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.

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Comics Alternative Kickstarter: Skullduggery, Issue 2

Perry Mason Meets Disney

This week on the Kickstarter show, Derek talks with Jason Beirens about his current campaign for the second issue of his series, Skullduggery.

Jason calls Skullduggery a “legal fiction,” a Disney-inspired crime narrative that is less police procedural and more based in the courtroom. His previously Kickstarted first issue of Skullduggery is described as

the beginning of a look into a double homicide of two known criminals by Judge Stewie Sponte, his assistant Maggie P.I. (a magpie) and his owl. Other characters come into play, two street smart tough guys, brothers Vinnie and Berg De Novo. Lastly, Whimsy Noir, as every detective story needs a dame, right?

Populated by anthropomorphic figures, curious criminals, and unusual courtroom proceedings, this will be a fully colored story worth checking out. And there’s even a reward level where you can get not only the second, but also the first issue, of Jason’s Skullduggery the series so as to get the entire story up to this point. Head on over to #2 campaign and see what it’s all about!

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Comics Alternative, Episode 269: Reviews of The Lie and How We Told It, Abbott #1, and Punks Not Dead #1

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That ’70s Podcast

This week Gene and Derek discuss three fascinating titles…and with a ’70s twist! They begin with Tommi Parrish’s The Lie and How We Told It (Fantagraphics). Both had encountered Parrish’s work previously in the first two issues of the Now anthology, but this is the first long-form narrative from them that the guys have read. This is an intriguing work that begs for multiple readings and provides much discussion fodder. After that, Gene and Derek turn to two recent #1 issues. Saladin Ahmed and Sami Kivelä’s Abbott (BOOM! Studios) is a crime noir story set in the early 1970s, and with a curious injection of horror. Punks Not Dead, the latest from IDW’s Black Crown imprint, is a wild tale from David Barnett and Martin Simmonds, one that mixes punk sensibilities with what appears to be X-Files-like undercurrent.

Wayne’s Comics Podcast #304: Zach Davis

Wayne Hall, Wayne’s Comics, Mary, Crimson Rider, Jack Kirby, western, crime, Gunsmoke, hanging, family

\This week in Episode 304, I feature a great chat I recently had with comics creator Zach Davis, who is bringing out a new Crimson Rider comic. Zach shared several pages from the premiere issue, and I really liked this excellent “crime western” comic. You’ll hear us discuss the fascinating origin to this concept, which really intrigued me, as well as how he brought the team together to work on this series, what we can expect from Crimson Rider in the near future, and how the concept’s past may influence its future! To learn more about Zach and this comic, be sure to go to his website and click on this link. It’s another fun conversation about comics and creating them, so don’t miss it!

 

Comics Alternative, Episode 213: Reviews of Recent Crime Comics, Part 1

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Nut Drugs

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There has been an abundance of crime comics published over the past several months — see, for example, the Two Guys’ earlier discussions of Weird Detective, ControlKill or Be Killed, Cousin Joseph, Black  Monday Murders, and Sombra — but recently this number has been almost dizzying. In the first of a two-episode series devoted to current crime comics, Andy and Derek discuss six titles that take the genre into curious directions. They range from the historical (Rick Geary’s Black Dahlia), to the formula-bending (Chris Hunt’s Carver: A Paris Story and Janet Harvey and Megan Levens’s Angel City), to the genre-blending (Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso’s Moonshine), to the comedic (Nick Spencer and Steve Lieber’s The Fix), to the truly hardboiled (Walter Hill, Matz, and Jef’s Triggerman as well as Christa Faust, Gary Philips, and Andrea Cameron’s Peepland). There is a lot of crime/detective/noir/procedural goodness packed into this show, and the same is in store for the next week’s episode, the second in the series.

The incidental music in this episode is from classic crime TV shows, and you can find these theme songs in Television’s Greatest Hits, Vol. 1Television’s Greatest Hits, Vol. 3Television’s Greatest Hits Vol. 4, and Television’s Greatest Hits, Vol. 6. Check out the fun!

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Comics Alternative, On Location: The September Visit to Valhalla Games and Comics

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Different Name, Same Great Taste!

