Thor: Ragnarok, directed by Taika Waititi, and starring Chris Hemsworth, is the third Thor film and the seventeenth film by Marvel Studios. Kyle Willoughby and Claire White are always happy to go on a cosmic adventure, especially when they can blend mythology with big studio productions. Claire begins by breaking down the original Norse versions of Thor, and Ragnarok. She then goes on to compare them to their comic book versions and explains why Stan Lee thought to bring a Norse god into the comics in the first place. Kyle digs into the production and the efforts of the director to break from the failings of Thor: The Dark World. He even attempts to distill fact from joke in Waititi’s interviews. Our hosts conclude with their thoughts on the movie’s goofy humor, their favorite characters, and the studio’s willingness to shift directions.
More than thirty years after the original cult classic, Blade Runner 2049 returns us to a future of humans and their replicant slaves. Directed by Denis Villeneuve, this is a world first imagined by one of Kyle’s favorite authors, Philip K. Dick, in his novel, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep. That makes this a must-discuss topic for DSRA. Kyle leads in with a consideration of how the sequel manages to thematically bridge the gap between the first film and the novel. Claire continues by examining the process that led to the creation of all three works and hazards a guess at what Dick would have thought of 2049. Our hosts conclude by seeking to answer the question: is Blade Runner 2049 cinematographically superb and one of the year’s best films? Or is it a chauvinistic, self-indulgent waste of three hours?
N.K. Jemisin’s novel, The Fifth Season launched an eponymous and celebrated science fiction and fantasy trilogy. With the release of the third and final book, The Stone Sky, it’s a great time to discuss her world of earth-shattering sorcerers. James Fouhey fills in for Kyle Willoughby, and focuses on the books’ central theme of systemic racism, particularly as inspired by the off-reservation boarding schools used in the United States to assimilate Native Americans. Claire builds on this by describing N.K. Jemisin’s inspiration for the series, as well as her journey from writing as a hobby to winning the Hugo award for best novel two years in a row. Our hosts conclude with their thoughts on the trilogy, the quality of Jemisin’s world building, and the kind of reader who might not enjoy her work.
Faith Erin Hicks has released the second volume in The Nameless City graphic novel series. It’s been recognized by many as one of the best comics of the year, and since it’s a historically influenced YA fantasy, it’s given Kyle and Claire a chance to talk about some of their favorite things. Kyle gets to discuss the Mongolian invasion of China in the 13th century and the establishment of the Yuan Dynasty. He even gets to mention the other Khanates, including “The Golden Horde”, so you can be sure he’s having a good time. Claire tags in to talk about the writer and artist, Faith Erin Hicks, and how creators like her are broadening the appeal of comics to include young girls. To conclude, our hosts discuss the two volumes, The Nameless City, and The Stone Heart, as well as their favorite comics and how they discovered them.
The new Netflix original series, The Defenders, is the streaming service’s sixth collaboration with Marvel TV and unites the central characters of five previous seasons. Kyle connects the comic book origins of the superhero team up to the forming of the first Defenders. Claire discusses the career of show runner, Marco Ramirez, and why Disney’s new streaming service won’t stop Netflix from making more Marvel shows. Our hosts conclude with their thoughts on the show’s script, its stage combat, and which hero is their favorite.
This past January, Image Comics brought Santiago Garcia and David Ruben’s graphic novel, Beowulf, to America. Kyle Willoughby and Claire White have been all about two things lately — fantasy books, and relating everything back to Tolkien. That makes this new adaptation a perfect excuse to discuss English literature’s oldest written fantasy and it’s place in modern culture. Claire begins by historically placing the English Vikings who told the story, before moving on to explain how J.R.R. Tolkien brought the poem out of obscurity and into the popular imagination. Kyle uses this comic as an opportunity to discuss what’s so special about its publisher, Image Comics. Our hosts conclude with their thoughts on the graphic novel and the power of adaptations.