Firestorm Fan Rotating Header Image

Five-Star Nuclear Sub Spectacular! FIRE & WATER #102

Firestorm and Aquaman: The Fire and Water Podcast

The 102nd episode of THE FIRE AND WATER PODCAST is now available for your listening pleasure! THE FIRE AND WATER PODCAST is the official podcast of FIRESTORM FAN and THE AQUAMAN SHRINE.

This week Shag and Rob each host some Nuclear Sub guest stars! First up, Rob and Mike Gillis discuss superhero comics continuity. Then Shag hangs out with Aaron Bias, Lil’ Russell Burbage, and Professor Alan Middleton, and chaos ensues. Finally, Shag and Michael Bailey discuss whether they’d like to own Action Comics #1, recorded live at Dragon Con 2014!

You can find the 102nd episode of THE FIRE AND WATER PODCAST on iTunes. While you’re there, please drop us a review on the iTunes page. Every comment helps! Alternatively, you may download the podcast by right-clicking here, choosing “Save Target/Link As”, and selecting a location on your computer to save the file (97 MB).

As always, thanks to my co-host Rob Kelly, Sea King of THE AQUAMAN SHRINE, for doing all the post-production on these episodes! Opening theme, “That Time is Now,” by Michael Kohler. Special thanks to Daniel Adams and Ashton Burge with their band The Bad Mamma Jammas for our fantastic original closing theme! This episode brought to you in part by!

Have a question or comment? Looking for more great content?

Be sure to visit our guest-stars on the interwebs also:

Below you’ll find a picture of the crew from the second segment (from L to R): Aaron Bias, Irredeemable Shag, Lil’ Russell Burbage, and Professor Alan!

Columbus OH Nuclear Subs - Aaron Bias, Irredeemable Shag, Lil' Russell Burbage, Professor Alan Middleton

Thanks for listening! Support Firestorm and Aquaman! Fan the Flame and Ride the Wave!

Related Posts with Thumbnails


  1. Man, that one had it all. Even Holmes and Yo-Yo.

    Continuity…yeah…hmmm. I’ve been devouring Marvel: The Untold Story by Sean Howe because Rob told me to, and loving it. In that book, it tells how, by the late 60s Stan was preaching “the illusion of change” to his creators. Don’t take things too far off the reservation, because these characters have to come back to square one for new readers, merchandise, etc. Some folks felt bogged down by that, but I think there is something too that. If you inflate and deflate a balloon too many times, it gets all flimsy and thin, and it will eventually pop. I think continuity is a lot like that.

    In addition to Roy Thomas, I’d point to James Robinson’s Starman as a series that wonderfully used continuity to tell a compelling story. The way Robinson wove the tale, you didn’t have to have a vast knowledge of DC history, but if you did, it gave you an extra layer to appreciate.

    I think the major fault of the New 52 was it’s introduction of an artificial continuity from the get-go. A backstory that no one, not even the old diehard fans, could go back and read about. Better to start with Superman putting on the cape and go from there.

    My current favorite comic is Batman 66. It’s more-or-less continuity-free, just relying on some knowledge of the old TV series, but not much. AND, it’s kid-friendly. Like Mr. Gillis pointed out, it’s the only Batman title currently out there that’s appropriate for all ages. And it’s just a whole lot of zany fun. It’s the answer to about every question you asked about Batman in comics. Go buy it!

    The nerd summit with Shag and co. was fun to listen to. I wish I was there. Identity Crisis is another series that used continuity, but it should have been kept out of the main DCU timeline. It sullied the pristine veneer of the Bronze Age for me. It’s a well-told story, but it set a nasty tone for the DCU, that they’ve yet to recover from.

    I don’t think I’d like to own Action #1, either. I’ll just go read my Famous First Edition reprint. It’s got the whole damn comic there!


  2. Kyle Benning says:

    Rob, the stand alone digital-first Superman series you were talking about was “Adventures of Superman” not Superman Unchained. Superman Unchained was the often delayed Snyder & Lee series that had 10 + variant covers every single issue. While the Adventures of Superman series was digital first, it was collected in a $3.99 printed edition that was released monthly and typically contained 3-4 of the weekly digital short stories. There was also a Batman “Legends of the Dark Knight” series that was pretty awesome, it even had a Phil Hester written and drawn Slam Bradley story. I’m really looking forward to the Wonder Woman series.

