Comics Alternative Interviews: Mitch Maglio

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Time Codes:

  • 00:25 – Introduction
  • 02:39 – Setup of interview
  • 03:45 – Interview with Mitch Maglio
  • 58:47 – Wrap up
  • 59:50 – Contact us

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Cheesecake and Empowerment

On this interview episode, Derek talks with Mitch Maglio about his new book, Fiction House: From Pulps to Panels, from Jungles to Space, just out from IDW/Yoe Books. Mitch is an aficionado on Fiction House (as well as on the jungle girl genre), so he’s the perfect writer/collector to discuss this historic publisher. He talks with Derek about the origins of Fiction House, its colorful founder, the publisher’s major role in the pulps, its mostly forgotten stature during the Golden Age, the many legends who worked as writers and artists on their many publications, its ironic position concerning female empowerment, and the various titles for which it was known, including Jumbo ComicsFight Comics, Wings Comics, and of course Sheena: Queen of the Jungle.

 

Comics Alternative Interviews: Ryan O’Sullivan and Plaid Klaus

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Time Codes:

  • 00:00:26 – Introduction
  • 00:02:44 – Setup of interview
  • 00:04:48 – Interview with Ryan O’Sullivan and Plaid Klaus
  • 00:59:30 – Wrap up
  • 01:02:24 – Contact us

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Froot Loop?

Sean joins Derek to interview a creative team that the two have discussed previously, Ryan O’Sullivan and Plaid Klaus. Last year the guys reviewed Ryan and Klaus’s webcomic Turncoat (now available in softcover), but this time they talk with the creators about a new print publication, their Image Comics limited series Void Trip. The first of its five issues comes out this week, and the Two Guys talk with Ryan and Klaus about the genesis of this project, the psychedelic nature of the story, the dynamics of their collaboration, and their philosophies on self-contained and tightly woven narratives. They also talk with the creative duo about their previous work together, Turncoat, and any potential future plans to utilize the webcomics platform.

 

Comics Alternative Interviews: Mark Voger

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Time Codes:

  • 00:00:24 – Introduction
  • 00:02:28 – Setup of interview
  • 00:03:47 – Interview with Mark Voger
  • 01:05:43 – Wrap up
  • 01:07:15 – Contact us

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“We didn’t need LSD. We had Quisp and Quake.”

On this interview episode, Derek talks with Mark Voger about his latest work, Groovy: When Flower Power Bloomed in Pop Culture. The book comes out this week from TwoMorrows Publishing, and during their conversation Mark discusses the roots of groovy culture that reach back to early twentieth-century modernism and jazz, and are even apparent in discoveries during nineteenth century. But most of the interview is spent talking about the flowering, so to speak, of this cultural trend from the mid-1960s into the early 1970s. Obviously Derek asks Mark about the comics of the time — Mike Sekowsky’s new Wonder Woman, Steve Ditko’s Hawk and Dove, Jim Steranko’s Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., Archie Comics’ Josie, and the underground comix of R. Crumb, Trina Robbins, Jay Lynch, Kim Deitch, and Denis Kitchen — but they also spend a lot of time discussing “groovy culture” in music, television, film, fashion, and art. Mark also briefly covers his previous book, Monster Mash: The Creepy, Kooky Monster Craze In America 1957-1972, and the creative transition he made from the ghoulish to the psychedelic. These were the concurrent popular movements that largely defined his young life.

Be sure to visit Mark Voger’s website to learn more about his groovy work!

