Comics Alternative, On Location: SPX 2018, “The Practice of Diary Comics” Panel

Time Codes:

  • 00:00:27 – Introduction
  • 00:02:12 – Panel context, with Glynnis Fawkes
  • 00:14:02 – “The Practice of Diary Comics” panel
  • 01:09:40 – Wrap up
  • 01:10:50 – Contact us



The middle of last month, September 15-16, saw the Small Press Expo held in North Bethesda, MD. At the event, Derek moderated a panel on that Sunday afternoon entitled “The Practice of Diary Comics.” Participating in the discussion were Glynnis Fawkes, Summer Pierre, Kevin Budnik, and Dustin Harbin. This episode of the podcast presents an audio recording of that event, and joining Derek in setting up the context is Glynnis Fawkes. She, Derek, and Summer Pierre were the ones who organized the panel, decided on its topic focus, and reached out to the other contributors about joining in. In setting up the panel recording, Glynnis and Derek discuss their initial plans for the session, some of the concerns they had in coming up with a focus, and how the topic evolved. Then they get to the recording of the event. The sound quality of the audio is “rough” at times — the gain on some of the microphones sounds as if it was turned up a bit too high — but that’s something that the participants had no way of controlling. Nonetheless, everything is legible, and you can certainly make out clearly what everyone says…as well as Dustin’s singing and consuming of donuts.

A big thanks to Rob Clough for working with us on this panel and for overseeing the programming at this year’s SPX!

Participants from the left: Dustin Harbin, Summer Pierre, Kevin Budnik, Glynnis Fawkes, and Derek Royal

Comics Alternative, Manga: Reviews of My Solo Exchange Diary, Vol. 1 and Grand Blue Dreaming, Vol. 1

Time Codes:


Radically Different

For July, Shea and Derek discuss two works of manga that are radically different, one from the other. They begin with Nagata Kabi’s My Solo Exchange Diary, Vol. 1 (Seven Seas Entertainment). This is the follow-up to her previous autobiographical work My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness, a text the guys discussed last year. Whereas the earlier work was more targeted to a particular experience, the first volume of Kabi’s Solo Exchange Diary  is broader in scope and chronicles a variety her life phenomena. Both Shea and Derek are fascinated by this project, especially given the diary’s structure and the creator’s conversations with herself.

Next, the Two Guys check out the first volume of Kenji Inoue and Kimitake Yoshioka’s Grand Blue Dreaming (Kodansha Comics). The premise of this series is based on a young man going off to college and expecting to have the usual college experiences. What he finds instead is a wild world of drunken and naked partying, all generated by the men of the local Diving Club. Both Derek and Shea find this title quite different from their usual reading, and they didn’t expect the wildness, and the weirdness, embedded within. If you’re looking for a manga about heavy drinking and naked game play, then Grand Blue Dreaming is for you.

Comics Alternative Interviews: Alison McCreesh

Time Codes:

  • 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


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.

Comic News Insider Episode 617 – Heroes Con Interview Special w/ Jake Wyatt/Dustin Harbin/Kata Kane/Adam Withers & Comfort Love/JM Dragunas/RJ Jojola!


Comic News Insider: Episode 617 is now available for free download! Click on the link or get it through iTunes! Sponsored by Dynamic Forces.

Reviews: No reviews because it’s a special interview show!

Jimmy got many an interview while down at Heroes Con in Charlotte, NC. You will here many of them here! You’ll love hearing from Jake Wyatt/Dustin Harbin/Kata Kane/Adam Withers & Comfort Love/JM Dragunas/RJ Jojola! Producer Joe has put the interviews just back to back without any intro in between. Fret not, you’ll be able to follow along swimmingly. Leave your iTunes comments! 5 stars and nothing but love!

Also, get a hold of us!



Comic News Insider

Thanks for listening!

Comics Alternative Episode 133: A Publisher Spotlight on Koyama Press

Listen to the podcast!

Life Stories, Evil Philosophers, and Butts with Eyes


Occasionally, Derek and Andy like to devote an episode to a particular publisher, looking at the recent or seasonal releases and providing a snapshot of the kind of books they publish. So for this week, the Two Guys discuss the spring publications from Koyama Press, a Toronto-based small press founded in 2007 by Annie Koyama. This is a publisher that the guys deeply appreciate but have discussed little on the show. (They reviewed Renee French’s Baby Bjornstrand in November of last year, and there have been a few reviews of Koyama books on the blog.) The conversation begins with Alex Schubert’s Blobby Boys 2, a minimalist collection of stories with a punk aesthetic and a great sense of humor. This is a follow up to the first Blobby Boys book, which came out in fall of 2013. The guys discuss the book’s wild and violent comedy, and while they enjoy the strips devoted to the titular characters, they particularly like the two stories focusing on Fashion Cat, a hip, powerful, yet ill-fated celebrity of the fashion world.  KoyamaPressLogo1After that, Andy and Derek look at Ginette Lapalme’s Confetti. This is not really comic — although there is a little sequential narrative in the opening pages of the book — but more of an art book. Lapalme’s illustrations, paintings, and object art are featured throughout, and the guys try to find several iconic themes that link the pieces together, such as melting heads, bodily fluids, butts with eyes on them, and the obvious prevalence of cats. Next, they turn to an unequivocal comic, A. Degen’s Mighty Star and the Castle of the Cancatervater. This is special kind of superhero story, one that is largely silent. (There is text that introduces each chapter’s dramatic personae, and there are vague sounds, represented by Ns and Hs, that are sprinkled throughout.) Degen’s unique take on the hero or adventure genres is both compelling and metaphorical. But when it comes to thought-provoking texts, there is perhaps no book discussed this week more philosophical than Dustin Harbin’s Diary Comics. This project began as an online illustrated journal that Harbin kept beginning in January 2010, where he would try to represent each of his days with at least one comics panel. He continued this experiment off-and-on until September 2012, eventually releasing hardcopy issues of this work in four short installments. Now, all of those life stories are collected in a single volume, and one of the pleasures of reading Diary Comics is seeing the development of Harbin as an writer and how his art, as well as his understanding of himself as an artist, progresses over time. Indeed, the highlight of the text is its opening and closing sections, where Harbin introduces his project and provides a interpretive context that is much more than mere navel gazing. This is the kind of meticulously crafted and experimental work, much like that other books discussed on the episode, that represents Koyama’s mission and deserves far more attention from comics readers.



A big THANKS to Ed Kanerva for helping to make this show possible.
And be sure to check out the Koyama Press website, where you can see cool caricatures of Annie Koyama!