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A weekly podcast focusing on the world of alternative, independent, and primarily non-superhero comics. (There's nothing wrong with superhero comics. We just want to do something different.) New podcast episodes become available every Wednesday and includ


    • Jan 30, 2019 LATEST EPISODE
    • infrequent NEW EPISODES
    • 1h 25m AVG DURATION
    • 807 EPISODES


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    Latest episodes from The Comics Alternative

    Episode 306: Reviews of Now #5, Criminal #1, and Scratcher #1-3

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 23, 2019 96:51


    Time Codes: 00:00:32 - Introduction 00:03:38 - Now#5 01:02:20 - Criminal #1 01:20:01 - Scratcher #1-3 01:33:04 - Wrap up 01:34:32 - Contact us On this episode of the podcast Sterg and Derek look at three exciting titles. They begin with Now#5, the latest in Fantagraphics' outstanding comics anthology series. As the guys point out, they're dedicated to discussing every issue of Nowthat is released, and this one is chock-full of comicy goodness. Although all of the contributions in this issue are intriguing, some of the most notable that the guys discuss are those by Eroyn Franklin, Walker Tate, DRT, Ana Galvañ, DW, Maggie Umber, and especially Walt Holcombe. And although Derek and Sterg spend the vast majority of their time discussing this anthology -- there's a lot to take in -- they also look at two other titles. One of those is most recent incarnation of Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips's Criminal(Image Comics). In the new series' first issue, the protagonist is one familiar to Criminal enthusiasts, Teeg Lawless. But there are other manifestations of Brubaker and Phillips' world that are imbedded within. After that they look at the first three issues of Scratcher, John Wald and Juan Romera's self-published horror title that takes place at a tattoo parlor. This is actually a work that its writer alerted the guys to, and they're glad that he did.

    Episode 305: Reviews of The Unknown Anti-War Comics, Love and Rockets IV #6, and LaGuardia #1 & #2

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 9, 2019 120:13


    Time Codes: 00:00:32 - Introduction 00:03:07 - Listener correspondence! 00:09:07 - The Unknown Anti-War Comics 00:53:57 - Love and Rockets IV#6 01:29:53 - LaGuardia #1 & #2 01:55:39 - Wrap up 01:57:53 - Contact us On this episode, Sterg and Derek discuss three recent titles that run the gamut from sci-fi to political to slice-of-life (or what the Two Guys prefer to call  verite dessinée). They begin with the latest collection from Craig Yoe, The Unknown Anti-War Comics(IDW Publications/Yoe Books). This is a volume devoted to classic Charlton Comics stories from the 1950s and 1960s -- most probably written by Joe Gill -- that have a peaceful message to deliver. One of the highlights of this collection is the art of Steve Ditko. After that, the guys jump into the latest issue of Love and Rockets (Fantagraphics Books). Both Derek and Sterg highlight what they particularly like about this specific issue, but they also speculate on the current career trajectories of Gilbert and Jaime and even on what they see as some of the "excesses" of each brother. Finally, the guys wrap up with a discussion of the first two issues of Nnedi Okorafor and Tana Ford's LaGuardia(Dark Horse Comics/Berger Books). In fact, this is an appropriate title to bookend the episode, along with Charlton anti-war stories. Both Sterg and Derek are intrigued by the premise of this limited series, but at the same time they feel that there's something missing from the first two issues, which is half of the four-issue run. Is the narrative too decompressed? Lacking enough exposition? Regardless, both guys want to read on and see where Okorafor and Tana end with their timely story.  

    Critical Takes: A Conversation with Keith Dallas and Jason Sacks

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 7, 2019 85:04


    Time Codes: 00:00:25 - Introduction 00:02:20 - Setup of interview 00:03:54 - Interview with Keith Dallas and Jason Sacks 01:22:12 - Wrap up 01:22:52 - Contact us On this, the second show in The Comics Alternative's new Critical Takes series, Derek has back on the podcast Keith Dallas, coauthor of the new book, American Comic Book Chronicles: The 1990s. Listeners might remember that he talked with Keith, along with John Wells, back last summer when their Comic Book Implosion was released by TwoMorrows Publishing. In fact, that was the very first Critical Takes episode. This time around, Keith is joined by Jason Sacks, another comics scholar and historian who has worked on other texts within the American Comic Book Chroniclesseries. The two have just released their volume on the 1990s, a curious and tumultuous time in American comics history. As you'll hear in conversation, Jason and Keith discuss in detail their first-hand experiences during this decade, the process of researching for this project, the various stereotypes that they had to overcome when encapsulating the decade, and what each of them sees as key defining moments for comics during the 1990s. They also talk about the genesis of the American Comic Book Chroniclesseries and what we might expect with future volumes.

    Episode 304: The January Previews Catalog

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 2, 2019 167:06


    It's the first episode of the new year, and for the January Previewsshow the Two Guys decide to try something different: invite a third person to join them in discussing the current Previewscatalog. This week Sterg and Derek are joined by Troy-Jeffrey Allen who works with community outreach at PREVIEWSworld. And given Troy's association with Diamond Distributors and the ins and outs of their monthly catalog, he's able to provide insights and additional commentary that results in an extra special discussion. And as you might expect, the addition of a third conversant makes this episode longer than usual...as if the guys' monthly Previews shows weren't long enough. Among the many publishers and titles that Troy, Sterg, and Derek highlight are: Image Comics - Little Bird#1, Assassin Nation#1, and Black Magick: The First Book of Shadows Dark Horse Comics - Invisible Kingdom#1, Black Hammer '45: From the World of Black Hammer#1, Astro Hustle#1, Bad Luck Chuck #1, Moonshadow: The Definitive Edition, and Emanon Vol. 1: Memories of Emanon DC Comics/Vertigo - Dial H for Hero #1, Second Coming #1, and Detective Comics#1000 IDW Publishing - Impossible, Inc., Enola Holmes: The Case of the Left-Handed Lady, Violette around the World Vol 2: A New World Symphony!, and Highwayman BOOM! Studios - Firefly: Bad Company#1, Ronin Island#1, The Grand Abyss Hotel, Black Badge Vol. 1, and Midas Abrams ComicArts - A Fire Storyand Nobody's Fool: The Life and Times of Schlitzie the Pinhead Abstract Studios -Strangers in Paradise XXV Vol. 2: Hide and Seek AdHouse - The Freak Aftershock Comics - Dark Red #1 and Out of the Blue Vol. 1 Albatross Funnybooks - The Goon#1 Archie Comics - Sabrina the Teenage Witch#1 Avery Hill Publishing - Ismyre Candlewick Press - The Iliad Cave Pictures Publishing - The Blessed Machine#1 Dead Reckoning - The Night Witches Drawn and Quarterly - Clyde Fans Box Set Slipcase Edition, Palimpsest, and Kitaro Vol. 6: Kitaro's Yokai Battles Fantagraphics Books - 3D Sweeties, James Warren, Empire of Monsters: The Man behind Creepy, Vampirella, and Famous Monsters, Is This How You See Me?, and Alienation First Second - The Breakawaysand Kiss Number 8 It's Alive - D-Day: From the Pages of Combat Lion Forge - Stiletto No. 1: Officer Down, Haphaven, and Gang of Fools NBM - The Rolling Stones in Comics Papercutz - The Only Living Boy Omnibusand The Only Living Girl Vol. 1: The Island at the Edge of Infinity Pegasus - Goya: The Terrible Sublime Quirk Books - Giraffes on Horseback Salad Rebellion/2000AD - Fran of the Floods SelfMadeHero - Blossoms in Autumn, Guantanamo Kid: The True Story of Mohammed El-Gharani, and Lomax: Collectors of Folk Songs Silver Sprocket - Magical Beatdown#1 Titan Comics - Life Is Strange Vol. 1 University Press of Mississippi - The Comics of Rutu Modan Vault Comics - Queen of Bad Dreams#1 Dempa Books - Super-Dimensional Love Gun Kodansha Comics - Gleipnir Vol. 1and Love in Focus Vol. 1 A BIG THANKS to Troy-Jeffrey Allen for his contributions to this episode! Be sure to keep up with the good people at PREVIEWSworld, and check out Troy on PREVIEWSworld's weekly YouTube show!    

    Comics Alternative Interviews: Happy New Yoe with Craig Yoe!

