Batgirl Canceled?! + Harley Quinn S3, Paper Girls, & Godzilla vs. Battra with Artist Oliver Ono | Crooked Media
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August 05, 2022
X-Ray Vision
Batgirl Canceled?! + Harley Quinn S3, Paper Girls, & Godzilla vs. Battra with Artist Oliver Ono

In This Episode

Want a pretty much free SIGNED copy of Rosie and Oliver’s Godzilla one-shot from friend of the pod comic shop Secret Headquarters? Visit Secret HQ in person if you can or make your purchase online. Listen to the pod to hear how…while supplies last!


On this episode of X-Ray Vision, Jason Concepcion and Rosie Knight plant a garden with Poison Ivy! First in Previously On (8:08), Jason and Rosie discuss the insanity that is the Batgirl movie cancellation by Warner Bros. In the Airlock (32:30) they dive deep (deeep) into season 3 of the raunchy, joyful, layered series that is Harley Quinn; plus, they give an overview of the first episodes of Amazon’s adaptation of Paper Girls – exploring why you may want to check it out and how there actually is no comparison to be made between Paper Girls and Stranger Things. Then, in the Hive Mind (59:16) Jason and Rosie are joined by Rosie’s Godzilla comic collaborator Oliver Ono to discuss their creative process on the comic (out now!) and why you should put yourself out there regardless of your artistic insecurities. Finally in Nerd Out (1:27:11), CJ pitches us on the classic animated series Gargoyles.


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Jason Concepcion [AD]


Jason Concepcion Warning. This podcast contains spoilers for the first three episodes of Harley Quinn Season three streaming now on HBO Max and the first three episodes of the Amazon Prime Series Paper Girls. Be warned. Hello, my name is Jason Concepcion and Welcome X-ray Vision, the Crooked Podcast where we dive deep into to your favorite shows, movies, comics and more. In today’s episode on a Previously On, we will be discussing Warner Brothers and discuss cancelation and shelving of Batgirl, among many other properties. In the Airlock, we’ll be discussing season three of Harley Quinn. We’ll be discussing the ongoing adaptation of Paper Girls and in the Hive Mind. Oh, guess what, folks? Big interview. We were super, super lucky to get this pair. I didn’t know if we could get them. It was, like, really hard to nail it down with. The schedule. It was almost impossible and they almost big timed us. But we got them. We’re talking to  superstar Godzilla creators Rosie Knight and Oliver Ono, the creative team behind Godzilla versus Batra. In the Nerd Out, a listener tells us about gargoyles. And to talk about all of that today, joining me now is the number one comics encyclopedia, the number one Godzilla maven, Godzilla writer and Godzilla creator, the number one analyzer of all things comic book industry. It is the one the only, Rosie Knight.


Rosie Knight Hello. I’m pulling double duty guest, guest and co-host.


Jason Concepcion How are you, Rosie?


Rosie Knight Good. Good. Hot. It’s hot in L.A. at the moment.


Jason Concepcion It is hot. It’s been really, really hot. Hot folks. So how have you been? You’ve been. I saw that you were signing the your Godzilla one shot for our giveaways. How’s it been? How’s it been to hold it in your hands? How’s it been to see it?


Rosie Knight It has been pretty amazing. Comics are like every business and every publishing business. It can be slightly erratic knowing whether or not your book is going to come out. So even though we knew it was going to come out this week. Actually going to see Greg Cortez and seeing their amazing jaws and and just like and Chris and just being able to see the books and touch them and all of his art looks so amazing. And the books are great and the cover is great and everything about it looks great. Nathan Nitleter did like an amazing job on the letters, so it feels very nice. I, I don’t, I’m not a review reader. My anxiety is too high.


Jason Concepcion Don’t do that. I never read reviews. That’s what I, I don’t ever read reviews.


Rosie Knight Just stay sane.


Jason Concepcion That’s how we say I just want to tell the audience one thing. We tell it. We, you know, we ask every episode for the five star ratings. I do it all the time. I’ve been doing it. It’s been 20 days. I literally never, ever I don’t ever read the reviews. I don’t ever go to YouTube and read the YouTube reviews. I don’t go to read it. I don’t. It’s too it’s too painful. I will tell let me tell a short story one time while recording a podcast that I’m not going to name working with producer at the time at the at this is early in my podcasting career and the producer texted me and my co-hosts, like some Apple podcast reviews and like. It was one good review and then half because it was a screenshot. Half of a negative review that mentioned me by name and was about like my performance on this on this on this ongoing podcast. And what a weird voice I had and how annoying it was. And I was like. Is it because I was just this just starting to work with this person. And again, was early in my podcast career, I was like, wait, is this are you trying to. Are you trying to tell me something? Like, do I what happened? And it was it fucked me up for a while. And so I don’t I don’t search anything out. Rosie, you’re doing exactly right thing, right? Don’t Read the reviews. I trust the people who I work with. I trust the people that I trust to tell me if something was good or bad. And otherwise I just release it into the world and walk away. And I try not to think about it, both praise and criticism.


Rosie Knight Yeah.


Jason Concepcion I just kind of cut it off.


Rosie Knight And the good thing is about it is the reason that it’s so important for people to write like for us for five, five star reasons is for other people. We want to listen to the podcast like that’s what we want is to bring more read. So yeah, I’m not, I’m not a review reader, but I have had some nice people tag me on Instagram comic shops that have picked it as a pick of the week and have had people who really enjoyed it. So that’s very cool and we do have a very cool giveaway which actually I can just talk about now.


Jason Concepcion I yeah, let’s talk about yeah.


Rosie Knight Yeah. So Secret Headquarters are amazing.


Jason Concepcion They’re great, the best.


Rosie Knight The best wonderful shop, one of our very kind and generous listeners, Brandon, donated some copies of the comic to that shop to.


Jason Concepcion Thank you Brandon.


Rosie Knight For the shop and to support the podcast. And we decided that the best thing to do about it was to give them away. So if you go to Secret Headquarters, which is in Los Angeles in person and you buy something, you can tell them, you listen to X-Ray Vision or you can say XRV pod and they will give you a copy. But we know not everyone lives in Los Angeles. And Jules, who is Secret Headquarters, is incredibly kind. So Jules has also set it up. So if you buy something online from Secret Headquarters, you can add Godzilla to your basket and it will cost $0.01. So it’s essentially free and there’s going to be a limited amount. So do that. Go buy something cool from Secret Headquarters and then you can get a copy of the Godzilla comic signed by me and Oliver. Just because you listen to this podcast and we love you.


Jason Concepcion I love it. And once those are gone, I have bought. I have bought some as well. I will get you and Oliver to sign them and then we’ll give them out here on the pod once the Secret Oeadquarters ones are gone.


Rosie Knight Yes.


Jason Concepcion That is fantastic. Boy it is. It is an action packed. Previously On, So let’s get to it. It’s been a busy week in the world of sports and Takeline is discussing it all. First host Jason Concepcion, who’s that? Talks to Myles Simmons, a reporter with NBC Sports and pro football. Talk about the sexual misconduct allegations against Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson. Then Will Guillory of The Athletic gives us his take on the new weight clause added to Pelicans teammate Zion Williamson’s contract. That wording makes it seem as if Will Guillory plays with Zion Williamson on the Pelicans. He does not, but it would be cool if he did. Keep updated are all sports news by listening to Takeline every Tuesday. Listen and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. Folks, welcome to Previously On where we talk about what’s going on in the news. And the big news is Batgirl, among many other properties, has been canceled. Tuesday evening, the New York Post ran a story that the upcoming Batgirl film has been, quote, shelved by Warner Brothers. This is the film starring Leslie Grace, who you might remember from In the Heights. And the story was subsequently confirmed by DEADLINE, Variety, and The Hollywood Reporter. The film is reported to cost somewhere in the neighborhood of 90 million was directed by Ms. Marvel directors,  Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah and starred of course Leslie Grace from In the Heights as Batgirl and Brendan Frazier as Firefly. The film also reportedly contains a really splashy appearance from Michael Keaton, reprising his 19 late eighties early nineties role as Batman. J.K. Simmons also as Commissioner Gordon. This is like a star studded movie, and it left a lot of people being like, Wait, what the fuck? How do you spend 90, 60 some odd million? And it was done.


Rosie Knight It was finished shooting and was in deep in post-production and it even screened. So this was a movie that people thought was done.


