Show cover of Capes On the Couch - Where Comics Get Counseling

Capes On the Couch - Where Comics Get Counseling

Saving the world doesn't necessarily mean you go home happy. How's the mental health of your favorite superhero? A comic aficionado and a board-certified psychiatrist look at the various neuroses of your favorite heroes and villains and provide options for treatment.

Tracks

Issue 189 - Deathstroke
It's time to swim in the Deadpool and do the DEATHSTROKE! Some people would give their left eye for an episode like this. Those people probably need help just like Slade. Listen now! Intro - Jeremy Whitley Apologies for the delay Background (2:18) Deathstroke (Slade Wilson) created by Marv Wolfman and George Pérez in The New Teen Titans #2 (Dec. 1980) At 16, he lied about his age to join the Army during the Korean War, and later met his wife, Captain Adeline Kane - after they married, they had three children: Grant, Joseph, and Rose Subjected to an experiment where he was injected with a substance that drastically increased his healing, as well as giving him expanded use of his brain’s capacity #BecauseComics Started working as a mercenary, keeping his business private from Adeline, until a criminal kidnapped Joe to blackmail Slade - although Slade killed the criminal, Joe’s throat was sliced, destroying his vocal cords and rendering him mute - this angered Adeline, who shot Slade through the right eye Grant took a contract to kill the Teen Titans, but died after an experiment to give him superhuman abilities - Slade vowed vengeance on the Titans, blaming them for Grant’s death, but was defeated The Judas Contract - Slade used Terra to infiltrate the Titans, then once he learned their identities and weaknesses, systematically went after each of the Titans - Joseph joined with Nightwing to possess his father, and after Terra died, Slade was captured After that, Slade occasionally worked alongside the Titans while still working as a merc - he was forced to mercy kill Joseph, who was a Titan known as Jericho and was possessed by the souls of Azarath Gave Adeline a blood transfusion which drove her insane, and she tried to kill all metahumans, blaming them for Jericho’s death - when she requested a mercy kill, Slade refused but Starfire obliged, and he cut ties with the Titans Jericho possessed Slade right before his death, and used Slade’s body to enact revenge on all the Titans - this led to Slade training Rose, his last remaining child, to kill Jericho, but his methods drove her insane Was responsible for the destruction of Bludhaven and killing over 100,000 people to mentally destroy Nightwing - he was defeated by Batman, Robin (Tim), and Nightwing New 52 - reboots Slade as a mercenary who lost his eye in a terrorist attack, and after his sons and wife were killed, he goes on a rampage to protect Rose Dies in Rebirth after being killed by Red Arrow Issues - Theme: Being too smart for your own good doesn’t have to turn out this bad! (9:59) Kids: They’re a handful, am I right? Intellectualization as an isolator  The definition of “Enough” (26:05) Break (35:58) Plugs for Sips Suds & Smokes and Frigay the 13th Treatment (37:57) In-universe - Give him a protection contract and make him honor it Out of universe - So many examples with real-life veterans (41:35) Skit (49:29) Hello Deathstroke, I’m Dr. Issues. -Hello, Doctor. *pause* This is unusual and I don’t like it. Well, therapy or counseling isn’t always meant to be fun, and lots of people hate going to the doctor, so -*interrupting* Not like that. I’ve been a wanted man for ages. You’ve seen patients like me in confined areas before. Yet you let me waltz in without a hint of security. No shackles, no guards, not even a warning. That doesn’t make sense. I can only draw 2 conclusions. Either you are requesting my services, in which case you have no need for safety, or you have an unknown unknown, which uncharacteristically would put me at a disadvantage. I’m sure you’ve read my profile. -From the “exposure” you had a while back, sure. Very sloppy, and yet cleaned up as if it never happened. Your current information is modest on networks but still acclamatory. But I’m sure you are referencing my ability to infer that you are a pacifist and would never entrust my means. Very well. I will take this session at face value. Humanity is full of idiots, you’re no different. That is quite the exposition and non sequitur simultaneously. I’ll bite. What’s wrong with humanity, and how does that affect you? -It’s hard to act with perfection when you can’t let morons know you are imperfect. I can exploit anyone I want. Sometimes it’s pleasurable. It’s certainly profitable. But I’m not above petty revenge. I’ve loved before. I hate even more. And yet, only one of those goes unrequited for long. No one will pity a mercenary.  You don’t deserve pity. No one does. -*pause, genuine shock* Too Machiavellian of a phrase for a Hippocratic practitioner. Too quick of a process for the smartest man in the room. No one deserves pity. They deserve grace, honesty, and empathy, the ratios of which can be seen as enlightening, punishing, and rewarding, depending on the circumstances. The chase is beneath you. By your own account, I’M beneath you. So why bother? Money? Really? -If I have mastered the rules of a game, then I should be able to keep my own scoreboard at my whim. But I have other motivations, and yes, I will admit that they are just as basic as any other *ahem* family man. I don’t pretend to be stereotypical in my reactions, but I mourn my losses, too. I feel like this is all a test of my wits. I have to prove to you I’m worthy of your time. You could have ended this…take of that what you will…at any point. Do you really think I have some sort of ace up my sleeve? -Unlike you, I don’t use the colloquial “I feel” To substitute for “I think.” And yes, I think…haha, I KNOW you have me scouted. Anything less and you are a trusting fool. Try me. -I know you’ve encountered the Titans before. I created a diversion so they will be too busy searching for a fake battle hundreds of miles away. You are alone. Am I? -I know about your latest burner phone. All signals from this office are blocked. It’s a brick, now. No bats will be in this belfry. Um…well… -Surely that can’t be it, right? You have more to deliver to test my mettle? The archer? The Martian? The big blue buffoon?  Don’t call me Shirley. -*Pause* You truly are an idiot like all of the rest. Cool, then you don’t have to waste your energy on killing me. -You’re not a mark. That’s the only reason you’re still breathing.  I’ll take it! -As if you have a choice. Pathetic. *door opens as he’s about to leave* Oh, and Mr. Wilson, I just wanted to let you know that you don’t have to intimidate someone who is genuinely trying to help you. It makes you look like a casual jerk instead of a ruthless assassin. Amongst the government agencies, interstellar factions, extradimensional rulers, and plain ol’ folks who want to see you suffer, I might be your only chance of living any semblance of a peaceful life. I’m risking my existence by talking to you and keeping my vow of confidentiality only if you mean what you just said, because I can have a clear conscience that you are a shrewd butthurt businessman rather than the essence of evil that those who conspire against you would want me to believe. I figured all of that out without anyone telling me a single word. So I may not be a queen on your chessboard, but I damn sure am NOT a pawn. -Do you *interrupting* Slade. -*pause* All you had to say was my name, and we could have avoided the banter. No contacts, please, unless I come to you. Now we have an agreement. Goodbye. Ending (54:49) Recommended reading: Judas Contract Next episodes: Storm, Wonder Woman, Shadowman Plugs for social & GonnaGeek Network References: Teen Titans Go! To the Movies - Anthony (1:45) Dennis the Menace - Anthony (3:02) Terra episode - Anthony (5:35) “Cats in the Cradle” by Harry Chopin - Anthony (8:28) The Simpsons - Homer’s half-assed overparenting “Grampa vs. Sexual Inadequacy” - Doc (14:04) Hamilton: “Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story” - Anthony (32:43) “That Would Be Enough” - Anthony (33:14) “Satisfied” - Doc (38:33) Cast Away - Doc (58:35) Apple Podcasts: here Google Play: here Stitcher: here TuneIn: here iHeartRadio: here Twitter Facebook TikTok  Patreon TeePublic Discord
59:40 4/24/24
Creators on the Couch - Erica Schultz 6
We sit down for the SIXTH time with writer Erica Schultz in advance of the release of Rat City. Get comfy, folks, this is our longest creator interview yet - almost TWO HOURS LONG! Intro Background What would it take to get you on a Marvel ongoing? Dream character & artist/team? X-23: Deadly Regenesis Why go back to this period of Laura’s life? Created Haymaker, a transmasc non-binary MMA fighter, as the main villain - how did that come about? (21:20) Hallows Eve (28:31) New evolution for Janine Godbe/Elizabeth Tyne/Mary Bailey/Sarah Porter Powered masks: did you come up with the masks first and then their impact on story, or was it “what’s the story?” and then work the masks in? What If: Dark Moon Knight (34:08) How did you select this particular jumping off point? Moon Knight vs. Bushman happens so many times, why this one? Nice to see Marlene take an active role in a MK story, even if it’s not necessarily clean Daredevil: Gang War (50:06) Previously written Matt as Daredevil, now Elektra: how to write legacy characters with different voices What’s it like working on an event tie-in? How much freedom do you have for story you want to tell within obvious constraints, how much editorial oversight, etc? Rat City (77:15) How did you get this gig? Spawn cover for Deadliest Bouquet, now an actual Spawn book! What led to this expansion of the Spawn universe? How much do you have to understand Spawn to follow this story? Love the commentary on soldiers being chewed up & spit out, flaws of capitalism, etc. Any new stories coming up? Blood Hunters & Darth Maul Black White & Red: - more Marvel mini/tie-ins Ending Plugs for social References: Erica’s website Erica’s interview on ITK - Anthony (34:19) Key & Peele - Text Message Confusion - Erica (57:10) Dirty Dancing “I carried a watermelon” - Erica (65:17) Apple Podcasts: here Google Play: here Stitcher: here TuneIn: here iHeartRadio: here Twitter Facebook Patreon TeePublic Discord
110:52 4/3/24
E188 - Robbie Baldwin
After months of talking about it, we finally get overridden with guilt and break down ROBBIE BALDWIN! Whether Speedball or Penance, this rapid-fire hero has no shortage of issues - listen now! Intro SIX YEARS!!! New subseries: Colleagues on the Couch, where we interview MH professionals about their work in the field Background (6:55) Robbie Baldwin (Speedball) created by Steve Ditko and Tom DeFalco in The Amazing Spider-Man Annual #22 (Jan. 1988) Robbie Baldwin is a Connecticut high school student who is bombarded with other-dimensional energy during an accident at a lab he works at - the explosion gives him endless kinetic energy, which also creates a protective force field He calls himself Speedball and begins working as a teenage superhero, coming into conflict with his district attorney father, who despises masked vigilantes He later joins the New Warriors, but his frequent trips to New York to join the team create stress on his home life, and his parents divorce shortly after learning the truth about his abilities Robbie is at the center of Civil War: He and the New Warriors attempt to capture a group of villains, and Nova explodes, killing 612 people including 60 children - Robbie initially was thought dead but was the only survivor - his kinetic field kept him alive, but as a result of the overexertion he loses his powers After being arrested, he is shot in the spine by a father of one of the children killed in the blast - this leads to him changing his mind and registering He has a new suit made, one with 612 internal spikes to cause him constant pain - calling himself Penance, he joins the Thunderbolts, where he is under constant surveillance He stole a SHIELD jet and made his way to Latveria, where he defeated Doctor Doom in combat to get his hands on Nitro, who was being held prisoner there - Robbie placed his spiked suit on Nitro to torture him After Doc Samson was able to make headway with Robbie in several therapy sessions, Norman Osborn had him heavily sedated and manipulated by a therapist to keep him in a mentally fragile state for Osborn’s own machinations - after a battle with some of his former New Warriors teammates, he is able to break free of the conditioning He joins Avengers Academy, calling himself Speedball again, in an effort to seek forgiveness for his previous actions, although he still retains much of the Penance guilt and attitude - after defeating a group of villains at the Stamford memorial site, he quits the Academy and teams up with Justice to reform the New Warriors, where they recruit Sam Alexander among others Joins CRADLE, where he enforces the law preventing anyone under the age of 21 from operating as a superhero Issues (14:41) Conflict with his parents over him being a teenage superhero Survivor’s guilt over the Stamford incident (24:50) Severe PTSD (35:29) Break (42:44) Plugs for Into the Knight, Comic Book Keepers, and Al Ewing Treatment (44:40) In-universe - Focus on other feelings Robbie could have expressed to people Out of universe - (47:01) Skit (51:52) Hello Robert, I’m Dr. Issues. -Robert, huh? So I guess this is meant to be that kind of encounter. Hello, doctor. I didn’t mean to infer that your formal name implies a demure tone. I’ve seen Robbie in your chart. Is that preferred? -Whatever floats your boat. You mentioned my chart, so I take it Doc Samson gave you my records? I said it was ok. Yeah, but I don’t dwell on what other doctors have done. Even if they’re literal giants in their field… What can I do for you now? -That’s what’s weird about a meeting like this. I’m not sure I’m in the right frame of mind to get help. That’s either quite insightful or quite dangerous. -Why not both? Fine. Care to elaborate? -Lots of lives lost. I’m involved. I almost die. I lose everything. THAT’S when most people think ‘hey, that guy needs therapy.’ But the focus is on blame. I even do it myself. Work to be done, one way or another. I’m channeling it. Revenge. Yadda yadda, it works. Parts of it work, but go on. -I’m seeing Doc Samson AFTER all of that. Then I get some psychobabble manipulative nonsense, all on accord of some narcissistic bureaucrats that don’t really care about me, and it all comes tumbling down. I STILL work my way out of that mess, and I’m kind of bouncing around ever since. *chuckles* I swear, I didn’t intend that. Humor is great as a coping mechanism. - I used to think so. My jokes fell flat once people started dying. *sighs* Doc, do you think people change their personality? If you’re asking for my opinion on multiple persona -*interrupting* No no no, I just mean…for the longest time, I’m no expert, but I’ve heard so many mental health folks talk about how some personalities can’t be fixed. But I have a problem with that. I don’t think personalities are what YOU people think they are. This is way deeper than I expected. Alright, what’s your theory? -I had a chance to see the world in a new dimension…like, really different. And I realized that it was all just a different way of seeing myself. So when something catastrophic happened, I changed my mind. Now  I’m left wondering…why can’t we all do that? What limits a person to who they think they are? I…um…I don’t pretend to know the answer to that. -And that’s why I don’t think I need this kind of help right now. You are probably great at what you do, but you’re looking for illness. I’ve had that mindset too, and it caused me more pain. I don’t want to look for fragility, or loathing, anymore than I already have. I intentionally walked that path with purpose, and even if I can’t get the brightness the way I had it before, I know it’s there. You rebounded well -*pause* Sooooo, was that your way of bringing levity or… *sigh* I don’t know man, I can’t quite read the room with you as well as I usually do, so I’m letting it ride. On one hand, congratulations. I’m humbled by your ability to endure disasters and maintain resilience. On the other hand, I’m getting a hint that there’s something always brewing with you under the surface.Doc Samson can be forceful, so he’s the type to challenge head on. I don’t do that. - At least I don’t have to worry about you punching me into the stratosphere when I get pissed off. *genuine laugh* You have a nice laugh. *pause* I think I can answer your question better now. I DO think people can change anything they want about themselves within reason. The friction, both internal and external, depends on their motivation, energy, and habits, and support. And, I think that’s true for each particular trait, with a potentially longer timeline for those things that prove to have adverse consequences in the immediate term. -*pause* Now who’s getting deep? So I’m not pushing you to do anything you don’t want to do. If you are having troubles with transitions, that’s your sticking point. I’m your man. -Naw, the sticking points were for someone else. *groan* Really? -Sorry, I have a bit of gallows humor in me. Then I think any future sessions are going to go juuuuuuust fine. Ending (57:20) Recommended reading: Civil War: Front Line, OR New Warriors Vol. 5 Next episodes: Deathstroke, Jack Russell, Storm Plugs for social & GonnaGeek Network References: Sam Alexander episode - Anthony (13:21) A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood - Anthony (31:08) GI Joe parody videos - Anthony (46:06) Apple Podcasts: here Google Play: here Stitcher: here TuneIn: here iHeartRadio: here Twitter Facebook TikTok  Patreon TeePublic Discord
60:36 3/20/24
Creators on the Couch - Horus in Hell 2
The show producer has not yet provided a description for this episode.
43:12 3/6/24
Issue 187 - Julia Carpenter
The show producer has not yet provided a description for this episode.
