Comics Alternative, On Location: The Second September Visit to Heroes Aren’t Hard to Find

Batman’s Junk

Michael and Derek are back at their local shop, Heroes Aren’t Hard to Find, to discuss recent mainstream and indie titles that have captured their attention. Mike starts the ball rolling by focusing on recent expressions of a couple of second-tier characters, Doctor Strange and Hawkman, as handled by Mark Waid and Robert Venditti, respectively. He then takes the conversation into a more “adult” direction with the first issue in Batman: Damned, part of DC’s new Black Label imprint. This title is notable for a couple of reasons. First, it’s now difficult to find, and as such, both fans and retailers are selling copies for a hefty price. But even more significant is the fact that in this first issue, readers get to see Batman naked. That’s right, Wayne’s wang. Batman’s junk. The recent titles that Derek brings up are much tamer in nature. He begins with Matt Kindt and Tyler Jenkins’s Black Badge (BOOM! Studio), the second issue of which will be released next week. This is a promising new limited series that has all of the secretive, undercover, and espionage-y markings of a Kindt narrative. However, Derek isn’t as excited about the new Image series, Man-Eaters, written by Chelsea Cain and art by Kate Niemczyk. While he admires the message that seems to be embedded in the story, the first issue is rather sketchy in laying any satisfying narrative groundwork. But Derek more enamored by the minicomic Common Blessings and Common Curses, written by Maritsa Patrinos and nominated this year for an Ignatz Award in the Outstanding Minicomic category. It was a wonderful find at this year’s Small Press Expo.

Remember that The Comics Alternative‘s on-location series is now part of the Queen City Podcast Network! Check out the great podcast series that give life to Charlotte!

Deconstructing Comics #605: Audio “MIND MGMT” & 20 years of “Jane’s World”

MIND MGMT & Jane's World

Matt Kindt (creator of Super Spy, Revolver, and more) recently ran a Kickstarter for an audio comic — on a vinyl record! — set in the MIND MGMT universe. He talks to Tim in this episode about how it went, why he wanted to do this project, and what’s coming next from him.

Then, Jason McNamara joins Tim to discuss Love Letters to ‘Jane’s World’, a 20th-anniversary collection of Paige Braddock‘s Eisner-nominated strip.

Deconstructing Comics site

Comics Alternative, On Location: HeroesCon 2018, the “Between Pen and Pixel” Panel

Time Codes:

  • 00:00:27 – Introduction
  • 00:02:27 – Aaron Kashtan provides context
  • 00:07:11 – “Between Pen and Pixel” panel
  • 01:08:58 – Wrap up
  • 01:09:55 – Contact us

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Dead Print?

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!

 

Episode 264: Our Favorite Comics of 2017

Time Codes:

  • 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

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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

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Derek’s Top 10 of 2017

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The Honorable Mentions…These Titles Almost, but Just Didn’t Quite, Make It onto Each Guy’s List

For Paul

For Derek

Wayne’s Comics Podcast #279: Valiant’s Dinesh Shamdasani, Daniel Kibblesmith

Wayne Hall, Wayne’s Comics, Valiant Comics, Dinesh Shamdasani, Daniel Kibblesmith, Quantum, Woody, Valiant High, X-O Manowar, Matt Kindt, Robert Venditti, Harbinger, C2E2, Ninjak, comixology

It’s becoming a yearly tradition during Chicago’s C2E2 convention that I get to talk with Valiant’s excellent creators. This year was no exception, and Episode 279 kicks off with my interview with Dinesh Shamdasani, Valiant’s CEO and Chief Creative Officer. We delve into all the fascinating happenings with X-0 Manowar, Harbingers and the upcoming digital presentation Ninjak Versus the Valiant Universe, among other things!

Then everything wraps up with my talk with Daniel Kibblesmith, who’s scripting the upcoming return of Quantum and Woody. He’s also writing the Valiant Digital Firsts miniseries Valiant High now available on Comixology, so we discuss both projects as well as a certain night job he has writing comedy for a well-known late-night TV show you might recognize! Don’t miss these fun conversations!

