Comics Alternative Interviews: Mairghread Scott and Robin Robinson

Time Codes:

  • 00:00:25 – Introduction
  • 00:02:49 – Setup of interview
  • 00:03:58 – Interview with Mairghread Scott and Robin Robinson
  • 01:03:26 – Wrap up
  • 01:04:32 – Contact us

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If You’re Going to San Francisco

First Second has recently published The City on the Other Side, a historically based fantasy written by Mairghread Scott and with art by Robin Robinson. Gwen and Derek talk with the creators about their new book, the genesis behind the concept, and their decision to base their narrative in San Francisco. This is a compelling story that should have wide appeal, and not only with younger readers. Over the course of the conversation, Mairghread and Robin share their experiences researching various cultures’ folklore (upon which many of the figures are based), the importance of character design, their methods of collaboration, and the significance of maps.

Comics Alternative, Episode 278: Reviews of Terminal Lance Ultimate Omnibus, Death or Glory #1, and Black [AF]: Widows and Orphans #1

Time Codes:

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Difference Is Good

This week Paul and Derek focus on three titles that are strikingly different in nature. They begin with Maximilian Uriarte’s Terminal Lance Ultimate Omnibus: The World’s Most Popular Military Comic Strip (Little Brown and Company). This is a hardbound volume of the entries included on Uriarte’s webcomic, and it collects strips published between January 2010 and December 2016, most of what you’ll find on the site. Terminal Lance Ultimate Omnibus also include the strips published in the Marine Corps Times. Although the guys know next to nothing about military (specifically Marine) life, they approach this text on its own terms and with a full awareness of its intended audience.

Next, they look at Rick Remender and Bengal’s Death or Glory #1 (Image Comics). Both of the guys marvel over Bengal’s art, pointing out that the visuals are what largely drive the narrative in this first issue. But both are also fans of Remender’s work, and as Paul points out, this new title bears many of his stylistic stamps. This is a title that has a lot of promise, and it’s yet another Remender series for the guys to keep up with.

Finally, Paul and Derek discuss something never before covered on The Comics Alternative: a title from Black Mask Studios. The first issue in Kwanza Osajyefo and Tim Smith 3’s Black [AF]: Widows and Orphans has recently been released, and the guys speculate on this ancillary tale in the Black storyworld. Although Paul is familiar with this universe, this is Derek’s first foray into Black. As the guys discuss, this is an action-packed first issue, although at times a bit chaotic. Some of this confusion, in fact, may be due to the visuals. Nonetheless, it’s a title worth checking out.

Comics Alternative Interviews: Neal Adams, Rafael Medoff, and Craig Yoe

Time Codes:

  • 00:00:27 – Introduction
  • 00:02:28 – Setup of interview
  • 00:03:51 – Interview with Neal Adams, Rafael Medoff, and Craig Yoe
  • 01:05:12 – Wrap up
  • 01:05:48 – Contact us

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Giving Visual Voice

On this interview episode, Derek talks with Neal Adams, Rafael Medoff, and Craig Yoe about their new book We Spoke Out: Comic Books and the Holocaust (Yoe Books/IDW Publishing). All three of these guests have been on the podcast before. Derek briefly interviewed Neal Adams at a couple of different cons, releasing those conversations as part of our on-location convention shows. Rafael Medoff was part of the special roundtable on politics and comics that was releases on election eve 2016. And of course, as listeners of the podcast well know, Craig Yoe has been on the show so many times that it’s easy to lose count. What makes this such a notable episode is that all three of these guys come together at the same time to talk about their new book. Each comes with his own set of experiences with this collection, but what comes across so clearly in the interview is how Neal, Rafael, and Craig easily play off of one another and become a compelling creative team. In fact, Derek talked with them right before they headed over to the American Jewish Historical Society in New York for the book’s official launch.

