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!

Comic News Insider Episode 826 – It’s Time For Ani-CNIacs!

Comic News Insider: Episode 826 is now available for free download! Click on the link or get it through iTunes! Sponsored by Dynamic Forces.

Reviews: Batman And The Signal #1, Phoenix Resurrection Return Of (Adult) Jean Grey #1-2, Rise Of The Black Panther #1, Rogue & Gambit #1 

Emily Edwards returns to the rotating co-host chair this week! Since she missed last week’s “Best of 2017” podcast, she gives us her 3 picks of the year. Eventually. News includes: new Animaniacs episodes are coming to Hulu, Syfy will adapt George R.R. Martin’s scifi novella Nightflyers, Marvel is bringing back The Exiles and more! Leave your iTunes comments! 5 stars and nothing but love! Also, get a hold of us!

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Comic News Insider Episode 825 – The Best of 2017!

Comic News Insider: Episode 825 is now available for free download! Click on the link or get it through iTunes! Sponsored by Dynamic Forces.

Heidi MacDonald (The Beat) returns to join Jimmy in the annual “Best of 2017” podcast! While there were many amazing comic books, TV shows, films and more…these are the best picks that THEY happen to read/watch. They probably missed some of your favorites but hope you check out what they really enjoyed in 2017. I mean, just check out that picture above. They covered A LOT! They’re definitely more loquacious than laconic so buckle up for a long ride! So many great creators in comics this year and quite a few got multiple kudos throughout the podcast. Thanks to Penelope Bagieu, Emil Ferris, Tillie Walden, Tom King, Greg Pak, Sina Grace and many others for bringing us such amazing work last year. Looking forward to all of your future projects! Drop us a line and let us know what some of your favorites were so we can check them out. Leave your iTunes comments! 5 stars and nothing but love! Also, get a hold of us!

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Comic News Insider Episode 824 – Sucked Into Jumanji!

Comic News Insider: Episode 824 is now available for free download! Click on the link or get it through iTunes! Sponsored by Dynamic Forces.

Reviews: Wormwood Gentleman Corpse Christmas Special, 30 Days Of Night Vol 3 #1, Assassinistas #1, X-Men Grand Design #1, Doctor Who Christmas Special, Jumanji

Emily Edwards returns for some nerdy banter! She and Jimmy have an impromptu chat/review about Star Wars: The Last Jedi and hope everyone had a great Christmas/holiday! News includes: Brian Michael Bendis’ last Marvel comic will be Iron Man #600, The Last Jedi‘s kick ass sisters (Rose & Paige) will be getting a comic book prequel and more! Leave your iTunes comments! 5 stars and nothing but love! Also, get a hold of us!

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Comic News Insider Episode 820 – Runaway with CNI!

Comic News Insider: Episode 820 is now available for free download! Click on the link or get it through iTunes! Sponsored by Dynamic Forces.

Reviews: Betty & Veronica Vixens #1, Doctor Radar #1, Doomsday Clock #1, Big Hero Six animated series, Runaways, Teen Titans Go! 200th episode

Jimmy had to fly solo in this episode so he reached out to some of his CNI crew/friends to get some quick audio reviews. Big ups to Producer Joe, Marta, Heidi and Tony! News includes: Lennie James will crossover from The Walking Dead to Fear the Walking Dead, the contracts for the cinematic Avengers is ending soon, a live Daphne and Velma movie is coming 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: Tim Lane

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Time Codes:

  • 00:00:24 – Introduction
  • 00:02:24 – Setup of interview
  • 00:04:23 – Interview with Tim Lane
  • 02:13:48 – Wrap up
  • 02:15:18 – Contact us

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The Great American Mythological Drama

On this interview episode Derek talks with Tim Lane about his series Happy Hour in America, Vol. 2, the first issue of which is just being released from Fantagraphics Books. This isn’t the first time that Tim has been interviewed on The Comics Alternative. In January 2015, Derek published on the blog a text-based conversation with him that he had conducted via email. That was a insightful and substantive interview, but the current one goes even further, allowing Tim not only to comment on his current work, but to delve into a variety of other topics, such as the business side of the medium, the state of comic books as a publishing platform, and matters of comics pedagogy. But the core of the conversation concerns Tim’s latest efforts in this new volume of Happy Hour in America, his fascination with twentieth-century Americana, his previous collections — Abandoned Cars and The Lonesome Go — and the interpretive biography he currently has underway, Just Like Steve McQueen. This is an unusually long interview, running just over two hours, but it’s an engaging conversation that will introduce you to Tim’s “Great American Mythological Drama.”

