Friday, October 30, 2015

I Can't Hardly STAN It

Join the Jaunty Jubilant JET Society with this overstuffed show! We talk news, Supergirl, The Last Kingdom, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda and Kal's Komics Korner returns with our read of Fantastic Four #48-50, The Galactus Trilogy! Plus, we've got an interview with NaNoWriMo's Director of Community Engagement, Sarah Mackey! 'Nuff said!


Tuesday, October 27, 2015

An Interview with Dave Nadelberg

Below is one of the interviews we conducted with the fabulous featured guests at Nerdcon: Stories 2015 in Minneapolis, MN. Originally, there was audio for all of our interviews but our engineer (Kal) is a schmuck and some of them didn't turn out very good. So, transcribed here, is the text of our interview with Dave Nadelberg, which Kal was forced to type hanging upside-down as punishment. You can check out some of the interviews that *did* work elsewhere on the site or on iTunes @ The Just Enough Trope Podcast. Enjoy! (whip cracks) Keep typing! Three more paragraphs and you can have some oxygen.

Kaliban:  We’re talking with David Nadelberg, who is the creator and founder and writer and producer of the multi-media storytelling project Mortified. It’s been a stage show, a TV show and a documentary. Do you get people who ask you to come out and do a Mortified show or do you tour the show?

Dave Nadelberg: Quick clarity; I am a writer but I’m not *the* writer of Mortified. The premise of Mortified is that adults are getting on stage and sharing some of their most embarrassing childhood things that they wrote. If anything, I am the editor and curator. It’s a team of us all around the country who are stationed to kind of help people in local cities…in fact, we’re opening up a Mortified here in Minneapolis and I’m so excited. In early 2016, there’s going to be a Mortified show in the Twin Cities. Tomorrow, I’m going to be training a team of local producers in what makes bad writing good writing so they can meet people who wrote awful things when they were teenagers and help them figure out which ones are good for strangers.

K: I read a little about your background, that you had a love letter that you’d written and wanted to share…what’s the story there?

D: I like that that’s my ‘background’.

K: (laughs)

D: “My background is that when I was 15, I wrote a love letter.”

K: Better than some…

D: Yeah, I did. I wrote a love letter to a girl when I was 15, growing up in Michigan and I found that letter in my early 20’s and I started reading it to friends…

K: You forgot to mention that it was written on the back of a poetry magazine submission form…

D: Oh, you’re a good researcher…that’s right.

K: Which in my opinion is the most earnest form of paper.

D: The back of a poetry magazine submission form?

K: Yeah.

D: I’ll say this: the name of the poetry…it was for my high school poetry magazine…

K: It’s getting better…

D: It’s getting better...which I was the editor of, which would imply I’m a better writer.

K: (laughs)

D: But anyway, the magazine was called Etchings.

K: (laughs) That’s it. We’re at the peak.

D: “Every year, we’re going to take submissions for Etchings. Sweet, sensitive poetry and artwork for Etchings.” So, I submitted to Etchings...”Etchings”…and on the back I wrote this love letter to this girl Leslie. I have no idea what happened to her, but for the past 15 years of my life, I’ve been doing this project because of a crush on some girl who does not have any clue. How creepy is that?

K: She must know who you are now.

D: Not a clue. I mean, I don’t know what happened to her.

K: Thanks, Leslie.

D: This is the most elaborate stalking project ever.

K: (laughs)

D: We laugh ‘cause it’s true.

K: And you did it in L.A. when you first got it up on its feet?

D: That’s right. So, Mortified began as a stage show in Los Angeles and since then we do stage shows all over the world. We’re opening ones up in Dublin and London. We just did some in Amsterdam recently and the very international spot of the Twin Cities coming soon. But also we’ve done a film and you mentioned TV, we did a TV spinoff a couple of years ago where it was the Mortified sessions which was like a talk show. But, the main thing that we do now is the Mortified podcast.

K: Which can be found at…

D: You can find the Mortified podcast at, iTunes, Stitcher and it’s a weekly series and it’s free. I think it’s the culmination of so much of what we do and it’s one of the best expressions of what we do and I’m so excited that now we have a version of Mortified that anybody can access for free, regardless of their geography, their age, they don’t have to be 21 or over to get in…

K: Oh, really? I think that would be a bar. If you’re a kid…”here’s a picture I drew of a pony when I was 4 and I’m mortified”. If you’re 18 years old, what do you have to bring?

