Robots From Tomorrow! (book discussion)

Counterculture and Madison Avenue collide in the topic of this week's episode: the Denis Kitchen/Stan Lee-conceived Comix Book! Greg and Mike take a look at the recent collection of the best of that magazine's six issues, from 1974 to 1976, put out by the Kitchen Sink Books imprint of Dark Horse. What was Stan thinking in courting the underground scene? Which artists were thought to be selling out to "The Man" (literally, in this case) and what was the going rate? Why we're mainstream artists angry about it as well? Were the comics any good? Is the book worth getting, or is it just a mild curiosity piece? All that and more is waiting for you in this latest 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. Music is John Hughes by Anamanaguchi. Enjoy your funny books.

Direct download: rft_23_mixdown.mp3
Category:Book Discussion -- posted at: 8:00pm EST

After months of threatening and a few near-misses, we finally take a look at the manga/anime juggernaut that is Katsuhiro Otomo’s Akira. But not just one version; all three! The B&W manga, the color Epic run from the late 1980’s, and the anime. 4200+ pages of comics (over the two versions) plus over 2 hours of anime have lead up to this discussion. We guarantee that you’ll come away from this episode having learned something about this work that you never knew. How do the different translations affect Otomo’s overall message? How can the anime be an entirely faithful adaptation and yet leave out vast chunks of story? What are the bosozoku? Who is the main character? Does color help or hurt this manga masterpiece? All this and so much more is waiting for you in our latest 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. Music is John Hughes by Anamanaguchi. Enjoy your funny books.

Direct download: rft_21_mixdown.mp3
Category:Book Discussion -- posted at: 8:00pm EST

Twelve cartoonists. Twelve issues. One astounding collection. This week, Greg and Mike team up to take on DC’s Solo hardcover. Two-on-one doesn’t sound like a fair fight, but when that one draws on the talents of Darwyn Cooke, Teddy Kristiansen, Scott Hampton, Sergio Aragones, Tim Sale, Howard Chaykin, Paul Pope, Brendan McCarthy, Jordi Bernet, Mike Allred, Damion Scott, and Richard Corben? Not to worry. The lads talk about their favorite moments, who would be in a 2014 run of Solo, the keen eye of Mark Chiarello, a publisher’s responsibility to their audience, good Chaykin and bad Chaykin (you know what we mean), and Sergio Aragones with a ukelele? That’s right. All that and more is waiting for you 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. Music is John Hughes by Anamanaguchi. Enjoy your funny books.

Direct download: rft_19_mixdown.mp3
Category:Book Discussion -- posted at: 7:25pm EST

We go right from one in-depth look episode to another this week, as we set our sights on Paul Pope’s 100%. Published by Vertigo Comics in late 2002, this miniseries marked the end of one phase of Pope’s career and the beginning of the next. What brought about that transition, and how well does Pope’s future-tinged sci-fi hold up after almost 12 years? Just how bad-ass is John Workman, and why does his collaboration with Pope here show why he is a letterer of the first order? What part of the creation stage does Pope consider the most joyful? Find out all that and more as we try and wring 100% of the awesomeness from a work that has fighters, strippers, busboys, artists, first dates on orbiting satellites, and much 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. Music is John Hughes by Anamanaguchi. Enjoy your funny books.

Direct download: rft_17_mixdown.mp3
Category:Book Discussion -- posted at: 8:09am EST

When you’ve collected tons of awards and loads of critical acclaim for an all-ages adventure series like Bone, where do you go for a followup? If you’re Jeff Smith, you pop over to the next parallel world and come back with a hard-boiled sci-noir story like RASL. His 2008 series tells the story of Robert Johnson, ex-scientist and current dimension-hopping art thief, and is the subject of this week’s book club episode. We take an in-depth look at Smith’s career coming out of Bone, how the different iterations of RASL (original B&W or restored one-volume color HC) affect one’s possible enjoyment of the work, and what it means to be a cartoonist, something we have surprisingly different takes on. Oh, and we talk about the book itself, too. So slap on your t-suits and dial over to our specific parallel dimension for over an hour of talk on Jeff Smith’s RASL!

