Posted in episodes

Episode 24: Better Together

The homework for the episode:
Martha: New52 Justice League, vol. 1: Origin by Geoff Johns, Jim Lee, and Carlos D’Anda
Pete: A trio of musical albums: The New Pornographers: Together (2010), Neko Case: Middle Cyclone (2009), and Destroyer (aka Dan Bejar’s band): Kaputt (2010)
Calee: Captain America: Civil War, the 2016 film directed by the Russo Brothers and starring Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., and Sebastian Stan

Iconic superheroes meet for the first time against a powerful foe.

I don’t know how to give a synopsis of three musical albums, but basically: a Canadian pop supergroup makes super fun music, and so do two of its individually famous members.

Two superpowered leaders disagree, splinter their team, and form their own teams so that Steve Rogers can defend his assassin bestie.

Calee Schouten returns for our one year anniversary! In honor of getting the band back together, as it were, we’re talking about various forms of teamups.

Your podcasters’ credentials:

Pete: 1848: Year of Revolution, 2008 book by Mike Rapport
Martha: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild video game for Nintendo Switch
Calee: Arrested Development, 2003 TV show created by Mitchell Hurwitz and starring Jason Bateman

There is no Martha, only Zelda, and the taming of beautiful ponies therein. Pete shows all of us up by once again bringing actual LEARNING about FACTS for his credentials, while Calee gives Martha the elevator pitch on why she should watch a culturally iconic tv show.

With the insane popularity of comic-based film right now, pop culture is pretty saturated with teamups. For our homework today we looked at the Big Two from the Big Two, and Pete threw us all a welcome curve ball by introducing a real-life teamup in the form of the pop supergroup The New Pornographers.

Some of the questions we examine are:

  1. Do the members of these teams gain or lose anything by being part of a team?
  2. Does our familiarity with the individual members/components of these teams help or hurt our enjoyment of the teamup? Does DC or Marvel relying on character archetypes contribute to that feeling?
  3. The goal of a team-up is usually to create something that is more than the sum of its parts. Do we feel that the team-ups we looked at here succeed or fail at that?

We also talk about about how these teams succeed or fail, and how we feel about the individual members in their private endeavors versus their team efforts. We may or may not throw some shade at DC (and a bit at Marvel, we are nothing if not equal opportunity shade-throwers).

For our next episode, we are joined by friend of the show and fellow podcaster Josh Brown to talk about Formative Media: the stories and media that influenced us as children, shaped our tastes, and made us the discerning consumers of pop culture that we are today. We will probably all get very emotional and nostalgic!

The homework for January 31:

Martha: Princess Mononoke, the 1997 Studio Ghibli animated classic (specifically the English dub featuring Billy Crudup, Claire Danes, Minnie Driver, Gillian Anderson, and more)
Pete: The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, the 1950 novel by CS Lewis
Josh Brown: The 1983 children’s tv show Reading Rainbow, specifically the episode for “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” and two more episodes of our choosing (find them on YouTube here)

Find Calee on Instagram @trickylemon. Find Pete on Twitter @piko3000, and find Martha on both Instagram AND Twitter @magicalmartha.

Follow us online @DYDYHpodcast, e-mail us at show@homeworkpodcast.com, and find us on Facebook.

And remember, if you have questions, comments, or ideas for a show, give us a shoutout here or send us an e-mail to show@homeworkpodcast.com. We’d love to hear from you!

Posted in extra credit

Sidekicks Follow-Up: Logan, the Tragedy of Carrie Kelly, and Other Ephemera We Forgot

(Post by Martha S.)

So if you listened to our fifth episode on heroes and sidekicks, you may have noticed that we all got a little riled up right at the end – en masse, right when we were out of time, we all remembered that we had not touched on the film Logan or Wolverine’s long string of cute girl sidekicks that he’s had throughout the history of the X-Men comics. I wanted to that a bit here, and also address some of our additional materials that didn’t make it into the episode, and also ruminate on the tragedy of Carrie Kelly (particularly in contrast to Wolverine’s many female sidekicks). Here we go!

Logan is a wonderful movie, and a lot of the reason for that is the relationship between Logan and Laura, the tiny homicidal X-23 character. (X-23, if you’re not familiar, is a female clone of Wolverine that shows up first in the TV show X-Men: Evolution and then later on in a handful of X titles.) Laura is a feral, powerful, tragic little girl who is more comfortable decapitating bad guys than obeying rules. She needs the gruff, militaristic hand of Logan in order to pull back from the edge, and it turns out he needs someone to protect and defend. I’m not sure that Laura quite makes the leap from “escort quest” to sidekick, although others may disagree – but the fact remains that Wolverine has a history of mentoring younger women who then grow up and get their own solo books or at least get to be the principal at mutant academy.

