The Fantasticast: 2015 In Review – Part III

Posted in Podcast with tags , on December 30, 2015 by quizlacey

As we trudge ever-closer to the end of 2015, we’re taking a look back at 2015 in the life of The Fantasticast. On Monday, we covered January-March, and yesterday we covered April-June. Today, we’re focusing on July-September. We had two Fantastic Four movies to cover, did a whole bunch of Fan-Splaining, and started our regular Marvel Team-Up coverage…

July

The Fantasticast Episode 135 (300)July started with our first-ever fill-in issue, Fantastic Four #119 – Three Stood Together. Roy Thomas provided his first Fantastic Four script, a neat and effective tale of racism, intolerance, and a thinly-veiled apartheid-era South Africa analogue. The cover format had recently changed, but this was also the first appearance of the new Fantastic Four logo and, thanks to our designer Sam, our own new logo. Just in time for some special episodes…

 

 

The-Fantasticast-Episode-136After a few months away, Stan Lee returned to the FF with Fantastic Four #120 – The Horror That Walks On Air. Stan’s final run on the FF isn’t a high point, and this story gets underway with a limp retread of the first appearance of the Silver Surfer. And, with our special episodes just around the corner, our decision to start a four-part story just before taking a few weeks off shows that our ability to plan ahead is, as always, impeccable.

 

 

The-Fantasticast-Episode-137-600Despite the movie turning out to be terrible, we decided to celebrate its release with a series of special episodes, kicking off with Steve And Andy Fan-‘Splain The FF Part 1. Taking more than a little inspiration from Rachel And Miles X-Plain The X-Men, we decided to run through the first 51 episodes and 3 annuals of the Fantastic Four in just under an hour. It was something a bit different for us, and we hope that it was a lot of fun to listen to.

 

 

The Fantasticast Episode 138 (300)Our second special episode was Steve And Andy Fan-‘Splain The FF Part 2, bringing our recap of every Fantastic Four issue covered on the show up to date. In just under an hour, we rattled through Fantastic Four #52-120, along with annuals #4-6. Huge thanks go to our designer Sam Savage for these wonderful covers, and to Michael Bailey of From Crisis To Crisis for counting slowly and clearly for us.

 

 

August

The Fantasticast Episode 139 (500)Our final special episode was our commentary on the unreleased 1994 Fantastic Four movie produced by Roger Corman. It’s not a great movie, but history is unlikely to judge this the worst Fantastic Four film. The film featured some phenomenal glove-acting, a terribly-animated Human Torch, and we added some more fun to the mix by turning Youtube’s automatic subtitling feature.

 

 

The Fantasticast Episode 140 (600)After much anticipation, we finally got to start our coverage of Marvel’s 1970s team-up comics with Marvel Team-Up #1 – Have Yourself A Sandman Little Christmas by Roy Thomas and Ross Andru. We also took this as the excuse to invite back onto the show Avengers Inspirations host Jon M. Wilson, as the show has taken so much inspiration from Jon’s former show Amazing Spider-Man Classics.

 

 

It’s at about this time that the Fantastic Four movie was released into cinemas, to some of the worst reviews seen since After Earth. Steve got to see the movie just before release, and managed to get his conflicted, angry thoughts in order to produce a midweek minisode, reviewing the film.
The Fantasticast Episode 141After a very long time away from the core FF title, we returned for Fantastic Four #121 – The Mysterious Mind-Blowing Secret Of Gabriel. It’s another Stan Lee runaround issue, frantically looking to fill time until the glorious final splash page by John Buscema. Sadly, at the end of everything, it turns out that the secret of Gabriel was neither that mysterious, nor particularly mind-blowing…

 

 

The Fantasticast Episode 142Fantastic Four #122 – Galactus Unleashed turned out to be one of most physical confrontations between the Fantastic Four and the World-Eater seen in comics. Making Galactus someone that the team can take on in combat may remove some of his mystique, but it lends itself to some great artwork from John Buscema. After two issues of very streamlined storytelling, Stan Lee remembers that he’s Stan Lee and splits the team up to give greater story possibilities.

