Time Codes:

  • 00:00:24 – Introduction
  • 00:03:27 – Setup of interview
  • 00:06:00 – Interview with Seth
  • 01:51:43 – Wrap up
  • 01:52:32 – Contact us

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The Man from Guelph

On this interview episode, Derek is pleased to have as his guest one of his favorite creators, Seth. His latest volume of Palookaville was published last year by Drawn and Quarterly, and while every release of Seth’s signature series is worth noting, this one is particularly significant. It wraps up his “Clyde Fans” storyline, one he began in 1997 in Palookaville #10. Derek asks Seth about the process of undertaking this ongoing narrative and the considerations of sustaining it for twenty years. They also discuss the autobiographical “Nothing Lasts,” a series that Seth began in volume 21 of Palookaville. Much of the conversation concerns Seth’s autobiographical storytelling, or his faux-autobiographical comics (in the case of It’s a Good Life, If You Don’t Weaken), and the ways in which the past informs his sense of place and identity. Indeed, memory is a major theme in Seth’s stories, and the two spend a good deal of time talking about it as a defining feature of his comics. But while much of the discussion centers on the most recent volume of Palookaville, Derek also asks his guest about the general trajectory of his career. They talk about his sketchbook comics, such as Wimbledon Green and The Great Northern Brotherhood of Canadian Cartoonists, his evolving illustration style, the creation of Dominion, the melancholy George Sprott: 1894-1975, his rubber stamp diary, his life-defining relationships with Chester Brown and Joe Matt, his design and illustration work for Fantagraphics’ Complete Peanuts series and Lemony Snicket’s All the Wrong Questions books, his plans for future issues of Palookaville, and his wife’s business, Crown Barber Shop.

Comics Alternative, Episode 216: A Publisher Spotlight on Kilgore Books and Comics

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Number 9

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Time Codes:

  • 00:00:27 – Introduction
  • 00:02:28 – Setting up Kilgore Books and Comics
  • 00:05:28 – Conversation with Dan Stafford
  • 00:22:04 – Cosmic Be-ing #2
  • 00:28:45 – The Fifth Window
  • 00:35:24 – A Horse, a Crow, and a Hippo Walk into a Bar
  • 00:45:53 – Powermac
  • 00:55:16 – Paid for It
  • 01:01:56 – The Plunge: A True Story
  • 01:12:21 – What Happened
  • 01:18:23 – Scorched Earth
  • 01:25:44 – Blammo #9
  • 01:54:57 – Wrap up
  • 01:56:02 – Contact us

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On this episode, their final publisher spotlight of the year, Andy and Derek discuss the 2016 releases from Kilgore Books and Comics. They discuss nine titles, in all: four from the publisher’s spring catalog, four from the fall releases, and an in-between book that conceptually lives up to its interstitial positioning. The guys begin their spotlight with a brief interview Derek conducted with Dan Stafford at this year’s Small Press Expo. He introduces Kilgore to listeners, reveals its history and mission, and sets the contexts for the various 2016 releases. After that, the Two Guys with PhDs begin looking at the four titles from the spring, Alex Graham’s Cosmic Be-ing #2, Amara Leipzig’s The Fifth Window, Lauren Barnett’s A Horse, a Crow, and a Hippo Walk into a Bar, and Box Brown’s Powerman. They’re intrigued by the more abstract constructions of the former, and they contrast this with the humor and sheer fun found Barnett’s and Brown’s comics. And given recent political events, the satiric Powerman becomes disturbingly prescient.

And on the topic of satire…Andy and Derek next check out the latest work from one of their favorites, Joe Matt. Paid for It is a send-up of Chester Brown’s Paying for It. In it, Matt (writing under the name “Chesty Matt”) basically takes panels from Brown’s original texts, inverts their sequence, and tweaks the story so that it’s the protagonist who becomes the prostitute and the women who are the johns…or janes. It’s not often that we see anything new from Matt, so Paid for It is definitely an event worth noting.

The last part of the episode is devoted to Kilgore’s fall releases: Emi Gennis’s The Plunge: A True Story, Simon Moreton’s What Happened, Tom Van Deusen’s Scorched Earth, and Noah Van Sciver’s Blammo #9. The first is an historical account of the first woman to go over Niagara Falls in a barrel, and a reminder of the gender biases we continue to live under. Moreton’s is an introspective examination of childhood experiences, while Van Deusen’s is an no-holds-barred exposé of a dysfunctional individual, reminiscent of Sacha Baron Cohen and Curb Your Enthusiasm. But the guys save their most vocal praise for the latest issue of Blammo. They’ve discussed Van Sciver’s series on the podcast before, but this latest installment is a truly outstanding issue that stands above in its predecessors.

