War Rocket Ajax #15: Blair Butler Talks ‘Heart’ and Reviewing Comics on TV [Podcast]
You may already know Blair Butler from her work hosting the comics segment Fresh Ink on G4TV, where she’s gets to be one of the few people who actually reviews comic books on television, but this week, she’s talking to ComicsAlliance’s War Rocket Ajax podcast about her upcoming comic Heart with artist Kevin Mellon and her love of it subject matter, Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighting. You can listen to the whole show right here!War Rocket Ajax v.2, #15: Win By Facemurder with Blair Butler
(WARNING: Contains NSFW language)
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In this week’s episode, Chris surprises no one by being pretty excited about the new season of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic and to answer your questions, Matt deals with the perils of fixing the iTunes feed. We also take a walk through Devil May Cry 4, “the methadone to Bayonetta‘s heroin.” Plus, in our Listener Mail segment, we talk about the characters we like in theory, but not so much in concept.
When Blair joins the program, she tells us the short version of how she became the world’s most prominent (and possibly only) national television comic book reviewer:
It’s a really strange story, and it’s long, but I’ll shorten it up. I was the head writer for XPlay, which was a video game review show on G4, and I directed some episodes for them and did a lot of writing and some sketch stuff. They were looking for someone to cover comics on Attack of the Show, and they brought in a bunch of guys that they tried out, and no one was really clicking.
And then one of the producers at the time was like, “Hey, there’s this girl that every Wednesday goes to the comic book store with us in the car and talks our ear off about comics. She’s on X-Play, why don’t you guys just audition her, because why not?” At the point, I think they were just kind of seeing what fit, because it was really early in the development of Attack of the Show. I think it had just been named Attack of the Show, maybe?
So I tried out, and I was extremely nervous. For some inexplicable reason, they kept me, and I’ve definitely been trying to improve over the years, although I’ve done lots of facepalm-worthy things on the show.
She also tells us what influenced her decision to move from reviewing comics to making them:
It was just that after a while, instead of talking about it, you want to actually do it. And also, I feel like it’s this interesting… not “put up or shut up” by any stretch, but it’s something that I wanted to do, and I have to say, especially because I’ve been doing it through Image, you really see how the sausage is made.
There’s no editorial, you know what I mean? Everything from, like, approving stuff for printing and soliciting, that’s all up to you. It’s been an amazing and really steep learning curve.
I feel like there’s an accessibility there. For example, if you decide “Hey, as opposed to watching a movie or TV, I want to make TV,” that is a very labor-intensive proposition that requires convincing hundreds of people to put up all this money. I feel like with comics, it’s executable. It’s doable. You have to find an artist that is willing to take a gamble on you, especially if it’s creator-owned, or a company that’s willing to take a gamble on you if it’s one of the publishers besides Image. But I feel like it’s doable. It’s something that you can write a script, or if you’re an artist, you can create a comic. That barrier for entry, it’s not lower, but your mind can envision that there’s a way to do it.
She also makes an attempt to sell Chris, a die-hard pro wrestling fan, on the idea of MMA, a sport she loves so much she wrote a comic about it:
To me, it’s like, wrestling, what are the stakes? The outcome is predetermined. Yes, it’s athleticism, I guess, but everybody knows who’s going to win before the match even starts, even if the audience doesn’t.
The amazing things about MMA are the upsets, the athleticism, it’s seeing someone… there was this guy named Anthony “Showtime” Pettis, who ran up a cage and, like the Matrix, kicked off the side of the cage and hit a man in the face! And you couldn’t believe it! It was like gravity got turned the F off. They called it the Showtime Kick. Google it. Everybody listening to this, just go Google “Anthony Pettis Showtime Kick.”
That happened! That man turned gravity on its side and everyone pooped. Everyone collectively pooped.
It’s the kind of thing that when it happens in an action film, you’d go “that could only happen in an action film,” and he did it in real life. It’s like someone from Cirque Du Soleil did a move and then kicked a dude’s head off while they were doing it. It’s amazing.
Plus, Blair shares her thoughts about the controversial books of the new 52, tells us all about Heart and compares the Kansas City professional sports teams to the world’s worst boyfriend.
Check out more of Kevin Mellon’s art here.
Heart from Image Comics is out November 5th.
Anthony Pettis’ “Showtime Kick.” It’s good, but it’s no Dusty Rhodes “Hard Times” promo:
As though you haven’t seen it already: Laura Hudson’s thoughts on Catwoman #1 and Red Hood and the Outlaws #1.
Chris’s Rec: Wicked Will, the new album from The Ettes.
Matt’s Rec: Drive
Birds of Prey #1: “That’s a breath of fresh air.” “They’re clearly meant to be sexy women, and they’re pulled off as sexy women, but they’re not exploitative.”
Wonder Woman #1: “It’s certainly dark, and it’s a lot darker than people might be expecting from a Wonder Woman book.” “One of the things that I think it did very well is that, for me anyway, it gave me a Wonder Woman that I really like.”
Hulk #41: “Parker really pulled a fast one on me here.” “This issue’s a huge accomplishment on Jeff Parker’s part, the Gabriel Hardman art was gorgeous, I never thought that at one time, the Red Hulk would be one of my favorite Marvel charactes, but here we are.”
Also, X-Men Schism and a few other “New 52″ books (Nightwing and Green Lantern Corps) get some quick discussion.