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 1, 2019 141:30


    Time Codes: 00:00:29 - Introduction 00:02:38 - Setup of interview 00:07:14 - Interview with Craig Yoe 02:16:37 - Wrap up 02:18:05 - Contact us It's a new year, so that must mean that it's time for the annual Happy New Yoe show! On this, The Comics Alternative's very first episode of 2019, Derek talks with Craig Yoe about what he's been up to lately. They spend much of the time talking about the year in review for Yoe Books. And it was a busy one for Craig and his companion/colleague, Clizia Gussoni, who oversaw the publication of such titles as Limbo Lounge, Reefer Madness, We Spoke Out: Comic Books and the Holocaust, Lou Cameron's Unsleeping Dead, Super Patriotic Heroes, The Best of Don Winslow of the Navy, Super Weird Heroes: Preposterous but True!, and new collections of their Weird Loveand Haunted Horrorcomics. Craig also reveals some of the titles we can look forward to in the new year, such as The Unknown Anti-War Comics, Jungle Girls, Swamp Monsters, Clyde, Life on the Moon, and Matchless Beauties: The Art of Pin-up Matchbook Covers. Along the way, the two discuss Yoe Books' recent efforts to publish original graphic novels -- such as Limbo Loungeand Life on the Moon-- the glories of HeroesCon, the future for Craig's various comic-book series, which books caught the most fire in 2018, and plans for Yoe Books to branch out and cover more popular culture topics in addition to comics and comics history. And of course, there are the laughter and wry humor that Craig always brings to every interview he gives to podcast. And this marks the 11th occasion that Craig has been interviewed on The Comics Alternative!   And Craig is also an artist! Design that Craig Yoe created specifically for The Comics Alternative!  

    Manga: Reviews of Frankenstein: Junji Ito Story Collection and Dementia 21

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 31, 2018 101:36


    Time Codes: 00:00:27 - Introduction 00:02:42 - Manga plans for the new year 00:08:52 - Frankenstein: Junji Ito Story Collection 00:54:47 - Dementia 21 01:37:25 - Wrap up 01:39:20 - Contact us  On this manga episode, their last of 2018, Shea and Derek look at two recent works of manga that are actually quite similar in a number of ways. They begin with Frankenstein: Junji Ito Story Collection(VIZ Media). This isn't the first time, by far, that the guys have discussed Junji Ito's horror work, and whereas they've been less impressed with some of his more recent translations, they are more enthusiastic about this current collection. The standout story is Ito's adaptation of Mary Shelley's classic romance, which takes up almost half of the text. But the other stories in this collection, specifically the Oshikiri cycle ones, are gripping, as well. After that the Two Guys check out a wild example of manga, Shintaro Kago's Dementia 21 (Fantagraphics). While both Derek and Shea had heard of Kago, until now they really hadn't read any of his works. This book, the first in a two-volume series from the publisher, is a collection of 17 stories that surround the escapades of Yukie Sakai, a young home healthcare aide. Her assignments to a variety of elderly patients all turn out surreal, taking her into mind-blowing adventures that are hilarious as they are nonsensical (and even metafictional, in some cases). Kago's manga has been described as ero guro nansensu, although in this collection there is more nansensu than there is ero guro. (For the latter, listeners are referred to another translated collection of Kago's, Super-Dimensional Love Gun, from Fakku Books.)  

    Euro Comics: Reviews of McCay and Bear's Tooth

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 28, 2018 74:25


    Time Codes: 00:00:24 – Introduction 00:03:11 – Getting caught up! 00:04:05 – McCay 00:34:54 – Bear's Tooth 01:10:58 – Wrap up 01:12:04 – Contact us For their December Euro Comics show, Pascal and Derek discuss two recent French titles in translation. They begin with Thierry Smolderen and Jean-Philippe Bramanti's McCay (Titan Comics), a surreal narrative surrounding the life of comics legend Windsor McCay. But this work is not a biography. Smolderen takes historical moments in McCay's life and from those weaves a fantastical tale that includes noir intrigue, metafictional elements, and the fourth dimension. After that the guys turn to the three volumes of Yann and Alain Henriet's Bear's Tooth (Cinebook).  Each of the three works -- Max, Hanna, and Werner-- is based on one of the three protagonists in this World War II tale. As Pascal reveals, Yann and Henriet's follow up to this series (not yet translated) continues the storyline, but with strange alternate history twist.    

    Episode 303: Our Favorite Comics of 2018

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 26, 2018 135:19


    Time Codes: 00:01:28 - Introduction 00:03:49 - Context, and a few statistics 00:10:41 - Our favorite comics of 2018, part 1 00:40:03 - Our honorable mentions, part 1 00:54:46 - Our favorite comics of 2018, part 2 01:29:23 - Our honorable mentions, part 2 01:47:47 - Our favorite comics of 2018, part 3 02:08:23 - Wrapping up our favorites 02:11:19 - Contact us It's that time again! It's the end of the year, their very last weekly review episode of 2018, and so the Two Guys are ready to share what they consider to be their favorite comics of the past twelve months. This is Sterg's first time doing this, but he successfully steps up to the plate to reveal what he considers his 10 favorites of 2018. And Derek does the same. Before that, though, they go over a few statistics from the past year. Over the course of 2018 -- at least up until the time of the recording of this end-of-the-year show -- The Comics Alternativereleased a total of 171 episodes of the podcast. Of that number, 55 were interviews, 10 were webcomics shows, 11 manga episodes, 10 from the Euro comics series, 6 were young reader shows, 16 on-location episodes, and 1 special. (And since Sterg and Derek recorded this "Favorites" episode, there have been at least three other shows for the current year, an on-location, a webcomic, and a Euro comics show. Maybe a manga episode will go up before the new year, as well?) But of much more importance are the various titles that both Sterg and Derek picked as this year's favorites. Each chooses, in no particular order, what he considers to be his 10 favorites of 2018: Sterg's Top 10 of 2018 Is This Guy for Real?: The Unbelievable Andy Kaufman- Box Brown (First Second) Wytches: Bad Egg Halloween Special- Scott Snyder and Jock (Image Comics) The Nib- various, edited by Matt Bors Brazen: Rebel Ladies Who Rocked the World- Penelope Bagieu (First Second) Blammo#10- Noah Van Sciver (Kilgore Books and Comics) Coyote Doggirl- Lisa Hanawalt (Drawn and Quarterly) Tom the Dancing Bug- Ruben Bolling Lore Olympus- Rachel Smythe (Webtoon) Hey, Kiddo: How I Lost My Mother, Found My Father, and Dealt with Family Addiction - Jarett Krosoczka (Graphix/Scholastic)   Derek's Top 10 of 2018 Motor Girl Omnibus/Strangers in Paradise XXV - Terry Moore (Abstract Studio) Hasib and the Queen of Serpents: A Tale of a Thousand and One Nights - David B. (NBM Publishing) Live/Work- Pat Palermo (AdHouse Books) Sabrina- Nick Drnaso (Drawn and Quarterly) The Arab of the Future 3: A Childhood in the Middle East, 1985-1987- Riad Sattouf (Metropolitan Books) The Winner- Karl Stevens (Retrofit/Big Planet) Young Frances- Hartley Lin (AdHouse Books) Dead Dead Demon's Dededede Destruction, Vols. 1-3 - Inio Asano (VIZ Media) Berlin - Jason Lutes (Drawn and Quarterly) The New World: Comics from Mauretania- Chris Reynolds (New York Review Comics) The Honorable Mentions…These Titles Almost, but Just Didn't Quite, Make It onto Each Guy's List For Sterg Bezoar#3- various Now - various, edited by Eric Reynolds (Fantagraphics) Nancy - Olivia Jaimes Baseline Blvd- Emi Gennis (Kilgore Comics and Press) Tyler Cross: Black Rock- Fabien Nury and Bruno (Hard Case Crime/Titan Books) On a Sunbeam- Tillie Walden (First Second) Black Hammer- Jeff Lemire and Dean Ormston (Dark Horse Comics) I Am Young- M. Dean (Fantagraphics) For Derek One Dirty Tree- Noah Van Sciver (Uncivilized Books) Come Again- Nate Powell (Topshelf/IDW Publishing) The Troublemakers- Baron Yoshimoto (Retrofit/Big Planet) Is This Guy for Real?: The Unbelievable Andy Kaufman- Box Brown (First Second) Mister Miracle- Tom King and Mitch Gerads (DC Comics) Will Eisner's A Contract with God: Curator's Edition- Will Eisner (Kitchen Sink Press/Dark Horse Books) The Lie and How We Told It- Tommi Parish (Fantagraphics) Gideon Falls- Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino (Image Comics) Slum Wolf- Tadao Tsuge (New York Review Comics) Alchemilla- Sara Volta    

    Webcomics: Reviews of Snow Daze, Snow by Night, and Overwatch: Reflections

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 23, 2018 83:54


    Time Codes: 00:01:18 – Introduction 00:04:22 – It's the holiday season! 00:06:25 – Snow Daze 00:29:20 – Snow by Night 00:58:06 – Overwatch: Reflections 01:19:11 – Wrap up 01:21:14 – Contact us On this webcomics episode, the last of 2018, Sean and Derek get into the holiday spirit. They discuss three titles that concern Christmas or the winter season (i.e., has the word "snow" in the title). They begin with Leonardo Faierman and Marcus Kwame Anderson's Snow Daze, a narrative about a group of enterprising teenagers in Queens, NY, who create a business shoveling snow, all the while dealing with the challenges of urban life, especially as it concerns matters of race. After that the guys look at another snow-related webcomic, Snow by Night, written by Eric Menge and with primary art by Julie A. Wright and Brittany Michel. This is a fantasy inspired by French colonial culture in North America, and largely revolves around a manitou, a nature spirit of the wilderness, who quests to find her "heart." Finally, Derek and Sean turn to a quite different webcomic, one created by the Blizzard Entertainment corporation to supplement one of their popular video games. Michael Chu and Miki Montlló's Overwatch: Reflectionsis a Christmas story involving the character Tracer as she attempts to find a last-minute gift and (predictably enough) learns the true meaning of the season.

