Episode 291: A Publisher Spotlight on Peow Studio

Time Codes:

  • 00:00:25 – Introduction
  • 00:02:17 – Catching up with Gwen
  • 00:03:32 – Spotlight on Peow Studio releases
  • 01:09:53 – Wrap up
  • 01:11:33 – Contact us


Something Very Different

This week Gwen and Derek focus their critical spotlight on recent releases from Peow Studio, a Swedish publisher of minicomics and longer narratives. As they point out, much of what is coming out from Peow is very creator-centered, personal, and even experimental in nature. This is a publisher that, while not well-known my many readers, deserves much more attention for the intriguing material that they release. While Gwen and Derek aren’t able to delve too deeply into each of the texts that they discuss, they do give a broad overview of the press, the kind of comics they publish, and some of the defining characteristics they see in their catalog. They primarily focus on the publications Peow has released over the past year and a half, including:

  • Internal Affairs – Patrick Crotty
  • Ripple – Wai Wai Pang
  • Rule Break – Anna Syvertsson
  • Dust Pam – Thu Tran
  • Salmon, Run! – Mackenzie Schubert
  • Stages of Rot – Linnea Sterte
  • Hot Summer Nights – Freddy Carrasco
  • 310,310 – Mushbuh
  • Devil Maybe Cry – Patrick Crotty
  • Yuri on Evangelion – Patrick Crotty
  • Dark Angels of Darkness – Al Gofa
  • Junky – Guillaume Singelin


Comics Alternative, Episode 285: Another Publisher Spotlight on Koyama Press

Time Codes:


“It’s compelling, but I’m not sure why I’m so compelled”

The Two Guys with PhDs are back with another publisher spotlight, this one focusing on the spring releases from Koyama Press. (In fact, this is the third spotlight on Koyama, with the guys having previously discusses their seasonal releases in April 2015 and May 2017.) All of these books debuted at TCAF last month, and Paul and Derek indulge in exciting discussions of these six new releases.

They begin with Jessica Campbell’s XTC69, a wild science fiction narrative about gender relations and female empowerment. It serves as a great companion piece to her earlier Koyama book, Hot or Not: 20th-Century Male Artists. After that they discuss the largely wordless text, Soft X-Ray/Mindhunters. As with his previous work, Mighty Star and the Castle of Cancatervater, A. Degen challenges the boundaries of storytelling, and Paul and Derek have fun attempting to decipher the text. And it says something that, compared with the work of A. Degen, Michael DeForge’s latest book A Western World is understandable and more “traditional.” This is a collection of various DeForge stories, some of them previously published in his Lose series, and it would serve as a great introduction to the creator’s style.

Next, they focus on the latest installment of Ben Sears’s Double+ world, The Ideal CopyFollowing 2016’s Night Air and last year’s Volcano Trash, this book has Plus Man and Hank out of work as treasure hunters and having to take temporary jobs as caterers…and while doing so inadvertently discovering adventure. Perhaps the most abstract and narratively challenging work of the bunch, Michael Comeau’s Winter’s Cosmos, is a curious mix of media, photography and illustration. Its the offbeat story of two space travelers on a mission, each with varying degrees of seriousness and dedication. Paul and Derek wrap up their Koyama Press spotlight with a discussion of Fiona Smyth’s Somnambulance. This is the longest text of the bunch, and it’s a fascinating retrospective of Smyth’s comics from the 1980s to present day. For those unfamiliar with this creator’s comics, Somnambulance is the perfect overview.



Comics Alternative, Episode 270: A Publisher Spotlight on kuš!

Time Codes:

  • 00:00:26 – Introduction
  • 00:02:47 – Thanks to Holly English!
  • 00:05:07 – The 2017 releases from kuš!
  • 01:36:29 – Wrap up
  • 01:38:00 – Contact us


kuštraveganza or kušapalooza?

This week Gene and Derek focus a critical spotlight on the Latvian publisher kuš! This is a press that the vast majority of listeners are probably unaware of — indeed, neither of the Two Guys knew about kuš! until about three years ago — and that’s a shame. They produce incredible comics from artists that span the globe. And as Gene points out, there’s really no such thing as a “kuš! style.” The sheer variety of visual approaches that can be found in kuš! publications is truly astounding.

