Comics Alternative Interviews: Bill Kartalopoulos and Ben Katchor

Time Codes:

  • 00:00:26 – Introduction
  • 00:02:30 – Setup of interview
  • 00:04:05 – Interview with Bill Kartalopoulos and Ben Katchor
  • 01:36:02 – Wrap up
  • 01:37:10 – Contact us

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Challenging Comics

Derek talks with Bill Kartalopoulos and Ben Katchor about the 2017 volume of The Best American Comics (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt). They are, respectively, the general editor of the series and last year’s guest editor. Paul and Derek had wanted to interview the two back in December, but due to life complications, they weren’t able to have them on the show. And although Paul wasn’t able to join in on this interview, he was with everyone in spirit. So better late than never, Derek speaks with Ben and Bill about the process of their collaboration, the challenges that they faced in collecting potential material, Ben’s choices in structuring and populating the 2017 volume, the ways in which current politics couldn’t help but find their way into the text, and the questions both editors faced with the very concept of “best comics.”

Top 5 Comics Podcast Episode 86 – Season 4 – 2016 Year End Thing

EPISODE DESCRIPTION

Comic book round table. This week, we have – Complete Nonsense, Book we liked in 2016 and more…..

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Run Times –
Just Nonsense …. – 2:14- 14:58
2016 Books We Liked – 14:59 – 1:07:41
Books to look for – 1:08:50 Happy New Everyone
*** If you would like to ask a question of our panel you can email at – top5podcast@hotmail.com ***

Comics Alternative, Episode 220: Our Favorite Comics of 2016

Listen to the podcast!

The Results Are In

Time Codes:

  • 00:01:50 – Introduction
  • 00:03:37 – Setting up our favorites
  • 00:07:16 – Year-end statistics
  • 00:15:54 – Our favorites of 2016
  • 01:43:22 – Wrapping up our favorites, and honorable mentions
  • 01:48:55 – Contact us

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This is the last regular review episode of 2016, and as the Two Guys with PhDs do annually, they use their final show of the year to share their favorite comics from the past twelve months. Both Andy and Derek have each chosen what he considers the 10 best of 2016 — and in no particular order — but neither has shared his list with the other until the recording of this episode. So there are some surprises along the way. There is not much overlap between the guys’ lists, and only two titles are mentioned by both. Taken together, this is a wide-ranging selection that includes everything from mainstream superhero comics to small-press selections, from webcomics to manga, from comics in translation to works that are sure to become part of many readers’ canon.

However, before they plunge into their lists the guys share some year-end statistics. By the end of 2016 The Comics Alternative will have produced 162 episodes (including this episode and the December manga review). Among those shows, 278 print titles will have been discussed along with 36 webcomics. Derek also crunched the numbers in terms of the most reviewed publishers. The one whose titles were discussed most frequently was Image Comics, with the guys focusing on 25 of their titles. Next is Fantagraphics and Dark Horse Comics with 21 reviewed titles each. After that it’s IDW with 19, DC/Vertigo with 17, First Second with 13, and BOOM! Studios with 11. Other publishers whose titles have been reviewed at least 5 times over the past year include Kilgore Books (9), Kodansha Comics (8), Alternative Comics (7), Aftershock (7), Floating World (6), Drawn and Quarterly (5), Retrofit/Big Planet (5), and Avery Hill Publishing (5).

After that numerical rundown, the Two Guys get into their 10 favorite titles of 2016:

Andy’s Top 10 of 2016

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Derek’s Top 10 of 2016

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The Honorable Mentions…These Titles Almost, but Just Didn’t Quite, Make It onto Each Guy’s List

For Andy

For Derek

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Comics Alternative, Episode 168: Our Favorite Comics of 2015

Listen to the podcast!

Best!

