Comics Alternative, Episode 258: Our Fifth Annual Thanksgiving Show

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Pass the Pie

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Thanksgiving is tomorrow, and the folks at The Comics Alternative all gather around the virtual table to share what they are thankful for in terms of comics and comics culture. Pulling up a seat this year are Gwen, Paul, Sean, Gene, Edward, and Derek. Among the many things that they’re thankful for are

What more could one ask for in a holiday podcast episode? Well…maybe some pie.

ForbiddenWorldsThanksgiving

 

Comics Alternative Interviews: Back with Andy Hirsch

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Time Codes:

  • 00:25 – Introduction
  • 02:55 – Setup of interview
  • 04:20 – Interview with Andy Hirsch
  • 57:15 – Wrap up
  • 59:51 – Contact us

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Andy Hirsch is back on the podcast, and this time he talks with Gwen and Derek about his new book, Science Comics: Dogs: From Predator to Protector. This is the next volume in First Second’s important Science Comics series, one that uses comics to educate both younger readers and adults. In fact, Gwen and Derek spend a lot of time asking Andy his illustrative strategies for taking complex concepts and making them understandable to a broader audience. There is a lot of science packed into this book, and not all of it specifically devoted to canines. But Andy uses colorful charts and graphs, as well as particularly effective storytelling conventions, to present his dense subject matter. Guiding the reader through all of this information is Rudy, the lovable mixed-breed narrator who, in many ways, functions as a stand-in for Andy Hirsch himself. Over the course of the interview, Derek and Gwen talk with their guest not only about the new book, its genesis, and Andy’s growing association with First Second, but they also share their own love of and histories with dogs, making this episode of the interview series somewhat of a canine lovefest.

Comic News Insider Episode 802 – Getting Germy with Falynn Koch!

Comic News Insider: Episode 802 is now available for free download! Click on the link or get it through iTunes! Sponsored by Dynamic Forces.

Reviews: Angelic #1, Batman: The Red Death #1,  Gasolina #1, Gotham S4 premiere, Star Trek: Discovery series premiere, Kingsman: The Golden Circle

Jimmy is joined in studio by special guest Falynn Koch and frequent co-host Jon Hoche! Jimmy talks about his quick jaunt to Baltimore Comic Con on Saturday and the interviews to expect later this week. He talks to Falynn about her new book from First Second, Science Comics: Plagues: The Microscopic Battlefield.  Jimmy also talks about her past and present days as a chef and about the national park road trip that she and her husband have embarked upon. News includes: The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is coming to TV, Linda Hamilton is returning to her Terminator role, a Teen Titans Go! feature film is in the works, Wolverine will return in Marvel’s Legacy, the new Milestone Comics will be unveiled at NYCC and more! Leave your iTunes comments! 5 stars and nothing but love! Also, get a hold of us!

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Come back later this week for our Baltimore Comic Con recap/interview special! 

Comic News Insider Episode 758 – More MoCCA w/ Falynn Koch!

Comic News Insider: Episode 758 is now available for free download! Click on the link or get it through iTunes! Sponsored by Dynamic Forces.

Reviews: Doctor Who: Ghost Stories #1, Riverdale #1, Rock Candy Mountain #1, X-Men Gold #1, Archer S8 premiere, iZombie S3 premiere, Legends of Tomorrow S2 finale, Rick and Morty S3 premiere

Emmy Potter returns to the rotating co-host chair! She and Jimmy discuss the Comic News Insider 12th year anniversary and that awesome Thor: Ragnarok trailer. News includes: New Warriors/Squirrel Girl is heading to Freeform for a 10 episode series, George Takei/IDW Publishing will produce a comic about his firsthand experience in Japanese internment camps during WW2, NYCC is cutting Artist Alley in half, Disney seeks a patent for a humanoid robot, DC Comics has redefined Superman/Lois Lane in their recent Superman: Rebirth storyline and more!  And it’s the last of the MoCCA interviews with the awesome Falynn Koch! We discuss her upcoming Science Comics release from First Second that’s all about plagues. And, of course, we get some incredible mac and cheese talk in. You’ll see! Leave your iTunes comments! 5 stars and nothing but love! Also, get a hold of us!

