Robots From Tomorrow! (book discussion)

P. Craig Russell has spent the better part of his career finding ways to make the operas he love truly sing as sequential art. In that regard, his 2002 adaptation of Wagner's Ring cycle is his magnum opus. Fourteen issues, over 400 pages, newly collected in one hardcover by Dark Horse, "The Ring of the Nibelung" shows Russell at his best adapting the four operas to comics' strengths while avoiding its weaknesses. Mike & Greg take a look at not only "The Ring" but Russell's career in general, and particularly the influence of his days inking Mike Mignola. Find out what common ground is shared by diehard opera and anime fans, which Marvel story Russell drew twice, why the days of inkers are most likely numbered, who adapted the Ring cycle to comics before Russell, how he was able to so successfully translate Wagner from the stage to the page, and a lot 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_149_mixdown.mp3
Category:Book Discussion -- posted at: 8:00pm EST

Straight from the pages of Eightball, or the 10th Anniversary Hardcover, or The Daniel Clowes Reader, or the silver screen, or a digital media device of your choosing is Daniel Clowes's Ghost World. This 80-page graphic novella (and film adaptation) succinctly captures two girls' transition from the certainty of sarcastic adolescence to the unforgiving uncertainty of young adulthood. Mike and Greg talk about Ghost World in both forms, touching on topics like how the work can be so specifically in one time but not feel slaved to it, why Zwigoff and Clowes made such a perfect partnership in getting this story to the screen, what chapter almost made Greg check out ot the book entirely, whether Christina Ricci was ever cast as Enid, the power of first influences and how they shape your perceptions going forward, Clowes' distillation of story into absolute essential bits, and much more. (No animals were or are ever harmed during the making of this podcast)

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_143_mixdown.mp3
Category:Book Discussion -- posted at: 8:00pm EST

Earl Tubb may not speak particularly softly, but the main character of the new Image series Southern Bastards ends up brandishing one hell of a stick after returning to his Alabama hometown to put family affairs in order. Jasons Latour and Aaron make this book one part Southern Gothic, one part Walking Tall (Joe Don Baker version), one part Lone Star, and all parts fantastic. Mike & Greg take swings, between talk of fried apple pie and confectionary delights, at trying to do justice to this book and its look at a Southern lifestyle at once mundane and terrifying. Find out what themes and traits this book shares with Aaron's classic series Scalped, as well as how to look at the work fourth dimensionally, the benefits of uncluttered plot progression, the differences between Europeans and Americans when looking at America, and what US town was nuked back in the 1960's (albeit ineptly).

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_140_mixdown.mp3
Category:Book Discussion -- posted at: 8:00pm EST

Unofficially labeled ‘The Nitnit Trilogy’, Charles Burns’ latest comics work finished this year with the publication of “Sugar Skull” following the release of “X’ed Out” in 2010 and “The Hive” in 2012. With all three volumes in hand, Mike and Greg take a look at the story both as a whole and as a collection of pieces from other sources. Burns’ inspiration for these books ranges from Herge’s TinTin to Silver Age romance comics with a healthy dosage of Burrough’s cut-up technique thrown in, and these factors plus many, many others come into play in this discussion. Find out who else besides Burns is carved onto Mike’s alt-cartoonist Mount Rushmore, what Greg thought the skeleton of the story was, where David Lynch fits into all this, what the fourth book in the trilogy is and where you can or can’t find it, and so much 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_132_mixdown.mp3
Category:Book Discussion -- posted at: 8:00pm EST

In an RFT first, Mike & Greg follow up their talk about District 14 Season 1 with a new discussion about its sequel (Season 2) and companion book (The Fantastic Voyage of Lady Rozenbilt), also by the creative team of Pierre Gabus and Rommald Reutimann. But this time, mindful of the dangers of retreading old conversation, the boys add a new voice to the mix: Multiversity Comics Editor-in-Chief Matthew Meylikhov! Spoiler alert: if you liked the first book, you’ll love these new volumes. The trio talk about the necessity of showing unseen plot points, which D14 characters they would love to see in a Lady Rozenbilt-style spinoff, whether color helps or hurts the D14 universe, POV characters versus ensemble pieces, and tons 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_124_mixdown.mp3
Category:Book Discussion -- posted at: 8:00pm EST

