CM Podcast 271 – The Golden Age (1993 comic review)

We have been watching the CW show: Star Girl – which is set on Earth-2 and references the heroes and villains of the Golden Age of DC. The show does a good job of using the Golden Age villains and heroes without being too hokey or corny.

While watching the show, I was reminded on how I got to know the Golden Age characters as a comic reader. It was back in the early 90s, DC has a JSA comic series and I was enjoying it. Getting to become familiar with the Golden Age version of Green Lantern and Flash while learning about new characters like Hour Man, Wild Cat, Starman and others. Remember, we had no internet back then so I only had back issue and new comics to give me backstory.

In 1993, a relatively unknown writer, James Robinson pitched an Elseworlds story (The What If? equivalent for DC) about most of the JSA heroes called The Golden Age. It would feature art by the awesome Paul Smith and had colors by Richard Ory. DC would publish it as a 4 part prestige series between 1993 – 1994.

The Golden Age is an awesome mystery story that helped me learn a lot about the Golden Age Heroes. Did you know there was a Robot Man before Cliff Steele? Did you know there were multiple speedsters in the Golden Age like Jay Garrick, Johnny Chambers and Libby Lawrence? Did you know the Golden Age Atom was called that because he was small not because he became small? All this and more will be revealed to you.

This series does a great job at making these Golden Age characters feel believable while introducing them the the problem and politics of the real world in 1940 – 1955. It takes on issues like World War II, Communism and McCarthyism (Not McCartneyism – that has to do with Rock n Roll and screaming teenage girls).

***Spoilers Ahead***

Jon and I talk about the history on how this book was made and then go over plot points and characters. We don’t spoil the final act of the book but we do go over most of the story.

We highly recommend reading this story. It has some ties to the Star Girl series and will bring you up to speed on most of the Golden Age heroes.

Comics Misremembered Podcast 271

CM Podcast 270 – The Old Guard (2020 Netflix movie review)

We are covering a comic related item this week – the recently released Netflix movie called The Old Guard.

This is based on a comic series written by Greg Rucka and art by Leandro Fernandez. It is published by Image comics. In fact, Greg Rucka wrote the script for the movie.

We normally like to read the comic that the movie is based on and then do a comparison of the movie to the comic to see if it is true to the source material or does it stray… *cough*Last Days of American Crime*cough*.

Unfortunately, we could not get a copy of the 1st trade paperback – it was sold out everywhere I looked. We will still try to pick it up and do a review of it later. For this review, we focus on the movie.

Jon and I did not read the original comic so all our knowledge about Old Guard comes from the movie. We talk about the story and the world building it does to explain how The Old Guard comes into existence and operates in the world. We both give our final opinion at the end of the podcast. The movie has been getting good to excellent reviews on Rotten Tomatoes. Do we feel the same way? Listen to find out.

As always – SPOILERS are in the podcast so watch the movie and come back to dissect it with us.

Jim

Comics Misremembered Podcast 270

CM Podcast 269 – The Wolverine (1982 miniseries and 2013 movie review) Part 2 of 2

I know it was hard to wait a week for our review but thanks for coming back! We continue with our examination of the Wolverine miniseries written by Chris Claremont and drawn by Frank Miller. It was published by Marvel in 1982. We also compare the miniseries to the 2013 The Wolverine movie and show you how much they used from the miniseries in the movie.

Some things you can expect to hear in this podcast:

  • We continue to spoil a comic that came out almost 40 years ago and has been recapped in issues of Uncanny X-Men, X-Men and The Wolverine regular series so it’s not much of a spoiler.
  • I call Yukio the wrong name for half the podcast and Jon does not pick up on it until I correct myself.
  • We know our 80s American Asian cinema – we go off on a 10 minute tangent to talk about how Asian culture influenced media during the 1980s.
  • Jon and I try to piece together why Storm has her “punk rocker” look on the final 2 pages of issue #173 of Uncanny X-Men.

