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.

Super Hero Speak: #241 – Dan Sheppard

This week the guys sit down with Dan Sheppard from Alterna comics. Dan talks about his up coming book Sonitus, and where inspired the book. Plus he shares what it’s like to show a theater full of 20 something;s Clerks. (hint they aren’t a fan of black and white films) All this and so much more, so sit back and enjoy!

Check out our print interview with Dan here: http://superherospeak.com/wp/interview-cody-sousa-and-dan-sheppard/

Follow Dan on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/whattamaneuver

Check out his Sonitus on Previews World: https://previewsworld.com/Catalog/DEC171059

and check Alterna comics here: https://www.alternacomics.com/

Support us by buying a really cool T-Shirthttps://teespring.com/stores/super-hero-speak

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Like us and leave feedback on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Superherospeak

Comics Alternative, Episode 263: Reviews of Now #2, The Strumpet #5, and Barbarella # 1 & #2

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Time Codes:

  • 00:00:32 – Introduction
  • 00:03:00 – Catching up with flu-ridden Gene
  • 00:04:21 – Now #2
  • 00:44:07 – The Strumpet #5
  • 01:11:49 – Barbarella #1 & #2
  • 01:26:56 – Wrap up
  • 01:27:55 – Contact us

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Anthologies, Origins, and Rebirths

This week Gene and Derek discuss three recent titles, two of which are anthologies and one a blast from the past. They begin with the second issue of Fantagraphics’ Now, edited by Eric Reynolds. As the guys mention, this one is comprised of various comics that run the gamut of art and narrative styles. While some of the contributions are more “traditional” in their storytelling presentation — such as the pieces by Susan Jonaitis and Graham Chaffee, Ariel López V., Dash Shaw, and Joseph Remnant — others challenge our understanding of the medium. Short works by Fabio Zimbres, Conxita Herrero, and James Turek are just some of the stories in this issue that experiment with how comics mediate narrative.

Next, the guys turn to another anthology, The Strumpet #5. Edited by Ellen Lindner and Glynnis Fawkes, this collection was successfully Kickstarted last year, and the theme of this volume is origins. As Gene and Derek point out, this understanding of “origins” is rather broad, with some of the contributions focusing on origins of identity, origins of awareness, origins of memories, origins of myths, origins of tyrants (Donald Trump, anyone?), origins of sexuality, and origins via birth. This is a transatlantic anthology, with creators from both North America and the UK providing a diversity of story and style. Gene had been familiar with some previous issues of The Strumpet, but this was Derek’s first exposure to the anthology. And he is sorry he hadn’t discovered it earlier.

The Two Guys with PhDs wrap up by looking at a new series from Dynamite Entertainment that brings back a classic, and controversial, figure from the 1960s. Barbarella is Mike Carey and Kenan Yarar’s contemporary take on Jean-Claude Forest’s legendary protagonist. The cheesecakey emphasis and the eroticism is definitely a part of this title, but Carey gives the space-traveling Barbarella more agency, making her more heroic, and less of a passive vessel, than Forest’s original incarnation. The guys discuss the first two issues of the series, the second of which was just recently released, and both Derek and Gene are hooked.

Comics Alternative Interviews: W. Maxwell Prince and Martín Morazzo

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Time Codes:

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Lickety Split

On this episode of the interview series, Derek talks with W. Maxwell Prince and Martín Morazzo about their new series from Image Comics, Ice Cream Man. The first issue comes out on January 17, and Derek asks his guests about the genesis of this project and what to expect in its debut. As Will and Martín reveal, each issue of Ice Cream Man is a stand-alone story, with every release serving as a viable jumping on point into their uncanny world. In fact, both creators liken the title to Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone, a series of stories that aren’t connected one to the other, but linked through tone and narration. What binds the individual issues together will be the ice cream man himself, peddling his frozen treats in a small suburban community and witness to — or instigator of? — various macabre events that turns lives upside down. The series’ inaugural issue revolves around a deadly Brazilian spider, a young boy forced to live on his own, and a police detective whose professional ennui is violently shaken. This promises to be a very different kind of comic-book series, one that may not be as soft and creamy as its title suggests.

Comics Alternative, Episode 262: Review of The Best American Comics 2017

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Time Codes:

  • 00:00:28 – Introduction
  • 00:02:26 – Better late than never
  • 00:05:42 – The Best American Comics 2017
  • 01:30:43 – Wrap up
  • 01:32:15 – Contact us

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Provocation

On this episode of the podcast Paul and Derek discuss The Best American Comics 2017, edited by Ben Katchor along with series editor Bill Kartalopoulos. The Two Guys usually discuss Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s annual contribution to comicsdom in the penultimate episode of every year, but this time around life got in the way — and Paul, everyone’s heart goes out to you — so they had to postpone slightly the current show. But better late than never!

