This week Paul and Derek discuss three unique titles that help define our understanding of what comics can be. They begin with a visual anthology that is, arguably, not a comic at all. Nobrow 10:Studio Dreams (Nobrow Press) is a series of 70 gorgeous illustrations by a variety of artists — all of whom have contributed to Nobrow publications in the past — that reveal their ideal studio space. The styles in this volume vary widely, but each illustration is a luxurious work that invites visual lingering.
After that the Two Guys turn to one of their favorites, the Hernandez brothers. The latest issue of Love and Rockets (Fantagraphics) is notable in that it wraps up Jaime’s ongoing storyline, “Is This How You See Me?” This narrative began back in the New Stories volumes, and in it Maggie and Hopey attend a Hoppers reunion that begins well, but then takes a darker turn for the two. Jaime also contributes a couple of shorter comics that revisit Maggie and Hopey in their younger days, another narrative thread we’ve seen in recent issues of Love and Rockets. Gilbert’s contribution, “Rosy,” is a long story about one of Fritz’s daughters who confronts her mother’s colored career and decides what it means to her.
Paul and Derek wrap up the episode by looking at the two latest issues of Dakota Mcfadzean’s minicomic Last Mountain. Issue #4 is a surreal look at the disturbing power of product iconography, where a little girl is terrorized by a cereal box mascot. Issue #5, “To Know You’re Alive,” can be read as a response to the previous issue in that it also concerns childhood and media, but from the perspective of a stay-at-home father. Unfortunately, both of these minicomic issues are sold out, but as the guys mention, listeners should definitely keep their eyes on Mcfadzean as he releases new material.
Luke Healy was first on The Comics Alternative at Small Press Expo in 2016, where he briefly spoke with Derek about his provocative self-published minicomic The Unofficial Cuckoo’s Nest Study Companion, which was nominated that year for an Ignatz Award. A couple of months later Luke came back on the show, this time for a long and more in-depth interview about his new book at the time, How to Survive in the North, released from Nobrow Press. And now, Luke comes back on podcast to discuss his most recent work. His brand-new book revisits some of his older writings and places them within an entirely new context. Permanent Press has just been released from Avery Hill Publishing, and it’s a mock autobiographical text that explores the world of independent comics creators and the relationship between a cartoonist and his ego. What’s more, the new book incorporates the previously self-published The Unofficial Cuckoo’s Nest Study Companion, but it does so in a way that brings a fresh perspective to the story and even underscores its experimental nature. In this interview, Derek talks with Luke Healy about the origins of Permanent Press, its highly satirical tone, and the process of looking inside of himself and pulling out a narrative that is not entirely autobiographical, but at the same time, not purely fiction. As you’ll hear, Luke is certainly one of the medium’s most meditative creators.
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:
Reviews: Black Panther and The Crew #1, Godshaper #1, Rose #1, Weapon X Vol 3 #1, X-Men Blue #1, Class series premiere, Doctor Who S10 premiere
Jon Hoche and Emily Edwards join Jimmy is this super fun episode! They chat about the Doctor Who casting rumors and the new Star Wars: The Last Jedi trailer. Jimmy attended the amazing American Gods press junket hosted by Starz and got some great roundtable interviews! Here, you’ll hear the awesomely talented and funny Kristin Chenoweth. Later this week and next, you’ll be able to hear the rest. The show is absolutely astounding and you all should check it out when it debuts on April 30th! News includes: Warner Bros. is making an R-rated animated Watchmen film, Jude Law will be a young Dumbledore in the Fantastic Beasts series of films, Shea Fontana will take over writing Wonder Woman, Dan Parent is bringing his updated classic Archie style to a new comic series, Captain Phasma gets her own comic and more! Leave your iTunes comments! 5 stars and nothing but love! Also, get a hold of us!
On this month’s episode of the Comics Alternative’s Young Readers series, Gwen and Paul discuss two new releases: Lorena Alvarez’s Nightlights from Nobrow Press, geared toward younger readers, and Thi Bui’s graphic novel The Best We Could Do, from Abrams ComicArts, an all-ages comic that will be of interest to our teen and adult listeners. They also had a chance to interview Thi Bui and include that segment at the end of the review portion of the show.
Lorena Alvarez’s Nightlights, a beautiful hardback, picture book-sized comic, focuses on the early years in the life of a young girl, Sandy, who clearly has artistic ambitions and an abundance of creativity. However, Sandy also experiences doubts regarding the source of her imagination and fears about what might happen if inspiration were suddenly to desert her. Gwen and Paul love how Alvarez respects the creative process of a young artist, and they appreciate how Alvarez brings her own experiences growing up in Bogotá, Columbia, into the themes and artwork for Nightlights. For more about Alvarez’s biography and work, head over to her website. Those listeners who have enjoyed Vera Brosgol’s YA graphic novel Anya’s Ghost or Neil Gaiman’s novel and graphic novel Coraline, that features the “ghost children,” Nightlights will be a treat. In all three stories, the presence of the supernatural encourages the protagonists to think critically about their various gifts and emotional burdens.
Next, Paul and Gwen discuss Thi Bui’s The Best We Could Do, a graphic memoir published by Abrams Comicarts. Bui, whose family came to the US as refugees in the wake of the Vietnam War, tells her own and her family’s stories, in a narrative weaving history and reflection. Given that the book addresses issues of war and loss, Paul and Gwen emphasize that this text is probably geared more towards the upper range of the YA category. Paul praises the text for its evocative depiction of parent/children relationships, and Gwen agrees, noting that she also appreciated Bui’s focus on the refugee experience.