Comics Alternative Interviews: Joseph Remnant

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Time Codes:

  • 00:00:24 – Introduction
  • 00:02:33 – Setup of interview
  • 00:03:45 – Interview with Joseph Remnant
  • 01:18:05 – Wrap up
  • 01:19:38 – Contact us

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Growth

Derek is pleased to have Joseph Remnant on the podcast. His new book, Cartoon Clouds, was released last month from Fantagraphics. This is a graphic novel in the truest sense, a work of fiction that explores the nuances of relationships, defining yourself, and growing apart from those with whom you were once close. As Joseph reveals, this is a narrative that began in serial installments on a website he once maintained with Noah Van Sciver, but it soon developed into something more complex and ambitious. Most of the interview is devoted to Cartoon Clouds, but Derek also asks his guest about his comic-book series Blindspot and his illustration work with Harvey Pekar. Along the way Joseph talks about his contribution in the upcoming second issue of Now, and he hints at some of the new work he currently has underway.

Joseph will be at CAB, Comic Arts Brooklyn, this coming weekend. If you’re in the area, be sure to stop by and tell him hello and that you heard him on The Comics Alternative!

Comics Alternative Interviews: Deb Olin Unferth and Elizabeth Haidle

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Time Codes:

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Bad Luck Is for the Birds

On this interview episode, Derek talks with Deb Olin Unferth and Elizabeth Haidle on the publication of their new book, I, Parrot (Black Balloon-Catapult). This is a graphic novel in the truest sense, a work of fiction, about a middle-aged woman who’s prone to bad luck. She stumbles upon a bird-sitting job, caring for an aviary of exotic, rare, and very expensive parrots, and despite the help of her boyfriend and her young son, falls prey to a series of misfortunes that lead to unintended, yet not entirely tragic, consequences. Both Deb and Beth share their experiences working together on this project, the collaborative rhythm they established, and how their previous creations reflect on this graphic novel. This is Deb’s first work in comics, having previously established a career as a writer of prose fiction. And while Beth’s experiences in comics art is more extensive, this is her first effort in “adult” long-form graphic narrative. Derek also asks his guests about their other current projects and any possible plans to collaborate on future projects.

Comics Alternative Interviews: Katie Green

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Time Codes:

  • 00:24 – Introduction
  • 03:04 – Setup of interview
  • 05:16 – Interview with Katie Green
  • 56:39 – Wrap up
  • 58:06 – Contact us

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Art and Struggles

On this interview episode, Paul and Derek talk with Katie Green about her recent graphic memoir Lighter Than My Shadow, released last month from Lion Forge’s Roar imprint. The Two Guys reviewed the book a couple of weeks ago, but they were so moved by Green’s story that they wanted to have her on the podcast to talk about her work. This insightful conversation adds more context and texture to Katie’s memoir, and she shares her struggles in narrating her various traumatic experiences, her art background and its translation into memoir comics, and her desires to reach others, specifically younger readers, who may similarly suffer from eating disorders and sexual abuse.

Be sure to check out the Lighter Than My Shadow website, and especially this cool promotional video:

 

 

Comics Alternative Interviews: Julia Wertz

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Time Codes:

  • 00:00:25 – Introduction
  • 00:02:39 – Setup of interview
  • 00:04:29 – Interview with Julia Wertz
  • 01:10:16 – Wrap up
  • 01:12:40 – Contact us

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Screw Cronuts!

On this interview episode, Paul and Derek are pleased to have Julia Wertz on the podcast. Her new book, Tenements, Towers and Trash: An Unconventional Illustrated History of New York City, came out earlier this month from Black Dog and Leventhal Publishers. As the subtitle suggests, this is a different kind of history, a guide to the Big Apple’s present as well as its past, investigating its architecture, its businesses, its facades, its entertainment venues, and the many colorful figures who have populated its boroughs. The guys talk with Julia about how different this book is from her previous works — e.g., Drinking at the MoviesThe Infinite Wait and Other StoriesFart Party — which are primarily autobiographical. For this project, the author considered herself an urban explorer, forgoing the inward gaze and focusing instead on the city that she called home between 2007 and 2016. Tenements, Towers and Trash includes a variety of stories that compose its past, and punctuating the text is a series of before-and-after illustrations of storefronts and city blocks that underscore New York’s ever-changing nature. This isn’t a nostalgic look back at what once had been, but a chronicle of a dynamic urban space in the process of becoming. And of course, the book has more than its share of Julia’s poignant, even laugh-out-loud, humor.

