526 The Years Have Pants
Want to pick up a comic book or graphic novel and don’t know where to start? Our panel has a bunch of very different ideas for you to choose from! We’ve made a list of nearly two dozen for you to try—all available in collections, all ready to pick up without knowing anything about history or backstory or continuity or anything.
February 22, 2020 — “House of X” and “Powers of X”
502 He’ll Always Be Goldballs To Me
Make more mutants! Comic Book Club re-forms to discuss “House of X”/”Powers of X”, a paired set of comics miniseries that are an exciting new take on the X-Men. If you’re an old-school mutant fan who has been out of the business for years (like Jason), these 12 issues are a great read. They’re all available in a single collection, and the issues are also now rolling out weekly on Marvel Unlimited, so there are plenty of ways to partake. We discuss the politics of mutant separatism, the wisdom of backing up souls to a hard drive, the difference between Xavier and MLK, the many lives of Moira MacTaggart and how they free us from the burden of continuity, and much more. Finally, Moisés advises us on what to read among the follow-up series that were released in the wake of this book.
April 6, 2019 — “Paper Girls”
454 I Wrote a Letter to Myself
“Paper Girls” is a comic that looks like it’s steeped in ’80s nostalgia, then makes you think it’s a modern story commenting on ’80s nostalgia, and then takes a 90-degree turn and becomes something even more interesting. This week we discuss the comic by Brian K. Vaughan and Cliff Chiang, which begins as a story about four girls delivering newspapers on a morning in 1988. The first 25 minutes or so is all spoiler-light, and then after the Spoiler Horn we jump into our discussion of the first two trade-paperback collections. (There are five volumes in all, with the sixth and final collection due this summer.)
March 9, 2019 — Alternate Spider-Man characters and “Spider-Verse”
450 A Surprising Number of Spider-Meetings
Spin a web, any size, and join us as our Comic Book Club discusses the comics from 2014 that inspired “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” and, more generally, the concept of alternate versions of Spider-Man. We read “Edge of Spider-Verse,” which introduces Spider-Gwen and Peni Parker, and the “Spider-Verse” issues of “Amazing Spider-Man.” Along the way we talk about our favorite alternate spiders and what path the makers of “Into the Spider-Verse” might choose as they ponder sequels and spin-offs.
February 3, 2018 — “Midnighter”
392 Quantum Computer for Violence
Step through a teleportation door and boot up your brain’s fight computer, because our Comic Book Club has returned to discuss DC’s “Midnighter.” He’s was once a Batman analogue but now he’s his own man, with no secret identity, a penchant for strategic violence, and an amazing dating profile. And thanks to three recent trade-paperback collections written by Steve Orlando, you can get to know this singular superhero as he journeys from Oakland to Boston to various made-up DC Comics cities.
January 21, 2017 — Comic book movie pitches
336 You Had Me at ‘Splorch’
Comic book movies got you down? Too much of the same old thing? This episode has the cure for what ails you, as we pitch a bunch of great comics that we’d like to see get the big-screen treatment that would be guaranteed to enliven the genre. And maybe along the way, we’ll add to your comics reading list, too.
October 31, 2016 — Marvel Unlimited Draft
324 Pants-Wearing Dragons
We’ve spoken many times about the great deal the Marvel Unlimited all-you-can-read comic subscription service can be… but if you’ve got tens of thousands of comics available to you, where do you start? We convened our Comic Book Club to come up with 20 suggestions—ranging from single issues to long runs and major events—that will help you make the most of a month or a year of Marvel Comics.
August 20, 2016 — “Astro City”
314 Vampire Batman
There are a million stories in Kurt Busiek’s “Astro City”—and that’s why we love this comic-book anthology series. From alien invaders to creepy floating protectors to regular everyday people, the broad canvas of “Astro City” awards the reader with short stories and longer arcs. Plus: What are we reading?
June 4, 2016 — The X-Men
303 Kitty’s in Space Now
We celebrate all of mutantkind with a broad discussion of Marvel’s Uncanny X-Men, especially the versions we grew up reading in comics. What makes their outsider status resonate? Where should new readers start? And we choose some of our favorite X-Men characters in a sequence of choices that is definitely not a draft.
March 26, 2016 — “The Wicked + The Divine”
293 I Think I’m Still Confused
Comic Book Club returns with a discussion of Kieron Gillan and Jamie McKelvie’s “The Wicked + The Divine.” It’s a story about the temporary return of a pantheon of gods, and touches on issues of fame, youth culture, and—as Wikipedia informs us—pop music. Fortunately, there’s also a murder-mystery plot to drive everything forward. Plus: Lisa tells us what comics to read next!
