The Final Excelsior – Remembering Stan Lee – 109

Stan Lee passed away on November 12, 2018, due to cardiac arrest triggered by respiratory and congestive heart failure. He was an icon in the comic book industry. He co-created some of the most popular characters alongside the likes of Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, and so many other artists. Sadly, his life ended in turmoil.

Even so, he was part of a legacy of amazing creators that encouraged all of us in one way or another. He inspired some of us to write or draw or create our own things. His appearances in Marvel films – and even his wonderful Teen Titans Go! to the Movies cameo – have become a staple for us. He’s made quite an impression on us and he will be sorely missed.

I happened to be lucky enough to get my photo taken with Stan back in 2016, right alongside David Hunt and his wife. While it was an extremely quick experience, it has to be one of my favorite moments as a comic book fan. (He smelled exactly like you’d think he would.)

Dave, Stan, Sabrina, and David at Cincinnati Comic Expo in 2016

The Showdown of the Century – 061

We look back at the 1996 crossover event, DC Comics VS Marvel Comics, wherein DC heroes and villains battle Marvel heroes and villains to see which universe should survive!

For as long as we can remember, DC Comics and Marvel Comics have been the biggest publishers of comic books, which makes sense, given they’ve been nicknamed “The Big Two”. In the DC vs Marvel event from 1996, writers Peter David (Marvel) and Ron Marz (DC) adapt this idea, turning both of the companies into god-like brothers.

The big part of the story is that these brothers (for some reason) did not know of the other’s existence. When they become aware of each other, the heroes and villains from Marvel and DC end up meeting one another in a universe where they co-exist.

As is the norm, the characters battle it out. It’s explained through a weird side story that a random man – later named Access – has the ability to change things back to the way they were, with each character returning to their original universe. Due to not ever using his newly-found abilities before, he messed things up and inadvertently creating the Amalgam Universe, where DC Comics is merged with Marvel Comics. (Possibly the best thing to come of this entire event.)

Eventually Access ends up learning how to use his powers, returns the characters to their shared universe and then recruits Batman and Captain America to help him get things back to the way they’re supposed to be. (Why Cap and Batman are the ones chosen and how they help, I still don’t understand. Maybe solely as representatives of each universe?) The Brothers have a minor fight and end up reconciling. Again, this makes very little sense. Essentially they decide that it’s okay to coexist, but the universes need to stay separate. Things are back to the way they were.

Access ends up disappearing into the glowing box that seems to have started the whole thing. Where he went, we have no idea. The end.

TIE-INS

Amalgam Comics
Purchase the Amalgam Comics trade on Amazon. (Affiliate Link)

As we mentioned, Marvel and DC’s greatest team-up was Amalgam, which was probably the real play by both companies. They released a total of 24 single-issue titles with their merged heroes. The first time (12 issues) being toward the end of the DC Comics Versus Marvel Comics run in 1996. These temporarily replaced each company’s normal titles. The second time Amalgam appeared was in 1997. Each time, the books were written as if they had always existed and even went as far as to have fake letter columns at the end of each issue. It was quite the feat by the Big Two.

Access

The Big two also released two mini-series focused on the new character, Access. They were titled (appropriately and cliched) All Access (Late 1996 to Early 1997) and Unlimited Access (Late 1997 to Early 1998) The first focuses on Access’ adventures to keep the universes from merging again. The second chronicles his adventures as he learns to travel through time in each universe.


Finally, if you haven’t been confused and had a ton of fun with the “showdown of the century”, you can take this Comic Book Resources quiz on the Amalgamverse. Good luck!

Superhero Deaths – 060

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When one of our beloved comic characters dies in a story, we’re supposed to be surprised and shocked and saddened. Usually, though, we all say the same thing, “I give it six months and they’re back from the dead.” As true as that is, there have been some deaths in Marvel and DC Comics that have been tragic. I reached out to some of you on Facebook and Twitter to get an idea of your favorites and here’s what you said:

  • Evan David (Strangers & Aliens): Superman’s my favorite.

  • David Hunt (Geek This!): I’m with Evan about Superman. The death of superman event happened when I was younger so for me that was the first time thinking “Oh snap! They killed one of the main people!” That was before I realized it had happened before, such as Jean Grey’s death as the Phoenix. Anymore it seems like there’s a “death of the month”. As for returns, you obviously can’t talk about it without talking about Bucky Barnes and Jason Todd.

  • Ben Avery (Strangers & Aliens): Check out our Strangers and Aliens Easter episode! I give a few of my favorites… Spock kinda tops the list, though.

  • David Arington (Helix Reviews): I haven’t read a ton Marvel’s Ultimate comics, but the death of the Ultimate Spider-Man was pretty amazing! I also liked the death/return of the 616 Spider-Man with the whole Superior Spider-Man thing. And as already mentioned the Bucky/Winter Solider and Jason Todd/ Red Hood returns are classics!

