Comics Alternative, Episode 268: Reviews of Recent Romance Comics

Time Codes:


Built for Love

It’s Valentine’s Day, and this week the Two Guys with PhDs are doing something they’ve never done before: devote an entire episode to recent romance comics. And this year, there are quite a number of new comics devoted to love and relationships…and with curious twists. And speaking of twists, they begin their show by discussing the first two issues of the new Image Comics series, Twisted Romance. This is a four-issue anthology published weekly throughout the month of February, and in issues #1 and #2 we see comics contributions from the creators Alex de Campo, Katie Shelly, Sarah Horrocks, Alejandra Gutierrez, and Meredith McClaren, with short prose offerings from Magen Cubed and Vita Ayala. From there they go to Death of Love #1 (Image Comics), written by Justin Jordan with art by Donal Delay. Much like Twisted Romance, this is a skewed look at love — and this one includes assholes and drugs.

Following that, Gene and Derek discuss one more recent release from Image Comics, Tee Franklin and Jenn St-onge’s Bingo Love. This is a unique LGBT narrative that focuses on the relationship of older citizens. While intended for teen readers, this is a graphic novel that can be appreciated by all ages. After that they visit, once again, the wacky world of Craig Yoe and his partner Clizia Gussoni. Weird Love, Vol. 6: So This Is Love! (IDW Publishing/Yoe Books) is the latest collection of their Weird Love series, classic romance stories from the 1950s and 1960s that not only appear warped to our contemporary eyes, but were probably strange to their original audiences. And finally, the guys wrap up their special Valentine’s Day episode with an offering from DC Comics, Young Monsters in Love. Much like last October’s DC House of Horror, this is an extra-long seasonal anthology issue written and drawn by a who’s who of DC creators. Included are stories focusing on, among others, Swamp Thing, Man-Bat, Raven, Frankenstein Agent of S.H.A.D.E., Solomon Grundy, Deadman, the Creature Commandos, and (one of the guys’ favorites) Monsieur Mallah and the Brain.

Love is definitely in the air this week!

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


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 Interviews: Mitch Maglio

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Time Codes:

  • 00:25 – Introduction
  • 02:39 – Setup of interview
  • 03:45 – Interview with Mitch Maglio
  • 58:47 – Wrap up
  • 59:50 – Contact us


Cheesecake and Empowerment

On this interview episode, Derek talks with Mitch Maglio about his new book, Fiction House: From Pulps to Panels, from Jungles to Space, just out from IDW/Yoe Books. Mitch is an aficionado on Fiction House (as well as on the jungle girl genre), so he’s the perfect writer/collector to discuss this historic publisher. He talks with Derek about the origins of Fiction House, its colorful founder, the publisher’s major role in the pulps, its mostly forgotten stature during the Golden Age, the many legends who worked as writers and artists on their many publications, its ironic position concerning female empowerment, and the various titles for which it was known, including Jumbo ComicsFight Comics, Wings Comics, and of course Sheena: Queen of the Jungle.


Comics Alternative Interviews: Ger Apeldoorn

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Time Codes:

  • 00:00:25 – Introduction
  • 00:02:24 – Setup of interview
  • 00:03:34 – Interview with Ger Apeldoorn
  • 01:06:35 – Wrap up
  • 01:08:17 – Contact us



Just in time for the San Diego Comic-Con — where he and Craig Yoe will be meeting with fans and signing books — Ger Apeldoorn is on the show to talk with Derek about his new book, Behaving Madly: Zany, Loco, Cockeyed, Rip-off, Satire Magazines (IDW/Yoe Books). It’s a beautifully produced work that highlights the many knockoffs of Bill Gaines’s Mad that appeared between 1954 to 1959, attempting to capitalize on the kind of success the Usual Gang of Idiots enjoyed once the title changed to magazine format. These Mad wannabes appeared with such titles as From Here to InsanityCockeyedBunk!, SNAFULunatickleWho Goofed?ThimkShook UpFrenzyFrantic!LocoZany, and Nuts! You might think — or thimk — that these rip-offs would all be cheesy and subpar, but as Ger makes clear, these short-lived satire magazines included work from such comics legends as Jack Davis, Al Jaffee, Steve Ditko, Jack Kirby, Joe Kubert, Howard Nostrand, Bob Powell, Ross Andru, Basil Wolverton, and Russ Heath. Derivative and second-rate? Perhaps. But the selections in Behaving Madly are no laughing matter. Well…actually, they are.

Check out this great promo from Yoe Books!



Comics Alternative Interviews: Happy New Yoe!

