Episode 29 – Stacked Deck: The Greatest Joker Stories Ever Told

The Joker turns 80 this year.  I’d love to tell you that this is why I decided to do this episode, but it’s just a coincidence.

This is why I will never call myself a professional podcaster.

That, and this isn’t how I make my living.

Anyway, this time out I am joined by Tom Panarese (from Pop Culture Affidavit and Required Reading With Tom and Stella) joins me once again to talk about a greatest stories ever told book.  Tom and I have previously talked about The Greatest Batman Stories Ever Told Volumes 1 and 2, so we thought we’d complete the hat trick and cover The Greatest Joker Stories Ever Told.  However, I wanted to throw a curve ball into this by covering Stacked Deck: The Greatest Joker Stories Ever Told Expanded Edition, a printing that was put out in 1990 that reprinted The Greatest Joker Stories Ever Told in a lovely, purple, leather bound edition with a few extra stories thrown in.

It’s a gorgeous book.

Over the course of two and a half hours Tom and I talk about the Joker’s first appearance, his evolution from homicidal maniac to jokey clown criminal and then back to homicidal maniac.  At one point I drop in an audio version of one of the stories that was released in the sixties.  Tom and I have a lot of fun with this collection and then, after we’re done with the comics in the book, we talk about what stories should be included in a modern version of this sort of affair.  We also talk about the Joker as a character and zero in on the point he went from preeminent Batman rogue to the absolute arch-enemy to the Dark Knight.

Below are a collections of splash pages and covers from the stories discussed in this episode.

I’d like to thank Tom again for coming out and playing.  As always, we had a lot of fun.

Next Time: No idea, but I’m sure it will happen sooner rather than later.


Episode 28: Batman Year One Part 2

The epic conversation about Batman: Year One concludes in fine style.  Or at least I think it does.  I’m a bit biased because it’s my show and I was part of said conversation.

Anyway, Donovan Morgan Grant, Michael Kaiser, and I talk about the final two chapters of Year One (which took place in Batman issues 406 and 407), which features some awesome scenes and a decent ending.  We also go on quite a few Batman related tangents, including a conversation about which actor was the best animated Batman, we talk about whether or not Gordon should have gotten remarried, there’s some Barbara Gordon talk, and Donovan also reads a letter that was printed in the comics in reaction to the first part of Year One that is pretty salty.  This leads into a larger conversation about how fans react to change, which took up a fair amount of real estate, but it made for some good audio.

Below is a gallery of images and covers from the comics we talked about during this episode.

And here are some other images, including sketches and covers of the collected editions of Batman: Year One.

A huge thank you to Donovan and Michael for doing this.  Donovan can be found on the Questions: We Don’t Have Answers podcast and Michael can be found on the Make Ours Marvel podcast.

Next Time: Probably a DragonCon panel.  I have a few saved up.


Episode 27: Batman Year One Part 1

Back in 2012, I got together with Donovan Morgan Grant and Michael Kaiser to talk about Batman: The Dark Knight Returns.  It was a great conversation and we always said that at some point we would get back together to talk about Batman: Year One.

That time…is now.

For this first part of a two part conversation, Don, Michael, and I talk about the first two parts of Batman: Year One.  The conversation sticks mainly to the story, but we take a few detours along the way.  We have a brief discussion about the first issue of Frank Miller’s Superman: Year One and then talk about how this story not only gave us a definitive Batman origin (for a few decades, at any rate) but also served as a new direction for James Gordon as a character.  We also go over how Selina Kyle was treated in this story, how it took Gotham from a normal city to a brutal, hellhole, and more.  The first two chapters of Batman: Year One took place in Batman issues 404 and 405.

Below is a gallery of images and covers from the comics we talked about during this episode.

A huge thank you to Donovan and Michael for doing this.  Donovan can be found on the Questions: We Don’t Have Answers podcast and Michael can be found on the Make Ours Marvel podcast.

Next Time: We conclude our musings on Batman: Year One with the third and forth chapter.


Episode 26: The Knightfall Saga 25 Years Later

Twenty-five years ago (at least twenty-five years ago on the day this episode is released) Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #63 hit the stands.  That issue marks the official end of a saga (though there would be Aftermath issues and several follow-up stories) that began nearly two years before in the pages of a mini-series called Batman: Sword of Azrael and eventually spread out over all of the main Batman titles and even into the (at the time) new satellite books, like Catwoman and Robin.  KnightfallKnightquest, and Knightsend are the three acts of a story that explores what happens after the Batman is broken and replaced by a man that is much more violent than Bruce Wayne ever was.  Tom and I discuss this event from its behind the scenes beginnings (dispelling a myth along the way), to the Venom storyline in Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight, to Sword of Azrael to the Vengeance of Bane special (where I put my foot down about some people’s perception of Bane as a character) and then into the three movements of the story itself.  There are some tangents along the way, but this is an exploration of the quality of the story, what it meant for Batman, and what it meant for us as readers.

Hey, look!  Images tied to the episode.

First up is a gallery of the various collected editions associated with the story, including the first trades from 1993 and 1995, the next printings put out in 2000, the mammoth trades released in 2012 and the more recent omnibus covers.

Here are the covers to the trades and single issues of the stories that paved the way or led into the Knightfall saga.

Here are the covers to the novelizations of the story, plus the covers to the cassette and CD releases of the BBC adaptation.

Finally, Tom and I mentioned that an issue of Wizard: The Guide to Comics caused a bit of a dust up at DC.  Here is that cover, because it feels like you can’t talk about a big storyline in the ’90s without talking about Wizard.

Next Time: I’m not quite sure what the next episode will be.  I am working on a follow up to an episode I released five years ago and I have a few DragonCon panels that I can release, so it will be a surprise.


Episode 25: The Greatest Batman Stories Ever Told Volume 2

Bailey’s Batman Podcast Returns!

After a hiatus of nearly four years I’ve brought this show back because…I wanted to.  Yeah, Batman turns 80 this year and having this show around let’s me celebrate that but frankly I realized that even if I don’t produce episodes on a regular basis I can still kick one out every once in a while if the feeling strikes.

Also, I didn’t want Alan Middleton to think he killed the show.

Anyway, this time out I welcome Tom Panarese (host or co-host of such shows as In Country, Pop Culture Affidavit and Required Reading with Tom and Stella) to talk about a book that I didn’t even know existed until a few years ago.  The Greatest Batman Stories Ever Told Volume 2 (which is not to be confused with Batman: The Greatest Stories Ever Told Vol. 2, which is a real book) was published in 1992 and just looking at the cover tells you that this bad boy was put out to cash in on the sequel to the 1989 Batman film.  This volume focuses on Catwoman and Penguin and boy is it a mixed bag of stories.  Some of them are great.  Some…aren’t.  Tom and I talk about them all and go off on a number of tangents in the Fantastic Fortress manner.

Many thanks to Tom for coming out to play.  It was a lot of fun.  It was so much fun that…

Next Time: Tom stops by again to talk about a certain Batman crossover event that took place 25 years ago.  Night will fall…or something like that.