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It’s the last regular review episode of the year, so that means that the Two Guys with PhDs are here to share what they consider to be the best comics of 2015! In this extra-long episode, Andy and Derek discuss their 10 favorite titles of the year. Neither knows what the other has chosen before the recording, giving the episode a sense of freshness, spontaneousness, and surprise. And there are indeed several surprises in this year’s picks, including the fact that there is only one title that appears on both guys’ lists. Also, noticeably absent from their selections are the titles that have been populating many of the mainstream press’ “Best of” lists (e.g., Killing and DyingThe SculptorLumberjanes, and The Sandman: Overture: Deluxe Edition). And each of the guys notes some trends that appear in his list this year. For Andy, it’s the prominence of autobiographical comics, and for Derek, it’s a an emphasis on realistic novel-like narratives. Before they get to their favorites, though, they go over some year-end statistics regarding the podcast. For example, over the past year the guys have published 139 episodes (as of last week), which is roughly 42% of all of the episodes they’ve put out since the podcast began in 2012. They have also conducted 39 interviews in 2015, published 8 publisher spotlight episodes, and began two new monthly series (one for manga and another for young adult/children’s comics). Needless to say, it’s been a productive year for the guys.

But the heart of this week’s episode is the Two Guys’ discussion of their ten favorite titles of 2015:

Andy’s Top 10 of 2015

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Derek’s Top 10 of 2015

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The Honorable Mentions…These Titles Almost, but Just Didn’t Quite, Make It onto Each Guy’s List

For Andy

For Derek

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Longbox Review Episode 80: Favorites of 2014! Part 1

2014 is over, but that doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate that year in comics. Join me and three guests as we discuss what our favorites of 2014 were in the following categories:

  • Limited series
  • Cover
  • Graphic novel/trade collection
  • Single issue

Join us next episode for part 2 of this discussion, and please let me know what your favorites of 2014 were.

Please subscribe to Travis, Johnny, and Matt’s YouTube channels:

Please send your comments to longboxreview@gmail.com, leave voicemail at 208-953-1841, or send me a voice message via Speakpipe (or just go to longboxreview.com/feedback/). Please subscribe, rate, and review the show via iTunes.

Thanks for listening!

 

Episode 116: Our Favorite Comics of 2014

The Really Good Stuff

It’s the end of the year, and you know what that means? No, it’s doesn’t involve a fat guy with toys, any spinning wooden things, or even annoying events involving Anderson Cooper and Kathy Gifford. It’s time for

Andy and Derek’s end-of-the-year top ten favorites episode!

The Two Guys with PhDs (who talk about comics) like to end every year by highlighting their favorite titles of the past twelve months. These could be ongoing series, limited rBest2014uns or miniseries, one-shots, trades, original graphic novels, webcomics, or archival collections. So for this week’s episode, Derek and Andy each choose their favorite ten comics from 2014 and then share that list with one another. They don’t necessarily rank them in any order — although both guys do hint at their top picks — and neither knows of the other’s ten favorites before they record the podcast. As such, the Guys not only have a great time discussing the year’s best comics, but also in discovering what each other feels is truly his favorite. There are a few overlaps between Andy and Derek’s choices, but even more significantly,  there are some big surprises in each one’s list!

Andy’s Top 10 of 2014

Derek’s Top 10 of 2014

The Honorable Mentions…These Titles Almost, but Just Didn’t Quite, Make It onto either Derek and Andy’s Lists

For Derek:

For Andy:

Hey Kids! Fun Facts!

  • The most represented publisher between both guys’ lists is Image Comics!
  • Unlike last year, Derek chose more series than Andy did!
  • The guys are surprised that neither of the Hernandez brothers made their lists this year…including the “honorable mentions.” Yow!
  • In his 10 best, Derek chose three titles they never discussed on the podcast, while Andy chose two!
  • There are no Vertigo titles on either guy’s top-10 list, and the same goes for their “honorable mentions” lists!
  • Andy continues to read more Marvel than Derek does!
  • For the first year on they year-end list, the Two Guys give love to Conundrum Press and Uncivilized Books!
  • Only three creators on The Two Guys’ 2014 list — Matt Fraction, Chip Zdarsky, and Gene Luen Yang — were also on their 2013 lists!

So start roasting those chestnuts and come experience the joy this holiday season by listening to Andy and Derek’s special year-end podcast!