January 30, 2016 — Ms. Marvel
285 The Answer is One Elephant
In this edition of Comic Book Club, we discuss one of Marvel’s newest heroes, Kamala Khan, the star of G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona’s “Ms. Marvel.” She’s a Muslim from New Jersey, so in some ways she’s a very different kind of Marvel super hero, but she’s also a tortured teen trying to come to terms with her identity—so in other ways, she’s very much the model of a Marvel super hero. Plus: What are we reading?
August 1, 2015 — Vaughan and Alphona’s “Runaways”
257 Raptor Sipping Tea
Our Comic Book Club reconvenes to discuss “Runaways,” the 2003-2004 comic series by Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona. This is a Marvel Comic that’s also an original creation, and we’re tackling the 18 issues of the first volume, which form a self-contained story. How does the book alienate its teenage protagonists? Does the plot twist make sense? And why isn’t this a Marvel movie or TV show?
April 25, 2015 — Marvels and Kingdom Come
244 The Adventures of Maggie the Mutant
Comic Book Club returns to discuss two ’90s stories featuring art by Alex Ross, “Marvels” and “Kingdom Come.” These books—one each for Marvel and DC, each available in a single trade paperback—feature lavish art and intriguing themes about the relationship between superhumans and regular humans. How do they told up two decades later? Our panel of longtime comic experts and babes in the continuity woods weighs in.
February 7, 2015 — Comic book continuity and events
233 Selective Amnesia
We convene our Comic Book Club not to talk about a specific comic, but more generally the plight of the comic-book reader when it comes to events and continuity. Marvel and DC are both in the process of revisiting and changing their continuity via dramatic in-universe events. Is continuity worth the trouble? Are events fun, or soul-crushing? How do we feel about the old and new Marvel Secret Wars? Does the new all-woman Avengers team fill us with excitement or trepidation or both? And stick around after the show as we discuss Superman’s new power, the appeal of Harley Quinn, and even more comic nerdery!
January 17, 2015 — Alan Moore’s “Promethea”
230 World-Class Weirdo
Comic Book Club returns, with a look at a work by legendary writer Alan Moore. This one’s “Promethea” (1999-2005), a strange mixture of Wonder Woman and mysticism and tarot cards and… well, there’s a lot. We discuss the amazing visuals, coloring, and lettering, and ponder the difference between appreciating a work of art and being entertained.
(Ideally you’d read Promethea Book 1 and Promethea Book 2 before listening, but the choice is yours.)
November 15, 2014 — Webcomics
220 Authentic Cop Mustache
We wade into the world of webcomics, discussing the explosion of sequential art on the Internet and our very favorite webcomics. If you don’t spend hours and hours reading comics after listening to this episode, we haven’t done our jobs.
July 27, 2014 — Re-casting classic comics characters.
204 Where Cynicism Meets Optimism
On Comic-Con weekend, we convene to discuss the latest rash of re-casting comic book heroes. Thor is now a woman! Captain America is black! We’re all for increasing diversity in a medium whose classic characters are dominated by white men, but what are the right ways to do it? And are there wrong ways, or does every little bit help?
September 7, 2013 — “Hawkeye” by Fraction and Aja.
157 Bros and Arrows
An entire comic book about Hawkeye, the lesser Marvel superhero with a bow and arrow? Okay… this looks bad. But seriously, bro, this is one of the very best comics being published today. We cover the first two trade-paperback editions of Fraction and Aja’s series, including Lucky the Pizza Dog, 50 Shades of Purple, and how hooking up a laserdisc player is similar to defusing a bomb. Hop on board and join us—we’re great at boats.
August 17, 2013 — “Saga” by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples.
154 Seahorse on Line One
Do you like stories, love, and life? Then even if you’re not a regular comic book reader, you should read “Saga,” by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples. (Unless naked robot sex disturbs you, in which case you shouldn’t.) We cover the horns and the wings, bad connections on the interstellar cellphone network, seahorse agents, super space high school, a frog with a banjo, the wisdom of hiring a ghost as your babysitter, and much more.
May 12, 2013 — Marvel Comics’ “House of M.”
140 The Sublime Magicks of Exposition
No more mutants! We discuss the 2005 Marvel Comics miniseries “House of M,” in which writer Brian Michael Bendis gets to show off his love of meetings, Doctor Strange, and meetings chaired by Doctor Strange! Also, there’s a crazy “What If?” style parallel universe, approximately a billion spin-offs, and in the cruelest twist, Peter Parker is briefly allowed to be happy. And finally there’s a shocking finale that set the tone for mutant storylines up to the present day. Listen before the Scarlet Witch wishes this podcast out of existence!
