The Under Guides Graphic Novel Podcast

Bedlam before the Swords of Cerebus

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Mister Joe Fixit and Diabolu Frank (with about fifteen seconds worth of Mac in various cameos) return to pimp four color fixes set off from the roads most traveled. This episode begins with a look primarily at the Image Comics series Bedlam with numerous Nick Spencer-related tangents such as Morning Glories and Superior Foes of Spider-Man beginning at the one minute mark. Brian Apodaca of the small press comic Zombie Outlaw drops by for a very brief plug thirteen minutes in. Then the boys go on an ADHD comics overview rapidly referencing comics from Vertigo, Image, Valiant, Marvel, Dynamite, Avatar, Epic, Dark Horse & Wildstorm, under such writers as Warren Ellis, Brian Michael Bendis, Garth Ennis, Alan Moore, Mark Millar, Pat Mills, Jim Shooter, David Lapham & Si Spurrier. From ten seconds ’til 23 minutes, we begin our coverage of the earliest issues of Dave Sim’s watershed independent comic epic Cerebus, part of a planned ongoing examination of the single longest lasting creator owned series in the history of North American comics. 32:14 brings our readin’ & respondin’ to y’r writin’ on ‘r prior podcastin’.

As you can tell, we love a fierce conversation and a pretty picture, so why don’t you socialize with us, either by leaving a comment on this page or…

3 thoughts on “”

  1. I missed the first episode somehow so glad I was here for this one.

    Like many, I went through a period of ‘indy’ during my late high school/early college years. Although for me that mostly meant early Vertigo when it was brilliant. (I am holding out hope that American Flagg will eventually be covered here.) Later, I went back to the big two almost exclusively at a time when adult life was weighing down on me and I needed some old fashioned escapism. Now I find I am all over the map, basically 1/3 Marvel, 1/3 DC, 1/3 indy. But I suppose even my Indy choices are relatively tame – Casanova, Danger Club, Flash Gordon, Ei8ht, Fade Out, etc. I tend to follow creators to these books instead of blindly sampling.

    Danger Club went on hiatus because of some medical issue with one of the creative team. But I highly recommend it. This isn’t just a ‘Lord of the Flies’ thing. This is a commentary on comics and the rebooting of universes in a metatext way. I review the book on my site.

    It is funny to hear you guys talk about Garth Ennis. I bought and read his Hellblazer but I was way more into the troubled Delano/Jenkins Constantine than Ennis’ ‘raised middle finger’ John. So I have steered clear of his stuff.


  2. After listening to Frank and Fixit talk about BEDLAM, I decided to check it out on ComiXology and it turns out, Hey, at some point I downloaded the first issue and never read it! So I gave it a read this morning…

    First thoughts: I’m extremely happy that this story about an obvious Joker/Batman knock off was not told in a Batman comic, although I can absolutely see a story like this being DC’s 2016 follow up to the Evil Superman of INJUSTICE: GODS AMONG US, and the Joker variant covers, and whatever the hell Jared Leto does with the character in SUICIDE SQUAD MAX.

    Nick Spencer is a talented writer and this is story is interesting from a cultural-philosophical point. But it felt way too much like the characters were talking in metatextual ideas about the nature of crime and punishment. Like Madder Red and the City Councilman both grew up reading Batman comics wondering what it would take for Gotham to execute the Joker and then talking about those hypotheticals in page-long monologues. This wasn’t dialogue; this wasn’t characters speaking to each other. This was point-counterpoint essays in fanzines or message boards.

    In short, Spencer’s IDEA of the story got in the way of the actual plot.

    Loved Riley Rossmo’s art, but I don’t know if I can pick up another issue.


  3. I was a big Cerebus fan for a while and have the last couple phonebooks on my shelf still waiting to be read. I binged the phone books through to Mothers & Daughters I think, then got into the singles for that arc and Reads (where it got rather difficult, not just because of the high-brow misogyny). So sure, the first book is just a Conan parody, but it’s in High Society and Church & State that it gets really interesting. The art is sharper, Sim’s lettering effects are incredible, and the story gets so much deeper. And I liked the mission statement: 300 issues that told the life of one character, and as in life, sometimes he’s the hero, sometimes he’s the villain, sometimes he’s on the margins…

    And while the phonebooks are a great format, the singles were very inspirational because of all the discussions at the back, the how-tos on how to do your own self-publishing, the previews of other indie books. Sims was the indie comic Messiah for a while there, and I very nearly started my own self-published comic – I was unable to finance it, is all (which makes me realize that I could actually self-finance the project today, but the industry’s changed too much). So it’s really too bad Sim went “bad”.

    Suggestions for the future: Chester Brown stuff, Ed the happy Clown if you can, but the rest of Yummy Fur 9the autobiographical stuff) would be cool too. Dan Clowes, you pick (did I hear a musical clip from the Ghost World film?). Chris Ware, I love ACME Novelty Library with a passion that contradicts its innate depressingness. James Kochalka, I’ll read anything by this guy. Jeff Brown’s Change-Bots books are one of my favorite thing from the past few years. And challenge: I want a reason to read Dirty Plotte (an excessively obscene title for French readers); give me one.


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