Pick of the Week Podcast

Pick of the Week #164 – Ex Machina #40

Show Notes

It’s a raucous time, with some semi intelligent discussion thrown in, topped off by more than a little awkwardness. But you’re probably used to that by now. Also, Conor Kilpatrick forgets Josh Flanagan’s name, and we try to break up a wedding.

Running time: 00:58:29

Pick of the Week:
00:01:43 – Josh’s Pick of the Week, Ex Machina #40 might be one of the best single issues of the year.

00:10:22 – Robin #181 dropped some major weight on poor Tim Drake.
00:14:57 – It’s a really depressing Christmas party in Hellblazer #250.
00:18:00 – The DC Holiday Special made Conor happy, and the Marvel Holiday Special made Ron happy.
00:21:16 – The Amazing Spider-Man #581 continues the solid performance from that title.
00:22:43 – Why isn’t Spider-Man: Noir in black and white?
00:26:03 – The Mighty Avengers #20 was just all around fantastic.
00:28:19 – Josh tries to avoid spoiling The Walking Dead #56 for the trade readers on the show.
00:30:16 – Jeph Loeb wins over Conor and Ron, despite recent history, with Buffy the Vampire Slayer #20.
00:32:06 – Madman #12 is slightly less mad. But in a good way.

User Reviews:
00:34:18 – Neb, surprised as any of us, really liked Supergirl #36.
00:36:22 – RipperSix worships at the alter of Thor God Sized #1.

00:37:28 – What comics can John pick for his prudish (his word!) fiancé?

00:44:31 – Nate doesn’t know about fifth week events.

iFanboy News:
00:46:52 – A Special Announcement

“Fun Winter”
Jonathan Coulton


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  1. @Josh: John Constantine’s look was deliberately modelled after Sting. Totleben and Bissette actually told Alan Moore that they wanted to draw a character who looked like Sting, so Moore wrote one into Swamp Thing.

    Bonus: Claremont and/or Byrne modelled the original Hellfire Club members after old actors. Harry Leland was based on fat Orson Welles.

  2. Fun show guys.  Can’t wait to hear next weeks show! Want to here what, if any, video games you guys are enjoying.

    No suggestive nudity?  Hmm…Johns Flash?  I read the Wonderland and Crossfire trades, I don’t think they had sex.  Sinestro Corp war didn’t have sex.  Massive murder, but no sex. 

    -Essentials and Showcase titles, but they aren’t modern.


    Thats a tough one, can’t really answer it without completely going through my collection.

  3. How about some Scott Pilgrim for the prude.

  4. For John’s wife

    The Plain Janes – a stand out oneshot from DC’s minx Line.

    Marvels – Excellent one shot by Alex Ross and Mar waid

    Franklin Richards: Son of Genuis one offs by Chris Ellipolous

    Mim’s Cancer : Brian Feis Really Great Autobiograhpical cartoon Account of the Author’s Mom’s  Batttle with Cancer.

    Peanuts is alwaus a good bet. Calvin and Honns etc.

    All-star Superman #19 as a single issue is fantastic. Connor is correct about the off color jokes throughout the run, but Ithunk 10 is clean

    Hope that helps and congrats on the engagment to you both.

  5. Understanding Comics? Reinventing Comics? Green Arrow Year One? plain janes? re-gifters? the highwaymen? american splendor? runaways? asterix and obelix?

  6. Good job making fun of John. He’s probably crying now.

  7. I am so buying the DC special for the Karl Kerchel i know i have issues. For the woman that is the "prude" how about the Wonderful Wizard of Oz ?  and @ ron for the Kwanza melt down i will be alerting Al Sharpton. You have been warned.

  8. @DaveCarr: The Plain Janes is a great book as is most anything that came out from Minx. I particularly like "Good As Lily" by Derek Kirk Kim.

    While listening to this podcast I was walking in the rain to my local coffeeshop and immediately made a beeline to my LCS to grab Ex Machina #40. I, like Conor, had moved to trades with this book, but your showering praise on this issue and the "one&done" format, plus the fact that I have a soft spot for meta-anything, had me wanting this book NOW.

    Walking Dead and Invincible have been coming out more than on time for the last several months and made me appreciate more the idea of monthly books actually coming out monthly. Good job Kirkman and also Erik Larsen, who’s Savage Dragon has been coming out seemingly biweekly since he left his seat as publisher of Image Comics.

  9. Oh I forgot. What about the Akiko series from Mark Crilley. Very nice art and good family-friendly story.

  10. @ Hoshigaki-Though a great comic Scott Pilgram has sex.

    @Chlop- Runaways has sex, or atleast a mention of sex.

    Sorry but I just don’t want  John’s wife to read something she doesnt want too.

