Comics Alternative, On Location: The First August Visit to Heroes Aren’t Hard to Find

Politics and Monsters

Michael and Derek are back at Heroes Aren’t Hard to Find, in Charlotte, NC, for the first of their planned August on-location episodes. And as the Two Guys have been doing with their new format, Michael highlights recent mainstream publications and Derek focuses on more indie or non-DC and Marvel titles. Michael starts the ball rolling by discussing the recent work of Ta-Nehisi Coates, specifically his current writing on Captain America (Marvel Comics). He specifically focuses on the politics embedded in the narratives — and not only with Cap, but in his Black Panther work, as well — and how Coates is learning the form and growing as a comic-book writer. Derek discusses three recent #1 issues, including Rob Guillory’s Farmhand and John Layman and Nick Pitarra’s Leviathan (both from Image Comics), as well as She Could Fly, written by Christopher Cantrell and with art by Martin Morazzo (Dark Horse Comics). He links the comedy, and the outrageousness, of Guillory’s and Layman’s new titles, because the two made their big splash with Chew. The guys also talk about She Could Fly, not only on its own story terms, but as the latest contribution from Berger Books.

On Location: The First July Visit to Heroes Aren’t Hard to Find

Happy 4th!

Michael and Derek are back at Heroes Aren’t Hard to Find for the first of two July on-location episodes. They visit the shop on Independence Day, and they use the occasion to discuss current trends and titles in the comics industry. Mike explores recent manifestations of The Avengers and Justice League, focusing on Marvel and DC through what he calls the “classic Coke” approach. His discussion takes him across the writings of Jason Aaron and Scott Snyder, and then circling back to Tom King’s current work on Batman and the recent marriage event. Looking at the non-mainstream side of comics, Derek talks about his reaction to the first two issues of Evan Dorkin and Veronica Fish’s Blackwood and the initial offering of Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer, part of Titan Comics’ Hard Case Crime series. He also brings up Naoki Urasawa’s 20th Century Boys and the recent announcement of new Perfect Editions from VIZ Media. And, it being July 4th, the Two Guys also discuss comics, politics, and the current state of the country.

 

 

Comics Alternative, On Location: The June Visit to Heroes Aren’t Hard to Find

New Format!

It’s another on-location recording at Heroes Aren’t Hard to Find in Charlotte, NC. But with this episode the podcast is doing something different. The on-location show will be going up twice monthly — schedules permitting — and joining Derek on these Heroes shows will be Michael Kobre, another guy with a PhD talking about comics. On their on-location shows, Mike and Derek will discuss very recent comics, those being released in the week or two before the recording, that have caught their attention. Mike will primarily focus on the DC and Marvel mainstream titles, while Derek will concentrate on non-mainstream, or alternative and indie, comics. And, of course, they will invite customers and employees of the shop to join in on the conversation.

On this episode, Mike discusses the work of Tom King, including the recent deluxe edition of The Sheriff of Babylon, his work on Marvel’s Vision, and his run on Batman. Derek comments on recent issues from Image Comics — specifically Farel Dalrymple’s Proxima Centauri #1Jody LeHeup and Nathan Fox’s The Weatherman #1, and Joseph Keatinge and Bret Blevins’s Stellar #1 — as well as the minicomics he recently discovered from Natalie Andrewson.

Stay tuned, because Mike and Derek will be back at Heroes Aren’t Hard to Find in a couple of weeks!

Alonzo Cunningham, Zyg Furmaniuk, and Michael Kobre

Alonzo Cunningham and Zyg Furmaniuk

 

Comics Alternative, On Location: HeroesCon 2018, the “How to Read Nancy” Panel

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

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“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 Nancy and 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.

Comics Alternative, On Location: HeroesCon 2018, the “Between Pen and Pixel” Panel

Time Codes:

  • 00:00:27 – Introduction
  • 00:02:27 – Aaron Kashtan provides context
  • 00:07:11 – “Between Pen and Pixel” panel
  • 01:08:58 – Wrap up
  • 01:09:55 – Contact us

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Dead Print?

