This year marks the 25th Anniversary of the collectible card game, Magic: the Gathering. Everyone here at DSRA plays MtG and we were all excited to “research” with a Dominaria Booster Draft tournament. We were also delighted to partner with The Nifty Nerd and drink some great planeswalker themed cocktails while we played. Kyle begins the episode with a look at the origin of card games and the use of them in storytelling. Claire then talks about the creation of MtG by Richard Garfield at Wizards of the Coast and explains why it was so crucial for the company at the time. Our hosts conclude with how they were introduced to Magic, how the spells you cast reflect your personality, and their experience playing in the tournament.
Check out our companion piece at The Nifty Nerd!
It’s been 14 years since the first Incredibles gave us Pixar’s family centered take on the superhero genre. Director Brad Bird is back at the helm for the sequel and the characters pick up right where they left off. Claire takes this opportunity to talk about the development of the nuclear family in western culture, and the promotion of it during the cold war. Kyle describes how a young boy from Montana lucked out by meeting a giant from Disney’s golden age. He also considers and counters the idea that Bird’s films support a Randian philosophy. Our hosts conclude with their thoughts on the movie, the ideas behind it, and how the character’s powers reflect who they are.
We’re back with our second Birthdays Spectacular episode! Age went first, now it’s time for beauty! (Note: according to Kyle…) And there isn’t a more beautiful pick to be had in the year 1989 than the lauded science fiction novel “Hyperion” by Dan Simmons. Highly decorated when it was first released, “Hyperion” has largely since been forgotten outside of the hardcore Sci-Fi community. The story is a sort of Canterbury Tales in space and explores the dark pasts of six pilgrims on a dangerous journey. Kyle delves into the history of the “Frame Narrative” from which Hyperion takes its structure. Claire discusses Dan Simmons, the path he chose for himself as a writer, and why he is not a household name. The hosts wrap up with a discussion of their favorite Frame Narrative stories, and why they think Hyperion has been denied greater recognition over the years.
Jordan Ellis is the founder of The Sartorial Geek podcast, magazine and blog. She is also the owner and operator of Jordandené (jordandene.com), maker of handmade nerdy apparel and home goods. Claire White and Kyle Willoughby were excited to chat with someone involved in so many layers of nerd community. They discuss her first encounter with nerd culture, the best way to welcome newcomers, and what it’s like to see nerd fashion in high end retailers. Our hosts and Jordan conclude by discussing favorite fandoms past, present, and future.
We’ve entered the month June, and that means it’s time for Claire and Kyle’s “Birthday Spectactulars”! Frank Miller’s graphic novel The Dark Knight Returns is one of the most influential works in the history of Batman and of comics. It also arrived in the world the same year Claire did! That makes it a perfect pick for her birthday special. Claire describes the enormous impact the book had on the industry and explains how the censorship that was plaguing comics set the stage for Miller’s work to be such a noticeable departure. Kyle continues with a look at how a young Miller came to be trusted with so much creative control over Batman, and what led him to use it the way he did. Our hosts conclude with a discussion of Batman’s enduring appeal, their favorite Batman villains, and their thoughts on the graphic novel.
Dread Nation is a new young adult novel by Justina Ireland that imagines what would have happened if zombies had risen immediately following the American Civil War battle of Gettysburg. Kyle takes a look at the history and use of zombies in American popular culture going back to their origins in the Haitian Sugar Plantations. Claire takes a look at Ireland’s writing career, twitter scandals in the YA community, and how Pride and Prejudice and Zombies inspired Justina to write about the undead. Our hosts conclude with their thoughts on the book, its protagonist and the tricky beast that is Twitter.