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The Comics Alternative

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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 include reviews of graphic novels and current ongoing series, discussions of upcoming comics, examinations of collected editions, in-depth analyses of a variety of comics texts, and spotlights on various creators and publishers. The Comics Alternative also produces "special feature" programs, such as shows specifically dedicated to creator interviews, webcomics, on-location events, and special non-weekly themes and topics.

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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 include reviews of graphic novels and current ongoing series, discussions of upcoming comics, examinations of collected editions, in-depth analyses of a variety of comics texts, and spotlights on various creators and publishers. The Comics Alternative also produces "special feature" programs, such as shows specifically dedicated to creator interviews, webcomics, on-location events, and special non-weekly themes and topics.

iTunes Ratings

45 Ratings
Average Ratings
41
2
0
1
1

Great, interesting comics podcast

By Pfrtta - Apr 27 2017
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I am glad to hear information and analysis of comics that aren't superheroes. I agree with the 2Guys + others assessment that the alternative comics get less attention than their superhero counterparts. I love that the Comics Alternative fills that niche. I always try to keep up with all of the wonderful content they provide. You can choose to only listen to the regular episodes, the special interest episodes, or do what I do and listen to everything! I cannot recommend this podcast highly enough!

Smart Talk about Comics

By Stinky Whizzleteats, Jr. - Dec 23 2015
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This is perhaps the most insightful comics-related podcasts out there. Fanboy/girl podcasts with “geek this” or “nerd that” are a dime a dozen, and those almost always focus on superheroes and mainstream comics ad infinitum. The hosts of this podcast make an effort to discuss small press and indie comics, regardless of style and genre. I’ve discovered so many great titles by listening to these guys. Their insightful, democratic, and humorous analysis should be a model for other podcasters. They’re the Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert of comics talk!

iTunes Ratings

45 Ratings
Average Ratings
41
2
0
1
1

Great, interesting comics podcast

By Pfrtta - Apr 27 2017
Read more
I am glad to hear information and analysis of comics that aren't superheroes. I agree with the 2Guys + others assessment that the alternative comics get less attention than their superhero counterparts. I love that the Comics Alternative fills that niche. I always try to keep up with all of the wonderful content they provide. You can choose to only listen to the regular episodes, the special interest episodes, or do what I do and listen to everything! I cannot recommend this podcast highly enough!

Smart Talk about Comics

By Stinky Whizzleteats, Jr. - Dec 23 2015
Read more
This is perhaps the most insightful comics-related podcasts out there. Fanboy/girl podcasts with “geek this” or “nerd that” are a dime a dozen, and those almost always focus on superheroes and mainstream comics ad infinitum. The hosts of this podcast make an effort to discuss small press and indie comics, regardless of style and genre. I’ve discovered so many great titles by listening to these guys. Their insightful, democratic, and humorous analysis should be a model for other podcasters. They’re the Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert of comics talk!
Cover image of The Comics Alternative

The Comics Alternative

Latest release on Jan 30, 2019

The Best Episodes Ranked Using User Listens

Updated by OwlTail 2 days ago

Rank #1: Manga: Reviews of My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness and Golden Kamuy

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Time Codes:

It's the end of the month, so that must mean that it's time for Shea and Derek to discuss their latest manga recommendations. They begin with Kabi Nagata's My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness (Seven Seas Entertainment), a deeply personal autobiographical work whose title is perhaps more provocative than it is revealing. In fact, the guys spend a good bit of time talking about the underlying impulses embedded in the text and how sexual preferences take a backseat to the deeper longings that Nagata reveals. This is a manga all about self-discovery, a diary-like account of the author's attempts to understand herself within the context of her culture and her yearning for what she calls “next level communication.” As Derek and Shea highlight, this is in some ways an example yuri manga, but at the same time such a designation doesn't do the text justice.

Next, they look at the first volume of Satoru Noda's Golden Kamuy (VIZ Media). This is a more realistically based narrative that takes place in the wake of the Russo-Japanese War. The protagonist, Saichi Sugimoto, gained a reputation during the war as an almost invulnerable hero, but he lives his post-war years unsuccessfully prospecting for gold in the Hokkaido region. There he befriends a young Ainu woman, Asirpa, and together they begin hunting down a legendary hidden treasure with a violent pedigree. Both Shea and Derek appreciate the story's realism and historical context -- in many ways, this is a didactic text -- but they're not yet sure of how Noda will handle the indigenous Ainu culture. That being said, they're both definitely on board for future volumes.

