HAWKEYE BRO: This week, our hosts talk about the most recent Disney+ Marvel show, Hawkeye, while also veering into discussing Marvel’s TV offerings versus their cinematic ones, the importance of continuity, and the MCU overall.
“The Nature of the Gutter” (12 March 2021): Where our hosts and on-the-ground-DC-correspondent, Taylor, discuss the first Disney+ Marvel show, WandaVision.
“Marvel Dance Battle” (30 April 2021): Where our hosts and on-the-ground-Marvel-correspondent, Kyrun Silva (of Taurus Comics) discuss the second released Disney+ Marvel show, Falcon and the Winter Soldier.
“Unbridled Hedonism” (03 December 2021): Where our hosts discuss the controversy about getting more recognition (and compensation) for Matt Fraction and David Aja, the creators whose run on the Hawkeye comic was a clear and overt influence on the Disney+ show.
MISSING THE BULLSEYE: With the recent release of the Disney+/Marvel Studios show, Hawkeye, many saw similarities with the classic Hawkeye run by creators Matt Fraction and David Aja. It was soon revealed that, despite being a spiritual adaptation of the Fraction/Aja run, there was no compensation for those creators aside from mentions in the “Special Thanks” in the closing credits of the show. Andrew and D. Bethel investigate the questions this brings up.
WHAT A NERD WANTS: With the Disney + original, Loki, coming to a close this week, it got our hosts thinking about nerd media universes, and the works that push those meta narratives forward. What’s better––a standalone series showcasing the nuances of a single character? or a show that pushes that cinematic universe into the next stage of its overall narrative? Andrew and D. Bethel put on their thinking caps and engage with these surprisingly nuanced questions.
CAPTAINING AMERICA: With the next big Disney+ MCU series having come to a close, our hosts bring in our brand new on-the-ground-Marvel correspondent, Kyrun Silva (of Taurus Comics and the 4 Tales Podcast), to talk about Falcon and the Winter Soldier (especially since Dan still doesn’t have Disney+).
TAYLORVISION: [SPOILER WARNING] With the divisive (but generally well-received) season of the Disney+ original, WandaVision, all wrapped up, D. Bethel brings friend-of-the-show and on-the-ground DC correspondent, Taylor Katcher, on to talk with Andrew about the twists and turns of this wonderfully unique entry into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Spoilers about WandaVision are talked about consistently and thoroughly throughout the episode. You have been warned.
This year we are hosting a variety of looks back at 2019 as hosts and friends-of-the-show offer up the things that defined the year for them. Today we have a look back at the nerdy things that came to a close by Taylor Cassell & Taylor Katcher.
Having three major franchises end in the same year brings a lot of societal excitement that engages even the initially un-engaged. My girlfriend, Taylor, being one of those initially un-engaged folks feeling the nerd zeitgeist (and my non-stop jabbering about Game of Thrones, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and Star Wars) was a gateway into wanting to be a part of all three as they ended in 2019. This is not an easy task – We’re talking about catching up on 8 seasons of Game of Thrones, 23 Marvel Movies, and 10 Star Wars Films in a matter of months. Below is the result of all three and how we both felt about them. We are listed as our initials, since we’re both named Taylor, and it’s more confusing in writing than in our daily lives. Taylor Katcher will be referred to as TK, while Taylor Cassell will be TC.
Game Of Thrones
[TK] There was a lot to like in the first half of the final season of Game Of Thrones (Arya being “The Prince That Was Promised” being a highlight), but man did they fumble the ball in the very end. A definite bummer for all those who had been watching for ~eight years, but it doesn’t take away from the journey. It just left a bad taste in my mouth.
To be honest, we used the “The Long Night” episode from this last season––the part where it pans past each character so that you, the viewer, were reminded that no one is safe––to pause and explain what happened to that character since season 1 and then watched the remaining episodes together. But it was perfect for Taylor since she hadn’t seen an episode since Season 1, so Winterfell was a known locale and most characters were back together again for the first time since Season 1.