D: Well, we don’t have 18 year olds performing in the show…

K: Oh! I’m sorry…

D: I just meant enjoying it.

K: We can cut that out. I’m an idiot. (to Mika) Cut the part where I’m an idiot out.  

D: No! You’re not an idiot. It’s a fair…

K: I was thinking “Oh, I can’t believe this picture of a pony I drew…right, guys? We’re all 16 here…”

D: Wait, are you *mortified*?

K: Yes!

D: Did you make that mistake on purpose to promote my…that’s amazing!

K: Uh…yeah! Yes. The curtain comes back…

D: Very clever.

K: (laughs) You meet with a lot of people for stories for Mortified, don’t you?

D: Yeah, I meet with strangers all the time, they give us their…and not just me, the whole Mortified team…childhood diary entries is our main bread and butter…love letters, lyrics, poetry, home movies, bar mitzvah videos, whatever you got…

K: And part of your job and your staff’s job is to curate the experiences?

D: That’s right.

K: Something you mentioned on your website is curating and trying to remove the more the self-indulgent and exhibin—exhibithibiba---

D: Exhibitionistic.

K: That’s the word I’m looking for!

D: It’s a hard word.

K: —elements so it’s more true and more ‘real’?

D: We curate everything as opposed to doing an open mike because not everything we saved as kids is actually funny to strangers. Some of the stuff we wrote, it requires a certain context. For instance, yesterday, here at Nerdcon: Stories, I read aloud a poem I wrote about an imaginary bagpiper, which is a very bizarre thing for a kid to have written. And it is only funny, in my opinion, when you know a certain context which is that I wrote this poem not wanting to write a love poem or a sex poem, because lots of teenagers were writing that and for whatever reason, when you hear this poem about a bagpipe, not about sex, there are certain moments that sound very sexual. It’s funny only when you can hear it through that filter…

K: You consider the subtext.

D: Yeah. And so we try to help people with that filter. We say “here’s what’s going to help people invest and laugh at your childhood writing.” And for whatever reason they agree to that.

K: They do agree to it.

D: Did you write anything as a kid?

K: Argh…I’m trying to think…I probably wrote…I loved the Transformers, so I probably wrote Transformers fan fic. They didn’t call it fan fic back then…

D: You think you really did?

K: I’m pretty sure…

D: Do you live close by?

K: Uh…

D: I’m stalking you now.

K: (to Mika) We need to get a shredder right away. You have to talk to a lot of people; what’s your secret to getting people to relax and let things out and let you into their Transformers fanfic *trails off*

D: Alcohol?

K: Oh, ok.

D: Basically, when people come to us and this is very nerve-wracking when they say, “Hey, I’ve got some journals and stuff to share with you”, the good news is when something’s ten years old, it feels like a lifetime ago, though it’s revealing and raw and it’s sort of like an audition but it’s not. We’re not here to judge your stuff. One of the rules we have is no “Simon Cowells”. I do not want us to be judging someone, like “you’re not good enough”. They didn’t write this to impress us or to be impressive and our job is to help them…we’re looking for ‘minutes’. At worst, we’d find one minute of good stuff, so our ‘rejection’ would be that we didn’t find enough; we found a little, but we’re looking for 8 minutes of material that can make an audience laugh.

K: Is it primarily to make people laugh and about comedy?

D: The primary function of Mortified is to make people laugh. That said, I think the reason we’ve been able to survive and be around for over 14 years is that people show up for the laughter and we sucker punch them with pathos and poignancy. It’s something that…I wouldn’t say is therapy, but it’s therapeutic. There are Mortified people, especially if you watch Mortified Nation (which is on Netflix), there are moments in that…we tackle anything a kid deals with, including things as unfunny as child abuse.  But, we’ll find a way to balance heartbreak with humor. And I find that very…politically, even though our show is not political, I find that very uplifting. I find it very upsetting when I see things in pop culture where people have an illness or they’re facing a hardship and it’s presented intensely dramatically and that’s not how life is. There’s a range of emotions and we try to show the roller-coaster.

