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Episode 124


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LISTENER DISCRETION ADVISED: Contains mature discussions involving rape and sex in comics.

Listen as Donovan Morgan Grant defends his honor and place on BTO against would-be usurpers. After we talk about Don’s love of Tim Drake and the Rebirth books, we begin our reviews with Robin #29 and #30, and we discuss the intimacy and personal dynamics between Tim and Ariana. We take a short break and review Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #1 and Batgirl #54/#2. Chris Karnes gives his Batman ’66 review, Don and I give our individual literature recommendations, then Donovan talks about his new show “Questions: We Don’t Have Answers.”

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3 thoughts on “Episode 124

  1. Ian Miller

    Great discussion with the man, Donovan Morgan Grant, himself! While I’m pretty solidly with you in enjoying Batgirl and the Birds of Prey quite a bit, and being less enthralled with Batgirl, I had a couple of thoughts.

    1) I think one’s reaction to a title during a creative shift depends largely on your feelings for the previous run. You loved the Stewart/Fletcher/Tarr run, and even though your fair-mindedness gives the new run a careful reading and a hope for enjoyment, the specific ways it falls short lead to comparisons of the previous run. In contrast, I really, really disliked the Burnside run, so the new direction (even though, as you say, it’s not so much of a break as a slight shift) was welcome. In my reading, I enjoyed the more adult (no partying, being aware of responsibilities and persona) performance of Babs, even as I acknowledge all the flaws you point out. However, I think Larson is deliberately playing the Kai story as not romantic – I don’t think this is similar to how every guy in Burnside was instantly in love with Babs. I think it’s not a coincidence that Kai showed up in Babs’s room, and that his secret will turn out to be linked to the larger plot (the killer schoolgirl attack wasn’t random, in my prediction).

    2) Hope Larson, from all the interviews I’ve read and my own brief meeting at Baltimore Comic-Con, is very, very disconnected from mainstream Big Two superhero comics. This is clear from her not talking to the Bensons, and not reading anything except Batgirl #35-52 (at least, that’s what I think she did for research). This naturally leads to a comic which is not geared towards a brilliant Babs fan like yourself, or a longtime comics nerd like me. It’s really an indie superhero-flavored comic, more interested in slower paced characters and quieter, long form plots. I think this is deliberate on DC’s part – Batgirl, for them, seems to have become a character more easily and effectively marketed character for a completely different audience – the DC Superhero Girls audience, and as a result, they’ve chosen a writer and direction for her that is “new reader friendly.” Now, you’re very thoughtful approach as a “casual comics Stella” does present some evidence that it’s not completely successful, but I think that’s the goal. It will be very interesting to see what the sales and fan response will be. Reviews seem reasonably positive, and the demographic shift means most of the fan response on forums I’ve seen hasn’t really paid attention to it – longtime comics nerds know that DC isn’t writing the book for them, so they don’t talk about it much. What I’m really curious about is whether Larson herself will be interested in staying longer than six months. I could easily see her saying, “I’ve done my time in the Big Two, back to indie.” Just as easily, I could see her sticking it out for a year or two in her own little mini-universe, sort of like Batwoman at the beginning of the n52. Whatever happens, I think I’ve pretty much resigned myself to the fact that when it comes to Batgirl, DC doesn’t produce her comics for “normal” comics fans.

    Lastly, I, too, read The Girl on the Train after enjoying Gone Girl and finding out Emily Blunt was going to be in the film. A very fun, pulpy thriller.

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  2. The Irredeemable Shag

    This episode brought me so much joy! Not hearing Donovan.. never that. But hearing such unbridled love for the Tim Drake Robin series! That Chuck Dixon run on Robin is some of the best comics to come out of the 90s! It was certainly my favorite of all the Bat-books. I eventually dropped Batman & Detective, but stuck with Robin, Birds of Prey, and Nightwing (all by Dixon).

    Also, fascinating conversation about Tim’s sexual activity and coming of age. Like Donovan (can’t believe I typed that), I felt Dixon handled it in a very mature way, yet also realizing how mixed up teenagers can get.

    And Chris, still enjoying your coverage of the Batman ’66/Avengers crossover. Sorry if we made you go back and reevaluate your original review, but glad you stuck to your guns. While I know very little about the Avengers TV series, it’s an interesting match up, but sounds like it’s missing the mark. I’ll have to go back and listen to your coverage of the Batman ’66/Man from UNCLE series. I loved me some Man from UNCLE!!! I hope that series fared better.

    Loved the episode! Keep up the great work everyone (except Donovan).

    The Irredeemable Shag

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