Not every artist can write well, but in Episode 337, I talk with Gene Ha, an accomplished artist who is doing an excellent job with both the writing and art on Mae, now being released by Lion Forge Comics. We talk about issue #7, which has just been released, and the collected edition of the first six issues as well! He discusses that transition from artist to writer/artist as well as the characters in Mae and what the future holds for this wonderful book! To keep up with Gene, be sure to check out his website here! For more on Lion Forge, go to their website here! I highly recommend this superb title!
- 00:00:31 – Introduction
- 00:03:19 – Setup of the discussion
- 00:05:04 – Nominees in the Best Publication for Early Readers category
- 00:51:47 – Nominees in the Best Publication for Kids category
- 01:31:45 – Nominees in the Best Publication for Teens category
- 02:20:32 – Wrap up
- 02:26:03 – Contact us
Putting on the Evening Gown and Tuxedo
On this episode of the Comics Alternative Young Readers Show, Gwen and Paul detail the three categories of the Eisner Awards that focus on children and teens:
Best Publication for Early Readers (up to age 8)
- Adele in Sand Land, by Claude Ponti, translated by Skeeter Grant and Françoise Mouly (Toon Books)
- Arthur and the Golden Rope, by Joe Todd-Stanton (Flying Eye/Nobrow)
- Egg, by Kevin Henkes (Greenwillow Books)
- Good Night, Planet, by Liniers (Toon Books)
- Little Tails in the Savannah, by Frederic Brrémaud and Federico Bertolucci, translated by Mike Kennedy (Lion Forge/Magnetic)
Best Publication for Kids (ages 9–12)
- Bolivar, by Sean Rubin (Archaia)
- Home Time (Book One): Under the River, by Campbell Whyte (Top Shelf)
- Nightlights, by Lorena Alvarez (Nobrow)
- The Tea Dragon Society, by Katie O’Neill (Oni)
- Wallace the Brave, by Will Henry (Andrews McMeel)
Best Publication for Teens (ages 13-17)
- The Dam Keeper, by Robert Kondo and Dice Tsutsumi (First Second/Tonko House)
- Jane, by Aline Brosh McKenna and Ramón K. Pérez (Archaia)
- Louis Undercover, by Fanny Britt and Isabelle Arsenault, translated by Christelle Morelli and Susan Ouriou (Groundwood Books/House of Anansi)
- Monstress, by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda (Image)
- Spinning, by Tillie Walden (First Second)
In addition to reviewing each nominated text, the duo refers listeners to The Comics Alternative archives for the shows that reference these nominees: Good Night, Planet by Liniers; Nightlights by Lorena Alvarez; The Dam Keeper by Robert Kondo and Dice Tsutsumi; and Monstress by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda.
Paul and Gwen use this episode to launch a general discussion of age designations and categorization of children’s and YA comics, and they reference the art of Bolivian painter and lithographer Graciela Rodo Boulanger, whose depiction of children resembles that found in Campbell Whyte’s Home Time. So, won’t you pour yourself a chilly beverage, kick back, and give a listen to the two PhDs — more on Paul’s recent doctoral graduation from University of California-Berkeley will appear in the June podcast — for a rundown of this year’s Eisner nominees.
- 00:00:29 – Introduction
- 00:02:52 – Pascal reports back from TCAF!
- 00:09:10 – Lovecraft: The Myth of Cthulhu
- 00:41:51 – Algeria Is Beautiful Like America
- 01:20:20 – Die Laughing
- 01:51:28 – Wrap up
- 01:52:19 – Contact us
A (Mostly) Black-and-White Episode
For the May Euro Comics episode, Pascal and Derek discuss three very different works in translation…but all of which are primarily in black-and-white. They begin with Esteban Maroto’s Lovecraft: The Myth of Cthulhu (IDW Publishing), an adaptation of three of H. P. Lovecraft’s short stories: “The Nameless City,” “The Festival,” and “The Call of Cthulhu.” All three are part of the writer’s Cthulhu mythos, and the guys comment on Maroto’s illustrative style and how it reflects that found in 1970s Warren publications, to which Maroto actually contributed (although not these stories).
Next, they discuss Olivia Burton and Mahi Grand’s Algeria Is Beautiful Like America (Lion Forge). This is a memoir of Burton’s journey to Algeria, particularly Algiers and the Aurès Mountains, to visit the land of her mother and grandparents. In many ways, this is a narrative all about identity, in that the author attempts to understand the land of her forebears in order to better understand herself. This is a striking autobiographical work, but as the Two Guys point out, it’s unusual that a memoir such as this is written and illustrated by different creators.