Comics Alternative Interviews: Back with Andy Hirsch

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Time Codes:

  • 00:25 – Introduction
  • 02:55 – Setup of interview
  • 04:20 – Interview with Andy Hirsch
  • 57:15 – Wrap up
  • 59:51 – Contact us

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Acorn Flipper

Andy Hirsch is back on the podcast, and this time he talks with Gwen and Derek about his new book, Science Comics: Dogs: From Predator to Protector. This is the next volume in First Second’s important Science Comics series, one that uses comics to educate both younger readers and adults. In fact, Gwen and Derek spend a lot of time asking Andy his illustrative strategies for taking complex concepts and making them understandable to a broader audience. There is a lot of science packed into this book, and not all of it specifically devoted to canines. But Andy uses colorful charts and graphs, as well as particularly effective storytelling conventions, to present his dense subject matter. Guiding the reader through all of this information is Rudy, the lovable mixed-breed narrator who, in many ways, functions as a stand-in for Andy Hirsch himself. Over the course of the interview, Derek and Gwen talk with their guest not only about the new book, its genesis, and Andy’s growing association with First Second, but they also share their own love of and histories with dogs, making this episode of the interview series somewhat of a canine lovefest.

Comics Alternative Interviews: R. Sikoryak

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Time Codes:

  • 00:00:24 – Introduction
  • 00:02:56 – Setup of interview
  • 00:04:17 – Interview with R. Sikoryak
  • 01:12:42 – Wrap up
  • 01:13:32 – Contact us

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Parody. Big League.

On this interview episode, Derek talks with R. Sikoryak about his latest work, The Unquotable Trump, just released this week by Drawn and Quarterly. The conversation begins with Bob’s apologies for having to write the book and his distaste for the subject matter. But as he makes clear in the interview, these cartoons are his way of dealing with what he feels is a malignant force unleashed by last year’s election. In fact, Bob reveals that the genesis of The Unquotable Trump actually dates from the days before the election, when he was using the figure of Donald Trump — and more importantly, the candidate’s own words — in classic comic-book cover parodies as a way of trying to vent his anger. These black-and-white illustrations originally appeared in a minicomic released back in January, but his publisher, Drawn and Quarterly, convinced him to create more parodic illustrations and release them in a 48-page color volume, oversized in the style of a 1970s Marvel Treasury Edition.

Each page of The Unquotable Trump displays a parody of a classic comic-book cover with the figure of Trump inserted, spouting off comments that the real-life candidate-turned-president actually made. Among the many stylistic allusions Bob makes are to such legends as Jack Kirby, Wally Wood, Bob Montana, Jerry Robinson, Carl Barks, John Romita, Gil Kane, and C.C. Beck. In fact, Sikoryak documents all of his comics references in the back of the text, along with a bibliography of Trump’s actual quotes. But although most of the interview is devoted to the new book, Derek also talks with Bob about other topics, such as Terms and Conditions, the complete colorized volume of what had originally been published as the two-issue mini-comic, The Unabridged Graphic Adaptation of iTunes Terms and Conditions (originally reviewed on The Comics Alternative a couple of years ago), his ongoing work mashing up comics and classic literature, and the genesis of his parodying impulses, reaching back to his days working with Art Spiegelman on Raw.

