DigestCast #15 – Aquaman and Firestorm Digests

Shag and Rob take the Cosmic Treadmill back to 1986 and share our dream lineups for Aquaman and Firestorm digests!

This episode is part of the celebration of our 250th episode of AQUAMAN & FIRESTORM: THE FIRE & WATER PODCAST!! Therefore, this same episode is being released as part of the AQUAMAN & FIRESTORM: THE FIRE & WATER PODCAST and DIGESTCAST.

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Opening theme by Michael Kohler. Closing theme by The Bad Mamma Jammas.

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18 responses to “DigestCast #15 – Aquaman and Firestorm Digests

  1. Congratulations on the big 250 mark, Rob and Shag! I’m commenting here because I generally tend to favor the Digest Cast, though. I really enjoyed this very uber-geek conversation – I love kind of ‘what could have been’ speculation, especially when it involves a format I loved so much.
    I liked all of your suggestions for potential Aquaman and Firestorm digests, and I think Rob’s proposal for Aquaman is damn near perfect (I would, perhaps, maybe only replace one of the proposed stories with the one Shag mentioned, i.e., the story with Black Manta and Ocean Master). In fact, I won’t even bother trying to make my own proposal for a hypothetical Aquaman digest, because my own criteria aren’t that rigorous and are mainly tied to artists: i.e., I would just want to ensure that it included at least one story each featuring art by Fradon, Aparo and Newton.
    As for Firestorm, my own suggestion would be Firestorm (1st series) #1, DC Comics Presents #17, the ‘back-up’ in Flash #293 and Firestorm (2nd series) # 1-2. As a possible alternative, I’d replace the Flash #293 story with the back-ups in Flash #289-90 – I know it rehashes Firestorm’s origin, but I think that’s a crucial story because it’s where Ronnie finally reveals to Prof. Stein that he’s, you know, been leading a secret dual life as part of a superhero. By the way, as you can see, my own suggestion adheres more to the actual page-count of most DC digests of the time.
    Again, thanks for a great show, and here’s to many more – both Fire & Water and Digest Casts.

  2. When I opened the Gallery to read along, I though you guys were a little light on the artwork this time around.

    Then I listened to the episode and understood. You could either do what you did, or have a bazillion pages of examples from each of the stories. Good choice – less is more. Though a list of the choices in print for would be nice in case we want to “actually” read these choices in order (thank goodness for the internet!).

    Another fun episode. I love the nuggets Paul puts in in the closers. What a “thrilling” choice for this one. 😉

    1. “Paul?” Not sure where that came from. Sorry Rob. (Said as he listens “at work” for the 12th consecutive day. Sometimes Work-from-home sucks)

  3. Happy Anniversary, what a fantastic pair of digests you came up with, and the covers are stunning. I think you were selling the amount of pages you could have gone up by short; yes, regular comics had to go up in interior size by eight-page increments, but digests – at half the printed page height and width – would go up by 16 (and treasuries, by the same equation, by 4) as they’re all based on the same-sized original printing plate. So you could have both gone up from 144pp to 160pp plus covers.

    Anyway, I loved hearing Rob’s picks for the Aquaman digest. And Shagg’s pic for the Firestorm digest. And the ones Shagg otherwise might have picked. And the ones Shagg would have picked for a trade! And the one Shagg would have picked post-1986… hee!

    Your choices for the ‘other’ characters were excellent too.

    Honestly, I don’t think I can better your suggestions. Well, maybe a Firestorm story from Extreme Justice and Aquaman with straggly hair and harpoon hand…

  4. Happy Anniversary! What an amazing run of you guys have had and here’s to another 250 episodes! I started listening when you covered Who’s Who #4 and have been on board ever since. I think, as much as I really enjoy all the episodes this network puts out, it’s the way you guys started and curated this great community that I could, in my all small way, contribute to that I enjoy the most.

    All your picks sound great and I would be interested to try and read all your story picks in order to mimic the digest. It takes me back in time and really fuels my comic nostalgia.

    I love your digest designs, Shag and Rob! So visually striking. I know I definitely would want to bug my mom to buy those for me if I saw it on at the store back in ’86. The Aquaman digest design (not only does it have the Canadian price! Represent!) would make a great shirt, too.

    This was a fun episode and I cannot stress enough how much you guys have really made an impact on my life. I’m really trying to live the “Find Your Joy” mantra! I will keep trying to fan the flame and ride the wave. Keep up the great work!

  5. Happy anniversary! Great show!

    I’m not surprised these characters didn’t get digests. After all, DC reserved solo character digests to only their best IP – Superman, Batman, Supergirl, etc.

    Okay, jokes aside, great choices for both digests. But any Firestorm digest that doesn’t have DCCP #17 is wrong. Brought Firestorm back from limbo, sweet JLGL art!

    And both characters have such great covers in their history. I’d have included a few pages devoted to iconic covers. In particular, this would have been a great vehicle to showcase Cardy’s Aquaman covers.

  6. Congrats on reaching this milestone! Thanks to you both & all the F&W crew for all the hours of informative & entertaining listening. Time to start planning for episode 500!

  7. Congratulations on 250 episodes, guys! Quite a milestone! I would say, “Here’s to 250 more,” but the two of you are getting pretty long in the tooth, so another 250 episodes probably aren’t going to happen unless you two end up in the same nursing home together (which might be an amusing premise for a podcast as you guys head into your twilight years – just give me credit for the idea if you use it! Haha!)

