Robots From Tomorrow! (book discussion)

Black Ops Sports Team. That was the pitch for "X-Force" as part of the spring 2001 relaunch of the X-Men line, stuck somewhere between Claremont's "X-Treme" and Casey's "Uncanny." A Vertigo mainstay and an indie cartoonist doing an X-Book? How crazy was that? But "X-Force" turned out to be the little book that could, grabbing critical praise and the attention of comic fans old and new with its bold combination of satire, commentary, and characterization. Mike & Greg look back at the first 14 issues of the Allred/Milligan collaboration and see how it holds up almost 15 years later. How reader-friendly was the title BEFORE the revamp? What part did that first issue play in getting Marvel to finally drop the Comics Code for good? Which recurring Allred archetypes show up in "X-Force" and why? When does the series go off the rail (and why)? Who comes in to pinch-hit for Allred on art, and do they strike out or hit a home run? All that, plus a head-to-head matchup between X-Force and Morrison's New X-Men over the hosts' affections. Which book will reign supreme? Find out the answer to that question and more on this episode!

Robots From Tomorrow is a weekly comics podcast recorded deep beneath the Earth’s surface. You can subscribe to it via iTunes or through the RSS feed at RobotsFromTomorrow.com. You can also follow Mike and Greg on Twitter. This episode is brought to you by Third Eye Comics. Enjoy your funny books.

Direct download: rft_226_mixdown.mp3
Category:Book Discussion -- posted at: 7:00pm EST

How do you follow up a juggernaut like "Scott Pilgrim?" Six volumes, a major motion picture, tons of awards… the task of coming up with the next thing after that has to be a daunting one. But after 4 years, O’Malley answered that question with “Seconds,” an OGN about a young restaurateur given the chance to fix the mistakes of the past with the help of some magic mushrooms. Sounds like just the thing you’d expect from O’Malley, right? It is...and it isn’t. Mike & Greg take a look at the latest work from this cartoonist and his assembled team to find out if this book, like any great meal, is worth coming back to for more.

Robots From Tomorrow is a weekly comics podcast recorded deep beneath the Earth’s surface. You can subscribe to it via iTunes or through the RSS feed at RobotsFromTomorrow.com. You can also follow Mike and Greg on Twitter. This episode is brought to you by Third Eye Comics. Enjoy your funny books.

Direct download: rft_222_mixdown.mp3
Category:Book Discussion -- posted at: 8:00pm EST

In 1970, DC proclaimed, “The Great One Is Coming!” And they were right! Jack “The King” Kirby went across the street from Marvel to the Distinguished Competition and hit their publishing line like an atomic bomb. The New Gods! Mister Miracle! The Forever People! The Demon! Omac! But few of them had the specific impact & influence as today’s subject: Kamandi, The Last Boy on Earth! Mike & Greg focus on the earlier issues of The King’s 37-issue full-creator run, but as with all things Kirby, there’s so much other stuff to consider. Is this the best work of his career? What drove him to DC in the first place, and then back to Marvel? How much microfilm did Kamandi read? Why is Kirby Sheen more signature than Kirby Krackle? When did you first GET Kirby? All that, plus looks at the 70’s DC “Bullpen Bulletins”, Kirby inkers compared and rated, and exactly what speed were these comics were intended to be read at?

Robots From Tomorrow is a weekly comics podcast recorded deep beneath the Earth’s surface. You can subscribe to it via iTunes or through the RSS feed at RobotsFromTomorrow.com. You can also follow Mike and Greg on Twitter. This episode is brought to you by Third Eye Comics. Enjoy your funny books.

Direct download: rft_214_mixdown.mp3
Category:Book Discussion -- posted at: 7:50pm EST

Between self-publishing and small-press publishing is a place where a lot of talented cartoonists are finding themselves. Too big for one but not big enough for another, they can find themselves without a solid foundation to send their work off from to the larger readership. But luckily, one of those cartoonists decided it was time to do something about that. Mike & Greg take a look at several 2015 releases from Box Brown’s Retrofit Comics (“An Entity Observes All Things”, “Ink for Beginners”, and “Mowgli’s Mirror”) as they shine the RFT spotlight on Retrofit Comics as a publisher. What’s their angle? How can you find their books? Why was their release of “Prison Planet” #7 so controversial? Given their size and roster, what can they give you that Marvel or DC can’t? All that, plus what it’s like to have a timeshare in independent comics, just how likely Greg is to get a tattoo, and more!