    On Location: The December Visit to Heroes Aren't Hard to Find

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 21, 2018 80:46


    Mike and Derek are back at Heroes Aren't Hard to Findin Charlotte, NC, for their December show. It's been a couple of months since their last visit to the shop -- this past fall was difficult for everyone -- but the guys are excited to sit down among customers and talk comics. And this being the end of 2018, they thought they'd discuss the year in review, the highlights, the news, and the notable titles that defined 2018. Among other topics, they cover the unfortunate passing of several comics legends over the past year, including Steve Ditko, Stan Lee, and Marie Severin. (They mistakenly bring up Bernie Wrightson, as well, although he died last year.) They also spend time talking about 2018 being the year that the imprints Black Crownand Berger Booksreally took off, the 1000th issue of Action Comics, the impact of Tom Kingthis year, Grant Morrison's new work on Green Lantern, and the past year in terms of the Marvel cinematic (and Netflix) universe. While Mike is free to share some of his favorite titles from the past twelve months, Derek is a little reticent because he doesn't want to give away what he'll discuss on next week's year-end episode where he and Stergios reveal what each considers their favorites of 2018. Stay turned for that! And remember, The Comics Alternative's on-location series is part of the Queen City Podcast Network. Check out the other great shows that make up this audio community!  

    Comics Alternative Interviews: Talking Again with Jon Morris

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 20, 2018 79:25


    Time Codes: 00:01:17 - Introduction 00:02:59 - Setup of interview 00:05:14 - Interview with Jon Morris 01:15:03 - Wrap up 01:17:05 - Contact us Jon Morris is back, once again, on The Comics Alternative, to share his research and sense of humor. His latest book The League of Regrettable Sidekicks (Quirk Books) is the follow up to his previous two works, The League of Regrettable Superheroes and The Legion of Regrettable Supervillains. In the spirit of the previous books, this one is a revealing and good-natured look at some of the strange creations making up comic-book history, figures that may be unknown or  completely forgotten by most enthusiasts. And perhaps for good reason. Also like the earlier works, Jon divides his survey into three temporal categories: the Golden Age, the Silver Age, and the Modern Age. Sterg and Derek have a fun time talking about the weirdness of this collection, their favorite "regrettable" sidekicks and henchmen, and their wonderment at how such figures made it into four colors. They also talk with Jon about his other work and future projects, including his own comics work. See where it all started! Visit Jon's blog, Gone and Forgotten, and get the inside scoop on retro comicdom! And if you're a Columbo fan, check out his sleuthy podcast, Just One More Thing.  

    Episode 302: A Review of The Best American Comics 2018

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 19, 2018 105:09


    Time Codes: 00:01:23 - Introduction 00:03:26 - Live streaming again...and some context 00:06:25 - The Best American Comics 2018 01:39:33 - Wrap up 01:41:03 - Contact us As they always do, the Two Guys with PhDs use their penultimate show of the year to discuss the current volume of The Best American Comics. this year guest edited by Phoebe Gloeckner. Earlier in the week they released their interview with Bill Kartalopoulos, the series editor, about the 2018 collection, and in that conversation they talked about the process of pulling the anthology together and Bill's experiences working with Gloeckner. But on this episode, Sterg and Derek discuss the actual content of volume. Among other topics, they highlight the "best of" contributions from creators they were already familiar with -- e.g., Gabrielle Bell, Geof Darrow, Guy Delisle, Jaime Hernandez, Jesse Jacobs, Joe Ollman, Gary Panter, Keiler Roberts, and Ariel Schrag -- and also talk excitedly about artists they hadn't yet discovered, including Margot Ferrick, Julia Jacquette, Julian Glander, Chloë Perkis, and Lale Westvind. In all, it's another great of Best American Comics! Go to The Comics Alternative's YouTube channelif you want to see the recording of the guys' live-streaming broadcast of this show!

    Comics Alternative Interviews: Back Again with Bill Kartalopoulous

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 17, 2018 77:07


    Time Codes: 00:01:16 - Introduction 00:03:27 - Setup of interview 00:06:18 - Interview with Bill Kartalopoulos 01:13:04 - Wrap up 01:14:09 - Contact us   As the Two Guys like to do every year, they are back talking again with Bill Kartalopoulos about the latest volume of The Best American Comics (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt). This year the guest editor is Phoebe Gloeckner, perhaps best known for The Diary of a Teenage Girl. In fact, one of the topics of conversation with Bill is how different it might be working with vastly different comics creators as guest editors every year. Sterg and Derek also talk with their guest about the process of pulling together each year's volume, the inundation of submissions he receives, strategies for choosing what to include, the (at times) painful process of excluding from the anthology certain comics due to logistical reasons, his relationship with the publisher, and unique directions that perhaps he may want to take the series. There's not much discussion surrounding the content of this year's volume -- that will be the topic of this week's regular review episode -- but Sterg and Derek ask Bill about the process off Best American Comicsand get quite a bit of behind-the-scene answers. 

    Comics Alternative Interviews: Another Conversation with Tom Hart

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 14, 2018 95:57


    Time Codes: 00:01:21 - Introduction 00:03:12 - Setup of interview 00:04:32 - Interview with Tom Hart 01:32:14 - Wrap up 01:33:38 - Contact us On this interview episode, Sterg and Derek are excited to have Tom Hart back to discuss his new book, The Art of the Graphic Memoir: Tell Your Story, Change Your Life(St. Martin's Griffin). Tom was on the podcast not quite three years agoto discuss his new memoir at the time Rosalie Lightning, but this time he's returned to talk not so much about story content, but about the processof creating a graphic memoir. As he discusses with the Two Guys, Tom's latest book is more instructional or how-to, covering the necessary steps in planning for, organizing, structuring, visualizing, and finalizing a memoir through the comics medium. In addition, he points out that the very project of writing and illustrating one's own life story isn't only about sharing a story with readers, but perhaps just as important, using the very process of creation as a way of revisiting, revisualizing, and even coming to terms with important life moments. Along the way Derek and Sterg talk with Tom about his other instructional texts, such as How to Say Everythingand The Sequential Artists Workshop Guide to Creating Professional Comic Strips, his vast knowledge of the comics memoir genre, his new comic-strip project B. Is Dying, and his experiences teaching at and directing SAW, the Sequential Artists Workshopin Gainesville, FL.  

    Episode 301: Reviews of Che: A Revolutionary Life, The Lodger #1 & #2, and Die #1

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 12, 2018 103:58


    Time Codes: 00:01:32 - Introduction 00:03:42 - Our first-ever live streaming recording 00:07:13 - Thank you to new Patreon backers! 00:09:33 - Che: A Revolutionary Life 00:47:02 - The Lodger #1 & #2 01:11:39 - Die #1 01:34:22 - Wrap up 01:38:05 - Contact us This is a very special episode of The Comics Alternative, in that it's the guys' very first live recording. That's right, Sterg and Derek decided to record this week's show via Google Hangouts. Yesterday -- Tuesday, December 11 -- they scheduled a live-streaming broadcast, and fans of the show could watch the Two Guys with PhDs Talking about Comics record a show in real time. As Sterg put it on Twitter, "Come for the slow motion train wreck, but stay when it is instead a great talk about some recent comics!" And everything went off just fine. On this episode they began with a discussion of Jon Lee Anderson and José Hernández's Che: A Revolutionary Life (Penguin Press). This is graphic adaptation of Anderson's 1997 biography of Che Guevara, and as the guys discuss, Hernández does an outstanding job of illustrating the broader life story of the famous revolutionary. After that they look at the first two issues of David and Maria Lapham's The Lodger. This is the latest series from IDW's Black Crown imprint, and Derek and Sterg note that it's classic Lapham crime noir. In fact, this storyline could easily fit into the Stray Bulletsseries. Then they wrap up with a look at Kieron GIllen and Stephanie Hans's Die#1(Image Comics). This is a D&D-inspired fantasy narrative, and the guys frame this within the context of similar stories, such as Stephen King's It, the Netflix series Stranger Things, and the first Jumanjimovie. Go to The Comics Alternative's YouTube channelif you want to see the recording of the guys' live-streaming broadcast of this show!  