All this and more hilarity with this podcast. Thanks for listening.

Jim

Comics Misremembered Podcast 269

CM Podcast 268 – The Wolverine (1982 miniseries comic and 2013 movie) Part 1 of 2

A new week and a new comic. This week we are talking about Chris Claremont and Frank Miller‘s collaboration on the 1983 Marvel miniseries Wolvervine.

We recently read the trade paperback of the 4 issue miniseries and took some time out to watch the 2013 The Wolverine movie. There are many moments the movie uses which is directly taken from the miniseries.

At the start of the podcast, we go over a interview that Chris Claremont told Sean Howe about how he trapped Frank Miller and forced him to work on the miniseries with him.

This chance encounter lead to an epic miniseries that all the fans demanded. 1982 was when the Uncanny X-Men were at the height of their popularity. The character that everyone wanted more of was Wolverine. He was the mysterious, animal bad boy with the shadowy past. The miniseries was a way to add more dimensions to him. Everyone expected a hack and slash tale (and they got that) but they also got to know the sensitive side of Logan.

***SPOILER ALERT***

We are talking about the entire Wolverine miniseries and the movie so we will be spoiling all of the plot points. The miniseries is almost 40 years old so some of the original story has been retold in other comics so if you are long time follower of Wolvie, then you know most of this story.

Jim

Comics Misremembered Podcast 268

CM Podcast 267 – Ronin (1983 comic) Part 2 (of 2)

This is it – the final installment of our Dystopia Futures run on comics. This does not mean that we won’t talk about Dystopian Futures in… the future, but it mean next week will not be a Dystopian Future theme.

We are continuing were we left off last week – we are concluding our discussion of Frank Miller’s Ronin six issue prestige format miniseries that was published by DC from 1983 – 1984.

This is the cover of the trade we read.

*** MAJOR SPOILERS THIS WEEK***

Ronin is set in the near future and has a massive twist at the end of the comic that you don’t see coming (we debate it’s validity) but we want to warn everyone up front – if you do not want the comic’s ending spoiled, stop listening when we tell you in the podcast. You can listen to everything else but stop listening and go read the comic.

Reflecting back on Ronin, Frank Miller was in an experimental mood when creating this comic. He tires several different art styles (cross-hatching, negative space) and we also pushes the limits of dialogue and censorship with the way some of the characters speak. It was ground breaking, especially for a DC comic, at the time and still holds up today.

Jim

Comics Misremembered Podcast 267

CM Podcast 266 – Ronin (1983 comic) Part 1 (of 2)

We are at the final comic we will be covering for the #DystopianFutures theme and it is Frank Miller’s Ronin. This podcast is so epic that we had to split into two! We will be posting part one today and follow up with part two next week.

Ronin was published by DC in 1983. DC’s Editor in Chief, Jenette Kahn lured Frank Miller away from Marvel to publish this original story as part of DC’s Prestige format comics – all glossy pages, 48 pages per issue and no ads. DC offered more creative control and Miller wanted to do a more mature comic so he agrees to write and draw the six issue miniseries.

This was one of the many great things Jenette Kahn did to modernize DC and make the comic content more contemporary. One of the other great changes she made was to hire graphic illustrator, Milton Glaser (who passed away today) to design one of the greatest comic company logos of all time. It is known as the DC Bullet and here it is:

There is a funny story behind why DC cannot use this logo anymore and I am sure we will talk about it in a future podcast.

Miller was experimenting with different art styles in this series so that first 3 issues feature plenty of cross-hatching. If you are not familiar with that style, it is a technique used ti create tonal or shading effects by drawing closely spaced parallel lines. The first issue of the miniseries features cross-hatching on the cover:

Cross-hatching is very time intensive so this style is used in the first 3 issues and abandoned for more of a traditional comic style in the last 3 issues.