Jun 30 2017

1hr 26mins

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Rank #2: Comics Alternative Interviews: Karen Berger

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Time Codes:

  • 00:00:24 - Introduction
  • 00:03:01 - Setup of interview
  • 00:04:46 - Interview with Karen Berger
  • 01:15:04 - Wrap up
  • 01:17:14 - Contact us

Paul and Derek are excited to have Karen Berger on The Comics Alternative. The first release from her new Dark Horse Comics imprint, Berger Books, occurs next week, and the guys talk with Karen on the cusp of this event. The Two Guys ask their guest about the genesis of Berger Books as well as her efforts in launching new titles -- such as Hungry Ghosts, Incognegro: Rennaisance, Mata Hari, and The Seeds -- and securing impressive talent. But they also talk with Karen about her time working at DC Comics and establishing the industry-defining Vertigo brand. This is a fun and informative interview, and Karen Berger is one of the most engaging and pleasant guests the Two Guys have ever had on the podcast.

Jan 25 2018

1hr 19mins

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Rank #3: Episode 275: The April Previews Catalog

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Gene and Derek are back for another look at the current month's Previews catalog. This one may not be as long an episode as last month's Previewshow -- which clocked in at just under three hours -- but it's nonetheless hefty. (Well...actually, it is almost as long as the March show.) They begin this week by discussing the new changes appearing in Previewsbeginning in April. They point out the additions of BOOM! Studios and Dynamite Entertainment in the premiere publishers section, prominently displayed in the front of the catalog; the reorganizations of solicits in a new manga section; the shake-up of what had been the book section; the flip arrangement with the toy and merchandise sections; and next month's departure of DC Comics' solicitations into their own supplemental catalog. After that, and several cynical comments (primarily from Derek), they get into the nitty gritty of the April Previewscatalog, highlighting a variety of titles from such publishers as:

  • Dark Horse Comics - Sword Daughter#1, Likely Stories, Gantz Omnibus Vol. 1, Hercules: Adventures of the Man-God, and EC Archives: War Against Crime Vol. 1
  • DC Comics/Vertigo - Plastic Man#1 and American Vampire Omnibus Vol. 1
  • IDW Publishing/Top Shelf - The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: The Tempest#1, Look Back and Laugh, Comic Book History of Comics: Comics for All, The Unknown Anti-War Comics, and Burmese Moon
  • Image Comics - The Magic Order #1, The Weatherman#1, Proxima Centuri#1, Shanghai Red#1, and The Red Hook Vol. 1
  • Dynamite Entertainment - Nancy Drew#1
  • BOOM! Studios - By Night#1, Planet of the Apes Visionaries: Rod Serling, and Sanpaku
  • Arcade Publishing - Broken Glory: The Final Years of Robert F. Kennedy
  • Archie Comics - Cosmo: The Complete Merry Martian
  • Bongo Comics/United Plankton Pictures - Spongebob Comics Annual Giant Swimtacular#6
  • Conundrum Press - The Curse of Charley Buttersand Feast of Fields
  • Drawn and Quarterly - A Bubble, Shit Is Real, and The Strange
  • Fantagraphics Books - Poochytown, Dumb, Death Stand and Other Stories, Fab 4 Mania, and Dull Margaret
  • First Second - Science Comics: Rockets
  • Humanoids - Luisa: Now and Thenand Moon Face Deluxe
  • Knopf Books for Young Readers - Rickety Stitch and Gelatinous Goo, Vol. 2: The Middle-Route Run
  • Lion Forge - Mae Vol. 1, Mae Vol. 2#1, and Green Almonds: Letters from Palestine
  • NBM - A Tale of a Thousand and One Nights: Hasib and the Queen of Serpents
  • Nobrow - Nobrow Vol. 10: Studio Dreams
  • Oni Press - Shadow Roads#1
  • Rebellion/2000Ad - Jinty Vol. 1: The Land of No Tears and The Future Zoo
  • Secret Acres - Entropy
  • SelfMadeHero - Apollo
  • Silver Sprocket - Catboy
  • Titan Comics - Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer #1 and Tyler Cross: Black Rock
  • Twomorrows Publishing - Comic Book Implosion
  • Z2 Comics - The Sweetness
  • Kodansha Comics - Tokyo Tarareba Girls Vol. 1and Wotakoi: Love Is Hard for Otaku
  • Seven Seas Entertainment - Cutie Honey: The Classic Collection

Apr 04 2018

2hr 53mins

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Rank #4: Episode 289: The August Previews Catalog

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It's that time again! It's the beginning of the month, and the latest issue of the Previews catalog is out. And as they always do, the Two Guys meticulously go through the latest solicits, highlighting a variety of upcoming titles in Previewsthat they're interested in or they think is worth considering. Among the many publishers and titles that they focus on in the August catalog include:

Aug 08 2018

2hr 33mins

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Rank #5: Manga: Reviews of Frankenstein: Junji Ito Story Collection and Dementia 21

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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.)