    Comics Alternative Interviews: Back with Noah Van Sciver

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 11, 2018 78:50


    Time Codes: 00:01:15 - Introduction 00:03:32 - Setup of interview 00:04:53 - Interview with Noah Van Sciver 01:15:14 - Wrap up 01:16:39 - Contact us The Two Guys with PhDs are very happy to have back on the podcast Noah Van Sciver. He was first on the show back in March 2015, and a lot of things have changed with him since the guys last talked with Noah (and not just his growing of a mustache). Most significantly, his output has been through the roof! One of the things Sterg and Derek discuss with their guest is the sheer volume of his comics creation. Over the past six months alone he has released four different titles, and from a variety of publishers: Constant Companion (Fantagraphics), Blammo #10(Kilgore Books and comics), One Dirty Tree(Uncivilized Books), and Fante Bukowski 3: A Perfect Failure(Fantagraphics). The guys talk with Noah about his work habits, his penchant for working with different publishers, his ability to juggle different projects at the same time, and his current work and what we can expect from him in the future. And of course, there is a lot of laughter in this episode. Noah is a humorous, and at time quite satirical, writer, yet the humor is often mixed with pathos, as we see not only his autobiographical comics, but most notably in his recent Fante Bukowski. This was a fun interview...and even more fun was had after they turned off the microphones and the guys hung out on Skype to talk about even more matters. Too bad that wasn't captured for the show, but this new interview with Noah Van Sciver is definitely a highlight of Stergios and Derek's year.

    Euro Comics: Review of Piero and The First Man

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 10, 2018 86:56


    Time Codes: 00:01:23 - Introduction 00:04:25 - Better late than never 00:05:54 - Piero 00:40:32 - The First Man 01:23:26 - Wrap up 01:24:39 - Contact us Pascal and Derek are back with the latest Euro Comics episode...the very late November show. They begin with Edmond Baudoin's Piero(New York Review Comics). This is a fascinating and moving memoir -- or better yet, a series of remembrances -- from Baudoin and his relationship with his younger brother Pierre, or Piero. While the title and the story itself would lead one to believe that this is the story of Edmond's younger brother, it's actually a narrative that focuses on the author himself. Edmond, or Momon, as he's called in the book, is at the center of this text, and he's explored and defined within the context of his brother and their relationship, especially as it concerns art and illustration. After that, the Two Guys turn to Jacques Ferrandez's adaptation of Albert Camus's The First Man(Pegasus Books). This isn't the first time the guys have discussed Ferrandez's adaptation. In July 2016, Derek and Gene looked at his graphic version of Camus's The Stranger. This book is similarly moving, but in many ways denser and more pensive than the earlier adaptation. The First Manwas the manuscript that Camus was working on at the time of his death, dying in a car accident. The unfinished work, and intended masterpiece, was finally published in the 1990s, but Ferrandez's text doesn't really feel like an uncompleted manuscript. This is quite a prose-heavy book, and philosophical in the way that Camus's essays and fiction were thought-provoking. Derek and Pascal didn't plan this when they chose these two books, but The First Man and Piero have a lot in common: thoughtful, pensive, and narratives scaffolded around memories and the past.  

    Manga: Reviews of Sailor Moon Eternal Edition Vols. 1 & 2 and Mob Psycho 100 Vol. 1

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 7, 2018 78:17


    Time Codes: 00:01:26 - Introduction 00:03:27 - Late again 00:05:13 - Sailor Moon Eternal Editions, Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 00:46:09 - Mob Psycho 100, Vol. 1 01:14:53 - Wrap up 01:16:01 - Contact us   On this episode of The Comics Alternative/s manga series -- the November show, albeit a little late -- Shea and Derek take a look at two series that give us a varied understanding of the medium. They begin with the first two volume's of Naoko Takeuchi's Sailor Moon Eternal Edition(Kodansha Comics). This is a classic shojo series from the 1990s, and as the guys discuss, it's something that they've heard about for years, but it's not a title that they actually read. Both Derek and Shea are quite surprised with the story, in that it's quite different from what they expected...and in a good way. The guys discuss Takeuchi's visual style, the complex layering of her story elements, and the fantastical tone of the narrative, among other aspects. After that, the Two Guys check out One's Mob Psycho 100, Vol. 1 (Dark Horse Manga). This is the latest translated manga from the creator of One-Punch Man, which Shea and Derek discussed on the September 2015 show. Both enjoy this new (for English speakers) series, and it stands out from One-Punch Manin that One does both the writing and the art. In fact, they spend a bit of time discussing One's aesthetic, the art's "flatness" and simplicity. Some may not appreciate the style, but both of the guys are taken by not only One's storytelling abilities, but his illustrations, as well. They do mention in one long storyline the narrative seemed to drag, but other than that, it's a title, along with the new editions of Sailor Moon, that the guys heartily recommend.

    Comics Alternative Interviews: Conor Stechschulte

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 6, 2018 80:02


    Time Codes: 00:01:15 - Introduction 00:03:15 - Setup of interview 00:05:06 - Interview with Conor Stechschulte 01:15:57 - Wrap up 01:17:44 - Contact us On this episode of The Comics Alternative's interview series, the Two Guys have the pleasure of talking with Conor Stechschulte. The third volumeof his ongoing series, GenerousBosom (Breakdown Press), was released in the spring, and Sterg and Derek have an enlightening conversation with Conor about this narrative. While in the first two parts the story was flowing in one discernible direction, more or less, it takes a strange and disturbing turn in the third part. The guys talk with their guest about this narrative trajectory and what it may portend. And as they intuit from the latest installment of Generous Bosom, there are more surprises in store. They also talk with Conor about his other comics, The Amateurs (which was reviewed on the podcast in June 2014), his self-published work, his relationship with his UK publisher, and his inclusion in last year's volume of Best American Comics. This interview has been a long time in coming, and the guys make the most of it. Be sure to check out Conor's band, Lilac, and the sounds they make!

    Episode 300: The December Previews Catalog

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 5, 2018 174:37


    It's the first of a new month, and that must mean that the Two Guys with PhDs Talking about Comics will be looking at the latest Previews catalog. This is a rather long episode -- going for almost three hours -- so you get your money's worth! But what makes this show extra special is that it's the 300th episode of The Comics Alternative's weekly review show. As Derek points out, there are over twice as many episodes of the podcast that have been released since August 2012, accounting for the many interviews, specials, and the various monthly shows, but with the regularly weekly review shows, they've now reached a notable milestone. For December, Sterg and Derek discuss a variety of  publishers and titles solicited in Previews such as: Image Comics - Sharkey the Bounty Hunter #1, Bully Wars Vol. 1, High Crimes, and Leviathan Dark Horse Comics - The Girl in the Bay#1 and EC Archives: Two-Fisted Tales Vol. 4 DC Comics/Vertigo - Mera: Tidebreaker, Absolute Daytripper, and Promethea: The 20th Anniversary Deluxe Edition Book One IDW Publishing - Atomic Robo Presents Real Science Adventures: The Nicodemus Job, Dick Tracy: Dead or Alive, The Grave, Diabolical Summer, Springtime in Chernobyl, Life on the Moon, Ditko's Monsters, Punks Not Dead: London Calling#1, Red Panda and Moon Bear, and A Shining Beacon Dynamite Entertainment - Kirby: Genesis Definitive Edition, Nancy Drew: The Case of the Cold Case, and The Boys Omnibus Vol. 1 BOOM! Studios - Hotel Dare Aardvark-Vanaheim - Sim City: A Dave to Kill For#1 Aftershock Comics -Stronghold#1 and Oberon#1 Alternative Comics - Rad Erwank and Conspiracy Dog Arcana Studio - Raygun A Wage Blue World Inc - Love and Lost Cinebook - Bear's Tooth Vol. 3: Werner, Lucky Luke: The Complete Collection Vol. 1, and Trent Vol. 4: The Valley of Fear Drawn and Quarterly - Leaving Richard's Valleyand Credo: The Rose Wilder Lane Story Fantagraphics Books - The Complete Crepax Vol 4: Private Life, Billie the Bee, Eddie Spaghetti, Mr. Fibber, I, Rene Tardi, Prisoner of War at Stalag 118 Vol. 2: My Return Home, The Perineum Technique, and Cult of the Ibis First Second - Bloom, Kid Gloves: Nine Months of Careful Chaos, Maker Comics: Bake Like a Pro, Maker Comics: Fix a Car, PDST, and Secret Coders: The Complete Boxed Set Harper Collins - New Kid Houghton Mifflin Harcourt - Lois Lowry: The Giver Humanoids - Bigby Bearand The Incal: Oversized Deluxe Limited Edition It's Alive - Aztec Ace: The Complete Collection Little Brown Books for Young Readers - Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy: A Modern Retelling of Little Women New York Review Comics: Letters to Survivors Nobrow - Darwin: An Exceptional Voyageand Through a Life Oni Press - A Quick and Easy Guide to Queer and Trans Identitiesand Pilu of the Woods Pegasus - The Be-Bop Barbarians Robots and Monkeys - Eric Silver Sprocket - Egg Cream Vol. 1, Emotional Data, and Magical Beatdown Vol. 1 Starburns Industries Press - Trent William Morow - Good Omens VIZ Media - Urusei Yatsura Vol. 1 Dempa Books - Maiden Railways  

    Webcomics: Reviews of Grass of Parnassus, Lavender Jack, and Take the A Train

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 3, 2018 91:38


    Time Codes: 00:01:22 - Introduction 00:04:08 - Oops, we're late 00:06:08 - Grass of Parnassus 00:36:42 - Lavender Jack 01:04:20 - Take the A Train 01:27:54 - Wrap up 01:29:01 - Contact us On the November webcomics episode -- albeit a little late -- Sean and Derek look at three very different webcomics...especially different when it comes their hosting platforms. They begin with Stuart and Kathryn Immonen's Grass of Parnassus. This is a unique science fiction narrative that is relatively new, starting in September this year, with an intriguing storyline (what there is so far) and incredible art. But what is additionally notable about this webcomic is that it's being hosted on Instagram. This is the first time the guys have discussed an Instagram-based webcomic, and Sean and Derek spend a bit of time discussing the pros and cons of this platform. After that they focus on Lavender Jack, a webcomic hosted on Webtoon and written and illustrated by Dan Schkade. It's an engaging crime/intrigue webcomic that reminds the guys of both The Scarlet Pimpernel and Batman. A unique combination! It's the story of a wealthy socialite who dons a costume to cover his identity, and then goes about exposing the hidden crimes of prominent, powerful, and corrupt citizens in the city. This is also a relatively new webcomic, starting in June, and although there are already 24 episodes (as of this recording), there are still a number of mysteries that are yet to be answered. Finally, the Two Guys wrap up with an already completed webcomic, M. Deanand Z. Akhmetova's Take the A Train. This is a relatively short narrative, but what makes it stand out -- in addition to the incredible art -- is that each half of the story is hosted on Dean's and Akhmetova's sites, respectively. This is the first time the guys have discussed a webcomic that was a collaborative endeavor in this manner. The webcomic is based on Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn's classic song, and both creators focus on young protagonists in the middle of the 20th century who are fascinated with Ellington and his historic relationship with The Savoy in Harlem.  

    Young Readers: Reviews of The Brain: The Ultimate Thinking Machine and Hey, Kiddo: How I Lost My Mother, Found My Father, and Dealt with Family Addiction

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 30, 2018 40:30


    Time Codes: 00:33 - Introduction 02:55 - The Brain: The Ultimate Thinking Machine 17:31 - Hey, Kiddo: How I Lost My Mother, Found My Father, and Dealt with Family Addiction 37:06 - Wrap up 38:00 - Contact us On this episode of the Comics Alternative's Young Readers series, Gwen and Krystal discuss two new releases: Tory Woollcott and Alex Graudins's The Brain: The Ultimate Thinking Machine, the most recent volume in First Second Books' Science Comicsseries, geared towards upper elementary and middle grade readers, and Jarrett J. Krosoczka's Hey, Kiddo: How I Lost My Mother, Found My Father, and Dealt with Family Addiction, a YA comics memoir, published by Scholastic's Graphix imprint. To introduce Woollcott and Graudins' The Brain, Gwen and Krystal talk about non-fiction, informational comics for young readers, bringing up other volumes in the Science Comics series, such as M.K. Reed and Joe Flood's Dinosaurs, as well as Maris Wicks' Human Body Theater, and Gene Luen Yang and Mike Holmes' Secret Coders. Gwen explains that all of these texts place scientific or mathematical information within a fictional frame, and she summarizes the basic premise of The Brain, which places two sisters, Fahama and Nour, in a setting that is reminiscent of wacky 1960s and 1970s monster films or TV shows like The Munsters. Krystal praises Woollcott and Graundin's use of a diverse cast, both in terms of the principal characters and of the individuals who appear in illustrations of the way that the brain impacts human functioning. Both Krystal and Gwen detail some of the memorable spreads in the comic and view the text as an excellent story and reference book for young readers. Next, the two PhDs move on to a young adult graphic memoir, Jarrett J. Krosoczka's Hey, Kiddo, which is already earning critical acclaim and award buzz (it is a National Book Award finalist). Krosoczka is well-known as the author of nearly a dozen picture books and of the Lunch Lady graphic novel series, but Hey, Kiddo is his first YA offering. Gwen recommends Krosoczka's 2012 TED Talk “How a boy became an artist,” as well as his 2014 TED Talk on the Lunch Ladycomics. Both provide insight into Krosoczka's childhood influences and artistic choices. Krystal then gives a detailed description of the way Hey, Kiddo mirrors -- and expands upon -- many of the artist-focused coming of age narratives that have been popular in recent decades, including Alison Bechdel's Fun Home: A Family Tragicomedy (2006) and Özge Samanci's Dare to Disappoint: Growing Up in Turkey (2015).  Krystal also applauds Krosoczka's use of line style and color in commenting on memory, and Gwen testifies to the author's ability to evoke a convincing depiction of 1970s New England. Both reviewers love this text and highly recommend it for teens and adults. The Young Readers series will be on hiatus in December, but Gwen and Krystal will be back in January with a look at some of the YA graphic novel highlights of 2018.    

    Comics Alternative Interviews: Katriona Chapman

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 29, 2018 69:22


    Time Codes: 00:00:24 - Introduction 00:02:14 - Setup of interview 00:03:59 - Interview with Katriona Chapman 01:06:41 - Wrap up 01:07:15 - Contact us Katriona Chapman first came to our attention through her work at Avery Hill Publishing. She works in marketing there, and back in summer of 2015 she introduced Tillie Walden. Tillie's first book, The End of Summer, had just been released, and Kat worked was instrumental in setting up an interview with the very young artist. But over the subsequent year, we've come to know Kat as more of an artist herself. She had done a lot of illustration work for children's books, but it was her self-published comic, Katzine, that specifically caught our attention. In fact, we had discussed Katzinein a special episode from last year, where we looked at self-published comics. In one of the later issues of Katzineshe mentions working on her first book, an autobiographical work centered on her travels in Mexico. Last month that book, Follow Me In, was released by Avery Hill. This is a fascinating travelogue about her experiences touring Mexico, it's diverse regions, its many ruins, and its vibrant cultures. As you'll hear in this interview, Kat doesn't only write about her experiences touring in this new book, but she also explores her problematic relationship with her companion as well as her own efforts as an artist. As such, Follow Me Inis much more than a travelogue. It's an account of a young artist undergoing new experiences and using those to grow as a creator and to define her art.  

