Have you ever wanted to pick up a comic book or graphic novel, but didn’t know where to start? Well you’re in luck! Because on this episode of The World’s Best Podcast, Uncle Paul recommends some of the BEST graphic novels to read if you’re COMPLETELY new to comics!
With all of the superhero movie in theatres, deciding what comics to read for the first time can be intimidating. Especially when there are literally thousands of graphic novels out there to choose from. But fortunately you first time readers, the TV shows and Movies have only scratched the surface of all the amazing stories told in the comic book medium. If you’re a long time reader, you might be inspired to revisit some of the classics covered here (or check out one or two of the unexpected picks)!
After the episode links, I put a the complete list of all graphic novels discussed in this episode and where readers can find them! As always you can listen below, on The Boston Podcast Network pod617.com , or subscribe on Stitcher or Itunes:
On this Episode, I bring in the old man, Paul Sr. to discuss the season finales of Arrow, The Flash, Supernatural, and Gotham. We discuss the big moments of each finale, the quality of the preceding seasons, and where the shows go from here. A few of these shows we really love and have suffered from a dip in quality lately. So we have a lot of hot takes in this one! Including some inside info on how the shows connect to some other interesting projects like the Green Arrow movie that almost was called Supermax, the upcoming annual CW superhero crossover event involving Gotham City and Batwoman, the classic Batman stories “No Man’s Land” “Zero Year”, and more! Also, take a look below the link at some cool new images put out to promote the upcoming seasons of the show’s we talk about in this episode. Enjoy! Listen here, on The Boston Podcast Network pod617.com , or subscribe on Stitcher and ITunes:
When fans look back at the Batman movies that took place in the same universe as the wonderful Batman: The Animated Series, they most likely remember the fantastic Batman Beyond: Return of The Joker or the classic Batman: Mask of The Phantasm. As of last summer, we can add 2017’s Batman and Harley Quinn to the list, but unfortunately that movie sucks.
However, there’s a hidden gem that a lot of people forget about; Batman & Mr. Freeze: Subzero. This was a direct to video animated film taking in the BTAS Universe that came out in 1998. No doubt hoping to capitalize on the Mr. Freeze buzz in that was in the air after Arnold Schwarzenegger’s heartbreaking, Oscar winning performance in the critical darling and mega hit, Batman & Robin. Oh wait, I forgot the movie was explosive diarrhea and killed the Batman live action film franchise for nearly a decade. I’m sure there’s an alternate reality out there where it was The Dark Knight of it’s day.
But I think that was definitely the intention. Animation takes longer than live action to produce especially in the 90’s. Even though this came out in 1998, it must have started production a few years earlier. So Warner Bros. probably thought Batman & Mr. Freeze: Subzero would tie in to what they believed would be another hit Batman movie. It really feels like somewhere around 95’or 96’, Warner Bros. told Bruce Timm and his crew that if we let you do another Batman Animated movie, it better be about Mr. Freeze. Of course, Batman & Robin was such a piece of shit, people eventually put it out of their minds after the film bombed. Unfortunately I think Batman & Mr. Freeze: Subzero was forgotten a little as well.
Which is a shame because it’s a hell of a little flick. Nowhere near as good as Mask of The Phantasm or Return of The Joker, but still solid as fuck. It’s certainly about one thousand times better than Batman & Robin, it feels wrong to even compare the two. The movie plays like a darker, longer episode of the show. But at only 66 minuets, it still feels like a movie with a 3 act structure as opposed to a multi part episode of the series.
Basically at some point during Batman: The Animated Series, Freeze found out his wife Nora was actually still alive and being kept in cryogenic stasis. They’re living a peaceful life in the arctic with Freeze’s 2 pet Polar Bears and an Inuit boy that Freeze rescued and adopted after his parents died. There’s an accident involving some poor bastards who stumble onto this little family (it doesn’t end well for them), Nora’s medical equipment is damaged and her condition deteriorates rapidly. Freeze and the whole Fam (including the fucking polar bears) head to Gotham where Freeze meets up with his old colleague, Dr. Benson another expert in cryogenics who’s a massive piece of shit with serious financial debt. Benson tells Freeze that the only way to save his wife is an organ transplant. Nora has a rare blood type so they need to kidnap some who’s alive, kill them, and harvest their organs. Benson the medical professional that he is, gets on board right away when Freeze drops a lump of gold the size of football on his desk and tells him it’s from a mine he discovered in the arctic, which is Benson’s if he successfully helps Freeze. And wouldn’t you know it? The perfect match: Barbara Gordon. Batgirl. Commission Gordons’s daughter and the love of Dick Grayson’s (Robin) life.
