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Issue #98: Batwoman, Harley Quinn and All-New Marvel NOW! | Comic Book Podcast | Talking Comics

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It has been a whirlwind week at DC Comics. JH Williams and W. Haden Blackman walked off Batwoman and a Harley Quinn art contest incited fierce backlash, but Forever Evil debuted to astounding praise. What does the Talking Comics crew make of all this? Find out! We also break down the sales numbers for August 2013 and look at All-New Marvel Now!

Of course there is the book of the week segment where we cover Aquaman, Wolverine and the X-Men, The End of X-Factor, X-Men: Battle of the Atom, Darkseid, Ventriloquist, Trillium, Green Arrow, Superior Spider-Man and more!

Annnnnnnnnnd… we say it on the show, but just in case you missed it, the Talking Comics crew on Twitter are:

Bobby: @bobbyshortle
Steve: @dead_anchoress
Stephanie: @hellocookie
And Bob’s email is bobreyer@talkingcomicbooks.com

FYI: the crew have gone all superhero on the world, thanks to the wonderful Hanie Mohd. Like them? Make sure to follow her and let us know what you think of our new superhero pictures.

The Comic Book Podcast is brought to you by Talking Comics (www.talkingcomicbooks.com), a blog dedicated to covering the latest and greatest in comic book releases. The editorial staff is composed of Editor-in-Chief Bobby Shortle (Fanboy Remix, Doctor Whocast), Stephanie Cooke (Misfortune Cookie) and Steve Seigh (JoBlo.com contributor) who weekly dissect the releases and give you, the consumer, a simple Roman yay or nay regarding them. Our Twitter handle is @TalkingComics and you can email us at podcast@talkingcomicbooks.com.

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About The Author

Editor in Chief

Bobby Shortle is founder and Editor in Chief of Talking Comics as well as the host of the weekly Talking Comics Podcast. When he's not writing about comics he's making short films which can be found at http://vimeo.com/bobbyshortle and talking about pop culture over on Twitter @bobbyshortle.

18 Responses

  1. nocommayes

    I’ve loved your podcast for a very long time, you guys, but thank God you had Sean [Shaun?] playing devil’s advocate. I’m on the same page about how DC’s editorial is damaging, but he provided some really well thought-out, salient points in their defence.

    I feel like he was maybe talked down a lot, but the truth is that maybe we bash DC more than we ought to. This is coming from someone who wrote a blog post called Shame Day: DC Comics

    Over at Bleeding Cool Rich recently put up a post about how Didio essentially saved the industry, and based on the evidence I believe it.

    Anyway, at the end of the day I think we need to give credit where it’s due, and I think that’s an area that’s sorely lacking as of late. Again, I love the podcast, and share many, if not most, of your sentiments, but that’s just my two cents. I don’t think you guys are DC bashing, but you border on it from time to time.

    • Bobby Shortle

      It’s the reason we had Sean in quite honestly. I wanted to have all points covered.

      As to giving credit where credit is due. It cannot be overstated the debt of gratitude I personally owe DC for getting me back into comics. The New 52 is my gateway into this world. I’ve stated that many times and am a little tired of constantly having to validate it over and over again. (Not that you are asking me to!)

      However, my default position is to side with the writers/artists over the management for better or worse.

      • nocommayes

        Thanks a lot for fixing my comment; it’s much appreciated.

        I really do give you guys a great deal of credit for defending creators so passionately, especially in light of the number of walkoffs the company has faced.

        Having read accounts from both the writer and artist of the canceled New 52 Static Shock title, however, it’s dawned on my how complicated the process of creating comics can really be.

        It doesn’t excuse changes at the 11th hour, but it’s helped me to understand why DC does some of why it does. A ban on all marriage appears terrible and immature, but it really is supported by almost all comics from both publishers out there-

        Reed and Sue, Luke and Jessica, and even Billy and Ted [who got engaged but never tied the knot, as far as I know] are all superpowered couples. That matters a great deal. Northstar is really the exception to the rule.

        Anyway. I’ve said a lot already. As always, keep up the good work!

    • Steve

      I agree with you nocommays, Sean didn’t get enough time on the show to express his views and when he did he was interrupted or talked down to. It’s too bad, because he could have brought a new perspective to the show.

      It’s really early in Batwomans book for her to get married. If DC decides that their characters shouldn’t get married, that’s their right to express that. They own the characters and it’s their brand.I fail to see how this is somehow immature.

