Die is a comic book created by writer, Kieron Gillen and artist, Stephanie Hans, about five adults in our world compelled to return to the horror of a fantasy world that they barely escaped in their youth. The series is published by Image Comics and was released to rave reviews in 2018. James uses this opportunity to tackle a set of questions about the role of fantasy that came up in our discussion of The NeverEnding Story: Why do people enter imaginary worlds? How does it change them? And why does this activity cause some to fear? He begins by discussing the paracosms (detailed imaginary worlds) created by children. Claire jumps in and describes Gillen’s collaboration with Stephanie Hans, the revelation that sparked the series, and how his fears, about the life lost in his youth to role playing games like Dungeons & Dragons, shaped the characters and world of Die. Our hosts conclude by discussing the shared themes of The NeverEnding Story and Die, and how a love of imaginary worlds has shaped their own lives.
This year marks the fantasy film’s 35th anniversary, and it’s a great opportunity for us to talk about escaping to magical lands. The NeverEnding Story is about a grieving, bullied boy named Bastian Balthazar Bux and his heroic alter ego Atreu’s quest to save the land of Fantasia, a world made of hopes and dreams. Claire begins our show by looking at how and why modern fantasy stories have so often been dismissively viewed as escapist and without literary value. James picks up by talking about the director Wolfgang Petersen’s adaptation of author Michael Ende’s German bestseller, the decorated design team behind the special effects, and why Ende was so passionately against the final product. Our hosts conclude with their thoughts on how the film holds up all these years later. They also take a moment to consider how it may connect to Die, the Image Comics series by Kieron Gillen and Stephanie Hans, and our next story of real world people entering magical lands.
We are so thankful to have published one hundred episodes! Thank you to all of our listeners! We’ve had the pleasure of discussing so many great pieces of nerd history and we’re looking back at some of our favorites and why they’ve had such a lasting effect on us. In addition to responding to listener feedback, Claire and James discuss takeaways from Black Panther (episode 64), The Big Book of Science Fiction (episode 15), Journey to the West (episodes 89/68), Princess Mononoke (episode 80), Avengers: Infinite War (episode 69), Black Mirror (episode 63), and Blade Runner 2049 (episode 55). Check out our social media for our 100th Episode Giveaway!
In two weeks we’ll be recording our 100th episode! This calls for a celebration.
The final Toy Story film has been released. Let’s talk about Pixar and magical toys. James discusses how the theme of transformative love explored in the Toy Story films, and in other toys-coming-to-life stories, depends on an idealized view of childhood playtime that began in the Age of Enlightenment, and how that sentiment might now be fading away. Claire takes us through Pixar’s origin as a part of LucasFilm called the Graphics Group and its purchase by Steve Jobs of Apple fame. She then describes how a technology company became known for some of film’s best storytelling beginning with the first Toy Story. Our hosts concluded with their thoughts on the film and the changing ways that children spend their time.
With the release of X-Men: Dark Phoenix and its disappointing reception, it’s time to take a look back… In the wake of the film, X-Men: Apocalypse, Kyle and Claire get into the origins of the X-Men and the rivalry between Marvel and Fox Studios. Kyle breaks down the creation of the X-Men comics in the 1960s and 70s, and explains how the Civil Rights Movement influences their stories to this day. In addition to the juicy gossip of Marvel versus Fox, Claire examines the contributions of director Bryan Singer — “The Godfather of Superhero Movies”. They end the show with a discussion of the film itself, and how the talented Michael Fassbender can’t keep them from missing Ian McKellen.