 

 

The Fantasticast Episode 143Our final episode in a very busy month looked at Marvel Team-Up #2 – And Spidey Makes Four. The Frightful Four are invading the Baxter Building, and only the Human Torch and the Amazing Spider-Man can do anything about it. Assuming, that is, that Spidey can shake off his brainwashing and stop fighting as part of the Frightful Four! We also brought along Cinematic Universe co-host James Hunt to take a look at this packed issue.

 

 

September

The-Fantasticast-Episode-144September was all about bidding farewell to Stan Lee as regular writer of the Fantastic Four. We kicked off with the conclusion to his latest Galactus story in Fantastic Four #123 – This World Enslaved, featuring a return of our favourite FF guest-star – Richard M. Nixon. We also had a brief peek at Captain America and Falcon #150, and a longer look at Incredible Hulk #152, the prelude to the Trial of the Incredible Hulk.

 

 

The-Fantasticast-Episode-145Fantastic Four #124 – The Return of the Monster was the start of Stan Lee’s final story for the FF. It’s fair to say that wasn’t a huge clamour for the return of the Monster from the Lost Lagoon, which led (in this issue) to a lot of running around for no real reason at all. We also spent some time looking at Incredible Hulk #153, in which the Fantastic Four find themselves participating in the Trial of the Incredible Hulk, and Reed faces a moral quandry.

 

 

The-Fantasticast-Episode-146Morbius, The Living Vampire was the villain for Marvel Team-Up #3 – The Power To Purge, in which Spidey and the Torch teamed up, attended lectures, drank tea, and took on the not-quite-undead. Continuing our theme of teaming up with other podcasters, we invited Stacey Taylor of Stacey’s Pop Culture Parlour onto the show to help make sense of this issue. Spoilers: We didn’t. And we still don’t really know what an enzyme vampire actually is…

 

 

The-Fantasticast-Episode-147This is it – Stan Lee’s final issue of the Fantastic Four as regular writer. What a shame we couldn’t get something a little better than Fantastic Four #127 – The Monster’s Secret. With more running around and a rushed, nonsensical conclusion, this certainly isn’t a good example of Stan’s writing. Bidding farewell to our Fearless Leader, we also took a little bit of time to compare and contrast Stan’s return to the book with his return of Amazing Spider-Man.

 

 

Well, we’re nearly there. Check back tomorrow for the final episodes of 2015, and then come back on Friday for an exciting announcement about the future of the podcast.

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The Fantasticast: 2015 In Review – Part II

Posted in Podcast with tags on December 29, 2015 by quizlacey

As we trudge ever-closer to the end of 2015, we’re taking a look back at 2015 in the life of The Fantasticast. Yesterday, we covered January-March. Today, we’re focusing on April-June, as we moved closer to the release of the Fantastic Four movie, and a lot of people started to pay attention to what we do.

April

The Fantasticast Episode 124 (300)We started April with a feeling of deja vu, as we covered Fantastic Four #108 – The Monstrous Mystery of the Nega-Man. Why? Well, Fantastic Four #108 saw the unfinished Jack Kirby artwork for a rejected issue of the Fantastic Four repurposed and enhanced to provide the origin of Janus the Nega-Man. This led to an unusual episode, where a lot of the visuals had already been covered by us (Fantastic Four – The Lost Adventure), but the context (and Stan’s scripting) was new.

 

 

The Fantasticast Episode 125 (300)No prizes for guessing who the villain in Fantastic Four #109 – Death In The Negative Zone was! To celebrate the return of Annihilus, we invited Chris Thompson, host of Orbital Comics In Conversation, to join us for this episode and the next. Chris is a fantastic podcaster, and his interviews are some of the best in comics podcasting. He’s also a huge FF fan and, as an extra bonus, works at my local comics shop. We had a lot of fun looking at this issue and the general craziness that comes with any return to the Negative Zone.