Jason Concepcion And and it had been scored as well by the audience. Now there are competing versions about what the audience scores said, but the range is anywhere from poor to good and. Which is confusing because it’s not like you can. There are any paucity of examples of straight up bad comic book movies coming out of the theaters. In a world in which Morbius was released, literally, twice. This follows Wonder Twins, the movie starring Riverdale’s, K.J. APA and 1883’s Isabel May, which were slated to premiere on HBO Max but were canceled in May. So the question that many, many, many people are asking is, okay, what’s going on? According to the Post, it was poor screenings. They say, quote, A source says, quote, They think an unspeakable Batgirl is going to be irredeemable. And this led the studio cut its losses for the sake of the brand. But other reports, most notably The Hollywood Reporter and Variety, make it pretty clear that the consistent theme here is. Some kind of tax write down to save money. Warner Brothers has just merged with Discovery, creating the new entity, Warner Brothers Discovery. This is kind of a thing that happens whenever mergers happen. And to add to that, new Warner Brothers Discovery CEO David Zaslav. Seems like he has come in with a mandate to just save money. So it appears the issue is money, but it is still insanely confusing here at Warner Brothers released a statement on Tuesday, quote, The decision not to release Batgirl reflects our leadership strategic shift as it relates to the DC universe and HBO Max. Leslie Grace is an incredibly talented actor. This decision is not a reflection of her performance. We are incredibly grateful to the filmmakers of Batgirl and Scoob. Scoob also getting shelved in this holiday haunt and their respective casts, and we hope to collaborate with everyone again in the near future.


Rosie Knight Unlikely.


Jason Concepcion Unlikely. Adil and Bilall, who are celebrating Adil’s wedding in Morocco, responded via Instagram, quote, We are saddened and shocked by the news. We still can’t believe it. As director it is, it’s critical that our work be shown to audiences. And while that film was far from finished, we wish that fans all over the world would have the opportunity to see and embrace the final film themselves. Maybe one day they will. Inshallah. They follow with praise for the cast and finish with, in any case, as huge fans of Batman since we were little kids. It was a privilege and an honor to have been a part for the DCEU, even if it was for a brief moment. Batgirl for life. Adding more spice to the stew, other Warner Brothers films have disappeared from HBO Max, according to a Variety article from Today on Wednesday. Moonshot, the remake of Witches by Robert Zemeckis and An American Pickle from Seth Rogen, have all been pulled from the streamer. It’s not atypical for movies to come and go from streamers. That happens all the time as IP rights holders switch ownership, but usually the changes are announced in advance. So this is a little bit mysterious as to why this happened. And also multiple stories that have come out today have noted that most notably in The Wrap, which do you know, take it with a grain of salt about the wrap. But apparently there is a lot of talk that HBO Max, is going to go through a restructuring with anyone that has a redundant job. Now, that Discovery has been rolled into HBO Max being let go. And this is a thing that everybody’s expecting. Rosie, your thoughts?


Rosie Knight I mean, the whole thing is very like you said, I think you make a really good point. Just remember, these things happen when mergers happen.


Jason Concepcion Yeah, right.


Rosie Knight But we we have lived through an age where we have seen many huge mergers, specifically Disney mergers, right. Now, this is definitely one of the messiest, publicly messiest, mergers that we’ve seen. It seems like the Batgirl directors did not find out very far ahead of, if ahead of at all, the public announcement of this news. There is a lot about this that seems confusing, especially because a lot of the original response to the Batgirl news was, why don’t they just send it to HBO Max? But this was a movie that was meant to be made for HBO Max. And this seems to be the issue. There’s been multiple reports and this comes to those original. The strangest thing about American Pickle, the Witches Moonshot, which, by the way, I love, I would say go and watch on HBO Max. It’s not there anymore. Now, you can just rent it, I guess, because they want to pay for it.


Jason Concepcion Yeah, I should say this is also this whole thing is as much as you can. If you can buy physical media that’s buying this stuff, buy stuff.


Rosie Knight Is like, no, it is. Because I’m not going to lie that. So Moonshot for example, I love physical media, I have VHS collection, I have a ton of DVDs and Blu ray CDs, vinyl. I love it. It makes me happy to know that I own it. We’ve always got to remember video games, especially video games. You essentially leasing anything that you purchased digitally from a company who can withdraw the rights to it at any time. They can’t come to your house and knock on the door, make you give back a VHS or a Blu-ray. And and this really made me think of this because I actually love that movie Moon Shot. It was it’s Cole Sprouse and Lana Condor and it was just so charming and weird and this really sweet utopian vision of the future. And I was really thinking like, this was a movie that I would buy on DVD. I would watch this again. This is like a cute comfort movie, but all of those movies were HBO Max originals, and this is where it becomes very interesting. It seems as if coming from reports Zaslav doesn’t see the need to be making as many movies to put on HBO Max. He’s very interested in putting out movies theatrically. So the notion of HBO Max original movies and how much they cost, like Batgirl, seems contradictory to the way that he wants to spend money in the company.


Jason Concepcion We should add that Zaslav seems very interested in rebuilding the HBO brand as a and that Warner Brothers brand is a studio and that in the past, when when in a bid to build up the subscriber base, Warner Brothers had decided to release movies concurrently on the streamer. A lot of stars complained about it because it just weakens their brand. Made it seem like it was less authentically high quality that said that. Reports say that they did get them back on side with some pretty generous bonus payments. But Stars did complain about it.


Rosie Knight It was. Yeah, because a lot of Hollywood movies, especially if you’re a star who’s doing a movie that could become a big franchise, but they’re not sure. A lot of your money and deal comes from the back end, the money it makes at the box office. So by putting it to streaming, you take some of that way. Allegedly, Warner Brothers paid a lot of people a lot of money to make them talent friendly again. Warner Brothers has long been known as one of the most talent friendly studios, and that was a really controversial decision for them. And it’s ironic because my understanding generally from this reporting and other reporting and Zaslav had kind of made an effort to try and bring those stars back, to have those conversations and make people feel secure. But these choices at this time do not seem to add any kind of security to the idea of working with Warner Brothers, in my opinion. I mean, that was the one of the biggest questions people have been asking about. So Batgirl was part of an inclusive slate of DC movies. The idea was they were going to be smaller movies that would debut on HBO, Max. There was Batgirl and there was Blue Beetle, and the director of Blue Beetle has been going around liking tweets that say, Save Blue Beetle. So even he doesn’t necessarily know the status of the movie. So it seems like there’s a there’s a communication issue.


Jason Concepcion We should add too, that I think it’s particular to the DC EU, this is particularly painful for fans of color because yes, a black girl is a Latin actress and then Blue Beetle, one of the most famous Latin superheroes in comics. So this is a tough pill to swallow.


Rosie Knight And this is the thing, Blue Beetle had reportedly I’d missed this but I guess Blue Beetle had reportedly already been switched to a theatrical release. So fingers crossed that will be safe and will still happen. Especially because I love I love the kid that they cast. I love the kid from Cobra Kai. He’s absolutely wonderful. And I’m kind of. The whole thing is really tough because.


Jason Concepcion It is tough.


Rosie Knight They do. These things do happen, but it is hard not to recognize who they happened to. It’s hard not to see the news of Batgirl. And then this afternoon, Warner Brothers decided to announce when Joker Two would come out and how that was still coming out. Right. And then this relatively low budget movie the first time, I’m sure the budget will be higher. And it was very successful. Nominated for 11 Oscars. Nobody expects you to get rid of that. And especially as my understanding from reports is Zaslav has called said he’s found a kindred spirit in Todd Phillips. So that was probably always going to happen. But it’s very understandable for people who wanted to see a more inclusive vision and Batgirl being, Latina and also being a woman of color, is actually has precedent in the Lego Movie. And this was a casting that people were actually really into. Leslie Grace was it was a breakout performance. And, you know, I think it’s really tough because. The there are lots of different like Jason said, there’s lots of different reports. There’s Reddit thread that are just full of people who had incredible screening experiences.


Jason Concepcion They loved it. I take those with a grain of salt, but it’s but there is a range of review of of audience score is definitely not trending towards bad.


Rosie Knight Not towards all bad or overwhelmingly bad. Hollywood reporter actually said that it scored comparably to it and an early cut of Shazam, the Shazam sequel. So it’s very interesting because I think that it is more to do with this notion of a write down, which is a very normal Hollywood business, but it’s quite unusual for it to happen in this way. Where you would shelve a movie or two movies in this case because Paul Dini, the famous comic creator and Batman the animated series co-creator, he was writing Scoob, a Holiday Haunt, which, by the way, sounds like amazing. I actually like the first Scoob movie I thought was very cute. I love Scooby Doo. And, you know, he was saying, why would you shelve a film that’s 95% done that would have a viewing window from Halloween all the way to Christmas. So there’s there’s something that business wise is confusing. But this investor call that we will have that’s going to happen the day after we record this on Thursday. That will likely answer some of our questions.


