open his chest, exposing his ribs, where a bunch of blackbirds had evidently been waiting and subsequently fly out of him. The other members of the apartment complex start having weird and awful dreams and the birds visit each sleeping individually individual thusly catches the bird, trying to harass her and with a glance at ignites in her hand, which affects George. This is the first real glimpse of the idea that thusly may not be the quiet innocuous individual that she first seemed to be. And she then goes to see George at his apartment wielding a kitchen knife. Mike: Yeah, I thought that was really cool. And the thing is, is that that's actually a really good example of kind of game and doing , some misdirection because he doesn't drop any hints about her. All you get the idea of is that she's extremely straight-laced and kind of nebbish for lack of a better term. Jessika: Yeah, Mike: yeah, and then she just busts out powers and she's really not featured much before this either, which was kinda. Jessika: yeah, And back in the. Barbie is having to reacclimate herself to her own dream character as she has only the fleeting memories of the night she spent there. And everybody in the building starts to awaken and the birds disappear. They're all shaken after their nightmares. And one by one thusly visits, the apartments of the other residents starting with Hazel and Fox glove followed by Wanda. Leslie already knew the Barbie was in trouble and Wanda used her spare key to get into Barbie's apartment at Besley's urging and Barbie was out hold still in the dream room. Leslie asked Wanda to carry Barbie to George's apartment since Wanda was quote unquote the strongest and then Hazel who I'm sorry, is just dumber than a rock points to Wanda's genitals and says, Hey, you have a thingy, which firstly, take a step back, captain obvious. And secondly, so the fuck what? Mike: Yeah. And it goes back to that thing that we were talking about with Hazelwood. It's like, she is suddenly this very, almost childlike person, even though she is a grown ass adult and a queer relationship in New York city. Like, I dunno, it's, it's not great. It feels. Very clumsy. Jessika: It sure did. And I think childlike is, is probably the best way to put it because it did feel that way. Like she was seeing something for the first time and it's like, girl, Mike: it's like you're pregnant. This isn't the first time you seen one Jessika: seriously, Mike: anyway. Jessika: goodness. The party, Firenze, Georges gross poster size picture of Barbie that he has framed up on his wall Mike: Yup. Jessika: and is informed that Thessaly has killed George and he is in the bathtub. So Wanda's freaked out by all of this. Of course, I would also be very freaked out at this. not going to lie to you. Mike: Also we need to, we need to Go back. for a second and it's not that George is dead and in the bathtub it's oh no. George is in the bathtub and they go, oh, is he taking a shower? It's weird that he's taking a shower at 2:00 AM. And she's like, no, no, no, no. I killed him. And his body is in the bathtub and that's when the freaking out happens. Jessika: Yeah, Mike: I thought that was great. I loved it. Jessika: I did too. Cause definitely left the door open to George's house and everyone's like, George. Hello. Mike: Yeah. No. Jessika: Oh, of course one is freaked out and she says that she's going to leave and she physically cannot. As if by magic, Leslie also says that she is going to get George to talk and starts the disgusting process of doing so she has to remove his eyes, his face skin, and his tongue, this, she actually bid out, which was fucking as fuck. Mike: Yeah, after it looks like she's kissing his skinless face. Jessika: Uh, yeah, was horrifying and nails these to the wall and then tells George that it's time to come back and horrifyingly. He does come back and WordStar coming from the face nail to the wall and it's gross. So thusly starts to interrogate him about his plans and he begins to tell the group the CU. Wanda is disgusted and runs to the bathroom where she vomits and the rest of the group seemingly is surprisingly calm about the whole thing. I don't know that I would be personally, so Thessaly who is now out for revenge against the cuckoo for, you know, trying to fuck with her in her sleep states that she needs some menstrual blood and asks Fox glove. And when she asks, why she has to with Besley reveals that she has not been straight in a long time, And that Hazel is pregnant, which they definitely do not have time to deal with at the moment. But hill was obviously shocked and upset by the news. And Wanda is told that she can't go onto the next part of their journey because she needs to watch Barbie. But there seems to be an underlying reason after conversing with a being that seemed to be made of light stating that she needs to seek entry into the dream realm. Mike: Oh so it's actually, um, it's the threefold goddess who the fates basically who keep on showing up throughout. So it's, it's that, mother maiden crone, who normally, when we see them, it's, they're different phases, but they're all kind of part of the same amorphous black shape. So , depending on the artist, it's like, one being, but with like, you know, the three different identities at the same time, but it's also the. Jessika: Yeah. And I didn't get that. It was those three again, so thank you for, Mike: That's something I caught, like on my second or third read through Jessika: Okay. Well, I feel better about a thumb. Mike: it's. I mean, it's a fleeting moment. They only show up for like a page maybe. Jessika: Yeah, yeah. Mike: Yeah. Jessika: meanwhile, on the street, our friend, the I don't like dogs, lady is pointing out to a passer-by that the moon is acting strange, that it had disappeared from the sky. He states that it must be an eclipse, but she says that it just left. It was not like it gradually blacked out like normal eclipse. So Wanda watches us the three women walk into the light and disappear out of the room and the moon reappears in the sky for our friend on the street, Wanda starts questioning her womanhood because she vomited during the interrogation that somehow has makes her less of a woman. But I would argue that I would do the same. That whole situation was so gnarly. Mike: Yeah. it's very pagan ritually. it feels like, old school kind of like druidic, I'm sure that someone's going to get mad at me for saying this, but , it's very pagan, a cult. I don't know the rituals, but it feels like a lot of those things that you read about and fantasy novels that are set in, like our theory and times. Jessika: Totally. So the head then starts talking to. back in the dream realm, RB and company are making their way to their destination and have some near misses and find some other dead friends along the way the land has suffered since she has been gone, they talk about the cuckoo and how the bird lays its eggs and the nest of others. And once hatch, the young cuckoos push out the other eggs or young of the bird who initially built the nest while also fesses up to Morpheus about having warned Barbie. But he agrees that she did the right thing, princess, Barbara, and party, get to their destination, the sea and send, lose the parrot to get help. Mike: Yeah. And at this point there's only one other companion left. Who's like a, like an aardvark or an anteater. Oh, is it okay? That was some Jessika: It's a rat. It's like a, yeah, some rodent where it like Mike: and a trench Jessika: a order. Yeah. It looks like a reporter of a pie. Mike: Yeah. And, as their journey has been going on, it's kind of like, , the group of friends in the horror movie who are slowly getting picked off one by one. and the one That always gets me is the monkey. And I can't remember his name. But he would scout ahead and then he didn't come back and Barbie at one point asks if they think that he's okay and one of them just goes no, and then they go and find his body and it's like, Hmm. Hmm. Jessika: Yeah. That was really. And back at the apartment, this was a very web flashy, one where it's very back and forth. Uh, back at the apartment, Wanda is talking to George's face and she asks him why she was left behind. He says it's because she's a man stating that the moon Magic that was used can only be used by biological women, which yikes. No, no, no, no, I don't. I don't like that one bed. And George also offhandedly states that they should be concerned about the weather. So back in the dream realm, Luiz has betrayed Barbie and brings armed guards to their hiding place on the lift. And they also killed the last remaining member of the party. So Barbie is dragged away by the guards and then is paraded through the town into a small pink house. Mike: Which is the house that she grew up. Jessika: It is, yeah. It turns out to be a replica of her childhood home. she is also confronted by someone who appears to be her as a child, which is strange. child Barbie starts explaining that she had basically possessed her dreams and was taking over. Barbie becomes more and more visibly weak from being , in the house and around the young doppelganger. Ann Young Barbie leaves the house with her entourage of large dark plaid guards. Mike: While dragging older Barbie with her. Jessika: Yeah. So back in New York things have started to get wild. A hurricane that had just left, turned around and heads back into town. The women walk a path of Moonlight to the dream realm where thusly fesses up that she's been around a pretty long time and starts in on her plan for revenge. I would not want to cross this lady. It did not take much for her to get pissed off enough to want to kill people. Mike: I mean, I found it pretty relatable. Jessika: So they run across one of Barbie's failed companions who tells them that the cuckoo Barbie Mike: Well, they come across the body and then facily resurrects them in a similar manager that she did to George. Jessika: Correct. Mike: Yeah. And that's how they're able to get him to talk. Jessika: So during the walk Fox glove and Hazel discuss their future and Fox glove decides to raise the child as theirs and they make up in a sense. in New York, the storm is raging. George is making terrible transphobic jokes from the wall and the woman outside has been caught in the storm. So one helps a woman get inside out of the storm, in the dream realm, young Barbie, as an acting and plan, and has gone out to the most ancient point of the land. The higher gram that's land her two companions start making their way over, but are met by young Barbie who points them over to the threat quote, unquote, stating that lose is the cuckoo and loses a parrot. I might add. So the fact that she's saying the para did it is actually kind of a good assumption to make a Kuku. Fastly goes over confirms with the bird that she is in fact, the cuckoo and strangles her and snaps her neck. when Hazel asks why she did it, she says that the bird had to be taught a lesson. The lesson was that you don't get a second chance, which yeah. Mike: Yeah, Nestle is, uh, the epitome of don't fuck around. Jessika: yeah. found out. then young Barbie explains to Barbie and the others that the time has come to do what she had been brought here for. Back in New York are I don't like dogs. Friend is named Maisie and she is rightfully creeped out by George's face on the wall siding, bad vibes, which agreed more transphobic questions on some stories from Maisie about another trans family member she had, . It was just bad news bears. Barbie does a, she is told by young Barbie back in the dream realm and slams the porpoise teen into the large stone HIRA gram. And there's a great explosion at which point it's revealed the young Barbie is actually the cuckoo and that her goal, the whole time had been to get Barbie, to destroy the Portland teen and the high program. And then the cuckoo wouldn't be held in the land any longer breaking the spell and the land would subsequently be destroyed. So the necklace also disappears right off of Barbie's sleeping chest back in. Morphine's appears and Stacy, he created the land and puts Barbie back in control of her own mind as she had been Bewitched by the cuckoo and all of the characters of the land start filing past, ending with one dark haired and scarred woman in white, who clearly had history with dream, like every other fucking woman in here. So vessel, he tries to claim the life of the cuckoo. But dream is like, Nope. And states that he's displeased, that she's caused some major shit. Mike: Yeah, he was. If I remember, right. Dream was upset that she had trespassed into the dream realm without his permission. Jessika: Correct? Yeah. Mike: And it's also implied that her getting the goddess to grant her and foxglove and Hazel passage to the dream realm resulted in the hurricane. Jessika: Oh no, that was absolutely implied. Yeah. The implication was that if you pull the moon out of the sky, you're going to fuck with the tides. Yeah. Yeah. so we turn again to New York where that storm is even fiercer than before. And then there is an explosion of weather from outside and the world starts to. In the dream realm, dream states that he owes Barbie a boon and also reveals that Rose Walker, from , our doll's house volume had partially caused this mess. During that fateful night of converging dreams. Barbie asks that she and the other three women get back safe and sound, and they are sent back and we end volume five with a funeral Wanda's funeral. Barbie was pulled from the wreckage and was able to recover, but Wanda amazi did not make it. The funeral was similarly depressing and not just because Wanda had passed away, but because they were using Wanda's dead name and it cut her hair and had put her in men's clothing. And she was buried by her family who clearly had no idea who she really was nor cared to listen to find out. And even the headstone had her dead name listed. So Barbie took out a bright shade of lipstick and wrote Wanda on the headstone Barbie dreams that she sees Wanda with a smiling pale woman wearing black. And she finally seems happy. Mike: do we ever find out where the funeral is being held? It's just, it's implied that it's vaguely south Midwest. Jessika: She had to travel. And it did kind of seem in the south. I don't know that we got an exact location. Mike: Yeah. It was, it. was somewhere, very God-fearing and intolerance of people that are the least bit different. Jessika: Yeah. Well, what were your overall impressions of this story and who are your favorite least very characters or events of the fifth? Mike: Uh, you know, this volume is a really, it's an interesting change of pace because up until now, we've gotten stories where even if dream wasn't the main character, he played a really prominent role in the narrative, even if he was sitting in the background and this time around, he really doesn't show up a lot. And when he does, it's kind of just a bookend, the story. It's funny because whenever I talk about something that Neil Gaiman wrote and I'm like, oh, it's not my favorite thing. It's still better than 95% of things that I've read. this is not one of my favorite Sandman stories. Part of it is just because it's, it does provide that, that whiplash that you get where we're pivoting back and forth between the dream realm and New York. And there is a clumsiness too, to a lot of the characters, like we've already talked about Hazel. I feel like new Haven was trying to provide a narrative where someone who is trans is human, because he has several scenes with Wanda where Wanda talks about it and is very adamant that she is a woman and the story, the narrative doesn't judge or mocker for that. But , as you said, George is gross and transphobic, which makes sense. And, Maisie that the homeless lady is kinder. but you know, there, there is still that moment of are you a man or a woman? and then she relates the story about her grandson. it's not explained if he was just very femininely gay or if he was trans. Um, but she sounds like she was supportive of him, but then , he got killed during some sort of hotel hookup, which, I mean, that was a real risk with gay culture. Like, you know, especially during that time. I think it's one of the Columbia, your stories of the overall Sandman series. I don't think it's bad, but viewed through a 20, 21 lens, I think he could stand some revision. I don't know. I, my, my opinion is pretty much my opinion, I think, has the least value in, in any conversation about gender identity, because I'm a CIS white guy. Back on track, uh, did it, did it, uh, you know, I, I did actually really enjoy how we got to see some of the characters from the doll's house return, especially Barbie. it's really frustrating that I kept on thinking that we had seen Wanda in the doll's house. And it turns out that that was some misleading copy. That kind of made me think that like, oh, sorry. I liked how we got to see more of a strange fairies hill of a dream from that book and how it was spun out into a larger story that had a bunch of twists and turns. I don't know if I had a least favorite character, honestly, like, yeah, the Kuku is a hateful character, but I also thought it was kind of interesting that, that she was trying to kill Barbie so that she could exist. And then I don't think the cuckoo shows up again. I think the cuckoo just like bounces after this, when she flies off. I for some reason, like, I remember when I thought the KUKA was going to come back and be an even bigger batter nastier villain, but I don't think that happens. I could be wrong. It's been awhile, but I don't think it does. I thought was a really great character. Like we already talked about how, the way that they actually reveal that there's a lot more to where character and also how she is just straight out of Fox all the way through the story. and then, I guess, I guess my least favorite character is Hazel's character and it's not because of anything that was really wrong with her role in the story. It was just, she was very clumsily writ. Jessika: Yeah, Mike: like I said, I think she just comes across as dumb at the most convenient and unbelievable times. It's just, it's too coincidental where at one point she's asking about like, oh, well, don't, you have to kill a rabbit to like, what, what was it like she was asking about like to perform an abortion or, or Jessika: see if you're pregnant. Cause that Mike: yeah. Like, come on, okay. Jessika: Yeah, actual most ridiculous thing. I know. Mike: , I don't know. Like, do you agree to disagree? Like, I feel like I might be reading too much into this just with my own thoughts, but Jessika: Oh no I was, I was pretty disappointed in how this whole thing was written. I'm not gonna lie to you. I was disappointed in the transphobia. Let's start there. Mike: yeah. Jessika: It just felt like the entire volume, it may have been done with the intention of bringing to light some of the challenges that trans women face like deadnaming or of constantly being told that genitalia is what makes one, a woman or the idea that to do trans correctly, you need to get surgery or the blatant violence against trans people. But I don't think enough was done to highlight someone doing the right thing and giving example of allowing someone to just live their life genuinely. And Barbie is a good example of a somewhat decent advocate, but I wish that the lesbians in the building had done more to be open or even just not completely stupid about the situation. It just felt really TERF-y Mike: Yeah. Jessika: Which, you know, to, to explain for any of you who don't know a turf as it's trans exclusionary, radical feminist, which is just a way to say you don't want trans women in your fucking woman club for some fucking odd reason. Mike: Yeah, And I mean, back in 1991, when this was written, that wasn't really a thing like, gender queerness, wasn't really a known thing. It was your transsexual like, did you ever see the movie soap dish with Sally field and Whoopi Goldberg and Elizabeth shoe and Kevin Klein? Jessika: No. Mike: It's a really funny movie up until the last 10 minutes, uh, where it's, it's about the cast of a soap opera and how the behind the scenes stuff is even more ridiculous than what's going on in the soap opera. It's great. But then the last 10 minutes or so it's revealed that the villain who's been pulling everyone's puppet strings, , she's , publicly humiliated by being outed on live television as a trans woman. And that's the punchline. in, 1991, This was considered wildly funny. this is an example of how our views have changed in the past 30 years. for the better where we can look at this and say, this is, this is not great. Jessika: Yeah. I mean, it's still happening though. And that's it, it's still a very real problem within the, you know, the LGBTQ plus community. Mike: a hundred percent. Jessika: Yeah. It's just in the end, I felt like there were no lessons learned by the people who had been the most transphobic. Mike: Yeah, I mean, cause George, we knew was going to be terrible. , and then Hazel and Fox glove, there was no. resolution on that because by the time that they get back, Wanda's dead. Jessika: Yeah. Yup. And which that also felt refrigerators. Like you're going to kill off the one trans person, like okay. Mike: Yeah. And there's the, the happy ending of, we see Wanda perfect. And in this amazing dress with death, waving goodbye to say farewell to Barbie, which is it's. I mean it's Jessika: But she, but my problem with that is she looks a little bit different. Like she looks more feminine and she looks more in it's. That's not necessarily what, and I mean, I'm not trans, so I can't speak to this experience, but to me ha, having known people and talk to their experience, that's not necessarily what they want. They don't want to be a totally different person. They just want to be them genuinely. Mike: Yeah. I mean, I certainly can't speak for people who are trans or gender fluid, or, or anything in that realm. Like that is well outside my wheelhouse. I can just say, I agree with you. It feels achy. Jessika: Yeah. Yeah. Well, and yeah, since, no real lessons , were learned. I mean, maybe that's the real message that people don't fucking learn. And if so, thank you. That's goddamn. Depressing. Mike: Yeah. The one nice moment was when Barbie wrote Wanda's name on her tombstone and the bright lipstick, that was nice because you know, it was loud and it was flamboyant and it was very much everything about Wanda's personality, but it was really dissatisfying as an ending. Jessika: Yeah. Yeah. I agree. Did you have a favorite art moment in this volume? Mike: I'm not sure that I had a favorite art moment, but I was really affected every time one of Barbie's friends died or where she found their bodies. like it, it genuinely made me sad. You know, I've already talked about how, when they found per natto, the monkeys corpse and how it was really sad, but Martin 10 bones and his expression right before the cop shot him, because he just looked, it was that look of, oh, I found my friend , and I've got the message, but like, it, uh, it reminded me of the time that I'd take my dog into the vet to put them down. Jessika: Mm. Hmm. Mike: you know, and that's, it's, it's that moment where you, uh, when you're holding the dog and it's like, oh, everything's okay. And then they give him the shot and he gives you this look just fucking rips you apart every time. So not really, uh, not really a favorite moment, but definitely in effecting one. Jessika: Oh, you're trying to get me go on to, Mike: Yeah. Um, I dunno. What about you? Jessika: well, I really enjoyed how they did the color and line work and the moon. Mike: Yeah, those were cool. Jessika: Yeah, it was neat to see how they use the negative space and implied shapes using lions. And it also made me feel like I was a part of the scene. There was almost like I had to shield my own eyes from the full white pages. Mike: Yeah. that was, that was neat. Jessika: any final thoughts about this volume before we move on? Mike: like I said, it's not really my favorite. I keep thinking about Hazel and Fox glove. And it's interesting because like Fox glove was, , the girlfriend of the woman who put out her own eyes with the forks or , the, the skewers and the diner, Jessika: Yeah. Yeah. I figured you were going to bring that up. I was, I was like, how can I condense this crazy story? Mike: Yeah. And so that, I, that was kind of a neat throwback because I remember Fox glove is like a very, it's like a throwaway name or something like that. And then I think her name is Julie shows up in the jacket that she was wearing and her eyes , are not visible during the nightmares when everyone's being plagued by the Cuckoo's Binion's. I will say that moment where Hazel and Fox glove are first in the dreaming and Fox lava sitting there and basically screaming at Hazel about getting pregnant and it feels like it's going to get real ugly. And she's like, when we get back, I'm gonna , call you all sorts of names and tell you how dumb you are and do you know how much it's going to cost for us to raise a baby. and she's like, we're going to have to buy one of those stupid expensive books to name the kid. And I was like, oh, Okay. , and then they're holding hands by the end of that page. And it's, it's sweet. that story continues actually in a couple of mini series about death, that, that game in road. And they're really good. they've got their own sense of tragedy and everything, but they're, they're solid, I don't know, it's not my favorite , but it does a lot of things that are really interesting. And I also think that it leads to some really cool stuff down the road. Jessika: Let's move on to volume six, Mike: Okay. Jessika: titled fables . And flections. This was originally published in single magazine form as the Sandman 29 through 31 38 through 40 50 Sandman special one and vertigo preview one between 1991 and 1993. So very much a true compilation written by Neil Gaiman illustrated by Brian Talbot, Stan wool, Craig Russell, Sean McManus, Jon Watkiss, Jill Thompson, Duncan Eagleson and Kent Williams. And this was very much a, an anthology of a bunch of different stories that didn't necessarily tie together as a, an overarching plot like previous volume did. Mike: Yeah. it's very much like dream country just with about double the cost. Jessika: Yeah, Yeah, exactly. The first story is fear of falling. A musical theater writer and director who is wanting to give up right before his show. While sleeping. He is visited by Morpheus who ends up inspiring him to take the leap of courage. It took to finish his project to completion. Next up was destined mirrors, three Septembers and a January the story of the emperor of the United States. Here's the scene. San Francisco, 1859. Dream is drawn into a contest with his siblings, desire to spare and delirium, to see who could push a man to his death, each trying different tactics to try to lure him into one of those emotions. When Morpheus entered the scene, he basically just gave the man his exact dream. He wanted to be king and Morpheus stated that he was the emperor of the USA. He starts making proclamations about his claim to the throne and starts gaining popularity and the charity of the town around him. And he actually becomes famous for being the emperor and is even sought after, by tourists, visiting San Francisco. He has called crazy at times, but does not fall prey to madness desires, unable to tempt him as he already has everything he dreams of and despair was never in the picture. After his dreams came true. He was truly content and dream had won the contest death swoops in looking stylish as ever and leads. Mike: Yeah. And emperor Norton is actually someone who really existed in San Francisco. Like he's a part of our local history and Jessika: I didn't know that. Mike: yeah, no he's emperor, Joshua Norton, the imaginary emperor. he's a really cool part of San Francisco lore and I highly recommend, , reading up on him if he ever get the chance. he's one of my favorite stories about the city that. I grew up in. Jessika: Oh, I'm definitely gonna look into that now. Cause I mean, I love just a Stone's throw away and I can't believe I've never heard that before. Mike: Yeah. Jessika: The next story is mirrors Thermador said in England in 1794 with Morpheus, just swooping into the home of Johanna Constantine. And I'm sure that name sounds familiar in the middle of the nights and I'm not going to lie. It was really creepy when he was just like Nabu, all your people are asleep, just you and I. Sugar was like big. Nope. Mike: Yeah. Jessika: And then he's like, Hey, I have this super dangerous mission. UN she's all, but what's in it for me. And apparently she just believes in vague promises and agrees to help with him and with his family matter that he needs a mortal to intercede in. And it. Then it is post the French revolution. The reign of terror is in full swing and Johannah gets caught sneaking through the town late at night with a decapitated head in a bag, you know, casual Mike: who hasn't been out on a Saturday night with a human head and their satchel come on. Jessika: Mr. Al of late God. Once you got my bag, nothing you'd be interested in. So She ultimately gets picked up by the law sands head and as kept as a prisoner under a further threat, if she does not tell them where the head is, this whole thing about like her spreading superstitions or some bullshit. Mike: , Yeah, because robes Pierre was all about reason and eliminating superstition and religion. If I remember my high school history, Jessika: you are correct. Is that whole logic piece, which he was just going off about. So she dreams a little dream and visits, Morpheus and reveals that the head is Morpheus, a son Orpheus, so Joe had a basically says, this is your fight, but I'm in the ring little hope over here, Hugh the extra creep factor where the law rightfully figures out that she probably hit the head with all the other heads and go tell her to fetch the one they're looking for. Johanna gets the head, props it up, covers her ears. And tells Orpheus to sing. It drives the map, puts them in a trance unclear, but she is able to get away and get Orpheus to a little island paradise where he has previously been. We also come to find out that Morpheus is quite the absentee parent. , it was so sad. There was this part where Orpheus asks Johannah basically does this mean he cares about me and she's like, dunno. Mike: Yeah, it's a, anyone that's grown up with with strained relationships to their parents, like can just feel that gut. Jessika: Yeah. The fourth story is convergence. The hunt. So we find ourselves this time in a story within a story. Uh, grandfather tells his begrudging granddaughter, a tale about a man named Vaseline who becomes obsessed with finding a Duke's daughter based on a measure painting that was given to him by a Romani peddler, as he goes off in search of this woman, he has never met. He first encounters, the Romani peddler that had given him the miniature she is dead on the forest path, that he just swoops her bag of items and moves off through the forest. He meets several characters along the way, including Baba Yaga and a tall slender librarian, each particularly interested in one of the stolen items. He was peddling one night while hunting a dearest his target is taken out by a woman of the forest who factors into the story a little bit later upon reaching the Duke's mansion. He is led to a dungeon to rot, but is saved by the tall librarian who really, really, really wanted that book because it turns out the book is from the dream realm and Morpheus would be very, very, displeased. Should it not be returned? Mike: We've met the librarian before in passing, he's Lucy in the librarian of the dream realm. Like he's the first one that Morpheus basically reintroduces himself to once he gets back to the dream realm preludes and Nocturnes, but like he doesn't show up a lot. , it's one of those things where he's kind of like a central figure to the dreaming, but he doesn't show up a lot in the stories. , I don't remember. I think he may have appeared in passing in season of the mists. I can't remember, but anyway, sorry. His name is Lucien. Like that's, That's all I was trying to, right? Jessika: So in exchange for the book, Morpheus takes Vasily to the woman's room, but when he gets there, vastly simply looks at her and gives her the necklace back saying this belongs to you later on in his life. He runs back into the woman who took down the deer while there are both in Wolf form. And at the end of the story, the granddaughter assumes that her grandfather has made up the story to assuage her from dating her current boyfriend. But an ending comment, lets the reader know that the story may have some truth after all. Mike: that was one of my favorite closing modes. I I'm not gonna lie. Jessika: It was sweet. So our next tale distant mirrors. focuses on Julius. Caesar's next of Ken Augustus, who after a dream decides that he must live one day in the life of a beggar. So he calls upon an actor who happens to be a , little person to assist him in getting into the role for the day and show him the ropes. They start by making artificial boils on their faces and arms. They dress and rags and take to the streets in a dream, he was approached by Morpheus who knew about his troubled past being brutalized by the man. He looked up to the man, a whole empire looked up to, there was also this whole situation with there being two different futures. Augustus had read the prophecies, edited some destroyed others so that that overall people wouldn't know what was truly predicted. And so that he could make his own course of choosing by being a baker one day a year, he was not being watched by Julius and the other gods and therefore could plan without them watching after Augustus's death, the actor who had accompanied him that day wrote the story of his day with the emperor. However, the harsh details of Augustus's life remained a mystery that he himself took to. Next up. We once again, go back in time with convergence. Soft places. If you don't have whiplash yet, just wait. You will get it by the end of this episode. But this time we go to see Marco polo who was lost in the desert and having the most odd dream. He runs into a person who says his cellmate is named Marco polo and they that run into our buddy Fiddler's green or Gilbert, who we saw in the doll's house who tries to impart a lesson on Marco polo. Marco thinks that he is going to be stuck in the dreaming, but when he emerges, he is back with his father and was only a few hundred feet away from the party upon waking Marco forgets the dream. He was just a part of the Seventh story is the song of Orpheus we again, meet Orpheus this time, his head is still firmly attached to his neck and he is going to be married that day. His friend, is also at the wedding along with Morpheus and all of Morpheus as sibling. The bride reminds, era status of his long dead wife. And during the wedding, he requests a private meeting with Eurydice fading, a need for assistance. He states his intention to rape her and goes to grab her, but she needs him and runs off where she steps on and is bitten by a poisonous snake and dies right there. Orpheus realizes that she is no longer around and panics asking if something has happened to her grieving, the loss of his bride Orpheus seeks help from berserk his father than his aunt death, demanding that she bring her back death states that she cannot, that Euridice is any underworld now, and that he is unable to go and come back as he is a mortal after more prompting, she does state that she is able to just not collect him basically. And he would survive coming back from the underworld, but she also tells him that this is not what he wants and that he should go home. Or if he is however, it does the exact opposite and begins his journey to the gate death had described. So he makes his way to the underworld where he's buried across the river sticks and makes his way past Cerberus the three headed dog and through the endless amount of people in the underworld, he gets to Hades and Persephone who asked him for a song. And he asks for his wife back and plays a haunting melody that brings the underworld to a halt. Hades states that he could have his wife back, but that she will follow him as a shadow up and out of the underworld. The one rule was that he could not look behind him before he reached the exit of the underworld, or she would go back down. He made it almost all the way there, but started doubting thinking that he was the butt of Hades, this joke. But when he turned around, he saw Eurydice just before she was dragged back into the other world. Orpheus broke the surface alone and screamed understanding that he had just bought his only chance to have his bride back. Time-lapse Orpheus as many years older and living in solitude, he is visited by his mother, Kelly OB, who had a falling out with Morpheus after he would not assist Orpheus with his quest to bring back your IDC is not interested in talking with her, but she wants him. The picante are on their way and that he should leave as soon as possible. So she disappears and soon after the forest breaks out and cries, a crowd of naked women covered in wine and blood are running right towards him and ask that he take part in their rituals of sex, wine, and eating raw flesh. He states that he cannot participate as his heart belongs to someone else. And they basically say, yeah, we weren't asking. And they literally rip him apart. And eventually decapitate him, sending his head, flying into a river. He, of course can't die. So he's just stuck, literally rolling on a river. Mike: Yeah. It's very much the stories that Orpheus is known for. Everybody knows him from the story of him and URI dicey, but, surprise. There is actually a major part of Greek mythology where he gets ripped apart by boxes, insane followers and yeah. You're I find you don't want to take part in the ritual. we're going to turn you into one of the ritual supplies and just eat. Yeah, Jessika: Yeah, pretty much. So Orpheus the head washes a shore and Morpheus comes to see him. He wants to say, goodbye has arranged for Orpheus to be taken care of, but says the he'll never see Orpheus again. His life is his own next is convergence parliament of Rooks.. We visit Daniel and Hippolyta again, she puts Daniel down to nap and he wanders into the dream realm where he goes to the house of secrets and is with Matthew Eve and Abel Eve tells the story of Adam's three wives and Abel after Kane interrupts of course tells a very optimistic and happy version of their story, where everybody got along after all. And after all was said and done, Hippolyta has no idea that Daniel has gone anywhere while he was napping. Mike: we keep getting hints dropped about Daniel and it's gonna play out in a very big way later on. Jessika: I'm excited. So our last story distant mirrors, Ramadan is about the king of Baghdad, who has everything. Anyone could want ruling over a prosperous city. However, something still feels wrong to him. So he goes down into the secret depths of the palace where numerous wonders were kept. You procures a ball, which holds multitudes of basically like bad vibe entities. He summons Morpheus stating that he would break the ball, therefore releasing all of the bad vibes if Morpheus didn't appear. And when he actually follows through and drops the ball, Morpheus catches, it takes it and asks, why have you summoned me in, what the fuck do you want? The king wanted to trade control of his city in order to ensure that it was going to last forever. Morpheus agreed, but in true Morpheus fashion, he put the city in a jar and left the man to be the king of a city in shambles. So Mike overall impressions of a story, favorite characters or. Mike: Yeah. like I said, this one is a lot like dream country and there's one more volume later on where we get the one-shot stories to provide us with breathers, , , from the overall narrative. They were printed, as they were in, in various orders, but then DC collected them into the different volumes in ways. That makes more sense. but it's interesting because in this case we got a collection of stories without another prolonged round of like soul crushing horror and dark fantasy. I think the anthology volumes actually do a lot to move Sandman from the realm of horror and more into the realm of fantasy, because a lot of the times the individual stories aren't as dark or, as, as brutal. like a lot of times they're a little bit more philosophical or meditative, but I liked them a lot, but I mean, I only own, two issues of Sandman like individual. and one of them is issue number eight, which is the first appearance of death. And the other one is issue 31, which is the one that features three Septembers in a January. The story about . I love that story about Norden. I think that one's great. We already talked about how he was a real person and, he is this really interesting character out of history who is both the epitome , of kind of the magic of a dream and also what you can achieve even when you're faced with a ton of tragedy, because he was actually almost, I think he was basically completely wiped out due to a bad rice shipment and he did die penniless. And at the same time, San Francisco fucking loved him. Like they kept standing, box tickets for him at the symphony on opening night He was arrested once by an officer and the judge actually did immediately dismiss him when he was brought before him. And basically said like, , as an emperor, he is never declared war. He's never tried to invade anyone. He hasn't done terrible things. Other emperors should be like him. And I loved, how desire tried to tempt him with the ghost of a, dead snake oil salesman and the other bit where it turns out he had, like a Chinese information network, , where it turns out that the Chinese populace of San Francisco, which was hugely prevalent at the time, because of the gold rush and. Other things. , I loved the idea that he actually did have , this amazing fantastical life that was already fantastical, but then there were even more elements of fantasy woven into it. and then the other one is, , the parliament of ropes. It's , the story of Cain and Abel and Eve, you know, the purlin or Rooks hits me in a personal way because the bit we're able tells the story about him and Kane and, it's what this person who, who just idolized his brother wanted from the relationship, even though they do have their own strange in certain ways loving relationship, but also Cain murders able on a regular basis throughout the series. And it made me think about, how I stopped talking to my brother a number of years ago, but I still think about him a lot. And I wish that things were different between us, like. I often wonder what things would have been like if we had wound up being slightly different people and I construct those fantasies in my head still sometimes, but yeah. honestly I like this a lot better than I like that. I like the previous volume, because it gives me a lot more to think about, um, I don't know. How do you feel about it? Jessika: Yeah, I, you know, it's funny as I actually really liked the story of Joshua, the emperor of the United States, Mike: Yeah. Jessika: I really like how they kept the narrative bag, leaving the reader wavering between believing that he really had been successful in his reign as the legitimate emperor of the U S or if he was just some sweet old man who was really well-liked well-respected and generally taken care of by this town of other really eccentric. Mike: Yeah. And it turns out the truth is a little bit of both. Jessika: Yeah, Yeah, I guess so. I mean, he did get out of, out of a core thing, huh? Mike: Well, and when he died, basically, he was going to be put in a Popper's grave. And I believe like the merchants association basically paid for a really Swank funeral and of people came to the viewing like, you know, but thousands of people turned out for. Jessika: what I'm going to research this so sweet. Mike: Hmm, Jessika: Yeah. I thought it was really wholesome that he was just so content to have the title of emperor. He didn't have some weird power trip about colonizing or being otherwise oppressive. I would say that that was genuinely refreshing to see him just so content to be valued and validated. Oh shit. That's all I want, Mike: that's all, any of us want. Also, I liked that he hung out with mark Twain and the story, and I don't know if he and mark Twain were friends in real life, but mark Twain was a reporter in San Francisco. after he got run out of the state of Nevada, Jessika: maybe we'll have to specifically look at up. Well, did you have a favorite art moment in this volume? Mike: I had to, I really liked the art of the hunt, which is the story of the grandfather. Cause it felt really like, it felt really scratchy and you're kind of reminded me of those old European crosshatched wood prints. And then that actually makes sense because I realized it was inked by this guy named Vince Locke. And he's this guy who he actually illustrated a bunch of tabletop role-playing games for white Wolf games in the 1990s. And then he also created the comic that the movie, a history of violence was based off of. If you remember that. Jessika: I do. Mike: but like, I always really liked his style. Like I thought it was really cool and really unique. He's done a lot of other cool stuff as well. He had a comic series called dead world that was a zombie apocalypse kind of comic. If I remember right , well, before the walking dead ever came along like, you know, 30 years. , and then there's the whole issue of Ramadan, which is the story set in Baghdad. so Ramadan was illustrated by P Craig Russell and Russell was a, the first openly gay comic creator. and he's still working today in his art style. It's just, it's one of the most fucking beautiful things you'll ever see. And it's really adaptable into a bunch o
In this week's episode of Snollygoster, Ohio's politics podcast from WOSU, hosts Mike Thompson and Steve Brown discuss why local school board races are getting a lot of attention and attracting a lot of new candidates. Ohio Public Radio Statehouse News Bureau reporter Jo Ingles joins the show.