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Time Codes:

  • 00:00:25 – Introduction
  • 00:02:13 – Setup of interview
  • 00:03:20 – Interview with Craig Yoe
  • 01:25:46 – Wrap up
  • 01:28:58 – Contact us


It’s a new year, and what better way to bring it in than with another Craig Yoe interview! In what has become a Comics Alternative tradition, the Two Guys with PhDs use their very first episode of the year — not just their first interview, but their very first podcast release — to talk with Craig and find out what he’s been up to. It’s what has become known as the guys’ Happy New Yoe show!

The fun begins with Andy and Derek asking Craig about his 50th anniversary celebration. As he tells the guys, this year is the golden anniversary of Craig’s first contribution to comics culture, a fanzine he published as a kid. And from there, he never looked back. A big part of this celebration is a string of new releases that began late last year. In fact, most of the interview is devoted to a discussion of one of those books, Super Weird Heroes: Outrageous but Real! This is the first of a two-volume — and maybe a third? — collection of really strange heroes from comics’ Golden Age, written and drawn by some of the medium’s most obscure as well as some of its best-known creators. The guys ask Craig about the compilation of this enterprise and its place within the Yoe Books pantheon. They also do deep dives into some of the weirdest of the weird, including the superhero of the cloth The Deacon and his sidekick Mickey; the disembodied hand, The Hand; the crossdressing Madam Fatal; phallic-prone heroes such as Black Cobra, Nature Boy, and The Dart; Kangaroo Man and his Nazi-bashing marsupial pal Bingo; the inexplicable Jeep and Peep; and the nearly naked Phantasmo. Actually, there is a lot of bared flesh to go round in this book.

But the Two Guys also ask Craig about some of his other recent books, including The Return of the Zombies, The Complete Voodoo Vol. 2, Jay Disbrow’s Monster InvasionBehaving MadlyReefer Madness, and the next volume in his Weird Love series. It’s an understatement to say that there’s a lot to look forward to from Yoe Books in the coming year. Craig Yoe is still the most interviewed guest in Comics Alternative history, and you can rest assured that he’ll be back a couple of more times to talk about even more releases in the coming year.

And a special Happy New Year goes out to Clizia Gussoni, Craig’s partner and the engine that keeps Yoe Books running. Thank you for all of your help, Clizia!


Comics Alternative Special: A Roundtable Discussion on Political Comics

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Just in time for the U.S. elections, Gene and Derek hold a roundtable discussion on political and propaganda comics. Joining them in the conversation are Richard Graham, author of Government Issue: Comics for the People, 1940s-2000s (Abrams ComicArts); Rafael Medoff, co-author (along with Craig Yoe) of Cartoonists against the Holocaust (Clizia Inc.); Kent Worcester, editor of Silent Agitators: Cartoon Art from the Pages of New Politics (New Politics Associates); and Fredrik Strömberg, the writer of Comic Art Propaganda: A Graphic History (St. Martin’s Griffin). The guys talk with their guests about the significance of political cartooning and what drew each of them into this particular avenue of scholarship. Most of their conversation concerns the history of the genre (at least in the United States) as well as the process behind the research. At the same time, they also focus on the current political moment and how, as several of the participants feel, most contemporary political cartoonists haven’t really met the challenge. The participants also share their thoughts on the impact of digital technology on the art form. In a heated political season signified by polemics and propaganda, it’s reassuring that you can turn to a Comics Alternative special episode providing you with the soothing comfort of…well, polemics and propaganda.

Learn more about this episode’s guests and their scholarship:


Richard Graham, Kent Worcester, Fredrik Strömberg, and Rafael Medoff (with Craig Yoe)


Comics Alternative Interviews: More Mike Howlett

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The Ophidiomaniac


Time Codes:

  • 00:24 – Introduction
  • 02:28 – Setup of interview
  • 04:50 – Interview with Mike Howlett
  • 56:56 – Wrap up
  • 57:52 – Contact us


Halloween is just around the corner, and what could be scarier than a nest of snakes? Although to hear Mike Howlett tell it, there’s nothing at all frightening about the legless reptiles. This was part of the impetus behind Snake Tales, the latest volume in Yoe Books’ Chilling Archives of Horror Comics series. In it, Mike curates some of the weirdest, the most ridiculous, and the most ophidiophobia-inducing snake-related tales found in pre-code comics. Derek talks with Mike about the genesis of this project, his love of snakes, his collaboration with noted herpetologist Frank T. Burbrink, and his ongoing work with Craig Yoe and Clizia Gussoni in their never-ending quest to bring pre-code horror sensibilities to the heartland of America.




Comics Alternative, On Location: Talking with Creators at HeroesCon 2016

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Talk Talk


Stay tuned over the next week for other episodes generated at the 2016 HeroesCon!