Comics Alternative for Young Readers: Reviews of The Dragon Slayer and The Lost Path, and a Discussion of the Children’s Comics-Related Book Market

Time Codes:

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Hurling Children over Cliffs

In this episode of the Comics Alternative Young Readers Show, Gwen and Paul review two new releases, both of which have a connection to folklore and fairy tales: Jaime Hernandez’s The Dragon Slayer: Folktales from Latin America from Toon Graphics, and Amélie Fléchais and Jonathan Garnier’s The Lost Path from Lion Forge Comics’ children’s imprint, Cub House. Additionally, Paul and Gwen discuss Brian Hibb’s “Tilting at Windmills #268: Looking at BookScan 2017,” an overview of comics sales that demonstrates that the children’s and YA market continues to grow and that young people are getting comics in a variety of venues, from direct distribution at comics shops to major booksellers to Comixology.

In Part I of the show, Paul and Gwen embark on a detailed discussion of The Dragon Slayer: Folktales from Latin America, a text that includes three short tales, “The Dragon Slayer” and “Tup and the Ants,” both written and drawn by Jaime Hernandez, and “Martina Martínez and Pérez the Mouse,” a collaboration between children’s author Alma Flor Ada and Hernandez. The text begins with a short essay, “Imagination and Tradition,” by noted author F. Isabel Campoy that helps to contextualize the various fairy tales, or “cuentos” that have emerged from the diverse oral and literary traditions, which Campoy terms “a unique blend of Old World and New, spanning a continent across many geographic boundaries and cultures.” Campoy mentions specifically the Catholic, Jewish, Arab, and Moorish influences upon the Spanish, whose tales then encountered those of indigenous peoples from “the Maya, Aztec, Inca, and other Native American cultures.” At the end of the text, Campoy and Ada provide context for the three folktales, as well as a bibliography, and information on the authors. The editors at Toon Graphic have released a paperback Spanish language edition of the text, La Matadragones: Cuentos de Lationoamérica,” and Paul mentions the value of these books in dual language classrooms.

Gwen and Paul then consider the way that The Dragon Slayer fits into Jaime Hernandez’s long and storied career, and they mention both the humor inherent in the stories and the way that Hernandez’s characteristic clear line style conveys characters’ feelings and reactions. The fact that all three tales feature strong women is something that Paul highlights, noting that these tales provide a much-needed emphasis on girls and women who stand up for themselves and serve as problem solvers.

Next, the duo talks about Amélie Fléchais and Jonathan Garnier’s The Lost Path, a vibrant adventure story that includes references to classic fairy tales, Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are, and Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Gwen notes the text’s similarity to other contemporary comics in which young people pass through to a magical land where conflict is brewing – she mentions specifically Mairghread Scott and Robin Robinson’s recently released The City on the Other Side (First Second) as an example, while Paul praises the text’s style, from the gorgeous water color page-length spreads to the black and white sketches, which are rich in detail and artistry.

The show concludes with Paul and Gwen discussing the rise in hybrid comics, as well as implications that they have drawn from reading Brian Hibb’s latest report on comics sales.

Comics Alternative, On Location: The April Visit to Heroes Aren’t Hard to Find

Secret Identities

It’s the April on-location visit to Heroes Aren’t Hard to Find in Charlotte, NC. As he usually does, Derek is at the shop talking with customers about comics-related matters. But his time at Heroes also corresponds with the visit of Queens University Prof. Michael Kobre’s class, “Secret Identities, Diversity, and Popular Culture.”

 

 

Comics Alternative, Episode 277: Reviews of Von Spatz, Skyward #1, and Resident Alien: An Alien in New York #1

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Up in the Air

This week Paul and Derek discuss Anna Haifisch’s Von Spatz (Drawn and Quarterly), Joe Henderson and Lee Garbett’s Skyward #1 (Image Comics), and Peter Hogan and Steve Parkhouse’s Resident Alien: An Alien in New York #1 (Dark Horse Comics).

