Ep260 – Constantine 20, Bitch Planet, Copperhead 4, Spider-Man and the X-Men, The Valiant 1, and Sex Criminals 9!

3amigoslogoJohnny Destructo, Ambush Bug and Optimous Douche review this week’s books: Constantine 20, Bitch Planet, Copperhead 4, Spider-Man and the X-Men, The Valiant 1, and Sex Criminals 9! Also: listener emails!

Take a listen and then feel free to comment below if you agree or disagree, or email us at info@poptardsgo.com!

Here are the time stamps, since we tend to ramble:

Constantine 20 (Ray Fawkes, Jeremy Haun) – 02:26
Bitch Planet (Kelly Sue DeConnick, Valentine De Landro) Image Comics – 10:39
Copperhead 4 (Jay Faerber, Scott Godlewski) Image Comics – 30:35
Spider-Man and the X-Men (Elliot Kalan, Marco Failla) Marvel Comics –  41:18
The Valiant (Jeff Lemire, Matt Kindt, Paolo Rivera) Valiant Comics – 46:09
Sex Criminals 9 (Matt Fraction, Chip Zdarsky) Image Comics – 53:43
email 1 – 59:49
email 2 – 01:08:06
email 3 – 01:16:14

You can find JD’s stuff at: www.etsy.com/shop/johnnydestructo and tweet at him @poptardsgo
You can find Mark at www.aintitcoolnews.com and @mark_l_miller
You can email Optimous Douche at RobPatey@comcast.net

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21 Comments to “Ep260 – Constantine 20, Bitch Planet, Copperhead 4, Spider-Man and the X-Men, The Valiant 1, and Sex Criminals 9!”

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  1. def says:


    JD, you were being nice.

    Here’s my thing about the review of Bitch Planet. I haven’t read it, I don’t plan to. I’m not a fan of DeConnick’s writing, at least on her Avengers and Captain Marvel stuff. That said…

    I’m going to pile this more on Bug than Douche, since Douche just hated it, and didn’t bend over backwards to rationalise it, just the replacing hate with hate thing. It’s a pretty lame argument, and something I’ve said in my life as well about a lot on non-SWG stuff as well… At this point, I think that non-SWG have a much more reasonable motive to write this stuff than the other way around. Like, Jewish people have a lot of reasons to want to see a movie like Inglorious Basturds, but Nazis wanting to see a reverse sort of thing are just scumbags, since one contradicts reality, the other just tweaks what reality is.

    Anyway, this is the stuff to read if you want a soundbite:
    I quote, Mark L Miller: “I don’t like this book because it wasn’t truly feminist! I wanted a feminist book, because feminism is my thing. This book didn’t have good female protagonists like Zenoscope books do. This book alienated half the potential audience, unlike Zenoscope books which are attractive to all demographics.”

    Why would someone say shit like that?

    At Bug:
    Like, I don’t care if you like or dislike something, just don’t wrap up your reasoning in utter bullshit. You could say, for example, ‘as a man, I felt under attack.’ I don’t know, I haven’t read it, but that was some of the gist I got from your review. Something made you personally uncomfortable. I can totally understand that. In the past few weeks, there were a pile of soundbites I didn’t post about, though they sounded as good as nails on a chalkboard. I said to myself, better to stop listening than to be the liberal nag on this board. “Batgirl doesn’t appeal to me as a 40 year old white man! Why would they do that to her?” “J. Scott Campell is nice, nothing wrong with cheesecake.” Like, it’s totally okay to like stuff that plays up to what you personally get off on, but you need to learn to tell the difference between stuff that doesn’t tickle your taint and stuff that is actually bad. I don’t know if hypocrisy is the word per se, but there is an extreme tunnel vision. A self-righteousness when attacking ‘different’ stuff that is non-existent when ‘critiquing’ the stuff you like. Bitch Planet had a bad metaphor? Really? That’s what upset you? Unlike Geoff Darrow’s super deep metaphor of guys fighting which you just plain like? It’s utter bullshit. You judge on an impartial scale, and if you acknowledged it more rather than trying to justify it, you’d have someone searching out for Pirouette, rather than someone who wouldn’t even illegally download it.

