A BAD MIX: This week, the Twitter account, @TerriblyBland, posted a thread calling out nerd industries’ tendency to do networking at bars, especially during and after conventions. As ever with nerd discourse, the claim was met with a lot of support…as well as some very staunch opposition. Andrew and D. Bethel look at the original claim and examine the overall conversation.
“Some Solid Copy” (14 August 2015): Where Andrew first discussed his experience playing Watch the Skies, a megagame.
“Action Noir Theater” (29 July 2016): Episode 100, Part 2 where our hosts reveal the first part of an intended series of the audio drama, Nick Springer. With a bonus, heavily-produced opening where a song by D. Bethel brings Andrew back from being trapped in the rift between space and time!
HALLOWED HALLOWEEN: The Spookytober topic for this week is the forty-years later direct sequel to John Carpenter’s breakthrough––and culturally important––hit, Halloween. This new movie, Halloween, sees the return of Jamie Lee Curtis to her role as Laurie Strode but instead of being the prey of Michael Meyers, it is he who becomes the hunted. Andrew and D. Bethel discuss the series and what they’re expecting/hoping from this new movie.
WEEK IN GEEK: Andrew gets his Metroidvania on with Chucklefish’s Timespinner and how eerily Castlevania: Symphony of the Night it seems to be at times while D. Bethel becomes enthralled with the first five episodes of the podcast audio drama produced by a collaboration between Marvel Comics and Stitcher (the podcast streaming website), Wolverine: The Long Night.
Marvel announced yesterday that it would be tapping into the dramatic podcast medium––citing popular true crime NPR podcasts, Serial and S-Town, as specific inspirations––using one of its most iconic superhero characters, Logan (as Wolverine), set to debut in the spring.
According to the press release, the 10-episode series, titled Wolverine: The Long Night, will be a crime narrative with Logan (voiced by British actor, Richard Armitage, most recently known for his role as Thorin in The Hobbit films) not as the protagonist but as the focus of a criminal investigation by a pair of detectives:
It follows agents Sally Pierce (Celia Keenan-Bolger) and Tad Marshall (Ato Essandoh) as they arrive in the fictional town of Burns, Alaska, to investigate a series of murders and quickly discover the town lives in fear of a serial killer. The agents team up with deputy Bobby Reid (Andrew Keenan-Bolger) to investigate their main suspect, Logan (Richard Armitage). Their search leads them on a fox hunt through the mysterious and corrupt town.
The podcast series will be a timed exclusive to users of the podcast aggregator and broadcaster, Stitcher, but only to those who subscribe to its premium services, and then only until fall 2018, after which it will be widely distributed. It’s an interesting and rather safe experiment with the debut being locked behind a paywall, but it will undoubtedly bring new listeners (and new premium subscribers) to the already prominent podcast-streaming website. In theory, if The Long Night does not perform well, then at least it died in front of a relatively small and curated audience.
The teaming with Stitcher pulls some interest as it will undoubtedly guide a lot of fan attention toward the service, a service which has been under scrutinyabout its business practices before. But since the deal is about timed exclusivity and doesn’t seem to be a production partnership, skeptical podcast fans need only to wait six months to listen using their preferred services. It is interesting that rabid fans won’t be able to simply download the episodes directly from Marvel at the outset, which possibly speaks to the fact that Marvel may be hedging their confidence until they see its success.
The prospect of an audio dramatized version of comic book characters isn’t wholly new––characters such Superman and the noir hero The Shadow were staple radio plays back during the medium’s heyday––but the podcast angle is new and seemingly novel. However, podcast-based audio drama is in a veritable renaissance currently, and this move is a logical, albeit a relatively safe, step. Disregarding the commercial availability of audio dramas through companies like Big Finish, fictional podcast dramas have had many iterations and successes through the years, with productions like The Thrilling Adventure Hour, Homecoming, and Welcome to Night Vale having been around for awhile to varying degrees of popularity (with Welcome to Night Vale being the standout from this list).
However, like NPR diving head-first into the podcast medium with Serial (it had been podcasting its broadcast shows, but Serial was its first main effort to produce a podcast from scratch), Marvel’s entry into dramatized podcasting could produce a similar effect, especially using one of its most popular, vexing, and mysterious characters. Logan’s past is a game of retcon darts where anything can be added if it’s thrown hard enough at the board. This canonical malleability makes Logan a logical candidate for a short experiment such as this and likely explains (in the only rational way) why Marvel would not use the current Wolverine in the form of Laura Kinney as the star of this series. With Logan as the focus of their first foray into this new medium (which will directly follow his return to the Marvel universe), if The Long Night succeeds it could really raise the visibility of podcast dramas in the eyes of a wider audience just as Serial did for its user base.