  • Dallas Panda Marshal Mora (Geeks Under Grace): Superman is at the top of my list too. Though Tim Drake is interesting.

Before I dive deep into the two stories I’ve selected, I wanted to preface everything. I originally had about six different stories to share for this episode, but the more I dug into them, I realized that some of them happened before I started reading comics, more or less. I narrowed it down to these two, so I hope you don’t mind.

Peter Parker (Amazing Spider-Man #698 – #700 – 2012) | Dan Slott / Humberto Ramos

The beginning of this story starts in issue #600, but these three issues are the main part of Peter Parker’s 616 death. We find out before these that Doctor Octopus, Spidey’s longest-running villain, is terminally ill.

Issue #698 starts out with Spider-Man swinging across NYC having what he calls “the best day of his life”. Through most of the book he’s reminiscing, but there comes a point when Captain America, Spider Woman, Wolverine and Hawkeye all meet up with Spidey and inform him that Doctor Octopus is dying. Oddly enough, he’s asking for Peter. Cap and the other Avengers take Peter to The Raft (Marvel’s Ryker’s Island) where he hears Ock say, “Peter Parker…” Of course, Peter’s response is, “Yes, I’m Peter Parker.” Next, though, Ock says something weird: “No… Not anymore, Spider-Man. From now on, I am Peter Parker. I have all of your memories. I know everything you knew. I have your life and everything that comes with it. And you are now Otto Octavius. With what little time you have left…” And then Peter begins speaking, continuing Doc Ock’s words, “… trapped in that broken body – brought about by years of your brutal beatings. And like a good magician, I shall not reveal my secrets. You will die, never knowing how I performed my last and greatest trick.” Doc Ock flatlines, Spider-Man calls in the medics and walks out with the Avengers like nothing ever happened. In issue #699, we discover that Doc used some tech to hack into Peter’s brain, copy everything and then put the information into his dying body. (Comic books, right?) Once Peter (in Ock’s body) figures all of this out – through a series of flashbacks – he starts calling on some super villains to break him free from The Raft. The saddest part of this story was in issue #700 where Peter essentially has a glimpse of heaven while flatlining and meets up with Uncle Ben, Gwen and some other characters who have died over the course of the last 700 issues of The Amazing Spider-Man. When he comes to, he is broken out of The Raft by Hydro-Man, Trapster, and Scorpion. In the end, Peter, in a broken and dying body, fights his hardest with Doc Ock, who now has all of the strength of Spider-Man. Peter attempts to take back control of his body with one of Ock’s bots (the same ones that took his mind in the first place). As you might expect, Ock thought of everything and installed a steel plate so this couldn’t happen. As the fight ends and Peter is dying in Doc Ock’s body, he makes Ock understand what Uncle Ben taught him so long ago: with great power must also come great responsibility. In a last ditch effort, he explains what it means to be Spider-Man. Thus, Otto – always trying to show he’s the smarter of the two – declares he’ll be an even better Spider-Man. The Superior Spider-Man.

Captain America (Captain America Vol. 5 Issue 25) | Ed Brubaker / Steve Epting

Note: If you don’t know much about Marvel’s Civil War event, go check it out, it’s what got me more interested in comics and is an interesting part in Marvel’s history.

There are a lot of complicated story pieces in this story, but in short, Red Skull is behind everything, he’s exacting his revenge on Cap.

At the end of Civil War‘s run, Steve Rogers – always conscious of the morality of his decisions – saw just how much damage he and the heroes were causing in the fight, so he surrendered himself to Tony Stark who was, at the time, the director of SHIELD. As they stroll Cap out through the massive crowds of people there – some opposing the Super Human Registration Act and some opposing Cap himself – he notices a sniper in a window. Of course, Steve jumps in the way of the shot, but that isn’t the killing blow. No, a gun from the crowd appears and shoots Cap right in the stomach with three shots. Bucky (AKA Winter Soldier) has been watching the whole thing from the crowd and immediately sets off to find the sniper. As does Falcon. Falcon finds Bucky in the sniper’s perch, accuses him of shooting Cap, and once Bucky convinces him otherwise, they team up and eventually take down Crossbones, who actually did the sniping. Like I said early, the sniper shot didn’t take Cap down. We find out that Doctor Faustus (employed by Red Skull) brain-washed Agent 13 into dealing the killing shots. She doesn’t figure it out until someone drops the trigger words at the hospital. Poor Sharon.


So those are two superhero deaths that I’ve encountered while reading comics. Now, there are many, many other events like this and I would absolutely love for you to share the ones that impacted you as a reader.


