Fire & Water #216 – 7th Anniversary Episode!

Shag and Rob celebrate seven years of The Fire and Water Podcast by discussing seven comics that influenced them in some way, and how these comics shaped the fan they are today! Plus a history lesson about the show, and YOUR Listener Feedback.. sort of.

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This episode brought to you by InStockTrades. This week’s selections:

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Thanks for listening! Fan the Flame and Ride the Wave! 

30 responses to “Fire & Water #216 – 7th Anniversary Episode!

  1. I’ve only been involved in listening since about 2014, but I’ve loved and looked forward to everything that F&W has produced. Congratulations on the Big Seven, gents and Cindy, humans and Ryan, and I look forward to at least 21 more years, or until Knightcast reaches 1988.

  2. Wow, this show really brought the feels.
    Thanks for seven years of “good times” and good friends!
    I had forgotten that I have been here since the beginning, but I guess that doesn’t surprise me. I sure as heck wouldn’t be the man I am today if it hadn’t been for you two, with the friends and experiences I have enjoyed over these past 7 years that I can directly tie-back to you two.
    So thank you, Aquaman and Firestorm!

  3. I first became aware of the Aquaman Shrine a number of years ago when I was researching the hero for an encyclopedia article I was writing for a superhero text. Then I came to upon the Who’s Who podcast and was hooked. Thanks for all the work and effort guys! You and all your cohorts do a great job. You’ve become part of my daily routine and I do appreciate the positive attitude. It’s nice to know that there’s a place where others know all the varieties of Kryptonite, who can talk about Air Wave’s history without notes, and who refuse to become overly cynical. What you don’t earn in $ you earn in our appreciation. Bravo!

  4. Thanks for this network and this episode reviewing the origins. When listening to this, I was reminded about what I love about this community.

    I consider myself something of a creative person but I found myself getting more and more mired in work with little time for some sort of dependent creative outlet. I started by Supergirl blog to provide myself that exact sort of release. So hearing how the podcast serves that purpose resonated.

    When I started my site, I was oblivious to blogging and clueless about what I should be doing. After a couple of months, and through luck and Twitter, I stumbled on both ‘Firestorm Fan’ and the ‘Aquaman Shrine’ (as well as Idol-Head) and saw how it should be done. From there, I discovered the podcast feed. Back then I listened via the internet feed. I think my first interaction was in a Who’s Who episode but can’t be sure.

    Anyways, I thank you guys for welcoming me into the club and letting me be part of episodes now and then! I mean I have an outlet to talk about Gene Tierney! Who knew such a place would exist.

    As for comics which impacted me-

    Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes #211 – it is apocryphal, but I consider this my first comic. Back when I was a kid, many comics were bought at yard sales for cheap. My earliest comics came out in the early 70s, before when I should own them. So they are second hand. And 211 is the earliest I can remember. I still own that one, dog-eared, cover falling off, bananas.

    Crisis on Infinite Earths #7 – it was hard enough being a boy and explaining that Supergirl was your favorite hero. It was harder still to hear she was felt to be superfluous to the universe, something to be erased. Since then, I have come to realize what an incredible moment in comic history Supergirl’s sacrifice is. It defined her and made that incarnation a true hero.

    Animal Man #5 – Like Shag, I was looking for something more in the late 80s/early 90s from comics. I had been reading Moore and Chaykin. I jumped on board Morrison’s Doom Patrol early on as well. But it was The Coyote Gospel which blew my mind. It was so meta, it was so depressing, it was so profound. It made me realize that DC was going to explode creatively.

    V For Vendetta #10 – I am ready to suffer some slings and arrows, but V for Vendetta is my favorite Moore work, even more than Watchmen, Swamp Thing,, and Miracleman. In the last chapters, when the original V says ‘Ideas are bulletproof’ and then Evie becomes V because the concept of V cannot die, I was floored. That book shook me and informed some political thoughts back then which I carry today.

    Thanks again!

  5. Happy anniversary, fellas. You are two of my favorite people on this miserable mudball we call Earth, and you have brought a lot of enjoyment and fulfillment into my life, and I can’t thank you enough. I totally get what Rob was saying about the NEED for a creative outlet. My story is much like his, with a desire to work in the comic field, but reality had other plans. Podcasting has given me an avenue I never thought of taking before, and it’s all because of one of those rare early Sundays when Shag was out of town, and Rob thought “Hey, this Chris guy really loves that ‘Robin Meets Man-Bat’ Power Record. Maybe he won’t suck too bad if I have him on the show…”

    Comics that impacted me, hmmm…

    DC Special Series #15 – Batman Spectacular, Summer 1978: I was only 3 and a half when this comic came out, but I can remember telling my Mom and sister I wanted this comic. I had comics before this, but this is the first one I remember having bought for me, at my beloved Eastside Pharmacy, up the street from my house. It’s a great issue too, with work by Mike Nasser, Michael Golden and one of my favorites, Marshall Rogers. A true Spectacular!

    All-Star Comics #74, Sept/Oct 1978: Probably bought around the same time as the comic above, I asked for this because Superman and Robin were on the cover. But what was up with their costumes? And was that Batgirl? Inside, I was even more perplexed at first. My Mom read me this comic, since I couldn’t read back then, and somehow explained the concept of Earth-Two…and I got it. So Marv Wolfman WAS WRONG and my love for the JSA was assured.

