After that, they celebrate the recent work of Terry Moore. The Two Guys discus in detail Motor Girl Omnibus, released just last month from Moore’s Abstract Studios. This is a limited series that originally came out in 2017, but both Derek and Paul wanted to revisit the title now that the entire run is available in one volume. From there, they jump into the first two issues of Moore’s latest efforts, Strangers in Paradise XXV. Both are excited to be back in the world of Katchoo and Francine, and even more compelling is the fact that Moore is crossing over his narrative worlds. There are elements of both Rachel Rising and Echo in this new SiP. And while those familiar with Moore’s previous comics will bring an enhanced appreciation to the latest series, first-time readers of Moore will nonetheless get a lot out of Strangers in Paradise XXV without feeling lost. Both Paul and Derek love the work of Terry Moore, and their discussion of these new releases demonstrate this fact.
Mythical figures, anthropomorphic characters, and heavy dose of magic, all set in a contemporary urban landscape complete with coffeehouses, mobile devices, and garage bands. This is the world of Moonstruck, a series that began last year and coming out from Image Comics. The writer and artist of this series, Grace Ellis and Shae Beagle, were kind enough to come on The Comics Alternative to talk about the completion of the first narrative arc and what we might expect with the second. These two creators have known each other for a long time, and, along with their editor and designer, Laurenn McCubbin, have experienced a curious incubation period for their project. Derek talks with Grace and Shae about the origins of Moonstruck, their unique mix of fantasy and contemporary cultural concerns, the process of collaboration, and their attempts to build a reading community, not only with their storytelling, but also through social media and a keen understanding of their target audience.
This month Pascal and Derek look at two recent books that, while strikingly different in their storytelling approaches, are both insightful examinations of the socio-historical forces that shape individuals’ lives. They begin with Pénélope Bagieu’s Brazen: Rebel Ladies Who Rocked the World (First Second), a collection of 29 short biographies profiling women throughout history who have pushed back and defined themselves on their own terms. This book began as a series of webcomics that appeared on Le Monde‘s blog between January and October 2016. There was actually one original entry, a biographical look at Phulan Devi, that didn’t make it into the American text, and the guys speculate as to why this might have been.
After that they discuss Yvan Alagbé’s Yellow Negroes and Other Imaginary Creatures, just released from New York Review Comics. This is a much less conventional collection, at least in terms of its narrative and visual styles. The book includes seven short pieces that were originally created between 1995 and 2017. The title story is the longest, and most sophisticated, of the bunch, but Pascal and Derek also spend some time focusing on “The Suitcase” and “Postcard from Montreuil.” What almost all of the stories in this book focus on, in one way or another, is France’s colonialist past and its ramifications to this day.
Lately on The Comics Alternative‘s Kickstarter series, Derek has been focusing more on small presses that are currently crowdfunding their seasonal releases. (See previous shows devoted to Kilgore Books and Nix Comics.) And this weekend’s show is similar, highlighting the latest Kickstarter campaign from Retrofit Comics. On this episode, Derek talks with Jared Smith about efforts for funding their diverse array of 2018 titles.
This current Kickstarter campaign revolves around the 12 books they plan on releasing this year. Backers of this project can look forward to:
All the Sad Songs – Summer Pierre
Fashion Forecasts – Yumi Sakugawa
I Love You – Sara Lautman
John, Dear – Laura Lannes
Our Wretched Town Hall – Eric Kostiuk Williams
The Prince – Liam Cobb
Survive 300 Million 1 – Pat Aulisio
Survive 300 Million 2: Serpentine Captives – Pat Aulisio
The Troublemakers – Baron Yoshimoto
TRUMPTRUMP vol. 2: Modern Day Presidential – Warren Craghead III
Understanding – Becca Tobin
The Winner – Karl Stevens
In their conversation, Derek talks with Jared about some of the history of Retrofit Comics and its relationship with Big Planet Comics — in both its publishing and brick-and-mortar manifestations — their more recent efforts in manga, and, of course, the impressive roster of this year’s creators. As listeners of The Comics Alternative know, Retrofit/Big Planet is one of the Two Guys’ absolute favorite publishers…small press or otherwise. If you don’t already know about this publisher, then shame on you! All the more reason to back this campaign and get the 2018 releases from Retrofit Comics!
On this episode of The Comics Alternative‘s interview series, Derek welcomes Kristin LaLonde. She is one of the cohost of The Secret Stacks podcast, and she has a particular interest in graphic medicine and comics that deal with health and end-of-life issues. Together, the two of them talk with Suzy Hopkins and Hallie Bateman, the writer and illustrator of What to Do When I’m Gone: A Mother’s Wisdom to Her Daughter (Bloomsbury Publishing). This is a book that the mother-daughter team worked on together, addressing the eventual death of Suzy and what advice she might want to give to Hallie before passing on. They talk with Kristin and Derek about the origins of this idea, the long incubation period, its evolution as a text from a personal project to something for a much broader audience, and how both mother and daughter collaborated on a subject matter that, while somber and ominous, was nonetheless was a necessary life-affirming exercise.