Since kuš! publishes so many comics, Derek and Gene have decided to limit their discussion to just those titles the press released in 2017. But even that is a challenging volume of output. Last year kuš! put out four of their š! anthologies, four kuš! mono volumes, and sixteen issues in the mini kuš! series. As the guys point out multiple times during this episode, there’s no way to thoroughly discuss every single title that came out in 2017, but they do their best to cover as much ground as possible, and in hopes of giving listeners incentive to check out the wonderful releases from this publisher.

Here is a complete list of kuš! releases from 2017, including the month of publication:

  • mini kuš! #47 “Sutrama” by Daniel Lima, January
  • mini kuš! #48 “Nul” by Olive Booger, January
  • mini kuš! #49 “Call of Cthulhu” by Martin Lacko/ H. P. Lovecraft, January
  • mini kuš! #50 “Spectacular Vermacular” by Mathilde Van Gheluwe, January
  • š! #27 “BFF,” February
  • Brume by Amanda Baeza, kuš! mono #2, February
  • mini kuš! #51 “Mirror Stage” by Jaakko Pallasvuo, April
  • mini kuš! #52 “Acquisition” by Cátia Serrão, April
  • mini kuš! #53 “Yellow” by Līva Kandevica, April
  • mini kuš! #54 “Bad Ball” by Samplerman, April
  • An Exorcism by Theo Ellsworth, kuš! mono #3, April
  • š! #28 “Scandal!,” April
  • š! #29 “Celebration,” July
  • mini kuš! #55 “Valley” by GG, August
  • mini kuš! #56 “A Friend” by Andrés Magán, August
  • mini kuš! #57 “Eviction” by Evangelos Androutsopoulos, August
  • mini kuš! #58 “Night Door” by Patrick Kyle, August
  • mini kuš! #59 “Share The Love” by Paula Bulling / Nina Hoffmann, October
  • mini kuš! #60 “His Last Comic” by Noah Van Sciver, October
  • mini kuš! #61 “Jonah 2017” by Tomasz Niewiadomski, October
  • mini kuš! #62 “Daughter” by Aidan Koch, October
  • š! #30 “Brooklyn,” November
  • Fenix by Zane Zlemeša, kuš! mono #4, November
  • Fearless Colors by Samplerman, kuš! mono #5, November

Be sure to visit the kuš! website and check out their many releases. Better yet, subscribe!



Comics Alternative, Episode 257: A Publisher Spotlight on Conundrum Press

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Time Codes:


Memoirs, Nightmares, and Bananas

This week on The Comics Alternative Andy and Derek return to one of their favorite publishers, Conundrum Press, for their next publisher spotlight. They had previously released a similar episode on Conundrum two and a half years ago, and they wanted to do so again with their fall 2017 releases. The six titles under discussion vary in style and topic, although the first three books the guys review are all memoirs: Lorina Mapa’s Duran Duran, Imelda Marcos, and Me, Michael Nybrandt and Thomas Mikkelsen’s Dreams in Thin Air, and David Collier’s Morton: A Cross-Country Rail Journey. After that they turn to James Cadelli and his first graphic novel, Getting Out of Hope, and then the surreal story collection Mister Morgen by Croatian poster artist Igor Hofbauer. Finally, Andy and Derek conclude with one of their favorite of the fall releases, The Collected Neil the Horse, by Arn Saba (now Katherine Collins). This is a classic black-and-white comic from the early 1980s that definitely deserves this kind of attention.

The closing music of this episode, in fact, is created by Collins for Neil the Horse!

Comics Alternative, Episode 240: A Publisher Spotlight on Koyama Press

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Time Codes:


Holy Balls!

For this week’s review episode the Two Guys with PhDs turn a critical spotlight on Koyama Press and its spring 2017 releases. They devoted an entire episode to Koyama a couple of years ago, but this season there are just so many great titles coming out from the press that the guys wanted to look at all of their releases and not just two or three scheduled across several weeks. First, though, they share a brief conversation with the press’ founder and publisher, Annie Koyama, who provides an overview and history of the Canadian publishing house.

