Comics Alternative, On Location: Talking with Creators at HeroesCon 2018

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Straight from Artists Alley

This past weekend was HeroesCon in Charlotte, NC. It was a great convention, organized by the folks at Heroes Aren’t Hard to Find. And as Derek likes to do every year, this past weekend he walked around Artists Alley talking with various creators about what they’re doing, what they’ve recently published, and what they may have in the works. The result is a series of short interviews with various creators, some of whom have been on The Comics Alternative before, others that Derek met for the very first time.  In this episode are brief conversations with, in order, Rich Tommaso, Steve Conley, Milton Lawson, Naomi Franquiz, Dave Chisholm, James F. Wright and Jackie Crofts, Scott Wegener, Natalie Andrewson, and Michael Eury.

Stay tuned over the next week for more HeroesCon episodes!

Comics Alternative, Webcomics: Reviews of Adamant, Scurry, and The Phoenix Requiem

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“It is a big-ass story”

This month Sean and Derek look at three very different webcomics. They begin with Mike Exner III, Ian Waryanto, et al.’s Adamant, a superhero narrative that spins the genre in fascinating, and parodic, ways. After that they turn to a beautifully rendered tale, Mac Smith’s Scurry. While the story is solid, the guys point out that the art is this webcomic’s biggest draw. Finally, they discuss the already-completed webcomic, Sarah Ellerton’s The Phoenix Requiem. This is a Victorian-inspired supernatural narrative of love and mystery that, as both Sean and Derek point out, is quite substantive.

Comics Alternative Interviews: Max de Radiguès

Time Codes:

  • 00:00:25 – Introduction
  • 00:02:26 – Setup of interview
  • 00:03:56 – Interview with Max de Radiguès
  • 01:01:11 – Wrap up
  • 01:01:47 – Contact us

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In the Camera Eye

Arthur Fellig, better known as Weegee, was a street photographer for New York’s popular press during the 1930s and 1940s. He worked primarily in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, and he developed a signature style that captured a gritty, unflinching view of urban life. What’s more, he was, famous, or rather infamous, for adjusting his tableau, in particular the position of dead bodies at crime scenes, in order to capture an image that was to his liking. Max de Radiguès, along with his co-creator Wauter Mannaert, has decided to take on this historical figure as the subject matter of his latest book, Weegee: Serial Photographer. In this interview, Derek talks with Max about his fascination over Weegee, the origins of this project, and the challenges of writing such a condensed graphic biography.  But we also cover Max’s previous work, Moose, and what we might expect from his upcoming book, Bastard, being released this fall from Fantagraphics.

Super Hero Speak – #261: Great Philly Comic Con 2018 – Part 3!

Like that bizarre sequel to an older movie no one really asked for the guys bring you The Great Philly Comic Con  – Part 3!  Wrapping up all the remaining interviews from this years con this episode features Ray Wenk, Jodi Lynn Nye, Lynn Almengor and Pinups For Pit Bulls! The strangest thing is this is also a John heavy episode since Dave missed most of these interviews. So like Blade runner 2049 this episode might get a bit trippy 😉 So please sit back, relax and let the docile tones of Super Hero Speak carry you away!
Raw Wenk’s website: http://www.raywenck.com/
Jodi Lynn Nye’s website: http://jodynye.net/
Lynn Almengor’s website: http://www.plaidcoreproductions.com/
Pinups For Pit Bulls’s website: https://pinupsforpitbulls.org/

Support us AND The Trevor Project by buying these limited items: https://teespring.com/pride-month-be-an-ally

Or check out our Patreon for some really cool bonus featureshttps://www.patreon.com/SuperHeroSpeak

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

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Episode 283: The June Previews Catalog

Derek’s Design Gripe

Paul and Derek are back with another look at the latest Previews catalog. And for the month of June, they find a variety of fascinating title…and several of which they even resist mention on mic, in the interests of keeping the show containable and relatively short. Among the many publishers and titles that they focus on are:

Comics Alternative Episode 282: Reviews of Sabrina, The Unsound, and The Last Siege #1

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“We’re not about the cool factor. We’re about the cool analysis”

On this episode, Paul and Derek discuss Nick Drnaso’s Sabrinba, Cullen Bunn and Jack T. Cole’s The Unsound, and Landry Q. Walker and Justin Greenwood The Last Siege #1.

Their conversation his great! Although be warned, there may a couple of spoilers on this show…or least semi-spoilers.

