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Monday, July 22, 2013

The Fire and Water Podcast, Episode 59

The official podcast of THE AQUAMAN SHRINE and FIRESTORM FAN

Episode 59 - Geek Talk

Geek out with us! This episode Shag and I discuss a range of comic-related topics, such as: titles we're currently enjoying (one particular series/character might surprise long-time listeners), Aquaman movie talk, how much nostalgia is appropriate in comic book blogging, the upcoming video game Scribblenauts Unmasked, and more!

Also, you can leave a comment on our sites:
THE AQUAMAN SHRINE - http://www.aquamanshrine.com
FIRESTORM FAN - http://firestormfan.com
FIRE AND WATER PODCAST TUMBLR - http://fireandwaterpodcast.tumblr.com

Have a question or comment? Drop us a line at firewaterpodcast@comcast.net

This episode brought to you by InStockTrades - http://instocktrades.com

Opening theme, "That Time is Now," by Michael Kohler.

Closing music by Daniel Adams and Ashton Burge of The Bad Mamma Jammas! http://www.facebook.com/BadMammaJammas

Thanks for listening! Fan the Flame and Ride the Wave!


Diabolu Frank said...

I'm the biggest mouthy jerk when it comes to commenting on this podcast, but I'm still offended by the sense of entitlement from that Aquaman Shrine fan who felt the place was going downhill. I guess that comes from the sense of community Rob's engendered with his crew of multimedia correspondents and his role in re-popularizing the Sea King. I suppose the sense of shared ownership of affection for the hero contributes to a stake in Rob's blog, and I guess Rob can take it as a compliment that his readers are so invested. That said, I'm also reminded of why I run "The Idol-Head of Diabolu" instead of "The Martian Manhunter Tribute." A lot fewer people visit and it's a lesser character's super-obscure expanded universe, but I never wanted a Burger King franchise. I'm Kim Jong-un there, and you'll only get what I'm inclined to give when I feel like delivering it. Go make your own blog if you want things served your own way. Some other f-wit can take the wheel on all the current crap I can't muster interest in, not because I'm an old fart, but because I need to be engaged in the subjects I post about beyond an obsessive compulsion to catalog every bit of character minutia available.

I was going to suggest doing a Justice League of Bloggers roundtable podcast on the state of the DC Comics cinematic universe, but Rob finally addressed those Aquaman movie rumors, so maybe not. Also, current plans appear to involve humping Aquaman and Wonder Woman in favor of friggin' Runs-Fast-Man, so expletive deletion could have become quite the chore. I've also offered far to me thoughts on this subject in print already, as indexed below...

DC Super-Media and Relevancy
Warner Brothers versus Marvel Studios
Justice League: 7 Recommendations for The Motion Picture
King of the Seven Seas: Hooks for the Aquaman Movie
Wonder Woman: The Motion Picture (or Else!)
Consider MARTIAN MANHUNTER for your Motion Picture Needs

Earth 2 Chris said...

I think what I was getting at in my reaction to the offending post was it was a case of the internet's overdeveloped sense of entitlement. But I think what Frank says above plays into that. You create an atmosphere that says "Yeah, Aquaman!" and folks jump on the bandwagon. When the bandwagon sometimes stops and pauses along the roadway, so folks get antsy, and suddenly they are backseat drivers.

Bottom line, it's like Shag said, it's your blog, post whatever the hell you feel like. If somebody wants coverage of the latest JL crossover, there are 1,000s of other sites to get that info from.

As for the grumpy old man thing...I can relate. But, I don't think it's just we're old and don't like change. I think that most mainstream comics are being aimed at a younger demographic that think "mature" means boobies and dismemberment every issue. As you get older, most folks can come to appreciate a quiet, but heartfelt story that may just be two characters talking for the most part. Can you imagine the DC of today publishing "Who is Donna Troy?"? That is about as mature as comics get, and not nary a severed limb or giant boob in sight. This "Lil' Gotham" sounds like something both me and my kids would like, so I'm going to try it out based on your recommendation. So see, you are promoting new books, just the type of books that suit your taste.

Hang in there pal. Most of us appreciate whatever you post. It's a fun distraction each day.


Unknown said...

