Comic News Insider Episode 763 – CNI Decoded!

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Comic News Insider: Episode 763 is now available for free download! Click on the link or get it through iTunes! Sponsored by Dynamic Forces.

Reviews: Atomic Robo Presents Real Science Adventures #1, Batman The Shadow #1, Big Moose One Shot, Night Owl Society #1, American Gods, Superheroes Decoded 

Jon Hoche joins Jimmy once again to co-host! They chat about Star Wars Day and Free Comic Book Day this week. News includes: Eisner nominations are in, M. Night Shyamalan announces sequel to Unbreakable, Marvel has joined Comixology Unlimited,  Gene Luen Yang and Panda Express are releasing a new The Green Turtle comic and more! Leave your iTunes comments! 5 stars and nothing but love! Also, get a hold of us!

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Comics Alternative for Young Readers: Reviews of Compass South, Secret Coders: Paths and Portals, and Level Up

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This month, Andy and Gwen discuss a three graphic novels for young readers that are written by pairs of comics creators. Compass South (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) brings together Hope Larson (Chiggers; A Wrinkle in Time) with Rebecca Mock, a New York-based freelance illustrator, while the other two titles are written by Gene Luen Yang in collaboration with Mike Holmes on Secret Coders 2: Paths and Portals (First Second) and with Thien Pham on Level Up (Square Fish).

To begin the show, Gwen introduces readers to the premise of Larson and Mock’s exciting middle-grade graphic novel Compass South. Set in 1860, this fast-paced, colorful text follows the adventures of a pair of twelve-year-old redheaded twins, Alexander and Cleopatra Dodge. Orphaned as infants upon the death of their mother, the twins are transported to New York City to be raised by the kindly Mr. Dodge, a working class immigrant from Ireland who had once been in love with the twins’ mother. The children have received as an inheritance a pocket watch and a knife, and it turns out that these objects hold secret information that a corrupt pirate and his gang hope to uncover. When the twins’ father mysteriously disappears, Alex suggests that they travel to San Francisco and pose as the long lost children of a wealthy industrialist. In order to participate in the ruse, Cleopatra cuts her hair, dons boys’ clothes, and escapes with Alex to New Orleans. There, things become very complicated when they run into another set of redheaded twins, Silas and Edwin, who also plan to sail to San Francisco and present themselves to the industrialist. Chaos descends as the two pairs of twins are split up, and everyone from a street gang leader in New York and a SecretCoders2-interiorviolent, blood-thirsty pirate chase the children across the globe. Andy praises the novel for its character development and technical brilliance, and Gwen notes that the use of cross dressing allows Larson and Mock the ability to comment upon gendered expectations, both in the nineteenth century and today. Compass South ends on a cliffhanger that will be addressed in the second volume of the series, Knife’s Edge, coming out in 2017.

Next, Andy introduced Gene Luen Yang and Mike Holmes’s second volume in their Secret Coders series, a set of STEM-oriented graphic novel for middle grade readers. Set in the austere Stately Academy, Secret Coders 2: Paths and Portals takes up immediately where the initial volume ends, with friends Hopper, Eni, and Josh using the principles of coding to solve mysteries. Andy notes that readers will want to be sure to have read the first book before moving on to this second, but he explains that the effort will be rewarding. Secret Coders 2 is action-packed, filled with humor, and encourages young readers to learn more about coding. Gwen agrees, pointing out that even though a lot of instruction goes on in the text, Yang and Holmes present coding lessons as part of a well-integrated plot that follows the experiences of three highly developed protagonists. Gwen also encourages listeners to check out the Secret Coders blog for more information on coding for kids.

For their final review, Andy and Gwen discusses Gene Luen Yang’s collaboration with illustrator Thien Pham on Level Up, a coming-of-age graphic novel that was first published in 2011. The reissued volume is printed on a heavy, glossy paper stock that serves as an excellent medium for Pham’s masterful watercolor illustrations. The story follows Dennis Ouyang, the child of Chinese immigrants, who struggles to reconcile his love of video games with his desire to fulfill his parents’ wishes that he become a gastroenterologist. Given that the comic takes Dennis from grade school through to medical school, Level Up will be of interest to a wide audience, from middle school readers up to adults. After Gwen provides young listeners with an enthralling description of gastroenterology, the two PhDs consider how Level Up incorporates Yang’s interest in faith and magical realism, as well as his interest in describing the immigrant experience.

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Comic News Insider Episode 701 – No Sleep til SDCC!