    The Brave and the Bold #182, January 1982: My single favorite comic of all time, written by Rob’s friend Alan Brennert with art by the incomparable Jim Aparo. A tale of two Earths and facing one’s mortality head-on, and Robin in that awesome Earth-Two costume again! A perfect comic story that illustrates why the DC Multiverse was such a rich concept beautifully. One of the first times a poignant story “clicked” in my young 7 year old mind.

    Best of DC Digest #21 & #51: I learned two life lessons around these digests. The first one being not to act like a jackass when the school fire alarm goes off, and the second, not to spend money someone gives you for one thing on something selfish. IN both instances my parents let me keep these comics, and I can’t look at them without relearning that lesson all over again.

    New Teen Titans #39, Feb. 1984: The issue where Dick Grayson quits being Robin. I think I knew this was coming from the magazine Comic Collector (remember that?), but to see my childhood hero change, and break up the Dynamic Duo…was almost too much for my not-quite 9 year old to bear. My older sister was growing up too and would soon leave the house and go to college, so the thought of that, and this comic, taught me change was inevitable. All good things….and all of that.

    All-Star Squadron #31, March 1984: Bought on an early dismissal snow day, where I spent the rest of the day sledding with my friends, and taking breaks to pour over this comic, which showed my Golden Age characters I never knew existed, all gathered at the first full meeting of the Squadron. And I then took the comic to my Dad and quizzed him about which characters he remembered. Another one of my all time favorites that cemented my love of DC’s rich history.

    Starman # 73, January 2001: I didn’t pick this comic up until after Christmas 2001, and by then, my mother had passed away. The issue, which shows the funeral of Ted Knight, brought all the recent events I had experienced back to a head, and was one of the few times a comic left me in tears. Despite that, I still love this very moving comic, and it some how reconnects me to how much my Mom means to me to this day.

    That’s just off the top of my head. Great topic for discussion fellas. Congrats again…and thanks.


  6. Great episode guys. It’s good to know how many other fans and collectors have similar stories about the sentimentality certain comics have. Whether they were gifts from friends or family members, or if they were the comic that introduced you to an entirely new character or Universe. I myself have a binder with several comics of sentimental value. They range from the first comic book I ever bought with my own money, the comic given to me by my first girlfriend, to the comics that were the “cornerstone” of my collection and others that I will never part with.
    Also, The Magnificent Seven is my all time FAVORITE movie! When I saw the post the “Seven, seven, seven, seven, The Magnificent Seven!” played through my mind, when it actually played during the podcast I feared I was having a psychotic episode!
    Thanks for making an already amazing episode even better by paying homage to my favorite film.

  7. Big round of applause for you guys. Here’s to 7 more years and beyond! Speaking of 7, here’s my list…

    SUICIDE SQUAD 13: Sparked a lifelong obsession with Belle Reve’s finest. It also introduced me to the JLI! This one turned my fascination into a full blown obsession.

    DAREDEVIL 256: The sole reason DD has always been my favorite Marvel character. JRJR’s art reeled me in, Nocenti kept me coming back every single month. (I received this the same day as SS 13, btw.)

    JUSTICE LEAGUE 1: First major back issue buy. One of my Top 3 titles (see other 2 above) got closer to completion. Cannot stress how much I loved JLI back then… still do!

    DARK KNIGHT 3: Though not a “mature reader” (9 yrs old), I came across this as a back issue and it blew my mind. Set the bar for excellence. It is flawless.

    GREEN LANTERN 175: One of my first comics ever, definitely the first to keep me gripped. And creeped out! I never wanted a next issue more. I heart Shark.

    MILK & CHEESE 2 (“Second Number One”): This one got me back into comics during a brief break during high-school. Raw, subversive, and hilarious — been a Dorkin fan ever since.

    LOVE & ROCKETS 11: Discovered the Hernandez Bros. in the Comic Confidential doc (aired on Bravo) but actually read their work years later with *this* issue. They’ve profoundly affected the way I see comics to this day.

  8. Ah, the series finale, when Rob’s chopper took off and he glanced down and had to smile, seeing the message Shagg had spelled out for him, in rocks, on the landing strip:

    BWA HAH HAH!!!!!!

  9. First, thanks for the kind words about The Death and Return of Superman special. It would not have been anywhere near good without Shag. He brought a lot to the show and I appreciated his insight.

    Moving on…

    Back in 2011 Shag and I were recording something at DragonCon and before we got started he mentioned that he was going to start a new show with Rob Kelly of the Aquaman Shrine called The Fire and Water Podcast. I’ll never forget my initial reaction.

    “Mother f***er, you have told me for years that you can’t do a regular show. What the actual f***?”

    But Shag is a friend so I held most of that back and because of how my life works I didn’t get around to listening to the first few episodes of Fire and Water until after two or three had come out. From the beginning the show has been a lot of fun. I was curious who this nice Shag was because the Shag I knew used to refer to a major artist as the Ted McGinley of comics but I got that he was trying something new and frankly I was way too cranky in the early years of my podcasting career. As the show continued and as Rob and Shag added the Who’s Who podcast to the roster (still the regular reaffirmation of my DC Comics faith) I couldn’t help but be proud of what the guys had accomplished. Then the Network came along and the feeling of pride continued.

    More than anything it has been nice to get to know and work with Rob. I have to admit that the first time Rob asked me to be a guest on the show I was surprised. I thought he was so talented as an artist and podcaster that I didn’t know why he was asking me to be a guest but that has more to do with my innate insecurities than anything else. It’s always fun to listen to Rob but it is even more fun to be on a show with him.

    You guys have built a nice house here and the additions have never been anything was amazing. So congrats on seven years.

