201 | Fabian Nicieza (Suburban Dicks)

My Summer Lair Chapter #201: Who Murdered The Gas Station Attendant?

I’ve been reading Fabian Nicieza since the 90s…mostly in Marvel Comics. Notable notables: New Warriors (incredible!), Nomad (fun!), New Mutants (astonishing!), Cable & Deadpool (stunning!) and so much more.

In fact, it was during his work on the various X-Books where he was co-created Deadpool with Rob Liefeld. (The second Deadpool movie is fresh filthy fun!)

Have no fears; stay with me…this is not about nostalgia and my wayward youth where comics corrupted my innocence. (RIP Little Sammy’s innocence…)

Fabian has also written two murder mystery…ish novels: The Self-Made Widow just came out June 21, 2022. It’s still got that new book smell: mmm.

The Self-Made Widow is a follow up to his 2021 novel Suburban Dicks. (If you know Deadpool you can quickly gather how his co-creator could also issue a novel called Suburban Dicks. Everybody you know is a blessed with different gifts.)

This novel is a slow burn. It patiently sets up the New Jersey universe that it is set in. Just like Gotham City is a major character in Batman, New Jersey is a prominent character in Suburban Dicks.

And it is a character that comes with its own vibe, its own history, its own moods. So while this is a novel about Andrea Stern and Kenny Lee attempting to solve a murder of a gas station attendant, they happen to be solving this mystery in a New Jersey town that’s struggling to embrace its present evolution.

Fabian describes the novel “as a sarcastic suburban mystery.” However in our conversation he added: “When you ask me what Suburban Dicks is about; it’s about white fear of change and white fear of demographic upheavals that actually happened gradually, over the course of time in the areas in which you live in.”

Let’s visit West Windsor-Plainsboro, New Jersey, this is where Fabian’s novel Suburban Dicks starts with the odd murder a gas station attendant and…a child who needs to pee…badly.

Fabian Nicieza @ WT F

Host & Photography Sammy Younan

Recorded: Tuesday December 29, 2020 at 4pm

Stress free pop culture tastefully harvested for your divine delight. Once a week a carefully curated edition of My Pal Sammy goes directly to your inbox. Sign up for my newsletter so we can have some fun…sarcastically solving suburban mysteries!

#SetTheVCR: May 03-09, 2021

Another streamer joins the TV party! It’s gonna be one of those #SetTheVCR types of week.

Monday, May 03

NBA Special Edition: Marvel’s Arena of Heroes (7:30/6:30c PM / ESPN2 & ESPN+)

ESPN and Marvel announced a groundbreaking collaboration today to launch the first-ever Marvel-inspired alternate presentation for the Golden State Warriors vs. New Orleans Pelicans game on Monday, May 3. The latest development in Marvel and ESPN’s long history of sports content collaboration, the telecast will integrate elements from an original Marvel story and iconic characters including Iron Man, Black Panther, Captain Marvel, Captain America, Black Widow, and Doctor Strange throughout the live game, including 3D virtual characters, custom graphics and animation packages.

Sammy Suggestion: Mongrel Home Cinema (A Brand New Streamer!)

A selection of award-winning cinema, curated by Mongrel Media and Magnolia Entertainment.

Welcome the latest screener slash platform: Mongrel Home Cinema launched on April 30. Mongrel Media is an independent Canadian film distributor established in 1994; Mongrel is also a dog that does not belong to one officially recognized breed. Which if you’ve seen the movies Mongrel Media distributes you understand how apt that name is. In partnership with New York-based Magnolia Pictures this streamer will only be available for Canadian audiences offering art-house movies, cool indies: a curated collection of films from both companies’ catalogues. 10 titles will be added on the first Tuesday of every month.

Subscriptions are available through Mongrel (mongrelhomecinema.com) or the Android or iOS app for $6.99 monthly or $69.99 annually. (Get: 3 weeks free using promo code: MONGRELSOCIAL)

Some launch title suggestions: Before Trilogy, Ex Machina, Under The Skin, The Lobster, Frances Ha (highly recommended movie…excellent soundtrack) and you know…many others.

If Netflix is like Blockbuster where you “rent” James Bond or Jurassic Park Mongrel Home Cinema is like Queen Video: all taste and curated.

Tuesday, May 04

The Avengers (Anytime / Disney+)

ANNIVERSARY OF THE BATTLE OF NEW YORK! When an unexpected enemy threatens global safety and security, Nick Fury, Director of the international peacekeeping agency known as S.H.I.E.L.D., finds himself in need of a team to pull the world back from the brink of disaster. Spanning the globe, a daring recruitment effort begins.

