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44 minutes | Oct 22, 2021
GRENDEL ...pointy sticks, little girls, and reincarnation?
This week we are reading Matt Wagner's GRENDEL...or at least the Grendel Omnibus, the first part of a MUCH longer running series of noir comics - which ultimately evolved into a study on the nature of aggression. But for us, Grendel is just an anti-hero that poses the question, what if Batman were a viiglante mob boss with a sweet double pointy stick (don't forget the orphaned little girl and the Native American werewolf arch-nemeisis who uses his violent compulsions for good). Grendel was an indie comic that launched in the 80s and became all the rage in the grim and gritty 90s. At first, the comic follows Hunter Rose, AKA Grendel, an assassin who ascends to the top of New York City's criminal underworld. Getting silly things like plot out of the way up front, the book dives into a bunch of one shots illustrated by various artists telling micro tales of Grendel's adventures in various styles, illustrated by now superstar artists like Tim Sale, Guy Davis, Mike Allred, Darick Robertson, Michael Avon Oeming, Jill Thompson and many more. Grendel has had an on again, off-again history, with new series popping up every few years, given his iconic status. In fact, in 2009, his first incarnation from this week's Omnibus read, Hunter Rose was rated by IGN as the 88th-greatest villain of all time. Eventually, Grendel as a series would evolve into something much different, with the character of Grendel becoming a spirit that possesses many different people. More recently, it was announced that Grendel is finally getting his very own Netflix series, with creator Matt Wagner at the helm, and starring Abubakr Ali as Hunter Rose. And if you made it this far into the description, you'll likely want to make it to the end of the episode, where Ryan & Raman have a deep argument about cultural perceptions, spirituality, and the implied meaning of Rosebud from Citizen Kane....
37 minutes | Oct 15, 2021
IN WAVES ...surfing thru grief, and history
This week we are reading IN WAVES, by AJ Dungo. An equally informative and heartbreaking sober work of a young man's love, along with a history lesson. This book is NOT just about the history of surfing, tracing the tales of Duke Kahanamoku and Thomas Blake,...it's also a heartfelt recollection of young love and loss, as the author recounts his time with his girlfriend Kristen, who succumbed to cancer. A beautifully heavy book that caught me off guard a couple of years ago, and continues to sit with you on every re-reading.
39 minutes | Oct 12, 2021
MY FRIEND DAHMER + KENT STATE... delving into the dark side of Americana
As a high schooler, the cartoonist Derf Backderf was part of a fan club that formed around one of his more eccentric friends: Jeffrey Dahmer, who eventually grew up to be one of America's most infamous serial killers. In "My Friend Dahmer," Backderf recounts what it was like growing up with Dahmer in that particular milieu, and tries to unravel the sequence of events that made Dahmer the monster he ultimately became. More recently, Backderf leant his storytellilng powers to unraveling the events that led to the shooting deaths of four students. In "Kent State: Four Dead In Ohio," Backderf traces the lives of the victims, and the political situation that eventually boiled over into violence. We'll take a look at both comics in this week's episode of Quarantined Comics.