Dec 31 2018

1hr 41mins

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Rank #6: Episode 303: Our Favorite Comics of 2018

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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

Derek's Top 10 of 2018

The Honorable Mentions…These Titles Almost, but Just Didn’t Quite, Make It onto Each Guy's List For Sterg For Derek

Dec 26 2018

2hr 15mins

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Rank #7: Euro Comics: Reviews of A Strange and Beautiful Sound and Inside Moebius, Part 2

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On this month's Euro Comics episode, Pascal and Derek discuss two recent French-language translations. They begin with Zep's A Strange and Beautiful Sound, the second of his books released through IDW Publishing. This is a story of a Carthusian monk who, because of a dead relative's last will and testament, reenters the everyday world after 26 years of seclusion. The art and colors of this narrative are quite striking, and while the subject matter is significantly different from his previous A Story of Men, both Pascal and Derek find a common style between these two texts.

Next, they check out the latest work in Dark Horse's Moebius Library, Inside Moebius, Part 2. The guys begin by contextualizing the first part of this improvisational journal, released earlier this year, and then go into detail about Part 2. This second book is much more metafiction and self-referential than Part 1, but like the first installment, it includes multiple representations of the author himself, along with encounters with his most notable creations, Arzach, Major Grubert and Malvina, Stel and Atan, and of course Lieutenant Blueberry. The text is free-flowing and surreal, but this is what makes Moebius's self-investigation so notable. Both guys eagerly await the third and final part of Inside Moebiuslater this fall.

Jun 28 2018

1hr 23mins

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Rank #8: Comics Alternative Interviews: Josh Bayer

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Andy and Derek are glad to have as their guest Josh Bayer. He is one of the creative minds behind Fantagrahic's new retro-superhero series, All Time Comics. This line kicked off in March with its first issue, All Time Comics: Crime Destroyer #1, and in April they'll release All Time Comics: Bullwhip #1, soon to be followed by issues devoted to other characters in its universe, Atlas and Blind Justice. Josh talks with the Two Guys about the genesis of this project and his collaboration with his filmmaker brother, Samuel. He also shares his experiences in working with Herb Trimpe on the Crime Destroyer issue -- the last art by this comics legend -- and with Ben Marra, who provides the inks. The latter also provided the pencils on Bullwhip, along with Al Milgrom on inks. Over the course of their conversation, the guys discuss the strange retro feel of the series, one that is more of a heartfelt and sincere tribute and not a campy send up. Nonetheless, All Time Comics already has its share of wacky villains, including The Misogynist, Raingod, and the Time Vampire. Derek and Andy also talk with Josh about his recent efforts to support the ACLU and Planned Parenthood in light of recent political events, taking a cue from Sarah Glidden...and then going even further.

Join in on the fun with these free coloring book pages, brought to you by Josh and the good folks at Fantagrahics!

Mar 27 2017

1hr 28mins

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Rank #9: Manga: Reviews of Ichi-F: A Worker’s Graphic Memoir of the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant and Platinum End

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This month on The Comics Alternative's manga series, Shea and Derek check out two very different titles. They begin with Kazuto Tatsuta's Ichi-F: A Worker's Graphic Memoir of the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant (Kodansha Comics). This is a 500+ page account of the reconstruction and cleanup in the wake of 2011's disaster in Fukushima. As the guys discuss, the text does two things at once: provides objective reportage of the situation surrounding Fukushima and reveals the author's very personal experiences  in securing and maintaining his role in the cleanup efforts. While both guys enjoyed the book, perhaps Derek more than Shea, they nonetheless wondered about Tatsuta's background as a mangaka -- "Kazuto Tatsuta" is a nom de plume, so it's difficult to determine any bibliography -- and any potential agenda (if any) underlying this work.