Happy Halloween! We're joined by comics scribe Daniel "D.G." Chichester to talk about the history of horror comics, Marvel's return to the genre in the early 1990s, and the macabre anti-hero Terror (whom Chichester co-created). ----more---- Issue 18 Transcript Mike: [00:00:00] It's small, but feisty, Mike: Welcome to Tencent Takes, the podcast where we dig up comic book characters' graves and misappropriate the bodies, one issue at a time. My name is Mike Thompson, and I am joined by my cohost, the Titan of terror herself, Jessika Frazer. Jessika: It is I. Mike: Today, we are extremely fortunate to have comics writer, Daniel, DG Chichester. Dan: Nice to see you both. Mike: Thank you so much for taking the time. You're actually our first official guest on the podcast. Dan: Wow. Okay. I'm going to take that as a good thing. That's great. Mike: Yeah. Well, if you're new to the show, the purpose of our [00:01:00] podcast as always is to look at the weirdest, silliest, coolest moments of comic books, and talk about them in ways that are fun and informative. In this case, we looking at also the spookiest moments, and how they're woven into the larger fabric of pop culture and history. Today, we're going to be talking about horror comics. We're looking at their overall history as well as their resurrection at Marvel in the early 1990s, and how it helped give birth to one of my favorite comic characters, an undead anti-hero who went by the name of Terror. Dan, before we started going down this road, could you tell us a little bit about your history in the comic book industry, and also where people can find you if they want to learn more about you and your work? Dan: Absolutely. At this point, people may not even know I had a history in comic books, but that's not true. Uh, I began at Marvel as an assistant in the mid-eighties while I was still going to film school and, semi quickly kind of graduated up, to a more official, [00:02:00] assistant editor position. Worked my way up through editorial, and then, segued into freelance writing primarily for, but also for DC and Dark Horse and worked on a lot of, semi-permanent titles, Daredevil's probably the best known of them. But I think I was right in the thick of a lot of what you're going to be talking about today in terms of horror comics, especially at Marvel, where I was fiercely interested in kind of getting that going. And I think pushed for certain things, and certainly pushed to be involved in those such as the Hellraiser and Nightbreed Clive Barker projects and Night Stalkers and, uh, and Terror Incorporated, which we're going to talk about. And wherever else I could get some spooky stuff going. And I continued on in that, heavily until about 96 / 97, when the big crash kind of happened, continued on through about 99 and then have not really been that actively involved since then. But folks can find out what I'm doing now, if they go to story maze.substack.com, where I have a weekly newsletter, which features [00:03:00] new fiction and some things that I think are pretty cool that are going on in storytelling, and also a bit of a retrospective of looking back at a lot of the work that I did. Mike: Awesome. Before we actually get started talking about horror comics, normally we talk about one cool thing that we have read or watched recently, but because this episode is going to be dropping right before Halloween, what is your favorite Halloween movie or comic book? Dan: I mean, movies are just terrific. And there's so many when I saw that question, especially in terms of horror and a lot of things immediately jumped to mind. The movie It Follows, the recent It movie, The Mist, Reanimator, are all big favorites. I like horror movies that really kind of get under your skin and horrify you, not just rack up a body count. But what I finally settled on as a favorite is probably John Carpenter's the Thing, which I just think is one of the gruesomest what is going to happen next? What the fuck is going to happen next?[00:04:00] And just utter dread. I mean, there's just so many things that combined for me on that one. And I think in terms of comics, I've recently become just a huge fan of, and I'm probably going to slaughter the name, but Junji Ito's work, the Japanese manga artist. And, Uzumaki, which is this manga, which is about just the bizarreness of this town, overwhelmed with spirals of all things. And if you have not read that, it is, it is the trippiest most unsettling thing I've read in, in a great long time. So happy Halloween with that one. Mike: So that would be mango, right? Dan: Yeah. Yeah. So you'd make sure you read it in the right order, or otherwise it's very confusing, so. Mike: Yeah, we actually, haven't talked a lot about manga on this. We probably should do a deep dive on it at some point. But, Jessika, how about you? Jessika: Well, I'm going to bring it down a little bit more silly because I've always been a fan of horror and the macabre and supernatural. So always grew up seeking creepy media as [00:05:00] a rule, but I also loves me some silliness. So the last three or so years, I've had a tradition of watching Hocus Pocus with my friend, Rob around Halloween time. And it's silly and it's not very heavy on the actual horror aspect, but it's fun. And it holds up surprisingly well. Mike: Yeah, we have all the Funkos of the Sanderson sisters in our house. Jessika: It's amazing watching it in HD, their costumes are so intricate and that really doesn't come across on, you know, old VHS or watching it on television back in the day. And it's just, it's so fun. How much, just time and effort it looks like they put into it, even though some of those details really weren't going to translate. Dan: How very cool. Mike: Yeah. Jessika: Yeah. So, but I also really like actual horror, so I'm also in the next couple of days is going to be a visiting the 1963 Haunting of Hill House because that's one of my favorites. Yeah. It's so good. And used to own the book that the movie was based on also. And seen all the [00:06:00] iterations and it's the same storyline the recent Haunting of Hill house is based on, which is great. That plot line has been reworked so many times, but it's such a great story, I'm just not shocked in the least that it would run through so many iterations and still be accepted by the public in each of its forms. Mike: Yeah. I really liked that Netflix interpretation of it, it was really good. Dan: They really creeped everything out. Mike: Yeah. There's a YouTuber called Lady Night, The Brave, and she does a really great summary breakdown explaining a lot of the themes and it's like almost two hours I think, of YouTube video, but she does these really lovely retrospectives. So, highly recommend you check that out. If you want to just think about that the Haunting of Hill House more. Jessika: Oh, I do. Yes. Mike: I'm going to split the difference between you two. When I was growing up, I was this very timid kid and the idea of horror just creeped me out. And so I avoided it like the plague. And then when I was in high [00:07:00] school, I had some friends show me some movies and I was like, these are great, why was I afraid of this stuff? And so I kind of dove all the way in. But my preferred genre is horror comedy. That is the one that you can always get me in on. And, I really love this movie from the mid-nineties called the Frighteners, which is a horror comedy starring Michael J. Fox, and it's directed by Peter Jackson. And it was written by Peter Jackson and his partner, Fran Walsh. And it was a few years before they, you know, went on to make a couple of movies based on this little known franchise called Lord of the Rings. But it's really wild. It's weird, and it's funny, and it has some genuine jump scare moments. And there's this really great ghost story at the core of it. And the special effects at the time were considered amazing and groundbreaking, but now they're kind of, you look at, and you're like, oh, that's, high-end CG, high-end in the mid-nineties. Okay. But [00:08:00] yeah, like I said, or comedies are my absolute favorite things to watch. That's why Cabin in the Woods always shows up in our horror rotation as well. Same with Tucker and Dale vs Evil. That's my bread and butter. With comic books, I go a little bit creepier. I think I talked about the Nice House on the Lake, that's the current series that I'm reading from DC that's genuinely creepy and really thoughtful and fun. And it's by James Tynion who also wrote Something That's Killing the Children. So those are excellent things to read if you're in the mood for a good horror comic. Dan: Great choice on the Frighteners. That's I think an unsung classic, that I'm going to think probably came out 10 years too early. Mike: Yeah. Dan: It's such a mashup of different, weird vibes, that it would probably do really, really well today. But at that point in time, it was just, what is this? You know? Cause it's, it's just cause the horrifying thing in it are really horrifying. And, uh, Gary Busey's son, right, plays the evil ghost and he is just trippy, off the wall, you know, horrifying. [00:09:00] Mike: Yeah. And it starts so silly, and then it kind of just continues to go creepier and creepier, and by the time that they do some of the twists revealing his, you know, his agent in the real world, it's a genuine twist. Like, I was really surprised the first time I saw it and I - Dan: Yeah. Mike: was so creeped out, but yeah. Dan: Plus it's got R. Lee Ermey as the army ghost, which is just incredible. So, Mike: Yeah. And, Chi McBride is in it, and, Jeffrey Combs. Dan: Oh, oh that's right, right. right. Mike: Yeah. So yeah, it's a lot of fun. Mike: All right. So, I suppose we should saunter into the graveyard, as it were, and start talking about the history of horror comics. So, Dan, obviously I know that you're familiar with horror comics, Dan: A little bit. Mike: Yeah. What about you, Jess? You familiar with horror comics other than what we've talked about in the show? Jessika: I started getting into it once you and I started, you know, talking more on the [00:10:00] show. And so I grabbed a few things. I haven't looked through all of them yet, but I picked up some older ones. I did just recently pick up, it'll be more of a, kind of a funny horror one, but they did a recent Elvira and Vincent Price. So, yeah, so I picked that up, but issue one of that. So it's sitting on my counter ready for me to read right now. Mike: Well, and that's funny, cause Elvira actually has a really long, storied history in comic books. Like she first appeared in kind of like the revival of House of Mystery that DC did. And then she had an eighties series that had over a hundred issues that had a bunch of now major names involved. And she's continued to have series like, you can go to our website and get autographed copies of her recent series from, I think Dynamite. Jessika: That's cool. Mike: Yeah. Jessika: Nice. Mike: Speaking of horror comedy Elvira is great. Jessika: Yes. Mike: I recently showed Sarah the Elvira Mistress of the Dark movie and she was, I think really sad that I hadn't showed it to her sooner. Jessika: [00:11:00] That's another one I need to go watch this week. Wow. Don't- nobody call me. I'm just watching movies all week. Dan: Exactly. Mike: It's on a bunch of different streaming services, I think right now. Well it turns out that horror comics, have pretty much been a part of the industry since it really became a proven medium. You know, it wasn't long after comics became a legit medium in their own, right that horror elements started showing up in superhero books, which like, I mean, it isn't too surprising. Like the 1930's was when we got the Universal classic movie monsters, so it makes a lot of sense that those kinds of characters would start crossing over into comic books, just to take advantage of that popularity. Jerry Siegel and Joel Schuster, the guys who created Superman, actually created the supernatural investigator called Dr. Occult in New Fun Comics three years before they brought Superman to life. And Dr. Occult still shows up in DC books. Like, he was a major character in the Books of Magic with Neil Gaiman. I think he may show up in Sandman later on. I can't remember. Jessika: Oh, okay. Dan: I wouldn't be surprised. Neil would find ways to mine that. [00:12:00] Mike: Yeah. I mean, that was a lot of what the Sandman was about, was taking advantage of kind of long forgotten characters that DC had had and weaving them into his narratives. And, if you're interested in that, we talk about that in our book club episodes, which we're currently going through every other episode. So the next episode after this is going to be the third episode of our book club, where we cover volumes five and six. So, horror comics though really started to pick up in the 1940s. There's multiple comic historians who say that the first ongoing horror series was Prized Comics, New Adventures of Frankenstein, which featured this updated take on the original story by Mary Shelley. It took place in America. The monster was named Frankenstein. He was immediately a terror. It's not great, but it's acknowledged as being really kind of the first ongoing horror story. And it's really not even that much of a horror story other than it featured Frankenstein's monster. But after that, a number of publishers started to put out adaptations of classic horror stories for awhile. So you had [00:13:00] Avon Publications making it official in 1946 with the comic Erie, which is based on the first real dedicated horror comic. Yeah. This is the original cover to Erie Comics. Number one, if you could paint us a word picture. Dan: Wow. This is high end stuff as it's coming through. Well it looks a lot like a Zine or something, you know it's got a very, Mac paint logo from 1990, you know, it's, it's your, your typical sort of like, ooh, I'm shaky kind of logo. That's Eerie Comics. There's a Nosferatu looking character. Who's coming down some stairs with the pale moon behind him. It, he's got a knife in his hand, so, you know, he's up to no good. And there is a femme fatale at the base of the stairs. She may have moved off of some train tracks to get here. And, uh, she's got a, uh, a low, cut dress, a lot of leg and the arms and the wrists are bound, but all this for only 10. cents. So, I think there's a, there's a bargain there.[00:14:00] Mike: That is an excellent description. Thank you. So, what's funny is that Erie at the time was the first, you know, official horror comic, really, but it only had one issue that came out and then it sort of vanished from sight. It came back with a new series that started with a new number one in the 1950s, but this was the proverbial, the shot that started the war. You know, we started seeing a ton of anthology series focusing on horror, like Adventures into the Unknown, which ran into the 1960s and then Amazing Mysteries and Marvel Tales were repurposed series for Marvel that they basically changed the name of existing series into these. And they started doing kind of macabre, weird stories. And then, we hit the 1950s. And the early part of the 1950s was when horror comics really seemed to take off and experienced this insane success. We've talked about how in the post-WWII America, superhero comics were kind of declining in [00:15:00] popularity. By the mid 1950s, only three heroes actually had their own books and that was Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman. Which, I didn't realize that until I was doing research. I didn't, I just assumed that there were other superhero comics at the time. But we started seeing comics about horror and crime and romance really starting to get larger shares of the market. And then EC Comics was one of those doing gangbuster business during this whole era. Like, this was when we saw those iconic series, the Haunt of Fear, the Vault of Horror, the Crypt of Terror, which was eventually rebranded to Tales from the Crypt. Those all launched and they found major success. And then the bigger publishers were also getting in on this boom. During the first half of the 1950s Atlas, which eventually became Marvel, released almost 400 issues across 18 horror titles. And then American Comics Group released almost 125 issues between five different horror titles. Ace comics did almost a hundred issues between five titles. I'm curious. I'm gonna ask both of you, what [00:16:00] do you think the market share of horror comics was at the time? Dan: In terms of comics or in terms of just like newsstand, magazine, distribution. Mike: I'm going to say in terms of distribution. Dan: I mean, I know they were phenomenally successful. I would, be surprised if it was over 60%. Mike: Okay. How about. Jessika: Oh, goodness. Let's throw a number out. I'm going to say 65 just because I want to get close enough, but maybe bump it up just a little bit. This is a contest now. Dan: The precision now, like the 65. Jessika: Yes. Mike: Okay. Well, obviously we don't have like a hard definite number, but there was a 2009 article from reason magazine saying that horror books made up a quarter of all comics by 1953. So, so you guys were overestimating it, but it was still pretty substantial. At the same time, we were also seeing a surge in horror films. Like, the 1950s are known as the atomic age and media reflected [00:17:00] societal anxiety, at the possibility of nuclear war and to a lesser extent, white anxiety about societal changes. So this was the decade that gave us Invasion of the Body Snatchers The Thing from Another World, which led to John Carpenter's The Thing eventually. Um, and the Creature from the Black Lagoon. Hammer horror films also started to get really huge during this time. So we saw the beginning of stuff like Christopher Lee's, Dracula series of films. So the fifties were like a really good decade for horror, I feel. But at the same time, violent crime in America started to pick up around this period. And people really started focusing on juvenile criminals and what was driving them. So, there were a lot of theories about why this was going on and no one's ever really come up with a definite answer, but there was the psychiatrist named Frederick Wortham who Dan, I yeah. Dan: Oh yeah, psychiatrist in big air quotes, yeah. Mike: In quotes. Yeah. [00:18:00] Yeah. And he was convinced that the rise in crime was due to comics, and he spent years writing and speaking against them. He almost turned it into a cottage industry for himself. And this culminated in 1954, when he published a book called Seduction of the Innocent, that blamed comic books for the rise in juvenile delinquency, and his arguments are laughable. Like, I mean, there's just no way around it. Like you read this stuff and you can't help, but roll your eyes and chuckle. But, at the time comics were a relatively new medium, you know, and people really only associated them with kids. And his arguments were saying, oh, well, Wonder Woman was a lesbian because of her strength and independence, which these days, I feel like that actually has a little bit of credibility, but, like, I don't know. But I don't really feel like that's contributing to the delinquency of the youth. You know, and then he also said that Batman and Robin were in a homosexual relationship. And then my favorite was that Superman comics were [00:19:00] un-American and fascist. Dan: Well. Mike: All right. Dan: There's people who would argue that today. Mike: I mean, but yeah, and then he actually, he got attention because there were televised hearings with the Senate subcommittee on juvenile delinquency. I mean, honestly, every time I think about Seduction of the Innocent and how it led to the Comics Code Authority. I see the parallels with Tipper Gore's Parent Music Resource Center, and how they got the Parental Advisory sticker on certain music albums, or Joe Lieberman's hearings on video games in the 1990's and how that led to the Electronic Systems Reading Board system, you know, where you provide almost like movie ratings to video games. And Wortham also reminds me a lot of this guy named Jack Thompson, who was a lawyer in the nineties and aughts. And he was hell bent on proving a link between violent video games and school shootings. And he got a lot of media attention at the time until he was finally disbarred for his antics. But there was this [00:20:00] definite period where people were trying to link video games and violence. And, even though the statistics didn't back that up. And, I mean, I think about this a lot because I used to work in video games. I spent almost a decade working in the industry, but you know, it's that parallel of anytime there is a new form of media that is aimed at kids, it feels like there is a moral panic. Dan: Well, I think it goes back to what you were saying before about, you know, even as, as things change in society, you know, when people in society get at-risk, you know, you went to Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Right. Which is classically thought to be a response to communism, you know, and the feelings of communist oppression and you know, the different, you know, the other, and it's the same thing. I think every single one of these is just a proof point of if you want to become, suddenly well-known like Lieberman or Wortham or anything, you know, pick the other that the older generation doesn't really understand, right? Maybe now there are more adults playing video games, but it's probably still perceived as a more juvenile [00:21:00] thing or comics or juvenile thing, or certain types of movies are a juvenile thing, you know, pick the other pick on it, hold it up as the weaponized, you know, piece, and suddenly you're popular. And you've got a great flashpoint that other people can rally around and blame, as if one single thing is almost ever the cause of everything. And I always think it's interesting, you know, the EC Comics, you know, issues in terms of, um, Wortham's witch hunt, you know, the interesting thing about those is yet they were gruesome and they are gruesome in there, but they're also by and large, I don't know the other ones as well, but I know the EC Comics by and large are basically morality plays, you know, they're straight up morality plays in the sense that the bad guys get it in the end, almost every time, like they do something, they do some horrific thing, but then the corpse comes back to life and gets them, you know, so there's, there's always a comeuppance where the scales balance. But that was of course never going to be [00:22:00] an argument when somebody can hold up a picture of, you know, a skull, you know, lurching around, you know, chewing on the end trails of something. And then that became all that was talked about. Mike: Yeah, exactly. Well, I mean, spring boarding off of that, you know, worth them and the subcommittee hearings and all that, they led to the comics magazine association of America creating the Comics Code Authority. And this was basically in order to avoid government regulation. They said, no, no, no, we'll police ourselves so that you don't have to worry about this stuff. Which, I mean, again, that's what we did with the SRB. It was a response to that. We could avoid government censorship. So the code had a ton of requirements that each book had to meet in order to receive the Comics Code Seal of Approval on the cover. And one of the things you couldn't do was have quote, scenes dealing with, or instruments associated with walking dead or torture, which I mean,[00:23:00] okay. So the latter half of the 1950's saw a lot of these dedicated horror series, you know, basically being shut down or they drastically changed. This is, you know, the major publishers really freaked out. So Marvel and DC rebranded their major horror titles. They were more focused on suspense or mystery or Sci-Fi or superheroes in a couple of cases, independent publishers, didn't really have to worry about the seal for different reasons. Like, some of them were able to rely on the rep for publishing wholesome stuff like Dell or Gold Key. I think Gold Key at the time was doing a lot of the Disney books. So they just, they were like, whatever. Dan: Right, then EC, but, but EC had to shut down the whole line and then just became mad. Right? I mean, that's that was the transition at which William, you know, Gains - Mike: Yeah. Dan: basically couldn't contest what was going on. Couldn't survive the spotlight. You know, he testified famously at that hearing. But had to give up all of [00:24:00] that work that was phenomenally profitable for them. And then had to fall back to Mad Magazine, which of course worked out pretty well. Mike: Yeah, exactly. By the end of the 1960s, though, publishers started to kind of gently push back a little bit like, Warren publishing, and Erie publications, like really, they didn't give a shit. Like Warren launched a number of horror titles in the sixties, including Vampirilla, which is like, kind of, I feel it's sort of extreme in terms of both sex and horror, because I mean, we, we all know what Vampirilla his costume is. It hasn't changed in the 50, approximately 50 years that it's been out like. Dan: It's like, what can you do with dental floss, Right. When you were a vampire? I mean, that's basically like, she doesn't wear much. Mike: No, I mean, she never has. And then by the end of the sixties, Marvel and DC started to like kind of steer some of their books back towards the horror genre. Like how some Mystery was one of them where it, I think with issue 1 75, that was when they [00:25:00] took away, took it away from John Jones and dial H for Hero. And they were like, no, no, no, no. We're going to, we're going to bring, Cain back as the host and start telling horror morality plays again, which is what they were always doing. And this meant that the Comics Code Authority needed to update their code. So in 1971, they revised it to be a little bit more horror friendly. Jessika: Scenes dealing with, or instruments associated with, walking dead or torture shall not be used. Vampires, ghouls and werewolves shall be permitted to be used when handled in the classic traditions, such as Frankenstein, Dracula, and other high caliber literary works written by Edgar Allen Poe, Saki, Conan Doyle, and other respected authors whose works are read in schools around the world. Mike: But at this point, Marvel and DC really jumped back into the horror genre. This was when we started getting books, like the tomb of Dracula, Ghost Rider, where will finite and son of Satan, and then DC had a [00:26:00] bunch of their series like they had, what was it? So it was originally The Dark Mansion of Forbidden Love, and then it eventually got retitled to Forbidden Tales of the Dark Mansion. Like, just chef's kiss on that title. Dan: You can take that old Erie comic and throw, you know, the Dark Mansion of Forbidden Love as the title on that. And it would work, you know. Mike: I know. Right. So Dan, I'm curious, what is your favorite horror comic or comic character from this era? Dan: I would say, it was son of Satan, because it felt so trippy and forbidden, and I think comics have always, especially mainstream comics you know, I've always responded also to what's out there. Right. I don't think it's just a loosening the restrictions at that point, but in that error, what's going on, you're getting a lot of, I think the films of Race with the Devil and you're getting the Exorcist and you're getting, uh, the Omen, you know, Rosemary's baby. right. Satanism, [00:27:00] the devil, right. It's, it's high in pop culture. So true to form. You know, I think Son of Satan is in some ways, like a response of Marvel, you know, to that saying, let's glom onto this. And for a kid brought up in the Catholic church, there was a certain eeriness to this, ooh, we're reading about this. It's like, is it really going to be Satanism? And cause I was very nervous that we were not allowed even watch the Exorcist in our home, ever. You know, I didn't see the Exorcist until I was like out of high school. And I think also the character as he looks is just this really trippy look, right. At that point, if you're not familiar with the character, he's this buff dude, his hair flares up into horns, he just wears a Cape and he carries a giant trident, he's got a massive pentacle, I think a flaming pentacle, you know, etched in his chest. Um, he's ready to do business, ya know, in some strange form there. So for me, he was the one I glommed on to the most. [00:28:00] Mike: Yeah. Well, I mean, it was that whole era, it was just, it was Gothic horror brought back and Satanism and witchcraft is definitely a part of that genre. Dan: Sure. Mike: So, that said, kind of like any trend horror comics, you know, they have their rise and then they started to kind of fall out of popularity by the end of the seventies or the early eighties. I feel like it was a definite end of the era when both House of Mystery and Ghost Writer ended in 1983. But you know, there were still some individual books that were having success, but it just, it doesn't feel like Marvel did a lot with horror comics during the eighties. DC definitely had some luck with Alan Moore's run of the Swamp Thing. And then there was stuff like Hellblazer and Sandman. Which, as I mentioned, we're doing our book club episodes for, but also gave rise to Vertigo Comics, you know, in the early nineties. Not to say that horror comics still weren't a thing during this time, but it seems like the majority of them were coming from indie publishers. Off the top of my head, one example I think of still is Dead World, which basically created a zombie apocalypse [00:29:00] universe. And it started with Aero comics. It was created in the late eighties, and it's still going today. I think it's coming out from IDW now. But at the same time, it's not like American stopped enjoying horror stuff. Like this was the decade where we got Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm street, Evil Dead, Hellraiser, Poltergeist, Child's Play, just to name a few of the franchises that we were introduced to. And, I mentioned Hellraiser. I love Hellraiser, and Dan, I know that you have a pretty special connection to that brand. Dan: I do. I put pins in my face every night just to kind of keep my complexion, you know? Mike: So, let's transition over to the nineties and Marvel and let's start that off with Epic Comics. Epic started in the eighties, and it was basically a label that would print, create our own comics. And they eventually started to use label to produce, you know, in quotes, mature comics. So Wikipedia says that this was your first editorial job at Marvel was with the [00:30:00] Epic Line. Is that correct? Dan: Well, I'll go back and maybe do just a little correction on Epic's mission if you don't mind. Mike: Yeah, yeah. Dan: You know, first, which is it was always creator owned, and it did start as crude. And, but I don't think that ever then transitioned into more mature comics, sometimes that just was what creator-owned comics were. Right. That was just part of the mission. And so as a creator-owned imprint, it could be anything, it could be the silliest thing, it could be the most mature thing. So it was always, you know, part of what it was doing, and part of the mission of doing creator-owned comics, and Archie Goodwin was the editor in chief of that line, was really to give creators and in to Marvel. If we gave them a nice place to play with their properties, maybe they would want to go play in the mainstream Marvel. So you might get a creator who would never want to work for Marvel, for whatever reason, they would have a great Epic experience doing a range of things, and then they would go into this. So there was always levels of maturity and we always looked at it as very eclectic and challenging, you know, sometimes in a good [00:31:00] way. So I'll have to go back to Wikipedia and maybe correct them. My first job was actually, I was on the Marvel side and it was as the assistant to the assistant, to the editor in chief. So I would do all of the grunt work and the running around that the assistant to the editor in chief didn't want to do. And she would turn to me and say, Dan, you're going to go run around the city and find this thing for Jim Shooter. Now, then I did that for about five or six months, I was still in film school, and then left, which everyone was aghast, you don't leave Marvel comics, by choice. And, but I had, I was still in school. I had a summer job already sort of set up, and I left to go take that exciting summer job. And then I was called over the summer because there was an opening in the Epic line. And they want to know if I'd be interested in taking on this assistant editor's job. And I said, it would have to be part-time cause I still had a semester to finish in school, but they were intrigued and I was figuring, oh, well this is just kind of guaranteed job. [00:32:00] Never knowing it was going to become career-like, and so that was then sort of my second job. Mike: Awesome. So this is going to bring us to the character of Terror. So he was introduced as a character in the Shadow Line Saga, which was one of those mature comics, it was like a mature superhero universe. That took place in a few different series under the Epic imprint. There was Dr. Zero, there was St. George, and then there was Power Line. Right. Dan: That's correct, yep. Mike: And so the Shadow Line Saga took his name from the idea that there were these beings called Shadows, they were basically super powered immortal beings. And then Terror himself first appeared as Shrek. He's this weird looking enforcer for a crime family in St. George. And he becomes kind of a recurring nemesis for the main character. He's kind of like the street-level boss while it's hinting that there's going to be a eventual confrontation between the main character of St. George and Dr. Zero, who is kind of [00:33:00] a Superman character, but it turns out he has been manipulating humanity for, you know, millennia at this point. Dan: I think you've encapsulated it quite well. Mike: Well, thank you. So the Shadow Line Saga, that only lasted for about what a year or two? Dan: Probably a couple of years, maybe a little over. There was about, I believe, eight to nine issues of each of the, the main comics, the ones you just cited. And then we segued those over to, sort of, uh, an omni series we call Critical Mass, which brought together all three characters or storylines. And then try to tell this, excuse the pun, epic, you know story, which will advance them all. And so wrapped up a lot of loose ends and, um, you know, became quite involved now. Mike: Okay. Dan: It ran about seven or eight issues. Mike: Okay. Now a couple of years after Terror was introduced under the Epic label, Marvel introduced a new Ghost Rider series in 1990 that hit that sweet spot of like nineties extreme with a capital X and, and, you know, [00:34:00] it also gave us a spooky anti heroes like that Venn diagram, where it was like spooky and extreme and rides a motorcycle and right in the middle, you had Ghost Rider, but from what I understand the series did really well, commercially for Marvel. Comichron, which is the, the comic sales tracking site, notes that early issues were often in the top 10 books sold each month for 91. Like there are eight issues of Ghost Rider, books that are in the top 100 books for that year. So it's not really surprising that Marvel decided to go in really hard with supernatural characters. And in 1992, we had this whole batch of horror hero books launch. We had Spirits of Vengeance, which was a spinoff from Ghost Rider, which saw a Ghost Rider teaming up with Johnny Blaze, and it was the original Ghost Writer. And he didn't have a hellfire motorcycle this time, but he had a shotgun that would fire hell fire, you know, and he had a ponytail, it was magnificent. And then there was also the Night Stalkers, [00:35:00] which was a trio of supernatural investigators. There was Hannibal King and Blade and oh, I'm blanking on the third one. Dan: Frank Drake. Mike: Yeah. And Frank Drake was a vampire, right? Dan: And he was a descendant of Dracula, but also was a vampire who had sort of been cured. Um, he didn't have a hunger for human blood, but he still had a necessity for some type of blood and possessed all the attributes, you know, of a vampire, you know, you could do all the powers, couldn't go out in the daylight, that sort of thing. So, the best and worst of both worlds. Mike: Right. And then on top of that, we had the Dark Hold, which it's kind of like the Marvel equivalent of the Necronomicon is the best way I can describe it. Dan: Absolutely. Yup. Mike: And that's showed up in Agents of Shield since then. And they just recently brought it into the MCU. That was a thing that showed up in Wanda Vision towards the end. So that's gonna clearly reappear. And then we also got Morbius who is the living vampire from [00:36:00] Spider-Man and it's great. He shows up in this series and he's got this very goth rock outfit, is just it's great. Dan: Which looked a lot like how Len Kaminsky dressed in those days in all honesty. Mike: Yeah, okay. Dan: So Len will now kill me for that, but. Mike: Oh, well, but yeah, so these guys were all introduced via a crossover event called Rise of the Midnight Sons, which saw all of these heroes, you know, getting their own books. And then they also teamed up with Dr. Strange to fight against Lilith the mother of demons. And she was basically trying to unleash her monstrous spawn across the world. And this was at the same time the Terror wound up invading the Marvel Universe. So if you were going to give an elevator pitch for Terror in the Marvel Universe, how would you describe him? Dan: I actually wrote one down, I'll read it to you, cause you, you know, you put that there and was like, oh gosh, I got to like now pitch this. A mythic manifestation of fear exists in our times, a top dollar mercenary for hire using a supernatural [00:37:00] ability to attach stolen body parts to himself in order to activate the inherit ability of the original owner. A locksmith's hand or a marksman, his eye or a kickboxer his legs, his gruesome talent gives him the edge to take on the jobs no one else can, he accomplishes with Savage, restyle, scorn, snark, and impeccable business acumen. So. Mike: That's so good. It's so good. I just, I have to tell you the twelve-year-old Mike is like giddy to be able to talk to you about this. Dan: I was pretty giddy when I was writing this stuff. So that's good. Mike: So how did Terror wind up crossing into the Marvel Universe? Like, because he just showed shows up in a couple of cameos in some Daredevil issues that you also wrote. I believe. Dan: Yeah, I don't know if he'd showed up before the book itself launched that might've, I mean, the timing was all around the same time. But everybody who was involved with Terror, love that Terror and Terror Incorporated, which was really actual title. Love the hell out of [00:38:00] the book, right. And myself, the editors, Carl Potts, who was the editor in chief, we all knew it was weird and unique. And, at one point when I, you know, said to Carl afterwards, well I'm just gonna take this whole concept and go somewhere else with it, he said, you can't, you made up something that, you know, can't really be replicated without people knowing exactly what you're doing. It's not just another guy with claws or a big muscle guy. How many people grab other people's body parts? So I said, you know, fie on me, but we all loved it. So when, the Shadowline stuff kind of went away, uh, and he was sort of kicking out there is still, uh, Carl came to me one day and, and said, listen, we love this character. We're thinking of doing something with horror in Marvel. This was before the Rise of the Midnight Sons. So it kind of came a little bit ahead of that. I think this eventually would become exactly the Rise of the Midnight Sons, but we want to bring together a lot of these unused horror characters, like Werewolf by Night, Man Thing, or whatever, but we want a central kind of [00:39:00] character who, navigates them or maybe introduces them. Wasn't quite clear what, and they thought Terror, or Shrek as he still was at that point, could be that character. He could almost be a Crypt Keeper, maybe, it wasn't quite fully baked. And, so we started to bounce this around a little bit, and then I got a call from Carl and said, yeah, that's off. We're going to do something else with these horror characters, which again would eventually become probably the Midnight Sons stuff. But he said, but we still want to do something with it. You know? So my disappointment went to, oh, what do you mean? How could we do anything? He said, what if you just bring him into the Marvel Universe? We won't say anything about what he did before, and just use him as a character and start over with him operating as this high-end mercenary, you know, what's he going to do? What is Terror Incorporated, and how does he do business within the Marvel world? And so I said, yes, of course, I'm not going to say that, you know, any quicker and just jumped into [00:40:00] it. And I didn't really worry about the transition, you know, I wasn't thinking too much about, okay. How does he get from Shadow Line world, to earth 616 or whatever, Marcus McLaurin, who was the editor. God bless him, for years would resist any discussion or no, no, it's not the same character. Marcus, it's the same character I'm using the same lines. I'm having him referenced the same fact that he's had different versions of the word terrors, his name at one point, he makes a joke about the Saint George complex. I mean, it's the same character. Mike: Yeah. Dan: But , you know, Marcus was a very good soldier to the Marvel hierarchy. So we just really brought him over and we just went all in on him in terms of, okay, what could a character like this play in the Marvel world? And he played really well in certain instances, but he certainly was very different than probably anything else that was going on at the time. Mike: Yeah. I mean, there certainly wasn't a character like him before. So all the Wikias, like [00:41:00] Wikipedia, all the Marvel fan sites, they all list Daredevil 305 as Terror's first official appearance in. Dan: Could be. Mike: Yeah, but I want to talk about that for a second, because that is, I think the greatest villain that I've ever seen in a Marvel comic, which was the Surgeon General, who is this woman who is commanding an army of like, I mean, basically it's like a full-scale operation of that urban myth of - Dan: Yeah. Mike: -the dude goes home with an attractive woman that he meets at the club. And then he wakes up in a bathtub full of ice and he's missing organs. Dan: Yeah. You know, sometimes, you know, that was certainly urban myth territory, and I was a big student of urban myths and that was the sort of thing that I think would show up in the headlines every three to six months, but always one of those probably friend of a friend stories that. Mike: Oh yeah. Dan: Like a razor an apple or something like that, that never actually sort of tracks back. Mike: Well, I mean, the thing now is it's all edibles in candy and they're like, all the news outlets are showing officially [00:42:00] branded edibles. Which, what daddy Warbucks mother fucker. Jessika: Mike knows my stand on this. Like, no, no, nobody is buying expensive edibles. And then putting them in your child's candy. Like, No, no, that's stupid. Dan: No, it's the, it's the, easier version of putting the LSD tab or wasting your pins on children in Snickers bars. Jessika: Right. Dan: Um, but but I think, that, that storyline is interesting, Mike, cause it's the, it's one of the few times I had a plotline utterly just completely rejected by an editor because I think I was doing so much horror stuff at the time. Cause I was also concurrently doing the Hellraiser work, the Night Breed work. It would have been the beginning of the Night Stalkers work, cause I was heavily involved with the whole Midnight Sons work. And I went so far on the first plot and it was so grizzly and so gruesome that, Ralph Macchio who was the editor, called me up and said, yeah, this title is Daredevil. It's not Hellraiser. So I had to kind of back off [00:43:00] and realize, uh, yeah, I put a little too much emphasis on the grisliness there. So. Mike: That's amazing. Dan: She was an interesting, exploration of a character type. Mike: I'm really sad that she hasn't showed back up, especially cause it feels like it'd be kind of relevant these days with, you know, how broken the medical system is here in America. Dan: Yeah. It's, it's funny. And I never played with her again, which is, I think one of my many Achilles heels, you know, as I would sometimes introduce characters and then I would just not go back to them for some reason, I was always trying to kind of go forward onto something new. Mike: Yeah. Jessika: Is there anything about Terror's character that you related to at the time, or now even. Dan: Um, probably being very imperious, very complicated, having a thing for long coats. Uh, I think all of those probably, you know, work then and now, I've kind of become convinced weirdly enough over time, that Terror was a character who [00:44:00] and I, you know, I co-created him with Margaret Clark and, and Klaus Janson, but I probably did the most work with him over the years, you know? So I feel maybe a little bit more ownership, but I've sort of become convinced that he was just his own thing, and he just existed out there in the ether, and all I was ultimately was a conduit that I was, I was just channeling this thing into our existence because he came so fully formed and whenever I would write him, he would just kind of take over the page and take over the instance. That's always how I've viewed him, which is different than many of the other things that I've written. Mike: He's certainly a larger than life personality, and in every sense of that expression. Jessika: Yes. Mike: I'm sorry for the terrible pun. Okay. So we've actually talked a bit about Terror, but I [00:45:00] feel like we need to have Jessika provide us with an overall summary of his brief series. Jessika: So the series is based on the titular character, of course, Terror, who is unable to die and has the ability to replace body parts and gains the skill and memory of that limb. So he might use the eye of a sharpshooter to improve his aim or the arm of an artist for a correct rendering. And because of the inability for his body to die, the dude looks gnarly. His face is a sick green color. He has spike whiskers coming out of the sides of his face, and he mostly lacks lips, sometimes he has lips, but he mostly lacks lips. So we always has this grim smile to his face. And he also has a metal arm, which is awesome. I love that. And he interchanges all of the rest of his body parts constantly. So in one scene he'll have a female arm and in another one it'll sport, an other worldly tentacle. [00:46:00] He states that his business is fear, but he is basically a paid mercenary, very much a dirty deeds, although not dirt cheap; Terror charges, quite a hefty sum for his services, but he is willing to do almost anything to get the job done. His first job is ending someone who has likewise immortal, air quotes, which involves finding an activating a half demon in order to open a portal and then trick a demon daddy to hand over the contract of immortality, you know, casual. He also has run-ins with Wolverine, Dr. Strange Punisher, Silver Sable, and Luke Cage. It's action packed, and you legitimately have no idea what new body part he is going to lose or gain in the moment, or what memory is going to pop up for him from the donor. And it keeps the reader guessing because Terror has no limitations. Mike: Yeah. Dan: was, I was so looking forward to hearing what your recap was going to be. I love that, so I just [00:47:00] want to say that. Jessika: Thank you. I had a lot of fun reading this. Not only was the plot and just the narrative itself, just rolling, but the art was fantastic. I mean, the things you can do with a character like that, there truly aren't any limits. And so it was really interesting to see how everything fell together and what he was doing each moment to kind of get out of whatever wacky situation he was in at the time.So. And his, and his quips, I just, the quips were just, they give me life. Mike: They're so good. Like there was one moment where he was sitting there and playing with the Lament Configuration, and the first issue, which I, I never noticed that before, as long as we ready this time and I was like, oh, that's great. And then he also made a St. George reference towards the end of the series where he was talking about, oh, I knew another guy who had a St. George complex. Dan: Right, right. Right, Mike: Like I love those little Easter eggs. Speaking of Easter eggs, there are a lot of Clive Barker Easter eggs throughout that whole series. Dan: [00:48:00] Well, That's it. That was so parallel at the time, you know. Mike: So around that time was when you were editing and then writing for the HellRaiser series and the Night Breed series, right? Dan: Yes. Certainly writing for them. Yeah. I mean, I did some consulting editing on the HellRaiser and other Barker books, after our lift staff, but, primarily writing at that point. Mike: Okay. Cause I have Hellraiser number one, and I think you're listed as an editor on it. Dan: I was, I started the whole Hellraiser anthology with other folks, you know, but I was the main driver, and I think that was one of the early instigators of kind of the rebirth of horror at that time. And, you know, going back to something you said earlier, you know, for many years, I was always, pressing Archie Goodwin, who worked at Warren, and worked on Erie, and worked on all those titles. You know, why can't we do a new horror anthology and he was quite sage like and saying, yeah. It'd be great to do it, but it's not going to sell there's no hook, right? There's no connection, you know, just horror for her sake. And it was when Clive Barker [00:49:00] came into our offices, and so I want to do something with Archie Goodwin. And then the two of them said, Hellraiser can be the hook. Right. Hellraiser can be the way in to sort of create an anthology series, have an identifiable icon, and then we developed out from there with Clive, with a couple of other folks Erik Saltzgaber, Phil Nutman, myself, Archie Goodwin, like what would be the world? And then the Bible that would actually give you enough, breadth and width to play with these characters that wouldn't just always be puzzle box, pinhead, puzzle box, pinhead, you know? And so we developed a fairly large set of rules and mythologies allowed for that. Mike: That's so cool. I mean, there really wasn't anything at all, like Hellraiser when it came out. Like, and there's still not a lot like it, but I - Jessika: Yeah, I was going to say, wait, what else? Mike: I mean, I feel like I've read other books since then, where there's that blending of sexuality and [00:50:00] horror and morality, because at the, at the core of it, Hellraiser often feels like a larger morality play. Dan: Now, you know, I'm going to disagree with you on that one. I mean, I think sometimes we let it slip in a morality and we played that out. But I think Hellraiser is sort of find what you want out of it. Right. You go back to the first film and it's, you know, what's your pleasure, sir? You know, it was when the guy hands up the book and the Centobites, you know, or angels to some demons, to others. So I think the book was at its best and the movies are at their best when it's not so much about the comeuppance as it is about find your place in here. Right? And that can be that sort of weird exploration of many different things. Mike: That's cool. So going back to Terror. Because we've talked about like how much we enjoyed the character and everything, I want to take a moment to talk about each of our favorite Terror moments. Dan: Okay. Mike: So Dan, why don't you start? What was your favorite moment for Terror [00:51:00] to write or going back to read? Dan: It's a great question, one of the toughest, because again, I had such delight in the character and felt such a connection, you know, in sort of channeling him in a way I could probably find you five, ten moments per issue, but, I actually think it was the it's in the first issue. And was probably the first line that sort of came to me. And then I wrote backwards from it, which was this, got your nose bit. And you know, it's the old gag of like when a parent's playing with a child and, you know, grabs at the nose and uses the thumb to represent the nose and says, got your nose. And there's a moment in that issue where I think he's just plummeted out of a skyscraper. He's, you know, fallen down into a police car. He's basically shattered. And this cop or security guard is kind of coming over to him and, and he just reaches out and grabs the guy's nose, you know, rips his arm off or something or legs to start to replace himself and, and just says, got your nose, but it's, but it's all a [00:52:00] build from this inner monologue that he's been doing. And so he's not responding to anything. He's not doing a quip to anything. He's just basically telling us a story and ending it with this, you know, delivery that basically says the guy has a complete condescending attitude and just signals that we're in his space. Like he doesn't need to kind of like do an Arnold response to something it's just, he's in his own little world moments I always just kind of go back to that got your nose moment, which is just creepy and crazy and strange. Mike: As soon as you mentioned that I was thinking of the panel that that was from, because it was such a great moment. I think it was the mob enforcers that had shot him up and he had jumped out of the skyscraper four and then they came down to finish him off and he wound up just ripping them apart so that he could rebuild himself. All right, Jessika, how about you? Jessika: I really enjoyed the part where Terror fights with sharks in order to free Silver Sable and Luke Cage. [00:53:00] It was so cool. There was just absolutely no fear as he went at the first shark head-on and, and then there were like five huge bloodthirsty sharks in the small tank. And Terror's just like, what an inconvenience. Oh, well. Mike: Yeah. Jessika: Like followed by a quippy remark, like in his head, of course. And I feel like he's such a solitary character that it makes sense that he would have such an active internal monologue. I find myself doing that. Like, you know, I mean, I have a dog, so he usually gets the brunt of it, but he, you know, it's, it is that you start to form like, sort of an internal conversation if you don't have that outside interaction. Dan: Right. Jessika: And I think a lot of us probably relate to that though this pandemic. Mike: Yeah. Jessika: But the one-liner thoughts, like, again, they make those scenes in my opinion, and it gave pause for levity. We don't have to be serious about this because really isn't life or death for Terror. We know that, and he just reminds us that constantly by just he's always so damn nonchalant. [00:54:00] Dan: Yeah. He does have a very, I'm not going to say suave, but it's, uh, you know, that sort of very, I've got this, you know, sort of attitude to it. Mike: I would, say that he's suave when he wants to be, I mean, like the last issue he's got his whiskers tied back and kind of a ponytail. Dan: Oh yeah. Jessika: Oh yeah. Dan: Richard Pace did a great job with that. Mike: Where he's dancing with his assistant in the restaurant and it's that final scene where he's got that really elegant tuxedo. Like. Dan: Yeah. It's very beautiful. Mike: I say that he can be suave and he wants to be. So I got to say like my favorite one, it was a visual gag that you guys did, and it's in issue six when he's fighting with the Punisher and he's got this, long guns sniper. And he shoots the Punisher point blank, and Terror's, like at this point he's lost his legs for like the sixth time. Like he seems to lose his legs, like once an issue where he's just a torso waddling around on his hands. And so he shoots him the force skids him back. [00:55:00] And I legit could not stop laughing for a good minute. Like I was just cackling when I read that. So I think all of us agree that it's those moments of weird levity that really made the series feel like something special. Dan: I'm not quite sure we're going to see that moment reenacted at the Disney Pavilion, you know, anytime soon. But, that would be pretty awesome if they ever went that route. Mike: Well, yeah, so, I mean, like, let's talk about that for a minute, because one of the main ways that I consume Marvel comics these days is through Marvel unlimited, and Terror is a pretty limited presence there. There's a few issues of various Deadpool series. There's the Marvel team up that I think Robert Kirkman did, where Terror shows up and he has some pretty cool moments in there. And then there's a couple of random issues of the 1990s Luke Cage series Cage, but like the core series, the Marvel max stuff, his appearance in books like Daredevil and Wolverine, they just don't seem to be available for consumption via the. App Like I had to go through my personal [00:56:00] collection to find all this stuff. And like, are the rights just more complicated because it was published under the Epic imprint and that was create her own stuff, like do you know? Dan: No, I mean, it wouldn't be it's choice, right. He's probably perceived as a, if people within the editorial group even know about him, right. I was reading something recently where some of the current editorial staff had to be schooled on who Jack Kirby was. So, I'm not sure how much exposure or, you know, interest there would be, you know, to that. I mean, I don't know why everything would be on Marvin unlimited. It doesn't seem like it requires anything except scanning the stuff and putting it up there. But there wouldn't be any rights issues. Marvel owned the Shadow Line, Marvel owns the Terror Incorporated title, it would have been there. So I'm not really sure why it wouldn't be. And maybe at some point it will, but, that's just an odd emission. I mean, for years, which I always felt like, well, what did I do wrong? I [00:57:00] mean, you can find very little of the Daredevil work I did, which was probably very well known and very well received in, in reprints. It would be like, there'd be reprints of almost every other storyline and then there'd be a gap around some of those things. And now they started to reappear as they've done these omnibus editions. Mike: Well, yeah, I mean, you know, and going back the awareness of the character, anytime I talk about Terror to people, it's probably a three out of four chance that they won't have heard of them before. I don't know if you're a part of the comic book historians group on Facebook? Dan: I'm not. No. Mike: So there's a lot of people who are really passionate about comic book history, and they talk about various things. And so when I was doing research for this episode originally, I was asking about kind of the revamp of supernatural heroes. And I said, you know, this was around the same time as Terror. And several people sat there and said, we haven't heard of Terror before. And I was like, he's great. He's amazing. You have to look them up. But yeah, it seems like, you know, to echo what you stated, it seems like there's just a lack of awareness about the character, which I feel is a genuine shame. And that's part of the [00:58:00] reason that I wanted to talk about him in this episode. Dan: Well, thank you. I mean, I love the spotlight and I think anytime I've talked to somebody about it who knew it, I've never heard somebody who read the book said, yeah, that sucks. Right. I've heard that about other things, but not about this one, invariably, if they read it, they loved it. And they were twisted and kind of got into it. But did have a limited run, right? It was only 13 issues. It didn't get the spotlight, it was sort of promised it kind of, it came out with a grouping of other mercenary titles at the time. There was a new Punisher title. There was a Silver Sable. There was a few other titles in this grouping. Everyone was promised a certain amount of additional PR, which they got; when it got to Terror. It didn't get that it like, they pulled the boost at the last minute that might not have made a difference. And I also think maybe it was a little bit ahead of its time in certain attitudes crossing the line between horror and [00:59:00] humor and overtness of certain things, at least for Marvel, like where do you fit this? I think the readers are fine. Readers are great about picking up on stuff and embracing things. For Marvel, it was kind of probably, and I'm not dissing them. I never got like any negative, you know, we're gonna launch this title, what we're going to dismiss it. But I just also think, unless it's somebody like me driving it or the editor driving it, or Carl Potts, who was the editor in chief of that division at that point, you know, unless they're pushing it, there's plenty of other characters Right. For, things to get behind. But I think again, anytime it kind of comes up, it is definitely the one that I hear about probably the most and the most passionately so that's cool in its own way. Mike: Yeah, I think I remember reading an interview that you did, where you were talking about how there was originally going to be like a gimmick cover or a trading card or something like that. Dan: Yeah. Mike: So what was the, what was the gimmick going to be for Terror number one? Dan: What was the gimmick going to be? I don't know, actually, I if I knew I [01:00:00] can't remember anymore. But it was going to be totally gimmicky, as all those titles and covers were at the time. So I hope not scratch and sniff like a, uh, rotting bodies odor, although that would have been kind of in-character and cool. Mike: I mean, this was the era of the gimmick cover. Dan: Oh, absolutely. Mike: Like,that was when that was when we had Bloodstrike come out and it was like the thermographic printing, so you could rub the blood and it would disappear. Force Works is my favorite one, you literally unfold the cover and it's like a pop-up book. Dan: Somebody actually keyed me in. There actually was like a Terror trading card at one point. Mike: Yeah. Dan: Like after the fact, which I was like, shocked. Mike: I have that, that's from Marvel Universe series four. Dan: Yeah. we did a pretty good job with it actually. And then even as we got to the end of the run, you know, we, and you can sort of see us where we're trying to shift certain aspects of the book, you know, more into the mainstream Marvel, because they said, well, we'll give you another seven issues or something, you know, to kind of get the numbers up. Mike: Right. Dan: And they pulled the plug, you know, even before that. So, uh, that's why [01:01:00] the end kind of comes a bit abruptly and we get that final coda scene, you know, that Richard Pace did such a nice job with. Mike: Yeah. I mean, it felt like it wrapped it up, you know, and they gave you that opportunity, which I was really kind of grateful for, to be honest. Dan: Yeah. and subsequently, I don't know what's going on. I know there was that David Lapham, you know, series, you did a couple of those, which I glanced at, I know I kind of got in the way of it a little bit too, not in the way, but I just said, remember to give us a little created by credits in that, but I didn't read those. And then, I know he was in the League of Losers at one point, which just didn't sound right to me. And, uh. Mike: It's actually. Okay. So I'm going to, I'm going to say this cause, it's basically a bunch of, kind of like the B to C listers for the most part. And. So they're called the Legal Losers. I think it's a really good story, and I actually really like what they do with Terror. He gets, she's now Spider Woman, I think it's, Anya Corazon, but it was her original incarnation of, Arana. And she's got that spider armor that like comes out of her arm. And so she [01:02:00] dies really on and he gets her arm. And then, Dan: That's cool. Mike: What happens is he makes a point of using the armor that she has. And so he becomes this weird amalgamation of Terror and Arana's armored form, which is great. Dan: Was that the Kirkman series? Is that the one that he did or. Mike: yeah. That was part of Marvel Team-Up. Dan: Okay. Mike: it was written by Robert Kirkman. Dan: Well, then I will, I will look it up. Mike: Yeah. And that one's on Marvel unlimited and genuinely a really fun story as I remembered. It's been a couple of years since I read it, but yeah. Dan: Very cool. Mike: So we've talked about this a little bit, but, so
In this week's episode of Snollygoster, Ohio's politics podcast from WOSU, hosts Mike Thompson and Steve Brown discuss why Delaware County Commissioners want to limit solar power production on private land. WOSU reporter Michael Lee joins the show.
Farmers are used to getting paid for raising a quality product — soybeans, sweet corn, apples, peppers. But a farm's value lies in its soils, too. What if farmers could get paid for building a quality soil? Just like markets for those soybeans, there's now a small, but growing, commodity market for building and storing carbon in a farm's soils. So how do farmers get paid for storing carbon? On this Our Ohio Weekly, learn more about carbon markets from guests on Ohio Farm Bureau's Field Day podcast. 00:00 - Julia Brown, Communications and Media Relations Manager for the Ohio Soybean Association talks about the quickly emerging carbon market and what farmers need to do to prepare for carbon sequestration programs in their area. 16:50 - Amanda Bahn-Ziegler, Account Manager for Truterra, discusses their emergence in the carbon space and their TruCarbon program, which has been available for farmers to cash in carbon credits from their farming practices. 23:50 - Hear from the winner of Ohio Farm Bureau's 2021 Discussion Meet, Stacie Anderson, on this week's To the Beat of Agriculture. Her roots in agriculture run deep as memories of old school Farm Bureau meetings happily linger in her past. 32:20 - Aldyen Donnelly, co-founder of Nori Inc., shares all things carbon and what programming Nori offers for farmers interested in carbon sequestration. 42:20 - Mike Thompson and Bryan Randell from Indigo Ag visit about their carbon programs available for farmers across the state.
Farmers are used to getting paid for raising a quality product — soybeans, sweet corn, apples, peppers. But a farm's value lies in its soils, too. What if farmers could get paid for building a quality soil? Just like markets for those soybeans, there's now a small, but growing, commodity market for building and storing carbon in a farm's soils. So how do farmers get paid for storing carbon? On this Our Ohio Weekly, learn more about carbon markets. 00:00 - Julia Brown, Communications and Media Relations Manager for the Ohio Soybean Association talks about the quickly emerging carbon market and what farmers need to do to prepare for carbon sequestration programs in their area. 16:50 - Amanda Bahn-Ziegler, Account Manager for Truterra, discusses their emergence in the carbon space and their TruCarbon program, which has been available for farmers to cash in carbon credits from their farming practices. 23:50 - Hear from the winner of Ohio Farm Bureau's 2021 Discussion Meet, Stacie Anderson, on this week's To the Beat of Agriculture. Her roots in agriculture run deep as memories of old school Farm Bureau meetings happily linger in her past. 32:20 - Aldyen Donnelly, co-founder of Nori Inc., shares all things carbon and what programming Nori offers for farmers interested in carbon sequestration. 42:20 - Mike Thompson and Bryan Randell from Indigo Ag visit about their carbon programs available for farmers across the state.
In this week's episode of Snollygoster, Ohio's politics podcast from WOSU, hosts Mike Thompson and Steve Brown discuss a new Republican-backed bill to legalize marijuana for anyone over 21. State Rep. Jamie Callender (R-Concord) joins the show.