53 minutes | Oct 2, 2021
STAR WARS VISIONS ...plucky young fanimes + extra big lightsabers
はるか昔、はるか遠くの銀河で... (a long time ago in a galaxy far far away...) These ARE droids you're looking for my dear Padawans! This week we're veering BACK veering off course - this time to a galaxy far far away for STAR WARS VISIONS - the new Disney+ series of nine anime shorts where the Japanese have their way with some sweet sweet Lucasfilm IP. Featuring fanime tropes like extreme destruction, long fight scenes, ridiculously reimagined lightsabers, super cute anthroporphized robots, and/or romanticized takes on the Samurai legends...the show takes us to the hyperspace limit of all that all that Kuroswan stuff that originally "inspired" George Lucas. The much hyped anime series featured reimaginings by acclaimed anime creators like Kamikaze Douga, Geno Studio, Studio Colorido, Trigger, Kinema Citrus, Production I.G., and Masaaki Yuasa's Science SARU...AND the an all-star cast of voice talent like Lucy Liu, Henry Goldig, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Alison Brie, Simu Liu, Neil Patrick Harris, Kyle Chandler, Bobby Moynihan, David Harbour, Jamie Chung, George Takei, Lorraine Toussaint, and many more (sadly no Ben Kingsley and/or Tony Leung...that we know of)
43 minutes | Sep 27, 2021
THE NEW WORLD... abandoned homes, empty offices, and alien invasions
A man returns home to his empty childhood home and calls an old friend. A woman gets an office job. A boy is inspired by his mother's old friend. The stories of Chris Reynolds seem steeped in the mundane... and then they go way off the rails, hinting at such strange phenomena as time travel, a secret cult, and alien invasions. But his stories just hint at such extraordinary activities. If you're the type who wants answers from your comics, Chris Reynolds is not the sort of cartoonist who will provide it. On this week's episode, we'll pick through his collection of black-and-white strips, curated by legendary cartoonist Seth.
43 minutes | Sep 16, 2021
SHANG CHI ...kung fu, double dragons, and daddy issues
This week we masked up and hit some empty-off-hour theaters, so we could talk about Shang Chi & the Legend of the Ten Rings, the latest installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Based on the 1972 comics of the same name based on a VERY different context / pretense, Marvel's Shang Chi is a completely new story, carrying over only a some surface level elements of the source material. The latest comic book film to strike our fancy, Shang Chi was directed by Destin Daniel Cretton, and features ALL the Asians -Simu Liu, Akwafina, Tony Leung, Michelle Yeoh, Meng’er Zhang, Ying Nan, Ronny Chiang, and even SIR Ben Kingsley (HALF INDIAN!), the movie tells the story of an exiled assassin martial artists moonlighting as valet parkers in the Bay Area to avoid their dark mysterious past. You know, the typical Asian American story. It’s basically Asian Black Panther, or is it?
44 minutes | Sep 10, 2021
DRAGON HOOPS ...hard choices + high school sportsball
This week we are FINALLY reading DRAGON HOOPS, written and illustrated by Gene Luen Yang. DRAGON HOOPS won a 2020 Eisner Award (the Oscars for comics, and not Yang's first). The book is a nonfiction account of the high school basketball team - Oakland's Bishop O'Dowd Dragons - where Yang was a teacher before we went full time into comics. Yang's not a fan of the sportsballs - which is what makes it such a great book about sports, and taking big steps.
43 minutes | Sep 6, 2021
NO LONGER HUMAN ...clowning around with other peoples' lives
This week, we review "No Longer Human," adapted by famed horror creator Junji Ito from Osamu Dazai's semi-autobiographical novel. It's a deep dive into awful way depression and social anxiety impact the life of a man named Oba Yozo, whose ways of dealing with his problems inevitably drags down anyone with the misfortune of being associated with him. While "No Longer Human" seems on the surface different from Ito's other work — the monsters are mostly internal rather than external, and the psychologies of the characters are more nuanced — the graphic novel is also full of Ito's trademarks. There are bodily transmogrifications, the strange nexus between horror and comedy, and of course lots of murder. Also, is this the Junji Ito book that finally turns Raman into a Junji Ito fanboy? Stay tuned...
46 minutes | Aug 30, 2021
I AM NOT STARFIRE ...teen angst (not) for the trolls
This week we are reading "I Am Not Starfire" written by Mariko Tamaki and artist Yoshi Yoshitani. Many would argue would Tamaki (someone we've read numerous books by) is one of our generation's best voices on growing up in this increasingly strange world....so for DC to tap her to relate to one of their most popular characters, is an intriguing concept. I AM NOT STARFIRE tells the tale Mandy, a 17 year old who is NOTHING like her of super-famous superhero Starfire....a tall, gorgeous, sparkly, hot blooded hero, beloved by all...which Mandy is NOT. She has no powers, dyes her hair black and hates everyone but best friend Lincoln, and longtime crush Claire. To Starfire, who is actually from another planet, her daughter Mandy seems like a distant, angry alien, from light years away. Everyone has plans and thoughts about what Mandy should be, but like so many other coming of age stories, Mandy just wants to do her own thing....be it skipping the SATs, not going to college, and just doing whatever it is they do in France. The book has had mixed reviews - some constructive and some rather troll-y. So get ready for us to unpack some baggage and lay it out for the trolls, so they can get over it.
