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?!!
This week’s podcast was brought about by an answer to a twitter question: Without telling me exactly how old you are, tell me something about your youth?
Someone answered “I was alive when you had to call a 1-900 number to kill robin.”
Jon did not get the answer to the question. I immediately knew exactly what this person was saying. I started to tell Jon about the controversial Batman: Death in the Family story arc (Batman #426 – 429, 1988). The story was written by Jim Stalin (Infinity Gauntlet) with art by Jim Aparo (long time Batman artist) and inks by Mike DeCarlo.
Jon started to remember bits and pieces. I told him that this would be a great time to review that story on the podcast since I have the trade paperback of the story. So we both read it and here we are this week talking about a story that is about 28 years old.
I started to collect Batman comic just as this story was being published. I missed issue 426 but I was able to get the rest. About a month later, DC would collect all 4 issues in a trade paperback that had this cover:
Normally, collected trades for well known stories never came out shortly after they were published in issues in 1988. Some it is unusual that the trade came out as quick as it did and it was printed on regular paper stock, not the traditional high gloss stock.
It was a shocking event for 1988. There were very few deaths of heroes in comic up to this point. Killing Robin was as significant as killing Jean Grey and James “Bucky” Barnes. The other unique part of the death is that fans decided Robin’s fate. You would call one of 2 1-900 numbers: one to save Robin and the other to kill him. The media was all over this. When infamous issue #428 came out revealing Jason Todd (Robin) died, all the news channels were reporting it.
This story is an interesting time capsule. DC used the technology of the time (1-900 numbers) to get more interactive with fans and let them have a say in what happens. This type of event was never duplicated again (as far as I can remember).
We both read it again and had some good times remembering the good, the bad and the ugly regarding Batman: Death in the Family.
Welcome back to part 2 of our exploration of TKO Studios and their comics. Last week we reviewed Sara and this week we decided to give another of their comics a shot – Sentient.
Sentient is written by Jeff Lemire with all the art done by Gabriel Walta. These two creators go together like peanut butter and jelly. The result is a very tasty Sci Fi story that will have you burning through the issues to see how it ends.
As we mentioned in last week’s podcast, TKO Studios has a very different business model when it comes to comics. They give you the entire story in one shot either with a Trade Paperback or 6 issues packaged together. You are expected to binge the comic. Jon and I enjoyed the book especially with art like this…
Gabriel Walta’s character and ship design are incredibly detailed. You can tell this was a real labor of love putting this together. Lemire’s plotting really matches Walta’s pacing.
In the podcast, we go over the story but keep it mostly spoiler free! We talk about what we liked and debate over other aspects. We also talk about other great Sci Fi stories that we thought about as we read it.
We highly recommend pick this book up as well as checking out other comics from TKO Studios. They are trying something different and it is working.
The X-Men soft rebooted again last week (is this like the 4th one so far? I lost count) but I ain’t even mad at you, Marvel for doing it.
I was really enjoying the last incarnation of the Uncanny X-Men that started up last year and then I heard that they were going to stop Uncanny again (Ugh!) and restart with 2 new books: House of X #1 and Powers of X #1.
Now the names aren’t so great – House of X sounds like a 1990s fashion show and Powers of X sounds like a math book, but I was very excited about the creative teams on these books.
House of X is by writer Jonathan Hickman with art by Pepe Larraz
Powers of X is by writer Jonathan Hickman with art by R. B. Silva
Having read other Jonathan Hickman Marvel projects like Fantastic Four, Avengers and Secret Wars – I knew that the X-Men were in good hands and we can expect a really compelling story.
This is exactly what we got. Jon and I review the first 2 issues of House of X and the 1 issue of Powers of X that have come out so far. What I like best about these 2 series is that if you are new to the X-Men or a long time reader (like us), you start on the same page by getting introduced to familiar characters but in a new situation and trying to figure out where the story will go next. Sit back and enjoy the ride.
Spoilers on this podcast – we talk about the story in both but since it is only the beginning, there isn’t much to spoil. Jon and I take guesses on what the creative teams will do next.
Normally, we would be doing a review of the latest comic related movie this week but Jon and I decided that we were not going to see Dark Phoenix in the theater (we explain why in the podcast) so this week we will be doing a retro review.
We have decided to review the apocalyptic comic, The End League. It is written by Rick Remender with art by Matt Broome. It was published by Dark Horse Comics in 2008 and is collected in trades.
This is a 9 issue series and we review only the first 4 issues. Those 4 issues are collected in a trade called Volume 1: Ballad of Big Nothing.
The story revolves around the last remaining super hero group in a world that is controlled by evil madmen. How did our heroes end up in such a situation? We review why one of the bravest heroes of this world, Astonishman is also one of it’s worst enemies and how his righteous actions condemned the world! Remender and Broome do some great world building in these 4 issues and set the reader up for a ride with heroes that are flawed and villains that are ruthless.
Check out the podcast and then do yourself a favor and check out The End League.
We started a tradition 3 years ago on the podcast called The Hazies where we did a review show for that previous year but we disguised it as an award show.
We still give out the same Hazie as we did back then. Here is a photo of it:
Everyone does year end reviews about the “Best Comics” of that year but we already spend the whole year telling you what comics you should be checking out so why be boring and tell it to you again. Jon and I decided that since it is the Holidays, we want it keep it light and make the last podcast of the year just one big party. This was the inception of The Hazies. This is our 4th Annual Hazie countdown and we create some “Awards” aka jokes for the Comic Industry (more like, at their expense).