57:33 2/28/24
Creators on the Couch - Phillip Kennedy Johnson 3
We follow up last episode with the second half of our discussion with writer Phillip Kennedy Johnson - this time we're talking James Bond, John Stewart, and the Incredible Hulk! Plus a meaningful discussion on patriotism, and Anthony & Doc make a pitch to work with PKJ ;) Creators on the Couch - Phillip Kennedy Johnson 3 Intro Superman One last question: Metallo giving everything for his sister - where did that idea come from? James Bond (11:52) Based more in Fleming novels vs. films? Was there a particular Bond you had in mind while writing? What makes him such an enduring character, in light of the constant reboots and takes on him? Admittedly only read first half - could not access God & Country John Stewart (23:12) Given your military background, did you gravitate towards John vs. other Lanterns? Focus on John’s family life - mother with dementia and loss of younger sister Revenant Queen - like her speech style (35:18) Obviously it’s ongoing, but how far out do you have mapped storylines? Incredible Hulk (39:05) This story is much more monster-oriented than previous Hulk runs - was this intended to shift away from internal/mental focus like the Ewing run? Body horror - story and art focus on the pain and effects of transformation What inspired Charlie? Feels like more than just audience surrogate What’s next for you? (52:24) Ending Next episodes: Speedball, Deathstroke Plugs for social References: Marvel Team-Up #145 - PKJ (2:55) GonnaGeek Network Apple Podcasts: here Google Play: here Stitcher: here TuneIn: here iHeartRadio: here Twitter Facebook Patreon TeePublic Discord
56:57 2/7/24
Creators on the Couch - Phillip Kennedy Johnson 2
We're back! And so is Philip Kennedy Johnson! We sit down with PKJ for the second time to talk about his recently wrapped runs on Action Comics & Alien. Listen now! Intro Apologies for delay in episodes - see blog post for more PKJ Last time we spoke was Feb. 2021, discussing Last Sons of America, Kill A Man and end of The Last God Superman (3:42) What was something you wanted to do with Superman that hadn’t been done before? Exploration of Clark-Jon relationship - so many emotional moments Warworld Saga - why go with Mongul for main villain of storyline? Love Osul and Otho - their lack of exposure to anything resembling compassion and love, and the welcoming by the Superman family, is best addition to mythos in a long time Superman family gets major focus here - family is thru-line running across the entire arc Special point on Kong Kenan and his “defection” Blue Earth movement - *chef’s kiss* Alien (22:28) Another instance of a father doing anything for his son in first arc Was it always the plan to have 3 separate arcs across 2 volumes? How much input did you have into Xenomorph designs, or was that all artists? Ending (34:00) Next episodes: Speedball, Deathstroke Plugs for social GonnaGeek Network Apple Podcasts: here Google Play: here Stitcher: here TuneIn: here iHeartRadio: here Twitter Facebook Patreon TeePublic Discord  
44:32 1/24/24
Issue 186 - Aquaman
To tie in with the recent release of Aquaman & the Lost Kingdom, we take a look at the man himself, Arthur Curry! We have a whale of a time with this one, and we'll cod to making more than a few fish jokes just for the halibut...  Issue 186 - Aquaman Intro Shoutout to Into the Knight, who got a thank you from Jed McKay in the last page of Moon Knight #30 Background (4:29) Aquaman (Arthur Curry) created by Paul Norris and Mort Weisinger in More Fun Comics #73 (Nov. 1941) Golden Age origin is he is the son of a scientist who lived in the ocean and taught him how to breathe underwater and communicate with & control undersea life Silver Age origin: Arthur Curry, son of Tom Curry & Atlanna, and because of his mixed heritage he has access to several Atlantean abilities, including how to breathe underwater and communicate with & control undersea life This version introduces most of his supporting cast: wife Mera, son Arthur Jr., aka AJ or Aquababy, half-brother & nemesis Ocean Master, Black Manta, and others Post-Crisis origin: Orin, son of Queen Atlanna & the wizard Atlan, he was abandoned by Atlantis and discovered by Tom Curry who eventually dies when he’s a teen, and he returns to Atlantis where he is imprisoned before breaking out and joining the Justice League, where he uses his abilities like how to breathe underwater and communicate with & control undersea life This is the version that loses his hand after it’s eaten by piranhas He is the leader of Sub Diego, an undersea version of San Diego He becomes the Dweller of the Depths to assist the new Aquaman, Arthur Joseph Curry, before dying and later resurrected during Blackest Night/Brightest Day New 52 - Once again the son of Tom Curry & Atlanna, he was raised on land but aware of Atlantis, and when he returns to the sea he is crowned King, but he abdicates to be with Mera and join the Justice League until he’s forced to return to rule over Atlantis despite half the population hating him He finally proposes to Mera at the start of DC Rebirth Issues - Theme is fish out of water, then in, then out, then in… (10:34) Reluctant ruler of Atlantis - numerous time he returns to the throne in times of trouble, only to either vacate willingly to help Justice League/other heroes, or be forced to abdicate due to various factors Walks two worlds, but not fully accepted in either (15:36) Loss of a son - created strain on him and Mera (31:47) Break (42:02) Plugs for Last Sons of Krypton & SNEScapades Treatment (43:50) In-universe - Build a safe space for Aquaman Out of universe - (46:56) Skit (53:35) Hello Aquaman, I’m Dr. Issues. Would you prefer…um Arthur? Orin? Your chart has some conflicting information, and my electronic health record merges files quite haphazardly. - Doctor, you can just stick to Aquaman for now then. Most land acquaintances do. Do they now? Ok. So, what can I do for you? -I’m in a state of flux. I’m trying to keep on course. The problem is, I don’t have a map. Are you speaking metaphorically, or is this some sort of buried treasure -*snapping* I don’t make puns and I need you to take this seriously. *gulp* My apologies. So, how did you get so lost? -I’m not sure. I have a lot of people counting on me, but when they all ask for help at once they’re like crabs in a barrel. They’re too quick to lionize me as their savior, and too quick to denigrate me as a fake.  I’ll admit, that sounds like injustice, and I don’t mean that from a dramatic perspective. The world hasn’t always been fair to you, has it? -Maybe not, but I can’t complain too much. There’s no breathing room. *clears throat* pardon, but I need to drink some water. Sure, go right *sound of a tidal wave or something* …ahead. Um, did you have to soak the whole couch? -My kingdom is good for it. You don’t mind barnacles, right?  Barnacles, no, but the jellyfish - *ignores* Anyway, my kingdom…*sigh* it’s not always my kingdom. Sometimes I want to swim away and never see any of them again. But I won’t abandon my family.  Priorities. Got it. You sound like you have a lot of triggers that could exacerbate anxiety and/or depression. Have you experienced any of those symptoms? -Well I’m not the one with the degree, but if you’re referencing eternal sadness, sleepless nights, the sense of dread that your society will be wiped out, and those who know of you before you know them are willing to kill everyone you love for the sake of power so you let your own sense of pride burst forth into a fit of rage that only the mightiest of beings can come CLOSE to matching *clearly exasperated but trying to calm down* perhaps…I have. I won’t snap to judgment on diagnosis, but you don’t need any labels. Sounds like you’ve had stuff going on for a looooong time. What led you to come to me now? -I’m not sure.  You’ve said that more than once. -And I’ve meant it every time. This is the only place I can use a phrase like that and not die.  Mostly right, sometimes wrong, but never in doubt. A real Type A mindset. -If that makes the most sense to you, then yes. I’m a buffer zone. That can work, but ultimately you’re going to have to find a way to recreate that in other environments. -Tricky to do when the natural state of those environments are hostile. Are they really, though? I’m not saying you’re wrong, just challenging the assumption. - There’s a not-insignificant portion of my kingdom who believes I was cursed the moment I was born. There’s also a large segment who wishes I would vacate the throne and never return. Not surprisingly, those two segments share a healthy overlap. So when the very people I aim to lead don’t want me in the leadership role, I think it’s fair to say it’s a hostile environment. And that’s ignoring the numerous attempts on my life, the never-ending struggle with my half-brother, the various threats from the surface world… Then you need a huge amount of resiliency, and that doesn’t get built in a vacuum. You mentioned family as your number one priority. Are they integrated into how you process your life, or are they delicate figures you keep sheltered in your mind so you don’t lose them? -I would never refer to them as delicate or sheltered. But I don’t make my personal life a spectacle either. Mera is everything to me…sometimes the only thing. It’s okay to want more than that. -I don’t need more. I specifically didn’t say need. I said want. Aspirations that are your own, even in the midst of external values. -That is such a land dweller thing to say. I confess my biases, yes. But I’m acknowledging your culture as well. I’ll have to learn on the fly how to blend your understanding of how the world works with my own. I embrace that challenge. -*pause* How far are you willing to go? I don’t know…that’s really vague, and I know that type of question is leading to some discomfort -*boldly* NO whining! You may be granted a privilege that will change your life, If you are a brave soul. See, I’m a coward, so -*dismissive* Nonsense! You just need some basic skills. Can you swim? Yes. -Can you hold your breath for at least 2 minutes? What? I don’t know…probably? But if you’re alluding to what I think you are, I don’t think my freediving skills are up to par. -We’re not simpletons. We have equipment; you need to be fit enough for the transition. And this benefits YOU in what way. -If I can show you just how unique our ways are, then you would be able to not only assist me, but also those who question my position. Expand your practice. Can you give me some time to mull this over? I’m not used to someone actually getting so gung ho about my sessions. -I won’t wait forever. If you need to seek council from those who would put your mind at ease, then I understand. You will hear from me shortly. Ending (59:57) Recommended reading: Peter David run, with focus on Time & Tide and the Atlantis Chronicles Next episodes: Echo, Speedball, Deathstroke Plugs for social & GonnaGeek Network Anthony: That will do it for this episode. Doc? Doc: *text message sound* Hold on…it’s Aquaman? Huh…’thanks for the introductory session. I know I told you I would contact you shortly, but I am so excited that I did a search on therapy techniques. I think you’ll understand my world better if you engage in flooding. This is NOT a request.”  What the hell does that mean? I just go to the beach or the aquarium and *water rushing/waves crashing* *gurgling* I guess I should try to keep my head above water for now Anthony: He didn’t have to be so dramatic. For a drowning Dr. Issues, I’m Anthony Sytko, and we’ll see you next time! References: Black Manta episode - Anthony (6:38) Chuck Cunningham Syndrome - Anthony (8:54) “We Don’t Talk about Bruno” - Anthony (9:20) Apple Podcasts: here Google Play: here Stitcher: here TuneIn: here iHeartRadio: here Twitter Facebook TikTok  Patreon TeePublic Discord
65:03 12/27/23
Issue 185 - Eobard Thawne
We take our first look at a Flash-affiliated character with Barry Allen's nemesis EOBARD THAWNE! Things go off the rails pretty quickly, but it's ok, because we can just jump to another timeline where everything is fine, and no one will be any the wiser - except for Eobard... Intro Background (2:05) Eobard Thawne, aka Professor Zoom or the Reverse Flash, created by John Broome and Carmine Infantino in The Flash #139 (Sept. 1963) Eobard Thawne is a scientist from the 25th century, where superheroes are few He becomes obsessed with learning about the Speed Force, but he initially encounters some obstacles until his future self intervenes several times: He was jealous of his younger brother growing up, until his future self prevented Robern from being born and then his future self caused the death of his parents, since they were worried about his obsession He kills another professor who is close to unlocking the secrets of the Speed Force After Eobard falls in love with a reporter, his future self kills her fiance and any man she ever dated - when she still rejected him, his future self went back to her childhood and traumatized her to the point of rendering her mute He becomes obsessed with Barry Allen, to the point of getting cosmetic surgery to resemble him Obtains a Cosmic Treadmill, a copy of the Flash’s costume, and replicates the accident to give himself Flash’s powers - he traveled back to a few years after Barry’s death, and learned that he would become Professor Zoom, the Reverse-Flash, and Barry’s greatest nemesis This caused a psychic break, and Thawne became convinced he *was* a resurrected Barry Allen, and even managed to convince several of Barry’s friends he was Barry - after attacking several heroes for “forgetting” him, Wally West tricked him into returning to his home time Thawne became obsessed with replacing Barry, to the point of killing Iris West, and when he attacked Fiona Webb, Barry broke his neck and killed him Flash: Rebirth reveals that Thawne is responsible for every tragedy in Barry’s life, including the death of his mother - after killing several speedsters, he announces his connection to the Negative Speed Force, and says he will kill Iris before Barry has a chance to meet her - as Barry and Wally travel backwards in time, they merge into the lightning bolt that originally gave Barry his powers #BecauseComics - Thawne is imprisoned in a device that severs his connection to the Speed Force, removing his powers The broken neck version was resurrected during Blackest Night and then purified by a white light  Thawne is the central villain of Flashpoint - when Barry travels back to prevent Thawne from killing Nora West, the resulting timeline is drastically different - Thawne is then killed by the new Batman, and Barry goes back to prevent himself from stopping her murder, which creates a new third timeline Rebirth revises his origin - he’s met in the 25th century by Barry, who prevents him from carrying out further crimes - he is temporarily rehabilitated, until he travels to the past and learns Barry didn’t consider him as much of a friend as he initially thought, so he vows to make Barry miserable until Barry “makes time” for him He’s one of the primary villains of the Button, where he has memories of every timeline, and uses this knowledge to torture Barry, Bruce Wayne, and heroes, until he’s killed by Dr. Manhattan, although he’s resurrected by the negative Speed Force once again Finish Line - Thawne vibrates into Barry, taking over his mind and trapping Barry in the Speed Force - Thawne says he and Barry will forever be trapped in a loop, until Barry forgives him - this confuses Thawne, and Barry is able to reset him in the 25th century, where he is a tour guide at the Flash Museum with no memory of being a villain Issues - “Eobard Thawne. The man who reads the Evil Overlord List and reacts with an oblivious bemusement. The man with an absolute pathological need to prove himself superior to everyone around him to the point where even other villains hate his guts. Thawne has spent the last 60 years elevating the concept of the Villain Ball to an almost comical extent, and is fortunately so ridiculously chatty and forthcoming about himself and his feelings that we can easily mine a ton of his many issues from it to figure out why.” (15:56) Absolute obsession with and desire to replace The Flash. Thawne comes from a time when superheroes are thought of as a quaint anachronism, and striving to be one would be like someone today saying their dream was to be a medieval knight. But he idolized the era and The Flash in particular enough to become obsessed with becoming him. After recreating the accident that gave The Flash his super speed and traveling back in time to meet his hero, he found out that his destiny was instead to become The Flash's greatest enemy, and it simply broke him inside. From then on, his entire reason for being became wrapped around inserting himself into Barry's life, alternating between trying to ruin it and trying to usurp it. He tried getting Barry's wife to fall in love with him, tried to take Barry's place in the original accident and become the original Flash, and ultimately settled on using his time travel ability to become the source of every bad thing that ever happened in Barry's life. It's not an exaggeration to say that Thawne does not have or want a life of his own; he actually does want Barry's for himself. Superiority complex. When you think about Eobard Thawne is actually capable of doing, it's a real wonder why he ever fails at anything at all. The man can move at many times the speed of light. He can cross the room and shred your heart before your eyes can even send the signal to your brain that it's happening. He can kill a room full of a hundred people in a hundred different ways before any of them could react. All of which pales in comparison to his mastery of time travel. If anyone or anything is an obstacle to his objectives or even so much as affronts his sight, he can go back in time and completely erase it from existence. That's an actual thing he does with regularity. There is quite literally no goal on any scale he could not achieve with his powers. But that's simply not enough for him. At the moment of every single one of his triumphs, he has to let everyone in earshot know that it was him who did it. He grandstands and gloats about his success, explaining in great detail everything he did, how he did it, and how powerless everyone is to stop him from keeping on doing whatever he wants. Invariably, this winds up with the heroes either having the time to make their move or having the exact information they need to stop him. Thawne didn't invent Evil Monologuing by any stretch, but he's perfected it to an art form. It's a pathology with this man. He has to have you acknowledge his greatness, or he doesn't consider it a victory. There is no limit to what he could achieve if he just didn't care about getting the credit for it. (22:18) Pettiness on a scale hitherto undreamt of. To paraphrase Billy Beane in Moneyball, there's petty, there's that which petty aspires to be, there's fifty additional magnitudes of petty that the English language doesn't have words for, and then there's Thawne. The man responds to personal slights as if they were absolute declarations of war. He has completely erased his younger brother from existence because he thought his parents loved him more. He got a crush on a woman and erased her husband and all of her ex-boyfriends from existence so she'd have no reason not to date him, then when she still rejected him, he traveled back in time and repeatedly traumatized her as a child to the point where she wound up in a permanent vegetative state for the rest of her life. He found a limiting factor on his time travel that he couldn't kill Barry Allen or do anything that prevents him from becoming The Flash, so instead he settled on simply becoming the direct cause of every bad thing that's ever happened in his life, including things so minor as making him late for class in school and making him miss a catch in a baseball game. He's done this with villains who annoy him as well; Hunter Zolomon owes the entire line of tragedies that led to him becoming Professor Zoom to Thawne traveling through time and causing them. There is no slight so trivial that Thawne won't respond to it with the most disproportionate retribution he can imagine. (28:28) Dozens and dozens of lifetimes worth of memories. Thawne's use of the Negative Speed Force gives him a form of superceding time travel. He can alter history and retain the memories of his life and the world exactly as it was before he changed it. Unfortunately, he has time traveled and altered history so many times and so drastically that his memories now consist of dozens of lifetimes all folded into themselves. He remembers every version of himself in every timeline he's ever existed in, and every version of every other important person in his life and how their histories have changed as well. It all just blends together for him in a way that makes absolutely no linear sense trying to keep it all straight. That has to be absolutely maddening; like a Mandela Effect, but for your entire life, and multiplied by every single time he changes the timeline. No one else remembers anything in the same way that he does, and there's absolutely no way he can convince anyone about the way things used to be. (38:22) Break (45:33) Plugs for Ignorance Was Bliss, Geek Peak, and Gail Simone Treatment (46:46) In-universe - Transcranial magnetic stimulation analogue to help Thawne’s brain Out of universe - Use CBT to help people to slow down and notice things more (49:40) Skit (54:34) Hello Mr. Thawne, I’m Dr. Issues. Hmm…you seem out of breath - *heavy breathing* It took a lot for me to get here. But I can’t ignore a slight like that. As you know, a doctor should only address a colleague with a title the equivalent to their own. You can’t be serio…ow! What was that? -The skin of the areola is incredibly sensitive to certain angular forces. Your nerve endings are actually a bit different based on your scream. Most people have a heightened reaction from the pain itself, but for you, the mere sensation of unexpected touch and pressure were too much for you. *yawn* But as all plebians before you, your nervous system stood no chance in keeping up with my abilities. And that, my dear doctor, was only a sample of what I am capable of. *pause* You just gave a soliloquy on a purple nurple? -I had to demonstrate that you are not superior to me in any aspect of existence. Ok -*pause* That’s it? Just, “OK?” You don’t protest? Where’s the fear? Where’s the awe? Anger? Something besides “Ok”? Okaaaaay…Professor? -That’s better…wait, still no emotion behind it. What is wrong with you? Do I have to phase through you and shatter your spleen? Needlessly graphic but no…*sigh* Look, I’m not superpowered, you’re not controllable, so I’m a sitting duck just for agreeing to meet with you, no matter what safeguards I may have thought of. -That was very naive of you. I’d be insulted if I didn’t already feel insulted about the fact that some version of me that I talked with at some point in the future thought this was a good idea. What will I be thinking? Um…was thinking. You get the point. Sure. So, what can I do for you? -There’s someone I know that I used to idolize. Now I hate him. He killed me, but I came back. Now I can’t destroy him because I want to exist, but I want to ruin every part of his life. You know, “as you do” Are you expecting me to empathize with that? OOOOF; what did you do now? -Matter has multiple phases. Most people will only experience the most basic solid, liquid, and gas. But, as a scientist at heart, I’m sure you’re aware of plasma. Under typical Earth conditions, you would only be able to withstand a nanoparticle of any element in a picosecond of time as it sublimates from a liquid format and dissipates instantaneously in some form of biological substrate in an elongated but small cavernous bony structure with a malleable yet firm membrane *Interrupting* You spit in my ear?! What are you, 12?! - Superspeed saliva, sir! It’s your privilege. The fact that your head did not disintegrate is only because I can control my mouth and tongue with exquisite precision. You could kill me at any moment, and you torture me with pranks? What’s the point? -I’ve given you a glimpse of my power. Now imagine that for every moment of your life. To know that at any point, I can cause you immeasurable suffering and pain with the slightest show of effort on my part. THAT is what I live for.  