Comics Alternative, Episode 307: A Publisher Spotlight on Glom Press

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Glomming

This week Sterg and Derek focus their critical spotlight on the 2018 publications from Glom Press. This is a little-known publisher out of Melbourne, Australia, that is a buried treasure. They publish a lot of interesting material, gems that may fall out of the attention of most listeners. The guys discuss Glom’s various releases from last year, including

  • Guidebook to Queer Jewish Spirituality– Mira Schlosberg
  • The Claw: The Terrible, Beautiful Claw– Marc Pearson
  • Saliva Tide– Michael Hawkins
  • Galapagos– Mandy Ord
  • Sexy Female Murderesses– Eloise Grills
  • Mystical Boy Scout#4 – Aaron Billings
  • Swimsuit– Rachel Ang
  • My Big Life– Baily Sharp
  • Psychic Hotline– Leonie Brialey

Be sure to check out Glom’s websitefor more information on these authors and as a way to get these books!

Comics Alternative, Episode 306: Reviews of Now #5, Criminal #1, and Scratcher #1-3

Time Codes:

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“Anthropomorphic food is fun”

On this episode of the podcast Sterg and Derek look at three exciting titles. They begin with Now#5, the latest in Fantagraphics’ outstanding comics anthology series. As the guys point out, they’re dedicated to discussing every issue of Nowthat is released, and this one is chock-full of comicy goodness. Although all of the contributions in this issue are intriguing, some of the most notable that the guys discuss are those by Eroyn Franklin, Walker Tate, DRT, Ana Galvañ, DW, Maggie Umber, and especially Walt Holcombe.

And although Derek and Sterg spend the vast majority of their time discussing this anthology — there’s a lot to take in — they also look at two other titles. One of those is most recent incarnation of Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips’s Criminal(Image Comics). In the new series’ first issue, the protagonist is one familiar to Criminal enthusiasts, Teeg Lawless. But there are other manifestations of Brubaker and Phillips’ world that are imbedded within. After that they look at the first three issues of Scratcher, John Wald and Juan Romera’s self-published horror title that takes place at a tattoo parlor. This is actually a work that its writer alerted the guys to, and they’re glad that he did.

Comics Alternative, Episode 305: Reviews of The Unknown Anti-War Comics, Love and Rockets IV #6, and LaGuardia #1 & #2

Time Codes:

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Ploptastic!

On this episode, Sterg and Derek discuss three recent titles that run the gamut from sci-fi to political to slice-of-life (or what the Two Guys prefer to call  verite dessinée). They begin with the latest collection from Craig Yoe, The Unknown Anti-War Comics(IDW Publications/Yoe Books). This is a volume devoted to classic Charlton Comics stories from the 1950s and 1960s — most probably written by Joe Gill — that have a peaceful message to deliver. One of the highlights of this collection is the art of Steve Ditko. After that, the guys jump into the latest issue of Love and Rockets (Fantagraphics Books). Both Derek and Sterg highlight what they particularly like about this specific issue, but they also speculate on the current career trajectories of Gilbert and Jaime and even on what they see as some of the “excesses” of each brother. Finally, the guys wrap up with a discussion of the first two issues of Nnedi Okorafor and Tana Ford’s LaGuardia(Dark Horse Comics/Berger Books). In fact, this is an appropriate title to bookend the episode, along with Charlton anti-war stories. Both Sterg and Derek are intrigued by the premise of this limited series, but at the same time they feel that there’s something missing from the first two issues, which is half of the four-issue run. Is the narrative too decompressed? Lacking enough exposition? Regardless, both guys want to read on and see where Okorafor and Tana end with their timely story.

Comics Alternative, Episode 303: Our Favorite Comics of 2018

Time Codes:

  • 00:01:28 – Introduction
  • 00:03:49 – Context, and a few statistics
  • 00:10:41 – Our favorite comics of 2018, part 1
  • 00:40:03 – Our honorable mentions, part 1
  • 00:54:46 – Our favorite comics of 2018, part 2
  • 01:29:23 – Our honorable mentions, part 2
  • 01:47:47 – Our favorite comics of 2018, part 3
  • 02:08:23 – Wrapping up our favorites
  • 02:11:19 – Contact us
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Standouts!