[TC] I have a knack for avoiding spoiler culture by avoiding…culture. When I started dating Taylor, I noticed my ability to get spoiled increase. Now, my brain registers words like “tesseract,” “vibranium,” and “OLED.”
I fell off the GoT train after one season. After season 1, episode 10, the next episode I watched was season 8’s, “The Long Night” and, for me, it was like no time had passed since we were in Winterfell.
Taylor got to catch me up on about 70 episodes worth of TV in a 45 minute span. (I didn’t have to ask––I could tell it was the best date he’s ever been on.)
A brief recap of my thoughts, questions, and exclamations:
The dragons are all grown up.
What’s the red wedding? (There was a purple wedding?)
Do you agree with Sansa Stark’s rape or was it gratuitous?
Holyfuck, WINTER HASN’T COME?!
I was a part of the GoT zeitgeist for about three weeks, speculating if a woman would take the throne and unpacking fan theories with my coworkers. It was a blast and I could have taken eight more years of this feeling.
Final thoughts: I feel bad for all the people who named their kid “Daenerys” and got a six-episode final season with an accidental Starbucks commercial.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe
[TK] Seeing Avengers: Endgame in theaters opening night was one of the best theater experiences I have ever had. We gasped, cried, and exclaimed together in harmony. Leave it to the biggest media franchise of all time to gift its fanbase with the biggest fan payoff of all time.I know this isn’t “the end” of the MCU but it was the end of the first 10 year Phase that began with Iron Man in 2008, which is a significant chunk of lifetime for most viewers.
Without enough time before the theatrical release of Endgame, Taylor and I started her journey with the intention of watching Endgame upon home release. From May through October, we watched every single MCU movie (except The Incredible Hulk) so that Endgame would be as impactful as possible. And it was––Taylor gasped, cried, felt the impact of The Snap, and the death of Tony Stark. Watching all of these movies again really showed how inviting they were and was a great time for both of us (and the occasional friend popping in to see Chris Evans bicep curl a helicopter). I would recommend both a rewatch for seasoned fans and the full series for newcomers as Disney/Marvel really knows how to make fun films.
[TC] I knew Iron Man was cool because I knew Robert Downey Jr. was cool. The marketing agency I worked for had even snagged RDJ for a Microsoft OneNote campaign called The Collective Project, awarding us our first-ever Cannes Gold Lion as an agency. I bragged to Taylor about this on our first date, probably failing to mention that I had no idea who or what Iron Man was.
Man oh man, did Iron Man live up to his Robert Downey Jr. affiliation. Iron Man ended up being my favorite, with a three-way second place tie of: Bruce Banner (boring but Mark Ruffalo), Captain America, and T’Challa.
My favorite part of our journey through the MCU was how much it united my best friend and roommate, Lauren, and Taylor. In addition to bonding over encroaching on her roommate/best friend territory, soon we could all bond over a missed dance with Peggy Carter, Bruce Banner’s secret, and ON YOUR LEFT jokes (just kidding, only Taylor makes those jokes).
At a Wonder Woman 5K Run recently, the MC said “I love you 3,000” to the lone man dressed as Iron Man and I smiled dopily; I was officially a part of the fandom.
[TK] Let’s be clear – I love Star Wars. I think that rewatching all ten movies before The Rise Of Skywalker only solidified how much I truly love Star Wars. However, it also made me come to terms with how much I kinda dislike most of the numbered films. I found that I was annoyed that I had to watch any of them in full to get Taylor caught up––especially the Original Trilogy. If anything, only Taylor wanted (needed?) to watch them, and me getting upset every time she fell asleep during a space battle only solidified my dislike of the films because I wasn’t as happy to lead her through them the way I was with the MCU, and it showed in an ugly way. It turns out I like the idea and lore of Star Wars, as The Clone Wars, Rebels, and The Madalorian are the best of Star Wars IMO. Although, I LOVE rewatching my favorite scenes and quoting them from the films, I never need to watch them in full because, in reality, the world George Lucas created is better than the world he wrote most of the time.