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The September on-location episode marks a first for The Comics Alternative. Derek is now talking with customers and employees at Valhalla Games and Comics in Plano, TX…which is at the same exact physical location where he’s been doing the on-location show for the past few years. What had once been Collected is now Valhalla! But the people and comics inside have remained the same. Talking with Derek this month are some of the shop regulars, including Krystle, Craig, and Nick. They begin by discussing the recent change in ownership — and, unfortunately, neither Valhalla’s owner, David Larson, nor Sabrina, the shop manager, were able to be there — and everyone’s excitement over the changes in store. But then they get into the core of this month’s discussion, which is on crime comics. Craig comes prepared with a big stack of recent examples, including The FixThe Baker Street Peculiars, and The Black Monday Murders. And Nick chimes in with crime titles he’d recommend, as well. The conversation gets even more lively when Derek questions Craig on his definition of “superhero,” which he seems to apply in a much less discriminating way than the others. They spend a good deal of time discussing examples of outright noir, such as Scalped and 100 Bullets, and genre-blending crime comics such as FataleWeird Detective, and even The Spirit. All in all, this was a successful first recording at the new Valhalla Games and Comics!

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Comics Alternative, Episode 198: Reviews of The Blue Dahlia, Kill or Be Killed #1, and Sombra #1

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Moral Black Holes

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This week the Two Guys with PhDs turn their attention to three recent noir titles. But before they jump into their reviews, they talk about comics news and recent awards.

First, they congratulate Sonny Liew on receiving this year’s Singapore Literature Prize for English fiction for his best-selling work The Art Of Charlie Chan Hock Chye. This comes on the heels of him getting the Book of the Year accolade at the Singapore Book Awards, held in May.

Next, Andy and Derek say a few words about the results of this year’s Eisner Awards, announced at SDCC last Friday. The guys note that there are really no surprises in the winners, and that with perhaps one or two exceptions, those coming out on top in their categories make perfect sense. They are particularly pleased that so many of the titles and creators that they’ve discussed on the podcast received this recognition, and they are especially excited that so many friends of the show — such as Craig Yoe and Tom Heintjes — received the coveted Eisner.

After all of the awards talk, the guys get into the nitty gritty of this week’s episode. They start off with an adaptation of James Ellroy’s The Black Dahlia (BOOM! Studios/Archaia), the first in the novelist’s L.A. Quartet. Adapted by Matz and David Fincher, and with art by Miles Hyman, the story springs from the real-life murder of Elizabeth Short in 1947. As with the original book, this graphic novel reveals the dark underside of Los Angeles and the post-war days of its entertainment industry. And it contains all of the icons and tropes that define noir narrative.

From there the guys turn to the latest collaboration from the superb crime-writing team of Ed Brubaker, Sean Phillips, and Elizabeth Breitweiser, Kill or Be Killed #1 (Image Comics). This first issue has all of the trappings of the kind of stories we’ve come to expect from Brubaker and Phillips (e.g., The Fade OutCriminalSleeper), but there’s a particular twist to the plot that recalls the supernatural tinges of Fatale. In fact, Derek and Andy aren’t sure if what happens in the story is because of other-worldly forces or just the result of psychological imbalance.

Finally, the guys wrap up with yet another crime comic, Justin Jordan and Raul Trevino’s Sombra #1 (BOOM! Studios). This story revolves around a young DEA agent, Danielle, and the mystery surrounding the disappearance of her father, also an agent. This first issue takes the narrative into some dark places, and the guys focus on this comic as a retelling of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. In fact, the missing DEA agent is name Conrad Marlowe. How appropriate!

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Comics Alternative Interviews: Rich Tommaso

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Dark Stuff

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On this episode of the interview series, Andy and Derek talk with Rich Tommaso about his recent publications from Image Comics, She Wolf #1 and the trade collection of Dark Corridor. Both were released last week. The guys begin by trying to wrap their brains around She Wolf, a surreal lycanthrope narrative with a 1980s flair. Rich reveals that this is a planned four-issue arc, and that if the interest is there he has plans to continue and expand the story. He contrasts this publication strategy with that of his earlier series, Dark Corridor. That began as a more ambitious project with more of an ongoing storyline. But, due to the sales, he decided to wrap up the title sooner rather than later. In fact, Rich speculates that crime comics may not be a current interest with the comics-buying public, at least compared to horror and science fiction. He also suggests that autobiographical or slice-of-life comics — as found in his earlier works, Let’s Hit the Road and Pete and Miriam — may not be his forte, and that genre stories are more his style. You’ll also find in this interview a lot of talk about film, crime fiction, and the recent HeroesCon where the guys first met Rich. So whether you like your Tommaso comics plain or genre-flavored, this conversation has something for you.

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Comics Alternative, Episode 192: Reviews of Limbo, Weird Detective #1, and Control #1

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Well-Handled Weirdness

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The Two Guys with PhDs Talking about Comics are back to give you another ear-full of good quality comics talk, and this week the focus is on noir weirdness. They begin with the collected trade edition of Limbo (Image Comics). Dan Watters and Caspar Wijngaard’s six-issue limited series ran from November 2015 to April of this year, but last week the TPB was released. It’s the story of Clay, a cynical and world-worn detective who finds himself stuck in a strange world whose origins are a mystery. Andy W. and Derek liken this book to a voodoo-infused version of Videodrome, and the guys are particularly struck by by Wijngaard’s neon palette and his occasional metafictional page layouts.