Over the course of his history, Wolverine has mentored Kitty Pryde, Jubilee, Armor, and X-23 (and Rogue in the original Bryan Singer films), and even has one fantastic comic issue with Kamala Khan. His take-no-bullshit attitude seems to do well with angsty teenagers, who bounce off of his tough exterior and come out stronger on the other end (while he gradually softens). It is a relationship I consistently enjoy reading about, especially when you contrast it with…

Carrie Kelly.

Oh, Carrie. The one bright spot in the (unpopular opinion) dreary and drudging The Dark Knight Returns, no Robin has been treated as unfairly by creators as Carrie (although Jason Todd may disagree). In TDKR, she’s fun, spunky, bright and humorous, even when she is totally and age inappropriately saving Bruce’s butt. I love HER and hate the way she’s handled in the book – she’s thirteen, has no connection to Bruce other than an idolizing fascination, and basically gets stolen from her apathetic family to help run his brigand of Batboys in The Dark Knight Strikes Again. She also gets a horrible costume change and dramatically declares her love for Batman when she appears to be dying, a love Mark Millar contends is paternal in nature (I think the text strongly disagrees with this assertion).

There is also the case of Batgirl, who can arguably be counted amongst Batman’s various sidekicks, and who while having a very successful solo comic career has also been forced into the “actually I’m in love with you” sex vehicle character (this jumped the shark in the horrible animated rendition of The Killing Joke released last year).

So why the difference? Batman and Wolverine are both serious, world-weary men with a penchant for attracting young people. Why do Wolverine’s female protegees get to go on to bigger, better and more independent (and less lovesick) endeavors? I don’t really have an answer for you, except that historically Marvel treats their female characters better than DC. Please feel free to discuss below.

Other supplementary materials we wanted to make note of:

Captain America: The First Avenger. Notable for its bait-and-switch narrative: Steve begins the sidekick to suave, handsome, tall Bucky Barnes, before being embiggened and taking on the leadership role after he’s Captain America-ified. I love this flip of the trope because Bucky could get all gross and emasculated, and he totally doesn’t. His bromance with Steve is there to the end of the line, and he’s not only happy to follow Steve, but proud to do so.

Grayson, vol. 1: Agents of Spyral by Tom King and Tim Seeley. The short-lived spy drama that Dick Grayson occupied for a while in between Nightwing books. Shows the versatility of his character, and also lots of great action and good use of Helena Bertinelli.

The First Heretic by Aaron Dembski-Bowden. If you’re not familiar with the sprawling mythos of the Warhammer: 40K universe, let me sum up quickly: for a while there were hulking supersoldiers who defended a galactic empire from hideous, beyond-our-comprehension forces and gross aliens. The most important of these turned traitor, gutted the empire, and now everyone lives in a really shitty universe where there’s an equal possibility of being eaten by aliens or disemboweled by a demon. The First Heretic tells the EXTREMELY compelling origin story of the guy who’s fault it was, and is a really cool example of someone who thinks he’s in charge very much not being so. His adviser, a perfect Bastard Understudy, feeds him BS until he’s compelled to unravel the very fabric of the empire of man. I highly recommend you check out the Horus Heresy series of novels.

The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness. A YA novel about all the OTHER characters in a YA story, and what they’re doing while the heroes are off saving the world. I mentioned it as my pop culture credentials back in one of our early episodes.

The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett. The beautiful thing about the titular Wee Free Men in the Tiffany Aching novels of the Discworld series is that not only are they totally dedicated to helping Tiffany as their patron witch, but they do so in a DELIGHTFULLY cheery and bloodthirsty manner.

Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkein. Everyone needs a Sam to their Frodo, amiright?

Posted in episodes

Episode 5: The Hero/Sidekick Relationship

The homework for the episode:
Pete: Batman & Robin, vol. 1: Batman Reborn by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely (graphic novel)
Martha: Nimona by Noelle Stevenson (graphic novel)
Calee: Adventure Time 1.04, 1.05, 1.06 (TV show)

Have you ever wanted to put the relationship between Batman and his many, many sidekicks under a microscope and really get to the bottom of them? Good news! In this week’s episode, we dig into the hero/sidekick relationship in all its forms, including a rough history where Martha asks Pete to show his work and he doesn’t immediately strangle her with her headphones cord. We talk a whole lot about Star Trek and never come to a conclusion about whether or not it’s relevant! All this AND MORE.

Your podcasters’ credentials:
Pete: The Wake by Paul Kingsnorth
Martha: You Are Here: An Owner’s Manual for Dangerous Minds by Jenny Lawson
Calee: The Venture Brothers tv show

Reboots and Reimaginings – Additional Material
Big Hero 6
Hawkeye, vol. 1: My Life as a Weapon
by Matt Fraction and David Aja
The Illiad
Logan

Sherlock Holmes (books, movies or tv show)
Star Trek: The Next Generation
Star Wars: The Clone Wars
Venture Brothers
 tv show

Our theme for our next episode is going to be: Sacrifice. Enjoy doing your homework!

Your homework for March 29:
Pete: X2: X-Men United (movie)
Martha: Puella Magi Madoka Magica: Beginnings (movie)
Calee: The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle (book)