K: What do you think is the secret behind the success of the show? Is it the catharsis? Or connection?

D: It’s the Transformers fanfic…

K: (laughs) It’s coming soon!

D: (laughs)

K: Is it people sharing things?

Mika: (still laughing about the Transformers thing)

K: Why is it so successful? Why do people like seeing people humiliate themselves?

D: I think that there’s something about…obviously they have to reveal some sort of availability…I think there’s something that when you listen to the writings of people when they’re young, as opposed to a ‘memoir’ show when you’re writing about a past time, they don’t have an adult perspective. It’s like a kind of time travel. It’s like a Jedi mind trick. That kid who wrote about their pain and struggle, he has no clue…it’s cliché to say “it’ll get better” and “I will survive” and some people may roll their eyes but it’s something I firmly believe in and that people can latch on to. I think that’s what it is.

K: And it makes that thing smaller. Whoever your past self was, making a bigger deal out of something than they thought…obviously, you’ve made it to here. It gives you distance.

D: Yeah, the thing you don’t know when you’re a teenager, if you’re going through depression, life doesn’t ever get perfect…sometimes it gets worse, sometimes it does get better, but what’s different about you as an adult as opposed to when you were twelve is…it didn’t kill you. That’s an important message I want people to walk away with. At the end of every show, we say “that’s today’s show and we’d like to remind you as we do on every edition of Mortified, we are freaks, we are fragile and we all survived”. That’s something I believe in.

K: Yeah.

D: Is that too heavy?

K: And funny! It’s funny.

D: All right.

K: Primarily, it’s funny.

D: Hilarious.

K: It’s the Mortified podcast, you can find it at and on iTunes. We’ve been talking with Dave Nadelberg. Thanks for joining us!

D: Thank you.

Idiot's editor's note: As another in a string of mea culpas, I want to say we turned the mics of *way* too early, as Dave stayed and talked with us for twice as long as we had been recording about Mortified, the Mortified Sessions TV show, the Mortified Nation documentary, pitching for humorless Comedy Central executives, why LA gets a bad rap sometimes and more about Mortified expanding to the Twin Cities and beyond. So, "sorry" from an interviewer still learning the ropes and it looks like I owe Dave some Transformers fan fic. Thanks again!

An Interview with Holly Black

Below is one of the interviews we conducted with the fabulous featured guests at Nerdcon: Stories 2015 in Minneapolis, MN. Originally, there was audio for all of our interviews but our engineer (Kal) is a schmuck and some of them didn't turn out very good. So, transcribed here, is the text of our interview with Holly Black, which Kal was forced to type out with weights on his fingers as punishment. You can check out some of the interviews that *did* work elsewhere on the site or on iTunes @ The Just Enough Trope Podcast. Enjoy! (whip cracks) Type, monkey! Type like the wind!

Mika: We are here with sci-fi and fantasy author Holly Black, who has written such things as the Spiderwick Chronicles with Tony Di—

Holly Black: DiTerlizzi.

M: Thank you…you knew I needed help with that…the Modern Faerie Tale series, as well as the Magisterium series with Cassandra Clare. Welcome, Holly.

HB: Thank you.

M: So, first of all, I know I talked about this before, but I’m a big fan and I’ve been reading your Modern Faerie Tale series and I really enjoy it.

HB: Thank you so much.

M: What made you decide to write about the Fae and the Fae world?

HB: Well, it’s interesting because, right now, you know my last book was called The Darkest Part of the Forest and it was actually the first book back to faeries—

M: Right.

HB: —in a long time, and now I’m staring on a new faerie series. The first book is called Cruel Prince and so I’ve been thinking a *lot* about faeries recently after writing some books about other things for a long time. I think I…both Tony and I actually were hugely influenced by a book called Fairies. It was a big illustrated book; it was illustrated by Brian Froud of Dark Crystal fame…

M: Sure.

HB: …he did Good Faeries/Bad Faeries and a lot of illustrated fairy books and did concept art for film. And Alan Lee, who you may know for his concept art for the Lord of the Rings. And so it was just this incredibly beautiful, majestic, terrifying book of faeries. My mom is a painter and so she had it for herself and I remember being both really frightened by it and really intrigued by it. It’s the thing that started me reading faerie folklore and that left this imprint on me and so when I went to write novels, it was some of the stuff that I wanted to play with. One of the things I really love about faeries is that, unlike other supernatural creatures, a vampire was once human, a werewolf is *sometimes* human…

M: Right.

