#410 Marvel Comics: Telling the Untold Story

Avengers 4

If you’re into American comics at all, you undoubtedly know how Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko and others changed the industry with their work in the 1960s, and set the template for kinds of stories Marvel still publishes today.

That’s just part of the story that Sean Howe researched for his 2012 book Marvel Comics: The Untold Story. Through interviews, research of media reports, and of course tons of comics reading, Howe uncovered the backgrounds of many comics stories and rumors that longtime readers may have wondered about. There’s plenty of intra-creator acrimony to be found in its pages, yet Howe found that the book helped some of those involved to move on from decades-old wounds.

This week Tim talks to Sean Howe about the research, the reaction, and what this book has to say to aspiring creators.

#403 Joe St.Pierre, ’90s comics, and the Robin Hood of Cyberspace

liberaiderWhile the phrase “’90s comics” tends to elicit some eyerolls nowadays — Foil covers! X-men with huge guns and lots of pouches! — there was still some good comics work done in that era. What was it like to be in the business back then? Joe St.Pierre drew some Spider-man Clone Saga-related comics, so let’s ask him! (See his Marvel covers here)

St.Pierre’s work for Marvel back then springboarded him to storyboarding and commercial art gigs, but (naturally) he still loves doing comics. For the past few years he’s been publishing his Web comic The Liberaider through his site AstronautInk, and now he has launched a Kickstarter project to publish a hardcover edition. This week he talks with Tim about that and more.

#399 Corporate Comics: Love ’em, Hate ’em

corporatecomicsTim Across America, part nine! When it comes to Big Two comics these days, there’s a lot to complain about. Marvel characters changed to look like the actors who play them in movies; nearly the entire DC line subsumed into a grim-and-gritty muck. And yet… we still like some of these books! Superior Spider-man, anyone?

In a cafe in Berkeley, California, Tim discusses this and more with three past guests who all live in the East Bay area, but had never previously met: Deb Aoki, John Roberson, and Jason McNamara! Conversation also swung to whether Image can eclipse the Big Two, comparison of black and white comics vs. color, doing a Kickstarter project for your comic vs. doing print-on-demand, and more!

Jason’s Kickstarter page for The Rattler

#396 Dan Jurgens: Superman, Thor, and 30 years of change

danjurgens

Tim Across America, part six! Having worked in mainstream American comics for three decades now, Dan Jurgens has seen a lot of change. The number of publishers, the type and amount of fan interaction (thanks to the Internet), the method of comics distribution, and the way the Big Two search for new talent have all changed greatly in that time. And, the Big Two now actually discourage the creation of new characters. Why? This week, Jurgens reflects on those changes — some good, some bad — in a talk with Tim.

He also discusses his work on Superman and Thor, how technology has helped film steal some of comics’ storytelling edge, and more.

Also, in the Minneapolis edition of Ask a Retailer, Tim talks to Paul Miller at Comic Book College!

AND, our new feature DCP In Touch, and a talk with Kumar and Mulele about their successful Kickstarter project!

#392 Writing the Book on Miller’s “Daredevil”

daredevil2Tim Across America pt 2! In Nashville, Tim visits with his brother Paul about his progress on his book about Frank Miller’s Daredevil run. What was Daredevil like before Miller got ahold of the book? What was Miller’s inspiration for making it more of a gritty crime book? How did he end up contradicting his own original take on the character?

Also, a visit with The Great Escape in Madison, TN!

#380 A Severe Case of Punisher-itis

punisherIn one of our longest episodes ever, Kumar discusses at length Garth Ennis’s epic run on The Punisher, the greatest comic book series of the 2000s. Dana listens and nods politely.

How did Ennis define the character like no other writer? Is Punisher crazy? Should comics cover topics like human trafficking? All this and more.

#351 Two Wolverine Milestones

WolverineYet again, Kumar and Dana go all nationalistic to discuss another Canadian icon: the best there is at what he does, th’ ol’ Canucklehead, Wolverine, bub. First on the chopping block is Wolverine (1982) by Chris Claremont and Frank Miller, a comic which tries to not be paint-by-numbers, but ends up being little else. And, Barry Windsor-Smith’s Weapon X, which was apparently spawned from a universe in which neither paint nor numbers exist.

#349 Expanding comics’ audience, pt 1

Recently asked on our Facebook group: What would you do if you controlled Marvel and/or DC? This led to another question: How can comics, particularly in the US, gain a larger audience?

No one’s really sure of the answer to the second question, but its a good springboard for podcast discussion of comics evangelism and the state of the industry in general. What role will digital comics play? In the first installment of an occasional series, Tim bounces these questions off our friend Tom Spurgeon.

#323 Frank Miller’s “Daredevil”: A Scholarly Analysis Begins

DaredevilMore than 30 years ago, Frank Miller set the comics world on fire by turning Marvel’s swashbuckling Daredevil title into a noir series with ninjas. More importantly, he took a serious look at some issues of crime and punishment, and his conclusions tended to veer left politically. Fast forward to his later career, and the views he expresses would be right at home on Fox News. What happened?

Tim’s brother Paul isn’t sure he can answer that question, but he finds that early Daredevil run to still be very worthy of notice today, so much so that he’s writing a book, for an academic publisher, about it. He fills Tim and Mulele in on his thoughts as he prepares to write…

#318 “Sky Doll”: Sex and Religion Mix!

Sky DollImagine a Disney movie with tons of cheesecake and commentary on how religion can be used to control a society. It would look an awful lot like Sky Doll, by Alessandro Barbucci and Barbara Canepa. Originally published by Soleil in France starting in 2000, it came out in English from Marvel in 2008. While there has been an anthology book and a sketchbook, the main series has apparently never been completed, but don’t let that dissuade you from reading this very compelling (not to mention gorgeously drawn) volume. Tim and Rashad explore.

Another take from Charley Parker