In This Episode
On this episode of X-Ray Vision, Jason Concepcion and Rosie Knight rom-com with Clark Kent and Lois Lane! In Previously On (1:37), they discuss a new superhero movie-making satire ordered by struck company HBO plus renewed speculation about a Disney sale to Apple. In the Airlock (7:32) Jason and Rosie dive deep (deeep) into Adult Swim’s My Adventures with Superman. In Hive Mind (28:20), X-Ray is thrilled to welcome Sarah Kuhn and Arielle Jovellanos, writer and artist behind DC’s “Girl Taking Over: A Lois Lane Story.” And in Nerd Out (1:01:46) a listener pitches Nimona.
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Jason Concepcion Warning. This podcast contains spoilers for My Adventures with Superman. Not really.
Rosie Knight Uh, light spoilers. Light spoilers.
Jason Concepcion Light spoilers. Yeah. Hello, my name is Jason Concepcion.
Rosie Knight And I’m Rosie Knight.
Jason Concepcion And welcome to X-ray Vision, the Crooked Media podcast, where we dive deep into your favorite shows, movies, comics and pop culture.
Rosie Knight In this episode, in the Previously On, we’re talking about something that I know that we’re probably both going to love, which is Armando Iannucci’ss new superhero satire that was recently announced. And we’re going to talk about something that’s very speculative, but it feels like in 2023 it’s worth talking about, which is the potential of a Disney sale to Apple, something that’s been rumored in the business for decades. But seemingly thanks to a Hollywood Reporter article by Kim Masters, looks like it might be being taken a bit more seriously this time around. In The Airlock, it’s My Adventures with Superman. You guys wanted us to cover it and we’re going to talk about it. It’s cute.
Jason Concepcion It’s delightful.
Rosie Knight Delightful, just charming. And in The Hive Mind, we’re keeping the Superman theme going with an interview with Sarah Kuhn and Arielle Jovellanos about that delightful DC graphic novel Girl Taking Over: A Lois Lane Story. And then in the Nerd Out, we got someone talking about another X-ray Vision fave, which is Nimona.
Jason Concepcion Coming up, Previously On. First Up, from Variety comes the news that Armando Iannucci, the creator of the fantastically funny Veep, has got a new show that has been greenlit by HBO. The half hour pilot is titled The Franchise, and it follows a hopeful crew trapped inside the dysfunctional, nonsensical, joyous hellscape of a franchise superhero movie making. You heard it here correctly, folks. The creator of Veep is parodying comic book movies. Per Variety, quote: According to an individual knowledge of the project, Sam Mendez. Wow.
Rosie Knight Superteams.
Jason Concepcion Came up with the original idea for the show and put the project together. The pilot was written by John Brown, Keith Khushi and Armando Iannucci with Brown in a cushy writing The Pilot and Himesh Patel.
Rosie Knight Hey, we love Himesh. Station 11.
Jason Concepcion That was wonderful. Station 11. Yeah, and Akash, who was absolutely transcendently evil in season two of The Boys, have joined the cast as series regulars. Very exciting. And I think actually, you know, a really smart move. Yeah. Just from the struck company, HBO MAX.
Rosie Knight Yes. Unbelievably timely. And I will say.
Jason Concepcion Yeah.
Rosie Knight Very likely that this was already in the works, had already been picked up. They’re releasing news. Delayed level though, obviously is different when it’s English people. But yeah, I think this is a great idea. I would love to see it. Iannucci is brilliant. He’s like a British legend. He’s incredible at satire. These companies deeply deserve to be satirized. I’m sure part of the reason HBO is making this is because if you think about which franchise has been most successful and will most likely be being satirized, this will likely be an MCU satire. It will be about the whole shebang. But let’s be real. When you think about the franchise, it’s going to probably be in that space of of a movies of 20 movies in a row kind of superhero comic book. Iannucci is a genre guy. He did the really great Avenue Five, I believe it was called, which was the the sci fi.
Jason Concepcion The Death of Stalin. Yeah.
Rosie Knight He also did. If you haven’t seen it and it is obviously a bit off the beaten path of X-ray vision. But his version of David Copperfield that he did with Dev Patel is like one of my all time favorite movies. I’m not even really a period piece guy, but it’s such a interesting, whimsical take on how to tell a story like that. And it’s brilliant. Dev is amazing. I love Himesh and so I’m really happy about that. I love so many. Billy Magnussen is great. Who’s also announced in this. Richard E.Grant, obviously legend. Daniel Bruhl. So he’s bringing MCU to the franchise. Yeah, just so many good people. I think this will be hilarious. Who knows when it will get made? I’m sure it will. We’ll have to wait for more news. But yeah, this sounds good.
Jason Concepcion And you know, on a more on a more kind of noodle brained note, I think it’s telling that you can always kind of tell where you are in the life cycle of a genre or a thing by when the parodies show up.
Rosie Knight Yeah.
Jason Concepcion And, you know, parody satire is kind of like a way of of saying, hey, what about this thing that we’re kind of tired of? Do we still care about?
Rosie Knight Yeah.
Jason Concepcion And and it seems like the perfect time for that, and we look forward to it. Up next, the Hollywood Reporter with a with a big story on the 100th day of the writers strike about the possibility, the possibility that many analysts and many Wall Street watchers, many elected write the possibility that Disney could sell to Apple. Here’s a quote from the story. There clearly is no buyer like Apple, which is sitting on 62 billion in cash and cash equivalents and has a $2.8 trillion market cap. And while it may be very true that Apple doesn’t want to buy a studio, maybe it wants to buy this studio. And of course, that story goes on to outline various connections between the the two corporations, including Pixar, which notably Steve Jobs sold to Disney and the friendship between Iger and Steve Jobs. But I think to me, what was. Most interesting about this piece is that it gets at a reality which everybody understands is coming in, which is also pretty important as a dynamic in the whole, you know, various labor movements that are going on in the industry. And it’s that. In three years, four years, five years, there’s not going to be Peacock, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Apple TV Plus there’s going to be like three. And they’re going to.
Rosie Knight At the most.