Sammy Suggestion: Star Wars: The Bad Batch (Anytime / Disney+)

“Star Wars: The Bad Batch” follows the elite and experimental clones of the Bad Batch (first introduced in “The Clone Wars”) as they find their way in a rapidly changing galaxy in the immediate aftermath of the Clone War. Members of Bad Batch—a unique squad of clones who vary genetically from their brothers in the Clone Army—each possess a singular exceptional skill that makes them extraordinarily effective soldiers and a formidable crew.

Happy Nerd Christmas: May The 4th Be With You All. The Bad Batch is the newest Disney+ TV show (sandwiched between MCU shows Falcon and Loki). It is both a sequel to and spin-off from Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Which was highly enjoyed by many but I did not check it out. Still The Mandalorian was solid one of the recent Star Wars offering I found enjoyable. Feel free to hang out with Baby Yoda if animated clone troopers are not your jam.

Wednesday, May 05

Matangi/Maya/M.I.A. (Anytime / CBC Gem)

Drawn from a cache of personal video recordings from the past 22 years, director Steve Loveridge’s Sundance award winning MATANGI / MAYA / M.I.A. is a startlingly personal profile of the critically acclaimed artist, chronicling her remarkable journey from refugee immigrant to pop star.

Sammy Suggestion: Weird Science (Anytime / Netflix (Canada))

Teen misfits Gary (Anthony Michael Hall) and Wyatt (Ilan Mitchell-Smith) design their ideal woman on a computer, and a freak electrical accident brings her to life in the form of the lovely, superhuman Lisa (Kelly LeBrock).


One of the best Robert Downey movies from back in the day. If you got kids they gotta watch just for the old timey computers (Wyatt’s computer is a Memotech MTX512 with an FDX add-on. So cool!). And that whole mutant bikers scene is just: weird. Still Weird Science for sure doesn’t age it just improves. Two dorks with bras on their head use their computer to make a hot girl. Tis a John Hughes classic.

Thursday, May 06

Dark Side of the Ring: Season 3 (9/8c PM / Crave)

Exploring the darkest stories from the golden age of professional wrestling and trying to find the truth at the intersection of fantasy and reality.

Citizen Penn (Anytime / Discovery+)

The humanitarian efforts of Sean Penn and a dedicated team of volunteers as they set up a long term base to bring aid to Haitians after the devastating 7.0 earthquake struck in 2010.

Sammy Suggestion: From Cradle to Stage (Anytime / Paramount+)

Virginia Hanlon Grohl, mother of Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl, shares personal stories about Dave’s childhood alongside family anecdotes from fellow “rock moms.”

In 2017 Virginia Grohl mother of Foo Fighters Dave Grohl published From Cradle to Stage: Stories from the Mothers Who Rocked and Raised Rock Stars. A kind of Behind The Music that was more like Behind The Mothers who were Behind The Music. That book has been adapted into a six-part docuseries. The musician-and-mother guests set to appear on the series are Imagine Dragons‘ Dan Reynolds and Christine Reynolds, Pharrell and Dr. Carolyn Williams, Miranda and Bev Lambert, Brandi and Teresa Carlile, Rage Against The Machine‘s Tom Morello and Mary Morello, plus Rush‘s Geddy Lee and Mary Weinrib. Though it debuts today on Paramount+ you may wanna save this for Mother’s Day on Sunday.

Friday, May 07

Sammy Suggestion: Jupiter’s Legacy (Anytime / Netflix)

They’re the first generation of superheroes. But as they pass the torch to their children, tensions are rising — and the old rules no longer apply.

I recently had the opportunity to speak to Steven DeKnight (a writer and a director on Netflix’s Daredevil; now show-runner and executive producer of Jupiter’s Legacy) who said: “Personally, I’m a fan of weekly episodes. It creates a communal viewing experience and leads to the vital “water cooler” conversations.” Though he later added: “How many episodes per season isn’t decided by the writers or even the showrunner. That’s the studio/network.” Which for Jupiter’s Legacy is Netflix as adapted from the Mark Millar comic book. I asked him about weekly vs binging because we’ve seen how successful the MCU shows were on Disney+ in part because of their weekly experience. Now that you’ve lived with weekly releases and binge releases for a few years: where do you stand? As for this Netflix show you can tell from title what it’s about. “Jupiter’s Legacy follows the story of the world’s first superheroes who received their powers in the 1930s. In the present day, they are the revered elder guard but their superpowered children struggle to live up to the legendary feats of their parents.” Basically Superboy or Robin is never gonna be as cool as Superman or Batman. So how do you live up to that legacy? I’ve read many Mark Millar comics which has given us movies such as Kick-Ass and Kingsmen but I haven’t read this 10 issue series so this is all new to me. The comics haven’t left a heavy legacy for the TV show to live up to.

Saturday, May 08

Sammy Suggestion: Greenland (8/7c PM / HBO)

John Garrity, his estranged wife and their young son embark on a perilous journey to find sanctuary as a planet-killing comet hurtles toward Earth.

Gerard Butler stars in a ground-level movie about the end of the world: think Deep Impact but as an indie movie. A comet is on a collision course with the Earth, its impact expected to cause an extinction-level event in a day or so. Thus Butler’s a structural engineer who must race against the clock to get himself and his family (shout to Morena Baccarin!) to a secure shelter in Greenland. The problem? Well many because the movie’s running time is 119 minutes so of course there’s a number of obstacles in their way otherwise this would be a short movie. What you think people fall in love in the first 10 minutes of a rom-com?!

Sunday, May 02

The Nevers (9/8c PM / HBO & Crave)

Joss Whedon’s Nevers is described as “a science fiction drama about a gang of Victorian women who find themselves with unusual abilities, relentless enemies, and a mission that might change the world.” August, 1896. Victorian London is rocked to its foundations by a supernatural event which gives certain people — mostly women — abnormal abilities, from the wondrous to the disturbing. But no matter their particular “turns,” all who belong to this new underclass are in grave danger.

Sammy Suggestion: A Nolan Doubleheader (Anytime / Crave)

INCEPTION: Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a thief with the rare ability to enter people’s dreams and steal their secrets from their subconscious, when he is offered a seemingly impossible task: Plant an idea in someone’s mind. If he succeeds, it will be the perfect crime, but a dangerous enemy anticipates Cobb’s every move.

TENET: Armed with only one word, Tenet, and fighting for the survival of the entire world, a Protagonist (John David Washington) journeys through a twilight world of international espionage on a mission that will unfold in something beyond real time.

I saw Tenet on September 20, 2020. I didn’t expect that’d be my last movie for such a long time. Tenet requires more than 1 viewing so this is most helpful: it was added on Crave on May 7. With Inception Nolan clearly established the physics of that world (well dream world) so viewers knew what was possible (if they didn’t always know what was real.) With Tenet I don’t feel Nolan fully firmly established the physics or rather it was too complex so viewers end up doing calculus instead of enjoying a movie. In Star Trek I dunno what dilithium crystals are but I know when the ship is in trouble: you know? So here ya go: A Nolan Doubleheader: Tenet and Inception are on Crave.


Sammy Younan is the affable host of My Summer Lair: think NPR’s Fresh Air meets Kevin Smith: interviews & impressions on Pop Culture.

171 | Scott Listfield (Quarantine)

My Summer Lair Chapter #171: Is Just Me Or Does The Astronaut Remind You Of Gary Larson’s Far Side?

This conversation with astronaut painter Scott Listfield opens with Scott describing his painting called Glitch:

Scott Listfield “Glitch”

Scott Listfield “Glitch”

That’s right: on this episode, I’m joined by a painter: a visual artist. So tuck in that shirt; and spit out that gum it’s company manners time. Scott’s work is remarkable: his 500 plus paintings often fuse pop culture elements with corporate debris and overlooking all of that mainstream mess is a solitary astronaut. We’ll reveal more about the astronaut as we talk.

On September 13 he posted this on IG:
“I began working on this series of paintings while the world was in lockdown. Cities were empty, buildings boarded up, coyotes inhabited downtown. I began to hear from people that the real world was looking more and more like my art. This gave me pause. It’s always good to feel like you’re in the zeitgeist. It’s another thing entirely to get the feeling that you’ve predicted a bleak present. I was struggling with what to do with this knowledge, and what I wanted to say about the present we find ourselves in.”

This is the thinking that prompted Quarantine his second solo exhibition at Spoke Art. (Click on the link to see the show. Fantastic opportunity to enjoy art without pants. Classy yet comfortable.)

Even just from Glitch, the viewer can highlight the competing aspects pushing for space on the canvas because it’s all wonderfully absurd and stunningly surreal. It’s understandable why Killer Mike recently gave Scott IG love.

I dig the guy’s work as you can tell and so this was a treat to finally talk to him about sci-fi movies and books, painting, and that lonely judgmental astronaut who echoes Marvel’s The Watcher. We even get into The Far Side Gary Larson’s fantastic comic which is always fun that guy doesn’t get enough recognition.

Scott Listfield “To A Better World”

Scott Listfield “To A Better World”

Scott Listfield @ WT F

Host by Sammy Younan

Recorded: Tuesday September 29, 2020 at 4pm (EST)

169 | Ryan North (Slaughterhouse-Five)

My Summer Lair Chapter #169: If You Haven’t Read The Book Will You Be Willing To Read The First-Ever Graphic Novel Adaptation Of Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five?

Typically I write a shows notes book review combo. However this time I’ll just share what Ryan North has written about adapting Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five one of the best anti-war novels:

“I wrote this book, but I think it’s really good! And I can say that because comics is a collaborative medium, and my script was only a small part of it: Albert’s beautiful art and graphic storytelling sensibility took what was there in my script and turned it into something incredible.