Set in the not-too-distant year of 2024, Analog(Image Comics) is a not-too-far-fetched look at what can come of information technology when it has fallen into the wrong hands. Its protagonist, Jack McGinnis, is a leger man, an armed courier working freelance for individuals and businesses who need to transfer information in the old-fashioned analogmanner. This is a world where the cloud has come crashing down, and the “security” of the internet has been exposed as nothing more than fiction. Combining elements of sci-fi and noir narrative, Gerry Duggan and David O’Sullivan have created a world that, curiously enough, smacks of the many of the events we see unfolding on the nightly news. Although they may not have fully anticipated the inroads of Mueller’s Russian investigation, the ongoing revelations of Facebook and Cambridge Analytica, or the various security breaches we learn about on almost a daily basis, Gerry and David, along with the help of colorist Jordie Bellaire, have established a premise that just may be the logical conclusion to what we’re witnessing now. In this interview, Derek talks with his guests about the genesis of this new series, their process of collaboration, the injection of both noir and humor elements, and the various narrative questions established in this first issue.
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 Preview show — 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 Previews beginning 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 Previews catalog, highlighting a variety of titles from such publishers as:
On April 4 you’ll find in your comic shops the first issue of Isola, Brenden Fletcher and Karl Kerschl’s brand new series from Image Comics that combines nuanced storytelling with Kerschl’s magnificent artwork. In this inaugural issue, we find a captain of the Royal Guard fleeing her capital city with the realm’s queen, on their way to a mythical land called Isola. But appearances can be deceiving, and the initial journey unfolds under the cloud of an evil spell that leaves us with more questions than answers. On this episode, Derek talks with Karl and Brenden about what transpires in this first issue, how long they’ve been nurturing this concept, their process of collaboration, and what we might expect in future issues…at least, as much as they could tell without spoiling anything. The two also share some of their experiences working on their other series, such as Motor Crush, Gotham Academy, Batgirl, and The Abominable Charles Christopher.
On this interview episode, Gwen and Derek talk with the creative team behind Scarlett Hart: Monster Hunter, a new book out from First Second. Both Marcus Sedgwick and Thomas Taylor share their experiences conceiving the premise, their process of collaboration, and their hopes to further explore this fantastical world. Scarlett Hart is the story of the titular protagonist who carries on in her deceased parents’ footsteps, keeping her city free of monsters. With the help of her steadfast assistant Napoleon, she hunts down big nasties while trying to stay one step ahead of her nemesis, fellow monster hunter Count Stankovic. Over the course of their conversation, Marcus and Thomas discuss their love of weird monsters and young adventure narratives, combining these passions to create what they refer to as a “gothic Tintin.”
On the March manga episode, Shea and Derek discuss a couple of experimental works. They begin with Yuichi Yokoyama’s Iceland, released last fall from Retrofit Comics/Big Planet Comics. The plot of this book is minimal — two characters are searching for a third, they find him, and then they drive off in a taxi — and it’s something like you might find in Samuel Beckett narrative. But it’s Yokoyama’s art that propels the text. As the guys discuss, there is something kinetic, claustrophobic, and even frantic about the visuals. For Derek, futurism comes to mind.
After that they look at a book that both Shea and Derek have been eagerly anticipating, Susumu Katsumata’s Fukushima Devil Fish (Breakdown Press). The core text comprises nine short stories that provide a diversity of tone. The first two are the most contemporary, originally published during the 1980s and focusing on the dangers of nuclear power. The remaining pieces reflect Katsumata’s style from the late 1960s into the early 1970s, stories originally appearing in the legendary Garo and COM. Some of these are folklore-inspired narratives, presenting a pre-modern Japan inhabited by kappa and tanuki and reminiscent of the stories found in Red Snow. Others are instances of “I-manga,” introspective and highly personal pieces driven more by tone than cohesive storyline. Four critical and biographical essays, two written by Katsumata himself, round out the collection.
Nix Comics’ productions are inspired by the kind of mythos surrounding pre-MTV garage rock. The comics are informed by Ken’s years of love for punk rock bands, record stores, and b-movies. For this kickstarter he is offering two subscription levels: Basic and De-Luxe.