Then the guys start discussing the new releases, beginning with Eleanor Davis’s You & a Bike & a Road, a diary comic of her time biking from Arizona to Georgia and the various experiences and encounters she had along the way. Reading this book has even gotten Derek back exercising on his bike, although Andy wasn’t inspired in quite the same way. After that they look at another autobiographical work in diary form, Keiler Roberts’s Sunburning. The Two Guys have discussed Roberts’s work on the podcast previously, but this is the first time the both of them have focused on one of her entire books, her first Koyama Press release.

Next, they turn to Crawl Space, the latest from Koyama creator Jesse Jacobs. This is a visually unique work, combining Jacobs’s geometric abstractions with a straightforward, yet self-reflexibly revealing, storyline. Another experimental work is Eric Kostiuk Williams’s Condo Heartbreak Disco. At the center of this narrative are Komio and The Willendorf Braid, two figures whose stories are part of Williams’s Hungry Bottom Comics series, of which neither of the guys are familiar (unfortunately).

Then it’s on to Volcano Trash, the follow up to Ben Sears’s Night Air which was leased last year. This all-age adventure featuring Plus Man and Hank is one of the highlights of the week, and the guys hope Sears continues developing this series. And finally, Andy and Derek wrap up with Jane Mai and An Nguyen’s hybrid text, So Pretty/Very Rotten: Comics and Essays on Lolita Fashion and Cute Culture. This is a fascinating exploration of a cultural trend that neither of the guys really knew much about — at least in detail — and one that caters to their scholarly sensibilities.

Comics Alternative, Episode 216: A Publisher Spotlight on Kilgore Books and Comics

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Number 9

Time Codes:

  • 00:00:27 – Introduction
  • 00:02:28 – Setting up Kilgore Books and Comics
  • 00:05:28 – Conversation with Dan Stafford
  • 00:22:04 – Cosmic Be-ing #2
  • 00:28:45 – The Fifth Window
  • 00:35:24 – A Horse, a Crow, and a Hippo Walk into a Bar
  • 00:45:53 – Powermac
  • 00:55:16 – Paid for It
  • 01:01:56 – The Plunge: A True Story
  • 01:12:21 – What Happened
  • 01:18:23 – Scorched Earth
  • 01:25:44 – Blammo #9
  • 01:54:57 – Wrap up
  • 01:56:02 – Contact us



On this episode, their final publisher spotlight of the year, Andy and Derek discuss the 2016 releases from Kilgore Books and Comics. They discuss nine titles, in all: four from the publisher’s spring catalog, four from the fall releases, and an in-between book that conceptually lives up to its interstitial positioning. The guys begin their spotlight with a brief interview Derek conducted with Dan Stafford at this year’s Small Press Expo. He introduces Kilgore to listeners, reveals its history and mission, and sets the contexts for the various 2016 releases. After that, the Two Guys with PhDs begin looking at the four titles from the spring, Alex Graham’s Cosmic Be-ing #2, Amara Leipzig’s The Fifth Window, Lauren Barnett’s A Horse, a Crow, and a Hippo Walk into a Bar, and Box Brown’s Powerman. They’re intrigued by the more abstract constructions of the former, and they contrast this with the humor and sheer fun found Barnett’s and Brown’s comics. And given recent political events, the satiric Powerman becomes disturbingly prescient.

And on the topic of satire…Andy and Derek next check out the latest work from one of their favorites, Joe Matt. Paid for It is a send-up of Chester Brown’s Paying for It. In it, Matt (writing under the name “Chesty Matt”) basically takes panels from Brown’s original texts, inverts their sequence, and tweaks the story so that it’s the protagonist who becomes the prostitute and the women who are the johns…or janes. It’s not often that we see anything new from Matt, so Paid for It is definitely an event worth noting.