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Comics Alternative, Episode 230: The March Previews Catalog

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March Madness

It’s the first part of March, which means it must be time for the Two Guys with PhDs to look through the latest Previews catalog. Before they do that, though, they alert readers to this month’s #trypod social media campaign and encourage listeners to share their love of The Comics Alternative by using that hashtag along with #try2guys. Next, they give a big THANK YOU to Kristin and Thomas at the Secret Stacks podcast for their recent shout-out. Then they get into the March Previews catalog, highlighting a variety of upcoming titles from both large and small publishers alike. Among the upcoming comics they discuss are offerings from:

Comics Alternative for Young Readers: Reviews of Bats: Learning to Fly and NewsPrints

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Changes

Time Codes:

  • 00:00:27 – Introduction
  • 00:03:08 – Introducing Paul Lai as new YR cohost
  • 00:04:50 – A farewell message from Andy Wolverton
  • 00:07:12 – Bats: Learning to Fly
  • 00:32:29 – NewsPrints
  • 01:01:27 – Wrap up
  • 01:02:01 – Contact us

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The Comics Alternative extends a warm welcome to Paul Lai, who has taken over from Andy Wolverton as co-host with Gwen Tarbox on the Young Readers show. Everyone at The Comics Alternative family will miss Andy’s wise and engaging reviews and perspectives on children’s and young adult comics.

In their first show together, Gwen and Paul discuss the newest volume in First Second Books’ Science Comics series, Falynn Christine Koch’s Bats: Learning to Fly, as well as Ru Xu’s fiction (“diesel-punk,” as Paul terms it) graphic novel NewsPrints, published by the GRAPHIX imprint at Scholastic Books.

Since its launch in 2016, the Science Comics series has included volumes on coral reefs, volcanoes, and dinosaurs. Geared towards upper elementary and middle school aged readers, Science Comics take advantage of the elements of visual storytelling to put forward scientific information. As the editors point out: “With the increasing ubiquity of visual information,” young readers need to “learn to process and respond to visual content, and comics are an incredibly effective medium for exploring visual literacy.” Regular listeners to the podcast may remember that Gwen and Andy reviewed Dinosaurs by M.K. Reed and Joe Flood in their March 2016 YR show, and many of the elements that they praised, including the accessibility of scientific information, as well as the use of humor, appear in Koch’s volume, as well.

Bats: Learning to Fly encourages young readers to understand the important role that bats play in the ecosystem, to overcome their fear of bats, and to learn how they can become involved in protecting and caring for bats. In addition to providing a great deal of information on various species of Bats, Koch creates a narrative in which a teenage girl, Sarah, volunteers at a bat rehabilitation center after her parents overreact to a bat and injure it. Lil’ Brown, as the bat is known, is both a character in that narrative and a narrative presence in his own right, as he directly addresses the reader at various points regarding his own anatomy and role in the ecosystem. As part of their discussion, Paul and Gwen consider how young readers might respond to the way information is imparted in the comic, and they look forward to Koch’s upcoming volume for the Science Comics series, Plagues: The Microscopic Battlefield, due out in August, 2017. Koch recently graduated from the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), and Gwen and Paul discuss how her precision drawings and humor-filled text combine to create a text that will delight readers, while encouraging them to appreciate how they can play a role in scientific study by volunteering to rehabilitate bats or building bat houses for their backyards.

