Comics Alternative, On Location: The April Visit to Valhalla Games and Comics

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Catching Up

As he tries to do every month, Derek visits his local shop, Valhalla Games and Comics in Plano, TX, to talk with customers and employees about what they’re reading, what they’re looking forward to, and what interests them in current comics culture. For April the topic is open, so anything goes…and the resulting conversation is free-floating and casual. Among the topics that come up are local conventions, Bones of the Coast from Cloudscape Comics, getting caught up with the Marvel Universe on Netflix, Astro City, Makoto Shinkai’s Your Name, the return of Rat Queens, Kyle Starks’s Rock Candy Mountain, the convoluted world of Love and Rockets, the new Anne Hathaway movie Colossal, and speculations on how (and if) comics creators will eventually work Donald Trump into their stories.

Comics Alternative, On Location: The January Visit to Valhalla Games and Comics

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Touch the Weird Love

It’s the beginning of a new year, and on this episode of the on-location series, Derek is back at Valhalla Games and Comics to talk with customers and employees about the comics they’re looking forward to in the coming months. He’s joined by a couple of the regulars, Craig and Nick, as well as employees Stephanie and Freddy. Among the titles folks are anticipating in 2017 are The Unstoppable WaspHighlander: The American DreamJustice League of America, Planet of the Apes/Green Lantern, Hatchet, more Head LopperBlack History in Its Own WordsPsychodrama Illustrated, and the new Rat Queens. But the guys at the shop don’t stop there. They also discuss other comics-related media, films and television series, that are planned for this year.



Comics Alternative, On Location: The August Visit to Collected Comics and Games

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New Voices


This month for the on-location recording at Collected Comics and Games in Plano, TX, the discussion table is rather crowded. Derek is joined by many of the regular Collected customers — Craig, Matt, and Nick — but joining the conversation for the first time are Tristan, Chris, and Carrie, as well as Brian, the shop’s newest associate. The talk begins with Craig’s recounting of his own experiences at this year’s San Diego Comic-Com, but then it segues into a discussion of recent comics that folks have been reading. Some of those titles include Grant Morrison’s KlausDivinity IIBlack HammerBackstagersGiant Days, Voltron Legendary DefenderFight Club 2Black PantherWonder Woman, and various Brian K. Vaughan titles.  They also discuss several comics-related Netflix shows, DC’s upcoming Young Animal series, and writers in other media who have tried their hands in comics. Needless to say, this is a packed episode with a full table of participants and plenty of topics to go around.


Comics Alternative, On Location: The July Visit to Collected Comics and Games

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Summertime, and the Readin’ Is Easy


Derek is back at his local shop, Collected Comics and Games in Plano, TX, to talk with customers and shop employees about the comics they’re reading. And for the month of July, the topic of conversation is summer reading. Many of the shop regulars are there, and store manager Sabrina and her associate, Stephanie, join in the discussion, as well. The conversation begins with DC Comics’ Rebirth titles and how the quality of those stories are resonating with the gang (most of which are Marvel die-hards). That discussion leads to talk about the seemingly endless string of Big Two events and how even publishers such as IDW are seeing the need to create crossover events of their own. Other summer reading for the Collected gang includes How to Talk to Girls at Parties, Jade Street Protection Services, BountyThrowawaysAction Man, and Heathen (which was discussed in May’s on-location episode). In addition, Sabrina also gives her take on some of the early releases she gets to read as shop manager — e.g., Briggs Land and Black Hammer — and Derek is appalled that at least one dedicated shop customer doesn’t even know what Fables is. As is usual with the monthly on-location episodes, there’s a lot of fun talk about a wide variety of comics, something to pique the interest of any Comics Alternative listener.

Much thanks to Freddy Ruiz for taking pictures!