Jason Concepcion Massive. They’re going to be huge. Great. Like, you know, Peacock and Disney will reabsorb Hulu contractually, but then may sell itself too to Apple. You know, Universal may go somewhere. So like all of these things, the things that the writers and the actors are fighting for and I.R.S. will end up fighting for when their contracts expire are important because, you know, the life of these deals is going to be extended to a time in which the studios become only more entrenched, more monolithic, more difficult to deal with. And so it’s pretty important. Also important is, is the perspective that the Biden administration has not been exactly welcoming of new, you know, mergers and acquisitions. They tried to fight the Activision Blizzard takeover by Microsoft, which they kind of failed to do, but they did stop the publishing one, I forget which where the proposed publishing M&A. Anyway, very interesting.
Rosie Knight Yeah.
Jason Concepcion And you know, I. I would be surprised, I guess, if if a titan like Disney is the one that gets gobbled up. But everybody knows that this will happen. Some version of this will happen.
Rosie Knight Some version will happen. And this is a rumor that has been going around for like at least the decade in Hollywood circles, in comic shop circles, just people talking about it. The truth is. It seems unbelievable. But. Disney in this current market has one of the most profitable, valuable and dense content libraries. And that is as depressing as it may be. What these sales are about. And in that way, I do believe that there is a version where Apple may want to be able to have every Disney movie available on Apple TV and also be able to get all the money that they know. Apple has an incredibly insightful understanding of how much money Disney movie makes because they sell them on Apple TV like families buy them and they can see how many times people buy them. How many times do you watch them? I’m sure they would love to have that money. I’m sure they would love to be able to own those brands, let alone before you get into how much the parks, the things like Marvel, Star Wars, all of those things. So it feels unbelievable because Disney is a like monolith. But I believe right now, because of how much they put into streaming, that this is more possible than ever while still being an outlier. They’re going to buy someone.
Jason Concepcion One of the things that has people talking about this again in this kind of very intense, heated way is, you know, one of one of the signs that media watchers had put out there is, is this a harbinger of perhaps Disney could sell? Is if Disney starts, you know, selling off, spinning off any of its various properties? And the fact that Bob Iger, you know, went on CNBC recently and basically hung a for sale sign on various properties owned by Disney, including ESPN, including ABC, has signaled to people that, oh, maybe, maybe this is indeed happening. One one tidbit really stood out to me on here. Quoting from the article, Disney’s Linear Networks generated 8.5 billion in profits in fiscal 2022, though that is expected to decline as cord cutting continues. This is why it’s important to understand, like when they are like, Oh, it’s a bad business and linear is a bad business. Disney made eight and a half billion dollars.
Rosie Knight More money than you could ever imagine.
Jason Concepcion But because but it’s not enough profit.
Speaker 4 That just flow that.
Rosie Knight It was up. Everything that’s wrong with the industry as it is right now.
Jason Concepcion But here, this is where we are. One more aspect of this I think is interesting. So I mentioned the Biden administration as. Mm hmm. And Biden’s FTC chair is the most aggressive against tech in particular of any of the FTC chairs in history, I guess you could say. Biden is the Biden administration has been more hostile to M&A. But, with the whole, you know, DeSantis Disney war of it all, you do wonder like okay with the would a potential Republican administration be any better like would they put this would they put Disney through the wringer if Disney tried to sell under, God forbid, President Trump or President DeSantis? An interesting thing to look out for. But you might say, you might, you wonder if they might want what want to do it now rather than wait.
Rosie Knight Yet at the same time, they I think another reason and they point this out in the Hollywood Reporter article is like that recent overturning of the Microsoft Activision kind of merger where the judge was like, actually this isn’t a monopoly and this is fine. That probably made at least one higher up at Disney. Go, Oh, maybe we could do this. You know, even I don’t do this even under this, like really hard core administration, you’re still occasionally finding these mergers being allowed to happen. So under like.
Jason Concepcion Yeah.
Rosie Knight Bigger, more generous, like more business centric administration. Like, I’ve read this, that is a Trump administration. I don’t think they’d have any worry.
Jason Concepcion Well, Microsoft did something smart, which was basically head off any kind of criticism of, you know, the monopolistic power of a microsoft acquisition of Blizzard by basically saying, hey, we promise PlayStation, we promised Sony and we promise our competitors, like we’re not going to we’re not going to keep you from the new Call of Duty game or the new Overwatch game. You know, really Call of Duty is the big one. Like we’re going to let you have Call of Duty. Don’t worry about it. Like there’s we promise we’re not going to adjust shuttle Call of Duty to PC and Xbox. And so that was a way for them to sidestep the criticisms. You wonder how Disney would.
Rosie Knight That’s my bigest thing.
Jason Concepcion Potentially side step.
Rosie Knight I wonder, like how much of what they’re doing right now that seemed was and again, something people thought Disney would never do, which was like selling off their. The stuff that had been on Disney. Plus suddenly they’re scrapping it. They’re taking write downs there. They’re letting other streaming services have it. I wonder if there’s something there about like allowing the Disney properties to exist on multiple different platforms rather than being exclusive to Apple. You know, there’s certain things now this would be so unprecedented that it’s hard to know. But it’s we are in a once again, living through unprecedented times would be nice for them to just be precedented. But right now, very unprecedented.
Jason Concepcion I mean, this you know, this is kind of an aside, but I think one of the smartest strategies in the streaming era has been Sony, who issued the kind of lemming like dive over the cliff of streaming and instead decided, okay, we’re not going to start our own streamer at a cost of billions of dollars in losses every year. We’re just going to make content and supply it to whoever the fuck wants it.
Rosie Knight Yeah.
Jason Concepcion You know, and you know, you’re seeing like, obviously Disney is doing some of this now. They put synchronization on Hulu, which they own. But like, you know, there’s I think you’re right in that you’re going to see everybody who’s not Netflix start selling.
Rosie Knight Exactly.
Jason Concepcion All around town.
Jason Concepcion Okay. Up next, The Airlock.
Jason Concepcion We’re stepping out of the airlock and into Metropolis for My Adventures with Superman on Adult Swim and Max. It’s a wonderful anime inspired love story that really focuses on the relationship of between Clark and Lois Lane, who are here in their very early twenties. Jack Quaid as Clark Kent. Alice Lee as Lois Lane. Ishmael Saheed is Jimmy Olsen and it’s really great. It’s really great. It’s delight. What did you think?