    Episode 299: Reviews of Recent Comics about The Beatles

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 28, 2018 97:33


    Time Codes: 00:00:35 - Introduction 00:02:35 - Check out Sterg's blog! 00:04:15 - Lennon: The New York Years 00:30:38 - Yellow Submarine 00:44:19 - The Beatles in Comics 01:10:55 - I Am Young 01:33:01 - Wrap up 01:35:02 - Contact us This is a special episode of The Comics Alternative, in that Sterg and Derek focus only on recent comics about The Beatles. Both of the guys are huge Beatles fans, and you can tell how excited they are in discussing these texts. They begin with David Foenkinos, Corbeyran, and Horne's Lennon: The New York Years(IDW Publishing), adapted from Foenkinos prose work on John Lennon. What makes this book stand out is that it's primarily narrated in the first person through imagined therapy sessions that Lennon undergoes. In this way, the text becomes not only an insight into John Lennon's psyche, but also a broad historical overview of The Beatles as a musical phenomenon. After that they jump into Bill Morrison's recent adaptation of Yellow Submarine(Titan Comics). This is a work that is as colorful and as elaborate as the 1968 animated film, and the guys are impressed by how faithful the book is to the film's plot. The only thing you don't get in Morrison's text is the various musical interludes that you have in the animated film (of course), but even then Morrison does an affective job of implying the music as sort of a silent soundtrack. But all of the surreal visuals, the song references, and the many puns are there. Next, they look at a new book just released through NBM, The Beatles in Comics. This is a collection of short essays and comics written by Michel Mabel and Gaet's, and with illustrations by a variety of artists. Much like Lennon, this book provides a broad overview of The Beatles, and the chapters cover such topics as their time in Hamburg, Brian Epstein, when they met the queen, their playing Shea Stadium, the Ed Sullivan Show, the genesis of "Yesterday," their decision to stop touring, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, their time in India, Yoko Ono, the Paul Is Dead phenomenon, and the breakup of the band. Finally, they discuss a new book that really isn't about The Beatles, but uses the Fab Four as a significant backdrop. M. Dean's I Am Young(Fantagraphics) is a series of stories about relationships and music, and the main storyline is the one that uses The Beatles. It's the history of a relationship between Miriam and George, two young people who meet at a Beatles concert when the band first hit it big. M. Dean takes us through the course of this relationship, doing so with The Beatles as a nexus, with the two growing older and getting together, and growing apart, as The Beatles themselves mature and evolve. One book that the Sterg and Derek do not discuss, but one they nonetheless highly recommend, is Carol Tyler's Fab4 Mania(Fantagraphics). This work was released earlier this year, and the reason the guys don't include it in their comics about The Beatles coverage is that Gene and Derek interviewed Carol back in July. As such, they spent a lot of time discussing that book, so the guys already focused on that text. Still, it's another recent graphic novel about The Beatles, and it should stand alongside the other works that Sterg and Derek discuss in this episode.  

    Comics Alternative Interviews: Liz Prince

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 26, 2018 80:16


    Time Codes: 00:00:24 - Introduction 00:02:02 - Setup of interview 00:03:13 - Interview with Liz Prince 01:16:24 - Wrap up 01:18:11 - Contact us On this interview episode, Sterg talks with Liz Prince about her latest books, Look Back and Laugh(Top Shelf Productions) and the colorized Be Your Own Backing Band(Silver Sprocket), as well as several of her past publications. Over the course of the conversation, Sterg talks with Liz about self publishing, writing for certain age-appropriate audiences, the influences of music, her international reach, as well as many of her previous works.

    Episode 298: Our Sixth Annual Thanksgiving Show

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 21, 2018 62:03


    Thanksgiving is tomorrow, and Sterg and Derek gather around the ol' podcasting dinner table to share some of the creators, publishers, locales, and and concepts they're thankful for this year . Among the many things they mention are the plentitude of comics today Inio Asano's new series, Dead Dead Deamon's Dededede Destruction Charles Forsman VIZ Media's new Perfect Editions of Naoki Urasawa's 20th Century Boys The Nib New York Review Comics comics-centric cons TwoMorrows Press Craig Yoe publishers who use Kickstarter to get their seasonal works out Heroes Aren't Hard to Find, The Comics Experience, and other great local comic shops the completion of Jason Lutes's Berlin review copies creators who are kind and warm individuals students who are researching the way people consume and interpret comics So give thanks this year, and read some great comics!

    Episode 297: Reviews of DC Comics before Superman, My Heroes Have Always Been Junkies, and Umbrella Academy: Hotel Oblivion #1

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 24, 2018 94:11


    Time Codes: 00:00:30 - Introduction 00:02:45 - Being away 00:04:40 - DC Comics before Superman 00:44:12 - My Heroes Have Always Been Junkies 01:14:21 - Umbrella Academy: Hotel Oblivion #1 01:29:48 - Wrap up 01:30:43 - Contact us This week Sterg and Derek check out three intriguing, yet very different, titles. They begin with Nicky Wheeler-Nicholson's DC Comics before Superman: Major Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson's Pulp Comics(Hermes Press). This is a collection of comics written or inspired by the writing of Major Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson and an overview of the pre-Superman history of the publisher. After that they look at Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips's My Heroes Have Always Been Junkies(Image Comics), the latest noir narrative in their Criminal series. And then the guys wrap up with Umbrella Academy: Hotel Oblivion #1, Gerard Way and Gabriel Bá's return to their Umbrella Academyworld.  

    Euro Comics: Review of The Arab of the Future, Books 1-3

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 23, 2018 90:29


    Time Codes: 00:00:27 - Introduction 00:03:02 - Being away in September 00:05:21 - The Arab of the Future, books 1-3 01:26:07 - Wrap up 01:28:05 - Contact us On this episode of the Euro Comics series, Pascal and Derek look at the first three books of Riad Sattouf's series, The Arab of the Future. Each of these volumes is thick in content, giving the guys a lot to discuss. And while they do a bit of close reading in their discussion, much of what Pascal and Derek do is provide larger overviews, focusing on themes, narrative structures, aesthetic choices, and cultural contexts. In fact, Pascal had read each of these books originally in French -- indeed, he is now in the middle of reading the fourth volume that is already available in France -- so he provides some of the context that might escape American readers. Both of the guys are bowled away by this series, and they eagerly await the continuation of this graphic memoir...and other translated works by Sattouf.

    Webcomics: Reviews of The Zombie Hunters, Kim Reaper, and Nothing Is Forgotten

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 22, 2018 76:46


    Time Codes: 00:00:27 - Introduction 00:03:39 - Support Poe and the Mysteriadson Kickstarter! 00:06:21 - The Zombie Hunters 00:33:06 - Kim Reaper 00:54:01 - Nothing Is Forgotten 01:12:30 - Wrap up 01:13:58 - Contact us On this, the Two Guys' annual Halloween webcomics episode, Sean and Derek discuss three horror-related titles, each of which is quite different one from the other. They begin with Jenny Romanchuk's The Zombie Hunters, a story that has been serialized since 2006. This is a post-apocalyptic narrative that centers on a group of zombie hunters who are themselves infected by a virus that could possibly turn them into the undead, should they die a natural death. After that they look at Kim Reaper, a relatively new webcomic created by Sara Graley, and one that could arguably be described as a horror romcom. Finally, they discuss Ryan Andrews's Nothing Is Forgotten, a somewhat short but nonetheless powerful story about a young boy who buries his father the same day he stumbles upon a lair of some ill-defined and mysterious creature.    

    Young Readers: Reviews of 3x4, The Creepy Case Files of Margo Maloo: The Monster Mall, and Sheets