Comics Alternative Interviews: Roz Chast

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Time Codes:

  • 00:00:24 – Introduction
  • 00:02:38 – Setup of interview
  • 00:04:40 – Interview with Roz Chast
  • 01:12:04 – Wrap up
  • 01:13:54 – Contact us

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Rat Afterbirth

Paul and Derek are pleased to have on The Comics Alternative the great cartoonist, Roz Chast. Her new book, Going into Town: A Love Letter to New York, was recently released by Bloomsbury Publishing. The Two Guys have been longtime fans of Chast’s offbeat and hilarious New Yorker strips for years, and they spend a good bit of time talking with their guest about how she has translated that sense of humor into a long-form narrative. They also talk with Chast about her previous book, Can’t We Please Talk about Something More Pleasant?, her memoir on living with aging parents, and how her mother and father find prominent places in the latest work. Along the way, Chast discusses her process of writing — she indiscriminately explores narrative paths to see what does and doesn’t work — her unique non-comic-book community of cartoonist colleagues, and her experiences editing last year’s Best American Comics volume. And of course, she spends a lot of time talking about her experiences and love of Manhattan, complete with its mind-blowing variety of restaurants, its subway system, its out-of-the-way specialty shops, its giant waterbugs, and the annoyance of rat afterbirth. Yes, rat afterbirth.

Comics Alternative Interviews: More with Rich Tommaso

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Time Codes:

  • 00:00:25 – Introduction
  • 00:03:07 – Setup of interview
  • 00:04:43 – Interview with Rich Tommaso
  • 01:01:40 – Wrap up
  • 01:03:42 – Contact us

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Anthropomorphic Espionage

Derek is pleased to have Rich Tommaso back on The Comics Alternative. He appeared on the show last year to discuss his new series at the time, She Wolf, but this time he talks about Spy Seal, his intriguing new anthropomorphic espionage series from Image Comics. They begin by chronicling the genesis of the story, a comic that Rich began as a thirteen-year-old, and then discuss the development of the premise and the various choices Rich made in situating his narrative. One way that Rich describes his new series is by paying homage to Hergé’s Tintin, the globetrotting young investigator who always found himself immersed in adventure and intrigue. He also discloses many of the lessons he learned with his previous Image series, both She Wolf and Dark Corridors, his love of genre, and his need to move on — at least momentarily — from psychological horror and crime stories. Derek also asks Rich about his plans for future Spy Seal narrative arcs, the temporal settings of these plots, and the ways in which the uncertainty of creator-0wned series impacts a writer’s storytelling choices.

Comics Alternative Interviews: Back with Sophie Goldstein

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Time Codes:

  • 00:00:24 – Introduction
  • 00:02:39 – Setup of interview
  • 00:04:28 – Interview with Sophie Goldstein
  • 01:16:41 – Wrap up
  • 01:18:21 – Contact us

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Sci-Fi and the Art of Psycho-Sexual Drama

On this episode of The Comics Alternative‘s interview series, Paul and Derek are pleased to talk with Sophie Goldstein. Her new book, House of Women, was recently published by Fantagraphics, and she talks with the Two Guys about her four-year process of creating her narrative. As Sophie describes it, this is a psycho-sexual sci-fi drama about a group of female missionaries who travel to a distant planet to help educate — and colonize — the local population. Complications ensue when an earlier missionary, Jael Dean, goes native and becomes the focus of rival affections. During their insightful conversation, Goldstein discusses the genesis of the project, how it springs from her love of the film Black Narcissus and how it began as a thesis while she was at the Center for Cartoon Studies. She also reveals her strategies for composing her protagonists, the evolution of the storyline, and the history of originally self-publishing her work in three parts.

Be sure to check out Sophie Goldstein’s Patreon page, as well as her previous times on the podcast:

Comics Alternative Interviews: Ger Apeldoorn

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Time Codes:

  • 00:00:25 – Introduction
  • 00:02:24 – Setup of interview
  • 00:03:34 – Interview with Ger Apeldoorn
  • 01:06:35 – Wrap up
  • 01:08:17 – Contact us