Behind-the-Scenes: Format Changes

  • Hosting duties will stay with me as the primary host, with David Hunt popping in as often as possible; guest hosts will show up occasionally, too.
  • Episode lengths will stay within the 30-minute range, but may go longer if a guest is on
  • Episodes will be released every other week on Wednesday, holidays included
  • Episode numbering will continue from 61 on, as to not confuse new listeners
  • Patreon Support will no longer be requested. I’ve learned that the quality of the content on this podcast and the rate of consistency are too low to be asking for monetary assistance. Yes, producing the podcast costs money – website fees, media hosting – and more importantly my time, but if I’m not making a show that you look forward to every time it’s released, I have no right to ask for your hard-earned money. It all boils down to respect on my end.
  • The podcast has moved to Libsyn. This should not affect the show.

The Merc with the Mouth – 038

Daniel Butcher of Welcome to Level 7 joins Dave to write a love letter to their favorite mercenary. They discuss whether Wade Wilson is an idiot or if he’s using sarcasm for something deeper. Also in this episode, a discussion about the Guinness Record-holding wedding issue.

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Marvel’s Star Wars

Welcome to the first episode of Season 2 of GEEK THIS, as well as the first one for 2014! We’re testing out a new format where we release an episode featuring just news and recommendations one week and then release a topical episode the week after. Be sure to give us some feedback on the new way we’re doing things so we can tweak it in the future.

News Stories

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Listen to the episode to find out! The winners need to be sure to get in touch with us (via Facebook message or email)  so we can send out the prizes ASAP!

Recommends

David H: Marvel’s Ultimate Cataclysm storyline

David C: Marvel Unlimited / Mark Waid’s Daredevil series

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Surviving the Age of Ultron – 015

Marvel’s first big event for 2013 has come and gone.

Mr Hunt gives us a rundown of it and we speculate what it may all mean. Could the company be attempting a series of events to trigger a “New-52”-styled reboot of their own, even with Marvel NOW currently in the works? What if the 616 Universe and the Ultimate Universe converge? And who is that chick with the huge belt?

Coulson Lives? How?

ABC and Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. TV series will be airing this Fall and comic book fans around the world are stoked! We here at Geek This! Podcast are just as excited, but there’s a question that looms over this entire show: How in the world is Agent Coulson still alive?

If you aren’t savvy to who Phil Coulson is, I’m going to tell you here and now there will be spoilers from The Avengers. Sorry. The film’s been out for a year…

SHIELD agent Phil Coulson (played by Clark Gregg) made his debut in the Marvel Cinematic Universe in Iron Man (2008) and then reappeared in Iron Man 2 (2010), Thor (2011), and The Avengers (2012). He’s basically been the glue that holds all of the MCU films together. In The Avengers Nick Fury uses the death of Agent Coulson to get the team of super heroes to work together and stop Loki’s army of Chitauri.

The problem with this is Agent Coulson is the front-runner for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., which takes place after the events of The Avengers. What?! Well, we’re sure that they’ll answer our questions in the show this fall, but what if they eluded to something all the way back in Captain America? One user of IMGUR shared their theory. (I did edit this a bit for cohesion.)

screenshot
[Screenshot from CAPTAIN AMERICA]

My first reaction was, “Nice thought, but there’s no way! Coulson is much younger than…” and then I stopped mid-thought. Because you know what?

You know what?!

After Steve, the US government had to keep trying to recreate the Super Soldier Serum. And who, and who would be the first **** person in line to volunteer?

They told us it never worked again. And that was kind of true. They never again recreated the super strength or gleaming pecs. But other things, they got right. They go the vastly delayed aging. And the kind of reflexes that make a man able to take out two armed thugs with a bag of flour. And the talent for leading through example.

And they got the most important part, Erskine’s favorite part: the magnification of moral fiber, taking the loyalty and selflessness of a loyal and selfless man and making him into something spectacular.

Coulson didn’t buy those vintage cards on eBay. He’s had them since he was a little boy. The little boy above!

And he could have some crazy healing factor that let him survive getting stabbed by Loki!

Of course, this is all speculation, but wouldn’t it be cool to find out that Agent Coulson has a little bit of super soldier serum flowing through his veins like Cap? What are your thoughts?

Amalgam Comics – 011

Welcome to the Podcasters Initiative’s Super Hero theme week. If you’re listening to Geek This! Podcast for the first time, we’re glad you’re here. If this isn’t your first foray into our audio universe, thanks for coming back and supporting us.

In this episode we take a different course than some of the other podcasts involved in this event by talking about some super heroes that may be new to you. We also talk about what makes one hero better than another in our opinions. You may also know that we tweaked the format of the show by including our new “Recommends” and “Pull List” segments. We hope they become staples and you enjoy them enough to contribute.

Note: We had some technical difficulties while recording the episode, so our News segment was cut out entirely. There are links for some of what we talked about below.

EPISODE REFERENCES

PODCASTERS INITIATIVE PARTICIPANTS