Comics Alternative, On Location: Talking with Creators at HeroesCon 2017, Pt. 2

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More Heroes Talk

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!

 

 

Comics Alternative, On Location: Talking with Creators at HeroesCon 2017, Pt. 1

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Time Codes:

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Heroes Talk

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!

Comics Alternative Interviews: Dave Chisholm

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Time Codes:

  • 00:00:24 – Introduction
  • 00:02:31 – Setup of interview
  • 00:03:48 – Interview with Dave Chisholm
  • 01:03:55 – Wrap up
  • 01:05:04- Contact us

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With Great Talent Comes…

On this interview episode, Derek talks with Dave Chisholm, whose new book Instrumental comes out soon from Z2 Comics. This is the story of a musician who comes upon a trumpet with unique powers, allowing him to transform the lives around him, including those of his fellow bandmates. Dave’s background — a professional trumpet player, songwriter, composer, bandleader, and educator — becomes the wellspring from which he pulls his narrative, so much of his conversation with Derek is devoted to the power of music and its translation into visual form. The graphic novel also comes with a soundtrack, seven songs composed and performed by Dave. Over the course of the interview the two discuss the genesis of this project, the fantastical nature of the story, the unique links between audio and visual representations, and Dave’s work as an artist on this and other projects, including the Study Group webcomic, The Tyranny of the Muse.

Comics Alternative Interviews: Sharon Shinn and Molly Knox Ostertag

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Time Codes:

  • 00:26 – Introduction
  • 02:14 – Setup of interview
  • 04:04 – Interview with Sharon Shinn and Molly Knox Ostertag
  • 57:52 – Wrap up
  • 59:37 – Contact us

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The Stars Are Indispensable

On this interview episode Gwen and Derek talk with Sharon Shinn and Molly Knox Ostertag. Their new book Shattered Warrior comes out this week from First Second, and they discuss their experiences in developing the project and their process of collaboration. This is Sharon’s first graphic novel — she’s the author of over 25 prose novels — so she shares her journey of discover while working in a different medium. And while Molly is primarily known for her successful webcomic Strong Female Protagonist (co-created with Brennan Lee Mulligan), this is her first time in working on a longer, sustained narrative for print. Gwen and Derek talk with their guests about the genesis of this story, the excitement of world creation, and their thoughts on intended reading audiences.

Comics Alternative Interviews: Cullen Bunn and Brian Hurtt

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Time Codes:

  • 00:00:26 – Introduction
  • 00:02:30 – Setup of interview
  • 00:04:47 – Interview with Cullen Bunn and Brian Hurtt
  • 01:10:00 – Wrap up
  • 01:11:29 – Contact us

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Yeggs

For this interview episode, the Two Guys with PhDs talk with Cullen Bunn and Brian Hurtt, the creators behind The Damned, from Oni Press. This is a series with some history, beginning back in 2006 with the five-issues run, “Three Days Dead,” and then the three-issue miniseries from 2008, “Prodigal Sons.” Soon after that, Cullen and Brian began The Sixth Gun, but now that that long-running series is behind them, they decided to revisit and revitalize their first creative project together. Over the course of their conversation, Cullen and Brian talk about their efforts to reprint the original comics in color — and with the help of the new series’ colorist, Bill Crabtree — the impetus behind the new on-going series, their work together on The Sixth Gun, and their process of collaboration on The Damned. Andy and Derek also ask them about some of their other projects, including Cullen’s Harrow County (with Tyler Crook) and Brian’s Poppy! and the Lost Lagoon (with Matt Kindt).

Comics Alternative Interviews: Jeff Lemire

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Time Codes:

  • 00:00:24 – Introduction
  • 00:02:40 – Setup of interview
  • 00:06:49 – Interview with Jeff Lemire
  • 01:33:07 – Wrap up
  • 01:34:37 – Contact us

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Rotting Husks

On this interview episode Derek and Andy are excited to have Jeff Lemire as their guest. His new graphic novel, Roughneck, has just been released by Simon & Schuster’s Gallery 13 imprint, and he has a new ongoing series through Image Comics, Royal City. The guys talk with Jeff about those works, particularly their place within Lemire’s growing body of writing, but they also ask him about his other current ongoing series, such as Descender (with Dustin Nguyen on art), Black Hammer (along with Dean Ormston), and the miniseries A.D.: After Death (written by Scott Snyder). A lot of ground is covered in this interview, including revelations on the early origins of Roughneck, the long-range plans for Royal City, the themes and characters that seem to be woven throughout Jeff’s oeuvre, the curious links between Descender and Adam Strange, and Jeff’s thoughts on “slice of life” stories and their reception within the comics-reading community.

And here’s a fun fact! Jeff Lemire was actually the focus of the Two Guys’ very first creator spotlight way back in Episode 6 of The Comics Alternative, and at the time Andy and Derek thought there was almost too much to talk about in terms of Jeff’s output. But now almost five years later, and with so many more titles under Jeff’s belt, those assumptions seem amusing in hindsight.

It’s important to note that Andy and Derek recorded their interview with Jeff the day before this year’s Eisner Award nominations were announced, where he has landed in the Best New Series and Best Writer categories (both for Black Hammer). This is why no one brings up the Eisners at any time in the conversation. But a big CONGRATULATIONS to Jeff for this well-deserved attention!

Comics Alternative Interviews: James Albon

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Time Codes:

  • 00:25 – Introduction
  • 02:31 – Setup of interview
  • 03:32 – Interview with James Albon
  • 57:35 – Wrap up
  • 58:31 – Contact us

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Canine Romance

On this interview episode Derek has the pleasure of talking with James Albon, whose new book Her Bark and Her Bite comes out this week from Top Shelf Productions. James is British artist whose illustrations have appeared in The GuardianThe Wall Street JournalWIRED, the New StatesmanThe Diplomat, The Financial Times, and various publications from the Folio Society. Her Bark and Her Bite is his first graphic novel, and much of the conversation is devoted to this fact and how his work as a professional illustrator informs his graphic storytelling. The book can be described as a romantic comedy, where its protagonist artist figure, Rebecca, moves to the big city and meets Victor, a gregarious and flamboyant socialite with whom she quickly becomes smitten. Complications arise when Victor receives a young dog as a gift, and the canine becomes an unwitting rival to Rebecca’s affections. What follows is a series of faux pas and inanities that pits social acceptance against personal expression. In this interview, James shares the genesis of his narrative, its links to his own life experiences, and why fiction was the perfect platform for his inaugural long-form comic.

Comics Alternative Interviews: Kristen Radtke

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Time Codes:

  • 00:00:24 – Introduction
  • 00:02:20 – Setup of interview
  • 00:04:29 – Interview with Kristen Radtke
  • 00:59:16 – Wrap up
  • 01:01:39 – Contact us

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All Things Must Pass

Andy and Derek are pleased to have as their guest Kirsten Radtke. Her new work Imagine Wanting Only This has just been released from Pantheon Books, and it’s a deeply personal speculation on impermanence, decay, and abandonment. Using as a springboard significant events from her own life — such as the loss of a beloved uncle and a fortuitous creative discovery — Radtke explores our sense of place in a culture that privileges newness and disposability. The book has been described as a memoir, but the guys feel that it’s better framed as a meditation, a contemplative graphic essay tinged with introspection and self-analysis. Over the course of the conversation, Radtke discusses the genesis of the project, her experiences with comics journalism, and the challenges of defining the art that she creates.