 

Comics Alternative Interviews: Matt Kindt

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Time Codes:

  • 00:00:24 – Introduction
  • 00:02:35 – Setup of interview
  • 00:04:57 – Interview with Matt Kindt
  • 01:33:07 – Wrap up
  • 01:34:37 – Contact us

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“What if you set a book on fire?”

Andy and Derek welcome Matt Kindt to the podcast to discuss Grass Kings, published through BOOM! Studios, his two current ongoing series from Dark Horse Comics, Dept. H and Ether, and his voluminous work for Valiant Comics. The guys have been wanting to get Matt on the show for years, so this interview is a long time in coming. And the conversation is quite substantive. Among other topics, they discuss the geneses of these recent series; Matt’s strategies for juggling multiple storylines at once; his collaborations with Tyler Jenkins (on Grass Kings), David Rubín (Ether), and Brian Hurtt (Poppy! and the Lost Lagoon); the many titles he has written for Valiant Comics; his love of genre storytelling; the unique way he “signs” certain books at cons; and his creative direction after the groundbreaking Mind MGMT. This has to be one of the most prolific creators the guys have ever had on The Comics Alternative, and they come nowhere near covering all of the topics they wanted to discuss with Matt. But this is all the more reason to have him back on the show in the not-too-distant future.

Comic News Insider Episode 747 – Team Betty AND Veronica!

Comic News Insider: Episode 747 is now available for free download! Click on the link or get it through iTunes! Sponsored by Dynamic Forces.

Reviews: The Dregs #1, Hellboy Winter Special 2017, Justice League of America: Killer Frost Rebirth #1, Lady Castle #1, Riverdale

Closing out Jon-uary, Jimmy is joined in studio again by  co-host Jon Hoche! It’s a lengthy one as the guys (well Jimmy) talk forever when reviewing Riverdale and they have a big discussion on some picks they’d like to see considered to take over the lead in Doctor Who. News includes: The New York Times gets rid of their comics/manga best seller lists, Ben Affleck will not direct solo Batman film, Peter Capaldi is leaving Doctor Who, Dark Horse Comics releases Superhero Girl tpb, Bryan Singer will direct X-Men TV series pilot, the Cloak and Dagger TV series casts the leads and more! Leave your iTunes comments! 5 stars and nothing but love! Also, get a hold of us!

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Thanks for listening!

 

Comics Alternative, On Location: The November Visit to Valhalla Games and Comics

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“Lucifer is a comic?”

Once again, Derek visits his local shop, Valhalla Games and Comics in Plano, TX, to talk with customers and employees about the various titles they’ve been reading. And he has a large number of people joining him for this month’s on-location episode, including the owner of Valhalla, Dave Larson. Derek begins the episode by talking with Dave about the changes he’s bringing to the shop and his experiences in gaming retail. But others join in on the discussion soon enough, including the shop manager, Sabrina, one of her associates, Stephanie, and several of Valhalla’s regulars, Craig, Matt, and Chris. This month, the topic is open-ended, so the conversation freely flows from one subject matter to another. Along the way they cover the DC’s new Young Animal series, the changes wrought by Rebirth, the current state of various Marvel titles, the growing number of superhero-based films and TV shows, the narrative worlds of Matt Kindt and Jeff Lemire, and, for at least one of the interlocutors, the discovery that Lucifer is actually a comic-book series.

vahallanov1

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Comics Alternative for Young Readers: Reviews of Musnet, Bird Boy Vol. 1, and Poppy! and the Lost Lagoon

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Big Blue Marble

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This month, Gwen and Andy take listeners on a worldwide tour featuring adventures of various cultures in three books: Musnet: The Mouse of Monet by Kickliy (Uncivilized Books/Odod), Anne Szabla’s Bird Boy Volume 1: The Sword of Mali Mahi (Dark Horse Books), and Poppy! and the Lost Lagoon by Matt Kindt and Brian Hurtt (Dark Horse Books).

Before they get to the books, Andy and Gwen both regret not being able to attend HeroesCon, but Gwen gives a brief (and very interesting) report from her recent experience at the Children’s Literature Association Conference in Columbus, Ohio. Who knows? Maybe the Two People with PhDs Talking about Comics for Young Readers will both be there next year?

