Comics Alternative, On Location: General Comics Talk at Collected Comics and Games

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Make War No More


Derek is back at his local shop, Collected Comics and Games in Plano, TX, and this month the topic is open and general comics talk. Anything goes, and over the coarse of the conversation, Derek discovers that anything does go in talking with the shop’s customers. Joining him for this free-flowing exchange are regulars Shea, Craig, Matt, and Chris, and the discussion topics are wide-ranging. They begin with a conversation on the relative disappearance of westerns and war comics as a popular genre. Sgt. Rock comes up a lot, of course, as well as Garth Ennis’s recent revival of his War Stories series coming out from Avatar Press. And Craig reminds everyone about a title he brought up in the February episode, Max Brooks and Caanan White’s The Harlem Hellfighters. Via a reference to one of Derek’s favorites, Weird War SgtRockTales, the talk shifts to horror and mystery comics and then takes an abrupt shift into Kickstarter territory. This leads to a discussion of the recent shenanigans of Archie Comics in their Kickstarter campaign, and then a brief digression into the concept of variant covers. Webcomics is another topic that comes up, with everyone chiming in on whether or not they read them, as well as the pros and cons of digital delivery. There is a brief conversational tributary into mainstream superhero comics, specifically what’s going on with Convergence and Secret Wars, and then they wrap up with a discussion of some of comics everyone has recently read for the very first time (not necessarily brand new titles). These titles include Chuck Palahniuk and Cameron Stewart’s Fight Club 2, Cullen Bunn and Taylor Crook’s Harrow County, Kelly Thompson and Ross Campbell’s Jem and the Holograms, P. Craig Russell and Neil Gaiman’s Elric: Stormbringer, Chip Zdarsky and Kagan McLeodand’s Kaptara, and various books from Hans Rickheit (the latter are Derek’s picks). The chat ends abruptly when the recorder is accidentally shut off (unbeknownst to the guys), but that doesn’t happen until the tail end of the conversation. But while the mic is still on, there’s a lot of great comics talk, as there usually is at these on-location episodes.


On Location: Anticipating the New Year at Collected Comics

New Stuff for the New Year


CollectedJan2015-1It’s a new month — and a new year! — so Derek is back at his local shop, Collected in Plano, for another on-location episode of the podcast. This time he’s joined by Collected regulars Shea, Nick, Matt, and Craig, and the discussion topic is “Comics in the New Year.” Everyone brings up the various titles, events, and pop cultural phenomenon they are looking forward to in 2015. For some, it is the wrap up of currently ongoing series and storylines, particularly Fables and Spider-Verse; the occasion of a crossover event, such as Marvel’s new Secret Wars or DC’s CollectedJan2015-2Convergence (although there doesn’t seem to be a lot of love for DC at this gathering); the publication of eagerly awaited graphic novels and trade collections (e.g., Harlan Ellison’s City on the Edge of Forever and Scott McCloud’s The Sculptor); announcements of brand new series; comics that were held over from 2014, such as Pascin and the latest volume of Love and Rockets: New Stories; and the new movies and television shows surrounding comics culture. As always, it’s a fun discussion with these guys. And once again, the Two Guys thank the great folks at Collected for letting them come by every month!

This episode’s music is brought to you by
the Soundtrack to Night on Earth


Comics Alternative On Location: A Discussion of the Year in Review at Collected Comics

Looking Back at Favorites


It’s almost the end of the year, and Derek is back for one last 2014 visit to his local comic shop, Collected, in Plano, TX. As he usually does every month, he talks with the shop’s employees and customers about the kind of comics that they’re reading, what is catching their interests, and what comics news most excites them, but this CollectedDec2014-1month the focus is on everyone’s favorite titles of 2014. Derek asks everyone sitting around the podcast table — Shea, Krystle, Shaun, Craig, Nick, and Matthew — about what they consider to be the most outstanding comics of the past twelve months. And the candidates vary widely, ranging from single-issue comic books to original graphic novels, from superhero to manga, from pop-culture adaptations to literary graphic fiction, and from webcomics to those coming from Kickstarter campaigns. Some of the titles that folks highlight during the show include Tooth and ClawSecondsThe WrenchiesNijigahara HolographMultiversity: Pax AmericanaRat Queens, Edge of Spider-VerseBleeding HeartLittle Nemo: Return to SlumberlandThe Shadow HeroEye of Newt, Michael Moorcock’s Elric, Vol. 1: The Ruby Throne, Through the Woods, Adventure Time, and Squidder. They also discuss some of their biggest comics disappointments of the year, speculate on the titles they’re looking forward to in 2015, and even learn that Krystle prefers drugs, candy, and weiners in her comics. As usual, you don’t know what to expect from the guys at Collected, but you are guaranteed fun talk about a variety of great books. And much thanks to Freddy Ruiz, the store’s manager, for pulling everyone together!