Like Frank I too have focused my attention on a lesser known character....Blue Beetle. And right out of the gate, and in a few posts since, I've stated my passion and mission is to focus on Ted Kord. He was my Blue Beetle....and it's my blog. I had little interest in Jaime when he debuted using Dan Garrett's scarab, and even less now that the new 52 eliminated all traces of the legacy. Luckily, my one regular commenter seems to agree and isnt the kind of assclown that tried to belittle the shrine....the shrine that was the inspiration for me starting up my Blue Beetle blog! Sure I'm still new to this, more 2nd string JLI, than full fleged Justice League of Bloggers like some of you, but I'll still stand up and fight beside you when some d-bag troll tries to start stuff!

There got that out...on to other points in the podcast...

I would totally buy a 50's style "Adventures of Superman" comic! George Reeves has always been the ultimate Superman for me and I'd love to see DC take on that show the way they're doing "Batman '66"

As far as my comfort food comics...old horror books do the job for me. I remember going to a flea market one Sunday with my mom as a kid, and coming home with a small stack of yellow paged, raggedy gems..."Boris Karloff Tales of Mystery", "I...Vampire", "Ghostly Tales" and more. Lately I've been stocking up on DC Showcases like "House of Mystery", "Secrets of the Sinister House", "Ghosts", and back issues of "Weird War Tales" with the Creature Commandos. Some of my favorite childhood memories are of my mom letting me stay up late to watch Dracula of Frankenstein on the local Creature Feature show...these comics bring me back to that feeling and those memories...as Shag would say, they're my mac&cheese!

Anj said...

I sent this as an email but thought I should share here as well.

I listened to Rob talk about the complainer on his blog and completely empathized. I have had to face similar complaints over on my Supergirl blog since its inception.

You see, I review lots of Supergirl stories, from the earliest Silver Age stories to the current month's issue. I feel I have a grasp of the character. And I think, most of all, she is a symbol of hope and optimism. She is a hero who knows what is right and is trying to do it ... but she is still learning.

Whenever I point out the bleaker takes on more current incarnations (the bitchy petulant Loeb/Churchill version or the depressed, isolated New 52 version) I am vilified on the blog. People assume that I want her to be the sickeningly sweet orphanage girl who was docile and subservient to Superman. And, over and over, I have to remind people that I don't want that character either. I want someone who is a hero and trying to do good, someone who sees what is best in people. Heck, one of my favorite incarnation is Peter David's troubled Linda Danvers. That wasn't light stuff.

But it doesn't matter, almost every month someone tells me I am an outdated old reader who doesn't get it anymore. And it goes beyond Supergirl's stories.

I don't like her wearing something the size of a napkin as a skirt? I don't like endless up-skirt shots? I am old and out of touch.
I don't like the bank-robbing Superboy? I am old and out of touch.
I don't like Superman killing Zod in the Man of Steel movie. I am old and out of touch.
I don't like Superman creepily using his powers to read Lois' private texts. I am old and out of touch.
I don't like Superman floating over everyone, looking down on them in Johns' Justice League? I am old and out of touch.
I prefer Clark/Lois over Superman/Wonder Woman? I am old and out of touch.

As if I shouldn't put my opinion down on my blog. Incredible.

I try to raise the bar on discussion, simply stating why I feel the way I feel and that they can feel how they feel too. And if they don't like what I say, they can *not read it*! But at times it is exhausting and makes what should be fun (blogging about my favorite character) feel like work, like an invitation for people to insult me.

The comic world is a better place because of blogs like the Shrine. Don't let the nay-sayers get you down!

Russell said...

It's so bittersweet to read these testimonials to Rob's genius and vision....sweet because we all love what he does and enjoy it consistently; bitter because you all seem to have the same or similar experiences with trolls. I had no idea that there were so many selfish take-take-takers out there, ready to pronounce judgment on you if you don't write what they think you should.

So on behalf of all of us who don't blog about specific characters....keep up the good work, people! And keep it fun! Remember, if it's not fun, then it's work, and work sucks. :-)

Thanks for all the great blogs, everybody!!!

Oh, and otherwise entertaining podcast as well, Rob and Shagg.

Unknown said...