It's time to return to The Dreaming! This week, we're discussing the third and fourth volumes of Neil Gaiman's celebrated series. Come for the one-off stories of Dream Country, and give the devil his due when we cheer Lucifer's epic trolling of Dream in Season of the Mists. ----more---- Episode 17 Transcript Jessika: [00:00:00] I just, I like have had five sets of teeth in my life. They just keep growing bigger and bigger each set I got, Hello, and welcome to Ten Cent Takes, the podcasts where we morph from delight to delirium one issue at a time. My name is Jessica Frazier and I'm joined by my cohost, the blasphemous baker, Mike Thompson. Mike: I am full of carbs and caffeine. How are you doing? Jessika: Oh, I am somewhat of both as well. Could use a little more sleep, but I have a day off tomorrow, so I will be doing that, Mike: I'm jealous. Jessika: Dude. I work nine hours a day. Don't be too jealous. It's those nine hours that get me that day off. Mike: Oh man. I've been pulling [00:01:00] like 10 to 12 hour days for a couple of months and I'm just, Jessika: Oh shit. Nevermind. Goodness. Well, the purpose of this podcast is to study comic books in ways that are both fun and informative. We want to look at their coolest, weirdest and silliest moments, as well as examine how they're woven into the larger fabric of pop culture and history. If you'd like to support us, be sure to download rate and review on Apple podcasts or wherever you live. Mike: Yeah, that really helps with discoverability. We know that we are not a large podcast, but the support that we've gotten from everybody has meant a lot to us. And we're hoping that we can continue to reach more people. If you like, what you're hearing, do us a favor and invite your friends to like our pages, every little bit helps. Jessika: Yeah, well, today we're continuing on. with the second episode of our book. As we discuss volumes three and four of the Sandman series. But before we jump into [00:02:00] that, Mike, what is one cool thing that you've read or watched lately? Mike: Something actually that you mentioned on the last book club episode that we did was that there is a Sandman Audible book right now. As much as I don't like giving Amazon my money, if I don't have to, I've had an Audible membership for like a decade. And that means I have access to their Audible originals, which is what this audio book is. And then one of my friends, hi, Darren, also recommended that I listen to the audio book after I told them that we were doing a Sandman book. So I finally downloaded the audio book and started listening while I walked the dogs. And it's legit incredible, like all-star cast. It feels like an audio play complete with like all these incredible production values. Neil Gaiman is serving as the narrator and then they have all of these incredible actors voicing characters and it actually, you know, Neil [00:03:00] Gaiman rewrote it. And so it feels like what he wanted the Sandman, the first volume Preludes and Nocturnes to be, with the hindsight of 30 plus years. Jessika: Nice. Mike: Yeah, it's great. Jessika: And he's such a good orator. Mike: he is he's done a couple of his other audio books that I've listened to over the years. He did The Graveyard Book, which was The only way I can describe it as a Victorian Gothic version of the Jungle Book. And then he also did Coraline. I think he did Coraline. I'm pretty sure he did, but every time that I've listened to him, narrate stuff, it's always been just fantastic, But, yeah. Jessika: Great. Mike: How about you? Jessika: Well, I grabbed another $1 image teaser comic. , this time it was Kill or Be Killed by Ed Brubaker. Sean Phillips and Elizabeth Breittwiser. It was okay. It didn't grow. It followed the first person account of how a man was driven to be an assassin. He basically attempted to die by suicide by jumping off a roof, ended up not dying, but [00:04:00] being visited by what appears to be a demon who tells him , that he now owes him for the life. He tried to waste or something, a life for a life, kind of a such and the rubric for killing being , someone basically like bad and it's not very well defined. So he goes from this guy who can't fathom killing someone to being ready to kill. So he doesn't die. The whole reason he wanted to die was over a woman that chose his roommate over him, by the way, like his best friend. And it was this whole pining love thing. It was just a little just had, really bad incel vibes. You know what I mean? Mike: Yeah, Jessika: I don't know. It just felt very strange. Like his whole motive was very, contrived it felt, Mike: Yeah. Brubaker does a lot of good stuff, but he writes a lot of, kind of the modern equivalent of pulp noire. Jessika: Mm. Mike: Everything that you've described sounds very much like a Brewbaker story. You got to find the right thing. He writes some really good stuff. Like he's the guy who actually created the winter soldier for the Captain America Comics. Jessika: [00:05:00] Okay. Mike: Yeah. He did a couple of other kind of like noire-ish stories for image that they were hit or miss for me, but when he's good, he's really good. And then other times it's just, it's not my vibe. Jessika: Okay. That's fair. Mike: Yeah. Jessika: So, honestly though, again, it was one of those $1 Image teaser situations. Mike: I love how they do that. Jessika: I didn't feel like I really lost anything. Mike: No, I think that's a really great strategy of theirs where it's just kind of the entry-level pilot. Jessika: Yeah, well, let's mosey on to our main topic. Mike: Yes. Jessika: So last episode, just to recap, we covered an overview of the history and places you can read, watch and listen to the Sandman series. And if you haven't already listened to episode 15, we highly recommend you check out that episode for that. And our discussion on the first two volumes of the Sandman series, because from here, we are going to be discussing [00:06:00] volumes three and four. I don't really have many tidbits per se for us this episode. Really? We're just going to look at the plot and then talk about what we thought. Mike: I actually have a couple of tidbits. Believe it or not, not many, but a couple. Jessika: Mike has tidbits everyone. I love it. I didn't even know. Well, awesome. Mike: All right. So should we kick things off? Jessika: Let's do it. Volume three is titled Dream Country and it was published in 1990 and only included issues 17 through 20. And what made up a four-story anthology. It was, of course, written by Neil Gaiman and illustrated by Kelly Jones, Malcolm Jones III, Charles Vess, and Colleen Duran. We start with the story of Calliope, the youngest Greek muse, who has been imprisoned by Erasmus Fry to be his own personal muse. Super gross. [00:07:00] She'd been captive for closest 60 years. So Erasmus gives Calliope to Richard Maddick, who is a writer who has one successful novel but now has hit a patch of writer's block. And unfortunately for Calliope, he's a greedy motherfucker who only cares about his own success. So he takes Calliope who has been left without clothes in a room alone. And of course, immediately rapes her. This one was really hard for me. You can already tell, as I'm trying to get through this description. Mike: Yeah, it's an uncomfortable issue to read now. Even now it's, mean, it was really uncomfortable when I first read it when I was, I don't know, 18 or so. And it's just gotten increasingly gross as time goes on, especially now, post me too in the entertainment industry. Jessika: Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. I mean, definite correlations there. Mike: Oh yeah. Oddly prescient. Jessika: Yes. So Richard of course gets gains from this whole [00:08:00] situation and enjoys a few years of very good success. He writes more hit novels, some award-winning poetry, and even gets into Hollywood with writing and directing. So here we are again with the correlation situation and of course winning awards in that area. And this is all happening while Morpheus is still in prison, by the way, until he isn't any longer. And one thing we need to know about Calliope is that she and Morpheus have history. In fact, they have a child together. So Calliope calls out to him in desperation. After being told by her visiting muse sisters, that they were unable to help her and help Morpheus did. The author wanted ideas, then he was inundated with them. So many that they were causing him to have an actual breakdown seemingly with psychological effects. In the end, Richard sends someone to release her where he only finds Erasmus Fry's book in the room where she should have been. Mike: And doesn't it [00:09:00] originally start out with Morpheus trying to free Calliope, but Richard doesn't want to, because he needs the ideas she gives him when he rapes her? Jessika: Yeah Mike: Yeah. And that's when Morpheus sits there and basically punishes him with an overflowing chalice of ideas. Jessika: Yeah. It's, definitely a fitting punishment. In my opinion Mike: Yeah. Jessika: story, number two was super fun. I think you and I can probably agree. And this story was about a cat speaking to a crowd of cats in a graveyard. And this cat told the story of having kittens and having them taken away by the people that owned her. And of course, the guy was super level-headed about the whole thing and took the kittens to a shelter and they were adopted by loving families and, oh wait, never mind. He put them all in a bag, tied the bag to a large rock, and threw it in a body of water. I just can't with people. Like, honestly, I can't, Mike: It's a safe assumption that people are going to be terrible throughout this series. Jessika: I mean, it's true, [00:10:00] but I would love to have them all adopted. So the cat naturally is super upset but also looking for some sort of vengeance or something. And that night she has a dream where she goes on a long and difficult dream quest to see what is ultimately Meowpheus the cat. Mike: Meowpheus I like that. Jessika: So basically a Meowpheus tells her that cats used to rule. They were larger and humans were basically the pets. Instead, cats choosing to hunt humans for food and sport and keeping them to feed and groom them. One day, humans banded together and with participation from only 1000 humans, they were able to dream the same dream together and basically manifest humans being the alpha in the world, instead of the cats. And this went back into time where the power of the collective dream actually rewrote history in favor of humans, making the cat subservient. Instead. [00:11:00] The cat in the graveyard was basically preaching a gospel, asking all the cats in the graveyard to dream the same dream. That she was trying to get 1000 cats to help her so that, they could all pull a Cher and turn back time to be in power once again. I enjoyed the partying quippy remark from one of the listener cats, which was effectively good luck getting multiple cats to do anything at the same time. Mike: Uh, yeah. Accurate. Jessika: And while it was really sad and cruel I like the idea that cats have an attitude for a reason. Mike: Yeah, I thought it was cute. It was just, it was a very, I mean, we'll get into this later on, but it was, I thought it was very. Jessika: Yeah. The third step. Told us, the creation of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream wherein Morpheus has actually requisitioned the play in specific terms and asks Billy Shakes and his troop to perform in the middle of an empty field. Well, kind of. That field is not empty for a long as [00:12:00] Titania, Oberon, Puck, and all the other characters from the fairy realm have arrived through the portal, which Morpheus opens for them. It's mentioned during the dialogue between Titania and Morpheus, that this is probably the last time the mortal realm would allow them to enter, that they were feeling the hostility from Gaia upon their entry. During the play puck steps in for the actor playing himself and kills of course, and Titania is very strangely fascinated with Billy's 11 year old son Hamnett and is like trying to entice him. And then in the end, everybody, but Puck leaves the realm. And it's mentioned at the end of the issue that Hamnet died later that same year. So like, did Titania finally get Hamlet to go with her? Mike: You know, it's left a little bit open, but it's playing into that whole idea of the changeling child and, you know, the mortals who go over into the very realm, as children, which I really liked that I thought it was a nice ending that was very bittersweet. Jessika: Yeah. I thought so too. And the fourth and final story [00:13:00] of this volume is called Facade and it is about a woman named Rainey who we learn has been given a gift by the sun, God Ra, which makes her a metamorph. Meaning that she can change her physical appearance, physically change faces, skin, everything. But this also means that she no longer has a normal human appearance. Her skin is scaly and multicolored. Her hair has turned of violent shade of green and her face is withered and her nose is almost completely gone. We find Rainie living a very solitary life, getting a monthly disability check and only interacting with the worker assigned to her, but disability case she's depressed and has suicidal ideations. Probably the scariest part of the story is when an old friend who works for the same company that Rainey was working for, when Ra messed her up, who invites her to lunch, Rainie sucks it up, puts on a face literally and meets [00:14:00] at the restaurant. Where her entire face falls off into a plate of spaghetti. I don't, I don't know about you like that. I thought it was super terrifying. Mike: Yeah. I mean, it goes back to that very human emotion of seeing someone that you haven't seen forever. And you're trying to do as much as you can to make sure that they don't see that you've changed too much. Jessika: Yeah. Mike: You and I are at that age now where it's like, people from high school want to get in touch and we're all older. You know, some of us are. And so you see these people and you still want to seem like the person that they knew, because you don't want to, you don't want them to comment on how you've changed. You don't want to acknowledge it. And I read it as she'd been working for like the CIA or an intelligence agency because they call it “The Company.” They don't ever refer to it as anything else. Jessika: I think it was something of that nature kind of checking out sites, et cetera. Mike: Yeah.[00:15:00] But yeah, and then the whole thing is that because she can change her body into elements. She's, she's a sidekick from the old Moetamorpho series in the sixties. I didn't really know much about her, but I did a little digging cause I couldn't remember a lot. And so Metamorpho is a DC hero who is part of the justice league and his whole thing is that he can't. Basically change his body into any element that he wants. And so that was the whole thing where she's talking about, oh, like it's not hard for me to change the color of my hair. I I just turned it into copper and, and then she basically grows a kind of silica over her face, but she was saying that after roughly a day it gets stiff and, it falls off. And unfortunately, that's what happened with her, at her lunch with her friend. Jessika: Yeah. it was definitely a bummer. Mike: Yeah. Jessika: So of course, Rainey goes home crying where she has to break into her own house by melting the handle because she forgot her purse with her keys and breaks down crying. Death appears having been visiting one of Rainey's neighbors who fell off a stepladder and talks with Rainie, advising that she should [00:16:00] ask rah nicely to take away her gift, or at least giving us an option. She looks into the setting sun and becomes what I'm assuming is a pile of Ash. It looks like death didn't actually take her. So I'm not sure if Rainie is supposed to be just with the world. You know, just one with the world as it kind of seemed like she fear being Mike: You know, I read it as like she was, she had her immortality taken away from her because she seemed so happy when she turned into, I don't know if it was ash or glass or something. It was kind of hard to tell what the art, and then it cracked and fell apart. And then Death answers the phone and says something along the lines of like, no, she, she can't come she's gone away or something to that effect. And, death isn't this cruel being or anything like that. I think death helped her move on. I'd like to think that she did. Jessika: Okay. Okay. Yeah. it was Fe usually. she like wanders away with the person [00:17:00] she's like low key reaping. Mike: Usually. Yeah. I don't know. I think maybe it was just a little bit, it, it was for the sake of narrative in this case, Jessika: That's fair. That's fair. Mike: But yeah. Urania was this, so her full name is Urania She was a side character for a few issues in Metamorpho's sixties series. And then she wound up basically giving herself the same powers that he had, and it was delivered via device called the Orb of RA. So it's really interesting because, Metamorpho is always a science character, because it's all about the elements of what he can turn himself into. But at the same time, there is in his background. is this like, you know, mystical quality to it. And so I liked that they kind of tapped into that mythology a little bit, and really they did a nice job with a character that I think most people had forgotten existed. Jessika: So, Mike, did You have a favorite [00:18:00] character part of the story? What did you dig from this? Mike: This volume in particular, I really like, because it feels. Like a breather from the main narrative. And honestly, I think that's something that we needed because I mentioned last time, how I always am a little bit surprised at how dark the early stories are. They're very much horror stories with a little bit of fantasy kind of softening the blows a little bit, but there's a couple of moments in those first couple of volumes where I feel like I need to pack a flashlight. it's dark. but yeah, this collection is just, a much-needed change of pace just for a little bit. My least favorite story is the one with the cats. And it's not because I think it's bad. I just don't connect with it that much. Part of it is because we've got a rescue cat, we treat her better than the kids. Let's be honest. I can't fathom throwing kittens into a pond. It was just, it feels a little bit too mustache-twirly. You know, especially in this day and age where like, if people find out [00:19:00] about that you get tracked down on social media and just annihilate it. But it was cute. The whole bit where at the end, it's like, oh, it must be, it's dreaming, you know, it's chasing something and, you're like, oh, okay. Yeah. So it's, it's dreaming of hunting humans. Cool. Jessika: [laughs], Mike: And it's funny, cause I was actually in a production of Midsummer Night's Dream when I first read this collection. So I loved everything about that specific issue. I loved how it tapped into fairy lore it showed this kind of weird, strange relationship with Titania and Oberon. And how absolutely sinister pock seemed not to mention how there's that dangling plot thread, where he basically gets loosed on earth afterwards Jessika: mm. Mike: I don't know. It's just, it's very different than any other portrayal I'd seen up until then. And, , it's interesting because they brought those characters specifically back in a number of different ways across the vertigo comics later on, like to Tanya actually had her origin explained in the Books of Faerie, which was in itself a series that [00:20:00] spun off of another comic that Neil Gaiman wrote called the Books of Magick, where eventually it's revealed that the main character from the Books of Magick, Tim Hunter, who was like the next great magician of the age, he's like our version of Merlin. It is very. They always leave it a little bit up in the air, but Titania''s his mother, because she was a human who was brought into the world of Fairie. And then eventually he got married to Oberon and then she had an affair with a human that was in service to Oberon. Jessika: Okay. Mike: She becomes a major part of the lore in her own right. Which I thought was really cool. And Puck shows up again later in the series. I, like I still squirm when I read that story of Calliope, especially where we are like sitting on the other side of me too, and the ongoing flood of stories about successful men in the arts, just being abusive, assholes to those who aren't as powerful as they are. Like when we're recording this, there's a whole flood of stories coming out of Activision [00:21:00] blizzard, if you're not in video games, they make Warcraft and a bunch of other stuff. it turns out that that was a really toxic place for women. And I spent almost a decade working in video games with various companies and yeah, it's not surprising, but it's just, these stories need to be told that at the same time, they're always super uncomfortable to read. Jessika: Yeah. Mike: Um, yeah. And then, the facade story, I really liked, I really appreciate how gaming does this amazing job spinning out a story that's focused on loneliness and how harmful it is. and then I thought it was kind of neat that it arguably has a happy ending, though the main character dies. Jessika: Yeah. I can see that. Mike: Same question back at you. What about you? Jessika: So, you know, I really enjoyed the cat story. Mike: You don't say. Jessika: I did. I mean, I get it though. Like cats are, are super intense and honestly they make [00:22:00] me a little nervous. I heard some horror stories about cats, just going bananas on people and them just like getting super fucked up, like missing part of an ear and shit. Like I've heard some stories. That's just like a regular house cat. Oh, I don't think so Mike: Well, and then you've met our cat. Jessika: Yeah. Well, yeah. You know that's but I don't, I didn't fear your cat right away. There are some cats I go into someone's house and I'm just like, oh, I got to watch my back. Mike: We have a dog and a cat's body. Jessika: Yeah. Your cat's sweet. Mike: No, she... she's fat and lazy and she knows who feeds her. So she's like, I'm good. I don't need to get out. I don't need to be now. Jessika: I'm strictly a dog household, so I just don't really truly get them to be honest with you. And I honestly, I'm kind of glad I have allergies as an excuse, not to have to get one. So did you have a favorite art moment in this volume? Like was there a panel or cover that really stood [00:23:00] out to you or hit you in some kinda way? Mike: Yeah. That final sequence in the Midsummer issue, so that one was illustrated by Charles Vess and he's this really he's this artist that has this really beautiful illustration style that feels very old school storybook. Sarah loves this British artist named Arthur Rakim and Vess always kind of reminds me of his work, but the closing monologue by Puck is I gotta be at that closing monologue is kind of terrifying, especially with the way that it's illustrated. I also liked how this felt almost like, well, I mean, it was in certain ways, it was a sequel to men of good fortune, that issue that we talked about last time with Hob Gadling and the mortal that keeps on meeting up with Morpheus. Jessika: Yeah. Mike: Yeah, you remember during, the last book club episode, how I mentioned that Sandman won the World Fantasy Award. Yeah. So it was for this issue specifically, you know, and then they got all grumpy about it and they [00:24:00] changed it so that you could no longer win a world fantasy award with a comic book. So. The only comic book to ever win a world fantasy award, Jessika: extra salty, Mike: extra salty. Jessika: Hate to see it. Mike: what about you? Like, I'm actually curious. What did you think about Vess's illustration style? Because we haven't seen, I don't think we've really seen much of his artwork in the series up until now. Jessika: We haven't, and that's actually this, this was my favorite art volume as well, or art issue as well. I mean, it just, it was beautiful. It used color in a really interesting way that went from playful to dark and serious. I mean, it just with the same type of illustration and the color would just change the whole. Mike: Yeah. Jessika: Which was super cool just by adding shadows, moving the colors. Plus you got to love a good donkey head and you know, okay. I was musing and you have to go with me on this journey. They had to have used a taxidermied donkey's head. Right. Mike: [00:25:00] No, they, I Jessika: Please. Come on, come on, go with me on this journey. Mike: Ugh no. Hmm. Jessika: Ah, Mike: Like, like that's a whole element in that American Horror Story series, like where they make a mandatory by putting a bull's head on a dude. Like, no, no, Jessika: I am going horror with this one. Mike: Well, have fun going down that road. I'm not there with you. Jessika: Okay. Well, that's good. I suppose we are on volume four Mike: I suppose Jessika: Volume Four!. Alright. Mike: What accent is that? Jessika: I don't know, I do a lot, don't I? Mike: A little bit? Jessika: I think it's my 1920s. Mike: Okay. Jessika: I don't know. It's like my newscaster, I used to have an old-timey newscaster kind of an accent that I did. And I think I'm combining, I'm combining my Virginia [00:26:00] Montgomery Prescott, the third Esquire. Mike: It's, that so proper American that it's almost English kinda like that very Northeastern accent. Yeah. Jessika: Yes. Yeah. Mike: Yeah. All right. Jessika: All right. Volume four is titled season of the mists and came out between 1990 and 1991 and included issues 21 through 28. Story as always was written by Neil Gaiman and illustration was done by Kelly Jones, Malcolm Jones, the third Mike Drigenberg, Matt Wagner, Dick Giordano, George Pratt, and P Craig Russell. Volume four begins with our introduction to destiny. Ooh. While wandering his realm is visited by the fates, the three sisters that we have seen previously, the sisters inform him that he needs to call a [00:27:00] reunion of all his siblings of the eternal realm. So off, he goes to the family gallery where he goes up to each portrait of his sibling and they appear out of the portrait. When summoned the siblings are a mix of characters we have seen. And one that is new to this issue. Death who is told to change her outfit, even though no one else was, I thought that was kind of rude. Mike: Yeah, Destiny's a stickler for formality. Jessika: Yeah. Well, the other one's got to wear nimble to CWA. They got to wear whatever Mike: Hmm. Jessika: I, whatever. I don't know. It makes me angry. So don't tell women they have to change. They are not a distraction. Death has followed by Dream and then the twins, Desire and Despair, and lastly Delirium who we come to find out, used to be Delight. So during their reunion, desire calls out Dream's treatment of lovers who have spurned [00:28:00] him, leading him to ask for validation of his actions from Death. And Death instead agrees with. Prompting dream to plan, to travel to hell in order to remove queen nada from her torturous captivity, who was, that was the subject of their whole conversation. Mike: Yeah. And we actually saw that whole story in the previous volume to Jessika: Yes, Mike: saw what happened to. Jessika: exactly. so destiny closes out the reunion basically stating that the actions that needed to be put into motion had been accomplished by dream deciding to go back to. hell. Mike: Yeah. Jessika: The next issue gives us a taste of what hell looks and feels like. So back in the dream realm, Dream is saying his goodbyes and makes a big announcement to those living in his realm. He tells them about Nada, how he had been unjust and how he had to rectify his actions and that he may not return as he is not on good terms with Lucifer. So [00:29:00] he sends Cain to Hell as a messenger to let loose for know that dream will be visiting whether he approves or not basically. So that was fun. Mike: Well, he knows that he can't kill Cain because Cain is protected by the mark of Cain from, the Cain and Abel story. He knows about that. Jessika: oh yeah. Yeah, for sure. Mike: That's why dream sent Cain it's because he knows that Cain can't be killed. Jessika: Exactly. Exactly. Lucifer clearly is still really salty about being embarrassed. The last time dream was there and he makes an announcement to his, his demonic minions reminding them that he is the oldest and strongest bad-ass lets them know that dream will be returning and implies very strongly. That the day that Dream returns will be very memorable. Kane delivers the response to Dream. And on the last stop of his farewell tour, Dream also visits Hippolyta whose husband [00:30:00] was the pho dream king superhero thingy from one of the other stories while he was enslaved or, you know, captive. Mike: Yeah. she and Hector the previous Doctor Fate were being used by Brute and Glob to basically create kind of like an island for them to operate outside of the dreaming the dreams of a kid who was being abused. Jessika: Exactly. Mike: And then, Dream is on her shit list because he sent her ghost of a husband on to wherever he got sent onto, but she was pregnant at the time. And so there's a connection between Dream and the baby because she carried the baby to term mostly in dreams, Jessika: Well, the baby was in gestation for like that, like 30, 30, 40 years or something more than that. I mean, it was like 60 years? I don't remember how many it was like however long or Mike: I, Jessika: or was it just the kid timeframe? Mike: I think it was just the kid timeframe. So I think it was only for a couple of years, but still it was in gestation injuries for a long time compared to. Jessika: Oh, I can't even imagine [00:31:00] being pregnant once, let alone for like two years straight. Holy crap. And she was like really pregnant. That's not comfortable. So Morpheus advises Hippolyta to take good care of the kid that had been gestating in the dream realm, because he will take it someday. So. Cool. Thanks, Dream. That's awesome. Mike: Really endearing us to you, buddy. Jessika: Yeah. serious. Oh, he also gives her the name Daniels because she had kind of been struggling with a name for him. Mike: Yeah. Jessika: So that's the kid's name now? I guess. So Dream makes his way to hell anticipating a fight with Lucifer, but what He finds is an eerily empty hell with Lucifer in the process of locking all the gates. And when asked about this loose advises that he's, he's done, he's quitting and he is no longer the ruler of hell. He's freed everyone and everything that was locked up. And he's not really sure what happened to them or where they all went, whether it was to earth or other realms or what, but he just [00:32:00] knows they're no longer in hell Mike: Yeah. He likes straight up. Does not care. Jessika: Oh, zero fucks. None. Mike: They're his favorite kind of problem. Not his. Jessika: Then he goes, Yeah. think I'm bluffing. Hey, here's a knife. Why don't you cut off my wings? Just see, just, just go ahead and see. And, and Dream does. And then as a parting gift, he hands the key to hell Dream stating basically Like Hey, this is your problem now. Mike: Yeah. Jessika: that's some high-level trolling. Mike: Dream was prepared for just about every outcome except that one. It is. Jessika: Exactly. We are then introduced to Oden who travels to the cavern where Loki is being held captive and has been enduring an eternity of torture until Ragnarok, the end times in which the Asgardian realms would be destroyed. Odin [00:33:00] frees low-key from his situation and asks him to help him as he wants to take over the Hell situation since Lucifer abdicated and Loki agrees to help, then we cut back to dream because he's not really sure what to do. So he calls on his sister death for advice. And she has like, no time. First of all, she has no time for him in that issue. She's like, what do you need? I'm super busy. She pretty much says, this is your problem. Also, he knows things are going to go down and he hides, frustrated his castle basically. And then he just starts getting visited by all these different parties, all wanting the keys to hell. So you have the Asgardians, Azazzle and a demon Envoy who're like “That's my house. I just want to live in my house again.” Mike: Yeah. Jessika: Yeah. Anubis and Bastet who are like, yo, [00:34:00] you know, who does a good job with death with underworlds let me show you. Mike: it's a really eclectic mix of mythological figures because you also have. The Lords of chaos and order send their envoys, Shivering Jemmy from the Lords of chaos who... I really like her. I think she's a great, Jessika: did too. Mike: and then the Lords of order send their representative and it's a cardboard box that basically spits out ticker tape and Jessika: Which Mike: And, then you get the elves, a ferry at one point. And they have, a really unique proposition, which is that the lands of Faerie had a tie to hell where every seven years they had to send over a certain number of , their best and brightest as a sacrifice. And they wanted, basically begging dream, not to let hell reopen. Jessika: And we did. We establish that That was still a thing when all the other shit went down. Mike: That specific deal? Jessika: yeah. Mike: Oh yeah. It's still a deal. And actually, that was a whole thing in the books of [00:35:00] magic. They have a whole thing with ferry and hell going into conflict with each other, because I think it has been almost 20 years since I read this last. But if I remember right, it was, I think Faerie refused to pay the tithe anymore anymore. And as a result, they basically straight up, went to war with hell. and it was, oh man, it was cool. I remember liking that storyline. I don't remember it enough to really talk about it a lot though, because it's been so long. But it's, it's good. It's in one of the collected volumes of the Books of Magick that they did, they only collected the first 50 issues, 50 through 75 aren't collected anywhere. Jessika: Hmm. Hmm. So we also had Suzan O No Mikto Mike: Yes. Jessika: Oh, and a couple of angels who were there just to be voyeurs to the situation Mike: Yeah. Jessika: and Dream finally lets them into the castle. [00:36:00] After he stopped sulking and he advises that he'll be hosting a banquet and having accommodation set up and they could discuss the key to the realm the next day, basically. And we start seeing the consequences of hell's release through a boys boarding school where one solitary boy is staying over during the holidays while his father, as a prisoner of war in Kuwait and all hell returns. When boys and staff who used to attend the school, start to show back up Mike: yeah. Jessika: Along with the headmasters previously deceased mother. Mike: Yes. It's... that issue. It's really interesting because I really didn't like it originally. And I've come to appreciate it more because it feels like a very Gothic or story kind of like the Hunting of Hill House from Netflix. Jessika: I can see that. Yeah. Mike: yeah. Jessika: It was wild. Like all of them had reasons that they were in hell. Mike: Yeah. That [00:37:00] issue is really interesting and it's really weird because it's drawn by Matt Wagner, who has a very interesting style. All of his own Wagner himself is famous for creating a couple of different characters on his own. Like he created a character called the Grendel, who is this assassin and wound up becoming a cult property, had a long run with Dark Horse, if I remember right. But this story in season at the mist is really creepy because the whole thing is that the dead are coming back to earth and all sorts of unexpected ways. And then there were a bunch of boys who were really awful, Who come back and they start tormenting Charles, because he's the only living soul there. And he's also, you know, he's a sweet, sensitive little kid, like who is just an easy target for people like that. And the thing is, is like, that was me when I was at that age was I was that sensitive kid who was just an easy target for bullies. And so it was really hard to read it when I was younger. And, I've got a little different perspective now, [00:38:00] but it's, still tough. Anyway, go on. Jessika: Oh, that's okay. So yeah, Charles, unfortunately, he got tortured by that trio of boys. And apparently those boys had murdered another school boy as an offering to Lucifer. So joke's on them, the offering didn't save them from the torture of damnation, Mike: Yeah. Jessika: so Charles ends up being physically tortured and then starves to death. And his only companion was that other boy who had been killed on the premises that boy, that, those, that trio allegedly sacrificed. Edwin. Yeah. So death rolls up to pick them up and Charles says “Yeah, no thanks. I'm gonna hang out with, uh, Edwin and deaths. Like you don't, I don't, I don't have time for this. Like literally every one is coming back. Like I literally don't have time. I will come back for you. Mike: I loved that she was in early nineties, jogging paraphernalia, like Jessika: Yeah. Mike: I thought it was fantastic. Jessika: was ready for it. Mike: [00:39:00] I may be misremembering this, but I thought it was really funny how it was like, I think it was like pink and purple too. Like it was very colored. Jessika: I think it did have some color to it. Yeah. Oh, funny. So back in the dream realm, two more guests from the theory realm, those two that we had talked about, they arrive and the banquet in. And each of the guests eats and drinks, their desire delicacies, cause , poof we're in dreamland and shenanigans ensued due to the differences of the attendees. And one by one, they basically corner Morpheus requesting a private conversation and he provides each of them with a signal stadium that he'll meet with them after the banquet and entertainment have concluded Cain and Abel show up as the entertainment we're able dies,by being cut in half and then being made into sausage in a magic act Mike: which. That is a, that is a recurring theme with Cain and Abel in, in the Sandman comics. Jessika: Yeah, I've noticed. Mike: But, [00:40:00] Cain was the host of another horror series called the house of misery. And he always had this kind of macabre sort of sense of humor. I know Abel eventually showed up in the house mystery series. I don't know if Cain murdered him every time. I wouldn't be surprised. Jessika: Fair enough. So this is this tracks apparently, each of the guests go off to their respective quarters to wait to be summoned. And they each go to Morpheus, either offering something they think he would want or threatening him in order to turn over control the key to hell. And he advises each one of them that he will announce his decision in the morning. And once in the privacy of his own quarters, he ruminates on the pressure of the weight of his responsibility that was dropped on him. Mike: Yeah. What was your favorite bargaining tactic? I've got mine. I'm curious about yours. Jessika: I didn't like the whole trading people thing. I don't know. Cause they were all so good in different ways. Like order and chaos were both really interesting to me. I think chaos just being like, [00:41:00] we will find you Mike: Chaos was my favorite Jessika: I was going to say like, but Shivering Jemmy was just so funny to begin with. Mike: Well, Jessika: was just such an interesting. Mike: you know, they play, they play with this a lot because, Dr. Fait is one of the Lords of order, DC comic books. And so there's always been this presentation that, order is, the right way to go. And what I kind of enjoyed is that this very much embodies, no order is a dull little box in chaos is chaos. It's not what you expect. And so they send this, hobo girl with a red balloon and Jessika: like, uh, like a clown face. Mike: yeah, and she's like, speeding. Almost like toddler English, like it's much younger phrasing than you would expect from a kid who looks like they're 10 or 11. And then, turns into this monstrous thing, delivering ungodly threats to the Lord of dreams. And then, you know, it turns back into the little kid again, after when it was like,[00:42:00] byeeeee. Yeah, I can get behind this. Jessika: So good. She just ate ice cream for dinner too, which I loved. Mike: Oh yeah. It was so good. I, again, I think she shows up in the books of magic later on, but I can't remember for that one. Jessika: That's amazing. So I really did like her as a character. Mike: it was good. Jessika: So the next morning. As Morpheus, still struggles to decide to whom he will grant the key. He is visited by the voyeur angels who tell him they have a message for him from the creator who dictates that the two angels will now run hell and guess what guys, you're not allowed back to the silver city Remiel. Oh, Remiel was not happy about this situation. He did not take this well. Mike: No, he did not it was very much implied that he was about to rebel, like Lucifer. Jessika: Yup. He's like fuck the shit. [00:43:00] Why do I have to go down there? And he had that. He was like, this is your fault. I was like, whoa, damn, you need to go calm down. Your silent homie is not the enemy. there was some salt. This issue. So Morpheus hands over the key after Remiel takes a chill pill and Morpheus still has the task of telling the other as the outcome of his decision and lets them know the decision was really made for him that if the creator of hell wanted angels to run it, who was he to decide differently from what the creator of that thing wanted to do with it. And most of his guests took this. Okay. I liked orders response of this? This is logical. Mike: Yeah. And then chaos is like, man, it's fine. We just didn't want order to get it. It's fine. Whatever. Jessika: Exactly. Mike: And then Jessika: was even better. Mike: doesn't she give Morpheus her balloon afterwards? Jessika: Yeah. Mike: Yeah, I thought that was great Jessika: She's like, oh, well, I didn't really want this anyway. [00:44:00] but Azazel was especially upset about this whole situation Mike: Embodiment of bitter party of one. Jessika: Yes. yes. Table for one. Absolutely. And he pretty much said that he was going to consume the souls of Nada as well as his companions from hell, because he had actually kidnapped her. Mike: Yeah, and we should note that one of his companions from hell was actually, the demon who had Morpheus's helm before. it was a honied offer of him sitting there and saying, well, I will give you the woman that you're searching for, but then I'll also let you enact punishment of this guy who challenged you and to make you look bad in front of all of hell. Jessika: That makes sense. I was kind of wondering why he was like, why would he care about this one, dude? But that makes way more sense. I forgot about that, dude. Mike: Yep. Jessika: There's a lot. There's a lot to remember in this. Mike: You know, I can't remember everything and I've read this series multiple times. It's a dense story. And I always feel like. I probably caught things before, but, I always [00:45:00] find things that I feel like I'm discovering for the first time with each reread. Jessika: Oh, that's so cool. I'm so glad I picked up the trade paperbacks. Mike: Yeah. I'm glad that you, I'm glad you're spearheading this. This is a really fun series to talk about. Jessika: Thank you. So Azazel tells Morpheus, basically, I'm going to consume the souls of Nada and my other companion, unless Morpheus could jump into the abyss of space of teeth, the abyss of his Azazel's teeth, which he's just like space with teeth. Like that's what he is. Mike: And eyes.. Jessika: And eyes. Yeah, that's right. He does have eyes too, but he's just like a bunch of Maltz mostly. Yeah. So Morpheus does it. He does the thing and jumps in, finds them, captures his Azazel after he tries to go back on his word of letting them go. If he'd have found his company. And then asks his Raven friend, Matthew, to tell Nada that he needs to talk with her because he has some apologizing to do, Mike: Mm Jessika: The inhabitants of hell [00:46:00] begun to return as the new angel leaders look on and dream meets with nada and makes a pitiful attempt at half-apology and Nada slaps him and in doing so extracts an actual apology, which it shouldn't take that much. But Dream seems to realize how he's in the wrong. Although he almost immediately negates that understanding by once again, asking her to be the queen of the dream realm. Mike: Yeah. Jessika: Bro. She was, and she was like, bro, we've done this already. I don't want to do this. I already said no to you once. And I meant it. Mike: I really appreciate that gaming does not make dream this infallible being, he very much shows like, no, he is. A flawed dude Jessika: Yeah. Mike: and he doesn't always get things immediately. Jessika: Yeah, That was really interesting. [00:47:00] That piece of it, I mean, dream has to concede, but he he basically says, let's go discuss your future. Mike: yeah, Jessika: Which is really neat, cause he's taken her whole life away and, and then some, and he's in a, he's a negative said this blank she's for thousands of years been tortured in hell. Like how do you even make that up? Mike: Exactly. And that was actually something that I was curious about the first time I read it, I'm like, how do you make this right? cause that's, that is so much red in the ledger. Jessika: That's What I was thinking too. It's like, oh, okay, well, what are you going to do now, dude, aspire flowers and be like, well, babe, Mike: What about you chocolates? I only ate half of them. Jessika: right? It's Valentine's day it's. This is what we do. Right. So, so Loki who was supposed to have been taken back to his cave of acid dripping wonder Mike: His torture cave, Jessika: his torture cave with a snake and a woman. And torture. Mike: where he is [00:48:00] bound in the entrails of his own son and his wife catches venom dripped from a snake's fang. And then occasionally when she empties the cup, that's catching the phenom. It causes him to shake the earth and agony. And that's why we get earthquakes. Norse mythology is a thing. Jessika: Yes. And so Loki though has switched places, the little trickster he is with Suzano No-Ol-Mikoto who was sent back to the cavern to be forever tortured, which is rough. He didn't do anything. And then he tries to cut a deal with dream, to not get them sent back. Mike: he, he does like, he actually cuts a deal with him. Jessika: I mean, he does cut a deal He does, which. Guy, are you at least get a, go get the other homie from the blade? He doesn't, he doesn't even go other homes. Mike: yeah, he does Jessika: like he does. Mike: Yeah, he does. He says what I'll do is, as I will, I will basically create , an illusion of you in that tormented space. Jessika: Okay. I must have missed that part because I was just like guy. [00:49:00] Mike: it's a throwaway line. It's he basically sits there and he says like, but if I do that, you owe me a favor. Jessika: Okay. I mean, I got that part of it. I was like, you're getting out of this, but like, whoa, Mike: I have a lot of favorite moments in this, in this volume, but that was one of my favorites where dream asks him and he's like, why did you choose Susano No O Mikoto, but Loki basically just says, yeah, I just really don't like thunder gods. And I was like, Jessika: Which all Mike: also I love how much of just a turd Thor is throughout the entire time that he appears he's such a gross dude. Like there's Jessika: gross. Mike: the bit where he's trying to hit on bass and he's like, do you want to touch my hammer? It gets bigger when you play with it. I'm like, blech Jessika: it was so bad. And that he's just trashed. He's just like,Ugh. Mike: Well, I think bast actually scratches up his face too, which I thought was great. Jessika: Yup. Yup. Mike: but it's funny because I read this in the nineties, give or take my only exposure to Thor in comic [00:50:00] books before that had been Thor, the superhero, and this was such a wildly different take on him. I was like, this is amazing cause Thor was awful and mythology. Jessika: Yeah. Oh Yeah. there were definitely some, questionable stories that I have read. Yes. Mike: Anyway, I really enjoyed that. Jessika: yeah. So we also find out that Nuala that was one of the two ferries is being left in the dream realm, even though the ferry deal was not the one that panned out her bros, just like, see ya. I, I wasn't ever supposed to bring you back. You're staying regardless. Mike: Yeah. You're, a gift from the court to dream. Jessika: Which, and he's just like, okay. And he's like, oh, by the way, I don't dig glamour here. So you can just drop the glitz. You're glimmering right now. And then she's just this little petite, mousy hair, smaller elf looking, which, you know what I did not, I didn't like the whole idea that, she had to be, [00:51:00] that, That she felt like she had to glamour to begin with. And that, that was a whole thing. Mike: I don't know what part of mythology it is, but, but one of the European pieces of mythology is that the elves have an ability to wrap themselves in illusion. in that they're actually these kinds of weird, gross little things. So that, that was tying into kind of the European folklore. But yeah, it's a thing. I don't remember if she shows up in later issues. I think she does, but I don't remember. Jessika: I mean, that would suck to just be like, by the way you live in the dream realm now oh and we're never featuring you again. Double rough. Mike: yeah, Jessika: Yeah. So after dream is like, nah, you gotta be you, boo. He goes and puts not a soul into a newborn child basically. So it's assumed that she will get to live the life that dream took from her so many centuries ago. Mike: Yeah. He basically, he, he gives her the opportunity to live life again, kind of wiping the slate clean, which is, mean, let's be honest. That's probably the best offer that [00:52:00] he can give her. Jessika: He also puts her in a male body, which like, talk about like leveling up, Mike: Yeah. Jessika: Come on. You're already doing better. Mike: Yeah. And then he has that really nice moment where he says something along the lines of I will remember you and love you matter what body wear. And you will always be welcome in the dream realm. I have my quibbles with, with Dream, especially with this whole storyline. But I feel like that was arguably the best solution he could have come up with. Jessika: Oh I agree. Yeah, when I did see that, that was the solution. I mean, you can't provide somebody with multiple lifetimes, but you can take away the pain of knowing that that happened and provide them with a new life that you don't interfere with. I thought it was a good, a good deal. I guess. All things considered. Mike: Yeah. Jessika: We then cut to Lucifer, wingless, chilling on a beach, looking at the sunset where he is approached by an older man who walks [00:53:00] over and make small, talk about the sunset with him and stay till, see him tomorrow. If he's still there and Lucifer admitting that the sunset is actually really beautiful, goddammit and giving some credit to the creator. And we end the volume with the two new leaders of hell going around and making quote unquote changes Mike: yeah. Jessika: the way things are. Basically, they're still going to be torture, but it's supposed to be phrased differently as a rehabilitation, but the angels don't quite understand the meaning of the tortures of hell, which makes it even worse. Mike: Yeah. It's so uncomfortably abusive where they're like, no, we're doing this because we love you. And one day you'll thank us for it. Jessika: Yeah. Mike: you're just like, woo. Jessika: It's it was a gross abuser situation. Mike: Yeah. And then there's that bit where one of the souls is like, no, you don't understand that makes it worse. Jessika: Yeah. Yeah, exactly. Oh Yeah. And unfortunately the angels start to embrace their [00:54:00] roles in the endless pain and suffering. Mike: Yeah. And that's actually, that's something that is, brought back to the forefront in Lucifer, the series that Mike Carey wrote in the late nineties to early odds, which I've talked about this before, but like that series is also, I think just as good as Sandman. It's really great, we also see a lot of pantheons of different gods getting pulled into Lucifer's machinations and there's a whole thing where he makes things difficult for the angels running hell. Jessika: Oh, I'm excited to see it Mike: It's very good. Jessika: Well what were your overall impressions of the story and who were your favorite or least favorite characters or events of this? Mike: It's actually hard to sit there and talk about just a couple of favorite moments because I really love this collection. I loved it when I first read it. I still love it. I love the strange sadness of the overall story and the original takes on the gods. And also, I really love the twist that heaven takes over [00:55:00] the running of hell. We talked about how I really enjoyed Dream kind of, spoiling the plot twist about Loki, having switched places with Susano. And, I really soured on Dream as a character in these early issues over time. I dunno it, like, when I read this as a kid, I was like, oh, okay. He feels bad about his actions. And is going to rescue this woman that he loves from hell and now I'm like, motherfucker, you put her in hell. And she details how awful her time there was like, come on, dude, you condemned her there for millennia just because she wouldn't marry you?Like, get fucked. Jessika: And then you said, I guess I did something bad if that's how you feel. Mike: it wasn't even, you didn't even come to this realization on your own. You had to be told by multiple people that you fucked up. Like a mediocre white guy in his thirties, you sat there and dug your heels and went no, no. Well, maybe Jessika: “I don't think that's right.” Mike: maybe. All right, fine. [00:56:00] It's like, whatever, Jessika: Oh, no. Mike: like that. I'm coming down harsher on dream than you are. Jessika: No, but that's how I felt about it too. I mean, you're just doing all the work. I'm just going to sit back and ride this ride because I'm like, I'm there with you, but I'm like passenger seat. I'm chilling. Like I don't need to be the navigator. We have maps now we have Google maps. It's fine. Mike: I'm sitting there swinging my arms and getting all mad and getting the cardio. Jessika: Oh yeah. And I'm doing the pumping our movement of the trucks next to me. You know, I'm just along for this ride. No, I agree. He's a shit heel and a lot of these, and I'm like, I have had more than a few moments where I think to myself, how am I supposed to feel about this character? But then I think to myself, no, that's a good character. But then I think to myself, no: That's a good character. That's a good character, because that means it's complex. It's more realistic because that's what people. Mike: Yeah. To be honest, he is that privileged male character who has never had to really stop and think about his [00:57:00] actions really not have things go his way. And we are now at the part of tonight's program where we are finding out after having fucked around for a while. Jessika: Fucked around so hard. So Well, I really enjoyed the banquet and I really liked the different interactions between the different mythologies and how they behaved and what they ate. And it was really funny, but I also thought it was very thoughtful. In the way that it was done. And similarly with the way that each party had a different way and signal to meet with dream, it just really showed his understanding and empathy by adapting to each of his guests needs. Mike: Yeah. Jessika: Or perhaps he's just used to doing this for each individual's dreams. Mike: Well, it's a little bit open to interpretation because in other episodes you see his appearance changed. Like there was, you know, he was Meowpheus. Jessika: Yep. Mike: So my take on him is that his appearance. Doesn't change. It's just, we [00:58:00] perceive them in different ways. And because we are, you know, people reading the story, we are seeing him in his siblings manifest as people. Jessika: That's very astute, sir. Mike: But yeah, I mean, like you looked at like the different art styles that came into play when he was meeting with the different gods. And I mean, I, I still think about how doesn' het have like a tea ceremony with Suzano when they're, when they're talking. And then I feel like it's much darker and moodier when he meets with Odin. And then again, the art style changes again when he meets with Bast. Jessika: Yeah. Well, speaking of art, did you, did you have a favorite art moment in this volume? Mike: Yeah. okay. So you remember how last time we talked about how I have this, one defining moment where in Men of Good Fortune hob has these three panels where his face changes? Yeah. There's a couple of different images throughout the series that I always just kind of have pop up in my head when I think about it. And one of them is from this volume and it's the bit where he's inside a Zazzle and [00:59:00] he's like prying open the mouse and the empty space and he's floating around it feels kind of more traditionally action comic booky, and the way that it's drawn, that's not a bad thing. It's just, for some reason it feels that way. And I, I think it's really good. and I also really liked how at the end of it, he reveals that he is trapped. Azazel in a jar. It's very in keeping with how Gaiman would resolve conflict in ways that could be a giant battle, but instead they're very clever. , it was like when they had the battle between him and Dr.Destiny, and then afterwards you get the field of white and then it turns out he's just sitting in the Palm of dream's hand. Jessika: Yes. Yeah. Mike: Yeah. Jessika: So good. Mike: I'm curious, you're approaching this with fresh eyes because this is the first time you've read through this. So I'm wondering, do you have the same moments or are they different? Jessika: I actually thought Morpheus had a lot of really good billowing robe moments. Mike: Yes. Jessika: Like, I mean, they didn't have, I think they may have had like one semi-full page of like a billowy robes situation. But there were quite a few shots of him, like floating into [01:00:00] hell and he was just making an entrance Mike: yeah. I was just thinking that Jessika: here for it. Yeah. Mike: he's got his helm Jessika: Yeah. Mike: the bit where Jessika: dressed up. This is the met gala. He is here. Mike: Yes. And then what I really liked about that was there's that moment where Lucifer is like, are you afraid of me? And more visas? Like, yes. And I'm like, all right. Not, your difficult comic book. All right. Cool. Jessika: Just being real between you and I. Absolutely. Mike: That was great. Jessika: Yeah. So I really like, again, to your point about what you really enjoyed was the kind of feeling of movement of probably him floating through space and having that action feeling. That's what I really liked about the billowy ropes. Was it just, I could almost see them moving, and I could feel the movement of him floating down, which was so neat. Yeah. Well, let's move along to our brain wrinkles. [01:01:00] Mike: All right. Jessika: So this is the one thing comics or comic-related. That has just been sticking in our noggin since the last time we spoke. So, what is it for you? Mike: Well, Sarah and I had our anniversary this week, and she got me this really cool book called American Comic Book Chronicles, the 1990s by Jason Sachs and Keith Dallas. Do you remember those American century books from time life? They were those prestige format photo history books, and they would document major moments in America and world history from across the 20th. Jessika: I do. Yup. Mike: I feel like every school library had a complete volume. Jessika: Exactly. Mike: So this is like that except for Comics. And so it's really cool. And nobody should be surprised at this point to hear that I particularly love comics from the eighties and nineties. And as I'm reading through this book, it's reminding me about how absolutely insane the early nineties were when it came to the comic book industry and [01:02:00] also just comic collecting in general. So I think we're going to have to do an episode where we talk about something related to that topic sooner or later, probably sooner. it has been rattling around my head for the past couple of days where I just reread I've read the stuff that some of it, I knew some of it I didn't and all of it's insane. Jessika: well, let's definitely talk sooner rather than later, because let's go back to childhood. Mike: All right. You talked me into it. We're going to do a nineties episode at some point. It's fine. FINE! Jessika: Twisted his arm. There's no violence on this podcast. I'm a pacifist. God dammit. Mike: Uh, but yeah, that's me. What about you? Jessika: Well, Mike, you told me about the podcast Bitches on Comics, which, okay. I'm not going to lie to you. I've binged the first 45 episodes since you told me about it less than a week ago, you haven't, it hasn't been a week. Mike: I can't remember. I know it's been about a week. [01:03:00] I really like that show. Jessika: It's been about a week. Okay. It's so good. And they have their, I mean, they're very queer, which are, you know, a hundred percent I'm here for, and I got to tell you, they, Mike: Like more queer fans of comic books. Oh, no. Jessika: Oh, no. Well, and they have this thing in there where they're. There aren't a lot of queer podcasts about comic books and I'm like, wait, we're here now, here we are. Pick us. Mike: Yeah, exactly. I'm like, oh, can we come talk to, you want to have us on, or do you want to come on our show? Like, whatever you want to talk about, it's fine. Jessika: I, will awkwardly approach them with my bag lunch and ask if I can sit with them. Mike: Oh, a hundred percent. Yeah. They're great. their Mojo episode, I thought was really interesting and I wound up tweeting with them for a little while because they pointed out that there really aren't many characters like mojo. And I think I made a good point with him. I mentioned how Superman's bill and Mr. Mxyzptlk might be another equivalent character[01:04:00] where he's all about throwing shit up in the air and, disrupting everything but no, they, they were great. Jessika: So good. Well, they, in episode three, they introduced me to the novel, the refrigerator monologues, which delves into the, the idea of women in comics being fridged or killed just for entertainment sake, or to drive a plot narrative, or to make the, the main hero sad, or, basically as a plot tool and the refrigerator monologues delves into it as first-person accounts of female superheroes and how they had been used. And I went and listened to it because you can find it. I kept it on hooplah actually. So I listened to it for free and it was an audiobook. It was very, very good. And he talked about them not having autonomy or storylines of their own. it got me thinking about the way that we write characters and who we are allowed to succeed in [01:05:00] any given situation. I don't know, I just, I highly recommend this book and I highly recommend listening to Bitches on Comics because they have got me just like thinking about shit. Mike: Yeah, you and I should talk about a Hawk and Dove from DC in the 1980s and how they just did the most egregious fringing of Dove in a 1991 crossover in a way that was really bad. it's one of those things where I still talk about it. I've been talking about it for 20 years because it's so wild. Jessika: Man. Well.I guess we'll have a really uplifting conversation about that later. I'm sure I'm going to have no zero opinions about that. Mike: No. Jessika: I tell you, I commit now. No opinions. I can't commit to that. Everyone knows I'm
You'll be able to tell that Mike Thompson gets a lot of enjoyment out of life. He served his country for 42 years in various branches of the military and lives on the Laughing Horse Ranch in Texas. He is still not sure what he wants to be if he grows up.