    And because Shag asked…Seven Comics That Mean Something To Me

    – Superman #8 and Action Comics #591: These are the first books I bought as a Superman collector. Everything about my career as a reader and fan crystalized there.

    – Superman #75: I think this speaks for itself.

    – Batman #416: The first Post Crisis meeting of DIck Grayson and Jason Todd, though I wouldn’t know that at the time. It was simply a cool story that introduced me to the idea of Nightwing and it’s a very emotional story.

    – Green Lantern #51: My first encounter with Kyle Rayner. I bought it and 52 off the rack and followed Kyle to the end.

    – Crisis on Infinite Earths #5: My first issue of Crisis. Yeah. I know. Way to jump into the deep end but reading this issue (that a friend gave me years after it came out) was my first real exposure to the multiverse, which is weird because this was the story that (temporarily) got rid of the concept. I loved all of the characters and it will always mean something to me.

  10. My revolutionary 7:

    DC Comics Presents #85: Read this on a trip to see my grandparents. Alan Moore and Rick Veitch created a rich, weird, sad, revolutionary team-up that wasn’t quite a team-up! Swamp Thing saves Superman’s life and he never knows it. Brilliant.

    American Flagg #1: One of Chaykin’s masterpieces. Made me say, “Comics can do THAT?!?!” To this day, anything I write is sad pastiche of AF.

    Dark Knight #3: Bought it sometime after its release. I had no expectations and, as in the case of Flagg, I had no idea someone could do that with a comic.

    Starman #72: How Ted wins and Jack loses. Still breaks my heart. One of the first and few comics that made me cry.

    Jughead #5 (1987): Not a milestone issue for anyone else. I had the amazing fortune of living in the same neighborhood as Archie artist Tom Moore. I was able to see him ink pages from this issue. So for me, this was a fundamental book in understanding how comics were made.

    Death of Captain Marvel: Rob pretty much summed up why this is one is so important. And so expensive (for me, not for Moneybags)!

    Elektra: Assassin #1: I still don’t get what’s going on, but it’s stunning.

    1. American Flagg is a great one.

      I am a big Chaykin fan so I should have included one from him. Probably The Shadow #1 as it introduced me to him.

  11. Finally getting around to responding to the call for significant issues of my own. I wanted to do this right, so I came up with 7. While I won’t swear that if you asked me again next year, I’d name ALL of these exact same seven issues, I’d wager that most would still be the same….

    Transformers #8 (September 1985) – Possibly the first comic book I ever bought on my own. Purportedly the introduction of the Dinobots, I soon learned that they had actually appeared via flashback a few issues previously. This issue was the culmination of a story arc whereby Ratchet was the lone Autobot survivor (the others having been deactivated at the end of the original 4-issue mini-series), and featured him facing off against Megatron himself. Ratchet (but specifically the Marvel Comics version, who has some notable differences from other versions) quickly became my favorite Transformers character. I never missed an issue after this, and naturally went back and got the issues I’d previously missed.

    The Fury of Firestorm: The Nuclear Man #50 (August 1986) – I’d been introduced to Firestorm via the Superfriends, and was quickly fascinated by the character, but while I may have picked up the occasional issue or two before this, this is where I really latched on to the comic (in retrospect, perhaps a case of bad timing, as subsequent issues weren’t as good). Besides being an extra-sized anniversary issue, this story featured the wedding of Ronnie Raymond’s father to the original (dark, curly-haired) Felicity Smoak.

    Star Trek #19 (May 1991) – The story is titled “Once a Hero!” and was the final issue of a fairly long run (that started in the previous DC-published Star Trek series) written by Peter David. The basic premise is Kirk’s struggle to eulogize a security officer who died saving Kirk’s life. Kirk quickly learns that not only didn’t *he* know anything about the officer, neither did anyone else! The final page is an excellent commentary on our need as human beings to connect with and to value each other.

    Uncle Scrooge #286 (June 1994) – Back in the 1987-88 school year, a Mrs. Rosa was my eighth grade Social Studies teacher. During that year, I learned that her husband (named Don) was an artist, and I soon learned that he had published some stories featuring Scrooge McDuck (I later learned that Rosa’s *first* such story was published in 1987). Fast forward to 1994, when I found issue #286, a story called “The Master of the Mississippi” (the second part of Don Rosa’s “The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck” epic) on the stands. Recognizing Rosa’s name, I picked up the issue. I may or may not have gotten the previous issue before this, but *this* issue stands out as the first part of “Life and Times” to span an entire issue, and to have a significant portion set in Louisville, KY, where I (and Rosa!) grew up. I was quickly hooked, and have since made an effort to get everything Rosa ever wrote (I may or may not have achieved this goal already, but I’ll know for sure when I finally pick up the final volume of the hardcover “Don Rosa Library,” which is set to be released this coming November).

    Uncle Scrooge Adventures #27 (July 1994) – A story called “Guardians of the Lost Library,” this is Rosa at his best. Another full-issue tale, this one features Scrooge, Donald, and the Nephews, on a world-spanning quest to find the Lost Library of Alexandria. I won’t spoil the ending, but it’s truly an epic adventure that I would recommend to anyone.

    Superman – The Wedding Album (December 1996) – The latter part of 1996 wasn’t a very good time for me. I had recently graduated college, and was living in a tiny out-of-the-way town in South Carolina attending seminary. Isolated from family and friends, and having recently broken up with a fairly serious girlfriend, I was fairly depressed. Seeing Superman get married, *officially* for the first time, was somehow a source of hope for me. I’m pleased that, despite attempts such as the New 52, the marriage between Clark Kent and Lois Lane survives to this day. (Footnote just to put some closure on my personal story, things DID get better. I moved to Southern CA the following year, and eventually married several years later.)