Rosie Knight I thought, it’s beautiful. I mean, it’s so gorgeously animated from the opening. They kind of showcase that this show understands what makes Superman magical. You get this great kind of origin opening of him as a little kid. The music scores are perfect. The animation, which I believe is studio Mayer, who are just so great, it it’s gorgeous to look at tonally. So much fun. I think it speaks and we’ll talk about this in our conversation with Arielle and Sarah. That’s coming up. But like, it speaks to like, the timeless nature of Superman, Lois and Jimmy. I mean, Jimmy is the breakout for me, like conspiracy, but like he loves aliens.
Jason Concepcion Jimmy.
Rosie Knight He wants to report to find the truth. Like, he is so much fun. But there’s this timeless nature to these characters who have been around this year, 85 years. It’s a fifth anniversary of Lois and Clark, and this show just shows that you can put them into a different situation. You can showcase them in a totally different way here. This is very much a Lois Clark and Jimmy story rather than necessarily a Superman story, but it works so well. You want to believe them. They have Superman stuff.
Jason Concepcion He’s Supermanning.
Rosie Knight And you get fun Superman stuff. They obviously have that. The transformation that went viral of him transforming magical Gore style, you know, the designs on the costumes are really fun. They fill it with deep, weird DC characters, which we always love. I think it’s very sad this didn’t end up on Cartoon Network because I think it is legitimately like a perfect Cartoon Network show, but with the whole shenanigans that are going on over there with them shutting down the Cartoon Network building and laying off a lot of people at Cartoon Network, we can imagine that that is not kids and family is not a focus for Warner Brothers. But it’s also cool that it’s on Adult Swim because Adult Swim is in America, one of the kind of hubs of anime. So dying to show that is so deeply inspired by anime, but that’s also in this comics universe. And it debuted, you know, originally at midnight, which at first I was like, Oh, they’ve kind of pushed aside and they’re hiding it. But then I learned that midnight is basically that’s prime time for Adult Swim because that’s the time that they would always show, like everybody knew anime shows and everyone.
Jason Concepcion That’s when everybody’s everybody’s weed buzz is peaking.
Rosie Knight Exactly. And you turn on and Hunter X Hunted is on there. Or whatever like you know So I kind of love that it’s gotten to be this sort of organic fun thing that people are discovering. And it’s been really lovely because I can imagine people watching it with their kids. I can imagine people like us who’ve read a million Superman comics watching it, and it just feels both fresh and totally recognizable. And I think for me, that’s something I always really love in superhero storytelling is like, Does it make me feel like it understands the characters while also making me feel like there’s a reason it exists, which is to introduce something a little new.
Jason Concepcion Yeah, here’s the thing. And the reason it exists. For one thing, I, I, I love that DC does. Everybody who’s listening to this understands that I’ve been a lifelong Marvel fan and dip my toe in DC strategically. But one thing one thing I. We’ll eagerly tell anyone that. I love that DC does and I wish Marvel would do is like. Love story centric.
Rosie Knight Yes, yes, yes, yes. Yes.
Jason Concepcion Issues like like there was a was there was an anthology series, Mysteries of Love in Space. It was kind of recent, which was just like a variety of the good love stories starring Bizarro Superman, Lois and Clark from Lois’s perspective, Green Lantern and stuff. I don’t fucking love shit like that. And and this show really reminds me of that. And. To the in terms of like what you said about like staying true to the characters, it really this show really hammered home for me. One of the things that is deceptively really hard to nail with Superman, which they really do, and that’s like he’s obviously like, he is so good. He’s a fucking paragon. Yeah, he has an intense empathy. He just wants to help people. And part of. Part of nailing that is getting the reveal right.
Rosie Knight Getting the moments. Yes. Yes.
Jason Concepcion Lois figured it out. Or Clark. You know, they’ve done it different ways, right? I don’t want to spoil how they do it in this show, but you’ve seen it different ways where either Lois figures it out or Clark tells her. And that is such a deceptively hard moment to nail, because if you get it wrong and different stories have played with this throughout the years, you’re basically, you know, Clark is a liar. Clark’s lying to Lois for X amount of years. He’s been hiding this secret and, you know, like impugning her journalistic morals. Like, there’s there’s all sorts of things that this that this reveal can uncover that it’s potentially sticky. And the show really nailed it. And the great Superman stories really nail it where.
Rosie Knight Exactly.
Jason Concepcion Where the reveal happens. And it’s not like you Dick.
Rosie Knight No.
Jason Concepcion You asshole.
Rosie Knight Which for a lot of like, even you know, a lot of the comics you will be reading years and years afterwards and you’re like, wait, does Lois, like, not know? Like, is she dating both of them? Like, what’s going on here? But I, I love the way they do it in this show. I think, you know, absolutely.
Jason Concepcion I like the way they do it as well.
Rosie Knight They nail it. And also the best thing is it can be very tempting as a storyteller to have something like that as a huge, like end of season hook. But I think that they reveal exactly the right time to allow you to continue on your journey with these characters, with that knowledge. Also, I love the representation of Superman here. Now, if I’m not mistaken, I cannot remember which one of the creators it was. I wish I could, but one of the creators did a tweet where she was basically like, This is my whole dream has just been to do like white guy Superman, where he.
Jason Concepcion Jack Quaid nails the tone.
Rosie Knight And he is absolutely like that is who he is, is like, he just loves Lois. And it is so delightful to see the way that they play with these kind of visual nods that we understand from anime. Like the first episode where they meet, you get Clark with the blushing and he has like little red cheeks.
Jason Concepcion Anime style, by the blushing.
Rosie Knight And it’s they have a lot of fun. Using the visual language of shows like Sailor Moon, of things like, you know, Shonen Adventure, like one piece or Dragon Ball Z or whatever, and merging them all together. But in a way that doesn’t feel derivative. It feels like, Oh, this is what people who made this show loved. And that feels really special. I think there should be a lot more conversation, a lot more work in Western comics and stuff that’s inspired by Western comics should be in conversation with anime and manga, and this show does it in like a truly delightful way. Plus, the character designs are great, and every time they introduce a new character like that, the cast of characters of DC folks that you get to see in this are so outrageous. And every time someone pops up, you’re like, Oh shit.
Jason Concepcion Like, Doctor Ivo.
Rosie Knight Yeah, I fucking love this design. Like, this is so good. So, yeah.