As Paul and Derek reveal, this has to be the most experimental volume of The Best American Comics we’ve ever seen. Editor Ben Katchor does his best to challenge our understanding and definition of “comics” and to interrogate the very concept of “best.” In fact, you could call these efforts provocative. This most recent anthology is attuned to the current political environment, and this is perhaps best demonstrated in Katchor’s multifaceted and hilarious introduction, as well as Kartalopoulos’s insightful Foreword.

The contributions themselves are perhaps the most fascinating, and definitely the most varied, of any The Best American Comics volume.  There are many names that would be recognizable to listeners of the podcast — e.g., Kim Deitch, Tim Lane, Gabrielle Bell, Ed Piskor, Joe Sacco, Josh Bayer, Michael DeForge, and Sam Alden — but what marks this annual is the sheer number of contributors that neither Derek nor Paul had previously known. Indeed, at least a good half of this collection is comprised of creators never before discussed on the podcast, and it’s exciting to discover this many new artists. To say the least, this is the most engaging, and the most challenging, volume of The Best American Comics to date.

 

Comics Alternative Kickstarter: Loan from the Girl Zone

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For this week’s Kickstarter episode, Derek talks with Ari S. Mulch about her project Loan from the Girl Zone. This a collection of the various minicomics that Ari has published over the past couple of years while studying in the comics program of the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. She talks with Derek about the various short works collected in this volume, the project’s genesis, and the various reward levels for backing her campaign. But Ari also discusses the long-form comic that she currently has underway, Lucritia’s Midlife Crisis.

The stories you’ll find in Lone from the Girl Zone will include:

  • “Angie Has a Bad Day”
  • “Selfish”
  • “Cicadidae” (Unreleased!)
  • “Coming Back to You”
  • “2 Girls and a Caricature”
  • “I Found God in the Mosh Pit” (originally a limited edition hand printed book)
  • “Fat Bitch Nudes”

Check it out, and be sure to learn more about Lone in the Girl Zone!

Sample Art

 

Super Hero Speak: #240 – 2017 A Look Back

In this episode Dave, John and JD kick of 2018 by looking back on the year that was 2017. Discussing their favorite movies, TV shows and moments of 2017. Plus their least favorite moments. The audience is polled on their favorite comic book film of 2017 and what are the guys looking forward to in 2018. Sit back and enjoy!

Support us by buying a really cool T-Shirthttps://teespring.com/stores/super-hero-speak

Join the conversation on Slack: https://shs-slack-signup.stamplayapp.com/

Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/SuperHeroSpeak

Like us and leave feedback on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Superherospeak

 

Comics Alternative, Episode 261: Reviews of Generation Gone, Vol. 1, Assassinistas #1, and Love and Rockets IV #4

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Time Codes:

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Hackers, Assassins, and Locas

This week Gwen and Derek take a look at three recent and exciting titles. They begin with the first trade collection of Aleš Kot and André Lima Araújo’s Generation Gone (Image Comics). This initial volume establishes the premise of the intriguing series. The story focuses on three hackers who attempt to get into government systems, are discovered, and “infected” with genetic codes that give them supernatural powers. Gwen points out that, in some ways, this narrative is reminiscent of Katsuhiro Otomo’s Akira, although as Derek mentions, Kot and Araújo’s world isn’t anything post-apocalyptic. This first volume introduces what promises to be an engaging series and whets readers’ appetites for what may follow.

Next, the Two People with PhDs Talking about Comics turn to the first of two Hernandez-infused comics covered this week. The first is Gilbert Hernandez and Tini Howard’s Assassinistas #1, part of IDW Publications’ and Shelly Bond’s Black Crown imprint. The debut issue introduces us to three former assassins, two of which — at least as far as we know — have left that life and are attempting to “go legitimate” and live a normal life. However, drama erupts when one of the team, Charlotte “Scarlet” La Costa, has her son kidnapped, bringing another team member, Octavia “Red October” Price, back into a life she thought she had left behind her. And what of the third member of this one-time trio, Rosalyn “Blood” Diamond?  Both of the cohosts enjoyed this title, although the paratextual material in the back of this issue, commentary from editor Shelly Bond, is a bit conspicuous and doesn’t add much.

