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 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