 

 

May

The Fantasticast Episode 126 (Solid May)After a few weeks off for personal reasons, we returned in May with our coverage of Fantastic Four #110 – One From Four Leaves Three. We also invited Chris Thompson of Orbital Comics In Conversation to return to help us finish off this episode. Thankfully, by this point, Janus the Nega-Man had left the story, never to return*. Instead, we got to have more fun with Annihilus and Agatha Harkness. Fans of Steve’s singing (We’re not sure you actually exist) will be pleased to know that this is the episode to feature his version of the Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt theme.

*Janus returns. This knowledge haunts us all.

 

The Fantasticast Episode 127 (300)A plot line that had technically be running through the last few issues finally came to the fore in Fantastic Four #111 – The Think — Amok!. With Ben Grimm turned against the Fantastic Four – and humanity itself – the remaining team members scramble to contain his rampaging. As well as this, we had a rare solo appearance for Sue Richards, in Sub-Mariner #38, and we started our brief, erratic cover of the Kree-Skrull War with a peek at Avengers #89.

 

 

The Fantasticast Episode 128 (300)100 issues after their first battle, the Hulk returns to battle the Thing in Fantastic Four #112 – Battle of the Behemoths. As might be expected, this is a big action issue, with plenty of punching, statue destroying, and hurling of carousels. Oh, and the Thing dies at the end. Yeah, spoilers for that one.

 

 

 

The Fantasticast Episode 129 (300)Fantastic Four #113 – The Power of the Over-Mind was the first appearance of the super-villain Over-Mind. And if your response to that question is ‘Who?’ then you’re  not alone. It seems fairly certain that neither Stan Lee of John Buscema quite knew who or what the Over-Mind was when they created him, as it would take until the final issue in this story for the Over-Mind to present a consistent and credible threat to the team. Oh, and the Thing gets resurrected at the start. Yeah, spoilers for that one.

 

 

The Fantasticast Episode 130 (300)

The Over-Mind story continued in Fantastic Four #114 – But Who Shall Stop The Over-Mind? With the population of New York turned against the Fantastic Four by the power of the Over-Mind, the team must scramble to return to the Baxter Building, and to discover more about their foe, a task made harder by the Over-Mind’s ability to remove memories of his existence from them. We also checked in with the Kree-Skrull War in Avengers #92, where the team make appearances in court to defend Captain Marvel.

 

 

June
The Fantasticast Episode 131 (300)June kicked off with a new writer for the Fantastic Four, as Archie Goodwin arrived for a short run on the book. His first task was to create an origin for the Over-Mind, which became the focus of Fantastic Four #115 – The Secret Of The Eternals. To delve into this, we invited W. Blaine Dowler of the Unofficial 75 Greatest Marvels Podcast to come on the show. Sorry about that Blaine – we should have found a better issue for you! Also, the Eternals in this issue have nothing to do with the Jack Kirby Eternals from later in the 1970s, just to be clear.

 

 

The Fantasticast Episode 132 (300)Doctor Doom – in charge of the Fantastic Four? That can only mean one thing – it’s Fantastic Four #116 – The Alien… The Ally… The Armageddon! In an oversized issue, the Over-Mind finally presents a credible threat to the team, and only the assistance of Doctor Doom can save them. We also took some time with Avengers #93, another oversized issue, which guest-starred the Skrull cows from way back in Fantastic Four #2.

 

 

The Fantasticast Episode 133 (300)The short-lived flirtation of oversized issues left a feature-length story to be spread across two issues, which is probably why Fantastic Four #117 – The Flame And The Quest felt so unsatisfying as an issue. It sort-of-but-not-really brought Crystal back to the Fantastic Four, and committed one of the cardinal sins of any Marvel comic – it featured Diablo as the villain. We also had a detailed look at Sub-Mariner #44, and a far briefer look at Avengers #94.

