This past weekend was HeroesCon 2018, and while there Derek was a part of two different scholarly panels. One was about the relationship between print and digital comics texts, “Between Pen and Pixel,” a recording of which was released earlier this week. The second was a panel based on the book by Paul Karasik and Mark Newgarden, How to Read Nancy: The Elements of Comics in Three Easy Panels. Andy Mansell, who oversees the programming every year at HeroesCon, wanted to pull together a panel of scholars to discuss the significance of How to Read Nancy and its potential place in the classroom and in scholarship. In addition, he wanted the panelists to discuss other important books about comics, comics history, and formal aspects of the medium. Other panelists included the former cohost of The Comics Alternative, Andy Kunka, Craig Fischer, Jennie Law, and the new cohost for the podcast’s bi-monthly on-location episodes, Michael Kobre. The resulting panel, “How to Read Nancy and Other Indispensable Books about Comics,” is part of the ongoing series of panels that Andy Mansell organizes every year, which he calls the “Comics Canon.”
A big thanks to Andy Mansell, not only for pulling together this panel, but for all of the hard he does every year in overseeing the programming at HeroesCon.
This past weekend at HeroesCon in Charlotte, NC, Derek was on a panel based on a recent book by Aaron Kashtan, Between Pen and Pixel: Comics, Materiality, and the Book of the Future (Ohio State University Press). Aaron pulled together several comics scholars — in addition to Derek, his former cohost, Andy Kunka, and Craig Fischer — along with Matt Kindt, whose work Aaron sites extensively in his book. This episode is a recording of that panel, which explored what comics can tell us about the future of the printed word (as well as the digital text), the book industry, and comics as an art object.
Stay tuned over the next week for more HeroesCon episodes!
00:04:30 – The Hernandez brothers panel at HeroesCon
01:08:05 – Wrap up
01:09:46 – Contact us
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.
Last weekend was HeroesCon, and as they have for the past few years, Andy and Derek are on the scene in Artists Alley reporting the event from the floor. On this episode, you’ll hear the Two Guys sharing their varied experiences at the con. Among other topics they discuss the vendors they visited and the comics they were able to find, their attempts to interview creators at their tables, the two high-powered panels they moderated, the various artists they had signing their comics, the tone of this year’s crowd, Derek’s cool Space Babes shirt (design by Beto), the uncertainty of their table location, and their Saturday night dinner with Gilbert Hernandez’s family. And both Derek and Andy are most thankful for the various fans who stopped by their table to say “Hello!” and tell them that they’re avid listeners.
Much thanks to Daniel Yezbick for providing the pictures of the Two Guys in action!
In the second of two on-location interview episodes recorded at this year’s HeroesCon in Charlotte, NC, Derek talks with Fabian Rangel, Jr. (author of Tarantula), Charles Forsman (Slasher), Chris Sheridan (Motorcycle Samurai), Shawn Pryor (Cash and Carrie), and Alison Sampson (Winnebago Graveyard), and Andy and Derek speak with Darren Neely (Chase Van Bolt). Fun stuff!
Stay tuned over the next week for more HeroesCon episodes!
In the first of two on-location interview episodes recorded at this year’s HeroesCon in Charlotte, NC, Derek talks with a variety of artists, writers, and editors. Some of these are creators with whom Derek was already familiar, some have even talked on the podcast before, and some are are new discoveries. In this show you’ll hear brief discussions with Ben Sears (author of Volcano Trash), Abby Howard (The Last Halloween), Jody Leheup and Sebastian Girner (Shirtless Bear Fighter), Andy Hirsch (Science Comics: Dogs), Matthew David Smith and Jeremy Massie (Amazing Age), Tyler Chin-Tanner (Broken Frontier), Sam Costello (Split Lip Comics), and Thom Zahler (Time and Vine).
Stay tuned over the next week for other episodes generated at this year’s HeroesCon!