Robots From Tomorrow is a weekly comics podcast recorded deep beneath the Earth’s surface. You can subscribe to it via iTunes or through the RSS feed at RobotsFromTomorrow.com. You can also follow Mike and Greg on Twitter. This episode is brought to you by Third Eye Comics. Enjoy your funny books.

Direct download: rft_202_mixdown.mp3
Category:Book Discussion -- posted at: 8:00pm EST

The Man Without Fear is riding a new wave of popularity thanks to having a hit Netflix show under his belt, so Mike & Greg turn their heightened comic senses on one of, if not THE, seminal story about Matt Murdock: Frank Miller & David Mazzucchelli's 'Born Again'. From singles to digital to trade paperback to Artist Edition, this story is a comic booking master class no matter the format you experience it in. Process is dissected, context is given, praise is assigned and heaped, and hearts are broken when one host describes the Artist Edition to the other. But the Hornhead talk doesn't end there! The Netflix show gets its due! Not a complete love fest, but pretty close! Listen on to find out the boys' theories on Madame Gao, what we could look forward to in Seasons 2 & 3, how seeing the show affects reading the comic, which Miller comics make the Holy Trinity of his bibliography (and why), who hears who in their head for which character, why 'Born Again'-type stories rarely work as well with other characters, and more.

Robots From Tomorrow is a weekly comics podcast recorded deep beneath the Earth’s surface. You can subscribe to it via iTunes or through the RSS feed at RobotsFromTomorrow.com. You can also follow Mike and Greg on Twitter. This episode is brought to you by Third Eye Comics. Enjoy your funny books.

Direct download: rft_196_mixdown.mp3
Category:Book Discussion -- posted at: 8:00pm EST

When you think about cartoonist journalists, the first (and probably only) name that comes to mind is almost always Joe Sacco. And for good reason, because the man has been using his cartoonist skills in the service of in-depth reporting for over 20 years. This week, Mike & Greg take a look at “Journalism”, a collection of his shorter reports over a 10-year period from such assignments as Iraq, The Hague, Gaza, India, Malta, and the Caucasus. It’s a 200-page hardcover that provokes more thought and questions in that page count than most OGNs at twice the size. The lads try and come at them from a few different angles, ranging from Sacco’s cartooning chops, how objective a reporter like Sacco can (or should) be, what advantages cartooning has over more naturalistic means of capturing information, why color should or shouldn’t be used in Sacco’s work, who influenced him, and much much more on this week’s episode

Robots From Tomorrow is a weekly comics podcast recorded deep beneath the Earth’s surface. You can subscribe to it via iTunes or through the RSS feed at RobotsFromTomorrow.com. You can also follow Mike and Greg on Twitter. This episode is brought to you by Third Eye Comics. Enjoy your funny books.

Direct download: rft_192_mixdown.mp3
Category:Book Discussion -- posted at: 7:00pm EST

“The death-stench creeps.” “There’s something rotten in Okinawa.” These cover blurbs from today’s book discussion subject should tell you that we’re not talking sweetness and light this week. Mike & Greg go fishing with horror master Junji Ito and the brand-new hardcover collection of his 2001-2002 horror story “Gyo”. How terrifying can a horror story about fish be if 99% of it takes place on land? Ito’s got that covered. Serving up a tale equal parts dread and nihilism, Ito knows what buttons to push in his readers to be effective as a horror master, and he jams them hard here. Find out who Ito took cues from and used as a benchmark to surpass in his story, what the difference is between shonen and seinen manga, how similar “Gyo”’s adaptation into other media is to “Watchmen”’s translation, why a circus can be scarier than a great white shark, which things make the human mind flash ‘DOES NOT COMPUTE’, and much more in this week’s episode!

Robots From Tomorrow is a weekly comics podcast recorded deep beneath the Earth’s surface. You can subscribe to it via iTunes or through the RSS feed at RobotsFromTomorrow.com. You can also follow Mike and Greg on Twitter. This episode is brought to you by Third Eye Comics. Enjoy your funny books.