On this episode of Field Day with Jordan Hoewischer, we talk with Mike Thompson and Bryan Randell from Indigo Ag on their carbon programs available for farmers across the state. This episode is the fourth in a series that will help understand the breadth and depth of carbon program options for Ohio farmers.
In this week's episode of Snollygoster, Ohio's politics podcast from WOSU, hosts Mike Thompson and Steve Brown discuss the ongoing Republican efforts to ban vaccine mandates in the state. Ohio Public Radio Statehouse Reporter Andy Chow joins the show.
Columbus Dispatch features reporter Earl Hopkins speaks to Mike Thompson, WOSU news content director and the host of "Columbus on the Record," about the media company's new facility on the latest episode of Life in the 614 podcast.
What happens when you combine two of the biggest brands of the early 1980s? You get RadioShack's TRS-80 Whiz Kids comics, with special guest stars from the DC Universe. Marvel at snarky teens sassing the Man of Steel, then laugh at how he makes them perform complex math with mediocre computers! ----more---- Episode 16 Transcript Mike: [00:00:00] I used to go into an office, and when I did that, I had a dog that everybody loved and I baked cookies every day. Hello, hello, hello, welcome to Ten Cent Takes, the podcast where we sell out as superheroes, one issue at a time. My name is Mike Thompson and I am joined by my co-host, the talk show host of terror, Jessika Frazer. Jessika: Bwahahaha! I like when you give me nicknames that are a little mischievous and/or villainous, by the way. Mike: I mean, villains are always the most fun. Jessika: They really are. They get to do all the cool shit. Mike: Yeah. You need a strong villain in order to have a good story. Jessika: Absolutely. Mike: The purpose of this podcast is to look at notable moments in comic book history. [00:01:00] They can be big or they can be small, but we always hope that they're interesting, and we like to talk about them in ways that are both fun and informative. Today, we are going to be going back back back to the eighties and talking about the time that Superman sold computers for Radio Shack. Jessika: Fucking sellout. Mike: Man, I don't. Can you blame him though? I mean, he was a reporter, like he needed the extra cash. Jessika: That's true. That does not pay all that much, from my understanding Mike: Uh, speaking as someone who worked as a journalist for a decade, I can tell you it does not. Jessika: Confirmed, everyone. Mike: Confirmed. Before you freak out and think that you've missed an episode or that things are airing out of order, we are actually still doing the Sandman book club series, but we have decided to break it up, so it's not just one giant slog for people who aren't interested in Sandman. So that way there's a little something for [00:02:00] everybody, even as we're doing that prolonged experience. So every other episode will be the Sandman book club. Before we get to that though. What is one cool thing that you have read or watched recently? Jessika: Just last night, I watched the first episode of the Amazon Prime, let me just say it's 18+, animated series, Invincible. Mike: Hmm. Jessika: Have you seen that yet? Mike: I haven't, I read the comic for a while and I really liked it, but then it just kind of felt very repetitive. And also, I didn't like how the comic got very women in refrigerator-y. Jessika: Oh, okay, fair enough. Mike: Like yeah. Um, I hear it's great. I just, it's kind of, it's kind of like The Boys where like, I read the comic and, and then when they announced they were making a TV [00:03:00] show, I went, eh don't know. I like, I'm not sure. I really want to see that translated to the screen and then it was great. And so I'm sure that Invisible will be great. Jessika: I will be talking about The Boys later, in fact. Mike: Oh okay. Well, then. Jessika: But for now, yeah, I know, spoilers. So for those of you who hadn't seen it yet, it's about a teenage boy whose father is a famous superhero and the kid himself has also potentially expected to get powers, which he, not spoiling anything, he does, and very early on in this episode. And when this happens, his father starts teaching them how to use them properly, even though he seems a little disappointed, even, that his really did have powers, which was kind of strange, but we'll see where that goes. But what I really liked about this series, is that they make fun of our well-known superheroes with a character like Batman and one that's very much like Wonder Woman, et cetera. And again, I don't want to give too much away, but the ending is [00:04:00] super intense, and I'll definitely be watching more of it tonight after we've finished recording this. Mike: Yeah. And I will say that the comic itself has moments that are shockingly intense too. And it's really interesting because there are these moments that feel very wholesome and playful, and then there are other scenes that are complete 180 and it's really, it's kind of whiplash. Jessika: That was how it felt in the show as well. So I mean, that translated definitely. Mike: Yeah, it's one thing that's actually really neat is that it's the guy who wrote the comic, Robert Kirkman, is also the guy who created the walking dead. Jessika: Hm. Mike: So, you know, dude knows how to write a hit. Jessika: Yeah.I guess so, huh. Mike: Yeah. Jessika: Well, what about you? What have you been reading or watching? Mike: You mentioned a couple of weeks ago that you had read the first issue of a series called Die, by Kieron Gillen. Jessika: Yeah. Mike: I'd heard about it. I thought it looked [00:05:00] interesting. And then you mentioning that, threw it back on my radar, and so I found the first three volumes on Hoopla and I wound up bingeing through all of them in a couple of hours. And it's really good. I really like how it matches up a bunch of D & D tropes along with other things. And I just, I really, really enjoyed it. And so I want to say thank you for putting that on my radar. Jessika: Oh, that's awesome. Yeah, absolutely. You're welcome. And I'll have to go on Hoopla and check out more myself because I'd been wanting to, I just haven't gotten around to it yet. Mike: No, shall we, uh, shall we mosey along? Jessika: Mosey let's do it. Mike: What do you remember about Radio Shack when you were growing up? Jessika: Good old Radio Shack. Radio Shack was huge, when I was growing up. It was [00:06:00] definitely a household name and it had a reputation that it carried most electronics related items that you may want or need to purchase. So just on my memory block here in particular, they used to carry a radio that was pretty easy to alter, to be a scanning radio, to use for ghost hunting. And for a while, it was a great cheap alternative to buying something made for that purpose. And it was priced really low and like affordable versus like buying something that was made for that purpose. Mike: Mm. Jessika: And I've trying to find one of those radios for years now, but honestly, it's probably a dead end at this point, and I should just pony up the money to buy actual ghost hunting equipment. I mean, honestly, I should probably, if I want it, like I'm a full ass adult, I can afford the expensive things, maybe. Mike: We have credit cards now, Jessika. Jessika: Just charge it.I say I can afford the expensive things, like I really can, which isn't actually true. Mike: All right.[00:07:00] Jessika: I can afford the mid-level things. Mike: Yeah. I dunno. We used to have money and then we got air conditioning, and we're poor now. Jessika: I'm safe. I'm squirreling it away, man. Trying to buy a house, it's expensive. Mike: Yeah. Especially where we live. Jessika: I don't recommend it. Folks. Mike: Yeah, no, just. Jessika: Just stay away. Mike: Yeah. Welcome to the Bay Area. The dystopian capitalist apocalypse. Jessika: Everything is overpriced, and on fire. Mike: We're not making this up. Everything is literally on fire these days. And, and over priced, but that's just California in general. Yeah. Well, I mean, I had a similar experience to you, in different ways, but like, you know, it was the same brand awareness of Radio Shack. I didn't realize until I was doing the research for this episode, that Radio Shack is actually a hundred years old [00:08:00] as of this year. Jessika: What? How? Mike: Yeah. It was founded in 1921 by these two brothers, Theodore and Milton Deutchman. They set up a mail order business and a single retail location that was focused on providing parts for ham radio, which was a field that was still pretty new back then. And they wound up doing pretty well for a while, but they basically were bankrupt by the early 1960s. But you know, like 40 years is not a bad run. Jessika: Yeah. Mike: And then they got acquired by the Tandy corporation in 1960 for $300,000. Up until this point, Tandy had been this leather goods company and they were looking to basically get into the business of appealing to hobbyists, which they felt Radio Shack would be able to do. So, in order to do this, Tandy basically performed a complete overhaul of the unprofitable company it had just acquired, and the Wikipedia page has a really solid [00:09:00] summary of what happened. Jessika: Tandy closed Radio Shack's unprofitable mail order business, ended credit purchases, and eliminated many top management positions eating the salespeople, merchandisers and advertisers. The number of items carried was cut from 40,000 to 2,500, as Tandy sought to identify the 20% that represents the 80% of sales and replaced Radio Shacks handful of large stores with many little holes in the wall, large numbers of rented locations, which were easier to close and reopen elsewhere if one location didn't work out. Mike: Yeah. So basically they were just going for a strategy that made Radio Shack into a much leaner, more nimble operation, which that's like the goal these days, those are kind of the golden buzzwords, but they were actually trying to do that. Charles D. Tandy, who was the guy who actually ran Tandy corporation back then, said that they were [00:10:00] basically not looking for the guy anymore, who wanted to spend his entire paycheck on the sound system, and instead they were looking for customers who wanted to save money by buying cheaper goods and then like improving them through modifications and accessories. So now they were really appealing towards nerds, and aiming at kids who are going to like work on stuff for the science fairs. And honestly it, it worked. I mean, when I was growing up Radio Shack was that store you went to, when you needed some small part a replacement, there was always one nearby. And even if they didn't have a name brand part, they usually had an off-brand version of whatever you needed. And, I never went there thinking that it was going to break the bank. It was always a fairly affordable thing. Jessika: Yeah. Agreed. I can think of like four different locations where they had a Radio Shack, just like in our area here. Mike: Yeah. And I mean, like, I grew up in San Francisco in the eighties, and they were all over the place.[00:11:00] So now, what's interesting is that the whole rise of personal computers happened to coincide with this period of success for Radio Shack. The late seventies was when personal computers with microprocessors started to actually be a thing on the consumer market, but typically if you wanted one, you had to build them from a kit. Like you, you physically had to, like, buy the kit and then assemble it, following the instructions, which, I mean, I'm not going to lie. That is terrifying to me. Jessika: That is terrifying. And it's total nerd shit too. They were right. Mike: Right. Fucking nerds. Jessika: Nerd bait. Mike: Radio Shack actually wound up introducing the TRS 80 in 1977. And it was a game changer for the company because it was one of the first pre-built computers. And it was simultaneously backed by a national retail chain. It was this super basic computer that sold for $600, which adjusting for inflation is like $2,700 nowadays. [00:12:00] Jessika: Holy shit. There's no way. There's no way the average family is like, let's get one of those right away. Mike: No, it was, I mean, you know, this was for people who were super enthusiast, or had a lot of disposable income, which the middle-class used to have back then. Jessika: Different times. Mike: The salad days. But yeah, so the TRS 80, even though it had a fairly high price point sold like hotcakes, like gangbusters. I found this book and it's called, Priming the Pump: How the TRS 80 Enthusiast Helped Spark the PC Revolution, by Teresa Welsh and David Welsh. It has this really interesting history about that point in time, which, I mean, I'm not going to lie, I was waiting for her to be really dry, but it's full of a lot of really personal stories and anecdotes and it's cool, I really dug it. Basically, when they started manufacturing this computer, they were only expecting to sell 50,000 units. There's this great quote, talking about how [00:13:00] much of a surprise the first TRS computer sales were. Jessika: Both Charles Tandy and John Roach may have been skeptical about such a large. But it turned out to be an underestimation. When the first anniversary of the products came, the company found the, had sold many more than the prediction and taken a whopping 250,000 orders for TRS eighties. Most of them still undelivered. Actually we've seen various numbers in different sources, so we can't verify this number, but they certainly sold considerably more than 50,000. Don French said they received a number of threatening phone calls from people who demanded delivery of their TRS 80 right away. Ooh! Mike: Yeah, so after this huge success, they then ended up following the TRS 80 with the TRS 80 Color in 1980. And basically the first TRS computer was kind of like a full, complete unit with a built-in monitor and everything. [00:14:00] The TRS 80 Color, in turn, was just the computer itself, and then you would plug in a color TV instead of using this built-in monitor. The TRS computers wound up selling well enough that Radio Shack really leaned hard into the computer business, and they even started offering computer camps for pre-teens in the early eighties, which was kind of an extension of that mission that they wanted to appeal to kids who wanted to excel at science fairs, because I mean, you know, those were the new nerds. So if you want to learn more about the TRS computers, by the way, there's this really great site called MatthewReadsTRS80.org. That helped me kind of learn about a lot of this stuff. I'll put it in the show notes, but it's really kind of an interesting walk-through, this particular venue of history. Anyway, this was the high point for Radio Shack, to be perfectly honest. By September of 1982, the company had more than 4,300 stores just in America and [00:15:00] more than 2,000 independent franchises and towns that were not large enough to have a company owned store. So, for comparison, there are fewer GameStops worldwide today than there were Radio Shacks in the early eighties. Jessika: Wow. Mike: Like, I realized that GameStop has been having a rough go of it lately, but there's still a lot of them around. Jessika: Yeah. Huh. Mike: And during this period of unmitigated success, that's when the Whizkid's started to show up in comic books. The early eighties were right around the time when computers were starting to get a lot of prominent, you know, quote unquote roles in media. If you're listening to this and you want to learn more, there is a site dedicated to media prominently featuring computers and storylines, and it's called Starring the Computer, that tracks stuff like this all the way back to the fifties. It's an incomplete list, but it's really interesting, and they have a whole section devoted to Tandy computers.[00:16:00] Like, I remember there was an episode of Murder, She Wrote very early on where she moves to New York and there's this whole plot about how she's gotten a computer to write her novels on. And then evidence is falsified with a modem. It's really interesting. And you know, the computer was this suddenly viable object that could play a part in people's everyday lives and could serve as a driving narrative device. But as far as I can tell the first time anyone made comics specifically focusing on educating people about personal computers was when Radio Shack started to do these comic books. And I think that's just because it was such a new thing, especially on the personal consumer market, because, you know, up until recently computers had been these huge things that took up buildings on their own. Jessika: Yeah. And they had to be, like cooled, professionally, and I mean, it was just this whole thing. Mike: Yeah. I mean, there [00:17:00] is a movie right now on Disney plus called The Computer That Wore Tennis Shoes. Jessika: Oh, yeah! Mike: A very early Kurt Russell, and it's one of those things where the whole he's in college and he winds up getting shocked, I think, and there's this whole thing, this computer gets basically downloaded into him. So he has the processing power and knowledge of this computer, but they show you the computer and it like, it is a giant monstrosity of a thing that takes up, I think, an entire lab. Jessika: It does. I remember that movie. Mike: And I mean, our phones, these days are more powerful than those. So RadioShack started making comics in 1971. They were putting out a series of educational comics called the science fair story of electronics via the Radio Shack education comic book program. But, then in 1980, they pivoted and they started giving away these new comics in stores. You could also, [00:18:00] if you were a teacher, you could send in a request to Radio Shack on school letterhead and get a free pack of 50. Jessika: Oh, wow. Mike: And yeah, like, you know, they were really pushing that hard because these comics were educational, but they were also advertisements. Jessika: Very much so. Oh, that was something I messaged you earlier, was like, wow. I was reading just an ad there, wasn't I? Mike: But, I mean, I will say they were, they were educational. Jessika: Yeah, absolutely. Mike: Yeah, so the Superman Radio Shack giveaway comics starred the aforementioned Whiz Kids, Alec and Shanna, along with their teacher Mrs. Wilson, but for the first three issues, which were published in 1980, 81 and 82, they also starred Superman and other characters from the DC Universe. Jessika: I need to correct you for a second, because you said Mrs. Wilson, and it definitely was Ms. Wilson. Mike: Oh, I'm sorry. That's right. Jessika: It was Ms. Wilson, and I think that will come into play [00:19:00] later. Mike: That is true. She did not have a ring on her finger. Jessika: She did not. She looked a little close to all the superheroes that waltzed right up in there, half naked into her classroom. Mike: I mean, can ya blame her? Jessika: No, she was hot too. Mike: Right? We're going to talk about each of these specific issues, but first up is the Computer That Saved Metropolis, which was published in July of 1980. So, even though this was a promotional giveaway, DC committed some pretty serious talent to the book. The first two issues were written by Cary Bates, who was this long-term writer for DC. He wrote a ton of action comics, Superman, and the New Adventures of Superboy, as well as being the head script writer for the live action Superboy series in the 1980s that we discussed a couple episodes back. Jessika: Totally. Mike: He also worked as a script writer for various cartoons, including Gem and Gargoyles. Jessika: Oh, hell yeah. Mike: Right. [00:20:00] But then also his name might sound familiar to some people listening to the show because we mentioned him on the New Guardians episode where, it turns out he wrote issues two through 12 of the New Guardians. The art for this issue, meanwhile, was handled by Jim Starlin and Dick Giordano. Both of them are pretty big deals too. Starlin became a big name in comics during the seventies. He garnered a lot of acclaim for his cosmic space opera stories. He co-created characters like Shang-Chi and Thanos. Giordano in turn was an artist who had recently come back to DC comics and was serving as the Batman editor at the time. He actually got promoted shortly after this to be the company's managing editor in 1981. And then he was promoted again to executive editor in 83, and then he stayed with the company until the mid nineties when he retired, after his wife died. And then, aside from being a giveaway issue, this comic actually ran as a backup story in the July, 1980 ssues for Action [00:21:00] Comics, Legion of Superheroes, House of Mystery and Superboy. So Superman schilling Radio Shack computers, and forcing children to perform complex math for him, and definitely, probably schtupping Ms. Wilson, like, I think we need to agree that, that those two totally smashed. Jessika: Oh, absolutely. And I have my theories about her and Supergirl as well. Mike: Yeah. Yeah. Jessika: They had a moment. Mike: Right? Jessika: We both took the same picture of that same shot and I sent it to you and you were like, no way. Mike: I thought that was so funny. Jessika: Don't worry, we'll post that one. Mike: I, oh God. Like, I just, that was great. It was like great minds think alike. But yeah, all of this is officially a canon part of DC comics lore, which is wild. Like [00:22:00] Jessika: It's bat shit bananas. Mike: Yeah. Now weirdly it looks like this is the only issue that actually made it into other DC comics. So, you know, the other two or their own standalone things. And aren't officially cannon, I guess. All right. How would you describe the 1980 issue? The Computers That Saved Metropolis? Jessika: Well, these were like both very advertisey and complex at the same time in their narrative, which was interesting. So, this first one, I'm going to give you a little bit of backstory about these bitches. I say these bitches, because I'm going to be talking about a whole classroom full of children. So I obviously really like children. I have a bachelor's in French and everyone's like, you should teach. And I'm like, no, I shouldn't. Mike: Oh, oh no. Let's talk about that for a sec. I majored in history my first time through college, and everyone also said I should teach. And I was like, I fucking hate [00:23:00] children. I worked at Disneyland it poisoned me again. And don't get me wrong. I have, I have two stepchildren now. I love them. I would die for them. They're great. But kids in general, not a fan. They're sociopathic little monsters. Jessika: Mm hmm. So the comic starts off with Superman doing patrols around Metropolis, and apparently he just does that. And he just jets off to a sixth grade classroom at the whim of Ms. Wilson. Mike: I have my own theory about this. Jessika: Oh my goodness. He's supposed to be a guest teacher about computers, apparently. Like, First of all, for some reason, along with his super abilities, he's also a super computer genius. And is he accredited? Like is he allowed to be teaching students? Mike: No. Okay. There, there are two things to discuss here. So you have [00:24:00] to remember that Superman from the Golden Age through the modern age was largely a weird sci-fi series where the main character was this alien who had all these powers that constantly changed. There wasn't really any editorial control until they streamlined it with Crisis on Infinite Earths. But on top of that, he was generally shown to be an amazing genius, like just whenever they needed it. But ,he built the Superman robots. He. I can't remember if he made the Phantom Zone Projector or if the Phantom Zone Projector was on artifact from Krypton, he was constantly trying to restore the city of Kandor, which was basically shrunk down to the size of a bottle, and it was a Kryptonian city, to restore it to its full size. Like in that issue of Super Boy, we read, he like put all those chemicals together and created the pools that granted the dogs, various powers. Jessika: Yeah, no, I guess you're, I guess he's always been [00:25:00] smart. Mike: Yeah. But then the other thing is that Superman is a little bit too earnest in this issue. Like, he shows up exactly on time. And then he is clearly trying to impress these kids to make a good impression with Ms. Wilson. And everything about this reeks of a dude who had a one night stand and is now desperate to hook up again. So what he's doing is he's trying to prove that A) he is reliable and B) he is good with kids. Jessika: Yep. No, that's totally how it felt. Mike: I'm not speaking from experience. Jessika: Oh, so anyway, Superman creepily knows all the students' names, I guess, because he used his x-ray vision to look at the teacher's seating chart, even though that's not how x-rays work. That's always bothered me. I'm sorry, we don't have time for this. Mike: [00:26:00] Thomas Edison would like a word. Jessika: Seriously. Also, I have to mention that the whole class was bored as fuck even after Sups flew in. And I don't know about you, but every kid I knew, wanted to know about computers and have a turn on the computer when we got them in the library at school or when someone got one at home. Mike: Oh, yeah. Jessika: So the idea that one of the kids in his class is being dismissive of the whole idea of not doing normal schoolwork and just doing computer class instead with fucking Superman of all people. It's just ridiculous. Mike: Oh yeah. And that kid actively shit talked Superman repeatedly. Jessika: Oh, he's a shit heal. Oh. And he still gets to be the fucking like, protagonist. Fuck. Mike: Oh, it was so funny. I like, my favorite was when he beats Superman at a math problem later on and like the shit talking starts immediately, and I'm like, my dude, this is possibly not a good move to irritate a guy who could literally vaporize you with a [00:27:00] glare. Jessika: That's just it. That is just it. Yeah. No. Why would you try to piss this guy off? And then Shanna's like, Ooh, Superman. You better tell him. I was like, dude, Shanna, you, you need to shut the fuck up immediately and not goad this situation. Mike: You know, that was probably the most realistic part of this entire comic, because speaking as someone that lives with an 11 year old, they are shit stirrers. Jessika: Oh my gosh. So, Supes takes the kids up to the roof because of course he does, and he proceeds to give the class some very long-winded exposition about the history of computers and their size and what they do and how they've evolved from the first computers, and moving into how they're used in society today from space travel to transistor radios, which what a time capsule of a callout. Mike: [00:28:00] Yeah. Jessika: This whole thing was a whole time capsule. Mike: Yeah. Very much is. Jessika: Of course, there was also some lovely product placement throughout and some not-so-subtle comments on affordability versus common household items. Tangent that always cracked me up to say, this computer is less expensive than a TV. Well, okay, but maybe I need a TV and I don't need a computer. They do vastly different things, or they did at that point. Mike: Yeah. Jessika: It kind of reminds me of saying like this China set costs less than a month of gross. Okay, well, I need to eat and I don't necessarily need a China set, so. Mike: Yeah, I mean, he was hard selling those kids. Jessika: Oh yeah. He was like, you should ask your parents to go out and buy you one. Mike: Yup. Jessika: So, of course, Supes hears with his super hearing a tornado and he like jets the fuck out of there. And, he defeats it by [00:29:00] blowing the wind or something like that. And then he feels all sick and shit, and comes across a villain named Major Disaster who, you know, just as his name implies, causes quote unquote natural disasters like there's floods and shit. It was a little ridiculous. Mike: Yeah, he was always kind of like a C- to D-list villain who would use weapons and equipment to make natural disasters. My knowledge of this character is hazy at best, but I think eventually he gained the ability to manipulate probability. He didn't appear a lot and he's been dead for a while, I think. Cause I remember him showing up as a zombie in Blackest Night. Jessika: Oh. Mike: But, I mean, I remember reading this stuff and I was like, this is kind of a cool, like off-the-wall villain. I dig him. You know, I certainly liked them a lot better than other villains that I've seen in Superman books where it's like, you know, generic alien warlord number five. Jessika: Seriously. Well, and when I read the name, Major Disaster, I was like, [00:30:00] same, girl. So, of course Superman needs the help of these children that he like, makes them perform these, like, high-stress situational calculations on the computer for him. Instead of like asking the adult he's banging in the room. Mike: I mean. Jessika: Honestly, come on, like, get the adults involved, like, Alec and Shanna don't need to save the day. They're supposed to be in sixth grade, even though they look way older than that. Mike: Like, yeah, they looked like kind of like eighth or ninth graders. Like they were a little bit older, it seemed. Jessika: The second one, they looked older than that, they looked like they were teenagers in the second one, for some reason, I was like, what's that? And then the third one, they got young again. And I was like, I don't know what's happening with you guys, but. Mike: Yeah. I mean, I will say that I was willing to believe that Alec was in sixth grade just because he had that awful fucking bowl haircut that like. Jessika: My brother had that. Mike: Right. Yeah. But [00:31:00] when did he stop having it? Jessika: No, no, you're right. Probably after he was like in, probably after middle school. Mike: Yeah. It's, you know, it's that thing where suddenly you realize, oh, I can go to a barber instead of having my parents cut my hair. Jessika: Oh. So the kids basically do a bunch of calculations, and they double check each other's work by doing the same calculation on two separate computers that Supes and flown in prior and just left there. Apparently. Mike: Yeah. And there's a whole thing about how Major Disaster had knocked out all the other computers in town, but he didn't know about these two personal computers because personal computers were a new thing. And that's the other reason that they're the ones who were performing the calculations and then they're on radio headsets with Superman providing this information. Jessika: I still say you're in a school that has way more adults than just the one standing in that room, and even that one's not involved. So. Mike: I mean, well, and the other thing is that the math equations that he's throwing at them are like this jet is falling out of the sky at this speed. [00:32:00] The wind is this fast. They're going at this angle. How fast do I need to go to catch them without doing damage to the plane or the people inside. And it's like, first of all, of course, yes, as you said, it's high stress, but second, like I still don't know how to do that math equation. I don't know how these sixth graders did because they looked like they were in a pretty shitty school that Superman made worse at one point when he liked tunneled up through the floor and just left a giant hole. Jessika: He was like, I'll fix that later. Mike: Sure you will, sure you will, Clark. Jessika: It's awful. Uh. So he finally of course finds the villain, defeats him, whatever. Then the kids are hailed as heroes and as a reward, I guess they get to be at a Radio Shack commercial about the computers they used. I mean, cool. I guess. Mike: Yeah. It was kind of a, a, meh ending, but, but yeah. Like, I dunno. Did you [00:33:00] like the issue overall? I'm curious. Jessika: It got really in the weeds playing up the computer aspects, which okay. I get it. You know, again, I get it. This is an advertisement, but dude, snooze fest, I put it down a few times and had to pick it back up, during those computer exposition parts. And you know, I'm slightly bothered by a vague plot line, but all in all, like it was, it was fine. Mike: Yeah. Jessika: To use your line. Mike: Yeah. I mean, reading through it, some of the computer history stuff I thought was actually pretty interesting Jessika: Yeah. Yeah. Mike: Like, when they went up on the roof and he was saying, you know, so the space that we're sending in actually is the size of what computers used to fill. And yeah, it does get a little too in the weeds because they're trying to get a little too much exposition in there at the same time. I felt like overall it walked a relatively fine line of providing action that was kind of [00:34:00] interesting. And, and the plot line of, oh, well, yeah, his powers were on the fritz because there was microscopic kryptonite particles in the tornado and he inhaled them when he was getting ready to blow it out. Like, I thought that actually was surprisingly well thought out for basically a licensed advertisement. You know, this was, this was effectively a full length version of one of those like hostess, Twinkies ads that they used to do. Jessika: Right? Mike: Yeah. But like, I didn't hate it. I found it charming. Jessika: It had its moments. Mike: Yeah. I'm not going to lie, I found the undeniable sexual attention between Superman and the kid's teacher really entertaining. Jessika: Yeah, definitely it was palpable. I thought it was even funnier too, that the kids were even, like Ms. Wilson, how do you know Superman? Mike: And she doesn't answer! Jessika: And she was like, She like side eyes.[00:35:00] How do I know Superman?…Biblically. Mike: Well, and that was the funny thing was when we were talking about this ahead of the episode, I was like, so yeah, they, they totally smashed, right? Like, like that's not up for debate. Jessika: No, it's really not. It happened. Mike: All right. let's move on to the next issue. So. Clearly, this was a successful marketing tool because in 1981, DC and Radio Shack released a brand new book that was called Victory By Computer. So this time the main story was illustrated by a couple of legendary artists. There was Curt Swan and Vince Colletta. Coletta started as an artist and anchor from the Silver Age of comics. He frequently collaborated with Jack Kirby who is known as, you know, the king of comic books, and a lot of folks considered their run on Thor to be the definitive take on the character. Kurt Swan's involvement, on the other hand, is especially noteworthy. [00:36:00] He is considered by many comic book artists to be the Superman artist. He started penciling Superman and Superboy comics in the late forties. And he didn't stop until DC put them out to pasture in the mid eighties because they were rebooting Superman via Crisis on Infinite Earths. Arlen Schumer, who's this major comic book historian, says Swan penciled over 19,000 covers and pages of interior art for Superman comics. Jessika: Whoa! Mike: Yeah. Like again, they were putting some serious talent behind these books. Jessika: They were pumping out a lot of content, to be fair. Mike: Yeah. How would you summarize Victory By Computer? Jessika: We find ourselves, yet again at the elementary school, I put in heavy quotations of kids that look like they're about 17 years old, this issue. So Shanna and smartass Alec are back at it. This time, Supergirl joins the class to [00:37:00] teach them about the pocket computer. What a fucking throwback. Mike: Like, that's something that we need to explain. Like the pocket computer was, basically kind of like a smart calculator that could perform basic functions and had a little keyboard in there. And I don't know how much they sold for, but they couldn't have been cheap. Jessika: I can't imagine so, yeah. Well, and by the way, at this point in the scene where Supergirl pulls out, her pocket computer, she pulls out of a pocket on her cape. So canonically, there are pockets in the capes. Mike: Yeah. They can't get them on the rest of their costume, but they can get them in their capes. Jessika: Which means that there's just stuff like weighing down the cape, so it shouldn't even be moving like it does. Mike: I remember in an early issue of Superman, the eighties series that John Byrne was doing, there is a bit where he stops by a balloon vendor because he's got a drone pursuing him and he winds up like [00:38:00] thinking, oh, it's lucky that I always carry a few spare dollars in like my belt buckle because he had that yellow belt back then, which side note I miss the yellow belt. I don't know if it's back, cause I haven't read any Superman comics for a while, but they got rid of it for quite some time. Like, I mean, you know, it's the Henry Cavill look now or it's the full blue suit. I miss the red trunks in the yellow belt. Jessika: Yeah. the good old days. Mike: Yeah. Jessika: So Supergirl decides to use her super powers to show the class they are able to find information on the TRS 80's as fast as she was able to find it, like physically with her super powers looking for it. And it was like, okay, sure. Mike: Yeah. Jessika: When an odd comparison, but fine. Mike: Yeah, it was really weird, there was a bit where they, like, it almost felt like they were hacking into the newsfeed of, I think the Daily Planet to get headlines, even though I'm sorry, but like, come on really, you think that a [00:39:00] print journalistic outlet is going to have top of the line technology back then come on. Jessika: No they're not putting any of that into a computer. They're still handwriting everything. Mike: Yes. I think back then they were still using, the electric typewriter that had like the built-in, it was quote unquote memory, but it was, you know, not really. Jessika: Not as we know it now, at least. And there was some definite sexual tension with Ms. Wilson at Supergirl as well. We will post the picture. Um. Mike: Right. It's this whole bit where Supergirl is like, oh, don't worry. I'm a school teacher in my secret identity. And I'm like, I don't know. Like, Are you just trying to impress her with this? What's the end goal of revealing this crucial information about your secret identity, Supergirl? Jessika: I know, right. She's just trying to connect with another human. She's like I'm also a school teacher. We should talk about it over dinner sometime. Mike: And then maybe move in together after three weeks of dating, and adopt three cats. Jessika: Oh, my gosh. So, Super girl basically [00:40:00] teaches the class and then she I'll bet she just left those fucking pocket computers too, because you know, just like Superman just left the computers there. He was like, have fun kids. Mike: Okay. Yeah, but here's the thing, like, you really think that some middle school kids or elementary school kids, however old they fucking are. You really think that they're going to sit there and try to steal the computers that the literal alien gods from other planets dropped off and taught them about? Jessika: Oh, I'm not, I'm not worried. Oh, that's funny. Yeah, no, I'm not worried about them stealing it. I'm just like Superman just apparently has like the extra spending cash that he can just like drop off two computers to a school and just like fuck off. Like really? Mike: No, I mean, I, I viewed it the other way of just like, they're like, they're not worried about it. They're like, yeah. We'll, we'll get those back. Don't worry. Jessika: Oh, so Supergirl apparently gets asked to go on [00:41:00] patrol by Superman and she spots something fishy. And so she goes to check it out, but it was a trap, of course. Mike: Yeah, but I mean, it wasn't even a very good trap. Jessika: Is a stupid trap. It was like, if you're a superhero and you happen to get curious, because you happen to be going near this location, maybe. And she like fell right into maybe a four foot by four foot hole in the ground. So I'm not really sure how that worked either. They just were like, nah, she's going to fall right here. Mike: Yeah. Like she fell through the skylight after getting hit with like a blast of red sun radiation, or whatever it is. Jessika: You know what it was, they used their TRS 80 to calculate where she was going to fall. So she gets stuck in what's basically like, it's like a lounge. It's like somebody's living room, and they have a computer there with a phone. So it's like, they weren't even trying that hard to keep her [00:42:00] there. Mike: No, it was, it was absolutely the, like what a seventies swinger house looks like in all the movies that we see now where you're just like, oh, oh, okay. Jessika: It basically had a conversation pit. Mike: Yeah. Jessika: Yeah. So of course, she remembers the phone number from Ms. Wilson's classroom. Mike: Yeah, because the rotary phone had the phone number printed on the front of it, because that was a thing that used to happen. Jessika: I feel like that's a little more explaining than she needed to give. I think she is making up for the fact that she just knows that number by heart. Mike: I was going to say, I think she really wanted to get Mrs. Wilson's phone number, and then it just happened to actually be helpful in a way other than getting her a date. Jessika: Gosh, Ms. Wilson, man. And canonically bisexual? Question mark? Mike: I don't see why not. I think we can, I think we can [00:43:00] officially declare it. Jessika: Someone's going to @ us, I hope they do. So at any rate, she gets in touch with the class. She makes them do all these weird wacky calculations, has some get in touch with Superman. And by the time Superman gets there, like she's gotten out of it because she also used the computer to find out that there were like underground tunnels. And so she's like, I'll just walk out of these tunnels. Mike: Yeah, basically it turns out it was like an old mob hide out and the students were able to look up some articles, which again, like, I don't know, because I was born in 81 and I don't have a good idea of what computer and internet adjacent technology was like back then. But they apparently look up articles about this hideout that got busted and they learned from the articles that there were underground tunnels that. Whatever, it was dumb, they don't even show her getting out. It was dumb. Jessika: No, she's just like walking out afterwards and Superman's, like, [00:44:00] oh, I was here to save you. And she's like, I just took the tunnels dude. And then like the bad guys are just, they just happened to be driving by. So they were like, well, let's just go get the bad guys. What do you think? It looks like, oh those are Lex Luther's dudes. Let's just go get the bad guys. Mike: Yeah. And there's a whole thing where like, Lex Luther has announced from jail that like Superman is going to break him out and it's a much looser plot than the first issue was. Like the first issue, there was like, I felt like a much tighter story, you know, in between the educational bits, this one, it felt like they were kind of stretching to figure out a way to connect all this stuff. Jessika: For sure. Yes. Mike: Yeah. Yeah. So I think we can safely say that this was not our favorite of three books. Jessika: No, this one was so ridiculous. I mean, I loved the heavy, heavy [00:45:00] gay overtones. Mike: I mean, when do we not love the heavy gay overtones? Come on. Jessika: It's the agenda after all: brunch for everyone. Mike: Yeah. So like, do you have any final thoughts on this, or should we move on to the last of the three books? Jessika: Ugh. That's just once mosey. Mike: Okay. All right. So 83 was when we got the final book, which is the Computer Masters of Metropolis. So, this time Paul Kupperberg wrote the script for the comic. Kupperberg, he's not exactly a household name in terms of comic books, but he is actually pretty prolific. He's written over a thousand comics during his time as a writer, including the first appearance of He-Man and then he wrote the subsequent Masters at the Universities for DC. Yeah, like, you know, so I've read some of his stuff and I didn't even realize it. Also like, this is actually my favorite factoid about him. He served as the senior editor of the Weekly World News shortly [00:46:00] before it got shut down in 2007. Jessika: What? Mike: Yeah. And like that automatically makes me like the dude, because the Weekly World News was one of my favorite things when I was in college, and because I was so good at Photoshop in high school and college, and I was interested in journalism, but I also love the weird stuff, I actually wanted to apply to the weekly world news for a job just for like a little while. And be like, yeah, like I Photoshop pictures of bat boy. Like, I really was hoping that that would be a thing, and then they shut down right after I graduated college and broke my cold black heart. Jessika: It's a damn shame. Mike: But yeah. So, meanwhile, the art was handled again by Curt Swan and then he was also assisted by Frank Chiaramonte. Chiaramonte was Swan's regular anchor on the main Superman book from 1978 to 82. And then this is one of his last books that he worked on because he died really young in January of [00:47:00] 83. He was only 40 years old. Like. Jessika: Oh. Mike: Yeah, it's really weird too. I was trying to figure out what happened and all I could find was that just, he died young. But, he was regarded pretty well and he worked on a lot of stuff. So I think if he hadn't died, he probably would've, you know, gone on to great things. But the Computer Masters of Metropolis doesn't have a publish date other than 1982, which means it came out less than a year before his death, because he died in January of 83. Jessika: Oh, dang. Mike: Yeah. All right. So what happened in the Computer Masters of Metropolis? Jessika: So, those are some lucky kids studying at whatever outskirts elementary school this is. Cause it's not in Metropolis proper, it's like in the suburbs of Metropolis somewhere. Mike: Yeah. You know, it's superhero-adjacent to the city. Jessika: Yeah. Yeah. Right. And again, not sure why Ms. Wilson seems to be on really, really [00:48:00] friendly terms with all the superheroes in the area, but Wonder Woman shows up to take them to the World's Fair, which of course is being held in Metropolis. Mike: Yeah. Which I mean, okay. Why, why not? Jessika: Exactly. Meanwhile, Lex Luther was salty about being denied entry for an exhibit for the World's Fair because the organizers didn't want to encourage his villainy. Mike: It's so good. It's so good. Jessika: And so Luther decides to try to blackmail a way in, but that didn't work. So, of course he decides the thing to do is to threaten, to like completely destroy the fair, and ultimately creates another red solar radiation trap. This time, luring Superman into a room, rigged with explosives and bathed in red solar radiation, dun, dun, dun. So once again, there are computers in the room, I think, so. So he reaches out to [00:49:00] Alec and Shanna who are told that Wonder Woman should also be at the fair and to page page her. And she's basically like, okay, why are children paging me right now? But finds out that Superman is being held at the plantarium. She lassos the whole damn building and whips it around and it somehow deactivates the red solar radiation beam? Question mark? Mike: I don't know, man, I was pretty checked out when I was reading this. Like. They reused a lot of the same stuff, too. Like the same art where they were showing the computer chip, getting threaded through the needle, the bit where the kids are all walking on the giant demo version of the TRS, Jessika: Oh, and those kids were being very nice because they acted surprised and very impressed to see that same damn exhibit for a second time. Mike: Yeah. Which previously had showed up in the last issue. And I mean, like, it was a lot more exposition this time around too. Jessika: It was. Mike: [00:50:00] Anyway, sorry. Jessika: No, not at all. So Superman escapes and they catch Luther and the day is saved. And the end scenes were particularly silly. The mayor I'm assuming goes to thank Wonder Woman for saving the day. And she's like, but also these children, who just happened to be standing on the stage, like right behind her anyway, like the mayor, just, wasn't going to say anything about those kids on the stage, too, apparently. And they had a computer on stage with them? They were like, and this is the computer, let it hold the key too. And you got to know that like both Wonder Woman and Superman have to have entire rooms dedicated to the key to Metropolis that they get every time they save some damn building or something, they're all like, chuck another one in there. No, no, no. You kids keep that one. Mike: It's fine. I've got 12 at home that are much nicer. Jessika: They're hanging on a wall around in a study. Mike: They just use them as like coat racks. Jessika: [00:51:00] So Alec and Shanna, once again, saved the day, I guess. Mike: Yeah, I mean, this was actually my least favorite of the three comics, because again, it was recycling art or, or using very similar art. It was making a lot of the same points, but it felt a lot more telling, not showing. And while I was really happy to see Lex Luther being next level petty, which, these days, you know, Lex Luther is a billionaire CEO, scientist who also has like armies of underlings performing super science for him that he's able to utilize. He's basically he is a more- Jessika: Jeff Bezos. Mike: Yeah, He is He is a, I was going to say, he's just, he's a more nakedly transparent, Jeff Bezos. Jessika: Oh, you actually were going to say that. I'm sorry. I stole that right from out from under you. Mike: [00:52:00] No. I mean like it's, I'm sorry, like Jeff Bezos exploits his workers and use the money that he got from that to take a rocket ship and play astronaut, which side note, one of my favorite things about that entire story is that NASA at the last minute redefined, I think it was NASA, redefined what constitutes the definition of an astronaut, so he couldn't get an astronaut patch or pin. An astronaut pin, I think. Jessika: Which, again, the level of petty, but this is what I need. This is what I need to see, because it can't always be fucking Lex Luther winning. Mike: Yeah. But anyway, like I really appreciated that we got to see Lex Luther being a super villain goon, like very flamboyant, flying around with his own little personal jet pack or jet boots, whatever they were like, they were like, it was like little rockets that he had attached to like his. I'm I'm struggling to remember if it was on his boots or on his waist. It was one or the other, right? Jessika: Yeah, I think it was [00:53:00] on his, I think you're right about the boots. And then he also had those fancy power gauntlets. Mike: Yeah. And I mean, the other thing is back in this era, Lex Luther actually had a couple of different costumes that he wore that were very colorful and over-the-top, and it was like green and purple. So it kind of was that, that Joker color motif again, you know, it was really striking. And so he had that outfit of kind of the purple and green spandex that we saw in this issue. But then he also had this really baller set of green power armor that he used to really make Superman's life miserable for awhile. Like I said, after 1983, Radio Shack stopped with the Superman comics, but they didn't actually stop making comics. They kept on doing these comics with the Whiz Kids, but they instead moved over to Archie comic publications. I haven't been able to find out why the partnership's stopped. There's very little actual [00:54:00] documentation about these comics outside of a bunch of articles saying, oh yeah, they happened. Like they were a thing. They were dumb. And then pretty much all I've been able to find otherwise is people selling them. Cause there's still a lot of them around. And if you're looking for a fun piece of comic book history, these aren't very expensive, even in mint condition. That said the Tandy brand was starting to fall out of popularity by 83. For some perspective, it's estimated that Tandy controlled up to 60% of the personal computer market in the late seventies, which is like an astronomical market share. However, and this is from an article by a guy named Ron White, that he wrote for a magazine called 80 Micro in 1987, and you can now find it on a site called Vintage is the New Old, and we'll put this in the show notes again, Tandy's market share was down to 25% by 86. So it's a pretty fast fall from grace. Jessika: Yeah. Mike: And then, even though Archie was publishing the comics, [00:55:00] none of the Archie characters actually showed up in any of these books with the Whiz Kids, although Radio Shack did publish Archie in the History of Electronics separately. Jessika: Oh. Mike: Like, yeah. But based on that, my guess is that Radio Shack was looking to save some cash and Archie was probably a much better deal. I'm guessing it costs a lot more to license DC superheroes than it does to just make a comic without any big name characters. Jessika: Oh, I am sure. Mike: Yeah. And then shortly after Archie took over the publication duties, the TRS computer line got rebranded to the Tandy computer. So it makes sense that the comic was rebranded from the TRS Whiz Kid's to the Tandy computer Whiz Kids. And that's actually, when I first became aware of this whole venture, because Nostalgia Alley, which is the local retro game store up in Petaluma, has a copy of one of the Tandy Whiz Kids comics on the shelf behind the counter. And so I [00:56:00] spotted that one time and I was talking to Jason, the owner, and he let me check it out for a couple of minutes. And that's when I started looking into this whole thing, which, per usual, led us down a rabbit hole. Jessika: Love these rabbit holes of ours. Mike: Yeah, they're fun. Anyway, the Tandi Whiz Kid's comics kept on coming out until 1992. And based on what I understand, they featured the Whiz Kids solving crimes, using Tandy computers and other Radio Shack products. I haven't read them. I do really want to track down a copy of the Computer that Said No To Drugs though. Jessika: Who was offering computers drugs? They are expensive! Mike: I, I don't know. I'm really curious about everything about that. Jessika: Hey man, you want to hit this? It's just a fucking computer. And it's like, what are you talking about, dude? Mike: Oh, I'm having flashbacks now of that episode of, uh, Futurama where Bender gets hooked on electricity. Jessika: Oh, hahahaha. [00:57:00] Mike: They keep on referring to it as jacking on anyway. Yeah. But the early nineties were when things really started to go downhill for Radio Shack and they never really stopped, because stores like Best Buy and Walmart just started to really eat their lunch. And then, it got to the point where they've had to declare bankruptcy twice in the past five years or so. Like they also declared Nick Cannon as their chief creative officer around the time of the first bankruptcy. Yeah. And now they've been bought by some shady sounding company out of Florida. So the brand is still around, but it's not really the company that we grew up with. And I don't know, I'm honestly not sure what's worse, like partnering with Nick Cannon, or being this pale reflection of your former glory. They both sound pretty bad. Jessika: Yeah. Mike: But yeah, that's the story about Superman, and how he wound up acting as a computer salesman for [00:58:00] a couple of years. You got any final thoughts? Jessika: So I'm just shaking my head over here. Like my nostrils are flaring. Mike: How was that different from any other conversation I lead though? Jessika: I literally prepare myself for these, cause I'm like, all right, you can get angry, but don't get too angry. My secret is I'm always angry. Mike: Dun dun dun. Jessika: Hmm. So you know, it's really interesting to see how very far we've come since these issues came out in the early eighties. Like, we're sitting here on small laptops, I've got a phone and a tablet right here in front of me as well, and you and I are basically sitting across from each other, having a conversation, even though we're not even in the same physical location. Mike: Yeah. Jessika: It blows my mind how amazing things like high speed trains and basic information [00:59:00] searches seemed back then, when they're so commonplace now. Like, I seriously Google everything. I would be nowhere without Google. Mike: Yeah. My career is because of the internet. Jessika: Yeah. Yours, yours sure, is absolutely that's, yeah. That's a wild thing to think about too. And it's also wild to think about how much more advanced technology has become even in just, I had to do the calculations 40 years time, which I about had a panic attack when I mathed that out because. Ha ha ha. We're almost 40. Mike: Yep. Actually this episode is going to air right around the time that I'm going to be turning 40. Jessika: Yup. Happy birthday, to Mike. Mike: Thanks, I hate it. Jessika: No, Yeah. Right. At least you're not my mom giving my dad a [01:00:00] vulture piñata for his 40th birthday. Mike: No, Sarah has declared that she wants my 40th birthday to be a super soft birthday, which if you've ever watched Letterkenny. Jessika: Yes! I was hoping You were going to say that. There has to be a unicorn. Mike: I know, I think it's going to be put on hold until we're all vaccinated, but we might do a belated super soft birthday. Jessika: Yeah, okay. I figured you guys are going to have a family super soft birthday. But, if you want to have a super soft after birthday, when things clear up, I am, I am there and I will be eating some lovely pink frosted cupcakes with you. Mike: You're on, big shoots. So we are now at the point of the episode where we're going to wrap things up with our Brain Wrinkles, which is when we discussed the one thing that is comics or comics adjacent that we just can't get out of our head. So you want to start things off? Jessika: Oh sure. [01:01:00] As I promised, I just finished watching the latest season of The Boys, which is season two. Holy shit. Holy fucking shit. That show is bat shit wild. Mike: Yeah. Jessika: And what's been sticking in my head is the abuse dynamic between Homelander and mean, anybody he deals with, really? Mike: I was gonna say, everybody? Jessika: Yeah. And it's so interesting, cause as he was growing up, he was taught that not only is he more powerful than any person, he has been told that he is special and is entitled to do whatever pleases him. Which is really scary to see him manipulating others, using fear as a motivator to encourage them to comply. And honestly, the reason it scares me the most is just the powerlessness that these people, and most often women, are terrified into just following through with Homelander's whims. Mike: Yeah. yeah. There's a lot of really [01:02:00] uncomfortable moments in that show. But I like the show, which I didn't expect. Jessika: Well, I do like that it's putting a spotlight onto that dynamic, cause that's a dynamic that we show is very one-sided, usually a little victim blamey. Mike: Mmhmm. Jessika: You know, why didn't she just leave kind of a narrative, which we all know it's not that easy. Mike: Yeah. Jessika: And I think this is a really good example of why it's not that easy, in a very powerful way. And, it does remind me of people who are stuck in abusive households or relationships and are in different ways, powerless to leave their situations. So, hopefully it sparks some conversation. Mike: Yeah. Jessika: Well, but what about you? Mike: Mine is also TV related, but it's not quite as topical as your thoughts. So, I actually was trying to show my stepson[01:03:00] some X-Men cartoons the other day. And as we started to watch the first episode of Wolverine and the X-Men, he started to ask me all these questions about who the different characters were, because they basically start the show off assuming that the audience knows who all of the X-Men are, because at the time when it launched, the X-Men were a major brand, and then Disney acquired Marvel right before this. And then, they kind of made mutants personas, non grata, and, the mutants have not been featured in Disney programming up until the point where basically for the past 10 years, major media representation for kids of characters, like the X-Men, aren't all that common. And so it was just kind of a really thoughtful moment for me, where I realized I had to start them over from the beginning with an earlier X-Men cartoon, where he gets all these introductions. And I think there's going to be this generation that is going to grow up learning who the X-Men are a lot later than a lot of us [01:04:00] did. Like I knew all of the X-Men by the age of nine and I suspect. Jessika: Oh, yeah. Mike: Yeah. And so I think it's going to be really interesting to watch a generation of teenagers discover the X-Men really for the first time outside of, you know, Wolverine and Deadpool, because everybody knows who they are. Jessika: Yeah, of course. Hm. Mike: But yeah. Jessika: That's wild. Mike: Yeah. It's kind of one of those surreal moments of realization. Yeah. Jessika: Hmm. Mike: So, in two weeks we will be back with our next installment of the Sandman book club, which is going to be volumes three and four. And then until then we'll see you in the stacks. Thanks for listening to Ten Cent Takes. Accessibility is important to us, so text transcriptions of each of our published episodes can be found on our website. Mike: This episode was hosted by Jessika Frazer and Mike Thompson written by Mike Thompson, and edited by Jessika Frazer. Our intro theme was written and performed by Jared Emerson Johnson of Bay Area Sound, our credits and transition music is Pursuit of Life by Evan [01:05:00] MacDonald, and was purchased with a standard license from Premium Beat. Our banner graphics were designed by Sarah Frank, who you can find on Instagram as @lookmomdraws. Jessika: If you'd like to get in touch with us, ask us questions, or tell us about how we got something wrong, please head over to tencenttakes.com or shoot an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also find us on Twitter; the official podcast account is tencenttakes. Jessika is jessikawitha, and Jessika spelled with a K, and Mike is vansau, V a N S a U. Mike: If you'd like to support us, be sure to download, rate and review wherever you listen. And if you like, what you hear, tell your friends. Jessika: Stay safe out there. Mike: And support your local comic shop. Lfa66XA001sq2SOSeOU7
In this week's episode of Snollygoster, Ohio's politics podcast from WOSU, host Mike Thompson discusses the maps released by the Ohio Redistricting Commission. Jen Miller, executive director for the Ohio League of Women Voters, joins the show.