And be sure to support Tim Lane on Patreon!

 

Comics Alternative, Episode 258: Our Fifth Annual Thanksgiving Show

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Pass the Pie

thanksgiving2016

Thanksgiving is tomorrow, and the folks at The Comics Alternative all gather around the virtual table to share what they are thankful for in terms of comics and comics culture. Pulling up a seat this year are Gwen, Paul, Sean, Gene, Edward, and Derek. Among the many things that they’re thankful for are

What more could one ask for in a holiday podcast episode? Well…maybe some pie.

ForbiddenWorldsThanksgiving

 

Comics Alternative Interviews: Joseph Remnant

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Time Codes:

  • 00:00:24 – Introduction
  • 00:02:33 – Setup of interview
  • 00:03:45 – Interview with Joseph Remnant
  • 01:18:05 – Wrap up
  • 01:19:38 – Contact us

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Growth

Derek is pleased to have Joseph Remnant on the podcast. His new book, Cartoon Clouds, was released last month from Fantagraphics. This is a graphic novel in the truest sense, a work of fiction that explores the nuances of relationships, defining yourself, and growing apart from those with whom you were once close. As Joseph reveals, this is a narrative that began in serial installments on a website he once maintained with Noah Van Sciver, but it soon developed into something more complex and ambitious. Most of the interview is devoted to Cartoon Clouds, but Derek also asks his guest about his comic-book series Blindspot and his illustration work with Harvey Pekar. Along the way Joseph talks about his contribution in the upcoming second issue of Now, and he hints at some of the new work he currently has underway.

Joseph will be at CAB, Comic Arts Brooklyn, this coming weekend. If you’re in the area, be sure to stop by and tell him hello and that you heard him on The Comics Alternative!

Comics Alternative, Episode 253: Reviews of Lighter Than My Shadow, Now #1, and The Family Trade #1

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Time Codes:

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Hungry for Art

This week Paul and Derek take on three exciting new titles. They begin with a moving memoir from UK creator Katie Green, Lighter Than My Shadow (Roar-Lion Forge). In this work, Green reveals the eating disorders she struggled with as a young girl and into adulthood. Growing up obsessive-compulsive, Green chronicles how this condition contributed to her anorexic behavior, later evolving into problems with binging. Green also narrates her many attempts to address these problems with various doctors and therapists, the most notorious of whom ends up sexually abusing her…providing even more obstacles to her recovery. The guys are impressed by Green’s honesty and storytelling abilities — particularly taken by her art and the visual metaphors she employs throughout — although toward the end of their conversation about this title, they wonder if perhaps the memoir could have been streamlined just a little. This is a 500+ page text, after all.

Next, the Two Guys look at a brand new anthology from Fantagraphics, Now #1. Edited by Eric Reynolds, this collection of diverse and experimental comic art brings to mind Fantagraphics previous anthology, Mome (which both Derek and Paul dearly miss). In fact, the guys begin their discussion of Now by referencing the earlier anthology, with Paul feeling that the latest efforts are more experimental than Mome, while Derek see it as more similar to the previous series. The only difference is number of new and/or unfamiliar creators in Now (and, Derek argues, such was also the case several years ago with Mome). Some of the standouts in this first issue of Now are Dash Shaw’s “Scorpio,” Gabrielle Bell’s “Dear Naked Guy…,” Sammy Harkham’s “I, Marlon,” Malachi Ward and Matt Sheean’s “Widening Horizon,” and especially Noah Van Sciver’s “Wall of Shame” (for Derek, the best of the collection). But the guys are also impressed, and at times curiously confused, by the contributions from creators that are new to them, such as Sara Corbett, J.C. Menu, Antoine Cossé, and Kaela Graham. But as Paul and Derek argue, the entire issue of Now is compelling and works successfully as an anthology. They can’t wait until the second issue, due for release in January.