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Wannabes

Just in time for the San Diego Comic-Con — where he and Craig Yoe will be meeting with fans and signing books — Ger Apeldoorn is on the show to talk with Derek about his new book, Behaving Madly: Zany, Loco, Cockeyed, Rip-off, Satire Magazines (IDW/Yoe Books). It’s a beautifully produced work that highlights the many knockoffs of Bill Gaines’s Mad that appeared between 1954 to 1959, attempting to capitalize on the kind of success the Usual Gang of Idiots enjoyed once the title changed to magazine format. These Mad wannabes appeared with such titles as From Here to InsanityCockeyedBunk!, SNAFULunatickleWho Goofed?ThimkShook UpFrenzyFrantic!LocoZany, and Nuts! You might think — or thimk — that these rip-offs would all be cheesy and subpar, but as Ger makes clear, these short-lived satire magazines included work from such comics legends as Jack Davis, Al Jaffee, Steve Ditko, Jack Kirby, Joe Kubert, Howard Nostrand, Bob Powell, Ross Andru, Basil Wolverton, and Russ Heath. Derivative and second-rate? Perhaps. But the selections in Behaving Madly are no laughing matter. Well…actually, they are.

Check out this great promo from Yoe Books!

 

 

Comics Alternative Interviews: Gabrielle Bell

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Time Codes:

  • 00:00:24 – Introduction
  • 00:02:26 – Setup of interview
  • 00:04:21 – Interview with Gabrielle Bell
  • 01:00:03 – Wrap up
  • 01:01:21 – Contact us

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“The anxiety and the happiness are just so close together”

On this interview episode Andy and Derek are pleased to have as their guest Gabrielle Bell. Her latest book, Everything Is Flammable, came out recently from Uncivilized Books. The guys talk with Gabrielle extensively about the idea for this book — described as her first long-form graphic memoir — and how it evolved from her work on short diary pieces. What binds most of the entries in Everything Is Flammable are her experiences with her mother after her northern California house was destroyed in a fire. The guys also ask her about her annual event, the July diary, a project in which she was in the middle of at the time of this recording. Gabrielle discusses both the pleasures and the struggles of completing her self-imposed month-long project and how this year’s daily stories surround her time house- and pet-sitting for her friend and publisher, Tom Kaczynski. Along the way, Gabrielle reveals her various thoughts on being a semi-autobiographical cartoonist, the uncertainties of including friends and family members in her comics, the responsibilities she feels in those representations, and the very problem of trying to pigeonhole her work within a particular genre or form.

 

Comics Alternative Interviews: Denis Kitchen

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Time Codes:

  • 00:00:24 – Introduction
  • 00:02:42 – Setup of interview
  • 00:04:01 – Interview with Denis Kitchen
  • 01:09:50 – Wrap up
  • 01:11:09 – Contact us

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Working on (and with) the Masters

Andy and Derek are happy to have Denis Kitchen back on The Comics Alternative. On his previous appearance surrounded Will Eisner Week 2015, but this time, he discusses the Will Eisner centennial as well as his work on the Essential Kurtzman volumes. Earlier this year Dark Horse Books, through the Kitchen Sink Books imprint, published Will Eisner: The Centennial Celebration: 1917-2017, a dual English-French album based on recent exhibitions at Le Musée de la Bande Dessinée in Angoulême and the Society of Illustrators in New York. Denis served as one of the curators of those exhibits, as well as one of the authors of the catalogue. He talks with the guys about his experiences helping to pull everything together for the exhibitions and working with John Lind (his Kitchen Sink Books colleague) on the centennial volume. Derek and Andy also ask him about his work on the Essential Kurtzman library, also published through Dark Horse and its Kitchen Sink Books imprint. They get the lowdown on the first two works in the series, Harvey Kurtzman’s Jungle Book and Trump: The Complete Collection, as well as what we might expect in future volumes. The Two Guys also ask Denis about future projects from him, as not only an editor, but as an artist. He’s a little close-to-the-vest with the specifics, but nonetheless suggests that important news is to come.

Denis Kitchen – “Day I Met Will Eisner” (2005)