Jason Concepcion We’ve heard our sources have have that sort of laid out a reasoning, which is that there is a limited window to write down these movies and that in doing so allows them to basically say like a, you know, like an act of God that they can’t monetize these movies and therefore all of the budget can be taken off the books. Again, that’s just things that we’ve heard. It would not explain to your point about the stuff that is getting made. For instance, why see the Flash, starring Ezra Miller,.


Rosie Knight And a very expensive movie.


Jason Concepcion $230, $250 million movie starring Ezra Miller, who still a fugitive at the time of this recording for what are very troubling allegations, is apparently still going to come out June 23rd, 2023.


Rosie Knight There’s there’s just a lot of questions. I think a lot of people The Flash is coming very much to the forefront, you know. Something I kind of the more hopeful side that I saw, which I thought was very interesting point, was the idea that maybe the reason Batgirl before all of this reporting happened. So 24 hours ago, it’s been a wild couple of days. It’s been a wild.


Jason Concepcion It’s been really crazy.


Rosie Knight At first people were like, well, maybe they are going to be folding her in to The Flash. And that’s why they’re going to use that footage to make the movie less about Ezra. Because the rumors about the movie was that The Flash, The Flash, Flash point movie would introduce a new Justice League. We know that they have they’ve already cast a super Supergirl. And the idea was it was going to be this younger cooler led by Supergirl and Batgirl. That is one of the visions of, you know, the super team that everybody loves, very big canon in the comics. So that was very much the expected way that this was going to go. I don’t necessarily understand how you do that when you scrap the Batgirl movie. Yeah. And I’m assuming that you will rely heavily on contracts if you need people to appear. But yeah, it is. It’s I think The Flash thing is, is the reason. That people are feeling.


Jason Concepcion Feeling hurt by that.


Rosie Knight Feeling hurt by this particular. It seems, it it seems pointed and it seems to be moving away from an era that people were really excited about with DC, which was more diverse heroes, more inclusive versions of heroes, different versions of heroes, because it’s the multiverse, you know, that’s what flash point is. So yeah, it’s going to be a very interesting week as we kind of see what the fallout of this is and how it will affect the vision of the DC movies going.


Jason Concepcion You mentioned that earnings call, which is going to hit August 4th, Thursday, August 4th, we are currently recording this Wednesday. That will tell us a lot. And you know, according to that Wrap article, uh, Warner Brothers Discovery, but according to The Wrap, again, plans to lay off 70% of its development business. So along with the fact that many of us and many Batgirl girl fans are frustrated, annoyed that this movie is not going to come out a movie that seems super cool, not to mention the representative aspects of it, but it is also really possible that a lot of people are just going to lose their jobs.


Rosie Knight Yes, that.


Jason Concepcion In this restructuring.


Rosie Knight I think that’s really the bummer. Like Warner Brothers specifically actually has a a history of taking in and buying and other companies and this happening under that banner. And then obviously AT&T, that merger where it was happening to Warner Brothers and now it’s happening to Warner Brothers, again, through this Discovery merger. It’s very interesting. I think one of the things that I didn’t really see coming and I hope David Zaslav is not listening to this because I’m not trying to give you any ideas, but I think something that a lot of us were worried about as comic book readers, as people who go into the comic shop, who buy comics. When a merger like this happens, the assumption and fear immediately becomes how much does this person value the comic book business? How much do they understand that the business of comics is a big part of creating the films and the TV shows and your IP, right? And I definitely would have thought that we would have been seeing massive, devastating DC layoffs and restructuring before, like DC Comics before we saw it happen to HBO Max or with DC movies. So I’m really happy and I’m hoping everyone of DC comics keeps their job because I think this editorial team is amazing. Mary J. Evans is just killing it like, but I’m surprised to see it hit the movie side first because we always worry about what’s going to happen to the comics. But I didn’t really see this coming.


Jason Concepcion We should add to that like streaming. And it’s been an incredible run, like eight-ten year run of just like spending as various streaming platforms have look to stock the shelves in order to draw consumers in, and that surely that era is over. Netflix, of course, famously took it took a major hit in recent months with their stock dropping and for the first time ever, subscribers leaving the platform. CNN Plus was launched and then died like later that same afternoon after it was launched.


Rosie Knight David Zaslav again.


Jason Concepcion Not to mention the fact that, you know, with Russian sanctions, the war in Ukraine, China increasingly like at odds with with with the West, there’s a fragmentation in the content kind of pool of money happening now. And so it seems like everybody is just getting getting ready for a write down and we’re in it now.


Rosie Knight Yeah.


Jason Concepcion So hopefully, again, the people who lose their jobs manage to, manage to get by. It’s going to really suck. Nobody wants to see that. And we will see what happens next, Rosie.


Rosie Knight Well, next week is going to be an interesting follow up.


Jason Concepcion It’s going to be a really, really interesting week. Up next, the Airlock.


Jason Concepcion <A.D.>.


Jason Concepcion And we’re stepping out of the Airlock into the dirty, grimy, crime ridden, blood streaked streets filled with pregnant rats and haunted crosswalks. I’m talking about Gotham City folks, to talk about season three of Harley Quinn out now on HBO Max. And then we’re going to get into the 1980s and the 19 presence, the two to the 20 presence, to talk about Amazon’s adaptation of Brian K. Vaughan and Cliff Chang’s Paper Girls. First up, Harley Quinn. We’re going to and we’re going to talk in a more like deep divey fashion about both of these things later on in the weeks to come. But we just wanted to touch on them now since they’re get started, start. Let’s start with with Harley Quinn, of course, created by Paul Dini and Bruce Timm for Batman The Animated Series, one of the most notable for animation crossovers to the comics. And certainly, I think you could say the most successful. Right, the most successful version of that.


Rosie Knight No question. There was a time when DC began to call Harley the fourth pillar. Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman, Harley Quinn. Because that comic was selling that many numbers, especially around the the Amanda Conner, Jimmy Palmiotti era, where she was kind of reimagined as this more like a had more agency kind of comedic badass a lot more actually similar to the animated series, kind of taking her back to those roots and to see the show now, which kind of explodes that and just brings it back to animation, but has probably made her audience even wider is so cool.


Jason Concepcion So for season three, just to kind of level set, where are we? Harley has broken up with the Joker. She is now in a the early stages of a relationship with Poison Ivy. They’re both figuring out what that means for each other. Why Jim Gordon is running for mayor of Gotham. That’s going, you know, about as well as you would expect for that version of  Jim Gordon. And in the most recent episode, this is coming out Friday. So there’ll be episode four will be out by the time you get this. But we’re up to episode three at the time of this recording, at the time of this recording of the villains of Gotham City of had gotten together and had their annual villain awards, which was just delightfully good fun. The Return of the Joker. This show just one of my favorite things on TV right now, and I really think that it might have not just like the most jokes per minute of any show right now, but I think it might have the most jokes per minute, like in the top five of jokes per minute of shows all time. It’s just like joke, joke, joke, joke, joke. You can’t stop with the jokes.


Rosie Knight And this I love to see a show like this. It kind of reminds me a little bit of The Boys in this sense, which is a show that has always been a meta text on comics and comic book movies and superheroes, but this season they just don’t give a fuck like they are satirizing everything. I mean, The Villies, the award show that we saw, it was all just about the the scandals and awards ceremonies that have happened recently in real life history and the the bribes and all that kind of stuff. And then, you know, they did the level of jokes that can be a throwaway quip that’s just hilarious to a really in-depth bit there’s a joke in the first episode that probably my favorite joke of the whole season. Every season, and I’ve watched all the seasons. I covered the first two really extensively. I got to speak to Justin Halpern and Patrick Schumacher at San Diego Comic-Con about this season.


Jason Concepcion Delightful gentlemen.


Rosie Knight Just really great guys. And there’s a joke in the first episode that sums up what they showed us so well to me, which is it’s essentially a Rube Goldberg joke of somebody doing a small action that ends up killing someone. And that’s all I’ll say, because that you don’t have to know that. But within that moment, they do an entire one minute origin story of doing Batman’s origin, but for a mouse, and they do the whole thing and the mouse is fancy and moth is wearing the pearls. And it is so funny, so, so good. And when I spoke to them for Den of Geek San Diego, and they did confirm to me that that does mean that there is a mouse version of Batman who I believe they call Rat Bat or BatRat. And so that he will appear that is canon and that kind of level of love for the stuff that they’re the source material that they’re taking from. But also an irreverence where they’re not afraid to be silly or have fun with it. That sums up to me what Harley does so well, but it also innately understands the characters, like the first two seasons.