Great guy, Mike Thomson shares with us what is easier, to predict the weather or politics. He went from being Kansas City's number one weatherman to Kansas State Senator. Mike explains how he did that and the behind the scenes life of being both. When you listen you will quickly feel the genuineness of a great husband, father and human being.
This week, we're taking a look at The New Guardians! DC's short-lived attempt at a topical superhero comic is... look. Just strap in. This is one of the wildest comic rides you'll ever go on. ----more---- Episode 14 Transcript Mike: [00:00:00] Y'all need Satan. Mike: Welcome to Ten Cent Takes, the podcast where we cringe at cursed comics, one issue at a time. My name is Mike Thompson, and I am joined by my cohost, the taskmaster of trivia herself, Jessika Frazer. Jessika: Ooh, it is I. Mike: How are you doing tonight? Jessika: Oh, pretty good. How are you? Mike: Uh, you know, I, I can't complain the week is coming to an end, so it's, something I'm looking forward to is this weekend and just chillin' out. Jessika: Thank goodness. Yes, my BFF is in town, so that's, I'm very excited. She lives in Maine, so it's like very, very exciting that she is here. She's from around here, but just like visiting right now. So yes, I'm excited. Mike: That's rad. If you're [00:01:00] new to the show, the purpose of this podcast is to study comic books in ways that are both fun and informative, hopefully. What we like to do is we like to look at some of the weirdest, strangest, silliest, or coolest moments in comic books, and then talk about how they are woven into the larger fabric of pop culture and history. Today, we are going to be looking at the New Guardians, one of DC's stranger and more interesting maxi series that they produced from the 1980s. All right. Jessika: I'm vigorously shaking my head, as you were saying. And I'm just like, here we go. Mike: That was not a face that said my body is ready. Jessika: No, it's, it's not ready. Like, I mean, there's no lie. Mike: I, I don't know. I, I don't know if anybody can truly be ready to talk about the New Guardians.[00:02:00] Jessika: Are we going to have to put some sort of a warning? We're absolutely gonna have to put a warning on this episode. Like if you have little ears, please, I don't care what other episode, like we throw the F bomb around if that's your thing. That's fine. Most episodes are probably okay for that. But this one, please put the little ears away. Because I'm not holding back. Mike: We're going to have to do an extra swearing warning is what you're saying. Jessika: Yeah. Like we'll have almost a content warning. I mean, we're getting into some, some heavy content this episode. Mike: All right. Before we do that, though, we should talk about one cool thing that we've read or watched recently. So why don't you take it? Jessika: So knowing full well that I'm very behind in my media consumption. I watched the first episode of Star Wars' the Bad Batch. Mike: Oh, nice. Yeah, that looks like a really cool show. Jessika: It's really good. Yes. I [00:03:00] really, really liked it. The first episode was legit, almost movie length. It's 70 minutes long. Mike: Wow. Jessika: And I wasn't really expecting that. So I was, as I was watching it I'm like how long if I've been watching this show? Like, I mean, it was really good. I was involved and everything, but at one point I was just like, how long has this been? And I did the little button and I was like, oh, that makes sense. So it just was kind of. Mike: Yeah. Jessika: I love how the show is recreating the bits that we don't get to see about the rise of the empire and what that looked like from the inside of like the empire itself, which is so fascinating. And the computer animation is really neat. The 3d appearance gives it like some realism and depth. Mike: Yeah. And from what I've seen is that animation style that they kind of started with 15 years ago with the clone wars series. That's kind of continued on, right? Yeah. I've only [00:04:00] watched a little of that, but that stuff has gotten so cool with all the different things that they've done with it. Jessika: It really has. So yeah, I'm excited. I'm gonna watch some more of that one. And what about you? What are you checking out? Mike: Well, Sarah and I watched the Suicide Squad last weekend and we really enjoyed it, but I want to talk about that later on. I started reading a new comic series that I picked up at Brian's Comics in Petaluma over the weekend, it's called Nocterra, and it's from Image comics. It's written by it's written by Scott Snyder and it's illustrated by Tony S Daniel. And it, it gives me similar vibes to Undiscovered Country, which is another series from Image and Snyder himself. I'm only one issue in, but the core concept is that it's this post-apocalyptic world a couple of decades after something called the big PM. Basically that is permanent night's settled over everything and all of these spooky monsters that they, they spiritually feel a little bit like the xenomorphs from Aliens, but they don't look like them.[00:05:00] They reside in the darkness and they can only be kept at bay with bright lights. The comic is following Val, who was a young girl when the big PM hit as she has since become a ferryman, which is, she's basically a big rig trucker, but she's transporting cargo and that can be people, or it can be other things between the different outposts of humanity. And the first issue sees her getting hired by this mysterious guy who is all of a sudden he shows her that he is sporting a fresh sunburn. And, and that's kind of where it's going from there. It's interesting. I'm really curious to see where it goes. So, yeah, I'm gonna head back up to the shop and pick up the other issues that they have. Jessika: Very fun. Mike: Yeah. Mike: All right. Are you ready to actually do this? Jessika: Uh, yeah. Mike: All right. Jessika: There was pain in my voice, but we're here. [00:06:00] You gave me an out earlier to be totally, to be totally fair. Mike: I did. Okay. So, this episode is happening because you were the one who sent me a TikTok from Nikhil Clayton, who, first of all, he is absolutely delightful and he has a series called What the Fuck Comics, and this particular video was focused on a character called Hemogoblin, who is literally a white supremacist AIDS vampire. And then if you want to do a. I feel like we need to play this so that our listeners can hear the delightful summary of how batshit this character was. Jessika: Oh my gosh. Yeah. Goodness gracious. Hello, and welcome back to What the Fuck Comics, the show where we discuss old plot lines and characters, and ask the ever important question. What the fuck? So good news, person, right now. This little monstrosity behind me is the Hemogoblin. He [00:07:00] was a doozy character from the 1980s, and if his name gives you a bad feeling about where we're going with this, you're probably right. He was the creation of a white supremacist group with the ultimate goal of getting rid of all non white people. How? The same way Reagan was going to do it, with the fucking thing AIDS epidemic. Yeah, this guy is an AIDS vampire. He's got all this classic vampire powers, but with the slight exception that when he bites you, you don't become a vampire, you just get AIDS. And I stress again, the he debuted in the 1980s. This was DC's attempt at being topical. Now, thankfully he was only in a handful of issues, so he didn't have a very big effect on anything, but wait, what's that? Sorry. Nevermind. He killed someone. Specifically this guy, Extrano. Extrano was a wizard superhero whose name may or may not have translated directly to strange. Who also just happened to be openly gay. And yes, after a fight with the Hemogoblin, he contracted AIDS and eventually died. And what happened to everyone's favorite personification of mocking tragedy? He also died. Of AIDS [00:08:00] Because what else was going to happen? DC, what the fuck? Yeah. Mike: Yeah. So, uh, you sent me that video, Jessika: Yeah, I did. Mike: What was your initial reaction to it when you first saw it?I'm curious. Jessika: At first I thought, okay, in no way, can this be real? But we all know how awful people are. I was mouth agape in shock, honestly, and I did, I did immediately think of you. I sent it to you within a minute of seeing it because I was like, fuck, do you know about this? Mike: This is, this is the, the pinnacle of our friendship is that, that you saw something that terrible and you send it to me. Jessika: Oh, [00:09:00] Mike: But yeah, because as soon as you sent this to me, I was like, fuck, do I know about this? I wrote about it! And I got really excited to tell you all about the New Guardians and Hemogoblin and everything else terrible about comics. Jessika: So yes, every one I did, I opened this can of worms. So either, I'm sorry, or you're welcome, however, you're taking this. Mike: It's a little bit of both. I mean, I'm not going to lie. I was so excited at the idea of talking about how completely bad shit this entire thing is. So. Jessika: Oh, well let's, let's plow on. This is something. Mike: Yeah. Hemoglobin appeared in a comic series from the late eighties called the New Guardians, but in order to talk about the New Guardians, we needed to actually take a step back and talk about Millennium, which was this giant DC crossover comic event that the team spun out of. So, Millennium took place [00:10:00] in early 1988, and it was the company's third crossover. Before that they had Crisis on Infinite Earths and Legends. And you, and I've talked about Crisis briefly in the past. We noted about how it was this giant crossover thing that streamlined DC's, rather convoluted comics time. And it created something coherent that wove together, not only classic comic characters, like the Justice Society and the Charleston comic characters that DC had recently acquired like Blue Beetle and the Question and Peacemaker, who is now in the DCEU as part of the Suicide Squad. But it also made, it made all those characters, a coherent part of the timeline with the modern DC characters, like the Justice League and Superman and Batman, et cetera, et cetera. Crisis is still this like widely acclaimed storyline, a lot of critics and readers still feel that it is [00:11:00] arguably the best crossover ever. I've read it. I like it a lot. I think it's groundbreaking for what it did, and as a result, I think it deserves a special place in comics history. Legends in term was Legends was fine. It's passable I've re-read it several times., and I always forget the main story except for a couple of random plot points, including that, that was what introduced us to the Suicide Squad. And then after that we got Millennium. Millennium was written by Steve Engelhart and he's this pretty prolific comics writer who has been in the industry for a while. I think he might be retired at this point, from the seventies through the nineties, he was pretty prolific. He bounced back and forth a lot between Marvel and DC during the seventies and eighties, but the seventies is arguably when he did his best work. He wrote a really well-known run on Dr.Strange for a couple of years from 74 to 76. And then he also co-created Shang-Chi with [00:12:00] Jim Starlin in 1973, which we're about to get a movie of. It also sounds like he did a lot of drugs during the same period. , and he's talked about it pretty openly. There's this collection of interviews and essays from across the industry called Comics Between the Panels, and he gave us this amazing quote. Jessika: Oh, goodness. We'd rampage around New York City. There was one night when a bunch of us, including Jim Starlin went out on the town. We partied all day, then did some more acid than roamed around town until dawn, and saw all sorts of amazing things, most of which ended up in Master of Kung Fu, which Jim and I were doing at the time. Mike: Yeah. And master of Kung Fu is what Shang-Chi's original series was called. Jessika: Got it. Oh, wow. Mike: This little quote has absolutely nothing to do with our overall discussion, but it's such a wonderful, weird little detail about the [00:13:00] guy that I felt we had to include it. Jessika: It gives me a really good idea of why this was as drug-addled as it was. Well, there were other reasons. Mike: I'm gonna show you the cover of Millennium's first issue. And I'd like for you to paint us a word picture. Jessika: All right. So in red with yellow behind it, it says Millennium week one, Millennium, DC. 75 cents. And then it has all of the DC superheroes, kind of like that portrait in the Shining, like they're all kind of stacked up, back there and they're looking at something, it's called The Arrival at the bottom. So my guess is they're looking at aliens, which is such a hot topic, every DC superhero that I can recall is in this picture. Mike: It is a veritable who's who? Of DC characters, Jessika: Yeah. Mike: But I mean, they all look [00:14:00] horrified. Jessika: They do, they look horrified. It's all in gray tone with a little bit of green splashed on it. Mike: Yeah. It promises something that it doesn't really deliver on. Millennium was, it was interesting because they basically were dropping every issue of the core series, I believe every week, so that's how you were getting week one, week, two, week three. Because the core series ran for two months. But it also features this really complicated plot. So, the arrival that is advertised on the cover basically occurs when a Guardian of the Universe, the guys who run the Green Lanterns named, and I'm not making this up, Herupa, Hando Hu, all H's, starting. And then the female equivalent of the Guardians, which I believe they are responsible for the Star Sapphires, which are the pink color, the pink equivalent, and they're all about love. Because the Green Lanterns, at this point they've established that [00:15:00] there are different rings for each color of the emotional spectrum. The Zamoran girlfriend is Nadia Safir. Herupa and Nadia are on this quest to unlock the super potential of 10 people on earth, who they deem the Chosen, they say that these people will become immortal and they're going to guide humanity into its next stage of evolution. But they're really vague about all of that. Essentially these people are destined to become the next group of the Guardians and kind of take over running the universe, since the Guardians and their girlfriends have decided to kind of peace out to another part of the universe and then enjoy some debatably well-earned retirement after a few billion years of running things. Jessika: This is your problem now. Mike: Yeah, exactly. Herupa and Nadia show up to all these superheroes and then announce their mission, and then they do it in a way that's not even remotely dramatic. Basically they show up, they tell the heroes what's going on, and then the heroes agreed to help find and protect the Chosen [00:16:00] and everyone starts making plans to do so. And then meanwhile, this plan is opposed by a group of robots that are known as the Man Hunters. The Man Hunters were the original version of the Green Lantern Corps. They were the beta test. They basically doled out justice for about half a billion years, and then they went insane. And then the Guardians replaced them with the Green Lantern Core. I think part of the established insanity honestly just involves nursing a grudge for 3 billion years, because that's how long they've been around. And they like to hang out and just basically sulk on their hidden planet, which is apparently undetectable, and then ruin the Guardian's plans whenever they can. Obviously they decide to wreck Herupa's plans because they're still pissed off and they have a bunch of double agents on earth who are androids, or mind-controlled people, or traitors, who help attack the heroes and basically try to kill the Chosen. Jessika: Wow. That's like a new level. Like, that's next [00:17:00] level petty. Mike: I mean, they're, they're an entire robot race of that shitty dude who can't get over the fact that his ex has moved on and is dating somebody else. Jessika: Oh no, we've all met that guy. Mike: Yeah. Jessika: Ugh. If you haven't met that guy, you are that guy. I hate to tell you. Mike: Yeah, right? So the Guardians shitty robot exes wind up being a little successful. There were originally going to be 10 Chosen, but by the end of the series, only six are actually still around to receive their powers because it takes a while before they're granted their specialness. One of them was senile when the series began. There's another guy named Janwilheim kroef. I think that's how you say his name, it's Afrikaans, so I'm sure I'm butchering it. He gets kicked out because he's such a racist asshole from Apartheid, South Africa that nobody wants anything to do with him. [00:18:00] And then I think two of them are murdered over the course of the story, but we don't see it in the core series. Cause there's like 30 tie-in issues and I haven't read them all because I have shit to do. But yeah, the final roster of the New Guardians includes Jet, who is a Jamaican woman who, when we meet her is living in fascist Britain, which I think is just Margaret Thatcher's England, I've never heard it referred to as fascist England, that was a new one. Also she has a written accent that I'm going to call comically offensive. Jessika: It is so, it is, I, yes, that is a great description of what that is. That's how I felt about it as well. Mike: We also get Ram, who is a Japanese businessman who then becomes a walking computer and can talk to electronics. Gloss is this woman from the People's Republic of China. Who can suddenly command dragon lines while showing this insane amount of cleavage. And she keeps on flirting with Ram too. It's really weird and creepy.[00:19:00] Betty Clawman. She was an Aborigine who eventually wound up living in the dream time. She's not really a presence in the New Guardians, but she's still officially a member. There's Extrano, who was noted in that TikTok video, who was a Peruvian gay man who develops magical abilities. Extrano's an interesting case, because at this point in time, the Comics Code Authority would not actually allow publishers to acknowledge his sexuality. But this dude is so flamboyant, he insists on being called auntie, and when the Guardian first shows up to announce that he is one of the chosen, he kind of flirts with him? Jessika: There's also that part where they're talking about sex and God, I don't know why they would be having such an overt conversation about sex, but Harbinger says something about, oh, would you want to go have sex? [00:20:00] He's like, not with you, honey, or something like that. Mike: Something to that effect. Yeah. Jessika: To that effect, yeah. And it was like, okay. Mike: Yeah. No, he's very flamboyant. Like there is, I mean, come on guys. You're not fooling anyone. Jessika: He like points his toe out in a lot of the comics, like in a, in a way that they only draw females doing like a lot of the way they have him standing is very feminine, which is interesting. Not always. Mike: His outfit originally, it's almost like a unisex series of magical robes, where you could see it on either a male or female character. And then his hair is very flamboyant too. He has in a lot of ways, very effeminate features, which then changes later on when they give him that costume change. And we'll talk about that later on but you know, he's this kind of nebbish little guy and he's very flamboyant, and, if you grew up in the Bay Area, you knew a lot of people like that. So, the final, one of the Chosen, [00:21:00] if I remember right, is Tom Kalmaku, he's one of Hal Jordan, the Green Lantern's friends, he's a mechanic for Ferris air. He's been around since the sixties. And eventually it's revealed that he has the power to “bring out the best in people”, but, it's really vaguely defined and we don't really know what it means. And then he winds up declining to go with the team, cause he doesn't want to put his family at risk, but he's still a part of the New Guardians storyline overall. And then after that, they were joined by a longtime villain called the Fluoronic Man, who he's got a bunch of powers over nature. And then Harbinger, who was one of the main characters during Crisis on Infinite Earths, and she's been kicking around the DC universe afterwards, but she wound up being another main character during the Millennium storyline. So that is the TLDR summary, which is already too long, but whatever, but now we can actually talk about the New Guardian series. Like how would you describe [00:22:00] this series? If you had to sell it to someone with an elevator pitch, like, what would you say. Jessika: Overall the New Guardians have been chosen to be Earth's protectors. They are from around the world with the obvious idea that there is a global participation and representation, their main arc is against a white supremacist who is causing all of the destruction, seen in the comics due to his desire to rid the world of all other races. They are basically world social justice warriors who take a very active role in change. Mike: First of all, that's a very succinct summary of that comic. The series was originally written by Englehart, he was continuing on, and it was drawn by veteran artists, Joe Staton. Cary Bates took over writing duties with issue two and pat Broderick, who is the guy who created Tim Drake, AK Robyn, number three, eventually finished out the series as its penciler. Here's the funny thing, the series isn't [00:23:00] really all that well known or remembered by the general public, but it's kind of notorious within the comics industry and among certain collectors because its villains were so fucking bonkers. Like in the first two issues, we get Hemogoblin who is a vampire that he's sort of a vampire. He looks like count Orloff from Nosferatu he's got the same face and everything, but he was created in a lab by Janwilheim Kroef's scientists like Janwilheim Kroef has apparently just, I don't know exactly how he has access to all the super doomsday science, but somehow he does. So the vampire winds up coming to the United States ends up attacking the group in a dance club. If I remember right or no, right outside a dance club, that's what happened. And then he bites Jet, who is, I have to state this one of the [00:24:00] first black, super heroines in DC comics history, and also attacks Extrano. And I don't think he bites him, but he scratches him, but he gives both of those characters HIV. Jessika: Mmhm. Mike: And then he winds up dying because this system burns itself out. Thanks to his accelerated form of aids that he has. And Harbinger it's weird. They don't quite explain how, but she's almost like cosmically sympathetic to Jet's being. And so she winds up developing the same wound as Jed and then also developing HIV. But that goes away. Jessika: Yeah, they had some symbiotic link. It was very strange. Mike: Yeah. Symbiotic. That's the word I was looking for. It's very weird. Um, and it's, it's not really explained for a comic, for a comic series with so much exposition, there's a lot that is not well explained or defined. Jessika: There's one point where they're obviously making [00:25:00] fun of their own exposition and they're like, hey, I know this is a lot to listen to. I appreciate you being. I was like, oh gosh. Yeah. Don't you know it. Mike: Yeah. Hemoglobin winds up dying from AIDS because of course he fucking does. And, and then the next issue, whisks is off to Columbia where we get to meet Snowflake, who I love Snowflake. How, how would you describe him? I'm curious. Jessika: Oh, man. Just your way. Cause I have so heavy. He's basically just a really coked up weightlifter. Mike: Fair. Jessika: Yeah. Apparently it has something to do with the power of cocaine, heavy quotes, coursing through him that gives him his powers question, mark. I have to read this description of himself because it is just something. And he says this at one [00:26:00] point during the comic. Mike: Yeah. And he is also a pyrokinetic, we should note, so this quote has like extra weight to it. Jessika: Exactly. Every cell of my being burns with the white hot ecstasy. Cocaine is my god, and I am the instrument of its will. And he has all these coked up people that are basically just zombies doing his way. But like nowhere, does it say why he's the instrument of drugs and not his fellows? Mike: Yeah. Jessika: Maybe he was the only one that could afford to buy a fancy spandex suit and spend all of his time getting yoked. Maybe that's it. They're like, oh yeah, this guy, this guy with privilege. Pick him. Mike: Well, and he, like, he like really beats the shit out of the New Guardians too. And then he gets randomly thrown into a shed with a bunch of chemicals and then it explodes and that's how you get them. It. Jessika: Yeah. He died in [00:27:00] what was basically a drug shed explosive. Mike: Yeah, I'm okay. I'm sorry. But if this was a horror movie and the monster died that way, it would just be like, okay. So we're obviously going to have the guy come back in the next movie and I was waiting for that, but we never get him back again. Jessika: I was waiting for that, also. I was waiting for that like Ninja Turtles, like here comes Shredder with his hand out of like the rubble. Mike: Nope. Jessika: Oh my gosh. So what did you think of that guy's like Fabio white hair. That was like a point of pride, but you know, it had to take some constant maintenance, so. Mike: Well, I mean, he had that much cocaine, what if he just sat there and used that as his like dry shampoo? Jessika: Oh, oh that's, that's awful because the, I, yeah, that's awful. That's awful. It's really funny too. Cause it's like they're mixing up their drugs, if they think that coke is going to cause super strengthened agility. [00:28:00] Like, what they should have had was a coked up guy that just talked really fast and wanted to party and have a bunch of sex. And like, that was his super power. Mike: Right. Jessika: Like that's, that's what I've always seen portrayed in the movies and shit. People don't get really strong. That's PCP, when somebody is really crazy on like PCP or something, that's always been what I've heard, but like, that's always in very rare instances when somebody goes off the handle or something and you hear about that, but it was so ridiculous. I mean, you could literally smell the war on drugs, undertones. They were palpable. Mike: Oh yeah. Jessika: I could taste them. Mike: Reagan? Papa Reagan, is that you? Jessika: Are you listening? I am. Oh, I mean, all it all, he was certainly memorable. I mean, maybe not for the right reasons. Mike: All right? [00:29:00] Well, I'm going to break this to you. Snowflame has actually like infamous in comic book history. Like I, I was looking up his first appearance today just to see what stores are selling that issue for. Jessika: I'm sorry is for you mean like in this issue, was he in more than just this? Mike: No, as far as I know, that's his only issue. Jessika: Oh God, you scared me. I was like. Mike: No. So, but yeah, like it's funny because people still talk about that one villain. They don't talk about the New Guardians, but they will talk about Snowflame because they, I think they find it charming, basically the, you know, just how ridiculous the villain is. But his first appearance, like is going for 50 to 75 bucks at a lot of stores these days. Jessika: Oh. Wow. Mike: Yeah. Yeah. I think, I think the fact that his powers are fueled by cocaine is just, it's kind of charming, honestly, like people just sit there and like, oh, that's cute. If only we knew then what we know now. Jessika: Right. [00:30:00] Mike: Like, I don't know if you got told this growing up, but, but I was part of that DARE generation. Jessika: Oh, Absolutely. Cops in the classroom and everything, which no, don't do that. Mike: Yeah. And I remember every time the cops came to DARE and they were telling us about all the drugs, they would tell us cocaine is the worst drug out there. Jessika: Which, lol. Mike: Yeah. Like I could not help, but think of that when I was reading this issue. And I mean, I guess it makes sense. Cocaine was pretty prevalent during the eighties and crack cocaine was really starting to become this huge epidemic in cities across the country by the end of the decade. But, you know, cocaine was the drug that white people knew better. So it got focused on a lot in media, like, you know, in TV shows and comics and movies, all that stuff. And then even though Snowflame died and never came back, apparently, the issue after also deals with [00:31:00] cocaine, because like the villains are, they're like a gang of child soldiers in LA and there. Jessika: I'm throwing my hands up because I don't even know. Mike: Yeah. Cause they're referred to as kids at one point, but like some of them have a lot of facial hair and it's very weird. And they stage, an attack on the New Guardians' bungalow hotel that they're staying at. Because I guess being the Chosen if humanity doesn't pay enough to afford an Avenger's tower, but this gang is also paid in cocaine by Snowflame's people. Jessika: It is implied that they're children, But it's like, come on. You're not going to be overtaken by like a gang of children, like this is, this is not the Newsies. Like, you're fine. Mike: No, but the other thing is like, you know, in the eighties, that was really, again, part of the whole gang panic was the eighties and nineties. Jessika: Yeah. Mike: Like, you know, that was a huge thing where, news [00:32:00] media at the time was just painting teenage gangs out to be the scourge of the country. Jessika: Yeah, well, and they've got both the gang aspect and the drug aspect that they're like, oh, watch out every one don't want your kids involved in this. Mike: Fuck, yeah, they were really beaten that horse well past the point of being dead. Jessika: God. It was. So it was so obvious. My cheeks hurt a little bit, cause it really smacked me. Mike: Yeah. Well, those first three issues are really kind of the most fun, I felt because after that, the series just kind of limps along. And Jet keeps getting weaker and weaker due to the virus, progressing from HIV to AIDS, because I don't know Hemogoblin had some accelerated form of it or something. And then she eventually dies when she sacrifices herself, helping fight off an alien invasion. She sacrifices herself because she ran out of energy because she had AIDS. Jessika: [00:33:00] Yeah. Yeah. And then it's not lost on me that they choose the one woman of color and the gay dude to both get AIDS out of everyone or HIV at the very least. Mike: Yeah, it is. We'll, we'll talk about that later on, but it's not great. After this point, Janwilheim Kroef becomes more and more of the central villain as the story progresses. Eventually he has his plan revealed and it's kind of weird, it's like to make white supremacy go global, which, I mean, first of all, it was already global, but he's basically trying to turn it up to 11. The comic is not at all subtle for drawing parallels between him and Nazis. And then, I mean, it's just, it's so over the top that you almost hit that point where you feel like you're disconnecting from it, because it's just beating you over the head with this message. For the last few issues he's running around and he's got a military uniform with a black arm band and he's [00:34:00] throwing up his hand while he's talking. And, you know, speaking about the inferior races and how he's going to unite the world under his banner of hatred. It's uh. Jessika: Oh, yeah. he does a whole, like, you know, leader, speech, propaganda situation. I mean, it's, it was really heavy handed. Mike: Yeah. And then he does the thing where he kidnaps Tom Kalmaku's girlfriend, and then she's pregnant. And he wants to surgically experiment on her unborn child. But it's very nonsense and nothing really comes from it other than eventually he gets a hold of Tom, and then thinks that he killed him by throwing him into a pit of minorities that he's surgically experimented on or something and turned them all into cannibal mutants. Jessika: Get a but like, can we talk about how fucking macabre that whole fucking situation was them? [00:35:00] The fucking, like they were talking about dissecting fetuses and stuff. It was fucking wild. I mean, they had a fetus that was hooked up to stuff, like in a thing when he was in like having a dream. And it was just like, it was insane. It was a lot. Mike: It was really a lot, but at the same time, it was kind of boring. Like it was really gruesome and horrifying in concept, but then when they put it on the page, it was, it was all delivered with so much exposition and it wasn't actually. Moving in any way, like I was just bored. Jessika: No, it wasn't, it wasn't, but I guess it was just, it was shocking to me that that was where they were going with it. You know what I mean? That, that, it just was a lot. And for me, I could kind of tell that it was written by men. Mike: Oh yeah. Totally. Jessika: It's just, that was just something that I wasn't really expecting, to be honest with you. Mike: Yeah. And I had forgotten about it up until the point where I was rereading these issues. I don't have the sales data on the series. [00:36:00] I get the impression that this was a series that was not doing well, sales wise, and the writers were just trying to do what they could to get people, to pay attention to it. And I don't know if that's the case. It's a feeling that I get in my gut, I could be way off. Jessika: The vibe, I hear. Mike: The other thing is like, aside from being really kind of gross and horrifying, this whole plot about Kroef and what he's trying to do, it just, it's kinda nonsense. It doesn't make sense. That's the only way I can describe it. Like, I dunno, he wanted to figure out how Tom got powers or something like that, and so he was going to experiment on the baby, but then the baby was totally normal. And so he just decided to blow up his mountain base and then throw Tom into a pit to get eaten by mutants. But then Tom developed his own super powers at the same time that Kroef was developing his and Kroef is all about. Jessika: Latent fucking super powers. Jesus. Mike: Oh it's dumb.Yeah. And [00:37:00] Kroef finds up developing the superpowers to basically bring out hatred and other people and also make them serve him while Tom becomes. Jessika: Which, also, unexplained? Mike: Yeah. And then Tom is basically Jesus and Buddha combined. He has that aforementioned like “bring out the best ability”, where he just kind of sits and meditates and then appears to people in visions and can literally hand wave away anything that he wants to it's. You know, viewing this through a modern lens. I'm like, oh, so he was that be best campaign by Melania Trump just made manifest. Jessika: Yes. Yes. Yes. Mike: It sounds simultaneously wholesome and absolutely incomprehensible. I don't know how else to describe it, but yeah. And basically Tom saves the day at the very end of the series. He rescues the New Guardians from Kroef who is like mind controlling them or something. And then halfway through, they also gave Extrano a much more masculine costume [00:38:00] and he was suddenly jacked and he ran around with a crystal skull, which he would use for magic again, not well explained, whatever. Jessika: Yep. I was what I, it felt like he got more jacked. And I was wondering about that. Mike: Oh no. He, 100% started to hit the gym and take his creatine. Jessika: I was like, did the skull contain protein powder? I. Mike: Right. Jessika: He was actually at a GNC this whole time. Mike: Well, you know, you had a side hustle. Cause superhero-ing doesn't pay the bills. Jessika: Oh, no. Has he gotten involved in a multi-level marketing scheme? Do we need to save him from that now? Mike: Yeah. Probably Beach Body. Jessika: It worked for me. Mike: Ugh. If you become my downline, I can get you shredded and castin' spells too. [00:39:00] Yeah. And you know, it's, it's funny because all of the New Guardian's powers are really vague and, you know. Jessika: Yeah. Mike: It's funny because, Extrano, when he was first announced, he's like, I'm a witch. Cause that's, that was his thing. And I'm like, okay, cool. So you're a magic user. His magic is really, it's not well explained what he can and can't do. It seems like half the time he's just casting illusions. And then, you know, suddenly he's able to generate a force field and levitate everybody around and whatever. Okay. Jessika: He's basically the plug for the leaks in the team. Mike: Yes. Yeah. Whatever they might be. Jessika: Filling that void. Yep. Mike: What was your overall impression of this series? Jessika: It went from goofy to intense to, it just was like, you know, we already talked about the fetus dissection conversations. Obviously I got stuck on that because holy shit, that was [00:40:00] extreme. Okay. So I did like that there were a balanced amount of women and that there was a global representation, which was definitely something I had been whining about in our last episode. So thank you. Mike: Yeah. Jessika: But the women just had absolutely nothing on, you know, Gloss' outfit literally cut down to her pelvic bone. I mean, there was literally like two, it was two inches from her couch. Mike: Do you remember that dress that J-Lo wore to the Oscars like 25 years ago? That was super scandalous at the time? Jessika: I know the one. Yes. Mike: Yeah. No. It's the superhero equivalent of that Oscar's dress. Jessika: It sure is. Yeah. Like how are you even supposed to fight when you think you're going to slip a nip or sneak a cheek, like really how? This is a prime example of those types of comics where they look like they were drawn by a 12 year old boy. Mike: Oh, yeah. A hundred percent. And it's funny [00:41:00] because, if I remember right, in Millennium, because she's part of the People's Republic, they're all wearing like the same kind of like very nondescript kind of burlap sack style clothing that, I mean also problematic in its own way, but it's just, it was really interesting to see her go from a very kind of almost asexual character to being this horned up Asian woman stereotype. Jessika: Yeah. It was really intense. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, there were at the very beginning, a few times where I was like, oh, what's going to happen next issue, but it did like, it dwindled. You know, like you said, towards the end and it just got really manic and crazy and just like, felt like a drug-induced fever dream. Mike: Yeah. It, I found myself comparing it to US 1, the series that we did a couple of episodes ago. Jessika: Yeah. Mike: Where that was another batshit shit series, but it was fun, and [00:42:00] I never found myself really getting frustrated with it because it never felt boring. And this one, I got bored a lot. Jessika: It was a little bit of a slog. Mike: But I mean, especially when characters, either the villains or the heroes were sitting there and recapping their backstory for like the 10th time, you know, it, I just don't care. Like, come on guys. You've already got me. You really think that the person reading issue number nine is not going to know what's going on. Come on. Jessika: Yeah, exactly. Mike: Yeah. And I got to agree with you, you know, you have to give the series a little bit of credit because the New Guardians was a diverse team and they had some interesting abilities, but everything about it just felt really cringey, for lack of a better word. It's like somebody took a list of the current social issues at the time, and then just like focus grouped the hell out of them. And then they created a superhero comic around it. [00:43:00] And I don't know, you can tell it's hard as in the right place, but everything about the comic itself just gets more and more painful. It's kind of akin watching someone trying to be especially woke, but you're sitting there really hoping that they're going to reign in their efforts by about 50%, by the end of it. Like, I mean, even the villains are topical. Like, the three that we talked about, we've got Janwilheim Kroef, who was part of the Apartheid government in South Africa. And this was in 1988, which is right when the apartheid was really getting put under the international media's microscope. Basically, the series was running right before Nelson Mandela got released from jail. And then we already talked about Snowflame and how he was relevant to the time. And then Hemogoblin it was topical because the AIDS crisis was really starting to take off in America at this point in time as well.[00:44:00] But yeah, it's a. It's a cringey read. Jessika: Yeah. I've just been shaking my head this whole time. The listeners can't hear that, but just know it was happening. Mike: Yeah.Yeah. You know, and it's funny cause DC doesn't really talk about the New Guardians, or the crossover they originated from, that much. Like, they acknowledge Millennium happened. They actually collected it into a graphic novel a few years ago, but it's only those core eight issues, and it really doesn't make a lot of sense because in between each issue, there is all this very crucial stuff that happens. And so those core eight issues are almost like the recaps and the setup for what's going to happen next. So it's, you know, it's still technically canon in terms of DC lore, but it's not really discussed in polite company. And I mean, case in point, Tom Kalmaku is I think still around in the [00:45:00] DC universe, Jessika: Really. Mike: He's a long time cast member of the Green Lantern comics. I know, I read a couple of issues that had him show up in, I want to say 2010. It might've been a little bit earlier than that. But I know that his character was even in that Ryan Reynolds Green Lantern movie. Jessika: Oh, you know what? No, you're right. You are right. Mike: But his powers, as far as I know, are never mentioned again, like they just kind of were like, no, that didn't really happen. Or we don't, we don't talk about that. And then, you know, it's the same with the New Guardians. They occasionally pop up individually, but they never really get the band together. I think they were still a team in Green Lantern comics, but then there was a villain named Entropy who wound up attacking the headquarters that they were operating out of. Cause they were hanging out in the Green Lantern headquarters on earth. And then it was assumed that they all died. So that TikTok video was saying that, Extrano died from HIV. [00:46:00] He might have, but as far as I know, what happened was everybody assumes that he died during that attack, and he still had HIV. But I don't know at that point, I'm not as familiar with the Green Lantern and storylines from that era. Jet somehow reappeared as the leader of the Global Guardians, Extrano had a recent cameo in Midnighter, and he was a supporting character, and he actually was like much more normcore this time around. But he was actually openly gay this time around, which was kinda cool. Jessika: Oh, good. Mike: Yeah. And then other than that, like most of the New Guardians spend a lot of time dying. So, yeah, as I mentioned, the entire team was absorbed and presumably killed by the super villain Entropy before Flash point rebooted the DC Universe, gloss was hanging out with Jet for a short while, but then she got killed by the villain, Prometheus, like, she got to decapitated. There's like, yeah, it is not subtle. And then Ram [00:47:00] was, again, it was one of those cameo things, but he was shown in passing as a victim of this villains' superpower death matches where it was like a super power fight club kind of thing, and it was shown that he had died, I think. But yeah, so yeah, that is the New Guardians and their, their wild ride across the DC Universe. Jessika: Wow. I'm going to, I'm going to put on a face mask after this. I'm gonna soak my feet, gonna decompress. Mike: And as far as I know, there is no collected version of this maxi series, like, so, you know, basically you have to buy the individual issues, at least what I've seen, which I mean, somehow I own, I think I found the entire series as like a bundle. You know, at one of the local comic shops and they were just like, whatever, like 12 bucks get out.[00:48:00] Jessika: Please take these and leave. Mike: We will pay you to take it out. Jessika: Oh God. It's like when stores want you to take cursed items home, they're like, we just don't want this in our possession any longer. Mike: Yeah. But I mean, like that said, you can find some really fun stuff in those bundle boxes. Like that's how I actually came across the whole series of US 1was at Flying Colors Comics the last time I was there. I found the first issue of Brian's, but then they had the complete collection at Flying Colors. So that was exciting. Jessika: Nice. Mike: I recently found the, I think it was the complete series of Ren and Stimpy, you know, for 30 bucks, which was fun. Jessika: Nice. And in the bundle boxes, they do like a full series? So whatever you pull it's like the whole thing? Mike: Or, they'll, do a full run of like a certain like, you know, set of issues. Jessika: Nice. Oh, that's cool. Mike: That's why I always liked to collect for, as I like to collect for the things where it's like the fun stories or the weird moments in comic history, or just, kind of cool, interesting moments. [00:49:00] And so you can find that stuff. If you're looking for just fun stuff to read, look at the, they used to call them like the quarter bins. I think they're now like dollar bins where, you know, they're the issues themselves are kind of ratty or they're worthless, but you can find a lot of really fun stuff, no, it's a great way to just enjoy comics if you're not collecting them to basically appreciate like your stock portfolio. Jessika: Very cool. Mike: Yeah. Mike: All right. Well, I believe it is time or Brain Wrinkles, which is that one thing that has comics or comics adjacent that we just can't kick out of our noggin. What is stuck in your gray matter this week? Jessika: Well, we've got another addition to the letter mafia. Mike: Yeah, I know exactly what you're talking about. Jessika: Ooh. So per DC cannon Tim Drake, our current Robin has. A whole mission where he gets to go save a [00:50:00] longtime friend, Bernard from the villain du jour, and during which point, Bernard confesses his feelings for Drake, whom he does not know his Robin. So he's like confessing his love and hoping that he has a chance for love. And then it ends with them going on a date. Mike: Yeah. Jessika: I love it. Mike: Yeah. It's really interesting. Jessika: He's bisexual, canonically, everyone. Mike: Yup. I'm very curious to see how this is going to play out in the future. I know a lot of right-wing shit heal comic sites and prevalent voices across the web are mad about this. And so I'm automatically overjoyed just to hear that this ruined their day. Jessika: Yeah. Yeah. Mike: Overall, the sentiment seems pretty positive to it as well, which I think speaks volumes about where we are now compared to when I started reading comics. Jessika: Agreed. Mike: Yeah. I'm pretty jazzed about it. I'm curious to see where they go with it [00:51:00] and the one thing that's been really interesting is I saw the BBC was asking what this meant for movies, and I was kind of sitting there. It doesn't fucking matter. Like they're not going to put it in a movie. Because here's the thing that a lot of people don't quite get, is that inclusivity for the LGBTQ plus community and movies is very fleeting because major movie studios, these days have recognized the power of the international box office and they thus need to put in stuff that they can edit out for the Chinese and Russian, and a handful of other smaller markets. So it was a big deal that in the last Star Wars movie, we get to see two guys kissing, it's a second and, you know, whatever that's going to get edited out in certain regions because they want to be able to make their millions. Jessika: Yeah, arguably edited out in the places that matter [00:52:00] most. Mike: Yeah, exactly. But I am glad to see that we're getting more representation and especially bi people in particular are getting more representation in meaningful, thoughtful ways. Jessika: Yes, well, and bi men. There's always been that boring trope of like how amazing it is that women can be bisexual, but it's often looked upon with disgust or completely disregarded when it comes to men. And I, quite frankly, there's no difference people, like. Mike: Yup. Jessika: It's just, it's just people hating. And it's the toxic masculinity of, you know, if you're a man, you do certain things and it's just like, come on guys, you need to back the fuck off. This is why you're as, as harmed as you are in your lives, because you had all these stupid us standards you had to stick with, and couldn't fucking talk about your feelings. And now you're just a ragey asshole. So here we are. Here we are. How do you feel? Oh, you won't tell me. [00:53:00] You don't even know. Mike: Yeah. God. Jessika: Let's see how mucho of that I cut out. Mike: Yeah. Jessika: So what about you? Um, what's wrinklin' and around in there. Mike: Yeah. You know, I can't believe how much I enjoyed The Suicide Squad. I keep on thinking about it. And I mean, I knew I was going to like it because I have yet to see anything by James Gunn that I haven't liked. I've been a fan of his since he did the movie Slither back in 2005 ish, which also had Nathan Fillion and Michael Rooker in it. Jessika: Ooh. Mike: Yeah, you know, he makes entertaining movies and I was not prepared for some of the things that happen in The Suicide Squad. It is absolutely wild what a [00:54:00] course correction that movie is, especially when you compare it to the first one. It kind of reminded me of Shizam and Birds of Prey. It was just this absolutely delightful blast of chaos. And, you know, it was fun. It was refreshing. And if this is where we're going with the DCEU, as opposed to the fucking Snyder cut, then I'm fully on board with this, like, sign me up for 10 more movies. Jessika: Yeah. Mike: Just no more Jokers, please. Jessika: I'll actually watch this one with a gusto, you know. Mike: No. Jessika: Probably sooner rather than later. Mike: Sarah wants to watch it again. Jessika: Oh, okay. Now that's a shining review then. Yes. Mike: Yeah. I'm really excited to talk with you about how batshit it is, and like the stuff that they do with it, which is really in a lot of ways, it's really brave, like what they did. They also, they kill off a lot of characters. Jessika: Ooh. Mike: I was not prepared for how many characters they were going to kill off. I knew they were gonna kill off a couple, but like. Jessika: Yeah. Mike: It's, it is astounding. [00:55:00] The choices that they made. Jessika: Damn. Maybe, I don't know everyone. What's up, y'all, we might need to do an episode about this one. Mike: I think that that would actually be pretty cool. Jessika: Yeah. Mike: Especially we could talk about how they got started, how they appeared in comics and then also how this movie in certain ways reminded me of their DC animated universe appearance. Jessika: Yes. Okay. I, if, if it compares to that, which, you know, I love that. Mike: Yeah. There's a, there's an episode of Justice League Unlimited called Taskforce X, which is a really great Suicide Squad story. Like I, yeah, that'd be kind of fun. We should, we should talk about that. But next time, our next episode, we are going to be starting something new. We're going to do, well, I guess it's like a book club. Jessika: I would say it's a book club. Yeah. Mike: Yeah. So we're going to read through and talk about the Sandman series by Neil Gaiman, the core [00:56:00] Sandman series, ahead of the Netflix TV show, which is coming out supposedly sometime this year, but I'm really excited about it. And we may actually have a couple of guests as guest hosts or maybe just one who knows we'll find out. Jessika: To be decided. Mike: But yeah, we'll be back in two weeks and until then, we'll see you in the stacks. Jessika: Thanks for listening to Ten Cent Takes accessibility is important to us. So text transcriptions of each of our published episodes can be found on our website. Mike: This episode was hosted by Jessika Frazer and Mike Thompson written by Mike Thompson and edited by Jessika Frazer. Our intro theme was written and performed by Jared Emerson Johnson of Bay Area Sound. Our credits and transition music is Pursuit of Life by Evan MacDonald and was purchased with a standard license from Premium Beat. Our banner graphics were designed by Sarah Frank, who you can find on Instagram as @lookmomdraws. Jessika: If you'd like to get in touch with us, [00:57:00] ask us questions, or tell us about how we got something wrong, please head over to tencenttakes.com or shoot an email to email@example.com. You can also find us on Twitter, the official podcast account is tencenttakes. Jessika is @jessikawitha, and Jessika is spelled with a K. And Mike is @vansau, V A N S A U. Mike: If you'd like to support us, be sure to download, rate and review wherever you listen. Jessika: Stay safe out there. Mike: And support your local comic shop.