  11. Whoa that post I just made looks messed up sorry about that.

  12. @Chlop-I believe Understanding Comics makes references to assless chaps and nipple clamps.  Their may also be duct tape involved

  13. I was probably too busy looking at the superhero boobies to notice the sex references… sorry for my wrongful suggestions.

  14. Usagi Yojimbo should be fine for her.

  15. Don’t worry John, my girlfriend gives me tons of shit over Power Girl. 

  16. At least you’re not reading Empowered.

  17. Some more for John’s wife:  Mouse Guard, Northwest Passage, or Astro City.  And I will say Kingdom Come and New Frontier again just because.

  18. Mouse Guard is an awesome suggestion! Let’s see, what else? Iron West. Green Lantern Secret Origin.

    Huntress: Year One! That’s coming out next month and probably a good choice due to your wife-to-be enjoying No Man’s Land.

    Also, Common Grounds byt Troy Hickman.

    Hey, with all these great non-judgmental recommendations maybe John’ll decide to become a member despite the iFanboys belittling the love of his life.

    Ah, I’m just goadin’ ya guys! ‘Sall in good fun right?

  19. *listening to the ‘fifth week joke’*

    Geez, can we have one episode without these awkward jokes? lol jp Couldnt stop laughing from that.

    So Jeph Loeb’s Buffy was really good? (I’ll believe it when I see it)…that makes it the best thing he’s written all year doesnt it? 🙂

    I think what is making ASM a pretty good read is this: Very little of the last couple of months has BND been mentioned. The best BND story this year was Joe Kelly/Bachelo arc and that had little to nothing to do with the overall BND landscape. I know this Molten Man mini is giving us a B.S. reason on why Harry is still alive…and it was a really boring issue for me. Maybe when the mayor race is over and we find out who the hell (cares) Menace is in ‘Character Assassination’ then maybe we can get more stories like Kelly’s arc instead of New Ways to Die type of story.

  20. Re: the "prude": I was going to go on a rant about what a shame it is that so many mainstream titles have enough sex content in them that you’d feel funny about giving them to younger readers, blah blah blah "how do they expect the medium not to die if the comics are too sexed up for children", etc…And I was going to say that before the mid-’90s or so pretty much ANY Comic Code-approved title would be FINE for a "prude" or for children…but then I remembered how often Chris Claremont used to get the X-women naked, and how I’m sure the Spidey comics from almost 20 years ago basically referenced sex (without saying it outright) between Peter and MJ. Heck, lots of great Batman stories from the ’80s had prostitutes in them. And I also read Watchmen when I was like 12, and am glad I did, so I say that it’s a good thing for there to be sexual references in comics.

  21. What about X-Men and Wolverine First Class for the no-nudity books? 

  22. The reason i didn’t pick up the Noir was because of it being in color.  You guys should try the Deadpool ongoing out.  really awesome

  23. the Scott McCloud and Mark MIllar Superman Adventure books are great and booby-free.  

  24. John B reports that his wife really enjoyed New Frontier.

    Just an update.

  25. @MrPopular Yeah! The new solo Deadpool series is really good. I was very surprised at how much I enjoyed it and Paco Medina and Carlo Barberi’s art on it is so awesome. Perfect for the tone of it. Also, love the Liefeld joke.

  26. @MrPopular/hawaiianpunch: Tis a shame the Itrinity will not try Deadpool out. But at least we can agree we all love Deadpool 🙂

  27. That "brouhaha" on the Bendis Board: you weren’t kidding! There are a lot of haters on there! I can’t believe it.

  28. Oh, I always thought that it was Moore who wanted Constantine to look like Sting.  You learn something every day…

  29. I’ve read the story both ways, that it was Moore and that it was Bissette who had a Sting thing going on at the time, or was it Tottelben?

    Either way, they keep him consistent, and I never think of Sting when I see him, and am grateful for it.

  30. The thought of Alan Moore being a huge Sting fan, however apocryphal, is going to get me through a lot of tough times.

  31. Can someone please explain why you hate Jeph Loeb? I understand you’ve probably explained that but I’ve been listening for about a year now and have no back story as to why you don’t like him. I’m not saying that you don’t have a good reason to. I just don’t know why.

    And the same for the apparent universal dislike of Roger Stern and Ron’s dislike of Chris Claremont. When someone says ARGH I HATE THAT GUY I like to know why.

    Myself, I hate Jerry Ordway’s art because it looks like wet poo. And for years he drew my favorite comic, Superman.

  32. Have you read anything Loeb has written lately minus his buffy issue and captain america white #0? If so, you can probably guess why he is hated. Listen to the episodes where they discussed the new hulk series or ultimates 3.

