Comics Alternative for Young Readers: Reviews of 3×4, The Creepy Case Files of Margo Maloo: The Monster Mall, and Sheets

Time Codes:



On this episode of the Comics Alternative’s Young Readers show, Gwen is joined by her new co-host, Dr. Krystal Howard, an assistant professor in the Liberal Studies and English departments at California State University, Northridge. Krystal has been reading, writing about, and teaching children’s and YA comics for a number of years and has a particular interest in gender and comics studies. In 2017, Krystal’s essay “Gothic Excess and the Body in Vera Brosgol’s Anya’s Ghost” appeared in Gwen’s co-edited volume (with Michelle Ann Abate), Graphic Novels for Children and Young Adults, and she has another comics-related essay, “Comics Grammar in Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean’s Picture Book Collaborations” that is forthcoming in The Artistry of Neil Gaiman: Finding Light in the Shadows. Regular listeners to the Young Readers show will already know Krystal from her spot as a panelist last summer on a special roundtable that Gwen and Paul Lai hosted on the future of children’s and YA comics.

Before they begin discussing the books for this month’s show, Gwen and Krystal mention the wonderful contributions of Paul Lai, who has recently graduated with his doctorate from the School of Education in Language, Literacy, and Culture at the University of California, Berkeley, and who has begun a new position as Director of UC Berkeley’s prestigious BE3 program, which stands for Berkeley Educators for Equity and Excellence. Paul intends to return to the Comics Alternative family from time to time as a podcaster, and Gwen and Krystal wish him the very best in his new role.

During the main portion of the show, Gwen and Krystal discuss three new releases: Ivan Brunetti’s 3 x 4, published last month by TOON Books and geared towards early elementary readers, and two Halloween-oriented middle grade graphic novels: Drew Weing’s The Creepy Case Files of Margo Maloo: The Monster Mall, which is the second in the Margo Maloo series from First Second books, and Brenna Thummler’s debut, Sheets, put out by Lion Forge’s Cubhouse imprint.

Both Krystal and Gwen found Brunetti’s 3 x 4 to be a great addition to the plethora of STEM-focused comics that have been published in the last five years, including First Second’s Science Comics series and Mike Holmes and Gene Luen Yang’s Secret Coders. Krystal praises Brunetti for his inclusion of a diverse and eclectic group of young people, and Gwen notes that for the detail-oriented child, every page offers up an opportunity to discover the many ways that the number 12 can be divided into sets!

Next, the two PhDs consider Drew Weing’s follow up to his highly successful first volume of the Margo Maloos series: The Creepy Case Files of Margo Maloo: The Monster Mall. Gwen appreciates Weing’s decision to continue focusing on the costs of gentrification, while Krystal notes that the inclusion of teenage characters adds a new dimension to the series.

Finally, Gwen and Krystal discuss the amazing debut by Brenna Thummler, Sheets (Lion Forge), which takes place in a lake resort town and focuses on the struggles of a young woman who has become the proprietor of her family’s laundromat, all while trying to fit in at middle school. Her interactions with Wendell, the ghost of an eleven-year-old boy, end up making life a lot better for both of them. Krystal points out Thummler’s attention to figural placement and atmospherics, and Gwen suggests that while some of the plot points might seem a little far-fetched, the novel holds together well and deals with class conflict in a manner that is also present in Weing’s Margo Maloo series.

In November, Gwen and Krystal will be back with another set of books to review, as well as 2018 best-of-list recommendations for our listener’s winter holiday celebrations.

Wayne’s Comics Podcast #310: Walter Ostlie

Wayne Hall, Wayne’s Comics, Pickle, ghosts, Sherlock Holmes, monsters, Shiver Bureau, webcomics, Scout Comics, supernatural, London, Ghostbusters, Cubicles

Happy New Year! It’s time for another special week at the Wayne’s Comics Podcast! Get ready to support another terrific book from Scout Comics—Shiver Bureau by Walter Ostlie! The first issue of this series is available to order through your local comics shop, so be sure to listen to this episode to learn how! During our interview, we discuss how he creates this great comic (as well as his other books and webcomics), where the ideas behind Shiver Bureau came from, and what we can expect from Walter in the future! Check out his website at this link, his Shiver Bureau page here, and his Facebook page here, among other social media sites! Don’t miss next week’s episode as we kick off 2018 with another terrific conversation with another great comics professional!

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

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Time Codes:


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.

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


“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.

Wayne’s Comics Podcast #268: Russell Nohelty

Wayne Hall, Wayne’s Comics, Monsters, Scary, Kickstarter, Russell Nohelty, Erik Lervold, Indie, Katrina Kunstmann, Juan Carlos Ramos, Michael Tanner, Nate Lovett,Schott Bachmann, Greg Smith, Meescha Dare, Dennis Greenhill, Joe Ranoia, Cassidy Lee Phillips, Nicolas Touris, Alexander Yak, Saint, Yak, John Holland, Jonathan Fisher, Christie Shinn, Bradly Sheridan, Arthur Bellfield, Blair Rossi, butterfly, Christian Douglas, Ivan Sarnago, Mary Bellamy, David Lucarelli, Henry Ponciano, Nicholas Doan, Daniele Serra, Michael Norwitz, Phillip Johnson, CW Cooke, Kurt Belcher, Rob Herbert, Jack Holder, Luis Bermudez, Alex Burmudez, Walter Ostlie, Steve Waldinger, Erika Lipkes, Dan Sharner, Zac Skellington, Bobby Tommy, Felix Yin, Alex Bodnar, Josh Wagner, Freedom Lee Drudge, Angela Fullard

Monsters are something many of us truly love and, during this week’s Episode 268, Russell Nohelty from Wannabe Press is back, giving us the scoop on his Kickstarter now underway for his hardcover, 244-page anthology called Monsters and Other Scary Shit. We delve into how this excellent book came to be, and we explore several of the stories you’ll enjoy as you read it! For more on this high-power creation, go to this link. Russell gives us a lot more info about this project during our discussion, so be sure to listen what he has to say!


