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.
CAP PUNCHED FIRST: Another day, another attack on fictional characters as a cable news segment pilloried Marvel Comics for making Captain America “woke” in a recent issue, seemingly forgetting that Cap has been punching literal Nazis in his comics since his first issue. Andrew and D. Bethel explore this while also examining the variety of ways texts (movies, comics, books, music, tv shows, etc.) can be read.
PRINT ON DEMAND: After buying some RPG books through DriveThruRPG, Andrew becomes fascinated by the idea––and future applicability––of print on demand services, where a book isn’t printed until a customer orders it. D. Bethel brings his creator experience with POD services to the conversation as well.
“Slapcast” (02 July 2021): Where Andrew gave us the run down of the strange TSR Twitter fight.
The video Dan referred to with Stan Lee talking about the creation of the X-Men, though it’s one of many similar and slightly different creation stories he has told over the years:
WEEK IN GEEK: It’s an animated kind of week this week as Andrew gets his specific Star Wars fandom ignited with the premiere of the new Disney+ animated series, Star Wars: The Bad Batch, and D. Bethel nerds out on all the ingenious choices and animation tech found in the new Sony/Netflix film, The Mitchells vs. The Machines.
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.
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: 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.
WONDER WOMAN TO THE MAX: It was announced, in an unprecedented move by a streaming service, to release Wonder Woman 1984 on Christmas Day to both theaters and HBO Max subscribers simultaneously. Unlike Disney+ with Mulan, Wonder Woman 1984 will be available to all HBO Max subscribers at no additional cost for a month. Andrew and D. Bethel discuss this move and how it relates to how Disney has been doing business, as well as what it means for movie in the future.
WEEK IN GEEK: This week, Andrew find a lot lacking in the latest open world RPG by Obsidian Entertainment, The Outer Worlds. D. Bethel, on the other hand, finds a lot to love going back and playing Capcom’s lost NES classic, Darkwing Duck.
“Tile Pile” (22 November 2019): Where D. Bethel discusses his initial impressions of Outer Wilds (which is very much a different game than The Outer Worlds).
“Duck Law” (30 October 2020): Where Andrew and D. Bethel discuss “Let’s Get Dangerous”, the mid-third season premiere of Disney XD’s Ducktales that is dedicated to The Terror That Flaps In The Night himself.
LET’S GET DANGEROUS: With the genius resurgence of Ducktales on Disney XD, fans around the world were delighted with the introduction of another Disney Afternoon fan favorite, Darkwing Duck, into the series during the second season. For the third season’s mid-season premiere, Disney released an hour-long Darkwing Duck-focused episode that delighted Andrew––who has watched all of the rebooted Ducktales so far––and D. Bethel––who has only seen a few scattered episodes. They discuss how the episode looks forward, looks backward, and looks inward in one of the most clever episodes of television either have seen in a long while.