HB: …a ghost was once alive. Faeries were never human and they have a separate morality. And they’re also not one creature…boggarts and imps and nixies and pixies and sprites; they’re a whole ecosystem. So they’re an incredibly fun thing to play around with.

M: You’ve collaborated with other artists and creators on several series, including visual artists as well as writers. What have you discovered about your own writing process during your collaborations? Was there anything that surprised you?

HB: I remember Tony saying that he wasn’t going to illustrate the things that I described a lot. He was going to illustrate the thing that wasn’t described in the text—

M: Interesting.

HB: —and in doing so, artwork would be in conversation with the text. He might add things that you would only learn about through the art and I remember it really changing my perception of what it meant to collaborate in that way, that “here’s somebody filling in part of the story” and telling a separate story in their own way. I think that that is one of the best things about collaborating particularly with artists, but it’s actually true about collaborating with authors, too, that they are going to bring the stuff that you would never think of. They’re going to fill in the parts you didn’t even notice were blank.

M: Just getting another perspective in there.

HB: Yeah; they’re going to make the thing better in a way you just couldn’t.

M: Very cool. You’re a Doctor Who fan…


M: Yes; we *all* are. (laughs) Your Doctor Who e-book Lights Out follows the Twelfth Doctor, who makes up a very small part of the Who history thus far.

HB: True!

M: (laughs) So, how did you make sure that you honored the continuity of all of Doctor Who when you were writing that?

HB: Well, the thing I was most worried about was that I had to write that story before the season began.

M: OK!

HB: So, my main focus—

M: Before seeing Twelve at all!

HB: Right! My main focus was not honoring the continuity that came before but actually just, “please, God, let me capture something of what Peter Capaldi’s going to bring to this role”. Because all I had was the screenplay.

M: That is terrifying!

HB: Terrifying. So what I was trying to do was sort of, you know, pull some flavor of the screenplay, tell the story, and then, as soon as the first episode aired, I went back and edited it…you know, I watched it over and over and took notes of his mannerisms and the way he delivered lines and just tried to imbue it with some sense of what he brought to the Doctor. But it was very difficult because it was based on that ONE episode.

M: (laughs)

HB: And I’d actually…I’d read ahead…

M: Sure.

HB: But I, you know, I hadn’t seen him ahead and so that was my (laughs)…there are things I could’ve worried about that I would have worried about if I wasn’t so worried about this, what I was very busy worrying about, like how little I get this right.

Kaliban: ...watching “The Thick of It”…

HB: (laughs)

K: That’s probably pretty close.

HB: I did actually. I did watch him, I was going to watch him in some other things. But, you know, you’re only guessing.

M: Right.

K: Is there a BBC continuity cop? If you write something for them, and they go “Well, actually the Autons didn’t do this or that”…

HB: Yes.

K: Ok. There’s probably a whole team.

HB: Oh yes. I mean I don’t know who does it because it came through the editor *from* them, they just sent it back. I don’t know how many people were involved or whether they just do this all day…

K: There’s probably a team of Cybermen doing it…

HB: Sure, absolutely. “Cybermen told me I couldn’t do that.”


HB: (laughs)

M: You are writing the upcoming DC/Vertigo Lucifer series…

HB: Yes, another thing I’m terrified about, thank you.

M: Oh! Sorry!

HB: (laughs)

M: Vertigo Comics previously died something of a quiet death but it’s coming back in a big way. Now, with the Comics Code being defunct and Image Comics having a lot of strong, creator-owned titles, what’s Vertigo’s place in this new landscape of the world of comics?

HB: That’s a great question and not one I actually—

M: (laughs)

HB: I mean I don’t know! I think that you’re right, that they’re trying to figure that out and I know they have a lot of creator-generated projects coming out now…

M: Sure.

HB: …as well as a couple of things like Lucifer where you have some reaching back into a character, with a character that is part of their universe already. But, you know, I think that everybody always is trying to figure out “where do we fit into the changing landscape?”