There are some great action sequences including the scene kidnapping Barbara while she’s out to dinner with Dick at upscale nightclub, which starts with Freeze coming for Barbara in the club, polar bears and all, and ends with Dick in badass motorcycle chase. The film’s finale on an oil rig that going up in flames is exciting and genuinely edge of your seat tense.
This is also arguably the darkest we see Freeze, who’s always been one of the most sympathetic members of Batman’s Rogues Gallery. Killing a man out of revenge for murdering your wife and destroying your life is one thing, but butchering an innocent young woman to harvest an organ is pretty fucking dark. Especially considering she was basically already dead and the procedure did not seem to have a high likelihood of success when it’s being performed on an abandoned oil rig by a criminally negligent doctor who hasn’t changed his clothes in days and is solely motivated by paying off his shady debts. We do see glimmers of the honorable man that still exists somewhere deep beneath the ice of Freeze, but his main mission here is kind of unforgivable. And those polar bears aren’t fucking around either!
I rewatched this because it just came out on Blu-ray, which includes all the other Mr. Freeze episodes in the Batman: The Animated series Universe (including Batman Beyond), and I found myself thinking it was kind of underrated. This movie is also notable because it came out in the time betweeen the original Batman: The Animated series ended and The New Batman/Superman Adventures began. It was the same show, same continuity, but there was a big character redesign. Also, there are some big character developments that happen between the change over on the show and this movie hints at some of those upcoming character developments.
I definitely recommend picking up Batman & Mr. Freeze: Subzero, I know I did. Especially if you have the other animated movies on Blu-Ray. It’s very good Batman movie and the Blu-Ray transfer looks good on the traditional animation. They experimented with some computer animation for certain shots and vehicles, that don’t work and look super dated. Other than that, this gets a big thumbs up from me. Give it a watch!
Oh FUCK! I forget about Batman: Mystery of The Batwoman! That’s one of the movies too..
You can pick up the Blu-Ray through our Amazon Affilliate link here:
On today’s episode of Paul’s Pulls I talk about the end of DC’s Big Batman event comic Dark Nights: Metal and the new issue of Doomsday Clock. I also spent some time talking about Thanos not only as a character, but his excellent book that Donny Cates works on, as well. Thanos is basically Marvel’s rip off of Darkseid and Jack Kirby‘s classic creations The New Gods, so we get into that a little bit as well. Listen here or subscribe on iTunes:
Since the “Death of Superman” in the 90’s, death being a revolving door has been somewhat of joke in the comic world. Unfortunately, frequent deaths and resurrections can often hurt the Superhero genre. Mainly because it pushes people away. To some readers it takes the sense of urgency from the story, they don’t feel any substance in a story they read because this is used so often it’s a trope of the genre. Once I realized how many Watchmen characters would actually be used in Doomsday Clock, I expected immediate negative backlash from the fan community. ESPECIALLY when The Comedian turned up alive. To be honest I wasn’t exactly thrilled by his return. This entire story needs to be handled very delicately to work. The Watchmen characters we saw before The Comedian showed up were used really well, but I felt like The Comedian might have been a bridge too far. Geoff Johns and Gary Frank better have a very important reason for bringing him into the story or else it will feel like bad fan service (I have faith that a good explanation will be given, especially because everything else in this miniseries has been excellent so far).
Having said all that, none of it really has much to do with THIS issue. I haven’t reviewed Doomsday Clock in awhile and since then I’ve noticed that some fans are unhappy with the return of certain characters. But lets focus on Doomsday Clock #4.