I don't have a blog. I figure everyone has my favorite characters covered (With the exception of Will Payton) so I'll let you guys shoulder the responsibility.
Any way it's funny the topic of reading what you enjoy came up. About two weeks ago I started getting old issues of The New Teen Titans and The Flash (Wally West) on comixology. I'd never read early issues of The New Teen Titans and am really enjoying it. The Flash takes me back to the Summer of '87. Life was never simpler than when I had a Guice/Baron Flash in my hands, my older brothers copy of Dire Straits' Brothers In Arms blasting through my walkman,and my best friends older sister prancing around the pool in her bikini. OK so only the Flash comic still holds up just as well today (Sorry Denise,sorry Mark Knopler.) The comics today just don't have the same magic and sense of wonder that those comics that first grabbed my attention in the 80's did. I think it's like you said Rob,today's comics aren't made for us old folks. I don't think it's because we are disillusioned by them,it's just that we've seen it all before. I suspect when the fan that was upset at you for not covering what they wanted you to cover gets to be in the 38 to 50 age range he will have the same realization. There are only so many stories you can tell and only so many ways to tell them. The versions you read as an adult will never have the same magic and wonder as the versions you read as a kid.

Siskoid said...

I suppose Siskoid' Blog of Geekery isn't popular enough, but if I've had 5 mean-spirited comments in more than 5000 posts, I'd say that estimate was high. I'm pretty thick-skinned too.

My work blog however, that draws a lot of crap, on the whole, and I give as good as I get.

Lesson: You're the victim of your own success (or Aquaman's, I guess). Rejoice in it! Answer criticism, even harsh criticism, by explaining why you do what you do and like you do. They'll respect you for it. And if they don't, they'll realize they're not your audience. Shag is completely right about following your joy. I know it hurts to admit that about him on ANY topic.

Diabolu Frank said...

Earth 2 Chris, I was listening to an episode on "Views from the Longbox" from a few months back featuring young Micheal Leyland, and I had a thought. DC may be targeting a younger demographic, but I don't feel that their aim is true. They seem to be writing with the teenagers of the '80s and '90s in mind, making them just as clueless about the mind of the modern teen as Bob Haney. I relished the horror of a What If...? as a kid, because brutal, permanent turnabouts rarely occurred in mainstream books. Today, they're the norm across all media, and teens seem to gravitate toward more gentle, relatable, and conservative fare. DC editorial is serving Mortal Kombat to the Angry Birds generation and wondering why they can't connect. It's not that they don't write for "us" so much as they don't write well enough for anyone. The slack is instead taken up by Marjane Satrapi, Craig Thompson, Brian K. Vaughan, Robert Kirkman, and others working outside the big two to reach the vast potential audience for the medium that has no use for blood vomiting space cats and non-consensual sodomy on the JLA satellite.

Anj, I think your problem is that there's a whole hunk of Americans who have been taught to create and eviscerate strawmen with canned arguments rather than have a thoughtful conversation about differences of opinion where both parties listen to and reflect on valid points in the conversation. I recently pulled back on my longstanding aversion to message boards by commenting at Bleeding Cool, and it's like some of these guys see life meters instead of a dialogue.

Russell, I thankfully don't get a lot of "u suk" comments, and some folks are just legitimately anxious to hear what an "expert" has to say on a character. I don't always bite, but I certainly take it as a compliment. It's when folks get outright rude and demanding that there's cause for offense.

Siskoid said...

Life meters. I like that comparison.

Anonymous said...

There are a lot of great comments here, and y'all have added a lot of good points to this conversation. Frank, your life-meters metaphor is brilliant and woefully apt. I'm so going to use that in class.

Anj, don't give up! Just because some people aren't worth talking to doesn't make the conversation itself invalid. I've dealt with the same kind of stuff in my own attempts at discourse. I dislike the tawdry, gruesome, flat-out immoral nature of a lot of modern comics, and I don't just want the Silver Age back. I want something smart, but good, in more ways than one. It isn't old-fashioned to want good writing in place of salacious soap-opera dren, and we can want something better than what has been as well as what is. We can and should demand more from our entertainment than what suits (or doesn't) the lowest common denominator.

As to the podcast itself, this was an interesting one, and I really felt for Rob. I hope the encouragement everyone is offering him will assure him that a few trolls here or there do not have anything valid to say about his labor of love.

I've experienced this type of response in my own little projects, both on my blog and on the Freedom Force forums, though I've had it pretty easy. Many of our artists received so many messages from entitled idiots that it eventually killed their love of their craft, and they burned out. Don't let that happen to you. Disregard these idiots. Delete their contents if you have to, but find some way to deal with folks like that, or it will eat away at you. As Shag and the rest have all said, keep doing what you love. That's the only way it is really worthwhile.

