Funnybook Babylon

November 22, 2008

FBBP #80 – I Don’t Need Your Civil War

Filed under: Podcasts — Tags: , , , , , , , — Joseph Mastantuono @ 2:19 am

This week, the gang pours one out for the late, lamented Blue Beetle and takes a look at Marvel’s Civil War in the context of a big hardcover artifact. Both conversations pinwheel into the predictable larger “issues” like transmedia synergy and the marriage of James Carville and Mary Matalin

No podcast recording this weekend, but we hope to reconvene after Thanksgiving to kick off the Holiday Podcasting Season! Why not take this brief interlude to consider all that we have done right and wrong this year, and offer constructive criticism?

Do you prefer:
Longer or shorter shows?
Epic digressions or concision?
More Reviews? Fewer Reviews? Different Types of Reviews?

Should we try to have guests? What do YOU think? Let us know!

19 Comments »

  1. Speaking for myself, I would’ve named this week’s podcast “(We Don’t Need This) Fascist Groove Thing” but I guess Heaven 17 isn’t releasing a highly anticipated long-delayed album this week. Also no one cares about Heaven 17 — though that’s a metacommentary on the cancellation of Blue Beetle and his girlfriend Traci 13, right?

    Right?

    Comment by Chris Eckert — November 22, 2008 @ 10:36 am

  2. Myself, I prefer the podcasts shorter and more concise. I’m always interested in what the FBB crew has to say, but I can’t devote too much time to listening, y’know? For that reason, I actually prefer the text pieces, but from what I’ve heard a lot of good stuff comes up in the shows. It’s just that I tend to miss out on it.

    Comment by Moses — November 22, 2008 @ 2:06 pm

  3. I wonder if it wouldn’t be a good idea to split your recordings up into a series of smaller, more manageable in one session podcasts. Break them down by theme – even if one of the themes is simply “a big argument” – and flag the theme in the corresponding post.

    I frequently don’t reach the end of your podcasts for a variety of purely practical reasons, and I probably have more time to listen than most.

    Comment by Zom — November 22, 2008 @ 2:07 pm

  4. i prefer the longer podcast since I listen to this stuff while exercising. I wish the arguments were a bit more coherent, though.

    Comment by adam a. — November 22, 2008 @ 5:53 pm

  5. By the way, this was the best podcast yet. The DCU vs. Bible vs. Mortal Kombat thing was divine.

    Comment by adam a. — November 22, 2008 @ 7:41 pm

  6. You exercise for an hour and a half!?!

    A longer recording divided into segments would still work for you, though, surely? Just queue ’em all up.

    Comment by Zom — November 22, 2008 @ 8:04 pm

  7. Yes, record shorter shows, my pause button is broken.

    and the show is too loud, make it quieter.

    Comment by seth — November 22, 2008 @ 9:37 pm

  8. I got no problem with the length of shows. It’s as easy to pick up where I left off as it is to have you break it up into three episodes.

    However you might edit the eps, I’d like to see you preserve the causal atmosphere and rambling discursiveness of the conversation. For that reason I also don’t find guests appealing. There are a lot of podcasts that do so and it works fine, but it also makes it more like a radio show. The formality would change the vibe of FBB.

    Comment by nick — November 23, 2008 @ 8:46 am

  9. Keep the digressions and try to work in a variety of reviews. People tune into reviews to find out more about books that have already interested them, but stuff like Yes This is Published and the Jeph Loeb Booze Bus or the chance of one off discussions of Bond movie themesongs would probably bring them back. And just as I know I have no interest in books on indie music I know other people have no interest in manga, or superhero books, or Minx, or Vertigo, or a specific panel from a Spider-Man issue about Flash Thompson & the Iraq War.

    I guess I can’t really speak for other people, I don’t even know if repeat business is important to you guys, but hey, you did ask for /anecdotal/ advice.

    Comment by HitTheTargets — November 23, 2008 @ 12:06 pm

  10. My biggest problem is that sometimes you tend to fall into an issue of schematics. The Jesus argument is a good example of this. I got what both sides were saying and I understand the different between being a messiah and a prophet. Still, you were essentially agreeing on the same point that All-Star Superman is more important in the example he sets than his actual powers.

    I do like them being long too though since I either jog, or take a long train ride with them.

    Comment by Joe — November 23, 2008 @ 12:08 pm

  11. I like the long podcasts with many a digression, personally.

    I found it odd in the discussion about keeping books going, it was limited to either continuing it on as a shit product or canceling it altogether. If we’re going to armchair quarterback these things, shouldn’t we leave open the option of keeping them going with good stories?

    Personally, I would have gone a different direction with the Blue Beetle book and kept it going at least another few months beyond the cartoon appearance. Sure, there are TPBs on the shelf, but if they don’t have new product being readied for new trades, the well will run dry and people lose interest. The only product that tends to be worse than treading water instead of cancellation is something rushed out quickly so it can be put in a trade to capitalize on bookstore sales.

    Comment by Kevin Huxford — November 23, 2008 @ 9:07 pm

  12. Kevin,

    I think that continuing a title with good stories is always the best option, but I also think that it’s impossible to mandate those kinds of results. Unless we assume that a DC creator had a compelling vision for the character, or had some kind of medium to long range plan for the title, I don’t see where good Blue Beetle stories would come from. One can argue that DC management could have played a more active role in keeping Blue Beetle alive (by aggressively soliciting pitches, etc.), but that’s really an argument for six months ago, not now. As it stands, DC was publishing a mid-list title that was not going in any particular direction. The featured character has made (or will make, I haven’t been following the Brave + Bold stuff) appearances in a cartoon for children. I have yet to hear an argument for sustaining the title that didn’t sound like a marketing pitch. As a lowly reader (and not a shareholder in Time Warner), I don’t really care about DC as a tool to market bits of intellectual property. Even if I was running DC, my priority would be to act more like a publisher and less like a piece of a multimedia conglomerate (not to digress, but these kinds of issues illustrate how TimeWarner is a great example of failed merger synergy. Is there any segment of the company that truly benefits from sharing a metaphorical roof with any other division?.)

    Re: the different direction – If the new product is mediocre, people will lose interest anyway (or more realistically, would never become interested in the first place). I remain unconvinced that the ‘flood the market with junk’ plan is a viable one.

    Comment by Jamaal Thomas — November 24, 2008 @ 12:25 pm

  13. More Chris!!

    Comment by Vivek — November 24, 2008 @ 4:41 pm

  14. I’d keep everything exactly as it is, really. I’d like to see more bits like this week’s Civil War postmortem, too– I enjoy hearing y’all chew on the week’s releases (especially the mockable stuff I don’t want to read, which is sadly most of Marvel and DC’s current output), but it’s also nice to revisit an older work and assess it as a whole, especially in the current era of overarching crossovers that promise the moon and then are seemingly forgotten about come next summer. Was the hype really worth it? I have my opinion, but I’d like to hear you guys’.

    Comment by Joe Iglesias — November 24, 2008 @ 8:38 pm

  15. i enjoy the show the way it is! there are even times the discussions get so good i feel the episodes too short. great job!

    Comment by carlos cordova — November 24, 2008 @ 9:15 pm

  16. As I’ve said above, that people enjoy the long podcasts is no reason not to split them up into shorter chunks, assuming, of course, that the content isn’t substantially effected by the change. If folk like long podcasts then they can just queue a week’s worth up.

    If, however, long podcasts are not your bag (and I can promise you that long podcasts definitely don’t appeal to many, many people – I know real live human beings who don’t listen to your podcasts because they’re “too long”), then keeping them as they are will keep those people away.

    Cut ‘em down, but keep the shape. It’ll work for the people who like long ones, and it’ll work for the people who like smaller chunks. Win win, innit?

    Comment by Zom — November 25, 2008 @ 9:09 am

  17. I like them like they are – guests would be welcome but are really not needed. (Although they might fit nicely on weeks you’re short-staffed – the episodes without at least three of you tend to drag.)

    I also like the idea of reviewing older works and/ or collections. It really does provide a different perspective than discussions of the single issues, and sometimes things look different through the passage of time. Please no joker’s last laugh, though.

    The BB issue just convinces me more and more that seasons are the way to go when launching new properties. Pushing the BB series into the monthly grind was a mistake, as the book suffered from rotating creators and inconsistent art. It should’ve been shelved for awhile after Rogers left, and then renewed once there was an actual idea for a new direction.

    Comment by matches — November 25, 2008 @ 1:03 pm

  18. More Chris! Longer episodes! Greater digressions, the likes of which have been seen on no podcast! Also, more reviews of non-Big Two, non-Cape books, I would have never found Young Liars if not for FBB. I also really like the retrospective of Bill Jemas tenure as E-I-C of Marvel, and think more “historical tours” would be cool.

    Comment by Mike — November 25, 2008 @ 4:40 pm

  19. I see what you’re saying, Jamaal, especially the whole “can’t mandate” deal.

    As far as a different direction, I’m talking about focusing on stories instead of gimmicks. Sturges lamented that immigration had gone from being a big issue before their arc came out. It seemed that the focus was on how to get attention first and then to tell a good story second.

    But, in the end, you’re probably right that there haven’t been many ideas for keeping Blue Beetle going that involved something more than marketing. The pessimism in your post is overwhelming, though. Every scenario assumes a crappy or mediocre product and just an attempt to “flood the market with junk”. ;)

    I think Matches has the right idea, though. I wouldn’t mind if just about all things went to seasons.

    But, back on the podcast deal, I still say I wouldn’t have you guys change a thing. If you tried to put more structure into things, I fear that many of the nuggets and pearls would just disappear into the ether. If you found yourselves having to table a tangent topic, you might just forget to come back around to it.

    Comment by Kevin Huxford — November 26, 2008 @ 3:31 pm

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