tag:podcast.empirescomics.com,2013:/posts Empire's Comics Presents: Cracking The Vault 2020-01-02T04:18:08Z Empire's Comics Presents: Cracking The Vault tag:podcast.empirescomics.com,2013:Post/1494742 2020-01-02T04:12:37Z 2020-01-02T04:18:08Z Vote For The 2019 Vaulty Awards Right Here!!

Hullo hullo, listeners & comic lovers, all!! Once more, the Vaulty Awards for excellence in comics, Sacramento, California's, longest running & most prestigious comic book awards event, are open for business! You can vote for the Listener's Choice portion of our 5th annual Vaultys in-person at Empire's Comics Vault, or you can vote online, right here, at the handy-dandy linkbelow.

Voting will be open 'till the end of January, & the results will be revealed on the awards show, in February. Please share this with everyone you know who reads comics & might like to vote; we would love to hear what your favorite comics, characters, & creators, of 2019 were, & the more input we get, the better!!


tag:podcast.empirescomics.com,2013:Post/1493963 2019-12-29T20:25:52Z 2019-12-29T20:25:52Z Episode 170 - The Year Was 1979

.. in which we, Tony Asaro, Patrick Clarke, & Ryan Miller, travel all the way back to The Bronze Age of Comics in honor of Tony's birthday, & rap about what was on the spinner rack in 1979!!

(featuring reviews of Ghost Rider, Elfquest, & the original Marvel-era Star Wars comics)

tag:podcast.empirescomics.com,2013:Post/1492186 2019-12-23T03:43:05Z 2019-12-23T03:43:05Z Episode 169 - The Long-Lost Superman Ep

.. in which we, Tony Asaro, Patrick Clarke, & Minnie Saucedo, (with additional contributions from Ryan Miller, & Ben Schwartz), helped celebrate Tony's birthday way back in September of 2018 by talking-out all our feels concerning The Big Blue Boyscout, himself, Clark Kent.

*** This one sat buried in The Vault for an embarrassing length of time, which was unplanned & unintentional, & we're thrilled to finally put it out there, into the world. Thank you for sticking with us, thank you -as always- for listening, we hope you enjoy hearing this as much as we enjoyed making it, & we hope each & every one of you is having a warm & wonderful winter holiday season. Lastly but most importantly, a big thank you to Minnie for being such a vital part of our show for so many episodes. We remain deeply grateful to her, for her incalculable contributions to Cracking The Vault during her time with us. ***

[cover image from Action Comics (vol 2) #37, drawn by the incomparable Darwyn Cooke]

tag:podcast.empirescomics.com,2013:Post/1453319 2019-09-09T03:39:01Z 2019-09-09T03:39:01Z Episode 168 - 10 in 10 with Ben: September Edition

.. in which Tony Asaro sits down with Ben C. Schwartz for a our debut rapid-fire-questionnaire mini-episode of 10-in-10 with Ben!!

[cover image from Peter Parker The Spectacular Spider-Man #309, by Chris Bachalo & Tim Townsend]

tag:podcast.empirescomics.com,2013:Post/1451185 2019-09-03T03:13:13Z 2019-09-03T03:41:53Z Episode 167 - Planetary

.. in which we, Patrick Clarke, Ryan Miller, & Tony Asaro, belatedly celebrate Patty's birthday by discussing one of his favorite-ever comics: Planetary, written by Warren Ellis, drawn by John Cassaday, & colored by Laura Martin!!