48 minutes | Aug 20, 2021
YEAR OF THE RABBIT ......a waking nightmare, that actually happened
This week we are reading "Year of the Rabbit" - written and illustrated by Tian Veasna. The book is an autobiographical depiction of the author's family journey in Cambodia, from the moment he Khmer Rouge took power...three days before his birth. Taking place in the late 1970s, the book is a harrowing, triggering account of one family's journey to make sense of, attempt escape, and survive what is now regarded as one of the great human disasters of the 20th century, that most people don't know, or don't talk about. This book put us both in a very uncomfortable reflection...especially given history seeming to continuously repeat itself, most recently in Afghanistan with the Taliban resurgent...
37 minutes | Aug 16, 2021
GRASS & THE WAITING ...'the past is never dead. it's not even past.'
In Grass, Gendry-Kim tells the real-life account of a Lee Ok-sun, who was forced into sexual slavery as a young girl during World War II. And in The Waiting, she tells the story of a family suddenly torn apart when Korea was divided between North and South — a fictionalization based in Gendry-Kim's own research and family history. Each is an emotional gut punch. The legacies of both the comfort women and of the country's split is both traumatic and heavily politicized, both of which greatly impact how it's often been retold. But Gendry-Kim digs into the people who were most effected, the way they dealt with the awfulness they encountered, and the way they continue to deal with it today. Jae Won Chung, a professor of Korean studies at Rutgers, stops by to help us make sense of the past.
53 minutes | Aug 7, 2021
Y: THE LAST MAN ...how bad could a pandemic get?
Y: THE LAST MAN is an award-winning, post-apocalyptic sci-fi comic series by Brian K. Vaughan (Saga, Lost, Paper Girls) and Pia Guerra published from 2002 through 2008 by DC's Vertigo imprint, and soon to be adapted to a live-action TV series on FX / Hulu - https://youtu.be/0EEQ5Lj-cXM Written in the heart of the post-9/11 era, Y centers on the realities of a seemingly far-fetched scenario - when a mysterious global pandemic wipes out millions...in this case ALL male mammals on the planet (#androcide)....minus one man - Yorick Brown, and his pet monkey Ampersand. The book quickly gets past the sci-fi root cause, and in a slow burn across 10 volumes and 5 narrative years follows Yorick + his two companions, a secret agent and a bioengineer around the globe in an attempt to save the world and find his true love. Featuring amazons, astronauts, agents, assassins, actors, antagonistas, androbots, atheists, angry Arizonans, and a whole mess of lesbians - you are taken through a # of seemingly realistic outcomes...of what would happen in our society if all the men in a male dominated world really did disappear. Airplanes would crash, (most) army's would fall, ...and neo feminist cults would arise to burn it all down? ...reading it 15 years later when the world clearly didn't get any worse was a real...treat?
55 minutes | Jul 29, 2021
SUMMIT OF THE GODS ...is growing up getting over the mountain?
This week, we're reading THE SUMMIT OF THE GODS (神々の山嶺, Kamigami no Itadaki) - an early 2000s manga by Jiro Taniguchi, based on a novel and script by Baku Yumemakura. The series traces several climbers' journeys across decades around the world - from the European Alps, to the peaks of Japan, to the Himalayas of Nepal and Tibet - all bookended by the greatest summit - Everest. The story is told from the modern perspective of Fukamachi, a photojournalist who finds a camera which may change the history of mountaineering...as it may belong to the famed climber George Mallory, who went missing climbing Everest, which history shows as being first summited by Sir Edmund Hillary some 30 years after Mallory's disappearance At the center of all of this is a mysteriously obstinate climber, Joji Habu, or Binka Sap as he is known to the Nepalese Sherpa community. The critically acclaimed series was actually recently adapted to an animated feature that debuted at the Cannes Film Festival in France, which is NOT why I invited my favorite Frenchman Francois to the pod...
