This week Andy and Derek check out three recent titles for listeners with divergent, yet discerning, tastes. They begin with Leila Del Duca and Kit Seaton’s Afar, an original graphic novel coming out next week from Image Comics. Both of the guys enjoyed the story, although Derek feels that the narration is unbalanced. It’s almost as if the creators hadn’t ultimately decided where to take their fantasy or which character’s perspective they wanted to privilege. Andy feels that this “incompleteness” may be due to future plans for the story, that this may be the first installment in a series of graphic novels.
Next, the Two Guys turn to the first issue in the latest series from Ray Fawkes, Underwinter (Image Comics). While the creator’s art style here is reminiscent of his earlier miniseries, Intersect, the storytelling is more immediate and accessible. In what purports to be an ongoing horror series, this first issue of the initial arc does everything that it needs to do and nicely sets the stage for what’s to come. Both guys are impressed!
Finally, Derek and Andy strike a lighter note with Fabian Rangel Jr and Warwick Johnson Cadwell’s Helena Crash #1 (IDW Publishing). This is a fun story, a futuristic tale in some unspecified world where coffee is illegal. The title character is a smuggler of the banned java, and her fearless, caffeinated attitude, along with the luchador crime boss she freelances for, makes for some wacky reading.
On this interview episode, Andy and Derek talk with Joe Keatinge and Nick Barber, the creators behind the new Image series, Ringside. The first issue will be released this week, and so the guys wanted to get the lowdown on what promises to be a fascinating and different title. Joe gets things rolling by laying down the premise of the first narrative arc, introducing us to Danny Knossos, the once-famous wrestler called Minotaur. In classic noir fashion, the protagonist in this first issue returns to the old haunts from his past to help out a friend in trouble, and in doing so inadvertently becomes embroiled in a darker world that he had thought he had put behind him. This is more than a mere wrestling story, Nick and Joe explain. It’s a brooding, crime-infused drama that bumps up against the world of professional wrestling. What’s more, the series will have an ensemble cast, giving us shifting focal characters and rotating perspectives so as to flesh out a larger and more haunting landscape. The creators also describe how they met one another and how the idea for Ringside came about. They discuss their working relationship, the division of creative labor, and the history behind pitching the story to Image. In fact, Derek and Andy really don’t have to do much during this interview. They ask a few questions to get things started, and then Joe and Nick take it from there with their own stories, turning parts of the interview into a personal back-and-forth of a couple of guys catching up. And that’s part of The Comics Alternative is all about, isn’t it: bringing people together through comics?
You’re in for a fun discussion I enjoyed with comics pro Joe Keatinge, a creative force behind the excellent Shutter and also the scripter for Robert Kirkman’s Tech Jacket, both from Image Comics.
As we were in the process of setting up this interview, Joe asked if I had read Shutter. I told him I had not, and that sent me after the series, all of which made me a big fan of this dynamic and intriguing comic. If you haven’t read the story of Kate Kristopher and her adventurous family, you can catch up quickly by picking up the first trade and the subsequent issues before the #10 arrives on Wednesday, March 11. We also discussed Tech Jacket and what it’s like to work with Mr. Kirkman, something Joe compares to working with Steve Ditko on Spider-Man. We also briefly chat about a project he completed for Marvel as well as another he did for DC Comics. Don’t miss it!
In this episode of The Comics Alternative, the third of what promises to be an unprecedented five consecutive shows for a single week, Derek and Andy W. discuss four new #1 and one-shot issues. First, they look at Christopher Sebela and Chris Visions’s Dead Letters (BOOM! Studios), focusing on the story’s clever use of narrative gaps and art-driven action. Then they turn to Shutter(Image Comics), a new series from Joe Keatinge teams up with debut artist Leila del Duca. The guys love the initial setup, but nonetheless wanted more story in this inaugural issue. From there they delve into JC De La Torre and Ray Dillon’s Star Mage from IDW Publishing, and what promises to be an intriguing new sci-fi title. Finally, Derek and Andy wrap up with a long discussion of Richard Corben’s latest adaptation, Edgar Allan Poe’s The Premature Burial (Dark Horse Comics). They point out that the issue also includes an adaption of“The Cask of Amontillado” — in fact, “Cask” takes up more of the issue than does the titular feature — and that it works in similar ways to the other recent Corben adaptations of Poe for Dark Horse, leading up to the fall publication of the collection, Edgar Allan Poe’s Spirit of the Dead (Dark Horse Books). The Two Guys had a great time discussing these new comics, and you can join in on the fun as well by lending your ear to this week’s review show.