    I really dug your and Mike’s discussion on continuity, that was some awesome comic discussion! I whole-heartedly agree, man I still hope we get to see that Paul Pope Kamandi series someday, that could just be such an amazing winning series. You would think someone at DC would notice that all of their non-continuity stories continue to be there biggest hits. Wednesday Comics, All-Star Superman, New Frontier, Kingdom Come, etc. Those stories have been almost non-existant since New 52 except for the “Earth One” line of books, which at least to me, have the same tone as the New 52, they’re the same thing with a different label.

    Russell!! No love for Superman?!?!? C’mon Man!!

    The Brad Meltzer Green Arrow run is awesome, it has some gorgeous Phil Hester art! (local Iowan!) I even have an original art page from that run!

    Great Super Friends Transitions!

    Shag, yes Warlord is freaking awesome!! I cannot wax the Warlord car enough, that series is fantastic!

    A great catch all episode that was a lot of fun! Something for all podcast listeners, fan the flame and ride the wave!

  3. Kyle Benning says:

    Oh and a few quick things I’d like to add.

    Rob I totally agree with you about comics being available outside of the movie theater! That should be a no brainer! One of the local shops takes out ad space when they have “comic” movies in the theater and have a table or little display sitting there with some comics, figures, and statues as kind of a “what you can get at our shop” type of thing and then have a flyer with a promo code for 25% off or a free comic or something if you take it to their store. To tie in with this, last year when DC had released the special free 75th Anniversary reprint of All-Star Superman #1, this shop had taken a bunch of copies and had them available at their ad table/display case for people who went to the first showing premier of Man of Steel. That was good thinking, but man I couldn’t help but think you would have been hard pressed to find another of example of such polar opposite versions of Superman. Here in All-Star Superman #1 you have this happy-go-lucky love letter to the Silver Age Superman and then in Man of Steel you had no Clark Kent to speak of and essentially Godzilla in Superman’s body. I can’t say that too many people who loved that movie probably found the All-Star Superman issue very resonating. Man if only Rozakis was driving the Comic Truck around, he could just pull-up and park outside the movie theater and sell comics in the parking lot.

    But speaking of alternative ways of comic distribution. I was at my local Wal Mart last night, browsing at their books and magazines section and I was blown away to find that they had not 1, not 2, but 4, that’s right FOUR DIFFERENT Marvel trade paperbacks there, get this, for only $5!!! Marvel and Wal Mart have apparently joined forces to release 4 different $5 Trade Paperback comics that collect anywhere from 4 to 7 issues and give them to readers for an incredibly affordable $5. They had:

    -Amazing Spider-Man Big Time, collecting ASM #648-651
    -Guardians of the Galaxy, collecting #0.1, 1-3, Guardians Tomorrow’s Avengers #1
    -Captain America Winter Soldier collecting #1-7 of the Brubaker series
    -Avengers collecting #1-6 of the Bendis/Romita Jr. run

    WOW!!! I picked up the Guardians book, loved it, and plan on picking up the other 3 sometime this week. I plan to right a lengthy letter to Marvel to pat them on the back, getting affordable Trade Paperbacks in the hands of new readers on retail giants is the perfect way to rope in new readers and keep the print side of comics alive! Each book also comes with a free digital dowload of a single issue from the series, and an offer for 45% off a 12-issue subscription to one of the 4 (Avengers, Cap, Guardians, Spidey) Ongoing comic series.

    Well done Marvel!

  4. ^Hey Kyle, our local Wal-mart had those Marvel TPBs too, near the back-to-school stuff a month or so ago. I got me a Cap, and GoG for my son. I went back for more and they were GONE. It was great to see them go over like that.

    I think it’s a shame that DC got cold feet with the 89 Batman movie comic adaptation, and pulled the plug on the plan to have it for sale in theaters. I think it would have set a great precedent for the future, and Marvel and DC could really be reaping those benefits now.


  5. Possibly the most schizophrenic episode of the Fire & Water Podcast so far, and that’s including the episode with a dozen guest hosts. I enjoyed the discussion about continuity and the shared universe in comics and other media. A lot of good points raised and questions asked.

    The Dragon Con part of the ‘cast was a little jarring. It took me a while to shake the feeling like I was sitting on a plane with four loud, slightly inebriated passengers two rows behind me. By the time the third part of the episode began, my brain had melted. I can’t imagine owning Action Comics #1 because it would be sold so quickly I would probably never hold it in my hands. Hell, if I found out one of my comics was worth fifty dollars I would put that up for auction in a New York minute.

