Funnybook Babylon

June 8, 2010

FBBP #126 – Four Number Ones

As a follow-up to our theoretically award-eligible podcast Three Number Ones, Funnybook Babylon planned to look at Four Number Ones, the Billboard #1 singles on our respective birthdays!

Sadly, due to a quirk of fate, our birthdays are paired closely together, so we only have two number ones:

MacArthur Park” by Donna Summer (Chris & Jamaal)
Bette Davis Eyes” by Kim Carnes (Joseph & Pedro)

So we had to go with our backup plan: reviewing comics. I think we can all agree those are a couple of wretched songs; will the comics be any better?

Atlas #1 by Jeff Parker, Gabriel Hardman, & Ramon Rosanas (Marvel Comics)
Avengers #1 by Brian Michael Bendis & John Romita Jr. (Marvel Comics)
Legion of Super Heroes #1 by Paul Levitz & Yildiray Cenar (DC Comics)
Secret Avengers #1 by Ed Brubaker & Mike Deodato (Marvel Comics)

Listen and learn!


  1. We’ve been muttering amongst ourselves about our fantasy Dazzler book for ages. Velvet Underground meets mutants. I should write a post.

    I liked Secret Avengers well enough. If the Avengers are going to do espionage they should absolutely play in the further reaches of the sand box, why else do an Avengers espionage book? What value is added that I couldn’t get anywhere else? If you want smaller scale, grittier stuff that’s what your Black Widows are for.

    Comment by Zom — June 9, 2010 @ 7:59 am

  2. Fantastic show, loved the Moonraker Bond for Secret Avengers comment because that is also what I went into it expecting with Brubaker’s interviews on the book have him saying it will be a Kirby/Steranko spy book of the Orbital Death Rays, Rocket Motorcycles variety.

    Comment by Rick — June 9, 2010 @ 7:38 pm

  3. One of the reasons why the latest issue of LSH sounds contemporary is probably because of the plotting. The Levitz paradigm is one of his writing legacies that everyone in comics use (from Matt Fraction to Denny O’Neil) when they’re tackling team comics. Basically, its the soap opera angle of having 3 stories that are happening at the same time, where Plot B starts off right when Plot A is going through the second act and right as Plot C is hinted about. That way, you’re bound to catch one of your readers with their favorite character, as long as you keep each plot moving along (here’s a link that explains it:,com_pablog/Action,View/PostId,34365/)

    From what I understand, most of the people doing team books in the DCU (from Johns to Didio) use some sort of variation on this paradigm. Even Marvel guys (like Matt Fraction, and Claremont before he decided to just abandon this form, and probably Joss Whedon), follow a similar way of plotting.

    And this is probably why, I think, Levitz’s run has never been reprinted. His stories are rife with subplots that eventually reach fruition 3 or 4 issues down the line. This is antithetical to how we compile trades. You can probably compile his Legion of Supervillans story (which was done in 4-5, but the fall-out and subsequent chapters really add to the initial story) and his Great Darkness Saga is always reprinted (which has very small subplots in the story, but nothing that really detracts from the thrust of the main story). But everything else is very much tied to the previous issue to be coherent.

    Comment by gary — June 10, 2010 @ 3:56 pm

  4. Hi guys, I really enjoyed the podcast but I have a question for you. Do you think Secret Avengers is a book that can stand on it’s own or is it a book that might cross over to the other Avengers titles to make sense. I’m a huge fan of Ed Brubaker, but I’m a man on a limited budget. It’s the main reason I never picked up his run on X-Men – because everything was a big crossover event within the X-titles. I really like Captain America because it does stand on it’s own. They might refer to big events in passing “God, this is almost as bad as when the Skrulls invaded” but the book doesn’t need to cross over with any of the other Marvel titles (except maybe the Civil War)to make sense. Thoughts?

    Comment by Joel — June 11, 2010 @ 4:34 pm

  5. Hey Joel,

    At the moment it doesn’t look like it’s going to crossover but it was mentioned by Tom Brevroot that the Marvel Project mini that Bru did is somewhat connected.

    Comment by Pedro Tejeda — June 12, 2010 @ 12:45 am

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