 

 

The Fantasticast Episode 134 (300)June closed out with our coverage of Fantastic Four #118 – Thunder In The Ruins. This was Archie Goodwin’s final issue, and although the conclusion to the Diablo/Crystal story was about as good as you might expect, the final five pages of this story turned out to be something rather different. The Thing and Lockjaw briefly visited an alternate universe – Earth A – where Reed Richards had been the one to be turned into the Thing by the cosmic rays.

 

 

 

We’ll be back to take a look at July-September tomorrow, as we revisit our first dealings with Marvel Two-In-One, the Roger Corman Fantastic Four movie, the Josh Trank (and others) Fantastic Four movie, and a whole heap of fan-splaining!

The Fantasticast: 2015 In Review – Part I

Posted in Podcast, Uncategorized with tags on December 28, 2015 by quizlacey

We’ve got a handful of days between now and the end of the year, so this felt like a good time to stop and reflect on what has been a crazy year for The Fantasticast. Over the next few days, we’ll be looking back at 2015. The comics, the episodes, the guest-hosts, the ripping-off-of other podcasts!

January

FF 113 CoverIt seems like such a long time ago, but at the start of 2015, we were still covering Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s classic run on The Fantastic Four. We started January with Fantastic Four #98 – Mystery On The Moon. Produced to celebrate the 1969 moon landing, this issue wilfully ignores established continuity, and earned Marvel a letter from NASA pointing out that they were perfectly capable of landing on the moon without any fancy-schmancy superheroes lending a hand, thank you very much. Did I say NASA? I must have meant J. Jonah Jameson…

FF 114 coverThe last few issue of Stan and Jack’s collaboration on the Fantastic Four were not their best work together, and Fantastic Four #99 – The Torch Goes Wild is a particularly strong example of how out-of-sync the two creators were. We also took a brief peek at Silver Surfer #17, and had some fun answering the 1970 Marvel Readers’ Survey. Most likely because we really didn’t want to talk about this comic…

The Fantasticast Episode 115 (300)We our first major milestone with Fantastic Four #100 – The Long Journey Home. This was the first big Marvel anniversary celebration. I think it’s fair to say that they learned a few lessons from this one, such as ‘how not to do an anniversary celebration comic’. We learned, after the recording, that this comic had originally been planed to be an annual-sixed issue, which accounts for some of the problems with this one. But not all…

Late January saw the release of the first full-length Fantastic Four trailer, and we sat down to give our thoughts on it for a Midweek Minisode. It’s worth remembering that there was a point when one of us still hoped that this film wouldn’t be terrible…

FF Episode 116 image

Finally, we finished January with a late resurgence of quality, when we covered Fantastic Four #101 – Bedlam In The Baxter Building. This issue features The Maggia, the organised crime syndicate who definitely aren’t the Mafia, and a real sense of danger and fun, which is more than can be said for the Inhumans feature in Amazing Adventures #1, which we also covered.

February

The Fantasticast Episode 117 (300)February saw us welcome our first guest-host as Micheal Leyland of Heykids Comics joined us to bid farewell to Jack Kirby. Together, we covered Fantastic Four #102 – The Strength Of The Sub-Mariner, the first of a three-part story that would require some significant help to finish off. We also took a look at the Inhumans feature in Amazing Adventures #2.

The-Fantasticast-Episode-118Things took a brief diversion, as we took an episode to review the achievements of one of the greatest runs of comics – Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s Fantastic Four. As well as our own thoughts and critiques, we also solicited feedback from our listeners for a bumper episode. And, to wrap things up, we also took a look at the 2008 one-shot Fantastic Four – The Lost Adventure, which recreated a rejected Fantastic Four comic from Jack Kirby’s incomplete artwork.

The Fantasticast Episode 119 (300)Fantastic Four #103 – At War With Atlantis saw the first appearance of short-term Fantastic Four penciler John Romita Sr. Picking up another artist’s plot and running with it is not a great situation, but Romita managed to bring focus, pace, and Richard M. Nixon to the story. We also took a brief look at Sub-Mariner #30 and Fantastic Four Annual #8, for those keeping track of Namor’s solo title, or reprints.