After their focus on real-world disaster, the guys move into the realm of fantasy. Platinum End (VIZ Media) is a current shōnen series from Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata, the same team behind Bakuman and Death Note. The second English-language volume was just released this month, so the guys have enough story under their belts to get a secure feel for the art and narrative. As Derek explains, the premise appears a little on the hokey side, at least at first, but as things develop the story begins to take on a life of its own, one that soon hooks you. Much of this is because of Obata's style, but there are also larger thematic issues that make this title worth exploring. The guys discourse over the text's theological import, its engagement with gender identity, and its satiric commentary on contemporary popular culture. This is definitely a series that both Shea and Derek will continue reading.

Mar 31 2017

1hr 14mins

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Rank #10: Comics Alternative Interviews: Back with Noah Van Sciver

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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.

Dec 11 2018

1hr 18mins

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Rank #11: Comics Alternative Interviews: Summer Pierre

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Time Codes:

  • 00:00:24 - Introduction
  • 00:02:37 - Setup of interview
  • 00:04:33 - Interview with Summer Pierre
  • 01:19:14 - Wrap up
  • 01:20:13 - Contact us

The Two Guys were first introduced to the work of Summer Pierre during June of 2017. At the time, they were wanting to do a special episode of The Comics Alternative devoted to self-published creators, and John Porcellino recommended to Derek that they check out the work of Summer Pierre. At the time her minicomic Paper Pencil Life was at its fourth issue, and so they went to her website to get the full run of the title up to that point. They were impressed by her art and storytelling, and since then, Derek has made it a point of following Summer's work. She had told him last year in an email that she planned to have a new graphic memoir coming out from Retrofit in 2018, and at this week’s Small Press Expo that book will officially debut. All the Sad Songs is a moving account of the role of music in Summer’s life, from the creation of mix tapes to her performances as a musician, and how that music is linked to key moments with her various relationships and her growth as an artist. In many ways this book is a work of remembrance, but it’s not soaked in the kind of nostalgia that would come across as sentimental. On the contrary, Summer takes a hard look at herself during those times in her life, bearing herself in ways that, at times, may be a bit uncomfortable. But her story is authentic and speaks from the heart. In this interview, Derek talks with Summer about the genesis of this project, her experiences writing in long-form narrative, the role that music has played in her life, and the potential pitfalls in writing about her past in such an open and honest way. This is an interview that's been a long time in coming, but it was definitely worth the wait.

Sep 13 2018

1hr 22mins

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Rank #12: Episode 279: The May Previews Catalog

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This week, Paul and Derek take an extensive look at the May Previews catalog. In fact, their look is so extensive that their discussion evolves into an extra-long episode, spanning almost three hours! (Then again, listeners of the podcast probably are used to these long Previews episodes.) The Two Guys begin by sharing listener mail, and then they make a few comments about some of the changes Diamond has made to their catalog over the past couple of months. After that, they jump into the nitty gritty of the episode, highlighting a variety of solicitations that catch their eye this month. Among the many publishers and titles that they focus on are:

May 09 2018

2hr 54mins

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Rank #13: Young Readers: A Discussion of the Nominees for the 2018 Eisner Awards for the Early Readers, Kids, and Teens Categories

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Time Codes:

  • 00:00:31 - Introduction
  • 00:03:19 - Setup of the discussion
  • 00:05:04 - Nominees in the Best Publication for Early Readers category
  • 00:51:47 - Nominees in the Best Publication for Kids category
  • 01:31:45 - Nominees in the Best Publication for Teens category
  • 02:20:32 - Wrap up
  • 02:26:03 - Contact us

On this episode of the Comics Alternative Young Readers Show, Gwen and Paul detail the three categories of the Eisner Awards that focus on children and teens:

Best Publication for Early Readers (up to age 8)

Best Publication for Kids (ages 9–12)

Best Publication for Teens (ages 13-17)

  • The Dam Keeperby Robert Kondo and Dice Tsutsumi (First Second/Tonko House)
  • Jane, by Aline Brosh McKenna and Ramón K. Pérez (Archaia)
  • Louis Undercover, by Fanny Britt and Isabelle Arsenault, translated by Christelle Morelli and Susan Ouriou (Groundwood Books/House of Anansi)
  • Monstressby Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda (Image)
  • Spinningby Tillie Walden (First Second)

In addition to reviewing each nominated text, the duo refers listeners to The Comics Alternativearchives for the shows that reference these nominees: Good Night, Planet by Liniers; Nightlights by Lorena Alvarez; The Dam Keeper by Robert Kondo and Dice Tsutsumi; and Monstress by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda.

