Comics Alternative, Critical Takes: A Conversation with Keith Dallas and Jason Sacks

Time Codes:

  • 00:00:25 – Introduction
  • 00:02:20 – Setup of interview
  • 00:03:54 – Interview with Keith Dallas and Jason Sacks
  • 01:22:12 – Wrap up
  • 01:22:52 – Contact us

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times”

On this, the second show in The Comics Alternative‘s new Critical Takes series, Derek has back on the podcast Keith Dallas, coauthor of the new book, American Comic Book Chronicles: The 1990s. Listeners might remember that he talked with Keith, along with John Wells, back last summer when their Comic Book Implosion was released by TwoMorrows Publishing. In fact, that was the very first Critical Takes episode. This time around, Keith is joined by Jason Sacks, another comics scholar and historian who has worked on other texts within the American Comic Book Chroniclesseries. The two have just released their volume on the 1990s, a curious and tumultuous time in American comics history. As you’ll hear in conversation, Jason and Keith discuss in detail their first-hand experiences during this decade, the process of researching for this project, the various stereotypes that they had to overcome when encapsulating the decade, and what each of them sees as key defining moments for comics during the 1990s. They also talk about the genesis of the American Comic Book Chroniclesseries and what we might expect with future volumes.

Comics Alternative, Critical Takes: A Conversation with Keith Dallas and John Wells

Time Codes:

  • 00:00:25 – Introduction
  • 00:02:11 – Introduction of new Critical Takes series, and setup of interview
  • 00:05:00 – Interview with Keith Dallas and John Wells
  • 01:12:11 – Wrap up
  • 01:12:47 – Contact us


Expansions and Implosions

With this episode the Two Guys are starting a brand-new series on The Comics Alternative, one they’re calling “Critical Takes.” This will be an occasion series devoted to critical and scholarly works about comics. In the past, whenever they’ve talked with a comics scholar or historian on the show, they’ve included those in their Interview series, one where they primarily focus on comics writers and artists. But they wanted to spin off their focus on critical works with its own series. After all, and as the show’s tagline states, they’re “Two Guys with PhDs Talking about Comics,” so it’s only appropriate that the guys devote a series of episodes to the more theoretical, historical, and scholarly side of comics studies. Some of these shows, such as the current one, will be interviews with authors of critical texts that enlighten our understanding of the medium. Others may be general discussions or reviews of critical or scholarly texts, like the histories coming out from TwoMorrows Publishing or McFarland or the kind of scholarly works one will find through the University Press of Mississippi, Rutgers University Press, or Bloomsbury Academic. Unlike the regular monthly series, but similar to what you find with the guys’ interviews, these Critical Takes episodes will be released on no set schedule, but just whenever the shows are completed and can fit into The Comics Alternative‘s ever-expanding offerings.

And today the Derek starts off the new Critical Takes series with a conversation with Keith Dallas and John Wells. They are the authors of a new book from TwoMorrows Publishing, Comic Book Implosion: An Oral History of DC Comics Circa 1978. As the title suggests, this is an in-depth look at the events leading up to the DC Implosion of June 1978, the buildup of the Explosion that preceded it, and the effects and ramifications of the Implosion, as well as its impact on what at the time was the highly flawed distribution system. What makes this text unique is its construction. This is an oral history, and John and Keith have excerpted a variety of first-hand accounts from interviews, news stories, and fan publications of the time, stories from the insiders who personally witnessed and were even victims of the DC Implosion. These accounts are presented in such a way that they create a cohesive and compelling narrative of this moment in DC Comics history. Derek talks with Keith and John about the genesis of this project, some of the challenges they faced when doing their research, and their manner of chronicling comics history.