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Comic News Insider: Episode 700 is now available for free download! Click on the link or get it through iTunes! Sponsored by Dynamic Forces.

Reviews: Kong of Skull Island #1, New Super-Man #1, Powerpuff Girs Vol 3 #1, Ghostbusters

No rest for the podcaster! The epic 700th episode went down last week and now it’s off to San Diego for Comic Con! Because of all the mad planning and prepping, Jimmy does a quickie solo episode to let you know what his media coverage/plans are for this year’s SDCC. He recruits some friends to do some mp3 reviews for him so it’s not entirely all Jimmy all the time. You’re welcome! Thanks to Rich, Emily, Monica and John for sending their audio reviews in. News includes: a new Jessica Jones comic is coming from Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Gaydos, DC/Vertigo is bringing a comic book sequel to the 1987 film The Lost Boys, Betty Boop returns to comic books via Dynamite Entertainment, Dark Horse announces more adult coloring books including Star Trek and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Bryan Lee O’Malley has a new graphic novel trilogy coming your way.

Jimmy will do an SDCC recap next week and will probably just release SDCC specials for 2-3 weeks to catch up on life. So, no regular format podcast for at a bit. Hope you enjoy all the massive coverage he’s going to get! And if you see him out there, say “hi”!

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Comic News Insider Episode 699 – Racing to 700!

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Comic News Insider: Episode 699 is now available for free download! Click on the link or get it through iTunes! Sponsored by Dynamic Forces.

Reviews:  Cryptocracy #1, Jade Street Protection Services #1, Super Human Resources #1, Zoe Dare vs Disasteroid #1

We are one episode away til the big 700th anniversary recording this Sunday! Jimmy is joined in studio by Rachel Felstein and Kristen French in the rotating co-host chair(s). They are also going to be part of the CNI Chorus this weekend as they have in the past. Oh yes, as usual, there will be songs! In this episode, we talk about more 700 happenings/guests/etc. News includes: the sad passing of TV’s Lois Lane, Noel Neill, Samuel L. Jackson says his Star Wars character, Mace Windu, is still alive, Tom Felton is joining the cast of The Flash as a series regular, Marvel is unveiling a 13′ bronze Captain America statue at SDCC, Pixar says it will only have original movies starting in 2019 and lay off sequels for awhile, and the OED has added “Scooby snack” as a word. Leave your iTunes comments! 5 stars and nothing but love! Also, get a hold of us!

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Comic News Insider Episode 686 – Civil Warring!

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Comic News Insider: Episode 686 is now available for free download! Click on the link or get it through iTunes! Sponsored by Dynamic Forces.

Reviews: Punisher Vol 10 #1, Renato Jones: One Percent #1, Smosh #1, 3 Floyds Alpha King #1, Weavers #1, Captain America: Civil War

Emmy Potter returns to the studio to co-host with Jimmy after a short absence. They chat about those Tom Hardy in Star Wars VIII and John Barrowman returning to Doctor Who rumors (but not the Fleetwood Mac ones).  News includes: Gene Yuen Lang returns to comics with Dragon Hoops, Oni Press is launching a pro-erotica/sex education imprint, Ryan North/Derek Charm will take over the Jughead series, Van Jensen named first ever Comic Book Ambassador of the United States, CBS will stream the new Star Trek series weekly, Disney will no longer self-publish platform games, Locke & Key is again in development for a TV series, SyFy has ordered Krypton to series 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 667 – Foley Artist Edition!

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Comic News Insider: Episode 667 is now available for free download! Click on the link or get it through iTunes! Sponsored by Dynamic Forces.

Reviews: A-Force Vol 2 #1, Last Contract #1, Lone Wolf 2100 Vol 2 #1, Obi-Wan and Anakin #1, The Shannara Chronicles

Jimmy is joined in studio by regular co-host Jon Hoche and newcomer/future foley artist Megan Bussiere! They chat some more Best of 2015 that they forgot about, Jimmy’s going to guest on another podcast and they focus on The Force before heading off to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens for the 3rd time (2nd for Megan)! News includes: Gene Yang named national ambassador for Young People’s Literature. Netflix will launch new Dreamworks Animation shows including Voltron, The Venture Bros. season 6 premieres January 31st, KaBoom! Studios is making Over the Garden Wall an ongoing series and the final hour long episode of Gravity Falls will air February 15. Leave your iTunes comments! 5 stars and nothing but love! Also, get a hold of us!