It’s that time again! It’s the end of the year, their very last weekly review episode of 2018, and so the Two Guys are ready to share what they consider to be their favorite comics of the past twelve months. This is Sterg’s first time doing this, but he successfully steps up to the plate to reveal what he considers his 10 favorites of 2018. And Derek does the same.

Before that, though, they go over a few statistics from the past year. Over the course of 2018 — at least up until the time of the recording of this end-of-the-year show — The Comics Alternativereleased a total of 171 episodes of the podcast. Of that number, 55 were interviews, 10 were webcomics shows, 11 manga episodes, 10 from the Euro comics series, 6 were young reader shows, 16 on-location episodes, and 1 special. (And since Sterg and Derek recorded this “Favorites” episode, there have been at least three other shows for the current year, an on-location, a webcomic, and a Euro comics show. Maybe a manga episode will go up before the new year, as well?)

But of much more importance are the various titles that both Sterg and Derek picked as this year’s favorites. Each chooses, in no particular order, what he considers to be his 10 favorites of 2018:

Sterg’s Top 10 of 2018

Derek’s Top 10 of 2018

The Honorable Mentions…These Titles Almost, but Just Didn’t Quite, Make It onto Each Guy’s List

For Sterg

For Derek

Comics Alternative Interviews: Talking Again with Jon Morris

Time Codes:

  • 00:01:17 – Introduction
  • 00:02:59 – Setup of interview
  • 00:05:14 – Interview with Jon Morris
  • 01:15:03 – Wrap up
  • 01:17:05 – Contact us
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Getting Your (Side)Kicks

Jon Morris is back, once again, on The Comics Alternative, to share his research and sense of humor. His latest book The League of Regrettable Sidekicks (Quirk Books) is the follow up to his previous two works, The League of Regrettable Superheroes and The Legion of Regrettable Supervillains. In the spirit of the previous books, this one is a revealing and good-natured look at some of the strange creations making up comic-book history, figures that may be unknown or  completely forgotten by most enthusiasts. And perhaps for good reason. Also like the earlier works, Jon divides his survey into three temporal categories: the Golden Age, the Silver Age, and the Modern Age. Sterg and Derek have a fun time talking about the weirdness of this collection, their favorite “regrettable” sidekicks and henchmen, and their wonderment at how such figures made it into four colors. They also talk with Jon about his other work and future projects, including his own comics work.

See where it all started! Visit Jon’s blog, Gone and Forgotten, and get the inside scoop on retro comicdom! And if you’re a Columbo fan, check out his sleuthy podcast, Just One More Thing.

Comics Alternative Interviews: Another Conversation with Tom Hart

Time Codes:

  • 00:01:21 – Introduction
  • 00:03:12 – Setup of interview
  • 00:04:32 – Interview with Tom Hart
  • 01:32:14 – Wrap up
  • 01:33:38 – Contact us

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Life Stories, Life Changes

On this interview episode, Sterg and Derek are excited to have Tom Hart back to discuss his new book, The Art of the Graphic Memoir: Tell Your Story, Change Your Life (St. Martin’s Griffin). Tom was on the podcast not quite three years ago to discuss his new memoir at the time Rosalie Lightning, but this time he’s returned to talk not so much about story content, but about the process of creating a graphic memoir. As he discusses with the Two Guys, Tom’s latest book is more instructional or how-to, covering the necessary steps in planning for, organizing, structuring, visualizing, and finalizing a memoir through the comics medium. In addition, he points out that the very project of writing and illustrating one’s own life story isn’t only about sharing a story with readers, but perhaps just as important, using the very process of creation as a way of revisiting, revisualizing, and even coming to terms with important life moments. Along the way Derek and Sterg talk with Tom about his other instructional texts, such as How to Say Everything and The Sequential Artists Workshop Guide to Creating Professional Comic Strips, his vast knowledge of the comics memoir genre, his new comic-strip project B. Is Dying, and his experiences teaching at and directing SAW, the Sequential Artists Workshop in Gainesville, FL.