K: (breaking in) Hi! World’s biggest Lucifer fan here…At the end of Carey’s run, it’s sort of…

HB: Tied up tight?

K: Really tight!

HB: Real tight!

K: So without spoiling anything, how’s that gonna work out?

HB: Uh…ok.

K: It’s gonna be a spoiler!

HB: I’ll tell you. Lucifer’s back; I am accepting everything that happened. I love Lucifer...

K: Carey’s run was amazing.

HB: When I got the call from Shelly Bond, I was at home, I was signing Magisterium tip-in sheets. I had like 5000 tip-in sheets and she was like “do you remember when you proposed a project and we rejected it?” and I said “I do...”

K: “Every. One.”

HB: “I do remember that, Shelly” and she was like “well, I was wondering if you would like to do something else” and I was thinking “I know exactly what I’ll be doing for the next five years of my life, I’m set” and she was like “I was thinking maybe you’d want to do something with Lucifer” and I was like “LUCIFER?!”

K: (laughs)

HB: What!? (laughs) The Devil’s very daunting! And I was like “Yeah! Ok, I’ll find a way. I’ll find a way to make this work.” And I went back and I…you know, the thing for me…I loved Neil’s Lucifer, who was a whimsical kind of trickster god…

K: Sure

HB: …and I loved Mike Carey’s bastard covered bastard in bastard sauce…

K: Yeah, it deepened it so much from an interesting side character in Sandman to this ultimate…I mean, it’s drawn off of Paradise Lost, he’s Satan, he’s the antagonist, he’s *the* anti-hero…

HB: Right. And so I accepted that continuity. Everything that has happened has happened.

K: Right, this isn’t a “New 52”-type reboot—

HB: Right. Lucifer’s back and the Presence is dead and Gabriel is hanging out, because it turns out that, you know, not much has happened with him since Hellblazer

K: Sure.

HB: And it’s a whodunit. “Who killed God?”

M: I think that sounds pretty good. (laughs)

HB: We’ll see if I can pull it off.

K: (slightly worried look)

HB: I know! I know. (laughs)

K: Ok.

M: So, are you a big comic book fan? Are you reading any other books right now? Any favorites that influenced you or your work?

HB: I do love comics…right now I’m reading Rat Queens, I’m reading Saga, obviously. Lumberjanes

M: Yes.

HB: …a bunch of stuff. There’s a lot of great stuff.

M: There *is* a lot of great stuff.

HB: I read some webcomics…Questionable Content. Jeph Jacques lives in my town. Jeffrey Rowland. I think it is such an interesting way of telling stories and it’s interesting now for me to try and figure out “what is the shape of these kind of stories? How does the shape change what stories can be and what they are?”

M: “How do you fit the visual into telling the story with the words?” Your books depict Fae, magicians, vampires, dolls, etc. Is there any creature or world in the fantasy realm that you haven’t written about yet that you want to write about?

HB: I love selkies, I love selkie stories, they’re really interesting stories. I’ve never quite figured out a thing I want to do with them. But it’s certainly very interesting folklore. I once tried to plan a mermaid book because it’s such a great idea of there being a complete undersea world that you could world-build. It would basically be a high fantasy book; there’s all of this great, great stuff. But it’s also really, really hard, because you are actually so divorced from land…

M: (laughs)

HB: That there’s real considerations in how you tell the story and how it doesn’t become almost inaccessible.

K: Or you can just do Spongebob—

HB: (laughs)

K: —and it’s under water but not really…

M: He lives in a pineapple.

K: It’s like it’s on land and every once in a while you see some bubbles.

M: Thank you, Holly, for joining us today. Where can people get a hold of you online?

HB: I am at; hollyblack was taken. Look for me there; I am @hollyblack on twitter.

M: Thanks so much, Holly.

HB: Thanks.

Holly Black's book The Darkest Part of the Forest was released earlier this year and is available as an e-book, audiobook and anywhere books are sold. The first issue of Lucifer is on-sale December 16th.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Crazy Ex-Manwich

We get jazzed for today's show as we talk up Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and get down into a sci-fi classic, Lifeforce! Railsback lives!

This show is a meal!