    Finally, yeah, get in touch with DeConnick. Get her on the show. Explain to her in person/online that it’s not a feminist manifesto, and, I’ll guess, she’ll tell you that it isn’t a feminist manifesto whatsoever. That feminist argument is a utter straw man argument. EVERY preview for it described it as a 70’s exploitation flick. Feminism is an argument for gender equality. Why did Douche and Bug think it was a feminist book? Was it in the inside front cover (haven’t read it)? Seriously, contact her, invite her on the show. She is very friendly in social media, I think she would totally do it, and Bug needs to go to school.

    No excuses:

    @Matt Adler, I wish you were on this still. You’re rational, and you have a root in history. I liked your two cents!

  2. def says:

    Oh yes, and Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I still enjoy 90% of your content

  3. Bug says:

    Imagine what kind of “educated” views you might have on the subject had you actually read the book.

  4. jaydee says:

    Thanks for chiming in Def, especially since I received an email telling me what an infant I am and how I steamrolled over OD and Bug, lol. The funny thing about this episode is that we are each receiving correspondence detailing how one of us is an idiot and the others are right!

    You did sort of misquote Bug though, since that wasn’t actually a quote, it was the opposite of a quote, lol.

    I do notice that we sometimes say one thing about why we don’t like a certain book, but then another book does the same thing and we applaud it. I do it all the time, one book will get a pass and another book will get taken to task about the very same elements. It just depends on our individual tastes.

  5. Bug says:

    Sort of misquote? I’m beginning to think he should change his name from def to deaf as he seems to have difficulty listening to the podcast and remembering what was said, let alone caring enough to read the book we are talking about before chiming in blindly.

  6. jaydee says:

    I get it! def! deaf!
    also….”blindly?” you clever so and so! :)

  7. def says:

    Jaydee, yeah, that was ‘literally’ what he said. That was meant to be humour, but sarcasm doesn’t work so great on the Internet.

    Bug, sorry if that post took on too much of a combative tone, and the comment about Pirouette was unnecessary. I was thinking of you guys opinions on Alan Moore when I wrote it, how the stuff he says makes his stuff unreadable or however it was phrased.

    That said, your technique of ignoring points made and just insulting me instead doesn’t do much to change my mind. If you can, answer these two questions.

    1) Do you always read things with a feminist perspective in mind? It’s never been mentioned on the podcast in the years I’ve listened, so why did this comic need to represent feminism in some way?

    2) Do you think there’s something strange about a guy working for Zenoscope, a company whose whole business plan is based on alienating half the population, complains when a comic is not appealing to many men?

    This is the Internet, I am not a buddy of yours, and I’m not famous, so you’re under no obligation to answer anything much less attempt to even bother see my point, but you took the time out of your busy day to insult me (yes, homonyms!), so maybe you could try to explain those ideas to me. I don’t expect you to capitulate and say, “You’re so right!” but an attempt to understand would be more respectable.

    And I made sure those questions were not based on the quality of the book, since I don’t much care about the book. I’ve never really been into exploitation style stuff.

  8. Bug says:

    OK, I’ll bite this one time, def.

    To answer your first question, no I don’t always read with a feminist perspective first when reading a comic. Had you actually read the comic in question, though, you would know that the book is filled with feminist themes, it features an essay by a famous feminist writer at the end, and then a page of “go-girlz” self-congratulatory stuff you usually see in a Millar comic focusing on Deconnick and a group of women fans who are seemingly pushing the feminist agenda in comics. There’s even a page full of “clever” feminist ads on the back of the book. Nothing wrong with Deconnick choosing to put all of this in her own comic, but feminism is a theme that permeates the comic from cover to cover. There’s even an ad for X-Ray specs on the back cover talking about seeing through male chauvinism. Of course, you wouldn’t know that because you didn’t read it and are making broad and uneducated assumptions.

    Secondly, having gone to a pair of art schools (OSU and SAIC) for my undergraduate and graduate education, feminism was but one lens of many that was taught to me when looking at all forms of art–specifically film, but the same themes can be applied to comics as well. So, when two men are fighting with swords, I can’t help but think that those swords can, if seen through a Freudian lens, represent their penises. Or through a feminist lens, they are fighting to see who can dominate the aspect of womanhood in the story with their white male privilege.