Comics Alternative, Episode 301: Reviews of Che: A Revolutionary Life, The Lodger #1 & #2, and Die #1

Time Codes:

  • 00:01:32 – Introduction
  • 00:03:42 – Our first-ever live streaming recording
  • 00:07:13 – Thank you to new Patreon backers!
  • 00:09:33 – Che: A Revolutionary Life
  • 00:47:02 – The Lodger #1 & #2
  • 01:11:39 – Die #1
  • 01:34:22 – Wrap up
  • 01:38:05 – Contact us

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Going Live!

This is a very special episode of The Comics Alternative, in that it’s the guys’ very first live recording. That’s right, Sterg and Derek decided to record this week’s show via Google Hangouts. Yesterday — Tuesday, December 11 — they scheduled a live-streaming broadcast, and fans of the show could watch the Two Guys with PhDs Talking about Comics record a show in real time. As Sterg put it on Twitter, “Come for the slow motion train wreck, but stay when it is instead a great talk about some recent comics!” And everything went off just fine.

On this episode they began with a discussion of Jon Lee Anderson and José Hernández’s Che: A Revolutionary Life (Penguin Press). This is graphic adaptation of Anderson’s 1997 biography of Che Guevara, and as the guys discuss, Hernández does an outstanding job of illustrating the broader life story of the famous revolutionary. After that they look at the first two issues of David and Maria Lapham’s The Lodger. This is the latest series from IDW’s Black Crown imprint, and Derek and Sterg note that it’s classic Lapham crime noir. In fact, this storyline could easily fit into the Stray Bullets series. Then they wrap up with a look at Kieron GIllen and Stephanie Hans’s Die #1 (Image Comics). This is a D&D-inspired fantasy narrative, and the guys frame this within the context of similar stories, such as Stephen King’s It, the Netflix series Stranger Things, and the first Jumanji movie.

Go to The Comics Alternative‘s YouTube channel if you want to see the recording of the guys’ live-streaming broadcast of this show!

Comics Alternative Interviews: Back with Noah Van Sciver

Time Codes:

  • 00:01:15 – Introduction
  • 00:03:32 – Setup of interview
  • 00:04:53 – Interview with Noah Van Sciver
  • 01:15:14 – Wrap up
  • 01:16:39 – Contact us

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All Over the Place

The Two Guys with PhDs are very happy to have back on the podcast Noah Van Sciver. He was first on the show back in March 2015, and a lot of things have changed with him since the guys last talked with Noah (and not just his growing of a mustache). Most significantly, his output has been through the roof! One of the things Sterg and Derek discuss with their guest is the sheer volume of his comics creation. Over the past six months alone he has released four different titles, and from a variety of publishers: Constant Companion (Fantagraphics), Blammo #10 (Kilgore Books and comics), One Dirty Tree (Uncivilized Books), and Fante Bukowski 3: A Perfect Failure (Fantagraphics). The guys talk with Noah about his work habits, his penchant for working with different publishers, his ability to juggle different projects at the same time, and his current work and what we can expect from him in the future. And of course, there is a lot of laughter in this episode. Noah is a humorous, and at time quite satirical, writer, yet the humor is often mixed with pathos, as we see not only his autobiographical comics, but most notably in his recent Fante Bukowski. This was a fun interview…and even more fun was had after they turned off the microphones and the guys hung out on Skype to talk about even more matters. Too bad that wasn’t captured for the show, but this new interview with Noah Van Sciver is definitely a highlight of Stergios and Derek’s year.