Jon and I talked about Frank Miller’s Eastern influences in the podcast. I mentioned a scene in the comic that is straight out of Akira Kurosawa’s Yojimbo. Here is a trailer for that movie:

The story from Yojimbo has been remade several times. One of the most recent remakes was 1996 Last Man Standing (whose name I forgot in the podcast). This movie stars Bruce Willis as the “body guard ronin who just blew into town”. Here is the trailer from that movie:

We covered some history, some influences and we start to talk about the comic in this podcast.

We will be spoiling plot points from the comic in next week’s podcast so we recommend reading it this week and coming back to listen and discuss it with us.

See you in seven for part two,

Jim

Comics Misremembered Podcast 266

CM Podcast 265 – Sweet Tooth (comic 2009)

We are getting close to the end of our Dystopian Future comics. This week we are talking about Sweet Tooth written and drawn by Jeff Lemire.

You know Jeff Lemire as the writer of great comics like Black Hammer, Gideon Falls, Hawkeye and many more. He started his career as an independent writer/artist and was able to get more mainstream attention thanks to Sweet Tooth which was published through DC’s now defunct alternative, mature imprint Vertigo back in 2009.

Sweet Tooth is an tale of a young boy who sees his mother and father die due to a pandemic that is impacting most of the people on the planet. The young boy named Gus (who looks like a deer) is able to survive the oppressive environment thanks to the help of a human named Mr. Jepperd. He has sworn to protect Gus and take him to a safe place where all the “hybrid” children live called “Sanctuary”.

***SPOILER WARNING***

Jon and I review the first story arc that covers meeting Gus and Mr. Jepperd and their journey to Sanctuary. We go over the art style, characters, motivation of those characters and what happens at sanctuary.

We were very interested to talk about this series. I feel it is not well know but people will find out about it due to the Netflix series that will be coming out soon. We want you to go out and read all the issue of Sweet Tooth. It is a great story about humanity in the post-apocalypse. It is a quick read too – only 40 issues.

Thanks for listening,

Jim

Comics Misremembered Podcast 265

CM Podcast 264 – Akira (1988 movie)

It is Jon’s birthday today (wish him a happy one), I gave him the opportunity to pick what ever comic related item he wanted to cover for the podcast. He kept the Dystopian Futures theme going by picking Akira – the anime movie to review.

For those that are not familiar with Akira, here is a little background on the material. It is based on a 1982 Manga series by Katsuhiro Otomo. As it was published in Japan, Marvel picked up the rights to distribute it in America under their Epic imprint. In 1988, Katsuhiro Otomo directed the anime version of the movie. At the time, it cost $5 million dollars to make and was the most expensive animated movie to date. Akira is an epic tale about teen angst, political corruption, family and friendship that ends in a giant psychic battle.

This may be one of the most influential movies of all time. You can see elements of the movie being emulated in other animated shows. Here is a quick clip of Kaneda sliding on his bike how many other shows pay homage to it.

There was talk of an American live action version of Akira in early 2000s but this never happened. Here is what it would have looked like…

Akira is a great movie (and even greater manga) but it does get a little convoluted in the end. I have seen the movie multiple times but still cannot figure out the ending. Jon and I still highly recommend watching it because it still holds up.

Jim

Comics Misremembered Podcast 264

CM Podcast 263 – The Last Days of American Crime (2007 comic and 2020 movie)

Another week and we have another vision of a dystopian future in the 2007 comic The Last Days of American Crime. It is written by Rick Remender with art by Greg Tocchini and was originally published in 2007 as a 3 issue miniseries from Image Comics. This creative team has given us great stories like LOW and Uncanny X-Force. They come with the good stuff in this near future bank heist comic with a twist: the crew has to rob the bank the same day the government starts broadcasting a “anti-crime” signal which “makes it impossible for anyone to knowingly break the law in any way possible”.

The story begins with our main character, Graham Bricke (which is a combination of 2 units of measurement of drugs: Gram and Brick) finding out that one of the dafecracker in his crew has ratted him out to a rival mob. He deals with the problem but several new problems have bubbled up: he needs to find a new safecracker and he only has a week to do it before the American Peace Initiative renders all crime in America obsolete.