 

 

Comics Alternative Interviews: Paul Karasik and Mark Newgarden

Time Codes:

  • 00:26 – Introduction
  • 03:02 – Setup of interview
  • 05:10 – Interview with Paul Karasik and Mark Newgarden
  • 56:08 – Wrap up
  • 58:29 – Contact us

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Why Nancy…Again?

Gene and Derek are happy to have on the podcast Paul Karasik and Mark Newgarden. Their book How to Read Nancy: The Elements of Comics in Three Easy Panels was released last fall from Fantagraphics Books. The authors are back on the circuit discussing their close reading of Ernie Bushmiller, but they took time to talk with the Two Guys about their landmark work. Over the course of the conversation, Mark and Paul reveal their history reading the Nancy strip, their original “How to Read Nancy” essay and the book that grew from there, the educational function of their detailed analysis, the work — research, technological, and otherwise — that went into this project, and, of course, there’s the August 8, 1959 comic strip itself that comes under such meticulous scrutiny. Over the course of 44 steps, Paul and Mark pick apart this Nancy strip with painstaking detail. But How to Read Nancy also includes a thorough biography overview of Ernie Bushmiller, multiple appendixes that provide abundant cultural and aesthetic context, and a “Do It Yourself” section where readers can apply the analytical skills they learn from the text. This is a must-read for every student of comics, creators and critics alike.

A big THANK YOU to Craig Yoe, who actually planted the idea for this interview and became its chief encourager!

Comics Alternative, Episode 276: Reviews of Milk Wars, Motor Girl Omnibus, and Strangers in Paradise XXV #1 & #2

Time Codes:

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Crossovers

Paul is back on the podcast, fresh from working on his dissertation. On this episode, he updates Derek on his dissertating progress, and then the Two Guys plunge into the show proper. They begin by looking at the five issues that make up the DC Universe/Young Animal crossover Milk Wars (DC Comics). Both Paul and Derek share their experiences reading JLA/Doom Patrol Special #1Mother Panic/Batman Special #1Shade, the Changing Girl/Wonder Woman Special #1Cave Carson Has A Cybernetic Eye/Swamp Thing Special #1, and Doom Patrol/JLA Special #1. A significant difference between the guys’ appreciation of the Milk War crossover is linked to each of their post reading history with both the Young Animal titles and DC’s current superhero happenings.

After that, they celebrate the recent work of Terry Moore. The Two Guys discus in detail Motor Girl Omnibus, released just last month from Moore’s Abstract Studios. This is a limited series that originally came out in 2017, but both Derek and Paul wanted to revisit the title now that the entire run is available in one volume. From there, they jump into the first two issues of Moore’s latest efforts, Strangers in Paradise XXV. Both are excited to be back in the world of Katchoo and Francine, and even more compelling is the fact that Moore is crossing over his narrative worlds. There are elements of both Rachel Rising and Echo in this new SiP. And while those familiar with Moore’s previous comics will bring an enhanced appreciation to the latest series, first-time readers of Moore will nonetheless get a lot out of Strangers in Paradise XXV without feeling lost. Both Paul and Derek love the work of Terry Moore, and their discussion of these new releases demonstrate this fact.

Comics Alternative Interviews: Grace Ellis and Shae Beagle

Time Codes:

  • 00:26 – Introduction
  • 02:22 – Setup of interview
  • 03:46 – Interview with Grace Ellis and Shae Beagle
  • 43:14 – Wrap up
  • 43:49 – Contact us

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Magical Baristas

Mythical figures, anthropomorphic characters, and heavy dose of magic, all set in a contemporary urban landscape complete with coffeehouses, mobile devices, and garage bands. This is the world of Moonstruck, a series that began last year and coming out from Image Comics. The writer and artist of this series, Grace Ellis and Shae Beagle, were kind enough to come on The Comics Alternative to talk about the completion of the first narrative arc and what we might expect with the second. These two creators have known each other for a long time, and, along with their editor and designer, Laurenn McCubbin, have experienced a curious incubation period for their project. Derek talks with Grace and Shae about the origins of Moonstruck, their unique mix of fantasy and contemporary cultural concerns, the process of collaboration, and their attempts to build a reading community, not only with their storytelling, but also through social media and a keen understanding of their target audience.