Next, Gwen and Paul discuss another debut comic from a SCAD graduate. NewsPrints is written and drawn by Ru Xu, a comics creator who was born in Beijing, immigrated to Indianapolis as a young child, and has had a lifelong love of comics from a variety of traditions, including manga, European comics, and even superhero comics. NewsPrints takes place in a fictional diesel-punk world where the land of Nautilene is torn by war and a newspaper called The Bugle is the only media outlet left that is still reporting the truth. The protagonist, Blue, is a rare kind of newsboy in a society that counts on its newsboys to shout out the headlines and sell papers…and that’s because Blue is not a boy, but a girl, orphaned by the war and adopted by the family who owns the newspaper. Blue sets out to provide that one doesn’t have to be a boy to be vital in the news business, and along the way, readers are introduced to a cast of characters such as Jack, the eccentric and secretive inventor; Crow, a strange kid who remains wrapped in a scarf and in mysteries of his own; and Goldie, Blue’s loyal canary, who matches Blue’s welcoming of people and spirit of flight.

As part of their discussion, Paul and Gwen praise Xu’s mastery of many genres of comics, including her ability to meld various traditional forms into an entirely unique story world. Thus, while the text shares much in common with recent fantasy releases, including Faith Erin Hicks’ The Nameless City and Jorge Corona’s Feathers, NewsPrints stands on its own, with a vast, inviting story space and a focus on issues of truth and representation that are ever more a part of our own political and social climate. Paul praised Xu’s deft handling of interactions among characters, and Gwen expressed her admiration for Xu’s use of color and shading to help set the mood and to ease transitions across the comic. Given the book’s indeterminate ending, Paul and Gwen look forward to the series continuing into additional volumes, and they dwell on Xu’s treatment of gender and ethnicity in thoughtful ways.

 

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Comic News Insider Episode 744 – CNI’s Best of 2016!

Comic News Insider: Episode 744 is now available for free download! Click on the link or get it through iTunes! Sponsored by Dynamic Forces.

It’s our Best of 2016! And just like last year, Jimmy sits down with The Beat’s Heidi MacDonald and good pal Jon Hoche to go over their 2016 favorites in comic books, TV and film. They didn’t read or watch everything released that year, so it’s just the Best of what they did read/watch. Fun discussions on great comics, their creators, TV shows, films, actors and more. What were your favorites last year? Leave your iTunes comments! 5 stars and nothing but love! Also, get a hold of us!

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Comic News Insider Episode 725 – NYCC: First Second Special w/ Box Brown/Falynn Koch/Dave Roman!

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Comic News Insider: Episode 725 is now available for free download! Click on the link or get it through iTunes! Sponsored by Dynamic Forces.

At New York Comic Con, Jimmy chatted at the First Second booth with Box Brown (Tetris: The Games People Play), Falynn Koch (Science Comics: Bats: Learning to Fly) and Dave Roman (Astronaut Academy: Re-Entry). Coincidentally, all of those comics are published by the awesome First Second Books! Box talks about the history of Tetris, Nintendo and the legal battles involving the game. Falynn gives you all the info you ever needed to know about bats as well as her love of mac and cheese. And Dave talks about his all ages tale of friendship, fun and frolic! Do yourself a favor and go check out the extensive catalog by First Second. You won’t be disappointed. Leave your iTunes comments! 5 stars and nothing but love! Also, get a hold of us!

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Comic News Insider Episode 685 – Snowjob!

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Comic News Insider: Episode 685 is now available for free download! Click on the link or get it through iTunes! Sponsored by Dynamic Forces.

Reviews: The Doorman #1 & #2, Killbox #1, Micronauts #1

Jimmy is joined in studio by good pal Jon Hoche! They talk about the recent Game of Thrones episode, The Killing Joke trailer, and the rumor of Swifty as Dazzler in X-Men: Apocalypse. News includes: Jeff Smith is bringing more Bone in July, Congressman John Lewis’ March is being adapted into an animated series, Alicia Vikander is the new Lara Croft, NBC/Universal to buy Dreamworks Animation, Marvel has ordered a Punisher Netflix series, a new SpongeBobSquarePants episode will feature the voices of the Happy Days cast,  a new animated Peanuts series is coming to Boomerang, Marvel’s Agent Carter is 99.9% canceled and more! Leave your iTunes comments! 5 stars and nothing but love! Also, get a hold of us!

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