Comics Alternative, Episode 231: Reviews of The Excavation, American Gods #1, and Rat Queens #1

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“This is not my first detachable penis rodeo”

This week’s episode is an exploration of surrealism and fantasy, and one guaranteed to both fascinate and disturb you. It begins with a discussion of Max Andersson’s The Excavation (Fantagraphics). As the Two Guys with PhDs point out, this is a book that has been years in the making, and parts of it had originally appeared in other outlets, including Andersson’s short-lived Death and Candy series. Derek enjoyed this book, as he does other works by Andersson, although Andy was less charitable in his assessment. He feels that the dream-like meandering of The Excavation ends up leading to nowhere, that there isn’t much in the way of overt themes, and that it’s too much like other indie comics discussed on the podcast.

Next, they delve into the first issue of American Gods, a series from Dark Horse Comics that’s adapted from Neil Gaiman’s popular novel. Scripted by P. Craig Russell, and with art by Scott Hampton, this inaugural issue does a good job at establishing the premise and making the story assessable to those who have never read Gaiman’s original novel (and both Derek and Andy have not). However, the guys do have a little problem with the heavy-handed and spoiler-filled synopsis inserted on the first page of the comic book.

And finally, the Two Guys wrap up with Kurtis J Wiehe and Owen Gieni’s Rat Queens #1 (Image Comics). This is the first issue in the series’ second volume, and while both of the guys see the economic logic of a new #1 issue, Derek wonders about the narrative necessity of this publishing move. Nonetheless, both Andy and Derek are fans of the first iteration of Rat Queens, and they both feel that the first issue in its second volume is an effective jumping on point that could satisfy new readers.


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