This episode’s music focuses on the New Year. Have a happy one!

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Comics Alternative On Location: A Discussion of the Year in Review at Collected Comics

Looking Back at Favorites

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It’s almost the end of the year, and Derek is back for one last 2014 visit to his local comic shop, Collected, in Plano, TX. As he usually does every month, he talks with the shop’s employees and customers about the kind of comics that they’re reading, what is catching their interests, and what comics news most excites them, but this CollectedDec2014-1month the focus is on everyone’s favorite titles of 2014. Derek asks everyone sitting around the podcast table — Shea, Krystle, Shaun, Craig, Nick, and Matthew — about what they consider to be the most outstanding comics of the past twelve months. And the candidates vary widely, ranging from single-issue comic books to original graphic novels, from superhero to manga, from pop-culture adaptations to literary graphic fiction, and from webcomics to those coming from Kickstarter campaigns. Some of the titles that folks highlight during the show include Tooth and ClawSecondsThe WrenchiesNijigahara HolographMultiversity: Pax AmericanaRat Queens, Edge of Spider-VerseBleeding HeartLittle Nemo: Return to SlumberlandThe Shadow HeroEye of Newt, Michael Moorcock’s Elric, Vol. 1: The Ruby Throne, Through the Woods, Adventure Time, and Squidder. They also discuss some of their biggest comics disappointments of the year, speculate on the titles they’re looking forward to in 2015, and even learn that Krystle prefers drugs, candy, and weiners in her comics. As usual, you don’t know what to expect from the guys at Collected, but you are guaranteed fun talk about a variety of great books. And much thanks to Freddy Ruiz, the store’s manager, for pulling everyone together!

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The Shop Is Hoppin’!

 

Freddy and Shea Dance Away Their 2014 Memories

Freddy and Shea Dance Away Their 2014 Memories, as Chris Ware’s BUILDING STORIES Lovingly Watches over Them

This episode’s incidental music comes to us through the
holiday obscura discovered by Andy Cirzan!

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Comics Alternative Podcast Episode 67: Our Favorite Comics of 2013

Our Favorites…’Nuf Said!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. And no, this isn’t really a reference to much mistltoeing and hearts that are glowing. It’s  better than that. It’s time for

Andy and Derek’s end-of-the-year top ten favorites episode!

Best2013The Two Guys with PhDs (who talk about comics) like to end the year by highlighting their favorite titles of the past twelve months. These could be ongoing series, limited runs or miniseries, one-shots, trades, original graphic novels, webcomics, or archival collections. So for this week’s episode, Derek and Andy each choose their favorite ten comics from 2013 and then share that list with one another. They don’t necessarily rank them in any order — although Andy does reveal the #1 title on his list — and neither knows of the other’s ten favorites before they record the podcast. As such, the Guys not only have a great time discussing the year’s best comics, but also in discovering what each other feels is truly his favorite. There are a few overlaps between Andy and Derek’s choices, but even more significantly,  there are some big surprises in each one’s list!

Andy’s Top 10 of 20132013-1

Derek’s Top 10 of 20132013-2

The Honorable Mentions…These Titles Almost, but Just Didn’t Quite, Make It onto either Derek and Andy’s Lists

For Derek:

For Andy:

Hey Kids! Fun Facts!

  • The most represented publisher on both guys’ lists is First Second!
  • Andy chose more series than Derek did!
  • DC/Vertigo and Drawn and Quarterly show up a lot on Derek’s lists!
  • Andy’s been reading a lot of First Second titles!
  • Derek’s very surprised that Marble SeasonThe Property, or The Amazing, Enlightening and Absolutely True Adventures of Katherine Whaley didn’t appear on his Top 10 list!
  • There’s a Jonathan Hicks groove going on with Andy!
  • Several creators on The Guys’ 2013 list — Matt Fraction, Brian K. Vaughn, Bill Willingham, Jonathan Hickman, Gilbert Hernandez, and Matt Kindt — were also on their 2012 lists!

So start roasting those chestnuts and come experience the joy this holiday season by listening to Andy and Derek’s special year-end podcast!