The last part of the episode is devoted to Kilgore’s fall releases: Emi Gennis’s The Plunge: A True Story, Simon Moreton’s What Happened, Tom Van Deusen’s Scorched Earth, and Noah Van Sciver’s Blammo #9. The first is an historical account of the first woman to go over Niagara Falls in a barrel, and a reminder of the gender biases we continue to live under. Moreton’s is an introspective examination of childhood experiences, while Van Deusen’s is an no-holds-barred exposé of a dysfunctional individual, reminiscent of Sacha Baron Cohen and Curb Your Enthusiasm. But the guys save their most vocal praise for the latest issue of Blammo. They’ve discussed Van Sciver’s series on the podcast before, but this latest installment is a truly outstanding issue that stands above in its predecessors.



Comics Alternative, Episode 185: A Publisher Spotlight on Alternative Comics and Its Small Press Co-op

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This week the Two Guys with PhDs focus a critical spotlight on the spring releases coming out from Alternative Comics and the other small presses that are part of its distribution co-operative, Floating World Comics, Hic + Hoc Productions, Study Group Comics, and Press Gang. This is a jam-packed episode and longer than usual, a discussion that covers eighteen different titles among the five indie presses. Before they jump directly into the comics, though, Derek has a brief conversation with Marc Arsenault, the publisher of Alternative Comics and one of the ringleaders of the co-operative. He asks Marc about the origins of the press, its relaunch in 2012, its distribution agreement with the other indie publishers, and what readers could anticipate coming out of Alternative Comics in the months to come. After that introductory interview, Andy W. and Derek begin discussing the individual titles some out this spring, and organizing their conversation by publisher. These books include:


Alternative Comics

Floating World Comics

Hic + Hoc Productions

Study Group Comics

  • Titan #1, #2, #3, by François Vigneault
  • Vile #1, Tyler Landry

Press Gang


As Andy and Derek mention in the show, this has been a spotlight episode they’ve been wanting to do for some time. The guys are truly excited to talk about the new releases coming out from Alternative Comics (and its co-op partners)…and not just this publisher’s name is an inversion of the podcast title.


Comics Alternative, Episode 170: A Publisher Spotlight on Vertigo

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Full o’ Vertigo


For their first publisher spotlight of 2016, Andy and Derek focus on the new wave of titles from Vertigo, those being launched between October and December of last year. As you might expect, this is an extra long episode of the podcast because the guys discuss twelve new series, and some of them already with three and four issues released. These include:

Both Derek and Andy enjoy almost all of these titles, but there are a few that really stand out for them — and they spend a disproportionate time discussing — including The Twilight ChildrenUnfollowJacked, and Sheriff of Babylon. They also use their analysis of Lucifer to segue into a brief coverage of The Sandman: Overture, Deluxe Edition. The first of that six-issues miniseries was part of the guys’ earlier Vertigo spotlight back in November 2013, and a central component of that publisher’s previous wave of new titles, but the collected edition was just released late last year. Although it had an unusually long incubation period, The Sandman: Overture does help Andy and Derek juxtapose Vertigo’s two big release efforts, leading them into a discussion of possible new directions the publisher may be going.



Comics Alternative, Episode 161: A Publisher Spotlight on Top Shelf Productions

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Marvel at the Naked Spine!


Can it be true? Are the Two Guys with PhDs Talking about Comics actually doing yet another publisher spotlight? Are they gluttons for punishment? Are their eyeballs going to fall out from all of the reading? Maybe so, but if their orbs do drop out of their heads, they’ll do so while gazing at some of the great books coming out of Top Shelf Productions. In this episode, you’ll hear Andy and Derek talking about the publisher’s summer and fall releases, including:

Before they get into the titles themselves, Derek shares a brief interview he conducted with Chris Staros, the publisher of Top Shelf. They talk about the origins of Top Shelf, the authors who have helped define their line, and their recent acquisition by IDW Publishing. Then, it’s on to the books! The guys begin with a discussion of Eddie Campbell’s Bacchus Omnibus, Vol. 1. This is the first of two behemoth books collecting all of Campbell’s Bacchus stories, complete with the titular god of wine and revelry, Joe Theseus, Hermes, the Stygian Leech, and the guys’ favorite, the Eyeball Kid. After that, Derek and Andy revisit a comic that they first discussed almost two years ago, Chris Sheridan’s Motorcycle Samurai. Back in January of 2014, they looked at the first two issues of the digital series, but this time they focus on the first completed narrative arc. The guys point out some of TopSelfLogothe differences between the two versions, digital and hardcopy, while at the same time highlighting many of he strengths in Sheridan’s storytelling. The next book they cover, Julian Hanshaw’s Tim Ginger, turns out to be one of their favorite books of the year. Both Andy and Derek point out the ambitiousness of this narrative, both thematically and visually, especially given the book’s compressed format. Indeed, Andy wonders if perhaps there was too much that Hanshaw was attempting to take on. Jennifer Hayden’s The Story of My Tits is where they go after that. This is an autobiographic tale of the author’s bout with breast cancer. But the book is much more than a personal cancer narrative. It is also Hayden’s account of her important life relationships, both with her loved ones and with her breasts as they relate to self-image. Next, the Two Guys turn to a completely different kind of book, Troy Little’s adaptation of Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Like the original, this is a wild ride, and Little’s composition brings out the surreal and even frightening quality of Thompson’s narrative. The guys note that Little does what Ralph Steadman does in his illustrations for the 1972 book, without being derivative in any way, and that this is a more approachable version that Terry Gilliam’s 1998 film. Finally, the guys wrap up with a book that is not yet out but will soon be, Ray Fawkes and Vince Locke’s Junction True. This is a disturbing science fiction tale that doesn’t seem that unrealistic at all. In fact, its thematic focus on body enhancement and media exhibitionism is not too far from the culture in which we currently reside. One could even read Junction True metaphorically as a cautionary tale…or one of contemporary gothic horror.



Comics Alternative, Episode 158: A Publisher Spotlight on First Second Books

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“Ruining series since 2015”


This week on the podcast, Derek is joined by Gwen for a rollicking good time with First Second books. This is another Publisher Spotlight episode for The Comics Alternative — the sixth of the year, so far — and this time, they focus on seven fall releases from First Second, including:

Gwen and Derek begin by discussing three works whose subject matter is more “mature” than the rest — although, as the they point out, the vast majority of First Second’s output can be enjoyed by all ages. Both Battling Boy: The Fall of the House of West and Last Man: The Chase are the latest volumes in ongoing adventure series, while Omaha Beach on D-Day is a hybrid text (comics, photographs, and short essays) surrounding the famous war photojournalism of Robert Capa. But most of the other books that Gwen and Derek review are part of series, as well. Yang and Holmes’s Secret Coders is the first volume in a new series centered on math and computer programming, combining instruction with humor and adventure. Similarly, The Stratford Zoo Midnight Review Presents Romeo and Juliet is a fun adaptation introducing young readers to Shakespeare’s tragedy and, as Derek points out, doing what the old Classics Illustrated professed to do, but much more effectively by taking its readers on their own grounds. Lendler and Giallongo’s latest book is also part of a series, following up last year’s volume on Macbeth. Yet another instructional adaptive work, and also part of a series, is Fable Comics. This book comprises adaptations of twenty-eight different fables from around the world, and from a wide variety of artists. It is a companion to Chris Duffy’s previous edited collections, Nursery Rhyme Comics and Fairy Tale Comics (also from First Second). Also combining fun and education is one of Gwen’s favorites of the week, Maris Wicks’s Human Body Theater. For anyone interested in biology and the functioning of our anatomy, both young and old, this book should be essential. As Derek points out early in this episode, First Second books are tried and true staples of the podcast’s programming. But for this week, the publisher — one of their favorites — gets the guys’ (or guy and gal’s) undivided attention.