The Fantasticast Episode 120 (300)Stan Lee and John Romita concluded the first continuing FF story in over a year with Fantastic Four #104 – Our World — Enslaved! Handily, Roy Thomas mirrored this invasion of New York with one of his own in Avengers #82, which afforded us the opportunity to compare Lee and Thomas’s approaches to similar plots. We also had a look at Sub-Mariner #31.

March
The Fantasticast Episode 121 (300)March kicked off with our coverage of Fantastic Four #105 – The Monster In The Streets, the first post-Kirby issue and the first signs that the book would be able to continue without one of the major creative forces that brought the title into being. Despite the editorial shenanigans that suddenly removed Crystal from the book, this was a surprisingly strong issue, considering that it came at a time of great change.

The Fantasticast Episode 122 (300)

The post Lee/Kirby era continued with Fantastic Four #106 – The Monster’s Secret. I recall rather enjoying this issue at the time, but details of what happened or why I enjoyed it escape me eight months later. The show-notes suggest that Andy and I had a disagreement during the recording, but again, I forget about what. I suspect Andy hasn’t, though – he tells me he’s tattooed my transgression on his arm so that he will always be reminded of it. Unless he’s wearing a jumper.

The Fantasticast Episode 123 (300)Fantastic Four #107 – And Now – The Thing! marked the debut of regular Fantastic Four penciller John Buscema. Unfortunately, it was also the first of four issues to feature the villain Janus, one of the more underwhelming adversaries of the Fantastic Four that we would encounter this year. Come for the artwork, stay for the spelling mistakes and the consequences of said spelling mistakes.

We’ll be back tomorrow to take a look at what happened to the show in April, May and June!

The Fantasticast Episode 159: Marvel Team-Up #10 – Time Bomb!

Posted in Podcast with tags , , , , , , , , on December 19, 2015 by quizlacey

The Fantasticast Episode 159

Prince Philip: Iron Man

Hello, and welcome to episode 159 of The Fantasticast. Each week, Steve Lacey and Andy Leyland guide you through every issue, guest-appearance and cameo of The Fantastic Four.

It’s our last episode of 2015. We could have closed out this year with a nice, simple standalone comic. We could have, but we didn’t. Instead, we decided to look at the middle part of a three-part Marvel Team-Up story. Spider-Man is caught in a temporal battle between Kang The Conqueror and Zarrko The Tomorrow Man, and only Johnny Storm can help save the day. Gerry Conway, Jim Mooney and Frank Giacoia bring us an issue packed full of time-travel, literal time-bombs, and surprisingly easy international air travel.

We’re also paying tribute to our dear friend, podcast and former co-host Shawn Engel, who passed away this past week. Shawn was a huge supporter of the show, and he joined us for episode 31, three years ago. Messages can be left here, and the family have asked that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to a charity of your choice. Shawn, you were one of the best of us, and we miss you very much.

Click on this link to go to the libsyn page for this episode, or listen below.

Send in your feedback to fantastic4podcast@gmail.com, leave your comments at the libsyn site, or at fantasticflameon.wordpress.com. Follow us on twitter, where we are @fantasticast

Original artwork by Michael Georgiou. Check out his work at mikedraws.co.uk

Episode cover design by Samuel Savage.

The Fantasticast Episode 158: Fantastic Four #135 – The Eternity Machine

Posted in Podcast with tags , , , , , , , on December 12, 2015 by quizlacey

The Fantasticast Episode 158

I-Spy: Gil Kane Edition

Hello, and welcome to episode 158 of The Fantasticast. Each week, Steve Lacey and Andy Leyland guide you through every issue, guest-appearance and cameo of The Fantastic Four.

