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!

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

Legacies

It’s time for another on-location episode recorded at Heroes Aren’t Hard to Find in Charlotte, NC. In this first of two planned September visits, Michael and Derek talk with customers — Zyg, Brian, and Alonzo — and discuss some recent releases that strike their attention. Focusing on the mainstream, Michael highlights Fantastic Four #1. He discusses Marvel’s former flagship title’s return, and he goes on to speculate on the significance of Jack Kirby and Stan Lee’s creation…not only with the Marvel Universe, but for all comics. Derek focuses on a few non-superhero titles, including Christopher Sebela and Shawn McManus’s House Amok #1 (IDW/Black Crown), Eric M. Esquivel and Ramon Villalobos’s Border Town #1 (DC/Vertigo), and the first two titles in DC’s new Sandman initiative, The Sandman Universe #1 and The Dreaming #1.

With this episode, The Comics Alternative’s on-location series joins the Queen City Podcast Network!

Comics Alternative, On Location: The First August Visit to Heroes Aren’t Hard to Find

Politics and Monsters

Michael and Derek are back at Heroes Aren’t Hard to Find, in Charlotte, NC, for the first of their planned August on-location episodes. And as the Two Guys have been doing with their new format, Michael highlights recent mainstream publications and Derek focuses on more indie or non-DC and Marvel titles. Michael starts the ball rolling by discussing the recent work of Ta-Nehisi Coates, specifically his current writing on Captain America (Marvel Comics). He specifically focuses on the politics embedded in the narratives — and not only with Cap, but in his Black Panther work, as well — and how Coates is learning the form and growing as a comic-book writer. Derek discusses three recent #1 issues, including Rob Guillory’s Farmhand and John Layman and Nick Pitarra’s Leviathan (both from Image Comics), as well as She Could Fly, written by Christopher Cantrell and with art by Martin Morazzo (Dark Horse Comics). He links the comedy, and the outrageousness, of Guillory’s and Layman’s new titles, because the two made their big splash with Chew. The guys also talk about She Could Fly, not only on its own story terms, but as the latest contribution from Berger Books.

On Location: The First July Visit to Heroes Aren’t Hard to Find

Happy 4th!

Michael and Derek are back at Heroes Aren’t Hard to Find for the first of two July on-location episodes. They visit the shop on Independence Day, and they use the occasion to discuss current trends and titles in the comics industry. Mike explores recent manifestations of The Avengers and Justice League, focusing on Marvel and DC through what he calls the “classic Coke” approach. His discussion takes him across the writings of Jason Aaron and Scott Snyder, and then circling back to Tom King’s current work on Batman and the recent marriage event. Looking at the non-mainstream side of comics, Derek talks about his reaction to the first two issues of Evan Dorkin and Veronica Fish’s Blackwood and the initial offering of Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer, part of Titan Comics’ Hard Case Crime series. He also brings up Naoki Urasawa’s 20th Century Boys and the recent announcement of new Perfect Editions from VIZ Media. And, it being July 4th, the Two Guys also discuss comics, politics, and the current state of the country.

 

 

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

New Format!

It’s another on-location recording at Heroes Aren’t Hard to Find in Charlotte, NC. But with this episode the podcast is doing something different. The on-location show will be going up twice monthly — schedules permitting — and joining Derek on these Heroes shows will be Michael Kobre, another guy with a PhD talking about comics. On their on-location shows, Mike and Derek will discuss very recent comics, those being released in the week or two before the recording, that have caught their attention. Mike will primarily focus on the DC and Marvel mainstream titles, while Derek will concentrate on non-mainstream, or alternative and indie, comics. And, of course, they will invite customers and employees of the shop to join in on the conversation.

On this episode, Mike discusses the work of Tom King, including the recent deluxe edition of The Sheriff of Babylon, his work on Marvel’s Vision, and his run on Batman. Derek comments on recent issues from Image Comics — specifically Farel Dalrymple’s Proxima Centauri #1Jody LeHeup and Nathan Fox’s The Weatherman #1, and Joseph Keatinge and Bret Blevins’s Stellar #1 — as well as the minicomics he recently discovered from Natalie Andrewson.

Stay tuned, because Mike and Derek will be back at Heroes Aren’t Hard to Find in a couple of weeks!

Alonzo Cunningham, Zyg Furmaniuk, and Michael Kobre

Alonzo Cunningham and Zyg Furmaniuk

 

Comics Alternative, On Location: HeroesCon 2018, the “How to Read Nancy” Panel

Time Codes:

  • 00:00:26 – Introduction
  • 00:02:17 – Panel context
  • 00:04:01 – “How to Read Nancy” panel
  • 01:04:50 – Wrap up
  • 01:05:19 – Contact us

blkfade

“Draw, you varmint”

This past weekend was HeroesCon 2018, and while there Derek was a part of two different scholarly panels. One was about the relationship between print and digital comics texts, “Between Pen and Pixel,” a recording of which was released earlier this week. The second was a panel based on the book by Paul Karasik and Mark Newgarden, How to Read Nancy: The Elements of Comics in Three Easy Panels. Andy Mansell, who oversees the programming every year at HeroesCon, wanted to pull together a panel of scholars to discuss the significance of How to Read Nancy and its potential place in the classroom and in scholarship. In addition, he wanted the panelists to discuss other important books about comics, comics history, and formal aspects of the medium. Other panelists included the former cohost of The Comics Alternative, Andy Kunka, Craig Fischer, Jennie Law, and the new cohost for the podcast’s bi-monthly on-location episodes, Michael Kobre. The resulting panel, “How to Read Nancy and Other Indispensable Books about Comics,” is part of the ongoing series of panels that Andy Mansell organizes every year, which he calls the “Comics Canon.”

A big thanks to Andy Mansell, not only for pulling together this panel, but for all of the hard he does every year in overseeing the programming at HeroesCon.

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

Secret Identities

It’s the April on-location visit to Heroes Aren’t Hard to Find in Charlotte, NC. As he usually does, Derek is at the shop talking with customers about comics-related matters. But his time at Heroes also corresponds with the visit of Queens University Prof. Michael Kobre’s class, “Secret Identities, Diversity, and Popular Culture.”