      And this is coming from a guy who doesn’t read Marvel or DC

  2. killingjoke71

    I’ve been listening and enjoying your podcast for sometime, but have noticed that much of the discussions are always “writer centric” and artists/inkers are often not even included in your talks. I also enjoyed Infinity #2 very much and I am a big fan of Hickman’s work…however I was disappointed listening to this podcast and hearing not 1 mention of Jerome Opena’s or Dustin Weaver’s name attributed to the issue. IMHO, their collaboration is just as equally impactfull to the overall quality of the book, good or bad. Finding that balance I guess is the challenge, but I wish more credit could be given to these very talented creators.

    • Bobby Shortle

      You are absolutely right. I think we do a decent job of brining artists into the discussion, but we can always be better. I’m making a concerted effort to book more artist interviews as well

  3. Luciano M

    Good show today guys. I really loved Forever Evil as well and like Steve was kind of caught off guard by it. Added it and some of the tie ins to my pull list after reading.

  4. Tracker

    I think this bit of commentary on this matter is turning into a bit of a witch hunt. Didio clearly stated that this was a creative decision. That a one of the identifying characteristic every member of the Bat-family shares is that they’ve all taken up the mantel of “hero” at a great expense to their personal lives and sacrifice their own individual desires and to a certain extent, happiness for the good of “the mission.”

    From a pure story telling perspective, it’s a crossroad almost every Bat-character has come to at some point and had to deal with it across multiple media platforms.

    It seem like Individuals making this about gender, the validity of marriage, or sexual orientation; at worst are using this as a vehicle to vent preexisting gripes with DC and at best are engaging in a knee-jerk exercise by leaping before looking objectively.

    I agree with nocommayes that Sean is awesome. Hands down my all time favorite podcasts are DCR, Talking Comics, and Fatman on Batman, and Raging Bullets. All have very different tones but talk about comics is a smart, fun, and enthusiastic way.

    Keep up the great work all. Seeing that next available episode start to download is always something that makes my day a little brighter. :)

    • Steve Seigh

      Thanks so much for the comment, Tracker. The Batwoman news has not been an easy an easy subject to report on, at least from my perspective. Sometimes it’s really difficult not to let some of those knee-jerk reactions get in the way of professionalism or seeing the situation for what it truly is once you strip away all the “rah rah rah!”

      In the end I think it’s the character and the fans that lost out the most when things like this happen. This has been a rough year for DC, and I too appreciate Sean’s perspective (he’s a solid dude), but there is no denying that these recent shakeups are paining a poor picture for fans and press alike. The professional in me wants to be calm and collected while the obnoxious fan in me wants to rage. Can’t I have both? Ha ha ha! Thanks so much for listening and I’m glad that you enjoy the show so much. Take care.

  5. thisjohnd

    I know it’s been said already but I’d thought I’d throw in my praise for Sean on the show as well. His devil advocate’s approach to the discussion on DC was much appreciated. I especially agree with his point that DC would put out more kid-friendly books if they sold. I tend to agree with the main TC crew that DC definitely needs to inject a bit more fun in their books (these Villains Months titles are evidence of that–does everyone have the most depressing backstory ever?!) but while Marvel is definitely leading the charge in fun books like Hawkeye or Fearless Defenders, there’s a difference between being fun and being all ages.

    Also, these “fun” books don’t sell as well either. The books that sell are Avengers, Superior Spider-Man, Justice League, and Batman. These are the darker books in both lines, and none of them are all ages. It’s up to the consumers to “vote with their wallets” as you always say, and if these people don’t want lighthearted stories, the companies won’t make them.

    • Bob Reyer

      John,

      Thanks for checking in on this important topic.

      The dearth of all-ages material from both DC and Marvel is a subject about which I’ve been on a soap-box since I began here at Talking Comics. Your very valid point about the difference between “lighter” and “all-ages” was one I didn’t get to make, as I had gone on a bit of a rant, so thanks for raising it here!

      While I agree with both you and Sean that these books struggle to find a market, what rankles is the companies’ stance of “We’d put them out if they sold”; that they won’t is a self-fulfilling prophecy, as they’ve already driven parents out of comics stores with years of “Ragnarok” story-telling and inappropriate-to-children characters and material.

      I would contend that as part of a long-term plan to re-invigorate a shrinking customer base, and to help avoid narrow-casting their product to 25-to-45 year-old men, a group of titles aimed at a younger, and certainly more gender-equal readership needs to be thought of as that tried-and-true staple of mass-market retail, the “loss leader” that brings new customers to the overall product line. With proper marketing by the two huge corporations that own DC and Marvel, any loss incurred by said books would be more than compensated by acquiring life-long customers, which was the former business model.