Things are a little quieter this week for us, as we take a look at Fantastic Four #135. Of course, quieter is a loose term to use for an issue that includes a rampaging Dragon Man, Gregory Gideon and his cyber-suit of power, Medusa’s hair, Sue’s emotional trauma, and the betrayal of Thomas Gideon. Gerry Conway and John Buscema present the final appearance of one of the Fantastic Four’s earliest villains.

Oh, and a terribly-constructed prison cell, an overly-dramatic Alicia Masters, the most unlikely Time Magazine Person Of The Year, a terrible choice for a flight path, a mysterious stranger, and Stan Lee’s fake Willie. It’s a packed issue, but is it any good?

Click on this link to go to the libsyn page for this episode, or listen below.

Send in your feedback to fantastic4podcast@gmail.com, leave your comments at the libsyn site, or at fantasticflameon.wordpress.com. Follow us on twitter, where we are @fantasticast

Original artwork by Michael Georgiou. Check out his work at mikedraws.co.uk

Episode cover design by Samuel Savage.

The Fantasticast Episode 157: Fantastic Four #134 – A Dragon Stalks The Skies

Posted in Podcast with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 5, 2015 by quizlacey

The Fantasticast Episode 157Two Hundred Dollars!

Hello, and welcome to episode 157 of The Fantasticast. Each week, Steve Lacey and Andy Leyland guide you through every issue, guest-appearance and cameo of The Fantastic Four.

It’s one the most packed episodes of The Fantasticast seen in a long time, with three comics before us. We start with Fantastic Four #134, with the return of the Dragon Man, and of one of the most unlikely Fantastic Four villains from the early 1960s. We continue with the legendary Luke Cage, Hero For Hire #9, in which Luke travels to Latveria to collect a debt of $200 from none other than Doctor Doom. Finally, Jim Starlin arrives to take over Captain Marvel with issue #26, guest-starring The Thing, and kick off the first great Thanos storyline.

With so much to cover, and a prominent story featuring Thanos, we decided to ask Al Sedano to join us for this episode. Host and producer of Resurrections: An Adam Warlock and Thanos podcast, Al was the perfect guest to discuss and direct these three issues. And who can resist an issue where Luke Cage punches Doctor Doom in the face whilst shouting ‘Here’s a sample of my fist!’

Click on this link to go to the libsyn page for this episode, or listen below.

Send in your feedback to fantastic4podcast@gmail.com, leave your comments at the libsyn site, or at fantasticflameon.wordpress.com. Follow us on twitter, where we are @fantasticast

Original artwork by Michael Georgiou. Check out his work at mikedraws.co.uk

Episode cover design by Samuel Savage.

The Fantasticast Episode 156: Fantastic Four #133 – Thundra At Dawn

Posted in Podcast with tags , , , , , , , , on November 28, 2015 by quizlacey

 

The Fantasticast Episode 156

Thought Bubble Be Crazy

Hello, and welcome to episode 156 of The Fantasticast. Each week, Steve Lacey and Andy Leyland guide you through every issue, guest-appearance and cameo of The Fantastic Four.

It’s a week of new beginnings for the Fantastic Four. It’s the first issue to be written by Marvel mainstay Gerry Conway. It’s also the first issue to be drawn by a woman, as Silver and Bronze Age legend Ramona Fradon provides fill-in pencils for this issue. And what pencils they are!

Tundra’s back, and spoiling for a fight with the Thing on New Year’s Eve. We’ve got plots of mass destruction, foreshadowing for the climax of Iron Man 2, and someone literally attempting to turn back time. We’ve also got the unusual story of how Steve ended up partying with DMC (the clue’s in the title), and a moment of pure physical pain for one of the hosts.

Click on this link to go to the libsyn page for this episode, or listen below.

Send in your feedback to fantastic4podcast@gmail.com, leave your comments at the libsyn site, or at fantasticflameon.wordpress.com. Follow us on twitter, where we are @fantasticast

Original artwork by Michael Georgiou. Check out his work at mikedraws.co.uk

Episode cover design by Samuel Savage.

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