Funnybook Babylon

December 3, 2008

FBBP #81 – The Batcast

Filed under: Podcasts — Tags: , , , — Chris Eckert @ 10:37 pm

We aren’t above cashing in on Bat-Mania, so if you can’t get enough of David’s Batannotations and all our other Batcoverage, LOOK NO FURTHER! Batman #681 dropped last week, with #682 in stores today.

Our final Morrison on Batman podcast (until the next one) featured topics including:

  • Class Warfare in Gotham City
  • Joseph’s continued attempt to monetize the site using “space medicine” beer
  • Chris’s continued attempt to stick media theory square pegs into round comic book holes
  • Jamaal’s questioning of that Bald Scot behind the curtain
  • Ragged Robins and Millionaire Playboys
  • The Balkanization of the DC Universe and Why This Could be Good
  • There are no Atheists in a Batcave (or are there?)

We’ve got winged mammals coming out our ears, and now you can too!


  1. Good job on this one, gentlemen. I was happy to listen to this between research for my histiographic term paper. I got a small kick when I ran across the ‘danse macabre’ in the preface of a text on economics during Renaissance Florence.

    I hope there is an intention to go back and cover the whole run sometime in the future. I think there’s still plenty to talk about, even though a metric ton of it has been presented in the annotations.

    I was too slammed at the time to comment on your last podcast about the structure of the show. There is only one thing that bugs me when I listen is that there have been a lot of times when you guys will talk right over each other and even though it might get your point across it really turns me off listening despite an otherwise awesome show.

    Length isn’t really an issue. If it is a 55 minute Batcast or an 80 minute retrospective on Civil War, I really enjoy FBB for taking more in-depth examinations of works, their themes and their flaws.

    It’d be great to see more discussion of politics, sex, race, gender, etc. One of my favorite pieces of comic-talk recently was an article on 4th Letter about black fiction and the characters who can embody aspects of culture, such as Luke Cage or Mister Miracle.

    Comment by Jess Mutter — December 4, 2008 @ 10:31 pm

  2. You know, I’m starting to find this slightly annoying.

    Length might not be an issue for some of your listeners, but I know it is an issue for some of your *potential* listeners. I don’t necessarily expect you to act on that, you will, of course, do as you see fit, and good luck to you, but all these people turning up to say how they don’t mind listening to an 80 minute podcast really, really need to stop framing it as if their experience is in any way representative. I think we call that kind of thinking generalising from one case, don’t we?

    ‘Course, if you’re looking for new listeners, asking a self-selecting group of FBB podcast enthusiasts for their opinion was always going to produce some skewed results

    Bobsy attended a publishing industry seminar the other month where he was informed that a significant number of people will disengage from a podcast after about half an hour. Don’t know how true that is, but judging by some of the reactions to your podcast that I’ve been privy to, I suspect there’s something in it. Christ, I know smart people who won’t even listen to 45 minute long BBC radio documentaries…

    On the subject of this podcast. Batman’s place in the DCU is tricky fish, I have agree. One solution, is, of course, to make his threats more worthy of his Zen, uber-capable incarnation. I don’t think he needs them to be constantly threatening the world for that to work, he just needs them to be very, very capable/outlandish/fantastical in their own right.

    That said, weaponized, no Superman, Nolanverse Bats work for me, also.

    Comment by Zom — December 5, 2008 @ 10:33 am

  3. Sorry for the double post…

    But there’s also another point worth making here. It seems to me that how one approaches Bat’s place in the DCU, or indeed any superhero’s, has to do with how you approach the notion of these shared fictional universes fullstop. I suppose I see them more as …I dunno… sandpits… fantasy space… more than I do anything that maps across the real world. As long as stories are self consistent and don’t commit any great sin against the illusion of a shared universe, then I’m usually a happy camper. Genre shifts, tonal excesses, internal storytelling logics, I’ll accommodate all of it, mainly because it’s what following ongoing comic-book series has trained me to do. These incongruities have always been part of comics’ experience, it’s just that a lot of readers don’t notice.