Overall, this seems like a promising project. Written by Ben Percy, a veteran comics writer though one whose résumé is filled with mostly DC credits, it’s emboldening to see this project hire a person already comfortable writing in a serialized format with superhero characters, even if this story will be (and I apologize for using the heavily flogged descriptor) grounded and a bit more subdued. Some may wonder if Fox is involved, but––if I’m correct––this venture doesn’t need any approval nor collaboration with the owners of the film and TV rights to the property. At the time those contracts were signed, new media was probably not part of the deal and, in theory, Fox could do something similar with its filmic version of the characters. As it is, Wolverine: The Long Night is tied to the comic book version of the character rather than extending from the cinematic interpretation. This distinction will surely please the fans yearning for a non-comic book adaptation of the mutants that are separate from version seen from Fox.
The unfolding of this project will be intriguing as it could possibly open up an entire new medium to not only its fans but new fans who may have been unable to fully enjoy other iterations of superheroes, such as those with visual impairments. While audio drama may be viewed as an old or outdated medium, audio books have never been more popular. Even audio book services like Audible are producing original audio book and dramatized content for their subscribers. When looked at critically, audio drama holds a lot of potential in our digital and mobile context. With Marvel dominating the cinematic space and having broke new ground (even if the momentum has waned a bit) in new media with its Netflix shows, that the company is looking at new ways to present its characters to the world outside of traditional media is heartening and, more importantly, smart.
WEEK IN GEEK: Andrew dives into the Doctor Who audio drama archive through the use of the Big Finish app while Dan listens to classic Doctor Who while hurrying to finish his new Long John book.
WHO’S THAT GIRL?: With the rumor that actress Zendaya has been possibly cast as Mary Jane Watson in the upcoming Spider-Man: Homecoming film, Dan and Andrew discuss the history and thought behind controversial casting and the difference between what is necessary for a character and what is traditional for a character.
Things are out of sorts. People are lost to time. But Andrew and D. Bethel will do their damnedest to get another episode 100 to you on time (in time?). If you have not listened to Part 1 of Episode 100, be sure to do so before diving into part 2. Trust us. It’s important.
NICK SPRINGER AND THE FREMONT HORROR: Witness the first installment of a long-in-development (pre-podcast!) audio drama ripped from the minds of Andrew and Dan.
I AIN’T AFRAID: Andrew and Dan dig into the new Ghostbusters and love every ounce of it.
Nick Springer and the Fremont Horror Credits:
Story: Andrew Asplund
Script: D. Bethel
Directors: D. Bethel & Andrew Asplund
Editor: D. Bethel
Nick Springer: Andrew Asplund
Kasey O’Shea: Kyle Smith
Karen Waite: Elisa Parrett
Hector Vassos: Niall Feeney
-“Running on Gravel” by Benboncan
-“Man screaming” by Archeos
-“Zombie Bite 1” by Slave2theLight
-“Wing Flap (Flag Flapping)” by ani_music
-“FOLEY_Footsteps_Carpet_001” by conleec
-“11 Minutes of City Sounds” by Niedec (recorded in Seattle)
-“Getting in Car and Start” by jrssandoval
-“Starting Car from Inside” by evsecrets
-“VW Golf GTI Pull Away (Zoom H2n M&S)” by Everyday Sounds
-“Short drive, interior” by AugustSandberg
-“CarArriveAndStop” by jmdb
-“City highway busy cars pulling out” by natemarler
-“Walking-gravel” by xserra
-“01019 car door 3” by Robinhood76
-“1BramCamera” by kwahmah_02
Thanks for all those who helped this long-dreamed project get a leg-up into reality!
WEEK IN GEEK: Andrew plays the Neverwinter MMO on the Playstation 4, while Dan watches Terminator: Genisys and definitely does not hate it.
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For all intents and purposes, that is officially 100 episodes.
-“A Journey Into Darkness” by Steve Henifin (from Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem)
-“Back in Time” by D. Bethel
-“The Worst That I Have Met (Nick Springer Theme)” by D. Bethel.
-“Back in Time” by Huey Lewis & The News
-“Stayin’ In Black” by Wax Audio
-“Fanfare” by Nobuo Uematsu (from Final Fantasy VI)
We’re finally here! Episode 100! Kind of. Mostly. Half, at least. But still a full episode. You’ll find out when you listen.
WEEK IN GEEK: Andrew went back to Watch the Skies megagame with a new, interesting twist this time around and relays his experiences while D. Bethel started watching the now-cancelled show, Penny Dreadful. Also, bonus outtakes!
A LITTLE CLASSIC: Nintendo dropped an out-of-nowhere announcement recently with the reveal of the Nintendo Classic, an 30-in-one plug-and-play NES that ignited a lot of people’s interest and nostalgia.
RADIO KILLED THE VIDEO STAR: Dan and Andrew address the rise of audio dramas from their apparent graves with the rise of nerd culture and podcasting and discuss why they are actually adapting to new media and digital consumer habits.
Check out regular articles and old episodes and leave your thoughts at forallintents.net. Be sure to join the official Facebook and Google+ pages to get regular updates and for links and meeting up with other listeners. Also, be sure to leave a review of the show on the iTunes store.
For all intents and purposes, that was the recap of the first part of episode 100!
-“Stayin’ in Black” by Wax Audio
-“Save Music” by Nobuo Uematsu (from Final Fantasy)
-“Radio/Video” by System of a Down
-“The Final Countdown” by Europe
*also features game over music from Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty