Comics Alternative, Episode 206: SPX 2016 and the Ignatz Awards

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Independants Day

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Time Codes:

  • 00:00:27 – Introduction
  • 00:02:34 – Derek talks about attending SPX
  • 00:07:51 – Discussion of 2016 Ignatz Awards
  • 01:37:29 – Wrap up
  • 01:38:39 – Contact us

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Last weekend was the Small Press Expo held in Bethesda, MD, and a big part of that event was the recognition of the 2016 Ignatz Award nominees. So for this week’s episode, Gwen and Derek discuss the many and diverse titles populating that list, looking for trends and making observations about this year’s selections. The nominees in all nine categories, announced last month, were chosen by a five-member jury, and then attendees voted on their favorites during the first day of the event. Gwen starts spx-ignatz_icon_sdf_2016things going by asking Derek about his experiences at SPX, and then the two plunge into the heart of the discussion. They do not run down the entire list of nominees in an organized manner, beginning with one category and then moving on to the next, but their exchange is more free-flowing and associational, taking up titles as they come up in the conversation. In this way, Gwen and Derek are able to cover about all of the nominees and draw insightful connections among many of the texts. They notice, for example, that many of the winners seem to skew younger, and that, at times, complex and longer-form storytelling doesn’t get the same kind of attention as episodic or one-off narratives. They also comment on the fact that established names within the medium, such as Daniel Clowes, Adrian Tomine, Trina Robbins, and Kim Deitch, were completely shut out in the final selection. However, Gwen and Derek do not so much emphasize the actual winners of the nine categories — although they do discuss these — as they do the broader sweep of each category’s population and what that might say about the current state of small press and indie comics.

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Comics Alternative Interviews: Carol Tyler

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You’ll Never Know

soldiers-heart-coverLast week at Small Press Expo, Derek had the opportunity to sit down with Carol Tyler for a one-on-one interview. Her book from last year, Soldier’s Heart: The Campaign to Understand My WWII Veteran Father: A Daughter’s Memoir (Fantagraphics) was up for a 2016 Ignatz Award in the “Outstanding Graphic Novel” category. Derek talked with Carol about the book’s nomination and about the impact her memoir has had on her own life since its publication. They spend a good deal of time talking about the current state of veteran’s affairs, the debilitating effects of PTSD, and how Soldier’s Heart both has and hasn’t resonated within the veteran’s community. Carol also discusses the current projects she has underway, including a follow up (sort of) to her father’s story and a project documenting the days leading up to her attending The Beatles concert at Comiskey Park in August 1965. As she tells Derek, in that work she’ll be channelling her inner 13-year-old-girl self. This is a moving and, at times, a deeply personal interview, one that reflects the sheer impact of Carol Tyler’s writing.

Derek with Carol Tyler. Photo taken by Joe Sacco.

Derek with Carol Tyler. Photo taken by Joe Sacco.

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Comics Alternative Interviews: Sophie Goldstein

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Red Is the Color

On this episode, Derek is happy to have as his guest Sophie Goldstein. Her latest book, House of Women, Part II, came out in September, and her other book from this year, The Oven, was just listed by Publisher Weekly as one of the five best comics of the year. Indeed, 2015 has been fruitful time for the young red-headed creator. Regular listeners of the podcast will know that this isn’t the first time that Sophie has been on the show. She spoke with Derek twice before at two different events, while at HeroesCon back in June and more recently at the Small Press Expo. This time, however, there isn’t the hubbub and distractions of the crowd, and the two have a more focused and leisurely conversation. Derek asks Sophie about all of the attention that her work has been getting — in addition to the Publishers Weekly selection, she’s won three Ignatz Awards over the past two years, and her story “The Good Wife” was included in Best American Comics 2013 — and if this recognition has brought any new challenges. She shares how her work has evolved since graduating from the Center for Cartoon Studies in 2013 and the opportunities available for independent, free-lancing artists. But most of the conversation is devoted to Sophie’s actual work, including The Oven (published by AdHouse), her recent contribution to Chris Duffy’s Fable Comics (First Second), the webcomic Darwin Carmichael Is Going to Hell (coauthored with Jenn Jordan), and the first two volumes of her self-published longer narrative, House of Women. Indeed, Derek asks Sophie not only about the composition of the latter, but also about her hand-crafted books as art objects. They also discuss her contributions to a variety of anthologies and collections, including The Pitchfork ReviewMaple Key ComicsIreneSymbolia, The NibDog City, and Sleep of Reason.