Comics Alternative Interviews: Michael Eury

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Time Codes:

  • 00:00:25 – Introduction
  • 00:02:19 – Setup of interview
  • 00:04:09 – Interview with Michael Eury
  • 01:27:46 – Wrap up
  • 01:28:38 – Contact us

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“Wonderful, warm blanket of camp”

On this interview episode Derek talks with the Eisner Award-nominated editor-in-chief of Back Issue magazine Michael Eury. His new book Hero-a-Go-Go: Campy Comic Books, Crimefighters and Culture of the Swinging Sixties comes out from TwoMorrows Publishing next week, and the two discuss this project’s genesis and the significance of the camp cultural phenomenon. This text stands out because Eury doesn’t limit himself to just comics, but instead he looks at camp from a wider vista, revealing its convergence among television, film, toys, cartoons, music, and everyday consumable products. In Hero-a-Go-Go, readers will find in-depth discussions of such subjects as Metamorpho, The Inferior Five, Jerry Lewis comics, MonkeemaniaNot Brand Echh, Hanna-Barbera cartoonsHerbie the Fat Fury, Captain Action, the TV Green Hornet, M.F. Enterprise’s Captain Marvel, The Cowsills, JFK and LBJ in comics, the ill-fated Harvey Thrillers, and, of course, the Batman television series. As Michael reveals over the course of this interview, Hero-a-Go-Go is intended for diverse audiences, written as both an informed introduction and a chronicle for remembrance.


 

Comics Alternative Interviews: Back with Jon Morris

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Time Codes:

  • 00:00:25 – Introduction
  • 00:02:11 – Setup of interview
  • 00:03:47 – Interview with Jon Morris
  • 01:28:38 – Wrap up
  • 01:30:09 – Contact us

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Regrets, I’ve Had a Few

Jon Morris returns to The Comics Alternative, this time to discuss his latest book The Legion of Regrettable Super Villains (Quirk Books). This one is a follow up to his 2015 The League of Regrettable Superheroes, a book that Jon discussed the last time he was on the podcast. Derek talks with his guest about the natural transition from weird and offbeat heroes to their villainous counterparts, the process of researching the new book, and the hard decisions he had to make in deciding what rogues to showcase. Jon also shares some of his favorite regrettable villains across the Golden, Silver, and Modern Ages as well as possible plans for similar books in the future. The Club of Regrettable Sidekicks, anyone?

See where it all started! Visit Jon’s blog, Gone and Forgotten, and get the inside scoop on retro comicdom! And if you’re a Columbo fan, check out his sleuthy podcast, Just One More Thing.

Comics Alternative Interviews: Gabby Schulz

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Time Codes:

  • 00:00:25 – Introduction
  • 00:02:18 – Setup of interview
  • 00:04:43 – Interview with Gabby Schulz
  • 01:11:55 – Wrap up
  • 01:14:04 – Contact us

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“The sewage of negativity I bring to comics”

In an interview that is a long time in coming, Gwen and Derek have the pleasure of talking with Gabby Schulz. His new collection of diary comics, The Process of Drastically Reducing One’s Expectations, was recently released from Alec Longstreth’s Phase Eight Publishing, and in their conversation, Gabby shares his views on the uses and misuses of autobiographical comics. And the three spend a lot of time discussing several of Gabby’s earlier works, especially Sick and Monsters (both published through Secret Acres), and how the personal necessarily becomes political when exploring individual shortcomings and predilections. Gwen and Derek also ask Gabby about “Ken Dahl,” his recent travels, and the experiences of living on the road.

Be sure to visit the artist’s Ignatz Award-nominated website Gabby’s Playhouse.

Comics Alternative Interviews: Jon Nielsen

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Time Codes:

  • 00:24 – Introduction
  • 03:03 – Setup of interview
  • 06:30 – Interview with Jon Nielsen
  • 43:18 – Wrap up
  • 44:33 – Contact us

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Existential Robotics

On this episode, Gwen and Derek welcome Jon Nielsen to The Comics Alternative. His new book Look recently debuted at the MoCCA Arts Festival, and Jon talks with the cohosts on the eve of the event. Among the various topics they cover, Gwen and Derek ask Jon about the story’s evolution from webcomic to printed form, his process in finding an appropriate publisher, the existential nature of his narrative — something like a Waiting for Godot with cute robots — the all-age appropriateness of his storytelling, and his broader work within the webcomics format. His popular online title, Massive Pwnage, came to an end last year. Jon is a young creator, doing some exciting things, and both Gwen and Derek were glad to get him on the podcast in early bloom.

