One of the most acclaimed Marvel runs of the 1980s was by Walt Simonson on The Mighty Thor. He began writing and drawing it with #337, continued through to #367 (with a quick break in the middle), then gave up art duties but continued writing through #382. This run set aside Dr. Don Blake, focused on mythical threats rather than earthly ones, and injected some humor into what had sometimes been a fairly dry, dour book. Tim and Kumar look back to assess this important run.
The 1982 Wolverine mini-series, by Chris Claremont and Frank Miller, was seminal in a number of ways: One of the first Marvel minis, a major fleshing-out of Wolverine’s character, a milepost on the road to the expunging of omniscient narration from American comics.
In the 1970s, in an effort to diversify its line, Marvel began adapting Robert E. Howard’s Conan the Barbarian stories. To push (at least a little bit) beyond what the Comics Code would allow, some of these stories were published in magazine format, as Savage Tales. The second and third issues of this series featured an adaptation of the classic Conan story Red Nails, featuring writer Roy Thomas and artist Barry Windsor-Smith. In this episode, Koom talks with Rob and Sam about the basic idea of Conan, where the title “Red Nails” came from, the strengths and shortcomings of Smith’s art at this early point in his career, and more.
Daredevil: Born Again came out in 1986, when US mainstream comics were changing in ways that now are either taken for granted or now look a bit antiquated (so much story in so few pages!). Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli were making their mark. But does their storytelling style hold up 33 years later? How does it look alongside Miller’s contemporaneous The Dark Knight Returns? Koom and Rob discuss this classic story arc from Daredevil #226-233.
This week Koom interviews Rob Walton, who created the graphic novel Ragmop in the 1990s and is now releasing a sequel through Vault Comics. How does one approach continuing a series based in the morés and political situation of the ‘90s? Also, Rob’s love of old Marvel comics and how he fused those stories onto modern ideas in his own work; the development of his politics; his management style, and more.
While the majority of Rick Parker‘s comics jobs have been lettering, he’s also known as an artist and writer, including on Marvel’s Beavis and Butt-Head comics in the 1990s and Papercutz’ Tales from the Crypt. In this episode, Koom asks Rick about the experience of working at Marvel in the ’70s (including that time he was in a physical altercation in the office!), working as a New York taxi driver pre-Marvel, what was involved in old-school hand lettering of comics, and more.
Stan Lee, Marvel Comics writer, art director, publisher, promoter, and icon, died November 12 at age 95. While he is loved by many, and undoubtedly had a hand in some of the greatest stories of Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, and more, he was also known to aggravate disputes over story credit and art ownership with the likes of Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko. In this episode, Tim, Kumar, and Tom Spurgeon wrestle with the legacy of Stan the Man.
Strap in for one of the wildest stories in comics – on the creator and publisher side of things! Miracleman, originally known as Marvelman, has been through two hiatuses of 20+ years each and a battle over rights to the character, plus the previously-mentioned name change. And that’s not to mention the dark, dark turn his fictional world took when Alan Moore got ahold of it. Now new stories from Neil Gaiman and Mark Buckingham still lie ahead. Kumar and Koom try to piece it all together.
Ed Piskor‘s comics work has been characterized by deep dives on big topics that the creator is really into: hip hop music and the X-Men. In this episode, Kumar and Dana dig into Piskor’s “Hip Hop Family Tree” and “X-Men: Grand Design.”
When Ms. Marvel rebooted in 2014 as the story of Marvel’s first Muslim superhero, written by G. Willow Wilson, it gained a lot of mainstream media attention. Is the book worth the hype? Kumar and Tim go back and read the first four trades and debate what worked and what didn’t.