Comics Alternative, Episode 250: Reviews of The Death of Stalin, Moonstruck #1, and Kros: Hallowed Ground

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Monsters…or Others

This week on The Comics Alternative‘s regular review show, the Two Guys discuss three recent titles, all of which involve monsters….or outsiders, depending on your perspective. They begin with The Death of Stalin, written by Fabien Nury and with art by Thierry Robin (Titan Comics). This is a translation of a French text that is soon to be released as a major motion picture in the UK, and then eventually coming to the US. It’s the semi-historical account of the death of Joseph Stalin and the unusual circumstances surrounding that event. As Andy and Derek point out, Nury’s dark sense of humor is apparent throughout, while Robin’s art captures the grittiness of the context.

Next, the guys move on to Grace Ellis, Shae Beagle, and Kate Leth’s Moonstruck #1 (Image Comics). The story takes place in an urban setting, with young people going about their daily, and sometimes wacky, lives…sort of like something out of Seinfeld or Friends. However, what marks this series is its fantastical nature: everyone is a mythical figure of some sort. While Leth provides a bit of the art, the lion’s share goes to newcomer Shae Beagle, which is a stand out. And although both guys had wondered when they read the original solicit if this series may be a bit too “cute,” they find Ellis’s story mature in a way they hadn’t expected.

Finally, Andy and Derek do something they haven’t really done before: review a title that is only available through a Kickerstarter campaign. Tom Mandrake and John Ostrander’s Kros: Hallowed Ground takes place during the horrific yet decisive Battle of Gettysburg, but it’s more than just a war story. This is a landscape populated by vampires. And what better feeding ground for bloodsuckers than this battlefield? On it’s own, this narrative leaves open a few questions, but the guys sense that this is the first in a series of Kros tales that will flesh out a larger storyworld. They hope that this, as well as other future installments, might find its way to print in the future.

Comic News Insider Episode 720 – Ren Faire Dreams!

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Comic News Insider: Episode 720 is now available for free download! Click on the link or get it through iTunes! Sponsored by Dynamic Forces.

Reviews: Kingsway West #1, Skybourne #1, Snotgirl #1, Supergirl #1

Emmy Potter returns to the rotating co-host chair after a short hiatus. She and Jimmy give their nerd confessions of never having been to a Renaissance Faire or Medieval Times and how they plan to remedy that in the near future. NYCC is fast approaching and Jimmy starts to form his press plans. News includes: Stan Lee’s life will be turned into an action/adventure movie, Super Mario Adventures comics are back in print, Regular Show‘s 8th and last season will be set in space, a new out of continuity Supergirl mini-series will have a “John Hughes” vibe to it,  and Gwen Stefani’s animated series Kuu Kuu Harajuku will debut on Nickelodeon soon. Leave your iTunes comments! 5 stars and nothing but love! Also, get a hold of us!

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Comics Alternative Episode 143: A Publisher Spotlight on Retrofit Comics/Big Planet Comics

