It’s third and final episode in a series of three episodes about America: its history, its people, and its culture. This time around, I am looking at walking across America through the lens of the seminal travel memoirs A Walk Across America and The Walk West: A Walk Across America 2 by Peter Jenkins and Barbara Jenkins. In addition, I take a look at the book their son, Jedediah Jenkins, wrote, To Shake the Sleeping Self. It’s the portrait of a journey, a country, and a family.
Content Warning: This episode includes me sharing my political views. Listener discretion is advised.
This post is a few weeks coming, mainly because I wasn’t exactly sure how to add my voice to the many who have paid tribute to George Perez. From posts to podcasts, I’ve heard and read so many great words about him that what I have to say here is another voice in a very large chorus.
Still, how could I not say something about the person who was one of the biggest reasons I got into comics? One of my earliest entries on this blog was about Crisis on Infinite Earths #12, a book that a friend gave me at the start of my collecting career and that I became wholly enamored of. The story was exciting and Perez’ artwork elevated it above anything I’d ever read before. Plus, it looked like a DC Comics superhero comic book should, at least to my twelve-year-old eyes, which had been raised on Super Friends reruns, the Superman and Batman live-action films, and the licensing artwork of Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez (praised be his name). From there, I discovered Perez in back issues of The New Teen Titans and got the full … well, picture of the enormity of his talents. To this day, if you ask me for my favorite issues, stories, series, or covers, a number of my responses will feature some contribution from George Perez.
He could do big, sweeping, epic scenes–the two-page splash of Trigon in New Teen Titans (1984) #1, the scene on the Monitor’s satellite in Crisis on Infinite Earths #5, the cover to JLA/Avengers #3–and every one of them was immortal. But more importantly, he could do quiet and intimate moments in a way that so many of the “Go Big, then Go Bigger” artists I was seeing in the early 1990s couldn’t. Just look at Dick Grayson quitting his Robin identity in The New Teen Titans #39, Donna Troy’s wedding, the “Day in the Life” story of The New Teen Titans #8, or “Who is Donna Troy?” He puts as much into those moments as any of his big set pieces, and they have become just as iconic.
And he did it all with such joy.
When I was fortunate enough to meet Mr. Perez at the 2013 Baltimore Comic-Con, it was like meeting Bruce Springsteen. And though he was a … well, a Titan … he graciously took the time to sketch Wonder Woman (a sketch that hangs on the wall of my wife’s office) and talked to me while I Chris Farleyed my way through questions for my podcast. This was at the very end of what had to be a long day for him, but he was as nice and exuberant as if it were still 9:00 in the morning. It’s a few minutes I’ll never forget–I got to watch the master at work and as an artist and a person he lived up to everything I’d hoped he could.
The unique thing about Mr. Perez’ passing is that we all knew it was coming, as he’d announced his cancer diagnosis as well as his intention to not seek treatment. Moreover, he and his family posted updates and shared moments with his fans on social media, providing a collective opportunity to say goodbye and offer up at least some sort of appreciation for what to some is a lifetime of greatness. And thankfully, he’s left a legacy that we comics fans will certainly pass on.
Corinne Burns is the teen girl who fronts a band who is scraping to make something of themselves. Ellen Aim is a pop star about to soar into the stratosphere until she’s kidnapped by a biker gang. What do they have in common? They were both characters in 1980s films who were played by Diane Lane. Join me as I look at 1982’s Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fabulous Stains and 1984’s Streets of Fire, and then talk about how someone needs to complete this film “trilogy.”
From Big Bird to Antiques Roadshow, PBS has programming that is part of our lives from beginning to end. As a longtime viewer, I have a lot of memories and favorite shows and in this episode, I spend time going through them, looking as far back as my preschool days and moving all the way up to the present.
It’s the fourth chapter in a podcast miniseries that looks at the fall of the Iron Curtain and the popular culture of the Cold War. To start us off, I look at what happened in Eastern Europe from June to August 1990 with a special focus on the Singing Revolution in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. Then, Luke Jaconetti joins me once again to talk about the science fiction classics The Day the Earth Stood Still and Godzilla.
The song that opens and closes the show, Sheb Wooley’s “Flying Purple People Eater”:
The theme to The Day the Earth Stood Still:
The theme to Godzilla:
ABC News’ story on the Baltic Way or Baltic Chain from August 1989:
A video for an Estonian patriotic song whose title translates to “No Land is Alone.” While this is more recent than the 1980s, this was one of the “Five Patriotic Songs” that I mentioned in my look at the Singing Revolution:
Get on your bike and grab your sack of morning editions! This time around, we’re back to looking at comics as Stella and I take a look at the Eisner-winning series “Paper Girls” by Brian K. Vaughn and Cliff Chiang. We give a summary of the book–with and without spoilers–and then talk about why we both think it’s required reading (even if that’s usually on our other podcast).
High School is over and for the students who went to Degrassi High, that means parties, college, jobs, and sex with Tessa Campinelli. That’s right, it’s time to look back at the wildest summer in Degrassi history, the 1992 movie finale, School’s Out! Over the course of this episode, I take a look at the movie that ended the Canadian teen television show and also spend time recapping my Degrassi origin story as well as what it was like to be an American fan of the show during its PBS run in the late Eighties and early Nineties.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year again! Continuing a podcast tradition, I am joined by Rob Kelly of the Fire and Water Podcast Network to celebrate Festivus 2019! We begin, as always, with the airing of grievances where we discuss what has annoyed us in popular culture this year. Then we move on to the feats of strength, which means reading and reviewing a Nineties comic. This time around, it’s Armor #4 from Continuity Comics.
This time around, I take one last trip to Vietnam at the movies by looking at the final film in Oliver Stone’s Vietnam trilogy, 1993’s Heaven and Earth. I review the film and also take a look at its source material, two memoirs by Le Ly Hayslip, When Heaven and Earth Changed Places and Child of War Woman of Peace.
It’s time to do another tour with Frank Castle as I look at two separate Punisher storylines from the 1990s. First up is the trade paperback The Punisher in The ‘Nam: Final Invasion, a post-cancellation publication of what was supposed to be issues #84, 85, and 86 of the series. In it, Frank re-ups for another assignment and takes on a mission to rescue a group of POWs from a NVA camp called “The Death Hole.”
The second storyline is a five-parter from Punisher: War Zone #26-30 where Ice has to rescue Frank when he is captured by a powerful gangster who runs a cartel on an island nation in Latin America.