  12. Man, significant issues…looking back, some are not the obvious ones I had expected….

    Marvel and DC Present Uncanny X Men and Teen Titans (1982): I actually didn’t own this till many years later, but I remember seeing the house ad in some random DC comic and wanting to own this comic with a passion not known to many 8 year olds. I would brag to various relatives that I was going to get this comic the next time my parents took me to the grocery store (cause that’s where my parents would buy me the odd comic). In the pre-internet days, this comic was my white whale. I dreamed about it’s content for years. An obsession was born.

    New Teen Titans #2 (1980): Bought in a corner store, with the cover ripped off, it’s one of the first comics I remember paying for myself. It introduced Deathstroke, then known as Deathstroke, The Terminator. If only it still had it’s cover.

    Green Lantern #191 (1985): A totally unremarkable comic, bought from my local 7-11 in Southwest Philadelphia, but I remeber walking home with it and thinking, “I’m going to start collecting Green Lantern comics!” I didn’t, but I did start collecting comics in earnest in the near future.

    Wolverine #1 (1988): I still have this comic, somewhere, and apparently it’s worth money, cause it’s Wolverine #1 and it’s signed by Chris Claremont. I’m not the biggest Wolverine fan, but I bought this comic at the first and only comic convention I went to. My Dad took me, and since Claremont was there, I bought this issue and had him sign it. I also bought a Spider-Man T-shirt with Todd McFarlane’s Spidey adorning the front that I would never wear, for fear of being made fun of. How time’s have changed.

    Spider-Man #300 (1988): Spider-Man was the first comic I subscribed to, and I was lucky to start my subscription right when McFarlane started his legendary run. This issue transfixed me; I spent days tracing/drawing panels from this comic. In 1988, Todd McFarlane was my god.

    DC Movie Special: Batman (1989): Bought the summer of ’89, the summer of the Bat, from a deli in Dennisville, NJ, just outside Sea Isle City, on vacation with my family. The original comic, with the Jerry Ordway cover, in the days before I knew what bootlegs were, this was the way I could relive the movie over and over; I’m sure I have it somewhere, and I’m sure it’s well loved and dog eared.

    Hellblazer #50 (1992): For a nerdy, pimply kid, John Constantine was what I WANTED to be. Stupidly, I took of smoking instead of becoming a master of the dark magicks. I read this issue over and over, marveling and the unattainable wise-ass coolness that was Gerth Ennis’ JC. I still love this issue dearly, even if I quit smoking years ago.

    I know it’s a cheat, but I have to include the Death in the Family and Saga of the Swamp Thing collected editions, which I read over and over in those formative years and which shaped my fandom to this day. And since some that have preceded me only listed 6, as a bonus to my 7, I have to list:

    Swamp Thing Annual #2 (1985): Quite possibly one of the most beautifully written and illustrated forms of fiction ever put to newsprint. Thank you Moore, Bissette and Totleben, and thank you Rob, Shagg and the whole Fir and Water Network Crew for bringing a little more light into these dark times! To 70 more! (years!)

  13. I’ve only been listening for a couple of years and, from your interactions, I assumed you had been friends forever. It was definitely a surprise that you only met in this century. I must enjoy your personal relationship because neither Aquaman nor Firestorm is on my top ten list of superheroes, but I enjoy your podcast.

    I’ll give you a comic that changed the way I thought about comics.

    Fighting American #1, 1954, Simon and Kirby — I never owned this comic. I found it at my dad’s barbershop when he took me and my brother with him. Before that our mother had taken us for haircuts so I was feeling quite grown up. Instead of picking up Donald Duck, Fox and Crow or Casper, I selected the first issue of this superhero comic. The Fighting American was created when Johnny Flagg, athlete, war hero and talk radio host, was killed for his anti-communist radio comments. His weak, handicapped younger brother had his brain implanted in his brother’s ‘revitalized’ dead body and took over his life. Step aside Batman, here is a really gruesome origin story. I was ready for ‘grown up’ comics.

  14. FIRST… episode… comments?

    It’s been a while since I’ve commented, in part because I’ve got my own character-specific shows that I’m sick of to neglect and mostly pay lip service to while doing other stuff I’m more interested in. I still want credit for listening to each(ish) and (most) every (I think) episode of Fire & Water(‘s eponymous show.) Cheers (but no Cheers thanks, though I just started rewatching Frasier) on, uh, seven years? Is this a Seven Seas riff? JLA? Kinda arbitrary, my dudes.

    Two weird things I have in common with Rob: Seeing Kramer vs. Kramer theatrically at an inappropriate age, and that I also “caught” a comic artist that drew “dirty stuff.” In my case, it was Cracked artist Bill Ward, and I recall being a self-satisfied little twit contemplating writing him a letter about my “discovery.” Thank god that’s one less embarrassment I didn’t call upon myself.

    I don’t have a relationship with the people who raised me, and in fact don’t know where they are or if they’re even alive or dead. Obviously that speaks to where we were as people by the time I was an adult, and I certainly take an ever more jaundiced view of their parenting choices the older I get. That said, I felt a pang of regret while listening to Rob talk about the gulf between his fandom and his father, because all three of my parental figures were also fans. My mother took me to Superman, Buck Rogers and all three Star Wars movies foremost because she wanted to see them, and my stepfather happily took us all to fare like The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension (though he was at heart a typical Canon Films style action junkie.) My father is a Whovian, a Trekker, a Warsie, and a bunch of other stuff I don’t even know the name for (Prisonerian?) I never had cause for embarrassment in my home, and though there were certainly some social consequences, I rarely hesitated to fly my geek flag at school, either. If nothing else, I’m grateful that I’ve never had to grapple with feeling self-conscious about nerdiness within my family.