So you can be the most influential being for every person’s life who ever existed, and you choose to make it miserable? Not exactly a way to win friends. -But you’re wrong. I’ve created factions of allies that bring dimensions to their proverbial knees! Until you, what, give them a thermonuclear wedgie? That’s what the history books will say. Eobard Thawne, the person who created a black hole constructed out of his own spite and misery. -You do realize that with what you're proposing, there would BE no history books, because I would have wiped out recorded history by definition of Do you have an off switch for that? -My genius? No, unfortunately for you, I don’t. Then why don’t you find someone else to bounce your evil plans off of? I’m too ethical to help you make things worse for yourself. -*pause* Come again? Ever heard of mimetic thinking? It’s the idea that an individual’s goals in life are constantly shaped by the goals they’ve observed set by others. We’re unique in our existence, but not in our shared outcomes. You already determined one failpoint, whoever you were talking about -Barry. His name’s Barry *dismissive for once* whatever. The point is, you must have gotten this idea, somewhere, from someone, that destroying everything is a positive. But the lack of anything is sure to be a negative when there’s nothing left. Will you just do it again? Are you so unoriginal that you just want to run a time loop hamster wheel? -You are NOT getting away with comparing me to a hamster on a wheel, just because I use a treadmill to guide the fate of the universe!  I didn’t even…uh…wow. That’s um…that’s a…thing, I guess -You don’t even know your own argument. You’re bluffing! This is beyond trivial. Hey, you said that at some point, YOU told yourself that talking to me was a good idea. I have no inkling WHY, because you’re the self proclaimed genius with the speed to do it all whenever you want, and you make yourself trivial in the process. I don’t think you’re capable of relating anymore. At least not with someone like me. Go find my evil doppleganger or something in another dimension, I don’t know. -*evil laugh* YES! You stupid, foolish brilliant doctor! That makes sense. There must be a negative version of you.I just have to find him. He will unlock the last mysteries of my negative speedforce forever! But I needed you to tell me that.  Wait! I *zoom sound, door shut* I guess I should be glad he took the “evil dimensional twin” comment and not the nuclear wedgie one. *more zooming, then door knocking* Um, come in. -*heavy breathing* Hello Mr. Thawne, I’m Dr. Issues. Hmm…you seem out of breath - *heavy breathing* It took a lot for me to get here. But  *interrupting* It’s still me, Eobard. I think you’ve got yourself stuck somehow. -*pause* How…I know this is Barry somehow. It has to be. It’s his ultimate prank on me. He’s getting me back! I’m forced to listen to an incompetent shrink until I find a way out! Hey!…or…ORRRRR…you could try doing some positive coping activities that open your mind so that you end up with a sense of gratitude for what you have, which will lead to better things in the future. Huh/ Huuuuuh? You ever think of that? You’re stuck with me until you get it right anyway. -Oh for the love of…how about if I shortcut this whole thing to the end and tell myself that you are worth talking to so we can all get along and I can move on to wrecking Barry’s life again. Deal?  Isn’t that just -Don’t care, I’m doing it. Goodbye, Doctor *zoom* Ending (60:22) Recommended reading: Flash: Rebirth Next episodes: Aquaman, Echo, Speedball Plugs for social & GonnaGeek Network References: Timey-wimey ball - Anthony (8:44) Imitute it exarctly - Doc (20:40) “Why do you assume you’re the smartest in the room?” - Doc (24:02) “I arranged the menu, the venue, the seating” - Doc (25:40) I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream - Anthony (39:18) Planet of the Apes Simpsons - Anthony (63:04) Apple Podcasts: here Google Play: here Stitcher: here TuneIn: here iHeartRadio: here Twitter Facebook TikTok  Patreon TeePublic Discord
65:58 12/20/23
E184 - Spike Spiegel Live at PuchiCon Poconos
Intro Background Spike Spiegel created by Shinichiro Watanabe & Toshihiro Kawamoto in “Stray Dog Strut”, April 1998 Protagonist of the series, he’s a bounty hunter partnered with Jet Black aboard the spaceship Bebop Over the course of the series, we learn his backstory - a former member of the Red Dragon syndicate, he fell in love with Julia, the girlfriend of his partner Vicious - when Vicious finds out, he forces Julia to kill Spike or be killed herself, so she goes into hiding to save herself Spike fakes his death and goes on the run, where he teams up with Jet - they’re also joined by Faye, a gambler who recently awoke from cryogenic sleep; Ein, a Welsh Corgi with human intelligence; and Edward, a young Earth girl who’s also a master hacker During the series finale, Julia has Faye send Spike a message that she is alive and ready to meet with him, but Vicious has her killed - Spike goes to the syndicate’s headquarters and has a final battle with Vicious, where Vicious is killed and Spike is severely wounded or killed - the ending is left ambiguous Issues Vicious Vicious Vicious… where do we begin? Never got over his abandonment by Julia either A life of drifting vs A life of intention Treatment In-universe - Get captured as a bounty, take the time to get to know Spike Out of universe -  Skit  *knocking on door*  SPIKE: *mumbles* who the hell…*regular voice* Come on in DOC: Uh…are you Mr. Spiegel? SPIKE: I’d better be, or else you’d be dead by now. Plus we don’t get visitors unless Jet has business with ‘em. He gave me the heads up. You’re the doctor, right? DOC: Yes, I’m Doctor Issues SPIKE: We’re not exactly fancy here, but help yourself to something to eat while you wait for him. DOC: Wait for who? SPIKE: Jet said he hired a doctor to check things out, and he wanted to make sure I was around. We’re kind of in no man’s land here. I think we have bell peppers and beef, but it’s a little light on the beef… DOC: About that…I don’t usually do house calls, but he made it sound urgent…except I need a special waiver to diagnose and treat someone so far out of my jurisdiction. He took care of that already, right? SPIKE: Suuuuuuure he did. Whatever. DOC: Good…then there’s the other part of the misunderstanding I need to clarify. SPIKE: Don’t tell me you forgot your equipment? I figured you’d need hardware tools if you have to deal with Jet’s arm DOC: I’m not an orthopedist SPIKE: Then maybe he’s got a cold or something. I dunno. DOC: I’m not here for Jet. SPIKE: *pause* I’m not paying for the bill to get you to the right address then DOC: Spike, Jet asked me to talk to you. He figured if you were in your own space you’d be more amenable. Says you’ve had some tough breaks. SPIKE: I thought you said you weren’t an orthopedist DOC: Har har har. I’m a psychiatrist. SPIKE: I’m a bounty hunter. I hunt bounties. I know what I do. No psychiatrist necessary, unless you managed to pack a better couch with you. DOC: No such luck. But you seem to be relaxed as it is. SPIKE: Not quite. *lights up cigarette, blows smoke* ah, that’s more like it. Want one? DOC: I don’t condone smoking.  SPIKE: More for me, then. I suppose this is where you warn me of the dangers of smoking and tell me to quit. DOC: You just did it for me SPIKE: Taking a shortcut. I like that. How long will this take? DOC: I’m contracted for a typical hour SPIKE: Then that gives me some time for a nap. I don’t have anything to talk about. You can stay or go, your choice. DOC: I don’t abandon patients, but I’m not going to bug you in your own domicile. Mind if I watch something on my phone? SPIKE: Suit yourself DOC: *exaggerated reactions* Oooh his countering is so slow SPIKE: *clearly interested* What ya watching?  DOC: I always keep some fights downloaded to pass the time. SPIKE: You don’t seem like the fighting type. DOC: I’m a huge fan because I view combat sports as the truest test of wills.  SPIKE: Spoken like someone who’s never been in a real fight. DOC: Be that as it may, if you saw what I saw, you’d have a similar critique. SPIKE: *begrudgingly* Alright, show me DOC: See how this guy keeps his head on the center line? He invites every hook imaginable, but he doesn’t have the handspeed to land a counterpunch. SPIKE: Yuck; he’s too rigid. He has to just…flow. It’s hard to explain DOC: Be like water. SPIKE: *pause* You’re the first person to get that in the first try. *sigh* You know, it’s nothing personal, but the reason I don’t need a psychiatrist is because I’ve already trained my mind with the best that martial arts has to offer. That’s how I get through things. I flow with them, until I need to crash. DOC: Hmmm…I think that may be a problem SPIKE: No way. DOC: Water as a liquid has the properties you claim. But what about under intense pressure and heat? It vaporizes. What about when it’s cold? It freezes. SPIKE: So? DOC: So…depending on what is going on around you, you’re making yourself subject to the whims of people or circumstance. Judging from this place, you guys are nomads. But your background means that you had a strong homebase at some point. Either your situation was so intense you needed to become vapor and disappear, or you became so frigid to them that you are more stoic than you should be. Either way, you’ve lost control. So which is it? SPIKE: Neither. It’s like I said, I flow until I crash. DOC: So when’s the last time you crashed? SPIKE: The last bum I knocked out, I guess. DOC: No, I mean emotionally. When’s the last time you crashed? Who angered you? Who made you laugh? Who made you cry? SPIKE: You sure you’re not ISSP with all these questions?  DOC: I’ll back off, but the point is to answer those questions for yourself.  SPIKE: I’ve had some people tell me the opposite. DOC: Why?  SPIKE: *pause* Because they don’t want me to die. DOC: Your job is dangerous SPIKE: *sarcastic* Ha. My LIFE is dangerous. Let’s go with your metaphor. If I do the wrong thing, people get boiled. If I care too much, others become targets. So I freeze them out. And no, I can’t just pretend that I want it some other way. All I can do is hope that the parts I DON’T like leave of their own volition, or I find something else to keep my mind occupied. Is that what you wanted to hear this whole time? Big whoop. DOC: Damn, that was deep. SPIKE: *calmer now* So, you got some time for some more fights? DOC: Depends on if you have time for more sessions. SPIKE: Well, we’re due for another major dogfight and damage to the ship that’ll put us out of commission for a while any day now, so I’ll let you know when that happens. DOC: Sounds like a plan. SPIKE: Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go find some protein. If I have to eat one more carbohydrate I’m gonna puke. Ending Thank you everyone for coming Hope to be back for PuchiCon Teaneck in the spring See you, space cowboy…  
41:24 12/6/23
Issue 183 - Bigby Wolf
Fairytales do come true - we finally bring you the long-awaited issue on Bigby Wolf! So smoke 'em if you got 'em, because things get hairy in this one! Intro Apologies for delay in new episodes Shoutout to new Patron Justin Background Bigby Wolf created by Bill Willingham and Lan Medina in Fables #1 (July 2002) Based on the Big Bad Wolf of stories, he is the Sheriff of Fabletown, a section of NYC populated with characters from folklore and legend Centuries ago, the North Wind fell in love with a wolf named Winter, and they had a litter of cubs - Bigby was the runt, relentlessly teased by his brothers and abandoned by his father When Winter died, Bigby’s brothers left to find their father - Bigby vowed vengeance against his father and his brothers Years later, he confronted his father seven times, and seven times failed to kill him - he eventually gave up and accepted defeat Living in the Black Forest, he served as an uneasy ally of the other Fables against the forces of the Adversary - he insisted on tasting the flesh of anyone attempting to pass through a portal, and determined whether they were worthy After being cut with a lycanthropy-stained knife, he gained the power to change into a human at will, and later mastered the power enough to control the extent of his transition Under the guidance of King Cole, Bigby was hired as Fabletown’s sheriff because of his detective skills and fighting ability, but he remained untrusted by the other Fables Later had seven children with Snow White, and they inherited their father’s abilities - they all stayed at the Farm, where Bigby was forbidden to visit until he was forgiven by Prince Charming - after marrying Snow White, he and the family moved to Wolf Valley and he retired as Sheriff Turned into glass and killed by Prince Brandish as part of Brandish’s fight with Snow White - he was resurrected by witches, but since one of the pieces of glass was missing, his resurrection was tainted and he was under the control of Nurse Spratt until the final piece was returned and he was fully restored Issues - Theme is taming the mind while remaining wild at heart (9:51) Lack of trust by other residents of Fabletown because of his actions prior to the amnesty Hostile relationship with his father Internal dissonance between his animalistic nature and the human side he has to present Break (26:41) Plugs for Play Comics, Scotch N Sports, and Erica Schultz Treatment (28:18) In-universe Out of universe Skit (37:35) Hello Mr Wo -***interrupting*** Bigby. Bigby’s fine.  Hello Bigby, I’m Dr. Issues. -And I’m leaving.  Please don't, or we’re both going to be in trouble.-There won’t be any trouble if you just step aside. You can see I’m fine. I’ve come in like this before, and I tell everyone in the ER that I’m fine, so they let me go. Not this time. -Grrr…why not? Because you’ve come in so many times with unknown injuries, outlandish reports that don’t make sense, and by the time you leave it’s as if nothing ever happened. -Exactly. EXACTLY…that’s why the ER director wants me to do a psychiatric evaluation for decision making capacity. If you refuse, then police will be contacted to do a wellness check on wherever you say you’re going. -That’s…problematic. I agree. So, what’s up? My main point is to determine if you understand the risks and benefits of your decision making, and if you are a danger to yourself, others. Or property. - Look, I’m not a danger to anyone, unless they get in my way. But if you don’t let me out of here, you’re putting others in danger. Can you live with that? Nope, that’s why I have confidentiality on my side…and the only way it’s broken is if I think there is a danger. You’re not the danger and someone else is…prove it. - That’s just it. If I tell you, then you’re in danger. The safest thing for you is to keep you in the dark. You just have to trust me.  Do you trust me? -No. Then it’s mutual. Mexican standoff. I have my regs. You can beat me to a pulp, you can bash your way out of here, you can tangle with the police, but I know my job, and it’s protecting society at all costs. That’s all there is to it for me at this point. - *chuckles* What’s so funny? - You an’ I are a lot more alike than I figured. OK. Fine. Have it your way. I’ll play your game, I’ll answer your questions, but only far enough to get me out of here. We clear? Crystal. - *grunts* Hate that word. Why? - Bad experience. Long story. For once, I ain’t got time for that. Plus, you’re obviously in a hurry. Why’d you come to the hospital? -I didn’t volunteer. Tough scrape, got hit with a truck…what FELT like a truck. I know people don’t survive too many hard shots, and they wanted to check me for a concussion. You look and sound pretty good, all things considered -You should see the other guy. Were there any homicidal threats? -No, not this time. *pause* how often do you get threatened? Is this like a mob thing or -No, I’m actually on the side of keeping things in order. I can’t say more than that. Classified? -Let’s go with that. Ah…I think I’m getting the picture. You weave quite the tale -No kidding. You done? Not quite. Do you know what the typical treatment plan is when you’re evaluated for physical and mental injuries? -I…uh…wait a while and if I’m ok, I leave. Like I said…a million times…EVERY time. Including now. Consistency. I like it. And do you know the risks if you leave without any further medical evaluation? -I get to not talk to you anymore, and get on with my job. My very important job that keeps you and everyone else safe, and none the wiser. Am I making myself clear? *exaggerated* Sir yes sir! -What? I’m picking up what you’re putting down. Tough guy, lots of fighting skill, important work under lock and key…alright, I’m satisfied. You don’t have to tell me what branch…is it CIA? FBI? Secret Service? ATF? DEA? Ooooh, maybe you’re international and it’s MI6 -You read too many novels. Stop. I’m completely off the books *chuckles* damn I wasn’t even trying with that one. Alright, Alright. Look, I’ll make your chart locked and the only way to break the seal is if you or your POA approves. Is that a deal? -What’s a POA? Power of Attorney…or, if you don’t have the ability to share such a legal document, you would need a listed next of kin -Not a chance, too much of a blowhard. And the missus, well… if she found out I’d gotten into a scrape like this, it wouldn’t end well for me. Suit yourself. I’ll be as vague as possible with details. But I can’t keep this up forever. If you do anything to compromise yourself, I won’t be able to hold back what’s in store for you. You’re going to get yourself killed at some point. - Wouldn’t be the first time… I, uh, came really close. I’m sorry to hear that. You know, I see more people like you than you realize. I know your type. -*startled* Grrr.WHAT?!! Calm down. I mean the facade. You come off like a grizzly, but I know underneath that, you’re really a teddy bear. That’s all. I work with some people like that. And I can’t change them, so I ride the wave. I hope you let the people close to you see the softer underbelly instead of the claws. - Damn, Doc, you’re a lot closer than you realize. Not bad for a mundie. *confused* But it’s Wednesday. - *sigh* Can I go now? Ending (44:04) Recommended reading: The Wolf Among Us Next episodes: Eobard Thawne, Aquaman, Echo Plugs for social & GonnaGeek Network Apple Podcasts: here Google Play: here Stitcher: here TuneIn: here iHeartRadio: here Twitter Facebook TikTok  Patreon TeePublic Discord
47:44 11/22/23
Marvels Megasode
We do our first ever compilation episode in conjunction with the release of the Marvels in theaters this week - it's a THREE HOUR episode about Carol Danvers, Monica Rambeau, and Kamala Khan! In case you missed the previous issues on these women, we got you covered! Carol's original episode Monica's original episode Kamala's original episode Apple Podcasts: here Google Play: here Stitcher: here TuneIn: here iHeartRadio: here Twitter Facebook TikTok  Patreon TeePublic Discord
195:58 11/8/23
Creators on the Couch - Grandma Chainsaw 3
We bring back Allen & Will to talk Grandma Chainsaw 3. We also discuss the untimely loss of colorist Jasen Smith, and how A&W are gearing up for the finale. Creators on the Couch - Grandma Chainsaw 3 Intro Background Grandma Chainsaw 3 Loss of Jasen Smith (24:15) Opportunity to discuss grief within the book (29:15) What comes next when GC 3 is done? (40:00) Ending (49:20) Next episodes: Bigby Wolf, Eobard Thawne, Speedball Plugs for social References: Grandma Chainsaw 1 with Allen, Will, & Jasen (RIP) - Anthony (22:14) Turn Off the Lights by Teddy Pendergrass - Anthony (48:05) GonnaGeek Network Apple Podcasts: here Google Play: here Stitcher: here TuneIn: here iHeartRadio: here Twitter Facebook Patreon TeePublic Discord
54:15 10/18/23
Issue 182 - Ventriloquist
This episode, we focus on one of Gatman's most gafflingly grazen gad guys, the Ventriloquist (and Scarface!) Who's really pulling the strings? Listen now to find out! Intro Reminder of PuchiCon appearance Background (3:00) Important to note that in this version, the dummy was made from wood used in Blackgate’s old gallows, and there are conflicting reports whether the dummy is possessed or not Ventriloquist (Arnold Wesker) created by John Wagner, Alan Grant, and Norm Breyfogle in Detective Comics #583 (Feb. 1988) Arnold Wesker is a meek man from a mafia family – originally developed DID after witnessing his mother’s murder His origin was later retconned – imprisoned in Blackgate prison, he begins hearing voices from a dummy named Woody, and the voices convince him to murder his cellmate – during the fight, Woody is damaged, and takes on the name Scarface In either version, Scarface becomes the controlling force, and Wesker is his “puppet” - to the point that Scarface becomes enraged if people insist on speaking to Wesker and not him One telltale sign is that Wesker/Scarface is unable to pronounce the letter B, replacing it with G - Batman becomes Gatman, bullets become gullets, etc. At one point Wesker was committed to Arkham Asylum, and upon escaping used a sock puppet named Socko - when Scarface learned he had been replaced, he and Socko had a gunfight, resulting in damage to Wesker’s hands #BecauseComics After an earthquake nearly destroys Gotham, a new villain called the Quakemaster shows up demanding a ransom to prevent further earthquakes - Tim Drake is able to deduce it’s Scarface because Quakemaster refuses to pronounce words with the letter B Has an on-again/off-again partnership with the Penguin, where they often break each other out of prison and work together on criminal enterprises Murdered by Tally Man in an effort to frame Harvey Dent Later resurrected during Blackest Night as a member of the Black Lantern Corps, and creates a construct of Scarface with his ring New 52 - he was never killed, and was hospitalized for treatment of his DID Briefly controlled by the Venom serum, but was taken down by Nightwing and Damian Wayne Succeeded as Ventriloquist by a woman named Shauna Belzer, who had her own puppet Ferdie He helped Batman defeat Psycho-Pirate, because his DID was able to override Pirate’s emotion control powers since Scarface was really in charge Issues - the pawn who would be king (7:03) Dissociation, Depersonalization, and Derealization Subordination (14:03) Masochism (21:04) Break (26:01) Plugs for Popcorn Psychology, Ocho Duro Parlay Hour, and Phillip Kennedy Johnson Treatment (26:56) In-universe - introduce ways to take Scarface out of commission Out of universe - work on scaling down and away from coping mechanism (30:10) Skit (34:06) DOC: Hello Mr. Wesker, I’m Dr. Issues. SCARFACE: Nope, you’re talking to ME, doc. Leave the dummy outta this. WESKER: W-w-well at least l-l-let me say h-h-hello f-first. SCARFACE: Shut yer yap and lemme do the talking. The less you talk, the faster we can greak outta here and get gack to gusiness. DOC: I love Vaudeville as much as anybody, but SCARFACE: *interrupting* that explains your practice DOC: Hey! This is a serious establishment. Are you going to talk to me or not? WESKER: I-I-I SCARFACE: Aye Aye Aye is right! Sheesh! You gonna take the hint, shrinkydink? This mug is useless without me. I’m the grains of this operation. That’s how I keep making gread. DOC: *flustered* Fine. Tell me, what can I do for you? SCARFACE: Can you crack safes? DOC: No SCARFACE: Can you crack heads? DOC: NO! SCARFACE: Knockaround guy? Gagman? DOC: No and No SCARFACE: Is your office a good place to do laundry, if ya catch my drift? DOC: I’m not doing anything illegal for you! SCARFACE: Then you’re a waste of space like this guy over here! DOC: He is the reason you can talk at all! SCARFACE: waaaaatch your mouth, you’re on thin ice, capiche? DOC: Mr. Wesker, are you going to stand for this? SCARFACE: He doesn’t have to, that’s why he’s sittin down. And you’re gonna be layin down for a dirt nap if you don’t keep your eyes on me! DOC: You don’t have any weapons. That tommy gun is a toy. I’m not stupid. SCARFACE: My noggin is like taking a Louisville slugger to the jaw if you’re unprepared. DOC: If you’re so bright,have you figured out a way to resolve your anger without resorting to violence? SCARFACE: Resort? You darn right I resort. A hideout full of moola and the screams of my enemies make crime a vacation.  DOC: Is that what Wesker wants? SCARFACE: Who cares what he wants?  DOC: I do. And if this is you, Arnold, then I’m willing to work with you in this…unique arrangement. SCARFACE: I’m confused. Are you talking to me or to him? DOC: Yes. SCARFACE: *pause* Ooooh, you’re a slick one, aintcha? Gut there’s no one else you need to talk to.  DOC: Thank goodness. So, I’ll make sure I only direct my questions to you, and you’ll answer, and I’ll make sure it’s documented in your chart, under your name. Just spell it for me so I get it right. SCARFACE: S-C-A DOC: A-R-N SCARFACE: *screaming* THIS AIN’T A JOKE!  DOC: I’m not laughing. I’m talking to you. I’m looking at you. I know you run the show, and I’m giving you the attention you deserve. If the other part is not important according to you, fine. But I won’t let your reality get in the way of mine. SCARFACE: YOU SICKO! Don’t toy with my emotions. DOC: Don’t use your emotions as toys WESKER: Please stop fighting DOC: who said that? SCARFACE: NOBODY! DUMMY, SHUT UP!  WESKER: yes sir DOC: You seem to have an issue with a part of you that is intimidated. What do you plan to do to strengthen it?  SCARFACE: I’m not weak; that loser DOC:*interrupting* You’re a loser; got it. SCARFACE: I’m not here to be insulted! WESKER: You usually leave that to me DOC: Progress! Now if you could only get him to stop shoving his hand inside you to compensate, you wouldn’t be so uptight SCARFACE: *pause* wait…are you actually trying to treat me here? DOC: It wasn’t my first idea but if it’s the only way I can ultimately give you some peace and have fewer people hurt, I’ll make it work. SCARFACE: *exaggerated wistful sigh* Maybe I can finally get a world without Dummy. A mafioso can dream. DOC: Um…erm…something like that. Anyway, I noticed that I didn’t get my usual fee before the session, so I’m going to have to bill you for the balance. SCARFACE: *deadpan* Oh…Dummy takes care of that  WESKER: I DO NOT DOC: WHAT? SCARFACE: I MEANT THE CHECK’S IN THE MAIL. Now get me outta here before he makes me talk about my mother. *fake sob* I really miss her. DOC: Pining? SCARFACE: No, oak. Ending (38:54) Recommended reading: Batman: Broken City by Brian Azzarello & Eduardo Risso Next episodes: Bigby Wolf, Eobard Thawne, Speedball Plugs for social & GonnaGeek Network References: Penguin episode - Anthony (5:14) All the Smoke podcast - Doc (15:00) Apple Podcasts: here Google Play: here Stitcher: here TuneIn: here iHeartRadio: here Twitter Facebook TikTok  Patreon TeePublic Discord  
43:52 10/4/23
Issue 181 - Mister Sinister
Things get downright evil as we delve into Nathaniel Essex, aka MISTER SINISTER! How messy does this diva get? Listen now to find out!  Issue 181 - Mister Sinister Intro Background (2:17) Mister Sinister (Nathaniel Essex) created by Chris Claremont in Uncanny X-Men #212 (Dec. 1986) - first seen in #221 (Sept. 1987) drawn by Marc Silvestri Nathaniel Essex born in Victorian London, he is intrigued by Darwin’s theories of evolution and survival of the fittest, but believes that mankind can go further After his 4-year-old son dies, he believes that science can perfect the human race - to that end, he hires a gang to kidnap homeless people to serve as test subjects - he allies with Apocalypse, as they share a common goal His wife discovers his imprisoned test subjects, as well as their dead son that Essex had dug up to experiment on - she goes into premature birth, and dies from blood loss, calling him sinister - he takes on the name after En Sabah Nur transforms him with Celestial technology, giving him the powers of immortality and telekinesis Sinister tries to kill Apocalypse, but fails - he commits himself to creating a mutant who can kill him, this leads to the eventual creation of Cable Sinister collaborates with many villains & characters throughout the decades, including being responsible for setting up the High Evolutionary, and having his research be the basis for Weapon X project He keys in on the Summers line, after secretly establishing an orphanage to keep track of children of his experiments - it is here he meets a young boy named Scott Summers, descendant of one of his earliest subjects - Sinister pretends to be Nate, another orphan, and tries to manipulate Scott to become an ally to Sinister until Scott is rescued by Xavier Creates a clone of Jean Grey after determining that a child of Scott and Jean would be capable of killing Apocalypse - after the Phoenix Saga, Scott meets Madelyne Pryor at a Summers family reunion, leading to a whole bunch of messiness Encounters the X-men for the first time during Mutant Massacre Dies during Messiah Complex when he attempts to kidnap the newborn baby Hope - due to earlier experimentations, his consciousness transfers first to Xavier, before transferring to Claudine Renko, a former test subject - she calls herself Miss Sinister Later is restored to a male form and creates an entire civilization of Sinister clones in San Francisco in an attempt to get Celestials to wipe out the planet so he can start anew - this is Kieron Gillen’s reboot of the character, and all subsequent stories work off this version Creates five Madelyne clones in an effort to house the Phoenix Force during AvX, but the Phoenix Five destroy everything Sinister built This Sinister is killed by another clone with an X-gene, making Sinister a mutant - it is this clone that works with Xavier and Magneto to compile a database of mutant DNA for the new Krakoan society, and he joins the Quiet Council He also creates several clones of Moira MacTaggert, and exploits her timeline reset ability to his benefit, which leads to Sins of Sinister, where he successfully kills Xavier, Hope, Emma Frost, and Exodus, creating a dystopian future for mutants and mankind Issues - Theme is “The show must go on, but when does it stop?” (12:10) Constant experimentation on others and himself in pursuit of perfection Presentation and theatricality often doom his efforts (17:06) Wants everyone to underestimate him, but overestimates himself (22:14) Break (28:10) Plugs for Frigay the 13th, Hops Geek, and Chris Claremont Treatment (30:20) In-universe - The ultimate family meeting Out of universe - Review making changes just for changes sake Skit (42:40) Hello Mr. Sinister, I’m Dr. Issues. - Hello…Doctor…you know, that doesn’t quite fit what we should be going for, here. I don’t follow. -While I prefer my choice of moniker, I don’t want any mistake in how this works. I am also a doctor. But that’s not ALL I am, at this point. Do you catch my drift? So we’re colleagues, and I have every intention of giving you the respect you deserve. -Oh, but that’s where you’re wrong. Colleague denotes equals, peers. There is no such thing with me. Are you trying to intimidate me, or…-*interrupting* Oh my, no! If I wanted to have you cowering in fear, I would simply tear your mind asunder. Then replace it backwards. No, this is all trivial to me. But I’m bored, so let’s see where this goes now that I’ve established dominance. I don’t think I’ve been so eloquently insulted in all of my life! -You're welcome. *clearly angry, but not stupid enough to act* I don’t want to be rude back, but if you have no interest in changing anything about yourself, then this is going to be fruitless. -Nonsense, dear doctor. I am all about change for the better. That’s why I’m here. I sought you out.  That’s refreshing…I guess? Then why demean me? -Is it demeaning to say that an insect is expendable, or a seed only has value once planted? You sound like someone I met once -I know…I learned from the best. So what do you want to change? -*truly evil smile* YOU, my dear Doctor Issues *gulp* I’m always looking to improve…but…um…that’s not how therapy works. -Do you doubt that the transference and countertransference phenomenon that were known when I was a much younger lad are true? EVERY therapist changes the moment they speak with a patient. But that is too slow. I need to see my results in real time. *fearful* A..aaaaa…as a doctor, you know that consent is a VERY important part of any changes that would be proposed, and I don’t give you that -*curt* This is NOT a review board or ethics panel. What I say, goes. Understand?! Is it too late to say that you’re falling back on past patterns of aggression for the sake of comfort in a new environment? -If this were truly a new environment, then you wouldn’t be in such dire straits right now. Oh, the torment you may feel for a short while will be well worth my efforts. I will admit though *whispering* I’m not gentle. I would like the anger back, please. Creepy is much worse. -Who said anything about creepy? I’m not hidden about my intentions. My name says enough. Perhaps I could interest you in the meaning behind that also referring to left-handed orientation? -More stalling. *yawn* You are coming off as pathetic now. So, you’re not trying to scare me, you’re not interested in what I have to say, and you want to...do SOMETHING and I don’t know what. Are you trying to build anticipation? I’m confused. -Perhaps ***awkward pause*** OK I’ve had it. Just do it. Kill me, or torture me, or whatever it is you plan to do because it takes a lot for me to lose my patience nowadays. Just know that each time I try to start a conversation that may be insightful…THERAPEUTIC even, you have ignored it, or mocked it, or intimidated me about it. You’re trying to play me like a fool, and I’m NOT having it. I can tell you’re cunning, but nobody’s really that catty about mental wellness treatment. -Well then, let’s see how well your sessions go without this oh so beautiful couch to sit on. *ripping sounds* WHAT? Seriously? It’s in the name! Who messes up a couch? -You need someone like me to make this whole room over. Your office is in shambles. Have you never heard of feng shui?  I don’t care -*interrupting* Obviously you don't. And your clothes…a button down shirt with stripes? How tacky are you? Is this what you consider changing me for the better? A mastermind doesn’t waste their time focusing on minutiae to criticize! - You think this is beneath me? Forget about Lizzo, darling, I engineered my DNA to be 100% that bitch. So then what are your plans for my DNA? -Oh you simple, simple man. You have to learn how to put a comb through your hair, get a decent suit, learn how to tie your shoes properly AND find a decent non-offensive cologne before I ever do gene-work on you! For once, I must focus on the outside instead of what’s inside. I’ll be here every week until you are worthy of being my next great experiment. Then I’ll keep trying to be an example of a regular person who is willing to accept imperfections. I hope that sinks in. -Nonsense.  Until then, consider this my parting gift *laser sound* Whoa…did you just…laser shave…um…but my clothes are still on…you know what? I don’t want to talk about it. That was without my consent. - You’re quite welcome. This time it was hair. Next time, it will be more than that if you’re not careful. Ending (48:36) Recommended reading: Immortal X-Men, Cerebro episode on Sinister Next episodes: Ventriloquist, Bigby Wolf, Eobard Thawne Plugs for social & GonnaGeek Network References: Chris Claremont interview - Anthony (5:45) Gambit episode - Anthony (6:25) Moira McTaggart episode - Anthony (9:15) Cerebro podcast with Kieron Gillen - Anthony (11:23) Transcript Apple Podcasts: here Google Play: here Stitcher: here TuneIn: here iHeartRadio: here Twitter Facebook TikTok  Patreon TeePublic Discord
53:08 9/20/23
Issue 180 - Vash the Stampede (Live PuchiCon Panel)
PuchiCon Panel - Vash the Stampede Intro (2 min) Introduction of Anthony & Doc - thanks everyone for coming out Who here has heard us before? Who here is very familiar with Vash/Trigun? Background (3 min) Vash the Stampede created by Yasuhiro Nightow in Trigun Chapter 1 - The 60 Billion Double Dollar Man (May 1995) For purposes of this panel, we’ll be focusing on the anime version, not the manga, since the story is much more streamlined in the anime Vash is an alien with decelerated aging, who is raised by Rem alongside his twin brother Knives Knives grows to hate humanity and attempts to crash their spaceship into a planet - Rem puts the boys in an escape pod to protect them Knives and Vash battle, and Knives cuts off Vash’s arm - this triggers a latent power inside Vash, and the explosion destroys the town of July (although all the people within were spared) - this incident is what triggers a $$60 billion bounty Vash becomes a drifter, being followed by Meryl & Milly, insurance agents who document the destruction left in his wake (or more accurately the wake of those trying to kill/capture him) Despite being incredibly proficient in weapons, Vash is a pacifist who refuses to kill anyone, even those trying to kill him Knives hires a gang of assassins (the Gung-Ho Guns) to hunt his brother down and cause him pain & suffering After several run-ins with the Gung-Ho Guns (including being forced to kill the leader, Legato), he and Knives have a climactic battle, resulting in Vash wounding Knives but refusing to kill him, honoring Rem’s last request: “Take care of Knives” Issues (15 min) Direct traumatic relationship with Knives Idealism to the extreme Humor as an immature defense mechanism Treatment (10 min) In-universe - “the ultimate NPC escort mission” Out of universe - Significant childhood trauma, a complicated ongoing relationship with family, perfectionistic self-drive that is also self-sabotaging Skit (10 min) Hello Vash, I’m Dr. Issues. - Well hello there. How are you? I’m doing well, thank you for asking. -So, I notice there’s a plate of donuts out there, are those for someone specific? Or… Those are for anyone in the waiting room. -Aww…but I’m in your office now…can I have one anyway? Sure, but -*rushes out, comes back* Oh man, I love the apple cider ones the most. I’m glad you like them, now what can I do for you? -Huh? Oh, I’m good with the donuts. No, I mean what do you want to talk about. -Um, I think you could use a bit more variety, although I did see some with sprinkles. Then again, those are a bit too artificial for my taste. *chomping* nature knows how to provide the best flavors, ya know? I appreciate your interest in natural health. But I must admit, your reputation precedes you. -Gosh, I’m just some wanderer, *emo-style* searching for the elusive mayfly of love Not all who wander are lost -I’ll bet! You meet the most interesting people along the way. Insurance agents, outlaws, homesteaders, outlaws, beautiful women, outlaws…I said outlaws, right? I got the hint. Sounds dangerous. -Sure, if you’re not as careful as I am. Careful? From the triage report you sound fairly reckless. -Yeah, I should pay more attention to the beauties…am I right, or am I RIGHT? *awkward laugh* you’re not laughing. Not a fan of sexism. -I didn’t mean to offend you. Sometimes I get a one track mind. I should examine what’s really important…THESE DONUTS! *truly maniacal laugh* You’re still not laughing *holds bridge of nose* Vash…Vash…Vash. I’m going to try and keep some level of decorum as I say this. Please…I’m begging you…just take my questions as seriously as you take your appetite, alright? -*dramatic* Sir yes sir! You don’t have to get so cranky. Why are you deflecting before we even get to any topics? What’s so bad that you won’t do the most basic of introductions? -*sarcastic* I saaaaaid hello. If you keep this up, I’m willing to say goodbye.  Trust me, the bill that you’ll be footing based on reported damages in the first place won’t be wiped out unless you have a complete psychiatric evaluation.-*sigh* If you say so. Thank you. Now, since we’re short on time, tell me the biggest concern you have in life. -Oh wow, that’s heavy…um, life I guess? Your biggest worry is life itself? -I want everything to live. Is that so wrong? That’s…unique. Can you narrow it down? -Nope. Ooooooookay…hoo boy. And…what do you do about life as a whole? -Save it. Cherish it. No matter what. That’s what…she would have wanted. She who? -Rem. She was…she taught me everything I needed to know. She definitely sounds special. Based on the tense, I’m guessing something happened. -*nervous laugh, rambling style* Well sometimes bad things happen you know so I just keep going on but as long as I don’t think about it too much and how nice she was and everyone deserves to live because she said so and I don’t want to let her down but I don’t know why everyone hates me sometimes but I still love them and it…it…*exaggerated crying* IT ALWAYS HAPPENS TO MEEEEEEEEEEE *pause* Hmmmmm…didn’t quite expect that. In my line of work, we’d call your emotions labile. You’re on a rollercoaster here! -I’ll try to keep calm. I’m not so bad once you get to know me. It took us this long for you to stop deflecting, and then the real emotions came out like a firehose. That’s not the best way to handle things. Plus, the only time I got the sense you were actually serious was when you mentioned the sanctity of life. Maybe such a heady philosophy is cracking you. -No way. It grounds me. It’s my core. You probably understand me more than you think. Don’t you fight against suicide? Absolutely! -But why? *pause* Well, there’s a myth out there that taking your own life is a way to eliminate pain. But from what I’ve seen, it’s the opposite. The person becomes a pain bomb that spreads that sorrow to every person that ever had a positive thought about the one who is now gone. I’m willing to see through that lie. -And what if it wasn’t a metaphor for emotion. What if there were real bombs involved, and bullets, and weapons you couldn’t even dream of. What then? What if someone is so bent on hurting others that the only thing you can do is stop it…but that person has a value too, don’t they? Yes. -So where am I wrong? Why do so many people fight me when I don’t want to fight them?  Sometimes I chant a mantra to myself: “Magnets draw metal because they are strong.” You’re a target, for sure. But not many of those who are as pacifist as you are willing to fight in the…unique way that you do. You’re begging to become a martyr. -Don’t say that…*yelling* DON’T SAY THAT. I want a fun life. A simple life. But I won’t run from anyone who needs saving. Trouble finds me. I’ve had to deal with Knives. ***misunderstanding, WAY too flippant***...and swords, and bullets, and lasers, and rockets blah blah blah -You fool! I mean my brother. *sighs* You know, it’s really hard to love someone when they want you to be someone you’re not. *pause* Can you deal with the imperfect? -What’s that mean? You, your brother, Rem, whoever that is…the people you save, the people trying to kill you…it’s all one giant imperfect mess. And yet, I get the sense that you will never be satisfied. Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good. You have passion; I can see that. No one can promise you peace. But what I can do is help you mold your purpose. Life itself may be zero-sum if you look at the end, but the value is infinite if you find a way to enjoy the things in between. -*pause* Wow. That’s really sweet… Thank you -BUT NOT AS SWEET AS THESE DONUTS! *whining* Ohhhh man…I thought I was getting through to you. -***munching again*** Well, you know what they say…the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. THEY DON’T SAY THAT IN A THERAPY SESSION -Well, I gave you a new technique. Gotta go, Doc! Thanks for the comfort food! Ending (5 min) Thanks everyone for coming!  Next episodes: Mister Sinister, Ventriloquist, Bigby Wolf Apple Podcasts: here Google Play: here Stitcher: here TuneIn: here iHeartRadio: here Twitter Facebook TikTok  Patreon TeePublic Discord
49:58 9/6/23
Season 10 Preview Minisode
WE'RE (almost) BACK! This minisode goes over what Anthony & Doc have been up to for the past few months, and announce some big changes for Season 10. So catch up before next week's new full episode! Apple Podcasts: here Google Play: here Stitcher: here TuneIn: here iHeartRadio: here Twitter Facebook TikTok  Patreon TeePublic Discord
16:37 8/31/23
Creators on the Couch - Horus in Hell
We take a break from our hiatus to talk to our friends Allen & Will about their latest Kickstarter, the Pocus Hocus spinoff Horus in Hell! You can find it here! GonnaGeek Network Apple Podcasts: here Google Play: here Stitcher: here TuneIn: here iHeartRadio: here Twitter Facebook Patreon TeePublic Discord
69:10 7/2/23
Issue 179 - Miguel O'Hara (Spider-Man 2099)
We travel Across the Spider-Verse for our Season 9 finale as we examine Spider-Man 2099, Miguel O'Hara!  
48:56 5/31/23
Issue 178 - Richard Rider (Nova)
We close out Marvel Cosmic May with a look at the OG Nova, RICHARD RIDER! How can Doc help this jaded space cop who totally isn't Hal Jordan? Intro Next week is last episode of season 9 Background (2:00) Richard Rider created by Marv Wolfman and John Romita Sr. in The Man Called Nova #1 (Sept. 1976) Nova Corpsman Rhomann Dey is dying, and gives his power to high school student Richard Rider - however, he has no instructions on how to use these powers After some adventures on Earth, he travels to space, where he helps the Xandarians battle Skrulls and other enemies He returns to Earth and gives up his powers (first time), but after struggling without them, he regains them and joins the New Warriors Garthan Saal, a Nova Corpsman gone mad, strips Rich of his powers (2nd) so he can rebuild Xandar after Nebula destroyed it - Saal is defeated and his power is restored He defies the Xandarian queen in an effort to save Earth, and is stripped of his powers (3rd), but when his replacement sacrifices himself to stop the Deathstorm, he’s returned to glory Annihilation - the entire Nova Corps save Rich is destroyed by Annihilus, so the Xandarian Worldmind takes refuge inside Rich’s helmet - Rich kills Annihilus and saves the universe Unbeknownst to him, the Worldmind is recruiting new members to the Nova Corps - when Rich learns that Ego the Living Planet was among them, he objects and is stripped of his rank and powers (4th) Having lived with the Nova Force for so long, he is dying without the powers, so he borrows Wendell Vaughn’s quantum bands and becomes Quasar - after saving the Corps during War of Kings, Ego is removed and Rich is restored as a Centurion Goes through a rip in space-time known as the Fault and enters the Cancerverse, where he and Star-Lord battle Thanos until the rip closes, trapping all three inside - Star-Lord and Thanos later get a hold of a comic cube that frees them, but Rich remains trapped When Sam Alexander contacted the Xandarian Worldmind to get information on his father, this alerted Rich and allowed him to escape the Cancerverse - unfortunately, his body became a portal, and the inhabitants tried to use Rich to invade Earth - he and Sam helped repel the invaders, and they returned to Earth The entire Nova Corps was once again decimated, and Richard became an alcoholic until Annihilius showed up and asked for Rich’s help to defeat the Cancerverse invasion - after Rich swallowed the entire Cancerverse (#BecauseComics), he was killed by the Sentry, thus killing the invading forces, and resurrected by Annihilus as a way of saying thanks Took over as leader of the Guardians of the Galaxy after Star-Lord was killed, which Rich blamed himself for until he started therapy Issues - Theme is “Don’t worry, it gets better… I mean worse… I mean better…” (8:13) Constant flux of powers causes him numerous problems Feels like everything is his responsibility, and thus his fault (14:50) PTSD as a result of the numerous wars and battles (22:49) Break (28:29) Plugs for Cheers to Comics, Adventures in Erylia, and Jeremy Whitley Treatment (29:51) In-universe - Have him figure out how to use the Nova Force for creation Out of universe - (33:52) Skit (39:46) Hello Richard, I’m Dr. Issues. -Hello, Doctor. So, what can I do for you? -Well, let’s just say that I’m not going to be an easy case. I’m not going to give you a hard time, but this road is not smooth at all. I welcome the challenge. -You say that now, but when I start telling you some things…it’s not even about the confidentiality. This is some serious stuff. A lot of death, a lot of pain, tons of anger…and that’s just when things turn out ok. You’re building up to a multitude of events, and I don’t even know the basics about you. -Yeah, yeah, I get it. I just wish you could fast forward through this stuff, or leave off exactly where my last therapist did. Is that too much to ask? Do I have to repeat this every time?  No, of course not. -Well, I gave you permission to look at my files, isn’t that enough? *clearly irritated* What, you can’t stomach to read it or something? What? No, I just want your take, not someone else’s. -So you think my last therapist was a kook? You think it was that bad? Whoa, you’re rushing to judgment way too early. -*Angry, rambling* Of all the people I get to take my stuff out on, I get someone who wants to start from the beginning, as if it wasn’t bad enough going through it the first time! *continues rambling angrily* that’s it, I’m outta here, gotta take a break, I KNEW this was going to go bad…*keeps rambling, door opens and  shuts, still ranting* Well, this is going juuuuust great…oop -*door opens and shuts again, still ranting* whew, I might as well rip a hole in space time, that oughtta REALLY freak someone like you out. Do you know I’ve had to die just so I can live a better existence?  Are you trying to intimidate me, or test me, or…I don’t know what. Is this how you vent? -I don’t vent. I attack.  Then why are you attacking me? -Not you…well, not You, you. You just happen to be there. It’s not like that. Richard…I’m the only one here. I get that you have no other target, but it’s not productive to yell at me right now. I don’t take it personally, but I’m still a person. -You’re a person…aww, Doc has feelings…whaa whaa whaa…If you were with me, you wouldn’t last long with that attitude. You’re not trying to recruit me. I’m here to help you, remember? -*deep breath* Yeah, yeah…experienced dealing with cosmic madness. No excuse for my disrespect. This line of work kind of makes me jaded. I’ve heard worse, just not before…hmmm…you know what? Screw the background stuff. It’s obvious that it pisses you off. What I’ll focus on instead is what do you want to change about how you’re feeling right now? -*pause* Well, like you said, I’m pissed off, but…it’s deeper than that. It’s like something keeps clawing through me…and believe me, I’ve been clawed through, so I know what I’m talking about. But it’s not others, it’s…it’s something about me. Like, I’m not feeling how I should feel. Does any of this make any sense? Let me see if I understand. You have intense responses to your current state of mind, and it doesn't match with what you should be feeling based on what you know about yourself. -Something like that, I guess. Then what “should” you be feeling, if you don’t mind my airquotes? - *pause* I shouldn’t even exist, you know? I should have been dead and buried a looooooong time ago, but I’m still kicking…and kicking ass, while I’m at it. So, survivor’s guilt? -I’m grateful! But, how many times am I going to go through this?  I don’t have a crystal ball -Well even the ones who have that type of power treat me like a wild card anyway, or take my power…sometimes I wonder if I should fight to get them back at all. Then I get pissed off evan more, and I double down, and just promise myself that if I ever get them back I won’t lose them again…*frustrated* HOW…MANY...TIMES? How do I keep going? *pause* You were right. From the start, you were right. This is not a smooth road. You are like Sisyphus…perpetually pushing that rock. -I thought you were supposed to make me feel better. Hear me out! This is going to be a matter of perspective. You have been entrusted with a task that is incredibly important but has shown to carry with it a perpetual burden that resets from time to time. You can view that as a curse, but -*interrupting* If you say it’s a blessing I swear No, I’m saying it’s variety. You have learned to adapt to the same goal in ways that most people haven’t endured yet. That’s beyond unique, that’s a level of discipline that can’t be taught. If you continue to endure, then you are providing yourself with more ammo for unexpected challenges even when the basic premise remains the same. Sunrise, sunset, but no two are the same. You get me? -A part of me wants to rip your spine out through your chest and use it as a javelin for my next enemy you optimistic pious jerk *gulp* -But…hmmmph…that can’t be all there is to it, right? Like, I can’t make “keep my powers” be the end goal? It doesn’t have to be, but you were the one who said that’s what’s eating at you. You’re a complex study, so I’m sure we’re just scratching the surface, and I’ll challenge your own assumptions. -You got a bit of a bite to you after all. No wimping out. That’s decent of you. Ok, hot shot. I’ll tell you what. If you’re willing to take my call, I’ll reach out when I think I’m about to have someone get the drop on me. I’ll be waiting *whispers* with some antipsychotics for the paranoia* -What was that?  Nothing…ehe, I’ll be waiting is my point. -Right then. Guess this is as good a time as any to wrap this up before I piss myself off again. Good bye. Bye *hears door open/shut* *phone dialing* I’m not even sure how this works, does my plan cover intergalactic calls? Anyhoo…um…your excellency…tribunal…ness…sir…thing…I think I’m going to take a break in my block scheduling for now…no, I didn’t say I quit…I mean…your sense of time is so much different, a day is a decade to you, or vice versa…yeah, messes with my calendar. Plus my accountant doesn’t know how to handle “being one with the balance” as a form of payment. Still have some details to work out. Ciao! Ending (47:15) Recommended reading: late 2000s cosmic Marvel (Annihilation Conquest, War of Kings, Thanos Imperative) Next episodes: Miguel O’Hara Plugs for social & GonnaGeek Network Transcript References: Sam Alexander episode - Anthony (6:33) Elton John “I’ve Seen That Movie Too” - Anthony (27:22) Apple Podcasts: here Google Play: here Stitcher: here TuneIn: here iHeartRadio: here Twitter Facebook TikTok  Patreon TeePublic Discord
50:39 5/24/23
Issue 177 - Galactus
Cosmic Marvel May continues with a look at the Devourer of Worlds, GALACTUS! Hope you're hungry, because we serve up a planet-sized platter of issues for you! Intro Thanks to PuchiCon for fantastic panel Background (2:52) Galactus created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in Fantastic Four #48 (March 1966) Galan of Taa was an explorer of the universe that existed before the Big Bang - when the universe collapsed during the Big Crunch, he merged with the Sentience of the Universe, and was reborn in this universe with an insatiable hunger - he consumes an entire planet, Archeopia Creates a herald, the Fallen One, who rebels against him - his next herald was Norrin Radd of Zenn-La, who becomes the Silver Surfer When the Surfer approaches Earth to warn the planet of the coming of Galactus, the Fantastic Four lead the defense, and are able to repel him with the Ultimate Nullifier - Mr. Fantastic later sends him the Negative Zone to eat uninhabited planets Secret Wars - he attempts to consume Battleworld to get the Beyonder to remove his hunger, but he is foiled by Dr. Doom Gets turned into a star by his own consuming machines - this releases Abraxas, who creates so much destruction and chaos Franklin & Valeria Richards are forced to revive him to help them defeat Abraxas Attempts to feed on the Infinity Gems, but that releases another destructive being Heads to Asgard to find an item to satiate his hunger - Odin agrees to let him have it once Asgard is no more Forced into his incubator by the Ultimates, and emerges as a Lifebringer instead of a devourer - this throws off the cosmic balance, and several celestial beings attempt to return him to his former state To help defeat Hank Pym/Ultron, Galactus consumes a world overrun by Ultron drones - this revives his hunger, and the Surfer returns as his herald to help him find uninhabited planets Drained by Thor and turned into a bomb to destroy the Black Winter, a being that consumes entire universes Issues (6:26) Galactus. The Devourer of Worlds. The Harbinger of Civilization's End. And...an eco-friendly sustainable farmer? It would normally be hard to fathom the inner workings of the mind of someone who is quite literally the actual sentience of the universe that existed before ours. Fortunately, Galactus helps us out quite a bit by being more than a little chatty about himself and his motivations with the lesser beings he encounters in his travels. A few of his issues have stayed very consistent over the decades: 1) A very complicated and often unhealthy relationship with his food, and his eating in general. Galactus does not enjoy the act of devouring worlds. It has never been an act that brings him pleasure. He simply has to do it in order to survive. Prior to becoming the Lifebringer, he displayed several tendencies that might be thought of as eating disorders in someone who was not a cosmic entity. In Secret Wars, he declares to the Beyonder that his fondest wish is to not have his constant hunger anymore, to be free of the need to eat. On several occasions, it's been made clear that he often starves himself as long as it's possible for him to stand it in between his meals. When confronted by beings and civilizations who don't want to be destroyed and who beg him to find another planet to consume, his constant refrain is that there's simply no more time to do that; he has to eat this planet right now or he's going to die. 2) Guilt and the constant struggle to suppress it. One of Galactus' standby replies to anyone who questions the ethics of his consuming inhabited worlds filled with intelligent beings is that if their very survival depended upon stepping on an ant hill, they wouldn't hesitate. Galactus sets himself above and beyond the reproach or judgment of anyone who is not a cosmic entity. In both his role as the Devourer of Worlds and as the Lifebringer, he fulfills a cosmic purpose as the universe's sustainable farmer, weeding out the life that has passed its apex and the civilizations not strong enough to mount a resistance to him, knowing that he will one day put all of the cosmic life energy he consumes back out into the universe, seeding dead worlds with the beginnings of life to start all over again. And yet, despite that, he was once a mortal, and he does have a conscience. He goes through periods where he tries to limit himself to uninhabited worlds, or worlds without intelligent life, but it's the equivalent of a liquid diet for him; it just doesn't provide the same nourishment. In the famous Fantastic Four #257, he has to have a sit-down with Mistress Death when he basically decides to starve himself completely over the sadness of all the life he's taken, and begs Death to kill him. Most of the time, he just does his best to not think about it, the way most of us try not to think too much about how the food on our table doesn't just magically appear at the grocery store. (17:23) 3) Trouble finding, hiring and keeping good help. Galactus is so much better off when he has a herald in his service finding worlds for him to eat. But he's had a really bad run of luck with them. He had such a bad experience with the Fallen One that he didn't create another one for eons before the Silver Surfer, who managed to break through the blocks Galactus put on his morality enough to rebel. He really liked Airwalker, but Airwalker liked him back enough to sacrifice himself to save him. Firelord he never even really got to know before dismissing him. Finally he decided what he really needed was a sadistic killer who enjoyed destroying inhabited worlds. Predictably, Terrax tried to kill Galactus and take his place. Frankie Raye just wouldn't budge on the whole "no inhabited worlds" rule. Morg was way too good at the job, lined up worlds for Galactus to eat faster than he could eat them. Then he tried two heralds at once for a while, that didn't work out. The man just really doesn't seem to know what it is he really wants from an employee, which seems to be why he keeps finding incompatible candidates for the job. (24:55) Break (35:06) Plugs for SNEScapades, Last Sons of Krypton, and Jordan Blum Treatment (36:09) In-universe -  Out of universe - Focus on addressing eating disorder and general health (38:04) Skit (44:42) Hello Galactus, I’m Dr. Issues. - GREETINGS DOCTOR. When Adam Warlock said I’d be doing work for cosmic beings I wasn’t quite expecting this. - YOU HAVE BEEN APPROVED BY BEINGS OF POWER BEYOND COMPREHENSION. THIS CARRIES WITH IT INCREDIBLE RESPONSIBILITY. Seems like I’ve heard that before… - THE HERO CALLED SPIDER-MAN HAS MADE IT SOMEWHAT OF A MANTRA. So how can I help you? - I KNOW YOUR SPECIALITY IS MENTAL HEALTH, BUT YOU ARE EXPERIENCED IN PHYSIOLOGY, ARE YOU NOT? I am a psychiatrist, so I have knowledge of human biology. Having said that, I’m not really sure how that would apply to a celestial being of phenomenal power. I don’t think there’s even a remote chance of analogous internal systems. - I AM LESS CONCERNED WITH THE BIOLOGY AND MORE FOCUSED ON THE MENTAL CONNECTIONS TO THE PHYSICAL FORM. Alright, I can’t believe I’m asking this, but what can I do to help you? - I NEED TO GO ON A DIET. Umm… excuse me? - I MUST FIND A WAY TO SATIATE MY ETERNAL HUNGER FOR THE SAKE OF SENTIENT BEINGS. Oh boy… so, I appreciate you seeking my input, but I DON’T KNOW HOW TO HELP YOU HERE. - YOU CAN PROVIDE ME WITH SUGGESTIONS TO CREATE MENTAL BLOCKS TO ABATE THE COMPULSIONS ASSOCIATED WITH THE HUNGER. That’s… I… that is not even close to what I am trained in. Much as I would love to help you, I don’t even have the first inkling where to start. - MIGHT YOU HAVE AN ASSOCIATE WHO IS TRAINED IN SUCH MATTERS? Sorry, I don’t know there’s much of a call for “cosmic dieticians”. - PERHAPS YOU KNOW OF SOME FREE-RANGE OPTIONS? How would that even work? - A PLANET OF SENTIENT BEINGS WHO DESIRE TO ASCEND TO A HIGHER PLANE, ALL OF WHOM HAVE THE FREEDOM TO STAY OR LEAVE. I HAVE NOT FIGURED OUT ALL OF THE LOGISTICS YET, I WAS HOPING FOR YOUR INPUT. I’m sorry, I…wait, have you seen the commercials for that medication that wasn’t originally designed for weight gain, but people started taking anyway? -THE IMPACT OF A MINISCULE SPHEROID WOULD NOT SATIATE SUCH A STATE No, but the premise is similar to what I’m thinking. You need a new setpoint. Change the order of what you eat and when, then maybe some sort of suppressor, and…hmmm…how does one do bariatric surgery on a cosmic scale? - MY PHYSICAL FORM HAS NO KNOWN CONSTANTS. I AM WHATEVER FORM IS COMPREHENSIBLE TO THE SPECIES VIEWING ME. Then we’re going to need an endoscopy tube the size of a space station. Route the last veins of our coal mines to neutralize your digestion from the start. If we combine that with the theoretical particles generated from a Hadron collider, we could force a controllable black hole inside you that would just as easily pass out what you eat. - AND WHAT WOULD EXIT THIS TUBE? WHAT MANNER OF ENERGY OR MATTER IS CREATED FROM THIS EXPERIMENT? I’m not a physicist, but I think it could reset whatever goes through back to the original point of its existence…like, before the big bang or whatever, I’unno -YOU ARE WILLING TO TAKE A CHANCE ON EXISTENCE AS WE KNOW IT JUST TO RECREATE IT FROM MY HUNGER? Well, when you put it like that…*snaps fingers* or, orrrr…after you eat, and there's this new hole…can you eat that? -EAT…MYSELF? THE HOLE?  I mean…what if you came out on the other end? What would you be like? - YOU ARE ATTEMPTING TO NAVIGATE CONCEPTS FAR BEYOND THE PRECEPTS OF YOUR MORTAL BRAIN. TAKE CARE, DOCTOR, THAT YOU DO NOT FORCE YOURSELF INTO A STATE FROM WHICH YOU CANNOT RECOVER. OR DO SO. EITHER WAY, GALACTUS WILL PERSIST. Would you, though? How do we know you wouldn’t become an infinite digestive loop feeding on itself for eternity, without the need for more outside worlds? You gain a steady state, nobody else gets devoured…fair trade. - YOUR MORALITY OPERATES ON A SCALE INFINITESIMAL TO ONE SUCH AS GALACTUS. THESE CONCERNS ARE AS IMPORTANT TO ME AS THOSE OF AN ANT ARE TO YOU. THERE ARE FAR GREATER UNIVERSAL THREATS AT RISK IF THE COSMIC BALANCE IS DESTABILIZED. BEFORE SUCH AN EXPERIMENT PROCEEDS, I MUST PONDER THE EFFECTS ON THE UNIVERSAL SCALE. I WILL CONSULT WITH THE LIVING TRIBUNAL, ETERNITY, AND THE COSMIC COUNCIL. And eat rocky planets for fiber…but not Uranus, because it’s too gassy. -THIS IS TRUE. ALTHOUGH THIS ENCOUNTER IS NOT WHAT I EXPECTED, YOU HAVE ENHANCED THE POSSIBLE FUTURES OF ALL THAT WILL EVER BE. THIS WILL NOT BE FORGOTTEN.  Ending (50:43) Recommended reading: Galactus Trilogy Next episodes: Nova (Richard Rider), Miguel O’Hara Plugs for social & GonnaGeek Network References: Steve Harvey “One Man” - Doc (30:04) Transcript Apple Podcasts: here Google Play: here Stitcher: here TuneIn: here iHeartRadio: here Twitter Facebook TikTok  Patreon TeePublic Discord
54:30 5/17/23
Issue 176 - Sam Alexander (Nova)