Finally, the Two Guys wrap up with a discussion of Justin Jordan, Nikki Ryan, and Morgan Beem’s The Family Trade #1 (Image Comics). This is another example of the kind of world-building often found at Image, and it’s the story of a neutral territory in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, the Float, ruled by the descendants of the ship captains that originally founded the realm — called the Clans — and the Family, descendants of the hands who had worked for the captains. This first issue opens with the protagonist, Jessa Wynn, attempting to assassinate Stagger Berghardt, a Trump-like charismatic demagogue who appeals to the base instincts of the citizens of the Float. She bungles the assassination, but her efforts put into motion a series of encounters that will propel the narrative into the next issues. Both Derek and Paul are impressed by this first issue, especially Beem’s art, and both plan on remaining on board for the rest of the series.

Comics Alternative Interviews: Back with Sophie Goldstein

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Time Codes:

  • 00:00:24 – Introduction
  • 00:02:39 – Setup of interview
  • 00:04:28 – Interview with Sophie Goldstein
  • 01:16:41 – Wrap up
  • 01:18:21 – Contact us

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Sci-Fi and the Art of Psycho-Sexual Drama

On this episode of The Comics Alternative‘s interview series, Paul and Derek are pleased to talk with Sophie Goldstein. Her new book, House of Women, was recently published by Fantagraphics, and she talks with the Two Guys about her four-year process of creating her narrative. As Sophie describes it, this is a psycho-sexual sci-fi drama about a group of female missionaries who travel to a distant planet to help educate — and colonize — the local population. Complications ensue when an earlier missionary, Jael Dean, goes native and becomes the focus of rival affections. During their insightful conversation, Goldstein discusses the genesis of the project, how it springs from her love of the film Black Narcissus and how it began as a thesis while she was at the Center for Cartoon Studies. She also reveals her strategies for composing her protagonists, the evolution of the storyline, and the history of originally self-publishing her work in three parts.

Be sure to check out Sophie Goldstein’s Patreon page, as well as her previous times on the podcast:

Comics Alternative, Episode 252: Reviews of Spinning, Love and Rockets, Vol. 4 #3, and Slots #1

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Time Codes:

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On the Ice, in the Casino

On this week’s episode of The Comics Alternative, Paul joins Derek in discussing three exciting new titles. They begin with Spinning, Tillie Walden’s new book and her initial release for First Second. What makes this work stand out from her previous comics, such as The End of Summer and I Love This Part, is that it is an outright memoir. This is a coming-of-age narrative, and Walden uses her history of competitive ice skating as a scaffolding for her life story. There’s a lot in this memoir about her chosen sport, but Spinning is much more than a book about skating. In it, we see Walden’s key relationships, her search for a mother figure, and her coming out to family and friends.

Next, the guys check out the latest issue of Love and Rockets (Fantagraphics). In this issue, the third in the magazine-sized fourth volume, both Jaime and Gilbert continue the storylines they had begun in the earlier New Stories annuals. Gilbert gives us the further adventures of Fritz, her daughters, and the Fritz wannabes, while Jaime returns to his Princess Anima story and the Hoppers punk reunion. What most strikes both Derek and Paul, however, are the two short pieces early in the issue where Jaime visits the young Maggie and Hopey in 1979. The guys hope there is more on the teenage locas in future issues.

Finally, the Two Guys wrap up by discussing the first issue of a new series from Image Comics, Dan Panosian’s Slots. This is the story of Stanley Dance, a former boxer and antihero who does what he can to get by. It takes place in Las Vegas, and both Paul and Derek are struck by how Panosian’s art, as well as his storytelling style, captures the loose and freewheeling feel of the gambling capital. They’re impressed by this first issue and plan to continue with this series.

Comics Alternative, On Location: The Hernandez Brothers Panel at HeroesCon 2017

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Time Codes:

  • 00:00:26 – Introduction
  • 00:02:22 – Setup of the recording
  • 00:04:30 – The Hernandez brothers panel at HeroesCon
  • 01:08:05 – Wrap up
  • 01:09:46 – Contact us

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A Big Deal

At this year’s HeroesCon, Andy and Derek moderated a couple of panels, one of which was entirely devoted to the Hernandez brothers, Gilbert and Jaime. In this on-location episode, you’ll hear the Two Guys talking with the brothers about their new magazine-sized Love and Rockets series, the logistics of going from an annual to a quarterly, the experiences of continuity and 35+ years of character development, their efforts (especially Gilbert’s) in producing standalone works outside of any serialized format, their historical places within the larger context of non-mainstream comics, and the brothers’ thoughts on the current state of the medium.