[Warning: We talk about the entire book, in this episode! Consider yourselves officially spoiler-warned!! Additionally, we had to keep the A/C on during recording, because it was a scorcher, & we apologize for the resulting slight background hum. Last but not least, we totally forgot to mention the great Laura Martin during this episode, but her colors on this book are remarkable (as her colors always are, see also, her work on Wonder Woman, Thor, The Amazing Spider-Man, Black Panther, & heaps more beautiful comics over the course of her stellar & distinguished career), & we are collectively deeply embarrassed that we dropped the ball on saying so, on mic.]

tag:podcast.empirescomics.com,2013:Post/1450512 2019-09-01T04:36:04Z 2019-09-01T04:36:05Z Episode 166 - San Diego Comic Con 2019 News & Reviews

.. in which we, Tony Asaro, Ryan Miller, & Patrick Clarke, gather to talk Eisner Award Winners, newly released movie & tv trailers, & the rest of the biggest announcements that dropped at this years San Diego Comic Con!!

tag:podcast.empirescomics.com,2013:Post/1447296 2019-08-22T03:13:28Z 2019-08-22T03:13:28Z Episode 165 - Spider-Man: Far From Home

.. in which we, Tony Asaro, Patrick Clarke, & Ryan Miller, finally weigh-in on the 23rd film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Spider-Man: Far From Home!!

[*Be-warned: This review contains spoilers from the get-go!*]

tag:podcast.empirescomics.com,2013:Post/1434760 2019-07-20T04:38:30Z 2019-07-20T04:38:30Z Episode 164 - The Future of The Marvel Cinematic Universe

.. in which we, Ryan Miller, Tony Asaro, & Patrick Clarke, muse & speculate upon what the Marvel Cinematic Universe might look like, in the next few years, as it moves into Phase 4!!

tag:podcast.empirescomics.com,2013:Post/1433050 2019-07-16T03:08:51Z 2019-07-16T03:08:51Z Episode 163 - Avengers: Endgame Review

.. in which, at long last, we, Tony Asaro & Ryan Miller, reveal our thoughts & our feels on the 22nd movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Avengers: Endgame!

[This episode begins with Non-Spoiler talk, after which we issue a clear Spoiler Warning, before diving into a more detailed discussion of the film]

tag:podcast.empirescomics.com,2013:Post/1414571 2019-05-30T03:04:46Z 2019-05-30T16:36:24Z Episode 162 - Fourth Anniversary Ramen Bowl Roundtable

.. in which we, Tony Asaro, Patrick Clarke, & Ryan Miller, celebrate Cracking The Vault's 4th anniversary with our 4th-ever ramen bowl roundtable AMA special!

[episode image from The Best of DC #16, by Rich Buckler & Dick Giordano, courtesy of DC Comics]

tag:podcast.empirescomics.com,2013:Post/1403120 2019-04-29T02:15:46Z 2019-05-21T22:24:19Z Episode 161 - Free Comic Book Day 2019 Preview

.. in which we, Tony Asaro, Patrick Clarke, & Ryan Miller, dive into our annual sneak-peek of the creator line-up, festivities, sale info, & some of the array of FCBD 2019 books that will be available at Empire's Comics Vault, on Saturday, May the 4th, aka Free Comic Book Day 2019!!

[official FCBD 2019 t-shirt image by Derek Charm, of The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Jughead, & Star Wars Adventures, among other delightful & adorable things]

tag:podcast.empirescomics.com,2013:Post/1400563 2019-04-22T02:36:09Z 2019-05-21T22:24:25Z Episode 160 - The Mighty Captain Marvel

.. in which we, Tony Asaro, Patrick Clarke, & Ryan Miller, review the latest blockbuster from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Captain Marvel!

*Please note: We do discuss spoilers for the film, in this episode!*

[image from The Life of Captain Marvel #4, by the great Jen Bartel, courtesy of Marvel Comics]

tag:podcast.empirescomics.com,2013:Post/1384597 2019-03-12T01:49:09Z 2019-05-21T22:24:30Z Episode 159 - The Umbrella Academy

.. in which we, Ryan Miller & Tony Asaro, review the first season of Netflix's adaptation of the Gerard Way, Gabriel Ba, & Dave Stewart, Dark Horse comic, The Umbrella Academy!!