Finally, Derek and Gwen wrap up by discussing the latest issue of Love and Rockets IV (Fantagraphics). This fourth issue picks up with the various storylines that both Jaime and Gilbert Hernandez have established going back to the previous Love and Rockets annuals. For Jaime, this means continuing the Princess Animus and Isle narratives, as well as giving us glimpses into both Maggie’s and Hopey’s pasts growing up in Hoppers. And then there’s Derek’s favorite part of this issue, a two-page focus on Ray that follows up on the events in The Love Bunglers. Gilbert’s contributions gives us a brief glimpse into Killer’s career choices, but there is also a Pipo storyline where this foundational character tries to come to terms with a relationship she once had in Palomar. In fact, in extended flashbacks, we’re taken back to “classic” Palomar and characters we haven’t seen for quite a while. But as Derek points out, one of the most striking things about this issue is that we see little of Fritz…and no mention at all of any Fritz imitators. A rarity in recent Love and Rockets issues!

Comics Alternative, Webcomics: Reviews of The Shaderunners, Binary Star, and Nautilus

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Time Codes:

  • 00:00:27 – Introduction
  • 00:03:05 – A new year in webcomics!
  • 00:06:36 – The Shaderunners
  • 00:38:16 – Binary Star
  • 01:01:30 – Nautilus
  • 01:24:50 – Wrap up
  • 01:26:12 – Contact us

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Fun Webcomics for the New Year

For their first webcomics episode of 2018, Sean and Derek discuss three fascinating and diverse titles. They begin with The Shaderunners, written by Lin with art by Capp (AKA Anna Assan). This Prohibition era-tinged webcomic concerns a group of rag-tag bohemians who attempt to bring color into their sepia-toned world. While this looks like a narrative set in early twentieth-century America, the storyworld that Capp and Lin create is actually a fantastical one. Next, the guys turn to a science fiction title, Jamie Primack’s Binary Star. The protagonist of this story, Zaki, is a bounty hunter out to capture a big payoff, and in the process, ends up growing close to and working with her target. And there’s quite a bit of humor. As Derek suggests, Binary Star is reminiscent of Midnight Run, yet set in a sci-fi world. Finally, Sean and Derek wrap up with an already completed webcomic, Jape’s NautilusIn it, the creator, whose real name is JT Trostle, reveals what happened after the passing of his mother and how he managed her affairs in the wake of her death. The mother, Connie, was a hoarder, and the webcomic provides a empathic look at the challenges and frustrations surrounding Connie’s behavior and JT’s efforts to “clean up” after her.

 

 

Manga: Reviews of Servant X Service and Sweet Blue Flowers, Vol. 1

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Time Codes:

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November Is For Lovers

For November Shea and Derek discuss two very different kind of manga, but both that involve romance in one form or another. They begin with Karino Takatsu’s Servant X Service. The complete series was released in two volumes by Yen Press in 2016, and the guys spend much of the episode discussing this strip-like series. The title concerns civil servants on the job — a topic you don’t really encounter much in comics/manga — and both Derek and Shea have a lot to say about the unusual subject matter and format. After that they discuss the first volume of Takako Shimura’s Sweet Blue Flowers (VIZ Media). As the guys reveal, this is an example of yuri manga, where two childhood friends who have lost track of one another become reacquainted in high school, although they attend different academies. As the story unfolds, romances and complicated relationships develop. However, the friendship of the series’ main protagonists (at least in this first volume), Fumi and Akira, is what really anchors this text.

Comics Alternative, Episode 260: The January Previews Catalog

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Panda Issue?

Happy New Year from The Comics Alternative! To help bring in 2018, Gwen and Derek are back to meticulously go through the January Previews catalog, providing recommendations and insights on a variety of upcoming titles. This month’s catalog is jam-packed with great solicits, so many, in fact, that this becomes an extra-long episode. They begin by looking at the various offerings announced for this year’s Free Comic Book Day, and then they move on to the catalog proper. Among the many comic books and graphic novels that Gwen and Derek highlight are:

Comics Alternative, Manga: Reviews of Battle Angel Alita: Deluxe Edition, Vol. 1 and Children of the Whales, Vol. 1

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Time Codes:

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Post-Apocalyptic Takes

On this episode of The Comics Alternative‘s manga series, Shea and Derek discuss two recent publications that, in one way or another, explore a post-apocalyptic world. They begin with a classic, the first volume of Yukito Kishiro’s Battle Angel Alita. Kodansha Comics has recently started to release this legendary cyberpunk series in nice deluxe hardbound editions — the second deluxe volume is due for release in late February — and the guys are excited that the title is back in print. Neither Shea nor Derek was familiar with Battle Angel Alita before, outside of hearing about the upcoming James Cameron/Robert Rodriguez film adaptation due out in 2018, but now both are hooked. In their overview, the guys highlight the kinetic quality of the illustrations, the ways in which Kishiro contextualizes even his most nasty characters, the complexities (and embedded mysteries) of his storyworld, and the ways in which he visualizes the title character…which, for Shea at least, is a little problematic.

