First Strike: The Invasion! Podcast Ep.12: Animal Man #6

Bass and Siskoid cover Animal Man #6, Grant Morrison’s exploration into Thanagarian war… and art!

Listen to Episode 12 below (the usual filthy filthy language warnings apply), or subscribe to First Strike: The Invasion! Podcast on iTunes!

Relevant images and further credits at: First Strike ep.12 Supplemental

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17 responses to “First Strike: The Invasion! Podcast Ep.12: Animal Man #6

  1. This issue perfectly balances meta commentary and the avant-garde within the framework of a one-and-done Silver Age story. It’s made richer by being an enforced crossover issue, far superior to the follow up issue. What also makes this way more than a Gardner Fox homage is the first person narrative & scene cutting, both executed with enough restraint that it passes the test of time.

    This is Morrison’s prime example of everything he was going for in his career. The scope of his vision can be found within these 24 pages.

    Oh, and only a Thanagarian could have known how to deactivate the weapon at the end, not just any super hero. It also, of course, fits thematically… and we get one of Truog & Hazelwood’s best pages out of it.

    Great episode as usual, guys.

  2. If Animal Man can see me, why can’t he tell me how many fingers I’m holding up?

    Serious talk here: Grant Morrison’s Animal Man run is the single most overrated thing in the whole of comics. And when you guys go around treating a gag lifted out of ‘Duck Amuck’ as some kind of wildly innovative postmodernist manefesto, just not helping.

  3. I remember this comic quite well; I was buying Animal Man at the time and, even by Bolland standards, this cover was striking. The villainous Hawkgirl was simultaneously scary and sexy, like a Ilsa She Wolf of the SS kind of thing.

    One of the things I liked about Morrison’s run on Animal Man was the deconstruction of how his powers worked–as one of the characters eventually says, animals don’t have “powers”, their bodies are constructed in such a way that they can fly, breathe underwater, run at great speeds, etc., so how exactly is Buddy replicating that?

    It’s pretty remarkable he handled this intrusive crossover so early in the book’s run this well, looking back over the issue it seems fairly organic.

    Great show!

  4. I absolutely loved this issue and this run. Morrison was just clicking on all cylinders here. And I really feel like Coyote Gospel kicked it all off. It was with that issue that I knew this wasn’t going to be a standard super-hero book. There was something so sad about Buddy not being able to read the gospel written by the Coyote. Such a great turn for that issue which ended with the omnipotent creator’s hand. And the later issues with the metatextual discussion of comics and limbo and panel borders is just brilliant.

    As for this issue, I loved this look at the Thangarian culture. Here is this artist who is going to wipe out the west coast with his ‘life bomb’ and he still can’t get his father’s approval. I have to wonder if there was an autobiographical component here. The moment that stuck out here was when the artist burns his own best work, a cathartic act that somehow frees him. Just heady stuff. And the ending, with the bigger than life Hawkman flicking a switch, was a silly way to end an emotionally heavy story.

    As for Animal Man, I liked Pete Milligan’s brief odd run. I thought Veitch’s run was awful. But I enjoyed the Delano/Pugh run more than I thought I would. The New 52 run was just too plodding and bloody to keep me invested.

    And once again Siskoid brings up Red Tornado without prompting. I know … I can feel it in my bones … you want to cover Reddy somewhere. Secret Hearts?

    1. I think YOU heard Red Tornado. I never said his name. Only that Hawkman wouldn’t be my first choice to push an A-lister aside to make room for Captain Atom.

      And Red Tornado sure isn’t an A-lister…

  5. Really liked Grant Morrison’s run on Animal Man. I read the three trade paperbacks collecting the Morrison run, but I was not collecting Vertigo so lost track of his adventures afterwards. He was slowly integrated back into the DCU in the late 90s, first in a guest appearance in Peter David’s Aquaman, at the end of Morrison’s JLA run and then in Geoff Johns’ Hawkman series.. Peter David put in a pun where he mentioned meeting Swamp Thing in an earlier issue and that both Animal Man and Swamp Thing spoke with such philosophical heights, that it was enough to give him vertigo. Following that he joined the outer space team in Infinite Crisis and was part of a team with Adam Strange and Starfire that tried to make their way back to earth in 52. They teamed up again in one of the Countdown miniseries and I believe that is what led to the Gerry Conway “Last Days of Animal Man” mini.

    I think Buddy is a great character and thought he lends himself well to being in both the JLE and JLUnited during the New 52. His solo adventures are so off the wall that he probably believes that the League adventures, by comparison are very straight forward and he can be very effective in those scenarios. I enjoyed the friendship he had with Rocket Red in the JLE book as they bonded over their experiences of dealing with superheroes and dealing with family life as well.