The Rise of Skywalker (TROS) was THE MOST Star Wars, but only because it was done as safely as possible. Say what you will about The Last Jedi (a personal favorite film), but at least it tried to say something and make a stand about elements of Star Wars––mainly who can use The Force. TROS walked a lot of that back but seemingly to only not upset anyone. But again, this isn’t about me or you, it’s about Taylor enjoying the shit Reddit argues about for the thousandth time…for the first time.
[TC] In my world, I was the first to ship Reylo. I was the only one aware of how sexy Princess Leia is in a gold bikini. Jar Jar was un-ironically my favorite character and my dad liked Yoda, not yours.
First we tried watching them in release date order. I fell asleep for long stretches throughout. So did Taylor. At one point, we took a break from the viewings for a few months. Every so often, Taylor hinted: “We don’t have to watch them, babe.”
Then, as we got dangerously close to the Episode IX release, we tried again, starting with Rogue One and ending with Solo for fun. Here’s Taylor’s prescribed watch-order (in case you’re wondering):
After Solo, The Last Jedi was my favorite. When Rey moonbeams her saber to Kylo, I literally gasped. I could have watched an entire film of just Daisy Ridley and Adam Driver’s sexual tension.
I don’t remember this but apparently, after we finished the MCU, I said to Taylor, “How could Star Wars be half as good?” Now, I love you 3,000, Star Wars.
(I think it’s important to note that while we were binge-watching the Skywalker Saga, we were also watching The Mandalorian in parallel. And if Taylor Katcher can’t make you love Star Wars, baby Yoda sure can.)
[TK] What we are trying to say is, don’t get too intimidated to start watching and enjoying these universes. Fans of these franchises want to share these universes with you, and whether you’ve watched them for 42 years or 3 months, you’ll become a fan as well.
ANDREW IS OLDER: We start by celebrating Andrew’s birthday a little bit. So, what did he do? He watched Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan again and also went to see Weird Al Yankovic in concert during his “Strings Attached” tour where Yankovic and his band toured with a 41-piece orchestra.
FARTHER FROM HOME: The news this week was kind of bad for Marvel Cinematic Universe fans as Sony and Disney apparently stepped away from the deal that brought them together in the first place. What this means (as it currently stands) is that future Spider-Man films can’t interact with the MCU or Avengers-based films. Andrew and D. Bethel talk about what’s going on here and what are the ups and downs of this news story.
ENDGAME POSTGAME: SPOILER WARNING Andrew and D. Bethel have both seen Avengers: Endgame and, conveniently, the Russo brothers lifted the spoiler ban on Monday; so, our hosts dive right into soup of scenes, moments, narrative threads, and surprises that make up this landmark movie.
AVENGERS CODA: With the release Avengers: Endgame this week (this is SPOILER FREE since neither have seen the film yet), Andrew and D. Bethel decide to examine a few aspects of the MCU and, especially, what and how Avengers: Infinity War set up this big finale. They discuss an analysis of Thanos as a sympathetic villain, what they’re looking forward to after this movie’s release, and briefly discuss Andrew’s attempted rewatch of 11 years of MCU entries.
HIGHER, FURTHER, FASTER (THAN THE TROLLS CAN FOLLOW): As with many nerdy movies lately that have been labeled as being damaging to the field, Marvel’s upcoming tent-pole film, Captain Marvel (the first from Marvel Studios to have a woman in the lead role), aggregate review site Rotten Tomatoes have been targeted by these organized hate campaigns by getting “review bombed.” This means people have taken the steps to make sure sites like Rotten Tomatoes––a site many people visit to see how upcoming movies are trending and reviewing––show a low anticipation or review score with the hope of scaring off potential viewers and condemning the film to low box office receipts. Star Wars: The Last Jedi was victim to this as was 2016’s Ghostbusters reboot and, in possibly in a successful campaign, Solo: A Star Wars Story got hit hard. However, Captain Marvel is on track to break records with ticket presales and be a big smash at theaters.
Andrew and D. Bethel investigate this continuing trend, how Rotten Tomatoes is actually, finally, doing something about this habit, and discuss how and why Captain Marvel seems to be beating the odds.
A brief overview from Robert Kirkman’s Secret History of Comics‘ episode about Milestone Comics: