Funnybook Babylon

March 24, 2009

FBBP #95 – Wednesday Comics and Iron Fists

Filed under: Podcasts — Tags: , , , — Chris Eckert @ 5:02 pm

A new team on Immortal Iron Fist! A new weekly publishing initiative from DC! Somehow Jeph Loeb still writes comics!

It’s a roller coaster ride of emotions this week, as we review The Mortal Iron Fist, the latest Iron Fist volume by new creative team Duane Swierczynski, Travel Foreman and Russ Heath. Can this book hold up against its forefathers?

Across town, DC has announced its new weekly series, Wednesday Comics! There’s an impressive talent pool working on the project, but does anyone care? Will people buy this? Will a tree fall in the woods?

And first (but certainly least), Jeph Loeb’s inflicted the public with a new issue of Ultimatum. Lots of people die! Some of them on-panel even!


  1. Didn’t they have a “humanitarian-style” comic in WildCATS? Outside of the ballistic aspects of the Joe Casey run of WildCATS, the economic boardroom-style HBO philanthropy seemed to be the focus of the story and it seemed really cool when it was written.

    As an aside, I know you’re not a review podcast, but it seems like when you talk about Iron Fist’s past stories, have any of you have read James Robinson’s Starman? It feels a lot of how they used history is similar to how Robinson used history to talk about his characters. Have you ever thought of talking up Robinson’s Starman? It seems up your alley.

    Comment by little kon-el — March 24, 2009 @ 8:46 pm

  2. Ave Babylonians! As always, a diverting & stimulating listen – I especially liked the Sensational New Character Find of ’09, Ghost Ghost Rider. I’m sure Jason Aaron is hard at work right now, fitting that particular gem into his nascent GR mythology.

    Jeph Loeb is valuable to the Big Two & in comix in general because he’s good with the talent. I was reminded of this bit from a CBR WonderCon ’09 interview with Art Adams on him going Marvel-exclusive:

    “After teaming with Loeb for a short three-parter in the pages of “Hulk,” the artist said that he enjoyed the kind of scripts he gets from the scribe.

    “It’s a lot more, to my mind anyways, like the comics I grew up with – the late ’60s comics and the mid ’70s comics where a lot of stuff could happen in a relatively small amount of time. One of the things that actually bothers me about modern comics is that so many of them are done in the six-issue arc for the collection, which often means there are pages of people just talking. And I don’t care about drawing people talking. I want to draw superheroes in their outfits doing stuff.””

    Whether it’s Awesome, DC or Marvel, Loeb brings with him a well-cultivated rolodex of hot artists who love working with him because Jeph Loeb has no problem tailoring his own ambitions (such as they are) to their own. He’s not a storyteller, he’s an entertainer who figures: hey, people pay for the art, why get in the way? I’ve always thought maybe Loeb would make a more satisfying editor – Joe Quesada once suggested him as an ideal successor – what do you think?

    Comment by Tijmen — March 25, 2009 @ 9:16 am

  3. I missed out on Joe Kelly’s run of WildCATS even though I have heard David Brothers of 4thL talk it up all the time.

    Chris, Jamaal, and myself have read Starman, which I’m loving in the Omnibus format DC has been putting out. I feel really weird doing a podcast about Starman because it’s a very complicated book that really requires talking about the entire run. I don’t know how to have a focus conversation about an 80 issue run like Starman which is so deep. We talked about doing multiple episodes for something like that, but that would require maybe 2 to 3 hours of recording.

    I really think the use of history in Starman is quite different than the way it’s used in Iron Fist. Starman establishes and uses the ideas of a legacy hero within the DC universe to tell the story of Fathers and Children(mostly Sons). Starman mixes a lot of continuity and newly created ideas, while Iron Fist’s history is mostly new. Iron Fist uses that history to cement the fact that Danny Rand will not be “Iron Fist” forever.

    Comment by Pedro Tejeda — March 25, 2009 @ 9:35 am

  4. I’m puzzled by the strength of the group’s feelings about Loeb. I mean, his writing has become putrid–I get that–but you all seem to have such bottomless contempt for him. It seems out of proportion with his crimes–he writes awful comics, but it’s not like he’s abusing children or something.

    Comment by nick — March 25, 2009 @ 3:01 pm

  5. nick: Keep in mind that Loeb’s current workings are basically him given free-reign to tear down an entire universe before a relaunch. The problem with this is that yeah, I can see the argument that it should be hectic, grim, whatever… but he’s not really using any rhyme or reason to do so. It’s not even like the people who would be more LIKELY to live are doing so. He just seems to be tossing darts at a board and killing a quota each issue… meaning writers who are more interesting storytellers are losing the fun characters by the bushel.

    Comment by Syrg — March 25, 2009 @ 3:18 pm

  6. Chris’s hypothesis – that Thor will save the day by bringing back an army of dead heroes to defeat Magneto – is terrifying because it’s exactly the kind of ending that Loeb would write. I now honestly expect that to be the ending!

    By the way, what did you guys think of the issue’s cover? I guess nobody told David Finch that Quicksilver is dead or that Sabretooth doesn’t appear in this issue? I don’t even have any idea who that female character with white hair is!

    Comment by Rand — March 25, 2009 @ 3:32 pm

  7. nick, the true story behind the guys’ dislike of Jeph Loeb took place off-panel. :)

    Comment by matches — March 25, 2009 @ 7:05 pm

  8. Great show as always, thanks guys.

    Have you thought about doing anything special for show #100? It seems like a great opportunity to do an “80-Page Giant Oversized Anniversary Slipcover FBBP”. Maybe not anything like playing clips of past podcasts, a musical dance number, or surprise guests, but what would you guys think about looking back on some books/events/writers/artists that you reviewed positively or negatively on FBBP in the past and how they did something (good or bad) that changed your opinions of their work?

    Comment by JFC — March 26, 2009 @ 1:31 am

  9. nick – The Jeph Loeb “hate” is part confusion, part amazement, part disappointment and part love. I have some Jeph Loeb stories I personally love, some when re-read show larger flaws (Hush) and others that still are fine despite the flaws (Long Halloween). The usual hope is that writers/artists can grow past their general abilities over time and produce stronger and stronger work. Loeb’s not doing that. He’s also one of the few writers who is open about his process (or lack thereof), who champions payoff comics and is actively recruiting similar writers. The Loeb happy hours are not fun for us either and we do avoid doing them for every single thing he does. But man, the guy finds new and innovative ways to bottom out. Most terrible writers or artists are just awful in one consistent way, but Jeph Loeb is like the Jack Kirby of terrible writers. He’s the fucking Justin Liger of bad writers. The happy hours could not be an actual segment on the show if Jeph Loeb he didn’t blow our minds every week with some amazingly bad thing he did.

    JFC – I think our Civil War cast was similar to what you are getting at. We have had conversations about Secret Invasion, something that we really turned on towards the end after having high hopes for. I think if you look at the podcast where we talk about Final Crisis, I changed my mind in the middle.

    We still haven’t blocked out anything for show 100, maybe we’ll do a new number one for new listeners? Switch over to the classic numbering? Open ourselves to listener questions?

    Comment by Pedro Tejeda — March 26, 2009 @ 8:51 am

  10. Jeph Loeb is the favorite writer of every Will Ferrell character.

    “You can just half-ass shit and get away with it!”

    Comment by adam aaron — March 26, 2009 @ 12:54 pm

  11. “part disappointment”

    it’s all dissapointment for me. I personally loved all of his Sale collaborations (Spider-Man: Blue is to this day my hands down favorite Spider-Man story of all time).

    So to see him just write fucking terrible stories just angers me.

    Comment by Nathan — March 26, 2009 @ 1:00 pm

  12. “Most terrible writers or artists are just awful in one consistent way, but Jeph Loeb is like the Jack Kirby of terrible writers.”

    Brilliant, Pedro. You completely convinced me (and gave me a good laugh, too). Cheers to Jeph Loeb Happy Hour–

    Comment by nick — March 26, 2009 @ 4:40 pm

  13. “We still haven’t blocked out anything for show 100, maybe we’ll do a new number one for new listeners? Switch over to the classic numbering? Open ourselves to listener questions?”

    Pedro- You could do a silent issue like G.I. Joe #21.

    Or maybe “end” the podcast with #100 then do six “FBBP Rebirth” podcasts with Joe or Chris replaced with someone totally new (maybe even a woman) but you continue to call them Joe or Chris while you and Jamaal have a vague sense that something strange has happened but you can’t remember what it was. Then on the seventh podcast the real Joe or Chris return and you start over with a “FBBP – Rehosted Special” before beginning volume 2: FBBP Extreme!

    Comment by JFC — March 26, 2009 @ 9:50 pm

  14. Or just do the same entertaining show we enjoy.

    Comment by JFC — March 26, 2009 @ 9:52 pm

  15. I have to say the Loeb bashing is easily the funniest stuff you guys do.

    Comment by James — March 26, 2009 @ 11:01 pm

  16. “Most terrible writers or artists are just awful in one consistent way, but Jeph Loeb is like the Jack Kirby of terrible writers.”

    I don’t see it.

    Loeb has written some great stuff in the past.
    Kirby has never done anything that wasn’t fucking awesome.

    Comment by Nathan — March 27, 2009 @ 1:00 am

  17. oh and in UXM #100, it was said that the Madroxes all had different personalities (kinda like in X-Factor), but they were all technically evil.

    the one that went after Magneto in the beginning was just one of the ones that thought “you know what, fuck this”

    Comment by Nathan — March 27, 2009 @ 1:34 am

  18. oh hey, it’s late and I can’t sleep so 3x post

    here are Kyle Baker’s exact words on his Hawkman story

    “In most of his adventures, Hawkman usually defends Earth from space alien invasion, so that’s what my story’s about. There’s also action on Dinosaur Island, because dinosaurs are always cool. Hawkman carries a mace, so it’s important for a writer to create dilemmas which can be resolved with a mace. A guy with a mace fighting a T-Rex is a good fight to watch.”

    seriously, how doesn’t that interest a person?

