Before starting today’s piece, I want to thank everyone for their wonderful comments and memories you’ve shared. I will eventually respond to every one personally… right now, I’m just trying to to be off-line as much as possible. Really just need to be “away”, ya know? If I haven’t responded to your condolences, it’s certainly not because I don’t appreciate them… I’m just not ready to immerse myself in the “now”. Rest assured, everything I have seen… has gone a long way toward helping me to realize and appreciate what it was we had… rather than focusing solely on what we lost. Smiling-tears. Thank you.
Yesterday, I shared how Weird Comics History came to be… and ended off with us sort of “outgrowing” our segment on the Weird Science DC Comics Podcast. We had some very big plans for that program, and it was about to become a standalone offering… which we’ll talk more about another time. Today, we’re going to talk about our “replacement segment”.
We both enjoyed contributing to the Weird Science podcast… heck, Reggie was just as important to the overall program as the main hosts. I was okay just being along for the ride… and I was more than happy and appreciative of having our little “corner” of the show. And so, when Weird Comics History hit “critical mass” and became its own thing, we put our heads together trying to think of other ways we could still have that “corner”.
As the reverberated saying goes, we went “Back to the Past”… to the original suggestion for our segment as it was pitched. We would cover some stories out of the yesteryear of (DC) comics. We figured, somewhat naively/foolishly, that this would be a segment we could easily “crack out” in under fifteen-minutes. And, hey… all we’re doing is talking about an old comic book (dot, dot, dot) how hard could that be?
Well… we’ll get there. First, however… we need a book to discuss.
One of the listeners of Weird Science (who I cannot remember by name at the moment) was new to DC Comics fandom, and had become quite interested in Booster Gold. This listener was also one of the very few at the time who reached out to tell us how much he enjoyed Weird Comics History… he asked if we might do a “History of Booster Gold”, and… we figured what better way to launch our new “side” segment?
And so, Booster Gold #1 became the book we were going to cover. Considering how (relatively) heavily scripted Weird Comics History was becoming (though, nothing compared to what it would be), we figured our little “retro-segment” ought to be a bit more “off the cuff”. Keep in mind, as we were working on this… we were also shoulders-deep in research for the launch of the standalone Weird Comics History.
I’m sitting here, welled up… and laughing at how… going into this, we didn’t want to make it “a job”, ya know? We never planned for this to become something so much bigger (relatively speaking, of course) than this. This was gonna be an hour a week… maybe two… and that’s including the recording session!
Anyway… we set a recording date, and both planned to have Booster Gold #1 read and ready to discuss. What was to follow… friends, if there was ever a piece of “lost” Chris and Reggie audio I could hope to find… this would be it. This was the absolute worst thing ever. But, we’ll get there.
First, we needed a name for the segment. I’ve never been good at naming things… and, honestly, sorta “lucked” into Chris is on Infinite Earths. People think it’s clever… I’m just lucky my name happens to be Chris, ya know? As we started the recording… we usually let it run for a few minutes before “getting into it”… and, during that time… we were spitballing names for the segment. Finally, I suggested “The Cosmic Treadmill”, since we were on a DC Comics Podcast… and, it just seemed to make the most sense considering our “time-traveling/back to the past” mandate.
This got a sharp “hmm” from Reggie… which told me we were on the right track. When we actually started the segment, and Reggie introduced us… “The Cosmic Treadmill” became Chris and Reggie’s Cosmic Treadmill. The addition of our names… I dunno, made me feel a bit uncomfortable. Reggie was adamant. It was our segment… and we were going to stamp our names on it, dammit. He, as was often the case… was right.
I can’t tell you how many scripts I started in Google Docs that would be titled “Cosmic Treadmill, Episode [whatever]”. When I’d pop back in, without fail… he would add “Chris and Reggie’s” to the title. Every single time. Like I said, he was right. I think I might’ve just felt funny that my name came first. I assumed people would think I made that decision. That’s the guilty Catholic in me. I told you all it would be a running theme.
So… back to Booster Gold #1. The only thing we had written for it was an introductory “blurb”… sort of in the vein of the rest of the Weird Science program. Each review would be proceeded by a “blurb”, just giving the skinny on what they were about to talk about. This format didn’t last long for us… but, we’ll get there.
Anyway, post-blurb reading… we were sorta just out there, without a net. What followed was about five-minutes of the worst sort of podcasting you could never hope to hear. Think about all the “bad comics podcasting” tropes that are out there… I swear we checked off every box. We were talking over one another… we loudly flipped pages in the book we were supposed to be knowledgeable about… we corrected one another, when we misspoke. It was just garbage.
In fact… we probably didn’t make it five pages into the issue before we paused… and, at the same time said “THIS SUCKS.” What a relief it was that we both thought so. Also, what a revelation… that, we were both learning a bit of a lesson here. Neither of us knew quite how to “lead” this sort of “dance”… this was going to be a learning process. There were going to be missteps… and I was just so happy we’d be ironing out these kinks together.
Again… I wish I had this recording. Not only for the “birth” of the Cosmic Treadmill name… but, for the absolute laugh riot that followed our first attempt. We were making fun of ourselves for… well, sucking. This wasn’t good… we knew it wasn’t good… but, we knew we could make it good.
We decided to reconvene the following day… with a script. Certainly not a “script” in the sense of what a Treadmill episode would eventually get… but, a decent enough “safety net”. I’ll include that script here…
Dated June 30, 2016:
You might be able to see some of the “seeds” of what Chris and Reggie’s Cosmic Treadmill would become. We try to get into the “gestalt” of when the issue came out… we get into Booster’s origin a bit. We just had to keep it as “tight” as possible, since it was still only a segment in a much larger show. This is the episode as it finally turned out:
Again, I’m not asking for you to listen to this… it’s more here for me, if and when I revisit this down the line.
Chris and Reggie’s Cosmic Treadmill… originally intended as just a “side thing” for the Weird Comics History brand. But… something happened. People began to respond to the Treadmill in a way that only a relative few people did with History. People actually seemed to like it. We weren’t, by any means, “destination listening”, but I think it was safe to say we weren’t being “fast-forwarded thru” nearly as much anymore. It was one of those bittersweet things, initially… since our hearts and interests were definitely more into History.
Which is why… Chris and Reggie’s Cosmic Treadmill eventually began to include great big heaping dollops of (weird comics) history. That, of course, meant that the segment… was going to grow… and, once again… we outgrew our segment-size.
We actually received a complaint that our segment was running too long. It was regarding our Sugar & Spike coverage… which, neither of us were all that happy with how that one turned out to begin with. Reggie actually kept this complaint from me for a little while… he didn’t want me to know that there was even one person out there that didn’t appreciate what we did.
Now, getting a complaint on top of us just growing too long, only made our decision to spin Chris and Reggie’s Cosmic Treadmill into its own standalone program that much easier. But, that’s a story for another day.
Before signing off, I want to thank you all for allowing me to indulge in and share some of my memories with you. I’m not good at much… coping and dealing with reality very much included. This exercise is helping me more than I expected. It’s all about being thankful for what we had…