Comics Alternative, Euro Comics: Reviews of Various IDW Translations from the Last Half of 2017

Time Codes:


Going Solo

Welcome to the January episode of The Comics Alternative‘s monthly Euro Comics series. That’s right, the January episode. As Derek explains during the opening of this show, he and Edward had planned on covering IDW Publishing works in translation that had been released in the last half of 2017, and doing so for their January episode. However, life got in the way again, and they had to delay the recording. Derek then sought out Dean Mullaney (editor of IDW’s EuroComics series) and Justin Eisinger (senior editor at IDW) to assist him with this show, but neither were available. So Derek decided to do the episode solo, something that he’s never done on the podcast before. And he hopes the results aren’t unlistenable.

And here you have it, the “January” episode of the Euro Comics series…albeit released in February. In it, you’ll hear Derek discuss six different titles from IDW released since July 2017, including Carlos Sampayo and Jose Munoz’s Alack Sinner: The Age of Innocence; Christian Perrissin and Matthieu Blanchin’s Calamity Jane: The Calamitous Life of Martha Jane Cannary, 1852-1903; Alain Dodier, Pierre Makyo, and Serge Le Tendre’s Jerome K. Jerome Bloche Vol. 1: The Shadow Killer; Hugo Pratt’s Corto Maltese: Fable of Venice; Zep’s A Story of Men; and Pratt’s The Man from the Great North.

Comics Alternative, Episode 259: Reviews of Bad Mask, Evolution #1, and Doctor Radar #1

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Time Codes:

  • 00:01:26 – Introduction
  • 00:03:48 – Post-Thanksgiving digestion
  • 00:05:07 – Bad Mask
  • 00:30:41 – Evolution #1
  • 00:46:48 – Doctor Radar #1
  • 01:03:06 – Wrap up
  • 01:04:36 – Contact us



On this week’s episode Gwen and Derek discuss three recent releases that, while all being quite different, nonetheless share a common theme of mystery. They start off with Jon Chad’s Bad Mask (BOOM! Box), a multimedia project that explores perspective and interpretation. With its various components in multiple print formats — comic book, trading cards, newspaper tabloid, mainstream news magazine, business reports, etc. — it’s an intelligent exploration of how we define “hero.” Next, the Two PhDs Talking about Comics explore the first issue of Evolution (Image Comics). This is a different kind of comic in that it’s written by four authors…and the result is solid and far from fragmented. James Asmus, Joseph Keatinge, Christopher Sebela, and Joshua Williamson contribute to the story, with Joe Infurnari providing the art. Finally, Gwen and Derek look at Noël Simsolo and Bézian’s Doctor Radar #1 (Titan Comics). This is a translation that taps into the crime noir genre, expertly done and perhaps the highlight of the week.


Comics Alternative, Euro Comics: Reviews of Notes 1: Born to Be a Larve and California Dreamin’: Cass Elliot before The Mamas & the Papas

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Time Codes:


Life Stories

On this month’s Euro Comics episode, Edward and Derek check out to recent publications, both from publishers that they’ve yet to discuss on the series. They begin with Boulet’s Notes 1: Born to Be a Larve, just out from Soaring Penguin Press. This is the first collection of the comics Boulet created specifically for his blog, and this initial volume includes the entries published between July 2004 and July 2005. While the guys enjoy Boulet’s work, they feel that the strips may not work as well in book form as they had originally on the blog. The episodic nature of the comics could probably be better appreciated as online updates than as a bound collection.

Next, the guys turn to Pénélope Bagieu’s latest English translation California Dreamin’: Cass Elliot before The Mamas and the Papas (First Second). Derek and Andy W. had discussed Bagieu’s earlier book, Exquisite Corpse, on an episode about two years ago, and the latest work certainly follows up on that promise. In fact, Edward is bowled away by this graphic biography. As the subtitle suggests, it covers the life of Cass Elliot — born Ellen Cohen — up to the breakout of the famous 1960s quartet. The guys appreciate Bagieu’s art, but they are particularly impressed by her choices of narration and her structuring of the story.



Comics Alternative Interviews: Erica Mena

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In Other Words


Time Codes:

  • 00:00:24 – Introduction
  • 00:02:28 – Setup of interview
  • 00:05:05 – Interview with Erica Mena
  • 00:53:01 – Wrap up
  • 00:54:14 – Contact us


On this episode of the interview series, Edward and Derek have as their guest Erica Mena. She is the translator of two recent Spanish-language works from Fantagraphics, Paco Roca’s Wrinkles and the anthology Spanish Fever. The guys actually discussed the latter on this month’s Euro Comics episode, and since Edward knew its translator, they thought it’d be revealing to get Erica on the podcast to talk about her work on the anthology. They spend a good ericamenadeal of time discussing the Spanish Fever project, and they also talk extensively about Wrinkles (something Edward and Derek didn’t have time for on the Euro Comics show). But the guys also ask Erica about her efforts on The Eternaut, Héctor Germán Oesterheld and Francisco Solano López’s classic sci-fi narrative that was finally translated into English and published last year. During her conversation with the guys, Erica shares some of her philosophy of translation, compares professional notes with Edward, and discusses how her own poetry has helped determine the kind of translator that she’s become.