Comics Alternative for Young Readers: A Discussion of the Nominees for the 2018 Eisner Awards for the Early Readers, Kids, and Teens Categories

Time Codes:

  • 00:00:31 – Introduction
  • 00:03:19 – Setup of the discussion
  • 00:05:04 – Nominees in the Best Publication for Early Readers category 
  • 00:51:47 – Nominees in the Best Publication for Kids category
  • 01:31:45 – Nominees in the Best Publication for Teens category
  • 02:20:32 – Wrap up
  • 02:26:03 – Contact us

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Putting on the Evening Gown and Tuxedo

On this episode of the Comics Alternative Young Readers Show, Gwen and Paul detail the three categories of the Eisner Awards that focus on children and teens:

Best Publication for Early Readers (up to age 8)

Best Publication for Kids (ages 9–12)

Best Publication for Teens (ages 13-17)

  • The Dam Keeperby Robert Kondo and Dice Tsutsumi (First Second/Tonko House)
  • Jane, by Aline Brosh McKenna and Ramón K. Pérez (Archaia)
  • Louis Undercover, by Fanny Britt and Isabelle Arsenault, translated by Christelle Morelli and Susan Ouriou (Groundwood Books/House of Anansi)
  • Monstressby Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda (Image)
  • Spinningby Tillie Walden (First Second)

In addition to reviewing each nominated text, the duo refers listeners to The Comics Alternative archives for the shows that reference these nominees: Good Night, Planet by Liniers; Nightlights by Lorena Alvarez; The Dam Keeper by Robert Kondo and Dice Tsutsumi; and Monstress by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda.

Paul and Gwen use this episode to launch a general discussion of age designations and categorization of children’s and YA comics, and they reference the art of Bolivian painter and lithographer Graciela Rodo Boulanger, whose depiction of children resembles that found in Campbell Whyte’s Home Time. So, won’t you pour yourself a chilly beverage, kick back, and give a listen to the two PhDs — more on Paul’s recent doctoral graduation from University of California-Berkeley will appear in the June podcast — for a rundown of this year’s Eisner nominees.

Comics Alternative Kickstarter: Madness in Crowds: The Teeming Mind of Harrison Cady

Historically Conscious

On the current Kickstarter episode, Derek talks with comics legend Denis Kitchen about Madness in Crowds: The Teeming Mind of Harrison Cady, the latest campaign from Beehive Books, in association with Denis.

Madness in Crowds will be a large-format hardcover art book — a towering 10″ x 14″ and with 176+ pages — collecting the works of the definitive early 20th-century illustrator and cartoonist Harrison Cady (1877–1970).

So, who was Harrison Cady? As Denis and company describes the artist:

Over the course of a 70 year professional career, he created countless overflowing worlds, bustling with life and energy and detail and chaos. His illustrations were generous, abundant, warm and humane. There was never another artist like him. He specialized in frenzied crowd scenes, in which each tiny character came armed with their own distinct personality and a sense of humor that projected off the page. He especially loved animals and insects, spawning and exploring vast eco-systems of creeping crawlers with human affectations: beetle ballerinas, ladybugs in spats and umbrellas, fiddle-playing mosquitos. A committed political progressive, Cady frequently made cartoons about women’s suffrage, injustice and the exploitation of the working classes. In his long and productive career, he laid an endless array of visual feasts out for the eyes of readers and art-appreciators all over the world. But, as is too often the case with illustrators and cartoon artists, his work faded from memory very quickly once his career ended. Though there remains a loyal cadre of fans and collectors, trading old tear-sheets and  weathered magazine clippings, his name is largely unknown by modern lovers of illustration, cartooning and graphic art.

As Denis tells Derek, this is an absolute must for any serious student of illustration and cartoon art. Not only are Cady’s visuals absolutely stunning, but this is sure to be a highly sought-after collectable in the years to come. What other reasons do you need to support this Kickstarter campaign? Head on over to their page and back Madness in Crowds!

