Comics Alternative Kickstarter: Kilgore Books and Comics’ 2018 Releases

More Kilgore!

This week’s Kickstarter episode is brought to you by the great folks at Kilgore Books and Comics. If that publisher sounds familiar, that’s because the Two Guys have discussed a variety of Kilgore publications in the past…including a publisher spotlight episode back in 2016!

Its current Kickstarter campaign is all about their 2018 releases. Dan Stafford, Kilgore’s head honcho, talks with Derek about the various titles scheduled for this year, and there are a lot. Backers can look forward to:

  • Blammo #10, by Noah Van Sciver
  • Tinderella, by M.S. Harkness
  • Tommy Time, by Tom Van Deusen
  • Baseline Blvd, by Emi Gennis
  • Lawns, by Alex Nall
  • September 12, by Robert Sergel
  • Angloid, by Alex Graham
  • Monkey Chef: A Love Story, by Mike Freiheit
  • And an untitled Inechi comic by Inés Estrada

As listeners of The Comics Alternative know, Kilgore publishes great titles, the kind that define what the podcast is all about. So be sure to back this campaign and get your batch of 2018 releases from Kilgore Books and Comics!

Sample Covers



Comics Alternative, Episode 270: A Publisher Spotlight on kuš!

Time Codes:

  • 00:00:26 – Introduction
  • 00:02:47 – Thanks to Holly English!
  • 00:05:07 – The 2017 releases from kuš!
  • 01:36:29 – Wrap up
  • 01:38:00 – Contact us


kuštraveganza or kušapalooza?

This week Gene and Derek focus a critical spotlight on the Latvian publisher kuš! This is a press that the vast majority of listeners are probably unaware of — indeed, neither of the Two Guys knew about kuš! until about three years ago — and that’s a shame. They produce incredible comics from artists that span the globe. And as Gene points out, there’s really no such thing as a “kuš! style.” The sheer variety of visual approaches that can be found in kuš! publications is truly astounding.

Since kuš! publishes so many comics, Derek and Gene have decided to limit their discussion to just those titles the press released in 2017. But even that is a challenging volume of output. Last year kuš! put out four of their š! anthologies, four kuš! mono volumes, and sixteen issues in the mini kuš! series. As the guys point out multiple times during this episode, there’s no way to thoroughly discuss every single title that came out in 2017, but they do their best to cover as much ground as possible, and in hopes of giving listeners incentive to check out the wonderful releases from this publisher.

Here is a complete list of kuš! releases from 2017, including the month of publication:

  • mini kuš! #47 “Sutrama” by Daniel Lima, January
  • mini kuš! #48 “Nul” by Olive Booger, January
  • mini kuš! #49 “Call of Cthulhu” by Martin Lacko/ H. P. Lovecraft, January
  • mini kuš! #50 “Spectacular Vermacular” by Mathilde Van Gheluwe, January
  • š! #27 “BFF,” February
  • Brume by Amanda Baeza, kuš! mono #2, February
  • mini kuš! #51 “Mirror Stage” by Jaakko Pallasvuo, April
  • mini kuš! #52 “Acquisition” by Cátia Serrão, April
  • mini kuš! #53 “Yellow” by Līva Kandevica, April
  • mini kuš! #54 “Bad Ball” by Samplerman, April
  • An Exorcism by Theo Ellsworth, kuš! mono #3, April
  • š! #28 “Scandal!,” April
  • š! #29 “Celebration,” July
  • mini kuš! #55 “Valley” by GG, August
  • mini kuš! #56 “A Friend” by Andrés Magán, August
  • mini kuš! #57 “Eviction” by Evangelos Androutsopoulos, August
  • mini kuš! #58 “Night Door” by Patrick Kyle, August
  • mini kuš! #59 “Share The Love” by Paula Bulling / Nina Hoffmann, October
  • mini kuš! #60 “His Last Comic” by Noah Van Sciver, October
  • mini kuš! #61 “Jonah 2017” by Tomasz Niewiadomski, October
  • mini kuš! #62 “Daughter” by Aidan Koch, October
  • š! #30 “Brooklyn,” November
  • Fenix by Zane Zlemeša, kuš! mono #4, November
  • Fearless Colors by Samplerman, kuš! mono #5, November

Be sure to visit the kuš! website and check out their many releases. Better yet, subscribe!



