Comic News Insider Episode 853 – TCAF: Fantagraphics Special Pt 2 w/ Ho Che Anderson/Tommi Parrish!

Comic News Insider: Episode 853 is now available for free download! Click on the link or get it through iTunes! Sponsored by Dynamic Forces.

Jimmy went to the Toronto Comic Arts Festival (TCAF) over the weeekend and got a ton of great interviews! In this episode, he talked to Ho Che Anderson and Tommi Parrish. Ho talks about his new sci-fi/action adventure book Godhead. And Jimmy brings up Ho’s older Milestone Comics work Wise Son and they even go off on Legion of Superheroes tangent! Tommi talks their new book The Lie and How We Told It as well as some of their artistic influences over the years. Leave your iTunes comments! 5 stars and nothing but love! Also, get a hold of us!

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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

Time Codes:

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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.

Comic News Insider Episode 849 – TCAF: Fantagraphics Special Pt 1 w/ Sophie Goldstein/Georgia Webber!

Comic News Insider: Episode 849 is now available for free download! Click on the link or get it through iTunes! Sponsored by Dynamic Forces.

Jimmy went to the Toronto Comic Arts Festival (TCAF) over the weeekend and got a ton of great interviews! In this episode, he talked to Sophie Goldstein and Georgia Webber. Sophie talks about her new book House of Women and her influences for it and her art. Georgia talks about her graphic memoir Dumb: Living Without A Voice and the difficulties of not talking for months. Leave your iTunes comments! 5 stars and nothing but love! Also, get a hold of us!

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Comic News Insider Episode 847 – TCAF Recap w/ Eddie Campbell/Audrey Niffenegger/Willow Dawson!

Comic News Insider: Episode 847 is now available for free download! Click on the link or get it through iTunes! Sponsored by Dynamic Forces.

Jimmy went to the Toronto Comic Arts Festival (TCAF) over the weeekend and got a ton of great interviews! 13 total equaling about 5 hours of content. So you will hear all of them over the next 2 weeks! No reviews or news this week since it’s the TCAF recap. Jimmy got friends Heidi MacDonald and Molly Kremer to send in their quick recaps as well. 2 awesome interviews in this episode. Jimmy sat down with Audrey Niffenegger and Eddie Campbell to discuss their new book Bizarre Romance. He also got them to talk about some of their more popular works The Time Traveler’s Wife and From Hell. He also sat down with good pal Willow Dawson about her new book White As Milk, Red As Blood: The Forgotten Fairy Tales of Franz Xaver von Schonwerth. They discussed the dark and twisted fairy tales within. Leave your iTunes comments! 5 stars and nothing but love! Also, get a hold of us!

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Comics Alternative Interviews: Back with Zach Worton

Time Codes:

  • 00:00:25 – Introduction
  • 00:02:14 – Setup of interview
  • 00:04:00 – Interview with Zach Worton
  • 00:59:46 – Wrap up
  • 01:00:27 – Contact us
  • 01:01:46 – “Gotta Get You Outta My Head,” by Zorton and the Cannibals

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Self-Destruction and Tiki Bars

Zach Worton was last on the podcast about two years ago, around the time of the publication of the second volume in his Charley Butters series, The Search for Charley Butters. On that interview show, Zach discussed the development of his storyline and what to expect in the third and final volume of the series, The Death of Charley Butters. As fate would have it, Zach and his publisher, Conundrum Press, decided to hold off on publishing the third stand-alone installment, and instead, put out the entire series in one complete volume. The result is The Curse of Charley Butters, just released last month, and including the first two Charley Butter stories and what would have been the third. In fact, this complete collection reads as a tight, cohesive narrative, and getting all of the Charley Butters installments in one nice volume is definitely the way to read this story. In this interview Derek talks with Zach about the genesis of his project, the challenges involved in its serialization, the stark nature of the storytelling, and the experience of taking his protagonist down an ever-darkening downward spiral. Zach also discusses his other new work, The Weird World of Lagoola Gardner, a magazine-sized comic whose tone is completely different from Charley Butters, looser, more comedic, and reminiscent of the kind of free-wheeling garage band- and tiki-influenced publications of the late 1960s.

Comic News Insider Episode 846 – Training For TCAF!

Comic News Insider: Episode 846 is now available for free download! Click on the link or get it through iTunes! Sponsored by Dynamic Forces.

Reviews: Avengers Vol 7 #1, Coda #1, DC Nation #0, Red Sonja/Tarzan #1 

TCAF is approaching and Jimmy is madly prepping for it. Due to that, he has to fly solo but recruits friends to send in some audio reviews. Thanks to Amy aka The Frog Queen, Ashley Lanni, Erica Schultz and Rachael Smith. News includes: Gina Gagliano will serve as Publishing Director for the new Random House Graphic, the 2000AD Sci-Fi Special will have an all-female creative team including Babs Tarr/Tula Lotay/Leah Moore/Emma Vieceli/ Alex De Campi/etc,  Bill & Ted 3 is happening and more! Leave your iTunes comments! 5 stars and nothing but love! Also, get a hold of us!

