Comics Alternative, Episode 249: Reviews of Reich, The American Way: Those Above and Those Below #1, and Time and Vine #1

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Time Codes:

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Sexual Healing

This week the Two Guys with PhDs Talking about Comics look at three very different titles. They begin with Elijah Brubaker’s Reich, a twelve-issue biography published by Sparkplug Comics and distributed through Alternative Comics. The series reveals the life of Wilhelm Reich, the Austrian-American psychoanalyst known for his influential work in character analysis, his advocacy of orgastic potency, and, more controversially, his theories surrounding orgonomy. After that they discuss The American Way: Those Above and Those Below #1 (Vertigo Comics). Written by John Ridley with art by George Jeanty, this is a sequel to their eight-issue Wildstorm series that came out in 2008. Then Andy and Derek wrap things up with Time and Vine #1 (IDW Publishing), Thom Zahler’s followup to his 2015 miniseries Long Distance. The guys note that this latest title bears all the markings of Zahler’s previous work, including Love and Capes: engaging art, impressive dialogue, and nuanced character interaction that is both romantic and witty.

 

Comics Alternative Interviews: Karl Stevens

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Diluted Horse Piss

Time Codes:

  • 00:00:24 – Introduction
  • 00:02:26 – Setup of interview
  • 00:04:01 – Interview with Karl Stevens
  • 01:26:32 – Wrap up
  • 01:28:02 – Contact us

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On this interview episode, Derek talks with Karl Steven about Penny, his current weekly/semiweekly strip appearing in The Village Voice. The two discuss this ongoing comic and its genesis, but they also talk about a variety of Karl’s other works. Of particular focus are the series of strips he created for the Boston Phoenix between June 2005 and November 2012. The earliest ones are collected in Whatever (Alternative Comics), and the later comics in two follow-up compilations, The Lodger (KSA Publishing) and Failure (Alternative Comics). In this way, Derek is able to talk with Karl about his distinctive realistic style and  how he has evolved from a heavily reliance on crosshatching to a more simple, even softer approach. Along with this, Karl shares is aesthetic philosophy of naturalistic detail and  how it differs strongly from that of creators such as Scott McCloud, Jessica Abel, and Matt Madden.

The guys also talk about Karl’s first book, the Xeric Award-winning Guilty. This effort is what put Karl Stevens on the map in 2005, and even today it serves as a wonderful introduction to his style. They also cover the artist’s efforts in the fine arts, including his highly informative Anatomy for Artists: A New Approach to Discovering, Learning and Remembering the Body (North Light Books), coauthored with Anthony Apesos. Karl also shares some information about The Winner, his new book that will be coming out this fall from Retrofit Comics/Big Planet Comics, and future plans to collect his and Gustavo Turner’s Succe$$ comics into book form.

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Comics Alternative, Episode 185: A Publisher Spotlight on Alternative Comics and Its Small Press Co-op

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Inversion

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This week the Two Guys with PhDs focus a critical spotlight on the spring releases coming out from Alternative Comics and the other small presses that are part of its distribution co-operative, Floating World Comics, Hic + Hoc Productions, Study Group Comics, and Press Gang. This is a jam-packed episode and longer than usual, a discussion that covers eighteen different titles among the five indie presses. Before they jump directly into the comics, though, Derek has a brief conversation with Marc Arsenault, the publisher of Alternative Comics and one of the ringleaders of the co-operative. He asks Marc about the origins of the press, its relaunch in 2012, its distribution agreement with the other indie publishers, and what readers could anticipate coming out of Alternative Comics in the months to come. After that introductory interview, Andy W. and Derek begin discussing the individual titles some out this spring, and organizing their conversation by publisher. These books include:

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Alternative Comics

Floating World Comics

Hic + Hoc Productions

Study Group Comics

  • Titan #1, #2, #3, by François Vigneault
  • Vile #1, Tyler Landry

Press Gang

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As Andy and Derek mention in the show, this has been a spotlight episode they’ve been wanting to do for some time. The guys are truly excited to talk about the new releases coming out from Alternative Comics (and its co-op partners)…and not just this publisher’s name is an inversion of the podcast title.

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Comics Alternative Podcast Episode 83: Reviews of The Best of Comix Book, Insect Bath #1, and Cosplayers #1

A REAL Alternative Show

ComixBookIt’s Wednesday, which means it’s time for another regular episode of The Comics Alternative! This week, Andy and Derek really strut their alternative creds by focusing on three titles that keenly define “alternative.” First, they discuss the recent Dark Horse/Kitchen Sink book, The Best of Comix Book. This is a collection of comics culled from the original five-issue run of Comix Book, Marvel’s ill-fated attempt to partner with the underground comix movement of the early 1970s. The project was originally initiated by Stan “The Man” Lee and edited by underground maverick, Denis Kitchen. This recent collection features the work of such major underground comix figures as Justin Green, Trina Robbins, Kim Deitch, S. InsectBathClay Wilson, Skip Williamson, Lee Marrs, Joel Beck, Art Spiegelman, and Sharon Rudahl, and it includes a wonderful historical essay by James Vance. The Two Guys discuss the various pieces that are collected, comment on some of the artists represented here, and even speculate on why certain comics from the original run were included in this collection and why others were not.

Next, Derek and Andy turn their attention to two new single issues from Fantagraphics: Insect Bath #1 and Cosplayers #1. Edited by Jason T. Miles, Insect Bath is an anthology of comics that could be called contemporary manifestations of the “underground.” In this way, the book transitions well from Comix Book, in that it very much carries on in the tradition of the Cosplayers1underground, although with much more of a minicomics feel (and minicomics themselves are arguably the legitimate offspring of comix). The guys feel that the pieces included in this first issue of Insect Bath are hit or miss, but they are more excited about Dash Shaw’s Cosplayers. This is the first of a series — how many issues might there be? — where Shaw brings his experimental approach to a study of pop culture fandom. As Andy points out, Cosplayers feels much like a Daniel Clowes story, a far cry from what we saw last year in Shaw’s unconventional 3 New Stories and New School. There’s a lot packed into this episode, so plug in your earbuds and let’s get it on!

This episode’s incidental music is brought to us by
The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds Sessions

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