Gwen and Andy are always excited to see more comics translated into English, and Kickliy’s Musnet: The Mouse of Monet is now available in French and English editions. Both enjoyed the leisurely storytelling and the wonderful use of color in this story of a mouse named Mus who longs to paint like a master artist. This first volume of a projected four-volume series introduces us to Mus’s world in Giverny, France, his teacher, his new friend Mya, and the world of painting. This book will appeal especially to young readers (ages 8 and up) who show an interest not just in painting, but in any of the arts. The look and pace of the book may take some getting used to for young readers, especially if this is their first venture into European comics, but the venture is certainly worth taking.

Next, Gwen and Andy discuss Bird Boy Volume 1: The Sword of Mali Mahi, which began (and continues) as a webcomic by Anne Szabla. This book (suggested for ages 8-12) contains familiar elements of quest/adventure stories, yet it has the feel of something both fresh and ancient. Szabla combines elements of myth and legend from a great many sources — Mayan, Norse, Northwest Native American, etc. — to tell the story of Bali, a 10-year-old boy birdboy_interiordesperate to prove his worth to his tribe despite being small in stature. Although considered too little to participate in an important coming-of-age ceremony, Bali takes matters into his own hands and discovers a dangerous secret that’s been kept hidden for ages.

Gwen and Andy love the story and can’t say enough about the fabulous art and use of color, yet they wish that the creator and publisher had given readers some information about the cultural influences reflected in the book. (Perhaps they will in the second volume, which comes out later this summer.) Still, Bird Boy is an exciting, unique new series that the two look forward to exploring further.

Finally, Gwen and Andy could not stop singing the praises of Poppy! and the Lost Lagoon by Matt Kindt and Brian Hurtt. Although suggested for ages 8-12, this is a book that can be enjoyed and appreciated by much older readers…even those with PhDs! Ten-year-old Poppy Pepperton and her legal guardian Colt Winchester are explorers working for a 4,000-year-old Egyptian pharaoh with the body of an eight-year-old boy. The pharaoh sends Poppy and Colt on an adventure that would make Indiana Jones think twice, a story filled with danger, mystery, riddles, puzzles, a flying carpet, a mummy head that talks, a creature called a gigantipus, and more!

Poppy! is truly a book of wonder, reflected not only in characters we quickly come to love and care about, but also in its fantastic art and glorious use of watercolor. And although Poppy! is an enormously entertaining book filled with humor, it also speaks to issues of the environment and the preservation of natural habitats without getting preachy or didactic. It’s pretty safe to say this is one of Gwen and Andy’s favorite books so far in 2016.

poppy_interior

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Wayne’s Comics Podcast #222 With Warren Simons, Richard Rivera

Wayne Hall, Wayne’s Comics, Valiant Entertainment, Archer, Armstrong, A&A, Faith, Wild Bull, Chipper, Stabbity Bunny, coloring book, 4001, Jeff Lemire, Matt Kindt, Grace, stuffed rabbit, Richard Rivera, Warren Simons, editor,

This week is a C2E2 double-header! First up is Warren Simons, editor-in-chief at Valiant Entertainment! I got the chance to interview him at this year’s C2E2, which was the perfect opportunity to catch up on what this excellent comics company has going on these days! We discussed A&A: Archer and Armstrong, the Faith miniseries, and other great books including 4001 A.D. and others! He also talks about what impact if any the recent movie deal Valiant signed will have on their books, so don’t miss it!

Then everything wraps up with the return of Richard Rivera, creator of the great indie comic Stabbity Bunny! He introduces us to his new projects, including Wild Bull & Chipper and a coloring book that was a hit at the aforementioned C2E2 convention! Oh, and he also updates us on how the next issue of Stabbity Bunny is coming along, so you’ll want to hear what he has to say, then check out his stabbity bunny.com website!

 

Comics Alternative Episode 130: Reviews of The Age of Selfishness, Lumberjanes Vol. 1, and Past Aways #1

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What the Junk?!