I wrote a whole blog post at 1 am. WordPress deleted it. Sorry – not going to rewrite it now. I want you to have the show now, since it’s late. Listen to the show. Be gay; do crime. Visit the Sit Kitty Sit website and watch Kat Down’s and Mike Thompson’s latest video for […]
Today we're checking out a couple of Jessika's latest estate sale finds: Superboy 109 & 110. Are these swingin' sixties stories about the Boy of Steel any good? Well, no. Not really. But they certainly gave us something to talk about! ----more---- Episode 13 Transcript Jessika: [00:00:00] Dude. It's always fucking Florida, Mike: I can't think of anything that comes out of Florida that's good. Jessika: Hello. Welcome to Ten Cent Takes, the podcast where we traverse tumultuous time continuities, one issue at a time. My name is Jessika Frazier and I am joined by my cohost, the dastardly dog dad, Mike Thompson. Mike: That's a fair description. Jessika: That was a segue. We need to talk about your newest acquisition. Mike: What, Mo? Jessika: No. We've talked about Mo. What was your newest acquisition in relation to the squad? Mike: Oh, right. We bought a dog wagon over the weekend. Jessika: Yeah, you did! Mike: And then, uh, already busted it out and taking them all over the neighborhood [00:01:00] and to the beach. I think it was proven to be a wise investment when this neighbor who we'd never seen before stopped his car in the middle of the road and yelled at us about how cute he thought it was. He was like, “that's the cutest thing I've ever seen!” He was this big old dude. I'm like, alright, I'm on board with this. All right. Success. Jessika: Amazing. Mike: It was very wholesome. Jessika: Well, I think Mike'll have to post at least one or two pictures of the dogs in this week's transcript. Mike: Yeah, no, we can absolutely post photos of the dogs in this episode's transcript. Jessika: Yes. Mike: Yeah. Jessika: Well, the purpose of this podcast is to study comic books in ways that are both fun and informative. We want to look at their coolest, weirdest and silliest moments, as well as examine how they're woven into the larger fabric of pop culture and history. Today we'll be discussing the boy of steel, Superboy. While there are many variations of this character, we are going to be focusing on the OG [00:02:00] comics from 1944 to 69 as the ones that we talk about, but we will also just briefly touch upon the other comics, TV shows, and movies sporting the same character, as well as touch upon the absolute nightmare that is the timeline continuity, or lack thereof, that is Superman's life story. But before we do that, what is one cool thing that you've read or watched lately? Mike: Sarah and I have been watching a show called Motherland: Fort Salem. Have you heard of this? Jessika: I have, I was interested. Should I start it? Mike: Yeah, we really dig it. It's on FreeForm, but it's streaming on Hulu. It takes place in this world where the United States stopped hunting witches 300 years ago and there was something called the Salem Accords signed. So now we have a world that's dominated by the USA and witches make up, as far as I can tell, the entirety of its armed forces. Jessika: [00:03:00] Oh, snap. Mike: It's really cool. And the whole thing is magic is based on sound and resonance. And it's really a unique spin on things, but the show follows these three young witches who are recruited into the army and then start navigating their way through it. And the larger society, that's a part of the military and it's very comic book-y in terms of its plotting and character development and then the meta narrative as well. It's really cool. And it's really diverse in terms of casting. The storylines are really thoughtful in a lot of ways, and it's very queer. Like, extremely queer. Jessika: Yes. Mike: And the shows in the middle of its second season. And it's gotten much better. Like, I mean, it was already, it was already very good, but it feels like the second season, they really got the kick things up and they've really upped the creep factor. There's a whole thing about witch hunters re-emerging in kind of striking back at witches and riling up public sentiment. It feels very topical. [00:04:00] And then the whole thing is that because which is get their powers from the sound of their voice, what these witch hunters are doing is they're actually like cutting out witches' voice boxes and then weaponizing them. It's really cool and really creepy. And I really like it. Jessika: Oh, damn. That is like horrific. And like wow, that's an interesting concept. Mike: Yeah. Sarah and I have been really, really enjoying it. And it's definitely something that we put on when the kids aren't around obviously, but, Jessika: Oh, yeah. Mike: but it's really solid. So yeah, not a comic book this time. But certainly something that I think a lot of comic book fans would enjoy. How about you? Jessika: Well, once again, Lauren from Outer Planes in Santa Rosa comes through on the recommendations. Because she suggested the Image series, Man Eaters: The Cursed. Mike: Hm. Jessika: It's so fun. It starts off with 15 year old Maude being forced to go to summer camps. So her parents can go on this romantic vacation by themselves without her. Mike: [00:05:00] Relatable. Relatable, mom and dad. Jessika: Absolutely. Well, and it's so funny because they put these fun little, like. It's almost like little artifacts in there , for you. So they have the registration card where they're registering her. And so it's like, will you be on vacation while your child is at camp? And it's like, YES. Like it literally asked that as a question like it's expected. Mike: Good. Jessika: It's pretty funny. Another thing I found that's really funny is they have the campers have these buttons. They're like warning buttons for insurance purposes. And they say things like sleepwalker or lice, or like Gemini. Which like big Gemini myself, like absolutely issue some warnings. Mike: I love it. Jessika: And I love that there is one male character so far in this, and he's the least prepared for everything and Maude totally [00:06:00] roasts him a couple of times. Mike: Again, relatable. Because the one who does all the home repairs around here, it ain't me. Jessika: Oh my gosh. So yeah, no, I added that to my pull list. Mike: Yeah, that sounds great. Jessika: All right. Well, welcome to another episode of Jessika's estate sale fines. This week we'll be looking at Superboy, the comics, and I'm going to run us through the timeline of the comics as they came out, along with the TV shows and movies that were associated with those. So a lot of this is going to be like informational about when the comic came about and the character, Superboy as Kal-El Mike: I'm super excited. Jessika: there was a lot to it. And actually there was a lot of different weirded consistencies that we're definitely gonna get into. As I've already hinted at that, I think you'll find very [00:07:00] funny, Mike: I'm so excited. Jessika: Okay. before I get too deep into this topic, I want to give a shout out to the resources that I use to compile my information today: An article from DC on DC comics.com fan news blog by Megan Downey, titled “Reign of the Superboys: The strange history of the Boy of Steel,” the Wikipedia article on Superboy, a blog post on captaincomics.ning.com in a forum called the comics round table by username commander Benson titled “deck log entry, number 176 Superboy: the time of his life,” and IMDB. for those of you who are. For those of you who are somehow unfamiliar with the basic storyline of Superboy's origins. not to be confused with Superman's origins, which he swoops in a little bit differently initially in the comics than this. but Kal-El in this instance was sent to earth by his parents before their home planet of Krypton [00:08:00] was destroyed. He was discovered in the crater left by his arrival by locals Martha and Jonathan Kent, who adopted him, raising him as their own son and naming him Clark. At age eight, Clark is told how he was found and finds out more about his origins from Krypton. Martha makes him an indestructible suit out of a blanket that he was found with one that came from Krypton and is imbued with the same powers that he himself holds. And it's basically just like Superman fucking around and not being in school. Mike: Yeah, it almost entirely takes place in Smallville, which… it's kind of like the DC universe version of Cabbot Cove from Murder, She Wrote, where you're just like, how many fucking people die in this town? You know, in Smallville, it's, it's more along the lines of how many fucking supervillains hang out in this town in the middle of nowhere, Kansas, Jessika: That's just it. What is it? A convention? Mike: I guess. Jessika: Oh, so Superboy as a character was created by Joe Schuster and [00:09:00] Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel in 1938, but was rejected twice by Detective Comics before the growing popularity of the comic Robin, the Boy Wonder, finally convinced them to change their stance and they then decided to use it to try to relate to a younger readership with a younger character, which makes sense. Thus, Superboy made his comic debut in 1945, but just as a feature in the anthology, More Fun Comics issue 101. Now, of course, it wouldn't be comics without a little bit of drama. Schuster had assistance from Don Cameron instead of Siegel, as Siegel was serving in World War II and stationed in Hawaii. And he actually had to hear about Superboy's and inaugural publication through a letter from Schuster. DC didn't send them any notification nor was he able to actively participate in the trajectory of the plot line since he was serving. It [00:10:00] was kind of a fuck you. Mike: considering how heavily Superman was a part of propaganda. There is literally a cover of Superman running a printing press that says, I think it says, like, “help slap a Jap.” Jessika: Oh, that hurt me. Mike: Yeah. Like, I mean, Superman was very much part of World War II propaganda, and that's insane that they wouldn't let one of his creators participate in the storylines because he was serving in the, uh, okay. Whatever. Jessika: Yeah. Yeah. It's pretty, it's pretty rough. So apparently there was already a rift in Siegel and Schuster's relationship. And so this just increased that strain. After that first issue, Superboy appeared in More Fun Comics, bimonthly issues through number [00:11:00] 107, but was picked up by Adventure Comics debuting in April of 1946. So he was bouncing around, that was issue number 103. And he was the lead feature for the anthology on this one Mike: Hm Jessika: and remained the headlining feature for over 200 issues and continued being featured in Adventure Comics until 1969. Mike: That's such a huge, just, that's an incredible run. Jessika: Yeah. It's a ton of time. And especially considering like he had, this was just like a side gig for Superboy. Really. He had other stuff going that he was doing. Mike: Yeah, I do know that at one point in the sixties, Superboy was I believe the number two comic in America and the only one that was doing more than that was Superman. Jessika: It's like you were reading ahead. No, seriously. That's in my notes. Mike: Oh, really? Okay, cool. Jessika: Yeah, Yeah, yeah, no. And actually was frequently number two. We'll just get to it now. It was frequently number two for a lot of it's run.[00:12:00] So notable storylines that we got from Adventure Comics were intro to Krypto, the super dog, the origin story of his rivalry with Lex Luther, which that continues pretty far. So it's interesting that they, like, created the origin story. Mike: Yeah. They had like teenage Lex Luther show up in Smallville, right? Jessika: Yeah, yes, yes. Correct. Mike: I think he had hair Jessika: Back when he had hair, yeah. Mike: Yeah. And that's something that's continued up until modern times as well. Mark Waid's Birthright, I know, did that… where it basically revealed that Clark Kent had been for a short time friends with Lex. Jessika: Oh, wow. Of course. They had to be friends before they were enemies. Frenemies. There was also the the debut of the 30th century superhero team, the Legion of superheroes. As Superboy, continue to frequent the pages of anthology comics in April of 1949, he became the sixth superhero to get his own comic book. and was the first new superhero [00:13:00] title to succeed after World War II. Mike: Oh, wow. That's crazy. Jessika: Right? Mike: I had no idea that there were only six superhero comics back then. Jessika: Yeah. Not with our own titles. Mike: I mean, that's wild. Jessika: Totally. I didn't realize that either. Mike: yeah Jessika: notable storylines from this namesake comic were intro to Ilana Lang and Pete Ross, the storyline of the first Bizarro and first appearances of Legion of superheroes characters, Mon-El and Ultra Boy. He also appeared in Legion of superheroes volume. One, which was printed as an anthology. Superboy itself continued until 1976 when the comic was renamed Superboy and the Legion of superheroes. Superboy was involved in the storyline until issue number 2 59. When he leaves after learning new information regarding the death of his parents.[00:14:00] Dramatics. Mike: Yeah, I haven't read a lot of those, but the idea is that he's displaced through time and he winds up hanging out with the Legion for a while. And then if I remember right, Supergirl winds up joining the Legion after a while, too. Basically, so they can have kind of a headliner. Jessika: I smell them trying to fix a time continuum. But that's maybe I'm biased. Based on the research I've been doing, The series was then retitled Legion of superheroes volume two, and ended with issue number 354 and 1979. There was also a three-part mini series called Secrets of the Legion of Superheroes that was published in 1981. And despite the general decline of superhero readership, Superboys' popularity continued to grow and adventure comics and Superboy frequently sold over a million copies combined. Mike: That's an insane amount of comics these days. You know, back then that [00:15:00] was wild. Jessika: I mean, it definitely groundbreaking for its time. I would say it was, it sounded like it was huge. The popularity may also have been due to the fact that Superboy was found on more than just comic book stands. He was also on the TV and in the movies, he appeared in a 26 minute movie called the Adventures of Superboy and multiple six-minute episodes airing with the New Adventures of Superman, which aired for 1966 to 70, the Superman Aquaman Hour of Adventure from 67 to 68 and the Batman Superman Hour 68 to 69. All of which were just continuations are within that same world as the initial comic book. Mike: Right. And those were all animated series too, I think, right? Jessika: they were. They were. And here's something fun for you to watch if you wanted to click on that link. Mike: Okay. [Superboy INTRO AUDIO PLAYS] I love the image of like infant CBRE, boy, just lifting a piano. All right. Jessika: Very patriotic. Mike: Yeah. I love the fact that they have Krypto in there. Like I've always had a soft spot for Krypto. I am a little offended that his cowlick isn't in the shape of an S though. Come on guys. You know, this is an amateur hour. Jessika: Missed opportunity. Mike: Right. But yeah, that was super cute. Jessika: Wasn't that fun? Yeah. So I can, I could see kids get getting really excited about seeing that. And then they walk by the newsstand and they go, I just saw that on TV. Mike: yeah, exactly. Jessika: [00:17:00] So I think they had a good thing going with that at that point. Mike: Oh, a hundred percent. So that was in the sixties, you said, right? Jessika: Yes. Mike: So that was right when television was becoming the dominant form of entertainment in the United States. I think by 1959 or 1960, it was something like 90% of households in America had televisions. And Saturday morning cartoons were starting to become a thing, which by the way, you guys should go back and listen to that episode about Saturday morning cartoons. It's our first episode. And we talk all about the evolution of that and how it connected with Comics. Jessika: It was a fun one. So pretty much right after the Legion of Superheroes volume two ended, the New Adventures of Superboy was published in 1984. That had 54 published issues, Mike: Okay. That's a respectable run. Jessika: Yeah. It's not anything too wild. Yeah. In 1985, DC tried to tie up some of those pesky plot holes that we're going to discuss later [00:18:00] on, for sure, by creating a comic that told the story of Clark Kent's transitional years in college at Metropolis University, going from Superboy effectively to Superman. And while this was supposed to last for 12 installments, they only ended up publishing six, mostly due to the fact that Crisis on Infinite Earths was published Mike: I was about to ask. Yeah. Jessika: Yep. That actually featured the eraser of Superboy and yet another attempt to correct a timeline. Mike: Well, Crisis on Infinite Earths was the first real attempt by DC to sit there and stream everything into a coherent timeline. And at the same time they had John Byrne's The Man of Steel, which came out I think right after. Crisis on infinite earths. And that also streamlined Superman's very convoluted history. The problem is is that by that point in time, you had almost 50 years of continuity, which made no fucking [00:19:00] sense. Jessika: And we'll discuss it later, but there wasn't necessarily a need for continuity back in the day. I mean, they didn't have to have it. They were just there for like, we're doing this adventure. This is fun. They're going to enjoy it. And there wasn't a feeling that you had to necessarily link it with what came before it or what was going, coming after it in the same way that we want now as readers and as fans, we want everything to make sense because we want more of the story in that way. Mike: We want that overarching meta plot. Jessika: Exactly. Exactly. So despite DC's attempt to write Superboy out of the universe completely, he appeared once again in Legion of Superheroes Volume Three, which ran from 86, 87 and while Crisis on Infinite Earths had erased Superboy. To some extent in other time, continuations, they now needed to recreate him in order to have a cohesive storyline for [00:20:00] Legion of Superheroes. Mike: God. Jessika: So they were like, what are we going to do? Oh, I know pocket universe. Mike: Why not? Jessika: Why not? So in this version, it's set in a pocket universe created by the villain Time Trapper. Mike: I think the Time Trapper… so the Time Trapper is like a villain who has had multiple identities. It's the same villain ultimately, but it's different people wind up becoming the Time Trapper. And I think, Superboy became the time trapper point. Jessika: This doesn't surprise me at all. What the hell? Mike: Yeah, don't, don't quote me on this, but I'm pretty sure I'm pretty sure that it happened, uh, during one of their big, crossovers, Jessika: Oh, no, Mike: Comic books are dumb and I love them. Jessika: I do, too. This is actually part of the reason I really do like them. Because I like seeing all of these little differences. It doesn't make me mad. I just find it very funny. Mike: Yeah. so the Time Trapper created a pocket [00:21:00] universe and then they used him to bring Superboy back. Jessika: Yeah, exactly. And so he, but here's the funny part. He was really just like a sideline character in this. He came in and issued 24 and he was killed off in 38. Mike: Superboy was going. Okay. I'm not going to ask question. Jessika: Yeah. Cause he had to like sacrifice himself to save the world. I mean, that's, you know, common trend in these, right. Mike: Of course. Jessika: Yeah. It was convenient. If not obvious. Mike: Okay. Jessika: Superboy apparently would not, could not be stopped. As was apparent in 1988 with not only a comic publication, but also a TV appearance. Once again, this time live action. Mike: I remember that show. Jessika: Yeah, it was here and that was gone. Mike: It lasted for a couple of seasons, but I think they had a couple of different actors play Superboy. Jessika: They did. Yeah. So it was four seasons and it started out starring John Hames Newton for season one [00:22:00] and then recast replaced for the remainder of the four seasons. So the rest of the three by Gerard Christopher. Mike: Oops. Jessika: So that was a 22 minute runtime, pretty normal for that time. but there again, it went along with the same year that the Superboy volume two hit shelves. You know, they did another one of those timing things thinking, Hey, it worked what? 30 years ago. Let's do it again. Mike: Yeah. It's that whole transmedia thing. Jessika: Yeah, exactly. the show ultimately lasted until 1992, the same year a one-shot comic called the last Superboy was published. But that seemed to be the last dying ember from the fire that is Superboy, as we've talked about up until this point, except one thing. And I know that we want to talk about it a little bit, which is Smallville. And I know we've mentioned it, but I didn't watch that. Did you watch that show? Mike: Oh, yeah. Are you kidding me? I, I was all over that show for the first few seasons. Jessika: Okay. I [00:23:00] just really, it was just cause I had a crush on Kristin Kruek, but unfortunately she got involved with that horrific NXIVM cult. Mike: I thought It wasn't her. It was the… Jessika: It was Alison Mack, but like, but she was involved for a few years, unfortunately. Big. Yikes. Mike: I don't know too much about it. I just know that Alison Mack was one of the big ringleaders for it and it was wild. Jessika: She was, yeah. Mike: Like she, I think she left Smallville to like devote herself full-time to that cult. Jessika: That sounds right. Yeah, she was, she was definitely a big part of it. yeah, it was rough. I've been following it. Mike: I really liked Smallville when it first came out. I remember getting so excited when they had a little teaser ad for it where I think it's Krystin Kreuk is wandering through the darkness and she hears something and turns and then you see Tom Welling step out of the shadows and he says something along the lines “Oh, Hey, it's just me. It's it's Clark.” and then it just says Smallville, and I was like, oh mother fucker. That's amazing. [00:24:00] And yeah, it was, it was fine. It was very teen angsty, but they had a lot of deep cuts for comic fans. And, I think I stopped watching around season four because it just started to, it felt like it really sort of jumped the shark, Jessika: Oh, okay. Yeah. I was going to, ask if it's something I should rewatch. I don't know. Stuff from that. Timeframe is so cringey these days. Mike: A lot of it's cringey. I remember a whole thing with his heat vision was tied to like him being horny. Jessika: No. Why do you have to do that? It's so unnecessary. Mike: But you know, what's funny is they actually brought Tom Welling back in the whole DC Arrowverse recently where they have a version of Lex Luther. Who's traveling the multi-verse and he shows up at, he shows up at the Kent farm and Tom welling is there. I thought it was just, it was great. It was, it was just, it was a really cute little nod. Jessika: That is pretty cute. I do like that. Mike: And then he got all mad because he was trying to suck Superman's powers [00:25:00] away. And then it turns out Superman gave up his power so that he can have a family and a normal life. And then the now powerless Superman pops him in the nose. It was kind of good. Jessika: That is cute. Mike: I was fine with this. It was very, it was very wholesome. Jessika: So there are other iterations of Superboy, but they're not necessarily Clark Kent and some of them are, but they kind of stray off into different timeline. And I could have gone down that rabbit hole, but Mike: Yeah. Jessika: you know, I didn't. Here we are. Mike: that's fine. Jessika: So I also know that I, more than hinted, we've talked about a little bit, uh, the continuity troubles that plagued Superboy. Mike: Right, Jessika: I, I gotta say some of these transgressions are just capital B A D bad. But they get a bit of a pass again, you know, like I said, because Comics at that point [00:26:00] really didn't hinge on a time continuum. Mike: Right. That wasn't a thing. Jessika: No, it wasn't. So, we got to give them a little bit of credit except when they actually started figuring it out and they still did absolutely nothing about it, which is what we're going to talk about. Mike: Okay. Jessika: Because after Superman, they kind of figured out, oh, people are wanting more of a storyline and we've already given Superman kind of a timeframe. And now this has to be Superboy. So it needs to be earlier. So they were like, Okay. Superboy is from the 30s. Mike: Right. Jessika: But Superman at that time, I think was supposed to be set in the 60s or the 50s. And the math did not add Mike: Right. Jessika: at all to get to that point. So right off the bat. You've just you're wrong about the dates. what's even more funny to me is that in the first iterations of the Superman comic, the origin story is always [00:27:00] that the first time he came to earth was when he came to metropolis, like as a full ass adult. Mike: Right. Jessika: So what's, what's up, you know, so that's where it's like, all Right. this is already… Mike: This is convoluted. Yeah. Jessika: exactly. So you and I read a couple of comics from the time period of those original comics, and we read them from specifically from 1963. What I love about these is you could actually, at that, I don't, maybe they still do this. I haven't seen it yet in my Comics. You could write in and they would publish the comments and the editor … Mike: they still do this. Jessika: Okay, cool. So the editor writes a comment back, Mike: Yeah. Jessika: So we have a few of these. Mike: Okay. Jessika: And I would love for you to read them for us. Mike: Okay. So we have a few of these here. the first one says dear editor, since Superman was a Superboy before World War II and television sets, weren't perfected and [00:28:00] sold to the public until after World War II. How come you show TV roof antennas, and Superboy stories. Kevin Herron, Tiffin, Ohio. And the editor responded with you're right, Kevin, we're wrong. We made a booboo. Editor. Jessika: Okay. Mike: The next one is dear editor. How come in Superboy comics. You illustrate such modern inventions as a bombs, atomic subs, jet planes, television, et cetera, all devices, which weren't invented until 1945 for later. And which certainly weren't around when Superman was born, Ken parent Wheaton, Illinois. The response is historians refer to such inconsistency as anachronisms. They are a necessary form of literary license required to achieve dramatic effects. Movies exercise this option very often. For example, the first umbrella was invented in 1740 yet numerous period films devoted to the life in the middle ages have shown heroines protecting themselves from the sun with a parasol. Editor Jessika: I love how he's getting like a little salt here with his answers. Mike: Just a little bit. [00:29:00] Jessika: He's like, but Webster's dictionary says… Mike: God. Yeah. I don't miss those days. These days. Usually when you see the letters section of a comic, it's usually people talking about how much something meant to them, or at least in the ones that I read it. It's always really nice. So. Jessika: That's sweet. Mike: All right. So the last one: dear editor in the recent story, the amazing bizarro you had Superboy dropping an atomic bomb on bizarro. How is this possible, as Superboys adventures. They're supposed to have happened before 1945 and scientists had not perfected the H-bomb until 1945. Steve Spangler, Sonoma, California, Jessika: Boom representation. That's right down the road from us. Mike: the response is “we goofed! From now on no more a bombs in Superboy. Editor.” Jessika: Well, that's easy. Mike: Oh, that's great. At some point it's like, come on guys, it's a comic book. Jessika: Yeah, Mike: I think it's, are you [00:30:00] really expecting the science fiction comic, starring an alien who just happens to look exactly like a human, but has more super powers than God is going to be historically and scientifically accurate all the time. Okay. Whatever. I don't… Jessika: I know. I know. I know. I hear you. I do well. And what's funny too, is at one point, Lana Lang is in a beauty competition and it says 1952. Mike: Well, it's reassuring to know that nerds were always this nitpicky. Jessika: Absolutely. That really is. Mike: Yeah. Jessika: So the time in consistencies didn't end there. As I mentioned, there have been multiple timelines that have been created and destroyed to ensure some kind of consistency in the Superman universe. But whether or not that was actually a success is really anybody's opinion. It's up to the listener. [00:31:00] But if you're interested in finding out more about this travesty of a timeline, go check out that blog post I mentioned at the top of the episode, I'm on Captain Comics Presents, it's got a lot more examples of the inconsistencies from those OG comics. Mike: Yeah. Well, okay. One thing I will note is that DC kind of figured this out recently where they, ran a series called doomsday clock, and it's Dr. Manhattan from the Watchman universe with Superman. And the very end of it is revealing that there is now a “metaverse” in DC. Where it's like, oh yeah. So Superman arrived in the 30s and started being a superhero, you know? And then also he also arrived in the 60s and then he also arrived in the 80s and so on and so forth. And so it, it sort of makes sense of that for those people who care. Jessika: Well, and it's like the same kind of Marvel multi-verse that we have going on with that, with the Spider-Man is pointing to each other. Mike: Yeah. It [00:32:00] basically, it takes the concept of a multi-verse and then it adds another layer and it does it in a way that feels, hm, I'm not going to say plausible, but it just, it kind of works and, you know, I actually liked it, but that's just me. Jessika: Yeah. you know what, and what's funny about Superman is I don't like Superman, so it's funny that we're doing this whole episode. I just thought it, was interesting. These Superboy comics when I saw them, well and I picked them up because like, honestly, like the titles were horrific and I will have some very liberal things to say about them, but yes, I, you know, but honestly, what's very funny, even though I hate Superman, I don't know what it was about the Superman symbol that I used to love. And I didn't read the comics. I'd watch the show from the eighties. And I'd seen the Christopher Reeves movies. We loved those. But other than that, I wasn't like huge in the Superman, but if I had gotten a tattoo, when I was 18 years old, it would have been a Superman symbol. So I'm very glad my mom never, she never [00:33:00] listens to this. So she will never know that I'm confessing that, she talked me out of making a very bad tattoo decision because she doesn't need any more gloating rights, Mike: Yeah. I don't know. I kind of viewed him like Captain America, where I thought he was really boring. And then I realized that if you find the right writer, Superman really, really works. I've come to really enjoy a lot of Superman stories, but you know, it depends. Jessika: And I think you're right. That I, I probably just haven't found the right writer or the right style. And I did recently start do I start birthright? I started something recently. Mike: I think it was Birthright, based on our conversations. Jessika: yeah. So I will get back into that at some point in time. I just have such a stack now will obsessed. Oh no. Mike: Oh no, Jessika: Oh, no. more Comics. So Mike, you and I read a couple of these issues that I found at that estate sale. That was Superboy boys. Numbers, 109 [00:34:00] and 110. So do you want to recap 109 us? Mike: Yeah. Okay. You've mentioned that these are anthology comics and so Superboy at this point in time, apparently was having two or three storylines per issue. based on the two that we read, each one had two different stories in it. Superboy 109 has the first story is the Super Youth of Brozz. The title story about the rival super dogs doesn't show up until later, which that always surprises me, when the cover action isn't the first story and everything else is in a backup, but whatever. Jessika: It's a little confusing. Mike: the Super Youth of Brozz is about how a young Clark Kent winds up sort of becoming friends with another teenage orphan in Smallville named Fred who's, quote, timid that's his like defining character trait. That's all that anybody used to describe him. And he gets picked on by the towns in crowd of teenagers. It's revealed that he lives in the [00:35:00] Smallville orphanage, which okay. He literally walks back to the orphanage and then Superboys spies on him and he's crying because he overheard people talking about how they didn't want to adopt him because he was too much of a wimp I'm just like, oh, okay. Jessika: Thanks for being super toxic Superboy. That's so great. Mike: Superboy winds up deciding to give him confidence. And so he takes him to a planet called Brozz where Fred gains super powers from the atmosphere. And then Superboy actually loses his overtime for reasons that are not really well explained because you know, Superboy, he gets his powers from the yellow sun. And then later on, he gets his powers back sort of from the little spacecraft that they brought Fred over in, because it had some remnants of Earth's atmosphere, which that's not how science works. I was a history major and even I can tell you that. Superboy has this whole convoluted plot about how if he can get Fred to have super power's he'll gain confidence, which Fred sort of does. He eventually saves Superboy's life and then decides to stay on the planet and be a superhero. And he gets offered to be adopted, but he declines the offer for some bizarre reason, something about like, you know, basically he doesn't want to put his, foster parents at risk. And Superboy heads home to earth and has a final thought about how he wouldn't be the person he was, if it hadn't been for the Kents. The end. Jessika: Yeah. Yup. Mike: Yep. But the title story, which is the Super Dog That Replaced Krypto is basically at some point, Superboy rescues a dog named Swifty, which looks like a Greyhound. Swifty winds up months later, tracking down Superboy in Smallville, which means that Superboy didn't [00:37:00] even drop this dog off at a shelter. Apparently he just got him out of harm's way and then just left him. So strike one, Supes. Jessika: Yeah. It's not. Mike: Then Superboy winds up temporarily granting Swifty the same powers that Krypto has. And then it seems like he's testing them out, but it doesn't quite work out that way. Swifty loses his powers and then he's, again, I guess, left alone. He's just as far as I can tell, he's a homeless dog in Smallville. Jessika: Yeah. There's a lot of orphans in the story. Mike: after his powers fade some villains who were trapped in the Phantom zone, but crossover and are sort of the Phantom zone wind up trying to take mental control of Superboy and Krypto, they don't have any luck. They are able to influence Swifty. And then they guide him through a process that grants him super powers. And then I think it also makes them evil, but it's not really well explained. Jessika: Oh, it's because the Phantoms were influencing him. [00:38:00] And so their intentions were like his intention. So because they had negative vibes against Superboy. That's what I got out of it, but it's, it's really vague. Mike: Super vague. Superboy decides to randomly hold a series of tests for Swifty and Krypto to be the new super dog. And like, he does this as opposed to like, just like letting them both help him out. Jessika: that's what I'm saying. Like, it wasn't even to like, be the next super dog. It was like to go be the ambassador on this trip Mike: Oh, is that it? Okay. Jessika: yeah. And then , why wouldn't you want like an entourage of fucking, like super dogs with you? Why would you two super dogs is way better than one super dog. Like, I don't know what the fuck his problem was Mike: 100%. So anyway, the Phantom zone criminals helps Swifty, win the contest, Swifty becomes the super [00:39:00] dog for at least this instance. And then he leads both Krypto and Superboy into a kryptonite death trap. Like there's literally a spring that like hurls kryptonite at them. And then at the last second Krypto manages to blast Swifty with the duplicate Ray, which creates a bizarro Swifty, who's good as opposed to the original version. Superboy comes up with a potion or, sorry, the Bizarro Swifty saves them. And then Superboy comes up with a potion that strip Swifty's powers and restores his good nature. And then he creates a collar that repels the Phantom zone ghosts so they can't control the dog again. And that's it like, Swifty's apparently the sad homeless dog in Smallville who just gets sad every time that he sees Superboy and Krypto fly by. And he thinks about how he wants to be Superboys' dog again. Jessika: It's really depressing. And I would never do that to Carl for the record. I would never. Okay. Mike: I mean, [00:40:00] yeah, this, this issue definitely rubbed me the wrong way. Just for that, where I'm like, God, Superboy. it couldn't even find a home for the dog who tracked you down across the country and just wanted to be your friend. Jessika: You're fucking Superboy have two fucking dogs. Like, I don't know how difficult this is. Like, well, where Martha. Martha is like, no, we've already gotten one super dog in the house. Mike: Yeah, right. Jessika: No, this one's just normal, now! I swear. Mike: between the two of us, we have four dogs. So, I mean, we're definitely the wrong audience for this, Jessika: for sure. And I bought this comic for the fact that there were like super dogs on there. I got very excited. Mike: yeah. And the thing is, is that there's a whole menagerie, a super pets like you eventually get like Comet the super horse. Like it's no, there, there was a monkey. There was, I think, I think it was Streaky the super cat too. Jessika: Oh, no. Mike: It's not like, you know, [00:41:00] there wasn't a whole collection of super pets. But whatever. Jessika: Yeah. What did you think of this since you haven't told, since you haven't started telling me already. Mike: It reminded me that Superman and Superboy stories from this era just a lot of times don't make any sense. I have a collection from the late eighties called the Greatest Superman Stories Ever Told, and It's got stories from the forties to the eighties and even those early great stories, in quotes, they're pretty out there. And neither of these stories are anywhere close to what's contained in that book. I don't know. My biggest complaint is how Superboys' logic is always terrible. Like why does Fred need to be made into another version of the Superboy in order to gain confidence? Why not just help them with the core issue, which is that nobody wants to adopt them from the Smallville orphanage, which again, lawl. Jessika: Yeah. Like what does it have two orphans in there? Mike: It just, it seems like helping them find a [00:42:00] family would do a lot more good. And likewise, why not just adopt Swifty too? Like it's shitty and it's dumb, but all of this reminded me of the site called Super Dickery, which I showed you. Jessika: Yes. Mike: It was the site that's originally focused on the absolute insanity of Superman comic covers. So many of these comics would feature things like Superman, just fucking over his friends. That was a repeated theme for years. There's one where he has Lois lane strapped to the grill of a truck and he's flying out after he drove it off a cliff. And just saying something to the effect “I'll see you later, Lois.” Jessika: Holy shit. Mike: And there's another one where Aquaman, Jimmy Olsen are dying of thirst in the desert and Superman's just lording over them with this pitcher of water. the site was around at least in 2005, which is when I first came across it. It's kind of defunct. Now. I don't think has been updated for a couple of years, but you can go back on archive.org and just scroll through all these things. The [00:43:00] tagline was Superman's a Dick and here's the evidence and it's great. Like that is a way to kill an afternoon. Let me tell ya. Jessika: Oh, I definitely checked out a few of those today and I was rolling. Rolling. He definitely came off as an asshole in this comic. Like, no question, no question. You know, what makes me the most mad is that he has the ability to give Swifty super powers. He has the ability to make both dogs talk. Mike: Oh my God. Yeah. Jessika: What the fuck are you doing? Mike: there was a cover on Super Dickery where it's young Clark Kent and Bruce Wayne, and they've created a computer that lets them see the future and like, Hey, we're going to grow up to be crime fighters and superheroes. So we're going to be best friends. It's like cool. You know, what also would be useful? I don't know. Maybe telling Bruce Wayne that his parents are going to get murdered and it can be avoided. Jessika: Seriously. Holy shit. Oh my God. Yeah. But then he wouldn't have his [00:44:00] homie. Superboy's just all in it for himself. Mike: Yeah. Jessika: And like, why does he just have something lying around the has fandoms as I can get out? Why does he have that? Doesn't make any sense. Mike: We don't have another two hours to discuss the Phantom Zone. Jessika: Kal-El you silly boy. So let's, let's move on to the other comic we read, which, uh, we're just be just as angry about, by the way. Spoiler case you were wondering. So what happened in issue? Number 110? Cause I did get sequential ones, which is great, kind of. Mike: Right. Okay. So again, we have two stores. We have the Surrender of Superboy and the runt of steel, the surrender of supervise story is the one that we actually get on the cover. It's Superboy in Krypto losing a tug of war match to some old man. And we're basically told, well, you won't believe who the old man is. In the Surrender of Superboy, Clark [00:45:00] Kent, and Lana Lang traveled to South America to accompany her, I guess he's a college professor, dad on an archeological dig. One of the flowers recovered is this legendary hate flower, which causes any living, being that smells it to hate the first human they see after smelling it. They're like very specific that it's, you will hate the first human. Jessika: Yeah. Mike: When they get back to Smallville, Lana smells the hate flower by accident. She sees Superboy flying outside and then dun, dun dunnnn winds up developing an intense hatred for the boy of steel. She grabs. I think it's like, it's… do we ever get a name for this thing? It's like a devil's mask? Jessika: I think she just calls it devil's mask. Cause it's a devil's witch mask or something like that on the wall. It's very vague again. Mike: So she's in this museum, she grabs this thing off the wall because there's no fucking security anywhere. And it specifically says what it does, where it's says the person who wears this can summon souls , or spirits from the past and have them obey them for an hour. And then she [00:46:00] starts using it to cause trouble. Sir Lancelot and then George Washington are her first minions, but they refuse to help because they claim that they've heard about Superboy's heroic deeds and even in the past, which Jessika: No, no, no, It's not a thing. No. Mike: I just, I can't, man, it's so dumb. Jessika: When I read that, I was like, what, what is actually going on right now? I literally stopped reading for a few minutes. Mike: Everything about the story it feels like monkeys at a typewriter. Jessika: Yes, Mike: So then she summons Merlin to humiliate Superboy at this super strength exhibition that he's doing in order to benefit the old folks home and Merlin, it turns out is the old man who beats him in the tug of war on the cover. Which by the way, this is like three panels in the comic. And it's not that big a deal. Jessika: it's really not. Mike: yeah, after that she summons Edgar Allen Poe and [00:47:00] Sherlock Holmes. She says they're the two greatest detective minds of the past. So they help her solve a jewel highs that Superboy can't and then she framed Superboy by having Hercules, Samson, and Atlas tear apart the Smallville Scientific Institute. Um, let's see, she summons Venus, Helen of Troy, and Juliet to basically seduce Superboy. And then she spurns him at a dance. And also I'm sorry, but really? JULIET? Like, come on. Jessika: Juliet was a child who fell into a situation and was a tragic figure. Mike: Juliet was a stupid teenager. Like, I can't, I can't even, I'm sorry. Jessika: She probably had acne and Superboy definitely had that hair where it was brushed forward and then spiked up in the front. Mike: Yep. Jessika: Absolutely. Yep. Mike: Yeah. Jessika: Fuckin' assholes. All of them, Mike: So she [00:48:00] spurns them at this dance and her dad gets mad at her. He's like, I heard you were very rude to Superboy. Jessika: Which by the way, the fact that he wears that fucking suit to every occasion, like, come on, dude. Mike: I just love that idea. Jessika: Can you have like a literal suit, like, a super suit. That actually looks nice? Mike: Just get something, like, get a nice Navy blue, kind of slim fitting suits have an Ascot popping out with your Superman logo. All the girls would be all over you. It'd be great. Jessika: Oh, my gosh. Can you imagine the Kent's first trip to a fancy restaurant where they have to like, get the borrow jacket, like the loaner jacket from the restaurant, because he's wearing his stupid ass suit and they're like, Oh, Sir, excuse me. Mike: He's just walking around with his Cape, sticking out from under the jacket. I would read that comic. Jessika: I would too. [00:49:00] Mike: Anyway. So finally Lana decides to pull Jor-El, Superboy's dad from the past, in order to help her discover Superboys' secret identity. Instead of, I don't know, reuniting Jor-El with his son who he never got to see, but whatever. Okay. Jor-El gives you this device that's supposed to detect Kryptonians. It leads her to a closet where Krypto the Superdawg is Krypto shakes himself, and basically gives off a bunch of dust. Actually counteracts the flowers' hate pollen. And it turns out that Superboy and Lana's dad switched the mask with a dummy, once they realized what was going on and then her dad disguised himself as GRL and then everything just goes back to normal and nothing matters. Jessika: Yeah, we're again, they have access to these devices that are like powerful and they like have instructions on the wall, but don't use them. Like he literally says to his daughter at one point like, oh, well stay away from the superstition side of things. It's quite dangerous. And she's like, oh, what's that?[00:50:00] Let me check out this mask. So fricking ridiculous. Mike: So then we get the second story, which is the Super Runt of Steel, which is about a criminal named Peewee Reagan, who we don't know who this dude is, but he shows up at this dilapidated house, he pays some amoral super scientist to grant him super powers. Peewee goes on a crime spree that even Superboy can't stop because Superboys' powers are weirdly fading for no real reason. Peewee flies away to a distant planet because he spotted treasure inside it. He gets to the planet, he wrecks a bunch of the alien robots that are there and then goes inside this vault that's full of space gems and minerals, and he winds up screaming in pain. Superboy finds out the scientist it turns out leached his powers and transfer them over to Peewee. And he's able to track the criminal to the aforementioned planet. And it turns out Peewee died because the vault also contained kryptonite and then Superboy [00:51:00] buries Peewee and flies away the end. Jessika: Because he somehow gets his powers back by just being around him. It was weird. Mike: Everything about this issue just made me roll my eyes. And a lot of the stories from this era, if you go back and read a lot of these things, they had those kinds of surprise endings. That just feel so dumb these days. Like it was that weird, ironic twist. They're not really ironic because they don't really make a lot of sense. Jessika: Yeah, they're just kind of like a left field thought. Mike: Yeah, there's a lot that just doesn't work. And it's like if you go down this very specific logic train that these writers force you along, it's like, you know, the whole thing. Having Lana's dad disguise himself as Jor-El, like Superboy, just, knew that this was going to be the next step. You're like, all right. Well, I don't know, and then also, I'm sorry. But she's supposed to be calling all of these characters from history, all these spirits or people from history and then it's gods and fictitious characters like [00:52:00] Lancelot and Juliet and uh, whatever. Jessika: No, they were really contrived figures. I mean, even when they had real people in there, they weren't used to their purpose. Mike: No, and it's one of those things where you read it and you're like, this is just, this is so dumb. Oh, it's Samson and Hercules. Okay. Whatever, why not? Random characters from the Bible and Greek mythology. Why not? Jessika: Dude, where do I even start on this issue though? They had so many problems. The beginning, when the scientists negate the word of the locals as superstition, even though it actually did have dangerous poisonous properties to it. They're like, oh, it's just a myth. Mike: Because there's a whole thing where one of the boroughs winds up attacking a guide and then when they sit there and say, oh, it must have like gotten near the hade flower and they're like, oh no, it just got bit by a fly. All right. Jessika: Yeah. And the scientists are like, I mean, gosh, darn. How big of a [00:53:00] supremacist asshole do you have to be to not trust the people who live there to know anything about the plants that they have been living with their whole lives. I truly don't understand that. Mike: Yeah. Jessika: Then the scientists were like, oh, woopsie, Daisy. I guess they were right. Chuckle, chuckle. Mike: This was also still a period in time where anyone who was not white, especially native populations were viewed with a healthy degree of just kind of, well, like you said, it like supremacy. Like if you go back and read those old Tintin books, woof. Jessika: Oh, yeah. I've read someof those in the original French and they're... Yeah. Mike: Yeah. And if you go back and read those and then like up until really, I want to say the 70s or 80s was one thing started to get a little bit better, but even mainstream in the 60s were still pretty awful when it came to depicting people who weren't [00:54:00] white. Jessika: Yeah. There was that whole segregation thing. You know, just that. Mike: Yeah. Jessika: Yeah, I, it was really gross when the quote unquote historical women came to give her beauty advice so that she could do seduce Superboy, like that was so contrived and odd and sexist and strange, Mike: Yeah. Jessika: Or the part where Superboy is not only supposed to be earning money for an old person's home. He's also making agist jokes about the quote unquote old man that ends up beating him. Both him and his dog, a tug of war. Mike: Yeah. Jessika: But then the comic itself is so obviously like they so obviously made it agistly clear that this man only be Superboy because he was Merlin, the wizard, which yikes guys, I know people way older than me that could kick my ass at most anything. So that's pretty [00:55:00] ridiculous. Mike: yeah. Jessika: Oh. Or the fact that the little guys or men that are like smaller and stature or timid, they are constantly the ones that need quote, unquote saving by Superboy in these really odd, like vague ways. Like they need to get physical strength to be appreciated. And it's super toxic. Mike: Yeah. And I mean, that kind of hinges on the old ideas of masculinity as well. Jessika: Oh, and I'm sorry, why Lana's dad keeping again, keeping legit magic items where people can access them. It just, I can not get past that because they just have all this shit sitting around where people are like, oh, let me touch it. Mike: look, here's the thing, like gun control, wasn't a thing back then you think they're going to seriously guard supernatural weapons of destruction. Jessika: that is a valid point. That is so valid. at least he wasn't mistreating his dog in this issue, I guess. Mike: I guess. I don't know. He locked him in the closet for a few hours. Jessika: Shit. That's right. [00:56:00] Nevermind. Fuck. So that wraps up our Superboy conversation. Let's move on to our brain wrinkles. And this is the one thing comics are comics adjacent that's just been rattling around in your brain. Since the last time we talked. Mike: Yeah. So I was going to talk about free comic book day and how I was originally pretty excited about it. But now, we're recording this a couple of weeks before free comic book day is going to happen. And we are still in the middle of a pandemic when we record this, the Delta strain has started to rear its ugly head and lead to cases spiking all over the place, including here in the Bay Area. So, As someone who has immunocompromised kids who are too young to get the vaccine still, we're not going to be able to participate. Um, so yeah, I don't know. I think I'm instead going to talk about The Suicide Squad and actually how I'm really [00:57:00] excited about that movie. And it's getting rave reviews and it's opening this week on HBO max and in theaters. And then, because people can't leave shit well, enough alone, David Ayer, the director of the original Suicide Squad movie talked about how this one is great, but then he proceeded to shit all over Warner Brothers and talked about how the version of just Suicide Squad that got released back in 2016, was not his version of the film and how it's terrible. And he wants, vindication now. And I just, I can't go through another Snyder Cut. I just, I don't have… Jessika: Alright like, you know, at least, okay. At least it's not the Justice League. At least it's Suicide Squad, Mike: But like the Snyder Cut almost broke me. Jessika: No, I hear you. I already don't like, I already wasn't like on board and I had to watch like so much Justice League that weekend. Mike: I remember. Jessika: Then I had prequel films I had to [00:58:00] watch. No, I don't want to do this again. I don't. Mike: I can't. I am happy to talk about Suicide Squad. And I'm pretty sure there'll be jazzed up to talk about it after this movie. But I just, I can't bring myself to care about these auteur directors who are just… when I was working in the video games industry, we had this term that we used for certain people who were on the development side, who were all about their vision and how, they wouldn't compromise anything. And we, we just refer to them as the genius babies, because they would have these ungodly meltdowns. I can't bring myself to just, I can't bring myself to care about another genius baby throwing a temper tantrum. Jessika: I don't want it. Mike: How about you? What is, uh, what is sitting in your head these days? Jessika: I've been thinking a lot about representation in the media, including comic books. [00:59:00] And that's partially because we've been reading all these old comics where we don't see a lot of different representation. Versus the comics that I'm drawn to, which are full of representation, because that's what I prefer to read. I want to see everyone and it's been really nice to read destiny, New York and some of these other recent comics that actually show different types of bodies, different skin tones, different sexualities and genders. But I think there's so much more that we need to do, and that can be done to add and continue to build upon that representation. Like just in general, it's 2021. And we're still shaming people for being a certain size and, you know, airbrushing people who are already considered to be the epitome of beauty in our society. Like what is it going to take for us to allow people to just exist as we are. I mean, you know, besides the whole capitalist bullshit [01:00:00] game, telling women, they need more and more products to achieve beauty. But aside from that, but it's giving me, it's definitely making me feel better to see all of the representation, but there, again, it just reminds me that we need more. Mike: I was gonna say, it's that reminder of we've come a long way, but we need to go further. Jessika: Yep. It is. It is. You had mentioned, your inability to go to free comics day. and I feel like there are probably a lot of people who had a really difficult time getting anywhere. To go to something like that, you know? And so thinking about accessibility in that way of, what about those readers? Like what are we doing about them? So you know, it's just something I think about I've worked at social services too. I mean, I'm just, I'm a bleeding heart, but we need people like me or else, I don't know, get rid of that. We don't need people like me. So that's, that's, what's been rattling for me. [01:01:00] It's just more of a continuous disappointed buzz in my brain that we don't respect all people. Mike: Yeah. Well, we do on this podcast. Jessika: So on that uplifting note, that's it for today, but stay tuned for another episode in two weeks and until then we'll see it in the stacks. Mike: Thanks for listening to Ten Cent Takes. Accessibility is important to us. So text transcriptions of each of our published episodes can be found on our website. Jessika: This episode was hosted by Jessika Frazier and Mike Thompson, written by Jessika Frazier and edited by Mike Thompson. Our intro theme was written and performed by Jared Emerson Johnson of Bay Area Sound, our credits and transition music is Pursuit of Life by Evan McDonald and was purchased with a standard license from premium beat. Our banner graphics were designed by Sarah Frank, who goes by. Look, mom draws on Instagram.[01:02:00] Mike: If you'd like to get in touch with us, ask us questions or tell us about how we got something wrong. Please head over to Tencent takes.com or shoot an email to Tencent firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also find us on Twitter. The official podcast account is Tencenttakes. Jessika is Jessika with us, and Jessika is spelled with a K and I am Vansau: V A N S A U Jessika: If you'd like to support us, be sure to download, rate and review wherever you listen. Mike: Stay safe out there. Jessika: And support your local comic shop .