Jason Concepcion I mean, they made him into Professor Ivo, the Tony Stark bass. They basically made him intoTony Stark in the MCU.
Rosie Knight And like the thing that I, I just this is the kind of show where I feel like there could be like ten seasons of it and you just keep watching them. Will that happen in the state of the struck company, Warner Brothers and HBO? Like as we know? Oh, I don’t. So I’m probably not. But I want to see more of this. I will say.
Jason Concepcion I agree with you. I think they did the reveal at exactly the right point in the season for all the reasons you mentioned. And plus, like at this point in 2023, I think you’re selling out Lois a little bit. If she can’t if if you know what I mean. Like you’re staring in this person’s face. There’s pictures of Superman all over the place. I guess at some point, if Lois is worth their salt as a journalist and investigative reporter, she’s got to be like, hold on a second before you do that. Wonderfully. But but one thing I will miss post the reveal is another thing the show does great is really nail that dynamic of like when. Two people in a friend group start crushing on you.
Rosie Knight So. Yeah, yeah.
Jason Concepcion And everybody knows it, but they deny it. Yeah. That, that they get a lot of really, really great mileage out of it.
Rosie Knight They do it so well.
Jason Concepcion And Jimmy’s like, what?
Rosie Knight Dude, I was thinking about that early. Like even in the first episode, they have this great moment where, like, Lois and Clark have, like, kind of, like an argument, and Clark is in the right and Lois is in the wrong. And like, they’re both like, I think Lois is talking to Jimmy, and then Clark’s just like, talking out on the street and ends up being one of the newsboy legion who comes and and they’re both just like, saying the same shit that they would say to each other. They’re like, Oh, my God. Like, I just. I just think I really messed up and I should’ve done this. And like, the newsboy legion kids like nine. And she’s like, Uh, no. Like, there’s, like, evil robots, Like you need to come and help. And like, Lois is talking to Jimmy. And Jimmy’s like, there’s robots. And even from the beginning, like, you just know that these two are basically, like, made for each other. And it’s, they do a really good job of making it still feel like there’s romantic tension, even, you know, that those two are end game, which I think is a very hard thing to do. And also, like I disagree with you, I just think that there’s just not enough romance focused stories like in superhero comics.
Jason Concepcion I kept thinking like, imagine like a Peter Parker Mary Jane romance comic.
Rosie Knight Exactly.
Jason Concepcion Teen focused, just romance comics.
Rosie Knight If you do it well. So like I will say, you know, we.
Jason Concepcion Like if you do it well, you get to. Of course, Do it well.
Rosie Knight No, no, no. I know you are. But like, before anyone comes in and been like, Oh, haven’t you ever read like the the.
Rosie Knight Yes, I know the thing. You know about something, Jason, me and Jason, they’re talking about something like thoughtful and interesting and like. So if you want to.
Jason Concepcion Read in Sue. Yeah. Reading Sue meeting and falling in.
Rosie Knight Exactly. Actually also like Rogue and Gambit. Look, the age difference. There are a lot of problems, but we all ship them. You can age them up a little bit is fine. But like those like a Rogue and Gambit show like this. Are you mad? That would be a hit. Like why does not exist? They I’m always trying to.
Jason Concepcion Doug Ramsey and Warlock. Oh, I’ll listen.
Rosie Knight I would love that. Dude every time I speak to anyone in DC. I’m like, So what do you think about like, it’s like a web tune, but it’s Swamp Thing and Abby Arcane and it’s like a romance. And they always look at me and I’m like, Trust me, people want monster romance, like the things that the people want. So I love that aspect. And I think that is what makes this show shine on is like the balance.
Jason Concepcion Really fun. Yeah.
Rosie Knight Imagine if you’re a kid. Yeah. And you love, you know, Pokemon or you love one piece and you watch anime all the time on Crunchyroll or whatever, and you never really go into superhero comics because you’re still like ten and you just haven’t read them. Imagine if you find this show like this can be like your Batman the Animated series. Now it’s going to have a totally different impact. But to see a show like this that understands the tropes and the stylistic flair of the things that you love and takes homage and influence from the shows that you already like, and it introduces you to this legendary iconic character who’s been around for 85 years. That just makes me feel really excited because I do think this will be that show for a lot of kids.
Jason Concepcion I completely agree. Really, really fun show. Check it out. Up next, Hivemind.
Speaker 1 <AD>
Rosie Knight Welcome to the Hive Mind, where we explore a topic in more detail with expert guests. Today, we are thrilled to be joined by Sarah Curran and Arielle Joe Villainous, who wrote An Illustrated Girl taking over a Lois Lane story along with Beautiful Colors by Olivia Piccini. And we are so happy to have them at today.
Jason Concepcion Sarah and Arielle, thank you so much for joining us.
Sarah Kuhn Thanks for having us.
Arielle Jovellanos Yeah. It’s so nice to be here.
Rosie Knight Yeah, I appreciate you, too. Making it possible. It has been a true journey to get you on the podcast. And I apppreciate. I appreciate you making the journey. So, one of the things that we love to ask people here, and I think I can’t wait to both talk about, is like, what was your comic book origin story like? What was the thing that that made you fall in love with comics? Sarah, I’m going to point to you in your comic book lover.
Sarah Kuhn Sure. You know, I. I think I probably told her a few versions of whatever that story is. So I. I’m not sure I even know anymore. But I think I, you know, I can’t remember a time in my life where I didn’t I didn’t have comic books. I grew up with them. I had them in childhood. My brother and I used to haunt the the spinner racks at the grocery store when you could get floppies for $0.75 or sometimes even $0.50. That’s really, as we all know, not the case anymore. And I think we started with things like Archie and Superman. I remember the Christopher Reeve Superman were some of kind of my first big comic book fandom movies. That’s really where I fell in love with Lois Lane. And I was a big X-Men kid. You know, we watched the animated series, we collected other comics, We got super into all the continuity and all of that. So I feel like they’ve always been in my life. I can’t really remember a time when I didn’t I didn’t read them, you know, That might have been my dad, too. He was a big comic book collector. He had a story about how his mother, our grandmother, threw away his collection when he went to college, and that was a childhood trauma for him for a really long time. So maybe one of the reasons he would literally bias whatever we wanted besides the fact that they only cause $0.75 was that he wanted to like kind of, you know, repurchase his collection or like whatever the modern version was of that collection. So, yes, I’ve always been a comic book kid, and it’s still wild to me that I get to make them now.