On this episode of the podcast, Andy and Derek review three new titles, each of which is a brief glimpse into a facet of our diverse comics culture. They begin by looking at the new book from Darryl Cunningham, The Age of Selfishness: Ayn Rand, Morality, and the Financial Crisis (Abrams AgeOfSelfishnessComicArs). This work is an extended essay focusing on the life and philosophy of Rand, the contribution of her objectivist ideas to the 2008 financial crisis, and a general discussion on growing libertarian selfishness of Western culture. In fact, the book is divided into three parts, each of which is devoted to one of these three components. The guys discuss Cunningham’s structural approach when presenting his arguments. Andy feels that the three parts work fairly well together, although Derek isn’t as convinced that the book as a whole has the appropriate balance. For examples, the references to Rand’s philosophy in the second part of the book, “The Crash,” are sporadic and could have been more deeply ingrained. As a result, the transition from the first part of the text, a broad biography of Ayn Rand, to the discussion on the 2008 crash that follows seems to separate two different projects. Still, Cunningham is able to weave his points together through references to Rand’s disciples, the most prominent of which is Alan Greenspan. The Age of Selfishness is definitely an editorializing work with a left-leaning bent — which is OK with the guys — although at times the author tries almost too hard to be evenhanded. Next, Derek and Andy talk about a comic that they’ve been meaning to discuss for some time, Lumberjanes (BOOM! Box). LumberjanesJunkIn their first collected trade, Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, and Brooke Allen introduce the adventuresome girl team by plunging readers directly into the thick of things, involving yetis, animated statues, werescouts, a mysterious bearwoman, and the subtitular “kitten holy.” This initial volume collects the first four issues of the series, which began about a year ago. The guys wonder why it took so long to put out the first trade, and why this collection comprises only the first four comic books. Derek believes that issues #5, and perhaps even #6, could have been included in the first trade with it still retaining a coherent narrative. But the thing about Lumberjanes is that the storyline is tightly woven, to where it’s difficult to determine where one arc ends and another begins. That’s to the creators’ benefit, as it suggests that they have a solid story to tell and that they’re not merely writing with the typical trade cycle in mind. Finally, the Two Guys discuss the inaugural issue of the new series from Matt Kindt and Scott Kolins, Past Aways (Dark Horse). This is a time-travel  narrative, although one with a different twist. Five explorers from our future are trapped in the early PastAways1twenty-first century, and after a year of being stranded, they drift apart with each going his or her separate way. The opening event in this first issue is what draws everyone back to a common purpose, so in many ways Past Aways has a superhero-ish “getting the team back together” kind of feel. The prelude to this new series actually appeared a couple of months ago in Dark Horse Presents #6 — and the guys briefly discuss that story — but readers do not have to have read that introduction to get into this first issue. Kindt is one of Andy and Derek’s favorite creators, and they love Kolins’s mainstream work in titles such as The Flash. So this new series will be a no-brainer for the guys. They’re on board for the long haul and hope the haul goes on for some time!

REMEMBER: if you’re in the South Carolina area on
Saturday, April 11, check out the

Sumter Comics Art Symposium

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Wayne’s Comics Podcast #160 With Matt Kindt and Scott Kolins

Wayne's Comics, Wayne Hall, Matt Kindt, MindMGMT, Dark Horse Comics, The Flash, PastAways, time travel, Scott Kolins,

This episode, let’s look ahead to a new book coming out on March 25 from Dark Horse called PastAways!

I interview the book’s creators Matt Kindt (from MindMGMT) and Scott Kolins (from The Flash) as we prepare for its upcoming launch!  They give us a lot of information about what I like to call an “adventure” comic, including how the concept and title of the series came to be as well as dishing on the characters and some great sci-fi concepts we’ll find there. Both will update us on other projects they’re working on as well, so don’t miss it!

Be back next week for another great interview with another excellent comics professional!