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Fearless Symmetry

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The Two Guys are back for yet another publisher spotlight, and this time they are looking at the 2015 releases from Retrofit Comics / Big Planet Comics. The episode begins with a brief interview with Box  Brown, the founder and editor of Retrofit Comics. He discusses the origins of Retrofit as a Kickstarter campaign, his education as a publisher, the ensuing partnership with Big Planet Comics, and the philosophy behind and publishing trajectory of their efforts. After that, the guys discuss the 2015 releases (so far) from Retrofit / Big Planet, beginning with Kate Leth’s Ink for Beginners: A Comic Guide to Getting Tattooed. Andy points out that Leth’s work is one of a growing number of informational or expository comics to be found out there, and that tattoo parlors around the country would do well to stock this small book. Next, the guys turn to Box Brown’s An Entity Observes All Things, a collection RetrofitHeadof nine short stories, all with a sci-fi or futuristic themes of some sort. Some of their favorites include “Mundo Jelly,” “Voyage of the Golden Retriever,” “Memorexia,” and the title story. Then they look at perhaps the most experimental, and the smallest, book of the lot, Niv Bavarsky’s Piggy, a disparate series of stories and drawings in mini-comic form. The unconventional nature of Piggy is then contrasted to the more genre-based comics of the week, Laura Knetzger’s Sea Urchin and Jack Teagle’s The Unmentionables. The former is an autobiographical account of the author’s inabilities concentrate and relate to others — represented effectively by a sea urchin inside her brain — as well as a speculation on her place in the world. The Unmentionables is a fun, action-packed story of a group of pro wrestlers who become crimefighters, and its origin-story feel promises more installments to come. Finally, the Two Guys turn to what may be the two most ambitious narratives of the week…or so Derek feels. Olivier Schrauwen’s Mowgli’s Mirror is a wordless, almost treasury-sized comic about a young man in a jungle — no overt links to Kipling’s stories — searching for companionship and finding unexpected encounters. As the title suggests, there are parts of the narrative that are symmetrical in nature, but in this aspect the book doesn’tBigPlanetHead hold a candle to the final book discussed in this publisher spotlight, Matt Madden’s Drawn Onward. As we have come to expect from Madden — see, for example, 99 Ways to Tell a Story and A Fine Mess — this book is an experiment in form, where the second half of the narrative mirrors the first half…or vice versa. Depending on how you read it, it’s a story of either connectedness or alienation. Either way, it’s a self-reflexive tale where the narrator uses her art to make sense, and perhaps even transform the meaning, of experiences that unsettle her. In wrapping up the episode, Andy and Derek also talk briefly about some of the other books that Retrofit / Big Planet have been putting out over the last couple of years. (Box Brown and Jared Smith, the head honchos of the two respective presses, sent the guys a large package containing their back catalog.) Among the earlier titles they mention are James Kochalka’s Fungus: The Unbearable Rot of Being, Sam Alden’s Wicked Chicken Queen, Anne Emond’s Debbie’s Inferno, Josh Bayer’s Theth, and issues #1 and #2 of Box Brown’s Numbers. If you didn’t know anything about Retrofit Comics / Big Planet Comics before, then there is no excuse not to be turned on to their stuff after this episode. Go get it!

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A big THANK YOU to Box Brown and Jared Smith for their abundant generosity.
And be sure to check out the websites of both Retrofit Comics and Big Planet Comics for a full range of their publications!
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Comic News Insider Episode 606 – TCAF Recap: Andy Belanger/Lucy Knisley/Mike Maihack/Babs Tarr

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Comic News Insider: Episode 606 is now available for free download! Click on the link or get it through iTunes! Sponsored by Dynamic Forces.

Reviews: No reviews this week!

Jimmy does it solo after planned co-hosts schedules didn’t permit them to hang. He got A LOT of coverage at the Toronto Comic Arts Festival and shares just a few interviews. He talked to Andy Belanger (Southern Cross, Kill Shakespeare), Lucy Knisley (Displacement, Relish), Mike Maihack (Cleopatra in Space), and Babs Tarr (Batgirl). He gives his overall recap of the show which is basically that it’s awesome and you should all attend! News bits include: Archie Comics launches Kickstarter campaign for “New Riverdale”, new Thor identity revealed, the Flash/Arrow spin-off gets a name with DC’s Legends of TomorrowAgent Carter gets picked up, Hugh Jackman says Wolverine 3 will be his last appearance as character, The Coldest City by Antony Johnston/Sam Hart will be adapted to film starring Charlize Theron, Brad Bird confirms The Incredibles 2 will be his next film, and more! Leave your iTunes comments! 5 stars and nothing but love!

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Even more TCAF interviews this week with CHIP ZDARSKY, JILLIAN TAMAKI, and ED PISKOR! And yet even more next week with MICHEL FIFFE, KAGAN MCLEOD, JONATHAN BAYLIS, WILLOW DAWSON, CONOR MCCREERY, ROBERT GOODIN and DAN BERRY! 

Where Monsters Dwell 189 with Kate Leth

This week on the only LIVE comics radio show that is 100% recyclable, we continue our ‘Women In Comics Month’ by welcoming Cartoonist Kate Leth to the Monster Cave. Kate is a self taught cartoonist who has self published 3 collections of her own comics, ‘Kate Or Die‘, and is a contributor to Joe Hill’s Locke & Key, Womanthology and The Strange Talent of Luther Strode. She joins us to chat about all this and more! If you have a question for Kate, feel free to post it on our Facebook wall or give us a call in the studio at 506-453-4949.

Also; New Comics Day at Strange Adventures, Opening Night at Empire Theatres and Table Topic Turntable