Jason Concepcion Absolutely true. That’s it.


Rosie Knight Was was so deeply about the reality of Harley’s relationship with Joker and the abusive relationship, which is something that comic book fans have talked about for a long time. And it really took time to work through that. And the best thing is like this season begins in this honeymoon phase. And there’s a really funny bit when they’re in their Fortress of Solitude and they’ve broken in there and they’re like on their honeymoon. But the actual season is not just like, Hey, they’re together now. This is so easy. And even though the creators did say, and I love this, and they say in every interview under their watch, they’re never going to break up, this is the end game relationship, but it’s not actually easy. And while you’re getting all these outrageous gross out jokes, James Gunn’s in a vibrating clay face chair playing himself. Bob Billy Bob Thornton is playing Thomas Wayne. Like, you’re also getting this really deep exploration of can Harley even be in a good relationship? Like, she doesn’t know how to do it. She over promises, she doesn’t know how to not be an appendage. And I the balance is so good because it’s also just this really crude gross out of animation show, but it has these layers to it that make it feel really special.


Jason Concepcion There is a thing that it does to to build off your point the way that it acknowledges the lore and history of Gotham in these characters. So there is like a viral kind of tweet response thread going around, you know, a month or so ago that was basically like you know, rent in Gotham is $300 a month. What? What do you pay? They have that kind of thing. And that’s what this show is like. It it it attacks the reality of living in a city in which legitimately, like crime, is everywhere. You could be decapitated.


Rosie Knight Everyone is a famous criminal.


Jason Concepcion Everyone is a famous criminal that crosswalks are legitimately haunted. There’s toxic acid sludge in the sewers is running through. And how do you how do you live here? And and it does all of these callbacks to the history and reality of these characters and places and really fun ways. In episode two, as Harley and Ivy are like trying to figure out what their relationship is like, do they like each other? How do they spend time? You know, they were obviously attracted to each other and there’s feeling there. But what does that mean when you have to spend time with a person? Like what’s a relationship like? So Ivy is talking about like they go to Ivy’s like Eden Jungle in Gotham. That’s only like an acre. It’s one of the many times she is tried to create like a paradise on earth. And she tried to do it, and she’s complaining and she’s like, Yeah, I wanted to transform everything, but I only it only was an acre and I should have done this and I should have put more plants here. And like, and Harley is like, no, this is awesome. What are you talking about? This is so cool. You did this is one of the coolest jungles I’ve ever seen. But then, of course, like, they’re hanging out there for a while and Ivy gets really into it. She’s like, Looking at her plants. She’s pointing out all the different, like, flowers around. And then Harley gets just insanely bored after, like, one minute without her phone and. And you’re like, Wait, wait a second. Like, will this relationship work? It’s that. It’s using the history of these characters and the things that they’ve done on their own in the comics at different schemes that they’ve had as kind of fodder and stories for like the way a a pair, a couple, would actually bond would actually like tell each other about certain things about themselves and then twisting it so that because you realize, yeah, like Harley would be just fucking bored hanging out in the jungle all the time. She wants to like, legitimately, like, smash someone’s skull in and steal, like, a diamond encrusted dinosaur bone. Like, that’s what she wants. That’s what she would love to do. While Ivy is out here being like, Look at this incredible, like, rare man eating plant that I made. And it’s stuff like that just makes this show so much fun on top of, like, the joke after joke after joke.


Rosie Knight Yeah. And if you love, like, we always love to talk about deep cut comic book stuff. I mean, this is the kind of show where you’re going to see characters that you’ll probably never see adapted ever again. Like literally ever again. You are going to get to see some of the weirdest, most deep cut characters. And this season it does that really well at The Villies. But they also one of my favorite things is in episode two. And so it starts off and it looks like a classic like DC animated movie. And it’s Nightwing who’s played by the amazing Harvey Guillien, who I just love so much from what he did In The Shadows. And he’s so good at doing The Voice and and he’s doing like he’s like, my city needs me. It needs a hero and Harley’s like, anyone want to switch seats? And it’s just like. They understand the nature of the severity of the Bat family and the seriousness. And there’s this great bit where they go in. He goes back home and he’s like, Father, you know, I am. I’m your equal now. You. You know, there’s no more Robin. It’s just Nightwing. And then, like, Batgirl turns up and then Damian Wayne turns up and everyone, he’s just like, Oh fuck, it’s so funny. And they understand the, the relationships in the characters so well that it becomes just that much more enjoyable.


Jason Concepcion Yeah. Every joke is built on something essential about these characters. Like later on Nightwing after he is failed in a thing is just like absolutely beating himself up like you’re stupid. You’re dumb. Punching himself, you’re so dumb. Like, oh, you idiot. Why did you think you could do this? Tell me. It’s like it is so great. I mean, this Jim Gordon is like a he’s like a coffee addict, constantly disheveled, like borderline fascist cop who is basically using it much like the real world, like a war on crime, as a way to bolster his chances of winning mayor. Meanwhile, everybody is pointing out to him, Hey, dude, like criminals run this fucking city. Everyone is escaping from jail slash fucking Arkham all the time. What do you like? This war on crime is not a success, dude. And all that kind of stuff is just. It’s wonderful.


Rosie Knight It’s really, well, woven in the kind of political conversations that make us all tick about we always want to have about Gotham and how it works and how it’s analogous to the real world, but also with, like, hilarious jokes.


Jason Concepcion How much would you what do you think rent in Gotham is? What would you?


Rosie Knight Oh, no, I think.


Jason Concepcion Let’s say a one bedroom. A one bedroom apartment. By the by the water.


Rosie Knight So like by the docks. I think that it’s probably actually secretly expensive, like $1,000 because it’s slightly gentrified, but because it’s like close to way in manner or some shit. Like, that’s the reality, that will be areas of Gotham where it’s $50 and literally you can’t get home insurance, you can’t get an apartment insurance broker, you can’t get Batman is constantly throwing missiles through your window. Your car? You can’t get car insureance.


Jason Concepcion You know, forget about it.


Rosie Knight Your car is being thrown by Bane every week. And no matter what you do, you call up the insurance adjuster and they’re like, tell us your what’s your zip code?


Jason Concepcion And you’re drinking the water?


Rosie Knight And they put it down the air, you know, not happening. Call up Jim Gordon. He’s like you want to file an incident report? Like yeah, join the queue. Like you’re never getting an insurance, you’re never nothing. And there’s I think that there’s going to be areas of Gotham that are gentrified, because that’s the nature of those kind of places, especially when there’s a billionaire family. But I think you’re going to have those $50, $100 rents that are a myth in the real world that Is taking place is terrible.


Jason Concepcion Let’s say you live like on the way to Arkham. Studio apartment is in the vicinity of Arkham. And like the Riddler definitely had a headquarters in the building at once.


Rosie Knight So it’s $150 the first month. I’m free afterwards because your landlord gets killed by the Riddler. So then it’s just like the checks start coming back and you’re like, Oh, okay, I guess. I guess I live every now and I love that aspect of it because it again, is that thing that we love so much, which is having being in conversation with the fans.


Jason Concepcion Yeah.


Rosie Knight Like some of my favorite. I’ve seen so many hilarious Tik Tok videos, especially in the MCU, of like pretending that you like, work for car insurance in in like the MCU’s New York, and it’s just like, you would hate the Avengers if they were real. You would hate them.


Jason Concepcion Absolutely. My fucking car is wrecked.


Rosie Knight You just you house doesn’t exist anymore. Yeah. Hulk smashed your kid.


Jason Concepcion Like yeah, what the fuck. We should add that there’s an on the the the ongoing James Gunn cameo.


Rosie Knight Yes. Okay.


Jason Concepcion So talk about James Gunn appearing in multiple episodes.


Rosie Knight So James Gunn is playing himself and this is so good. I spoke to the guys about this at San Diego as well. So basically James Gunn’s playing himself and he’s decided that he is going to leave the like Popcorn Madness behind. He wants to win an award. And to do that, he’s going to make like a Scorsese style Aviator biopic of Thomas Wayne and his rise and his ultimate demise.


Jason Concepcion There’s another Thoma Wayne movie? Says Batman, when he hears about it.