We continue Cosmic May with a look at the newest member of the Nova Corps, Sam Alexander! How does Sam stack up against other heroes, and his own expectations? Intro Last call for PuchiCon Hiatus coming up in June Background (7:05) Sam Alexander created by Jeph Loeb and Ed McGuinness in Marvel Point One #1 (Nov 2011) Character named after Jeph’s son Sam who died of cancer when he was 17 Sam Alexander lives in a small Arizona town with his little sister, mother, and father Jesse, who works as a janitor at Sam’s school, and is always drunkenly telling stories about how he was a member of the Nova Corps One night Jesse disappears, and then Sam is visited by Gamora & Rocket Raccoon, who give him Jesse’s helmet and tell him he’s the only Nova Corps member left in the galaxy - after the initial surprise, he encounters and heavily damages a Chitauri invasion fleet heading towards Earth, and upon his return gets trained by Gamora & Rocket Joins the Avengers briefly during AvX, and then allies with Speedball & Justice for a new iteration of the New Warriors Utatu eventually revealed that Jesse was alive, sending Sam into a state of elation Discovers Jesse serving as a Chitauri slave, and brings him home - only to later discover that it was a clone made by the Chitauri to get close to Sam, kill him, and get the helmet - the truth sends Sam into a depressive state Joins the Champions after Civil War II, as he Kamala and Miles are dissatisfied with the Avengers and their actions He encounters a returned Richard Rider, who mentors him for a spell After the Champions capture a major villain, Sam’s helmet is confiscated because the kids went rogue in their efforts - this once again spirals him into depression, although he later gets it back Issues - Theme is looking for love in all the wrong places (9:40) Always looking for a father figure Ruby - stopped “hero-worshiping” his dad - that moment when kids realize their parents are only human and just as flawed as they are (17:38) Usually feels he’s the odd man out on any team, whether the Avengers, Champions, or Nova Corps (25:56) Break (33:50) Plugs for Not If I Reboot You First, Geek Peak, and Howard Mackie Treatment (35:28) In-universe - Have Sam work on things without the helmet Out of universe - (38:07) Skit (42:25) DOC: Hello Sam, I’m Dr. Issues.  SAM: Hey. DOC: Thanks for taking the time to meet with me, I know you’re very busy. SAM: Yeah, well not like I had much say in the matter. DOC: I understand this isn’t easy for you.  SAM: I don’t know why Kamala is being such a hardass about all this. She said I couldn’t have the helmet back until I talked to you. DOC: Let’s not focus so much on how we got here, and start talking about what we can accomplish while we’re here.  SAM: *mutters*Yeah, I could go get the Ultimate Nullifier from the moon dude and end this- DOC: What was that?  SAM: Ugh, nevermind. I’m just sick and tired of always losing this helmet, having it taken away from me, or whatever. It’s like… no one gets it. DOC: Then explain it to me.  SAM: What difference would it make? DOC: Seems to me it would make all the difference in the world. The helmet sounds pretty special to you. Would it help you feel better to have me understand it?  SAM: I dunno, maybe? DOC: There’s your answer, then.  SAM: Can you help me get it back? DOC: You said Kamala won’t give it back until you talk to me, right? So, talk to me. SAM: Fine. So, this helmet… it was my dad’s. He wasn’t always the best dad growing up, and he told me all these stories about how he was in the Nova Corps and he fought all these amazing battles in space and saved people all the time. I never believed him. And then one day he disappeared without a trace, but he left the helmet to me. Well, he left it to a talking raccoon and a green assassin lady, but he told them to give it to me. And it gives me all kinds of awesome powers. I can fly, I can fire energy blasts, I’m super strong. That helmet made me the only Nova Corpsman left. Well, at least until Rich came back. And it made me an Avenger, a Champion. It’s helped me save the planet, the universe, other worlds. Yeah, it’s brought me some trouble, but it also helped me protect my family more times than I can count. And it’s helping me search for my dad, because he’s alive somewhere out there, and I’m gonna find him one day, no matter what it takes. So this helmet… it’s a huge part of me, it’s who I am. And every time I don’t have it, I feel like… like I’m losing a part of myself. Like I always have to keep fighting to keep my identity.  DOC: I see. SAM: And I wish I could make other people see how much it means to me. DOC: Have you told them that? SAM: Yeah, lots of times. DOC: What kind of reaction do you get? SAM: People roll their eyes, or they laugh and say stuff like “you need to be a hero without the helmet” or crap like that. And it’s like, obviously I can’t fly through space without the helmet, so yeah it makes a difference. I’m not, like, Thor or somebody. Doesn’t make me less of a hero. DOC: I understand.  SAM: Do you really…REALLY? *sarcasm* you’ve traveled to other worlds and saved people? DOC: No…I’ve listened to hundreds, maybe thousands of people place part or all of their identity into one facet of their life and whenever it’s not there, they try to compensate by recreating that part of themselves in other areas where it just won’t fit. SAM: Oh. OK. That… kinda sounds a little accurate… DOC: Then when you try to loop in the ones that you think would understand, they’re dismissive because they already have their own defense mechanisms and don’t necessarily want to open up that can of worms talking to you about it. SAM: Uh…yeah…I guess that’s right DOC: And at least there’s someone that can show you how to do things right…if you’re lucky, but then they probably don’t want to stick around for all of the things going on in your head, and THEY bounce, so you feel like you're back to square one again! SAM: I mean, sometimes that’s true, like with Rich. Who am I compared to that guy? But he knows what he’s doing, not that I don’t but, come on, man! And there’s one thing you probably can’t relate to still, because nobody really does. DOC: That being… SAM: *pause, deep breath* Can I ask you for an opinion? DOC: My degree and my session timer say yes. SAM: Ok…ok…a lot of times, I mention my dad, and that’s when people shut me out. I don’t know why. I think it’s because they think I’m being a moron or too soft. Is that it? DOC: *pause* I doubt it. SAM: Why’d you hesitate? DOC: Because I don’t know. I don’t know all of the people you interact with. But I will tell you this. In general, people don’t think about you nearly as much as you think they do, unless you are directly bringing things up about yourself. Then the switch goes on and they have to use their mental bandwidth in a way that they didn’t expect. I have to pause, and it’s my job. Imagine what that’s like for a layperson…even a superpowered layperson. SAM: Huh. That’s deep. DOC: It can go deeper. I don’t think that’s your real question. SAM: I don’t understand. DOC: You didn’t get this far to say all of this stuff to me just for the helmet. Your dad question is right street, wrong block. SAM: So I’m in the neighborhood? DOC: I…guess…thank you for explaining the metaphor. Anyway, my point is, I think you're having some conviction issues about the search for your father. SAM: It’s not that I don’t believe he’s out there. It’s just… I had thought the search was over. I brought him home. And he turned out to be a clone. That… that broke me. Because it was like losing him a second time. So now I’m back at square one. DOC: Now that, I won’t pretend to understand. That type of grief doesn’t vanish. Just so you know, there’s no right answer. If you want to actively search, maybe take a set amount of time when you can, it makes sense. If you want to put it on the back burner, and focus on other things while you heal, that works too. Either way, we can work out a plan. SAM: Does that plan involve me getting my helmet back? DOC: *sigh* Well since you have to function at a high level I guess I have some pull to say you should have the helmet. But I’m not going to fight anyone who takes it away from you. Work out your own relationships, ok? SAM: Sooooo…I DO get the helmet back? DOC: Yes. Fine. But my point is if Kamala says no -  SAM: *ignoring the last part* I get my hellllllmet, I get my helllllllmet…SWEET! Ending (50:05) Recommended reading: First Nova series (Loeb/Wells), Champions  Next episodes: Galactus, Nova (Richard Rider), Miguel O’Hara (Spider-Man 2099) Plugs for social & GonnaGeek Network References: Eddie Murphy Buckwheat - Anthony (9:42) PKJ Interview - Anthony (24:53) Apple Podcasts: here Google Play: here Stitcher: here TuneIn: here iHeartRadio: here Twitter Facebook TikTok  Patreon TeePublic Discord
53:43 5/10/23
Issue 175 - Adam Warlock
It's our 175th episode, and just before Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 drops we cover Space Jesus HIMself, Adam Warlock!  Issue 175 - Adam Warlock Intro GotG v3 comes out Friday Reminder of PuchiCon panel  Background (3:08) Adam Warlock created by Stan Lee & Jack Kirby in Fantastic Four #66-67 (Sept.-Oct. 1967) Originally named Him, he was a genetically engineered human who rebelled against his creators, the Enclave High Evolutionary names him Warlock and gives him the Soul Gem, and a group of teenagers he encounters call him Adam He encounters the Universal Church of Truth, run by Magus - he learns Magus is an alternate version of himself from the future, so he kills another future version of himself to prevent the Magus from existing During these adventures, he allies himself with Gamora, Pip the Troll, and even Thanos at one point - after Thanos turns on them with the Infinity Gems, Adam is captured inside the Soul Gem, but temporarily escapes to defeat Thanos Infinity Gauntlet - Adam and other Marvel heroes band together to defeat Thanos, and Adam ends up with the Gauntlet - charged by the Living Tribunal to separate the stones, he gives one each to Gamora, Pip, Drax, Moondragon, and a reformed Thanos Before he gave up the gauntlet, he separated his good and evil sides, creating the Goddess and the Magus, which triggers Infinity War and Infinity Crusade Later joins the new version of the Guardians of the Galaxy following Annihilation: Conquest He becomes Magus once again, but is killed and resurrected The new reincarnated Warlock is sought out by Annihilus to power a reality-destroying weapon, which succeeds - Warlock’s essence appeals to the One-Above-All, who recreates the world and restores things to where they were Decapitated by Gamora, who was on the hunt for the Infinity Gems to reclaim a portion of herself lost inside the Soul Gem - resurrected yet again, and after reality was restored he gave the Gems sentience and sent them off to fend for themselves, meaning he no longer controls the Soul Gem Issues (Theme is the Uncanny Valley of Human Perfection) (9:11) Genetically created to be the perfect human - he is among them but not of them Purges self of emotion, which creates the Magus and the Goddess (17:13) Worshiped by Universal Church of Truth, which he discovered is run by Magus (21:30) Break (33:52) Plugs for Bedknobs & Broomflicks, Ignorance was Bliss, and Meredith Finch Treatment (35:06) In-universe - Ponder idea of who God prays to in order to find alternative options Out of universe - Patients who focus on the world writ large instead of their own personal issues (38:43) Skit (42:15) Hello Adam, I’m Dr. Issues. - Good day, Doctor. So what can I do for you today? -You are a mental health professional, correct? Yes. -Good. Then analyze my thoughts. Um…okay. -*starts abruptly* I often give strong consideration to how the universe could be a better place. There are so many things that trouble me. I try to create safeguards so nothing gets out of hand, but that doesn't work in a vacuum. I can’t imagine it would. So -*interrupting* Indeed. I figured delegating to others would limit any consolidation of power, but it just made the subsequent problems unpredictable. Perhaps you should take a more active role then -But when I do that I get accused of being too heavy handed. Heavy is the head that wears the crown -*deadpan* No I meant heavy handed because it was a gauntlet.Anyway, where was I? Oh, right the whole destruction of existence as we know it. I ponder how to best manage the combination of allies and enemies without angering too many people at once. So far I have yet to determine the exact balance to make everyone happy. If failure is the mother of success, then I have spawned innumerable children.  It sounds like you have plenty of experience. What have you learned along the way? -To avoid yes men. You seem like the type of person to intentionally make people uncomfortable for your own amusement, so I figured you could prevent me from aligning with sycophants.  I…I…thaaanks? I don’t quite know what to make of that.-I’m sure you’ll understand more as you learn more about me. Or you’ll go insane yourself from dealing with the power of the cosmos for too long if I stick around. Either way, you’ll be serving a good purpose. Were you available to an earlier me at another time, you may have been considered for a spot on the Infinity Watch. I’m not sure this is practical…for you, or for me. I’m not as philosophical as you may think. At least, not on a regular basis. -Who’s being philosophical? I’m war room planning with you. That sounds grandiose. -No, it’s not. I still have a fragment of the vision stone. If you wish to understand further, I’ll show you. *insert whatever sound effects* *pause* Nothing in my training or experience will EVER prepare me for the type of stuff that patients like you put me through.  What is my role in all of this…madness? Death? Destruction? Is this predicting -No, this is what’s happening somewhere at sometime and I’m trying to gather my thoughts so the damage is limited.  I get it, I get it. No offense…or take offense, I don’t care…Why are you on my couch when you could, oh I don’t know…DO ANYTHING TO END THIS? -Your frustration is noted. But you may be familiar with “measure twice, cut once” Then measure quicker. -Well, I have the idea that if I segment my focus on *Interrupting* STOP. No more segregating, or delegating, or pondering, or calculating, or plotting, or scheming, or idealizing. Do it yourself. It doesn’t have to be perfect. People will get hurt, perhaps on a massive scale. But for someone so idealistic about what the perfect answer should be, you let it all get in the way of imperfect action that can be improved upon later. -Your dramatic presentation is overstated, but appreciated. But be forewarned, anything I do beyond this session will have dire consequences *simultaneously as last word* Consequences on the universe as we know it yadda yadda yadda. If I blink out of existence I’m sure you or one of your compatriots will find some way to reset everything…and even if they don’t I wouldn’t be around to know about it anyway. How can I be more comfortable about this stuff than you are? -Your reputation as flippant precedes you… It’s uncommon for me to encounter someone that gets lost in the weeds more than I do. You manage to lose yourself in it. -I don’t agree with that. I know for a fact that without my intervention, none of us would exist. If I don’t take care, the next time that happens I won’t be able to do it again. Are you even listening to yourself? How am I supposed to help you if you’re mixing a predetermined outcome with a nihilistic future unless we thread the needle? I’m not exactly the best sounding board for that kind of stuff because I’m too optimistic of a pessimist….great, now I’m not making sense. -Don’t fret. If you learn to channel your inner existential god then you’ll be just fine. *totally snaps* That’s it. I’m done. I’ve had it. You’re too heady for me. I’ve dealt with immortal beings, unstoppable monsters, ageless domineering psychopaths…you sir, are beyond what I can comprehend. I’m just going to sit back, take some deep breaths, and watch as all of existence unfolds in the time it takes for you to explain how I’m supposed to help you in just one session. -Are you done? Yes. -Good. Then in your incessant whining I did manage to formulate a proposal to the living tribunal about the value of your practice on a galactic level. *pause* come again? -Your honesty and humility in the face of overwhelming odds are still an asset whether you accept them or not. I’m no fool. You know of my rivals, I’m sure of it, even if you can’t divulge such wisdom…and as you said, you persevered. Don't think that this session is the end…it is just the beginning. Any diagnosis you have for me, will likely be different than what you would have for…others like me. *exasperated* Are you trying to tell me that I just got roped into some sort of…Infinity Clinic?! -If that suits your tastes. From what I understand, you will be made invulnerable during said sessions, so you don’t have to concern yourself with retribution. But it only lasts for the session itself, and is at the whims of He who is above all.  I guess I can’t say no to that, huh? - No. Then…I guess good luck with saving everyone again and make sure to bring your journal with you so I can understand whatever it is that happens. I just wish I were less professional so I could bring some popcorn. - If you like I can will some to appear for y- No, no, no need. Let’s just… keep it above board. - As you wish. Ending Recommended reading: Warlock & the Infinity Watch, Infinity Gauntlet Next episodes: Sam Alexander, Galactus, Richard Rider Plugs for social & GonnaGeek Network References: Thanos episode - Anthony (6:44) “What’s My Age Again?” by Blink-182 - Anthony (22:41) Apple Podcasts: here Google Play: here Stitcher: here TuneIn: here iHeartRadio: here Twitter Facebook TikTok  Patreon TeePublic Discord  
54:27 5/3/23
Creators on the Couch - The Dog Knight (Jeremy Whitley & Bre Indigo)
Anthony goes solo to interview the creators of the upcoming YA graphic novel The Dog Knight, Jeremy Whitley & Bre Indigo! Intro Background Welcome back Jeremy What have you been up to since last we spoke? Welcome Bre Indigo Books you’ve worked on The Dog Knight Impetus for story How was Bre brought in as artist? (14:35) Importance of queer/non-binary representation these days (16:02) Making a book you knew would be challenged/banned (22:30) Appreciate the respecting of boundaries in this book, both physical & emotional (29:54) Frankie - (47:20) Difficult enough being a teenager and trying to fit in, non-binary on top of that, and now they’re a hero Pawtheon (52:12) Did you come up with the breeds first and virtues second, or was it done together? Ending (43:13) More stories in this universe? (57:00) Next episodes: Adam Warlock, Sam Alexander, Galactus Plugs for social Pre-order The Dog Knight now! GonnaGeek Network Apple Podcasts: here Google Play: here Stitcher: here TuneIn: here iHeartRadio: here Twitter Facebook Patreon TeePublic Discord
66:04 4/26/23
Creators on the Couch - Grandma Chainsaw 2
Anthony goes on a long tangent about voices of characters in Mike Judge projects. Oh, and we talk to Allen Dunford about Grandma Chainsaw 2, for at least a little while… Intro Background Who is Allen (in case you missed the first 5 times he’s been on) (2:30) Chapter 2 How real is the Dead Squad to you (14:10) Kickstarter live (19:30) Kickstarter bonuses (20:20) Dead Squad shirt (25:10) Horus in Hell (26:00) The Skinner (28:37) Upcoming projects (35:08) Ending (41:10) Kickstarter Substack newsletter Next episodes: The Dog Knight interview, Adam Warlock, Marvel Cosmic TBD Plugs for social References: First five appearances First Second Third Fourth Five Office Space - Anthony (5:00) Boomhauer - Anthony (6:20) Scott Tenorman - Anthony (37:20) Tales from the Crypt - Doc (37:40) GonnaGeek Network Apple Podcasts: here Google Play: here Stitcher: here TuneIn: here iHeartRadio: here Twitter Facebook Patreon TeePublic Discord
47:06 4/19/23
Issue 174 - Jonah Hex
We travel back to the Old West to examine JONAH HEX! Is this scarred gunslinger really as fearsome as he looks? Listen in to find out!  Issue 174 - Jonah Hex Intro PuchiCon appearance May 14th  Background (4:50) Jonah Hex created by John Albano and Tony DeZuinga in All-Star Western #10 (Feb-Mar 1972) Jonah Hex is born in 1838 to an alcoholic father who sold him at age 13 to Apaches as a slave He is betrayed by his adopted brother in the tribe and left to die - years later when he returns to the tribe, he reveals the betrayal - he is forced to battle his brother and kills him, and in response the chieftain scarred his face with a heated tomahawk and exiled him once again He then went off to serve as a bounty hunter Most of his stories stay in his own time period, but he has been brought forward in time a few times Lords of Time compile a team to battle the Justice League & Justice Society, including Jonah He was also incorporated into Crisis on Infinite Earths At one point, he gets kidnapped and brought to post-apocalyptic 21st century Seattle to fight for the man who kidnapped him, but he escaped and continued to rove the country looking for a way to return home Had several relationships with various women, including at least two marriages - the first one to Mei Ling ended when she became pregnant and ran off with the child, Jason, who wasn’t in Jonah’s life until he was an adult Second marriage was to a Native American woman named Tall Bird, later in his life - after he was killed by a man who survived a bounty hit, his corpse was sold and put on display several times until Tall Bird acquired it and gave him a proper burial Issues - Theme is walking to the beat of your own broken drum (8:20) Abused by alcoholic father Betrayed by adopted brother in tribe (13:10) Didn’t really know Jason until he was an adult, and then Jonah wanted nothing to do with him (23:04) Break (30:50) Plugs for Scotch n Sports, Play Comics, and Cullen Bunn Treatment (32:26) In-universe - Pretend to be captured and take the opportunity to speak with him Out of universe -  Skit (40:06) Hello Jonah, I’m Dr. Issues. - Doc. I understand this can all be a bit overwhelming, so please feel free to say as much or as little as you need. - Yer right, s’a lot to take in, but I’ve been in bigger scrapes n’ this, I can get by. If you don’t mind my asking, how did you end up in this time anyway? - Truth told, I can’t recall. I’d just got done beatin’ the hell outta some horse’s ass come to town to cause trouble, went to a saloon to drink away the pain. Musta passed out, an’ when I woke up I was in a field. Took a walk to ask someone what happened, an’ come to find out I was in the future. Lucky for us, ain’t the first time I been in this now, but I ain’t never been in this HERE in this now. Best I can figure, someone either wants me here to fix somethin’, or they DON’T want me where I was so they can ruin it. Either way, I aim to find out what it is an’ go back home. That’s… an incredible story. - Pfft, Doc, if’n you knew half o’ the things I seen an’ done, you’d turn whiter n’ a preacher’s collar. An’ for you that’d be quite a feat. How vivid…*shudder* That’s not something I think I can help you with. Any hints about what you’re men to do? -Nope. Usually if it’s important whoever needs to get to me does it quick. These time folks ain’t about wastin’ it. But what about wasting yours? -Whaddaya mean? I mean, your time is as valuable to you as mine is to me. All of this jumping around and fighting for…for what? - I don’t get too attached to that.  But do you have…um…fun? Relaxation? -*laughs* Fun? Man, you ever get yer jaw rattled before, right on the scar that can’t bleed but still hurts like hell? I’ve been punched, yeah, but not…where are you going with this? - I’m sayin’ that folks in my line of work don’t get cushy jobs, ain’t no vacation. If I get a night, or a woman…well, as you folks say work hard, play harder. Still quite the visualist. Um…how about lasting relationships? -I’ve had boots that can last me a lifetime. That’s about it. Family? -*pauses* Next question But -*interrupts* NEXT. QUESTION. Alright, Alright! Sheesh. Clearly a source of pain. Is that what gets you the most? -What gets me the most is nosey people trying to be cute and asking a question in a different way. Sharp man -Bout as sharp as this huntin’ knife I always have handy. Wanna see?  *Gulp* I didn’t mean to -*changing tone* Naw man, I mean you want to look at this craftsmanship here? The serration is perfect. Easy to release the flesh on contact. Not as good as my usual blade, but better for survival stuff since I don’t have to fight right now. Skinnin’ carcasses for pelts. **Plus it scares the shit outta most folks lookin’ to start trouble.** Whoa, your whole demeanor changed. You're…engaged? -What? I’ll never settle down like that, not agin’.  No, I mean you’re showing interest in something and want me to listen. I didn’t expect that. -Well what the hell am I here for? I thought doctors like you listen to people. Now I wanna talk about this, and you wanna talk about my family. Just listen would ya? I don’t get to ever do this unless I gotta save someone’s hide. You…you lonely man. -*Yelling* STOP GETTING SOFT YA HEAR? Yes Sir! -Now if you want, I can set up some sort of training for you, because it’s obvious you’re no survivalist. If I gotta be stuck here until I get home, you need to be useful. Is this your way of bonding? -*Oblivious* Well I usually don’t have glue, so I just keep extra rope in my saddle bag. Comes in handy to keep bounties in check. But that kind of lesson comes with practice. You’re making this awkward, and we’re running out of time. -Shucks, we’re just getting started. But don’t worry. I’ll figure out a way to get you a decent six-shooter; those new fangled guns just don’t have the same grip. A man’s gotta learn to fend for himself, ya get me son?  Don’t call me…oh wow. I don’t think you realize -*Interrupting, clearly dismissive* Well can’t keep talking like that, gotta find a place to hit the hay. I’ll make my way back to you, I’m sure of it. Just keep listening, I don’t get to be this much of a…sage to just anybody. I’ll listen again, and again, and again. But I can’t fill that void forever. -*flustered groan* Just as long as it’s on the job. Nothing else. Stay safe, ya hear? Ending (44:53) Recommended reading: Jonah Hex v2 (Palmiotti series) Next episodes: Grandma Chainsaw 2, The Dog Knight w/ Jeremy Whitley & Bre Indigo, Adam Warlock Plugs for social & GonnaGeek Network Roseparkradio commented on YT: Let Anthony voice the Penguin in DC Animation NOW! References: Red vs. Blue - Anthony (13:20) Apple Podcasts: here Google Play: here Stitcher: here TuneIn: here iHeartRadio: here Twitter Facebook TikTok  Patreon TeePublic Discord