To learn more about Jon’s comics, visit his website, Dark Magic Press!

Comics Alternative Interviews: Back with Kyle Starks

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Time Codes:

  • 00:00:25 – Introduction
  • 00:02:44 – Setup of interview
  • 00:03:37 – Interview with Kyle Starks
  • 01:01:47 – Wrap up
  • 01:02:54 – Contact us

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Indiana Beard?

The Two Guys with PhDs are happy to have Kyle Starks back on the show. This time, they talk with him about his new Image Comics series Rock Candy Mountain, the first issue of which comes out next week. In their conversation, the guys ask Kyle about the genesis of this project, his collaboration with Chris Schweizer, the fascination with hobos, and his decision to set the narrative in post-war America. Andy and Derek also spend a good deal of time talking with their guest about the demands of writing and drawing for an ongoing monthly series and how that dynamic might have changed his storytelling style, previously exemplified by the original graphic novels Sexcastle and Kill Them All. Along the way, they discuss his ongoing writing for Rick and Morty, other projects in the works, and possibilities for Kyle’s hobo name.

Comics Alternative Interviews: Josh Bayer

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Time Codes:

  • 00:00:24 – Introduction
  • 00:02:41 – Setup of interview
  • 00:04:13 – Interview with Josh Bayer
  • 01:24:34 – Wrap up
  • 01:25:58 – Contact us

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Shoulder Fists and Time Vampires

Andy and Derek are glad to have as their guest Josh Bayer. He is one of the creative minds behind Fantagrahic’s new retro-superhero series, All Time Comics. This line kicked off in March with its first issue, All Time Comics: Crime Destroyer #1, and in April they’ll release All Time Comics: Bullwhip #1, soon to be followed by issues devoted to other characters in its universe, Atlas and Blind Justice. Josh talks with the Two Guys about the genesis of this project and his collaboration with his filmmaker brother, Samuel. He also shares his experiences in working with Herb Trimpe on the Crime Destroyer issue — the last art by this comics legend — and with Ben Marra, who provides the inks. The latter also provided the pencils on Bullwhip, along with Al Milgrom on inks. Over the course of their conversation, the guys discuss the strange retro feel of the series, one that is more of a heartfelt and sincere tribute and not a campy send up. Nonetheless, All Time Comics already has its share of wacky villains, including The Misogynist, Raingod, and the Time Vampire. Derek and Andy also talk with Josh about his recent efforts to support the ACLU and Planned Parenthood in light of recent political events, taking a cue from Sarah Glidden…and then going even further.

Join in on the fun with these free coloring book pages, brought to you by Josh and the good folks at Fantagrahics!

Comics Alternative Interviews: Brian Cremins

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Time Codes:

  • 00:00:24 – Introduction
  • 00:02:35 – Setup of interview
  • 00:05:05 – Interview with Brian Cremins
  • 01:30:42 – Wrap up
  • 01:31:51 – Contact us

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Child Is Father to the Man

On this episode of the interview series, the Three Guys with PhDs — Andy, Gene, and Derek — talk with Brian Cremins about his new book from the University Press of Mississippi Captain Marvel and the Art of Nostalgia. During their conversation Brian discusses why he chose to focus specifically on the Big Red Cheese, what the comics meant to him growing up, and the superhero’s links to nostalgia. As he points out, Captain Marvel isn’t the most popular figure for critical or scholarly discussion, but the contexts surrounding the Fawcett property make it the perfect vehicle for the kind of analysis Brian wanted to bring. Gene, Andy, and Derek also ask their guest about the research that went into his book, the kind of archival investigations he conducted, the correspondences he struck up along the way, his efforts in securing a unique cover image, and his strategies for making this, in many ways, a very personal work.

Shazam!