    I love your spin on the old fanboy trope/compulsion of making lists about various topics associated with the object of our obsessions. “Best of…” lists are nothing new, but I was fascinated to hear the parameters you set for your choices (i.e. creating an imaginary Digest Collection) and the rationale you had for the stories you chose to include. I really want to check out some of these stories on the DCU app now!

    Thanks for another great listen, guys!

        1. I make do more than 60 episodes a year and I’m fine, but we should be worried about Rob, because he does 2 OTHER shows every week, so his total should run over 150 a year! That’s 750 podcast episodes in the next five years!

          Nursing home? He could die!

  8. Congratulations on 250 (and that’s just of THIS podcast)! I love this kind of “What If?” imagining, which isn’t just about considering what the best stories featuring a given character would be, but includes the extra limitations of considering page count, how a story works in isolation, what feeling one is left with by what story falls last (what were you thinking, Shag, doing that to Aquaman?), etc.

    As was apparent by my inclusion among the shout-outs, I first heard that this episode was coming through the post on Facebook asking about OUR candidates for a Firestorm digest, but confess that I never considered the 1986 date, which is another “limitation” that I think very much adds to the entertainment value of the project (for those who care, I suggested a Martin Stein-focused story from the Elemental era, which if you know that era at all, pretty much tells you exactly what story I’m talking about right there).

    With apologies to Aquaman and his fans, I’m just not as versed in his canon, so can only comment on the Firestorm choices:
    * The cover choice, assuming no entirely new cover was used, is simply perfect. The back cover image is also iconic, although I might have done something different (not sure what).
    * Firestorm (first series) #2. An important story… if we don’t feel we need the origin itself, it’s a good one. Multiplex simply HAD to be included somewhere. And, of course, important elements of the origin ARE here (as you said), so cool.
    * Flash #291-292, 293… It’s a good era to use, but I’m not as keen on the Hyena, so… well, maybe not those two and just the third story on its own. I might have replaced the Hyena story with one of the DC Presents stories. That said, if I went with the DC Presents issue with Killer Frost (inarguably the best of those issues), it might have short-circuited the next issues you included, so you probably made the right choice.
    * FoF #3-4: I agree with the decision to bypass Bison. Killer Frost is far more iconic, and deserves the extra page count she’s getting.
    * FoF#9: Typhoon is a great, tragic, villain, but I can’t help but wonder if others perhaps deserved the real estate more. But as I think through my other candidates… I think they were introduced after 1986, so I guess it’s fine.
    * FoF#28: Can’t say I’d have included it, but no one can argue that the inclusion of Slipknot doesn’t scream out “this is a Fire and Water podcast-created book!”… :)

    Like Shag, I would have loved to include the Tokamak story (which was honored via the pin-up, of course), but its sheer size did preclude its full inclusion as a digest (as to dream trade paperbacks, the fact that it STILL hasn’t been collected in this format is a crying shame). Since it’s relevant to this story, I’ll confess that, my reputation notwithstanding, I may well have missed that bit about Firehawk’s first appearance, although I’m glad you found a way to include her somewhere in the digest with the use of FoF#28. I’m STILL waiting for a proper reintroduction of the character in the current comics, where she’s been absent since Flashpoint (no, I DON’T count that French character who died early in the New 52).

    Rob wins, however, for the proposal to include the never-published Firestorm #6. My only concern, there, didn’t that end with a cliffhanger? It’s been so long since I’ve seen it. Maybe it was just one of those “next issue” teases that ultimately got picked up in the Flash appearances….

    — Shameless plug as an aside. Thanks for referencing my blog whenever you read one of my comments. Now, instead of just my blog, “Blackrock’s Toybox” will also be the home of the upcoming “Not Your Father’s Autobot: A Transformers: Generation Two Comic Book Podcast.” I expect the first episode (which has already been recorded and mostly edited) to drop sometime early in the New Year.

  9. Oh man, I LOVED this episode of DigestCast SO MUCH!

    I know that the digests had a run of about 7 years, but for me, that’s about 41 years too short.

    Your picks were spot on and even greater was hearing WHY you chose those issues. It was great to read (and in some cases re-read) these stories. I have the entire Firestorm run and the Flash back-ups are superb!

    Many of us have said that these digest were the graphic novel prototype and are a great way to check out a character to see if you were interested in exploring more.

    Rob and Shagg – PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE do more of these episodes with guest stars who love their favorite characters. I’d love to see ‘NEW” digests with characters who never had their own solo issues under any of the various digest titles and probably wouldn’t have been given an issue due to perceived lack of sales/interest.

    I’d be happy to assemble a Deadman digest with you (or FOR you) and my imagination is going wild to think about other future episodes of the podcast that would feature fans of characters talking about the stories that THEY love.

    How about:
    Hawkman
    The Atom
    The Phantom Stranger
    Nearly every Batman or Flash villain could have their own issue
    Blue Devil
    Mr. Miracle
    Elongated Man
    Black Canary
    Human Target (I just recently got every appearance and LOVE those stories)
    The Inferior Five
    Zatanna
    Krypto
    Metamorpho
    Plastic Man
    Red Tornado
    The Creeper
    The Spectre

    Thanks so much for all that you do. I love this show so much!

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