Comics Alternative Interviews: Kim Deitch

The Amazing, Enlightening and Absolutely True Art of Kim Deitch

NOTE: Beginning this week, The Comics Alternative will present a new feature: a series of interviews with comics writers and artists. Interviews aren’t anything new for the Two Guys with PhDs. They’ve been a part of the podcast from the very beginning — in fact, the first, with Jonathan Hickman, appeared as episode 4 — but now interviews will be decoupled from the weekly podcast rotation. The reason for this is that there are more interviews than Derek and Andy (or Gene, or Tof) have time to include. What’s more, for every weekly episode that an interview is featured, that’s 2-3 fewer books the Two Guys get to review…and there are plenty of new titles that they want to discuss. So to keep the reviews flowing, and to satisfy their interests in doing more interviews, the guys have decided to make their interviews separate from the weekly episodes. There will be no set schedule for the interviews. They will be made available as they are conducted.

KimDeitchFor the first in this new feature, the Two Guys with PhDs are proud to have as a guest comics legend Kim Deitch. His new book, The Amazing, Enlightening and Absolutely True Adventures of Katherine Whaley, was just published by Fantagraphics, and Tof and Derek begin their conversation by asking him about the genesis of the project. Kim reveals the history of Katherine Whaley, its links to “The Sunshine Girl” (in Deitch’s Pictorama) and The Search for Smilin’ Ed (both by Fantagraphics), and his fascination with early twentieth-century film and popular music. Along the way, they discuss some of Kim’s characters that recur in Katherine Whaley, some that do not (most notably, Waldo), the evolution of Kim’s art style, his fascination with storytelling, his strategies for keeping the creative juices flowing, and the inside scoop on Kim’s next book project. All in all, it’s a wonderful way to begin the new Comics Alternative Interviews feature!KatherineWhaley


Comics Alternative exclusive: one of the first sketches Kim Deitch did of the characters Charles Varney and his dog, Rousseau:


The incidental music in this episode is “Tiger Rag,” by the Gus Arnheim Orchestra, and “Steamboat Stomp,” by Jelly Roll Morton’s Red Hot Peppers

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Comics Alternative Podcast Episode 55: A Review of David B.’s Black Paths and Incidents in the Night, Book 1, and Jonathan Hickman and Mike Costa’s God Is Dead #1

Of Dreamscapes and Gods

IncidentsNightThis week on The Comics Alternative, Tof once again joins Derek to talk about comics, and this time they’re reviewing new books by David B. — Black Paths (SelfMadeHero) and Incidents in the Night, Book 1 (Uncivilized Books) — and issue #1 of God Is Dead by Jonathan Hickman, Mike Costa, and Di Amorim (Avatar). The Two Guys with PhDs begin by BlackPathsdiscussing David B.’s surreal and idiosyncratic style, and how that style manifests itself in his two most recent books. First they look at Black Paths and how David B. uses history,  the Italian poet Gabriele D’Annunzio and the ill-fated Free State of Fiume, as a scaffolding for his story. Tof and Derek also highlight the various narrative connections between that book and Incidents in the Night, pointing out the creator’s penchant for interlinking GodIsDeadhis narratives though iconic markers. They talk in-depth about David B.’s surrealistic style, his “flat” or two-dimensional art, and the dream-like world where most of his stories take place. Next, the Two Guys turn to the first installment of Jonathan Hickman and Mike Costa’s new six-issue miniseries, God Is Dead. Although Tof is a little uncertain about Di Amorim’s art (e.g., the depiction of women), Derek is fascinated by the way that Hickman and Costa set up their storyworld, giving us several events that promise to converge in the coming issues. There’s a lot to listen to…so start listening already!

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Comics Alternative Podcast Episode 54: A Creator Spotlight on Dash Shaw

“You’ve Got Your Art in My Comics!” …. “You’ve Got Your Comics in My Art!”

This week on The Comics Alternative, the Two Guys with PhDs feature another “Creator Spotlight” episode, this one focused on the works of Dash Shaw. Tof Eklund joins Derek in discussing and defining a truly unique presence in comics, an artist whose work has been evolving over the past decade. They begin by looking at Shaw’s most recent works, the comic book 3 Stories and the brand new graphic novel, New School (both from DashShawBooks2Fantagraphics). Tof and Derek note the distinctive visual style of these books — with their heavy linework and their prominent reliance on color, patterns, and background images — and how they differ greatly from most of Shaw’s previous comics. Next they turn their attention to some of Shaw’s earlier works published by Fantagraphics, such as BodyWorld (Tof’s favorite Dash Shaw book), Bottomless Belly Button (Derek’s favorite), The Unclothed Man in the 35th Century AD (which includes previously published short comics, including the pieces included the quarterly anthology, Mome), as well as his lesser known works, such as The Mother’s Mouth (Alternative Comics) and the recent minicomic, New Jobs (Uncivilized Books). If you are unfamiliar with the comics of Dash Shaw, then this is your opportunity to jump right on in and discover a creator whose work stands out from the pack.

Also be sure to watch the animated short, The Unclothed Man in the 35th Century AD, that was originally aired on IFC in 2009:

Part One: Black Hole Mouth
Part Two: Class
Part Three: Classes Continue
Part Four: Final Mission

Many thanks to Tof Eklund for joining in on this week’s podcast.  You can learn more about Tof’s work and contact him at his website, Starfish Cosmology, and find out  about his roleplaying game creations at Unconventional Games. You can also find Tof on Twitter, @tofeklund.

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