Comics Alternative, Episode 202: Reviews of Smoke Signal #25, Fool’s Gold, and Briggs Land #1

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Not Too Mainstream-y

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Time Codes:

  • 00:00:30 – Introduction
  • 00:02:33 – Listener mail
  • 00:11:07 – Smoke Signal #25
  • 00:33:54 – Fool’s Gold
  • 00:44:49 – Briggs Land #1
  • 01:00:28 – Wrap up
  • 01:01:26 – Contact us

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On this week’s review episode, the Two Guys with PhDs discuss three recent titles, a couple of which are probably not on most listeners’ radar. They begin with one of these, the latest issue of Smoke Signal, a quarterly tabloid comics anthology published by Desert Island Comics (a shop in Brooklyn, NY) and edited by Gabe Fowler. Andy and Derek focus mainly on the summer 2016 issue, #25, although they also mention several comics in the previous spring issue. Some of the standouts in the latest include Tim Lane’s contributions — the Steve McQueen-inspired “Barnstormer” and the tabloid’s center spread, “The Assassination of Billy Lyons by that Bad Man Stagger Lee” — a new “Cosplayers” story from Dash Shaw, another in Al Columbia’s “Pim and Francie” series, Siobhan Gallagher’s experimental “Apartment to Be,” the portfolio of Jay Rummel art, and a cover by the great Will Elder, a painting that was intended for the third issue of Harvey Kurtzman’s Trump (the magazine was canceled after the second issue).

Next, the guys turn to Andy Warner’s self-published Fool’s Gold: The True Story of the Greates Lost Treasure in American History and the Man Who Had the Bad Luck to Find It. This a twenty-four-page story of the SS Central America‘s sinking off the Carolina coast in 1857 and Tommy Thompson’s efforts at salvaging its lost gold in the 1980s. As the long subtitle suggests, things do not go well for Thompson after his success, leading some to believe that the treasure is cursed. Derek tells how he was already familiar with Andy Warner’s comics, and that this is the kind of reality-based and journalistic story you’ll find in many of his other self-published comics and in the work he does in for such outlets as The Nib and KQED. Learn more about Andy Warner’s work at  his website.

Andy and Derek then wrap up with a look at the first issue of Briggs Land (Dark Horse Comics), the much-anticipated series from Brian Wood and Mack Chater and under development for AMC. In fact, the guys start off by discussing the written-with-television-in-mind phenomenon in comics and what it might mean for storytelling practices in the medium. Neither of the guys fault Wood and Chater — or Dark Horse — for the transmedia nature of Briggs Land, although they had different reactions to the title’s potential. Derek was more taken by the story, seeing it as a return to the kind of narrative Wood created in DMZ, while Andy thought the premise less original and too close to the family crime-related television series Sons of Anarchy and Justified. Still, it’s a title with great promise, whether you follow it eagerly in the monthly comics or more casually wait for the trade.

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Comics Alternative, On Location: Talking with Creators at SPX 2015, Pt. 2

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More Small Talk

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This is the second of three on-location interview shows based on Derek and Andy W.’s attendance at last weekend’s Small Press Expo. At the event, the Two Guys took the opportunity to talk with several creators exhibiting at SPX, interviewing each for anywhere from 5 to around 20 minutes. In some cases, the guys are quite familiar with the artist’s works (and may even have reviewed their comics on past episodes). At other times, Andy or Derek may not know the work of the creator, but use the interview opportunity to learn more about the artist. In this episode, you will hear conversations with:

The exhibition hall of SPX 2015 was packed, and, as a result, the din of the crowd was at times difficult to talk over. But the Two Guys addressed the sound challenges as best they could. Sometimes they talked with the creators at their tables, and at other times — such as the interviews with Gregory Benton and Dean Haspiel — they were able to find a space off the floor where the sound was less chaotic.

The final on-location interview episode will be released on Saturday. The first was published yesterday. And be sure to check out Derek’s much longer conversation with Bill Griffith that was released separately.

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Deconstructing Comics #461: The Legend of Andy Warner

The Legend of the BunnymanLast year at the comics journalism panel discussion in San Francisco, we met Andy Warner, whose work has appeared mostly on newsy Web sites. This week, Andy fills us in on how he gets freelance work with these sites. Also, the golden age of US newspaper strips, time management, the need for more support for comics (and ALL media), and… the Legend of the Bunnyman!

Deconstructing Comics site

Deconstructing Comics #398: Comics Journalism Panel

journalismpanelmontageTim Across America, part eight! Comics journalism (a.k.a. “graphic journalism”, and other names) has been gradually making a place for itself within the larger journalism world (and the comics world) for the past 20 years or so. Just as Tim was heading to San Francisco, a group of Bay Area journalists on Meetup.com was preparing to hold panel discussion featuring three comics journalists: Dan Archer, Susie Cagle, and Andy Warner. This week, we present that panel discussion in its entirety!

Also, in a special Ask a Retailer, Tim talks to Brian Hibbs of Comix Experience!

More photos after the jump…

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