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Journey Into Misery

By Kieran Shiach & Helena Hart

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Journey Into Misery is a podcast that seeks to explain complicated comics characters, continuity and concepts to a patient and perpetually perplexed newcomer to the medium Hosted by Kieran Shiach, with permanent second-chair Helena Hart, each week sees one character or concept explained in as much detail as possible to showcase just what comics fans have to put up with sometimes.

Customer Reviews

A Second Try

I posted a review two weeks ago, but it has yet to display, so please disregard if this is a double/it's since posted.

I am of two minds about JITM.

On the one hand, when I am already a fan of the character in question, it is great fun, with Kieran quickly and (usually) thoroghly summarizing their history and exploits. Helena's interest varies from character to character, but when engaged she is a delight.

On the other hand, when covering a character I am less familiar with, the show comes off as quite a bit more of a soulless slog. Kieran seems to be interested only in the "what happpened" and rarely the "why it happened" or the "who it happened to." In most episodes, no time whatsoever is spent indicating a character's personality, and only rarely is motivation much touched on. I understand that the show already tends to run long, but adding a sentence or two per character to explain to listeners who the primary characters actually are and what they're about beyond their powers (or, in the case of supporting females, who they're supposed to be dating). Obviously there's not time to give everyone this treatment, but covering the primary hero or heroes and their chief love interest and antagonist would go a long, long way, and probably eat up only 3 mintues or so.

By way of an example, there are 3 or 4 episodes on Daredevil, but if I had never read a DD comic and only listened to the show, I'd have a hard time telling anyone who Karen Page is beyond "a girl Daredevil dates who dies" or who Foggy Nelson is beyond "Daredevil's friend." I also wouldn't have much of an idea of what makes Daredevil so compelling as a character beyond "he's a blind guy, but not really."

My secondary, related, and fortunately final complaint is that Kieran tends to gloss over character development in favor of cramming in more arbitrary adventures. By way of an example, the Hank Pym episode spends a lot of time talking about times he fought Egg Head or whomever, but blitzes through his Mighty Avengers tenure without (IIRC) mentioning his relationship with Jocasta (or his subsequent Academy relationship with Tirgra, if memory serves), his burgeoning confidence and self-forgiveness, or his ownership of the Avengers "identity."

Ultimately, I think JITM is great for fans who already know a given character, but fails as an introduction to anyone they don't; it doesn't matter if Super Hero McPunchyPants beat up Evil Mustache McTwirly if we're not given at least a line or two explaining what Super Hero McPunchyPants is all about, and why so many people love him.

It is worth noting that this is not a universal criticsm, and Kieran will occasionally digress to discuss a character's motivation or personality (paritculary if Helena seems uncaptivated by said character), and usually does so eloquently, but those instances are much more the exception rather than the rule.

Overall, solid podcast, but it could be a great one with just a touch more attention payed to character, motivation, and pathos, instead of just wrote listings of who beat up who when and how the latest love interest and/or baby died suddenly.

Misery = Ecstasy

Whether you're a comics neophyte or an old Bronze Age war horse, Kieran and Helena's recaps of comic book characters and continuities are required listening for the informed fan. Kieran brings the deep dive knowledge and Helena provides the grounded commentary, along with the requisite amount of protesting about all the dead women and children. A+, a must listen. Can't wait to hear what's coming up!

Let me tell you something, daddeh

Whether you've been reading comics for twenty years or are a complete novice, this podcast will entertain and inform you. Kieran's explanations when it comes to the insanity that is comic books and Helena's befuddlement & enthusiasm are a joy to listen to.

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