The Shop Is Hoppin’!


Freddy and Shea Dance Away Their 2014 Memories

Freddy and Shea Dance Away Their 2014 Memories, as Chris Ware’s BUILDING STORIES Lovingly Watches over Them

This episode’s incidental music comes to us through the
holiday obscura discovered by Andy Cirzan!


Comics Alternative Podcast Episode 81.1: Free Comic Book Day 2014

“We are not Marvel’s keeper”

On this special episode of The Comics Alternative, Derek is on location at Collected Comics in Plano, TX, talking with customers, cosplayers, and critical readers during Free Comic Book Day 2014. Joining him via the wonders of Skype (and despite some sound issues) is Andy Wolverton, who, unfortunately, was unable to take part in FCBD at his own local shop, Third Eye Comics, in Annapolis, MD. Instead, he joins in the FCBD activities from a distance, enjoying the fun virtually. He and Derek discuss the activity surrounding them at Collected Comics, talk with customers to find out what FCBD titles they’re getting, get the lowdown on local cons from gorgeous cosplayers, and plunge into recent comics news with friends of the show. The Two Guys had a lot of fun on Saturday, and some of their guests included a great guy named Rocky and his family, and also:


Superfan and Friend of the Show, Laura Rogers!


Dallas Fan Girl, Laura Gasera!


and Krystle “Selina Kyle” Starr (seen here with Derek “The Hat” Royal)!

Having been some days in preparation, a splendid time is guaranteed for all. So be sure to listen to this year’s coverage of Free Comic Book Day!

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Comics Alternative Podcast Episode 80.1: Our April Visit to Collected Comics

Freddy, the Recommender


Derek is back at his local shop, Collected Comics in Plano, TX, to discuss comics with the folks who frequent their aisles. Joining him this month are the assistant store manager, Freddy Ruiz, and loyal Collected customer and good friend of the shop, Laura Rogers. Together they cover a variety of topics and titles — from Garth Ennis’s violence to Brian K. Vaughn’s imagination, from individual buying habits to customer trends, from Star Wars to Big Trouble in Little China — and have a fun time doing so. They’re even joined by store employee Sabrina Smith, who is usually gun-shy when it comes to a podcasting microphone. She shares her experience with various disturbing comics, including the upcoming Itty Bitty Bunnies In Rainbow Pixie Candy Land. So sit back, get out your comic-book wish list, and join everyone at Collected in their audio romp through current comics-dom.

This episode’s incidental music is brought to us by
Jack Johnson’s To the Sea

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Comics Alternative Podcast Episode 66.1: A Discussion of the Year in Review at Collected Comics

Looking Back at 2013

For this month’s on-location show, Derek heads back to Collected Comics in Plano, TX, to talk with Shea Hennum and other shop employees about the past year in comics. The conversation begins with a look at some of the highlights from 2013, the best titles to come out of the year, movies and television programs based on comics, and some of the most memorable publishing events — or just events, in general — in comics. Shea and Derek also discuss some of the trends they saw developing over the past twelve months, including the impressive output of such major creators as Paul Pope and Gilbert Hernandez. Without turning too negative, they also mention some of the disappointments or lackluster moments from 2013, but then they counterbalance that with their hopes for new things that will be coming out in 2014. This is the perfect show to set the stage for Andy and Derek’s much-anticipated end-of-the-year episode, where they will share what they consider to be the best titles in 2013.

This episode’s incidental music comes to us through the
holiday obscura discovered by Andy Cirzan!

Episode 66-1 Image