Comics Alternative, Episode 178: Reviews of Nod Away, Gulag Casual, and Haunted Love #1

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This week the Two Guys with PhDs Talking about Comics discuss three very different titles. They begin with Joshua W. Cotter’s Nod Away (Fantagraphics), an ambitious sci-fi narrative that explores the impact, and the costs, of technological progress. At least that’s what the guys think the book might be about. As both Andy W. and Derek point out, one of the distinguishing features of this book is its ambiguous or equivocal nature. There are many moving parts to this story — hive communication, inter-dimensional wormholes, suspended animation, unexplained quests — and the guys aren’t entirely certain how all of the pieces fit together. But that’s OK. Part of the beauty of Nod Away is that HauntedLove-Wormsit paints a narrative picture best observed from a broader context, while at the same time the fine detail of Cotter’s art compels us to investigate its many intricacies. The guys also speculate as to the significance of the title, another meaningfully uncertain facet of this book. Next, they look at Austin English’s Gulag Casual. This book is part of 2dcloud’s current “Winter Collection” Kickstarter campaign, and the the guys introduce the publisher, and its Kickstarter, to their listeners. English’s book is a collection of five different stories, each of which challenges its readers in the ways of comprehending comics. Derek points out that the stories are very dream-like in their coherency, and the guys spend much of their discussion sharing their strategies for reading this unique text. They wrap up this week’s episode by looking at another title from the offbeat mind of Craig Yoe. Haunted Love #1 is the first of a three-issue series from IDW Publishing and Yoe Comics, and it’s another example of what Craig does best: showcasing precode comics with a mixture of amusement and reverence. As described on the issue’s cover, it’s “the unholy spawn of Haunted Horror and Weird Love” — two tastes that go great together! — so if listeners appreciate those Yoe-inspired series, then they’ll go ga-ga for the seven stories collected in this first issue. There’s a lot of weirdness to go around, but a couple of Andy and Derek’s favorites are “The Dead Are Never Lonely” (originally published in Baffling Mysteries #14 in 1953) and especially “Crawling Evil” (Journey into Fear #10, 1952). Some of these stories are reminiscent of the classic EC style (such as “The Ice Man Cometh”), while others are just nonsensically whacked out. But the best thing about Haunted Love #1 is that it’s classic Craig Yoe. And everyone needs mo’ Yoe, right?



Comics Alternative Interviews: Once Again, It’s Time for Craig Yoe

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Happy New Yoe!


It’s a brand new year, and for their very first podcast episode of 2016, the guys have as their guest the great Craig Yoe! This may become a tradition on The Comics Alternative, having Craig start off the new year, much as they did in 2015. In fact, this is the fifth interview appearance that Craig has made on the podcast (not counting the brief segment recorded at HeroesCon last year). Usually when the Yoemesiter comes on the show, he has one or two new books to discuss. But this time around there are a whopping six titles recently released from Yoe Books and IDW Publishing! It’s all that Gene and Derek can do to keep up with everything that Craig and his production editor/wife, Clizia Gussoni, are putting out.


They begin with a discussion of the five year anniversary of Yoe Books, which Craig actually celebrated last year. When he appeared on the show back in January of 2015, Craig discussed the coming year and what he had in store for the anniversary celebration. So Derek and Gene talk with him about the success of the first five years and about plans for the next five. Then they jump into a discussion of the many Yoe Book releases we’ve experienced over the past couple of months, beginning with Walt Kelly’s Fairy Tales. This is a beautiful book, going above and beyond the usual standards we’ve come to expect from Yoe and IDW, and the guys begin by asking their guest about the production work that went into this volume. Craig also shares his love of Walt Kelly and his experiences collecting the material which originally appeared in Dell’s Fairy Tale Parade between 1942 and 1946. Next, the guys ask Craig about his latest additions in his Chilling Archives of Horror Comics series, Ghosts and Girls of Fiction House (curated and introduced by Michael H. Price) and The Complete Voodoo, Vol. 1 (which includes an introduction by Mike Howlett, who has previously appeared on the podcast). They discuss the sheer weirdness that was Voodoo, a pre-code horror title from Farrell Publications, and the fetishism apparent in the Fiction House volume. Craig points out that Jumbo Comics, part of the Fiction House line, was known for its buxom women in compromised positions, and that the selections from its “Ghost Gallery” sections (collected in the Fiction House book) provide plentiful examples of “headlight comics.” Gene and Derek also talk with Craig about the latest collected editions of his ongoing series, Haunted HorrorVol. 3: Pre-code Comics So Good, They’re Scary and Weird Love, Vol. 2: That’s the Way I Like It!, as well as his upcoming three-issue miniseries, Haunted Love. It just gets weirder and weirder with Craig Yoe…and that’s why the guys keep inviting him back on the podcast!


