Episode One: Top Ten Comic Book Movies

In our inaugural episode, Dan and Robison argue about io9’s recent list of their top ten best comic book movies. Rob hates Superman. Dan hates Akira. Discussion and insults abound.

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22 Responses to “Episode One: Top Ten Comic Book Movies”

  1. admin says:

    My favorite part of this hour is the final thirty seconds.

    –Rob

  2. I saw Akira in an arthouse in Dallas about a month after it came out. I was confused and dazzled. Importance-wise, I understand, but I didn’t like it.

    Spiderman 2 and Dark Knight are absolutely top 3. Avengers too. But leaving out X-Men First Class in favor of X2 seems strange to me.

  3. lyssie95 says:

    I wannt to see the rest of your top ten lists, Masters Wells!

  4. Jae Randall says:

    Rob, I don’t like Anime either. My friends have been trying everything, and I just don’t like it. I don’t like the type of drawing. Also, I hated The Dark Knight. It ended WAY too many times. I spent the entire second half thinking “Oh good, it’s over. . . or not.” Over and over again. Granted, the guy who played the Joker was an incredible actor.

  5. Callum says:

    Loved the podcast guys, nice to hear a thorough examination of that list.
    For Rob, in terms of Anime it can depend a lot on what you are after.

    Good fun stand alone films could be
    1) The Girl Who Leapt Through Time
    2) Summers Wars

    My favourite anime movies of the moment are
    1) Evangelion 1.0 You Are (Not) Alone
    2) Evangelion 2.0 You Can (Not) Advance

    along with most Miyazaki films.

    Anime Tv shows that I think you might like (not including the ones you have mentioned that you’ve seen) are
    1)FullMetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
    2) Mobile Suit Gundam 00
    3) Neon Genesis Evangelion
    4) Xam’d

    But for a couple of great films that almost happen to be Anime, I would go with the first two.

    Thanks again guys, keep up the good work!

  6. Nice first episode, guys! “Two guys talking for an hour” is probably my least favorite podcast genre, because I usually can’t sustain interest for that long. Listening to this didn’t feel like a slog, though, and I’m glad, because if I hadn’t made it to the end I wouldn’t have gotten to be serenaded by Margot Kidder’s inner monologue.

    So we’ve only got one data point so far, but:
    Writing Excuses — aims for 15 minutes, often winds up closer to twenty,
    DIDTEAP — first episode clocks in at 55 min.

    Dan + Rob: Three times as smart as Dan + Brandon + Mary + Howard?

    (A literal back of the envelope calculation says that means that Rob = 2 Dans and 3 each of the other WE regulars. Way to go, Rob!)

  7. Ryan says:

    Great podcast guys.

    In terms of the list, I would have liked to see Captain America, X-Men: First Class, and The Watchmen on there somewhere.

    In terms of Anime, I’m not the biggest fan but have enjoyed from time to time Dragon Ball Z, Ghost in the Shell, Neon Genesis Evangelion, and Full Metal Alchemist.

  8. Casey says:

    I don’t believe there’s any such thing as the One Anime that will immediately convert you to anime fandom, just like there’s no book or movie that people universally believe is the Best Ever. It really depends on what kind of stories you like. A lot of those anime most fans agree are incredible (FMA, Evangelion, Akira…) I really didn’t enjoy, or at least not as much as everyone else seemed to. I really like “Rurouni Kenshin,” which follows a samurai’s adventures in the early Meiji Era. Another of my favorites has always been “Gundam Wing,” which most hardcore anime fans will scoff at, but I think it deals with the personal stakes of fighting and peace in some fascinating ways–and there are giant pilot-able robots in space. In a completely different genre, “Azumanga Daioh” is pretty much unparalleled in terms of sheer comedic timing. I think the most popular anime worldwide right now is “One Piece.” The art style bothered me at first, but it’s definitely worth checking out. Someone once asked me what it was about, and I answered, “Pirates,” at the same time a mother of teenagers sitting next to me said, “Friendship.” Both answers are accurate, but I think hers does more to explain why it’s so popular. If you didn’t grow up watching anime, I think sometimes it’s hard to get into it later because you’re not used to the more culturally or medium-specific archetypes. So in case that’s it, I want to recommend “Avatar: The Last Airbender,” which I realize isn’t technically anime, but it’s definitely borrowing a lot from that medium and is great in its own right.

    Oh dear, I didn’t mean to write a whole paragraph. Sorry about that. Anyway, I really enjoyed the first podcast!

  9. elopingcamel says:

    I hated anime until about three years ago. I still don’t love it, but I have found that some of it can be very enjoyable. I echo Casey and suggest starting with Avatar: The Last Airbender. It is not technically anime, but has enough similarities that it makes a good transition point for Westerners. If you find your way into liking that one, anime may become more palatable. If not, I say give up on it.

  10. Allison Hill says:

    Loved it, and I agree with many many things you said, however I hate loath and despise The Dark Knight. I know that makes me unpopular, but there you have it. Interestingly enough, Dan, the thing that made me hate it most of all was your favorite “hero moment” at the end, I found that to be ridiculous and contrived. Also I found myself constantly looking at my watch thinking “it HAS to be over soon” which can’t be a good sign for any genre. But I do agree that the Joker is pretty cool in that movie.

  11. Klimpaloon says:

    I have to go with the others, Rob, and say you need to watch Full Metal Alchemist. I wouldn’t suggest starting with Brotherhood since there’s the first dozen or so episodes are basically a condensing of about half of the first anime, where the pacing was much better.
    As for other recommendations, I would say Death Note, Ouran High Host Club, and Last Exile.