  33. I have a problem.  I can’t get my girlfriend to read anything that doesn’t have effing in it.

  34. @ultimatehoratio-We should all be so lucky

  35. Sorry for the lateness, but I thought up a bunch of titles for John to maybe try for his wife:

    If she likes Long Halloween, other Loeb/Sale books such as Superman For All Seasons, Daredevil: Yellow, Spider-Man: Blue, and Hulk: Gray.  Dark Victory was some suggestive stuff though.

    Ron’s right, the Fantastic Four is good one to try, especially Waid’s run.  Also the old Lee/Kirby stuff is of course great.  

    Green Lantern: Willworld is almost like a children’s fantasy book in the vein of Lewis Carrol and Frank Baur.  It’s pretty surrealist and it might go over someone’s head, but it’s very imaginitive and fun.  Seth Fisher was a great artist.  

    Mini-Marvels is always funny and is really clean, too.

    Darwyn Cooke’s Batman: Ego is clean too, I think.


  36. Spandex is always suggestive…

  37. great show. i am loving ex machina so much!!

  38. For John’s prudish wife…

    Try Drafted

  39. Somebody asked why I/we hate Jeph Loeb. This is a question I love to answer.

    Do I hate Jeph Loeb?

    Hate is  a strong word, but yes of course I do hate Jeph Loeb. I wouldn’t be here talking to you right now if I didn’t hate Jeph Loeb at least a little. If not a lot. The reason is Jeph Loeb is somewhat like the big brother I never had. He walks around and thoughtlessly smashes all the things that I love. But unlike the big brother I never had, he offers me absolutely nothing in return.

    Here are the worlds wrecked so far.

    DC comics: Batman/Superman. (And not so much Batman/Superman that he wrecked, but the other things he wrecked through it.

    1. His Batman/Superman run trashed and weakened Lady Shiva, and therefore Batgirl, who had been the first to defeat her. It had been established in the Batgirl run that Batgirl was a better martial artist than Batman. She wasn’t better at other things or most things but she was better at fighting. Loeb re-established that this was not the case, and perhaps that women can’t fight at all, by having Batman easily KO Lady Shiva in barely a panel. This contributes to a general trend of Loeb’s to show women heroes one might think to be as strong as a man, being outshined by men. It’s sexist, pure and simple. And women and girls who read these comics will be made to feel worse, whether the sexism is intentional or not.

    2. More Batman/Superman. DC comics had Lex Luthor steal the election at the same time that George W. Bush had done so. A terrifying commentary on what our new president has  become. What did Loeb do? He had Lex Luthor go crazy put on power armor and charge Batman and Superman, fighting them and being beaten, so that he was no longer president, and the DC universe became that much less interesting and relevant. After that I stopped reading Batman/Superman, but I’m sure there’s more to complain about.

    Ultimates 3/Ultimatum

    3. The Black Panther has never been portrayed as more powerful than we see today. There has actually been a lot of backlash from white readers against how awesome the character has become by comparison to many of the white heroes they love. Jeph Loeb saw fit to join there cause, by creating a much smaller weaker side-kick-ish Black Panther  for the Ultimates Universe. So this white dude decides he needs to write up stories on the ultimate black character and make him smaller. This is in itself racist, inarguably. I ain’t saying he’s Hitler, but there is covert perhaps even subconcious racism going on here, and this comic takes a black symbol, and a black hero, and belittles him.  It hurts my spiritual world.

    4. I started reading comics again in the first place mainly thanks to the Ultimate-verse.  Ultimate Spiderman, Ultimate X-men, and than the Ultimates when it came out. Ultimates 3 and Ultimatum I knew were a mistake to hand to a less talented dude like Loeb (by comparison to the other authors,) but I never imagined he would think to do anything this over the top stupid. The Ultimate-verse was my favorite comic book set, and now I have to give up on it entirely. Characters are eating each other. The world seems to be being drowned in a metaphor for Jeph Loeb’s piss. The female characters are falling apart particularly easy, and dying more horribly and pathetically than the male characters. It’s too much. I loved that place, and now it is just trash.

    And that’s actually it. The four main reasons I hate Jeph Loeb. From here on out, you will see me trash/crush every element of all that Jeph Loeb does. But please know that I am not mad about all of it. Jeph Loeb can feel free to be a simple fellow full of wisecracks and no wisdom, and he can feel free to draw up action oriented over the top plots, that are basically stupid disguised as intellectual. I don’t mind all that stuff. I find it kind of adorable, but he has pushed me too far on THESE fronts, and so I must pick him to bits, and it begins today. And it will be easy.


  40. That Jeph Loeb Buffy sounds awful. It’s called SEASON EIGHT for a reason. People want to read what happens next, not what happened earlier. These guys are sell-outs for recomending it.

  41. You do know Jeph Loeb is a black woman, right?

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