#678 Rumiko Takahashi’s first comedy, “Urusei Yatsura”

Urusei Yatsura

We’ve talked about several of Rumiko Takahashi’s manga series over the years, but this time we go back to the beginning with her first big hit, Urusei Yatsura, sometimes known in English as Lum. Tim and Kumar discuss the history of the strip, the gags you wouldn’t get without knowing Japanese, and what’s odd about it for being ostensibly a kids’ comic.

#677 “The Drifting Classroom”

Kazuo Umezu’s horror manga series The Drifting Classroom is a taboo-busting series: it was aimed at kids and employs kid logic and exaggeration to a story depicting outrageous violence being done to and by kids. Even if you’re into horror, that description may have you asking: “Is this for me?” In this episode, Kumar and Ryan try to answer that question.

Umezu in red and white. (Source: https://www.jprime.jp/articles/-/18187)

#671 Derf’s “Kent State”

Kent State

Fifty years ago, four students died when national guardsman inexplicably opened fire during an anti-war protest at Kent State University. The craziness of 2020 has hindered planned observances of the craziness of 1970, but we do get this: Derf Backderf’s Kent State: Four Dead in Ohio, a moving account of May 1-4, 1970, through the eyes of those who lost their lives.

In this episode, Tim and Kumar review the book, to be released September 8, and then Tim chats with Derf himself, answering our questions about the tragedy and the book.

#670 Moore and Burrow’s “Providence”

Seemingly every time a horror comic comes up on our show, it seems to have some kind of connection to H.P. Lovecraft. In this case, it’s Alan Moore and Jacen BurrowsProvidence, part of the Lovecraftian “Cthulhu Mythos.” Kumar, Emmet, and Dana discuss whether you need to have read Moore’s other Lovecraft-inspired comics (or any Lovecraft at all) before reading Providence, how Lovecraft’s work contrasts with Dracula stories, Lovecraft’s problematic personal views, and more.

#662 Warren Ellis’ Three Pieces of ‘Watchmen’

Black Summer

Warren Ellis’ Black Summer, No Hero, and Supergod are three separate stories, but if you put them together you’ve kinda got all the elements of Alan Moore’s Watchmen. But was Ellis really writing these books in response to Marvel’s Civil War? Kumar and newcomer Jordan evaluate all three books.

#659 “Locke & Key”

Locke and Key

This week, Kumar and Emmet review Locke and Key, by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez. There are a lot of murders in it, but is it a horror comic? They also discuss the series’ missteps in dealing with race and sexuality. Plus, in the second half of the show: Have you read this book but ended up with lots of questions? Emmet is here to help.

#657 “Berlin”

Berlin

Jason Lutes’ Berlin shows us scenes from the lives of many characters in Berlin as the Weimar Republic disintegrated and the Nazis rose to power. Historical events (including the fallout of World War I) affect the characters while the characters continue trying to control their own lives, or each other’s, and they cross paths in ways that are sometimes easy to miss. And the art is detailed and spellbinding. Tim and Kumar dig into this 542-page masterwork, more than twenty years in the making.

Jason Lutes’ presentation

#655 “The Incal”

The Incal

The Incal, Alejandro Jodorowsky and Moebius’ classic ’80s series (originally published in French magazine Métal Hurlant), was very influential on movies as well as comics. In fact, it contains a number of the elements Jodorowsky had intended to put in a Dune film “adaptation” (which bore little resemblance to Frank Herbert’s novel) that never got made. Tim and Kumar discuss this insane, unconventional story.

Louie Hlad review on ComicsBeat

#653 An Age of Dragons, and a Book of Magic

dragonage

Dragon Age has been a successful video game series for over a decade, and the title has moved into a number of other media — including comics, most recently from Dark Horse. Nunzio DeFilippis and Christina Weir have written a number of these, including the current series Dragon Age: Blue Wraith. In this episode, Emmet talks to them about pitching Dragon Age ideas, watching their Academy X students get missiled out of existence, and more.

Embarrassment of Witches

Also in this episode, Tim and Kumar appear as two oldsters reviewing a book aimed at college students who love Harry Potter, Sophie Goldstein and and Jenn Jordan’s An Embarrassment of Witches. OK, Gen Xers.

#652 “Uzumaki”

Uzumaki

Uzumaki is a 1998 horror manga by Junji Ito, unique in its capacity to make the reader simultaneously laugh out loud at its audacity and feel profoundly disturbed. In this episode, Kumar and Dana recount some of the more bizarre stories in this book, and answer the question, “Is it a compelling read?”