49:09 4/12/23
Issue 173 - Arcade
Step right up and listen to our episode about the most lethal carnival barker ever, ARCADE! Do Anthony & Doc press their luck and win big prizes, or do they hit a whammy with this assassin? Intro Background (2:02) Arcade created by Chris Claremont and John Byrne in Marvel Team-Up #65 (Jan 1978) Debuted as a hitman trying to kill Spider-Man and Captain Britain (Brian Braddock) in a game-like complex called Murderworld He often reappears regularly, establishing a new Murderworld with the help of various assistants, all of them designed to kill different heroes or pairs of heroes Murderworld is always filled with elaborate traps to extract maximum entertainment out of the killing, but Arcade always leaves his victims a sporting chance to escape - which they overwhelmingly do One of his biggest stories was Avengers Arena, where he kidnapped 16 teen heroes and brought them to an island, forcing them to kill each other until one survives, Battle Royale-style - unlike most previous stories, he does manage to kill several of the heroes Unlike many characters, little is known about Arcade’s background - he claims to have grown up wealthy, but he was cut off by his father, whom he murdered in response Issues (4:48) Arcade. What Kevin McCallister probably would have become had he not grown up to be the Jigsaw Killer instead. The guy whose goofy panache and gimmicky trademarks bely a very dangerous and accomplished assassin. Arcade is one of those characters who's not even remotely a mystery in terms of his issues: Obsession with violence for the sake of entertainment. Think of the amount of work that goes into building the Murderworlds we've seen in the comics. Finding the physical space. Laying the foundation for construction. The blueprints, the design. Building a structure strong enough to withstand the impact of super-powered beings. Meticulously engineering multiple complex mechanical, electrical, computer, and robotics systems that all have to work in tandem with one another. Countless quality assurance tests to make sure everything runs the way he intends them to. And he custom-designs these giant deathtraps for every target. As an assassin, if his objective was just to kill, he could easily just use a ten-cent bullet. The sheer lengths that he goes to in order to carry out his hits are proof positive that it's not about the killing or the money he's being paid to kill for him, he really, really enjoys watching his targets struggle against his machinations, and the entertainment level that the violence and mayhem provide him. Disassociation with his actions. Much like the Jigsaw Killer, Arcade will never build a deathtrap that doesn't allow his victims a sporting chance to escape. Arcade has no philosophical motive towards making his targets appreciate their lives, however; he just doesn't think the game is any fun if the outcome is predetermined in advance. This does tend to cause him to overlook part of his own responsibility in what he's doing. It's not me killing these people. It's Murderworld. It's completely possible for them to win the game I've put them in, they're just not very good at it. (10:36) Inferiority complex. As revealed in the Avengers Arena arc, Arcade has an extremely poor reputation among both the superhero and supervillain community. Although he has a sterling record killing run of the mill targets, he has failed to kill every single superhero he's ever been contracted to assassinate. This causes him to suffer a deep depression when he finds out about it -- at his own birthday party, no less. (15:10) Break (21:55) Plugs for ODPH, Popcorn Psychology, and Chris Claremont Treatment (22:51) In-universe -  Out of universe -  People inured to the concept of violence when they see it on TV or on a computer screen, fans of contact or combat sports who turn themselves off to the pain being endured by the athletes for the sake of their entertainment. As a possible in-universe or out-of-universe way of diverting his talents to something not quite so evil, tell me Arcade -- with his proclivity for presentation, entertainment, and high stakes -- wouldn't make a perfect booker for a professional wrestling company. Skit (39:55) DOC: What? Huh? Where am I? ARCADE: Hello Doctor Issues, welcome to Murderworld! DOC: Who are you? ARCADE: I’m your friendly host, Arcade! You’ll remember your stay here for the rest of your life. Unfortunately for you, that’ll be, oh, about five more minutes! DOC: What? You won’t get away with this! As soon as I call… ARCADE: Call whom? With what? You have no phone, no technology, no nothing. Let’s face it, Doc, you’re lonelier than a pimple-faced teen on prom night. But it’s not all bad news, let me give you the rundown on exactly what’s going to happen. You’ve got exactly five minutes to find the door that leads to your freedom, or this whole place will explode with the force of a hydrogen bomb, sending your atoms back into the oblivion from whence they came. DOC: Why do I have a feeling you’re not exactly being honest with me? ARCADE: What would I have to gain from lying? You find the door, you walk away free. On my honor. DOC: All offense intended, that’s not exactly encouraging. What’s the catch? ARCADE: Fair enough, good sir. Now, if you walk through the door you’re free. GETTING to the door, however… now there, I make no promises. Oh, and your clock starts… now. DOC: *running sounds* OK, I think I see something in this wooded area… WHOA. ARCADE: Ahh, here’s your first test. Sure, there’s a doorway just a few feet away. If only the whole ground, walls, and ceiling wasn’t covered with arthropods, bugs, and more legs than the Rockettes Christmas Spectacular!  DOC: *shudders* Yeesh. ARCADE: Oh that’s right, I forgot, you’re terrified of… DOC: Hup hup haaahh… joke’s on you, I’m not scared of bugs anymore. And I made it through the door with plenty of time to - aww man! ARCADE: Alright, fine, you made it through that one. But here’s your next challenge - public speaking! All you have to do is recite the hippocratic oath in front of this crowd of people and TV cameras! Oh, such a shame I forgot to have a copy printed out for you in advance. Clock’s ticking and all that. Welp, I guess you’ll have to- DOC: *speedily* I do solemnly swear, by that which I hold most sacred, that I will be loyal to the profession of medicine, and just and generous to its members. I will lead my life and practice my art in uprightness and honor. And unto whoever house I enter, it shall be for the good of the sick to the utmost of my power. Holding myself apart from corruption, from tempting, from vice. I will exercise my art solely for the cure of my patients, and I will perform no operation for criminal purpose, even if solicited… ARCADE: Alright, hurry up and get to the finish so you can just die… DOC: But I didn’t- ARCADE: Bah, you didn’t stumble at all. I’m not worried, though, because there’s no way you’re going to make it through this last trap. Besides, you’ve only got thirty seconds left, and you won’t solve this math- DOC: The limit does not exist. *unlock sound* *door opens* ARCADE: I… I really thought I was going to do it this time. I did my research, found out what you were afraid of. And then the math thing, I mean who can do differential calculus in their head like that? DOC: Haven’t been scared of bugs in years. Public speaking? Dude, I host a podcast. And the math thing… did you do all that just for a Mean Girls reference? ARCADE: I gotta be honest, this wasn’t my best work. I don’t have my usual resources, I put a lot into Bitcoin, and whatever was in cash I had in Silicon Valley Bank. This kinda got slapped together.  DOC: Yeah, I can tell. My question is why? ARCADE: Ever since I knocked off those teens, I was riding high for a while. Then things came crashing down, and I needed another big win. I thought taking out the psychiatrist to the caped community would put me back on top.  DOC: But why do you have to be back on top? Do you realize the level of engineering and coordination it takes to set something up like this? You have an understanding of logistics and detail most people could only dream of. If you stopped trying to focus on killing people and pivoted towards a legitimate business, you could be the best in the field at that. ARCADE: But where’s the challenge? The sport in watching someone try to figure out if they’ll live? The adrenaline rush that you get seeing a person’s head explode like a balloon? Without that, it’s all just blueprints and greenbacks. There’s more to life than money, surely you can appreciate that. DOC: I can, and far be it for me to tell someone not to pursue their passion. But when that passion comes at the expense of creating dangerous and deadly situations for innocent people, that’s where- ARCADE: Oh come off it, Doctor. You can’t possibly believe these caped clowns are innocent? How much collateral damage do they cause on a regular basis? I’m willing to wager that even your office has been impacted by them on more than one occasion. DOC: That’s not the point. That’s no reason to hurt or kill them. ARCADE: I didn’t hear a denial. And anyway, it’s all in the name of entertainment. Do you watch sports? Football? Boxing? MMA? I just take humanity’s innate thirst for blood and guts, and I take it to its logical extremes. We thrill at the idea of someone pounding a man’s skull in until he’s incapable of speech, leaving him functionally brain dead towards the end of his life. But someone giving him the mercy of delivering a killing blow is beyond the pale? Let me ask you - would you rather remember Ali going out gracefully in 1978, or as a pale shell of his former self at the end of his life? DOC: Even if that’s not a horrible analogy, which it absolutely is, you’re ignoring the most important thing: choice. You kidnap these people and force them to kill or survive. That’s not fair at all. ARCADE: It’s not a guarantee that they’ll die. There’s always a sporting chance. Something to keep it interesting. DOC: Interesting for whom? That’s my point.  ARCADE: For me, of course! What difference does it make if it doesn’t interest anyone else? But you know that’s false, too. Have you witnessed bare knuckle brawls, slap fighting, high speed racing? No one is there for competition alone. They all want to see someone’s life changed forever…or ended. DOC: There’s one thing you keep forgetting to mention…choice. Free will. It’s obvious that you want complete control, AND you want violence. That’s a terrible combination. ARCADE: We are made to compete. It’s our nature. And we are destined to die. I make sure these happen at peak performance value. DOC: Then what’s the difference between a game and…*snaps fingers* a game? That’s it! A game! ARCADE: What are you getting at? DOC: Ever seen Wipeout? MXC? Ninja Warrior? Those are voluntary shows with some brutal consequences but people consider them to be in poor taste, not horrific. ARCADE: *slow to understand* And so… DOC: You could outplan all of those contraptions, I’m sure of it! But you’re so stuck on one note that you’ve limited your creativity. It’s death or nothing for you. How dull.  ARCADE: You mean…permanent disfigurement? DOC: *sigh* Broader than that! How about temporary embarrassment? Self doubt leading to self actualization. Impossible mortal feats being made possible to the non-caped community! ARCADE: Well, necromancy is where I draw the line DOC: Ugh…aaaaaanyway, my point is, do you think you could create a course so deviant that no one could solve it, and still not die? ARCADE: *pause* You are an absolute MADMAN, you know that? DOC: I’m sure it would have the backing of several major networks worth billions of dollars to the inventor and producer. ARCADE: *pause* My world is spinning right now. This is all absurd. You don’t put people through trials and torture just to watch them succeed! DOC: Is it really that much worse than putting them through trials to DIE and they STILL succeed? ARCADE: Perhaps not. We’ll have to agree to disagree then. DOC: *pause* wait, that’s all? No extra ranting? No threats to kill me some other way? Just letting me go? ARCADE: I gave my word. You’re not an interesting target anyway. You have no abilities, no talent, and it’s obvious you don’t do much for patients besides giving them guilt trips. DOC: That’s a low blow ARCADE: No hard feelings. Shake on it?  DOC: *clearly wary* You serious right now? ARCADE: Always find ways to be serious when you’re having fun, doctor. DOC: Alright *sound effects of struggle* ARCADE: YOU CHEATER! DOC: *out of breath* I may not know combat techniques, but I learned how to perform a patient takedown! You’re not going anywhere until the proper authorities arrive *sound effect of handcuffs* and it’s not a great idea to leave restraint equipment around even if you don’t think anyone will be alive to use it. ARCADE: This isn’t fair! I demand a do-over! A reset! … Ending Recommended reading:Avengers Arena Next episodes: Jonah Hex, Mister Sinister, Jeremy & Bre interview Plugs for social & GonnaGeek Network References: Tolerance paradox - Anthony (21:18) Motorhead “The Game” - Doc (51:27) Apple Podcasts: here Google Play: here Stitcher: here TuneIn: here iHeartRadio: here Twitter Facebook TikTok  Patreon TeePublic Discord
48:35 4/5/23
Issue 172 - Penguin
Things get chilly as we tackle PENGUIN! How has this businessman managed to survive in Gotham so long? Listen to find out!   Intro Background (4:30) The Penguin, Oswald Cobblepot, created by Bill Finger & Bob Kane in Detective Comics #58 (Dec. 1941) The Penguin was one of Batman’s earliest nemeses – a short, stout man with a long, beaklike nose who dressed in a top hat and monocle He started off as a thief who worked with a bird motif in his robberies, but almost always managed to outsmart Batman & Robin and escape Name was finally revealed as Oswald Cobblepot in The Best of DC #10 (March 1981) – his backstory was that of a bullied child with an overprotective mother who was obsessed with birds, and after she died he entered a life of crime to seek vengeance upon the world that shunned him After repeatedly being beaten by Batman, and further embarrassed by Jean-Paul Valley, he opens a restaurant casino called the Iceberg Lounge, which he uses as a front for criminal activity, and begins operating as a criminal overlord In No Man’s Land, he remains in Gotham after everyone abandons it following the earthquake – his connections make him one of the most powerful people in the city Occasionally serves as an informant to Batman, who keeps a close eye on him – Batman feels the Penguin is a necessary evil, and any power vacuum created by his absence would be worse than he is Issues - Overcompensation (8:12) Ariel – why someone born to wealth would end up as a crime lord Ariel – his bizarre relationship with women (15:28) Semi-Oedipal complex with his mother (24:18) Break (32:58) Plugs for Grief Burrito, Freudian Sips, and Saladin Ahmed Treatment (34:22) In-universe - Use financial planning to help him reconfigure his goals & desires Out of universe - spoiled affluenza-ridden orphan who uses their money to seek revenge on people (39:09) Skit (43:24) Hello Mr. Cobblepot, I’m Dr. Issues – And a good day to you too, sir. Might I interest you in a glass of champagne while we talk? It’s a 1959 Dom Perignon Rose. I don’t drink while I’m working, and I’m not certain you should be drinking during a session either. How did you even get a bottle and glasses past the security? – Oh posh, you needn’t bother yourself with trifling matters such as that. I certainly don’t. Life is so short, so why not enjoy the fine things? Were we not put here to take advantage of all life has to offer? Be that as it may, I’ll pass. I must say, I’m rather surprised at your cavalier attitude, given your… current surroundings. – A temporary snafu, Doctor. Rest assured this will all be taken care of presently. A man of my stature doesn’t stay imprisoned for very long. Now I assume you’re here to provide an overview of my mental health for the DA’s office? Well let me save you the trouble, I’m entirely compos mentis. So you can go ahead and just copy the report from the last time I was here, update the dates, maybe summarize that brief misunderstanding I had with the Bat about how I came to acquire the jewelry, and we’ll both be on our way. Nice try, but I’m afraid it won’t be quite so simple. – Oh but it will be. You see, dear Doctor, there are two sets of rules in this world. There’s one set for people like you – and rest assured that statement has nothing to do with the amount of melanin in your skin – where you remain subject to a dull life filled with repetition and servitude, hoping to rise above your status like Icarus, but inevitably your wings melt and you land with a thud among the common rabble. You spend your entire life trying to escape the box. And then there’s another set of rules for people like me, which is to say there are no rules. I don’t have to envision escaping the box, because for me there never was a box. And yet here you are, quite literally inside a box, while I sit comfortably outside of it. – Again, this is a temporary setback. So since you’re temporarily in the box, let’s talk. You could do anything you wanted with your resources. Why did you choose crime? – I came from a lineage of people accustomed to a particular lifestyle, and my family had plans for me. Unfortunately, those plans were incompatible with my… appearance. My family was not so understanding or appreciative of my unique nature. And after they all befell such horrible tragedies and accidents, it was just me and dear mother. She was so lonely and needed someone to take care of her. So I did what any good son did. I established myself and gave her the lifestyle she deserved. By taking from others who also deserve the same lifestyle? Because you say so? You can see the slippery slope where I’m taking this -Oh but my dear doctor, there is no need for imagination when it comes to that level of speculatory relevance. Look around you! To be frank, neither of us need to worry ourselves with the dregs of society. That’s not what I’m about. That’s why my club still has the highest rating in Travel and Leisure Magazine as I bide my time…legally indisposed. Fascinating. You really do care what people think of you, don’t you. Not your looks; you’re beyond that now. But the glamor of it all. Prestige is your love language. That explains why you don’t care about Gotham. -*pause* I beg your pardon? Well I mean it seems like you’re willing to gut the essence of a major city and pollute it with crime. At least white collar types usually try to coat their disdain with gentrification. -I would do no such thing *Interrupting* Arson, theft, assault, terroristic threats, those are the accusations on your rap sheet. Heck, Al Capone got caught for tax evasion. How is it that unsophisticated thugs can cover their tracks better than you, and you keep up with the facade of a distinguished gentleman? - Careful, Doctor, your tongue is starting to betray the rest of your body. It’d be a shame to have to excise it from your skull. So you don’t like what I have to say. That’s the type of stress any gentleman would encounter in normal interaction. That shouldn’t lead to threats of violence. -The only correction I must make is that it is not a threat. It is a guarantee.  Alright, if that’s the way you’re going to go about it, then there is no point in continuing to talk. -But there is, my dear doctor. You see, I have no intention of ending this discussion without expanding my…sphere of influence. And no, that is not in reference to my physical form. What sort of influence can I add for you? -You know people. Important people. Otherwise, you would not be assigned to evaluate me. But I can leverage that to my advantage. Tell me, Dr. Issues, what your career would look like, if you were named an accomplice to my crimes? *laughs* that’s not possible. -Really now? Even though I have access to my own records and can reverse engineer them to say that you knew about all of them and never reported them? But this is the first time I’ve seen -*interrupting* it doesn’t matter what we SAY, here, doctor, only what is documented. You know that. I’m not privy to share my ways, but let’s just say that, oh right about now, several friends and family will learn of your attempts on their lives, their residences, their places of employment…all because you wanted to be more powerful and wanted my help. *tsk tsk tsk* for shame, a psychiatrist driven mad with power, and my confession with impeccable transcription the only remaining source of legitimate inquiry. I had to stop you of course, because I AM the one who cares for Gotham you see. You…you had all of this planned from the start? -Certainly. Now, I’d be willing to trade. None of those events continue, if you would be so kind as to give me details on Batman and everyone he has come into contact with. Oh, I may still kill you, but at least everyone else is spared and you are made to look like some sort of martyr. Sounds like a bargain to me.  *deep sigh* I’m scared to say no. -Splendid. Now if you could just. *interrupting* Scared, not unwilling. No deal. -Preposterous! *angry* You simpleton! You are truly going to throw away your career and everyone you know just for the sake of righteousness? Absurd. You’re right. I’m way too practical for that. *jet plane and random siren sound effects* Yeah, I think I did the right thing. -What does that mean? It means that the same people you wanted to hurt are the same people that are being protected and rescued by the same people you wanted dirt on -Stop saying “same people!” For someone with alleged intelligence you limit your vocabulary too much.  Not a priority. Plus I know it pisses you off. -*realization* You too had this all planned from the start. Eh, not quite. But someone else did. Take a guess. - YOU DO KNOW HIM. This is too much! You will not play me like a cheap fiddle!  Oh it’s clear you’d be quite expensive and rare. But I’ll admit that we’re not a good fit because I don’t follow the collectibles market. So I’ll sign off of your case for now. You were giving me the cold shoulder anyway. - STOP WITH YOUR PUNS *wenk wenk wenk* Ending (52:07) Recommended reading: Penguin: Pain & Prejudice Next episodes: Arcade, Jonah Hex, Mister Sinister Plugs for social & GonnaGeek Network References: Bane episode - Anthony (5:45) Azrael episode - Anthony (5:48) Veruca Salt - Anthony (14:08) “Money, Power, Respect” by the Lox feat. DMX & Lil’ Kim (NSFW) - Anthony (14:19) “Last Time That I Checc’d” by Nipsey Hussle - Doc (14:38) “I Can’t Make You Love Me” - Bonnie Raitt - Anthony (22:49) Tank’s Version - Doc (23:00) Norman Bates - Anthony (24:30) Apple Podcasts: here Google Play: here Stitcher: here TuneIn: here iHeartRadio: here Twitter Facebook TikTok  Patreon TeePublic Discord  
56:42 3/29/23
Issue 171 - SHAZAM!