Comics Alternative, Episode 253: Reviews of Lighter Than My Shadow, Now #1, and The Family Trade #1

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Time Codes:


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.

Comics Alternative, Episode 216: A Publisher Spotlight on Kilgore Books and Comics

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Number 9

Time Codes:

  • 00:00:27 – Introduction
  • 00:02:28 – Setting up Kilgore Books and Comics
  • 00:05:28 – Conversation with Dan Stafford
  • 00:22:04 – Cosmic Be-ing #2
  • 00:28:45 – The Fifth Window
  • 00:35:24 – A Horse, a Crow, and a Hippo Walk into a Bar
  • 00:45:53 – Powermac
  • 00:55:16 – Paid for It
  • 01:01:56 – The Plunge: A True Story
  • 01:12:21 – What Happened
  • 01:18:23 – Scorched Earth
  • 01:25:44 – Blammo #9
  • 01:54:57 – Wrap up
  • 01:56:02 – Contact us



On this episode, their final publisher spotlight of the year, Andy and Derek discuss the 2016 releases from Kilgore Books and Comics. They discuss nine titles, in all: four from the publisher’s spring catalog, four from the fall releases, and an in-between book that conceptually lives up to its interstitial positioning. The guys begin their spotlight with a brief interview Derek conducted with Dan Stafford at this year’s Small Press Expo. He introduces Kilgore to listeners, reveals its history and mission, and sets the contexts for the various 2016 releases. After that, the Two Guys with PhDs begin looking at the four titles from the spring, Alex Graham’s Cosmic Be-ing #2, Amara Leipzig’s The Fifth Window, Lauren Barnett’s A Horse, a Crow, and a Hippo Walk into a Bar, and Box Brown’s Powerman. They’re intrigued by the more abstract constructions of the former, and they contrast this with the humor and sheer fun found Barnett’s and Brown’s comics. And given recent political events, the satiric Powerman becomes disturbingly prescient.

And on the topic of satire…Andy and Derek next check out the latest work from one of their favorites, Joe Matt. Paid for It is a send-up of Chester Brown’s Paying for It. In it, Matt (writing under the name “Chesty Matt”) basically takes panels from Brown’s original texts, inverts their sequence, and tweaks the story so that it’s the protagonist who becomes the prostitute and the women who are the johns…or janes. It’s not often that we see anything new from Matt, so Paid for It is definitely an event worth noting.

The last part of the episode is devoted to Kilgore’s fall releases: Emi Gennis’s The Plunge: A True Story, Simon Moreton’s What Happened, Tom Van Deusen’s Scorched Earth, and Noah Van Sciver’s Blammo #9. The first is an historical account of the first woman to go over Niagara Falls in a barrel, and a reminder of the gender biases we continue to live under. Moreton’s is an introspective examination of childhood experiences, while Van Deusen’s is an no-holds-barred exposé of a dysfunctional individual, reminiscent of Sacha Baron Cohen and Curb Your Enthusiasm. But the guys save their most vocal praise for the latest issue of Blammo. They’ve discussed Van Sciver’s series on the podcast before, but this latest installment is a truly outstanding issue that stands above in its predecessors.