This past weekend at HeroesCon in Charlotte, NC, Derek was on a panel based on a recent book by Aaron Kashtan, Between Pen and Pixel: Comics, Materiality, and the Book of the Future (Ohio State University Press). Aaron pulled together several comics scholars — in addition to Derek, his former cohost, Andy Kunka, and Craig Fischer — along with Matt Kindt, whose work Aaron sites extensively in his book. This episode is a recording of that panel, which explored what comics can tell us about the future of the printed word (as well as the digital text), the book industry, and comics as an art object.

Stay tuned over the next week for more HeroesCon episodes!

 

Comics Alternative, On Location: Talking with Creators at HeroesCon 2018

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Straight from Artists Alley

This past weekend was HeroesCon in Charlotte, NC. It was a great convention, organized by the folks at Heroes Aren’t Hard to Find. And as Derek likes to do every year, this past weekend he walked around Artists Alley talking with various creators about what they’re doing, what they’ve recently published, and what they may have in the works. The result is a series of short interviews with various creators, some of whom have been on The Comics Alternative before, others that Derek met for the very first time.  In this episode are brief conversations with, in order, Rich Tommaso, Steve Conley, Milton Lawson, Naomi Franquiz, Dave Chisholm, James F. Wright and Jackie Crofts, Scott Wegener, Natalie Andrewson, and Michael Eury.

Stay tuned over the next week for more HeroesCon episodes!

Comics Alternative, On Location: FCBD at Heroes Aren’t Hard to Find

Discoveries

For the May on-location episode, Derek is back at Heroes Aren’t Hard to Find for Free Comic Book Day. This is a big occasion, and business at Heroes was bustling and crowded, with customers lining up to get in as early as 5:30 am. In fact, this show was recorded outside of the shop where things were less chaotic. Joining Derek was Zyg (who has become a regular at these on-location shows), David, Adam, Jake, and Emily. Everyone talks about the various FCBD titles and which ones they’re particularly drawn to, but they also discuss other comics-related topics, such as the recent Avengers movie, the kind of comics that they’re currently reading, and upcoming titles that they’re particularly looking forward to.

Comics Alternative, On Location: The April Visit to Heroes Aren’t Hard to Find

Secret Identities

It’s the April on-location visit to Heroes Aren’t Hard to Find in Charlotte, NC. As he usually does, Derek is at the shop talking with customers about comics-related matters. But his time at Heroes also corresponds with the visit of Queens University Prof. Michael Kobre’s class, “Secret Identities, Diversity, and Popular Culture.”

 

 

Comics Alternative, On Location: The March Visit to Heroes Aren’t Hard to Find

How Much Is Too Much?

For the March on-location recording at Heroes Aren’t Hard to Find in Charlotte, NC, the topic of discussion is comics adapted into movies and television series (especially superhero properties), and if we’re about to reach the point of oversaturation. Joining Derek in the conversation are shop customers Zyg, Jack, Jesse, Erica, and Christian. All of them are fans of superhero film and TV, and each brings a unique perspective to the discussion. And, as expected, everyone varies in their opinions on how much is too much when it comes to superhero adaptations. Among the various movies and series they discuss are Black Panther, the Iron Man seriesWatchmen, The CrowJustice League, Tim Burton’s Batman, Gotham, the various Netflix series, and Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. They also talk about non-superhero comics adaptations such as LuciferiZombie, Ghost World, and, of course, The Walking Dead. And toward the end of their conversation, everyone expresses her or his own wish list of other properties that could be adapted into television series or films.