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Comics Alternative Interviews: Paul Karasik and Mark Newgarden

Time Codes:

  • 00:26 – Introduction
  • 03:02 – Setup of interview
  • 05:10 – Interview with Paul Karasik and Mark Newgarden
  • 56:08 – Wrap up
  • 58:29 – Contact us

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Why Nancy…Again?

Gene and Derek are happy to have on the podcast Paul Karasik and Mark Newgarden. Their book How to Read Nancy: The Elements of Comics in Three Easy Panels was released last fall from Fantagraphics Books. The authors are back on the circuit discussing their close reading of Ernie Bushmiller, but they took time to talk with the Two Guys about their landmark work. Over the course of the conversation, Mark and Paul reveal their history reading the Nancy strip, their original “How to Read Nancy” essay and the book that grew from there, the educational function of their detailed analysis, the work — research, technological, and otherwise — that went into this project, and, of course, there’s the August 8, 1959 comic strip itself that comes under such meticulous scrutiny. Over the course of 44 steps, Paul and Mark pick apart this Nancy strip with painstaking detail. But How to Read Nancy also includes a thorough biography overview of Ernie Bushmiller, multiple appendixes that provide abundant cultural and aesthetic context, and a “Do It Yourself” section where readers can apply the analytical skills they learn from the text. This is a must-read for every student of comics, creators and critics alike.

A big THANK YOU to Craig Yoe, who actually planted the idea for this interview and became its chief encourager!

Deconstructing Comics #588: We love “HATE”

HATE

Peter Bagge’s HATE was an amazing hit for a ’90s indy comic, outselling some Big Two titles. Tim, Kumar, and Tom Spurgeon talk about some of the amazing aspects of this strip, and discuss whether it’s accurate to classify it as a comic about slackers.

Deconstructing Comics site

Comics Alternative Interviews: Ho Che Anderson

Time Codes:

  • 00:00:24 – Introduction
  • 00:02:45 – Setup of interview
  • 00:06:17 – Interview with Ho Che Anderson
  • 01:12:00 – Wrap up
  • 01:14:51 – Contact us

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Are You Sitting Comfortably?

On this interview episode, Gene and Derek talk with Ho Che Anderson about his new book Godhead, coming out next week from Fantagraphics Books. This is a work of speculative fiction involving corporate culture and its attempts to communicate with God. It’s an ambitious narrative that zeroes in on the juncture of religion, technology, and capitalist greed. The book is the first of two volumes exploring this futuristic world, and it’s a project that Anderson has been developing for years. The guys talk extensively with their guest about the genesis of and the creative process underlying Godhead, but they also ask about his larger body of work and its sheer diversity, from the erotic I Want to Be Your Dog, to the five-issue series (along with Wilfred Santiago) Pop Life, to the text he’s perhaps best known for, his graphic biography of Martin Luther King. Both Gene and Derek have been big fans of Anderson’s comics for years, and they’re excited to finally get him on the podcast. Listen up and learn!

Comics Alternative Interviews: Gary Groth

Time Codes:

  • 00:00:25 – Introduction
  • 00:02:22 – Setup of interview
  • 00:03:43 – Interview with Gary Groth
  • 01:07:09 – Wrap up
  • 01:07:42 – Contact us

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Thoughts of a Master

On this interview episode Derek talks with Fantagraphics publisher Gary Groth about his new book Sparring with Gil Kane: Debating the History and Aesthetics of Comics. It’s a collection of thirteen interviews, conversations, and panel transcripts focusing on Kane and his aesthetics. The pieces that Groth collects highlight the legendary artist’s thoughts on the potential and limitations of the medium, his relationship with other creators, and Kane’s place within the larger context of comics history. As Groth reveals, this book was long in the making, and it’s the first of several Gil Kane-related works that Fantagraphics will publish in the coming years.

 

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

Time Codes:

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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.

Episode 264: Our Favorite Comics of 2017

Time Codes:

  • 00:00:27 – Introduction
  • 00:03:14 – Contexts and caveats
  • 00:11:32 – Our favorite comics of 2017
  • 02:09:06 – Wrapping up our favorites, and honorable mentions
  • 02:13:52 – Contact us

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And the Winner Is…

Paul and Derek are back with The Comics Alternative‘s annual “Favorites” episode. This is where the Two Guys share what they consider to be the best comics of the past year. Usually this year-end show is released as the very last regular review episode of each year, but this time around the guys had to postpone the recording due to family issues. But we’re not far from the end of 2017, and Paul and Derek wanted to get the show out in as timely a manner as possible. So here you have it, the Two Guys’ 10 favorite titles of 2017:

Paul’s Top 10 of 2017

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Derek’s Top 10 of 2017

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The Honorable Mentions…These Titles Almost, but Just Didn’t Quite, Make It onto Each Guy’s List