Comics Alternative Interviews: Conor Stechschulte

Time Codes:

  • 00:01:15 – Introduction
  • 00:03:15 – Setup of interview
  • 00:05:06 – Interview with Conor Stechschulte
  • 01:15:57 – Wrap up
  • 01:17:44 – Contact us

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A Good Kind of Disturbing

On this episode of The Comics Alternative‘s interview series, the Two Guys have the pleasure of talking with Conor Stechschulte. The third volume of his ongoing series, Generous Bosom (Breakdown Press), was released in the spring, and Sterg and Derek have an enlightening conversation with Conor about this narrative. While in the first two parts the story was flowing in one discernible direction, more or less, it takes a strange and disturbing turn in the third part. The guys talk with their guest about this narrative trajectory and what it may portend. And as they intuit from the latest installment of Generous Bosom, there are more surprises in store. They also talk with Conor about his other comics, The Amateurs (which was reviewed on the podcast in June 2014), his self-published work, his relationship with his UK publisher, and his inclusion in last year’s volume of Best American Comics. This interview has been a long time in coming, and the guys make the most of it.

Be sure to check out Conor’s band, Lilac, and the sounds they make!

Comics Alternative, Episode 300: The December Previews Catalog

Celebrate 300!

It’s the first of a new month, and that must mean that the Two Guys with PhDs Talking about Comics will be looking at the latest Previews catalog. This is a rather long episode — going for almost three hours — so you get your money’s worth! But what makes this show extra special is that it’s the 300th episode of The Comics Alternative‘s weekly review show. As Derek points out, there are over twice as many episodes of the podcast that have been released since August 2012, accounting for the many interviews, specials, and the various monthly shows, but with the regularly weekly review shows, they’ve now reached a notable milestone. For December, Sterg and Derek discuss a variety of  publishers and titles solicited in Previews such as:

Comics Alternative, Episode 299: Reviews of Recent Comics about The Beatles

Time Codes:

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Number 9, Number 9, Number 9…

This is a special episode of The Comics Alternative, in that Sterg and Derek focus only on recent comics about The Beatles. Both of the guys are huge Beatles fans, and you can tell how excited they are in discussing these texts. They begin with David Foenkinos, Corbeyran, and Horne’s Lennon: The New York Years (IDW Publishing), adapted from Foenkinos prose work on John Lennon. What makes this book stand out is that it’s primarily narrated in the first person through imagined therapy sessions that Lennon undergoes. In this way, the text becomes not only an insight into John Lennon’s psyche, but also a broad historical overview of The Beatles as a musical phenomenon.

After that they jump into Bill Morrison’s recent adaptation of Yellow Submarine (Titan Comics). This is a work that is as colorful and as elaborate as the 1968 animated film, and the guys are impressed by how faithful the book is to the film’s plot. The only thing you don’t get in Morrison’s text is the various musical interludes that you have in the animated film (of course), but even then Morrison does an affective job of implying the music as sort of a silent soundtrack. But all of the surreal visuals, the song references, and the many puns are there.

Next, they look at a new book just released through NBM, The Beatles in Comics. This is a collection of short essays and comics written by Michel Mabel and Gaet’s, and with illustrations by a variety of artists. Much like Lennon, this book provides a broad overview of The Beatles, and the chapters cover such topics as their time in Hamburg, Brian Epstein, when they met the queen, their playing Shea Stadium, the Ed Sullivan Show, the genesis of “Yesterday,” their decision to stop touring, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, their time in India, Yoko Ono, the Paul Is Dead phenomenon, and the breakup of the band.

Finally, they discuss a new book that really isn’t about The Beatles, but uses the Fab Four as a significant backdrop. M. Dean’s I Am Young (Fantagraphics) is a series of stories about relationships and music, and the main storyline is the one that uses The Beatles. It’s the history of a relationship between Miriam and George, two young people who meet at a Beatles concert when the band first hit it big. M. Dean takes us through the course of this relationship, doing so with The Beatles as a nexus, with the two growing older and getting together, and growing apart, as The Beatles themselves mature and evolve.

One book that the Sterg and Derek do not discuss, but one they nonetheless highly recommend, is Carol Tyler’s Fab4 Mania (Fantagraphics). This work was released earlier this year, and the reason the guys don’t include it in their comics about The Beatles coverage is that Gene and Derek interviewed Carol back in July. As such, they spent a lot of time discussing that book, so the guys already focused on that text. Still, it’s another recent graphic novel about The Beatles, and it should stand alongside the other works that Sterg and Derek discuss in this episode.