[Please be aware: The first 20 minutes or so are our spoiler-free impressions, after which we give a clear spoiler warning, & then proceed with loads of spoilers for both Season 1 of the show, & for the first two volumes of the comic!]

tag:podcast.empirescomics.com,2013:Post/1382534 2019-03-07T08:11:41Z 2019-05-21T22:24:32Z Episode 158 - The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl

.. in which we, Ryan Miller, Tony Asaro, & Patrick Clarke, celebrate Ryan's birthday by finally devoting an entire episode to one of our most beloved characters, & most-favorite comics on the stands: The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl.

[image from The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #9, by Ryan North, Erica Henderson, & Rico Renzi, courtesy of Marvel Comics]

tag:podcast.empirescomics.com,2013:Post/1375958 2019-02-19T18:36:25Z 2019-05-21T22:24:34Z Episode 157 - Our Comic Book Resolutions for 2019

.. in which we, Patrick Clarke, Tony Asaro, & Ryan Miller, take a look back at how we did on our 2018 comic book resolutions, & then look forward to what comics-related goals we're hoping to accomplish this year!!

[image from Batman Adventures Holiday Special #1, by Paul Dini, Dan Riba, & Bruce Timm, courtesy of DC Comics]

tag:podcast.empirescomics.com,2013:Post/1369124 2019-02-01T08:24:03Z 2019-05-21T22:28:22Z Episode 156 - The 2018 Vaulty Awards

.. in which we, Tony Asaro, Ryan Miller, & Patrick Clarke, take a look back at the best in comics from last year, & announce the winners *including your Listener's Choice picks* in all 21 categories celebrating our favorite comics, characters, & creators, of 2018, in our 4th annual Vaulty Awards!

tag:podcast.empirescomics.com,2013:Post/1366533 2019-01-24T03:39:52Z 2019-01-24T03:47:05Z Episode 155 - Introducing People To Comics

.. one of our long-lost summer specials has finally surfaced(!), in which we, Minnie Saucedo, Patrick Clarke, & Ryan Miller, discuss how we go about introducing non-comics readers to our favorite four-color medium!

tag:podcast.empirescomics.com,2013:Post/1358709 2018-12-31T00:04:46Z 2018-12-31T00:42:19Z Episode 154 - Recent Reads & Hot Takes for The Holidays

.. in which we, Patrick Clarke, Ryan Miller, & Tony Asaro, offer up a smorgasbord of comics chatter, including-but-not-limited-to what we've been reading & enjoying recently, & whether or not Disney/Marvel will have a tough time working The Fantastic 4 into the MCU!!

tag:podcast.empirescomics.com,2013:Post/1354156 2018-12-17T03:47:29Z 2018-12-17T03:47:29Z Episode 153 - Welcome to Winter

.. in which we, Ryan Miller, Patrick Clarke, & Tony Asaro, don our warmest woolens & have a fire-side chat about our favorite wintery or rainy-day comics!

tag:podcast.empirescomics.com,2013:Post/1350134 2018-12-04T04:14:02Z 2018-12-04T04:21:47Z Episode 152 - Stan The Man

.. in which we, Tony Asaro & Ryan Miller, do our level best to say farewell to the face, voice, & soul, of American comics: Smilin' Stan Lee.

tag:podcast.empirescomics.com,2013:Post/1349461 2018-12-02T00:46:30Z 2018-12-02T00:48:14Z Vote For The 2018 Vaulty Awards Right Here!!

[steps onto soapbox, & turns on megaphone]

Ahem. Check, 1-2, check, check. Sibilance, sibilance ...



[turns off megaphone, steps off soapbox, & retreats into the mist]


tag:podcast.empirescomics.com,2013:Post/1347895 2018-11-27T06:58:42Z 2018-11-27T07:01:10Z Episode 151 - Atomic Robo

.. in which we, Patrick Clarke, Ryan Miller, & Tony Asaro, gather to profess so much love for one of our very favorite books, Brian Clevinger's, Scott Wegener's, & company's, brilliant action-adventure comic Atomic Robo!!