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Find out more about Sophie’s work by visiting her website, Red Ink Radio!

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Episode 154: SPX 2015 and the Ignatz Awards

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Smaller Is Better

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This week’s episode of the podcast is special, and in a number of ways. First, Derek and Andy W. record the show “live” from a common location and not from a distance via Skype. Also, they discuss their experiences at this year’s Small Press Expo, which took place September 19-20. Most importantly, though, this episode is notable for its focus on the 2015 Ignatz Awards, the first time that the Two Guys have discussed this industry recognition in any in-depth manner.  In fact, almost the entire episode is devoted to the Ignatz nominees, a substantial number of texts, and as a result, this show goes longer than usual. And they break up recording the show over a two-day period: the first third after day one of SPX (and before the Ignatz winners have been announced), and the final HowToBeHappysegment after the event has ended. Andy and Derek begin by sharing some of their experiences at SPX, including the people they met, the creators they talked with, the small press publishers who attended, and the general demographics of the crowd (this was a con that definitely skewed young). Then they go into a rundown of all the 2015 Ignatz Award nominees, discussing the nine different categories and briefly highlighting the five nominees under each. There are some categories, such as “Outstanding Anthology or Collection,” that the guys find a little problematic. Both Andy and Derek feel that a collection by a single artist and an anthology comprising a variety are completely different beasts and, as such, shouldn’t be clumped together in this manner. There are others, including “Promising New Talent” and “Outstanding Comic,” that would benefit by clearer context. (For example, what exactly defines a “new talent,” and how   might an “outstanding comic” be distinguished from an “outstanding graphic novel”?)

In the final segments of the episode — the last 2/3 that was recorded after that final day of SPX — Derek and Andy go into detail about many of the titles nominated for an Ignatz. They list the winners of each category, which were made public on Saturday night of the con, and provide a few observations. The Ignatz Awards winners are chosen by popular vote, anyone who attends the event can cast a ballot, so the Two Guys with PhDs take some of the results with a sizable grain of salt. For example, they’re surprised by the fact that neither Noah Van Sciver and Ethan Riley (both highly accomplished and nominated multiple times) received anything. DevilsSliceOr that Drawn and Quarterly: 25 Years of Contemporary Cartooning, Comics, and Graphic Novels was shut out. Or how Sophia Foster-Dimino came out as she did. Still, one of the most notable takeaways from this year’s ceremony is the fact that women completely swept the awards, so this is definitely a year of significance. After a brief discussion of the winners, Andy and Derek get into a detailed analysis of may of the nominated titles, especially focusing on those works they’ve not yet discussed on previous episodes. These include Ed Luce’s Wuvable Oaf (Fantagraphics), Jillian Tamaki’s SuperMutant Magic Academy (Drawn and Quarterly) and “Sex Coven” (from Frontier #7, published by Youth in Decline), M. Dean’s K.M. & R.P. & MCMLXXI (1971), Walter Scott’s Wendy (Koyama Press), Gina Wynbrandt’s Big Pussy (2D Cloud), Jason Little’s Borb (Uncivilized Books), Mickey Zacchilli’s Rav (Youth in Decline), John Porcellino’s King Cat #75, and Georgia Webber’s Dumb series. There are so many great titles to cover, and as a result, the show goes longer than the guys anticipated. But that’s OK. SPX and the Ignatz Awards only come once a year, so why not take advantage of this celebrated occasion?

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Comic News Insider Episode 642 – Seeking Nick Furry!

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Comic News Insider: Episode 642 is now available for free download! Click on the link or get it through iTunes! Sponsored by Dynamic Forces.

Reviews: Awake #1, Captain America: White #1, Paybacks #1, Tokyo Ghost #1, Doctor Who, Gotham, Minority Report, Moonbeam City

Jimmy welcomes back Emily Edwards in the rotating co-host chair. They chat about nerd wins at The Emmys and hope someone will cosplay Nick Furry (not a typo) at NYCC. News includes: Bill Finger will finally get credit for his contributions to Batman, Friday is National Comic Book Day, DC’s Omega Men is saved from cancellation (kind of), female creators sweep the Ignatz Awards at SPX, Ta-Nehisi Coates and Brian Stelfreeze are the new creative team behind upcoming Black Panther series and more! Leave your iTunes comments! 5 stars and nothing but love! Also, get a hold of us!

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