    That said, the feminist piece of this book wasn’t really my problem with it as I will recognize that it is a book that should have a place among all of the other themes in comics these days. My problem is exactly what I said in the podcast, something you misquoted in order to fit your argument, which was that the metaphor is weak. The difference between this story and Orange Is the New Black is that this is set in space and Orange Is the New Black takes time to establish characters and the environment, conflicts and problems, interesting things like that. Bitch Planet has none of that. It takes the concept of Orange Is the New Black, puts it in space, and then pads the rest of it with a feminist essay and go-girl ads. That’s not interesting to me and I said it in the podcast.

    To answer your second question, Zenescope’s business plan does not read “We want to alienate half the population.” It uses pictures of shapely women to sell its books. But if that is your indicator of alienating the population, I’m curious to know what you thought of DC’s entire month of pinup covers two months ago or the Marvel Swimsuit issue which came out years before Zenescope existed? Image publishes two books; SEX and SEX CRIMINALS, both sporting highly provocative covers. Howard Chaykin continues to publish his work at Image, Dark Horse, IDW and many other places and the stuff he draws is ten times more scandalous than anything in any Zenescope book I’ve ever seen. And Avatar publishes not only nudity, but ultra-violence towards women and men in ways that I could never even imagine, but it’s there almost monthly.

    My point isn’t to say any of these companies are wrong for publishing these books, but to single out Zenescope as if it is the worst offender is an example of your ignorance about the current state of today’s comic book industry.

    I’m not saying Bitch Planet shouldn’t exist or really have any problem with it. I just wasn’t impressed with it and thought the metaphor was thin and the message was blatant and therefore rather shallow. And that doesn’t interest me.

    Then again, I don’t know why I am trying to reason with someone who judges the reviewer without even reading the book he is reviewing, which seems rather ridiculous, if you ask me. You’ll never crack open a Zenescope book, saying that it’s because of the cover, but really it’s out of fear that you might actually like the contents inside.

  9. Rolando says:

    O come on guys and dolls, that’s why we listen to these AssTards, to here different opinions and arguing and bickering and every once and a while they all circle jerk a comic while dropping x. I kid, I kid , fuck Before WAtchmen.

  10. def says:

    Bug, thanks for your actual reply.

    For part one, you have to know it’s a double-edged sword. If I’d read it, I might have seen the ad for male chauvinism X-ray spex, but that was not in your podcast review. Your review was of the comic. If you took the time to describe the atmosphere of the actual comic, your comments wouldn’t seem as uncalled for. As it was, there was zero context for much of what you said. On its own, it just sounds like projection on your part. Since posting, I’ve checked some online scans of the book, which didn’t inflame anything on my part, but I haven’t seen any essays or ads included within. Based on this description, I’m willing to say that bringing up feminism wasn’t uncalled for. At the same time, please acknowledge that to someone listening, it sounds like someone taking a book with a female writer and female subjects, and projecting feminism onto it. I don’t want to buy this, but I may have to to make an ultimate call.

    For part two, I don’t think Zenoscope is the worst offender of anything. I just think their comics are by and large unappealing to women. Whoever published Lady Death was worse. And whoever publishes furry comics are even more worse. And porn comics. There are a lot of niche publishers, and they are fine to exist. I have zero issue with them. It’s to have someone existing as a comic ‘reviewer’ critiquing books for not being inclusive when they work for a company that is utterly exclusive. That’s a problem. You are defensive of Zenoscope, and make critiques like this. That’s a problem.

    I have read about three Zenoscope books in the last ten years, and they all were not to my tastes. So saying I will never open one is an assumption on your part. I like cheesecake work (i.e. Bruce Timm is a great cheesecake artist). The Zenoscope stuff I read was both lacking story and the inside art was pretty poor, so it’s in my no-touch zone at this point (as is McConnick, based on her Marvel writing). But having sexy art aimed at men is not in any way offensive to me. It’s people in my social group (straight white guys) pointing fingers at other groups for doing the same thing that makes me uncomfortable. Offended isn’t the right word. Embarrassed is closer. It’s not that you attack work that isn’t inclusive, it’s that you do so while championing an utterly exclusive comic company at the same time.

    No fear involved. I have read a lot of stuff I expected to hate. I’m a comics obsessive. If Zenoscope had a solid publishing record or reputation, I’d totally check it out. I love comics. I want to love comics.

  11. JD (Host) says:

    waitaminnut…who is this Tzar Chasm? He Sounds familiar….he’s a DC Character, yes?