The guys wrap up this month’s episode by visiting a book that is close to Pascal’s heart, André Franquin’s Die Laughing (Fantagraphics Books). This is a collection of Franquin’s Idées noires strips, which are strikingly different from his earlier work in Spirou or his Gaston and Marsupilami comics. As Derek and Pascal point out, these are more serious and foreboding pieces that reflect a dark peri0d in Franquin’s life. And while many of these strips are politically poignant, they are nonetheless timeless and are just as fresh today as when they were first created during the 1970s and 1980s.
- 00:00:31 – Introduction
- 00:03:21 – Setup of the discussion
- 00:04:00 – The Dragon Slayer: Folktales from Latin America
- 00:27:07 – The Lost Path
- 00:47:59 – A discussion of the children’s comics-related book market
- 01:10:32 – Wrap up
- 01:11:47 – Contact us
Hurling Children over Cliffs
In this episode of the Comics Alternative Young Readers Show, Gwen and Paul review two new releases, both of which have a connection to folklore and fairy tales: Jaime Hernandez’s The Dragon Slayer: Folktales from Latin America from Toon Graphics, and Amélie Fléchais and Jonathan Garnier’s The Lost Path from Lion Forge Comics’ children’s imprint, Cub House. Additionally, Paul and Gwen discuss Brian Hibb’s “Tilting at Windmills #268: Looking at BookScan 2017,” an overview of comics sales that demonstrates that the children’s and YA market continues to grow and that young people are getting comics in a variety of venues, from direct distribution at comics shops to major booksellers to Comixology.
In Part I of the show, Paul and Gwen embark on a detailed discussion of The Dragon Slayer: Folktales from Latin America, a text that includes three short tales, “The Dragon Slayer” and “Tup and the Ants,” both written and drawn by Jaime Hernandez, and “Martina Martínez and Pérez the Mouse,” a collaboration between children’s author Alma Flor Ada and Hernandez. The text begins with a short essay, “Imagination and Tradition,” by noted author F. Isabel Campoy that helps to contextualize the various fairy tales, or “cuentos” that have emerged from the diverse oral and literary traditions, which Campoy terms “a unique blend of Old World and New, spanning a continent across many geographic boundaries and cultures.” Campoy mentions specifically the Catholic, Jewish, Arab, and Moorish influences upon the Spanish, whose tales then encountered those of indigenous peoples from “the Maya, Aztec, Inca, and other Native American cultures.” At the end of the text, Campoy and Ada provide context for the three folktales, as well as a bibliography, and information on the authors. The editors at Toon Graphic have released a paperback Spanish language edition of the text, La Matadragones: Cuentos de Lationoamérica,” and Paul mentions the value of these books in dual language classrooms.
Gwen and Paul then consider the way that The Dragon Slayer fits into Jaime Hernandez’s long and storied career, and they mention both the humor inherent in the stories and the way that Hernandez’s characteristic clear line style conveys characters’ feelings and reactions. The fact that all three tales feature strong women is something that Paul highlights, noting that these tales provide a much-needed emphasis on girls and women who stand up for themselves and serve as problem solvers.
Next, the duo talks about Amélie Fléchais and Jonathan Garnier’s The Lost Path, a vibrant adventure story that includes references to classic fairy tales, Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are, and Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Gwen notes the text’s similarity to other contemporary comics in which young people pass through to a magical land where conflict is brewing – she mentions specifically Mairghread Scott and Robin Robinson’s recently released The City on the Other Side (First Second) as an example, while Paul praises the text’s style, from the gorgeous water color page-length spreads to the black and white sketches, which are rich in detail and artistry.
The show concludes with Paul and Gwen discussing the rise in hybrid comics, as well as implications that they have drawn from reading Brian Hibb’s latest report on comics sales.
Reviews: Encounter #1, Eternity Girl #1, New Mutants: Dead Souls #1, Vampironica #1
By popular demand, Emmy Potter comes back 2 weeks in a row to co-host! She and Jimmy chat about that little Avengers: Infinity War trailer & the facial hair that lies within. News includes: Ava DuVernay is directing a New Gods film, Dark Horse Comics is publishing 2 Incredibles 2 comics. DC Comics will publish a bi-weekly Justice League comic starting in June and more! Leave your iTunes comments! 5 stars and nothing but love! Also, get a hold of us!
Thanks for listening!
