Comics Alternative, Episode 284: Reviews of The Escapist Omnibi

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Faux Histories

This week, Pascal (of the Euro Comics series) joins Derek on the weekly review show to discuss the two omnibi collections of The Escapist from Dark Horse Books. They look at both Michael Chabon’s The Escapist: Amazing Adventures (which was released this past February) as well as the latest collection, Michael Chabon’s The Escapist: Pulse-Pounding Thrills, published in wide release this week. The two guys discuss the faux history that Chabon and a variety of writers and artists have created, wedging this narrative into our recognizable comic-book history. They’re not able to discuss all of the selections in these two collections — between both volumes, there are almost 50 Escapist stories, some never before published — but they focus on many of the pieces that stand out to them. Among the Escapists stories they cover are those by such notable creators as Will Eisner, Eduardo Barreto, Jeffrey Brown, Howard Chaykin, Paul Gulacy, Jeff Parker, Marv Wolfman, Thomas Yeates, Brian K. Vaughan, Kyle Baker, Gene Colan, Matt Kindt, Kevin McCarthy, Bill Sienkiewicz, Jim Starlin, among many others.

Comics Alternative, Euro Comics: Reviews of Brazen and Yellow Negroes and Other Imaginary Creatures

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Pants On

This month Pascal and Derek look at two recent books that, while strikingly different in their storytelling approaches, are both insightful examinations of the socio-historical forces that shape individuals’ lives. They begin with Pénélope Bagieu’s Brazen: Rebel Ladies Who Rocked the World (First Second), a collection of 29 short biographies profiling women throughout history who have pushed back and defined themselves on their own terms. This book began as a series of webcomics that appeared on Le Monde‘s blog between January and October 2016. There was actually one original entry, a biographical look at Phulan Devi, that didn’t make it into the American text, and the guys speculate as to why this might have been.

After that they discuss Yvan Alagbé’s Yellow Negroes and Other Imaginary Creatures, just released from New York Review Comics. This is a much less conventional collection, at least in terms of its narrative and visual styles. The book includes seven short pieces that were originally created between 1995 and 2017. The title story is the longest, and most sophisticated, of the bunch, but Pascal and Derek also spend some time focusing on “The Suitcase” and “Postcard from Montreuil.”  What almost all of the stories in this book focus on, in one way or another, is France’s colonialist past and its ramifications to this day.

Comics Alternative, Euro Comics: Reviews of The Initiates and Satania

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Journeys

For the March episode of the Euro Comics series, Pascal Hamon joins Derek to discuss two recent books from NBM Graphic Novels. They begin with Étienne Davodeau’s The Initiates: A Comic Artist and a Wine Artisan Exchange Jobs, an autobiographical account of the artist and his friend’s mutual education on what the other does. As Pascal points out, the majority of this narrative concerns Davodeau learning about winemaking and literally getting his hands dirty during the process. Not as much space is given to his friend, Richard Leroy, as he is initiated into the comics industry in France, but this makes sense, given the fact that Davodeau is the author of this account and spends a lot of time revealing what he has learned.

After that, Pascal and Derek discuss Satania, the most recent collaboration between Fabien Vehlmann and Kerascoët. Their earlier book, Beautiful Darkness, was actually something discussed on the Euro Comics episode in January of last year. This is a similarly fantastical narrative and is, in fact, quite a bit wilder than the earlier book. On the literal level, this is a journey underground, but the guys read this text as more of a psychological narrative. Its young protagonist, Charlotte, while searching for her lost older brother is nonetheless coming to terms with her own issues as she becomes a grown woman. And, of course, Kerascoët’s art is mesmerizing.

This marks the debut of Pascal as the new cohost for the Euro Comics series, taking over from Edward while he is on hiatus. Please be sure to contact the Two Guys and welcome Pascal to the podcast!