Comics Alternative, Euro Comics: Reviews of Brazen and Yellow Negroes and Other Imaginary Creatures

Time Codes:

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Pants On

This month Pascal and Derek look at two recent books that, while strikingly different in their storytelling approaches, are both insightful examinations of the socio-historical forces that shape individuals’ lives. They begin with Pénélope Bagieu’s Brazen: Rebel Ladies Who Rocked the World (First Second), a collection of 29 short biographies profiling women throughout history who have pushed back and defined themselves on their own terms. This book began as a series of webcomics that appeared on Le Monde‘s blog between January and October 2016. There was actually one original entry, a biographical look at Phulan Devi, that didn’t make it into the American text, and the guys speculate as to why this might have been.

After that they discuss Yvan Alagbé’s Yellow Negroes and Other Imaginary Creatures, just released from New York Review Comics. This is a much less conventional collection, at least in terms of its narrative and visual styles. The book includes seven short pieces that were originally created between 1995 and 2017. The title story is the longest, and most sophisticated, of the bunch, but Pascal and Derek also spend some time focusing on “The Suitcase” and “Postcard from Montreuil.”  What almost all of the stories in this book focus on, in one way or another, is France’s colonialist past and its ramifications to this day.

Comics Alternative Kickstarter: Retrofit Comics 2018

 

One of Our Favorites

Lately on The Comics Alternative‘s Kickstarter series, Derek has been focusing more on small presses that are currently crowdfunding their seasonal releases. (See previous shows devoted to Kilgore Books and Nix Comics.) And this weekend’s show is similar, highlighting the latest Kickstarter campaign from Retrofit Comics. On this episode, Derek talks with Jared Smith about efforts for funding their diverse array of 2018 titles.

This current Kickstarter campaign revolves around the 12 books they plan on releasing this year. Backers of this project can look forward to:

  • All the Sad Songs – Summer Pierre
  • Fashion Forecasts – Yumi Sakugawa
  • I Love You – Sara Lautman
  • John, Dear – Laura Lannes
  • Our Wretched Town Hall – Eric Kostiuk Williams
  • The Prince – Liam Cobb
  • Survive 300 Million 1 – Pat Aulisio
  • Survive 300 Million 2: Serpentine Captives – Pat Aulisio
  • The Troublemakers – Baron Yoshimoto
  • TRUMPTRUMP vol. 2: Modern Day Presidential – Warren Craghead III
  • Understanding – Becca Tobin
  • The Winner – Karl Stevens

In their conversation, Derek talks with Jared about some of the history of Retrofit Comics and its relationship with Big Planet Comics — in both its publishing and brick-and-mortar manifestations —  their more recent efforts in manga, and, of course, the impressive roster of this year’s creators. As listeners of The Comics Alternative know, Retrofit/Big Planet is one of the Two Guys’ absolute favorite publishers…small press or otherwise. If you don’t already know about this publisher, then shame on you! All the more reason to back this campaign and get the 2018 releases from Retrofit Comics!

Sample Covers

 

 

Comics Alternative Interviews: Suzy Hopkins and Hallie Bateman

Time Codes:

  • 00:00:26 – Introduction
  • 00:02:34 – Welcoming Kristin LaLonde!
  • 00:06:25 – Setup of interview
  • 00:08:47 – Interview with Suzy Hopkins and Hallie Bateman
  • 01:06:36 – Wrap up
  • 01:09:18 – Contact us

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Preparing

On this episode of The Comics Alternative‘s interview series, Derek welcomes Kristin LaLonde. She is one of the cohost of The Secret Stacks podcast, and she has a particular interest in graphic medicine and comics that deal with health and end-of-life issues. Together, the two of them talk with Suzy Hopkins and Hallie Bateman, the writer and illustrator of What to Do When I’m Gone: A Mother’s Wisdom to Her Daughter (Bloomsbury Publishing). This is a book that the mother-daughter team worked on together, addressing the eventual death of Suzy and what advice she might want to give to Hallie before passing on. They talk with Kristin and Derek about the origins of this idea, the long incubation period, its evolution as a text from a personal project to something for a much broader audience, and how both mother and daughter collaborated on a subject matter that, while somber and ominous, was nonetheless was a necessary life-affirming exercise.

