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On this episode of The Comics Alternative, Gene is back in the cohosting chair after a long absence. (He was last on the show for the interview with Joshua Hale Fialkov and Kody Chamberlain, but he hasn’t been on a review show since October of last year.) This week, the Two Guys look at three new, yet very different, comics. They begin with Josh Simmons’s Black River (Fantagraphics), a beautiful yet disturbing post-apocalyptic narrative. It follows a group of women trying to survive after some sort of catastrophic event — we’re never sure what — the deadly travails that await them, and how the experience changes the group. Although the subject matter is violent and unsettling, Simmons’s artwork is visually compelling. Next, the guys check out the first issue of 8House: Arclight, Brandon Graham and Marian Churchland’s new series from Image Comics. Issue #1 reveals a detailed and fantastical world, complete with its own physics, as well as its own alphabet. Graham provides just enough story to satisfy, while at the same time teasing the narrative to come. But it’s Churchland’s art that captures Gene and Derek’s attention, working seamlessly into the complex world-building apparent in this nascent series. Finally, Gene and Derek spend a lot of time discussing a small-press anthology series, Kilgore Quarterly (Kilgore Books and Comics). This is the 6th issue in the title, and as with the previous issues, this one contains a nice balance of known names, first-time-published cartoonists, and creators whose work you may not know, but you definitely should. Both Noah Van Sciver and Eleanor Davis have contributions in this issue, as do lesser-known artists such as Rich Sparks, Susan Choi, Matias San Juan, Sarah Leitten, and Amara Leipzig. But a full appreciation of Kilgore Quarterly #6 wouldn’t be possible without delving into the work of all of its contributors — and Derek and Gene do just that — including Meg Golding, Alex Graham, Joe Leonard, Alex Nall, and Ryan the Truck. Of the three titles discussed on this week’s show, Kilgore Quarterly is the one the guys spend the most time discussing…and for a reason.
A special thanks to Dan Stafford for keeping the guys informed about the happenings at Kilgore Books and Comics. Be sure to check out their website!