Comics Alternative, Episode 148: A Publisher Spotlight on Hang Dai Editions

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Brothers in Art


On this episode of The Comics Alternative, Gene and Derek turn a critical spotlight on the upcoming releases from the small press, Hang Dai Editions. The guys begin with a brief conversation with Dean Haspiel and Gregory Benton, two of the founders of the Hang Dai Studio, a collective that they founded along with Josh Neufeld and the late Seth Kushner. In this interview, they describe the origins of their publishing line and share many of their experiences in getting it off the ground. Hang Dai Editions began as their studio imprint back in 2013, and up until recently the creators had limited their publications to smaller, personal projects available mainly through conventions and local events. But as announced earlier this year, Hang Dai became part of Marc Arsenault’s Alternative Comics publishing co-op, and with wider distribution, the Hang Dai folks wanted to up their game with longer and more ambitious projects. The first three releases since becoming part of the co-op, all being releases on September 15, are what Derek and Gene discuss for the remainder of the show. They begin with Haspiel’s Beef with Tomato, a collection of autobiographic shorts that reads as a sequel or follow-up to his 2001 comic, Opposable Thumbs. As with the earlier work, the stories in this new Hang Dai book are woven together by particular themes or gain cohesion through a shared tone. In the case of Beef with Tomato, that commonality is largely the risks and the unexpected occurrences of close urban living. The book also includes a variety of short prose pieces and HDE_dance-600x535previously published comics that, while similar in subject matter and tone to the first (and newer) twelve stories, stand apart in style yet provide a nice coda to the collection as a whole. Next, the Two Guys turn their attention to Gregory Benton’s Smoke. Much like last year’s B+F, this is a large-format wordless comic featuring Xolo, a large skull-faced dog based on Xolotl, the Aztec god associated with fire, sickness, and death. The story follows two brothers as they work on an industrial tobacco farm, and the hazardous conditions they work under spawn a surreal journey into another dimension, something dreamlike while at the same time darkly foreboding. Benton’s vibrant, beautiful art is front and center in this work, and Gene and Derek point out his strategic handling of art styles when straddling the book’s different narrative worlds. Finally, the guys look at Seth Kushner’s Schmuck, a collection of twenty-two autobiographic stories, all written by Kushner but each illustrated by a different artist. Derek and Gene recognize many of those whose art is featured in the book — e.g., Haspiel and Benton, but also Noah Van Sciver, Nick Bertozzi, and Josh Neufeld — but there are several illustrators who are new to the guys. All of this gives Schmuck a feeling of both fragmentation and cohesiveness. Each artist provides a unique visual lens through which to interpret the book’s protagonist, Adam Kessler, the fictional persona of Kushner. Yet at the same time, all of the stories unfold along one trajectory: Adam’s attempts to find a meaningful relationship with a woman. Seth Kushner passed away earlier this year, but Schmuck was a life labor, ambitious in scope, that becomes fully realized next month. It, along with Smoke and Beef with Tomato, marks a new beginning for Hang Dai Editions, and one that Gene and Derek are excited to discuss.


Visit the Hang Dai Editions website for more lowdown on what Greg, Dean, and Josh are up to!