Comics Alternative Interviews: Gerry Duggan and David O’Sullivan

Time Codes:

  • 00:00:26 – Introduction
  • 00:02:26 – Setup of interview
  • 00:04:12 – Interview with Gerry Duggan and David O’Sullivan
  • 01:03:09 – Wrap up
  • 01:03:37 – Contact us

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Technology and Timeliness

Set in the not-too-distant year of 2024, Analog (Image Comics) is a not-too-far-fetched look at what can come of information technology when it has fallen into the wrong hands. Its protagonist, Jack McGinnis, is a leger man, an armed courier working freelance for individuals and businesses who need to transfer information in the old-fashioned analog manner. This is a world where the cloud has come crashing down, and the “security” of the internet has been exposed as nothing more than fiction. Combining elements of sci-fi and noir narrative, Gerry Duggan and David O’Sullivan have created a world that, curiously enough, smacks of the many of the events we see unfolding on the nightly news. Although they may not have fully anticipated the inroads of Mueller’s Russian investigation, the ongoing revelations of Facebook and Cambridge Analytica, or the various security breaches we learn about on almost a daily basis, Gerry and David, along with the help of colorist Jordie Bellaire, have established a premise that just may be the logical conclusion to what we’re witnessing now. In this interview, Derek talks with his guests about the genesis of this new series, their process of collaboration, the injection of both noir and humor elements, and the various narrative questions established in this first issue.

Comics Alternative, Episode 275: The April Previews Catalog

“It’s all about the dollars”

Gene and Derek are back for another look at the current month’s Previews catalog. This one may not be as long an episode as last month’s Preview show — which clocked in at just under three hours — but it’s nonetheless hefty. (Well…actually, it is almost as long as the March show.) They begin this week by discussing the new changes appearing in Previews beginning in April. They point out the additions of BOOM! Studios and Dynamite Entertainment in the premiere publishers section, prominently displayed in the front of the catalog; the reorganizations of solicits in a new manga section; the shake-up of what had been the book section; the flip arrangement with the toy and merchandise sections; and next month’s departure of DC Comics’ solicitations into their own supplemental catalog. After that, and several cynical comments (primarily from Derek), they get into the nitty gritty of the April Previews catalog, highlighting a variety of titles from such publishers as:

Comics Alternative Interviews: Brenden Fletcher and Karl Kerschl

Time Codes:

  • 00:00:25 – Introduction
  • 00:02:21 – Setup of interview
  • 00:03:28 – Interview with Brenden Fletcher and Karl Kerschl
  • 01:11:31 – Wrap up
  • 01:12:00 – Contact us

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Fantastic(al) Questions

On April 4 you’ll find in your comic shops the first issue of Isola, Brenden Fletcher and Karl Kerschl’s brand new series from Image Comics that combines nuanced storytelling with Kerschl’s magnificent artwork. In this inaugural issue, we find a captain of the Royal Guard fleeing her capital city with the realm’s queen, on their way to a mythical land called Isola. But appearances can be deceiving, and the initial journey unfolds under the cloud of an evil spell that leaves us with more questions than answers. On this episode, Derek talks with Karl and Brenden about what transpires in this first issue, how long they’ve been nurturing this concept, their process of collaboration, and what we might expect in future issues…at least, as much as they could tell without spoiling anything. The two also share some of their experiences working on their other series, such as Motor CrushGotham Academy, Batgirl, and The Abominable Charles Christopher.