Cover and Sample Art

 

Comics Alternative Interviews: Peter Normanton

Time Codes:

  • 00:24 – Introduction
  • 02:19 – Setup of interview
  • 04:13 – Interview with Peter Normanton
  • 55:17 – Wrap up
  • 55:53 – Contact us

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Horror in the UK

On past episodes of The Comics Alternative, the Two Guys have discussed comics fandom and zine culture quite often, although usually the context surrounds American fan activity. But as Derek points out in his conversation with Peter Normanton, he has little knowledge of fanzines outside of the states, particularly within the United Kingdom. That’s why Peter’s latest book, It Crept from the Tomb, was such an enlightening read. Normanton was the publisher and editor of the UK horror zine, From the Tomb, which began in 2000 and ran for over 20-some issues. Several years ago, he was approached by Roy Thomas about the possibility editing a collection from the pages of his horror zine, and the result was The Best of From the Tomb, which came out from TwoMorrows Publishing in 2012. And then more recently, John Morrow asked Peter about a second “best of” collection surrounding From the Tomb…and this request eventually became Peter’s newest release, It Crept from the Tomb. In his conversation with Peter Normanton, Derek talks with his guest about his time as an editor and publisher, the history of comics in in the UK, his love of the horror genre and comics fandom, and the many challenges he faced in putting out a fanzine over the years.

NOTE: Over the course of Derek’s conversation with Peter, they experienced occasional problems with the internet connection. Peter lives in northwest Britain, and at times the connection on Skype was sketchy. So apologies in advance for the several breaks and momentary silences that are noticeable on Peter’s track. Still, the gist of his comments comes through clearly, so please overlook any technical difficulties they may have had.

Comics Alternative, Episode 281: Reviews of James Joyce: Portrait of a Dubliner and NOW #3, as Well as a Look at the 2018 Eisner Award Nominations

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Modern and Different

This week Paul and Derek review two recent releases, and they also take the time to discuss this year’s Eisner Award nominations. They start off with Alfonso Zapico’s James Joyce: Portrait of a Dubliner – A Graphic Biography (Arcade Publishing). Originally published in Spanish, this is a look at the life of the famous Irish modernist, covering not only his accomplishments as a writer, but his family and personal relations, as well. As the guys discuss, Zapico’s text provides a general outline of the major events and relationships in Joyce’s life, but as with most comics-based biographies, the interiority of the subject is limited. At the same time, this is a well-paced and even detailed look at the author of Dubliners and Ulysses, with Zapico presenting a very human portrait of a writer most may only know from a critical distance.

After that, the Two Guys check out the latest issue of NOW, the Fantagraphics anthology edited by Eric Reynolds. This has become an ongoing obligation of The Comics Alternative, covering each issue of this anthology as it’s released. (Paul and Derek discussed NOW #1 last fall, and then Gene and Derek looked at NOW #2 back in January.) The latest collection brings together several artists contributing to previous issues — e.g., Noah Van Sciver, Eleanor Davis, and Dash Shaw — but also a variety of creators who are not only new to the anthology, but brand new to both Paul and Derek, as well. In fact, this is one of the things they enjoy about NOW, its diversity and the editor’s dedication to exposing the work of little-known comics artists. Some of the most notable pieces in this third issue are from contributors outside of North America, including Marcello Quintanhila (Brazil), Anne Simon (France), and Roberta Scomparsa (Italy).

The guys wrap up this week’s show with a discussion of the 2018 Eisner Award nominations. Paul and Derek do not make any predictions, nor do they second-guess the award judges or speculate as to internal dynamics about which they had no way of knowing. What they do discuss are the various creators and publishers under nomination, any trends or tendencies they can possibly discern from this year’s selections, the process of categorization and definition within the industry, and the sheer number of current nominees, artists and texts, that were actually discussed on The Comics Alternative.

Comics Alternative Kickstarter: Sock: The Comic Book

Footwear Crimefighter!

For this week’s Kickstarter show, Derek talks Rickman about his current campaign Sock: The Comic Book. It’s the (largely) wordless story of an unlikely hero displaced from his companion in the laundromat, and going at it on his own as a crimefighter.

Sock will be a 32-page black-and-white comic book, one that will be appropriate for all ages. Rickman describes the origins of Sock this way:

The idea came to me during the 1999 San Diego Comic Con while at the pool with friends after a day at the show. The conversation turned toward the weirdest comic characters we knew. Flaming Carrot, The Tick, Ed the Happy Clown, Reid Fleming: World’s Toughest Milkman, Sam and Max: Freelance Police, were all tossed about. The question was asked: what would be the wackiest thing to make into a comic? As my feet dangled in the water I glanced toward my shoes and saw my socks. I reached for my sketchbook (always next to me) and “SOCK” was born.

Offbeat, wacky, wordless, all-ages, lost laundry…what’s not to like? Be sure to check out Sock: The Comic Book, and see exactly what happens when your socks go missing.