    Comment by Zom — December 5, 2008 @ 11:03 am

  4. A post or two back, I read a suggestion that the podcasts be broken up into segments. If there was maybe a brief subject description for each segment, this would be an idea that I really like. Like Zom, I’m not trying to tell you your business, but I know that I myself am a lot more likely to listen to some parts that interest me than I am to the 56 minute long opus. It seems as if this way you would be able to please both those who want to hear your (always interesting) thoughts on topics of special interest as well as those who would like to hear the whole thing.

    Comment by Moses — December 5, 2008 @ 3:30 pm

  5. Good episode. I don’t have much bat specific stuff to say. 681 was disapointing, but since you’ve recorded this 682 has come out. I thought it was great, so I’ll be interested to hear what you guys thought of it.

    However, the debate about whether or not to read interviews (because discovering authorial intent diminishes the pleasure of a piece) is always interesting. I just watched that documentary with Alan Moore and made some great discoveries. For instance, he worked in a very bloody tanning factory as a young man, coping with the gore by throwing testes at his co-workers. This gives a whole new spin to his more brutal imagery, which I had always thought was just pulpy. Now I see the gore of Rorschach’s backstory as a meditation on class, not just guts for the sake of it. In short, there’s some good to be gained from hearing what authors have to say, and no reason not to ignore them when it’s called for. (Then again, if I heard Spike Lee was asleep at the wheel for Inside Man, I might say otherwise)

    Oh, and point to Chris: it was Chekov, not Brecht.

    Comment by nick — December 5, 2008 @ 5:12 pm

  6. For the longest time I thought you were saying “Battle For The COW…”

    Comment by DensityDuck — December 5, 2008 @ 5:47 pm

  7. RE: JLA. Also, in JLA, you really have to be able to roll with the team. I mean, you’ve got Superman AND Green Lantern AND Martian Manhunter. How is Batman supposed to be a credible member of that team? And so he gets what is effectively a superpower, i.e. “always has exactly the right tool or skill for the situation at hand”.

    (We will not discuss Aquaman.)

    Comment by DensityDuck — December 5, 2008 @ 6:15 pm

  8. Long-time listener, first time poster. Big fan; it’s nice to hear thoughtful and culturally aware discussions, though it’s hard to explain to some people that what I’m listening to is about comic books.

    As for long/short, my vote is for making the podcasts as long as they need to be. And I’ll second the talkovers not being good.

    My sole contribution to the topic of discussion is that perhaps we’re misreading the arc title. After all, “Rest in Peace” has only an idiomatic relation to death. And the Zorro in Arkham coda felt, dunno, almost elegiac (though Mozza may have lost the narrative, his creation of a real mood of oh shit, real bad crap is happening has been for me quite effective both here and in Final Crisis). Perhaps however we see it, the process may have brought Bruce Wayne some sense of peace, or has been a crucial step towards it.

    One reading of the flashback, providing it is a real perception of Bruce’s, could be that he’s now seen the genesis of Zur En Arr; whether this was an inadvertent gift from his father or produced by the same Batman-birthing trauma, he now knows all of what’s behind it. If it’s seen as a gift, a tough one of survival, there’s a chance at peace. If it’s a recognition of why he had to become the not-well hypercompetant goddamn Batman — well, now that he sees it all clearly, he can take steps to rectify and perhaps (insert psychobabble here).

    Point is, perhaps the arc title itself is a tease, a play on all the “In this issue, everyone dies!” conventions. With the answer to the puzzle being: read the damn words literally, twerps.

    Comment by ddt — December 5, 2008 @ 8:13 pm

  9. I have very mixed feelings about Batman’s place in the DCU, as I’m sure is pretty obvious by now. The reason that I advocated the creation of some kind of cordoned off mini universe for the Batman line is that I find the JLA version of the character completely uninteresting, not only because of the hypercompetent, but because the use of his character needlessly reminds me of the commercial aims of the work. I don’t have a problem reconciling multiple versions of a character, but I’ve never liked that one, particularly because ‘hypercompetent Batman’ often feels like ‘has access to the script’ Baman.

    Zom, I largely agree with your points, though I’d argue that many of the stories that most blatantly test all of the weird and wonderful incongruoties tend to be the ones that are not good or internally consistent. And I think the line between poetry and a con job is very blurry.

    Comment by Jamaal Thomas — December 6, 2008 @ 8:08 pm

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