  6. I was reading this as it came out and it was impossible to feel jaded about Morrison’s writing at the time, because it was the freshest read at DC. It’s so easy to lump it all together in the Morrison stew of tropes and approaches but this was before the body of repeated patterns existed. Every re-read gives me more to enjoy, particularly in the limbo issues as Fire & Water shows have given me greater knowledge and appreciation for pre-Crisis obscure characters and concepts. A favourite then and still a favourite today.

  7. I hate to admit I haven’t read much of Morrison’s Animal Man. It’s something I really need to rectify. This episode pushed me closer to doing that.

    I miss the Silver Age Hawkman. Why hasn’t someone just tried that approach again? Nothing else has really stuck, so why not give it a go? And I never bought that whole “this Hawkman was a spy, blah blah” retcon garbage, although I did like how Golden Eagle came out of it in the Palmiotti/Gray run.


  8. Fantastic coverage on this episode! I remember really digging this comic because Morrison found a way to participate in the company-wide crossover, without losing his own voice and tone in Animal Man. For the most part, I just rode the roller coaster of the issue and didn’t think as deeply as you guys did. So when you talked about how this issue was a microcosm for Buddy not having any control over his own life, it blew my mind! You are so right!!! Dang, Morrison really was good at big themes and the long game. Wow!

    Also, that Hawk-woman’s costume was crazy provocative at the time. Somehow though, I really got the sense the sexiness of the outfit worked with her personality. I don’t recall if that actually came through in the comic, or me just rationalizing. And obviously… she’s hot!

    Finally, congrats on the CW crossover event this fall! It’s all because of you guys raising the profile of INVASION! Well done, for a couple of Canadians!

  9. I’ve relayed my history with Animal Man in comments to both the Who’s Who and Secret Origins Podcasts, plus my initial introduction in an issue of Wonder Woman for Comic Reader Resume, so there isn’t much left to talk with you guys about. I can’t recall if it was this issue or “The Coyote Messiah” I picked up first as a back issue, but probably this one, since I was into Hawkman when I first started seriously investing in the DC Universe. At the time, I thought this story was kind of weird, but it made more sense than the one issue of Morrison’s Doom Patrol I bought new, “The Beard Hunter.” Unless you count Doom Force, a special that just pissed me off where I was expecting laughs (Giffen cover, right?) Also, I bought a couple or three issues of the Jamie Delano AM run new because I was a huge fan of Steve Pugh from his work on Grimjack, and don’t recall if that was before or after this back issue. I came in late to an arc where Animal Man appeared to be dead and partially dismembered (“Road Kill?”) and his daughter was in some sort of danger, I think. All I know is I found the story too dark and inaccessible at too high a cover price. I had very little tolerance of a 50% mark-up for slightly better paper and mature themes, so I mostly stuck with The Sandman and Hellblazer in my Vertigo reading.

    I’ve read a few more Animal Man issues from various parts of the run in the years since, but they all fall squarely in the “okay” camp. I’m sure part of the problem is that well meaning folks trying to promote the book’s being read have a nasty habit of spoiling all the best bits. Morrison is just one of those cats whose work encompasses the full spectrum of try hard-s’aight-ugh-awesome. Recommendations indicate I should give it more of a chance in the future, but my points of exposure don’t make it a rush or essential reading. I’m not going to say Chas Truog is a major deterrent, but I will say that if Steve Pugh or Tom Grummett’s presence was felt more in the Morrison run, I’d have greater motivation.

    I was thinking the same thing as Jeff R. about deconstructionism by way of a decades old Chuck Jones gag. I also see Siskoid’s point about playing the meta for pathos, but it’s practically a comic book default setting to take something intended to be played for laughs and approach it with all the deadly seriousness a frustrated adolescent could muster.

  10. This was the issue I allowed my self to fully become an Animal Man fan. The first four issue were written like a mini, so I didn’t trust the series would continue. Issue 5 was brilliant and mind blowing, but especially at the time, not something I thought could maintain a series. It took a proper old fashioned crossover like Invasion to fully connect Buddy to the DCU proper. The “just turn it off” ending was new and different way to end things. (Morrison love is my Hipster thing, I found him before he was cool)
    I enjoyed your discussion. Great episode!

    1. Thanks for the kind words Bradley! We just canned the next episode earlier this week, so don’t be disappointed when we don’t read your comment on the air!

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