Nostalgia hits us in various ways this show, as we take a look at issue six of Paper Girls written by Brian K Vaughan with art by Cliff Chiang and Matt Wilson, which tells the story of characters from 1988 brought forward into the present (and some other coming back from the future. Possibly. Exactly what’s going on remains tantalisingly intriguing.) Suffice it to say that Bex and Jon (but not Jared, because he’s a child) brought their own experience of living through the 1980s to the party.  And even by our standards, this one was digressive. Including one swerve into a 1970s TV series Jon remembers fondly called The Paper Lads – which you can at least see vaguely how we got to. That one among others didn’t make the final cut. We did talk about the comic too though.

No 3&1 in this show, because reasons, but by way of a special bonus, instead of the usual random nonsense or outtake at the end, we’ve included one of the digressions, as Bex and Jon share some of the madness that was The Tomorrow People (original version) with Jared. Poor, innocent Jared, whose American childhood spared him. until now.

When an award-winning author on African-American identity takes on one of the most famous (and currently particularly visible) black characters in comics, the expectation level is set sky-high. Black Panther #1 from a couple of months ago sets the scene for an extended, and clearly multi-faceted, story which author Ta-Nehisi Coates clearly approaches with no suggestion he’s planning on dumbing down for comics. Together with artistic collaborators Brian Stelfreeze and Laura Martin, he kicks off with a first issue that jumps straight into politics, relationships, history and tradition, and some good old-fashioned fisticuffs to keep things moving. How does it all stack up? Listen and find out.

And in honour of Coates’ transition to comics from other writing fields, Jared’s 3&1 is on exactly that – authors who made their name elsewhere first. No spoilers, but his selected Worst One Ever has been mentioned on the show before. And he’s right – he’s a terrible, terrible comic writer.

Let’s face it – it’s been a grim week in the LGBT world (and indeed elsewhere), so it feels more important than ever to acknowledge and celebrate our sexual and gender diversity. So…
Happy Pride Month in much of the world. To mark the occasion, and to reflect its queer sensibilities, Oni Press has published its first Pride Spectacular; three extracts from its LGBTQ-focused titles, including previews of two new series. So how do Merry Men, Wet Moon and Princess Princess Ever After hold up as queer stories, as comics in general, and as reasons to have Pride?
And by way of celebrating the radical act of living openly, a delve into comic book coming out and focus in particular on some times it was done well.
This show is dedicated to the memory of the victims of the Orlando shooting, and to the countless other LGBT victims of violence across the world.

Hot off a guest appearance in Daredevil season 2 on Netflix, and last seen in comics at the start of Secret Wars killing ALL the supervillains as the world ended, it’s The Punisher’s turn to be relaunched off the back of that universe-shattering crossover with a new number one and a new creative team (ish – one of them is a very old hand at depicting the terminal adventures of Frank Castle). So among many other subjects as we cover the new Punisher #1, in this show we discuss: who to root for if you can’t root for the protagonist; heroes that kill; how best to use a character like The Punisher in a universe of heroes who don’t; whether and how this issue works for us, and Bex’s fondness for violence. With an unexpected special guest mention of Frank Miller?

This show rated explicit for one use of Bex’s favourite word. You know the one…

This is the week that X-Men: Apocalypse opens in cinemas here in the UK and its reviews are, let’s be generous and say ‘not great’. So does an Apocalypse-related comic – arguably the Apocalypse-related comic – do any better? This isX-Men: Alpha – Age of Apocalypse; the comic that starts the entire original AoA story. The kick-off of the saga that replaced the entire X-Men line for four months and plunged them into a world where Professor X died years earlier and Apocalypse arose unchallenged. Magneto and his X-Men are at the vanguard of the resistance. It’s a famous epic, the source of many stories since. But is it any good? And have we ever before spent as much time discussing the rendering of various characters’ junk?

And alternate universes being all the rage round our house, it’s also time to dip into some others for this show’s 3&1, courtesy of Jon.

You won’t find a much bigger change of pace after last time’s Civil War than issue 1 of Boom Box’s new four part series Goldie Vance. Which is definitely not a problem for the team, who definitely enjoyed starting to get to know Goldie and her supporting cast. Hope Larson and Brittney Williams have created a definitely different comic, with an unusual, well-realised setting, an interesting protagonist and an intriguing plot. And you don’t always get all three of them in a first issue.

And as Goldie Vance is a detective comic, Jared opted to 3&1 the genre. Though this is Jared, so as usual, definitions are fluid. Though his Worst One Ever is hard to argue. Seriously – just don’t even try.

It’s Captain America: Civil War week (here in the UK), so Bex, Jared and Jon marking the occasion with a Civil War show. Issue one of Civil War from 2006 marked the start of the series that saw hero vs hero in an ideological battle; should heroes be registered and licensed by the government, or should they operate free of regulation? If the government defines who’s a villain, what’s to stop them basing their decision on political grounds? But without regulation, who holds the heroes accountable when things go wrong? This promises not to be a typical all guns blazing super-heroic clash.

As Civil War was written by Mark Millar, Jared rounds out the show with a 3&1 on Millar comics. In a long career covering multiple publishers, multiple genres and no small amount of controversy, what makes Jared’s top three, and what’s his worst one ever?

By many accounts, one of the few high points of the low point extravaganza that is Batman vs Superman, is the introduction of Wonder Woman to the DC Cinematic Universe. So to mark that, we’ve declared episode 32 The All Wonder Woman, All The Time Show. One of Diana’s most famous reworkings was the post-Crisis version generally know as the [George] Perez Era, so we’ve jumped back to the mid-80s to look at the very first issue of that famous run. Does it stand up, thirty years later? What’s good, what’s bad, and what’s unexpected? The Crisis wiped Diana’s slate clean, so as a fresh start, how does this work out?

And what’s this? More Wonder Woman? Well of course, what did you expect?. Jon’s got a 3&1 of Wonder Woman eras, and at one point when he shows the others a particular cover, this is the one he means – no peeking ahead of time though.

We want to apologise to our loyal listeners for the extreme shortage of new shows since the turn of the year. Unfortunately a combination of real life factors has affected our ability to get together and talk about comics. Which frustrates us as much as it does anyone. In honour of the widely held view that she’s the best thing in Batman vs Superman, we’re recording a show tonight about some classic Wonder Woman, and then we’re hoping to get more in the can in the near future.

Thanks for bearing with us – we hope to be back on our old two-weekly schedule ASAP.

So, what do you do if you’re a famously an infamously sexy vampire heroine with a werewolf boyfriend and a snooty butler looking to make a fresh start?You move to Los Angeles, rent an enormous gothic mansion via an ad on Craig’s List and get yourself a whole new wardrobe. That;s the starting point for a new series of Vampirella, and the biggest change is the most obvious – the classic Trina Robbins-designed costume, famous from the walls of comic shops the world over, is gone, at least as far as Vampi’s public face is concerned. As our heroine gets settled in to her new life and deals with unexpected intruders and internet infamy we also begin to discover a monstrous threat looming over a group of unsuspecting movie extras. The plot, as they say, thickens…

And on the subject of vampires in comics, it’s time for one of Jon’s 3&1 segments on that very subject.