And while Limbo injects more than enough weirdness into its noir, it’s easily rivaled by the Lovecraftian flair of Fred Van Lent and Guiu Vilanova’s Weird Detective #1 (Dark Horse Comics). The first issue in this miniseries introduces us to Detective Sebastian Greene, a heretofore mundane investigator whose recent display of uncanny abilities at detecting confound his partner, Sana Fayez, and their superiors. The strangeness is compounded by a string of unusual crimes that are sure to appeal to fans of the Great Old Ones.

Finally, Derek and Andy wrap up with a more conventional noir narrative, Andy Diggle, Angela Cruickshank, and Andrea Mutti’s Control #1 (Dynamite Entertainment). While this one doesn’t have the genre-bending, otherworldly twists of this week’s other titles, it nonetheless concerns an unfathomable dark region. Not electric voodoo or Cthulhu, but Washington, D.C. politics. At least that’s what the guys gather from this first installment in this six-issue series. As Andy and Derek point out, Diggle is an old hat at this kind of storytelling, and this helps explain why Control is perhaps the most tightly woven narrative they look at this week. And from the information found on the copyright page, this looks like a series with a promise of multiple volumes, something akin to Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips’s Criminal. At least the Two Guys hope.

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Critiquing Comics #072: Lifehacks

LifehacksLifehacks, by Ovi Demetrian Jr and Jen Hickman, is “a modern noir detective story about a hacker turned private investigator.” While the story idea and the art seem solid, Tim and Mulele have to put in some on-mic detective work to understand just where it is our main character works…

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Comics Alternative Podcast Episode 70: Reviews of Slayground, The Saviors #1, and The Midas Flesh #1

“It’s like Invasion of the Body Snatchers…but with more weed.”

Slayground1This week on The Comics Alternative, Andy and Derek review three recent works. They begin with Darwyn Cooke’s Richard Stark’s Parker: Slayground, from IDW Publishing. This is the fourth of Cooke’s comics adaptation of the Parker crime/heist novels from acclaimed writer Donald Westlake (AKA, Richard Stark). The Two Guys compare Slayground to the three other works Cooke has previously released: The Hunter (2009), The Outfit (2010), and Slayground2The Score (2012). They note that while they like this graphic novel, and find Cooke’s artwork (as always) truly outstanding, they nonetheless feel that the book is a little slim, especially when compared to the earlier works. At the same time, the book also includes a reprint of the 11-page story “The 7eventh,” originally appearing in Richard Stark’s Parker: The Martini Edition (2011). What with IDW’s recent announcement that they’re going to be publishing Westlake’s original Parker novels, illustrated by Darwyn Cooke, and the promise of another Cooke adaptation of one of those novels, this is an exciting time to be reading the Parker narratives.

SaviorsNext, the Two Guys with PhDs discuss two new #1 issues: James Robinson and J. Bone’s The Saviors (Image Comics) and The Midas Flesh (BOOM! Studios), written by Ryan North with art by Braden Lamb and Shelli Paroline. Their discussions of these two recent comic books are complementary, and at times provide illustrations of contrast. The Saviors gets going with an Invasion of the Body Snatchers and horror kind of feel — weird creatures of some sort apparently infiltrate a small Southwestern community and pose as respected locals — MidasFleshis told from the perspective of a pothead, and ends with a cliffhanger…literally! The Midas Flesh, which will be an 8-issue miniseries, juxtaposes two different stories, one a sci-fi quest taking place in an apocalyptic (?) future and the other alluding to Greek mythology set in some distant past. What makes this title especially notable is that it’s the first for the publisher’s BOOM! Box imprint, and the guys still aren’t sure how BOOM! will be defining that imprint. Both of these new #1s leave the guys, to greater or lesser degrees, anticipating future issues and looking forward to how their stories unfold.

This week’s incidental music is brought to you by
Ultra Lounge, Vol. 4: Bachelor Pad Royale

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Critiquing Comics #057: “Sortafellas”

sortafellasSortafellas, a comic submitted to us by Ed M., is set on the mean streets of 1970s New York; a police “bag man” goes to “Junkie Central” to pick up bribe money for his superiors. Having seen only 10 pages, Mulele & Tim aren’t quite sure where it’s going, but would like to see more!

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Gutter Trash – Episode 108: Lowlife

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Lowlife. Music by Sepultura, Black Wolf Fight, and The Slew

Check out Jason’s site, Eric’s site, Ok, PANIC!, and League Night

Email Eric or Jason.

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