Comics Alternative, Episode 145: Reviews of We Stand on Guard #1, Will Eisner’s The Spirit #1, Archie #1, and Leisure

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This week on the podcast, the Two Guys with PhDs take a close look at a few #1 issues and one minicomic series. However, before they get into the nitty gritty of their reviews, they share some of the listener mail and attention they’ve been receiving — including a very cool call-out from the Kyle and Drew at Comics for Fun and Profit — and then go into some news out of SDCC. In particular, they discuss this year’s Eisner Award winners, most of which the WSOG1guys are familiar with and/or had expected (or hoped) to win. However, there were some surprises as well as some disappointments in this year’s Eisners, but such is the game of awards systems such as this. After highlighting a little more news out of San Diego — e.g., the announcement of new Vertigo titles, the return of Lady Killer, Fantagraphics to publish the next Kramers Ergot — Andy and Derek plunge into the titles that they’re discussing this week. First, they look at Brian K. Vaughan and Steve Skroce’s We Stand on Guard #1 (Image Comics). This is one of the most anticipated new series of the year, and the guys waste no time in underscoring not only BKV’s storytelling abilities, but Skroce’s meticulous art. Next, they look at the latest attempt to bring The Spirit back to reading audiences. With Will Eisner’s The Spirit #1 (Dynamite Entertainment), Matt Wagner and Dan Schkade capture not only the spirit — bad pun intended — of the original, but also introduce Eisner’s crime-fighting world in such a way that brand new readers can easily get on board, even without much knowledge of the original. The same can be said of Mark Waid and Fiona Staples’s Archie #1 (Archie Comics). ComrieFHBThe creators’ take on the comics icon appears both fresh and reverential, making this new series accessible, yet in a familiar way. Still, the guys wonder who exactly the audience might be — or might end up being — for these new spins on Archie Andrews and Denny Colt. Finally, Derek and Andy turn to a minicomic series from Tim Comrie, Leisure. This is an autobiographical, very personal, series with three issues so far. Comrie lays bare both his pleasures and his turmoils, and in a genuine manner that never comes across as calculated or discomforting. The guys also bring in a discussion of Comrie’s other series (along with Mike Heneghan), Five Hour Comics, and compare its style and tone to Leisure. If you’re not familiar with Tim Comrie’s work, then now is the time to check it out!

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About Derek Royal

The Comics Alternative is a weekly podcast focused on the world of alternative, independent, and primarily non-superhero comics. (There’s nothing wrong with the superhero genre…we just want to do something different.) New shows become available every Wednesday…much like the comic books you get. Episodes feature 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, spotlights on various creators and their oeuvre, roundtable discussions with prominent critics and scholars in the field, and interviews with the artists and writers who make all of this possible. Along the way, Andy and Derek will talk about the various books that they are reading; the many pop cultural references that, for better or worse, inform their lives; and the unpredictable (and inexplicable) weirdness that seems to creep into each episode. In essence,The Comics Alternative podcast is brilliantly simple: Two guys with PhDs talking about comics.

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