Visit Erica’s website and discover her love of animated cats!


Comics Alternative Interviews: Jamie Richards and Edward Gauvin

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Invisible No More


Over the past several years, the Two Guys with PhDs have reviewed a lot of books in translation. But what they’ve tended to overlook, more times than not, is the translator of the work, the individual who is responsible for taking the imagetext and re-presenting it in a linguistic context that is wholly other. This came to their attention back in February, when Andy and Derek discussed Ludovic Debeurme’s Renée, and then afterwards received an email of appreciation from its translator, Edward Gauvin. In fact, the guys never mentioned Edward at any point during their discussion, which was not only an unfortunate oversight, but also says something about the invisible art of comics translation. As a response to that experience, they wanted to pay homage to translators by speaking with a couple for the podcast.


So on this interview show, Derek has the pleasure of talking with two prolific translators of comics art, Jamie Richards and Edward Gauvin. Each has had two translations recently published. For Jamie it’s Manuele Fiore’s 5,000 km Per Second (from Fantagraphics, and which Gwen and Derek discussed last month) and Igort’s The Ukrainian and Russian Notebooks: Life and Death under Soviet Rule (Simon and Schuster), and with Edward it’s Joann Sfar’s Pascin  (Uncivilized Books) and Blutch’s Peplum (New York Review Comics). In this interview, they talk with Derek about the process of translation, its various challenges, and the unique role that visuals bring to their work. For example, Jamie discusses the kind of preparations she had to do when translating Igort — specifically her research into Cyrillic languages — and Edward shares his experiences in working with various and, at times, radically diverse publishers. All in all, this interview gives listeners a glimpse into the laborious, and under-appreciated, work of bringing European comics to an English-speaking audience.


Also in this episode, Derek uses the occasion to introduce Edward as the cohost of the new series for The Comics Alternative. Beginning in June, he and Derek will take a monthly look at bandes dessinées, or European comics in translation, that will be similar in structure to the podcast’s monthly manga series. This is yet another way that The Two Guys with PhDs plan to introduce their listeners to comics that are different and off the beaten mainstream path.


Discover a wide world of translated comics by visiting the websites of Jamie Richards and Edward Gauvin!


More To Come 64.1: NYCC 2013 Interview Special 1

More to come

Straight from the convention booth of Publishers Weekly at New York Comic Con, it’s More to Come! Your podcast source  of insider comics publishing news, discussion and controversy.  Starring Heidi MacDonald, the Eisner-nominated blogger of, Calvin Reid, Senior News Editor of Publishers Weekly and Kate Fitzsimons, More To Come’s intrepid producer!

In part one of our NYCC special interview coverage, Calvin Reid speaks with Leyla Aker, v-p of publishing at Viz Media, about news on the Viz platform, Viz Europe and Comixology, and Perfect Square as well as the manga market and her own publishing background. He also interviews Mari Morimoto, translator of such classic manga as Inuyasha and Naruto and a licensed vet about life in manga translation and the state of the current manga market live from NYCC on PWCW’s More to Come.

Stay tuned for the next installment of our NYCC interview coverage!


Catch up with our in depth comics news, reviews and previous podcasts at

Deconstructing Comics #314: Tiny Comics, Novel Manga, and Manga Translation for India

Okashi na FutariBrian John Mitchell talks about his Kickstarter project to fund the making of his matchbook-sized comics. Two of these books involved a collaboration with Dave Sim!

Rook Bartly” (US Air Force active duty member Jason) tells us about “Okashi na Futari”, the Japanese novel series whose author has hired him to draw a manga version of the story.

Then, Kumar returns to tell us about a couple of his recent manga translation projects, “Stupid Guy Goes to India” (which landed him an interview in the March 25 Mumbai Sunday Mid-Day, pg 38-39) and Osamu Tezuka’s “Adolf”.

All this, plus the announcement of the winning “what do you like about Deconstructing Comics” entry!

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Deconstructing Comics #286: Herge’s “The Adventures of Tintin”

TintinPerhaps the most famous comic to come out of Europe is The Adventures of Tintin, by the Belgian known as Hergé. It’s known the world over and has appeared in more than 80 languages. Tim and Kumar discuss the comic’s appeal, Hergé’s expert cartooning, and some of the controversies that have swirled around the strip and its creator. Also, Kumar has some observations about the trailer for the upcoming Tintin movie.

Deconstructing Comics site

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