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 Podcast Episode 81.2: Interviews with Creators on FCBD 2014

Illustrative Examples


Part two of The Comics Alternative‘s coverage of Free Comic Book Day 2014. In this episode, Derek visits a couple of his local shops, Madness Games and Comics and Collected, both in Plano, TX, where he takes the opportunity to interview several creators at the shops for FCBD. First, he talks with illustrator and designer, Matthew Warlick. Derek had interviewed Matthew previously at last October’s Dallas Comic Con when he was there with the rest of the crew from Space Gun Studios, but this time around he talks with the artist one-on-one. Next, the Guy with a PhD Talking about Comics heads over to his home shop, Collected, to talk with several other artists and writers. There he finds Chad Ettelbrick, creator of the new beef-filled zombie comic, Bovine. Derek also talks with Garfield illustrator and good friend of the show, Andy Hirsch. The past year has been big for Andy — working on Adventure Time comics, doing more covers, expanding his presence at Kaboom! — and he talks about many of these experiences amidst the chaos of FCBD. Next, Derek speaks with an artist new to the biz, Jajo Rice, about his aspirations within the industry and his ideas for new comics. Finally, he shares words with Eddie Medina, a Dallas-based artist and designer who is also a podcaster! (In fact, Eddie was at Collected with Cole Houston, of the JediCole Universe, recording an on-location FCBD episode, as well.)

Be sure to visit the professional websites and Facebook pages of:


This episode’s incidental music is brought to us by
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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 71.1: Our January Visit to Collected Comics

“A punch to Batman’s nads”

It’s a new year and a new visit to Collected Comics in Plano, TX! This month Derek swings by the shop to talk with Collected’s co-owner, Brent Erwin, and his store employees Shea Hennum and Freddy Ruiz. It’s a general comics talk, with the topics varying wildly. And things get weird at times. They begin by discussing the recent renovations of the shop’s interior, and that eventually leads to a conversation on future plans and Free Comic Book Day. After that, all bets are off. Freddy talks about graphic violence and steampunk overload, Shea focuses on gay porn comics and Batman’s nads, Derek gripes about the Disney corporation and Marvel’s money-grabbing gimmicks, and Brent voices his wariness of IDW, his recipe for superhero continuity, and his love of sugary breakfast cereals. Everyone has a fun time…and now you too can enjoy the nougaty goodness of their conversation!

This episode’s incidental music is brought to us by
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Comics Alternative Podcast Episode 58.1: Celebrating Halloween ComicFest at Collected Comics

Fear and Rabid Yu-Gi-Oh Players

hcf_logoTo celebrate this year’s Halloween ComicFest, the Two Guys with PhDs (talking about comics) paid another visit to Collected Comics in Plano, your one-stop-shop for everything thrilling and chilling! Gene and Derek were joined by Collected’s co-owner Brent Irwin, comics artist and friend of the show, Andy Hirsch, and Andy’s “Bob’s Burgers” companion, Natalie Khan. It was truly a ghoulish experience, made more so by the mayhem surrounding everyone during the podcast recording. Amongst crowds of customers, face-painted patrons, kids with loud toys, and Yu-Gi-Oh card players breaking tables, the Two Guys and their guests talked about the free Halloween ComicFest comics, recent horror-related titles, Andy’s work on Adventure Time and Regular Show comics, the experience of watching Saturday morning cartoons in the ’70s and ’80s, comics and library community NatalieAndyoutreach efforts, contentious definitions of the “graphic novel,” Dell and Gold Key TV show-based comics, Gene’s challenge to keep up with new weekly comics, and Derek’s disturbing revelation that his favorite Halloween costume experience was when he was dressed as a baby, complete with diaper, pacifier, and nippled bottle. Despite the latter obstacle, everyone had a fun time, and they managed to end the episode before the Yu-Gi-Oh hoard descended upon them. Experience the fun on this latest supplemental show!

This week’s incidental music is brought to you by
Televisions’s Greatest Hits, Halloween Hootenanny, and
The 2 Tone Collection: A Checkered Past

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