    I recall Woolworth’s having a lot of weird, random out-of-date magazines when I was a kid, so I wouldn’t be so quick to rule out a two year old remainder copy. I also had a friend who collected those early Marvel Fanfares, and I distinctly remember him having that second issue. Another friend had the Star Wars Treasury Edition, but for some reason I mostly only bought the standalone movie adaptations.

    Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #3 was the first issue I could find, at a flea market comic booth. They also had #1, and that was my first experience of bagged & boarded back issue sticker shock. I’d never held $15 in my hands in my life up to that point!) Funny that I was an issue after Shag here but the only COIE I got was a month earlier.

    I think Dark Knight Returns takes hits more because of how much its innovations have been internalized by the medium, and the broad disdain for Frank Miller’s contemporary work (and politics.) I don’t think many comics have yet to compete with David Mazzucchelli’s work on Year One, and the sophisticated simplicity of the writing and art are of incomparably quality. Miller’s DKR & Sin City storytelling and style were more easily replicated, therefore have been ad nauseum, and have lost their luster. For instance, nearly every issue of Spawn featured a page of statted talking head newscasters for years.

    I don’t want to spend all night thinking of seven key comics, so I’m just going to quickly pull a few out of my ass.

    1968 Captain America coloring book, which while not technically a comic book, still contains perhaps my earliest comic book memories.

    Strange Tales #178, when Jim Starlin granted me cosmic consciousness and initiated questioning of institutions like the church and government.

    Superman #1 Treasury Edition, my first oversized & Golden Age comic, which made my views of the medium more elastic and of Superman more crystalline.

    Phoenix: The Untold Story, a tragedy that also exposed me to “how the sausage gets made,” plus peak Claremont & Byrne (and sorta kinda Shooter, based on the interview transcripts.)

    Crisis On Infinite Earths #7: the biggest, most ornate, epic and affecting comic I’d read up to that point, plus peak Wolfman & Perez (and sorta kinda Ordway & Giordano.)

    Son of Ambush Bug #2, when Keith Giffen warped me forever.

    Marshal Law #3, my personal four color Vietnam that “broke” what I thought was allowed in comics.

    Sandman #29, when Neil Gaiman taught me about literary comics.

    That’s eight. I don’t often follow explicit instructions. Hopefully for the tenth anniversary we’ll get the unredacted correspondence on my first podcast appearance (complete with the side effects suffered by your listeners.)

    Like a lot of the guys, I got a “series finale” vibe off this episode. Not encouraging that; just acknowledging.

    Boy, it makes me happy to hear how crappy the audio was on your first episode. Ours was worse, but we’ve all come a long way.

  15. I discovered your show a few years ago, I think based on a promo played during an episode of Radio vs. the Martians. This was probably just before you switched over to the network format.
    Anyway, glad I did, as I enjoy listening to both the ‘root’ podcast and many of the others that either joined the network or were created afterward (esp. the Treasury and Digest Casts). By the way, the Fish-Fry Network has a certain ring to it…

    As for comics that impacted me, I won’t make a whole list, because this comment might go on forever, so I’ll just note the one that popped into my head immediately: X-men #137 with the death of Jean Grey/Phoenix. That was the first time I had a such an instant and powerful emotional response to a story in comic book – it was like a gut punch. I wish – as Rob mentioned has been the case for Mar Vell – that her passing had been left to stand, as the later resurrection(s) and whatnot truly diminished that original story.

  16. Here’s my list of 6, well, technically 8 significant comics. It’s guaranteed to not tug on any heartstrings.

    Justice League of America #171: I perked up in my chair when I heard Shag include this book on his list. It has been one of my favorites since I bought it off the rack at a grocery store (Safeway) that was a block away from my house, and it was the first time I can remember being excited to read the next issue. I had to know who killed Mr. Terrific. The, when issue 172 hit the stands and the killer was revealed, I had another completely new experience: disappointment with the resolution of a story.

    Marvel Treasury #28: Superman and Spider-Man: I bought this one on September 17, 1983. I only know this because my family drove to the Twin Cities to watch Nebraska play Minnesota in college football, and my older brother convinced my parents to stop at a comic store on the way to the game. I had never been to a comic store before. I don’t know that I even knew they existed. This was my only purchase on that day…technically it was the only purchase my parents made for me on that day, but it’s significant because it represents the first of many trips to many comic stores.

    Warlock #9-11: My comic obsession really took hold during middle school. At about the same time, my older brother was losing interest in comics. That didn’t stop him from knowing which comics to give me as Christmas gifts. I’ve never asked him, but I think he felt a responsibility to introduce me to “good” comics. In 1986 he gave me Warlock 9-11, and I was introduced to comics that had more going on than just the villain of the month. I didn’t completely understand what was going on in the story, but for some reason, that just made the comics more interesting.

    X-Force #1: I’m a little ashamed to admit that I got caught up in the speculator boom of the 90s. I never bought comics intending to eventually sell them for big bucks, but I did get sucked into buying each of the multiple covers, or in this case, each of the trading cards included with the comic. I attended my first comic convention (the Chicago Comic Convention) in 1991, just a handful of days after this book was released. Fabian Nicieza was signing at the Marvel table. I handed him the still-bagged copy (which I saw many other people do as well) that I had purchased on the convention floor and as he signed the bag he said to someone else at the table “I don’t know why people want me to sign the bag. I wrote the comic, not the bag.”