Comics Alternative, Episode 136: A Publisher Spotlight on Conundrum Press

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Puzzling Out Conundrum


This week on The Comics Alternative, the Two Guys with PhDs are back with another Publisher Spotlight episode, this time focusing on the spring 2015 releases from Conundrum Press. They begin the show by doing something they’ve never done before: interviewing the publisher of the press they’re about to spotlight. Derek talks with Andy Brown briefly about his founding of Conundrum, its evolution into a comics-only publisher, the many roles he plays at the press, the kind of creators he works with, and a summary of the spring releases and beyond. After ConundrumPressLogothat, the guys plunge into a discussion of the five new releases, beginning with Zach Worton’s The Disappearance of Charley Butters. This is the first of a trilogy, centering on the discovery of an abandoned shack and the mystery surrounding its former occupant, a solitary artist. As some of the characters learn more about this missing figure, they begin to see themselves and their relationships more clearly. Next, Derek and Andy W. turn to Max de Radiguès’s Moose. Despite the guys’ (embarrasing) inability to correctly pronounce the Belgium artist’s name, they are nonetheless able to grasp the poignancy of his narrative. This is a story about bullying, yet one with dark ethical implications and with no easy answers. After that, the guys turn to Kat Verhoeven’s Towerkind. This minicomic-sized book is one of Andy’s favorites of the week, and its simple art masks a profound and unsettling tone. Set in Toronto’s St. James Town, a densely populated neighborhood of high-rise apartments, the book follows the uncanny interactions of a group of kids with ominous forebodings. The next book, The Adventures of Drippy the Newsboy, Vol. 1: Drippy’s Mama, is arguably the most curious of Conundrum’s seasonal releases. In it, Vancouver artist and animator Julian Lawrence brings to full story his popular figure from the Drippy Gazette, a free local monthly that Lawrence co-created and edits, but does so within the context of Stephen Crane’s 1896 novel, George’s Mother. This is the first of three such Drippy books, each based on a Crane narrative (as Andy Brown reveals, the second will reference The Red Badge of Courage). Finally, the Two Guys wrap up with Dakota McFadzean’s Don’t Get Eaten by Anything: A Collection of “The Dailies” 2011-2013. This is an impressive hardbound collection of McFadzean’s The Dailies webcomic that he began back in January 2010 and continues to this day. The strips vary in tone from the autobiographical — especially the early ones — to the surreal. Derek is especially excited to discuss this book, since he interviewed Dakota for the podcast last year, who at the time mentioned the upcoming release. For fans of McFadzean’s art and his offbeat sense of humor, this is wonderful companion tome to read along with 2013’s Other Stories and the Horse You Rode in On. And it’s just one of the the many great books that Conundrum Press continues to put out. This is definitely a publisher worth following!


A big THANKS to Andy Brown for helping to make this show possible.
And be sure to check out the Conundrum Press website for a full range of their publications!


Comics Alternative Episode 110: A Publisher Spotlight on Nobrow Press

“Forget me. When you do you’ll find a new creamy filling…not just my creamy filling.”


On this week’s episode, Derek and Andy W. are back with a Publisher Spotlight, and this time the focus is on Nobrow Press and their fall 2014 releases. This relatively small, UK-based publisher may be off of many readers’ radar, but they put out a lot of great books, as this week’s show will attest. First, the guys discuss Jesse Moynihan’s Forming II, the follow up 2011’s strange, whacked-out creation narrative Forming. They are fascinated with the myth that Moynihan has created, and they especially love the artist’s sense of humor. Next, Derek and Andy move on to Moonhead and the Music Machine, a new graphic novel by Andrew Rae. They highlight Rae’s clean, vivid art style, and they speculate on whether or not this book was intended for a younger — or at least all-age — readership. Next on the guys’ plate is Roman Muradov’s (In a Sense) NobrowLost and Found. This is a striking, Kafkaesque narrative with an uneven, dream-like quality. The intended murkiness of the tale may complement the dark palette that Muradov uses, as the guys find many of his images difficult to decipher. Bianca Bagnarelli’s Fish is the next book they discuss, a short story — perhaps more of an emotional vignette — that is part of the 17×23 series, Nobrow’s graphic short story project designed to introduce young artists to a wider readership. Andy and Derek then move on to Corinne Maier and Anne Simon’s graphic biography, Marx, which looks at the (surprisingly bourgeois) life behind the famous philosopher/economist, and then they look at Behold! The Dinosaurs!, Dustin Harbin’s beautiful concertina that challenges the guys’ definition of “comics.” Finally, your tireless hosts look at Jamie Coe’s Art Schooled — one of the most sophisticated narrative styles of the week, and definitely Derek’s favorite — and then another graphic biography, Robert Moses: The Master Builder of New York City, written by Pierre Christin and with art by Olivier Balez. There are eight books discussed in all, and this show has to be extra long this week in order for the guys to cover everything. Come and enjoy the creamy filling that is The Comics Alternative!


