Comics Alternative Interviews: Sean Lewis and Caitlin Yarsky

Time Codes:

  • 00:00:24 – Introduction
  • 00:02:34 – Setup of interview
  • 00:04:37 – Interview with Sean Lewis and Caitlin Yarsky
  • 01:03:03 – Wrap up
  • 01:03:44 – Contact us

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Transformations

In November of last year readers saw the first issue of what was a brand-new series from Image Comics, Coyotes. It was the latest creation from writer Sean Lewis, who had authored other Image series including The Few and Saints, as well as writing recent titles for Aftershock such as Betrothed and Clankillers. For Coyotes, Sean chose as his illustrator a relative newcomer to comics, Caitlin Yarsky. While this is the first ongoing series where she provides all of the interior art, Caitlin’s work is a standout component and, in many ways, primarily defines the tone and sheer impact of Coyotes. As revealed in the first narrative arc, collected as a trade earlier this spring, Coyotes is about a young girl, name Red, who lives in a southwest border region fighting against a legion of wolves who prey upon women. She’s aided in her fight by the Victorias, an all-female society empowered by an earth goddess and united to fight against the masculinist lycanthropes. The series has a feel of a grand mythology, and it touches upon a variety of topics, including female empowerment, coming of age, and socio-industrial exploitation. In the first issue of the second narrative arc, there is quite a bit of backstory and context to the world Lewis and Yarsky establish in the first four issues, including a history of the Four Grannies of the Earth, the earth goddess Gaia, and the transformative nature of the lycanthropes. In this interview, Derek talks with Cailtin and Sean about their collaborative process, where they are in their story, and what plans they have for the series as a whole.

Comics Alternative, Episode 289: The August Previews Catalog

Witches and Adaptations

It’s that time again! It’s the beginning of the month, and the latest issue of the Previews catalog is out. And as they always do, the Two Guys meticulously go through the latest solicits, highlighting a variety of upcoming titles in Previews that they’re interested in or they think is worth considering. Among the many publishers and titles that they focus on in the August catalog include:

 

Comics Alternative, Euro Comics: Reviews of Hasib and the Queen of Serpents: A Tale of a Thousand and One Nights and Moon Face

Time Codes:

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Wild Tales

On the July episode of the Euro Comics series — actually being released in early August — Pascal and Derek discuss two beautiful texts. They begin with David B.’s Hasib and the Queen of Serpents: A Tale of a Thousand and One Nights (NBM Publishing), an incredible adaptation of one of the tales in the classic work. The guys point out the attention-gragging handling of Scheherazade “Queen of Serpents” story, but what stands out in this text is David B.’s illustrations, colors, and design. The creator is able both to translate the story into comics with much fidelity and to give the tale his own spin that is recognizable to any fan of David B.’s work (Epileptic is a case in point).

Next, Derek and Pascal jump into Alejandro Jodorowsky and Francois Boucq’s Moon Face (Humanoids). This isn’t the first time that this creative team has been discussed on the podcast, the first time being the December 2016 show with Bouncer (and, with Boucq, his work with Jerome Charyn). The guys spend a lot of time discussing the wild ride of Jodorowsky’s story — and this as a defining characteristic throughout much of his oeuvre. It is all over the place, yet compelling. But one of the things that marks Moon Face is Boucq’s art. While readers can appreciate Jodorowsky’s writing, it is Boucq who stands out, arguably as the biggest strength in this text.

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.

Comics Alternative Interviews: Another Conversation with Jules Feiffer

Time Codes:

  • 00:24 – Introduction
  • 02:16 – Setup of interview
  • 04:20 – Interview with Jules Feiffer
  • 58:54 – Wrap up
  • 59:26 – Contact us