The Last Days of Crime in America tells a fast, tight heist story that is full of twists and turns that you don’t know who to trust by the end. It reminded Jon and myself of great heist movies like Thief, Ronin and The Grifters. We highly recommend the comic.

The reason we read the comic was that a movie version was recently released on Netflix. Here is the trailer…

We compare the comic to it’s movie counterpart. Listen to the podcast for the details.

Jim

Comics Misremembered Podcast 263

CM Podcast 262 – Alita Battle Angel movie (2019)

We have been doing dystopian future comics for a few weeks now and there are still several ideas we want to talk about in the coming weeks but a couple of weeks ago, I saw a movie that I thought was really good and would fit nicely into our Dystopian Futures conversation. That movie was:

Alita Battle Angel.

Alita Battle Angel is based on a 1990s Manga called Battle Angel Alita that was written and drawn by Yukito Kishiro. Here is the cover to Book 1 of the collected work…


Jon and I watched the movie and then were able to get the first book prior to recording the podcast. The movie is pretty faithful to the manga in who the story flows and how the characters look. The movie has Ito, the father character to Alita, had a wife and child. In the manga, he was single. The family dynamic probably works better for the movie.

I think what turned most people off to the movie are Alita’s huge anime eyes. In fact, after the first trailer, they reduced the size slightly of the eyes.

left: orignal Gollum eyes Right: updated eyes

Those eyes are a little distracting at the start of the movie but you get used to them and eventually forget about them by the end of the movie.

It is a solid Sci Fi story about a girl finding love and her own identity. She fights to overcome the odds and comes out on top. It is a real underdog story and I think, that’s what I like about it. It is currently playing on HBO and I highly recommend watching it before listening to the podcast.

This is a movie that I think a lot of people passed on that should have seen it in the theater (myself included). If they do make a sequel, I would definitely see it in the theater.

Jim

Comics Misremembered Podcast 262

CM Podcast 261 – The Last American (1990)

We will be doing Dystopian Futures for the near future because in comics, there are hundreds of dystopian future comics and we want to talk about most of them.

This week, we are talking about an Epic Comic that is not really well known called The Last American. It was written by John Wagner and Alan Grant with art from Mike (Mick) McMahon. All 3 creators are based in the UK and created a comic that is an American Cautionary Tale.

The Last American is a 4 issue miniseries originally released by Marvel’s Epic Imprint but it has been reprinted in Trade Paperback by Com.X and 2000 AD Press. It tells the story of soldier, Ulysses Pilgrim who happens to be the last American after a nuclear war. It graphically depicts what the world would look like if there was an actual nuclear war. Is Pilgrim the actual last American or are there others?

You know Pilgrim’s slowly going mad when Bert the Turtle shows up.

It is a fast and frightening read that was really relevant in 1990 which was the height of the Cold War but the story still is relevant today to show you this is what could happen if we were to stockpile nuclear weapons.

If you are a fan of books like The Road and movies like The Moon, then you will really like The Last American.

Jim

Comics Misremembered Podcast 261

CM Podcast 260 – Transmetropolitan (1997)

Another week, another dystopian future. This week we are covering the future of Transmetroplitan. This is a 1997 comic series that was written by Warren Ellis with art by Darick Robertson. It was published by DC under the new defunct Mature Sci-Fi imprint of Helix.

The story of Transmetropolitan starts with journalist, Spider Jerusalem living in isolation in the mountains (the way he likes it) when he gets a call from his publisher who tells him he needs to fulfill his contract of writing 2 more books. He doesn’t have any ideas for new books so he makes the decision to go back to the City to get his next story. This is a very difficuly decision because Spider hates the City. The cruel, dirty, polluted City.

Warren Ellis and Darick Robertson take use on a fun, cigarette and caffeine fueled roller coaster ride of what the world looks like in this nightmare vision of the future. You’ll laugh and laugh more.

