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Sweatpants & Pop Culture l Q&A with the crew of All Comics Considered

By Jerusha Gray

I had the honor of sitting down with the cast and crew of one of my favorite podcasts All Comics Considered to celebrate National Comic Book Day.

All Comics Considered is comprised of the brilliant minds of Martin Anton Gleason, Nick Fury, Hannah Craig, and Tim Bruhn Yang.  They release a weekly podcast that delivers an hour of reviews, jokes, and thoughts about comic books and the culture surrounding them.

How long have you been a fan?

comic-nickIf you liked Star Wars, the presupposition was that you would also like comic books, because nerd-dom was basically one big swirling mass of “Please don’t start a ‘Mother’s Against’ group and make me take my posters of wizards down”.  My Venn diagram of interests definitely included comics, but the closest place I could buy comics was an hour and a half away, so I didn’t have many. – Nick

 

comic-martinIt’s almost a running gag on the show, but the first comic I started collecting was Nomad. It was a really 90s book–which is to say an anti-hero with a heart of gold, anti-spandex and glam-rock hair. The best thing that ever happened to this character was his death in Captain America: The Winter Soldier – Martin

 

comic-hannahI was very young at the time (somewhere around seven years old) and my mom and I read the comics together. My rad mom is the nerdy one in my family and had been a big Fantastic Four fan when she was young, so she wholly supported my interest in Superman, and then the X-men, and later when I hit my teenage years, Japanese manga. I recently got her back into comics by introducing her to Saga, an extremely beautiful space opera comic that I recommend to pretty much everybody. – Hannah

comic-timA family friend gave me a grocery bag full of comics. It was probably 1978 when this happened. I was pretty happy with a comic series called “Marvel Two-in-One” that had The Thing paired up with another hero for that comic. – Tim

 

 

If you could spend an afternoon in a comic book world, what would it be and why?

comic-martinI’d probably live out my childhood fantasies by visiting the world of Star Wars, just for an afternoon. Maybe follow along in Han’s current solo title (Cannonball run meets Star Wars) or go to a prison planet with Poe Dameron. – Martin

 

 

comic-nickI like showers and I like not getting killed, so picking a fictional universe to visit would be tough.  I’ll go with my regular answer, which is the Star Trek universe.  The wonders there don’t depend on interaction with specific characters, and I’d have replicators, transporters, and the holodeck. – Nick

 

comic-hannahOn the sole condition that I could hang out with Sonja, it would absolutely be the world of the most recent Red Sonja book, written by Gail Simone. Gail (one of my favorite comic writers and the woman who coined the phrase and brought attention to “Women in Refrigerators”) reinvented Red Sonja, taking the classic Conan character from male fantasy to an entertaining and fun character who is strong, crass, stubborn, surly and has a heart of gold buried under a mile of grit and trail-stink. I would happily get drunk, beat up misogynists and flirt with pretty girls and boys with Red Sonja. – Hannah

comic-timMy first thought is that I’d love to hang out in the world of Love and Rockets by Los Bros Hernandez, because it’s not so freaky a world that you can’t just go to the grocery store and live your life. On the other hand, if you wanna find the weirdness, you can. It’s a world where the dinosaurs, and racing, and super powers and lucha wrestling and drama happen, but it’s weirdly low-key and opt-in. Also, who doesn’t have a crush on Hopey and Maggie? – Tim

 

Which Comics Are You Excited About Right Now?

comic-hannahMy list of things to read (which comics nerds call a “pull box,” because these are the comics you want pulled off of the shelf at the comic shop and saved for you) is embarrassingly long and I am wildly out of budget for comics. So, instead I’ll highlight some of my favorite books that I strongly recommend:

  • Marvel – The best superhero comic of the last few years, hands down. Kamala Khan’s a teenage Muslim American-Pakistani girl who likes writing slash fanfiction and playing MMOs. She’s also Ms. Marvel, protector of Jersey City! Written and edited by actual Muslim women, Ms. Marvel broke the mold on comic book hero expectations and proved to be a smash success, opening up the gates for a new generation of diverse heroes and fans.
  • The Wicked + The Divine – Young people are reincarnated as gods to party hard as pop stars for 2 years before they flame out in glory; a meditation on the nature of fandom. Also, FASHION. The gods are modeled after real life music celebs, so expect to see Lucifer looking like David Bowie, Sakhmet as Rihanna’s twin and Odin sporting a Daft Punk vibe.
  • Lumberjanes – An excellent book for pre-teens and teens, Lumberjanes is about a girls’ adventure camp. In the spirit of Adventure Time but all about girls.
  • Saga – The opposite of war is sex in this spectacularly epic space opera. One of the best comics of this century.
  • Bitch Planet – Smash the space patriarchy. A screaming feminist screed that’s reclaiming women-in-prison movies.
  • All-New, All-Different Wolverine – Logan’s legacy is continued by his clone/daughter X-23. Though it’s got a very comic booky background (clones! Somebody is dead again but sort of also of not!) it’s actually an extremely heartwarming story about what actually makes a family.
  • She-Hulk – The 2014 series written by Charles Soule. Soule’s actually a lawyer and brings legal expertise and awesome characterization to this short run. It includes She-Hulk vs Daredevil…in a courtroom!
  • Anything Written By Kieron Gillen, Literally Anything At All, Even His Twitter Is Solid Gold – Phonogram, Angela (including Asgard’s Assassin, 1602 Witchhunter and Queen of Hell), Young Avengers, Darth Vader, SIEGE, and my absolute personal favorite comic book of all time, his run on Journey Into Mystery. Gillen is my favorite comics writer and all of his work (and especially with his creative partner, artist Jamie McKelvie, which includes The Wicked + The Divine), is highly worth checking out. – Hannah

comic-timIn 2015 we are seeing a huge swing towards more representation in Marvel comics. I’m super excited about:

Thor – Jane Foster is Thor, she’s battling cancer and every time she transforms into Thor any therapy she goes through is undone. But she refuses magical medical help because she knows magic has a price. Yet…she’s willing to take the magic of transforming into Thor, because the world needs her, and she needs to feel powerful. Conflicted? Yes. Interesting? Hell, yes.

Squirrel Girl – I stepped away from the 90s in comics because everything was so “dark and grim” (i.e. lots of pockets and guns and hash lines everywhere), Squirrel Girl is the antidote to that, a mouthwash to clean out all that badness from the Dark Age of Comics. She’s irreverent, funny, light hearted, and doesn’t automatically go for punching lights out when she encounters villains.

Totally Awesome HulkBruce Banner is dead, long live The Hulk. The mantle of the Hulk has been passed down to Korean American mastermind Amadeus Cho. Cho is 19, hormonal, and his sister Maddie tries to keep him grounded and send him on missions where he can do the most good. This Hulk? Not full of angst, he’s enjoying his time as the strongest one there is. I’m enjoying a comic book where an Asian American is being portrayed in a non-stereotypical way. – Tim

 What advice would you give to someone who is new to comics but wants to check it out?

comic-martinSee if there is a Valkyrie-allied Local Comic Shop. These are feminist, women friendly stores that are gate openers. If you have a store on their list near you, check them out and say “I like X kind of book and Y kind of movies. What do you recommend I check out?” – Martin

 

 

comic-nickApproach the idea of comics like the idea of books.  We build really weird false walls between the different types of media used to tell stories.  Being “into comics” for me is like saying that you’re “into books”, so this question is a lot like “How do I get into books?”   You don’t need any of that old stuff to start reading right now, even if you choose Marvel or DC, which are only two of the many options available. – Nick

Final Thoughts?

comic-hannahYou have a right to enjoy whatever the heck you want to enjoy. Don’t let anybody try to be a gatekeeper to your fun. Like any fandom, there are some comic book nerds out there who might not be welcoming to new faces, especially if those faces don’t look like their own, but please rest assured there are a huge number of us who are thrilled to meet new fans and love seeing new people fall in love with our favorite medium

Comics are way more than superhero books by Marvel and DC. While some of those titles and characters are my favorites, this is actually an AMAZING time to get into comics because of just how diverse and broad the medium is really becoming. – Hannah

comic-nickBasically, don’t be afraid, don’t be overwhelmed.  Getting into a comic is a lot like watching a new show on Netflix.  There are a million titles and you’re not sure what to do or what to pick and suddenly it’s 8 hours later and you have Dorito cheese all over your hands and you’re crying about poor, dead Barb. – Nick

 

comic-martinFinally, and this is a totally shameless plug, listen to All Comics Considered and reach out to us on Twitter, Facebook or email. Every week we try to have a list of books that we’re into, and we’d love to help link people up to the right book. I think that’d be a pretty cool thing to do more often: Help people find books they want to read within their budget. – Martin

 

 

You can find this and so much more by listening to them on iTunes, Stitcher and www.allcomicsconsidered.com

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Jerusha Gray

Jerusha Gray is insatiably curious. This curiosity, coupled with a brain that never shuts up, drives her to paint and draw, read prodigiously, make music, write, and sing in grocery stores.

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