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Reboots and rebirths are a divisive fact of modern comics publishing. One person who is not a fan is Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin. In fact, it’s something that made him quit reading comics altogether.
“There’s an implied contract between the reader and the writer when you’re reading something,” Martin tells David Mandel, the showrunner of Veep, and Ryan Condal, the co-creator of the upcoming Thrones prequel House of Dragons, on their The Stuff Dreams Are Made Of podcast, which launches a new batch of episodes starting Thursday.
“You’re reading about Spider-Man and you’re assuming he’s real and these are the adventures of Spider-Man, these are the things that happen to Spider-Man,” the author continues. “When they reach the point where they say, ‘None of this happened, we’re starting it over,’ it feels like all these issues I read; they didn’t happen now. I like the idea of building on what went before. How can I get emotionally involved when anything that happens can be wiped out by the next writer who takes over the strip or the book?”
Leaving comics behind is one of Martin’s revelations on Dreams, the podcast that goes deep into not just the unique hobby of acquiring movie props and memorabilia but into the sometimes ruthless, bank-account-draining art of collecting itself. The podcast returns Thursday for part two of its second-season batch of episodes.
The first new episode is a doozy for geeks, with Martin talking about his collecting passion: toy knight figurines. Condal, Mandel and Martin go deep into the props of Beauty and the Beast and Thrones, and what Martin was able to keep and what slipped away (severed heads!). And Condal and Martin talk about how they met and bonded before Condal landed the high-wire job of co-showrunning the new Thrones prequel series.
Other episodes will tackle the psychology of collecting, with both Condal and Mandel going on the couch with a therapist, a deep dive into movie guns, and a whole episode on Aliens’ Pulse Rifle. Yes, a whole episode. You can’t say these guys aren’t committed.
Mandel and Condal are known in Hollywood geek circles as being big collectors of movie props and memorabilia. Longtime friends who also talk their own ears off on the subject, the two launched the podcast in 2020.
The podcast returns just as the collecting world continues to set records for sales of memorabilia and as the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences prepares to launch its long-awaited film museum, the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, which could elevate the not-inexpensive hobby even more.
“Our names are on the wall,” Condal tells THR, speaking from London, where he is shooting the HBO show, adding that the two are founding members and took construction tours of the museum, which opens its doors Sept. 30 and will showcase items such as ruby slippers from Wizard of Oz, a shark from Jaws, a sled from Citizen Kane and a creature headpiece from Alien.
“People are going to see this stuff for the first time,” he notes, “and the fact that it’s in a museum will make it more real for a lot of people.”
“I do think it will inspire people and, I don’t want to use this term but I’m going to use this term, it will legitimize the hobby,” says Mandel.
While the two are avid and rabid collectors, they have never faced one another in a memorabilia auction. Since they very frequently talk about auctions and items with each other, they get a sense of who desires a piece more than the other. It was a situation that came up this summer when they both had their eye on a screen-used Batman chestplate from Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman movie.
“It wasn’t a question, it was like, ‘Of course I’ll step aside,’” says Mandel. “We are friends first, collectors second. Or so I would like Ryan to believe as I am setting him for the greatest prop screwing the collecting world has ever seen.”
Check out two clips: one of Martin talking about writing letters to Marvel and DC, and one on the reboots that made him stop reading comics, below.
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