A bit late, but we finally bring the thunder down and examine Billy Batson/Captain Marvel/Shazam! And for some reason, Matchbox 20 factors in. It makes sense in context, trust us… Intro Apologies for delay on episode Belated 5th anniversary celebration! Background (2:20) Shazam/Captain Marvel, Billy Batson, created by Bill Parker and CC Beck in Whiz Comics #2 (Feb. 1940) Originally designed as six superheroes, each with the power of a mythical figure, they were combined into one hero as Captain Marvel Billy Batson is a 12 year old orphan who can transform into a superhero called Captain Marvel by speaking the word SHAZAM, an acronym of the six immortal elders/gods who gave him his power: Solomon (wisdom), Hercules (strength), Atlas (stamina), Zeus (power), Achilles (courage), and Mercury (speed) Later issues introduced members of the extended Marvel family, who shared Billy’s powers - Captain Marvel Jr. (Freddy Freeman), Mary Marvel (Billy’s twin sister Mary), and others, as well as his nemeses Black Adam, Doctor Sivana, Mister Mind, and more In the 1940s, Captain Marvel was more popular than Superman, and at one point was selling over a million copies per issue In 1941, the precursor to DC Comics (National Comics) sued Fawcett Comics for copyright infringement, claiming Captain Marvel was too similar to Superman - although losing the initial claim, DC won an appeal, and in 1953 Fawcett settled monetarily with DC, because by this point the Captain Marvel books weren’t selling nearly as well, agreeing to cease publication In 1967 Marvel Comics created their own character named Captain Marvel (Mar-Vell), and secured the trademark In 1972, DC Comics licensed the characters from Fawcett, but was unable to name the book Captain Marvel due to Marvel’s trademark - the characters could retain their names, however, so the new book was called Shazam! The 1970s saw the Marvel family established on Earth-S in the DC multiverse, with occasional crossovers, until Crisis, where they were fully integrated into the streamlined DC New Earth 1994 - The Power of Shazam! retconned his backstory - his parents were archaeologists killed by their associate Theo Adam, who steals a magic scarab - Theo becomes Black Adam, who realizes who Billy is after determining he looks just like his father Played a critical role in Kingdom Come, where he famously squares off against Superman Joined the JSA in the early 2000s to keep Black Adam in check In the New 52, he was officially renamed Shazam, since the book couldn’t be called Captain Marvel anyway, and the Marvel family was renamed the Shazam family - all the children were other foster kids alongside Billy, who retained his youthful nature but was more cynical than previously written New series coming in June written by Mark Waid Issues - more than you think you are (13:02) Shazam picks a child to be the world’s greatest hero - heavy burden on such young shoulders No parents to help him with this burden - so he created his own found family Serves as functional avatar of six gods across various pantheons (23:15) Break (28:44) Plugs for Hops Geek, Frigay the 13th, and Phillip Kennedy Johnson Treatment (30:55) In-universe - sessions with Billy & Shazam, and then compare notes Out of universe - foster kid (36:38) Skit (44:18) DOC: Hello Shazam, I’m Dr. Issues. BILLY: Oh please, just call me Billy. DOC: Hi, Billy! Wassup. Hi five!  BILLY: Ok, you’re trying too hard. DOC: What?  BILLY: I can tell you think I’m cool, but Just call me Billy…and you can put your hand down. DOC: Crash and burn. *muttering* Nice one, doc. *normal voice* So Billy, what can I do for you?  BILLY: Are you the one that writes prescriptions and stuff? I don’t really need that. DOC: Yes…but I don’t tend to write many for kids unless it’s absolutely necessary. Are you having trouble with school?  BILLY: No. DOC: At home?  BILLY: Nope. DOC: With friends?  BILLY: It’s complicated.  DOC: Aha! Now we’re getting somewhere. So what’s going on with your friends?  BILLY: Not much. DOC:*pause* Sooooo…it’s not a problem, really?  BILLY: Not anything you can do about it. DOC:Try me.  BILLY: Can you make them younger? DOC:No.  BILLY: Can you make them understand me? DOC:Ummm…not directly  BILLY: See? Waste of time. DOC:Hold it! I’m not giving up yet.  BILLY: Cool. DOC:*pause, desperate* Uhhhhh…what games do you like?  BILLY: Not any you’d care about. DOC:Whoa dude. I’m used to being shut out but you’re a ninja at cutting people off.  BILLY: It’s a gift, I guess. DOC:Really? What other gifts you got? I don’t get to hang around aliens or gods or any of that stuff, so I know I’m *clearly sarcastic* OUT OF MY LEAGUE HAHAHA BILLY: *pause* What is wrong with you? DOC:*run-on* An intense level of sarcasm that acts as a veneer to cover plenty of deep caring for the world at large even when I want to be left alone. And you?  BILLY: Same. whoa…WHOA…nobody says that. No DOCTOR says that. DOC:No doctor admits it, you mean. I’m probably not supposed to say it like that. But honesty in myself helps me sleep at night even when nothing else goes my way. I try to match the room. If I can’t ,I just shut down.  BILLY: TMI my man. DOC:Is it? I’m filling time. Usually I’ll stay silent for a whole session, but that’s no fun. I’m trying something different. There must be something about you. I don’t open up to just anyone, so you must have some sort of connection even if you don’t admit it. But then again, there’s this theory that  BILLY: *interrupting* Do you ever shut up? DOC:Always. BILLY: *awkward silence* What, you want me to talk now? DOC:You don’t have to.  BILLY: *more awkward silence* So we’re really going to sit here forever until I say something? DOC:No, just until the end of the session….or you do the thing.  BILLY: What thing? DOC:You know the thing.  BILLY: No DOC:Come on, do the thing! Say it! Please?  BILLY: Are you just a fanboy? DOC:Not really. I just wonder if you’re different when you say it. I bet you are  BILLY: No. DOC:I’ll make the session free  BILLY: No DOC:I’ll make the next session free  BILLY: I don’t want another session DOC:I’ll cancel the next session  BILLY: Fine. SHA-wait, I could just no-show the next session DOC:I have a cancellation fee  BILLY: I don’t care! You’re just trying to use me like everyone else. DOC:*hurt* Ouch. Look. I’m bad at jokes like this, and it’s obvious I’m throwing a lot of stuff at the wall to see what sticks. First I tried to treat you like a typical patient, but that was selling you short. Then I tried to relate to you with something that you admit hit you personally, and you didn’t go for it. Then I tried flattery, and you felt insulted. I don’t know what works for you, but this ain’t it. If you want somebody else to see you, fine. But I’m not giving up. Somebody can help if you have things to talk through.  BILLY: Why would you talk to someone that doesn’t want to talk to you? DOC:Have you ever had to deal with somebody that didn’t want to deal with you?  BILLY: Yeah. DOC:And you did it anyway?  BILLY: Yeah. DOC:Why?  BILLY: That’s different. I’m trying to save people. DOC:So am I, in a much different way. I can’t do it the way you do. But I don’t give up on lost causes.  BILLY: You sound like some people I know. DOC:Is that a good thing?  BILLY: Knowing them, yeah. But they keep getting in more and more trouble, and they keep fighting, and then they talk about it all the time. What if I don’t want to do that? What If I want to have fun? Or quit? Or hang out? I want to do what I want. They want me to be like Superman or Batman  DOC:Then find a way to do it with your own style. Who cares if it’s not just like them? Don’t be a copy.  BILLY: Nobody told me that before.  DOC:*sarcastic clapping* Hooray, I did something. Yaaaay. Is there anything else?  BILLY: You’re still strange, you know that?  DOC:Not for copyright purposes  BILLY: What? DOC:Nothing. Now, for giving you one talking point  BILLY: *interrupting* fine SHAZAM! *sound effects* See? No big deal, I’m still Billy.  DOC:*sobbing*  BILLY: Are you crying? DOC:THAT WAS THE GREATEST THING EVER THANK YOU SO MUCH I AM MAKING YOU A FREE PATIENT FOR LIFE OH MY GOD OH MY GOD  BILLY: Most people just ask for an autograph. Ending (50:43) Recommended reading: The Power of Shazam! Next episodes: The Penguin, Arcade, Jonah Hex Plugs for social & GonnaGeek Network Apple Podcasts: here Google Play: here Stitcher: here TuneIn: here iHeartRadio: here Twitter Facebook TikTok  Patreon TeePublic Discord
54:36 3/22/23
Issue 170 - Claire Voyant (Original Black Widow)
We descend to the depths of Hell to talk Satan's Ambassador, the ORIGINAL Black Widow, CLAIRE VOYANT!  Issue 170 - Claire Voyant Intro Mention Quantumania recap episode  Background (2:15) Claire Voyant, the original Black Widow, created by George Kapitan & Harry Sahle in Mystic Comics #4 (August 1940) Not only is she the first Black Widow, decades before Natasha Romanoff, but she is the first costumed female superheroine in comic books Claire Voyant is a spirit who can communicate with the dead She is possessed by Satan to curse a family she is working with, but the husband survives the spell and kills her When she arrives in Hell, she is resurrected by Satan and sent back to Earth with the ability to kill evildoers with a single touch, so he can harvest their souls She also has the ability to fly and generate fire, she is superhumanly strong, and she has various psychic abilities Only makes five appearances between 1940-1943 Brought back in The Twelve by J. Michael Straczynski, alongside 11 other obscure Timely Comics characters Retconned history has her become the Black Widow in 1928 after her sister was murdered by her husband – as she stands over the grave, she wishes for the power to avenge her death, and Satan answers She and the other characters are knocked unconscious and put in suspended animation during WWII – awoken in 2008, she resumes serving Satan, while falling in love with the Phantom Reporter, Dick Jones Issues (8:24) Deal with Devil Distances herself from people because of her abilities Seems to have less difficulty adapting to modern culture, but only because she seeks out specific subgroups (goths) (19:54) Break (29:38) Plugs for Comic Book Keepers, Into the Knight, and Chris Claremont Treatment (31:26) In-universe - Connect her with souls she’s impacted Out of universe (34:20) Skit (feat. Theo Kitsinger as Claire) (39:04) DOC: Hello Claire, I’m Doctor Issues. CLAIRE: Hello Doctor. DOC: I just want to let you know this is a judgment-free zone, and you can feel free to speak your mind. This is a safe space. CLAIRE: I appreciate your intention, Doctor, but unfortunately for me there is no such thing as a safe space. DOC: Oh, I am constantly updating various defenses and technology to help protect- CLAIRE: What I mean is there is nowhere I can go where my dark master cannot find me. No hole I can hide in to avoid him or his call. DOC: Oh, I see. And which dark master is that? CLAIRE: He goes by many names, but I believe you’d recognize the name Satan? DOC: Just so we’re clear, your master is… the literal Devil? CLAIRE: Lucifer, Shaitan, the Fallen Angel, Beelzebub… again, many names. DOC: I see. And you serve him because… CLAIRE: I sold my soul in exchange for the ability to avenge my sister’s killer. As decisions go, it was not my finest moment, but I am beholden nonetheless. DOC: OK. Is he in here with us now…? CLAIRE: Are you an agent of evil? DOC: Certainly hope not. CLAIRE: Then you have nothing to fear. DOC: So says YOU. CLAIRE: If you like, I can enter your mind and assuage your fears in another way. DOC: Thanks, but I don’t care for anyone poking around upstairs. Plus it’d violate patient-client confidentiality in ways I don’t even want to imagine. So let’s just stick to chatting, and I’ll do my best to ignore the presence of the literal devil. CLAIRE: So that’s your solution? Pay no mind to the evil that surrounds us at all times?  DOC: I never said that. Trust me, every day I go to work I’m confronted with the evils humanity is capable of. But one of the benefits of this job is the ability to do something about it, and to help people address some of their… less beneficial tendencies. CLAIRE: Interesting outlook. Do you fancy yourself a superhero? DOC: Goodness no. I simply try my best to be a net positive for good in the world. CLAIRE: Do you have any powers? DOC: I think that’s enough questions about me for now. Let’s refocus the discussion a bit. Do you struggle with having to serve the Devil? CLAIRE: *hesitates* No. DOC: Forgive me for not believing you entirely. CLAIRE: It’s just… I was frozen in time for sixty years. When I awoke, I thought maybe… I would be free of my burden. But it seems that I will have to do this forever. DOC: And, at the risk of sounding cliché, how does that make you feel? CLAIRE: It’s… complicated. I can rid the world of evil. I’ve avenged my sister’s killer, and so many others who would do harm to the innocent. I have powers most would only dream of. My looks will never fade nor tarnish. And still… DOC: You question whether it was worth it. CLAIRE: Every day. DOC: What do you dream about? CLAIRE: I don’t sleep. At least… not in the way normal people do. It’s more of a recharge after using my abilities. DOC: On one hand, I’m tempted to go down the rabbit hole of how your lack of full sleep cycles can destroy you as a functioning person, but you’re probably immortal so…um…I won’t. Forget the literal. What are your wishes? What’s your next goal? CLAIRE: I don’t think I have any. There’s not much room for that sort of thing. The next soul, I guess. DOC: And how do you build your life around that? CLAIRE: I kill them. *awkward pause* Is there supposed to be something else? DOC: *exasperated* ANYTHING else. Does your boss have a quota or something? CLAIRE: He keeps track, but I don’t…not really, I had a gap of decades. DOC: Then there are no excuses. You’re the ultimate freelance worker. Cater your time to your whims. Relationships, hobbies, I don’t care. Experiment. CLAIRE: You can sit there with a straight face and tell a psychic succubus to get a life? DOC: *gulp* Well, I…um… CLAIRE: As if I could randomly find meaning in unimportant human things anymore. What, you’re going to try and be a matchmaker, too? Tinder takes on a whole new meaning around me. DOC: I don’t know about any of that, but is there anyone you’re the least interested in? CLAIRE: No… maybe. It’s complicated. DOC: You don’t want that person to get hurt in the end. CLAIRE: *pause* So it’s not so complicated. Stop shutting down everything I say! DOC: I’m not shutting anything down. You put barriers up the moment you sacrificed everything so long ago. That was a temporary view you decided to make permanent for whatever your reason, and I’m sure it was good at that point. You’re beyond that now, but you're still trying to make everything in the world fit inside some tiny dark space in your mind. I can flip it around so your powerful mind can master what the world can offer. CLAIRE: So you’ll turn me into the greatest supervillain ever… I think my boss already has that title.  DOC: OF COURSE NOT! I’m saying…think Goth Influencer, or Demonic Consultant. You have so much to offer to society besides knocking off the next pedophile or mass murderer or whoever.  CLAIRE: But what if I don’t want that attention? I don’t necessarily want to be publicly known as an agent of Satan. The internal pressure is bad enough. DOC: Then be in the background; just don’t bury your talent because it’s based in darkness instead of light. I don’t have all of the answers, but I refuse to let you wither away like a soulless husk. Plus if I’m honest, you scare me. The patients I’ve had who didn’t try something new, just…well, it wasn’t good. CLAIRE: This whole time, I’ve been studying your mind. Your soul, even. I can’t find a bit of insincerity in anything you say. I find your view to be naive…but I can work with that. DOC: Thanks…? So does this mean you’re not going to send me to your boss? CLAIRE: You’re safe. For the time being, anyway. Thank you Doctor, I look forward to a future discussion.  DOC: Excellent. You can talk to my assistant and schedule your next session. CLAIRE: I think I’ll just come find you if and when that moment arrives. Shall we shake on it? DOC: Y’know what, let’s just wave and call it a day.  Ending (46:48) Recommended reading: The Twelve Next episodes: Penguin, Shazam, Arcade Plugs for social & GonnaGeek Network References: Ghost Trick - Doc (33:48) Apple Podcasts: here Google Play: here Stitcher: here TuneIn: here iHeartRadio: here Twitter Facebook TikTok  Patreon TeePublic Discord
50:33 3/8/23

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