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_16_mixdown.mp3
Category:Book Discussion -- posted at: 8:39pm EST

For today's episode the guys dive headfirst into Brandon Graham's King City. Set in a world of Cat Masters, alien races and mythic demons, King City is Graham's first long form comics work. It's a title that nearly fell victim to the Tokyo Pop implosion, but after a time in limbo, was revived and completed at Image Comics. The collected edition is as thick as a phonebook, with plenty of back-ups and back matter to sweeten the pot. Mike and Greg agree that this is a must read, and woth a place on any comic reader's shelf.

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_13_mixdown.mp3
Category:Book Discussion -- posted at: 11:40am EST

Everything old is new again! Mike and Greg decide to tackle Bob Fingerman's 90's alt-comic fave from Fantagraphics, recently re-released in oversized hardcover form from Image Comics. Greg went new school and read the HC, while Mike went old school and busted out the FB trades. But it's all the same stories, right? Ummmm.... yes and no. For the new release, Fingerman (by his own admission) pulled a "Lucas" and re-worked the old material to bring it all up to his current standards. Did that help? Hurt? How does this series stand against the test of time, and what about Fingerman's new MINIMUM WAGE series debuting this month? And what's it like for two people to talk about a book they've both read and not read at the same time? Give a listen and find out!

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_11_mixdown.mp3
Category:Book Discussion -- posted at: 8:34pm EST

This week the guys dive into a work that, courtesy of the good folks at Humanoids, was translated and released in English earlier this year. From the incredibly inventive minds of Pierre Gabus and Romuald Reutimann, District 14 is a comic that pushes convention and genre into all sorts of new places. Part noir, part sci-fi epic, and with a cast of both humans and funny animals, District 14 is the tale of an elephant named Michael who has recently immigrated to Distict 14 and is confronted with all the drama and absurdity contained within its walls. Nothing is ever as simple as it seems, especially when it comes to Michael and his newly minted friend Hector McKeagh, a beaver who is also the most notorious reporter in town. District 14 is a comic that can work on a purely fantasy level, while also smartly commenting on some of today's social issues. Wealth, corruption, fame, and the press are just a few examples of the topics reflected on in this work. This volume, the first in a series, is well worth every comics fan's time. The concept and writing is exceptional, and the art is gorgeous. It's available digitally as well as in hardcover, and it comes with the RFT gold seal of approval.

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_9_mixdown.mp3
Category:Book Discussion -- posted at: 11:49am EST

We end up talking about street gangs from both sides of the Atlantic in this episode. An off-air chat about Katsuhiro Otomo’s masterpiece spills onto the show as a prelude to our upcoming Akira talk. The 25th Anniversary Blu-Ray with DVDs included and all possible language combinations available is out, and you should buy it! Start reading and watching now, because our Akira talk is coming! But before that happens, we go from Neo-Toyko to New York/Jersey with Brendan Leach’s Pterodactyl Hunters in the Gilded City and Iron Bound. Both stories were given high marks by each host, but does Greg think Iron Bound is a step forward for Leach, or backwards? Does Mike convince him that a creator of Leach’s caliber does nothing without consideration, and therefore everything is intentional? That passion making squiggles of straight lines should be embraced? That Leach is a creator to keep an eye on right now and moving forward? (Spoiler for the last question: yes). 

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_8_mixdown.mp3
Category:Book Discussion -- posted at: 2:19pm EST

Before continuing the Marvel streak with a look at the original Wolverine limited series from 1982, Greg takes a minute to ask the listeners to consider helping out Stan (Usagi Yojimbo) Sakai and his wife Sharon in their time of need by contributing to the CAPS campaign/art auction set up for their benefit. That said, he and Mike launch into a discussion about the Claremont/Miller mini-series, having just revisited the work for the first time in years. Does it still hold up? What works? What doesn’t? Is Logan dancing a jig in a bar while holding a man five times his size over his head? It goes without saying that these four issues cemented in the eyes of an entire generation of readers what was cool about Wolverine, Marvel, and comics in general. But what unholy terror of shortcuts did this work unleash upon the superstar artists of the “future”? Plus, we compare/contrast Miller’s issues with the Paul Smith X-Men issues that immediately follow them. Why did Storm go punk so quickly? What did Claremont and Miller do completely backwards that worked out so well? And why did a series literally built on evolution stop evolving so long ago, and who’s to blame?

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_ep_7_mixdown.mp3
Category:Book Discussion -- posted at: 9:31pm EST