Comics Alternative Special: A Roundtable Discussion on Children’s and Young Adult Comics

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Forever Young

On this special episode of The Comics Alternative, Gwen and Derek moderate a roundtable discussion on comics for children and young adults. Joining them in the conversation are Karly Marie Grice and Joe Sutliff Sanders, both contributors to the brand new book coedited by Gwen, Graphic Novels for Children and Young Adults: A Collection of Essays (University Press of Mississippi). Over the course of the roundtable, both Joe and Karly present the research they conducted for the collection — the aesthetics of children’s digital comics and contesting narratives in Gene Luen Yang’s Boxers & Saints, respectively — but the core of the discussion centers on the current state of children’s and adolescent comics, the scholarship surrounding it, questions of demographics, and the pedagogical challenges facing educators when framing the medium.

Gwen’s coeditor, Michelle Ann Abate, had planned on joining the roundtable discussion, but due to technical difficulties she was unable to do so.

Comics Alternative Special: A Roundtable Discussion on Political Comics

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Vote!

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Just in time for the U.S. elections, Gene and Derek hold a roundtable discussion on political and propaganda comics. Joining them in the conversation are Richard Graham, author of Government Issue: Comics for the People, 1940s-2000s (Abrams ComicArts); Rafael Medoff, co-author (along with Craig Yoe) of Cartoonists against the Holocaust (Clizia Inc.); Kent Worcester, editor of Silent Agitators: Cartoon Art from the Pages of New Politics (New Politics Associates); and Fredrik Strömberg, the writer of Comic Art Propaganda: A Graphic History (St. Martin’s Griffin). The guys talk with their guests about the significance of political cartooning and what drew each of them into this particular avenue of scholarship. Most of their conversation concerns the history of the genre (at least in the United States) as well as the process behind the research. At the same time, they also focus on the current political moment and how, as several of the participants feel, most contemporary political cartoonists haven’t really met the challenge. The participants also share their thoughts on the impact of digital technology on the art form. In a heated political season signified by polemics and propaganda, it’s reassuring that you can turn to a Comics Alternative special episode providing you with the soothing comfort of…well, polemics and propaganda.

Learn more about this episode’s guests and their scholarship:

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Richard Graham, Kent Worcester, Fredrik Strömberg, and Rafael Medoff (with Craig Yoe)

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Comics Alternative Special: A Roundtable Discussion for International Podcast Day 2016

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Sound Discussion

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In celebration of International Podcast Day 2016, Derek participates in a roundtable discussion with fellow comics podcasters, including John Siuntres of Word Balloon, Chris Marshall of Collected Comics Library, and John Mayo of Comic Books Page. The four of them talk extensively about their experiences in podcasting, the challenges of working with publishers and creators within the industry, their particular niche interests in comics podcasting, how their shows have evolved over the years, and their “wish lists” for growing as a podcast. Not only do the guys discuss the many facets of podcasting specifically about comics, they also share insights about podcasting as a social media platform.

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Find out more about International Podcast Day and how you can help promote podcasting worldwide. And be sure to share your thoughts on social media using #PodcastDay.

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Comics Alternative, Episode 155: International Podcast Day 2015

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Get Listening!

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Today, September 30, is International Podcast Day! To celebrate the occasion the Two Guys with PhDs Talking about Comics get together with some of the other cohosts of the show, Gwen Tarbox, Andy Wolverton, and Gene Kannenberg, Jr., to talk about podcasts and podcasting. As such, they don’t necessarily focus on comics podcasts — although podcasts about comics comes up often during the discussion — but instead, they share their insights and experiences concerning a wide variety of podcasts. For example, everybody begins by recounting the first podcasts they ever listened to, or what brought them to the medium. They also discuss how they discern podcasts in terms of topic, content, hosting, and sound quality. And of course, each shares the various podcasts she or he currently listens to on a regular or semi-regular basis…and how and when they listen to them. They even discuss their work on The Comics Alternative and how their experiences as podcasters have affected the way they listen to (and critique) other podcasts. But overall, everyone has a great time getting together — the first time more than three cohosts appear on the same show! — and talking about a medium that has increasingly become a part of their lives. So sit back, fire up that listening device of choice, and enjoy the fun that is The Comics Alternative celebrating International Podcast Day.

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Comics Alternative Special: A Roundtable Discussion on Libraries and Comics

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Browsing the Comics Stacks

Occasionally The Comics Alternative will feature a special episode devoted to a specific comics-related topic, and on this show, the Two Guys focus on issues surrounding libraries and comics. This subject matter is particularly appropriate, given the fact that Andy Wolverton is a public librarian working extensively with comics and graphic novels in Anne Arundel County, MD. So the guys decided to invite other librarian-educators on the podcast for a ComicsLibraryShelflively roundtable discussion on the topic. Joining them are Carol Tilley, an associate professor in the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Robert G. Weiner, a humanities librarian at Texas Tech University. On this special episode they discuss a variety of issues surrounding comics and libraries, including labeling and categorization — e.g., Is the term “graphic novel” more advantageous for cataloging? — the challenge of hybridized texts, community outreach and comics, the interaction between the classrooms and libraries, explicit content and censorship, the issue of canon formation, librarians as comics curators, mainstream versus “alternative” comics acquisitions, and the role of librarians as comics educators. And this is just the tip of the discussion iceberg. As the discussants demonstrate, this is indeed a rich topic, and there are so many other facets that they didn’t have the time to touch upon. But what they do cover is truly thought-provoking, presenting ideas and posing questions that could easily lead to another such roundtable.