This is the most character driven issue of the series so far and it almost exclusively focuses on one main character: “New Rorschach”. I put the name “Rorschach” in quotes because we already know that this isn’t Walter Kovacs, Original Recipe Rorschach. This is Reggie, the young man how took on the mantle of the legendary crime fighter/ infamous lunatic vigilante.
For readers looking for a story that pushes the narrative further in a significant way, you may be disappointed. Otherwise this is an excellent character study of this new Rorschach. We not only get to see how he became the next Rorschach, we also find out exactly who Reggie is and where he fits in the Watchmen story (which I won’t spoil here). All I’ll say is that this person wasn’t even on my list of suspects.
Up until this issue, I was pretty sure that Reggie was an original character because, after going back to the Watchmen graphic novel there really wasn’t anyone who fit what we know about him (which is pretty much just; that he’s a relatively young man, African American, and more than a little bit of a psychopath.). But after reading the issue, I tip my hat to Johns and Frank because they have delivered an excellent vigilante origin story. They did a great job of creating Reggie’s backstory. My one criticism is that even though the creators found a very clever way of showing us how Reggie acquired his fighting skills, it doesn’t seem like enough to make into a fighter that would make even Veidt uneasy. But maybe there’s more to the puzzle coming up.
This was the perfect point to tell us Reggie’s backstory and what drives him. Because among the cast of new characters, we know a relatively significant amount about The Marionette and The Mime and what makes them tick (even though there are still some huge questions surrounding these two). Four issues into a 12 issue series, we need to understand the goals and motivations of all the main characters for the story to work. We also get a great appearance of a relatively obscure Watchmen character that’s both sweet and heartbreaking.
Though other issues of Doomsday Clock have wowed me in a ways that this chapter didn’t, it is nonetheless a beautiful character tale that’s tragic, sad, and illuminating. If you don’t mind one or two comic book tropes, I highly recommend Doomsday Clock as a series. This issue was definitely weaker than others, but it was still great. I can’t wait to see what Geoff Johns and Gary Frank have in store for the next 8 issues.
It’s Paul here and today I have the latest episode of my new Podcast that’s all about comic books, “Paul’s Pulls”! This episode is the “State Of The Batman Union”! What good and what’s not so good about the Batman comics coming out of DC right now. This is a 2 part episode, so expect part 2 up soon. I really appreciate everyone being so supportive and giving the show a try! So here’s Episode 1, listen here or subscribe on iTunes:
With Tim off at a star studded gala, Ryan came in for the clutch rescue on co-hosting duties and CRUSHED IT! In this episode where we discuss where The Batman films should go from here after the Justice League debacle. We talk about directors, castings, storylines, all the different places we think an awesome Batman series of films could go. To help things along, Ryan and I do mock interviews with The President of Warner Bros. Kevin Tsujihara! (I really hit it off with Kevin, but Ryan kind of blew it) It’s a fun Episode so give it a listen! Listen here or subscribe on iTunes:
Scott Snyder is probably one of the greatest comic books writers in the history of the medium. His run on Batman with artist Greg Capullo is already a modern classic and some of the best work ever done on the character.
Following the release of artwork by Francis Manapul, DC announced that Scott Snyder will writing the flagship book for DC, Justice League. Besides the incredible work he’s already done on characters like Batman, we’ve seen that Snyder has incredible talent working on almost any hero in the DC Universe. So this is something to be very excited about. Though it wasn’t formally announced I suspect that Francis Manapul will be the artist on the main Justice League book that Snyder is writing, considering his art was such a large part of the announcement.
To kick off this new era for the JL, DC has also announced a 4 issue miniseries called Justice League: No Justice, that will set up the new status quo for Snyder’s Justice League book. The miniseries will be co-written by Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV (Detective Comics) and Joshua Williamson (The Flash) with art by Francis Manapul. Issue #1 of that miniseries will be on sale 5/9.
