Fire & Water #180 – All-Star Nuclear Sub Spectacular and Favorite Morts

Shag’s World Tour 2016! This episode Shag is joined by an all-star cast of Nuclear Subs from around the country to discuss their favorite "Mort" characters! You'll hear from Stella and Tom Panarese in a Mexican restaurant! Next up is eating ice cream with Keith G. Baker, and Darrin & Ruth Sutherland! After that it's off to Kyle Benning’s recording studio for a chat! Then Doug Zawisza takes us to Green Lantern Pizza! Next is Little Russell Burbage, Professor Alan Quarterbin, and Aaron Bias at an all-you-can-eat Mongolian barbecue. After that, Ben Avery and Luke Daab hang out at! Finally, we visit the home of Jarrod Alberich, The Yard Sale Artist!

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Opening theme, “That Time is Now,” by Michael Kohler. Closing music by Daniel Adams and Ashton Burge of The Bad Mamma Jammas (plus Shag)!

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23 responses to “Fire & Water #180 – All-Star Nuclear Sub Spectacular and Favorite Morts

    1. Best Mort ever, appeared in the issues of Superman’s book where the obligatory fight scenes were going to be as obligatory and perfunctory as humanly possible…

  1. I feel like Shag was trolling me this entire episode, except doing so in the most loving way possible. Also in a way that only inflates my ego and doesn’t bother me.

    Thanks to the Middletons for reminding me of Arm-Fall-Off Boy and the Legion of Subs, any of whom would qualify as a beloved mort in my book. However, the DC hero I always return to when this question comes up–my favorite mort–is B’WANA BEAST.

    1. You weren’t alone in being trolled.

      Mort I do not care for – Magpie.
      Mort I enjoy – Ira Quimby aka IQ.

      And Doug is not mistaken about that Golden Eagle Hawkman arc being a winner.

      Anyway off to put a shrimp on the barbie.

      1. I get what was said about all Legion ladies being hotties, but Nura Nal was extra-glam… she had platinum blonde hair and a star-shaped beauty spot, hotcha!

        As for Matter Eater Lad, read the Super Stalag of Space, unbelievers!

  2. Shag, sincerely and no kidding aside….THIS podcast is what I needed today. Thanks for the great conversation and the sun on an otherwise rainy day.

    Hopefully we can all get together and do this again sometime….like in June 2017, and maybe in a warmer climate….?

  3. Loved this episode, especially hearing from all the other subs out there. Sounds like every get together was a blast. Keep waiting for your job to send you up to New England.

    That said, the topic is tricky. There are plenty of people that you guys think are MORTs that I do not. So I will not label The Gang, The Creeper, Hyathis, Man-Hawks, or the Golden Age Fury as MORTs and I won’t go into them any more than this. I am here to praise these characters not to bury them.

    I also decided that I couldn’t talk about punching bags like Silver Scarab, Northwind, or Danny Chase. They have suffered enough. And so I give you my short list of MORTs I like.

    The Human Cannonball – this is a little known hero from the Lois Lane strip in Superman Family of the 70s. He had a bowling ball shaped helmet and a jetpack. He tended to get in the way more than be a hero. And he was soooo goofy, that you couldn’t help but feel for him.

    Golden Glider – someone on rocket ice skates that can work on dry land fighting someone with super-speed. There is no reason for this to work. But she is related to Capt. Cold. She married The Top. And she looked good.

    And from Marvel-
    Super-Skrull- I feel for this guy. He’s the Fantastic Four in one shape-changing body. He should be a mega-star. He should trash super-teams, not just single heroes. And he is visually … well … fantastic. A stretched, aflame Thing fist? Take my money. But instead, he arrives as a measuring stick. ‘Do you know how tough ____ is? He beat up the Super-Skrull.’ He is the definition of unseen potential stuck in a MORT-skin.

  4. Hearing several of your guests… most of them far better-versed in comics lore than I am… struggle to name ANYONE when asked to name their favorite mort, I found myself reflecting on my own admittedly limited comics knowledge, and I do have a candidate that I didn’t hear mentioned (I’m not QUITE through listening to the end as I write this).

    Catalyst – Apparently introduced in Blue Beetle, Catalyst only came to my attention via a minor role during the Elemental era of Firestorm’s late-80s run. “The human pharmacopeia,” Catalyst could produce the effects of any drug he wished in a person by touching them. Unlike some villains with drug-or-poison-based powers, Catalyst was NOT immune to the effects of his own power, and thus was regularly depicted as getting high on whatever drug he desired to experience at a given time.

    1. I’m willing to change! Lol!

      Guess I’ll have to do a Super Powers figures Aquaman drawing for Rob now to get back into the good graces. 🙂

  5. I really regret missing out on the fun with Shag’s 2016 Tour. Yes, I had a date with Shag, but my family and I all had to get slammed with a nasty flu-like virus that week, and I had to be the responsible one and stay home to take care of them. I hate being an adult. I think this could be the subject of an upcoming Lonely Hearts Podcast.

    Morts are an interesting subject. I tend to agree with Geoff Johns about “no bad characters”…well, except for Kite-Man. If you don’t use him ironically, then he’s completely useless. But most of these characters named…well, except for Arm-Fall-Off Boy, do have some amount of potential.

    For an intentional mort, one I liked was Frog Man’s buddy, The Amazing Spider-Kid. You remember, the teen who started out as Doc Ock Jr., and built himself a set of mechanical arms, but eventually decided to hero-worship Spidey and donned the original red and blues (an XXXL copy, mind you) and “helped” the web-slinger from time to time? I’m sure he was disembowled by an evil clone baked from Wolverine’s toenail or something by now.