    Yeah I know you were being sarcastic, I was playing off that by saying “sort of”..and …oh nevermind!
    Words are dumb anyways, we should all just communicate through nanobot-enhanced spit. It would all be so much easier.

  12. The other problem with BITCH PLANET was all the vagina people.

  13. Bug says:

    The only other thing I want to add is that I’ve been to conventions in San Diego, Detroit, Chicago, New York, and Columbus and done signings for Zenescope at all of them. Those lining up for autographs and those buying Zenescope trades and comics are around 75% women. No joke.

    So maybe those who are criticizing the company (mostly male, from what I have heard from talkbacks and correspondence with others) should let the women think for themselves and quit getting their pantaloons in such a bunch as the ladies are deciding for themselves with their own money.

  14. Hold on, their are vagina people on Earth? Must not be bitches though, so that’s why we needed a new planet. I learned something, thanks BITCH PLANET.

  15. def says:

    Yes, my pantaloons were the problem. I apologize Bug, Zenocope must be a company aimed at women, as you testify by the people lining up at their signings.

    Really, did I get offended at the content of Zenoscope whatsoever? I think I wrote it was fine and not to my tastes. Right? I really don’t get offended at most comic content. I’ll let you know I even have a pornography collection which would not pass pretty much any ‘feminist’ tests. I can enjoy some dark shit. But, when content goes against myself personally, I don’t put on faux-PC airs and pretend that it is upsetting so I can give it a thumbs down. That is lame. I want to allow all content, Zenoscope and otherwise exist.

    Your defenses make sense, given that we’re in disagreement, but your arguments aren’t debating anything I’ve written. Zenoscope is fine. Critiquing something as alienating some percentage of the marketplace while working for them is lame. That is a marketing strategy: specifically aiming at a group that is commonly misrepresented, and I say power to them. Diversify this market. I’ll come right down the centre on the disagreement you and Douche had with JD. The ratio of straight white guys buying comics is probably higher than it is proportionate to straight white guys living in America (point: Douche) The selection of books is a major factor. Everyone loves comics, but the products available aren’t always appealing (point JD) Again, power to those making something new. For the love of comics, let them build new niches, and not harp on them for doing so.

    I don’t want to be annoyed anymore. Mainstream comics have too many people who want to get pissed off at women, minorities, whatever. I’ve heard it politely spoken on the show, and less politely from dudes like your fan Emiliano, and in the comments section on every mainstream comics message board around. It’s hard to say which frustrate me more, the outright bigots, or the ones who just keep trying to explain why their contradictory points make sense for the sake of not being labelled bigots (for example, google mansplaining if you don’t know the term). I don’t think anyone outside of proud rapists and murderers as bad people. Humans get tweaked and defensive. It’s a chimpanzee quality, perfectly logical.

    So, I unsubscribed to the podcast today after three years. I think Matt was important to the mix, but I really don’t think I’ll be a happier person in any way to tune in on Tuesday and hear Bug explain why I’m full of shit and how he’s a real feminist or whatever take will come in. Really, that’s what it comes down to. If you’re not happy, it’s better to move on than to wallow in it and combat things. You may not recall this, but I live in Japan, and have literally nobody to talk about the week’s books with, so I’ve really enjoyed this podcast. Politically ideas just seep into it enough to call it off. It’s fine. It’s just better to move on. I’ll find a better-suited outlet for my mainstream comics interests.

    Douche, you are really funny, and support my love of all things X. Jaydee, I love your love of comics, and you get excited in ways that make me happy about mainstream comics. It taps into what I love about these things. Bug, you sometimes tell genuinely funny jokes. You have a cleverness that I won’t deny.

    And, if you’re curious, listen to this: http://deconstructingcomics.com/?p=4433 I don’t just love and read comics, I make them with my heart on my sleeve.

    Cheers, and keep supporting the things we all love!

  16. jaydee says:

    Well, it sounds like you unsubscribed because you had an argument with Bug. That’s a shame, but I hope that you find another podcast you’re more interested in! I would recommend The iFanboy Podcast. Those guys are great, and rarely get into the type of debates we involve ourselves in, pure love of comics without any politics.

    Thanks so much for being a listener! Bums me out to lose one, but best of luck!

  17. Sorry, I won’t go as quietly into this good night as my co-host. I tried to be flip to diffuse, but clearly we have tapped a vein that has turned up coal instead of silver.