Paul and Gwen use this episode to launch a general discussion of age designations and categorization of children’s and YA comics, and they reference the art of Bolivian painter and lithographer Graciela Rodo Boulanger, whose depiction of children resembles that found in Campbell Whyte’s Home Time. So, won’t you pour yourself a chilly beverage, kick back, and give a listen to the two PhDs -- more on Paul’s recent doctoral graduation from University of California-Berkeley will appear in the June podcast -- for a rundown of this year’s Eisner nominees.

May 28 2018

2hr 28mins

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Rank #14: Episode 297: Reviews of DC Comics before Superman, My Heroes Have Always Been Junkies, and Umbrella Academy: Hotel Oblivion #1

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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.

Oct 24 2018

1hr 34mins

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Rank #15: Episode 283: The June Previews Catalog

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Paul and Derek are back with another look at the latest Previews catalog. And for the month of June, they find a variety of fascinating title...and several of which they even resist mention on mic, in the interests of keeping the show containable and relatively short. Among the many publishers and titles that they focus on are:

Jun 13 2018

1hr 38mins

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Rank #16: Young Readers: Reviews of The Prince and the Dressmaker and Speak: The Graphic Novel

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Time Codes:

Art and Perceptions

Gwen and Paul are back with another Young Readers episode. For February, they discuss two recent publications, both that explore how perceptions, for better or for worse, figure into our lives. They begin with Jen Wang's The Prince and the Dressmaker (First Second), a fairy tale-like narrative focusing on romance, identity, and creativity. Next, they look at Speak: The Graphic Novel (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux), a comics adaptation of Laurie Halse Anderson's young adult novel Speak. Illustrated by Emily Carroll, it's a story of a young high school outcast who uses art to confront the hardships that have kept her on the margins.

Feb 20 2018

1hr 5mins

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Rank #17: Manga: Reviews of Captain Harlock: The Classic Collection, Vol 1 and Slum Wolf

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This month Shea and Derek discuss two great works that bring back some older, or classic, manga. They begin with Leiji Matsumoto's Captain Harlock: The Classic Collection, Vol 1 (Seven Seas Entertainment), a series that originally ran between 1977 and 1979. Captain Harlockis a classic science fiction work, and with a space pirate protagonist who can be seen as a romantic hero. The Two Guys discuss the figure of Harlock as a curious mixture, while at the same time trying to ferret out the his philosophy. In many ways, they see this manga anchored in its time, both aesthetically and politically. But this work definitely isn't limited to it's time and can be appreciated today.

Next they turn to Slum Wolf, another translated collection from Tadao Tsuge (New York Review Comics). An earlier collection of Tsuge's work, Trash Market, was released in 2015 by Drawn and Quarterly (which the guys reviewed on their June 2015 episode). Slum Wolfis a collection of nine stories originally published between 1969 and 1978 in various publications such as Garo and YagyōIt also includes an essay by Tsuge, as well as a outstanding contextual essay by Ryan Holmberg, who also edited and translated the collection. The guys discuss all the stories, to greater or lesser degrees of depth, but they spend most of their time talking about the linking features that bind most of the narratives. As both Derek and Shea point out, this is one of the manga highlights of the year, so far.

Aug 30 2018

1hr 17mins

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Rank #18: Episode 280: Reviews of The New World: Comics from Mauretania, Young Frances, and A Walk through Hell #1

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On this episode of the podcast, Paul and Derek look at three new releases that, while all compelling readings, are vastly different in style and narrative approach. They begin with Chris Reynold's The New World: Comics fromMauretania, recently released from Gallery 13. This is a collection of Reynold's Mauretania comics published beginning in the 1980s. This volume was designed by Seth, and he also provided a brief and insightful note at the end of the text. Neither Paul nor Derek had encountered any of the Mauretania stories before, and they're sorry that they hadn't read Reynolds any sooner. The narratives are dreamlike and random in their coherency, and while making any sense of their meaning and action can be an exercise in frustration, they are strangely some of the most compelling comics the guys have read this year.