Sample Art

 

 

Comics Alternative Interviews: Alison McCreesh

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  • 00:00:24 – Introduction
  • 00:02:49 – Setup of interview
  • 00:04:18 – Interview with Alison McCreesh
  • 01:04:09 – Wrap up
  • 01:04:44 – Contact us

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Life North of 60

Readers of Alison McCreesh’s 2015 work, Ramshackle: A Yellowknife Story, know about the draw northern climates has on her and the love she has for pioneer-like exploration. In her new book, Norths: Two Suitcases and a Stroller around the Circumpolar World, released last month from Conundrum Press, Alison ramps up those affections. It’s an account of her six-month trip to circumpolar regions and her time in four art residencies in Finland, Russia, Greenland, and Iceland, all above the 60thParallel. Traveling with her partner Patrice and her son Riel, Alison kept a diary of her experiences in the form of postcards that she sent off almost daily to friends and supporters who had agreed to back her project. The result is a unique travelogue, in sequential postcard form, of her exploration of northern climates, her experiences at the various residencies, and her attempts at trying to balance life, work, and family. Norths is an engaging hybrid text, and in this interview episode, Derek has an insightful talk with Alison about her process, her love of travel writing, and whether or not she considers the new book a work of comic art.

Comics Alternative Interviews: Kriota Willberg

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  • 00:00:24 – Introduction
  • 00:02:49 – Setup of interview
  • 00:03:58 – Interview with Kriota Willberg
  • 01:15:16 – Wrap up
  • 01:16:21 – Contact us

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Good Pus, Bad Pus

The Two Guys talk with a lot of comics creators about their craft, their ideas, and their passions. But they never really talk with them about their health. On this interview episode, Gene and Derek have as their guest an artist who is all about health and well-being. Kriota Willberg, whose new book Draw Stronger: Self-Care For Cartoonists and Other Visual Artists (Uncivilized Books) was released last month, discusses her experiences in health care, her years as a massage therapist, and how it all informs her creative trajectory. Draw Stronger is a text targeted to visual artists who work within fine and detailed contexts, and it provides helpful means to avoid pain and address the kind of physical practices that will best nurture creativity. The book is divided into three sections, revealing the basics of creative self-care, exercises that target a variety of body movements, and useful first aid to address stress and pain while waiting to visit a health professional. Over the course of their conversation, Kriota discusses the genesis of this project in her minicomics, the ways in which humor informs her approach, the vast research that went into this guide, and how her work in bioethics has impacted her comics.

Comics Alternative, Episode 280: Reviews of The New World: Comics from Mauretania, Young Frances, and A Walk through Hell #1

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A Comfortable Fogginess

On this episode of the podcast, Paul and Derek look at three new releases that, while all compelling readings, are vastly different in style and narrative approach. They begin with Chris Reynold’s The New World: Comics from Mauretania, recently released from Gallery 13. This is a collection of Reynold’s Mauretania comics published beginning in the 1980s. This volume was designed by Seth, and he also provided a brief and insightful note at the end of the text. Neither Paul nor Derek had encountered any of the Mauretania stories before, and they’re sorry that they hadn’t read Reynolds any sooner. The narratives are dreamlike and random in their coherency, and while making any sense of their meaning and action can be an exercise in frustration, they are strangely some of the most compelling comics the guys have read this year.

Next, the Two Guys turn to a creator whom they’ve read and loved before, but not by his current name. Both Paul and Derek are big fans of the series Pope Hats, authored by Ethan Rilly, an anagram of Hartley Lin. In Young Frances (AdHouse Books), Lin is now using his real name and collects issues #2, #3, and #5 of his defining series. The text presents the story of Frances Scarland, a young legal clerk whose efficiency and competency are admired by those around her, but who nonetheless wonders if she’s just drifting through life without purpose. Her best friend, Vickie, is impulse and more scattered, yet talented enough to find a lead role acting in a hit television crime drama. This is yet another example of “verite dessinée” storytelling, a favorite of Derek’s and Paul’s.

The guys conclude this episode by looking at the first issue of Garth Ennis and Goran Sudžuka’s A Walk through Hell (AfterShock Comics). A mix of horror and crime, this first issue establishes the premise of the series but does so in a way that poses a variety of questions. In fact, both Paul and Derek feel as if this first issue ended almost too quickly — a sense that they’ve gotten with other AfterShock first issues — although there is enough in this inaugural installment to have them wanting to come back to the series. In this first issue, Special Agents Shaw and McGregor work a recent race-related killing while at the same time investigating the disappearance of two fellow officers. What they stumble onto, and we never get a sense of what that is, is apparently something so horrific that even the most hardened law enforcers are unable to live with what they saw.