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Accidental Noir

In 2014 Jules Feiffer published Kill My Mother (Liveright Publishing), a noir crime narrative set in 1933 — and then later moving forward into 1943 — involving not only hard-boiled characters, but also their exploits within the entertainment industry. Feiffer followed that up in 2016 with Cousin Joseph, the second book in what was now projected as a trilogy. That graphic novel is, in many ways, a prequel to the earlier book. Taking place in 1931, readers are introduced to police detective Sam Hannigan, a figure who looms largely over Feiffer’s recent run. His spirit is likewise prevalent in the new graphic novel, The Ghost Script. With this book, Feiffer wraps up his series, which he has called an “accidental noir trilogy.” In this interview, Derek talks with Feiffer about the “accidental” nature of his writing and how the idea for a trilogy came into play. They also discuss his writing style, where, curiously enough, Feiffer sees himself as both instigator and observer to what unfolds under his pen. Over the course of their conversation, Feiffer meditates on his love of noir fiction and films, the challenges he faced in writing this trilogy, and the overriding influences of such legends as Milton Caniff and, especially, Will Eisner. He also discusses the impact of 1950s red scare and the blacklist, which is the temporal setting of The Ghost Script, what that time meant to him as a young writer, and how those politics are not entirely alien to us today. The guys had the pleasure of talking to Feiffer back in 2014 when Kill My Mother was released, so it’s only appropriate that Derek talk with him again upon the completion of his noir trilogy.

Comics Alternative, Episode 288: Reviews of Five Recent #1 Issues

Time Codes:

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Death and Zaftig Pig Girls

This is a special episode of The Comics Alternative, as it’s the guys’ sixth anniversary! The podcast began on August 1, 2012, and Paul and Derek discuss some of the things they’ve done over the past six years, the number of episodes they’ve published, the amount of interviews they’ve conducted, etc. It’s a celebratory time, and the Two Guys hope that listeners will join in on the celebration and chime in with some of their favorite moments from The Comics Alternative‘s past.

After a brief discussion of the podcast’s anniversary, Paul and Derek then leap into the episode’s core, a discussion of five recent #1 titles. They begin with Ann Nocenti and David Aja’s The Seeds, the latest in Dark Horse Comics’ Berger Books imprint. The guys are fascinated by this first issue, not only with Nocenti’s multi-layered storytelling, but also with Aja’s signature art and design. They then look at the first issue of Tini Howard and Nick Robles’s Euthanauts, part of IDW Publishing’s Black Crown imprint. While they’re intrigued by the series’ premise, they’re not entirely sure if this is a successful #1 issue. There are confusing moments and, arguably, too many unanswered questions that dampen any desire to read on before the trade.

After that, Paul and Derek discuss two recent #1 titles from Image Comics. First, they look at Aleš Kot and Tradd Moore’s The New World, an intriguing futuristic narrative that juggles contemporary socio-political concerns along with a Romeo and Juliet-inspired storyline. They also review the first issue of Mirka Andolfo’s Unnatural, an erotic — but tasteful — anthropomorphic tale that was originally published in Italian and now is available as a limited series.

Finally, the guys wrap up with the first issue of Cullen Bunn and Jonas Scharf’s Bone Parish (BOOM! Studios). This appears to be a horror title — after all, that’s primarily what Bunn is known for — but as Paul and Derek point out, this first issue reads more as a crime mystery than it does horror. It’s an interesting premise, one that the guys are curious to see unfold.

So enjoy this week’s episode, and celebrate The Comics Alternative‘s sixth anniversary!

Comics Alternative, Manga: Reviews of My Solo Exchange Diary, Vol. 1 and Grand Blue Dreaming, Vol. 1

Time Codes:

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Radically Different

For July, Shea and Derek discuss two works of manga that are radically different, one from the other. They begin with Nagata Kabi’s My Solo Exchange Diary, Vol. 1 (Seven Seas Entertainment). This is the follow-up to her previous autobiographical work My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness, a text the guys discussed last year. Whereas the earlier work was more targeted to a particular experience, the first volume of Kabi’s Solo Exchange Diary  is broader in scope and chronicles a variety her life phenomena. Both Shea and Derek are fascinated by this project, especially given the diary’s structure and the creator’s conversations with herself.

Next, the Two Guys check out the first volume of Kenji Inoue and Kimitake Yoshioka’s Grand Blue Dreaming (Kodansha Comics). The premise of this series is based on a young man going off to college and expecting to have the usual college experiences. What he finds instead is a wild world of drunken and naked partying, all generated by the men of the local Diving Club. Both Derek and Shea find this title quite different from their usual reading, and they didn’t expect the wildness, and the weirdness, embedded within. If you’re looking for a manga about heavy drinking and naked game play, then Grand Blue Dreaming is for you.