    Every piece of literature has the right to exist, it’s why American Freedom was such a hit in the 70s as opposed to the B-Side track of Communist Thought Oppressions (John also did not use Taupin on lyrics for that track). With that open publishing model we were also granted by the Herbie Hancock a synthesized version of liberated thought to enjoy or not enjoy a piece.

    If I was not to froth at the mouth in a review of BITCH PLANET, here are the same words more measured. Trite, heavy-handed and slathered in a message that was of service 30 years ago.

    I am not condoning violence you metaphorical troglodytes when I mention storming the Bastille. But I’m telling you Occupy pussies to stop bitching and start doing.You want more lady comics. Hey ladies write more fucking comics, start a lady publishing company and go build your God Damn lady fan base. Out buy the men in comic consumption and voila the medium is fucking yours. It’s how the Christians overthrew all of the nasty polytheistic chaps running around in togas and feeding lions jews as well.

    Anything holding you back gals is your own baggage. We live in an age when the brain and not muscles prevail. Use it to do more than bitch about injustices and get others to do so as well. Write a comic that fixes the problem and then I’ll listen to your stupid fucking jokes about men.

  18. And Bug is right about Zenescope and we will all know he is right with the following sentence; Chicks hate watching porn, but they looooove reading the shit out of it.

  19. jaydee says:

    I love how it’s a bunch of MEN arguing about women and feminism, like Bitch Planet has any effect on our lives whatsoever. It’s ridiculous.

    Even IF this book was the worst man-hating propaganda every put on paper, which it isn’t….after the decades of misogyny the comics industry has perpetrated, we as men can take the occasional hit without reacting like babies.

  20. Yorgo says:


    I don’t know about your last statement. One wrong doesn’t make a right. Especially when the first wrong was pretty subjective. I mean did little girls fall in love with their horse cause of super girl? For all the real sexism in the world, comics are mild at worst. If you ever were truly influenced into thinking Wonder Woman wouldn’t untie herself because it would ruin her make up (written by supposed feminist Marston himself there), you weren’t a very bright human being to begin with.

    So, I just don’t see the point in making men feel like they are evil because their dads or grand dads made some jokes that got a panty or two in a twist. Especially since it’s improper generational punishment in the name of being “fair” when it’s anything but since you didn’t commit the crime. Especially considering the people most freaking out about it all are white males, who supposedly do all the oppressing in the first place cause you know that’s not stereotypical or profiling ;).

    Now, the thing that bothers me most is that DeConnick is a bad writer. She’s never written anything good from my experience and seems to be in the industry solely cause of family connections, which even her connection is too busy ripping off Chaykin with Chaykin or Jodorowsky with Ody-C and Sex Criminals. Basically, she’s little more than nepotism and hides it behind a veneer of hipster girl feminism. She’s brings out the worst in so many people too through her use of twitter and the like. So, if you ever do point it out, you get attacked by a legion of frothing ninnies who think she is their friend when she’s just a jerk manipulating them.

    Either way, interesting show.

    Bless you all. Everyone one of you!

  21. Matt Adler says:

    As I mentioned in the other thread, catching up on comments after my extended hiatus…

    Def, I appreciate your comments, it’s nice to know I was missed. Just needed to get some personal issues sorted out, but things are better now. As to the controversy… we’ve had these debates in the past; we all had different perspectives, and depending on the issue, we would line up different ways. I usually lined up with Bug when it came to the “Decline of comics civilization, things were better back then” kind of stuff, with JD when it came to the touchy-feely “be sensitive to other groups’ perspective” stuff, and with Douche when it came to stuff that elicited a “Meh” reaction. But I can tell you that no matter how much we disagreed, never once did I think any of these gentlemen had malice in their hearts. Speaking of Bug specifically, since his comments offended you, like I said, sometimes we agreed, sometimes we didn’t. I think a lot of that comes from me being a big-city liberal elitist while Bug comes from a Midwestern, traditional background. That doesn’t make either of us wrong, it just means we have to work harder to understand where each other is coming from. And that starts with not assuming the worst about each other, even if we are surprised or shocked by what the other has to say. So I would say, give the podcast another chance, and listen to it bearing in mind that people can and do change their points of view over time, but will ultimately be more reluctant to do so if they feel the person they are conversing with doesn’t respect where they are coming from. My long-winded two cents.

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