March 23, 2013 — Hulk, She-Hulk, and other Hulks I’ve known.
132 Kind of Like a Dinosaur
Don’t make us angry… you wouldn’t like us when we’re angry. Our Comic Book Club talks all things Hulk. We begin with a discussion of two She-Hulk series, by John Byrne and Dan Slott, and then move to talk about Proper Hulk, Gray Hulk, Red Hulk, Planet Hulk, Ruffalo Hulk, and more! Plus: What are we reading? (Jason gets really excited about “Hawkeye,” who is not a Hulk.) And, other than being green, how is the Hulk like parsley? Channel your inner rage and listen to this episode.
February 2, 2013 — “Locke and Key.”
126 A Dark, Dark Narnia
Get out your magical key ring and prepare for our discussion of “Locke and Key” by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez. It’s a dark fantasy/horror comic with some touches of Stephen King, fitting since Joe Hill is Stephen King’s kid! It’s also really good. We drop some mild spoilers for Vol. 1, “Welcome to Lovecraft,” which you should go buy right now. Plus: What comics are we reading?
December 15, 2012 — “The Amazing Spider-Man.”
119 The Guilt-Trip Superhero
With great power comes the responsibility to book great guests. And so when it came time to discuss “The Amazing Spider-Man” and Spidey in general, Jason turned to reknowned spider-fans Andy Ihnatko and Dan Benjamin. We discuss how the Spidey in the new movie is a different sort of guilt-trip superhero. Dan explains why you can’t actually kill a spider. Andy previews his new comic book, The Indigestible Spider-Man. We touch on the changes in Ultimate Spider-Man and speculate about the soon-to-arrive Amazing Spider-Man #700. Jason sings two different Spidey theme songs and does his J. Jonah Jameson impression. This giant-sized episode is more Spidey than you can shake a web at.
August 18, 2012 — “Top 10”
103 Fat-Guy Comics
Our Comic Book Club returns to discuss super-team comics. What makes them work, and what makes them fail? And our primary subject is Top 10, Alan Moore’s other amazing twelve-issue superhero comic series. If you haven’t read it yet, you should!
August 30, 2011
54 Put on this Mask and Strut for Mama
Strap on your jet pack and locate your pet monkey! Our Comic Book Club reconvenes to discuss works by writer Brian K. Vaughan, who excels at the high-concept premise. In the spotlight: “Runaways,” “Y: The Last Man,” and “Ex Machina.” With plenty of digressions along the way, about feminism, parenting, sexism, and (once again) how hard it is to write an ending.
June 12, 2011 — DC’s “New 52”
44 Emperor Aquaman
DC decides to stick a fork in continuity and reboot its universe. Publicity stunt, bold creative move, or both? Andy Ihnatko joins Lisa, Jason, and the good Jason to discuss this latest attempt to save the comics industry.
May 17, 2011 — “Planetary”
40 An Ending Ten Years in the Making
After long delays, our Comic Book Club discusses Warren Ellis and John Cassaday’s “Planetary,” which is only fitting given that the 27-issue series took 10 years to be released. We also talk about how hard it is to write a satisfying ending to any fictional work.
January 23, 2011 — Special Event Comics
21 Event Crisis
Comic Book Club returns with a discussion of comic-book “special events,” and why they are (in most cases) amazingly disappointing. We discuss our favorite and least-favorite events, from Crisis on Infinite Earths to Civil War to that time that Superman fought Spider-Man.
October 31, 2010 — The Fantastic Four
10 It’s Clobberin’ Time!
The Fantastic Four is the topic of this installment of our Comic Book Club! We talk “Unstable Molecules,” a strange mini-series about the fictional “inspiration” for the Fantastic Four. Also: the bad movies and worse TV shows, Ultimate Fantastic Four, and more.
September 27, 2010 — TV Adaptations of Comic Books
6 Go Ahead, Lisa, Destroy My Childhood
Comic Book Club returns! This week we talk about TV adaptations of comic books, TV shows inspired by comic books, comic books that would make good TV shows, and more. Plus, random discussion of X-Men Annuals, the Micronauts, and why Reed Richards is a douche (in X-Men Annual #5, anyway).
August 30, 2010 — The Unwritten
2 A Feeling of Vertigo
I call this meeting of Comic-Book Club to order! Today we will be discussing “The Unwritten” by Mike Carey and Peter Gross, published by Vertigo. But of course, we end up talking about much more than just “The Unwritten,” as any good book club should.