    @Kyle and Chris,

    I also saw those four Marvel trades at the local Wal-Mart, or rather I saw three of them. The store was sold-out of the Captain America trade. I didn’t buy any of them, because I already read those stories when they came out, but after I left I thought about buying the books and donating them to the local or school library.

    Why the major comic publishers don’t push their books in Wal-Mart staggers me. I asked about it on this podcast a year ago and Rob gave a very unsatisfying answer, probably because there is no satisfying answer to why Marvel, DC, and others wouldn’t want their product for sale in the biggest retail juggernaut in the world.

  6. rob! says:

    I asked Paul Kupperberg about this topic once, since he is knowledgeable about such things. Apparently getting rack space in major retailers like Target and Wal-Mart is expensive, and takes a long while to build any sort of sales. DC, Marvel, et al just don’t want to/can’t devote the time and expense.

    One could argue that it’s a long term investment that will pay off down the line, but as we’ve all seen they don’t seem terribly concerned with anything other than Right Now.

    Marvel did put out a line of slightly oversized reprint collections at Target a few years ago, and I bought a copy of every one just to support the effort. But after a few months they were gone, and never returned.

  7. Kyle Benning says:

    Marvel maintains some sort of comic presence regularly at those retailers with their Marvel Heroes Magazine which reprints their animated comic adaptions like their Avengers and Spider-Man cartoon tie-ins. I don’t know how often they publish those, but they are always there and I try to pick up a copy every time I see them. I have no idea how that stuff works but I would think that since they already have a regular magazine presence (not to mention all of the sticker, coloring, and activity books there) that it wouldn’t be too much extra to have reprint collections regularly appearing as well.

    I have also noticed that the Archie Digests have once again returned to my area. The local grocery stores and Wal Mart are carrying those once again after years of never seeing them, I now see them everywhere, and pick them up when I can. I can’t say that I have a whole lot of interest in the Archie universe, but it’s a cheap, great, and discrete way to pass some down time at work, crack open an Archie and read a story or two in the little 5 minute long down time spells I occassionally get at work (like the window I’m using to type this). So I try to pick up a $5 Archie digest whenever I see a new one on the stands.

    I would think that even though Archie Digests had a lapsed presence in my area, they were still readily available in retailers continuously elsewhere, maybe this re-emergence at Wal Mart (at least in my area) plus the Marvel TPB presence is a good sign of a shift in comic distribution to actively target nationwide retailer giants like Wal-Mart. I sure hope so. A hell of a lot more kids step into Wal Marts than they do comic shops, it’d be a great way to get new readers. I remember that in the early and mid 2000’s my local Wal Mart always had comic 4 packs that bundled issues from the 80’s and early 90’s together for a buck. I bought a ton of those things. I had multiple extensive shoulder surgeries during that time frame that had me laid up, so my parents were swinging in daily and cleaning out the stock of those multi-packs and bringing those home for me to read (closest comic shop was 35 miles away). I wish they’d get back to carrying those as well!

    Everyone remember the “Damage Control” Marvel mini-series from the 80’s? I got the entire second mini courtesy of a few of those multi-packs, and got a few issues of V for Vendetta out of a few of those as well.

  8. Martin Gray says:

    Really enjoyed the episode, especially .. actually, it was all equally good. Shag was unrecognisable in the group section, are we normally hearing him through a veneer of Skype?

  9. Frank says:

    1) This week we covered the Annihilation: Nova mini-series on The Marvel Super Heroes Podcast, and all three of us enjoyed the book more than any other in the event we’ve covered so far. Our first read was in June, and we’re old, so we all opted to reread the story before recording. I also opted to read the old Nova #1 & Quasar #1. I realized then that the mini-series writers had clearly read back issues, and while I liked their mini-series cold, it was even better for my realizing they had done homework and been informed by previous books. Enriched by old stories, the mini-series remained accessible and a pleasure read entirely on its own. That’s how continuity should work.

    2) My interest in Twin Peaks was magnified by having read The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer and the Agent Cooper prologue book. I haven’t been able to appreciate Donnie Darko near as much since I looked into Richard Kelly’s catalog of preferably apocryphal story bible of bad ideas (see also: Director’s Cut.) Continuity is a two-edged sword.