37 minutes | Jul 22, 2021
MARVELS ...reality TV and the end of the world
This week we're reading MARVELS, the 1994 mini series by Kurt Busiek and Alex Ross. MARVELS retells he origins of the Marvel Universe from a decidedly... pedestrian point of view. Over 4 volumes, we traverse New York City through the decades, from the eve of World War 2 and the first appearance of larger than life heroes, to the 60s and 70s when superheroes were a part of mainstream pop culture. Guiding us on our journey is Phil Sheldon, a photojournalist obsessed with these "Marvels" ...as he calls them. Some of the biggest moments in Marvel comics history is shown from the perspective of a bystander who finds himself - and the rest of his fellow New Yorkers - at the center of a changing world. Through is eyes - and camera lens - we see how the everyday people of the world interpret - and react - to colorful costumed heroes and their larger than life adventures. Marvels was written by Kurt Busiek - a writer who has gone on to tell many "unique perspective" stories of the super genrr...like Astro City. But beyond a great story, what really put this book on the map when it came out in the 90s was the photorealistic painted artwork of a young Alex Ross. His style was like nothing any of us comic book readers had seen before, so the book really left its mark, and made Ross a comics superstar, making a career painting realistic depictions of pop cultures animated heros. Immediately after Marvels, Ross would go on to paint Kingdom Come, which we actually discussed on the FIRST episode of this podcast. While Kingdom Come tells a dark tale about the end of the DC Universe, Marvels literally paints an optimistic tale about the beginnings of the Marvel Universe. It was truly one of the most unique comics created in a crowded mainstream field that many thought had nothing new to offer. And it was recently evenly adapted...into an audio drama podcast. And speaking of audiodrama...while we wait on Ryan to seduce Kim Jong Uns' kid sister so he can get the missle launch codes to launch himself back to America...joining us is longtime "industry" friend to both Ryan and I, Jon Kriner.
74 minutes | Jul 16, 2021
MIRA JACOB...has a Good Talk on Modern Minorities
As you might know, Raman also hosts the podcast MODERN MINORITIES, where each week Raman + QC-pal Sharon hope to generate greater empathy and understanding through the stories of others minority experiences. One of our all time favorite comics is GOOD TALK, by Mira Jacob - a moving, autobiographical take on Mira’s conversations with her son, husband, family, and friends about race in Obama and Trump’s America. After reviewing the book on Quarantined Comics (https://www.qtdcomics.com/goodtalk) - Sharon + i reached out to the author Mira Jacob ...and no joke - it was it was one of my all time favorite podcast conversations, so we thought you might want to have a listen. And who knows, maybe when Ryan is back from Korea, we'll start bringing some of our favorite comics authors on Quarantined Comics so we can geek out on some of THEIR favorite comics...