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 19, 2018 46:23


    Time Codes: 00:30 - Introduction 02:49 - Introducing Krystal, and a Farewell to Paul 07:24 - 3x4 17:44 - The Creepy Case Files of Margo Maloo: The Monster Mall 32:40 -Sheets 42:54 - Wrap up 43:42 - Contact us On this episode of the Comics Alternative's Young Readers show, Gwen is joined by her new co-host, Dr. Krystal Howard, an assistant professor in the Liberal Studies and English departments at California State University, Northridge. Krystal has been reading, writing about, and teaching children's and YA comics for a number of years and has a particular interest in gender and comics studies. In 2017, Krystal's essay “Gothic Excess and the Body in Vera Brosgol's Anya's Ghost” appeared in Gwen's co-edited volume (with Michelle Ann Abate), Graphic Novels for Children and Young Adults, and she has another comics-related essay, “Comics Grammar in Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean's Picture Book Collaborations” that is forthcoming in The Artistry of Neil Gaiman: Finding Light in the Shadows. Regular listeners to the Young Readers show will already know Krystal from her spot as a panelist last summer on a special roundtable that Gwen and Paul Lai hosted on the future of children's and YA comics. Before they begin discussing the books for this month's show, Gwen and Krystal mention the wonderful contributions of Paul Lai, who has recently graduated with his doctorate from the School of Education in Language, Literacy, and Culture at the University of California, Berkeley, and who has begun a new position as Director of UC Berkeley's prestigious BE3 program, which stands for Berkeley Educators for Equity and Excellence. Paul intends to return to the Comics Alternativefamily from time to time as a podcaster, and Gwen and Krystal wish him the very best in his new role. During the main portion of the show, Gwen and Krystal discuss three new releases: Ivan Brunetti's 3 x 4, published last month by TOON Books and geared towards early elementary readers, and two Halloween-oriented middle grade graphic novels: Drew Weing's The Creepy Case Files of Margo Maloo: The Monster Mall, which is the second in the Margo Maloo series from First Second books, and Brenna Thummler's debut, Sheets, put out by Lion Forge's Cubhouse imprint. Both Krystal and Gwen found Brunetti's 3 x 4 to be a great addition to the plethora of STEM-focused comics that have been published in the last five years, including First Second's Science Comics series and Mike Holmes and Gene Luen Yang's Secret Coders. Krystal praises Brunetti for his inclusion of a diverse and eclectic group of young people, and Gwen notes that for the detail-oriented child, every page offers up an opportunity to discover the many ways that the number 12 can be divided into sets! Next, the two PhDs consider Drew Weing's follow up to his highly successful first volume of the Margo Maloos series: The Creepy Case Files of Margo Maloo: The Monster Mall. Gwen appreciates Weing's decision to continue focusing on the costs of gentrification, while Krystal notes that the inclusion of teenage characters adds a new dimension to the series. Finally, Gwen and Krystal discuss the amazing debut by Brenna Thummler, Sheets (Lion Forge), which takes place in a lake resort town and focuses on the struggles of a young woman who has become the proprietor of her family's laundromat, all while trying to fit in at middle school. Her interactions with Wendell, the ghost of an eleven-year-old boy, end up making life a lot better for both of them. Krystal points out Thummler's attention to figural placement and atmospherics, and Gwen suggests that while some of the plot points might seem a little far-fetched, the novel holds together well and deals with class conflict in a manner that is also present in Weing's Margo Maloo series. In November, Gwen and Krystal will be back with another set of books to review, as well as 2018 best-of-list recommendations for our listener's winter holiday celebrations.  

    Episode 296: Reviews of Scratches #2, Now #4, and Dick Tracy: Dead or Alive #1

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 10, 2018 99:38


    Time Codes: 00:00:31 - Introduction 00:02:38 - Getting ready for Halloween 00:06:29 - Scratches #2 00:49:27 - Now #4 01:22:19 - Dick Tracy: Dead or Alive #1 01:36:12 - Wrap up 01:37:27 - Contact us On this episode Sterg and Derek check out two new anthologies, as well as a recent incarnation of Dick Tracy. They begin with Scratches #2, a comics and art anthology curated by Joost Swarte (and distributed in the Americas by Conundrum Press). They actually spend the majority of the episode discussing this collection, which includes mostly European artists. After that they eagerly jump into the latest issue of Eric Reynold's Now. This is Fantagraphics' exciting anthology that began last year. In this issue we see work by, among others, Walt Holcombe, Cynthia Alfonso, Roman Muradov, Tommi Parrish, Theo Ellsworth, Rebecca W. Kirby, and David Alvardo. Finally, they wrap up with Dick Tracy: Dead or Alive#1, the first in a four-issue limited series. Written by Lee and Michael Allred, and with art by Rich Tommaso, this is (to some degree) an updated handling of Dick Tracy in that the legendary detective is fighting crime in the current day. But although temporal setting is contemporary, the issue still has the feel of a classic comic-strip narrative, including big-presence villains, a detective with many tricks up his sleeve, and a storyline that at times seems outrageous...but in a good way. The Two Guys really hope that this Dick Tracy has a long life well after the limited series.

    Manga: Reviews of Vérité #1 and Cutie Honey: The Classic Collection

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 9, 2018 87:33


    Time Codes: 00:00:28 - Introduction 00:02:35 - September in October 00:04:17 - Vérité #1 00:49:17 - Cutie Honey: The Classic Collection 01:23:32 - Wrap up 01:24:34 - Contact us Shea and Derek are back for their September manga episode. (Yeah, yeah. We know it's the beginning of October, but the guys were a little late getting last month's show recorded.) This time they discuss two intriguing titles, each quite different one from the other. They begin with the inaugural issue of Vérité, a new anthology series out of India featuring classic alternative manga as well as contributions from contemporary Indian artists that have a gekiga feel to them. The guys were glad to see work from Tadao Tsuge, Susumu Katsumata, and Youji Tsuneyama, but they were also taken by fresh Indian voices such as those of Anpu Varkey, Shaunak Samvatsar, Nandita Basu, and Bharath Murthy, Vérité's editor. After that, Shea and Derek discuss Cutie Honey: The Classic Collection, by Go Nagai. This is another one of Seven Seas Entertainment's nice hardbound collections of classic 1970s manga, other titles including Captain Harlockand Devilman. The guys emphasize Cutie Honeyas a representative kind of shonen manga for its time, but they spend most of the time discussing the, at times discomforting, sexual or erotic nature of Go Nagai's creation. What was written for a particular audience back in the 1970s may come across as gratuitous or even offensive to more contemporary readers. But both Derek and Shea point out that, despite the erotic weirdness apparent at times, the story is engaging and worth revisiting.

    Comics Alternative Interviews: Back with Howard Shapiro

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 5, 2018 69:13


    Time Codes: 00:00:24 - Introduction 00:02:22 - Setup of interview 00:03:58 - Interview with Howard Shapiro 01:06:33 - Wrap up 01:07:06 - Contact us A common theme in Howard Shapiro's stories is the significance of music. His first graphic novel, The Sterotypical Freaks, revolved around competing high school bands and how that competition and their dedication to the music defined each member's life. In his latest book, Queen of Kenosha (Animal Media Group), music once again takes center narrative state. It's the story of young singer-songwriter from Wisconsin, Nina Overstreet, who comes to New York City in the early 1960s to make it on the folk scene. What she unexpectedly finds is espionage and ideological conspiracy. Whereas in his earlier Forever Friends series of graphic novels Howard wedded music to hockey as the backdrop for his stories, here in Queen of Kenosha -- the first book in what he's calling The Thin Thinline Trilogy -- he uses music within the context of geopolitical intrigue. In this conversation, Derek talks with Howard about the impetus behind his latest project, the importance of music to his storytelling, the kind of research he conducted to set the historical stage, and his plans for following up on his songwriting protagonist. Howard was on the podcast a couple of years agowhen Hockey Karmawas released, and it was nice to touch base with him again and discuss his subsequent work.

    Episode 295: The October Previews Catalog

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 3, 2018 180:27


    It's the first of the month, so it's time to look at the latest Previews catalog! What's more, this is Sterg's very first Previewsshow, and Derek honors this occasion with much fanfare. As listeners have come to expect from the monthly Previews shows, this episode goes long. In fact, it goes extra long, and in many ways this becomes a trial by fire for Sterg as a new cohost. But he rises to the occasion, providing solid and tireless recommendations of upcoming titles. For October, the Two Guys with PhDs discuss a variety of  publishers and titles such as: Image Comics - Die #1, Prodigy#1, Hardcore#1, and Street Angel Pentathlon Dark Horse Comics - LaGuardia#1, Black Hammer: Cthu-Louise#1, Mind MGMT Omnibus, Vol. 1, War Bears, EC Archives: Piracy, and Berserk: Deluxe Edition, Vol. 1 DC Comics/Vertigo - Goddess Mode #1, and Detective Comics before Batman IDW Publishing - Rocketeer Reborn#1, Belzebubs, and Ye Dynamite Entertainment - Mars Attacks#3 BOOM! Studios - Klaus and the Crying Snowman#1, The Great Wiz and the Ruckus, Waves, Wizard Beach#1, and Feathers Albatross Funnybooks - Mega Ghost#1 Black Mask Studios: Emmie-X: All Systems Go#1 Chapterhouse Publishing - Die Kitty Die!: Heaven and Hell#3 Devils Due/1First Comics - Love Town#1 Drawn and Quarterly - This Woman's Work, Cave-In, and Worn Tuff Elbow#2 Fantagraphics Books - Memorabilia, Ink and Anguish: A Jay Lynch Anthology, The Sea, Vanishing Act, Now#5, and In Christ There Is No East or West Feral House - Hi Jax and Hi Jinx: Life's a Pitch, and Then You Live Forever First Second - Science Comics: Polar Bears Lion Forge - Infinity 8, Vol. 3#2 Oni Press - The Long Con, Vol. 1, Long Road to Liquor City, and Guerrillas: Omnibus Edition Papercutz/Super Genius - Trish Trash: Rollergirl of Mars Omnibus Silver Sprocket - Nothing Nice to Say Sourcebooks - Illegal Starburns Industries Press - Fantasmagoria Holiday Special 2018 Titan Comics - Breakneck#1, Tyler Cross: Angola, and The Night Vanguard Productions - The Wally Wood Christmas Book VIZ Media - We Never Learn, Vol. 1, Abara: Complete Deluxe Edition, and 20th Century Boys: The Perfect Edition, Vol. 2 Yen Press - Mirai Dempa Books - An Invitation from a Crab Kodansha Comics - Quintessential Quintuplets, Vol. 1 Seven Seas Entertainment - I Want to Eat Your Pancreas, Vol. 1 Vertical Comics - Pop Team Epic, Second Season    