Rosie Knight Arielle, How about you?
Arielle Jovellanos Yeah. Oh. Um, I didn’t start off with superheroes. I started off with, I guess, like, how most kids do, maybe with, like, Garfield is B, and just like, the Saturday funnies, I’m obsessed with Garfield.
Rosie Knight Me too
Arielle Jovellanos And then from there, I think I. I kind of transitioned to making my first versions of comics by making kind of strip comics, because that’s like, that was the first time that I had seen, like, the form of comics. So the first initial comics that I had made were like very comic strip, very much honestly. They were kind of ripping off the plots of cartoons. So the things that I would seen, especially like they would be ripping off plots of SpongeBob and Dexter’s laboratory, things like that. And then I would just kind of transfer them into comics. But like with my own characters, it wasn’t really until about I got into manga that I was sort of reading comics that feel more like the comics that I actually read today and that influenced my work today. So the first one that I always talk about, no matter what is Ron Mobius, actually. Here, this is my very first
Rosie Knight Rumiko the legend.
Arielle Jovellanos Manga. Yeah, I love I Rumiko Takahashi sensei. I love her. But that the the first two volumes of Ranma that I ever bought, those are the two ones that I were that I was completely obsessed with. I collected up to a certain point and read past those two volumes, of course, but like those first two volumes were the ones that I would reread over and over and over again from like middle school on. I would I did. I didn’t even know that that’s what it was called. But I would do master studies of the pages and the character designs. And so definitely Ranma has been very, very influential. And then it wasn’t really, really until a couple after college that I got into superheroes earnestly, and I felt like deep, deep dive into it, like a rabbit Hole was super heroes, which I have told the story at multiple times at this point. But I just basically basically very, very, very long story short, I had gotten into the MCU because of Chris Evans, and that sort of led me to.
Rosie Knight Understandable. Yeah.
Arielle Jovellanos So that sort of led me into genuinely reading superhero comics, especially young Avengers, which was my it was my favorite. And, and I mean, honestly, I think since I don’t know, my, my, my enjoyment of superhero comics is always felt tied to like Tina shenanigans. So I was like very, very thrilled about Lois being very deep into shenanigans. And it yeah, it opened up, you know, like a very perfect fit for like, what I love about comics and superhero comics with Lois Lane.
Sarah Kuhn Well, anyway, I have to I have to mention my favorite part of that story that Arielle tells, which I see with this time, which is when you talk about how you sound like Chris Evans and and the MCU, and she actually like caught up in most of it through like fan fiction.
Rosie Knight Yes. Stucky fan fiction.
Sarah Kuhn That’s not my favorite part. My favorite part is that she’s and she says it so respectfully. She says there was a very nice young man named Steve Rogers, know this very nice young man named Steve Rogers. It’s so respectful.
Jason Concepcion And that’s nice.
Sarah Kuhn Even though he is.
Jason Concepcion And he’s like 95 years old, also.
Sarah Kuhn It’s like it’s so and so respectful.
Rosie Knight She’s looking respectfully at stucky fan art
Sarah Kuhn Respectfully at. America’s ass. Yeah. Yeah. I appreciate that.
Arielle Jovellanos Of course.
Sarah Kuhn I appreciate that so much.
Jason Concepcion Respectfully that is America’s ask respectfully.
Rosie Knight Respectfully.
Jason Concepcion Arielle you mentioned it we’re here talking to you all because of your book, Girl Taking Over: A Lois Lane Story. Sarah, tell us about the book.
Arielle Jovellanos Yes.
Sarah Kuhn Yeah, it’s. I mean, it’s like it sounds like I feel like our brains are going to been talking about this book for like, three months, but you never get tired. I mean, but I I’m having like, that short circuit moment where I’m like, what is that both about? And I’ve been talking so much. So, like, Girl Taking Over, colon, A Lois Lane Story, It’s the longes name title ever. It’s about a teenage Asian American biracial Lois Lane, and she has just graduated from high school and gotten her first internship in the big city. It’s National City, which is kind of this version of Los Angeles, and I live in Los Angeles, so I was really excited to sort of write in that environment. And she has this idea of what her perfect summer is, what’s going to happen, how it’s going to be so amazing. And it kind of doesn’t totally work out. It actually falls apart pretty much immediately. And so she kind of has to find her own way, make new friends, do a lot of hijinx. You know, that is has a very Ron sensibility as well. There’s lots of hazing, hazing, hijinx. And it’s kind of this story about how she finds herself, how she finds her voice and how she falls in love with journalism and becomes a version of the Lois Lane that we all know and love.
Rosie Knight Yeah. Arielle One of the things I mean, the book is beautiful, and. Sarah, I’m a huge fan of all your writing, but this has such a distinct visual language that you crafted with Olivia Puccini, the colorist. Could you talk a little bit about, like getting to kind of play in this superhero world, but in a totally different visual way than we’ve ever got to see? You really got to craft a unique world with with Sarah and Olivia.
Arielle Jovellanos Yeah. And I always say this and all of the interviews, but it really starts with first Sarah being, well, one a writer that I’ve we’ve been dying to collaborate on like a longer story for ages. And so I think and I think that was just because we could inherently sense that there was something harmonious about like the way that we think of stories that would. Maillard very well together. By the time that we would have a script, like a full script. And so the way that Sarah writes is just very it’s, it’s very visual, it’s very conversational. And in the fact that I when I see her script, I’m like, okay, she is giving me enough really, really enough description for me to get what she’s going for. But she gives me like a lot of runway to play with. And so it really starts with, I think, Sarah’s colorful way of describing how she wants something and then me being able to kind of compute that in my brain and being like, okay, this is this is what she means. And based off of how I know to play around with visual language, I’m going to translate what she said in words and then try to make it work with a visual. And I think we just worked really well together in that respect. And I think as well that Olivia and Melanie and Olivia, our colorist, Melanie, our letterer, also kind of got the vibe too. And I really do think it’s a testament to Sarah. Sarah’s like strong writing and direction, as well as our editor Sarah Miller’s ability to kind of keep the ship and the vision, like all pointing in one direction, leading us to the same place. And I think that’s why it I think the book came out so as as well as it did. Honestly sometimes I like will open it like randomly and be like a town with everything.