Episode 153: Reviews of The Dharma Punks, My Hot Date, Tokyo Ghost #1, and FutureFantasteek! #16

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Life, the Universe, and Everything


This week the Two Guys with PhDs Talking about Comics explore four new titles, each quite different one from the other. They begin with the new graphic novel from New Zealand creator Ant Sang, The Dharma Punks (Conundrum Press). On the surface it is a story about coming to terms with death, but there’s much more going on in this 415-page book. In fact, this is one of the most ambitious narratives the guys have encountered so far this year, and certainly the most philosophical. Its protagonist, Chopstick, tries to comes to grips with the suicide of a close friend and what that loss means in his own life, while at the same time participating in an anarchist act against a corporate franchise. The events in the book take place roughly over a two-day period, but one of strengths MyHotDate2of this narrative is how Sang manipulates time in a Faulkner-like manner, making the past ever-present. This is a rich and complex text, and at times Gene and Derek feel at a loss trying to put the gist of The Dharma Punks into words for an audio podcast. Next, the guys take on a much more constrained narrative, but one that is nonetheless multifaceted in its own ways, Noah Van Sciver’s My Hot Date (Kilgore Books). This is an autobiographical comic, and as the title suggests, it’s about a date that the fourteen-year-old Noah has with someone he met via America Online. Van Sciver has written short memoir-inspired stories in the past, but this is the longest, and definitely the most humorously self-deprecating, that he’s produced to date. This is just one of the many comics that Van Sciver has released over the past year, many of which are published through Kilgore Books…a growing presences in the Two Guys’ arsenal of go-to small publishers. After that, Derek and Gene turn their attention to the first issue in Rick Remender and Sean Murphy’s new series from Image Comics, Tokyo Ghost. This is a futuristic story that takes as its premise the overriding and ever-present impact of on-demand digital culture in our lives. This inaugural issue does a fine job of setting up this narrative world, but Gene wonders if the nonstop action and complex visuals may be too much at times. Lastly, the guys take a brief look at an issue of an online zine they have just discovered, Jackie Batey’s FutureFantasteek! Issue #16 was released at the beginning of 2015, and while the latest installment can stand on its own, Derek and Gene suggest that the title can best be appreciated when read over the course of its run. For those with a diverse taste in comics, this episode is definitely for you!



Comics Alternative Interviews: Noah Van Sciver

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NVSportraitThe Two Guys with PhDs are glad to have on their show Noah Van Sciver, the creator behind the series Blammo as well as the recently published Saint Cole (Fantagraphics). The guys talk with Noah about the genesis of Saint Cole and how this became his follow-up graphic novel to The Hypo: The Melancholic Young Lincoln. For that matter, they’re even more curious to know why the artist chose our depressive sixteen president as his first long-form focus. While historical narratives aren’t unusual for Noah — he addresses the great 1863 Denver fire in his comic, A City of Whiskey and Fire (with Daniel Landes) — he’s quick to point out that he’s not a historically based cartoonist, as, for example, you might find in someone like Rick Geary. In fact, Noah tells Derek and Andy that he resists any kind of pigeonholing, even bristling at any attempts to place his work in the company of Robert Crumb or Chester Brown. He prefers to be a chameleon, changing up his subject matter at will, SaintColemuch like Leonard Zelig does in Zelig. And here is where the Two Guys demonstrate their characteristic talents for taking their interviewees into unlikely tangential realms. Throughout their conversation, Woody Allen becomes the topic that the guys keep returning to, especially since Noah is a big Allen fan. The creator even reveals that he’s currently working on project in the vein of Stardust Memories, a story about a successful artist who goes to a convention but feels alienated from his fans while he depressively reevaluates his life. But the conversation never evolves, or devolves, completely into a Woodyfest. There’s plenty of talk on Van Sciver’s Blammo series, his AdHouse collection Youth Is Wasted, his strips 4 Questions and Rufus Baxter, the World’s Oldest Unknown Rock Star for Westword, the Denver comics scene, his relationship with Kilgore Books and Comics, his desire to create a comic with a large ensemble cast, and his upcoming project for Fantagraphics, Fante Bukowski. So all in all, in this interview you get previews, you get insights, you get laughs, and you get a little cinematic Woody. What more could you ask for?

Be sure to check out Noah Van Sciver’s Website!

And you’ll find Blammo and other great comics at Kilgore Books and Comics’s website!