43 minutes | Jul 9, 2021
CHAR STUDY (4/4) ...Batman gets Dicked
During Quarantined Comics “summer hiatus” (Ryan in a Korean gulag, Raman changing more diapers), we wanted to make sure you still got your sweet, sweet weekly comics content, so we’re proud to share Raman’s OTHER comic book podcast project “CHARACTER STUDY” -with friend-of-the-pod Paresh Jha. Character Study is a 4-part series that examines the history of DICK GRAYSON (aka Robin, aka Nightwing), the other half of Batman’s dynamic duo. CHAPTER 4: “Batman gets Dicked!” - looking under the cowl of Dick’s on-again / off-again career as Batman... SUGGESTED READING Batman: Prodigal (1994) - right after Knightfall / Azbats), Bruce let Dick become Batman Batman & Robin (2009-2011) - great Grant Morrison run where Dick as Batman has Bruce Wayne's son Damian as his Robin Batman Black Mirror (2011) Scott Snyder NIGHTWING VOL. 1: TRAPS AND TRAPEZES (2012) - red suit, Kyle Higgins - Back to the circus. Raya - Dick clearly has a thing for redheads (think about it...even Kory had red hair) EXTRA CREDIT / SUPPLEMENTAL READING Spyral (2014) Convergence: Nightwing & Oracle (2015 - 2 issue miniseries) Nightwing Rebirth (2016 ...V5?) - “Better Than Batman” Birds of Prey issue (with Batgirl + Huntress holding Dick up) Titans (2018) # 19 - “the trial of Donna Troy” Ric Grayson (2019) TV: Young Justice Nightwing the New Order (2017) - Kyle Higgins dark future
57 minutes | Jul 2, 2021
CHAR STUDY (3/4) ...Nightwingin' It // There will be Blüd
During Quarantined Comics “summer hiatus” (Ryan in a Korean gulag, Raman changing more diapers), we wanted to make sure you still got your sweet, sweet weekly comics content, so we’re proud to share Raman’s OTHER comic book podcast project “CHARACTER STUDY” -with friend-of-the-pod Paresh Jha. Character Study is a 4-part series that examines the history of DICK GRAYSON (aka Robin, aka Nightwing), the other half of Batman’s dynamic duo. CHAPTER 3: "Night-wing' it (There will be Blüd)" - we follow Dick’s "adult" career as Nightwing - where he cements his reputation for being the glue of the DC Universe SUGGESTED READING: NIGHTWING (1996) #1-25 Chuck Dixon Run perhaps only V1-3 (not sure i can re-read the ENTIRE run) Action Comics #613- #618 // #627- #634 // #642 - where Dick and Superman have a chat Batman Year 3 // "A Lonely Palce for Dying" (Batman #436-442) + New Teen Titans #60+61 Robin #13 Just read the last Robin issue (Bruce + Dick arguement with no resolution) Nightwing 25 - Nightwing + Robin #3 (Tim Drake) have a fun chat on a train Birds of Prey #8 (1999)- Babs and Dick go on a date / talk about their feelings Teen Titans V3 # 6 (2003) - NIghtwing breaks up a fight between the JLA and TT EXTRA CREDIT / SUPPLEMENTAL READING Batman: Prodigal (1994) - 12 issue crossover - “I can't replace you, Bruce... but I'd be lying if I said it's not going to be wild standing in for you.” Nightwing Huntress (1998) - Devin Grayson (4 issue mini-series) New Teen Titans v2 (1984) #17 (Kory being abducted for political wedding) New Titans 100-102 -failed wedding w/ to Starfire that evil Raven crashes?) - Dick is kicked off the team in #101 Titans (Judd Winick) - when they brought back the team...meh Outsiders V3 - 50 issue run done by Judd Winnick, where Dick leads a rag-tag team of heroes TV: Young Justice Titans (2018) # 19 Teen Titans V3 # 33 (2005) - NIghtwing supports Superboy in an Infinite Crisis Lead Up (Geoff Johns) NIGHTWING VOL. 1: TRAPS AND TRAPEZES (2012) - red suit, Kyle Higgins Convergence: Nightwing & Oracle (2015 - 2 issue miniseries)Special Guest: Paresh Jha.
53 minutes | Jun 25, 2021
CHAR STUDY (2/4) ...from Teen-wonder to Disco-collar!
