Comics Alternative, Episode 146: Reviews of Will Eisner’s The Spirit: A Celebration of 75 Years and Blazing Quantum

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Action * Mystery * Adventure

Spirit75On this week’s episode, Andy and Derek take a look at two very different titles. They begin with a long, extensive look at Will Eisner’s The Spirit: A Celebration of 75 Years (DC Comics). In fact, their discussion of the new Spirit collection takes up the vast majority of the show, lasting for almost and hour and forty-five minutes! So there’s a lot of ground that the guys cover with this book, although in many ways they only just scratch the surface. Both Derek and Andy are huge fans of Will Eisner, and The Spirit in particular, so the conversation never flags. They highlight a variety of the stories that are collected in this volume, pointing out why they are important in The Spirit‘s history. But they also mention some of the notable Spirit strips that aren’t included in the book, wondering why a few were excluded. They also speculate on why, and lament theBlazingQuantum fact that, there wasn’t a new introduction (or even a new afterword) written for this anniversary volume. The Neil Gaiman piece that is included in the book was originally written for 2005’s much shorter The Best of The Spirit. Derek, in particular, feels that this important collection would have benefited from a new introductory essay that would have provided more context, especially for those unfamiliar with Eisner’s legendary figure. Still, the 75th anniversary volume is one of the guys’ highlights of the year so far and deserves a place on every comics reader’s shelf. Next, they shift gears for a completely different kind of book, William Keops Ibañez’s minicomic Blazing Quantum. This is a collection of short stories created between 2005 and 2011, at times (apparently) autobiographical and at times historical, that lead to an unlikely and potentially fantastical ending. Most of the pieces revolve around a young high-school student named Billy and his everyday interactions, and frustrations, with family and friends. This is a promising self-published title that has both Andy and Derek anticipating the next installment. And they are sure to keep visiting Ibañez’s’s website for the latest updates on his art and when they can expect a new issue of Blazing Quantum.

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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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