  12. Klimpaloon says:

    *edit, that should say “Ouran High School Host Club”.

  13. First of all I can’t emphasize enough how cool it is, that you two are doing a podcast together. It’s like a dream come true. Also I liked the first episode very much, because – hey, it’s about comic book movies, my favourite geek-topic.

    I mostly agree about anything you say about every movie you mention – with the excepttion of the “Superman Returns”-bashing. I know, nobody likes the movie but me, but I think it’s awesome and mostly misunderstood. And, yes, Dan, the original Superman with Christopher Reeve is awesome too.

  14. Will says:

    I definitely have to disagree on what you said about Cyclops in X-Men 2. I really disliked all three X-Men movies because they were basically Wolverine movies – my first response to hearing they were making a Wolverine movie was, “Didn’t we just have three of those?”
    I enjoyed many parts of the movie, but my general dislike of Wolverine ruined it for me. I prefer Cyclops, as a character, because Wolverine’s “lone wolf semianti-hero tough guy” thing is so incredibly overdone, to the point of being boring now.
    Of course, this is a problem in all X-Men media right now – too much of a focus on Wolverine. I should stop here, because I could write an entire treatise on why Wolverine is actually a weak, boring character.

  15. Shaunaaaah says:

    I’d say watch some more of Cowboy Bebop, I’ve compared Bebop as having a similar feel as Firefly.
    Other than that Read or Die(the movie), and Neon Genesis Evangelion.

    Also Persepolis is amazing, and definitely worth watching, despite being in French. So prepare for subtitles, I don’t think it’s been dubbed.

  16. Amilia says:

    I don’t know if you’ll see this, months after the fact, but nobody has mentioned my favorite anime, so I’m taking a chance. Generally speaking, I’m not a big anime fan either, but these are the exceptions for me (as well as Miyazaki and Grave of the Fireflies).

    Hikaru No Go is a coming of age story about a punk kid who finds a haunted go board. The go obsessed ghost talks him into going to go salons to let him play again. Punk kid becomes interested despite himself and starts learning to play go, and becomes something of a prodigy. It sounds really boring when I try to describe it. But it manages to take a board game I know nothing about and make it exciting. It is one of the few examples I can think of in long form television (not a miniseries), that tells a full and complete story.

    Nodame Cantabile is a romance between two music students. He is spiralling into depression, and she doesn’t have the work ethic or organizational skills to live up to her potential. She is able to pull him out of his funk and help him rediscover the joy of music, and he is able to give her the structure she needs to become truly great. I love their relationship–how they make each other better people. Also, if it is the drawing style that puts you off of anime, there is an excellent live action series. It is incredibly over-the-top and campy as all get out, and I love it to bits. And all of the European characters are played by Japanese people in really bad frizzy wigs.

  17. Andrew says:

    I happen to be an anime fan! Don’t make me send my army of zombies after you! (Dan can tell you about those).

    Anyways, have you tried Naruto, Trigun, or Cowboy Bebop?

    -Andrew

  18. I must say that I agree that the Dark Knight belongs solidly at the top of this list and that Scott Pilgrim and Spider-man 2 and The Avengers are right in line. I felt that the list is really lacking considering it is missing what I feel is a better comic book movie (and just better movie in general) than most of the list: V for Vendetta. No, the film isn’t totally faithful to the graphic novel, but it is powerful and thought-provoking. Also, I think the fact that there are no animated features on the list is a problem as well– for example, Batman: Mask of the Phantasm is one of my favorite Batman stories (or comic book-related stories) ever. Also missing (though deserving of consideration): The Crow, Batman Begins, Red, Sin City, Watchmen: Tales of the Black Freighter, X-Men First Class, and numerous anime films that are better than Akira. And of course, if this were recorded more recently, I’d add The Dark Knight Rises and X-Men: Days of Future Past.

  19. James Rogers says:

    Hello, Wells and Wells. I was directed to this podcast four(ish) months ago by writing excuses (which I adore, great advice in tidbit format), and I’m finally getting around to listening to it. First up, love the way you guys analyze and criticize; Very open-minded discussion, all while rooted in your own beliefs and perspective.

    With regard to posting anime suggestions, I’ve a few that good sir Robison may enjoy (and you too, as well, also, in addition, Dan):

    1. Samurai Champloo (Now, I watched through Cowboy Bebop, and didn’t particularly enjoy it, but all of my nerd friends agree that this is like a feudal Japan cowboy bebop, and I loved this show, I believe it was on Netflix, but might not be any longer)
    2. The Garden of Words (this might be one of those Avatar-level suggestions, because the story is kind of strange, but the quality of the animation is STAGGERING, and I capitalize that because I don’t know if I can italicize it, really, any movie by Makoto Shinkai is worth looking into)
    3. Code Geass (I’m almost at the point of ostracization for my love of this show, you have to have the strongest suspension of disbelief to really enjoy this show, it ran two seasons, it was the first anime I ever watched, and I rewatch it probably once a year. To call it over the top would be a gross understatement, to call it full of itself would be entirely accurate, but oh my zeus, it gets me every Dan time [bump], I don’t know many people who agree with me about it being good, but it somehow hits 9th or 10th in almost every rating list of anime I’ve ever seen)

    Ok, three’s a good number, I’ll stop there. You guys are incredibly entertaining, keep doin’ what you’re doin’, I’m going to go listen to the next post, which I’ll be one week less late on listening too.

    With love, James

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