Rosie Knight Yeah, yeah. And Batman is like very devastated. And Billy Bob Thornton plays himself playing Thomas Wayne. And Clayface wants to be a part because he loves he really wants to be an actor. And he gets an unexpected role in the movie alongside James Gunn and James Gunn’s playing himself. And it’s very funny and it does a really good job of expanding. It makes the Meta text even more textual because you’re bringing in a real world director into your fictional world to make a movie that probably will get made at some point. And it kind of continues the there’s an ongoing joke in the DC animated universe, especially in Teen Titans go specifically, which is like the notion that everyone gets a movie before Robin and it’s like they even, you know, the car gets a movie and they’re about to make an animated TV kid’s series called Bat Wheels. You know, the Bat Belt gets a movie, Alfred gets a movie, Alfred got a TV show and you end up in this situation. So Thomas Wayne getting this movie that everyone knows what’s going to happen, which is he’s going to die and his kids are going to be crying. And yeah, it’s very funny and I’m very excited to see how in they go because the creative team was telling me that that was always they always wanted it to accumulate in this Thomas Wayne biopic. That’s kind of a big part of where the series is going. So I’ll be very excited, especially it seems very interested, like the latest season of Barry was as well and. Not just decimating and satirizing the superhero genre, but how Hollywood interacts with it. So I’ll be very interested to kind of see that aspect of the satire going forward.


Jason Concepcion Well, if you want something funny and fast and you’re a comic book fan, don’t miss Harley Quinn. It’s great. The third season just started. You’ve got two seasons to run into it. It’s this. It’s really heartfelt and it’s actually like, actually great to watch Harley just like, jettison the Joker from her life after everything that’s happened. It’s great.


Rosie Knight Oh, yeah. And, like, Lake Bell is so good as Poison Ivy.


Jason Concepcion She’s great. She brings a real, like. Weird gravitas to the role.


Rosie Knight Like sad, sarcastic gravitas. Like you just want to say, I want to see that translated to a real screen.


Jason Concepcion Here’s what’s crazy about it, about Lake Bell’s performance and about Poison Ivy in this show. You’re like, Wait a second, I get it. Poison Ivy, you know? She’s like, has put in Eden serum in stuff and and she’s going to, you know, have plants repopulate the world. But also like we kind of need someone to do that.


Rosie Knight Like Poison IVy has always been, right. She’s one of the most is right.


Jason Concepcion Legitimately right. Like she’s talking about what needs to happen.


Rosie Knight She wants to take out billionaires and grow some plants. I’m like, that sounds good.


Jason Concepcion It sounds great. Yeah. Please watch Harley Quinn on HBO. Max. Up next, Paper Girls. This is the adaptation of the Brian K. Vaughan and Cliff Chang property, which first started publishing in 2015 following the exploits of four young newspaper delivery girls who, after Halloween, 1988, go through a time warp and end up in the middle of a inter-dimensional time war in which they meet future versions of themselves. We are on episode three right now and I think, which I think is actually the strongest episode of the season. I think it starts a little meditative and a little slower, but. I’m willing to stick with it. And I’ve of it. First of all, it looks great. Like, it looks amazing. It looks. This is exactly how you would have wanted.


Rosie Knight I know this is.


Jason Concepcion This is how a comic book to be adapted.


Rosie Knight This is the first time that I’ve really seen the vision. I remember when Thor Ragnarok came out, right, and Taika Waititi talked a lot about bringing Jack Kirby’s visual esthetic to the movie. And it did that so much more than any Marvel movie up until that point, especially with the patterns. But this movie is the closest I’ve seen, especially in the color palette. Matt Wilson does the colors, Eisner winning Matt Wilson, colorist of Paper Girls, and they literally like lifted those pages and they invented narrative reasons for there to be pink lighting and yellow lighting and blue lighting in different ways that light and color are used throughout the show. And yeah, I will say it’s very it’s very slow burn. I think that something that we talked about before on a previous episode was how does a show like this that’s based on a comic that predates Stranger Things but has a lot in common with Stranger Things, which is now very well known. How does it craft a show that has a predominant air of nostalgia just from having a section of the story being based in the eighties. But they actually really there’s not really any similarities to Stranger Things in that they reject that. Brian K. Vaughan one actually did a said quote about rejecting nostalgia. And I think the idea of this show is there to show the reality of what it was like to live in the eighties, not the kind of trappings of the eighties, and then putting them into the modern day, which for me is some of the funnest stuff is the kids are so amazing who play the four girls as well. That’s that’s one of the biggest selling points of the show. But like getting to see them interact with like new technology is really fun that you really believe that they’ve never seen like a videogame.


Jason Concepcion You can, you can, like, get all the information in the whole world, like on this computer. You serious?


Rosie Knight Your phone is a camera. That’s also a video camera that you could make a movie on you just like what the fuck?


Jason Concepcion There are certain tonal things that are just here at The Bear has been a hot topic for people who love TV and been watching TV of late. And I loved the Bear. I thought it was, man, it.


Rosie Knight Was so good. It made me so happy. I don’t work in restaurants anymore.


Jason Concepcion I know. But the thing. This is just a thing about me. One of a thing that is hard for me to get into is people arguing all the fucking time. Like, I like a roast.


Rosie Knight Like Succession must have been really hard for you.


Jason Concepcion Like. Like, I like a roast. Like a cut down, like Succession level, like, fuck you. And then you walk off or you call somebody a really crazy, you know, some kind of, like, really, really crazy insult. But when people are, like, around each other, constantly screaming at each other and arguing, my reaction is this is just because, like, I am a person who, like, shies from vicious arguments, my internal instinct is like, just fucking leave. Just go away. Like, when I’m watching The Bear, I’m like, Fire your fucking cousin. Like


Rosie Knight Oh my God. Like, don’t even get me started on Ricky.


Jason Concepcion Enough with this fucking guy. I get it. You love your family. You want to do well by them, yada, yada, yada. But a certain point is just like, get the fuck out if you don’t like it. Like at a certain point, don’t you have to do that? And so there’s some art, like when, when Erin meets future Erin in episode two and they spend a lot of time there and they’re just like going back and forth. And Young Erin is like, You’re such a loser. Look at how your life has failed. This is what you do. I thought you’d have a better thing. And then Future Erin is like, Okay, well, you think I’m such a quitter and I’m such a loser. The reason I’m a quitter is because you quit. You are one day at your fucking newspaper job. So how about that? And it’s like, let me tell you something. If 12 year old me shows up at my house and starts ripping on me, I’m throwing that motherfucker out of the house. Like I don’t care. I’m like, you don’t like it? You don’t like me trying to save your ass in the future. You haven’t. You have no idea what’s going on here. You’ve come to me with this weird fucking device. You don’t even know what it does. Get out. You don’t like it? Get the fuck out.


Rosie Knight You’re not having  a sleepover in my house with your child friend.


Jason Concepcion I know, but. But. Episode three. Mackenzie first of all. I love the fact that the character design for I don’t know if I pick I guess I didn’t pick this up. Specifically. In the comics, right? But played by Sofia Rozanski, it won a really, really great performance. But like the haircut that the outfit is Edward Furlong from Terminator two.


Rosie Knight I know. Like I kept thinking every time I watch this show, I’m like, they could have it, you know, what is it? They don’t have the public enemy shot. If you would have known, you would have been like that is it?


Jason Concepcion And it’s like blowing my mind.


Rosie Knight The hair is so perfectly long.


Jason Concepcion The flannel is perfect. And in episode three there is a really great like stretch where Mick Mac meets her brother from the future after seeking out that, you know, they’re seeking out their future selves, their future parents, the future just to figure out, like, what’s going on after kind of breaking with future Erin. And Mac has been looking for her house. She finds that it’s destroyed and then Googles her brother and realizes that weirdly he’s become a doctor, which is shocking to her, an ER doctor and she goes to see him and it is so well done and really hits. He finds out, spoiler, that you know, she’s 12, 13. She finds out that at age 16, she dies of lymphoma. And that is the thing that inspired her brother to become a doctor. And it’s these two characters who, you know, in Mac’s memory, didn’t get along at all. Like, really? Mac doesn’t seem to get along with anybody. That’s a whole nother story. But, like, really were at odds. But they found through this tragedy of losing his sister, Mac’s brother finds his calling, and they’re able to weirdly bond over this familial love that they have for each other that they have clearly never expressed. And it’s really cool. It’s really cool.


