Listen to the podcast!
What the Junk?!
On this episode of the podcast, Andy and Derek review three new titles, each of which is a brief glimpse into a facet of our diverse comics culture. They begin by looking at the new book from Darryl Cunningham, The Age of Selfishness: Ayn Rand, Morality, and the Financial Crisis (Abrams ComicArs). This work is an extended essay focusing on the life and philosophy of Rand, the contribution of her objectivist ideas to the 2008 financial crisis, and a general discussion on growing libertarian selfishness of Western culture. In fact, the book is divided into three parts, each of which is devoted to one of these three components. The guys discuss Cunningham’s structural approach when presenting his arguments. Andy feels that the three parts work fairly well together, although Derek isn’t as convinced that the book as a whole has the appropriate balance. For examples, the references to Rand’s philosophy in the second part of the book, “The Crash,” are sporadic and could have been more deeply ingrained. As a result, the transition from the first part of the text, a broad biography of Ayn Rand, to the discussion on the 2008 crash that follows seems to separate two different projects. Still, Cunningham is able to weave his points together through references to Rand’s disciples, the most prominent of which is Alan Greenspan. The Age of Selfishness is definitely an editorializing work with a left-leaning bent — which is OK with the guys — although at times the author tries almost too hard to be evenhanded. Next, Derek and Andy talk about a comic that they’ve been meaning to discuss for some time, Lumberjanes (BOOM! Box). In their first collected trade, Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, and Brooke Allen introduce the adventuresome girl team by plunging readers directly into the thick of things, involving yetis, animated statues, werescouts, a mysterious bearwoman, and the subtitular “kitten holy.” This initial volume collects the first four issues of the series, which began about a year ago. The guys wonder why it took so long to put out the first trade, and why this collection comprises only the first four comic books. Derek believes that issues #5, and perhaps even #6, could have been included in the first trade with it still retaining a coherent narrative. But the thing about Lumberjanes is that the storyline is tightly woven, to where it’s difficult to determine where one arc ends and another begins. That’s to the creators’ benefit, as it suggests that they have a solid story to tell and that they’re not merely writing with the typical trade cycle in mind. Finally, the Two Guys discuss the inaugural issue of the new series from Matt Kindt and Scott Kolins, Past Aways (Dark Horse). This is a time-travel narrative, although one with a different twist. Five explorers from our future are trapped in the early twenty-first century, and after a year of being stranded, they drift apart with each going his or her separate way. The opening event in this first issue is what draws everyone back to a common purpose, so in many ways Past Aways has a superhero-ish “getting the team back together” kind of feel. The prelude to this new series actually appeared a couple of months ago in Dark Horse Presents #6 — and the guys briefly discuss that story — but readers do not have to have read that introduction to get into this first issue. Kindt is one of Andy and Derek’s favorite creators, and they love Kolins’s mainstream work in titles such as The Flash. So this new series will be a no-brainer for the guys. They’re on board for the long haul and hope the haul goes on for some time!