This episode’s incidental music is brought to you by
Ultra-Lounge, Vol. 3: Space Capades

Episode 110 Image

Comics Alternative Episode 107: A Publisher Spotlight on SelfMadeHero

“I grew to sympathize with Ice-T”

Andy and Derek are back with another special Publisher Spotlight episode of the podcast, and this time they turn their gaze to SelfMadeHero. The guys have reviewed a variety of SelfMadeHero books in the past, but this week they decided to devote an entire episode to the publisher’s fall releases. They begin with Jörg Tittel and John Aggs’s Ricky Rouse Has a Gun, a satiric look at copyright and corporate ownership, especially as it relates to Chinese appropriation of Western icons. At least, that’s what the Two Guys assumed the book would be about. Although this premise is teased out in the setup, they read Ricky Rouse more like a Die Hard shoot-em-up set in an amusement park. Next, they turn to Rob Davis’s Motherless Oven, a coming-of-age narrative set in a world that is both familiar yet fantastic. The book’s protagonist, Scarper Lee, attempts to come to terms with his deathday (as opposed to his birthday), with the help of rebellious school companions. Think of The Wall and Quadrophenia with a bit of sci-fi mixed in. The guys also discuss two new graphic novel adaptations from the publisher, Victor SMHHugo’s The Man Who Laughs (written and adapted by David Hine, with art by Mark Stafford) and H. P. Lovecraft’s The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath (adapted and illustrated by I. N. J. Culbard). The Man Who Laughs is truly outstanding, and it’s one of the guys’ favorites of the week. Hine does a great job of distilling the main story from Hugo’s sprawling novel, and Stafford’s illustrations help bring out the grotesque, and tragic, qualities of the narrative. Culbard, known for his work in horror — and especially for his recent adaptations of Lovecraft’s fiction — is in prime form with Dream-Quest, adapting the story in ways that retain its dream-like tone. Sense and coherency in the narrative is always, and intentionally, just out of reach. Derek and Andy then discuss two other new books from SelfMadeHero, both of them second volumes or parts of earlier stories. In Aama 2: The Invisible Throng, Frederik Peeters continues the story of Verloc Nim, his brother Conrad, and their robot ape companion, Churchill, in their quest on the desert planet Ona(ji). (The first volume was reviewed on Episode 77 back in April.) And in Best of Enemies: A History of US and Middle East Relations, Part Two: 1953-1984, historian Jean-Pierre Filiu and David B. pick up from their earlier graphic history, published in 2012, and cover events that take place between the Six-Day War and the bombing of the US Marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon. The guys pack a lot into this Publisher Spotlight episode, demonstrating the impressive variety of books coming out from one of their favorite publishers.

This episode’s incidental music is brought to you by
the Brimstone & Treacle Original Soundtrack

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Comics Alternative Podcast Episode 87: A Publisher Spotlight on Dynamite’s Gold Key Titles

Same As It Ever Was?

The Two Guys with PhDs (talking about comics) are back with another Publisher Spotlight episode. This time they are focusing on Dynamite Entertainment, specifically the new Gold Key comics that they have been reviving: DynamiteTurok: Dinosaur Hunter, by Greg Pak and Mirko Colak; Magnus: Robot Fighter, by Fred Van Lente and Cory Smith; Solar: Man of the Atom, by Frank J. Barbiere and Joe Bennett; and Doctor Spektor: Master of the Occult, by Mark Waid and Neil Edwards. They discuss the new series in the order in which they’ve been introduced, and the guys even comment on Dynamite’s strategy of staggering releases and not just publishing everything at once, much like Valiant did with their new revived titles a couple of years ago. Andy is more familiar with the original Gold Key comics, at least most of them, than Derek, so when they can they point out the similarities and differences between the recent comics and their earlier manifestations from Gold Key, Valiant, Acclaim, and Dark Horse.  The guys definitely have their preferences — e.g., they love Van Lente’s humor in Magnus, they appreciate both Van Lente and Waid’s send up of reality television, they’re curious where Barbiere is going with Solar’s daughter, and while they’re not big fantasy/Conan fans, they do like what Pak and Colak have done with Turok — and much of this comes out in their discussion. Overall, they really like what Dynamite is doing with their recent revival and look forward to seeing how it unfolds…and how things may all come together (as we are teased in the first issue of Doctor Spektor).

Plus, the guys share listener mail that they’ve recently received. Keep ’em coming!

This episode’s incidental music is brought to us by
Madness’ One Step Beyond

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