Rosie Knight It’s true.
Arielle Jovellanos Even months, even months later I’ll be like, Wow. Look at this. It’s great, you know? Yeah.
Jason Concepcion One of the things that really struck me about the book that I loved is just that the the fashions, the style. Um, I’m a big fan of that and everything and, you know, all the kind of visual stuff that I end up reading. And I think it’s really wonderfully done, particularly with Lois and her roommate Mickey. Tell us about the creation of the various fashions that these women wear, you know, going to work, going out and how you chose and adapted on those ideas.
Rosie Knight Mm hmm.
Arielle Jovellanos Sarah, do you want to start with how to write it into this script?
Sarah Kuhn Yeah. I mean, I think that, you know, as Arielle mentioned, like Sarah Miller, our editor, was such a wonderful sort of leader and guide for this project. And we I think the three of us all have very similar sensibilities about stories and characters and fashion and especially, you know, as fashion as it related to these characters. I always knew that was going to be a really important part of the book. And when we got Arielle on board, we were both so excited because we knew that, like, this book should have so much movement, so much vibrant, so much, you know, expression. And we knew that was something that Arielle is just so amazing at. And like Arielle said, like we had wanted she and I had wanted to collaborate together for so long on something. And so when it came to the fashion, the three of us had like very detailed discussions about it. And I think I had put some descriptions in the script. But then when we we started working on the first character designs, I think I wrote up like a brief that was sort of like, here, you know, we don’t have the whole script yet. I think we just had that outline at that point, maybe a little bit of a script, but we were kind of like, we want like this character to sort of look like this. Like this is her body language. This is the way she goes about things. This is the way she dresses. Here are maybe some real life inspirations. And we had sort of like different like actresses and influencers who we thought like maybe had a certain style or look that that were good inspirations. So we I put those together in a brief and I think I included like some Instagram links and stuff. And then Arielle made this amazing, like these amazing mood boards for each character, kind of pulling from that. But I think like the idea was just, you know, we wanted them to like obviously fresh, obviously modern, obviously, like, you know, young people today instead of maybe like young people when when we were all 16, although honestly, a lot of the fashion from when I was 16 is coming back. And I’m like sometimes I look at the youth and I’m like, I think I had that exact same outfit when I was your age. But anyway, I just like that was honestly one of the parts that I was the most excited for because I’d been such a fan of Arielle’s work for so long. And I just knew that the fashion was going to be made. And it was a very detailed process. And Arielle, I don’t know if you want to talk about like how you kind of created those mood boards and then led into your actual character designs.
Arielle Jovellanos Yeah, for sure. So I think in terms of well, for me, I think something that I’ve known about myself is that I don’t love the drawing of the outfit that is canon most of the time of any character. Because I’m just like, I don’t know. I just think that that’s that’s not often why I there are many, many images of, like a character always dressed in their normal character, a outfit, right? So I always try to be like, okay, like, what would they dress like in this situation or that situation? To be honest, I think that is like an effect of coming from fandom and fanfiction and like fan art. Just I think that that’s just like a world that is so indulgent and playful about it. Just I can’t not do that with my with, with my with any character that I draw. But that said, though, so when it got to having to figure out why are the the the lowest cast was going to where I did and list to Gen Z-ers just because I was like okay what what are some of the because I was like, I don’t you know, I just to make sure that it was like, yeah.
Jason Concepcion Yeah, yeah.
Arielle Jovellanos Because I think I’m getting into that stage of my like life where I’m dressing a little auntie. So I got, so I got to, to Gen Z friends of mine basically, or to, to help me with them. We would boards where I would just, I would pick and choose some things myself. I would direct, I would direct them, and then they would sort of like help me extrapolate on a like what else these characters might wear on and that especially. Coupled with the fact that there is such a large cast. And Sarah was very, very distinct in describing who each character was, even if they were just like a side character. And I think it was just like helpful to divide and conquer a bit. On getting at least the research done. I always think about comics. At least for me, it’s always been like a team sport where I. Yeah. Just because on the visual side of drawing a comic, I’m like, the artist is responsible for quite a lot of things, like drawing, like the set, drawing, like the characters, the body language, thinking about the clothing. There’s all these, like, different things to think about. And wherever I can, like, ask for help in these situations, I always try to ask for help. And so I think the my two fashion assistants, Jay Marie Garcia and Linda Cho, they definitely both helped in capturing the language of the fashion. And then from there it was easy for me to sort of be like, okay, these are their references. How can I extrapolate this further? How can I maybe like cartoon it up a bit? And honestly, yeah, I’m obsessed with every outfit, and I think I would I would wear all of it, basically.
Sarah Kuhn Yeah.
Rosie Knight Yeah.
Sarah Kuhn And it was funny because whenever Sarah Miller, the editor and I would get like new pages, we would be like, We do I need a beret. Like, do I need a letterman jacket, like everything or like I feel like I need this outfit now and it’s unfair that it doesn’t exist in real life. Like we were so inspired to, like, go buy things for ourselves, even though we’re not good. So, yeah, very inspiring.
Arielle Jovellanos Oh, man. Berets and letterman jackets. Yeah. That will, I, I think for me, I’ll always sneak in a Letterman jacket and I’ll always sneak in a beret. I’m always like, every. You know what that character needs? Just a jacket with a patch that indicates some part of her personality on it. Yes. That’s what.
Rosie Knight I was going to be like. I’ve definitely seen an Avatar crew fan art by you, where someone is wearing a letterman jacket. I was like, I’m sure that this Arielle’s works. Everyone is wearing one. Different one for each power.
Arielle Jovellanos Yeah, of course.
Rosie Knight One of the reasons, like I’ve been super stoked to have you on the show is like, this is the 85th anniversary of Lois Lane and Superman. Sure. But like Lois Lane, too. And a book actually came out on the anniversary, which I thought was really lovely. Sarah, I’ll start with you. Like, why do you what do you think it is about Lois Lane And, you know, to a lot a part, if you want to, about Clark or Superman, but like, what do you think it is about Lois that’s made her resonate for so long that you can have a graphic novel for young readers created by people like us our age, who loved this stuff but who weren’t even the first audience for it.
