Fourcast! 07: Read on a Wednesday

July 13th, 2009 by | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

DC Comics’ Wednesday Comics and David Mazzucchelli’s Asterios Polyp are the two big books of the past week. We sat down on Saturday to talk about the former, since I’m probably going to be writing about the latter. Here’s the breakdown of our 7th Fourcast!:

-The volume is a little low on this one, because I suck. Slight issue with our recording process, and one which I’d fixed halfway through the show. However, so that we don’t blow your brains out (we just want to blow your mind), I kept all the volume at the same level. So, crank it up to eight or put some earphones on!
-We waffle on which number we’re up to on the Fourcast!, finally deciding on seven.
Other people are cheating.
-Our anthem is going to be 6th Sense’s 4a.m. Instrumental until Four Minutes to Lockdown becomes free.
-We lay down our verdict on Wednesday Comics: It’s fun, regardless of whether it’s a gimmick or not.
-Why is that? Because Mark Chiarello is a genius, that’s why.
-Remember SOLO? That was Chiarello.
-Remember Batman Black & White? Chiarello, baby.
-We’ve got another You Made Me Read This!, this time featuring Superman: A Nation Divided, about Superman fighting for the Union in the Civil War.
-I thought I won because it was a war comic. Naw.
-Wouldn’t it be awesome if Superman fought for the South in an Elseworlds, though?
-We wrap it up with a few anecdotes about kids in comics. Do bad guys really have daughters while good guys have sons? Comics are messed up, man.

Next week! San Diego.

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18 comments to “Fourcast! 07: Read on a Wednesday”

  1. I was looking through my copy of DC: The New Frontier, and I think Chiarello was the editor for that too.

  2. Did you guys ever see the John Byrne Superman Elseworlds where he arrives in pre-Revolutionary War Philadelphia? He turns redcoat and singlehandedly executes all of the founding fathers. It was terrible but it is the only comic I own where Superman strangles Ben Franklin.

  3. Man, everyone seems to love Wednesday Comics, and I just can’t get myself to care at all.

    Most of the writers don’t appeal to me, the only one I could really get into is Gaiman doing Metamorpho, but that just isn’t enough to spend so much money on (there are a couple of others which are ok, Busiek, and Azzarello, but I can read Busiek elsewhere and Azzarello already did Batman once, and it wasn’t that great). I suppose there are a lot of good/great artists on the strips, but I’m primarily writer and character oriented, so that doesn’t convince me either. The characters are either standard DC fare or don’t appeal to me.

    I also have no interest whatsoever in the format. This may have to do with the fact that there is no tradition of ‘Sunday funnies’ in The Netherlands. The whole thing comes of as rather unnecessary. I mean, is there any real reason why this couldn’t have been a standard comic?

    Anyway. As for the sons/daughters thing: If I were to overanalyze that I would write that villains are punished for their evil by being unable to produce a male heir, ending their line/name. This isn’t a big deal these days (in the West anyway), but once, the lack of male offspring was a real concern for the monarchs of Europe, as it would mean the end of their royal line and the loss of their kingdom. Both Henry VIII and Napoleon, for example, remarried because their wives would not produce sons.

  4. Black Lightning has two daughters.

  5. To add to my words on Wednesday Comics: I do appreciate that DC is willing to experiment with something like this, so I’d like to withdraw my “The whole thing comes of as rather unnecessary. I mean, is there any real reason why this couldn’t have been a standard comic?” comment. The experiment is a goal in itself… It’s just that this experiment doesn’t appeal to me (which goes back to the fact that there is no “sunday comics” tradition here).

  6. @Sean Witzke: That’s amazing. Sounds like the best thing Byrne ever did.

    @Derk van Santvoort: I think nostalgia is a big part of it. I’ve got fond memories of slipping the comics out of my grandfather’s newspaper on the way home from church each week myself. It’s a nostalgia fest in a different way that much of DC’s output isn’t these days. Flash Rebirth and Green Lantern Rebirth are all about the glory days, both real and imagined, of these old dusty heroes. “Remember when X was doing Y?” sort of thing. Wednesday Comics is more like “Remember the feeling you got from things like this?”

  7. @Alan: Now it’s getting eerie.

