Comics Alternative, Episode 252: Reviews of Spinning, Love and Rockets, Vol. 4 #3, and Slots #1

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On the Ice, in the Casino

On this week’s episode of The Comics Alternative, Paul joins Derek in discussing three exciting new titles. They begin with Spinning, Tillie Walden’s new book and her initial release for First Second. What makes this work stand out from her previous comics, such as The End of Summer and I Love This Part, is that it is an outright memoir. This is a coming-of-age narrative, and Walden uses her history of competitive ice skating as a scaffolding for her life story. There’s a lot in this memoir about her chosen sport, but Spinning is much more than a book about skating. In it, we see Walden’s key relationships, her search for a mother figure, and her coming out to family and friends.

Next, the guys check out the latest issue of Love and Rockets (Fantagraphics). In this issue, the third in the magazine-sized fourth volume, both Jaime and Gilbert continue the storylines they had begun in the earlier New Stories annuals. Gilbert gives us the further adventures of Fritz, her daughters, and the Fritz wannabes, while Jaime returns to his Princess Anima story and the Hoppers punk reunion. What most strikes both Derek and Paul, however, are the two short pieces early in the issue where Jaime visits the young Maggie and Hopey in 1979. The guys hope there is more on the teenage locas in future issues.

Finally, the Two Guys wrap up by discussing the first issue of a new series from Image Comics, Dan Panosian’s Slots. This is the story of Stanley Dance, a former boxer and antihero who does what he can to get by. It takes place in Las Vegas, and both Paul and Derek are struck by how Panosian’s art, as well as his storytelling style, captures the loose and freewheeling feel of the gambling capital. They’re impressed by this first issue and plan to continue with this series.

Comics Alternative Interviews: Tillie Walden

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“Great party, isn’t it?”

WaldenPicOn this episode of The Comics Alternative Interviews, Derek has a great time talking with Tillie Walden, the author of a brand new book from Avery Hill Publishing, The End of Summer. This is her debut graphic novel, and, in fact, her conversation with Derek is the very first time she’s been on a podcast. (Yet another Comics Alternative exclusive!) On the show, Tillie talks about the origins of her story, her process of creation, and the unlikely events that led to her first publication. The End of Summer is a narrative of purpose in isolation, EndOfSummeran attempt to find meaning in a life defined by diminishing options. Walden’s haunting art reveals the inner turmoil of her protagonist/narrator, Lars, as he negotiates the tangles within his family over the course of one long winter. Plus, she includes in her story a giant cat by the name of Nemo. Derek talks with Tillie about the balancing act of being a full-time student — she’s just wrapped up her first year at the Center for Cartoon Studies — and creating a long-form comic. They also discuss her love of architectural illustration (evident throughout the book), the dream-like quality of her storytelling, and the many instances of Kubrick’s The Shining that kept popping into Derek’s head as he was reading the book. All in all, it is an illuminating conversation that will have you wanting to check out this promising young writer.

Here is some sample art from The End of Summer:

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And be sure to check out Tillie Walden’s website.

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