Deconstructing Comics #487: Maya Kern and “Monster Pop!”

Monster Pop!Maya Kern‘s “Monster Pop!” features monsters and humans living together at a university. In Kern’s mind, it’s like, and also not like, shojo manga. How so?

This week, Tim talks with Maya about the increased acceptance of gay characters in comics; the problems with blogging from a character’s point of view (and of making your character a musician); why comics conventions are good for connections, but anime conventions are good for making money; repetitive strain injury, online comics promotion (Tapastic, Patreon), and more.

Deconstructing Comics site

Where Monsters Dwell 268 with Nick Bradshaw

WMD 268

This week on the spookiest LIVE comics radio program north of Sleepy Hollow, we welcome Nick Bradshaw back to the Monster Cave. Of course you’ve been following Nick’s meteoric rise to fame with his work on Wolverine and the X-Men at Marvel but what you might not have know is that Nick is a huge horror and monster fan. How perfect that he joins us on Devil’s Night to chat about all things creepy and eerie. If you have a question for Nick Bradshaw, feel free to post it on our Facebook wall or give us a call at 506-453-4949.

We are also joined by our Senior Marvel Cinematic Universe Correspondent Brent O’Hara who will be breaking down all of the recent MCU news that has been released lately.

Where Monsters Dwell is brought to you by Strange Adventures and Club Fred Grafx.

WMD gets it’s pop culture news from SciFi Mafia

Upload MP3 and download MP3 using free MP3 hosting from Tindeck.

RBDHB: Pacific Rim Review

Jenny Marcano guest stars on this weeks episode! Giant Robots vs Enormous Monsters, throw in the apocalypse and Guillermo del Toro, looks like a must see Nerd film. Yet do all these components make this film worth your time? Listen in to find out.

As a long time fan of Godzilla, I have been waiting for this film, a high budget monster flick with a great director behind it. Find out if it fills that hole inside every Godzilla fans heart.

Review is spoiler free till 10:30




Earth Destruction Directive – Episode 18: Take That, You Dinosaur!

Anyone who thinks that Doctor Who invented “wibbly wobbly timey wimey” has never seen Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah! When some folks from the future show up with their handy-dandy time machine and offer to make your Godzilla problems go away for good, maybe you should suspect that they might have something sinister — possibly with three heads, two tails, and golden scales — up their sleeves! Or, you can just accept it blindly and go along with it. What’s the worst that can happen? Check out this Hesai classic pitting the King of Monsters against the King of Terror right here on Earth Destruction Directive!



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Yamagato Industries Business Report – Issue #84: Mongo Hates Monsters

You can check us out every Wednesday on

We’re new to the Comics Podcast Network, so let me introduce us. We’re 3 (sometimes more) dudes from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Texas. We do our podcast through Skype and tend to talk about anything and everything, but usually try to remain as comic or anime centric as possible. We also have a cool webcomic we do in conjunction with our podcast that you can check out here. Oh, and as for our name? Never mind that, we just tried to pick something as ridiculously Japanese sounding as possible that also had a hint of Comic books to it. We offer both video & audio podcasts. Usually our videos are pretty basic and just a way for us to get dough (like 2 dollars a year if we’re lucky) via ads on Blip, but when we start actually discussing artwork or specific trailers or anything, we’ll add them to the video so you can follow along at home!

Join the guys for some Comic Talk as well as clearing up a little something on “New” Nick Fury. We also find out that Mongo hates monster comics. What’s up with that?!

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Burnt Weiners – Jims Indie Rack 003

Jim’s back this week with more news and reviews on all things independent.

He discusses excitement on the upcoming D.B. Cooper series, Accent UK’s recent release of Predators, and more!

Reviews this week:

Monsters (Accent UK)

Spontaneous #3 (Oni Press)

Wolves ( Becky Cloonan)

Sites mentioned:

Shane Oakley blog:
Adventure Podcast:
Becky Cloonan Webstore:

Intro music by Adam Warrock
Outro music by Art of Kanly (contact Jim if you’d like to hear more!)

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Where Monsters Dwell – Episode 55

It’s opening weekend for the new Star Trek franchise/sequel/re-imagining and we’re going to update you on the opening festivities including but not limited to WMD at your local theatre promoting Hal-Con 2010.
We’ll have Ben Steeves and Gibson Twist in the studio to talk about web comics.

And of course we’ll have your regular chances to win Strange Adventures cash and Jumbo Video ‘Jumbo’ movie banners in addition to taking three qualifiers for the Premiere Format Mystique Sideshow Statue.

Tune in this (or listen LIVE on the net at Wednesday for fun and excitement the Where Monsters Dwell way!

Mike, Erin, Ryan and Remy

From Where Monsters Dwell