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Carol Tilley and Robert G. Weiner

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Comics Alternative Podcast Episode 86.1: A Roundtable Discussion on Trade Waiting

The Waiting Is the Hardest Part

On this special episode of The Comics Alternative, Andy and Derek are joined by the guys at the podcast Comics for Fun and Profit for a lively discussion on trade waiting. They discuss the pros and cons of buying single comic-book issues, the reasons why you may want to wait for a trade instead of getting the monthlies, which current titles work well serialized and which are much better presented in one longer story, and how their personal buying and reading habits affect their preferences for trade editions. This is the first time these two podcasts have experienced a “crossover event,” and given the fun everyone had, it won’t be their last.

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And remember, as Tom Petty said: the waiting is the hardest part.

Much thanks to Drew, Kyle, and Bob for participating on this roundtable! And be sure to check out their podcast, Comics for Fun and Profit.

This episode’s incidental music is brought to us by
Let’s Active’s Big Plans for Everybody

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Comics Alternative Podcast Episode 62: A Roundtable Discussion on Licensed Comics

Fully Licensed for Your Listening Pleasure

LicensedComicsThe Two Guys with PhDs (Talking about Comics) are back with another roundtable discussion, and this time the topic is licensed comics. Joining them again are their podcasting pals, John Mayo from The Comic Book Page and Chris Marshall from Collected Comics Library. Springing from Chris’s suggestion that they talk about licensed properties — and fostered by Andy’s uncanny fascination with ROM and The Micronauts — the four comics dudes cover a wide swath of pop culture history regarding the trans-media nature of certain properties. There’s a lot to talk about with this topic, and the guys try to get as much in as they can. Along the way they discuss comic-book manifestations of Star TrekStar WarsG. I. JoeMy Little PonyDoctor WhoMacGyver, The Bionic Man, Doc Savage, The Spirit, The Monkees, various Disney properties, and personality-based comics such those published on The Beatles, Bob Hope, and Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis (one of Derek’s favorites). The four guys all highlight their favorite licensed titles, and they even propose a few new possibilities as a sort of wish list.

This week’s incidental music is brought to you by
Doctor Who: Original Television Soundtrack,
TV’s Greatest Hits, Vol. 1
, and The Monkees’ Missing Links, Vol. 3

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Comics Alternative Podcast Episode 49: August Previews & Our One-Year Anniversary!

It’s Our Birthday!

BirthdayBalloonThis week on The Comics Alternative Andy and Derek celebrate their one-year anniversary!  The podcast began one year ago this month — August 1, 2012, was the inaugural episode — and the Two Guys with PhDs mark the event by doing what they do best: bringing you insightful commentary on upcoming titles and comics news. Most of this episode is devoted to the August Previews AugustPreviewscatalog, but Andy and Derek also discuss the significance of the podcast’s ongoing mission, their plans for future shows, the August Comics Alternative giveaway, and the various correspondences they have recently received. Regarding the latter, they respond to an email from Jackie Estrada, an administrator for the Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards, concerning last week’s roundtable discussion on SDCC and the Eisners. The Two Guys address the administrator’s concerns, apologize for certain oversights, and place last week’s comments within a larger context (including their previous conversations on the 2013 Eisner Award nominees). There is a lot packed into this week’s episode — over two-hours worth! — and the guys hope that you join in their anniversary celebration by lifting a pint, turning on your podcast-listening device, and enjoying the warm nougaty goodness that is The Comics Alternative.

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Comics Alternative Podcast Episode 48: A Roundtable Discussion on SCDD and the Eisner Awards

Another Podcast Crossover Event…Industry Approved!

This week on The Comics Alternative podcast, John Mayo (of the Comic Book Page) and Chris Marshall (Collected Comics Library) return for another roundtable discussion with the Two Guys with PhDs.  This time the CA Logotopic is the San Diego Comics Con and the Eisner Award ceremony that took place there.  They begin by asking John how his experience was in San Diego — he was the only one of the four to actually attend — and what for him were the highlights of the event. They talk quite a bit about the many happenings at the con, both comic-related and otherwise, and then discuss the coverage of the con in the media. Next, they turn their attention to the 2013 Eisner Award winners, trying to make sense of what the results may reveal (or not reveal) about the current state of comics as well as the attitudes and biases of the selection committee. The four podcasting guys also pick apart the various award categories, noting their histories and how many of them have changed over the years. For example, they point out the weaknesses with the “Best Digital Comic” category (too broad, too ill-defined), suggest ways of reconceptualizing the award for comics-related journalism, and even problematize the idea of the “Best Graphic Album-New.” (Is Building Stories really an “album”? Doesn’t it actually contain a lot of reprinted material?)  It may be a bit of Monday morning quarterbacking, but they don’t care. Chris, John, Andy, and Derek have a great time discussing and sharing ideas, and you can experience the fun by listening to the podcast.

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