    As for an unintentional mort, a character sincerely created to be something new and exciting, but ended up being completely laughable, I would have to go with Orca, from Larry Hama’s short-lived Batman run with Scott McDaniel. Normally, I love me some Larry Hama and Scot McDaniel, but that character was just insanely lame, especially for a Batman villain. An Aquaman villain, why not? But Batman? Giant humanoid whale woman, people. Why does Killer Croc work and she doesn’t? I’m not sure, but it’s just the way things are.

    I will forgive the abuse of my beloved Man-Bat and say “Great episode guys!”


    1. Orca! I remember her well! Disappointed in myself for not dropping that one on the show. Well played, my friend. I remember legitimately thinking: are they just trying to sell toys with this issue? No joke, I thought that. Because Batman was in odd – although cool-looking scuba gear…Orca had a great toyline look… Yep. Excellent call, amigo!

  6. Great episode, with lovely guests.

    I disagree that Johnny Thunder was coming in to be the comic relief, he was already in a solo strip, he wasn’t created for the JSA series.

    Doug is so right, the Gray and Palmiotti Hawkman book was great, I much preferred it to the Johns run.

    The ‘there are no such things as bad characters in comics’ quote Doug mentions pre-dates Johns, I think it’s Roy Thomas. Which is nice.

    My big Mort is Wundaar, for his hair mainly, well, and the man-child thing, which is always dubious. And Azrael from Batman, who was nothing more than a cunning stunt who quickly burnt out. And Zauriel from JLA.

    And the Seventies Toyman, of course, he was just rubbish.

  7. 3D Man was set in the Fifties, but he debuted in the Seventies in Marvel Premiere. And I didn’t get the problem with the costume colours, whenever I had old-time 3D glasses, they were green and red.

    And yah boo sucks, I know ALL about American history and kites cos one of the first comics I read as a kid was Adventure Comics #296 in which Superboy helped Paul Revere, George Washington…. and Benjamin Franklin (obviously, they were too lame to cement their own places in history).

    There’s no denying Kite Man is pants, but he does appear on one of my favourite Batman covers ever, #315, which saw colourist Tatjana Wood leave the cover logo white to make it look as if Batman had turned it into the bat-kite in Dick Giordano’s image. This issue also featured a character whose name marks him as a mort, one Karlyle Kruggerrand.

  8. So, let me go by ages:
    Golden Age king of Morts would have to be the Red Bee.
    Silver Age, as mentioned before, the Purple Pile-Driver
    Pre-Crisis Bronze Age is Firestorm’s own mort-villain Goldenrod
    Post-Crisis Bronze Age: Captain Boomerang
    Chrome Age: Triumph

    With bonus mighty Marvel Morts Batroc the Leaper and the Shocker.

  9. The podcast participants’ collective grasp of the concept of a Mort as defined by the late, unmissed Wizard™ Magazine (which formed the basis for every terrible comics website made up of ignorant listicles and general pandering to the lowest common denominator) is on par with Shag’s take on “jumping the shark” or the “passion” of emotionless celestial bodies. These guys were not B/C-list heroes and villains, but rather the residue that seeped out of the bottom of the barrel through the floorboard into the dirt itself. They were the never-weres and by all reasonable estimates the never would be-s who were unfamiliar to the average reader who didn’t have a photographic memory of OHOTMU/Who’s Who and were from the objective perspectives of non-comic readers so essentially flawed as to be mockable on sight even in comparison with the broadly laughable commercial art form itself. They were not so much low hanging fruit on a tree as individual weeds sprouting out of the ground near healthy vegetation easily spotted, uprooted and cast aside. There are some actual WizardWorld “canon” Morts mentioned and others I can independently certify, but well known and occasionally even liked solo strip stars like Jimmy Olsen or Man-Bat aren’t living in the same county as true Morts. I obviously don’t need to offer any of my personal suggestions here, since all I have to say is that I’ve run multiple ventures centered on characters introduced in the Bloodlines annual event, which is just the 1993 Mort Yearbook.

    Criticisms aside, Keith G. Baker has my proxy in this summit. Which is good, since I wasn’t there, even though I could swear I recorded something similar with Shag over a year ago.

    Last regular, non-crossover Geoff Johns/Rags Morales Hawkman issue:
    Hawkman #22 Rank: 77 Total Sales: 26,773
    Last regular, non-crossover Gray/Palmiotti/Bennett Hawkman issue featuring Golden Eagle:
    Hawkman #45 Rank: 84 Total Sales: 23,364
    First Simonson/Chaykin Hawkman issue:
    Hawkgirl #50 Rank: 65 Total Sales: 34,724
    Last regular Simonson/not-Chaykin Hawkman issue:
    Hawkgirl #66 Rank: 138 Total Sales: 14,975

    I think Shag is pretty bold about making fun of Australians when we just elected Immortan Joe president. We should all be currying favor with folks in the Fire and Water listening community who have cultural expertise with driving a tanker truck through the nuked out wilderness to life beyond Thunderdome.

  10. Can it be called a World Tour when Shagg hasn’t gone outside the US? Siskoid, Paul Hix, Martin Gray, myself and others outside the US anxiously await to be included in next year’s itinerary!

    All joking aside, great episode and it was nice to hear a wide selection of nuclear subs. My mort would be Bloodwynd, after the reveal of his mystery at the end of Dan Jurgens’ JLA run, he basically moped around for a bit, refused to help the team during the Judgement Day saga and promptly vanished into obscurity.

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