    Captain America #111: The first quest of my collecting life was to own a complete run of Captain America. The final issue in that quest was #111. I couldn’t find it anywhere. And then, it showed up in an auction on the Mile High Comics website (yes, Mile High used to do auctions). Not having the internet at home, I sat at my work computer as the end of the auction drew near. I placed my bid, only to be outbid. I bid again. I was outbid again. I had to have this book. A bidding war waged for several minutes, and when the smoke cleared I was the proud owner not only of Captain America #111, and it only cost me double the book value.

    Star Wars #1 (35 cent): Not long after I bought Captain America #111 I became a regular user of Ebay. I bought a few single issues, but what I preferred was to buy boxes of comics. One such box had a disclaimer stating that the seller found the box of comics in a house he/she had recently purchased, and that it was being sold complete and without a list of issues. I won the box of 25 comics for less than $1 an issue (before shipping), and when I opened the box, the first comic I saw was the Holy Grail of 35 cent variants: Star Wars #1. This book only became truly significant when I decided to sell it. I took it to the Denver Comicon, planning for the money I’d get for the comic to pay for all of my purchases that weekend. I soon discovered that, even though I am not a huge Star Wars fan, I couldn’t bring myself to sell it. That shouldn’t have come as a surprise to me, though, as I’ve never sold a comic and on that day I learned I probably never will.

  17. Sorry to be so late to the party. I usually listen to the shows at work and only have time to comment on weekends.

    Enjoyed the show, guys. I always enjoy hearing what comics influenced other readers fanhood. Maybe Rob should have made Marvel Treasury 17 his pick for an influential comic over the original printing of Hulk 150. I got the treasury as a young kid and seeing the Hulk scene he described was an awesome sight to behold on the oversized page.

    Shag, since you mentioned us listing seven comics we found influential to our fanhood, here is my attempt. I apologize for the list being so Bat-Heavy, but Batman is not just my favorite comic character, but my favorite fictional character period. Oh, and I am going to cheat a bit, but more on that later.

    My fanship began in fall of 1976, when I caught my first rerun of the Adam West Batman TV show. I don’t remember the first episode that I saw, but I distinctly remember the moment I was hooked….when the fire flared out of the Batmobile tail pipe. I thought that was the coolest thing my five-year-old eyes had ever seen. My mom was thrilled with my Bat-fanhood, because I was eager to learn to read so I could follow Batman’s comic book adventures.

    1) Batman 283 – The third part of a three-parter by David V. Reed and Ernie Chua. I wouldn’t get the second part until 1994 and the first part until the early 2000s. I guess this was the first Batman comic I came across on the stands and it was my first comic purchase. At the time, wondered about Robin’s absence.
    2) Super Heroes Battle Super Gorillas #1 from 1976. I call this comic my “Gateway Drug” since it introduced me to other superheroes. It was my first, but certainly not last, Superman and Flash comic, plus it contained Gorilla Boss of Gotham City. What five-year-old didn’t want to see Batman fight a giant gorilla? I loved the Superman and Flash stories, too, and soon picked up some of their comics as well. According to Mike’s Amazing World, this went on sale before Batman 283, but it must have still been on the racks at the same time.
    3) Stacked Cards – Power Records book & record set. My first exposure to Neal Adams beautiful art. No offense to Chua, but why didn’t Batman’s regular comics look this good? The Power Records were extremely helpful in my learning to read very well at an early age. To this day, my mom still remembers “Lying there with a ghoulish grin on his face.” Plus, I’ll bet I was the only kid in kindergarten who knew what a lobotomy was.
    4) Marvel Muti Pack with three April 1977 issues. This is my cheat. I don’t know if I decided I wanted this or if my mom just picked it up for me. I had no exposure to any of the characters, unless I had seen Spider-Man on Electric Company, but that wouldn’t have made me want to try his comics. The pack contained Amazing Spider-Man 167 and Incredible Hulk 210. Both were cliff-hangers, and I never got to read the conclusions until the early 2000s, but I fell in love with both characters and they are still my favorite Marvel characters to this day. I didn’t remember what the third comic was, but a website posted a photo of this pack still sealed, and it turns out the third comic was Thor 258, which I no longer have and still have no memory of owning. All three comics were written by the great Len Wein, who may be my favorite comics writer of all time. This predated the Hulk TV movie pilot, so I was stoked when I found out the Hulk was coming to TV.
    5) The Ra’s Al Ghul treasury…More gorgeous Adams art as well as one chapter by the underrated Irv Novick. I mention this one because it almost derailed my Batman fanhood. I loved it up until the next to last page of the story, where Batman kissed Talia. Oh, gross! Batman kissed a girl! Why would he do that? Now, as an older reader, I must confess that Talia is very well drawn. Sometimes, I think my life would have been simpler if I hadn’t followed Batman’s lead and started liking girls myself, but I digress. Even Batman having an eye for the ladies couldn’t kill my addiction to the Caped Crusader and his comics.
    6) Batman’s Strangest Cases treasury. Art by Adams, Novick, Giordano and Wrightson. Stories by Wein, O’Neil and Robbins. “Demon of Gothos Mansion” and “Vow from the Grave” would certainly make my list of greatest Batman stories ever, and the Wrightson picture of Batman standing across two ledges with the wind blowing his cape is one of my favorite images of Batman, ever! Quite simply, even after all these years, my favorite comic that I own. The downside was the text piece, “Other Strange Cases of the Batman.” All the stories sounded so fascinating and at the time, I thought I would never get to read them. Thankfully, I now have read evert story mentioned in the text piece.
    7) Batman vs the Incredible Hulk. The cover was correct. “The Blazing Battle You Never Expected to See.” I had no idea this was coming out and stumbled across it at my local Super Value grocery store. This is a stand-in for all those great comics we just found out in the wild. And one last point….Jose Luis Garcia Lopez’s art in treasury size, baby! Awesome!!!!!