And of course Vonnegut’s original prose novel is timeless and one of my favourite books of all time. The book itself is the result of all theses talents and more, and I can say without ego that it’s something really special.

If you’re curious about this version of Slaughterhouse-Five, let me tell you that our goal with it was to make it feel like it was written as a comic first, to make it feel at home in the medium. This isn’t the prose novel crammed into boxes with some pictures added, but rather a version of the same story that lives within comics, that does everything it can to tell the same story – and make you feel the same sense of sorrow and loss and hope and love – in this new medium.

If you’ve read Slaughterhouse-Five before you’ll feel at home with this graphic novel and hopefully discover something new and wonderful about the book you love… and if you’ve never read it, or Vonnegut, I can promise you that you’ll find in him a unique, powerful and above all sympathetic and humanist voice that you can carry with you for the rest of your life.”

Ryan does a better job explaining Vonnegut’s complex novel than I could. This adaptation is fantastic: get your whole face into this graphic novel.

169_Ryan Borth_POST.jpg

Ryan North @ WT F

Host & Photography by Sammy Younan

Recorded: Tuesday December 29, 2020 at 1pm (EST)

168 | Dave Chisholm (Chasin’ the Bird)

My Summer Lair Chapter #168: Was Charlie Parker Free As A Bird?

Let’s jazz up My Summer Lair with a discussion about Charlie Parker aka Bird. (Well Bird for short…his proper nickname was Yardbird.)

Miles Davis once said, “You can tell the history of jazz in four words: Louis Armstrong. Charlie Parker.”

Charlie (Bird) Parker was a jazz saxophonist born in 1920 who died in 1955 a combination of pneumonia and heart attack…well really ill health from a well lived life where he didn’t often make healthy choices. (“The coroner who performed his autopsy mistakenly estimated Parker’s 34-year-old body to be between 50 and 60 years of age.” I dunno if it that’s true but it feels true considering the choices Bird made.)

As always every grave stone has that dash between birth and death dates that signifies a life and for Charlie Parker what a life.

“Music is your own experience, your thoughts, your wisdom. If you don’t live it, it won’t come out of your horn.” So says Charlie Parker.

If you don’t know Charlie Parker’s jazz music you may know Bird the Clint Eastwood movie from 1988; Parker was deftly played by Forest Whitaker.

(The movie is a bit slow but otherwise is a solid biopic. I prefer a documentary over a biopic but considering Bird died in 1955 I doubt there is enough footage for a full length documentary.)

Anyways that dash between birth and death is depicted in Chasin’ the Bird: Charlie Parker in California a graphic novel by comic book creator Dave Chisholm. (The forward is written by the #GOAT Kareem Abdul-Jabbar who is a major jazz fan and yes reads and writes comic books.)

This “Bird’s Eye View” of Charlie Parker’s life and special contributions to jazz was commissioned by his estate to celebrate the centennial anniversary of his birth. It’s fascinating they commissioned a graphic novel; talk about novel for true.

What makes the graphic novel a captivating project is that in Clint’s movie you can see the jazz being performed…you can hear the jazz…the literal music. How do you present jazz a sonic medium in a static medium like a graphic novel?

Indeed Dave Chisholm succeeds and over the course of this My Summer Lair exchange he’ll reveal some of his artistic techniques and his approach to crafting Chasin’ the Bird.

The graphic novel is brimming with Dizzy Gillespie, John Coltrane, Miles Davis and many more talented humans from that era. It’s a solid comic highly recommended. I mean it is incredible: a hundred years after his birth Charlie Parker and his potent jazz work earned a graphic novel.

Dave Chisholm @ WT F

Host & Photography by Sammy Younan

Recorded: Thursday December 3, 2020 at 2pm (EST)

#SetTheVCR: August 30-September 5, 2020

Sammy Younan

Girth Radio Presents…

This week has lots of excellent TV recommendations we just sadly end on a somber note with a Chadwick Boseman movie. I mean that whole thing is strange.  Thankfully there’s lots of tv to distract and help process that.

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#SetTheVCR: August 23-29, 2020

Sammy Younan

Girth Radio Presents…

Though I do not mention it; there are as always NBA Playoffs games unfolding every night. However, I wisely realized that if that’s all I wrote for each day I’d alienate my readers. That’s what the puns are for! Plus it turns out there is TV to watch on other channels.

Read the rest of this page »



TWILIGHT OF THE SUPERHEROES: ALAN MOORE’s Never-Published Proposal to Finally Be Released by DC

TWILIGHT OF THE SUPERHEROES: ALAN MOORE’s Never-Published Proposal to Finally Be Released by DC

DC’s Jim Lee on the Company’s Future: “We Are Still in the Business of Publishing Comics”

DC’s Jim Lee on the Company’s Future: “We Are Still in the Business of Publishing Comics”

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