Basic subscribers will receive 7 printed comic books and zines:
Nix Comics Quarterly
Nix Western Comics
Jenny Mae & Jerry Wick
Buck Slaughter’s Book of Rock n Roll Facts
The Collected Pander Bear
Tales from the Crate
Return of Belligerent Kitties
De-Luxe subscribers will receive 7 printed comic books and zines, the accompanying records, and a 120-page art and poetry collection:
Nix Comics Quarterly
Nix Western Comics
Jenny Mae & Jerry Wick (comic and record set)
Buck Slaughter’s Book of Rock n Roll Facts
The Collected Pander Bear (comic and record set)
Tales from the Crate
Return of Belligerent Kitties
Beauty Found in Darkness
US Subscribers will receive their books/records in May, July, and September. International subscribers will receive their complete subscription in September.
But if you’re not into the subscription thing, then you take advantage of the various reward levels where you can get individual issues. So be sure to check out Ken’s 2018 Kickstarter campaign and indulge in the rockin’ goodness of Nix Comics!
A couple of weeks ago the first issue of Eternity Girl, the latest title in DC’s Young Animal line, was released. Written by Magdalene Visaggio and with art by Sonny Liew, this is a title that combines parts of Element Girl with a dash of Kid Eternity, and mixes things up in an offbeat way that fits perfectly in the Young Animal world. On this interview episode, Derek talks with both Mags and Sonny about this new series, and both kindly agreed to be on the podcast.
Listeners of The Comics Alternative will know that both creators have been on the show before. Derek spoke with Mags briefly at HeroesCon a couple of years ago, and then he along with Gwen interviewed Sonny around the publication of his landmark book, The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye, a work that went on to win three Eisner Awards last year: Best Writer/Artist, Best U.S. Edition of International Material – Asia, and Best Publication Design.
Since Sonny lives halfway around the world, in Singapore, there was a challenge in trying to find a common occasion when everyone could be online and all talk together. So they decided to break up the interview where Derek would talk with both creators separately, asking both similar questions, while at the same time focusing on each one’s unique contribution to the series. This show begins with Mags Visaggio, with Derek asking her about the genesis of Eternity Girl as well as the differences between creating for Black Mask Comics and now working at DC. After that, you’ll hear a conversation with Sonny Liew. He talks about his visual approach to this unstable, composite character and how his art style is particularly suited to the title. Derek also asks Sonny what it’s like to be a multiple Eisner Award-winning artist and how his professional life has changed since last year’s accolades.
This week Gene and Derek discuss three different titles that may or may not be connected (you’ll have to ask Gene). They begin with Eleanor Davis’s Why Art? (Fantagraphics Books). Going into this reading, the guys thought that the book might be more on the expository or critical side. However, they quickly discovered Davis’s unique approach in combining humor, storytelling, and aesthetic analysis. After that they check out the first issue of Infidel (Image Comics), written by Pornsak Pichetshote and with art by Aaron Campbell. This is a curious combination of horror and the dynamics of intolerance, and the first issue raises a variety of questions that start off the series with good story momentum. The Two Guys with PhDs conclude with another horror title, Greg and Megan Smallwood’s Vampironica #1. Although in the tradition of Archie Comics’ other recent horror titles, this first issue doesn’t have the same impact on the guys as did Afterlife with Archieor The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. Still, the art and premise are an attention-grabbing setup.
Gene and Derek are excited to have John Porcellino back on the podcast. His new book From Lone Mountain has just been released by Drawn and Quarterly, and John talks in depth about the time in his life covered in this collection, as well as the process of pulling all of these experiences together. The book collects King-Cat Comics & Stories #62-#68, released between 2003-2007. The Two Guys ask John about the evolution of his compositional strategies, the role that place and landscape play in his comics, how both prose and illustrations function for self-exploration, his thoughts on punk and the DIY aesthetic, and how his comics serve as a release for, as well as a reflection of, the many changes in his life. This isn’t the first time John P. has been on The Comics Alternative — he came on for an interview around the release of issue #76 of King-Cat Comics & Stories — and the guys certainly hope that this isn’t his last visit.
And be sure to check out John’s online store, Spit and a Half. There you can find not only his King-Cat Comics & Stories, but also a variety of other mini- and indie comics by other creators, as well!
On this week’s Kickstarter show, Derek talks with Nick Prolix about his campaign for Slang Pictorial #3. This will be a 24-page black-and-white comic, following up on on the already published first two hardcopy issues. Nick is using his first-ever Kickstarter in order to cover the comic’s printing and shipping. Plus, he has a really cool promotional video:
Slang Pictorial is Nick’s one-person anthology comic, and it includes his serialized retro comedy-drama The Sheep And The Wolves. This story actually began as a webcomic, and it’s a light-hearted look at the broken dreams and busted schemes of the many residents of a fictional London neighborhood at the start of the Swinging Sixties. Slang Pictorial alsoincludes an assortment of other stories set in the same world.