  18. Congratulations on reaching this milestone, Rob and Shag! Somehow, I have become a regular listener. I wasn’t when I first started listening to F & W podcasts a few years ago, because you were mostly talking about comics I hadn’t, and likely wouldn’t, read. But, you have worked your cunning ways into my ears! I love hearing/reading other comics fans “origins” stories! There used to be a site that collected these stories, “Hey, kids, comics.” Whatever happened to that?
    Let’s see if I can get to seven.

    All-Star Comics #62. This is the dawn of my collecting. I had been buying and reading comics on summer vacations. That interest propelled my parents to give me Jules Feiffer’s The Great Comics Book Heroes for Christmas (most likely ’74) So, I knew the golden age characters better than the contemporary ones! This book grabbed me with the announcement on the cover, “He’s back! The Golden Age Superman, in action again!” I am still a fan of the Justice Society.

    Justice League of America #135. Within a month I saw this on the stand. A stand in a beach-side convenience/beach supply shop at Hampton Beach. I was very excited, as the only other issue of Justice League I had seen was #121, over a year ago! I considered this title one that was hard to find. With the previous one, I didn’t know why Flash and Green Lantern wore those costumes and why they were not Jay and Alan. All at once, with this story of heroes from different Earths, I understood! I am still a fan of Earth 2!

    Superboy #209. I don’t know where this comics came from. It was on sale in the spring of 1975, and it might have still been at the general store in Buckfield, Maine where we bought comics while on vacation, if we had gone up for a weekend in April or May. My sister was fond of Superboy comics. (She thought he was “cute.”) So, naturally, since my sister liked it, I did not. And yet… Remember back when you only had a handful of comics? Maybe fewer than fifty? You read and re-read them repeatedly. This book include the story “Who Can Save the Princess?” Every Legionnaire is prepared to sacrifice themselves to save someone. This story really resonated with me. I like my heroes, especially my fictional ones, to be heroic. That’s what this Legion was.

    Legion of Super-Heroes #38. “The Greatest Hero of Them All.” After more than10 years of collecting comics, it was almost all over. Many comic book stories have touched me. The deaths of favorite fictional characters have upset me. This one (still) makes me weep. This was the Superboy that I had admired. The boy who would grow up to be the Superman that I admired. Once more, as in the previous comic cited, he was willing to sacrifice himself for others. Even now, typing this I’m misting up thinking of his final words. If this book had had a good inker, it would have been even better. I’ve been buying my daughter Legion Archives for several years now. I still love my Legion.

    Cerebus the Aardvark #11. My comics reading was almost exclusively super-heroes. No monsters, apes, ghosts, soldiers, wars, or movie adaptations. And certainly no funny animals! So, my friend Jon very cannily gave me this issue to read. I had been dismissing his recommendations to read this aardvark comic, until he gave me the one with the Batman parody. And I was hooked. I loved Cerebus! I stuck with it a long time. I even managed to get him into my college yearbook photo, and I cited Dave Sim as 20th century example of a fin-de-siecle author in a literature course in grad school. This book showed me that comics were, and could be, a great deal more than super-heroes.

    Love and Rockets #13. I may be fudging this one a bit. I cannot remember for certain which issue of L & R was my first, because as soon as I read it, I bought the others that were still on the shelf! Talk about comics that could be more than super-heroes! One story is two girls walking around talking! with the most naturalistic dialog I had ever read in a comic! Two other stories are about regular people in a small village “somewhere south of the U.S. border.” No conflicts! Clean sharp drawing and clean sharp writing. Compelling stories, economical linework, and fascinating characters.

    That’s six. Put them all together, historic aspects, different worlds, teamwork, heroic sacrifice, non-human characters, solid cartooning, and that spells…Bone. Any issue.

    I still seek out LSH stories, pre-Crisis, that I haven’t got. I think I’ve got every JSA appearance from the second part of Crisis on Earth-2 up to the start of this century. I’ve got every issue of Cerebus, (the first twenty as reprints), but I’ve never read the last fifty or so. I just found out yesterday that there’s a new Bone story to buy!
    I’m fanning my flame and riding my wave!

  19. Comics that impacted me:

    X-FACTOR (vol.1) #39 — This was the first comic book I bought regularly, when I was just ten years old in 1989. It was the last part of a crossover tie-in and I didn’t understand half of what was happening, but man was I *in*. The Simonsons made everything look and feel so big and important, and I got interested in Marvel through an outdated trading card set, so I was blown away at the Beast being suddenly blue and furry, Angel having metal wings and a cool team up with the X-Men to fight Mr. Sinister in the ruins of the X-Mansion.

    JUSTICE LEAGUE SPECTACULAR #1 — This was the first DC book I bought in the early 90s, as I recognized a lot of the heroes on the cover and I was trying to figure why there was a guy dressed like Green Lantern, but he had red hair and a cool vest. It led to me reading the Dan Jurgens run and then becoming obsessed with the Giffen/DeMatteis era through back issues.