      Bob
      ps) It’s often stated that “The Golden Age is when you’re twelve”, so in that spirit, and submitted for your approval, here are the average monthly sales for the top ten in 1968, these figures from John Jackson Miller’s invaluable site Comichron:

      1) Superman DC 636,400
      2) Archie Archie 566,587
      3) Batman DC 533,450
      4) Superboy DC 532,135
      5) World’s Finest Comics DC 480,115
      6) Superman’s Girlfriend Lois Lane DC 461,725
      7) Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen DC 460,560
      8) Action Comics DC 423,000
      9) Betty and Veronica Archie 419,544
      10) Adventure Comics DC 411,200

      Here are #s 50 to 59:
      50) Wonder Woman DC 166,365
      51) Tales of the Unexpected DC 165,195
      52) Strange Adventures DC 165,190
      53) Tomahawk DC 157,250
      54) House of Mystery DC 156,350
      55) Unusual Tales Charlton 142,635
      56) Army War Heroes Charlton 135,020
      57) Grand Prix Charlton 119,400
      58) Fightin’ Marines Charlton 116,125
      59) Fightin’ Army Charlton 111,820

      Average for comics
      283,340
      (These figures actually represent a bit of a down-turn from the previous few years! rrr)

      • Ryan Carroll

        Bob,

        Like we were discussing a while ago, I think that. for all-ages books to be both successful and existent, they need to move away from the concept of “kids” towards the concept of “not inappropriate.” Don’t get me wrong, I think comics can and should have mature themes (like Brubaker’s Captain America), but maybe more writers should craft triple-A books (the triple-A part coming from the publisher, of course) that speak to mature readers AND kids–which are great stories that anybody can enjoy, but which aren’t filled with sex or gratuitous violence

      • Bob Reyer

        Ryan,

        I couldn’t agree more!

        For all intents and purposes, until the 90s, every “Big Two” book was crafted to be enjoyed by all age groups, and at no sacrifice in story-telling depth or vivid characterization.

        Let’s have those types of books be an adjunct to the darker stories, and perhaps reclaim some of the lost audience!

  6. Sean Lamont

    Hey all!

    I’m truly and deeply honored that some of you found any value whatsoever to my humble viewpoint, but just wanted to set the record straight since I was noticing a trend!

    Bobby, Steve, and Bob (and the ENTIRE TC staff) are nothing but gentlemen (and ladies) in every sense of the word. To even be afforded the opportunity to express my counter-viewpoint on this week’s show, as well as publishing my weekly ramblings on their site, should speak volumes to the fact that they do want a show and community that respects and values all aspects of the medium.

    I can assure you that I was given every opportunity to voice my opinion, and any perceived ‘talking down’ or lack of air-time was ENTIRELY purposeful on MY part. I was a guest upon their show, and as such I did not want to come across as overbearing and/or belligerent. I was offered to comment on every story and state my stance, and I personally believe the conversation was extremely civil for the diametrically opposed views that we all share.

    These folks want nothing more than to give every viewpoint a voice, and have absolutely nothing to gain by inviting someone like me on only to reverse that stance. So while I’m sincerely humbled that people found any value in my viewpoint, let alone wanted to hear more from me, I just wanted to make sure everyone knew that any perceptions of agendas at play are completely off-target in this case!

    In conversations both private and public, we’ve all made it abundantly clear that each of us are approaching this medium from different avenues; and as such, will easily find ourselves at opposing ends of a news-story because of it. I cannot speak for everyone, but I see that as one of the core strengths of this very site and show. Because even though our voices may differ on the small stuff, I believe that mixed together we all share the same driving tenet:

    We all just want some good comics that we can share with each other and the world.

    -Sean

  7. Ryan

    “… heroes shouldn’t have happy personal lives. They are committed to being that person and committed to defending others at the sacrifice of their own personal interests.”

    Isn’t that kind of absurd? I think every married couple can attest that being happily married doesn’t mean you don’t face virtually infinite conflicts and challenges. Speaking as someone who is happily married, marriage is really hard. You really have to work at it, every day.

    I mean, I don’t think anyone was saying or expecting that Batwoman should get married and then want for nothing. And no one was saying that she had to STAY married, as most of us are aware that most marriages don’t last.

    I mean, in my opinion, it’s EXACTLY the superhero mindset that I think could make a marriage work. Being committed to a person and committed to defending her at the sacrifice of your own personal interests? That’s marriage, sweetheart. I would read a story about someone struggling to be a good wife or husband and try to be true to their crime-fighting self, as I think a lot of people could relate with that.

    Like Sean said though, DC owns the characters, so if they want to take Batwoman and determine she can’t get married because she’s really just a sentient pimento cheese sandwich, then they have that right. But we are allowed to discuss and disagree with their reasoning. And if this statement about what heroes can or can’t be is the genuine myopic understanding over there at DC, then I think they need to get out a bit more, because that’s not the world I live in.

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