- 00:00:27 – Introduction
- 00:03:14 – Contexts and caveats
- 00:11:32 – Our favorite comics of 2017
- 02:09:06 – Wrapping up our favorites, and honorable mentions
- 02:13:52 – Contact us
And the Winner Is…
Paul and Derek are back with The Comics Alternative‘s annual “Favorites” episode. This is where the Two Guys share what they consider to be the best comics of the past year. Usually this year-end show is released as the very last regular review episode of each year, but this time around the guys had to postpone the recording due to family issues. But we’re not far from the end of 2017, and Paul and Derek wanted to get the show out in as timely a manner as possible. So here you have it, the Two Guys’ 10 favorite titles of 2017:
Paul’s Top 10 of 2017
- The Best We Could Do: An Illustrated Memoir – Thi Bui (Abrams)
- Mech Cadet Yu – Greg Pak and Tak Miyazawa (BOOM! Studios)
- Golden Kamuy – Satoru Noda (VIZ Media)
- Tenements, Towers and Trash: An Unconventional Illustrated History of New York City – Julia Wertz (Black Dog & Leventhal)
- Lighter Than My Shadow – Katie Green (Lion Forge)
- Pope Hats #5 – Ethan Rilly (Adhouse)
- Spinning – Tillie Walden (First Second)
- Nightlights – Lorena Alvarez (Nobrow Press)
- Eartha – Cathy Malkasian (Fantagraphics)
- My Favorite Thing Is Monsters – Emil Ferris (Fantagraphics)
Derek’s Top 10 of 2017
- Goodnight Punpun, Vols 5-7 – Inio Asano (VIZ Media)
- Doom Patrol – Gerard Way and Nick Derington / Shade, The Changing Girl – Cecil Castellucci and Marley Zarcone (Young Animal – DC Comics)
- Everything Is Flammable – Gabrielle Bell (Uncivilized Books)
- Cartoon Clouds – Joseph Remnant (Fantagraphics)
- Education – John Hankiewicz (Fantagraphics)
- The Abominable Mr. Seabrook – Joe Ollmann (Drawn and Quarterly)
- Uncomfortably Happily – Yeon-sik Hong (Drawn and Quarterly)
- Grass Kings – Matt Kindt and Tyler Jenkins (BOOM! Studios) / Royal City – Jeff Lemire (Image Comics)
- Palookaville 23 – Seth (Drawn and Quarterly)
- My Favorite Thing Is Monsters – Emil Ferris (Fantagraphics)
The Honorable Mentions…These Titles Almost, but Just Didn’t Quite, Make It onto Each Guy’s List
- Black – Kwanza Osajyefo, Tim Smith III, Jamal Igle, Khary Randolph and Sarah Litt (Black Mask Comics)
- Motor Girl – Terry Moore (Abstract Studio)
- Rock Candy Mountain – Kyle Starks (Image Comics)
- Mister Miracle – Tom King and Mitch Gerads (DC Comics)
- Giant Days – John Allison and Lissa Treiman (BOOM! Box)
- Crickets # 6 – Sammy Harkham (Fantagraphics)
- Boundless – Jillian Tamaki (Drawn and Quarterly)
- House of Women – Sophie Goldstein (Fantagraphics)
- Savage Town – Declan Shalvey and Philip Barrett (Image Comics)
- The Stone Heart – Faith Erin Hicks (First Second)
- Mighty Jack and the Goblin King – Ben Hatke (First Second)
- Uncomfortably Happily – Yeon-Sik Hong (Drawn and Quarterly)
- Happy Hour in America #1 – Tim Lane (Fantagraphics)
- Fire!!: The Zora Neal Hurston Story – Peter Bagge (Drawn and Quarterly)
- Her Bark and Her Bite – James Albon (Top Shelf)
- Unreal City – D.J. Bryant (Fantagraphics)
- Time and Vine – Thom Zahler (IDW)
- Resist! – Francoise Mouly and Nadja Spiegelman
- Calamity Jane: The Calamitous Life of Martha Jane Cannary – Christian Perrissin and Matthieu Blanchin (IDW)
- Lighter Than My Shadow – Katie Green (Lion Forge)
Listen to the podcast!
- 00:24 – Introduction
- 03:04 – Setup of interview
- 05:16 – Interview with Katie Green
- 56:39 – Wrap up
- 58:06 – Contact us
Art and Struggles
On this interview episode, Paul and Derek talk with Katie Green about her recent graphic memoir Lighter Than My Shadow, released last month from Lion Forge’s Roar imprint. The Two Guys reviewed the book a couple of weeks ago, but they were so moved by Green’s story that they wanted to have her on the podcast to talk about her work. This insightful conversation adds more context and texture to Katie’s memoir, and she shares her struggles in narrating her various traumatic experiences, her art background and its translation into memoir comics, and her desires to reach others, specifically younger readers, who may similarly suffer from eating disorders and sexual abuse.
Be sure to check out the Lighter Than My Shadow website, and especially this cool promotional video:
Listen to the podcast!
