#731 “Judge Dredd”

Judge Dredd

Judge Dredd, created by writer John Wagner and artist Carlos Ezquerra, first appeared in 1977 and is as mainstream in the UK as Marvel and DC are considered to be in the US. Until recently, Kumar had read very little of it, but after reading a sizable chunk of the series, including such classic storylines as The Day the Law Died and Apocalypse War, he talks in this episode with longtime Dredd reader Matt E (who last appeared on this podcast way back in 2015!) and compares notes on the comic’s astronomical body count, whether Dredd is a hero or a villain, and more.

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#729 Nancy Collins’ “Swamp Thing”

Swamp Thing

While Kumar read Swamp Thing by Alan Moore and other ’70s and ’80s versions of the character well after they were published, his first “real time” reading of swampy was the early ’90s run written by novelist Nancy Collins. With Scot Eaton, Tom Mandrake, Kim DeMulder, and Tatjana Wood on art, Collins took the plant-man in some interesting directions. This time Kumar shares his thoughts on re-reading the run, and Emmet chimes in on his impressions after reading it for the first time.

Looking Back on Nancy Collins’ Swamp Thing (syfy.com)

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#720 “The Other 1980s”

The Other 1980sThere were several landmark comics titles in the 1980s (do we really need to name them?), but unfortunately they tend to overshadow much of the other interesting work of the decade. Brannon Costello and Brian Cremins have edited a collection of essays on some of these overlooked works, called The Other 1980s. This time, Kumar and Emmet discuss some of the book’s essays, including chapters on Neil the Horse, Doug Moench, Trina Robbins, Elfquest, and more.

“R.U. a Cyberpunk?” ‘Mondo 2000’ magazine, no. 10, 1993

What is “dead naming”?

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#719 “Demon Slayer”

Demon Slayer

The latest manga sensation is Koyoharu Gotouge’s Demon Slayer. Both the manga and the anime have broken records (including in theaters in Japan, during a pandemic) around the world, including in the U.S., where the film set all-time opening weekend record for a foreign language film. But Kumar’s son Ashwin, who reads manga like crazy, was slow to warm up to it. How does he feel about it now? Kumar and Emmet are joined by Ashwin to discuss the series.

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#715 Comics adaptations: “Dune” (1984) and “Bram Stoker’s Dracula” (1992)

Dune and Dracula

Sometimes comics adaptations of movies can have as much, or more, significance than the films themselves. Marvel‘s 1984 adaptation of David Lynch‘s Dune film, for example, marked Bill Sienkiewicz‘s upgrade from the realistic art he did on Moon Knight, to the mind-blowing, weird work he became known for on New Mutants. It’s also arguable that Ralph Macchio‘s script is better than that of the film.

Likewise, Topps‘ 1992 adaptation of the Francis Ford Coppola film Bram Stoker’s Dracula, written by Roy Thomas, marks a turn for artist Mike Mignola from Batman to more supernatural work, leading straight into his magnum opus, Hellboy.

Kumar and Jordan, patiently awaiting the delayed Australian release of the new Dune film, decided to indulge their obsession by doing this week’s episode, discussing both films.

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#609 “Saga” (a non-gushing review)

Saga

FLASHBACK! Saga, by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples, has been a bestselling book for Image Comics for years, and fawned over by critics and readers alike. While Emmet finds a fair number of things to like about it, hardly anything about it is to Kumar’s taste. For this episode, both of them have read all the issues published to date — 54 of them!– and present this somewhat out-of-the-mainstream review.

(Originally published October 1, 2018)

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#710 Naoki Urasawa’s “Pluto”

Pluto

You’re probably aware of the Osamu Tezuka character Astro Boy (called Tetsuwon Atom in Japan). Starting in 2003, Naoki Urasawa (the creator of Monster) began his own take on a particular Astro Boy story in his series Pluto, as a murder mystery of sorts. The story includes plenty of robots, but is more concerned with portraying emotion and making a statement about war than any Asimovian rules about robot behavior. Does that approach doom the project? Kumar and Jordan review.

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#706 “Ping Pong”

Ping PongProlific manga creator Taiyo Matsumoto’s Ping Pong is, nominally, a sports manga, but it doesn’t stick to the tropes. It presents table tennis matches that take place in a small town, not at a major tournament in Tokyo; often it doesn’t even show the end of a match! In some ways it functions as a parody of the genre. Kumar and Dana discuss this fun and unpredictable manga.

#703 “Far Sector”

Far Sector

NK Jemisin and Jamal Campbell‘s Far Sector takes the Green Lantern concept (it’s published by DC) to comment on race relations and the police. Emmet and Kumar discuss the book’s storytelling strategy; whether main character Jo has made a believable choice in becoming a (space) cop; compare novelist Jemisin to other prose writers who have taken on writing comics; and more.

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#701 Barry Windsor-Smith’s “Monsters”

MonstersA story originally conceived as an Incredible Hulk tale in — really — the 1980s, Barry Windsor-Smith‘s Monsters has finally seen the light of day. How is it? Kumar and Dana find it a joy to look at, and containing a number of astonishing scenes and mind-blowing plot points, but also to have some serious drawbacks. Does the good outweigh the bad? Here’s their review.

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