It’s a dystopian future but it’s not too bad compared to some of the other futures we covered in the last few weeks.

Jim

Comics Misremembered Podcast 260

CM Podcast 259 – American Flagg! (1983)

The future is now! We are continuing our discussion on future dystopian comics and this week we are cover the future of American Flagg!

American Flagg! was a comic written and illustrated by Howard Chaykin with letters by Ken Bruzenak that originally started in 1983 and was distributed by First Comics, an independent publisher at the time.

American Flagg! takes place in 2031 in Plex America which is the name of the former United States of America. It follows the adventures of former TV star, now conscripted Plex Ranger, Reuben Flagg. He is relocated from Mars, a planet of the wealthy to Earth, home of the dregs of society and in a constant state of conflict. It is up to Flagg and his Plexus Rangers to establish order and return Plex America to it’s former glory before the Tricentennial.

We review the collected trade volume one by Image. It collects the first 6 issues.

This comic is a dark, satirical take on America and it’s politics in the 1980s, but it feels as relevant today, more than ever. In Flagg’s reality, people have broken their political beliefs into fractured, radicalized cells and wage war on the streets with other political parties every day – and this is a normal day! Chaykin takes a philandering louse and makes him the hero of the story and it works! This comics gets you with humor and keeps you reading for the twists and turns of the plot. Netflix, HBO and Hulu – why are you not making this a series yet?!!

***Some slight SPOILERS in the Podcast***

Jim

Comics Misremembered Podcast 259

CM Podcast 258 – Scout (1987)

We are continuing with our review of Dystopian comics and next on the list is Tim Truman’s Scout. It was originally published by Eclipse Comics back in 1987.

If you are not familiar with the comic, here is a brief summary:

BY TIMOTHY (CONAN WRITER/ARTIST) TRUMAN Scout, originally published in 1987 and created by Timothy Truman features the Native American hero, Emanuel Santana, and his one-man war against oppressive governmental forces in a post-apocalyptic United States.

This was pulled off the Dynamite Entertainment website. Direct link here.

Jon and I have did not read this in issues when it originally came out but Dynamite Entertainment collected the first 7 issues in a trade paperback so we got the opportunity to read this rarity and give our review on it.

cover of the Volume 1 of the trade.

Scout is a interesting satire of 80s politics and “Go Big or Go Home” culture mixed with Indigenous People folklore. Scout “sees” the evil in the world and it is up to him to heed the hero’s call to vanquish the beasts that destroy the land and reestablish order in America.

*** SPOILER WARNING***

In the podcast we talk about characters and plot points. We don’t give everything away but we do spoil a couple of parts to talk about the story. You can listen to this podcast prior to reading the comic. In fact, it may help you understand some of the content. But if you want to read the comic without any spoilers, go read it and then come back.

Jim

Comics Misremembered Podcast 287

CM Podcast 257 – V for Vendetta (1982 comic) Pt. 2

Welcome back to the second and final part of our discussion of Alan Moore and David Lloyd’s V for Vendetta comic miniseries. The 10 issue miniseries was published by DC back in 1982.

In part one of our discussion we covered: the uniqueness of Lloyd’s original black and white art and the problems with coloring it with DC. There are several literal influences in V for Vendetta but the political climate of the UK in the 1980s may have been the biggest influence on this comic.

We started to talk about the comic but we ran out of time. We picked up that discussion with Part 2. We go over who exactly Guy Fawkes is and why his mask is relevant to the comic. we get through the story and what we like (and dislike) about it but we feel it is still a very relevant comic that still need to be read.

we recently, watch the V for Vendetta movie and compare it to the comic. Jon and I have very different views about the movie and if it is faithful to the comic. Listen to the podcast to see who’s side you will take.

Overall, V for Vendetta is a good read with great art. It is not as ground breaking to comics as Watchmen but you’ll enjoy the ride.

Stay safe,

Jim

Comics Misremembered Podcast 257