During Quarantined Comics “summer hiatus” (Ryan in a Korean gulag, Raman changing more diapers), we wanted to make sure you still got your sweet, sweet weekly comics content, so we’re proud to share Raman’s OTHER comic book podcast project “CHARACTER STUDY” -with friend-of-the-pod Paresh Jha. Character Study is a 4-part series that examines the history of DICK GRAYSON (aka Robin, aka Nightwing), the other half of Batman’s dynamic duo. CHAPTER 2: “From Teen Wonder to Disco-collar!" - relating to Dick’s TEEN years as Robin & his transition to growing up and becoming Nightwing SUGGESTED READING Teen Titans #14 (1960s) - hilariously bad. But once again Dicky boy has to save his super-powered pals Batgirl Year One (2003) - ~60% of the issues feature Barbara’s early interactions with Dick / Robin (a good intro to the beginnings of his “professional” relationship with Babs / Batgirl) New Teen Titans V1 #1-2 (1980s) - Where is Dick in his life. beginning of his journey into becoming a more realized adult New Teen Titans V1 #38 (1984) - "Who is Donna Troy" - a good illustration of what Dick will do for his friends Batman #416 (1988) - issue with Dick (as Nightwing) confronting Bruce about Jason Todd ("the replacement Robin") - Batman: “the truth is Nightwing, i taught you everything i could, it was time for to step out on your own" TV: Batman the Animated Series “Old Wounds (1998) - Dick confronting the new Robin, also decking Batman. TV: Titans (~2017): S01: E06 “Jason Todd” - good flashback to Dick's Robin origins, juxtaposed against meeting the new Robin Jason Todd “how’d you two meet...tried to boost his car...you tried to steal the Batmobile...just the hubcaps” // "Batman needs Robin...why do you think he makes us wear those lame colors, bc we’re drawing fire." New Teen Titans - the Judas Contract (1989) - Dick grapples with...and abandons Robin identity, and first appearance of Nightwing identity Batman Family Giant #14 (1977s) - interesting adventure to illustrate Dick & Barbara’s adult relationship TV: Old Wounds (Batman: TAS) - Nightwing confronting Robin TV: Titans (~2018) S02 : E13 (finale) “Nightwing” - Good illustration of Dick as the glue for the team. Also articulation how he sought another greater family to give back to (to do even better than Bruce did for him) Nightwing Year One (Nightwing V1, #101-#106) - great look at the beginnings of Dick's Nightwing careerSpecial Guest: Paresh Jha.
51 minutes | Jun 18, 2021
CHAR STUDY (1/4) ...holy origin story!
_During Quarantined Comics “summer hiatus” (Ryan in a Korean gulag, Raman changing more diapers), we wanted to make sure you still got your sweet, sweet weekly comics content, so we’re proud to share Raman’s OTHER comic book podcast project “CHARACTER STUDY” -with friend-of-the-pod Paresh Jha. Character Study is a 4-part series that examines the history of DICK GRAYSON (aka Robin, aka Nightwing), the other half of Batman’s dynamic duo. _ CHARACTER STUDY: Dick Grayson CHAPTER 1: “Holy Origin Story!” - Unpacking the many early/origin stories of how Dick Grayson became Robin, the Boy Wonder SUGGESTED READING “Detective Comics #38” (1940) - by Bill Finger (W), Bob Kane (A) “Batman: Dark Victory” (1999) - by Jeph Loeb (W), Tim Sale (A) “Batman Chronicles: The Gauntlet” (1997) - by Bruce Canwell (W), Lee Weeks (A) “Robin: Year One” (2001) - by Chuck Dixon & Scott Beatty (Ws), Javier Pulido & Marcos Martin SUPPLEMENTARY: TV: Batman TAS - Robin’s Reckoning (2-parter) The Untold Legend of the Batman (3 issue mini-series, Ch2 is Dick retelling his origin Teen Titans - should there be 1-2 issues of the original series? Special Guest: Paresh Jha.
52 minutes | Jun 8, 2021
THE FURRY TRAP & THE FLAYED CORPSE... emotional thrusts and violent thrusts
Josh Simmons' comics are always deeply disturbing. Sometimes, they read like dirty jokes, taken to the furthest extremes. Other times, they touch on unsettling emotional truths - while still embracing extremes. But what makes Simmons so interesting to read is even when his stories seem to clearly telegraph where they're going — the killer has snuck into the house, the woods are full of demons, or don't look up lest you disturb the spirits writhing in the ceiling — they never go quite where you expect them to go.
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