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.
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.
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.
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.
No Man’s Sky is one of the most ambitious and anticipated videogames of 2016. In the wake of its massive launch and the hyperbolic reactions of its player base, Kyle Willoughby and Claire White seek to put it all into perspective. Kyle notes the many Science Fiction influences credited by the director, Sean Murray, and then offers his own take on the books, film, and art that have most shaped the game. Claire describes a development and reception so intense, that death threats were received. To cap it off, Kyle and Claire discuss their own feelings playing the game and what this means for the future of indie developers.
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.