Comics Alternative, Webcomics: Reviews of Daisy Blackwood: Pilot for Hire, Moby Dick: Back from the Deep, and Hana and the Firebird

Time Codes:

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Zombie Whale?

For the July webcomics episode, Sean and Derek discuss three unique titles. They begin with Ryan Howe’s Daisy Blackwood: Pilot for Hire. This is a series of short stories featuring an Indiana Jones-like figure whose job as a pilot introduces her to a variety of adventures. And many of these adventures involve supernatural elements. Next, the Two Guys look at a relatively new title, Moby Dick: Back from the Deep. This webcomic, written by Matt Schorr and with art by Joe Bilicic, is reminiscent not only of Herman Melville’s classic, but also Spielberg’s classic, Jaws. Finally, Sean and Derek wrap up with a recently completed webcomic, Katya Granger’s Hana and the Firebird. This is a fantastical narrative about a community of individuals with special powers, and one resident in particular who must come to terms with her past and her current relationships.

Comics Alternative, Episode 287: Reviews of Nowbrow 10: Studio Dreams, Love and Rockets Vol 4 #5, and Last Mountain #4 and #5

Time Codes:

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“There’s a lot of hey being thrown here”

This week Paul and Derek discuss three unique titles that help define our understanding of what comics can be. They begin with a visual anthology that is, arguably, not a comic at all. Nobrow 10:Studio Dreams (Nobrow Press) is a series of 70 gorgeous illustrations by a variety of artists — all of whom have contributed to Nobrow publications in the past — that reveal their ideal studio space. The styles in this volume vary widely, but each illustration is a luxurious work that invites visual lingering.

After that the Two Guys turn to one of their favorites, the Hernandez brothers. The latest issue of Love and Rockets (Fantagraphics) is notable in that it wraps up Jaime’s ongoing storyline, “Is This How You See Me?” This narrative began back in the New Stories volumes, and in it Maggie and Hopey attend a Hoppers reunion that begins well, but then takes a darker turn for the two. Jaime also contributes a couple of shorter comics that revisit Maggie and Hopey in their younger days, another narrative thread we’ve seen in recent issues of Love and Rockets. Gilbert’s contribution, “Rosy,” is a long story about one of Fritz’s daughters who confronts her mother’s colored career and decides what it means to her.

Paul and Derek wrap up the episode by looking at the two latest issues of Dakota Mcfadzean’s minicomic Last MountainIssue #4 is a surreal look at the disturbing power of product iconography, where a little girl is terrorized by a cereal box mascot. Issue #5, “To Know You’re Alive,” can be read as a response to the previous issue in that it also concerns childhood and media, but from the perspective of a stay-at-home father. Unfortunately, both of these minicomic issues are sold out, but as the guys mention, listeners should definitely keep their eyes on Mcfadzean as he releases new material.

Comics Alternative Interviews: Back with Carol Tyler

Time Codes:

  • 00:00:34 – Introduction
  • 00:02:44 – Setup of interview
  • 00:04:38 – Interview with Carol Tyler
  • 01:36:12 – Wrap up
  • 01:38:15 – Contact us

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Gear!

On this interview episode, Gene and Derek are excited to have Carol Tyler back on the podcast. Her new book Fab4 Mania has recently been released from Fantagraphics. It’s Carol’s memoir about her time growing up as a Beatles fan, covering the early years of the mop tops and especially The Beatle’s presence in America. As Carol reveals, she was a devotee from the very beginning, watching the group’s legendary appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show on February 9, 1964, their initial tour around the United States immediately after, the media and merchandising circus surrounding it, and the almost never-ending radio presence of four lads. And everything in the book leads up to the crescendo of The Beatles’ appearance at Comiskey Park on August 20, 1965, a concert that Carol excitedly attended. Fab4 Mania also covers the many excitements and challenges Carol faced in displaying her love of The Beatles, especially among friends and when it came to her Catholic school.

In her conversation with Gene and Derek, Carol talks not only the book, but her own personal recollections growing up during that time. They talk music of the time — where Carol disses by comparison other British groups such as Herman’s Hermits, Gerry and the Pacemakers, and The Dave Clark Five — and Carol even DJs and sings for the guys. It’s definitely a memorable interview, one that Derek and Gene will not soon forget.