Direct download: rft_187_mixdown.mp3
Category:Book Discussion -- posted at: 7:00pm EST

It wasn't their first creative partnership, or even their first long-form work together, but when comic fans think of the book they first noticed how good Ed Brubaker & Sean Phillips worked together, they almost always think of "Criminal". With the series now at Image Comics and being rereleased in new trade paperback collections, Mike & Greg take this opportunity to look at the duo's opening storyline: 'Coward'. What does it and the series as a whole know about crime fiction that so many imitators seem to miss? How does it stack up against the Eisner-winning sixth volume "The Last of the Innocent"? Where did the Brubaker/Archie connection first pop up? Why did the duo announce their exclusivity to Image? Who's the best colorist in their crew: Val Staples, Dave Stewart, or Elizabeth Breitweiser? All that and much much more about the whole world of Phillips and Brubaker is ready for your ears on this week's episode!

Robots From Tomorrow is a weekly comics podcast recorded deep beneath the Earth’s surface. You can subscribe to it via iTunes or through the RSS feed at RobotsFromTomorrow.com. You can also follow Mike and Greg on Twitter. This episode is brought to you by Third Eye Comics. Enjoy your funny books.

Direct download: rft_183_mixdown.mp3
Category:Book Discussion -- posted at: 8:00pm EST

Terry Gilliam calls him a god. Entire generations were taught the importance and power of satire by his examples. The highest honor FOR comics professional voted on exclusively BY comics professionals takes its name from him. His name was Harvey Kurtzman, and in 1959 he published “Harvey Kurtzman’s Jungle Book”, a collection of short comic tales intended for the mainstream adult readership almost 15 years before Will Eisner did likewise with “A Contract With God”. Unlike “Contract”, “Jungle Book” landed with a thud of epic proportions. So why are Mike & Greg talking about it today? Why is pure Kurtzman the best Kurtzman when you have artists like Wally Wood, Will Elder, and the like to bring his ideas to life? With all the accolades he achieved, is Kurtzman still underrated? Does “Jungle Book” still hold up almost 60 years later? Learn what brought Kurtzman from EC Comics to Ballantine Books, what did Frank Miller admitted helped him shamelessly steal from Will Eisner in his “Daredevil” run, how does “Jungle Book” stack up against “Comic Book Comix”, an earlier Dark Horse/Kitchen Sink release, and tons more in this week’s episode!

Robots From Tomorrow is a weekly comics podcast recorded deep beneath the Earth’s surface. You can subscribe to it via iTunes or through the RSS feed at RobotsFromTomorrow.com. You can also follow Mike and Greg on Twitter. This episode is brought to you by Third Eye Comics. Enjoy your funny books.

Direct download: rft_179_mixdown.mp3
Category:Book Discussion -- posted at: 7:00pm EST

Can we ever go home again? It's a question so many creators ask themselves when they revisit work from their earlier days. Mike & Greg take a look at how Toriyama has cracked that particular code with "Jaco", a book that touches on several themes and tones from the manga-ka's early "Dragon Ball" days while still letting him bring his mastery of craft to bear. A funny, adventurous romp, the titular Jaco is a super elite Galactic Patrolman sent to Earth to await the coming of a terrible monster… but he manages to sideswipe the Moon on his way in and crashes next to a small island. Maybe 'super elite' is supposed to be ironic? Find out why "Jaco" is a wonderful standalone manga story with subtle ties to Toriyama's later works, what manga tropes the cartoonist manages to celebrate and subvert simultaneously, how 'adorable' is a perfect descriptive for this book, which Neal Adams work gets compared to "Jaco", and a whole lot more in this week's episode!

Robots From Tomorrow is a weekly comics podcast recorded deep beneath the Earth’s surface. You can subscribe to it via iTunes or through the RSS feed at RobotsFromTomorrow.com. You can also follow Mike and Greg on Twitter. This episode is brought to you by Third Eye Comics. Enjoy your funny books.

Direct download: rft_175_mixdown.mp3
Category:Book Discussion -- posted at: 7:00pm EST