[You can read Atomic Robo in print, available through IDW at your friendly local comic shop & everywhere else comics are sold, & also on their page, in full, starting right here!!]

tag:podcast.empirescomics.com,2013:Post/1346559 2018-11-22T21:54:41Z 2018-11-22T22:21:35Z Special Episode - What We're Thankful For In Comics

.. in which we, Tony Asaro, Ryan Miller, & Ben Schwartz, celebrate ye annual Turkey Day by talking about what we're thankful for, in comics!

[episode image from A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving. Peanuts was created by Charles Schulz]

tag:podcast.empirescomics.com,2013:Post/1344416 2018-11-16T02:59:36Z 2018-11-16T22:19:05Z Episode 150 - Our Star-Studded Sesquicentennial Soiree

.. in which, to celebrate the landmark, we gather 'round once more with some of our favorite people for an evening of custom-baked comic-book-trivia, to see who is worthy enough to take home Mini-Mjölnir (& also a giant homemade cookie, thank you very much)!!

Emceed, Gamesmastered, & Written By Ryan Miller!

& starring our three teams of hopeful contestants:

* Tony Asaro & Alex Dres as "Peanuts & The Revolution"!

* Minnie Saucedo & Stephanie Groce as "The Mighty Bifrosty"!!

* Patrick Clarke & Amy Nunag as "The Rescue Rangers"!!!

* & our roving all-time quarterback Ben Schwartz as "The 3rd Wheel"!

A massive & wholly heartfelt thank you to everyone who celebrated our 150th episode with us, & to all of you out there who have listened to & supported the show, over the last three & a half years. It really means the world to us. Cheers!!

tag:podcast.empirescomics.com,2013:Post/1338611 2018-11-01T01:13:27Z 2018-11-01T01:13:27Z Special Episode - Genres of Horror

.. in which we, Minnie Saucedo, Patrick Clarke, Ryan Miller, & Tony Asaro, celebrate the season by discussing some of our favorite & least-favorite horror genres & October-appropriate movies!!

[episode image from Secrets of Haunted House #5, drawn by the great Bernie Wrightson, courtesy of DC Comics]

tag:podcast.empirescomics.com,2013:Post/1332801 2018-10-16T06:03:49Z 2018-11-12T04:08:24Z Special Episode - Scum & Villainy

.. in which we, Patrick Clarke, Tony Asaro, & Ryan Miller, kick off our October celebrations with a special episode all about our favorite villains!!

[episode image from The Mighty Thor #3, by Jason Aaron, Russell Dauterman, Matt Wilson, & Joe Sabino, courtesy of Marvel Comics]

tag:podcast.empirescomics.com,2013:Post/1318869 2018-09-09T17:00:01Z 2018-09-09T17:00:02Z Episode 149 - Tipsy Tales of Comics Past

.. in which we try our hands at a "Drunk History"-type episode, with Ryan Miller as our wrangler, & Patrick Clarke (covering Crisis On Infinite Earths), Tony Asaro (covering Batman vs The Hulk), & Minnie Saucedo (covering Teen Titans: The Judas Contract), as our tellers of tipsy tales!! *[Spoiler Alert for all 3 of these comics!]*

tag:podcast.empirescomics.com,2013:Post/1318057 2018-09-03T21:46:21Z 2018-09-03T21:46:22Z Episode 148 - Back to School Ramen Bowl AMA 2018 Spectacular

.. in which we, Minnie Saucedo, Tony Asaro, & Patrick Clarke, resume our summer tradition of passing around the shop ramen bowl & answering the AMA challenges contained therein!!

tag:podcast.empirescomics.com,2013:Post/1314588 2018-08-23T19:36:46Z 2018-08-23T19:44:53Z Episode 147 - The Fastest Man Alive

.. in which we, Patrick Clarke, Ryan Miller, & Tony Asaro, belatedly celebrate Patty's birthday by discussing one of his favorite characters in the whole wide world: The Flash!!