Rosie Knight  I think that if I was going to say the biggest difference from Stranger Things aside from like, one, they do something very clever in the in the show to differentiate it from that which is, you know, kids on bikes, eighties nostalgia things that you connect to the eighties. Basically in the comics, the eighties is a bigger part of the comics, but here you’re just in the future, right? But something that I think is very different from Stranger Things is this is an incredibly philosophical show. Like it’s all about this idea of like, what do you do with your life? How would your child, you look at you? How would your family see you? What would you do if you could see yourself as a kid? How would you change things? Is very existential in that way, and I think that might be another aspect of the slow burn feeling, because it’s incredibly focused on character and character journeys and what those character journeys mean going forward. And in this world where, well, not only are you in the future, but time travel exists, there’s an intergalactic civil war going on and you have somehow broken some kind of time law just by not dying in the past.


Jason Concepcion I’m really excited to check in with this show over the coming weeks. Up next, Hive Mind. Welcome to the Hive Mind, where we explore our topic in more detail with the help of expert guests. And this week it was tough to get them, but we got them. We are thrilled to have the one and only Rosie Knight and her collaborator, artist Oliver Ono to discuss their work, the one shot godzilla comic, Godzilla versus Batra. Oliver, Rosie, welcome to the program.


Oliver Ono Hi.


Rosie Knight Thanks a lot. Nice to be here.


Jason Concepcion How did this how did this project come about?


Rosie Knight So I, I was asked to pitch on Godzilla by our wonderful editor, Jaz Joyner. IDW and I came up with the pitch and the pitch was approved. And then Jaz said, Oh, are there any artists that you would like to work with? And I put together a list and Oliver was number one, and Jaz loved all of his work as well. And I followed Oliver on Instagram. That was how I knew his amazing work. And then Jaz said, yes and then we made the comic. It was it was it was surprisingly streamlined. But, well, we reached out to all. Jazz, emailed Oliver and said, Hey, do you want to draaw a Godzilla comic?


Oliver Ono Yeah, yeah. No, it was a was a crazy, crazy time on my end. Yeah, for sure. Completely just kind of cold called. So happy to be a part of it, though.


Jason Concepcion Rosie, what is it? What is your relationship to Godzilla?


Rosie Knight I’m a Godzilla lover. I’ve always loved Godzilla. I didn’t get to watch a lot of the movies, the later movies, especially until I was more of an adult. But as a kid, the older ones, you get to watch them in England and they would have some in the video store. I love monsters. I really like weird old B-movie stuff. So especially the the sixties Godzilla with baby Godzilla. Those were things that I just never could imagine that I would have been a part of telling this story. And even though I kind of like the wacky stuff, the origins of Godzilla are so serious and and and huge that that was why would this story I really wanted to make sure that I was doing that justice and in a space where we could tell a story that had the ecological bend, that had that emotional bend, and Oliver was definitely, absolutely the right person to. To tell it with me.


Jason Concepcion Oliver, I would describe your style as, like, dystopian tech. But like, lived in cool, like cool hazmat suits for a destroyed ecological future.


Rosie Knight Yes.


Oliver Ono Pretty much.


Jason Concepcion Tell us. Yeah. Tell us about your your collaboration. How does it how did it how was it and how did it work? Oh, you know with Rosie on that?


Oliver Ono Yeah. No. You know, when it came down to like how it was kind of pitched to me, it was, you know, like I like Godzilla a lot. Obviously, I’m half Japanese as well. So, like, there’s all kinds of like that, that kind of like history. If my father was was there to see it like, it would have been so cool that, you know, because that’s the that’s the kind of stuff that he would have watched, like growing up, you know. You know, in the original format. But on my end, yeah, it was. It was really just kind of like such a treat to kind of come to it from that angle. And Rosie luckily facilitated kind of adding in some of these, like, robots and kind of that flavor that I had been putting out there for a while and how she kind of found me on Instagram.


Rosie Knight Yeah.


Oliver Ono So it was so cool to kind of have this, like, iconic set of characters, but also still kind of fit into what I would consider like my normal wheelhouse. So it’s a very natural flow.


Rosie Knight Something that’s really cool about this. This line is like they are original, even though we’re using monsters that are from these iconic movies and these franchises. The stories need to be standalone. So it was very easy. I love Oliver’s art and any time that I do a comic with anyone, I always want to make sure the artist is drawing stuff they want to draw. So as soon as all of us said yes, I was like, Okay, well, now it’s a world. Like you said, Jason, where it’s this ecologically damaged world, which there was always an element of that. But I was like, And there’s loads of Mech, but I don’t want to have the Mech fight Godzilla. So instead that just like a Mech that help someone in a bookshop or like a Mech that does fishing. So yeah, I thought that was, that was just that was natural to me. And it made the book so much cooler and the world of the book feel a lot more. I understood it a lot more as soon as I knew Oliver would be drawing it for.


Jason Concepcion Give us a like synopsis of the story. What’s the elevator pitch on Godzilla Rivals, Godzilla versus Batra?


Rosie Knight I’d say it’s like Godzilla meets Studio Ghibli. That was kind of the esthtic world.


Jason Concepcion I mean. You hit that. Yeah, absolutely. Like that is absolutely the texture of this.


Rosie Knight I even made sure that that was, you know, there’s a there’s an entire, there’s an entire page that I never thought we would get to make and that IDW just loved it and Jaz was so cool about it and totally got the vision. But the there’s an entire page, it’s just cooking because I wanted to bring that Ghibli vibe to it. But yeah, if you want to know the this is the official what we call a solicit, which is how they order it, which is very similar to my original pitch. So quiet beachside town ravaged by constant sewage spillages and toxic waste dumps. Something is stirring deep under the rolling hills that surround Hackney on sea. There’s no sea in Hackney, but that’s where I come from.


Jason Concepcion So let’s just go for it. Yeah, let’s just go for it right here.


Rosie Knight Batra is awakening driven out by a single goal to destroy mankind and save planet Earth. The only thing that can stop the monster is Godzilla. But he hasn’t been seen in decades and has never ventured into the cold shores of the English coast until now. Robbie runs a small bookshop but her real passion is monsters. She spent years researching the myth of Godzilla and his fearsome foes. Now that hypothetical experiences can become a life saving tool, can Robbie locate Godzilla? Will Godzilla be enough to defeat Batra? Is Batra wrong? And will the Goddess Mothra make an appearance? You will have to read it to find out. So that’s like the that’s like the the audio book description. And it was just. I was really inspired by where I live in L.A., on the coast. Even though me and Oliver, it just so turned out this was one of those really great universe kind of things. Oliver actually knew the British coastline really well, so I ended up being actually quite easy for us to to envision the world. But I’d actually been inspired originally when I was thinking about ecological aspects of this story in L.A.. Pretty much every beach, especially in any working town or working class area, is just constantly having sewage dumped on it and sewage spills. And I was like, It’ll be really cool if Godzilla came and just was like, Not cool about that. I was like, Hey, just stop that. So that was kind of the real wild inspiration that then made it into our version of this story.


Jason Concepcion I love talking to people who do creative stuff for a living because, first of all, it’s such a great way. It’s. It’s kind of like the ideal for a lot of people. I think when you’re a kid and you read comics or you watch movies or whatever, you’re like, Wow, how do I do stuff that’s fun for a living? Oliver, what is it? How do you? What was what was the moment where you were like, I’m drawing. I’m a kid. I want to keep drawing and I want to I just want to keep doing it and not stop. And then what’s it like? Like, how do you how do you how do you grind out a living as a as a working illustrator?


Oliver Ono For sure. You know what’s funny is that, like, I still have some drawings from when I was like, three or four, and like, strangely enough, they are. That was like, keep in mind, like, I’m like born in 93. So that was like prime like, like age for Pokemon when that came out. So there’s like all kinds of like Pokémon. But then that eventually evolved into like literally me drawing like just ginormous monsters as like a four year old. So I have drawings of the same subject matter, essentially going back, it’s really hard to say a lot of the time that was. You know, obviously, like doing art is kind of like an aspirational thing, of course, but it was also kind of like. Like I would I used to draw things that I just, like, wanted. Like if I saw, like, a toy and I wasn’t allowed to get it, I would draw it. So like from a really young age, it was just kind of hammered in that like you can like do the things you want and have the things you want. If you can just kind of like draw them and then and then that kind of does it, right. So yeah, I don’t know a specific time that I maybe made that decision. It was always just kind of like, Well, what else am I going to do? Like, I honestly don’t think that.


Jason Concepcion How did you how did you go about building a career out of this?