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ComicsVerse Podcast Episode 55: Interview with Gene Luen Yang, from SUPERMAN & AMERICAN BORN CHINESE

The ComicsVerse Podcast has already featured two episodes of the work of Gene Luen Yang yet somehow we are always left wanting to hear more from this contemporary genius. The auteur of AMERICAN BORN CHINESE, BOXERS AND SAINTS, writer of three years of THE LAST AIRBENDER, and current writer of DC Comics’ SUPERMAN, sat down with the ComicsVerse Podcast to discuss how he works, how he broke into the comics industry and the inspiration behind his work.

Each panelist had too much to ask for anyone to be satisfied, but I came out of it with the recommendation that I read Jay Stephens’ Land of Nod so that’s enough for me. Justin, Kathy, and Kay interviewed Gene along with Jo Chiang, Angela Yih, and me, Nolan Bensen. What I remember most is the widespread agreement that AMERICAN BORN CHINESE spoke to most all of us not only as Chinese-Americans, but as members of immigrant families and the immigrant movement.

HEAR: Want more AMERICAN BORN CHINESE? Listen to our first podcast covering this amazing graphic novel!

Yang’s AMERICAN BORN CHINESE tells three interweaving stories. One follows a version of the Monkey King from the prologue to Journey to the West, one of the four great novels of pre-modern China. In both the original and in this version, the head of a tribe of monkeys stumbles his way upward through the hierarchy of the Celestial Bureaucracy while mastering a series of supernatural martial arts maneuvers. This story in AMERICAN BORN CHINESE is interspersed both with that of a young Chinese-American boy’s experience in U.S. public school and the plot of an apparent sitcom episode: a white American high school student visited and accompanied to school by his Chinese racial stereotype of a cousin. I wouldn’t ruin any of the book’s middle or later plot, but let’s just say these three plotlines have more to do with each other than I expected — I was too immersed to quibble about traditional plot structures anyway.

LISTEN: Another popular graphic novel featuring Asian-Americans is SHORTCOMINGS! ComicsVerse covered it in a podcast here!

Perhaps most surprising of all is what happened when I asked Gene about his unusual plot structure and he recommended Jay Stephens’ The Land of Nod to me as one of its inspirations. Jo Chiang made the astute observation that these three highly different narratives resemble the code switching an immigrant must perform to get by in their adopted home, and although Gene said that he hadn’t even thought of this aspect, it just shows that good writing comes from truth, and truth comes from within.

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Comic News Insider Episode 589 – CNI Favorites of 2014!

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Comic News Insider: Episode 589 is now available for free download! Click on the link or get it through iTunes! Sponsored by Dynamic Forces.

Jimmy is joined in studio by The Beat’s own Heidi MacDonald and frequent co-host/pal Jon Hoche! They dive in deep and have a lengthy/lively discussion on their 2014 favorites in comic books, TV, animation, film, video games and more. So much love shown to a lot of the people and things we loved in 2014. Did we leave anything out? You’ll have to tune in for that answer and let us know your picks of the year! We do cover some news as well that includes: Image Expo announces massive slate of titles to be released, Emerald City Comic Con partners with ReedPop, animated Vixen series coming to the CW Seed, and Kate Beaton’s new collection Step Aside, Pops will be released from Drawn & Quarterly this September. Leave your iTunes comments! 5 stars and nothing but love!

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Comic News Insider Episode 559 – Even More SDCC w/ Orphan Black (Tatiana Maslany/Jordan Gavaris/Maria Doyle Kennedy/Ari Millen/Dylan Bruce/Kristian Bruun/Graeme Manson/John Fawcett) and Gene Luen Yang!

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Comic News Insider: Episode 559 is now available for free download! Click on the link or get it through iTunes! Sponsored by Dynamic Forces.

Reviews: Genius #1, Howtoons (Re)Ignition #1, Usagi Yojimbo Senso #1

Jimmy planned on having the podcast wife Erica on to co-host but due to a work commitment (on his part) he had to go solo. Next week there shall be a co-host! He discusses the demise of The Podcast Arena at New York Comic Con this year and mourns/gives tribute to one of his idols Robin Williams. Jimmy sat in the roundtables for the hit BBC America show Orphan Black and chatted with stars and producers Tatiana Maslany, Jordan Gavaris, Maria Doyle Kennedy, Ari Millen, Dylan Bruce, Kristian Bruun, Graeme Manson, and John Fawcet. The roundtables were brief as they had to rush off to their panel but we got some good questions in. Apologies for the annoying/unprofessional reporter from HGTV whom manipulated the tables with her inane questions and often interrupted talent to chat with them. Besides that, and while brief, we still managed to get some exciting news about the upcoming season! Jimmy also chatted with amazing cartoonist Gene Luen Yang about his new graphic novel The Shadow Hero and some of his awesome past comic work. News includes: a new Batman comic called Gotham by Midnight coming from Ray Fawkes/Ben Templesmith, Disney theme parks will add more Star Wars and Kyle Maclachlan joins Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Leave your iTunes comments! 5 stars and nothing but love!