 

 

Comics Alternative Interviews: Liz Prince

Time Codes:

  • 00:00:24 – Introduction
  • 00:02:02 – Setup of interview
  • 00:03:13 – Interview with Liz Prince
  • 01:16:24 – Wrap up
  • 01:18:11 – Contact us

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Woods Porn

On this interview episode, Sterg talks with Liz Prince about her latest books, Look Back and Laugh (Top Shelf Productions) and the colorized Be Your Own Backing Band (Silver Sprocket), as well as several of her past publications. Over the course of the conversation, Sterg talks with Liz about self publishing, writing for certain age-appropriate audiences, the influences of music, her international reach, as well as many of her previous works.

Comics Alternative, Episode 298: Our Sixth Annual Thanksgiving Show

Gathering Together for Comics

thanksgiving2016Thanksgiving is tomorrow, and Sterg and Derek gather around the ol’ podcasting dinner table to share some of the creators, publishers, locales, and and concepts they’re thankful for this year . Among the many things they mention are

  • the plentitude of comics today
  • Inio Asano’s new series, Dead Dead Deamon’s Dededede Destruction
  • Charles Forsman
  • VIZ Media’s new Perfect Editions of Naoki Urasawa’s 20th Century Boys
  • The Nib
  • New York Review Comics
  • comics-centric cons
  • TwoMorrows Press
  • Craig Yoe
  • publishers who use Kickstarter to get their seasonal works out
  • Heroes Aren’t Hard to Find, The Comics Experience, and other great local comic shops
  • the completion of Jason Lutes’s Berlin
  • review copies
  • creators who are kind and warm individuals
  • students who are researching the way people consume and interpret comics

So give thanks this year, and read some great comics!

ForbiddenWorldsThanksgiving

Comics Alternative, Episode 297: Reviews of DC Comics before Superman, My Heroes Have Always Been Junkies, and Umbrella Academy: Hotel Oblivion #1

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Heroes, Pre- and Post-

This week Sterg and Derek check out three intriguing, yet very different, titles. They begin with Nicky Wheeler-Nicholson’s DC Comics before Superman: Major Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson’s Pulp Comics (Hermes Press). This is a collection of comics written or inspired by the writing of Major Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson and an overview of the pre-Superman history of the publisher. After that they look at Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips’s My Heroes Have Always Been Junkies (Image Comics), the latest noir narrative in their Criminal series. And then the guys wrap up with Umbrella Academy: Hotel Oblivion #1, Gerard Way and Gabriel Bá’s return to their Umbrella Academy world.

Episode 296: Reviews of Scratches #2, Now #4, and Dick Tracy: Dead or Alive #1

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Anthologies and a Classic Cop

On this episode Sterg and Derek check out two new anthologies, as well as a recent incarnation of Dick Tracy. They begin with Scratches #2, a comics and art anthology curated by Joost Swarte (and distributed in the Americas by Conundrum Press). They actually spend the majority of the episode discussing this collection, which includes mostly European artists. After that they eagerly jump into the latest issue of Eric Reynold’s Now. This is Fantagraphics’ exciting anthology that began last year. In this issue we see work by, among others, Walt Holcombe, Cynthia Alfonso, Roman Muradov, Tommi Parrish, Theo Ellsworth, Rebecca W. Kirby, and David Alvardo. Finally, they wrap up with Dick Tracy: Dead or Alive #1, the first in a four-issue limited series. Written by Lee and Michael Allred, and with art by Rich Tommaso, this is (to some degree) an updated handling of Dick Tracy in that the legendary detective is fighting crime in the current day. But although temporal setting is contemporary, the issue still has the feel of a classic comic-strip narrative, including big-presence villains, a detective with many tricks up his sleeve, and a storyline that at times seems outrageous…but in a good way. The Two Guys really hope that this Dick Tracy has a long life well after the limited series.