In this week's episode of Snollygoster, Ohio's politics podcast from WOSU, hosts Mike Thompson and Steve Brown discuss the results of the special election that decided candidates for Ohio's vacant congressional seats.
Hop into your big rigs and get ready for a wild ride! In this episode, we're going to be talking about U.S. 1, Marvel's licensed series about a long-haul trucker who also happened to be a superhero.----more---- Episode 12 Transcript [00:00:00] Mike: If you're a middle-aged white guy, maybe trying to sit there and write about the troubles that indigenous people from other countries face, maybe don't do that. Just my ten cents. Welcome to Ten Cent Takes, the podcast where we hand-wave plot holes like it's nobody's business, one issue at a time. My name is Mike Thompson and I am joined by my cohost of chaos, Jessika Frazer. Jessika: Well, hello. Mike: Hello. Jessika: How are you doing? Mike: Uh, I am doing a lot better now that I am not on jury duty anymore. So. Jessika: Woo. Mike: I mean, don't get me wrong. It's a [00:01:00] civic duty that we should all be happy to perform, but it's really nice when you don't have to do it. Jessika: I've been on a jury before. Mike: Was it, a cool case? Jessika: No, it was a disturbing, unsettling case, but it was still a civic case? It was just, Yeah. It was, it was not great. And I couldn't talk about it. So let's just say I, I took out a lot of my angst with a tennis racket against the wall. Not, not the racket itself, but hitting the ball against the wall a lot. Mike: Yeah, Jessika: But, civic, duty, it is. So I was 19 at the time. Mike: I think the last time I had to report for jury duty in person I was 25, give or take. Jessika: Mm. Mike: And then I got dismissed because they asked me if I would believe a teenager's word over a cop, and at the time I was like, hell no. And these days. Jessika: Yeah. Different opinions now. Mike: Yeah. [00:02:00] Tangent aside, the reason that we're here on this podcast is because we like to look at and talk about comic books in ways that are both fun and informative. We like to look at the weirdest, silliest, strangest, and coolest moments, and examine how they have been woven into pop culture and history in general. In this episode, we're hitting the open road of the Marvel Universe and looking at U.S. 1, a 1980s maxi-series about a superhero big rig trucker. But before we go down that road, what is one cool thing that you have read or watched lately? Jessika: So, I had a suggestion made to me by Lauren, from Outer Planes in Santa Rosa. Hey Lauren. And she told me about a comic that is set in the same universe as the Alice in Leatherland that I started reading and I've had on my pull list now. Mike: Yeah, the one that you mentioned a couple episodes ago? [00:03:00] Jessika: Yeah. Yeah, exactly. And so it was also from Black Mask and it's called Destiny, NY. I'm on issue one, which is a veritable chonker, it's absolutely awesome. There are two girls kissing in a closet within the first three pages, so you know I'm already in. And it's cool because it's set in a version of New York where magic exists, and follows a school for kids that have been told by one seer or another that they have a destiny or a prophecy to fulfill. And the students have different abilities and visual characteristics, like one has a third eye and she's supposed to like, see the greatest lie out of the truths or something like that. And she's like, but I don't even know what that is. It's all super vague, like these poor kids. And I've grabbed the first five issues, and I will be tearing through these and no [00:04:00] time. I'm sure, cause it's already super fun. Mike: Yeah, that sounds fantastic, to be completely honest. There was a book that I read about a year ago called Magic for Liars, which is a boarding school for magic users. And then the sister of, one of the faculty is called in to investigate a death, and it's really cool because she's not a magic user, but her sister who is part of the faculty is so it's, it was cool. I liked it a lot. Jessika: That's neat. Mike: But yeah, that was a cool book. Jessika: Nice. Mike: Yeah. Jessika: Well, what about you? What you've been reading, watching, listening to? Mike: All right. So I'm always mildly embarrassed to admit that I'm a Conan fan, mainly because I think so many people just associate them with Arnold Schwarzenegger and those middling to not-good movies that they made with him in the eighties. Um, yeah, but I really fell in love with his Comics back in 2005 or so, when they were being done by Dark Horse and they were really, really good. They were these wonderfully dark, low fantasy stories that always seem to [00:05:00] balance like action and tragedy and comedy really well. And Marvel got the character back a couple of years ago, so they've been doing really cool work with them lately. The new Conan series is really fun and feels really true to the original stories, but they've also displaced him through time, and now they've got them hanging out in the mainstream Marvel Universe via this series. Jessika: Oh, interesting. Mike: Yeah. And it's in the series called the Savage Avengers. It's wild. It's written by Gerrry Duggan, who, he wrote, arguably the best Conan story that I've ever read in Conan 2099, which is they took that Spider-Man 2099 universe, and then they slapped him right in the middle of it. Jessika: Oh. Mike: It it's great, like the way that it was written was so perfect. And it's one of those books where anybody who sits there and even if they say they're not a Conan fan, I just say, you need to read this. It's wonderful. But anyway, so Savage Avengers features him going on adventures with characters like Wolverine [00:06:00] Deadpool, the Punisher and Electra. It's so dumb, but it's so much fun. Like, early on in the series, he gets a Venom- symbiate joined with them, but it's really weak. So it can only form weapons for him. Jessika: Okay. Mike: It's just it, it's great. It's an absolute guilty pleasure, and I refuse to apologize for this. So it was unfortunately not available in Marvel Unlimited, which is probably why I hadn't heard about it, but the back issues are all pretty cheap, and I grabbed a ton of them from Brian's comics on my last run, and I've just been having a blast reading them. We probably should do an episode actually, where we talk about the fact that Conan has been in comics for almost 50 years. And Jessika: Oh. Mike: He started at Marvel originally, and now he's back at Marvel, but there was a long hiatus. Jessika: Ooh. I want to hear that arc. Absolutely. Mike: All right. Moving right along. So as tempting as it is to just dive right [00:07:00] into U.S. 1 the comic and its strangeness, I don't think we can talk about it without covering some background info first. So, have you ever heard the term trucking culture before? Jessika: I've absolutely heard of trucking culture, but I'm not too familiar with the intricacies. My uncle drove a truck for years, but I think he's retired at this point. Mike: Okay. I think it's something that a lot of people aren't really aware of, or they hear about it and then they start making jokes. Like, I got some glimpses of it when one of my photography gigs have me living on a tour bus for a few months. So, we would visit a lot of legit truck stops in the middle of nowhere. And I'm not talking gas stations, I'm talking full rest stops where restaurants served truckers before other patrons, the bathrooms had shower stalls and all of the stores felt like kind of miniature Walmarts. They were just massive. And they had anything that you could think of you might need on a long road trip. [00:08:00] It's this side that, if you live in an urban environment folks, aren't really going to see or understand, and it's the staggeringly huge thing that most people never even seem to think about. But I mean, trucking is this major part of the United States and its industry as noted in this factoid from the American trucking associations, if you would be so kind. Jessika: Nearly every good consumed in the U S is put on a truck at some point. As a result, the trucking industry hauled 72.5% of all freight transported in the United States in 2019, equaling to 11.84 billion tons. The trucking industry was a $791.7 billion industry in that same year representing 80.4% of the nation's freight bill. Mike: Yeah. It's I was actually, I was really surprised actually to see that it was that much. I assumed that trains [00:09:00] and shipping were at least a little bit bigger. Jessika: No, because we don't here's the problem is that because of the auto industry in the United States, we stifled the ability to make all the train tracks necessary, to get the things to all the places we need. And now it's horrendously expensive to go on a train. Yeah. I don't know that people know that about the United States. So for our international listeners: you can't take trains here, it's very expensive. Mike: Yeah. First of all, there's no real national rail system. And, and second, the rail system that does exist is prohibitively expensive, unless you are a not far distance commuter. Like I took Amtrak for a couple, for about a year traveling between Sacramento and San Francisco a couple of times a week. And it was great. It was less expensive to do that a couple of times a week than it was to drive down. But [00:10:00] yeah, it's prohibitively expensive for most people. Jessika: Yeah. And there are some cities in the United States that do have a decent transportation system. Portland has a decent one in New York, obviously that there are other places to Chicago, yeah. But I mean, for the most part across country, especially because we're such a large country, and we are of course expected to share things. California has to share everything. Listen to me, I sound so greedy. Mike: I know. Yeah. What does it, we have the, I think it's like it's top five or top 10 economies in the world. Jessika: We're the top sixth economy in the world by ourselves. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, So if we just dumped off everyone else, the rest of the states would be screwed. Actually a few would hold their own, but those middlin' states. Mike: Yeah. Jessika: Suffering. Mike: Well, as big as it is, the trucking industry, as we know it, [00:11:00] isn't even a hundred years old. Uh, yeah, so really, trucks were first used extensively by the military in WWI, and then trucking became prominent in the 1930s because of the increased construction on paved roads. So, it didn't take long after that, before truckers became a part of American pop culture. They started having songs and movies about them. And as noted by Shane Hamilton in his book, Trucking Country: the Road to America's Walmart Economy, there was this mythology that almost lionized truckers. Jessika: Hmm. Mike: If you would, uh, do us all the favor of reading out the section that I found that describes it pretty well. Jessika: The image of the respectable trucker circulated outside the world of Hollywood in the 1950s. As truckers became known as the Knights of the Road for helping stranded motorists, and using their blinkers and [00:12:00] headlights as courtesy signals. This image was further reinforced by the standard driver's uniform of the era: trim, neat pants and button shirt, and the chauffeur's cap. The masculine mythologies of trucking moved increasingly into a wider cultural world in the 1950s and 1960s. As the image of the truck driving man was reflected back to truckers by movies and music. Mike: Yeah. So the 1970s were when trucking hit, it's kind of Zenith point and pop culture. They wound up being presented as kind of this modern version of cowboys, you know, wandering nomads who rebelled against the oppressive rule of law while still operating under their own kind of honor code. There were a ton of movies and songs during this decade that romanticized the trucker life. And a lot of these have since faded into obscurity, but this was the period when we got that song Convoy by CW McCall, which also inspired a movie with a very young shirtless Kris Kristofferson, um, [00:13:00] uh, Smokey in the Bandit came out in 1977 and it was the number three grossing movie of the year behind Star Wars. And there's also a really bad Chuck Norris action Flint called Breaker Breaker. Like it was a moment in pop culture. Jessika: Are you really going to say that a Chuck Norris movie was bad? What if he's right behind you? Mike: I mean, yeah. Jessika: It's always a threat. Don't don't deny it. Mike: Man. Remember when we all used to like Chuck Norris and we thought he was cool before we went off the deep end and it turned out he's just the worst. Remember those days? Jessika: Oh no. We have a nefarious character, nefarious character alert. Mike: Yeah. What a shock. Jessika: Oh, not on our podcast. Mike: I know. All right. Well, okay. So the [00:14:00] eighties, this all started to change in the eighties when truckers started being portrayed more villainously, or at least poorly in media, like Thelma and Louise, you've seen Thelma and Louise, right? Jessika: Yeah. Mike: Yeah. You remember how there's that gross trucker who keeps on harassing them. Jessika: Yes. Mike: Yeah. And, the eighties, it was starting to decline, but it wasn't quite there yet. The nineties was when it really picked up and we'll discuss that in a little bit, Jessika: Hmm. Mike: But at the time that this comic project started, big rig truckers were still on the high side of public opinion. So we've talked in previous episodes about how Marvel wound up undergoing a commercial Renaissance in the early eighties, under the guidance of Jim Shooter. Particularly, you know, with Saturday morning cartoons and all that stuff. Jessika: Mm. Mike: One of the major sources of the success came in the form of toy companies, partnering with the publisher for licensed comic adaptations and arguably, the biggest example of this kind of success came from [00:15:00] partnerships with Hasbro when Marvel created the characters and lore for both Transformers in G.I. Joe. So U.S. 1 was a comic that came about from another partnership, but this one was with a different toy company. It was called Tyco Toys and Tyco wanted to do a licensed comic based on their U.S. 1 brand of slot truck toys. Jessika: Oh, so this was all based on the Tyco truck, even. truck even. Mike: Yes, it's a little bit different than the standard Tyco truck, and we'll talk about that in a second, but you know, Tyco probably doesn't sound familiar to people that are younger than us these days, but they were a company that originally made model trains for hobbyists. And then they started making slot car toys in the 1960s, which are the cars that you press the trigger and they go around a track and you can build out the track how you want. So, by the eighties, this brand was the one that was dominating that particular section of the market, the slot car toy section. [00:16:00] And at this point, they decided to create some slot truck toys. It was branded U.S. 1 Electric Trucking, and it launched in 1981. And it was based on the earlier racing sets, but it had a couple of unique features. You could drive the trucks in both forward and reverse, and you could also have the trucks pick up and deliver loads of, and this is the quote, action accessories with that direct interaction from the person operating it. And the tagline was “you control the action”. So I've got this commercial that I found on YouTube, because YouTube has everything and it's actually really cute. You want to give it a shot? Jessika: Sure thing. [00:17:00] Oh, this is really exciting. Oh! That's actually a really fun. Mike: Right. Jessika: No, that's super freaking fun. That is that's super fun. Mike: Yeah. So Tyco came to Marvel and they said that they were interested in having a comic adaptation done. And, the comic wound up being written by Al Milgrim, who's actually, he's a pretty interesting dude in comic history, he worked as a writer, and editor and inker, and a penciler during his career. And he was particularly known for this long tenure editing Marvel Fanfare, where I think he edited it for like a decade. Also the real reason that he's an industry legend though, is because Marvel actually fired him after he hid some messaging in a panel background where he was badmouthing Marvel Harris. The then recently departed editor in chief of Marvel. [00:18:00] Jessika: Oh, damn. That's cold. Mike: Yeah, it was actually really funny and you can look it up, where he basically wrote some messages vertically on the spines of books in the background of a Spider-Man comic. And there's some weird happenstances about how, I think the editor caught them and had the wording removed. And then, through some error, that image got used instead and went to publish and yeah, it's, it's kind of amazing, but he was actually a full-time employee, which was really rare for one of the people who was actually creating the comics. And so it's this, you know, he was, he was actually fired by Marvel. Jessika: Wow. yeah, From what I've read, most of them were freelance, so that's actually super interesting. Mike: Yeah. It's an interesting story. And it's one I would love to talk to him about someday, which we'll discuss that later. I legit love that story about how Milgrim got, let go, because it's totally a move that I would pull. [00:19:00] And then the series was originally drawn by this other long-time Marvel artists named Herb Trimp. he'd made a name for himself with the Incredible Hulk, and also he is known as the first artist to actually draw Wolverine for publication because he drew the, he drew the issue. John Romita came up with the character design in sketch, but he was the one who actually first drew him in a comic, which was cool. Jessika: That's super neat. Mike: Yeah. And so Trimp also, wasn't a stranger to projects like this. He had recently worked on G.I. Joe. He wound up penciling the first two issues, and then Frank Springer came in to finish out the series, and Springer was another reliable artist from Marvel and he had also been involved with G.I. Joe and Transformers. Milgrim actually has an essay at the end of the first issue called In the Driver's Seat, where he talks about the comics. And it starts with how Tyco asks for the common treatment and then goes into his first meeting with Jim Shooter about the projects. And I kind of love this description where he talks about how he wasn't [00:20:00] really sold on the idea originally. Jessika: Frankly, I wasn't sure. Nobody had ever done anything with trucks and comics before. When I voiced the concern to Jim, it was as if I had slapped his face and challenged him to a duel. Exactly! He exploded. Nobody has done it before. Maybe nobody thinks it can be done. There may even be a lot of resistance to the idea, but we can do it and do it well. I got caught up in the challenge, Jim and I did not fight a duel to the death, lucky for him. Instead, we began discussing the idea of a truck driving hero. We talked about the romance of driving a truck, the dedication of those self-sufficient loners who drive the big rigs, we got swept up in the notion, began to solidify the concept of a trucker with a mission, a goal, a quest. Mike: Yeah, it's kind of charming to hear how enamored he got with the project during that first meeting. [00:21:00] The essay also mentions that Marvel's animation division, which as we've also covered in that episode about Saturday morning cartoons, was a thing that they had, was working on what sounded like a TV show pitch. And there might be some toys and animated series in the future, but spoiler, that never happened. I'm curious, how would you summarize this comic series? Jessika: A lot happened. So a lot happened. This series was wild from start to finish. It starts with introductions to Ulysses Solomon Archer, or USA, and his brother, Jefferson, or Jeff after their parents who are truck drivers die in an accident, US and Jeff are raised by Wide Load,. Who's a woman, and Poppa, who are the owners of a truck stop named Shortstop. Mike: We need to stop this for a second. You need to, you need to acknowledge them by their full [00:22:00] names. Jessika: I'm sorry. Remind me what Poppa's name is. Mike: Poppa Wheelie, and it's Wide Load Annie, and Wide Load Annie. Jessika: Okay. Let me re say that. Okay. Excuse me. Mike: I'm sorry. It's just it's too good. Jessika: No, you're right. I'm not even going to cut any of this. I'm just going to leave it. No, you're right. I couldn't, you know what, honestly, because I couldn't remember what their full names were when I was writing this out. I was like, this is good enough. So, so yeah, they're the owners of a truck stop called Shortstop and US is this All-American blonde haired, white boy, who has it all going for him. He's literally good at everything without trying. And he's encouraged by Wide Load Annie and Poppa Wheelie to get a college education, even though he knows he wants to be a truck driver, just like his folks, and his adoptive parents and his big brother, Jeff, who he idolizes. [00:23:00] And Jeff is your classic, dark haired boy who just can't seem to keep up with US's successes, and also becomes a truck driver obviously, and seemingly mostly as a backup profession, which is kind of interesting how they they're both like encouraging and disparaging of truck drivers inparts. And I'm like, it's kind of strange. There's a give and take. I don't know what it is. I don't know if you felt that too. Mike: It's the whole thing of, he is not good. Jefferson is billed as being not good at school, but US is. And so they're like, no, you have to go to college, you have to make something of yourself. And Poppa and Wide Load and Jefferson all support him and send him to school. And Jefferson is doing it via job in trucking. Yeah, they talked about how expensive colleges in those days. And I'm like, my dudes, it's 1980. You could literally go to college on a minimum wage job. And it talks about how also, I think he had scholarships and. Jessika: Cause he was good at [00:24:00] everything. Mike: and he double majored in computer Jessika: Electronics. Yeah, exactly. Mike: Electrical engineering, I think. And then, and then. Jessika: Computer sciences. Yeah. Uh, Yeah. it was a whole thing. Mike: It's a thing. Exactly. Jessika: So during a drive with a young US, Jeff's big rig is run off the road by a devilish figure he calls the high women just prior to driving off a cliff. The truck explodes and Us is gravely injured in such a way that he evidently needs a skull replacement? Mike: You know? Sure. Jessika: Have you heard of that? Mike: No. Jessika: Usually with a skull replacement, you're going to be a lot worse off than just, like, gonna in a pop awake in a couple minutes after you put something metal back on there, Mike: Yeah. It's, uh, I believe they worded it as, oh, is this experimental treatment and I'm like, what? Okay. Jessika: Which already was so [00:25:00] sus. Mike: Yeah. And they, basically replace his skull with it's, in this comic, it's implied that it's like just the top part of his skull that like, you know, protects the brain. Later comic appearances, it is very strongly hinted that they basically do a brain transplant into, or, that they basically just give him a metal skull of some kind. It's like, there's no bone to be seen, but. Jessika: Like a new head completely? Lord. Goodness gracious. Well, so after that, he vows to find his brother who he's like, I couldn't find him in the crash. It's like, bro, like you kind of couldn't look for him. You had a concussion, like you're not an expert in finding bodies in an explosion. I don't know how he just definitively was like, well I guess everybody else told him that, that he, the body was never found or whatever, [00:26:00] but. Mike: Yeah, that's true. Jessika: Yeah. So he decided he's gonna find his brother as well as the mysterious Highwayman that he yelled about right before. And he quickly finds out that he can pick up CB radio waves from his fancy new skullcap, and somehow has truck becomes self-aware and he can communicate directly with it? And it's making its own decisions. Inexplicably. It's not well explained, once again. Mike: It's so truck originally, he builds a remote control into like a half dollar, so he can drive it really like, like a precision driver with his remote. But then later on, I think there's, it was like some kind of like a lightning strike or something or electrical overload that then allowed him to directly interface with the truck. And then the truck is also self-aware at times where it's providing narration for an entire issue. And we'll talk about that, too. Jessika: Yeah, that's what I was going to say. [00:27:00] It was the weirdest thing. I was kinda on board with most of it. And then the truck was having its own inner monologue. And I was like, wait a second, guys. Mike: Yeah. Jessika: Oh, goodness gracious. And then there's also a spy planted within the truck stop in the form of a mind-controlled waitress, Mary McGrill, which their names, all their names. Mike: The alliteration and stuff and puns. It's great. Jessika: Exactly. It's so cheese. I love it. And she uses this wacky mind control whip, and there's drama about the truck stop being foreclosed upon and being sold to make condos. And, and then DUN DUN DUN! Jeff turns out to be the Highwayman! And they are aliens looking for the best person, read trucker, you know, of course on earth to be some kind of space ambassador? Mike: Yeah. It's not well explained. [00:28:00] I think it had something to do with they wanted people to pilot their star ships, because they were like accustomed to like long bouts of being on their own and stuff. Jessika: Yeah, it was, it was a whole thing too. And then apparently all humans look alike to the aliens. Mike: I thought that was funny as fuck. That was. Jessika: I thought that was hysterical Mike: Because the aliens are so weird looking. Jessika: Yeah. Yeah. And so apparently they had been scoping US this whole time, cause he's like the golden child, but then they accidentally swooped Jeff instead, because they made a mistake and Jeff was just like, yeah, I'm going to go with it. So once they figured out their mistake, they felt really bad about wasting all of their time and effort on this, this putz. And so then they of course had to have a race to make sure who was the best one to be the space ambassador, whether it was [00:29:00] going to be US, who dun dun dun the aliens gave him the skullcap! Mike: Yup. Jessika: Or his brother who has been working with the alien tech and has, like, a time advantage and a training advantage. So it's of course, US wins. I mean, come on. So of course they just get sent up into space? And he gets to take the whole truck stop with him? And all of the people? Mike: Yup. Jessika: It's the Rapture? Mike: Yeah. And then the greedy bankers who are left behind, who are going to take the property that the truck stopped. I think they, they wind up getting dosed with some kind of radiation. Jessika: Yeah, the, they were going to build condos on the land and then it ended up being radioactive. And so the buyer ended up pulling out. Mike: Yeah, Jessika: Like right there, because that's how that works. Mike: Yeah. Jessika: So yeah. The end. That's it. Mike: Oh yeah. [00:30:00] And then the other thing is that for the first half of the series, we are given to believe that the Highwayman is demonic in origin. Like they do a whole thing where, he's got his own mind-controlled, big rig that runs them off the road or whatever. And, he's surrounded by devils when he's looking down triumphantly on the wreckage and there's, you know, it's the mythology of the open road where they're like, oh, he was this trucker who, apparently, couldn't keep up anymore with the younger truckers and their newer rigs. So we cut a deal with the devil and it was, I actually kind of dug it. It was ridiculous. And over the top, but it was great. And then it turns out it was just, I don't know, some disguise that he put on just the fuck with everybody. Jessika: He did the Scooby Doo unveiling where he pulled a rubber mask off of his face, and I about lost my mind. Mike: Yeah. Okay. What was your overall impression of the series? Jessika: It was a fucking [00:31:00] wild ride, but it was fun. I liked that it was so random at times. It legitimately kept me guessing the whole way. The topics though, they were not subtle with the overbearing American patriotism and the overt disdain for neo-Nazis, which obviously I'm behind. Mike: I mean, whatever that was fine. Jessika: that was great when they dropped the, the neo-Nazis in Televiv. Mike: Oh God. Well, and the funniest part was they were, so one of the antagonists for us is Baron VonBlimp, who pilot, he, he looks like, he looks like kind of this weird aristocrat from like turn of the century, Europe. No, he's I think he even has a monocle. And then towards the end, when he shows up in his blimp, he drops out and he's got a bunch of Nazis with them and, you know, they've got the swastika, armbands and everything, and then it's revealed they're not actually Nazis and he's not even German. He just liked how the uniforms looked. And then the aliens are like, whatever we're [00:32:00] done with this. And they literally hand wave them away into Israel. And I was like, that's, that's just magnificent. Just chef's kiss. Jessika: Oh, yeah, I did actually really like that. So, so what about you? What did you think about this? Mike: I mean, it's one of those comics where I never expected to enjoy it as much as I did, but there's something so silly and pure about this entire story. It feels like the kind of thing that a five or six year old kid would come up with while playing with their trucks, you know, like monsters and aliens and races against air ships. And then you hand wave away things when you want to change the narrative. And it somehow kind of works actually. Like, I don't know how, but it kind of does. I really loved, like I talked about, I love Baron VonBlimp, I thought he was just so weird. And then I liked how the Shortstop is essentially the Mos Eisley Cantina, but it's got better coffee. [00:33:00] And it seemed like every time that we first visited the place, someone was getting thrown through a window, which was of. Jessika: Absolutely. There was always a fight scene. It reminded me of a saloon, like one of those old-timey saloons with people getting thrown out double doors and things crashing. Mike: Yeah. And then we talked about how US' his truck was self-aware, but, but I love the bit where Papa refers to it as a she and the trucks that there and says I'm not ashamed, but I'm secure enough in myself. That it's fine. Jessika: Yeah. Mike: I was like, that is weirdly topical through a 2021 lens, but this is also really good. And also every cover to this comic, it is a work of art. Like, like the styles vary, but they're really cool looking and they're just really weird. Yeah, I mean, it was just, it was a blast. Were there any highlights for you, or any lowlights. Jessika: So I have to say my eyes just about rolled out of my [00:34:00] head, where the aliens showed up and needed chicken parts to make their ship work correctly. And the rivalry between the two female characters was pretty contrived. Mike: I did like how they were trying to sit there and spin it so you didn't know who was the sleeper agent? I thought that was kind of cool, but yeah, they were, you know, they were fighting over Us and that was dumb, but it's also, you know, it's the 1980s. What are you gonna do? Jessika: Exactly. Had to have some sort of, you know, forced love triangle of some nature. But I have to say I was oddly charmed at the editing notes from Ralph Macchio, all people? Mike: Uh, editor with the same name as the, yeah. Jessika: Oh, okay. All right. Wow. Goodness gracious. Cause I was like giving that guy a lot of credit. Mike: Nope. Jessika: I did like that though. I did like the little comments, the little editing notes, it was a little much [00:35:00] sometimes, but I love that he was throwing shade at the writers sometimes, or reminding the reader about the previous events or where you could read about them. And it was interesting how in depth they recapped each issue, but it must've been nice for the readers who weren't starting from issue one. Mike: Yeah. And especially because it was a maxi series and then it started in mid 1983 and then it ended in late 1984. So, it went from monthly to bi-monthly, and it was not a big name comic in the first place, so it makes sense that they would sit there and provide that background for readers. And I also really appreciated that it was all the same characters over and over again, so that it wasn't doing anything crazy new, but at the same time, each of those issues you could pick up except for the last couple. Pretty easy to understand. Jessika: Yeah. I would say so. Mike: I mentioned earlier that this was another licensed comic that was designed to help promote a toy line, but as [00:36:00] opposed to G.I. Joe and transformers, though, this wasn't nearly as successful. Comichron, which is a site that tracks sales data for comics doesn't have 1983 data in place yet, but the site comic book, historians has this incredible online community. And I actually wound up posting there and asking if anyone had any insight into how the comics sold and Al Milgrim himself wound up chiming in if you would be so kind. Jessika: I'm sorry, what? That's cool as heck. Mike: Yeah. Jessika: Wow. Mike: Yeah. Jessika: Okay. Well, I got a, sorry, I got a little nervous. Oh sure. I think the first issue sold around 160,000 or so, not great for a first issue, but respectable. Marvel only contracted with the toy company to do a dozen issues. I'm sure the sales went downhill from there. Still think the book was some good silly fun though (I may be [00:37:00] biased). Mike: Yeah, I was really stunned. This, the comic book historian group actually has a lot of amazing industry professionals involved in it. I've seen writers like Mark Wade chime in, the owner of Mile High Comics routinely posts about comic book history as well. They have a podcast and a YouTube series. They did a long series of interviews with Jim Shooter that was really cool, which actually, I think did a lot to kind of redeem his character a bit because a lot of people viewed him as a villain in the comic book and yeah. Jessika: Oh. Mike: But yeah, Milgrim was super cool to chime in on that. And I wound up talking to him briefly afterwards and he said, he'd be open to doing an interview with us at some point. So maybe there'll be a Part two to the U.S. 1 episode. Jessika: That's exciting. Mike: Yeah. The comic series ran for roughly a year and a half and it ended in October of 1984, the U.S. 1 toys were moderately more successful, they lasted until 86. And then after this trucking and pop culture continued to undergo this shift. [00:38:00] And it feels like the nineties, as I said, was when things really started to significantly change. We talked about Thelma and Louise. There was that Kurt Russell trucking movie called Breakdown, where the villains were truckers. And then. I mean, it's kind of still how they're portrayed these days in media. I really don't think it helps that the FBI released this five-year study back in 2009 that linked long haul trucking to serial killers. Jessika: Oh. Wow. Mike: Yeah. And it's one of those things where it's not saying all long haul truckers are a majority of long haul, truckers are serial killers, but that there are a number of serial killers who are long haul truckers. And it makes sense because there's a lack of supervision. And also you can pick someone up in one state, killed them in another and then drop them off, dump the body in a third. And also a lot of times the people that they pick up are people that no one really misses. Jessika: Yeah. Yeah. Mike: On that high note. [00:39:00] The funny thing is that this isn't where Ulysses S. Archer's story ends. So even though this was a licensed comic book for a company that was eventually acquired by Mattel, it seems like Marvel still owns the rights to the characters themselves because Ulysses pops up every now and then he's usually like the supporting character but sometimes it's as to this one-off deep cut. So he appeared in a couple of issues of John Burns, Sensational She Hulk in the early nineties, he was supporting the She Hulk for a few issues. There was a brief cameo and the 2010 series new Avengers where he applied to be a babysitter for Luke Cage and Jessica Jones' daughter Jessika: Oh, geez. Mike: It was, it was actually pretty funny. He wound up helping out Rocket Raccoon in this backup story of a 2011 series called the Annihilaters, and then he also teamed up with Deadpool around the same time. And that's the issue where you see, it looks like he's actually got a fully replaced skull made out of metal. They, they, they do one of those like cross section cuts where you see [00:40:00] where you see underneath the scan, it looks like he's got just an all-metal skull. Jessika: Yeah. Mike: Yeah. And then after that, we haven't heard much about him in the Marvel Universe, but weirdly his brother Jefferson has appeared a bit too. So, he was listed as a character in the Dark Reign files, which was a who's who guide to various Marvel villains in 2009. And it actually retcon his story. Basically it claims that the highway man, after staying on earth wound up actually cutting a deal with Satan, in quotes, whoever that is. And then he wound up fighting against ghost writer. And then aside from the issue where Deadpool teamed up with his brother, he winds up fighting against Deadpool again in 2016 or so. Jessika: That's super random. Mike: Yeah. And now we're in 2021 and it's been a few years since we've seen Ulysses and his friends show up. But I personally think that we're kind of overdue to have them come back like. Jessika: I [00:41:00] want to see Poppa Wheelie in something. Mike: Right. I would love to see him show up as a strong support character in one of those like heroes on the run stories where, whatever hero of the book is being pursued by, the government or something like that. And then he basically winds up providing kind of a mobile base of operations or something like that. And then he helps them keep our heroes one step ahead of the law. Jessika: Yeah. Like he floats down on the Shortstop, like space station or something. Yeah. That'd be cool as heck. Mike: Yeah or something, I mean, there's so many different ways you could go, you could have him come back to earth and he just winds up working as a trucker again, because that's what he really likes. He misses driving through the natural beauty of America, something like that. You know, I think there could be some really fun opportunities. And I really hope that Marvel brings him back at some point, because he was just this really fun, weird character. And it was strange and it was silly, but it was also very sweet. So that is U.S. 1 in a nutshell, [00:42:00] what are your final thoughts on it? Jessika: I think it was a lot of fun. It was bananagrams, you know, all the way to the top, but it was fun. Mike: Yeah. All right. It is now time for that part of the episode called Brain Wrinkles, which is when we like to discuss things that are Comics related that are just sticking in our head and won't get out. Do you mind if I go first? Jessika: Oh, please do. Mike: All right. I was going to talk about the recent news that Marvel's hired someone to direct Blade, but I'm actually way more excited about something else. There's this podcast called Comic Book Couples Counseling, which is this absolutely rad show. It's hosted by married couple, Brad and Lisa Gullickson, and they take relationships between comics characters, and then examine them through the lens of different self-help love gurus. So they've been super supportive of us so far. Like they've actually retweeted [00:43:00] our stuff and their show is really fun. But, I was recently reading through a whole bunch of nineties Valiant comics that I managed to pick up from the Bat Cave in Santa Rosa when they have this blind box sale. And one of the series contained in these boxes is called the Second Life of Dr. Mirage. And it's one of the series that I collected when I was a kid it's about this married couple named Hwen Fong and Carmen Ruiz, who were his pair of psychologists. Hwen is this kind of like nebbish little guy, and Carmen is this bruiser, like, she's the bad-ass of the pair. There's this early scene where she winds up saving him from zombies because she's a master of Kappa Wera, which is, you know, it makes sense, cause she's from Brazil. And then in the first issue, they run a foul of Valiance resident necromancer named master dark and he kills Hwen, but then Hwen comes back as a ghost, sort of a ghost kind of a thing. Jessika: Hm. Mike: But I was reading through the series and I was really struck how this was a superhero comic that actually focused on an [00:44:00] adult relationship and relationship issues that come along with the supernatural stuff, like early on Carmen has a pretty heartfelt talk with her undead husband about how difficult it is for her emotionally, because he's still with her, but she can't touch him. Jessika: Oh my god. Mike: And anyway, so I wound up tweeting about it, cause I thought the couple would make a good topic for Comic Book Couples Counseling, and they wound up picking up all the back issues like that day. And they're going to do an episode about the characters. So I'm super excited to listen to this. Jessika: Oh, that's super fun. Mike: Yeah, Jessika: See, and I was going to talk about the same thing. Mike: I'm sorry, I stole your thunder. Jessika: No, that's okay though. They're so good. So I'm that person who has to start from episode one, because. Mike: They've got a lot of episodes too. Jessika: They do they're back to 2018. So I just went all the way back and it's so [00:45:00] fun though. I like to get that rapport. I like to make sure I have that parasocial, you know, relationship really hooked in there with all the podcasts I listen to. So, the first section that they did cause they always do kind of like a month at a time, focused on one set of characters. The first one was the relationship facets of Jean Gray and Scott Summers from the X-Men. And I love the X-Men. So, it was really neat to hear all of the different ways that they had a relationship and then they were comparing it to a book about relationships. It was very interesting. It was very topical, and I liked that they also are very sweet and introspective about their own relationship. Mike: It's really lovely. Jessika: Yeah. And like what they can do, what they can take out of it to apply to their own marriage, which is it's so sweet. So thank you guys. You guys are great. Mike: Yeah. Comic Book Couples Counseling, Brad and [00:46:00] Lisa, absolutely friends of the podcast. Jessika: Absolutely. Mike: And you know, if they ever want to come on here, they are more than welcome and we will talk about whatever they want to talk about. Jessika: Open invitation. I'll even read a I'll even. I'm not in a couple, but I'll read a self-help book. Like if that's what it takes. Mike: All right. I think that's all from us. we'll be back in two weeks and until then, we'll see you in the stacks. Thanks for listening to Ten Cent Takes. Accessibility is important to us, so text transcriptions of each of our published episodes can be found on our website. This episode was hosted by Jessika Frazer and Mike Thompson written by Mike Thompson and edited by Jessika Frazer. Our intro theme was written and performed by Jared Emerson- Johnson of Bay Area Sound, our credits and transition music is Pursuit of Life by Evan MacDonald, and was purchased with a standard license from PremiumBeat. Our banner graphics were [00:47:00] designed by Sarah Frank. You can find on Instagram as @lookmomdraws. Jessika: If you'd like to get in touch with us, ask us questions or tell us about how we got something wrong, please head over to tencenttakes.com, or shoot an email to email@example.com. You can also find us on Twitter, the official podcast account is @tencenttakes. Jessika is @jessikawitha, and Jessika is spelled with a K, and Mike is @vansau, V A N S A U. Mike: If you'd like to support us, be sure to download, rate and review wherever you listen. Jessika: Stay safe out there. Mike: And support your local comic shop.
In this week's episode of Snollygoster, Ohio's politics podcast from WOSU, hosts Mike Thompson and Steve Brown discuss FirstEnergy's admission that it paid $4.3 million to Sam Randazzo just before he became the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio chair under Gov. Mike DeWine.
In this week's episode of Snollygoster, Ohio's politics podcast from WOSU, hosts Mike Thompson and Steve Brown discuss the rise in COVID cases due to the Delta variant and the FirstEnergy settlement to avoid prosecution in the nuclear bailout scandal.