Comics Alternative Interviews: Back with Nate Powell

Time Codes:

  • 00:00:23 – Introduction
  • 00:02:38 – Setup of interview
  • 00:04:02 – Interview with Nate Powell
  • 01:19:33 – Wrap up
  • 01:22:26 – Contact us

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Coming (Back) Again

Paul and Derek are pleased to have Nate Powell back on the show. This time they talk with him about his new book Come Again, just released from Top Shelf Productions. They discuss the genesis of this project, the significance of the story’s setting, the unsteady balance between needs for personal isolation and the importance of community, and the narrative’s forays into the fantastic. Yet they also talk about several of Nate’s other works, including March, Swallow Me Whole, Any Empire, and Sounds of Your Name. But what comes out over the entire course of the conversation is the kind of fun these three guys have talking together. Can’t you just hear it?

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 Interviews: Julian Hanshaw

Time Codes:

  • 00:00:24 – Introduction
  • 00:02:18 – Setup of interview
  • 00:03:49 – Interview with Julian Hanshaw
  • 01:04:39 – Wrap up
  • 01:05:08 – Contact us

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Checking In

Many U.S. readers were introduced to Julian Hanshaw through his book Tim Ginger, released in 2015 from Top Shelf Productions, an imprint of IDW Publishing. It’s the story of man in his later years coming to terms with the decisions he’s made, including his choice to remain childless. As Julian discusses in this interview, the text was largely autobiographical in nature. And the same can said of his new book, Cloud Hotel. The story was inspired by a UFO encounter he had as a young boy and the psychological affect such an experience had on him afterwards. As Julian discloses during his conversation with Derek, Cloud Hotel is the second of what will be a trilogy of autobiographical works, beginning with Tim Ginger. But they also discuss some of his earlier works that may not be familiar to American readers, such as The Art of Pho and I’m Never Coming Back. Julian also talks about his upcoming book from SelfMadeHero, I Feel Machine, a collection of six comics stories that he edited with Kent Able, all by different creators and all focusing on how technology has transformed the way we communicate and frame our culture.

Comics Alternative, Episode 286: The July Previews Catalog

Getting Up on Soapboxes

Happy Independence Day! It’s the beginning of the month, so it’s time for another look at the latest Previews catalog. On this episode, Paul and Derek highlight many of the upcoming titles solicited in July. And this is a long episode, running for just over 3 hours and 20 minutes, so strap in and get ready for a long ride.

First, they begin the episode by sharing a variety of listener correspondences they’ve received over the past week…and there are a lot of them. Then they jump into the July Previews. They start with the offerings for this October’s Halloween ComicFest, and then they turn to the catalog proper. Among the many publishers and titles that they focus on are:

 

Comics Alternative Interviews: Another Conversation with Luke Healy

Time Codes:

  • 00:00:24 – Introduction
  • 00:02:25 – Setup of interview
  • 00:04:11 – Interview with Luke Healy
  • 01:04:50 – Wrap up
  • 01:05:30 – Contact us

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Ego Boost

Luke Healy was first on The Comics Alternative at Small Press Expo in 2016, where he briefly spoke with Derek about his provocative self-published minicomic The Unofficial Cuckoo’s Nest Study Companion, which was nominated that year for an Ignatz Award. A couple of months later Luke came back on the show, this time for a long and more in-depth interview about his new book at the time, How to Survive in the North, released from Nobrow Press. And now, Luke comes back on podcast to discuss his most recent work. His brand-new book revisits some of his older writings and places them within an entirely new context. Permanent Press has just been released from Avery Hill Publishing, and it’s a mock autobiographical text that explores the world of independent comics creators and the relationship between a cartoonist and his ego. What’s more, the new book incorporates the previously self-published The Unofficial Cuckoo’s Nest Study Companion, but it does so in a way that brings a fresh perspective to the story and even underscores its experimental nature. In this interview, Derek talks with Luke Healy about the origins of Permanent Press, its highly satirical tone, and the process of looking inside of himself and pulling out a narrative that is not entirely autobiographical, but at the same time, not purely fiction. As you’ll hear, Luke is certainly one of the medium’s most meditative creators.