    3) Continuity is essential and unavoidable. It’s the road you drive on and every person encountered on that road. To be a good writer, you have to read a lot. On an ongoing series, you have to know what’s been done before and how it was accomplished so you don’t cluelessly repeat a plot perhaps crafted better than your own. It’s why Wonder Woman comics typically suck– every new writer would come up with a “new” archenemy to “improve” her rogues gallery that was most often a carbon copy of the discarded arch-rival from another writer’s relatively recent run who were themselves creating an obvious watered-down copy of another hero’s rogue to begin with. Circe, the most long-lived Wonder Woman villain created since the Silver Age, is essentially The Enchantress with a trailer park dye job. Continuity is a chronicle of prior success and failure, history to be known so as to revisit the triumphs and evade known hazards.

    4) I like both the Stan Lee and Grant Morrison approaches to continuity. Stan wanted writers to know continuity, but if there was something they didn’t like that got in the way of telling a ripping yarn, ignore the old and proceed with the new. If it causes continuity problems, that’s what No-Prizes and retcons are for. I also like how Morrison has tried to take on the challenge of accepting every story as canon, creating new tales around figuring out how the pieces could potentially fit together. I want smart, informed writing, while most of the guys that complain most loudly about continuity are either OCD about the fine details or too lazy to put in the effort of learning how to effectively operate another creator’s creations. You can’t build a tablet without understanding how a computer and smart phone work. There’s a science to sequential, multi-team team storytelling that you either have to respect or go create your own Image title (recognizing that if you replicate in ignorance a prior work that you’ll still be called a hack rip- off artist.)

    5) Most comic book shared universes function well enough because that’s what they were conceived to be. DC has the specific problem of trying to force reconciliiation upon irreconcilable concepts conceived in other times from varied publishers brought together under one roof by lawyers. Here, continuity serves as a reminder that Jack Cole created superior work with Plastic Man, but to be in the JLA Plas had to become a Jim Carrey impersonator. Continuity says “nanner-nanner” to fifty years of mostly awful DC Plastic Man, and the Quality stories being “out of” DC editorially approved current continuity as enforced by DC is a coded message to readers that they shouldn’t even expect good Plas stories from the company. Meanwhile, Blue Beetle and Booster Gold were thrown together on a struggling team book relaunch because they were available, and became one of DC’s most endearing partnerships through this happenstance of unpredictable compatability and unparalleled chemistry. Instead of handing down unilateral dictates from on high, figure out how your properties work best individually to create a stronger line, not a more Mavelous union.

    6) I have to confess to struggling through the DragonCon section. So many voices jockeying for position, many unfamiliar to me, and it even took time to “spot” a Shag or Michael Bailey because they sounded different from how they’re usually recorded/mixed.

    7) I was into Battle of the Planets as a kid, and even had a plastic doll thing of the lead character I got from Spencer Gifts. As with most anime/manga, my interest waned in adulthood, but I still dig those character designs.

    8) I was on a library reading kick a few years ago, but one of my cards lapsed and I just don’t take the time anymore. They were good about having hardcover collections I didn’t want to have to pay to read.

    9) I hate comic book shops and feel they by and large deserve to die. I’m on a Patsy Walker kick right now, and hit four of the largest Houston shops looking for back issues. The 2000 Hellcat mini-series is virtually worthless, but three shops had #2-3 at prices ranging from $3-3.75 each. Since I never found #1, I ordered it online for less than a dollar. I paid $3 for an unexceptional Marvel Comics Presents back issue that turned out to be extensively water damaged with coffee stains on most of the pages. I passed on the $4 Hellstorm: Prince of Lies #1, which I don’t recall reaching that value even in the boom years. Overpricing, poor/non-grading of condition, inventory gaps, and occasional nerd-noxious fellow customers had me wanting to flee most stores, only to be anchored by my girlfriend’s “still looking.” I talked about it with Fixit, and he said he’s spoken with a number of new/returning readers over the years who, turned off by shops, opted for the value and comfort of digital. Me too, it seems.

    10) Visited D.C. last year, wasn’t aware of the Library of Congress option, and that was probably for the best. Very cool story.

    11) I’ve been “meaning to” bag and board my new comics since about 1998. I have sealed packs of bags and boards sitting in boxes for that day.

    12) I’ve watched the slow, steady disappearance of mass market comics for years. One of the largest local grocery chains used to stock some Marvel and DC, but now only Archie remains, if that.

    13) I bought the prestige format ’89 Batman movie adaptation out of a counter dump at the theater, so that happened. Don’t recall if they had any such fanfare for Batman Returns, but definitely none of the Schumachers went there.

Leave a Reply