It’s Kyle Willoughby and Claire White’s first Comic Convention! They spent a whole Friday at New York Comic Con (NYCC) – the largest comic convention in North America. After enjoying the panels, artwork, and cosplay, our hosts discuss the origins of fan conventions and the tremendous amount of work that goes into one of this scale. They also chat about their time at BookCon, a part of NYCC for the first time. Kyle and Claire conclude the show with their biggest takeaways and lament that one day isn’t enough!
Fresh on the heels of its opening weekend, Kyle Willoughby and Claire White are talking about Tim Burton’s latest film. Based on the popular YA fantasy book by Ransom Riggs, the story focuses on a group of “peculiar” children, with special abilities, and their magical sanctuary. In another era they were called “freaks”. Claire gives an overview of the American and English freak show, and explains why working for a man like P.T. Barnum, may have been the best option. Kyle describes how the author’s strange hobby of collecting antique children’s photos led him to write a bestseller, and the particular aesthetic that director Tim Burton applies to the story. Our hosts conclude with their thoughts on the book, the film, and where the two diverge.(See show notes)
The Wicked + The Divine is the celebrated Image Comics series by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie. It is a special kind of modern fantasy in which pop stars are literally gods. Kyle Willoughby and Claire White track the historical and contemporary influences that led to this original and evocative series. Kyle takes us back to the birth of the modern super-fan in the 1950s. Claire returns us to the present with Gillen and McKelvie’s questions about mortality and the role of the artist. Our hosts end the show with their thoughts on the comic, its impressive artwork, and what they hope to see explored further.(See show notes)
The Temeraire Series is a historical fantasy by Naomi Novik that combines the Napoleonic Wars with dragons! Now that the ninth and final book of the series is out, it’s time to put the dragon in Dragons, Sexy Robots & Adventures. Claire connects the Napoleonic Code with the fantastical theme of dragon rights. Kyle discusses Novik’s rather unique path to becoming a best selling author and how it has informed her writing process. In the final segment, Claire and Kyle share their thoughts on the series and its evolution over time.(See show notes)
The Big Book of Science Fiction is a massive anthology of the genre’s best works over the last hundred years put together by Ann & Jeff Vandermeer. Kyle Willoughby and Claire White select stories by H.G. Wells, Tatyana Tolstaya, and Joanna Sinisalo to examine the threads that connect them over a century. Kyle discusses the influence of Mary Shelly and other great founders of science fiction. Claire describes the Vandermeer’s process and their guiding principles for distilling millions of words of fiction. Claire and Kyle conclude the episode with thoughts on the anthology, when science fiction is at its best, and their increasing excitement for the genre.(See show notes)
Kubo and the Two Strings is an epic tale of samurai and magic that takes stop motion animation to new heights. Kyle Willoughby and Claire White like all of these things. Claire gives some background on the Japanese creation myth and the impacts of Shinto and Buddhism. Kyle describes the painstaking craft of Laika Studios and how their process has evolved with technology. Our hosts conclude by discussing the film’s limited casting of Japanese actors, its ability to handle mature themes, and the surprise delight of going to see it.(See show notes)