Oliver Ono True. Well, that is still kind of in the works in like larger scale.


Rosie Knight That’s always the way. Yeah.


Oliver Ono But yeah, honestly. And I heard some really good advice recently from Dan Gordon Johnson. He mentioned something. I think this is maybe like the best advice is like even if you’re not getting paid for what you’re doing, like keep working at it like you’re getting paid. For instance, the thing that I was working on for years and years and years, it was literally just like boiled down to like, what is the closest thing that I could possibly do to like what I would actually want to put out there? And then I just kept doing it as much as possible until, you know, eventually things slowly started to pick up. But I, I really personally didn’t put out a lot of like, feelers, you know, I wasn’t, I wasn’t pursuing things as much as kind of just like if you build it, they will come kind of.


Rosie Knight And they did.


Jason Concepcion I mean, that’s kind of, you know, as a writer, you spend a lot of time just writing stuff, hoping to get better, knowing that probably no one is ever going to read this. And this is just so you can get better and that you hope at a certain point in time when you get an opportunity to work somewhere, you get hired as a reporter or a blogger or what have you, that now that you have that, you also have this a huge archive of shit you’ve just been doing that you can then call upon, pull pieces out of and repurpose and, and have like this huge palette to work on. So, and a thing that you can point to to say, hey, look, this is also what I do. Nobody’s ever read this before. Is it just stuff I have? And this is that, you know, that’s at least the way I went about it. Rosie, how did how did you people know you from here? People know you from your work at Nerdist and other places, IGN. But how long have you been, like writing fiction, creating your own stuff?


Rosie Knight I think it’s like it’s kind of like what you’re both saying, which is you do it because you kind of have to, but not because you have to to get a job, but because you have to. Because it’s just like inside you and you need to draw it or you need to write it. And I’ve been writing ever since I was a kid. I was writing so many weird horror stories and like spooky things. I had a phase where I was doing poetry and really it was only when I moved to America that I realized there was a space to make a career as a writer just by the notion of that being such a big this is such a big place and there’s so many different you know, I was I moved to like six or seven years ago. So it was really in the boom of like a lot of digital entertainment, blogging and stuff. And I started this is what I say to people at comics, what I say to people, anything. You just have to make it first, like you want to. People say, I’m going to write in a really cool panel with this with a bunch of people from DC and Web Toon, and then afterwards, you know, this guy came up and he was like, How do I get into comics? How do I do it? And I was like, You just got to make a comic, man. That’s like the first thing. And it’s the same with writing. I wrote some pieces for Free for Women Write About Comics, now three time Eisner winning, Women Write About Comics, third Eisner this year at SDCC and I wrote a couple of pieces there that were just me riffing on some funny stuff that I thought was funny about comics. Or I did some critiques on, you know, the dark comics of the 1987 and all this kind of stuff. And then I saw someone do a call out on Nerdist, and I was like, Oh, well, I have clips now that were published on a website, and that’s how I ended up being able to become a pop culture writer and have This as my job, which is just like to talk about this stuff and write about it. But throughout that, I’ve always also been writing my own stuff. I’m like you. I have you have the the million pilots, the 50 comic book scripts, all of that stuff, because you never know when you’re going to meet the person who’s the best collaborator or the person who really wants to see it. And I think that that notion of just making it, whether you make it with your friends, whether you make it for yourself, that’s the best place to start. Because then when someone comes to you and says, Hey, do you make something? You can be like, Hey, I’ve already done it actually. Like, What do I do next to take it to the next level?


Jason Concepcion The thing that I think is a roadblock for a lot of people is a roadblock for me and still is sometimes is. You’re absolutely right. You got to make the thing. Like when people ask me over, I want to write stuff what I do, well, just write a piece and finish it. Finish whatever you’re doing. But that can be hard because anything that happens to me is I’ll write the song like, this sucks. If anybody ever sees this, I will fucking die. How do you get past that first draft? First, whether it’s the the illustration or the first draft of the written piece where you look at it and it sucks because first drafts always like it, always the first thing is always bad and then you make it better. But how do you get past the stumbling block of just like, Oh my god, this sucks so fucking bad. I don’t want anybody to ever see this.


Rosie Knight The one thing I had to really teach myself about both articles and now is I’m trying to do more long form fiction and and pilots and stuff like that. One of the hardest things, one of the reasons that we do this to ourselves, the most, I think, is we we self-edit as we’re writing. So it takes you like ten times longer. You just got to write the one bad first, right? The one bad thing and finish. That’s what I do. And then you can go back and you can be like, this would be a little bit tighter this and definitely as I especially when it comes to journalism and comic book scripts, as I’ve gotten further into it I’m I’m very now. When I’m writing that first draft, I don’t see those as much of a like I just need to finish it. I don’t allow myself to edit too much by I make sure that I’m very, like, detail oriented. Like, the only thing you can be happy is like, are you happy that you put this out there? When you put it out there, will you be okay that it exists in a week or two weeks or a year? You’re probably going to hate it because that’s just the nature of being a human. But can you live with it in that moment and feel like it’s the best version of whatever you’re doing? You know, that’s kind of all you can do. But yeah, just finishing it is the hardest thing. I still my personal projects finishing it is so hard. Like when I’m being what is work and I have a deadline, I can do it. But if it’s like my passion project that I think is really good, some reason the finishing is the hardest part.


Jason Concepcion Oliver what about you?.


Oliver Ono You know, to add on to that, I do feel like one thing that really can help is even if you don’t have like a deadline, like if you have if you do jump on with like collaborators or something like that, having some sort of community, whether that’s like your like Discord or whatever, that can also kind of like keep you accountable for like, yeah, you know what, whatever the case may be, whether they’re actually like working with you on the thing or whether they’re just like invested in it, you know, that’s not like a monetary thing. But even at that point, I think that just having people know that you’re doing something that helps to make you actually do it, you know?


Rosie Knight Yeah, there’s a lot of writing challenges and stuff, like Thousand Words of Summer and Anana Noni Remone stuff where that the reason that people have a lot of success and end up writing 50,000 words in November or a thousand words every day throughout the summer months, is because of that accountability, because you but you have a community and you get and you say, I did do it today. I didn’t do it today. I hope I’m going to do it today. And I think that is such a great point, because a lot of us never really even thought of that when you were an artist. It can be like quite solitary, but actually find in that community and having people who are going to be like, Oh, I’d love to read that. Or like, Can you just check this over for me? That is a really great feeling.


Jason Concepcion I could not agree more not to break into your the interview with Rosie and Oliver here. No, but I you know, the stumbling block often. Just showing people things is, again, that fear of doing it. But the community aspect is really important, has been important to me because, you know, as a creator, you’re often sitting around waiting for somebody to give you a job or waiting for an editor to give you an assignment, or trying to convince your producer to let you try this thing. And a great way around that is to just find people who are in that same boat with you on that same level, trying to get their projects made and be like, Hey, how can I help this person in their project. While also moving my project forward like I want to do more work. Okay, how can we how can I collaborate with you as an artist? How can I collaborate with you as a writer? Maybe we can figure out how to do something together. And that has been a thing that I found really helpful. One, because everybody has their own goals and if you can help them with theirs, you’ll often find that that will be repaid in some way. And too, it’s just like you find people that become your friends, whether or not you end up doing anything yet like people want to be around people that they like. And if you have a friend group that’s also very talented, guess what’s going to happen? One of those friends is going to end up doing something cool and they’re going to want to do it with people who aren’t strangers or who aren’t extremely talented assholes. You know what I mean?


Rosie Knight Like, yeah, exactly.


Jason Concepcion Like you can be as often as it’s been often said to me about like writers rooms. It’s like I would rather work with somebody who’s like an eight out of ten but not a jerk than work with somebody who’s a ten out of ten talent but a complete pain to be around. So I agree with you. Like finding that community can be can be so important. I’m so glad that you guys put this together. Any other future projects to pitch? Any other things to pitch? Bits of advice for people who are listening right now that are like, Man, I want to create something. I want to do something. I want to draw something. I want to write something. What can you tell the people out there who would like to do something like this as well?


