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.