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Comic News Insider Episode 553 – San Diego Comic Con Madness w/ Bryan Fuller/Susan Eisenberg/Key & Peele!

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Comic News Insider: Episode 553 is now available for free download! Click on the link or get it through iTunes! Sponsored by Dynamic Forces.

Jimmy is in L.A. post-Comic Con so he flies solo to bring you some awesome San Diego Comic Con coverage! He chatted with Bryan Fuller (Hannibal), Susan Eisenberg (voice of Wonder Woman) and the hilarious comedians Kegean-Michael Key and Jordan Peele of Key & Peele. Jimmy gives his brief recap of the week (well, as brief as he can keep it!) with some cool moments thrown in for your listening pleasure. We also get a quick bit from Sina Grace (Jimmy’s host in L.A.) about his upcoming return to Li’l Depressed Boy in October. And a quickie mp3 from Kat Rocha/Josh Finney about their awesome World War Kaiju comic. No reviews or Top 3 due to the all the coverage! News includes:  Marvel announces Star Wars comics from Jason Aaron/John Cassaday, Kieron Gillen/Salvador Larocca, Mark Waid/Terry Dodson, Spider-Woman gets her own ongoing, the Agents of SHIELD TV series gets adapted to comics, a Guardians of the Galaxy animated series is coming, DC announces two animated features (Batman vs Robin & Justice League: Gods & Monsters), IDW will bring Orphan Black, Edward Scissorhands and Galaxy Quest comics, Image announces massive slate of new comics, Dark Horse will have a new Hellboy title, Gal Gadot is revealed in her Wonder Woman outfit at Comic Con, exclusive Avengers 2 trailer shows Ultron and resulting destruction, Avengers 3 will feature Thanos, Ant-Man film announces new casting, Batman: The Complete Television Series is available November 11, Robert Kirkman’s Outcast is coming to Cinemax, and congrats to all the Eisner winners! Leave your iTunes comments! 5 stars and nothing but love!

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Comic News Insider Episode 552 – SDCC Bound!

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Comic News Insider: Episode 552 is now available for free download! Click on the link or get it through iTunes! Sponsored by Dynamic Forces.

Reviews: Doctor Who: The Tenth Doctor #1, Doctor Who: The Eleventh Doctor #1, Harley Quinn Invades Comic-Con International San Diego #1, Life With Archie #36, Squidder #1, Snowpiercer

Producer Joe joins Jimmy before he heads off to San Diego Comic Con! They chat about what Jimmy will be covering in the show and the madness that will ensue all week. News includes: Thor will be female, Sam Wilson aka Falcon will be Captain America, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Powers and The Flash TV shows get casting, Duane “The Rock” Johnson may have let slip that he’s playing Shazam, Dynamite gets The Spirit, Valiant’s Archer & Armstrong heading to big screen, Archie’s Dark Circle Comics annunces first titles, Geoff Johns confirms that the DC film and TV universes will remains separate, and the Harvey Awards nominations are out! Leave your iTunes comments! 5 stars and nothing but love!

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Comic News Insider Episode 356 – Movin’ On Up w/ Ben Templesmith!


Comic News Insider: Episode 356 is now available for free download! Click on the link or get it through iTunes! Sponsored by Dynamic Forces.

Reviews: The Bionic Man #1, Superman Beyond #0, The Ultimates #1

Ben Templesmith, Jimmy’s future new roommate (in 1 day), sits in the guest co-host chair this episode. They discuss the antics they’ll get up to as roomies and the inevitable blackmail pictures that will follow. Jimmy has a villain named after him in this week’s episode of Warehouse 13. (Thanks to pals and W13 writers Ben Raab & Deric Hughes for that!). News includes: JSA will return to new DCU, Marvel will publish The Destroyers and upgrades Alpha Flight to a full series, Brian Wood’s DC & Marvel work, Deadman TV show in the works at the CW, Showtime picks up The Damned, and Gene Luen Yang does an Avatar: The Last Airbender comic book! As always, Listener Feedback, the Top 3 and more! Leave your iTunes comments! 5 stars and nothing but love!

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