DC unveiled artwork with a very diverse group of characters joining the League roster. It was a weird/awesome mix of classic Justice League members, villains, and younger heroes. There are a lot of cool possibilities with these characters. In fact each group of heroes was given subtitle to their team that I’ll include in the artwork captions. Apparently theses specific teams being brought together on separate missions, but with the same larger goal is part of the story in Justice League: No Justice.
As a side note, Francis Manapul is one of the most talented artists in the business. His gorgeous art is always a huge draw for me on any comic he works on. His run on The Flash in particular is absolutely beautiful.
This means there will probably be a few different JL books, each with a different focus. For example, one of the Justice League comics used to be called Justice League Dark and it featured all mystical based DC heroes like John Constantine and Zatanna facing supernatural threats. Writers James Tynion IV and Joshua Williamson were named as co-writers of the miniseries with Scott Snyder, so I’d bet that they’ll each be writing a Justice League book, probably with a specific focus like space or magic or something. But once again, the thing to be excited about is Scott Snyder writing the flagship Justice League book which will be your “classic Justice League style” adventures. Your Original Recipe Justice League, if you will
After Justice League: No Justice wraps up, Scott Snyder’s Justice League will hit shelves shortly after. These are usually excellent times for new readers to jump on the comic book bandwagon. A miniseries like No Justice is usually designed to acclimate new readers to the status quo and they’re great jumping on points. Keep an eye out here as we’ll publish new info as it becomes available.
Are you excited for Scott Snyder’s Justice League comic book?
Out of the four teams we see, which was your favorite?
Which team has the most interesting combo of characters?
An R-Rated, animated Batman movie, that’s essentially, Batman Vs. Jack The Ripper? To quote the great Kevin Smith “Fuck you. Take my money.”. Batman by Gaslight adopts a storytelling device often seen in comics called ”Elseworlds”. “Elseworlds” are basically one off stories where you take a familiar hero and and put them in a unique setting or story they normally wouldn’t be in. It’s a “What If…” story, essentially. For example, What if baby Superman’s spaceship crashed in Soviet Russia instead of Kansas? Or What if Batman hunted Jack The Ripper in Victorian-Era Gotham City? The original graphic novel of the same name that the movie is based on, with art by Hellboy creator Mike Mignola, was too short to be adapted to a feature length film. So, the filmmakers had to add to the story, which is fun if you’ve read the graphic novel because you’re getting something that’s both a strong adaptation and completely new tale at the same time.
It’s a great premise that’s a natural fit for the character. Batman’s often referred to as “The World’s Greatest Detective” in the comics, so I loved seeing Batman in a real mystery where he has to use his skills as a detective as much as his skills as a fighter. Batman’s incredible detective abilities are rarely utilized enough outside of comics. It doesn’t hurt that the whole story takes place in a world that looks very much like the city of fictions other great detective and one of the inspirations for Batman, Sherlock Holmes (there’s a small Sherlock Holmes reference that only true Sherlockians will get). The movie looks like it’s was pulled out of the pages of an Arthur Conan Doyle story, which adds to the movie’s cool, steampunk, murder mystery vibe.
Bruce Greenwood plays Bruce Wayne/Batman in this film and besides Kevin Conroy, I think he’s my favorite Batman voice actor. He’s played Batman before in movies like Batman: Under The Red Hood (one of the best DC Animated Movies) and the excellent Young Justice animated series, returning for it’s third season later this year. Jennifer Carpenter (Dexter) does some great work as Selina Kyle, but I don’t think they ever call her Catwoman in the movie. Besides Batman, Selina Kyle has the most to do in this movie. She’s basically Batman’s partner in solving the murders. She’s taking matters into her own hands because she knows if the victims were rich, white men instead of poor women, the police would be doing a lot more. At the very end she has a little damsel in distress moment I wasn’t crazy about, but other wise she’s an ass kicking badass who is more or less Batman’s equal.
Of course, it fun to see Victorian-era versions of the wide array of characters from Batman’s world. I wont spoil all the fun cameos, but you get to see characters from Hugo Strange to Solomon Grundy throughout the story. Unfortunately, a lot of the supporting cast isn’t as fleshed out as Batman and Selina Kyle which is definitely a big weakness in the film.