For Paul

For Derek

Comics Alternative, Episode 263: Reviews of Now #2, The Strumpet #5, and Barbarella # 1 & #2

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Time Codes:

  • 00:00:32 – Introduction
  • 00:03:00 – Catching up with flu-ridden Gene
  • 00:04:21 – Now #2
  • 00:44:07 – The Strumpet #5
  • 01:11:49 – Barbarella #1 & #2
  • 01:26:56 – Wrap up
  • 01:27:55 – Contact us

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Anthologies, Origins, and Rebirths

This week Gene and Derek discuss three recent titles, two of which are anthologies and one a blast from the past. They begin with the second issue of Fantagraphics’ Now, edited by Eric Reynolds. As the guys mention, this one is comprised of various comics that run the gamut of art and narrative styles. While some of the contributions are more “traditional” in their storytelling presentation — such as the pieces by Susan Jonaitis and Graham Chaffee, Ariel López V., Dash Shaw, and Joseph Remnant — others challenge our understanding of the medium. Short works by Fabio Zimbres, Conxita Herrero, and James Turek are just some of the stories in this issue that experiment with how comics mediate narrative.

Next, the guys turn to another anthology, The Strumpet #5. Edited by Ellen Lindner and Glynnis Fawkes, this collection was successfully Kickstarted last year, and the theme of this volume is origins. As Gene and Derek point out, this understanding of “origins” is rather broad, with some of the contributions focusing on origins of identity, origins of awareness, origins of memories, origins of myths, origins of tyrants (Donald Trump, anyone?), origins of sexuality, and origins via birth. This is a transatlantic anthology, with creators from both North America and the UK providing a diversity of story and style. Gene had been familiar with some previous issues of The Strumpet, but this was Derek’s first exposure to the anthology. And he is sorry he hadn’t discovered it earlier.

The Two Guys with PhDs wrap up by looking at a new series from Dynamite Entertainment that brings back a classic, and controversial, figure from the 1960s. Barbarella is Mike Carey and Kenan Yarar’s contemporary take on Jean-Claude Forest’s legendary protagonist. The cheesecakey emphasis and the eroticism is definitely a part of this title, but Carey gives the space-traveling Barbarella more agency, making her more heroic, and less of a passive vessel, than Forest’s original incarnation. The guys discuss the first two issues of the series, the second of which was just recently released, and both Derek and Gene are hooked.

Comics Alternative, Episode 261: Reviews of Generation Gone, Vol. 1, Assassinistas #1, and Love and Rockets IV #4

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Time Codes:

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Hackers, Assassins, and Locas

This week Gwen and Derek take a look at three recent and exciting titles. They begin with the first trade collection of Aleš Kot and André Lima Araújo’s Generation Gone (Image Comics). This initial volume establishes the premise of the intriguing series. The story focuses on three hackers who attempt to get into government systems, are discovered, and “infected” with genetic codes that give them supernatural powers. Gwen points out that, in some ways, this narrative is reminiscent of Katsuhiro Otomo’s Akira, although as Derek mentions, Kot and Araújo’s world isn’t anything post-apocalyptic. This first volume introduces what promises to be an engaging series and whets readers’ appetites for what may follow.

Next, the Two People with PhDs Talking about Comics turn to the first of two Hernandez-infused comics covered this week. The first is Gilbert Hernandez and Tini Howard’s Assassinistas #1, part of IDW Publications’ and Shelly Bond’s Black Crown imprint. The debut issue introduces us to three former assassins, two of which — at least as far as we know — have left that life and are attempting to “go legitimate” and live a normal life. However, drama erupts when one of the team, Charlotte “Scarlet” La Costa, has her son kidnapped, bringing another team member, Octavia “Red October” Price, back into a life she thought she had left behind her. And what of the third member of this one-time trio, Rosalyn “Blood” Diamond?  Both of the cohosts enjoyed this title, although the paratextual material in the back of this issue, commentary from editor Shelly Bond, is a bit conspicuous and doesn’t add much.

Finally, Derek and Gwen wrap up by discussing the latest issue of Love and Rockets IV (Fantagraphics). This fourth issue picks up with the various storylines that both Jaime and Gilbert Hernandez have established going back to the previous Love and Rockets annuals. For Jaime, this means continuing the Princess Animus and Isle narratives, as well as giving us glimpses into both Maggie’s and Hopey’s pasts growing up in Hoppers. And then there’s Derek’s favorite part of this issue, a two-page focus on Ray that follows up on the events in The Love Bunglers. Gilbert’s contributions gives us a brief glimpse into Killer’s career choices, but there is also a Pipo storyline where this foundational character tries to come to terms with a relationship she once had in Palomar. In fact, in extended flashbacks, we’re taken back to “classic” Palomar and characters we haven’t seen for quite a while. But as Derek points out, one of the most striking things about this issue is that we see little of Fritz…and no mention at all of any Fritz imitators. A rarity in recent Love and Rockets issues!