Hey, there, fellow heroes in a half-shell! This week, we're examining how the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles evolved across approximately 30 years and four comic book series. In this episode, we're looking at: The original Mirage series TMNT Adventures from Archie Comics The short-lived Image Comics series from the 90s IDW's 2011 series ----more---- Episode 11 Transcript [00:00:00] Jessika: You're going to cut all this bullshit, Mike: Oh yeah, of course. Jessika: Okay. Hello? Hello. Welcome to Ten Cent Takes, the podcast where we share hot and delicious slices of comic-flavored facts, one issue at a time. My name is Jessika Frazer and I am joined by my co-host, the man of mystery himself, Mike Thompson. Mike: Ooh. I like that. Jessika: You're mysterious. Mike: I'm really not. Jessika: You're just a voice to these people. Mike: That is true. Jessika: Let this parasocial relationship happen for them. Mike: Fine. Jessika: So, Mike, do you want to tell our listeners what this here podcast is about? Mike: This is payback for last week, isn't it? Jessika: Certainly is. Mike: Yeah, [00:01:00] fine. So here at Ten Cent Takes, we like to talk about comics and we like to talk about how they are interwoven with history and pop culture. Sometimes our conversations are weird, sometimes they're funny, but hopefully they are always interesting. Come for the deep dives, stay for the swearing. Jessika: Fuck yes. Mike: Yeah. Jessika: Well, today we're going to be taking a deep dive into the comics of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, how they got their start, the people and the publishers involved, and some information and opinions about the different iterations of this beloved comic. But before we go any further, we have corrections and announcements. Mike, you want to start us off? Mike: Yeah, sorry. So I realized after the episode about the ninja turtles movies that I said, Howard the Duck was done by George Lucas and Steven Spielberg, but it was George Lucas. Spielberg and Lucas worked together on some other major projects in the eighties, but not Howard the [00:02:00] Duck. You will be pleased to know that I was correct about Corey Feldman being a generally terrible human being. So, no apologies there. Also, we are going to continue our giveaway raffle in exchange for sending us a screenshot of a review that you leave for us on Apple podcasts. It doesn't matter what the rating is, we love five stars, but we'll take anything. We will enter you into a drawing for a $25 gift certificate to NewKadia. If you can get your review in before August 5th, that will be roughly a month from when we first announced the giveaway, that would be great. And then we will contact the winner directly. just take a screenshot of your review, email it to firstname.lastname@example.org, and that's all you have to do. Jessika: Go get you some prizes. Mike: Yeah. Jessika: All right. So good news, everyone. We now have both an Instagram and a Facebook account, so we will be posting episode updates and potentially bonus posts related to the [00:03:00] episode. So feel free to follow us. We're at Ten Cent Takes at both of those places. All right. So, Mike, do you want to mosey along to one cool thing that you have read or watched lately? Mike: Yeah, I guess I can be tempted to go that route. so I've been actually reading a lot of cool stuff lately. I actually just did a big run to Brian's Comics in Petaluma, and, and had a huge haul of stuff on my pull list, cause it had been about a month since I was there and I'd added some stuff to it. But, something I picked up just this week from Brian's is this new book called the Nice House on the Lake. It's published by DC under its mature Black Label imprint. And it's written by James Tynion IV who he's also writing Something is Killing the Children, which I've at least told you about in the past. I don't know if I've talked about it here. Jessika: I've started reading it. Mike: Yeah. I mean it's - Something is Killing the Children is also excellent. And this is his new [00:04:00] series and he's doing it with Alvaro Martinez Bueno, who has recently been doing art for Detective Comics. And it's hard to describe without spoiling it, but the gist is that there is a group of people who are invited for a nice weekend at this mutual friends, insanely luxurious lake house. And it feels like we're kind of getting set up for a murder mystery, and then things take a turn for the terrifying in a really unexpected way. And I'm really excited to see where the series is gonna to go. But if you haven't read it, pick it up. It's great. Jessika: You always tell me about the best horror comics, which is really cool. Mike: I mean, a lot of them come from Brian, to be honest. Jessika: Thanks, Brian. Mike: Yeah. Jessika: Absolutely friend of the podcast, Brian. Mike: Yeah, no. Brian is fantastic. If you were in the North Bay, highly recommend going to check out Brian's Comics in Petaluma, it's an awesome little shop. And Brian is one of the friendliest people you could ever hope to meet. Jessika: it's so cute. You have to go underground [00:05:00] kind of you like walk downstairs. It's not really underground, but it feels like it. Mike: Also, he has a really sweet dog who hangs out in the shop too. Jessika: Yes. Mike: So that's what I've been consuming lately. What about you? Jessika: I myself have been on quite the half-shell recently and just deep diving into turtles. And I have found the- I can barely contain my excitement. I have found the absolute best thing. Listen up turtle fans! There's a 24-hour Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle network that plays nothing but the animated into turtle series. Like, all of the animated series, even the old school ones. it's called Totally Turtles. I found it free with ads through Pluto TV on my fire stick. This is not an advertisement, I'm just really excited and I wanted to share it with everyone. And I'm hoping that they're turtle enthusiasts listening. It's such a blast. And despite the obnoxious children's commercials, which are horrendous and on repeat by the way, I feel so sorry for all of you parents. Mike: So wait, so is this, can you select the episodes you want to watch or is it like [00:06:00] an actual TV channel? Jessika: No, it's like an actual TV channel. I know. So it is streaming. They kind of do this weird marathon thing where they play back like a block of one show. So I haven't seen the OG comic come up yet, but I've seen like all of the other ones, so it's pretty neat. Mike: I mean, there've been so many shows over the years. I can only imagine how much content there is for them to broadcast. Jessika: Yeah. They have like a whole like montage in there of all the different ones. And I was like, oh, oh, look at all these shows, all these turtle shows. Mike: Yeah. I'll have to check that out. I, I keep meaning to rewatch the original animated movie mini series, whatever it was that they did for that led into the cartoon. Jessika: Yeah, we used to have some movie that was probably some merchandising schwag from some company, but it was like a pizza monster that they were fighting. Mike: That sounds really familiar, but I'm not sure. Jessika: And on VHS Mike: Why. [00:07:00] Yeah. All right. Jessika: It's like a yellow case. Yeah. I'm just saying I can see it. So. So today we're going to be discussing the four main volumes of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Comics. But before we get into it, I want to call out my resources, cause I had quite a few again for this episode, I'm sure you're sensing a theme here with me and research. So we have the Definitive History of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle documentary, turtlepediafandom.com, which is my best friend, Kevin Eastman's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Artobiography. See what he did there. Mike: Yeah. I dig it. Jessika: Which that book, by the way, if you're a fan, Tom told me about this book, Tom Belland told me about this book and it is so good. And it goes through the first eight issues of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and it's by Kevin Eastman, so it talks about the process of it and this. Mockups sketches that they [00:08:00] did, like actual sketches from the comic. It's just, it's really neat and lots of little details about how they were making it and stuff. So, back to my resource, I just got so excited about that. I read an article from Indiana University Bloomington's E. Lingle Craig Preservation Lab Blog, and a couple episodes of the Ninja Turtle Power Hour podcast, which is really fun. Mike: Yeah, that show's great. Jessika: Yeah. Got a couple of tidbits from them. So, yeah, thanks guys. Mike: Friend of the podcast as well. They are, they have been very supportive of us in our early days. Jessika: Yeah. So that's, that's really fun. Now we've previously talked about Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on this show. In episode one, Mike ran us briefly through the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles history, like the startup, and mention a couple of the iterations of the characters. And in episode nine, I covered the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles live action films from the nineties. If you haven't already, I highly recommend checking out those episodes for more [00:09:00] turtle-y goodness. During this episode, we'll be going further down the rabbit hole, looking at the history of the start of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Comics, more in depth and how they evolved over the years. As another little tease, we won't be covering the rest of the merchandising television or other related media in this episode, but stay tuned because I fully plan on doing an additional episode about the Turtles. While we'll be touching on the main volumes of comics from the overarching storyline, just know that there are micro issues and single character adventures along with a whole slew of other comics, crossovers, and pot lines that I simply don't have time to get into today, but just know that they are out there. And, if enough of you ask really, really nicely, maybe I'll cover some of those issues in a future episode. You won't have to ask very hard. Mike: You really won't. Jessika: You won't. Mike: I don't think you guys understand how [00:10:00] excited Jessika was about this episode. Jessika: excited. Like it will, he, it will show in my voice. My face is bright red, by the way, I am Scotch-Irish, my face is showing it. All right. before we get too solidly into our main. Mike, which of the Ninja Turtles is your favorite. And has that favorite changed at all over the years as you grew up? Mike: I think that all six year olds identify with Michelangelo when they first get into the Turtles, and I certainly was no exception. I've bounced around since. I think I'm probably closest to Rafael these days, mainly because I nurse a grudge like nobody's business. Jessika: Oh, is Raphael petty? Mike: I'd like to think he is, He strikes me as the guy who would absolutely go and troll white supremacists on Facebook these days. Jessika: I don't know anyone like that. Mike: No. [00:11:00] No. Jessika: Oh, my goodness. Mike: Well, how about you? Which one did you identify with? Jessika: Well, I also really liked Michelangelo. I mean, he was the party dude after all, and he's still pretty solidly my favorite is I can absolutely relate to being a huge ham. Hi, everyone. But I have such a greater appreciation for Donatello these days, because he really is the brains of the operation. And should he be sorted into a Hogwarts house, he would definitely be with me and Ravenclaw. Mike: Which turtle would be sorted into Hufflepuff. Do you think? Jessika: Hufflepuff. I want to say that Michelangelo would be a Hufflepuff, cause he just he's just like so accepting of everyone. Mike: Yeah, I guess, Yeah. I guess Michelangelo would be a Hufflepuff. Leo would be a Griffindor. I don't think any of them would be Slytherin, so I think Raphael would also be Griffindor. Jessika: Not any of them probably, unless he was like, [00:12:00] Hmm, what if he was a little evil? He might be a Slytherin. Mike: Maybe. I don't know. Jessika: Because Slytherins don't have to be evil. I think they get a bad rap. Mike: It's like ambitious or something like that. Jessika: Yeah. I don't know. Raphael, Raphael might be ambitious. Mike: I mean, the first time that you met me and Sarah, Sarah had on a Slotherin t-shirt and I had on my Hufflepunk jacket. Jessika: I had huge appreciation for both of those things. So. And I have to say too, that some of the more recent TV series have portrayed him in an even nerdier way, like Donatello, I mean. That I connect with even more, which is really fun. And, that's what I like best about these characters is that they really do have different relatable characteristics that makes their storylines just that much more compelling to a diverse audience, in my opinion. Mike: Yeah. 100%. Jessika: So, as Mike mentioned, in our first episode, the series was started by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird. Throughout high school, Eastman had been trying somewhat unsuccessfully to [00:13:00] break into the indie comics market, and had had several of his proposals turned down before being picked up by a small publishing company, Clay Geerd's Comix Wave while he was still in high school. While he was still in high school, let me reiterate. After graduating, he moved to Portland, Maine to go to art school and founded a comic magazine called Scat with another person. After having more of his art rejected by local publishing company. One of the people at the company told him about Peter Laird with the belief that they had a lot in common. And indeed they did. They had very similar interests, shared a love of creating and of comic artist, Jack Kirby, and immediately started doing short stories together, each bringing different strengths and new ideas to their collective works. In fact, Jack Kirby would also be a future style inspiration for the turtles Comics. Interesting, huh? Mike: Yeah. That actually checks out based on how bombastic the [00:14:00] turtles series became because Kirby's art, I mean, Kirby was such an iconic artists that there's this whole style of. It's like an energy explosion, it's called the Kirby crackle, And it's those, those circles within energy beams that now it's just kind of a thing that you see in comics a lot of the time. Jessika: Oh, that's interesting. Mike: And he also had that very, very sharp edged geometric shape to all of his drawings as well. Jessika: Yeah. Oh wow. Mike: So yeah. Jessika: So this friendship and interest in the creation of comics led them to form MiragevStudios, which was named after the idea that their quote unquote studio was just Laird's living room. So it was really a play on their lack of having a physical studio space. Their goal was to be able to make their living doing the thing that they loved best, because at this point, making comics was still very much a side hobby while they both still worked full-time, Eastman stating that he had been cooking lobsters in Amherst to get by. One of their earliest comic [00:15:00] characters was Fugitoid, whom they would fold into the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles storyline later down the line. Mike: That was the time-traveling robot, right? Jessika: Yes. Mike: I remember him. I had his action figure. Jessika: That's cool. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were conceived during what is described as a casual night of brainstorming Eastman drew a ninja turtle, finding the idea of such a clunky and notoriously slow creature being a ninja, really fun. He thought to himself: Okay. So what if Bruce Lee was an animal? What's the stupidest animal Bruce Lee could be? And he's like, a turtle. Mike: Yeah, that checks out. So this was what, like the mid-eighties? Jessika: Yeah, they drew this in '83. Mike: I mean, martial arts and ninjas were such a thing in pop culture back then, too. Jessika: They were. Mike: I just, I remember Chuck Norris had a really terrible ninja movie or two around then as well. And I just remember the eighties [00:16:00] and the early nineties still having this fascination. Jessika: that was actually part of why they drew the turtles. Mike: Ah. Jessika: Was, it was a play on the fact that it was, it was a parody. It was a parody on the fact that so many people were doing ninja movies and a few other aspects were also parody, but we'll, we'll get into those later. Very astute, Mike. So, Laird drew up his own rendition after Eastman first drew up that first stupid looking turtle. Right. It wasn't even super looking, it was really cool. And with Eastman then drawing four turtles, all with different weapons and he wrote Ninja Turtles over the top. And Laird was like, you know what? Nah. And he added Teenage Mutant to the top of the ninja turtles. So they each had a hand in making the whole collective thing. Mike: That's great. Jessika: Yeah. And the sketches together. You can see where both of their ideas formed the larger idea, which is super neat. Mike: Mhmm, [00:17:00] Jessika: So Mike, can you read this next section for me? It's an excerpt from Eastman's Artobiography regarding the sales of the first issue of the teenage mutant ninja turtles. Mike: Absolutely. Tired of rejection letters and inspired by the newest self-publishing movement, especially Davidson Cerberus comic, we pooled our money and borrowed some more from my uncle Quintin to come up with enough to print 3000 black and white comics we were sure would never sell. May 5th, 1984 we premiered the first issue at a local comic book convention. It was incredibly exciting, but I was back cooking lobsters in June. In early 1985, the sales for book two exceeded 15,000 copies. And by mid 1986, Turtles book number eight shipped more than 125,000 copies. I was drawing comics all day and supporting myself, the dream had come true. Jessika: That's so cool. Mike: That's awesome. Jessika: One of the things that they budgeted for were special drawing boards, which would update the black and white [00:18:00] comic to include shades of gray. This board is called Duoshade by Graphix. And because I'm a little Donny in my approach to, well, everything, I had to know how this worked. So I did a little digging. The artists would do the initial drawing and pen out the lines on a special pretreated board, then would go in with a paint brush and brush over the areas with a special developer that would reveal either a light or a darker tone hatching or pixelated pattern, depending on the developer used. This added an extra pop of shadowing without the effort of physically cross-hatching everything by hand. And because it was hatching instead of solid color, like paint, this fit the style of many different types of hands. The way this worked is through of course, science! You see the hatch lines or pixels are preprinted onto the special board using a chemical like silver nitrate that was subsequently blanched with a substance like mercuric chloride [00:19:00] to make it invisible to the naked eye. And two other chemicals are used to either reveal hatch or crosshatch marks, basically. One of the chemicals reveals one hatch causing the lighter shade, and the other revealed the crosshatching that was darker. And there are other chemicals that could be used in place of the ones I mentioned, and they don't seem to advertise the specific recipe ingredients for the updated formula, unsurprisingly. But this technique was invented in 1929 and was in use until 2009 when it was considered obsolete in the face of digital art and technology. Mike: That's so cool. I had no idea that this was a thing. Jessika: It's so neat. So, whenever you see like the pixelated comics and stuff, that's all that kind of board, I'm sure. Mike: That's a really slick, I mean it makes sense that it would be obsolete now because you can sit there and just do, you know, brushes and layer masks and things like that with comics, it's not that hard, but yeah, that's, wow. Jessika: Science! Mike: That must've been such a time-saver for them. Jessika: Oh yeah, [00:20:00] that definitely. They said literally it just took the stroke of a brush and you could give more depth and just shadowing to everything. Will you do me a favor and read this quote about this process that I found on the Indiana University Bloomington's E. Lingle Craig Preservation Lab Blog? Mike: Sure. This process is very far from magic, though it surely seem that way for artists. After dipping their brushes and clear liquid, the path of their brushstrokes immediately turned dark as it traveled across paper. The phenomenon was easy to overdo, leading to images with many toned areas that, when reproduced into small comics and magazine ads, turned out cluttered and unclear artists, commended peers who knew when to stop. Jessika: Yes. Gentle hand. And here, I'm going to send you a comparison. So, the top half of this, and we will post this on Instagram, the top half is just in inked, and the bottom half is the same couple of [00:21:00] frames that are also shaded with the Duoshade graphics. Mike: Oh, wow. This is really slick. Is this from the Artobiography? Jessika: Yeah, exactly. It's from the Artobiography. Mike: Okay. oh, okay. Yeah. So I recognize this, this is from the first issue of the original Mirage series. Jessika: Sure is. Mike: And it's when they're in their rooftop battle with the Foot. And the original, like just kind of sketch or line art. It shows Donatello, and the rest of the turtles and a couple of panels getting into these battles and it's, it's fine. It's black and white. And then you look at the difference in terms of shading underneath this. And it's insane how much depth there is. Like they added entire skyline with this. It's crazy. It's also, I feel like it's a little bit over done on the bottom. Like with the shading like this, very clearly like the early days of the turtles, but it looks really cool, especially when you do the comparison. Jessika: Yeah. Yeah. And I almost wonder how much, since they hadn't been producing very much, I wonder how much they were using these boards, [00:22:00] know, beforehand. I wonder if this has maybe, like you said, the early days. Mike: I would be willing to bet that they were pretty new to this and, we're learning when to stop. Jessika: Yeah. So, the turtles and their storyline were initially created as a parody, like we were talking about to some of the popular Comics of the time, especially Daredevil, with similarities and characters names, such as the Foot clan when Daredevil included the Hand. Mike: Right. Jessika: And in some of the situations, such as the highly unlikely way that the canister containing a radioactive solution flew out of the back of a truck, striking someone in the head hitting and subsequently breaking a glass aquarium containing four baby turtles who fall directly into a manhole where they're then covered in the radioactive liquid that leaked out of the container that broke upon hitting on the ground. This situation highlighted the unlikely way that Matt Murdoch got his powers to become Daredevil. When a radioactive substance fell out of a moving truck and blinded him as a child. So, very [00:23:00] much a play on that. There's also the funny correlation between Daredevil's mentor Stick and the turtles mentor being named Splinter. Mike: I never even thought about that before, but that's really funny. This is all stuff out of the Frank Miller, eighties run of Daredevil too, which he almost fetishized Asian cultures in certain ways and was very into ninjas and martial arts and noir, and you can see that later on in his other books like Sin City, but Daredevil, I feel was like, where that really got stuck. Jessika: Yeah. And definitely with, the parody, that's exactly what they were going for. They were making fun of that whole aesthetic. Mike: Well, yeah, because, everything about the Miller books of Daredevil are so grim and gritty and wrought. I can't read them with a straight face, but that's just me. Jessika: So, Eastman and Laird, like you read in that quote, didn't necessarily think that the comic was going to go anywhere. So much so that they actually killed off their main villain, the [00:24:00] shredder in the first issue. Mike: I was going to talk about that. Jessika: They killed him off. They just really didn't think that there was going to be an issue two. I find it really interesting that a comic that was initially thought to be a one-off has turned into such a world-renowned and beloved franchise. Mike: Mmhm. Jessika: Fun fact for all of you out there. The first volumes of the teenage mutant ninja turtles were in black and white with all of the turtles, sporting red bandanas when the covers were finally colorized after the boom in popularity of the series. The only way to really tell them apart where their respective weapons. Mike: That was the same case with the original Ninja Turtles video game on Nintendo. I remember getting this when I was a kid and I was sitting there going, oh, they, they have the same color bandanas, but we know who they all are because they all have different weapons, but they were all sporting red bandanas. Jessika: Yeah, I think I might remember that because we had the Nintendo games, too. Mike: Yeah. Uh, they sucked, They were [00:25:00] really hard and I hated them. I felt like I was a really bad gamer because I couldn't beat it. Jessika: No, honestly, in that, of course we're, unsurprisingly, we're in a Facebook group about the Ninja Turtles. Everybody that I've read talking about the games. It's like, oh, I never beat that game, I couldn't be that game. It was way too hard. It's, it's not just, you don't feel bad. So, we read the first few issues of the Mirage comics, the OG comics, which tell the origin story of the turtles and Splinter and their quest for vengeance, for the death of Splinters, former master and their ongoing rivalry with Shredder and his gang, the Foot Clan. What did you think about these first few issues? Mike: You know, I had never really read them all the way through before now, and it's really interesting when you're basically reading the first content ever created, when you're here at the point where you're 40 years later. It's kind of charming because there's so much exposition where they're setting everything up. [00:26:00] It's overly earnest. It's silly. it's also much more bloody and violent than you would expect. And the funny thing is, so I was reading this digitally via Hoopla and so they actually have the colorized versions now where, it's all been remastered and everything, but I remember, the giant two page spread where they're fighting the Foot on the rooftop and it's like real bloody. It's so strange to sit there and read all of this and have the knowledge of where they have gone with it since then. But at the same time, I can also understand why nobody in the eighties thought this was going to go anywhere. It's just, it's, for lack of a better term, it's just, it's silly. Jessika: Yeah. Mike: And, It is a parody, but at the same time, it doesn't entirely feel like a parody, it feels a little bit overly earnest. I never would have sat there and said, this is going to be the thing that every kid under the age of 10 is going to be interested in because, it's really violent. Like, they sit there and they straight up murder, some street punks who are, I think mugging someone. Was that what happened? [00:27:00] Like at the very end when the cops drive up and you see the bloody hands leftover and. Jessika: Yeah, they were just street toughs. I agree. Mike: Yeah. And also, it was weird to see recurring acts of basically domestic violence, because Hamata Yoshi's girlfriend is first beat up by Shredders older brother, and then Shredder vows vengeance after Yoshi kills Shredder's brother. And then Shredder shows up in New York and basically murders first Hamata Yoshi, and then his girlfriend or wife at that point. It's more than I would have expected. Jessika: Yeah, well, and I love the convoluted storyline, cause I think they were having a laugh with that too. Everyone's on a quest for vengeance. Which is such a theme for the turtles. They're always going for some sort of vengeance because you know, of course that's their whole game. Mike: Yeah. Jessika: After this. So that's yeah, Mike: And then, like you said, shredder, when I read the first issue, he basically has a [00:28:00] thermite grenade, and gets knocked off the roof while holding it, and then they sit there and make a comment on, oh, well, I guess the shredder got shredded where they just find bits of his armor left. I was like, oh, that was a surprise. Jessika: Yeah, exactly. And then they turned around and went, oh shit. Oh shit. We have to make an issue two. Mike: Yeah. Ups. Jessika: Which, if you're playing it as a parody, it must be even funnier to have the person you just killed off, come back mysteriously. I found it really interesting that April started off as an assistant to a robotic engineer when she's most often portrayed as a reporter. Mike: Yeah. Jessika: And she gave it, it comes back around, you know, she's she and other iterations. She becomes , a lab assistant again, or, something having to do with STEM. I also really, really liked the rough style of the comic and how the frames are very obviously hand drawn and hand lettered. Mike: Yeah. I like how, in some of the speech bubbles, you can [00:29:00] see the letters are squeezed a little bit more together at the end cause they just ran out of room. Jessika: Well, and Eastman even said he was so glad to have somebody when they finally got big enough to have somebody come in and let her, because he's like, I'm so bad at spelling. It's like, I was never this person who spelled, and so there's one place because I'm just a Donatello. Hi, here I am. It's like, I saw the little, like, they meant to put “were”, but they put the little apostrophe in there and I was like. Mike: Oops, Jessika: Eastman, that's adorable, but it's almost like having like a finger print or a thumb print on some, like something handmade, like a handmade mug or something like that. That's the artists' imprint. Mike: Yeah. Jessika: And again, now that I know that this was written as a parody, I have a much better appreciation for the over-the-top twists and coincidences that led to the turtles' predicaments. Also, can we please address the insult, slime puppy, that April shouts of bags? Mike: It. [00:30:00] So it reminds me a lot of, in the X-Men animated series, Wolverine keeps on busting out, I think it's like, piece of gutter trash, or something like that. And you're like, oh, that's, that's cute. Mike: You're, you're trying guys. You're trying. Jessika: At what point was that, the thing? That's the thing you're going to write down right now. Okay. Right. So, after the success of the 1987 animated TV series, the comic was getting a little too hot for just Eastman and Laird to handle on their own. And after a few issues, they hired freelance artists to help with creating the series while they took on more of a business side of things. It was really important for Eastman and layered that the artists involved had ownership and received royalties for their work. So, there ended up being a lot of issues, not only with continuity, but also with rights and the use of the comics and the storylines created. To this day, it's difficult, if not impossible, to find copies of [00:31:00] some of the comics created by these other artists, especially since some of the artists refused to sell the rights to their storylines or characters back to Mirage, and therefore those issues were unable to be reprinted. So bye, bye. One of the interesting partnerships of that time was with Archie, and that's how Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures was born. The first issue was on shelves and emblazoned with the Comics Code emblem, finally, in March of 1989. Wow, that was a big sigh. Mike: Anytime someone mentions the Comics Code Authority, I just, I feel like I need a good rainstorm to just stare at sadly. Jessika: While I agree with you, you have to admit that it was a rite of passage. Mike: Yeah. Jessika: For, like getting into mainstream and having your your shit recognized, you know? So that must've been huge. Mike: I mean, the comic [00:32:00] stores that I went to when I was a kid, they wouldn't put stuff out on the shelves. If it didn't have the comics code seal of approval. And then by the time I was like 11 or 12, because you started having more and more independent publishers that didn't adhere to it. Jessika: Exactly. No. I mean that's yeah, absolutely. Mike: Would you consider Teenager Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures? Would, would that be like, volume 1.5 almost? Jessika: Yes. Yes I would. So, now that the turtles were officially, family-friendly. Written and illustrated by Eastman layered and Steve Levine. These differed greatly to the original comics. In fact, they had the same style color, and kid-friendly vibe as the TV show, which makes a lot of sense because, well, Archie. Will you give us a rundown of these comics that we read and share your opinion with us? Mike: Yeah. So these seem to pick up immediately after that initial TV movie animated series thing, where [00:33:00] the turtles defeated Shredder and Krang, and then trapped them in Dimension X. Shredder gets sent back to earth by crying in the first issue and has to basically start from the ground up to get his revenge. There's a whole scene where he winds up in a park in town and some guys tried to mug him and then he basically intimidates them into giving him their money, and then he goes and takes over some, what was it Slash for Cash dojo, I think was the name of it. Jessika: Yeah. It was like a name nobody would have had, which I have to say about those, those street toughs, Shredder's, like, oh, I must be a New York because I just got mugged. Mike: That was great. And then he takes the dojo over from the leader whose name is Smash, which I thought was great. And then he basically starts going about getting his revenge against the turtles, which is, he has these toughs from the gym dress up as the [00:34:00] turtles, and very obviously bad turtle costumes, and then commit robberies. And then there's a media smear campaign where everyone is like, well, we thought we, uh, we thought that we liked the turtles. We thought they were good guys, but I, I guess they're actually criminals. It's so simple and kind of charming. I couldn't even get mad, it was ridiculous, but I, I couldn't believe what a flashback this was. It was nostalgia, personified, ya know. It's very silly and very innocent and the jokes are corny and the art's pretty simple, but I really got a kick reading through it. I haven't watched the cartoon in a couple of decades, but I immediately knew where the comic's story was picking up. The turtles, rely on slapstick gags rather than actual ninjitsu to defeat the criminals that they're encountering. Shredder and his crew are blundering morons, and there's this overall wholesome quality to the comic. It's very kid-friendly, but I [00:35:00] didn't feel like I was being patronized while I read it, even though I'm almost 40 at this point. Jessika: Yeah. It was, like you said, it was so nostalgia, like nostalgia alley, for sure. These are the turtles and April from my childhood. You know? Mike: Yeah, 100%. Jessika: These are the ones, the main characters were pretty closely based on the animated series while having the rest of the miscellaneous folks being like these goofy Archie type characters. Also, I really liked the way that they framed the TV shots to be shaped like the TVs. Like the frames of the comics were shaped, like the shape of a TV. Mike: Yeah, that 4:3 ratio and all that. Jessika: I really liked that. Yeah. With the rounded edges and everything. Mike: Yeah, it was cute. Jessika: You immediately understood that you were supposed to be seeing something on a screen. And it was light and it was frivolous, without the threat of any real danger.I call it a really decent kids comic. Mike: I've read worse. Jessika: So volume two, moving right along, was written and illustrated by Jim Lawson and was introduced in 1993, amidst the [00:36:00] fan success of the first two Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle live action films. This was also after a falling out between Eastman and Laird caused the duo to stop working together until just recently. Mike: Which you can actually see them come back together in the Netflix series, the Toys That Made Us. Jessika: Yes. Yeah. Which I'm sure is going to play a large role in my next episode of this show. With this change came another: the comic was fully colored. In this series, the turtles part ways as they have no shared purpose after the defeat of the Foot Clan, they battle and defeat Baxter Stockman, who has placed his brain in a robotic body and deal with Triceratons, which are by far my favorite villains in the turtle verse. But despite the turtles as popularity, the series only lasted 13 issues. And a couple of years. Volume two ended with sad sales numbers, [00:37:00] and a literal flood in Mirage Studios, womp womp. In 1996, Image Comics published Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles volume three, which was written by Gary Carlson and illustrated by Frank Foscoe. They published a total of 23 monthly issues and return the turtles back to their black and white roots, but did not include the duo-shading, which I found confusing. Mike: Mmhm, same. Jessika: This volume was kind of a trip. It was more intense and action packed, with even more plot twists. Also, they made the turtles much more battle-worn, with turtles missing appendages or in Donatello's case being forced to become a cyborg. And, because it was now being produced by Image, it allowed the turtles to do crossover issues with characters from the Savage Dragon series. Mike: I had those issues. I don't think I still have them anymore, but I remember, it was a big thing where the Savage Dragon basically [00:38:00] stood up his girlfriend, because he was, involved in some shenanigans with the turtles. I think she almost broke up with him at one point, because of that, in that one is. Jessika: I almost said good for her, but then you said almost. Mike: Almost. Jessika: Now, the drama with this issue is that it's no longer considered canon in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle universe, mostly because Peter Laird hadn't been directly involved in making the storyline. So, another situation where they got a little precious about the material. We also read the first few issues of this comic. What are your thoughts on the comic? What I just said? Anything. Mike: I gotta be honest if I were Peter Laird, I probably would have disowned this too. Cause it's really not that great. The art is just generally confusing because there is no sense of depth or shading. It starts you off right in the middle of a big battle. The turtles are getting shot, Splinter is kidnapped, they're being attacked by cyborgs for no real reason [00:39:00] that you can understand, Raphael if I remember, right, is disfigured pretty badly, there's a female ninja who shows up and she is nothing but T&A. And, if you look at the cover for the second issue, it's very male-gazey, where you see the back of a woman and it's really just her ass and legs while the turtles are facing the camera. And it's, everything about this feels like nineties extreme with a capital X. in all the worst ways. And it's funny because I was wondering if Eric Larson, who did the Savage Dragon was drawing this because the art style is very reminiscent of him, and he was also doing the covers. Tom Belland, our friend, I remember him telling me a story about how, at one point he was at Image Comics, and they were criticizing his art style, and he told them that they all draw women late 12 year old boys, because they're. Jessika: Because they do. Mike: They're all boobs and legs and not much else. Jessika: I mean, I don't see a lie. Mike: Yeah, [00:40:00] no lies detected my friend. It's I don't know. I, I really didn't want to read any more past the first issue either. It just, it felt very forgettable and dumb and shocking for the sake of being shocking, not for actually trying to do anything good storytelling-wise. Jessika: Yeah, these were just, they were like, we were talking about, they were difficult to read, they were super frenzied. I didn't know where to look. And it took me a lot longer to read them because I was trying to hash out what was happening. Mike: It was visually confusing, which is kind of the kiss of death in a comic, like the fact that it lasted 23 issues is just mind numbing to me. Jessika: Yeah. you know, you look at comics a lot of the time, the ones that I really connect with are the ones where you look at it and you can see the intended motion. Mike: Yeah. Jessika: I didn't get that at all here. I just felt like I was looking for the motion. It just wasn't there. Mike: Yeah, and even without that duo tone shading, they [00:41:00] didn't do anything, really in its place. Jessika: Yeah, it wasn't. Wasn't great. Mike: Yeah. Jessika: And you had mentioned the outfits, it just felt like it was set in a futuristic BDSM party. Mike: A hundred percent. I mean, the first thing that we see is, uh, what's her name? Isn't Kimiko is that her Jessika: Kimiko. Yeah. Mike: Yeah. And she shows up and basically, she looks like she is wearing a leather bondage version of Leelou's outfit from the Fifth Element. It is straps and spikes and it makes no sense whatsoever. Jessika: And like, let's be real. Her boobs are too big for that. Like there's no way that that's containing anything, logistically. Mike: No. I mean it her outfit is body paint, basically. Jessika: Yeah, really is. Mike: So Image Comics in the nineties, they were kind of leading this artistic charge of just heinously unrealistic women. And as much as I [00:42:00] enjoyed the Savage Dragon and Eric Larson's various books, Tom, wasn't wrong, they drew women like 12 year olds did. Jessika: Mmhmm. Mike: We can talk about this at some future point, but I'm sure there's an entire generation of kids who grew up reading comics in that era who developed body dysmorphia or just heinously unrealistic expectations for what people were supposed to look like in general. Jessika: Yeah. Agreed. Well, what do you say we, uh, move on to volume four? Mike: Sure. Jessika: Volume four was first published in 2001, and was created by Peter Laird and Jim Lawson. There was a couple year hiatus in 2006 when Peter Laird stopped to work on the TMNT movie. Aliens have landed and are taking up what they say is temporary residence on earth, which brings with it the added side-effect of normalizing weirdos on the street. So, the turtles are able to come out of hiding and enter more freely into society and other shenanigans with aliens that [00:43:00] may or may not be trustworthy, of course happen. Oh, and apparently the turtles are in their thirties. Same, bro, same. What say ye about the IDW comics we read? Mike: I kind of dug them. It's one of those things where it feels like they are starting with the foundation that we all knew, and then they were growing it out in a different way. It's not bad, it felt kind of like a weird reboot, while also continuing a story that I wasn't overly familiar with. We opened with a rumble between the turtles and a gang that was led by another mutant animal. Jessika: It was a cat. Mike: Yeah. Did he have a name? I can't remember. Jessika: It was Old Hob. Mike: Ah. Jessika: He had an eye patch, Old Hob. Mike: Yeah. And, and he's clearly got history with Splinter, and after they defeat them, it's revealed that Raphael is split from the turtles and he's out wandering around and he ends up rescuing pretty randomly, he ends up busting into Casey [00:44:00] Jones' house to rescue a very young Casey from his abusive dad. We get back to April's original roots of her being a scientist, where she's working for Baxter Stockman's lab. And then also we find out that Krang is around, but he's shown only in shadow. I seriously got some Dr. Claw vibes from the way that they first introduced crane where he's only shown from the back. You only see the silhouette of his chair and then his hand on the phone. Jessika: Yeah. Mike: From the first issue on, you get the impression that they're taking familiar elements and then trying to. In a new way. And that was fine. I mean, my basic familiarity felt like the right starting point for where to go with it, but it, felt pretty cool and it felt like there was actually some pretty decent plot stuff that they were working with and they weren't trying to make it just all action. And also, I really appreciated that the women did not look like Playboy centerfolds. Jessika: Yeah, that was helpful. Mike: Yeah. Jessika: It's hard to be a woman and read comics, I'm just like, [00:45:00] man, this isn't for me at all. Is it? Mike: Yeah. Jessika: Well, I'm pansexual, it's kinda for me, but yeah, I thought the series was fun. The illustration is great as well as the coloring. And the action sequences is really fly off the page and make the reader feel like the pictures really could have been moving. Mike: Yeah. Jessika: Again. Like you said, I'm loving that April gets to be a scientist again. And I like that in this one, she was the one who actually named the turtles. Mike: That was really cute. Jessika: Yeah. She was like, I'm in art history. Mike: Yeah. Cause she was like, she was like an intern at the lab basically. Jessika: Yeah. Mike: Or work study or whatever it is. Yeah. Jessika: And I think it's really cute that their personalities were already showing when they were baby turtles. Like Raphael was already agro. Mike: Yeah. Jessika: He's the feisty one. Further into it, Raphael gets carried away after the whole, like breaking of the canister thing. And he starts getting [00:46:00] carried away by a cat. And that's why they there's this mutant cat, but Splinter had had some psychotropics. And so he was a little bit more with it, went and fought the cat, but he got swept up into the bag with the other stuff and got carried off by the bad guys, the baddies, and Raphael was just on his own. So he didn't have the development that the other turtles did. Mike: That's actually a really nice touch. Jessika: Yeah, it was super interesting. It's also interesting to me that the mutation and the growth was a lot quicker in this series. They really didn't turn into true teenagers because they haven't been alive for that long, they've only been alive for like, 15 months or something. So finally, I just wanted to touch on the current series that is happening right now. And one that Mike mentioned in episode one, which is the Last Ronin. Mike: Yes. Jessika: Yes. And I'm very excited about this one, and it's absolutely one of the [00:47:00] items on my pull list with another one of our local shops, the Outer Planes in Santa Rosa, the first three issues are available now. And if you have Hoopla Mike and I have had luck finding it to borrow for free, they also have a director's cut for issue one, which has some extra fun sketchies with back, everyone. So just saying that's the one I read, cause I actually own issue one, but I did borrow it on Hoopla too, to see what the little bonuses were. Mike: Yeah. And we've mentioned this before, but Hoopla is an app that, basically they work with libraries across the country and will just let you check out digital content. They limit it to a certain number of items per month. How many do you get. Jessika: I think it's like six or something. Mike: Yeah, I get eight. It's pretty low, but like insane. But in San Francisco it's like 21. Jessika: Ah, okay. Mike: But it's still a really great way to scope out contents legally, you're not pirating it, which is great. And you know, you're also, supporting the libraries because they're working with it, but it's free to you. So, it makes me feel good whenever I can read [00:48:00] content that way. And they've got a truly amazing selection of comics and graphic novels and a huge catalog of Ninja Turtles content. Jessika: Yeah. For those of you who are watching Netflix's is Sweet Tooth, that actually was a comic and that is on Hoopla as well. I checked it out and haven't started it yet. And then it checked itself back in, cause I waited too long. Whoops. Mike: If you get around to reading it, I would love to just hear your thoughts on it because. Jessika: Absolutely. Mike: I read the first volume and I thought it was very good, but I couldn't bring myself to read anymore because I don't like reading about people being mean to kids. And. Jessika: Oh no. Mike: And that's very much what it is, where , it's a guy who is kind of like a young teenager and he's very trusting and people keep abusing his trust or terrorizing him. Jessika: No. Mike: And I'm like, I think I don't want to read that. Jessika: That's why I had to stop reading Lemony Snicket. Mike: Yeah. Jessika: Yeah. I like read the first book and I was like, oh, sorry. This is really mean to children and I, my little empathetic heart is just crying. Mike: Yeah. I don't like cruelty to kids., I don't like [00:49:00] cruelty to animals, and I don't like cruelty to old people. Jessika: Do you want to remind the listeners what the series is about and what you think so far? Mike: Sure. This is actually the comic that I'm most familiar with since I've been reading. As I said on Hoopla as the issues have been coming out. This is being billed as the final in quotes, Ninja Turtle story, which takes place in this dystopian, cyberpunk New York. That's now controlled by the Foot Clan. At some point in the past, the turtles were exterminated and only one of them survived. And now he's come back to town with kind of a bucket list of revenge. His identity is originally kept mystery, though it's really not that hard to figure out before the first issue reveals it on the final page. And the subsequent issues spin out both the world and the backstory. I've really been digging it so far. I'm sure that I am missing a lot of little details, because I'm not the most diehard fan of the Ninja Turtles. But, that said, I've been having a [00:50:00] lot of fun with it and I love the new character designs, and also I'm a sucker for anything cyberpunk. Jessika: Yeah, I'm really, really enjoying this comic. The illustrations. Absolutely beautiful and colorful, even though it's set in dystopian society. They didn't go with the whole like grunge, everything is dark, which I really liked. Mike: Yeah. It's really cool. Jessika: And I like the idea that the sole turtle is still being guided by this spirit or memory of his brothers, and that he still draws from the skills and strengths by, in a way, imagining what they would do or what advice they would give. So I thought that was really sweet and they did bring back elements of the original turtles. Like you said, like Stockman's robot mousers that have been upgraded, the Fugitoid and professor Honeycutt. You know, it was just like they're bringing in all of these other things. It's yeah. It's, it's super interesting. Oh, and, did you notice, there's an Eastman and layered cameo Mike: What? Jessika: In issue two. Mike: No, I totally missed this. Where is it? [00:51:00] Jessika: So it's an issue two, and they're eating pizza and they're like, what was that? Could it have been…? Nah. Like when like a turtle is going by and they're like, that didn't happen. Mike: That's great, I love it. Jessika: Yeah. It was like younger Eastman and Laird, so super fun. It's really sweet. So far. It's got a lot of depth to it. They have a lot of really meaningful conversations about mental health too, which I think is really. Mike: Yeah. they've handled PTSD and. Trauma and everything in. I'm not sure I want to use the word realistic, but in believable ways. Jessika: Yeah. I would agree with that description. Yeah. Now onto our Brain Wrinkles. Which is that one thing comics are comics-related that is currently captured within the crevices of our cerebra. Mike, why don't you start us off? Mike: Put me on the spot. [00:52:00] Yeah. So, there's been a bit of news the past couple of weeks about bisexuality being addressed and acknowledged in comics and comics related-media. So, last week on Loki, we had it revealed that Loki is canonically bisexual, which was, that was really nice. Jessika: Pew pew pew pew pew! Mike: As someone who is bi, it's always really nice to see it acknowledged because you know, bi-erasure is a thing and it sucks. But this week, in fact, I think it was yesterday or Tuesday, Al Ewing, the writer that I talked about in, I believe the last episode or the episode before that he's the writer for We Only Find Them When They're Dead, he officially came out as being bisexual. He acknowledged that like he hasn't really been quiet about it, but he he's never exactly aade a formal statement or anything like that. And so he wrote a really, a really thoughtful blog post about all this and talking about how [00:53:00] often people that are within this group have to deal with imposter syndrome and, he put it really well where he said I've always looked at myself through a lens of self-hatred and self-loathing, and that's affected this. I wasn't enough in this category because I wasn't enough in any category. My not being bi enough was just one more metric that I could hate myself on. And it really resonated with me becauseI spent a long time, not really sure how to feel about my sexuality. And then the other thing is that the queer community is not always the most welcoming of us. Jessika: Yeah. I've had those situations as well, where, I'll be on an online dating site and I'm, I'm pansexual. I will, I will date anyone. Gender is not a thing to me. And it's not that it's not a thing, but you know what I mean? That's not a, that's not a metric by which I choose my partners. Mike: Right. Jessika: But there were a lot of times where I would go onto somebody's profile. And when it would say no bi girls or [00:54:00] no bis or something like that. And it's just like, and actually I stopped listening to a podcast cause they started talking about the idea that women get nervous, that you're just going to cheat on them with a guy. Which is like, if I'm in a relationship with you and we're in a relationship, we're in a relationship, it doesn't matter what my orientation is. If I'm a cheater, I'm going to cheat on you, regardless of whether I'm like, you know, but I'm not, that's the thing you have to trust the person you're in a relationship with, and it doesn't have anything to do with their orientation. Mike: Yeah. I've dated a few people who felt they couldn't trust me because I had dated the other gender and, those relationships didn't last. Jessika: Nope. Mike: But yeah, that is what has been rattling around my noggin for the past couple of days. So, what about you? Jessika: So, I wanted to circle back about the Corey Feldman concert I attended a few years back. And [00:55:00] as I had been previously speculating on whether it was the very same weird winged and lingerie-clad, ladies, Corey's Angels. And, friends, I am so sorry to report that I have some unfortunate news that it was in fact Corey's Angels. I will post pics, they're very blurry picks from this concert on Instagram. Also again, my apologies for being complicit in this bad cult situation. Mike: You know, I will say that after our episode and I was reliving how terrible Corey Feldman was. I found myself rewatching a couple of his music videos, and there's such trash, but I am a little ashamed that I gave him the one 10th of a half penny on YouTube. Jessika: I know. Right. And then you sent it to me. So you gave him two, technically. Mike: I know. I I, mean, it is pretty funny though. When you read the Vice articles that make fun of his parties, [00:56:00] though. Jessika: Well, folks, that's it for this episode, be sure to join us again in two weeks for another riveting comic adventure. Mike: Thanks For listening to Ten Cent Takes. Accessibility is important to us, so text transcriptions of each of our published episodes can be found on our website. Jessika: This episode was hosted by Jessika Frazer and Mike Thompson written by Jessika Frazer and edited by Mike Thompson. Our intro theme was written and performed by Jared Emerson Johnson of Bay Area Sound, our credits and transition music is Pursuit of Life by Evan McDonald and was purchased with a standard license from Premium Beat. Our banner graphics were designed by Sarah Frank, who is on Instagram as @lookmomdraws. Mike: If you'd like to get in touch with us, ask us questions or tell us about how we got something wrong, please head over to tencenttakes.com, [00:57:00] or shoot an email to email@example.com. You can also find us on Twitter, the official podcast is tencenttakes, Jessika is Jessikawitha, and Jessika has a K, not a C, and I am vansau, V A N S A U. Jessika: If you'd like to support us, be sure to subscribe, download, rate, and review wherever you listen. Mike: Stay safe out there. Jessika: And support your local comic shop.
In this week's episode of Snollygoster, Ohio's politics podcast from WOSU, hosts Mike Thompson and Steve Brown talk about State Sen. Matt Dolan "listening" to voters as he considers a run for U.S. Senate, and how the home of the Cleveland Indians (a team owned by Dolan's family) could get some state-funded improvements.
In this week's episode of Snollygoster, Ohio's politics podcast from WOSU, hosts Mike Thompson and Steve Brown talk about State Sen. Matt Dolan "listening" to voters as he considers a run for U.S. Senate, and how the home of the Cleveland Indians (a team owned by Dolan's family) could get some state-funded improvements.
Patrick Mahomes is dealing with a social media controversy after getting caught taking a shot at Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert on an open mic while playing in the celebrity golf tourney Sunday. It seems fairly harmless if Mahomes was just poking at fans while being heckled on the links, but how will the Chargers take it? Cornerback Richard Sherman, the Vice President of the NFLPA's Executive Committee is arrested for "burglary domestic violence" and fighting with the police on his property at 2:00 am. And I hosted Mundo in the Morning on KCMO Talk Radio 710 Wednesday and had great chats with Kansas Republican running for Governor, Dr. Jeff Colyer and my long time friend, state senator Mike Thompson.
We hope you get a chance to check out Wednesday and Thursday morning on KCMO Talk Radio 710 as I fill in for the terrific Pete Mundo on his "Mundo in the Morning" show. It airs from 6-10 AM and we've lined up Royals GM Dayton Moore, former Kansas Governor Jeff Colyer, long time tv meteorologist turned conservative politician Mike Thompson, former Congressman Kevin Yoder and many more. Joe Biden jumped the shark Tuesday saying requiring voter ID is the biggest threat to America since the Civil War. When he reads that prompter, does he want to scratch his own head that somebody could write something so stupid? And we've got a clip from our Patron Podcast with Danny Clinkscale you have to hear.
Mike Thompson of Withered joins the podcast this week to talk about his influences and his band's awesome new record, “Verloren”. I also share my thoughts on Mayhem dabbling in punk rock, review the debut by Domination Campaign and give my take on the latest metal news headlines.As always, please support the bands featured on this episode:Withered - https://withered.bandcamp.com/ Mayhem - https://www.thetruemayhem.com/ Domination Campaign - https://dominationcampaign.bandcamp.com/ Dread Sovereign - https://dreadsovereign.bandcamp.com/ Head to Teespring store for Into The Necrosphere t-shirts, hoodies, face-masks etc. - https://teespring.com/stores/into-the-necrosphere.Follow the show on social media:Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/intothenecrosphereInstagram - @intothenecrosphere Twitter - @INecrosphere
"We can't stop. We can't stop trying to save some lives" Rock The Ride 2021 was a remarkable experience. Here is a replay of "The Coach and The Congressman" with Congressman Mike Thompson & Golden State Warriors Head Coach Steve Kerr. This conversation is not a recapitulation of well-worn talking points. This is actionable and critical content for anyone to hear and implement Please subscribe to and rate Explore The Space on Apple Podcasts or wherever you download podcasts. Email feedback or ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org Check out the archive of Explore The Space Podcast as well as our Position Papers and much more! Follow on Twitter @ETSshow, Instagram @explorethespaceshow Watch Explore The Space Podcast host Mark Shapiro deliver a TEDx address at TEDx SUNY Upstate. The topic is "Compliments As A Performance Lever During Covid-19" Sponsor: Elevate your expertise with Creighton University's Healthcare Executive Educational programming. Learn more about Creighton's Executive MBA and Executive Fellowship programs at www.creighton.edu/CHEE. Sponsor: The Clinician Experience Project by Practicing Excellence uses coaching and development to help clinicians become their best and improve patient and organizational outcomes, while amplifying purpose and contentment. Learn more at https://practicingexcellence.com/. Key Learnings 1. Assessing the strategic view around gun violence in the United States 2, How moments of silence before NBA games brought Coach Kerr into the fray 3. Why "gun control" is the wrong term to use and "gun safety" is more effective 4. Why gun violence is a public health epidemic 5. Speaking out and understanding the potential personal cost 6. Dealing with feeling discouraged and the role of self-care 7. The mental health toll of gun violence and the importance of being a good listener 8. The development of Rock The Ride 9. Connecting with younger generations and audiences that may not be like-minded Links Twitter: @rocktheridegvp Rock The Ride #gunviolence, #rocktheride, #publichealth, #advocacy, #education, #doctor, #nurse, #meded, #education, #hospital, #hospitalist, #innovation, #innovate, #medicalstudent, #medicalschool, #resident, #physician
Mike Thompson of Word of Life World Outreach has a prophetic point of view of current events, with an eye on what may be in store for President Trump and the country in the months ahead. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.