    PREACHER #27 — My first step into a larger world. This was my first Vertigo comic and my toe in the water of non-superhero books. This series started coming out when I was in high school and had a rep for being both really shocking and really good. This was a quiet issue that had a scene of Cassidy stupidly proclaiming his drunken love for Tulip in a bar. It remains one of the most uncomfortable scenes I’ve read in a comic and made me a giant fan for the duration. It led to me trying more titles outside of my comic book comfort zone.

    V FOR VENDETTA – I read this book as a trade paperback, and wasn’t prepared to be so emotionally moved by a comic book. It’s really a beautiful work that I think gets overshadowed by Moore’s other work like Watchmen and Swamp Thing, but it remains one of my favorites of all time. It showed me that comics could do more than just wow me with cool action.

    THE INCREDIBLE HULK (vol 3) #25 — Just a cool story of the Hulk battling the Abomination at a dam with awesome John Romita, Jr. art. It was my first Marvel comic in like 5 years at the time I read it. I had become a “DC-only” guy for a few years and this book kicked out my hardcore Hulk fandom that dominated my collecting for several years and got me back into the company that made me love comics in the first place.

    AKIRA vol #1 — This Dark Horse reprint of the first chunk of Katsuhiro Otomo’s classic was the first manga series I ever read and it knocked my damn socks off. I remember sitting down with this book and completely losing track of time and reading nearly 300 pages in one sitting. It was kinetic and crazy and the art was gorgeous. It blew my 21 year old brain.

    Y THE LAST MAN #60 — This issue came out the week after I had to put my dog to sleep. And when a similar scene played out with Ampersand the monkey in almost exactly the same way, and I just started bawling like a baby. I really loved this series and didn’t expect how much the ending would hit me.

  20. Many congratulations, lads. I can’t remember how I came across the network, my memory is shot. I do know that your efforts mean an awful lot to me… so many great shows by excellent people, and it all began here.

    It’s hard to think of comics that emotionally affected me because I’m dead inside. I’ve been told off by a stand-up comic for being an ‘inner laugher’, I’m more often appreciating art than feeling emotionally connected. I’ve heard lots of people say they imagine the individual voices while reading stories, feel the environments and so on; me, I’m just reading on, desperate to be surprised, to find something new.

    Big deaths that feel like they’ll stick, they affect me… Superboy, Supergirl… Oh, I have one that did actually make me tear up, ‘The Last Days of Ma and Pa Kent’, inserted into Superman 161 with zero fanfare. So sad. And the ghost story in Supergirl’s Adventure Comics 408 freaked me out. The death of Aquababy was sad, too – kids could die?

    Let’s go for milestones and memories rather than emotional heft.

    X-Men 99, the first time I saw the second generation of mutants.

    Adventure Comics 300 (Inherited from a neighbour, even I’m not that old), my first encounter with the Legion of Super-Heroes, my favourite super team.

    Justice League of America 10, ‘The Fantastic Fingers of Felix Faust’, my first meeting with ANY super-team, and what an imaginative piece it was.

    Justice League of America 100, my introduction to the JSA and SSoV… and what on earth had happened to Wonder Woman?

    Fury of Firestorm, a beautifully structured tale of tragedy, marred only by an idiotic cover choice.

    Jimmy Olsen 55, my first imaginary tale, beginning with a beautiful cover and ending… well, read it, already!

    World’s Finest Comics 206… these comics come in giant size?

  21. I’m way behind on listening to the shows and just got to this one but I wanted thank both of you for all the entertainment you’ve given me and your fans over the years. I’m a relative new-comer, specially to posting, but I have enjoyed the content you’ve worked on both separately and together. I found you when a friend at work recommended a certain Who’s Who podcast and I thought to myself, wait, there are other people that read Who’s Who? I started listening around episode 7 or 8 and immediately went back to listen to the older episodes and have been listening to that show and many others on your network ever since.
    Your efforts around your core mantra of “Find Your Joy” is the reason I’ve not stopped listening. All too often, the stereotype of the cynical comic book reader is true and it really bums me out that the people reading all these great comics seem have nothing better to do than try and tear them down. With this show and your network of shows, I feel safe that we can all laugh at the ridiculousness of Composite Superman or Kite Man but still love them and enjoy them for what they are. I can’t express how much this means to me and how these shows are always a bright spot in my day.
    As for my influential comics, I’m sure I can list a bunch but the ones that I can really remember affecting me are……

    Amazing Spider-Man #293 and Justice League International #7 – These two comics were bought on a camping trip in 1987 and, after reading them, I knew I wanted to start collecting comics rather than just reading them.

    Best of DC Blue Ribbon Digest #35 – One of my earliest memories of reading comics. And mostly those memories are of the Teen Titans in a sewer(? Did this happen, my memory isn’t great), the Atomic Skull battling Superman, and I, Vampire stealing blood from a blood donation clinic because he doesn’t want to hurt people. Because what 7 year old doesn’t love an I, Vampire story!? (Please cover this on Digest Cast!)

    Who’s Who #5 (July 1985) – Good memories from Composite Superman and Crime Syndicate but mostly for the memory of reading the Crimson Avenger bio and crying when I learned he sacrificed himself. What kid cries, not over the actual story, but a pure text retelling in a compendium series?

    Groo #33 and Ralph Snart #13 – For showing me comics are more than just action/super-heroes.

    Thanks again for all the great shows you guys have put out over the years and here’s to another 7 great years!

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