Rosie Knight I would say from the perspective of someone who for the first time was in a position to pick a collaborator. I literally found Oliver because he just shared his art and I thought it was really cool. So I think like taken that step of sharing the work that you’re doing and putting yourself out there, I mean, that’s how I ended up on this podcast was just by sharing my work and by writing about these things I cared about and being passionate about the things that I love. So I think that being brave enough to like put it out there. And also I’ve seen a great kindness in artistic communities and and obviously is a real support of growth. So I think even if you’re someone who’s art, you feel like it’s a bit rough or it’s not the version. I love to see my friends art get better or to see them feel like that becoming more professional ever. So I just think putting it out there, I think Oliver’s thing about community is, is so key also. It, it it that is a really good way of practicing. Collaboration for like the future, like you said, Jason. How do you want to interact if you get into a writer’s room or if you make a comic and stuff? To me, I always try and go into any interaction like that with kindness about whether it’s making the podcast reference, making a comic, whether it’s writing an article. But. I only learned that from doing other stuff with other people, you know? And now this is how I want it to be. This is this is the way I want things to be. So I think be putting your heart out there, especially in the age of the Internet. I found Oliver’s art on his on Instagram, you know.


Jason Concepcion Yeah.


Rosie Knight Not the best platform for artists anymore. People have a a sadness about that and the way it’s gone. But, you know, that’s how I found Oliver. And that wasn’t that long ago.


Jason Concepcion Oliver, tips for anybody who wants to get into creative life. They think they want to draw. They think they want to write what tips you have for them to to follow.


Oliver Ono For sure, I would say biggest thing is, you know, a lot of the time, especially when you’re looking at a lot of these kind of like instructional, like people taking advice, trying to people trying to give advice about like how to do this exact thing. A lot of them kind of tried to, you know, tell you to modify your stuff to be more consumable. And the, you know, the most honestly is sometimes like generic sort of way. And like, the way that I work is like kind of super not that like it’s just not like what most people, you know, think of when they think of like a normal, like, comic book style where whatever the, whatever the case may be and specifically doing that is what has gotten me the farthest in my case. So I think that, you know, trying to go with the most wide reaching audience for whatever you want to do creatively,W can sometimes make it so that you end up working on like other people’s projects. As opposed to being searched out for your project.


Rosie Knight I think that’s a really good idea and hilariously very relevant to the podcast because for a long time I’m sure this is the same for Jason, but people will be like, Oh one, nobody cares about comics. Who wants to talk about comics? You know, and you keep talking about comics and you keep writing about comics and you keep loving comics. And then that is the most bankable thing in the world. And suddenly everyone’s like, Oh, actually that thing that was niche is now no longer niche, you know? And you, you were true to loving it the whole time or designing it or doing something unique.


Oliver Ono True And that’s exactly the same thing. You know, when I was like coming up in like, you know, like art school, like back in like what, 2012, 2013? Like the big thing everybody was saying is, oh, well, you know, don’t draw, don’t draw like manga, don’t draw anime. And it’s like now like the domestic market for that is just like disgustingly large. And there are like entire avenues of, of the, you know, people that are looking for specifically that style of stuff and not that like my stuff is I take I take the direction from both ends of it.


Rosie Knight But yeah.


Oliver Ono I would just say that like when somebody tries to, you know, tell you not to do something a certain way, obviously you’ve got to learn all of your stuff, get good, all of that, listen, your teachers, whatever. At the end of the day, you know, make what you want to make.


Rosie Knight Yeah, I think that’s really good advice and I think about the manga thing a lot because pretty much every great comic book artist that I love, especially high profile women in comics, got told that in art school, like, don’t draw like manga, you’ll never be successful, don’t base it on manga. And then of course, these women are like killing it in the game. I think that’s a really good point. I like that notion. Just be true to what you’re doing. And if it’s weird and someone’s like, That’s too weird, then they’re probably just not the right person to collaborate with or to get what you’re doing. But you’ll probably find that person that there’s a.


Oliver Ono Lot of people out there.


Jason Concepcion Anything coming up to plug Oliver and Rosie.


Rosie Knight We are, we’re doing a signing or it will be tomorrow. When you listen to this podcast Saturday, Pulp Fiction in Long Beach, there’s two Pulp Fiction, but this is the Long Beach one. We will be there. Mark Martinez, who drew the cover of our B cover, will be there and a ton of other great local Long Beach artists. Brenda Chee will be there doing commission cards, doing cool art stuff, doing Godzilla stuff. We will be signing comics. That’s I think that’s our big immediate plug. Look, I love Oliver’s art so I’m not going to say anything for certain, but I would hope it’s not the last time that you get to see stuff from me and Oliver. Like that is a that’s a collaboration that I’m going to be pursuing.


Oliver Ono We work well as a team.


Jason Concepcion As anything else, but yeah.


Rosie Knight Yeah We do work well as a team.


Jason Concepcion And anything for you to plug?


Oliver Ono You know, I mean, my work. I should have some stuff in galleries which I’m going to be announcing on my Instagram and everything. So if you want to get like actual traditional, you know, real life tangible things rather than just like screen stuff, then that’s there. I will also be in Long Beach. And then I think we do have another signing that’s postponed for a little bit later, but word will come out about that as well. But other than that, shout out, start getting back on the grind. You know, more pitches, more things.


Jason Concepcion Shout out what your, shout out what your Insatgram is


Oliver Ono It’s the first and last name Oliver Ono. O N O.


Jason Concepcion Rosie, Oliver, this has been so great. Thank you for for coming on and talking to us.


Oliver Ono This has been awesome.


Rosie Knight Thanks for having us.


Jason Concepcion Bye bye. Godzilla Rivals Godzilla versus Batra from IDW now. In today’s Nerd Out where you tell us what you love and why C.J. pitches on the classic animated series Gargoyles.


C.J. Hi, my name is C.J., and this is my Nerd Out for Disney’s Gargoyles. I’ve been a fan of this show since it originally aired in 1994 on the Disney Network, which I would watch after school. Its original appeal to me was that it was monsters that fight crime. But as I grew older, I would discover new aspects of it that also appealed to me, such as relationships, complex, multi-dimensional characters, social issues such as gun control and the very almost flawless weaving of mythologies and Shakespearean Arthurian lore. Even sci fi elements. The cast was an all star cast of very famous actors, mainly from Star Trek, but also others like Ed Asner, Keith David, Tom Wilson, Bill Fagerbakke, also known as Patrick Star and Tim Curry. I as an adult, I even advocated for a revival based on the Mandalorians stage magic technology being a live action adaptation that is set in the modern day and has the twist of the cartoon being a an in-universe PR campaign to kind of acclimate the public to the existence of the gargoyles. But even in modern day, they would still struggle with equal rights to humans. And in an effort to deal with that, they have a partner with the Manhattan Police Department to patrol with a human partner, and it would be derisively called G9 units by less open minded people. And it would also focus on the next generation of gargoyles, which by now would be just now entering the equivalent of their teen years. There have been there have been sort of continuations in comic form, mainly by a company called Slave Labor Graphics, but just announced at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con. Disney has partnered with Dynamite Comics to produce season four of gargoyles, helmed by the original creator of the show, Greg Weisman, who has done other works such as Young Justice and Spectacular Spider-Man. So that’s a very good sign and might be a sign of things to come. If you would like to watch the original series, it is available in its entirety on Disney Plus.


Jason Concepcion Big thanks to C.J. for submitting. If you want to be featured, we want you to be featured. Please send your Nerd Out pitch to Instructions in the show notes. We love hearing from you. A big thank you to Rosie Knight for joining us on X-ray Vision and of course, her collaborator, Oliver Ono. Rosie, anything? You plugaged it already.


Rosie Knight I plugged, I plugged.


Jason Concepcion We got your plugs. For our folks, X-Ray Vision has a new home. The Takeline YouTube channel and Twitter channels are now dedicated to all things X-ray Vision, though. Check out @XRV Pod on Twitter and X-ray Vision on YouTube. And of course, our X-ray Vision Discord. You can find that in the show notes. Also, the Ask the Maester segment will be coming back where I will answer your questions about House of the Dragon and Game of Thrones and A Song of Ice and Fire. The email is open now it’s AsktheMaester, all one word, at You can find that in show notes as well. Don’t forget, rate and review us X-ray vision with five stars. Yes, I know we said we didn’t read the reviews, but but if you give us the five star ratings and the great reviews along with them, we’ll think about it. Maybe we’ll feel it. If anything, we’ll just feel the love. And I think that’s really the important thing. X-ray Vision is a Crooked Media production. The show is produced by Chris Lord and Saul Rubin. The show is executive produced by myself and Sandy Girard. Our editing and sound design is by the Vasilis Fotopoulis. Delon Villanueva and Matt DeGroot Provide Video Production Support. Alex Reliford handles Social Media. Thank you, Brian Vasquez for our theme music. Folks see you next time.