    Comment by Nathan — March 27, 2009 @ 1:50 am

  19. People have bottomless contempt for Loeb because his stories show a bottomless contempt for reader intelligence.

    Comment by Dan Coyle — March 27, 2009 @ 12:57 pm

  20. Y’know, I can see the problem with programming something with Starman. If they ever do the painted James Robinson/Tony Harris story, I think that would be an idea time to do an examination of Starman through a new story. But it seems like that’s one of those projects (like Wolfman/Perez’s Titans: Games or Cassidy/Ellis’ Planetary) that won’t be seen for a long while. I wouldn’t really know where to start with Starman, either. It seems too sprawling. But I do like the difference between “Starman” history and Iron Fist history. I never picked up on that difference, but it makes sense in the context of the characters. Starman’s “historical” stories are all stories about “Fathers and Sons” (or Mentors and Students, or Newer vs. Older). Iron Fist historical stories are all to point out that Danny Rand really isn’t that special and that he’ll eventually die, but the Iron Fist will remain.

    The Boardroom WildCATS is remarkable and seems way ahead of its time. If it came out today, with CEOs being bagged right and left, it would’ve sold really well because of its mature handling of a company. Imagine of DC had taken those stories as a template and had an entire line of comics dedicated to HBO/Showtime-style storytelling. It would’ve put Wildstorm on the map again without diminishing the DC line. I know they tried to do the “boutique” line and had a few success like Stormwatch:Achilles, The Intimates (god I loved the Intimates), and Sleeper. I just wish DC would quit strip-mining the creators for DC projects.

    As for the 100 episode, my theory is that you should all jump forward in time, where the streets are overrun with Loeb comics. The podcast now talks about Nursing novels, when suddenly one of you snaps and starts speaking out against the Loeb-run industry. Funnybook Babylon Strikes Again!

    Comment by little kon-el — March 28, 2009 @ 7:18 am

  21. I saw Robinson at WC, and he pretty much flat out stated he’s done with Jack Knight Starman, basically stating he’s been away from the character too long to feel he could come back and write great stories like he did before.

    Though he does have a lot of plans for Shade, (an origin mini was leaked) and he said he’ll play a role in the upcoming JL mini.

    Comment by Nathan — March 28, 2009 @ 12:46 pm

  22. aw…that’s really too bad. I agree that I probably would’ve been disappointed if he did go back to Starman because I really liked the original series. However, I wouldn’t mind if he went back to Firearm for some reason.

    For the FB Guys: Have you guys ever considered doing an episode about the Comics Code? I just finished listening to Battleship Pretension and they did a neat episode about how the Hayes Code both screwed up cinematography (took out references of sex, homosexuality, etc…) and enhanced cinema (brought about noir film, made creators use allusions and metaphors to sex/homsexuality, etc). Did the comics code have a similar effect on comics? Would we have had great Kirby comics without the code? Would we not have Grant Morrison without freaky 50s comics? Or is our lack of variety in American comics solely because of the Code?
    Or would it be exactly the same?

    Just a thought.

    Comment by little kon-el — March 28, 2009 @ 7:08 pm

  23. If you do a Loeb Happy-Hour segment in the 100th podcast, maybe looking back at a few good or at least decent things the guy did in the past would be good. The guys made brought so much entertainment to some of the podcasts, maybe it’s a chance to give back a little. What if anything has he done that you’d recommend? Just some quick reviews of those good stories would be cool. What flaws do those good stories have? Is there a connection from those flaw to where he’s ended up now? You’d get a nice contrast about how far he’s dropped, plus it’d give you an opportunity to not just hate on the guy, not that his current stuff isn’t deserving of it, but ya know get some contrast in there. The guy did suffer a pretty big personal tragedy before going to Marvel, is there a connection? I’d imagine I’d loose some focus if I had to go through anything that terrible(although having my own son I can see that could quickly be too touchy a subject). Or is it just that he handles DC’s characters better than the Marvel universe? I dunno, probably shouldn’t make the 100th episode an all-Loeb special or anything, but just throwing out some ideas there for a special installment of a popular (and entertaining) segment.

    Comment by Fearing — April 2, 2009 @ 3:03 pm

  24. Ugh, I need to proofread if I’m gonna type that much text. You get the idea though I’m sure.

    Comment by Fearing — April 2, 2009 @ 3:28 pm

  25. […] Review: Funnybook Babylon on Immortal Iron Fist Volume 4: The Mortal Iron Fist Premiere HC […]

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