Sarah Kuhn Yeah. I mean, there is something about her that is both, like, compelling, like very specific, but also timeless. She’s the character that is the bitter last week in a different in different ways because you can sort of make her fit different scenarios, different time periods, but she always feels like Lois. And I think that was something that we really tried to drill down on, like, what is that? You know, how can we make sure this is definitely Lois? And, you know, like I said, like my first like falling in love with Lois mom, it was really those Christopher Reeve Superman movies. I just thought Margot Kidder was so amazing. Like, she was really the one that I zeroed in on. Like, Superman was fine, but she went through, and then I was like, This movie is like, all about this person. She is the main character. We are discovering Superman through her eyes because she’s, you know, the human kind of like the audience is way in. And I just always loved that she was so tough and so outspoken and she would never allow herself to be the sidekick or the sort of girlfriend or the just like I think with some stories like that, with, you know, superheroes or these sort of larger than life franchises where maybe it was about a man and the man had a love interest or a girlfriend or whatever. A lot of times that character was kind of a throwaway. She was just very pretty and complimented everything he did and thought he was so amazing and, you know, was very sort of blank slate accessible. And Lois was the opposite. She was very outspoken, she was very ambitious. She cared about getting to the truth. She would sort of go after something and never give up. She was extremely tenacious. She would take up space. She would really not allow herself to be pushed to the side. And I think that’s something that probably appeals to a lot of this. I think to a lot of us, I know that’s something that appeals to writers because I think when you’re writing something, you’re trying to get to a truth, whether it’s an emotional truth, whether it’s a narrative truth, whether it’s a truth that exists just for that character, like whatever it is, you are always trying to find a truth and kind of unearth that and bring that out to whoever is reading your story so well. I think for me has always been very powerful. You know, the moment I have talked about it a few times in interviews is the end of Superman, too, where the whole, you know, the whole movie, she’s been on this chick where she wants this fresh squeezed Orange, which was healthy. And in the end of the movie, she basically orders Clark to go get her a hamburger with everything on it and the fresh squeezed orange juice. And it’s like nine in the morning. And she’s like, Yeah, I know. Go get that for me. And I was like, Oh, my God, Like, this Is this my goal? My goal? Like, this is like, what I want my future to look like. And so I think there is just something about her that, again, is so specific but can also be more to different time periods and different ages and different settings. And so it is the biggest compliment, I think, to both of us when someone is like, you know, this this is Lois Lane, This is not like a Lois Lane we’ve seen before, but there is something about her at her core that she is undeniably Lois Lane.
Jason Concepcion To that end, I think one of the most surprising things about this book for me is a person who came up through digital media and journalism. Rosie The same is the way it prepares the young readers today for the realities of digital media, through Lois’s adventure to National City and arrival at the offices of CATCo, only to discover that CATCo has been gobbled up by some large media conglomeration and her hero, editor in chief has been jettisoned. And now she’s got to figure it out. I mean, listen, that is that is a reality that everyone who’s ever worked at digital media is face in it. Edit at some point in time and talked to us, Sarah, about bringing that to the page and making that part of the story.
Sarah Kuhn I mean, I am glad that you can feel seen and hopefully not to traumatize.
Rosie Knight Seen and traumatized.
Sarah Kuhn Yeah, I you and. I’m also glad it came out and I mean I my you know my background is I was a journalist. I was my own little Lois Lane. Like I you know, I did that for a long time, and that’s what I did in college. That’s what I did after college. I had several media jobs after college that I did full time before I became a freelancer and then eventually into writer and all that. And so I have a great deal of affection for that world. And when I was kind of starting out in journalism, it was sort of, I guess, the web one. Very, very precise. But I worked in that environment for a while, and I think I had, you know, that sort of sense of like when I think when I was a kid, I had sort of imagined it as like, oh, you get this one job. And I remember like I was Sassy. Sassy magazine at the time was sort of like it was like the Bible for sort of the alternative teenage girls who wanted to be outspoken and, you know, within to like riot girls in jeans and kind of all the things that Lois ends up being into. And so I think I had this fantasy of like, oh, yeah, you get a job at like a Sassy magazine at like the entry level, and then you just stay there forever. And then you, you live this, like, amazing, glamorous life in like New York City or San Francisco or L.A. or, like, some amazing metropolis where, you know, every day is just like, you having these like, I don’t know.
Rosie Knight And you can pay rent, and you can buy a house.
Sarah Kuhn I guess so like eating muffins and having health insurance, like, you know, And so, like, when I actually started working in media, I think then and to be clear, I love I think like they were all they were all honestly awesome. Like I had such a good time. I made great friends. I still have fans from like my journalism days who have followed me into this second career. And so I think like, you know, that was something that I thought would be kind of fun to explore with. Well, is that like, she has this kind of idealized version. She knows what she wants. She’s going to go after it at all costs. But her vision of that is specific and so kind of glamorized and so not exactly based in reality. You know, I think she also decides, I just work hard enough. I will be rewarded over and over and over again in a very fair and equitable way. And, you know, I think we probably all have that moment where we realize that the job that we love may not love us back to the same degree or that or even if we love the job, the corporation may not love us back.
Rosie Knight Yeah.
Sarah Kuhn To the same degree. You know, so many things can happen over the course of like even a year, especially now, it feels like the media landscape is kind of the Wild West.
Rosie Knight Truly.
Sarah Kuhn I thought that was kind of also an important reality to to reflect. And I also kind of wanted to show that like, you know, I think all of us also go through our own story arc and realizing, you know, as cheesy as it sounds, the real power is in you. The real power is your voice. No corporation, no media job, no like newspaper or magazine or whatever can give that to you. And especially now with all of these avenues to sort of get your voice out there and your work out there yourself, I thought that was something that was important for Lois to realize that the real power is her. It’s not a job. It’s not a certain college, it’s not a certain paper, it’s not a certain internship. It’s really her voice that she just needs to be brave enough to express. So, yeah, and again, I’m glad that that resonated with people who are working in media during these trying.
Rosie Knight I love that everyone can just like whenever they’re having a rough time, when they get laid off, they can just come back and listen to that speech you just got to make the zine, man.