This episode’s incidental music is made up of still more
holiday obscura collected by Andy Cirzan!

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Comics Alternative Podcast Episode 66: A Review of The Best American Comics 2013

Best. Best! or Best?

best-american-comics-2013This week the Two Guys with PhDs Talking about Comics take their annual look at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s The Best American Comics collection (including material published between September 1, 2011 and August 31, 2012), this year edited by Jeff Smith. They begin by noting that this volume is significant for several reasons, not the least of which is the fact that this is the last to be overseen by series editors Jessica Abel and Matt Madden. Andy and Derek marvel at the work the two have been doing since they began with the 2008 volume, and they wish Abel and Madden well in their future endeavors…and they look forward to seeing what the new series editor, Bill Kartalopoulos, will bring to the table.

The guys highlight what they consider to be their favorite contributions to the 2013 volume, specifically commenting on the sheer number of entries that originally appeared in Dark Horse Presents. They also discuss the need for a book such as this to introduce readers to new material, ConcreteParkthe pros and cons of excerpting from longer works — Derek noted the potential pitfalls of the practice, although Andy was more accepting — how the 2013 volume differs from  previous years’ collections, the kind of trends they see in this year’s volume, the fact that Evan Dorkin has two different kinds of contributions in the book, the growing representation of webcomics in these yearly volumes, and the dominance of comics anthologies in Smith’s collection as well as the relatively little attention this year given to serialized titles. (Were there just not that many “good” serialized comics between September 2011 and August 2012?) The Two Guys also get into a larger discussion of the very idea of publishing a “best of” anthology of this type. The “best” according to whom? Might there be certain biases involved? What’s the role of editorial predilection? Who is included as part of the “best,” who is excluded, and why? They don’t attempt to second guess this year’s volume editor, Jeff Smith, but they do think it’s important to keep these questions in mind. Well…Derek does. He had a problem with the “Best” part of the title and would feel more comfortable with a different name. Andy thought that Derek was being too critical in addressing the series name. Derek said that maybe Andy should change his name, as well.

But once again, the Two Guys with PhDs hearty recommendation the annual Best American Comics collection, marvel at the gargantuan task undertaken by the editor, and thoroughly enjoy the many contributions collected between the covers!

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This week’s incidental music is brought to you by
the wonderful holiday obscura collected by Andy Cirzan!

Episode 66 Image

Long Box Review Episode 17: Best of 2011!

The LBR podcast is back for the new year, but this episode we are taking a look at 2011 by discussing what we see are the Best of comics and related items in 11 categories. What did we choose, for example,  for Best Artist, Cover, and Ongoing? Have a listen and discover for yourself!

If you’d like (and I’d love it if you did), let me know what you would have chosen for those categories and I’d be glad to read them on the “air”. Disagree with our picks? Let me know (I’ll read those, too)!

Please leave comments on the blog; you can also send email to longboxreview@gmail.com, or if you’re on Twitter, message @longboxreview. I would love to hear from you. Finally, please rate the podcast on iTunes.

Thanks for listening!

Wednesday Warriors – Best of Wednesday Warriors – Part 2

Best of Part 2

The Warriors ransacked the archives to bring you The Best of Wednesday Warriors Part 2.

Download the episode now:

Discuss this episode on our forum at lets.fightforcomics.com!

**Wednesday Warriors is a podcast for everyone counting down the days every week until Wednesday when the new comics hit the stands. With discussions about what’s going on in the industry, reviews of current and older comics, and a wide variety of opinions from well-read fans. More information can be found @ fightforcomics.com

Wednesday Warriors – Best of Wednesday Warriors – Part 1

Best of Part 1

The Warriors ransacked the archives to bring you The Best of Wednesday Warriors Part 1.

Download the episode now:

Discuss this episode on our forum at lets.fightforcomics.com!

**Wednesday Warriors is a podcast for everyone counting down the days every week until Wednesday when the new comics hit the stands. With discussions about what’s going on in the industry, reviews of current and older comics, and a wide variety of opinions from well-read fans. More information can be found @ fightforcomics.com