Comics Alternative, On Location: The February Visit to Heroes Aren’t Hard to Find

Shop Talk

Derek is back at Heroes Aren’t Hard to Find for the February on-location episode. As he usually does, he set up his mics on a Wednesday evening while customers were coming into the shop to pick up the weekly releases. And during this time a couple of Wednesday Warriors sat down with Derek to talk about what they were reading, what they were looking forward to in the coming months, and what about comics culture they currently find exciting. Both Zyg and Fadi shared the week’s titles that they had come to pick up, but the conversation went well beyond that. Among the various topics they discussed were current happenings in the Marvel Universe, favorite artists, eagerly awaited upcoming releases, the new Black Panther movie, Riverdale and other non-superhero comics adaptations, and (believe it or not) Hughes and Whitney’s HerbieYep, they talked about the Fat Fury.

 

 

On Location: Starting off the New Year at Heroes Aren’t Hard to Find

New Shop, New Conversations

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!

On Location: Our Last (?) Visit to Valhalla Games and Comic

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Parting Is Such Sweet Sorrow

This just may be the last on-location episode of The Comics Alternative conducted from Valhalla Games and Comics in Plano, TX. Derek is moving to North Carolina and will no longer be in the DFW area to do these shows. But customers of Valhalla and friends of the podcast, both long-timers and new listeners, come by the shop to say a fond farewell…and talk about comics. Joining Derek for this special episode are Craig, Matt, Jay, Tristan, and Kelly. Their interests are diverse, so the conversation reflects that. And they cover a lot of ground, so listen up!

Partings are tough. But as David Gates once sang, “Goodbye doesn’t mean forever.”

 

 

Comics Alternative, On Location: The Hernandez Brothers Panel at HeroesCon 2017

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Time Codes:

  • 00:00:26 – Introduction
  • 00:02:22 – Setup of the recording
  • 00:04:30 – The Hernandez brothers panel at HeroesCon
  • 01:08:05 – Wrap up
  • 01:09:46 – Contact us

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A Big Deal

At this year’s HeroesCon, Andy and Derek moderated a couple of panels, one of which was entirely devoted to the Hernandez brothers, Gilbert and Jaime. In this on-location episode, you’ll hear the Two Guys talking with the brothers about their new magazine-sized Love and Rockets series, the logistics of going from an annual to a quarterly, the experiences of continuity and 35+ years of character development, their efforts (especially Gilbert’s) in producing standalone works outside of any serialized format, their historical places within the larger context of non-mainstream comics, and the brothers’ thoughts on the current state of the medium.

Comics Alternative, Episode 245: Live at HeroesCon 2017

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On the Scene

HeroesCon-ComAlt

Last weekend was HeroesCon, and as they have for the past few years, Andy and Derek are on the scene in Artists Alley reporting the event from the floor. On this episode, you’ll hear the Two Guys sharing their varied experiences at the con. Among other topics they discuss the vendors they visited and the comics they were able to find, their attempts to interview creators at their tables, the two high-powered panels they moderated, the various artists they had signing their comics, the tone of this year’s crowd, Derek’s cool Space Babes shirt (design by Beto), the uncertainty of their table location, and their Saturday night dinner with Gilbert Hernandez’s family. And both Derek and Andy are most thankful for the various fans who stopped by their table to say “Hello!” and tell them that they’re avid listeners.

Much thanks to Daniel Yezbick for providing the pictures of the Two Guys in action!

 

 

Comics Alternative, On Location: Talking with Creators at HeroesCon 2017, Pt. 2

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Time Codes:

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More Heroes Talk

In the second of two on-location interview episodes recorded at this year’s HeroesCon in Charlotte, NC, Derek talks with Fabian Rangel, Jr. (author of Tarantula), Charles Forsman (Slasher), Chris Sheridan (Motorcycle Samurai), Shawn Pryor (Cash and Carrie), and Alison Sampson (Winnebago Graveyard), and Andy and Derek speak with Darren Neely (Chase Van Bolt). Fun stuff!

Stay tuned over the next week for more HeroesCon episodes!