Sarah Kuhn I mean, I was. I was laid off so many times during my media career, like I was laid off so many times that I feel like, you know, I, I understand that. I understand what that’s like. And yeah, that was something I had to realize that my power was not in a platform someone else had given me or a publication I didn’t create or someone who had given me a job. Those were all very nice things, but my true power was in my voice. And that’s something that I think everyone I hope can realize for themselves eventually.
Rosie Knight I love that. And okay, so, so more on on a less existentially relatable, but also terrifying level. So this is obviously one of the the I love this line of DC y graphic novels that Sarah is the brilliant editor of. Do you guys have like a Dream sequel story you would want to tell? Like, really? Are you trying to put Clark Kent in a letterman jacket with a giant S on the back?
Arielle Jovellanos I would love to have a Clark Kent in a Letterman jacket. See, the thing is, though, okay, I’ve told Sarah my dream is like a himbo Superman situation. Here’s the thing, though. Like, since since the book has come out, another thing has come out which I. Whoa. Which is My Adventures with Superman on HBO. Oh, wait. Sorry, MAX.
Rosie Knight How could you?.
Arielle Jovellanos And first I. Oh, whenever I see it, I’m like, Oh, my God. My Adventures with Superman Lois and the Girl Taking Vver Lois, like, they’re. They’re shaking hands like they are, like the medium of like.
Sarah Kuhn Well, like, because they’re like. We’re like the Spiderman. They’re like the Spidermans pointing at each other
Arielle Jovellanos Yeah. They are, like, very. And I think that that speaks to what you were saying, Sarah, that, like, Lois is Lois. And what, like when a writer or like when a team gets a Lois, right. You will sense that it is Lois. And there is, there is definitely something, right, about The My Adventures of Superman Lois. That said, if we could do a graphic novel that is about our our Lois and meeting Clark, meeting Clark and basically Clark just following her around and being like, Oh, yes, Ms. Lane, let me help you with that. I would love about my, my like, well, while Lois is off chasing some like, ground breaking story and Clark just like a sister. I would love that. That’d be great. That would be the story that I would want. Yeah.
Sarah Kuhn Yeah. Arielle something himbo, Superman like Himbo Clark Kent. And that was something I just feel like she we need to see from her. Like we need to see her version of that. I think definitely. But yeah, I mean, obviously we we had so much fun working on this book. We love Sarah Miller, our editor. We love the whole team. We would love to as some kind of, you know, follow up at some point. We had a lot of ideas, but definitely himbo Clark Kent kept coming up. Whenever we were doing interviews.
Jason Concepcion Sarah and Arielle, thank you so much for joining us. Looks wonderful.
Rosie Knight Yeah. Thank you so much.
Sarah Kuhn Thank you.
Arielle Jovellanos Thank you.
Rosie Knight Thank you, Sarah and Arielle. Up next, Nerd Outt. In today’s Nerd Out, where you tell us what you love and why, or a theory you’re excited to share or a quick question we can answer. Ashley pitches us on the 2023 film The Nimona, based on the beloved groundbreaking comic by ND Stevenson.
Ashley Hi, Jason and Rosie. This is Ash, a longtime listener. I wanted to send a nerd out suggestion request beg you guys to talk about this amazing comic and now movie Nimona by ND Stevenson. It is so refreshing. It has amazing music, incredible animation, great voice acting. It is on Netflix. And it is such an amazing allegory about gender and about being an outsider and about learning to question the world around us and find our place in it and accept who we are and the people around us. As someone who’s been going through the gender fuckery on my own. It was amazing to see this story. And as someone who has a seven year old, she was able to watch this and was just entranced with every moment of it. And it was truly such an amazing, amazing experience. And I really hope that more people see this and talk about this and just, Oh, it was so good. Thanks for all that you guys do.
Rosie Knight Thanks, Ashley. If you have theories, passions, or quick questions you want to share, hit us up at Xray@crooked.com. Instructions, as always, are in the show notes.
Jason Concepcion Thanks to Sarah and Arielle for joining us. And that’s it for us. Rosie, any plugs?
Rosie Knight You can still just read my IGN piece. We have got I can’t believe I’m saying this.
Jason Concepcion It’s really, really great. Check it.
Rosie Knight I usually don’t read the comments, but the the oral history of the boom and bust of comics on IGN Actually, I have. It has been reported to me by multiple places that it has very positive comments of just people being excited to remember this era in their life. So I think it was a great if the piece can make a comment section happy, then it’s a good piece. So I’m feeling very happy about that and very proud about it. So just go and read it and and listen to some comic legends saying some hilarious things.
Jason Concepcion Catch the next episode of X-ray Vision Wednesday, August 16th.
Rosie Knight Until then, you can watch full episodes of the podcast on YouTube. You can also check us out on Twitter at XIV Port and join our Discord to hang out with lots of cool fans.
Jason Concepcion Five star ratings. Five star reviews. We need them. We got to have them. You got to give them us. Here’s one from TrackMan. I’m a track man. Best pop culture podcast out there. Wow.
Rosie Knight Thank you.
Jason Concepcion Jason and Rosie, a really delightful combo, a ridiculous amount of pop culture knowledge. I relish their comics recommendations and I appreciate their insightful approach to breaking down shows and movies. Thank you, TrackMan.
Rosie Knight Appreciate it.
Jason Concepcion Before we go, I want to share some news about X-ray Vision. After two wonderful years making pods and digital series here at Crooked Media. We are taking X-ray Vision independent. Making this show has been such a delight. Connecting with the audience. Talking about the stuff we love has been a wonderful, wonderful pleasure. I’m sure you want to know what this means for the pod. We’re going to find a home for it. And because of certain business things that you don’t need to worry about, you’re not going to need to subscribe to a new pod. Once we get that home for the pod, which should be shortly, hopefully. Knock, knock, wood. All you have to do is check your feed and it’ll pop up. You’ll also get messages from Rosie and I about when that will happen. More information on our final show, which will be next Wednesday. X-ray Vision is a Crooked Media production. The show is produced by Chris Lord and Saul Rubin and executive produced by me, Jason Concepcion. Our editing and sound design is by Vasilis Fotopoulos. Video production by Delon Villanueva and Rachel Gaewski. Social Media by Ewa Okulate and Caroline Dunphy. Thank you to Brian Vasquez for our theme music.