In the last of The Comics Alternative‘s four episodes created while at HeroesCon 2016, the Two Guys present a recording of panel discussion on which they participated, “The Comics Canon: Reloaded!!!! Fire!!!!” This event took place on the afternoon of Sunday, the last day of the convention, and it was organized and moderated by Andy Mansell. Others participating on the panel included Mark Englebrecht (from the Charlotte Mecklenburg Libraries), Craig Fisher (Appalachian State University), Tom Heintjes (Hogan’s Alley), and Craig Yoe (Yoe! Books).
The discussants covered a lot of ground on the panel, so much so that the session lasted longer than its scheduled hour. Andy Mansell kept the conversation flowing, posing a series of questions regarding the formation, the benefits, and the liabilities of a comics canon, and there was healthy response from the audience.
A note about the sound quality of this recording: About 10 1/2 minutes into the panel recording, there is a slight break that cuts out around 30 seconds of the session. This is because the convention’s sound technicians momentarily stopped the recording device so as to hook it up to the room’s sound system, which would provide cleaner recording. Also, questions and comments from both Andy Mansell and the audience might not be as clear, at times, and this is because they didn’t have microphones to target their voices.
Panelists from left to right include Mark Englebrecht, Tom Heintjes, Craig Fisher, Andy Kunka, Derek Royal, and Craig Yoe. Moderator Andy Mansell is sitting in front and facing the panel.
Be sure to check out the guys’ other recordings from this year’s HeroesCon:
While Andy and Derek were at HeroesCon last weekend, they talked briefly with a variety of creators in Artists Alley — see last Tuesday’s show for those conversations — but they also had the chance to sit down for longer, more substantive interviews. And they made it a point to do so with Miss Lasko-Gross and Kevin Colden, the creators behind the new series from Z2 Comics, The Sweetness. The first issue has just been released, so the guys had the opportunity, thanks to Miss and Kevin, to read it and ask their guests about this unique title. Miss and Kevin describe The Sweetness as a mix between Star Wars and Breaking Bad, where a group of ex-cons and low-level criminals work for a UPS-like delivery service in space…but with a focus on badass women smugglers. Derek and Andy ask specifically about the two unlikely paired female protagonists, Nelly and Scout, but they also discuss their inept male companion Bachmaan, a curious character who Miss admits to not being able to kill off, especially given the way that Kevin has drawn him. The two guests also discuss their working relationship, the benefits and challenges of being married and working on the same title. In fact, Miss and Kevin work so productively together that many times during the interview, the Two Guys just sit back and let their guests carry the back-and-forth. The result is an engaging conversation about this promising new series, one that the guys hope will be shuttling illegal cargo for a long time.
This past weekend, Andy and Derek attended HeroesCon in Charlotte, NC, where they had a table in Artists Alley. On each of the three days of the event they recorded brief segments about their experiences at the con, the people they met, the panels they attended, and the comics they were able to find. So for this week’s episode, you’ll hear those recordings and get to experience the 2016 HeroesCon vicariously through the unique perspectives of the Two Guys with PhDs Talking about Comics. Among the many things discussed are the guys’ encounters with creators in Artists Alley, Andy’s attempts to sell his Harley Quinn– and Suicide Squad-related comics, the unexpected physical dangers of tabling at the con, Derek’s spirited find of Will Eisner reprints, the travails of trying to sell branded merchandise when you’re not an artist, old racist comic books, and cosplayers who really don’t give a damn what people think. But, as with last year’s event, the highlight of HeroesCon 2016 was meeting dedicated fans of The Comics Alternative podcast and meeting new people who are sure to become new listeners. And during the guys’ daily recordings, they talk with some of these individuals on mic.
Much thanks to the Two Guys’ dedicated and lovely assistant, Zoe Royal, for helping out at the table and for taking pictures of the guys in action on the floor of Artists Alley!