Be sure to check out The Yoe Tube on YouTube for fun videos and music…the latter of which is included in this episode!


Comics Alternative Interviews: Back Again with Craig Yoe

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Clown Love

MiltGrossNYCraig Yoe is back for his fourth interview appearance on The Comics Alternative, and this time he has two wacky new books to share with everyone, both from IDW Publishing and Yoe! Books. First, he talks with Derek and Andy about Milt Gross’ New York, a “lost” graphic novel that was originally published in 1939 to capitalize on that year’s New York World’s Fair. Copies of the original paperback are very difficult to find, but Craig was able to get his hands on one — thanks to eBay — and then work his wonders in what he does best: restoring and reproducing in beautiful editions classic, often obscure, comics from our past. The result is a sturdy hardback volume that PopYoeshowcases the wild and breakneck style of Milt Gross. Originally published by Bystander Press and titled That’s My Pop! Goes Nuts for Fair: A Cartoon Tour of New York, it features Gross’s famous (at the time) character Pop, a proto-Homer Simpson, and his admiring son as they tour New York City, it’s neighborhoods, its nightlife, its culture, its food, its busy streets, and then finally ending up at the World’s Fair. Craig discusses the significance of Milt Gross to comics history and how his work is often overlooked. More to the point, much of the conversation centers on this new edition and how it could be read as a defining example of the cartoonist, who Craig sees as one of America’s funniest artists. Next, Derek and Andy talk with their guest about a second new publication from Yoe! Books, Weird Love, Vol. 1: You Know You Want It. It was almost a year ago that the Two Guys interviewed Craig about the WeirdLoveCoverinaugural issue of his semi-monthly series, Weird Love, and now that the first collected volume is out, they wanted to talk with him about his further adventures in finding strange stories masquerading as romance comics. Over the course of their conversation, the guys talk about hippy love, misogyny, spanking, communism, escorts, molls, Ronald Reagan, wayward girls, body image, and perhaps most disturbing of all (at least for Derek), clown love. As with every interview with Craig, the conversation never flags, is filled with fun and unlikely topics, and you’re not entirely sure where things will end up. The guys also talk with Craig about the fifth anniversary of Yoe! Books, a topic they discussed back in January, and how that year-long celebration is going. All in all, it’s a fun conversation…as it usually is with this guest. Craig’s been on the show so many times that he’s almost becoming an honorary cohost of The Comics Alternative. But that’s fine with Andy and Derek, and they plan to have him back for more conversation in the months to come.


Be sure to check out The Yoe Tube on YouTube for fun videos and music!


Comics Alternative Interviews: Still More Craig Yoe

Happy New Yoe!

Yoe5-heads2It’s a brand spanking new year, and it’s sure to be another great twelve months for interviews on The Comics Alternative. In fact, Andy and Derek start things off with a bang! this month with another visit from the always-friendly, always-funky, and always-fun Craig Yoe. This is the third time he has been on the show, and this time around the guys not only talk with Craig about his latest releases, but they also discuss the past, present, and future of Yoe Books. It’s the 5th anniversary of the imprint, and starting off a year-long celebration marking the occasion, Craig reveals his new Yippie Yi Yoe Society. Derek and Andy were fortunate to get their complimentary membership package in the mail last month, complete with a snazzy welcome letter, an official membership card, a society sticker, a cool “I Belong to the Yippie Yi Yoe Society” button, and a DVD with videos and music…including the club’s song, “The Merry Yippie Yi Yoe Society Marching Song.” Is that cool, or what?

Then the guys get into the nitty gritty of Creepy Craig’s latest efforts, the two new books Ditko’s Shorts and Howard Nostrand’s Nightmares (Yoe Books/IDW Publishing). They spend a lot of time talking about the new Ditko effort, talking with Craig about the genesis of the project, the research he and Fester Faceplate (AKA Mark Knox) conducted for the volume, and YYYS-sticker2behind-the-scenes shenanigans that should excite any true Ditko fan. Next, they delve into the new Nostrand collection, the latest in Craig’s “Chilling Archives of Horror Comics” series, discussing an artist who is sorely overlooked yet so vital to the horror genre. As the great forelocked one points out in the book’s introduction, had Jack Davis and Wally Wood had a love child, it would have been Howard Nostrand. Derek and Andy try to get Craig to discuss any future and yet-to-be-announced Yoe Book projects — he never spill the beans — but he does talk a little about books that will be released early this year, including Tom Sutton’s Creepy ThingsThe Untold History of Black Comic Books, and Milt Gross’ New York. In fact, the guys want to have Craig back on the podcast to talk about the new Milt Gross book, so listeners probably won’t have to wait too long to get a another shot of Yoe.