After their discussion, Paul and Gwen play an interview that they conducted with Thi Bui about her inspiration, her process, and her work with young people at the International School in Oakland, California. Listeners can learn even more about Bui at her website. Ms. Bui also mentions an event at Oakland International High School featuring her students’ comics work. She clarified afterwards that the event will be held April 14th, and listeners are welcomed to attend!
SP4RX is Wren McDonald‘s first full-length graphic novel, a cyber-punk story that fondly remembers “the future of the past”. This week Wren talks about world building in SP4RX, his process, work-life balance, and more. Support Deconstructing Comics on Patreon to hear more of this interview!
On this interview episode, Derek talks with Luke Healy. His new book How to Survive in the North comes out in the U.S. this week from Nobrow Press. This isn’t the first time that Luke’s been on The Comics Alternative. Derek spoke with him briefly while at SPX back in September as part of the on-location series of shows. But now, Luke’s back for a more sustained and focused conversation. Over the course of the interview, the two discuss the genesis of How to Survive in the North, the intersections of history and fiction, a cartoonist’s responsibilities concerning research and reportage, and the distinctive qualities of both mini- and long-form narration. Derek also asks Luke about his writings for small comics anthologies, including his own efforts with Dog City.
Reviews: 3 Devils #1 A&A #1, Steven Universe & the Crystal Gems #1, Turncoat #1, Daredevil S2, Lost Girl series finale
Jon Hoche is back again! The boys discuss the X-Men: Apocalypse trailer, how the Inhumans beat out the mutants and a possible Red Dead Redemption sequel. News includes: Peter Capaldi confirms a new Doctor Who companion has been picked and he’s been working with them, Faith Erin Hicks announces first ever new NON-graphic novel called Comics Will Break Your Heart, Spider-Gwen co-creator Robbi Rodriguez announces retirement from comics, and more Harry Potter inspired books are coming after the upcoming Fantastic Beasts movie. Leave your iTunes comments! 5 stars and nothing but love! Also, get a hold of us!
Reviews: Green Lantern Corps: Edge of Oblivion #1, Gutter Magic #1, Leaving Megalopolis: Surviving Megalopolis #1, Legend Of Wonder Woman Vol 2 #1, Luna The Vampire #1, Colony
Jimmy is joined in studio by cartoonist pal Tony Wolf in the rotating guest co-host chair! They chat about the new Cloverfield trailer, Tony’s work in comics and Jimmy will guest on another podcast this week called Set Lusting Bruce. News includes: DC Comics is bringing back Bloodlines, Heroes Reborn will not return for season 2, Netflix picked up Jessica Jones for season 2 and are possibly developing a Punisher series. Leave your iTunes comments! 5 stars and nothing but love! Also, get a hold of us!
Reviews: Art Ops #1, Black Magick #1, Cyrus Perkins And The Haunted Taxi Cab #1, The Returned S2 premiere
Emily Edwards returns to co-host in a way too early recording session with a sleepy Jimmy. They chat about Halloween, costumes, and the Preacher trailer. News includes Ben Templesmith launches new sci-fi webcomic called Blackholers, Rupert Grint to star in comic book drama for NBC, Neil Gaiman gets his own anthology TV series, William Shatner is giving the digital comic treatment to his prose novels Man O’ War, a new Star Trek series is coming in 2017, a new Star Wars documentary showcases extras and more! Leave your iTunes comments! 5 stars and nothing but love! Also, get a hold of us!
“Forget me. When you do you’ll find a new creamy filling…not just my creamy filling.”
On this week’s episode, Derek and Andy W. are back with a Publisher Spotlight, and this time the focus is on Nobrow Press and their fall 2014 releases. This relatively small, UK-based publisher may be off of many readers’ radar, but they put out a lot of great books, as this week’s show will attest. First, the guys discuss Jesse Moynihan’s Forming II, the follow up 2011’s strange, whacked-out creation narrative Forming. They are fascinated with the myth that Moynihan has created, and they especially love the artist’s sense of humor. Next, Derek and Andy move on to Moonhead and the Music Machine, a new graphic novel by Andrew Rae. They highlight Rae’s clean, vivid art style, and they speculate on whether or not this book was intended for a younger — or at least all-age — readership. Next on the guys’ plate is Roman Muradov’s (In a Sense) Lost and Found. This is a striking, Kafkaesque narrative with an uneven, dream-like quality. The intended murkiness of the tale may complement the dark palette that Muradov uses, as the guys find many of his images difficult to decipher. Bianca Bagnarelli’s Fish is the next book they discuss, a short story — perhaps more of an emotional vignette — that is part of the 17×23 series, Nobrow’s graphic short story project designed to introduce young artists to a wider readership. Andy and Derek then move on to Corinne Maier and Anne Simon’s graphic biography, Marx, which looks at the (surprisingly bourgeois) life behind the famous philosopher/economist, and then they look at Behold! The Dinosaurs!, Dustin Harbin’s beautiful concertina that challenges the guys’ definition of “comics.” Finally, your tireless hosts look at Jamie Coe’s Art Schooled — one of the most sophisticated narrative styles of the week, and definitely Derek’s favorite — and then another graphic biography, Robert Moses: The Master Builder of New York City, written by Pierre Christin and with art by Olivier Balez. There are eight books discussed in all, and this show has to be extra longthis week in order for the guys to cover everything. Come and enjoy the creamy filling that is The Comics Alternative!