- 00:00:30 – Introduction
- 00:03:12 – The tragedy of the California wildfires
- 00:05:58 – Lighter Than My Shadow
- 00:48:27 – Now #1
- 01:14:03 – The Family Trade #1
- 01:31:28 – Wrap up
- 01:32:31 – Contact us
Hungry for Art
This week Paul and Derek take on three exciting new titles. They begin with a moving memoir from UK creator Katie Green, Lighter Than My Shadow (Roar-Lion Forge). In this work, Green reveals the eating disorders she struggled with as a young girl and into adulthood. Growing up obsessive-compulsive, Green chronicles how this condition contributed to her anorexic behavior, later evolving into problems with binging. Green also narrates her many attempts to address these problems with various doctors and therapists, the most notorious of whom ends up sexually abusing her…providing even more obstacles to her recovery. The guys are impressed by Green’s honesty and storytelling abilities — particularly taken by her art and the visual metaphors she employs throughout — although toward the end of their conversation about this title, they wonder if perhaps the memoir could have been streamlined just a little. This is a 500+ page text, after all.
Next, the Two Guys look at a brand new anthology from Fantagraphics, Now #1. Edited by Eric Reynolds, this collection of diverse and experimental comic art brings to mind Fantagraphics previous anthology, Mome (which both Derek and Paul dearly miss). In fact, the guys begin their discussion of Now by referencing the earlier anthology, with Paul feeling that the latest efforts are more experimental than Mome, while Derek see it as more similar to the previous series. The only difference is number of new and/or unfamiliar creators in Now (and, Derek argues, such was also the case several years ago with Mome). Some of the standouts in this first issue of Now are Dash Shaw’s “Scorpio,” Gabrielle Bell’s “Dear Naked Guy…,” Sammy Harkham’s “I, Marlon,” Malachi Ward and Matt Sheean’s “Widening Horizon,” and especially Noah Van Sciver’s “Wall of Shame” (for Derek, the best of the collection). But the guys are also impressed, and at times curiously confused, by the contributions from creators that are new to them, such as Sara Corbett, J.C. Menu, Antoine Cossé, and Kaela Graham. But as Paul and Derek argue, the entire issue of Now is compelling and works successfully as an anthology. They can’t wait until the second issue, due for release in January.
Finally, the Two Guys wrap up with a discussion of Justin Jordan, Nikki Ryan, and Morgan Beem’s The Family Trade #1 (Image Comics). This is another example of the kind of world-building often found at Image, and it’s the story of a neutral territory in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, the Float, ruled by the descendants of the ship captains that originally founded the realm — called the Clans — and the Family, descendants of the hands who had worked for the captains. This first issue opens with the protagonist, Jessa Wynn, attempting to assassinate Stagger Berghardt, a Trump-like charismatic demagogue who appeals to the base instincts of the citizens of the Float. She bungles the assassination, but her efforts put into motion a series of encounters that will propel the narrative into the next issues. Both Derek and Paul are impressed by this first issue, especially Beem’s art, and both plan on remaining on board for the rest of the series.
Ryan and Allen are back to discuss and rank this week’s picks. Allen reads his first Deathstroke comic book. Deathstroke turns a new leaf and forms his own vigilante team. How long can that last for? Plus Cloudia & Rex break the norm. Thanks for listening!
Intro (0:00), Deadpool Kills The Marvel Universe Again #1 (2:13), Cloudia and Rex #1 (11:10), Deathstroke #21 (22:09), Champions #10 (33:10), Rankings (42:27), Honorable Mentions (52:35), Episode 42 Preview (55:37)
Reviews: Cage Vol 3 #1, Jessica Jones #1, Midnighter and Apollo #1, Shade The Changing Girl, Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, Luke Cage
Jimmy is still recovering from NYCC along with everyone else so he flies solo this week against his better judgement. He gives his New York Comic Con recap and talks about the massive coverage he got while there. In this episode, you’ll hear Jimmy interview Simon Spurrier (The Spire/Doctor Who/Weavers), Brian Pulido (Coffin Comics/Lady Death/La Muerta), Melody Often (Trinidot) and the creators at Legacy Rising. News includes: James Olsen will become Guardian on Supergirl, The Wasp will be joining the team in the Avengers 4 film, Lion Forge Comics announces a new superhero line, Hayley Atwell will return to Agent Carter in animated form, Super Sons is comiung from DC Comics focusing on Damien Wayne/Jonathan Kent, Ms America will finally get her own series at Marvel, Archie Comics will be publishing comics that will tie into the Riverdale live action series and more! Leave your iTunes comments! 5 stars and nothing but love! Also, get a hold of us!
Thanks for listening!