Be sure to check out The Yoe Tube on YouTube for fun videos and music!

This episode’s incidental music is brought to you by
“The Merry Yippie Yi Yoe Marching Song”
Interview Image - Yoe3

Comics Alternative Interviews: More Craig Yoe

“You can’t go wrong with booty”

YoeFB1For this interview show, Andy and Derek go down the rabbit hole in another conversation with the ever-talented, ever-entertaining Craig Yoe. They primarily discuss Craig’s latest projects, Alice in Comicland and the new Weird Love series (both from IDW Publishing), but they also bring up his other books (such as Comics about CartoonistsHaunted HorrorThe Best of Sexology, and Little Penis: Oh, the Places You’ll Grow!). AliceComiclandThey spend a lot of time talking about the various comics in the new Alice book, highlighting the more straight-laced adaptations, such as Chad Grothkoph’s “Alice Through the Looking-Glass,” classic parodies like Harvey Kurtzman and Jack Davis’s “Alice in Wonderland!”, as well as the truly bizarre and borderline-disturbing translations, e.g., Warren Kremer’s “Little Max Meets Alice in Wonderland” and Serge S. Sabarsky and George O. Muhlfield’s “Alice on Monkey Island.” After that things get a bit weird…with Weird Love! Craig discusses his new bimonthly series, compiled with his wife, Clizia Gussoni, and the inherently strange nature of classic romance comics. With titles such as “I Fell for a Commie,” “Love of a Lunatic,” and “You Also Snore Darling,” the guys have no problem in generating — and degenerating — WeirdLove31offbeat and irreverent conversation. The several Golden and Silver Age stories collected in this first issue of Weird Love cover such topics as sexual politics, misogyny, the women’s liberation movement, Joe Gill’s cultural conservatism, bald creepy guys, and spanking. So get ready to step through the podcasting looking-glass with this sick, kinky, and bizarro conversation with one of comics’ inimitable figures.

And remember: Just say “Yo!” to Yoe! 

This episode’s incidental music is brought to you by
Jefferson Airplane and The Four Aces

Interview Image - Yoe2

Comics Alternative Interviews: Craig Yoe

Humor, Horror, and Horniness

CraigYoeCaricatureOn this episode of The Comics Alternative Interviews, Gene and Derek talk with editor, archivist, comics historian, and pop cultural Renaissance Man, Craig Yoe. The interview gets off to a wild start YoeBookswith a discussion of  Secret Identity: The Fetish Art of Superman’s Co-Creator Joe Shuster, a book that Craig says helped to put him on the publishing map. From there they highlight several of Yoe’s more recent releases, including his Haunted Horror seriesJack Cole’s Deadly HorrorStrange World of Your Dreams, The Art of Archie: The Covers, and the Ditko Monsters books. The Two Guys also ask Craig about his time with Disney, Nickelodeon, and especially his close association with Jim Henson and his experiences working on the Muppets. One of the most moving parts of the interview, in fact, is when Craig discusses his last meeting with Henson, the day of the legend’s untimely death. But the overall tone of the conversation is upbeat. It’s a free-flowing conversation filled with humor, horror, and erotic references. And it’s one of the most enjoyable interviews the guys have ever conducted!

This week’s incidental music is brought to you by
The Muppet Show: Music, Mayhem, and More! – The 25th Anniversary Collection

Interview Image-Yoe

More To Come 68: Craig Yoe and Jeffrey Brown Interview Special

More to come

Recorded by the Comics World division of Publishers Weekly Magazine, it’s More To Come! Your dose of insider comics publishing news, discussion and controversy.  Starring Heidi MacDonald, the Eisner-nominated blogger of, Calvin Reid, Senior News Editor of Publishers Weekly and Kate Fitzsimons, More To Come’s intrepid producer!

In this week’s special interview podcast, More to Come’s Heidi “The Beat” MacDonald interviews comics historian, author, editor, and publisher Craig Yoe, author of the acclaimed Secret Identity and head of the Yoe! Books imprint as well as Jeffrey Brown, creator of the hit Star Wars parodies Darth Vader and Son, Vader’s Little Princess and Jedi Academy on this episode of More To Come, PW’s comics podcast.

Stay tuned for our next regularly scheduled episode – there will definitely be More To Come!


Catch up with our in depth comics news, reviews and previous podcasts at

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