#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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#699 “How to Be Happy”

How to be Happy

In this episode Kumar Sivasubramanian (psst our Eisner nominated member of the Deconstructing Comics team) and Emmet O’Cuana discuss Eleanor Davis‘s comics. Focusing mainly on her collection How To Be Happy and one-shot Libby’s Dad, the comic creator’s use of subtle sadness and surreal humor inspires a wide- ranging conversation (including how to be happy during a plague!).

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#691 Moore and Andrade’s “Crossed +100”

Crossed Plus 100

It’s debatable whether Garth Ennis’ series Crossed, about a disease that causes people to act in the most reprehensible ways possible, had any redeeming qualities, but when Alan Moore steps in to write the next chapter, you know it’s going to be worth discussing. And so we have Crossed +100 by Moore and Gabriel Andrade. In Moore’s hands, what is it, exactly, that the disease does? Is his attempt at writing future dialects of English annoying or fascinating? Kumar and Jordan settle in for a fascinating, but depressing, sequel.

#689 Priest’s “Black Panther”

Priest's Black Panther

In 1998, under the “Marvel Knights” banner, Christopher Priest began the first ongoing Black Panther title in nearly two decades. Panther was a relatively unknown character to many Marvel readers at the time. With the aid of “Emperor of Useless White Boys” Everett K. Ross, and artists like Mark Texeira and Joe Jusko, Priest (a.k.a. Jim Owsley) made Panther a must-read and brought the nature of his character into sharper focus. Kumar and Tim discuss the first 17 issues (the ones included in Black Panther by Christopher Priest: The Complete Collection Volume 1) and see if it still stands up 23 years later.

Michael Hoskin’s 4-part article

#687 “Crowded”

Crowded

Is it annoying or brilliant? A smart commentary on internet culture? Too trendy for the oldsters who make this podcast? Is it plausible enough to stand alongside the best in science fiction? Emmet and Kumar ask these questions and more in their review of Crowded  by Christopher Sebela, Ro Stein, Ted Brandt, Trina Farrell, and Cardinal Rae.

#684 Joe Sacco’s “Paying the Land”

Paying the Land

Comics journalist Joe Sacco is back, with an up-close look at the Dene people, of the western part of Canada’s Northwest Territories. Like many native peoples, their way of life was shattered by contact with colonial Europeans, who made traumatizing efforts to assimilate them into Western culture. What happened in western Canada, and what is the way forward for the Dene? Tim and Kumar discuss Paying the Land.