The Comics Fondle Podcast | Episode 1

And here it is… The first episode of the regular Comics Fondle podcast.

This episode, Vernon and I talk about Boom! acquiring Archaia, whine about the state of comic book editing, malign DC events like Villains United, argue about Man of Steel and talk about some recently published books not both of us have read.

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The Further Adventures of Indiana Jones 7 (July 1983)


Michelinie definitely seems to have a formula–apparently based on Raiders–Indy starts the issue on one artifact hunt, it leads to a second hunt, which somehow has Nazis involved. It’s only the seventh issue of Further Adventures and it feels like there’s not going to be much interesting outside the little character moments.

The little character moments are because Michelinie has recast Marion as a reporter who follows Indy around the globe (at least this issue). It gives him a brassy damsel in distress to occasionally rescue and someone to ask questions to make the exposition seem more natural. It’s not a bad move, it just seems weird. As Michelinie writes her, Marion is reckless and loves to drink; she’s not the standard romantic interest.

Kerry Gammill and Sam de la Rosa take over on art, hopefully to stay. They handle the period and action well.

It’s just uninteresting.


Africa Screams, Chapter One; writer, David Michelinie; penciller, Kerry Gammill; inker, Sam de la Rosa; colorist, Bob Sharen; letterer, Joe Rosen; editor, Louise Jones; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Popeye 10 (February 2013)


Langridge continues the odd trend. This issue, in Sappo, there’s this incredibly awful moment and Langridge plays it for laughs. It’s downright disturbing. Lovely art from Ken Wheaton though; a lot of the strip is charming.

The Popeye feature is excellent, with Toar having to box Popeye to get citizenship. Everyone finds out the motive for the fight except Popeye; he spends a lot of the story depressed. It’s a genial little story. Langridge just lets the characters move gently through the story. Langridge plots these Popeye stories wonderfull; in between set pieces, he always makes room for character bits.

Here, as it tends to be, it’s Wimpy. Langridge lets Toar have the first act to himself and he’s a good protagonist. What’s also lovely is how Langridge paces the story–it takes place over a few days–he does really well with summary storytelling.

But Sappo’s still nuts.


American Toar; artist and letterer, Vince Musacchia; Ant Music; artist and letterer, Ken Wheaton. Writer, Roger Langridge; colorist, Luke McDonnell; editors, Ted Adams, Craig Yoe and Clizzia Gussoni; publisher, IDW Publishing.

Swamp Thing 165 (April 1996)


The wonderful Chester Williams issue. I remember it from reading it years ago–though I forgot Curt Swan pencilled it.

It’s a joke issue, with Millar turning Chester into a neo-con cop who’s fed up with all the dirty hippy stuff going on around him. It actually follows the character’s history pretty close–though Chester was always so stoned he really didn’t have a personality–and it ends, as it should, with Chester confronting Swamp Thing.

Swan’s pencils are good, but the kicker is the hippy version of Swamp Thing (who looks a lot like the Scot Eaton Swamp Thing from later issues).

It’s a political issue–Millar did it in time for the 1996 presidential election–and it wouldn’t work without Chester. Having him spout generic Republican catchphrases when people are actually talking to him is a fine gag.

The issue’s memorable and decent, but it’s obviously filler.


Chester Williams: American Cop; writer, Mark Millar; pencillers, Curt Swan and Phil Hester; inker, Kim DeMulder; colorist, Tatjana Wood; letterer, Richard Starkings; editor, Stuart Moore; publisher, Vertigo.

Lazarus 1 (June 2013)

Lazarus rucka lark image comics

I haven’t seen an episode of “Dallas” since I was a kid, but for some reason, when the characters in Lazarus blather on about family, it reminds me of “Dallas.”

This first issue has three distinct tones. One is action. There’s a lot of action at the beginning; with another artist, I’d probably argue it’s a waste of pages but Michael Lark is never a waste of pages, even if he is just showing off how the protagonist is a master ninja or whatnot. There’s the difference–Lark’s action sequences convey information.

Then there’s the scenes where the protagonist–Forever (it’s often confusing)–talks to her doctor. She’s apparently indestructible, so he just fixes her up. Like she’s a robot, actually. Exposition there.

