iFanboy Video Podcast

iFanboy #149 – The Vault! Battlefields, Spawn Origins, & Unknown Soldier

Show Notes

It’s a good old fashioned Vault show! Conor goes back to the big one with Battlefields. Ron takes us to the roots of Image Comics with Todd McFarlane’s Spawn, and Josh talks about the horror of violence in Africa with Unknown Soldier.

Battlefields, Vol. 1
Conor likes it when Garth Ennis writes war comics, because then Garth Ennis makes his best comics. Luckily Dynamite has given him the ability to do so, and we get this trio of World War II tales with Battlefields, Vol. 1. Collecting “The Night Witches,” “Dear Billy,” and “Tankies,” Ennis and his exceptional artists bring unique corners of the war right to the reader, and it is captivating.

Spawn Origins, Vol. 1
Todd McFarlane was as big a creator as there was when he left Marvel and co-founded Image Comics, and Spawn was his masterpiece, and it’s still going today. Ron was a big, big fan back then, and still is today. Image is releasing high quality reprint collections of McFarlane’s signature creation, and it is still a good example of some pretty good comics.

Unknown Soldier, Vol. 1: Haunted House
Writer Joshua Dysart captures a war torn Uganda and the absolute horrors of the harsh life there, and combines it with a new take on a classic DC property, creating the Unknown Soldier. Josh warns that it’s not a fun ride, but it is very well executed, and the art by Alberto Ponticelli is something special, and it’s an important work of comic fiction that’s uncomfortably close to reality.



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  1. My new favorite activity during video episodes: holding the tracking button in place to cause the audio to skip and the video to jump. Especially when Conor says, "Snejbjerg!"

    Great show guys!

  2. Hate to be a dick, but the Kubrick movie is called "paths of glory."  Only know this cause I watched it a week ago…..

  3. Isn’t that what I said? If not, it was just a blooper.

  4. I always make it a point to pronounce "Snejbjerg" as if I were some sort of cross between Snarf and the Swedish Chef

  5. Did the Unknown Soldier show up in the Wonder Woman Blackest Night issue #1?

  6. Bringing together two of the books talked about, have any of you guys read Ennis’ Unknown Soldier mini from Vertigo? I’m sure I’ve mentioned it before but it is a good read if you can find it.

  7. Nice episode guys.  I haven’t read any of these books, except for the first couple of issues of Spawn.  Since you are sponsored by Netflix.  I thought I might take a different path and recommend some movies I thought about while you were recommending the three books.

    Josh already mentioned both Kubrick’s Paths of Glory and the film Hotel Rwanda, both good movies.

    I’d also recommend the films: Stalag 17, Catch 22, Slaughterhouse 5, Battleground, Saving Private Ryan, Johnny Got His Gun, The Big Red One,  Tarantino’s Inglorious Basterds, The Guns of Navarone, Patton (although I don’t care for this film), The Piano, Full Metal Jacket, and the Unknown Soldier reminded me of wars in other countries like Waltz with Bashir, and a few others.

    As far as Spawn, there was a movie made from it, as well as sequels.  Though I never cared for them, I did enjoy the animated Spawn when they used to be shown on cable a long time ago.

    I wondered since mentioning these films/etc. if you also followed comics that were either comic adaptations of films, or spinoffs of films/TV series that you enoy?  I thought the Buffy the Vampire books were done pretty well as well as Dark Horse’s Alien books.  Oh and while on the topic of films/comics I really have been enjoying Fox’s The Human Target which came from the DC book, which airs tonight (Wed.). Check it out.


  8. @skulldave

    I really enjoyed the Firefly/Serinety bridging mini "Those Left Behind". Also by Whedon.

  9. I commend you Josh Flanagan for keeping it to together whenever Ron says "Spawn" or "Haunt". You are the epitome of self control. I tip my hat to you sir.

  10. I didn’t really enjoy reading Unknown Soldier in issues, but maybe it does feel different in trade.  Not picking it up anytime soon though.  I got SO MUCH stuff on my list!!

  11. Loving ‘Unknown Soldier’, my favourite Vertigo title even above ‘Scalped’.

    Noticed you all seized up when discussing the ‘Battlefields’ artists other works when it came to Carlos Ezquerra. Well just for the record, the guy is a frakkin’ LEGEND in UK comics (which is why Garth Ennis always works with him when he can). He designed Judge Dredd and has drawn the character off & on for nearly 30 years.




  12. Love all of Garth Ennis’ war related titles.  Vertigo War Stories were brilliant, a collection of done in one issues.  By loose extension of that, I loved his punisher max, hated his punisher marvel nights.

    But darn it, Ennis makes my head hurt.  On a wednesday last year, the same day Battlefields Dear Billy came out, so did an issue of the Punisher where a man fell in love with a pumpkin.

    Question:  In The Boys, I tell you no lie GI, someone was going over the weapon/rifle/.machine gun history of the Vietnam War.  Was that an accurate account?

  13. @Marbles – It occurred to me right after that, and when I was editing, I felt the shame. But I knew! I swear!


  14. @Ilash – what is that Ennis Unknown Solider book?  It is goofy and gory Ennis,  WW2 Ennis, Punisher MAX Ennis, something else entirely?

  15. I love the early issues of Spawn.  McFarlane must have been planning that story forever because I’ve read his Spider-Man stuff and I understand why his writing is criticized, but in Spawn, he got it down.

  16. Great show guys. Still have that Battlefields HC in my "to-read" stack. Been online shopping a little too much over Christmas and the start of the new year so it’s taking time to get to it. Read the Unknown Soldier tpb in December and I fell it’s like those movies that are so harrowing you’ll watch it once, really enjoy and appreciate it, but never watch again – the subject matter is almost too much for someone to take i think.

  17. I remember McFarlane when I was kid. I used to think he was the coolest shit, and I still do. Rereading my spawn issues 1-30 reminds me of how lucky I was to have an uncle who sent me to the comic shop every saturday back in Ottawa. I never knew David Sim, Neil Gaimon, Alan Moore, or even Frank Miller then. But I knew McFarlane then, which really said alot about where this guy was going in those days. Say what you will about him but he not only made a name for himself and quickly but knew how to cash out on it. Can’t say the same for those other guys, not that there’s anything wrong with them.

    Also I laughed at that Tony Twist reference. I remember that settlement. What a douche, just because his "nickname" was used, doesn’t mean it was his likeness but w/e we all know a case like that today wouldn’t fly. I’m still discussing it with my grad school professors while playing devil’s advocate to see how a claim could be made. It’s pretty interesting.

  18. @SunnyvaleTrash: It’s closest to his war stories, I guess. It’s a really wonderful character-driven story about a regular FBI (or something) Agent who gets caught up in an investigation that ties heavily into the legend of the Unknown Soldier. It is definitely not goofy and, though it has its share of violence, it isn’t gory for the sake of being gory or for laughs.

    It’s basically the sort of Ennis comic book that reminds me that for all his gross-outtendencies and shock tactics, the guy can write emotionally resonan, human stories like no one else. 

  19. Great ep guys, some great books/series showcased.

     @Mangaman, it wasn’t the name alone that got the lawsuit started, it was his actual likeness, that was used, and helped the lawsuit, from what I remember.  That’s why no toys were made of the character.

  20. I’d get the Spawn Origins books if the Sim/Gaiman issues were actually included but they are not. Morrison, Moore, and Miller (you know the top 3 creators of all time as voted by CBR recently with their top storylines of all time contest) are.

  21. Every time I see you guys put up a vault episode, I get excited.  Love these.  Thanks for making them.

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