Saturday, October 24, 2015

The Big Gang Theory

We speak truth to superpower this week as we tackle the subject of nerdsploitation! And if that wasn't enough, we talk Jessica Jones, Sicario AND have an interview with Snap Judgment's Ana Adlerstein! TOO MUCH SHOW


Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Promotional TIE/IN

Join us this week as we talk about John Carpenter, Star Wars, Mr. Robot (still?) and David Lynch and we talk *to* author Steven Brust! This is it. This is that day you always dreamed about. It's happening right now. GET THIS SHOW.

Or, you know...go on living your life. Up to you.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Home on the Strange Part 2

Kal wrestles con crud this week while the gang talks nerd TV news, reviews Mr. Robot and does another comics deep-dive into Planetary! Plus, our interview with Paul and Storm from Nerdcon: Stories! Mika will throw a hostage out the door every hour until the Iron Fist show begins production!

Don't test her...

Home on the Strange Part 1

Kal wrestles con crud this week while the gang talks nerd TV news, reviews Mr. Robot and does another comics deep-dive into Planetary! Plus, our interview with Paul and Storm from Nerdcon: Stories! Mika will throw a hostage out the door every hour until the Iron Fist show begins production!

Don't test her...

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Final Thoughts on Nerdcon: Stories

It was a good start. There’s a way to go.

I wanted more guests, more panels, more emphasis on the craft of storytelling and less lip service. Teach people to tell stories, don’t just play poorly organized games on the mainstage that end with a “storytelling, man…storytelling.” Let’s have more panels about the specific tools of writing and the structure of story (shit, let’s have more panels, period, then I might be able to actually get a seat at one). Let’s have more Q&As and readings. Let’s have not only big stars like Grossmans, Blacks and Scalzis but lesser-known authors, local authors and artists and creators. Let’s have actual workshops for aspiring writers to learn skills, to cross-pollinate with other artists and to develop mentorships. Let’s have an actual performance from Night Vale and Paul and Storm.

Those are the sorts of things I had expected from Nerdcon: Stories. What we got was fun but was more like 2 days of summer camp than 2 days of boot camp. Do more, I say, to validate all the emphasis you gave to the importance of storytelling, instead of just creating a space where you can sell merch and John Scalzi can play the ukulele.

That’s all the nitpicks. Overall, a positive experience, unquestionably and if it’s anywhere near me next year (and if I’m not going to NYCC), I’ll be at Nerdcon: Stories.

P.S. I know better than most not to unfairly criticize the tech elements or personnel of a show but the state of it was unacceptable. We had several Paul and Storm performances that were nearly ruined by feedback. Presenters who wanted to use multimedia were stymied or forced to operate it themselves. The onscreen chyrons where intermittent and uninformative. The issues persisted throughout the weekend. Whoever was to blame, just fix it.

This was pretty bush
Hey! It's Blurry Pat Rothfuss!
Take that, fascists!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Nerdcon: Stories Wrap-Up - RF Kennedy

Join us for our wrap-up show for Nerdcon: Stories where we explain the dangers of waves, specifically. Plus, news and we talk to the inimitable Desiree Burch! Good enough!

Seriously, we're looking for a sound person...

Friday, October 9, 2015

Nerdcon: Stories Day 1

Join us as we recap day 1 of Nerdcon: Stories and talk nerd news, interviews and...Oprah's views? Plus, we play Lightning Round with John Moe! Yes...*that* John Moe.

No, not the Norwegian farmer...RIP

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Nerdcon: Stories Day 0

It was a dark and...uh, chilly night in Minneapolis on the eve of Nerdcon: Stories! Join us this weekend as we bring you highlights from this celebration of stories and storytelling. Bad, GRRM! Shoo!

Honey! Check if any of the Starks are dead...

Monday, October 5, 2015

Worst Blood

It's terrible and we talk about it: Masters of the Universe. *shivers* Come hear two childhoods die. Plus, news and we get you ready for Nerdcon: Stories!


Friday, October 2, 2015

Whither the Widow?

Join us this week as we ask the question on everyone's minds: where's Black Widow? And Gamora. And Sue Storm. And Captain and Ms. Marvel. And the Question, I guess, too. We tackle the dearth of lady-related merchandise and try to bring justice to the isles of Target. And speaking of lady heroes, we talk Batgirl issues 1-8, Nerdcon: Stories and how to get Matt Damon back home! Dude! Uber!