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Comics Alternative Interviews: Chester Brown

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Sex and the Single Girl

Chester Brown by Sook-Yin Lee

Photo by Sook-Yin Lee

It’s not often that Chester Brown comes out with a new book, but his latest, Mary Wept over the Feet of Jesus, was released last month from Drawn & Quarterly…giving the Two Guys with PhDs an occasion to celebrate. And compounding that celebratory spirit is the fact that the artist is now appearing on The Comics Alternative podcast! In this episode, Andy and Derek are pleased to have Chester as their guest, where they talk with him about his new book, the research MaryWeptthat went into it, and the reaction he’s been getting from readers and critics. Mary Wept over the Feet of Jesus is a series of adaptations of Old and New Testament texts as they relate to prostitution and religious observance. In it, Chester interprets the stories of Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba, Mary of Bethany, and Mary, mother of Jesus, along with other narratives that surround Book of Genesis, the Gospel of Matthew, and the Parables of the Talents and the Prodigal Son. What all of these explorations have in common, and what Chester makes clear during the interview, is how all inform a reading of scripture surrounding sex workers. The guys talk with their guest about these issues and how his previous works — Paying for It as well as his earlier comics adapting the Gospels of both Mark and Matthew — may have laid the groundwork for the current study. Much of the conversation is spent on Chester’s almost-lifelong research into biblical scholarship, especially as it comes out in the extensive notes he includes in Mary Wept…hand-written annotations that take up almost a third of his book! But Andy and Derek also ask Chester about his earlier comics, such as Ed the Happy ClownThe Playboy, and Louis Riel, the death of serialization within small-press comics, and his single-panel method of composition. In other words, the guys cover a lot of ground during this interview. But as Derek and Andy point out toward the end of this episode, there was some interesting conversation that took place after the guys turned off their recording devices. But fret not; Derek was able to capture some of that talk once they realized how appropriate it would have been in their recorded interview. So if you listen all the way through to the very end of this episode, after the closing theme music, you’ll be able to hear a few comments as an extra added bonus.

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Much thanks, not only to Chester Brown, but to Sook-Yin Lee who helped to make this interview possible by providing her Skype account (and who can be heard in the background toward the end of the podcast preparing dinner).

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Deconstructing Comics #452: Joe Matt’s “The Poor Bastard”

poorbastardJoe Matt was one of ‘The Toronto Three’ in the 90’s; he was a no-holds barred autobiographical cartoonist who, with his friends Chester Brown and Seth, ushered in the first wave of Drawn and Quarterly work. Matt drew attention for his sense of humor as well as exposing the depraved corners of his life, including porn addiction, excessive cheapness, and an increasingly destructive relationship with his girlfriend Trish. Kumar and Koom discuss The Poor Bastard and reflect about encountering Matt’s work, the interaction between real life and representation, and the connection between humor and depravity.

LINK: Did the woman Frankie was modeled after demand to be left out of Joe’s comic?

Deconstructing Comics site

Deconstructing Comics #366: “Paying For It”

Paying For ItKumar and Dana get together — in the same room! — to discuss Paying For It, Chester Brown’s chronicle of his decision to punt “love relationships” and hire, er, escorts instead. What does the book have to say about relationships? Is loves simply a social construct? Is Brown persuasive in his arguments for decriminalizing prostitution?

Deconstructing Comics site

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Deconstructing Comics #333: “Louis Riel”

Louis Riel

If you’re not Canadian, this week’s topic may be a bit of a head-scratcher. Louis, uh, who now? To Canadians, though, including our own Kumar and Dana, Riel is a famous historical figure of the 19th century who led a rebellion against the Canadian government. His story is the subject of Chester Brown‘s recent graphic novel which, while complete with end notes, also takes Shakespearean liberties with the historical record. And what’s up with the weird placement of characters on the page? An accident? No… nothing in this book is an accident.

Deconstructing Comics site

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Back To The Bins! #23

NEWBIN_

Join Scott H. Gardner and a SURPRISE MYSTERY GUEST as they travel ‘Back to the Bins’ to re-discover and re-connect with that unique brand of fun and excitement that can only truly be found in good ol’ fashioned random Comic Book back issues!!

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