Webcomics: Reviews of Grass of Parnassus, Lavender Jack, and Take the A Train

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Platform Variety!

On the November webcomics episode — albeit a little late — Sean and Derek look at three very different webcomics…especially different when it comes their hosting platforms. They begin with Stuart and Kathryn Immonen’s Grass of Parnassus. This is a unique science fiction narrative that is relatively new, starting in September this year, with an intriguing storyline (what there is so far) and incredible art. But what is additionally notable about this webcomic is that it’s being hosted on Instagram. This is the first time the guys have discussed an Instagram-based webcomic, and Sean and Derek spend a bit of time discussing the pros and cons of this platform.

After that they focus on Lavender Jack, a webcomic hosted on Webtoon and written and illustrated by Dan Schkade. It’s an engaging crime/intrigue webcomic that reminds the guys of both The Scarlet Pimpernel and Batman. A unique combination! It’s the story of a wealthy socialite who dons a costume to cover his identity, and then goes about exposing the hidden crimes of prominent, powerful, and corrupt citizens in the city. This is also a relatively new webcomic, starting in June, and although there are already 24 episodes (as of this recording), there are still a number of mysteries that are yet to be answered.

Finally, the Two Guys wrap up with an already completed webcomic, M. Dean and Z. Akhmetova’s Take the A Train. This is a relatively short narrative, but what makes it stand out — in addition to the incredible art — is that each half of the story is hosted on Dean’s and Akhmetova’s sites, respectively. This is the first time the guys have discussed a webcomic that was a collaborative endeavor in this manner. The webcomic is based on Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn’s classic song, and both creators focus on young protagonists in the middle of the 20th century who are fascinated with Ellington and his historic relationship with The Savoy in Harlem.

Comics Alternative, Episode 229: Will Eisner Week 2017 – Uses of The Spirit since 2005

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Capturing the Spirit of The Spirit

Every year for Will Eisner Week, always the first seven days in March, the Two Guys with PhDs like to do something special and Eisner-related for the podcast. This year is no different, and for the current episode Andy and Derek have decided to discuss the many uses of The Spirit since Will Eisner’s passing on January 3, 2005. And there are a lot more manifestations of The Spirit than you might think. The guys compare and contrast the various uses of this seminal crimefighter, highlighting those examples that attempt to capture the original tone of The Spirit, that deviate from the original in curious ways, and that cross over into other narrative worlds. The many titles and creators they discuss include:

  • the one-shot Batman/The Spirit, by Joef Loeb and Darwyn Cooke in 2007 (DC Comics)
  • the 32-issue run of The Spirit between 2007 and 2009, by Darwyn Cooke, Sergio Aragones, Mark Evanier, and many others (DC Comics)
  • Brian Azzarello and Rags Morales’s 6-issue miniseries First Wave, published between 2010 and 2011 (DC Comics)
  • the concurrent-running The Spirit: First Wave series by Mark Schultz, David Hine, and others, going for 17 issues from 2010-2011 (DC Comics)
  • Mark Waid’s 4-issue miniseries Rocketeer/Spirit: Pulp Friction, illustrated by various artists and released in 2013 (IDW Publishing)
  • Will Eisner’s The Spirit by Matt Wagner and Dan Schkade, running for 12 issues between 2015 and 2016 (Dynamite Entertainment)
  • the recent first issue of Francesco Francavilla’s Will Eisner’s The Spirit: The Corpse-Makers (Dynamite Entertainment)
  • and Joe Staton and Mike Curtis’s current Dick Tracy strip and its team-up with The Spirit (Tribune Company).

There is a lot packed into this episode — you’ll hear plenty about Ebony White, Commissioner and Ellen Dolan, Silk Satin, Mister Carrion, Sand Serif, The Octopus, and, of course, P’Gell — but, thankfully, almost no mention of the disastrous 2008 film. It’s all about the comics.

Check out the various The Spirit titles discussed in this special episode:

 

Comics Alternative, Episode 145: Reviews of We Stand on Guard #1, Will Eisner’s The Spirit #1, Archie #1, and Leisure

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Electric Boogaloo

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This week on the podcast, the Two Guys with PhDs take a close look at a few #1 issues and one minicomic series. However, before they get into the nitty gritty of their reviews, they share some of the listener mail and attention they’ve been receiving — including a very cool call-out from the Kyle and Drew at Comics for Fun and Profit — and then go into some news out of SDCC. In particular, they discuss this year’s Eisner Award winners, most of which the WSOG1guys are familiar with and/or had expected (or hoped) to win. However, there were some surprises as well as some disappointments in this year’s Eisners, but such is the game of awards systems such as this. After highlighting a little more news out of San Diego — e.g., the announcement of new Vertigo titles, the return of Lady Killer, Fantagraphics to publish the next Kramers Ergot — Andy and Derek plunge into the titles that they’re discussing this week. First, they look at Brian K. Vaughan and Steve Skroce’s We Stand on Guard #1 (Image Comics). This is one of the most anticipated new series of the year, and the guys waste no time in underscoring not only BKV’s storytelling abilities, but Skroce’s meticulous art. Next, they look at the latest attempt to bring The Spirit back to reading audiences. With Will Eisner’s The Spirit #1 (Dynamite Entertainment), Matt Wagner and Dan Schkade capture not only the spirit — bad pun intended — of the original, but also introduce Eisner’s crime-fighting world in such a way that brand new readers can easily get on board, even without much knowledge of the original. The same can be said of Mark Waid and Fiona Staples’s Archie #1 (Archie Comics). ComrieFHBThe creators’ take on the comics icon appears both fresh and reverential, making this new series accessible, yet in a familiar way. Still, the guys wonder who exactly the audience might be — or might end up being — for these new spins on Archie Andrews and Denny Colt. Finally, Derek and Andy turn to a minicomic series from Tim Comrie, Leisure. This is an autobiographical, very personal, series with three issues so far. Comrie lays bare both his pleasures and his turmoils, and in a genuine manner that never comes across as calculated or discomforting. The guys also bring in a discussion of Comrie’s other series (along with Mike Heneghan), Five Hour Comics, and compare its style and tone to Leisure. If you’re not familiar with Tim Comrie’s work, then now is the time to check it out!

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