YOU’RE THE BEST: With Cobra Kai recently releasing its third season, many viewers have been inspired to watch (or rewatch) the original The Karate Kid films. Two of those folks happen to be our humble hosts. As a prelude to an eventual discussion about Cobra Kai, Andrew and D. Bethel discuss The Karate Kid, The Karate Kid Part 2, and (briefly) The Karate Kid Part 3.
RECYCLING OF THE DALEKS: This year’s Doctor Who New Year’s special, “Revolution of the Daleks”, continues the cliffhanger ending of series 12 and says goodbye to some companions while welcoming back Captain Jack Harkness to the show. Andrew and D. Bethel discuss the special while also discuss some of the important changes made to the series lore at the end of series 12.
NEW YEAR, SAME AS THE OLD YEAR: We had an episode planned this week, dear listeners, but the news decided to preempt any plans for fun and coherent discussion. On our recording day, the United States Capitol was stormed leading to––at the very least––democratic uncertainty and––at worst––multiple people dead. Needless to say, D. Bethel and Andrew were not in the best spirits to record a full episode, so they decided to just take the week to refocus and get ready for next week’s episode. Sorry for any inconvenience. Stay safe and stay healthy.
2020 was a year that upended all expectations. Though the threats that 2020 brought affected people in a variety of ways, for most it became a year of simple survival. For nerds, of course, we turn to the things that occupy our attention, inspire our imagination, or generate conversation. This year, we are looking at the things that helped us survive 2020. Today, Kyrun Silva––creator at Taurus Comics and co-host of the Con Artists podcast on this very website––shares what kept his spirits up this year.
Okay, let’s get this out of the way: 2020 sucked for most of us. For me it sucked a lot. No comic book conventions, no family gatherings, no martial arts training (which also meant I didn’t get my black belt this year, maybe next year; who knows?), and so many other things. 2020 will be a year that remembered forever, but even through all this turmoil Some things still brought joy to my life. A few of those joys were geeky things. While my family’s love (and the sheer variety) of anime––a mainstay of my 2019––allowed us to explore all of the feelings that came with the pandemic, there was one thing in particular that––aside from annoying my wife for half the year––really hit me hard.
I have to admit, ever since July happened my family hasn’t been the same.
July 3rd, 2020 was the exact day. It was a warm evening. Dinner had been consumed, and we sat down to relax. Instead of watching more anime, I suggested we watch Hamilton, which had just been released on Disney+.
I heard about Hamilton over the years. I even watched a couple of YouTube videos showing clips of the original cast performing on stage, off stage, and in the White House. For years, my wife and I tried to get tickets to see it live. When news got out that Disney had bought the rights to stream it, I knew I had to watch it. From the opening couple of notes I was hooked. The music, the voices, the pageantry, the dances, I loved every minute of Hamilton. Maybe a little too much.
The entire musical is three hours long with an intermission in the middle. For my wife it probably felt like an eternity. The problem is, after my first viewing, my love for Hamilton didn’t end. One viewing turned into two, then three, and soon became double digits.
I quickly found the soundtrack and lyrics online and soon began singing the entire musical all day every day. My enthusiasm for this phenomenon spread to my oldest son, who quickly joined me in my madness. He and I started taking different parts of the show––he, as Alexander Hamilton; me, as Aaron Burr. Then my two youngest joined us.
My wife was not amused. She said I was a grifter1 of sorts, tricking them into liking the show. I say they just have good taste.
I became a Hamilton zealot, searching from anything I could get my hands on about the musical. My browser history became filled with searches of the cast and crew. Even to the point where I started watching the show Station 19 because Okieriete Onaodowan, an actor from the musical, was now on the show. Side note: I already watched all the episodes of Black-ish that featured another Hamilton cast member in Daveed Diggs.
Hamilton is still played at least once a week in my household. Yes, the enthusiasm may have died off a little, but the love is there.
2020 was a crazy year. Though I wasn’t able to consume my geekdom in ways I had been accustomed to in the past, I found alternatives that filled that void and helped bring my family together. We’ve created new memories together that will strengthen my family’s ties and give us something to look back on years down the line.
WEEK IN GEEK: In the lead up to the holidays, Andrew binges the entirety (so far) of Amazon Prime’s original series, Man in the High Castle, while D. Bethel has been playing the delightful yet simple Cat Quest in short bursts.
The charming Nintendo Direct where Mario & Zelda creator, Shigeru Miyamoto, guides us through the new Super Nintendo World theme park:
CYBERPROBLEMS 2020: The highly anticipated new game from CD Projekt Red, Cyberpunk 2077, was finally released after a few delays and it had some…issues. From representation issues to severe bugs, Cyberpunk 2077 is a game that has encouraged a lot of discussion, discourse, as well as hot takes. Andrew & D. Bethel do their best to sort through the mire.
As the pandemic rages on, more and more independent artists are left figuring out how to manage their careers in the absence of in-person events, specifically exhibiting at conventions.
The pandemic is also a time for reflection. As the big conventions struggle to give fans some semblance of the con experience through digital-only replacements, independent comickers D. Bethel (of the webcomic, Long John) and Kyrun Silva (of Taurus Comics) come together to discuss the difference in experiences, expectations, and realities of what going to a convention means for fans versus what it means to creators and how the chasm between the two experiences may be larger than they thought.
Con Artists #01 – StocktonCon, pt. 1 : The drive home from the first day of the show. Kyrun and D. discuss making sales, confidence, and the comics they grew up reading and enjoying.
Con Artists #02 – StocktonCon, pt. 2 : The drive to StocktonCon to start Day 2 of the show. They discuss the importance of continuity, the level of fan engagement and ownership over continuity, and Dan’s strange reading habits growing up.
WEEK IN GEEK: Andrew befriends dogs and murders zealots in Far Cry 5 while D. Bethel finally gathers his thoughts (now that he’s seen it both at the drive-in and now at home) on the final X-based release from 20th Century Fox (albeit after Disney’s purchase), The New Mutants, directed by Josh Boone.
“Arias In Embers” (21 June 2019): Where D. Bethel discusses––and defends––the second-to-last Fox X-film, Dark Phoenix.
“Playing the Menu” (20 March 2020): Where D. Bethel discusses playing Shadow of the Tomb Raider, a game that seemingly had something important to say about colonization, but crumbled underneath the weight of a AAA budget and the expectations that brings with it.
I’VE MISSED THAT SOUND: It was announced that, after his all too brief appearance near the end of Series 13 of Doctor Who left fans wanting more, John Barrowman will return as Captain Jack Harkness in “Revolution of the Daleks,” this year’s holiday special of Doctor Who. Being fans of the character, Andrew and D. Bethel discuss the character of Captain Jack Harkness, what he could bring to the current iteration of the show.