[episode image drawn by The Francis Manapul, & owned by DC Entertainment]

tag:podcast.empirescomics.com,2013:Post/1314268 2018-08-22T17:54:36Z 2018-08-23T00:17:25Z Cracking The Tardis: Entry 1 “Who’s This Who On The Block?”
Who's This Who On The Block?
By: Erminia “Minnie” Saucedo

In our swatch of the fabric of Time and Space, there is hardly a series that goes unseen on the radar of Geeks thanks to the internet and social media. Regardless of a series' country of origin, if there are fans, there is word of mouth, sparked interest and new viewers. This goes especially well for the little series that could, the BBC's lasting darling, Doctor Who. Originally airing in the UK on the BBC network on November 23rd, 1963 with a delay to its air time due to the JFK assassination the previous day. The series was meant to appeal to a family audience as a program by using time travel as a means of scientific exploration and visiting snap shots in history.

Though the Doctors of these eras would go on to be a welcomed visitor in the lives of families for 26 seasons, viewership began to steadily waver and network execs decided it best to hold production on the series. While it was technically canceled, the network would not give up its Phone Box traveling sweetie easily. An attempt was made to revive the Time Lord and their series in 1996 with a TV movie that did well in the UK---an impressive 9.1 million viewers---though it did not fair well Stateside. It was deemed to not have a world-wide appeal at the time, so the rebirth of the Doctor would wait a full ten years to bloom into our world in 2005 with “Rose”; the dawn of a new series that would continue the story of the first 26 seasons and the TV movie with new characters. It was, in space essence, The Next Generation of the Doctor Who franchise.

With “Rose”, what we all know today as Modern Doctor Who flew back into the main stream with the WHRR WHRRR WHRRR of the TARDIS. Personally, through my adult life as a woman who has participated in fandom for large chunk of her existence, I've run across Whovians and their Timey Wimey appreciations. Over the years, I have had well-meaning friends who have tried to get me into the series by having me watch their favorite episodes.

But it seemed, at times, drier humor than I was accustomed to---British wit escapes me---and at other times it was far too cheesy. Not in a way of “cheesy is bad”, more so in the way of, perhaps, Xena: The Warrior Princess being the cheese I adored. Here I was, a gal having grown up with Cheddar being introduced to Stilton for the first time. She who hasn't heard the “You have to start with This Doctor on Episode X (or Y or Z) to really get into it” speech, throw the first scone!

Since cheese like Xena has always been more my thing, when it was announced that Jodie Whittaker would become our newest generation of Doctor as the first woman to helm the character in the television series as opposed to a radio play, my proverbial ears perked themselves. While I've had missteps in attempts to begin the series previously, I find myself pouncing to news about the new series like a baby meerkat following a laser pointer. With this in mind, I've decided to attempt a bit of an experiment, dear reader. With the Thirteenth Doctor's series set to begin sometime this fall, October being the theory post SDCC 2018, I will attempt to crack open this saga.

I will watch the modern era Who, from the first episode until the latest episode to fully immerse and prepare for Whittaker's take on the beloved SCI-FI hero(ine). During which I will do my own reviews and reactions to every episode; a newbie's steps into learning all about this mysterious alien. So, then, sit back and relax as I join the Doctor through this modern series.

I hear it's bigger on the inside.

Episode One, Season One:


First things first, I am drop kicked by the visual style that was so prevalent in '05 era television;  as if everything must look like an MTV Music Video. Visuals aside, we are introduced to seemingly mundane Rose. A twenty something woman living with her mom in a flat and working retail at a Nordstrom clone. She seems very familiar. I've known gals like her and, in some ways, I've been her. Her life doesn't seem all that bad, just normal. I rather like the narrative shift of Rose leaving her daily life behind to go into her store catacombs to drop off money. It's eerie and dank in a way that if you've worked retail and had to close or do a floor set at ungodly hours of the morning would understand. Setting off to follow creepy sounds, Rose draws me further into this atmosphere than I thought I would be.

The mannequins of the store are every gym rat's worst nightmare; what if the kick boxing dummy boxed back?! It's ridiculous but a fun way to introduce Christopher Eccelston's Doctor to pull Rose away from these monsters whilst literally disarming one.

“Nice to meet you, Rose”. Beat. “Run for your life”. 

