04 Jul. 2014
The Pullbox Podcast: Episode 003
It’s time for another episode of The Pullbox Podcast! This month, Kurtis and Michael talk about three unique superhero books; Ex Machina: The First Hundred Years, by Brian K. Vaughn and Tony Harris, Battling Boy, by Paul Pope, and our Reader Pull, Astro City: Life in the Big City, by Kurt Busiek and Brent Anderson.
Ex Machina (00:13:38)
Battling Boy (00:28:28)
Astro City (00:42:11)
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About the author
After receiving a copy of Web of Spider-Man #60 at his 10th birthday party, Kurtis has had a lifelong passion for comics. In 2011 he published his first book, CHUCK JONES: THE DREAM THAT NEVER WAS (IDW/Library of American Comics), featuring CRAWFORD, the unknown comic strip from the legendary Looney Tunes director. He is also the creator/cartoonist of KIDS, EH?, a daily comic strip about the real life funny things his kids say and do and co-host of the PULLBOX PODCAST, an international graphic novel book club podcast. Kurtis' taste in comics include everything from classic comic strips (Terry and the Pirates, Polly and Her Pals) to kid's comics (Zita the Space Girl, Ghostopolis) to Franco-Belgian bande dessinée (Freddy Lombard, Monsieur Jean).
Good show guys keep it up. One tip – maybe beef up your vocals a bit.
I agree! I’ll try to do that for the next episode. Thanks for listening, Bradley!
Full disclosure guys, I found your podcast via someone's twitter talking about you Astro City review. I only listened to that part, so I can't comment on the rest of the episode. It was nice of Busiek to "credit" himself for Marvels, a book he wrote, and like Marvels, the whole goal is to tell the kinds of stories Marvel and DC don't do, and having some connection to established companies (not just DC) is part of the deal, although Astro City has been more or less going in Real Time for 20 years, so that a Franklin Richards type character in the first trade is already out of high school in a later story. I do agree that Samaritan is not the most interesting character (the Challenger tragedy was not current, the point is he's been around for "about 10 years," probably a reference to the compressed timeline of other companies-if they wanted to be current, they'd go with the OKC bombing), but I think Michael pretty hilariously misses the point by complaining about characters being "rip-offs," especially since most of them are general enough composites that there's not one direct inspiration. I mean, who do you think Jack in the Box or Crackerjack was supposed to be? But they're composites so that the creative team can get you to look at things in a new way. Volume 2 of AC is probably the best of the series, as it has a really amazing one-off story that hits emotionally a lot harder than about 99.9% of superhero comics.
Hey Chris, thanks for your comments! Yeah, oops. It slipped our minds that Busiek wrote both of those books. Now the internet will be on our backs. I will definitely check out volume 2 and talk about it briefly in the next episode. Thanks for listening!
Hi Chris. Thanks for commenting. I appreciate your point of view, but personally, I like to go into media without too many preconceived notions, and as such, I didn't do a lot of reading up on Busiek before checking out Astro City, so I guess I have to plead ignorance on the Marvels thing.
I think I do a pretty good job of accounting for my opinions in the podcast, but suffice it to say that I don't think AC goes far enough away from it's DC/Marvel counterparts to really dig deeply into the Superhero genre. I realize Jack in the Box and Crackerjack aren't direct "ripoffs" of characters, but they're just so general and blasé that I can't get into them. Like I said in the podcast, if I want to read a story about Superman, I'll read a story about Superman. Changing his origin slightly and giving him a new name just isn't enough to keep me interested.
For my money, I'd rather dig into something like Rising Stars or Kick-Ass, which take the Superhero genre and archetypes and explore them in a much more real sense. That being said, I've only read the first volume, and I may check out the second based on your recommendation. If some of the characters from Vol. 1 can find more of their own voice, then it will be worth the read.
Thanks for listening, and hopefully you'll check out the rest of the episode. If you do, let us know what you thought.