Heroes & Villains: Archie vs Predator II, 372 Pages We’ll Never Get Back

Self-isolation Week… I don’t even know anymore. I have no idea what a Tiger King is and I have no intention of learning.

From a comics-related standpoint, I had reached out to my friend who manages a currently closed comic shop for his take on the DC/Diamond Distribution Debacle. I was informed that his take would “just come off as bitching” to which I countered bitching is what sells papers. He reminded me that I write for a blog and now I’m here.

A lot of comic book fans are walking around with “THE END IS NEAR” signs like many a Walter Kovacs. It’s an extremely myopic view of a global issue that extends far beyond comics and even though we’re weeks into this thing it’s still extremely early days. Things will be different after this is all that can really be said.

Anyways, COMICS!

ArchieVsPredator2_Vol1_Cover_HackArchie VS Predator II
Alex de Campi (W)
Robert Hack, Kelly Fitzpatrick, Jack Morelli (A)
Archie Comics

From the press release:

America’s favorite teen meets the galaxy’s fiercest hunter—again! Betty, Veronica and Predator-Archie have been left in the wreckage of their town, all their friends dead. Normally, they’d just go down Memory Lane and get home again where everything’s okay, but that’s no longer an option. It isn’t until they find an undamaged car and drive it down a different road where they can finally return to Riverdale—but their hometown feels different. And it’s made even more bizarre when they come face-to-face with a few people they’d never expect: themselves. Only different, newer versions. Little do they know, Predators on Mars are watching them—planning their next attack! Collects the full five-issue Archie vs. Predator II mini-series event.

Perhaps the greatest strength of the Archie brand is that for the last half a century (or longer) everyone has a preconceived notion of what Archie is. A box has been established and the the publisher has been clever enough to completely ignore that box and do whatever the hell they want. I mean, look at Riverdale.

Regardless of how CW it may be, Riverdale is EXTREMELY tame when compared to what’s going on in the in the comics. Hell, Netflix’s The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina pales in comparison to the source material.

That brings us to Archie VS Predator II which I was stoked to hear about having read the first outing. When introducing the Predator into the mix there are certain expectations of what’s going to happen but mixing him up with the teens from the “Town with pep!” had me thinking I’d be getting a slightly neutered, PG-13 version of the character. In reading the first volume I was heard to remark, “…holy shit.”

In the past Archie has encountered Marvel’s The Punisher and even The B-52’s. Neither of those will prepare you for what awaits in Archie VS Predator II which must be experienced to be believed.

What’s Keeping Me Sane

The main focus of this column is, of course, comic books but I’ve been given carte blanche to write about whatever moves me from week to week. I had been carefully rationing the last of my new comic books but those ran out two week ago. It’s impossible to be bored when one literally has the entirety of the internet at their disposal but when you’re not able to go places and do things you suddenly have a lot of waking hours to fill.

I had thought about ranking the Star Trek movies from best to worst but that’s already about a quarter of the YouTub videos out there (the worst Trek movie is Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home and I will not be taking questions on this). So instead I’ll share a podcast I’ve been listening to for some time that I quite enjoy.

372 Pages.png

372 Pages We’ll Never Get Back from Michael J. Nelson and Conor Lastowka of RiffTrax is a podcast where the hosts read books they’re “pretty sure they’re going to hate.” The 372 pages referenced were the number of pages from the first book they read, Ready Player One (a book that I had also read years prior and roundly despised).

In less practiced hands it would just be a podcast about two guys shitting on books they hate (90% of podcasts are just two guys shitting on stuff they hate…trust me I used to host a podcast). 372 Pages manages to avoid those common podcast pitfalls and hilarious transcend the source material.

They’ve made their way through over 10 books at this point and have a substantial back catalog of episodes you can dip into at your leisure. To date, my favorites have been the self-published oddities they’ve somehow stumbled across like The Eye of Argon and Trucking Through Time (there’s also a book about forensic accounting but I can’t bring myself to type the entire title). These books are so amazingly bad that they almost seem like some kind of outsider art. Their very existence makes me wonder if there truly is a loving god out there somewhere.

Circling back to Ready Player One, I have to imagine the book’s author Ernest Cline took personal exception to Mike and Conor’s roasting of his “love letter to pop culture.” For a geek of Cline’s caliber, having a former MST3K host take down your magnum opus over a series of podcasts has got to sting (or he could be “more of Joel guy, anyways”).

On occasion, I have imagined that Cline has gathered other authors featured on the podcast in a castle that resembles The Simpsons depiction of the Springfield Republican Party Headquarters to record their own retaliatory podcast. Cline along with William Shatner, E.L. James, Dan Brown, Chris Claremont, George Lucas, AND OTHERS would take turns picking apart Mike Nelson’s Death Rat! and The Pole Vault Championship of the Entire Universe.

But it wouldn’t be nearly as entertaining as 372 Pages We’ll Never Get Back.

372 Pages We’ll Never Get Back is available wherever you get podcasts and they also have a Patreon that I intend to back once the world is back in order.

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