Next, the Two Guys turn to a creator whom they've read and loved before, but not by his current name. Both Paul and Derek are big fans of the series Pope Hats, authored by Ethan Rilly, an anagram of Hartley Lin. In Young Frances (AdHouse Books), Lin is now using his real name and collects issues #2, #3, and #5 of his defining series. The text presents the story of Frances Scarland, a young legal clerk whose efficiency and competency are admired by those around her, but who nonetheless wonders if she's just drifting through life without purpose. Her best friend, Vickie, is impulse and more scattered, yet talented enough to find a lead role acting in a hit television crime drama. This is yet another example of "verite dessinée" storytelling, a favorite of Derek's and Paul's.

The guys conclude this episode by looking at the first issue of Garth Ennis and Goran Sudžuka's A Walk through Hell (AfterShock Comics). A mix of horror and crime, this first issue establishes the premise of the series but does so in a way that poses a variety of questions. In fact, both Paul and Derek feel as if this first issue ended almost too quickly -- a sense that they've gotten with other AfterShock first issues -- although there is enough in this inaugural installment to have them wanting to come back to the series. In this first issue, Special Agents Shaw and McGregor work a recent race-related killing while at the same time investigating the disappearance of two fellow officers. What they stumble onto, and we never get a sense of what that is, is apparently something so horrific that even the most hardened law enforcers are unable to live with what they saw.

May 16 2018

1hr 43mins

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Rank #19: On Location: Starting off the New Year at Heroes Aren't Hard to Find

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For years The Comics Alternative has held a monthly on-location episode where one or two cohosts go into -- physically or virtually -- one of their local comics shops and talk with customers and employees about the comics that their reading, what they're excited about and looking forward to, and what grumblings they may have in terms of comics culture. The last such episode was published last August, right before Derek moved to Charlotte, NC...and as things would turn out, in the final days of Valhalla Games and Comics.

But now that Derek has settled in his new environs, he heads over to Heroes Aren't Hard to Find, his new local shop in Charlotte (at 417 Pecan Avenue), to begin once again the monthly series. So January's show kicks things off, with Derek introducing customers and shop employees to the podcast and beginning what, we hope, will be a fun and informative monthly visit. Snowy weather hit Charlotte this week, so the ice and cold cut down on traffic in the shop over the past couple of days. But several did come in and take the time to talk on show, sharing what titles they're currently reading and what they're finding exciting, and frustrating, in comics and comics-related media. For example, Isaiah, coming in for his weekly comics, shares his thoughts on recent DC Rebirth storylines and the shenanigans he sees going on at Marvel. Shop employees, Karla and Eli, talk about the some of the comics that are currently or soon-to-be adapted for television -- and Eli is particularly interested in the upcoming series based on Rick Remender's Deadly Class. And shop owner Shelton Drum comes on to discuss their recent move to a new location, next week's Charlotte Mini-Con (taking place on Saturday, Jan. 27, at the Gary Cole Center), and when we can expect to hear announcements about this summer's HeroesCon.

A big THANK YOU to Karla and Shelton for helping to make this on-location show happen. And if you're in the Charlotte area, be sure to come by the shop on Wednesday, February 21, for next month's on-location recording!

Jan 19 2018

56mins

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Rank #20: On Location: HeroesCon 2018, the "How to Read Nancy" Panel

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Time Codes:

  • 00:00:26 - Introduction
  • 00:02:17 - Panel context
  • 00:04:01 - "How to Read Nancy" panel
  • 01:04:50 - Wrap up
  • 01:05:19 - Contact us

"Draw, you varmint"

This past weekend was HeroesCon 2018, and while there Derek was a part of two different scholarly panels. One was about the relationship between print and digital comics texts, “Between Pen and Pixel,” a recording of which was released earlier this week. The second was a panel based on the book by Paul Karasik and Mark Newgarden, How to Read Nancy: The Elements of Comics in Three Easy Panels. Andy Mansell, who oversees the programming every year at HeroesCon, wanted to pull together a panel of scholars to discuss the significance of How to Read Nancy and its potential place in the classroom and in scholarship. In addition, he wanted the panelists to discuss other important books about comics, comics history, and formal aspects of the medium. Other panelists included the former cohost of The Comics Alternative, Andy Kunka, Craig Fischer, Jennie Law, and the new cohost for the podcast's bi-monthly on-location episodes, Michael Kobre. The resulting panel, “How to Read Nancyand Other Indispensable Books about Comics,” is part of the ongoing series of panels that Andy Mansell organizes every year, which he calls the “Comics Canon.”

A big thanks to Andy Mansell, not only for pulling together this panel, but for all of the hard he does every year in overseeing the programming at HeroesCon.

Jun 21 2018

1hr 7mins

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