Kyle Willoughby and Claire White are here to talk about the superhero with all the powers of both squirrel and girl! Marvel’s comic series, The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl is a surprise bestseller about a superhero that’s got two buckteeth, prefers talking to fighting, and once secretly lived in The Avenger’s attic. Claire relates Doreen Green’s humble woodland beginnings and satirical adventures. Kyle discusses the creative goals of Ryan North and Erica Henderson and how they managed to make a comic for people who don’t usually read them. Our hosts conclude with their thoughts on what makes Squirrel Girl so refreshing.
Suicide Squad is the latest film in the DC Extended Universe. Claire and Kyle break down the previous incarnations of the squad in comics and detail the incredible amount of second-guessing that went into producing the film. Along the way they compare the process of the Marvel movie machine with DC’s. They finish with a discussion of their experience watching the film, how Warner Brothers has misread its critics, and what may have been left on the cutting room floor.(See show notes)
The sci-fi adventure, Stranger Things, is a new Netflix Original Series and it’s a huge hit. Our hosts unravel the source of the show’s nostalgia and how the vision of the Duffer brothers found a match with Netflix’s ambition. Kyle seeks to define “spielbergian” and traces the trope of kids-on-bikes back to the classic 60s literature of Ray Bradbury and Madeleine L’Engle. Claire describes the making of this 8-episode TV show that feels like a film, and how original content like this fits into Netflix’s plan for the future. They conclude by discussing the show’s truthful portrayal of friendship, its masterful use of nostalgia, and why a scaredy-cat like Claire is glad that she watched.
Following ABC’s cancellation of Agent Carter, Kyle and Claire take a moment for their favorite woman in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Kyle catches us up on her origins in the late 1960s and her outrageous, soap opera romance with Captain America. Claire explains how such a relatively obscure character got her own TV show and what hope there is for the future. In the last segment, Claire and Kyle discuss their love for the show, ABC’s failure to market it, and how thankful they are that it’s so different from the comic.
08: Children of Earth and Sky – A History of Eastern Europe (with a quarter turn to the fantastical)
Do you prefer your history with a dash of fantasy? Kyle and Claire certainly do. The setting for Guy Gavriel Kay’s latest book, Children of Earth and Sky, resembles Europe after the fall of the Byzantine Empire. Claire outlines the book’s key historical conflicts, including a notorious city of Croatian pirates and their long fight with the Ottoman Empire. Kyle describes how Kay went from being an intern for Christopher Tolkien to a member of the Order of Canada. To top off the show, they discuss the book’s handling of sex, suspense, and an intriguing time in history.
Sometimes the question “what if…?” leads to dark and compelling places. What if the Axis powers had won World War II and now ruled the United States? Amazon’s hit show, The Man in the High Castle, based on the Philip K. Dick novella, dares to explore an answer. Claire and Kyle discuss Western civilization’s long love of alternate histories, and the journey of producing and marketing a story about victorious Nazis. They close with their thoughts on the show, the book, and how the late Philip K. Dick deserves a standing ovation.