 

Episode 126: Reviews of The Sculptor, Divinity #1, and Descender #1

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Chipping Away

The Two Guys with PhDs are back with another review episode, and on this one they explore three fascinating titles. They begin by discussing the much-anticipated recent release from Scott McCloud, The Sculptor (First Second). In fact, Derek and Andy begin their conversation with the very fact that this was a much-anticipated, Sculptorand heavily reviewed, new book, and how all of that attention may be affecting the book’s reception. They speculate on the ways in which the artist’s prestige and reputation feeds into the expectations. Although McCloud has created memorable narratives — e.g., the Zot! series and The New Adventures of Abraham Lincoln — this is an author most famously known for Understanding Comics and the expository/instructional books that followed, Reinventing Comics and Making Comics. The guys question if the author can ever get beyond his reputation as primarily a theoretician of the medium, and if he can ever gain renewed recognition as a creator of innovative narrative forms. And both Derek and Andy feel mixed over the prognosis. Yet despite all of the extra-textual commentary, Divinitythe Two Guys spend most of their conversation in a close reading of the text. Much of their talk centers on the book’s protagonist, David Smith, and the author’s possible attitude toward his creation. Does McCloud want us to see Smith as a heroic (possibly romantic?) figure, or are we expected to read the sculptor more critically and as a flawed artist? This is a question that remains unanswered, and perhaps it speaks to McCloud’s talents that the Two Guys cannot put a finger on an exact character assessment. They also discuss The Sculptor as not only as a creative treatise on art and its place in our culture, but also, and perhaps more specifically, as a commentary on the comics industry today. Theirs is not a gushing, unequivocal endorsement of the new graphic novel — there are already plenty of those out there — but Andy and Derek do see this as a serious new work and give it the full Comics Alternative treatment…spending a little over an hour discussing the text! Next, the guys look at two new number one issues from some of their favorite creators. Matt Kindt and Trevor Hairsine’s Divinity #1 (Valiant) is a beautifully rendered science fiction narrative that apparently rests just on the periphery of the Valiant University. This is the first of a four-part series, Descenderand Hairsine’s cinematic style is the perfect platform for Kindt’s complex storytelling. Both Derek and Andy love Matt Kindt as a writer/artist, but this time around they get their fix through his scripting only. They experience the same with Descender #1 (Image), written by Jeff Lemire and with art by Dustin Nguyen. Most times they discuss Lemire’s work — and the Two Guys have done this often — they do so by looking at him as a sole creator, but his new series with Nguyen demonstrates without a doubt Lemire’s developed writing chops. The first issue accomplishes what it sets out to do, establishing a premise and tone that will both frame and propel the first story arc. This is definitely not a title that encourages trade waiting. Indeed, with both Descender and Divinity, you’ll want to get every issue as soon as they come out.

Also, be sure to check out the Paste review of The Sculptor written by friend-of-the-podcast, Shea Hennum!

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Zone 4 #281: Grimm, Star Wars & More

aka, Gardners of the Galaxy…

The crew returns to discuss four new comics, headlines and more.

This week, it’s Brant, John, Gordon & Chris

Things get kicked off with some banter and some headlines, ranging from comics, to film to cereal! Then we have a brand new Facebook Shout-Out.

For Topic Time, we discuss four new titles, with Star Wars: Rebel Heist #4, Terminal Hero #1, Deep Gravity #1, and Grimm Fairy Tales #101.

And we close out the show with announcements.

If you’d like to sponsor an episode of Zone 4, go here for details, or email us. If you’d like to donate to the show (one-time or monthly) see details here.

You can now find Zone 4 on Stitcher.com as well!

This Week’s Links and Topics

Zone 4 #271: Star Wars, Doctor Spektor & Trees

The crew returns to to talk news, news, and more news!

This week, it’s Brant, John, Chris & Mike Ventura.

We discuss several headlines, including Graphicly closing, the New 52 Helena Bertinelli, Edgar Wright leaving Ant-Man and much more.

For Topic Time, we talk about Star Wars: Rebel Heist #2, Doctor Spektor: Master of the Occult #1, and Trees #1.

Finally, we wrap things up with some announcements and closing.

This Week’s Links and Topics

Daredevil Netflix Changes

Daredevil Netflix Finds its Matt Murdock

The New 52 Helena Bertinelli

Graphicly Closes

More on Graphicly Closing

NYCC Special Edition

It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s aPodcast #7

BrooklynBoyz13

DudeOfRock18

Steampunk Originals

Jor-Elvis

HeroesCon

River City Comic Expo

Comic Frontline

Assailant Comics

In the Dark 2

Singularity: Rise of the Posthuamns