    @Sean Witzke: Wow. That one sounds almost as good as that one where people have to rebuild civilization through Supersperm.

    @Derk van Santvoort: It could be interpretted as that, but I also think that, from a marketability standpoint, it is best to make the hero’s kid as much of a carbon copy of him in the first place. For villains, though, there isn’t as much invested, and I’ve written about the story gold that happens when you have a big, tough guy who is mentoring a younger girl.

    @david brothers: Trend breakers?
    Roy Harper (Arsenal) has Lian Harper. But! She hasn’t followed him into heroing, the way most of the hero’s kids do. And her mother was Cheshire, who nuked a city as an act of terrorism, so maybe that cancels out.

    BUT! Catman has a son by Cheshire. So. I don’t know.

  8. Of all the “Baby Superman lands in {X}” Elseworlds that’ve been done over the years, the Civil War-era Northern US is the one that should theoretically have the most legs. It should at least be tied with Red Son based on potential, though it sounds like RS blew this away in terms of how compelling it ended up being.

  9. @Esther Inglis-Arkell: If you wanna get technical, Talia has a son (ok you counted him under Batman, but still) and so did Ras Al Ghul (the White ghost from the Ressurection of Ras Al Ghul storyline).

    Oh and as someone who read through the trainwreck that was Countdown, Joker’s Daughter was actually the daughter of the Jokester, the heroic Joker from the Crime Syndicate universe.

  10. @Paul Wilson “Joker’s Daughter was actually the daughter of the Jokester, the heroic Joker from the Crime Syndicate universe.”

    Ah, but if you recall in the podcast we were saying that alternate universes reversed the son/daughter mix, and if she’s the daughter of the Jokester, she’s from another universe.

    *stroke white cat* Your move, Mister Bond.

  11. I don’t think that hero/villain affects the gender of the kids.

    Reed & Sue Richards have a son and a daughter. So do Alan Scott, Wally West and Barry Allen. Spider-man has a daughter, sorta. Black Canary is the original Black Canary’s daughter.

    Kang the Conqueror has had many sons; Immortus has had at least one as well. Of course, I’m not sure if their sons count as each other’s children. Mystique has had two biological sons, Nightcrawler and Graydon Creed (who is also Sabretooth’s kid). Magneto’s son is Quicksilver. Weather Wizard and Captain Boomerang both have sons. Darkseid is all sons – Orion, Kalibak, and Grayven.

    Excellent podcast as always!

  12. @Esther Inglis-Arkell: My move is to point out that Luke Cage and Jessica Jones had a girl. One exception might prove the rule, but two surely damages it!


  13. @Mark Cook: Aren’t Kang and Immortus the same person? I feel like I read that somewhere, but Avengers lore has never been my thing. (It puts me to sleep.)

    I love that you folks found counterpoints. I was wracking my brain while recording, and I didn’t even think of Luke, Jessica, and Danielle.

    Ohh! Maybe it doesn’t count because she’s named after a man! 🙂

  14. @david brothers: Aren’t Kang and Immortus the same person? I feel like I read that somewhere, but Avengers lore has never been my thing. (It puts me to sleep.)

    Immortus was who Kang was supposed to become when he outgrew his whole Conquering phase and settled down at the end of time. Kang, understandably didn’t like the idea of that and spent time trying desperately not to become that guy.

    I think Avengers Forever basically split the two off, so that Kang is no longer fated to become Immortus.

  15. @Paul Wilson: Yeah, they were split apart in Avengers Forever, and as far as I know, all their children came after that point. Although I suppose there may have been some heirs to Rama-Tut’s throne kicking around ancient Egypt, once upon a time.

    @david brothers: I kinda feel the same way about the Avengers, with the notable exception being Kurt Busiek’s work on the book; he used Kang for all of Avengers Forever and also for his last year and a bit on the title, so that stuff came up from time to time.

  16. […] discussing comics, part one: Fourcast! […]

  17. Hearing Esther’s idea for a Catwoman article, I believe she should make it into a full-on series.

    We Meow a Lot.

  18. @Gavok: With a bonus bit of commentary demonstrating how Selina or an alternate version of Selina can’t appear in “Superman/Batman” without mentioning how much she wants to shag Batman.