This movie takes full advantage of it’s R-Rating. This is easily one of the more bloody and gorey DC Animated Movies made so far. The real life Ripper Murders always struck me as particularly brutal and vicious. The movie does a good job of conveying that THIS Jack The Ripper is a terrifying butcher as well.
One of the things that made this version of Jack The Ripper work for me is that he was a physical match for Batman. This isn’t the same Batman that could kick the shit out of Superman. Batman gets pretty fucked up a few times in this movie. We’ve seen Batman fight armies of alien invaders and beings with all kinds of super abilities and come out fine. But the fact that The Ripper is just a man and he comes so close to killing Batman makes him much more frightening. Compared to other Batman animated movies recently, the stakes may seem lower but they feel higher than ever. This story isn’t “canon”, so characters who wouldn’t normally be on the chopping block could be taken out at anytime, which give the movie a nice edge.
Stylistically, this film has stepped away from the more anime inspired look that much of the other DC Animated Movies have adopted. Instead, the animation style is more traditional, without sacrificing quality. Including several great fights and action sequences. There a few showdowns between Batman and The Ripper that are particularly well done.
Having never read the original graphic novel, I didn’t know who The Ripper was while watching the movie (and this being Gotham City it could be almost literally ANYONE). So, it was fun not knowing where the story was going, but I did know The Ripper is NOT the same character from the original graphic novel. I’m definitely going to grade on a curve here, because as I’ve said before the quality of the DC Animated Movies has dipped over the past few years and I feel this is a huge step in the right direction. I have a feeling that the movie seemed a lot better than it actually was because the quality of the DC Animated films hasn’t been as consistent lately
Batman: Gotham by Gaslight is fun little Batman mystery, taking place in a interesting setting. Whether you’re a fan of Batman, these animated movies, or you just happened to see the trailer and were intrigued, I would definitely recommend this movie. While not without it’s flaws, It is without a doubt one of the best DC animated movies that we’ve seen in a long time. Let’s hope they keep this momentum going into their next movies…
Batman: Gotham by Gaslight is available on iTunes now and the Blu-Ray will be released on 2/6/2018
Batman: Gotham by Gaslight – 8.4/10
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Hey, everybody! I’ve got a few cool trailers for a few upcoming DC Animated Movies for you to check out. The first is the new DC Animated Movie Suicide Squad: Hell To Pay. Check it out here and continue reading below after:
Suicide Squad: Hell to Pay takes place in the DC Animated Universe they began creating a few years ago, starting with Justice League: War. Usually each year they’ll do a Justice League, Batman, or Teen Titans movie that’s part of this Animated Universe and then a stand alone movie like Batman: Gotham by Gaslight. Apparently this year they’re adding the Suicide Squad into the mix. I liked seeing some of the big and more obscure DC villains they included. Besides the Squad itself, villains like Zoom, Two-Face, Professor Pym, and more are a part of the movie. The voice cast looks pretty solid as well. I’m cautiously optimistic that this could be pretty cool. God knows the bar isn’t very high for it to be better than the live action Suicide Squad movie. There’s no release date on it yet, but I would expect this to be released around March or April.
The DC Animated Movie I’m really looking forward to is the next movie, Batman: Gotham by Gaslight, which comes out digitally on 1/23/18 and Blu-Ray 2/6/18. I enjoy thes movies whenever they come out, but there hasn’t been a truly great one in awhile. I’m hoping this film is the one that knocks it out of the park because it looks great. A Victorian era Batman going up against Jack The Ripper? I’m in. Here’s the trailer:
Looks cool, right? But back to Suicide Squad: Hell to Pay, this isn’t the first DC Animated Movie to star the Suicide Squad. A few years ago they released Batman: Assault on Arkham and though the title says Batman, it was a Suicide Squad movie through and through. It actually technically took place in the same universe as the Batman: Arkham video games. It’s a solid, fun movie that’s definitley worthy checking out. When I rewatched it recently, I couldn’t help but think “This is exactly how the live action Suicide Squad movie should have been made.” Anyway, we’re going to put up reviews for both of the flicks, so keep an eye out on the site for those.
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