See who won the Hazies for:
I’m All About The Foreplay
Circle of Jerks
That Not So Fresh Feeling
I Can’t Feel My Brain
and more! Grab a beverage of your choice, sit in your most comfortable chair and have a laugh with us at The Hazies.
If you happen to be down at the beach and there is a spacey blonde staring off into the distant horizon, you don’t ask her if she is okay. You keep moving and mind your business. You’ll do this if you know what’s good for you and you’ll especially do this if you are a character in a Ed Brubaker Criminal story.
My Heroes Have Always Been Junkies is the latest story from writer Ed Brubaker and artist Sean Phillips in their Criminal anthology series. Unlike their other series, it is a hardcover novella instead of the traditional 4 to 5 issue miniseries. The books are published through Image Comics.
This story focuses on young Ellie and her time spent in a high class rehab center. She tells us of her past problems with addiction which stem form her mother’s struggles with drugs. She is draw to people with addiction problems and that explains why she listens to a lot of music where the lead singer has died of drug overdoses (and also explains the title).
While in rehab, she must attend ‘group sessions’ – a sharing therapy session where other addicts share their problems in a sitting circle. While in a group session, Ellie shares her thoughts on drugs…
As you can see, Ellie is not having a great time at rehab but she did meet a nice boy and maybe they can have some fun together.
My Heroes Have Always Been Junkies is a great read. The story and art are top notch. Jon and I go over the story by we don’t spoil it. Listen to the podcast and if you are looking for something more than superheroes in comics, we recommend picking this comic up.
In last week’s podcast, I mentioned that I met Tom King at the Fax Expo Boston and he saw me carrying a copy of John Byrne’s 2112 graphic novel. King asked if he could look at it and I began to tell him the history of how this book was made. I did not get to meet John Byrne but it gave me an idea.
This was the impetus for this week’s podcast. Jon has never read the graphic novel 2112 and I always like covering old comics so I thought we will do a review of it…
Here is the cover. Pretty cool, right? It has dinosaurs there and tall futuristic towers in the back. I know what you are thinking…”Dinosaurs are from the past! How did they get into the future?!” Well, we will find out together. Also, there is the image of a masked man. Who is this mystery man? Well, that would be…
Sathanus! The main antagonist in our story. You knew he was going to be a bad guy. How many guys in masks with red eyes turn out to be humanitarians? His mutant power…er, I mean – Halfling power (not mutant) is that he sucks the life out of people like a vampire. He was born to be the bad guy and he has ‘anus’ in his name so that makes him an a-hole.
Here is an image of Sathanus…uh, sucking. Pretty brutal. But who will be brave enough to take down this heel? Why that would be…
Agent Red – our main hero. This scene is early on in the comic and as you can see here is a tough and stoic man. Jon mentions in the podcast that Agent Red reminds him of Judge Dredd and that is an apt description.
Jon and I go over the graphic novel and let you know if this is something to be on the look out for next time you are at your local comic shop or flea market.
2 years ago we witnessed an R-rated comic book movie called Deadpool and it was good. We did a podcast on the the movie and more.
Last week, the highly anticipated sequel came out. Is it as good as the original or is it Deadpoo? We will tell you what we thought of… Deadpool 2!
We will tell you up front – this movie is as good as the original (even better, maybe). Being a Deadpool movie, you know there will be jokes, violence and swearing but this movie also as heart and compassion (which were in the original – if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it). Jon and I give our opinions on the movie and we try not to spoil too much on what makes it great.
Welcome back to the podcast. We are doing a new comic review this week. We haven’t done one of these in a while and a few new books have come out. You know the drill: we read them, we review them and you either buy them or give a pass.
Marvel and DC crossover comic events are very rare nowadays but that was not always the case. In fact, 20 years ago was one of the best Marvel/DC comic events that ever happened and it was called the Amalgam Universe!
These Amalgam comics were the result of a battle between the Marvel and DC universes…
The champions fought each other in a limited series called DC Versus Marvel (or Marvel Versus DC depending on which issue you were buying). The heroes battles each other and it caused such a mess that is smashed the 2 universes together in 1 amalgamated universe.
Jon and I reflect back on the events that lead up to the Amalgam Comics to be published. This will be a 2 part podcast so tune in next week for part 2.
There was this new movie that came out May 5th 2016 called Captain America: Civil War. Have you heard about it? This may be the biggest grossing Marvel Movie and it immediately became one of our top 3 comic book movies of all time and we will tell you why.
We have a 3rd party joining our podcast today – his name is Rick and he is a comic enthusiast. He is a fan of the podcast and lives locally so we gave him an opportunity to contribute to the podcast this week. I feel that he gave a unique perspective to the discussion and we hope to have him on future podcasts.
Before we start…
Major Spoilers Ahead!!
We will go over what we liked and what we would change. In order to give you a the best possible deconstruction and reasons why you should see it, we need to go over all the elements of the plot so if you have not see the movie, we recommend – see the movie (it’s really good) and then come back and listen to the podcast.
We also try to compare the movie to the comic equivalent but for a thorough review of the comic Civil War, go listen to our CM Podcast 40.
We talk comics, politics and movies in this one and we hope you enjoy it.