As for whether or not nostalgia is a viable reason to run a blog, talk about comics, or do anything else...yes, of course it is, but in the long term you'll need to have more than just fond memories to make it worth while. That doesn't mean new material or curmudgeonly griping (although, the latter is also perfectly justified!), but Shag hit it pretty well on the head. Going back and looking at what you loved can reveal new material. I'm a professor of literature, and last year I taught a class on Beowulf, one of my favorite poems. I've read it many times, but in teaching it and reading through it again, I found new wonders, heretofore undreamt of, within its lines. That is more than reason enough to revisit the joys of stories past, the chance to see them anew.

On happier notes, I've also got a few thoughts about the rest of the topics y'all discussed.

Shag, I was really excited about the new Flash series. I love Barry, and this team did an amazing job, but some months ago a growing dissatisfaction with the book led me to drop it. There are so many things I love about this book, and yet there are so many things that frustrated me and gave me pause. Finally the negatives outweighed the positive. The art is fantastic, and I love the way they tell their stories. If I wanted to point to a great visual storyteller in comics, Manapul is one of the first names I'd bring up. However, the stories they are telling frustrate me with their combinations of the fantastic with the discouraging. I like a lot of what they are doing with Barry and with some of the mysteries they are setting up, and I have enjoyed some of the portayals of the Rogues, but in the end I'd rather go back to the beginning and read the stories that they aren't bothering to tell me. I'd like to see the first meeting of Flash and Captain Cold, the first meeting of our hero and Mirror Master. I'd like to learn what first motivated Heat Wave to turn to crime, and so on. That's a problem with the New 52 in general. They are starting in media res, which is a good tactic for storytelling, but a lousy topic for reinventing the stories you want to tell. I often feel like I've tuned in too late and I've missed something important or interesting. What's more, they've made choices with characters that I've really, really disliked.

Anonymous said...

And more!

Their version of Grodd is extremely boring and flat compared to the wonderful absurdity of an urbane gorilla with a racist grudge against humans that is almost off-handed, and who believes entirely in the superiority of gorillas with a certainty that was as charming as it was ridiculous. The violent monster portrayed here is just not really that interesting. There are other issues that have left a bad taste in my mouth, but in the end the book just wasn't worth my money. I really, REALLY wanted it to be, though, and this one was tough to let go.

Y'all talked about the Lil' Gotham book, and were discussing other ideas in the same vein. You know what I'd love to see? I'd kill for a return to the BLANK Adventures from the 90s and 00s. They started a series of books based on the Bruce Timm animated universe. The Batman book in particular was really quite good. They were an excellent example of what I really want to see in comics, and a strategy that I maintain could bring life back to a dying industry. The various teams told stories that were, on the whole, fairly solid comic adventures, with some respectable complexity and maturity, and yet they were exciting and clean enough for a young audience as well. There were exceptions to the quality, of course, but the idea of an entire new continuity divorced from all the stains on the DC Universe, the likes of which Frank eloquently summed up, makes me lament what could have been with a truly new New 52. Anyway, I would buy those kinds of books in a heartbeat, and they'd be the only DC books I'd be buying, other than Aquaman. It would be fantastic if the big two would realize that "kid-friendly" doesn't have to mean "infantile."

In terms of my own comics joy, as Shag put it, I suppose the comics of the 70s and early 80s are it for me. You're getting into more mature storytelling. You get some of the seminal stories for the X-Men, the JLA, the Titans, and many others, and yet you haven't gotten into the worst of the dark and joyless trends that eventually moved in. On the other hand, I suppose my comic joy could also be right now, as I'm reading some of the best comics I've ever read...they just aren't superhero books. TMNT, G.I. JOE, and Atomic Robo show up in my box every month...and unlike DC and Marvel, they never disappoint. They are universally well written, clever, compelling, and clean. If only I could have a JLA book like one of these.

Ahh...the Aquaman movie rumblings...given DC's/WB's track record with movies, I don't really think I WANT them to make an Aquaman movie. Still, I did jot down some ideas when DiCaprio put out his call for scripts. I never got a chance to pen it, but I think it would have been awesome! ;) Seriously though, I take your meaning about scope and vista for a story like this, Rob, but to be successful DC DOES need to copy Marvel. Note, Marvel isn't successful because all of their movies look alike (I think that's debatable), but because they've let people who care about their characters take the helm of every part of their cinematic universe. Passion and talent, the two together are necessary. Just imagine what Nolan could have done if he had loved Batman like Whedon loved the Avengers. What if he wanted to make a Batman movie, rather than just a movie with Batman in it?

Well gents, thanks for another entertaining 'cast.