Next, they look at Abi Umeda’s Children of the Whales, Vol. 1 (VIZ Media). This is another post-apocalyptic narrative — at least the guys think things are set in a post-apocalyptic world — and the storyworld that Umeda maps out is quite complex. In fact, as Derek suggests, there are so many nuances in this first volume that the story runs the risk of toppling over due to sheer ambiguity. However, the author is able to maintain a comprehendible balance in her tale, although several passages may require more than one reading. There are a lot of questions posed in this book, and while Derek is willing to continue on in future volumes to get the fuller picture, Shea isn’t as enamored of the story. While he admires Umeda’s art, he feels that the story’s premise, especially as it relates to the Committee of Elders, may be a bit too predictable. Still, Derek feel that the volume is worth checking out.

Comics Alternative Interviews: Another Happy New Yoe with Craig Yoe

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Time Codes:

  • 00:00:25 – Introduction
  • 00:02:12 – Setup of interview
  • 00:03:56 – Interview with Craig Yoe
  • 02:01:22 – Wrap up
  • 02:02:17 – Contact us

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Just Say Yoe!

Welcome to 2018! And as The Comics Alternative has done for the past several years, they start off the new year with an interview of perennial   favorite of the podcast, Craig Yoe. These are called the annual Happy New Yoe shows. And this year, Derek talks with Craig about Yoe Books past, present, and future. They start off by discussing many of the books that Craig and his wife/partner, Clizia Gussoni, released in 2017. These include those published through Yoe Books/IDW Publishing — e.g., Mummies!: Classic Monsters of Pre-Code Horror ComicsBehaving Madly: Zany, Loco, Cockeyed, Rip-off, Satire MagazinesHaunted Love Vol. 1; The Complete Voodoo Vol. 3Jay Disbrow’s Monster Invasion; and volumes of both Haunted Horror and Weird Love — but also works that Craig published elsewhere, such as his book for younger readers, LOL: A Load of Laughs and Jokes for Kids, published through Little Simon. 

After that, Craig fields several questions asked by fans via Facebook…some sensible, others rather wacky. That eventually leads them into a discussion of books from Craig we have to look forward to in 2018. Among the various upcoming titles they discuss are We Spoke Out: Comic Books and the HolocaustSuper Weird Heroes: Preposterous but TrueLou Cameron’s Unsleeping DeadDrawing and Life Lessons from Master Cartoonists, Super Patriotic Heroes, and Reefer Madness. This is an extra long interview, running for almost two hours, and there’s a lot packed into the conversation. Plenty to help carry listeners comfortably into the new year!

Comics Alternative for Young Readers: Reviews of Good Night, Planet, The Dam Keeper, and Misfit City, as Well as a Look Back at 2017

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Time Codes:

  • 00:31 – Introduction
  • 03:51 – Greetings and apologies
  • 05:36 – Good Night, Planet
  • 13:15 – The Dam Keeper
  • 24:59 – Misfit City
  • 39:30 – A look back at 2017 in young reader comics
  • 56:56 – Wrap up
  • 57:25 – Contact us

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New and Review

It’s the end of the year, and for their December episode of the Young Readers series, Gwen and Paul discuss three exciting titles as well look back at the past year’s releases. They begin by discussing Liniers’s Good Night, Planet, part of Françoise Mouly’s TOON Books series. After that they look at Robert Kondo and Dice Tsutsumi’s The Dam Keeper, recently released from First Second. Then they wrap up with a comic-book series, Kirsten “Kiwi” Smith,‎ Kurt Lustgarten,‎ and Naomi Franquiz’s Misfit City (BOOM! Box).

They also take a look back at 2017, where both Gwen and Paul discuss what they consider the best of comics of the year for young readers.

Comics Alternative, Webcomics: Reviews of Cookies, All Along the Wall, and Holiday Wars

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Holiday Web Fun

It’s the holiday season, and for December Sean and Derek discuss three holiday-related webcomics. The start off by looking at two shorter works, Kate Beaton’s Cookies (available on her Hark! A Vagrant website) and Emily Carroll’s creepy All Along the Wall. After that they look at the much more substantial Holiday Wars, written by Scott King and with art by Michael Odom. So sit back, plug in your earphones, and enjoy the holiday goodness of this month’s webcomics episode.