Mike leads this week’s subterranean expedition as he takes Greg and you through the twists and turns of NBM’s Dungeon series’ first volume. Created by the cartoonists Joann Sfar and Lewis Trondheim, Dungeon serves up a slice of sword-and-sorcery that is one part humor, one part satire, and all parts awesome. If it's good enough to help inspire Pendleton Ward's approach to Adventure Time, then it may just be worth your time! With its anthropomorphic duck protagonist, his skull-as-cod-piece-wearing dragon companion, and his sarcastic-and-demeaning talking belt Dungeon is a whirlwind of fantasy fantasticness. The conversation takes many twists and turns, including talk of Jonathan Hickman, Larry Marder, and Image Comics. Hidden treasure of a comic book nature is just one mouse click away in 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_113_mixdown.mp3
Category:Book Discussion -- posted at: 8:00pm EST

They say life is stranger than fiction, which is good because when cartoonists turn their attentions to telling stories about real life people and events, they have a lot of competition with all the universes of imaginary characters crowding the shelves. On today’s episode, the boys eschew the usual single-title spotlight to take a look at some OGNs that tell real stories in ways just as entertaining as their fictional counterparts:

     -SHACKLETON: ANTARCTIC ODYSSEY by Nick Bertozzi

     -THE HYPO by Noah Van Sciver

     -FEYNMAN by Jim Ottaviani and Leland Myrick

     -BOXERS & SAINTS by Gene Luen Yang

     -WOMAN REBEL: THE MARGARET SANGER STORY by Peter Bagge

All those works plus some other non-fiction favorites show up in this discussion-slash-rumination on the advantages, disadvantages, and challenges comics creators face when trying to bring real life to the printed page.

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. Today's episode id brought to you by Third Eye Comics. Enjoy your funny books.

Direct download: rft_107_mixdown.mp3
Category:Book Discussion -- posted at: 8:00pm EST

The publisher of this week’s book, Adhouse, suggests that book, Street Angel, be filed under these categories: comedy, poverty, hero, and kung fu. Those terms both entirely describe and woefully undersell the breadth of pure comic booking contained in this 10th anniversary hardcover reprinting of Jim Rugg and Brian Maruca's breakout hit. The title character is homeless teenage girl Jesse Sanchez; she sleeps in abandoned buildings and prowls the streets of Wilkesborough on her skateboard, keeping it safe from ninjas, mad scientists, demons, time-displaced Spanish conquerors, more ninjas, and (with the help of an aged but still bad motherSHUT YOUR MOUTH Afrodisiac) racist gun-toting rednecks. This book may be Rugg's first but it still hits like a 100-megaton bomb of experimentation in the name of homage and homage in the name of truth. Listen to Mike and Greg talk about how many ways Street Angel is a little slice of comic book heaven for anyone who picks it up.

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. Enjoy your funny books.

Direct download: rft_103_mixdown.mp3
Category:Book Discussion -- posted at: 8:00pm EST

The lads throw tradition to the wind by taking an in-depth look at a comic currently hitting shelves every other week: Brian Michael Bendis’ X-Men. Following his 8-year Avengers run, Bendis took a quick trip to 1964, picked up a few passengers, and showed up for All-New X-Men #1 with the original five Xavier students (Cyclops, Marvel Girl, Beast, Iceman, and Angel) in tow. This juxtaposition kicks off his X-Men tenure and is the gift that keeps on giving, both in terms of story momentum and reader guessing. See what side of the issues raised the hosts fall on in this sprawling free-form discussion of both All-New and Uncanny X-men up through Battle of the Atom, where the Marvel Mutantverse finds itself decades after the foundational Claremont issues, and how good a pair of hands it finds itself in with Bendis.

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. Enjoy your funny books.

Direct download: rft_35_mixdown.mp3
Category:Book Discussion -- posted at: 8:00pm EST

They say nobody’s perfect, and that is certainly the case with Jaime Hernandez’s most popular creation Maggie. Over the last 30-plus years, he has shown us how flawed, and yet perfectly realized, a character she is. Mike and Greg catch up with Maggie in Hernandez’s latest graphic novel “The Love Bunglers” as she tries to find happiness with her on-again, off-again love interest Ray. The amount of story, craft, and emotion packed into this 110-page work is astounding, and the only thing keeping the guys from still talking about it is the fear of spoiling too much of this (or any other) year’s best comics. Whether you are a complete newcomer to Hernandez and his work, or have been following Maggie, Ray, Hopey, and the rest of the Love and Rockets cast for decades, this is a must-own book.

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. Music is John Hughes by Anamanaguchi. Enjoy your funny books.

Direct download: rft_31_mixdown.mp3
Category:Book Discussion -- posted at: 8:00pm EST