His wit with her is charming and a touch sarcastic but, hey, he saves her life and destroys a beacon that was controlling the plastic displays. Much to my prediction, Rose keeping said plastic arm comes back to pinch her in the butt the next morning. The Doctor finds Rose by tracking the arm, to which he is promptly attacked by it. This doesn't faze Rose as her boyfriend, Mickey, did the same gag the night before. After realizing it's all real, by having the plastic arm attempt to rearrange her face, Rose takes off after the Doctor.

It's here we're given our first taste of what this guy is. He talks of feeling the world's rotation as it's spinning thousands of miles an hour on its axis. He waxes poetic of wars that happen beneath humanity without their knowledge. Then he just takes off in a blue box, whirring sounds in his wake, and Rose is left to her own devices. I appreciate in this weird moment, like any good millennial, she takes to the internet to find information on “The Doctor blue box”. Shockingly running across someone who does have some information about this man, Rose drags Mickey to this gent's house to talk.

I would have to say this sequence of events is both my favorite of the episode and the low point of the episode. Rose, having gone inside to talk to a man about the Doctor, is privy to a nod to the series' history being tied to the Doctor very well. This man, Clive, perhaps having had his own run with the Doctor, shows Rose images of this him throughout history. One being the Doctor present the day that JFK was shot; the day before the very first episode aired.

I see you, new Who. I see what you're doing and I think it's nifty.

Clive states, “The Doctor is a legend woven throughout history. When disaster comes, he's there. He brings the storm in his wake”. It's a fascinating way to describe the Doctor—and series--- history in a nuanced half-truth that gives both the audience and Rose just a nibblet of what it all means. A perfect hook for an episode that, for all intents and purposes, is a pilot.

As this is happening, Mickey gets into a fight with a trash can and loses. The episode takes a weird step here, having Mickey confront the receptacle and lose so the living plastic entity kidnap him to create a plastic doppelganger to pump Rose for information. When she returns to Recycled Mickey—as I started calling him—she notices nothing amiss with him. Sure, he seems fascinated by the word “pizza” but nothing tips her off. It is painfully clear she doesn't care much about the poor guy here and neither does the script.

After the Doctor beheads this plastic doppelganger, we are shown Rose has a bit of empathy for Mickey as she laments about his kidnapping. It is a poignant moment as she wonders how she's going to tell his mum he's gone. The Doctor doesn't feel much empathy for Mickey, however, using his clone head to find the source of the Nestene Consciousness, the alien responsible for the plastic coming to life. With the first uttering of “Fantastic!” the Doctor follows Rose's lead to find this alien. The pair find both the Consciousness and Mickey as the Doctor tries to deter the vat of goop from its invasion plans, so humanity can be left alone. His actions in the Time War make the Consciousness distrustful of him and, unfortunately, he is found to have a vial of anti-plastic on his person, something the Doctor states he wasn't going to use if he didn't have to. This makes the Consciousness start its invasion in full force.

In a fairly intense scene in a mall, all plastic comes to life to terrorize citizens, killing Clive---you bastards!---as we see the Doctor pleading for Rose to run. With nowhere to go and the TARDIS locked up, Rose makes a decision. She has nothing but her mum. No degree. No job. No future.

But a girl always has her skills.

Using her old gymnastic skills from grade school, Rose kicks the mannequin dummy holding the anti-plastic into the Consciousness, effectively saving the world. After getting them all to safety in the TARDIS, the Doctor offers Rose a choice; stay here and live your typical life or join him. Initially she declines, stating weakly she should care for Mickey. In the end, however, the woman is so tired of her typical life that she quickly chooses to leave. I suspect the swiftness of the decision might be an issue later in the series.

My level of enjoyment is far higher than what I expected for the episode. I do have my issues with weak points of writing but, for my first step in, I would consider this a success. Rose as a companion is relatable in ways but infuriating in others while Eccelston's Doctor seems to be a cool mystery. I am seeing glimpses of why this is such a cult favorite.