Then the family soap opera scenes, with some other stuff thrown in.

Greg Rucka’s script’s far from perfect, but it’s vaguely compelling sci-fi with gorgeous art.


Family, Part One; writer, Greg Rucka; artist and letterer, Michael Lark; colorist, Santiago Arcas; publisher, Image Comics.

The Further Adventures of Indiana Jones 6 (June 1983)


Something goes very wrong when Terry Austin inks Howard Chaykin. Austin takes away all of Chaykin’s hard jaws, for example. I only caught one the entire issue. So while Chaykin does try some dynamic composition for the story, the art never clicks. Especially not on people. It’s a little better on the action.

The story concerns Indy and Marion opening a night club and dealing with a mobster who wants to take a controlling interest. It’s domestic activity Indiana Jones, running around New York City–Central Park and Long Island get the action set pieces–trying to protect Marion.

It’s slight, to be sure, but Michelinie writes the two characters well together. The first big such moment, with Marion casually stealing Indy’s drink, is fantastic. While Michelinie never tops it, the moment earns him a lot of goodwill.

Despite the predictable, underwhelming resolution, Jones is pretty okay for licensed stuff.


Club Nightmare!; writer, David Michelinie; pencillers, Howard Chaykin and Terry Austin; inker, Austin; colorist, Bob Sharen; letterer, Joe Rosen; editor, Louise Jones; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Fury: My War Gone By 8 (March 2013)

500px Fury MAX Vol 1 8

Ennis sure does like writing Nick captured issues. He and Castle get caught on their assassination mission in Vietnam. Their target, it turns out, doesn’t like the CIA running heroin through Vietnam and wants to make an example.

There’s a lot of talking. It’s mostly an expository history lesson. There’s only one real scene–Nick’s sidekick and his girlfriend talk for a page or two. The rest of the issue is leading up to the next one. Lots and lots of time preparing the reader for next issue’s daring escape.

It’s okay enough but bringing Frank Castle into the comic has done nothing for Ennis. Maybe raised expectations of some kind of payoff for the appearance. But Ennis is writing a war comic, not a superhero war comic.

It seems every couple issues he ramps up expectations, this issue is no different. Too bad he didn’t just tell a story.


The Judgment of Your Peers; writer, Garth Ennis; artist, Goran Parlov; colorist, Lee Loughridge; letterer, Rob Steen; editor, Nick Lowe; publisher, MAX.

Swamp Thing 164 (March 1996)


To become the rock elemental and the water elemental, Millar put Alec through a whole bunch of grief. But to become the wind elemental, there’s really not much to it. He has to solve one of the easier riddles I’ve ever read. It’s probably not even a riddle. He just has to find a clue. A very obvious one.

No wonder Millar spent most of these last issues dealing with the fantasy world and just had Alec depressed. If he came up with the solution first, then wrote the issues, there’d be no way to give Alec an interesting journey.

Alec’s depression, of course, is well-written. Millar’s showing his dwindling humanity in his insensitivity–not to everything but to a few choice targets.

But after multiple issues promising these awesome warlocks, Millar never delivers. We don’t even get to see a single warlock.

Still, it’s fine, with excellent art.


The Parliament of Vapors; writer, Mark Millar; penciller, Phil Hester; inker, Kim DeMulder; colorist, Tatjana Wood; letterer, Richard Starkings; editor, Stuart Moore; publisher, Vertigo.

The Fez 1 (May 2013)

The fez roger langradge

With nine to ten pages of actual content (the count depends on what constitutes content), Roger Langridge doesn’t have a lot of time in the first issue of The Fez. The cover, with its booming title design, vaguely reminds of The Spirit and the first page does have a recap of the Fez’s villains. They’re very funny villains.

None of them appear in the rest of the issue. The first story has the Fez haunting a thief–three glorious pages. Langridge turns nine very short lines of narration into a very amusing little story. The Fez, you see, is an invisible person wearing a fez, hence the title.

The bigger story involves the Fez doing experiments–to regain his visibility I assumed but Langridge doesn’t address it–and having a hallucinogenic journey.

The comic’s an art tour de force, but Langridge is so good at precise narrative, it’s sublime too.


Writer, artist and letterer, Roger Langridge; publisher, Hotel Fred Press.

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