In the first of four episodes created at this year’s HeroesCon in Charlotte, NC, Andy and Derek talk with a variety of artists, writers, and editors. Well…Derek talked with everyone. By his own admission, Andy was a little lazy, sitting back and letting Derek do all of the work with the microphone. Regardless, the result is a series of brief interviews with diverse creators, some who have been on the podcast before (such as Andy Hirsch and Ryan Browne) and others whose work the guys have just discovered. On this episode you will hear conversations with
On Friday of last week, the first day of HeroesCon, both Andy and Derek participated on a discussion panel, “Teaching Comics through a Historical Context.” This was organized by Shawn and Adam Daughhetee of the Dollar Bin podcast — who have been putting together these kind of panels at the con for several years — and the focus of the discussion was on understanding comics within their temporal/cultural contexts and using them in the classroom as a way to teach history. Participating on the panel along with the Two Guys were Will Allred from the University of Arkansas, Tom Heintjes of Hogan’s Alley, and Brian Puaca who teaches history at Christopher Newport University. Shawn Daughhetee moderated the proceedings. There was a sizable audience at the event, and the conversation was so congenial and productive that the moderator let the discussion extend beyond the panel’s allotted time.
In the second of two on-location interview episodes recorded at last weekend’s HeroesCon — the first episode went up yesterday — Derek talks with even more artists tabling in Artists Alley. He begins with a conversation with Nate Simpson, discussing the recent release of Nonplayer #2, the long gap between the first and second issues, and Nate’s plans for carrying the title forward. Next, Derek talks with Ed Piskor about the upcoming release of Hip Hop Family Tree, Book 3, Fantagraphics’ landmark decision to release his title as their first monthly series, and Ed’s gold watch. After that, he discusses the webcomics Vattu and Rice Boywith Evan Dahm, along with the artist’s plans for eventually releasing the entire saga of Vattu in hardcopy. Then Derek heads to the shared table of Gabriel Dunston and Aaron Walther — which is almost next to The Comics Alternative‘s table! He talks with Gabe about Kickstarter and his work on the second Purgatory Pub book, and then he learns about Aaron’s series, Zero’s Heroes and Science Hero. Then, in one of the highlights of the con, Derek makes Ryan Browne laugh before learning the sad news that God Hates Astronauts will soon be going on hiatus. Following Ryan’s talk, Jamal Igle discusses the new Molly Danger series as well as his work at Action Lab Studios, and then Frank Barbiere shares some words about the secrets to his prolific output…Five Ghosts, White Suits, Black Market, and Solar: Man of Action, anyone? Then, in the last hours of this year’s HeroesCon, Derek is able to talk with Kyle Starks about his experiences after Sexcastle, with Jeremy Whitley about Princeless and ethnoracial issues in comics, and with Matthew Roberts about art and the success of Manifest Destiny.
A big THANK YOU to all of the creators attending HeroesCon who took the time to talk with us. We couldn’t do these shows without you!
While Derek and Andy W. were at HeroesCon last weekend, they were able to meet a variety of artists and writers tabling in Artists Alley. Many of these creators took time from their busy schedules — talking with fans, signing books, and working on commissions — to talk with the guys for a few minutes, discussing their works and sharing their experiences at the con. This episode of the podcast includes brief conversations with ten different artists and that, taken together, demonstrate the creative diversity to be found at this year’s HeroesCon. First, Derek talks with Sophie Goldstein and Jenn Jordan about their webcomic-turned-book, Darwin Carmichael is Going to Hell, as well as Sophie’s Ignatz Award-winning House of Womenand the recently published The Oven. After that, Andy has a conversation with Michel Fiffe about his ongoing Copra series and his recent work on various Marvel titles. This is followed by another f**k-filled conversation with Tom Neely and Keenan Marshall Keller (who were just on the podcast last month) about the reception to the latest issue of The Humans, and then a more toned-down discourse with friend-of-the-podcast Craig Yoe on his experiences at HeroesCon, Weird Love, his enjoyment of cosplayers, and an awards message that he delivers for Steve Ditko. Next, Andy talks with Royden Lepp about his high-octane adventure series, Rust, and his process of writing for young readers. This is followed by conversations with Justin Jordan about Spread, Dead Body Road, and the return of Luther Strode, and with Hoyt Silva on the reaction to his and Josh Blaylock’s Operation Nemesis: A Story of Genocide and Revenge. Finally, Derek wraps up this this on-location interview segment by talking with Max Dowdle about his fine art background and his graphic novel Shattered with Curve of Horn.
This is the first of two interview shows conducted at this year’s HeroesCon. The second episode will go up tomorrow.