So, we’ve decided to try doing a podcast (the clue’s in the title). Next week, Seb and I are going to get together and record a pilot of what we’re calling The Graphic Novel Book Club.
Partly, this is because my own suggestion of “KA-BLAMMO, NERDS VS COMICS” was deemed “stupid”, and partly it’s because we naively hope that if we call it something sophisticated, it might snag the interest of iTunes window shoppers who’d otherwise scroll right past. We are nothing if not desperate for attention.
The idea is that once a month, we’ll pick a trade paperback and hold a discussion about its content and context, find out where it succeeds and where it fails – and because it’s a book club, we won’t be doing it alone. We want you to help us.
The book we’ve chosen for our pilot episode is Frank Miller’s seminal 1986 Batman story, The Dark Knight Returns. If you’ve read it – recently or otherwise – we want you to send us your opinions, your questions and your suggestions about what we should discuss, and within the podcast, we’ll read out a selection of the responses and respond to the points made.
We think this is a pretty ambitious project, not least because it’s going to live and die by its listener participation – and right now, we don’t have any listeners to kick us off. If you’ve read Dark Knight Returns, please get in touch by emailing us ComicsDailyTeam@gmail.com – no thought is too trivial, no question too stupid, no opinion considered invalid. The only bad response is one we don’t get. You’ve got a week from the date of this post to get in touch, but please, don’t wait – the more we get, the better the first episode’s going to go.
And in true Book Club style, here are some questions to start you off:
1. Time Magazine once ranked DKR as one of the 10 best English Language graphic novels ever. Is it?
2. Given how different it is from any Batman story published before it, why/how did DKR become the character’s “definitive” story so quickly?
3. Could DKR have happened without Frank Miller?
4. How would people feel about Dark Knight Returns if it was published today?
5. Is Frank Miller’s portrayal of Superman fair?
You don’t need to respond directly to these points if you don’t want to, they’re just ideas to kick off discussion. And we’re not looking for anything particularly long or flowery – just short paragraphs that will get your point across. We’re trying to keep away from actually just “reviewing” the books – instead, try and home in on whatever individual and specific reactions come across from it.
Once again, email your responses to ComicsDailyTeam@gmail.com (yes, we’ll set up a proper address for the podcast once we know whether the pilot’s worked or not). Thanks in advance, and please feel free to spread the word if you can.
n.b Although we’ve started with something reasonably popular in the hope of getting some quick responses, future book selections might not be so well-known – the idea being that listeners will discover some great comics along with us rather than just going back over stuff we all already know. In that case, you’ll have a month to beg, steal or borrow the graphic novel in question and get in touch with us. In the mean time, we’ll keep the website up to date with details about the latest episode, and presumably there’ll be somewhere you can discuss the points raised in each episode after it’s gone up – we haven’t quite thought that far ahead yet!