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

Time Codes:

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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

Time Codes:

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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.

Comics Alternative, Episode 295: The October Previews Catalog

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Going Long

It’s the first of the month, so it’s time to look at the latest Previews catalog! What’s more, this is Sterg’s very first Previews show, and Derek honors this occasion with much fanfare. As listeners have come to expect from the monthly Previews shows, this episode goes long. In fact, it goes extra long, and in many ways this becomes a trial by fire for Sterg as a new cohost. But he rises to the occasion, providing solid and tireless recommendations of upcoming titles. For October, the Two Guys with PhDs discuss a variety of  publishers and titles such as:

 

Comics Alternative Interviews: Another Conversation with Tillie Walden

Time Codes:

  • 00:00:24 – Introduction
  • 00:02:20 – Setup of interview
  • 00:04:01 – Interview with Tillie Walden
  • 01:15:35 – Wrap up
  • 01:17:30 – Contact us

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Queer Women in Space, or Women in Space Who Are Queer?

Sterg and Derek are happy to have Tillie Walden back on the podcast. (She was originally on The Comics Alternative in June 2015, her very first podcast interview!) Her latest book, On a Sunbeam, will be released next week from First Second. This narrative actually began as a webcomic — one that was nominated for an Eisner Award last year, and one that is still available online — but now it will be available in print. The Two Guys talk with Tillie about the process of creating On a Sunbeam and its importance as a webcomic, the science fiction scaffolding around which the narrative is constructed, and how this work compares to some of her earlier books. In fact, much of the conversation is focused on the kind of fantastical stories Tillie spins out, with flying fish planes and cats large enough to ride on. The guys also ask her about last year’s Spinning, the winner of a 2018 Eisner Award for Best Reality-Based Work, and the creative shifts she had to make with this outright autobiography. Over the course of their conversation, Tillie shares her experiences growing as a storyteller, her large and dedicated fanbase, the almost improvisational nature of her writing, and her discomfort being pigeonholed primarily as a writer for teens or as a lesbian creator.

Comics Alternative, Episode 294: Reviews of Coyote Doggirl, Baseline Blvd., and Cemetery Beach #1

Time Codes:

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Juicy Feeling

This week Sterg and Derek discuss three fascinating and genre-spanning titles. They begin with Lisa Hanawalt’s Coyote Doggirl (Drawn and Quarterly). As the guys point out, this is a humor-infused story that engages with the western genre. Both Derek and Sterg mention that while they appreciate Hanawalt’s off-beat sense of humor, they haven’t been big fans of her past books, in that they weren’t so much narrative comics as they were illustrated works of humor. But Coyote Doggirl is more of a “traditional” comic, with sequential panels and a discernible storyline. The premise is more or less simple, but that’s part of the charm of this text. And the humor!

Next, the Two Guys with PhDs turn to Emi Gennis’s Baseline Blvd., released earlier this year from Kilgore Books and Comics. This actually began as a webcomic back in 2015, but it was published in hardcopy as part of Kilgore’s Kickstarter campaign for their 2018 releases. Where many of Gennis’s comics have been profiles or biographies, this latest book is more autobiographical in nature. As the guys point out, there is a silent elegance about this work, and Gennis packs a lot of story — and emotion — into her brief narrative.

The guys then wrap up the episode by looking at Warren Ellis and Jason Howard’s Cemetery Beach #1 (Image Comics). Sterg observes that this seems to be a typical Ellis narrative — and “typical” in a good, demonstrative way — and both of the guys comment on Howard’s art. In fact, much of this first issue is carried by the illustrations. In all, it’s a successful first issue. This seven-issue sci-fi series has a lot of promise, and both Derek and Sterg look forward to seeing where the creators take their premise.

 

Comics Alternative, Episode 293: Reviews of A Contract with God: Curator’s Collection, Egg Cream #1, and Hey Kids! Comics! #1 and #2

Time Codes:

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Welcome Sterg!

This week The Comics Alternative gets a new cohost: Stergios Botzakis! And on his maiden voyage, Sterg becomes an integral part in discussions of three unique titles. He and Derek begin with A Contract with God: Curator’s Collection (Dark Horse Books-Kitchen Sink Books). This classic of Will Eisner’s is reproduced in two beautiful volumes, one with the original pencils and another with the inks. This slipcased edition is a first for the podcast, as the Two Guys have never discussed anything like an Artist’s Edition or a Legacy Edition. As such, Sterg and Derek not only go through the specifics of Eisner’s four stories, but they spend a lot of time talking about process, Eisner’s original intentions, and the various insightful essays included in this two-volume set.

After that the Two Guys with PhDs turn to Liz Suburbia’s Egg Cream #1. The digital version of this was just made available to those who supported Czap Books’ Kickstarter campaign last year (and the print version will debut at MoCCA next spring). The core of this issue is the first installment of Suburbia’s Sacred Heart, Vol. 2 – Livin’ in the Future, a follow-up to her 2015 work, Sacred Heart. Sterg and Derek set a context by discussing the earlier book, then they explore the contours of the new work and how it expands upon the initial presentation of Suburbia’s broader narrative.

The guys wrap up with the first two issues of Howard Chaykin’s Hey Kids! Comics! (Image Comics). Both Sterg and Derek are fans of Chaykin’s work, although it’s been a long time since his comics were discussed on the show. This is a satiric look at the history of the American comic-book history, and the guys spend some time looking at Chaykin’s analogs to DC and Marvel as well as to such figures as Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, and Matt Baker, among many others. They also focus on the ways in which Chaykin structures his story, skipping around in time and representing a broad temporal overview, and they speculate on what Chaykin may be up to in his most recent project.