    On Location: SPX 2018, "The Practice of Diary Comics" Panel

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 2, 2018 73:53


    Time Codes: 00:00:27 - Introduction 00:02:12 - Panel context, with Glynnis Fawkes 00:14:02 - "The Practice of Diary Comics" panel 01:09:40 - Wrap up 01:10:50 - Contact us The middle of last month, September 15-16, saw the Small Press Expo held in North Bethesda, MD. At the event, Derek moderated a panel on that Sunday afternoon entitled "The Practice of Diary Comics." Participating in the discussion were Glynnis Fawkes, Summer Pierre, Kevin Budnik, and Dustin Harbin. This episode of the podcast presents an audio recording of that event, and joining Derek in setting up the context is Glynnis Fawkes. She, Derek, and Summer Pierre were the ones who organized the panel, decided on its topic focus, and reached out to the other contributors about joining in. In setting up the panel recording, Glynnis and Derek discuss their initial plans for the session, some of the concerns they had in coming up with a focus, and how the topic evolved. Then they get to the recording of the event. The sound quality of the audio is "rough" at times -- the gain on some of the microphones sounds as if it was turned up a bit too high -- but that's something that the participants had no way of controlling. Nonetheless, everything is legible, and you can certainly make out clearly what everyone says...as well as Dustin's singing and consuming of donuts. A big thanks to Rob Clough for working with us on this panel and for overseeing the programming at this year's SPX! Participants from the left: Dustin Harbin, Summer Pierre, Kevin Budnik, Glynnis Fawkes, and Derek Royal  

    Webcomics: Reviews of E.T. Girl, Bicycle Boy, and Broken Telephone

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 1, 2018 88:22


    Time Codes: 00:00:27 - Introduction 00:03:15 - September? 00:05:24 - E.T. Girl 00:30:42 - Bicycle Boy 00:59:23 - Broken Telephone 01:23:16 - Wrap up 01:25:02 - Contact us On the September webcomics show, Sean and Derek look at three intriguing titles. They begin with E.T. Girl, written and illustrated by theplanetsdreamer (and whose real name is Kimberly Kotschi). This is a relatively new webcomic, a mix of sci-fi and fantasy, and plays upon the alien abduction convention. After that they check out Jackarais's Bicycle Boy, a work that has been going on for over 5 years. However, the narrative is well-paced and with incredible art. This is also a sci-fi story, but one set in an a post-apocalyptic future with a cyborg as its protagonist. The Two Guys wrap up the episode with the already-completed Broken Telephone, a unique series of interconnected storylines that become more solidly interwoven as the webcomic progresses. Ryan Estrada is the writer of all the storylines, but with each installment, 18 in all, he uses a different artist or artistic team to express his narrative vision.

    Comics Alternative Special: A Roundtable Discussion on Comics and Podcasting for International Podcast Day 2018

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 30, 2018 97:43


    In celebration of International Podcast Day 2018, Derek invites a variety of other comics podcasters to discuss their experiences in the medium. Joining him are Gina Gagliano, from Graphic Novel TK; Greg Matiasevich, from Robots from Tomorrow; Jay Loving, from The Best of the Rest; and Gwen Tarbox, from The Comics Alternative for Young Readers. Find out more about International Podcast Dayand how you can help promote podcasting worldwide. And be sure to share your thoughts on social media using #PodcastDay.    

    On Location: The Second September Visit to Heroes Aren't Hard to Find

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 28, 2018 63:52


    Michael and Derek are back at their local shop, Heroes Aren't Hard to Find, to discuss recent mainstream and indie titles that have captured their attention. Mike starts the ball rolling by focusing on recent expressions of a couple of second-tier characters, Doctor Strangeand Hawkman, as handled by Mark Waid and Robert Venditti, respectively. He then takes the conversation into a more "adult" direction with the first issue in Batman: Damned, part of DC's new Black Label imprint. This title is notable for a couple of reasons. First, it's now difficult to find, and as such, both fans and retailers are selling copies for a hefty price. But even more significant is the fact that in this first issue, readers get to see Batman naked. That's right, Wayne's wang. Batman's junk. The recent titles that Derek brings up are much tamer in nature. He begins with Matt Kindt and Tyler Jenkins's Black Badge (BOOM! Studio), the second issue of which will be released next week. This is a promising new limited series that has all of the secretive, undercover, and espionage-y markings of a Kindt narrative. However, Derek isn't as excited about the new Image series, Man-Eaters, written by Chelsea Cain and art by Kate Niemczyk. While he admires the message that seems to be embedded in the story, the first issue is rather sketchy in laying any satisfying narrative groundwork. But Derek more enamored by the minicomic Common Blessings and Common Curses, written by Maritsa Patrinos and nominated this year for an Ignatz Award in the Outstanding Minicomic category. It was a wonderful find at this year's Small Press Expo. Remember that The Comics Alternative's on-location series is now part of the Queen City Podcast Network! Check out the great podcast series that give life to Charlotte!

    Comics Alternative Interviews: Another Conversation with Tillie Walden

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 27, 2018 79:43


    Time Codes: 00:00:24 - Introduction 00:02:20 - Setup of interview 00:04:01 - Interview with Tillie Walden 01:15:35 - Wrap up 01:17:30 - Contact us Sterg and Derek are happy to have Tillie Walden back on the podcast. (She was originally on The ComicsAlternativein June 2015, her very first podcast interview!) Her latest book, On a Sunbeam, will be released next week from First Second. This narrative actually began as a webcomic -- one that was nominated for an Eisner Award last year, and one that is still available online-- but now it will be available in print. The Two Guys talk with Tillie about the process of creating On a Sunbeamand its importance as a webcomic, the science fiction scaffolding around which the narrative is constructed, and how this work compares to some of her earlier books. In fact, much of the conversation is focused on the kind of fantastical stories Tillie spins out, with flying fish planes and cats large enough to ride on. The guys also ask her about last year's Spinning, the winner of a 2018 Eisner Award for Best Reality-Based Work, and the creative shifts she had to make with this outright autobiography. Over the course of their conversation, Tillie shares her experiences growing as a storyteller, her large and dedicated fanbase, the almost improvisational nature of her writing, and her discomfort being pigeonholed primarily as a writer for teens or as a lesbian creator.

    Episode 294: Reviews of Coyote Doggirl, Baseline Blvd., and Cemetery Beach #1

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 26, 2018 90:06


    Time Codes: 00:00:29 - Introduction 00:02:30 - Hitting a milestone 00:04:20 - Coyote Doggirl 00:40:29 - Baseline Blvd. 01:12:18 - Cemetery Beach #1 01:26:03 - Wrap up 01:27:22 - Contact us This week Sterg and Derek discuss three fascinating and genre-spanning titles. They begin with Lisa Hanawalt's Coyote Doggirl(Drawn and Quarterly). As the guys point out, this is a humor-infused story that engages with the western genre. Both Derek and Sterg mention that while they appreciate Hanawalt's off-beat sense of humor, they haven't been big fans of her past books, in that they weren't so much narrative comics as they were illustrated works of humor. But Coyote Doggirlis more of a "traditional" comic, with sequential panels and a discernible storyline. The premise is more or less simple, but that's part of the charm of this text. And the humor! Next, the Two Guys with PhDs turn to Emi Gennis's Baseline Blvd., released earlier this year from Kilgore Books and Comics. This actually began as a webcomic back in 2015, but it was published in hardcopy as part of Kilgore's Kickstarter campaignfor their 2018 releases. Where many of Gennis's comics have been profiles or biographies, this latest book is more autobiographical in nature. As the guys point out, there is a silent elegance about this work, and Gennis packs a lot of story -- and emotion -- into her brief narrative. The guys then wrap up the episode by looking at Warren Ellis and Jason Howard's Cemetery Beach#1(Image Comics). Sterg observes that this seems to be a typical Ellis narrative -- and "typical" in a good, demonstrative way -- and both of the guys comment on Howard's art. In fact, much of this first issue is carried by the illustrations. In all, it's a successful first issue. This seven-issue sci-fi series has a lot of promise, and both Derek and Sterg look forward to seeing where the creators take their premise.