This just may be the last on-location episode of The Comics Alternative conducted from Valhalla Games and Comics in Plano, TX. Derek is moving to North Carolina and will no longer be in the DFW area to do these shows. But customers of Valhalla and friends of the podcast, both long-timers and new listeners, come by the shop to say a fond farewell…and talk about comics. Joining Derek for this special episode are Craig, Matt, Jay, Tristan, and Kelly. Their interests are diverse, so the conversation reflects that. And they cover a lot of ground, so listen up!
Partings are tough. But as David Gates once sang, “Goodbye doesn’t mean forever.”
For Free Comic Book Day 2017, Derek visits his local shop, Valhalla Games and Comics in Plano, TX to talk with customers and shop employees about the various FCBD offerings this year. Joining him on this episode are Sabrina, the shop manager, as well as one of her associates, Stephanie. But also joining in on the conversation is a first-timer to the podcast, Naheem, who just happens to be from Derek’s hometown, Charlotte, NC.
Derek talks with Naheem about his favorite FCBD selections.
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 Coastfrom 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.
After a month’s hiatus (due to unforeseen circumstances), the on-location episode is back! And for the March visit to Valhalla Games and Comics, the topic is completely open. On this recording Derek is joined my several of the shop regulars including Craig, Matt, and Tristan. Among the many topics they cover are the recent Justice League Vs. Suicide Squad miniseries; the latest (and one of the best) X-Men films, Logan; the news surrounding the production of Star Trek: Discovery; and lots of manga talk. In fact, from the amount of time everyone discussed Japanese comics, it looked like this might turn into the month’s manga episode. Along the way the guys discuss Stephen Hillenburg (the creator of SpongeBob SquarePants) and his recently announced fight with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, legally permissible uses of the word “mutant,” Derek’s shame at being so behind on Marvel’s Netflix and Fox series, and Tristan’s utter dislike of children.
For the December on-location episode at Valhalla Games and Comics, Derek talks with customers and shop employees about their favorite comics from the past twelve months. This is a look back at the various series, events, collections, and original graphic novels that made the biggest impressions in 2016. Joining in on the conversation are some of the usuals — Stephanie, Matt, and Craig — but Josh, a new fan of the shop and of the podcast, shows up to share his thoughts, as well. As might be expected, most of the titles discussed are from the Big Two universes, but there are a number of other titles that also resonated. One of the big takeaways from this conversation is the possible fatigue that is setting in when it comes to superhero events, especially as it relates to Marvel Comics. However, for some readers, a bright counterbalance can be found in IDW’s “Revolution”crossover event.
Did 2016 really, really suck? Yes, especially when it comes to politics and the possibility of social progress. But regarding comics culture, the guys at Valhalla Games and Comics have a different opinion.
Josh, Craig, and Stephanie discuss their favorites of 2016.
Once again, Derek visits his local shop, Valhalla Games and Comics in Plano, TX, to talk with customers and employees about the various titles they’ve been reading. And he has a large number of people joining him for this month’s on-location episode, including the owner of Valhalla, Dave Larson. Derek begins the episode by talking with Dave about the changes he’s bringing to the shop and his experiences in gaming retail. But others join in on the discussion soon enough, including the shop manager, Sabrina, one of her associates, Stephanie, and several of Valhalla’s regulars, Craig, Matt, and Chris. This month, the topic is open-ended, so the conversation freely flows from one subject matter to another. Along the way they cover the DC’s new Young Animal series, the changes wrought by Rebirth, the current state of various Marvel titles, the growing number of superhero-based films and TV shows, the narrative worlds of Matt Kindt and Jeff Lemire, and, for at least one of the interlocutors, the discovery that Lucifer is actually a comic-book series.
Derek is back at his local comic shop, Valhalla Games and Comics in Plano, TX, for the October on-location episode. But it is also Halloween ComicFest 2016, adding even more flavor into mix. He is joined by customers of the shop, some of them in costume, to discuss horror comics, Halloween specials, as well as scary movies and games. They spend much of their time discussing the many free comic-book offerings for this year’s Halloween ComicFest. Derek is particularly interested in the special horror manga issues, such as VIZ Media’s Tomie and Drawn and Quarterly’s Shigeru Mizuki’s Kitaro: Strange Fun for Everyone. But there are many other titles that the gang discusses, ranging from holiday-appropriate (e.g., Comix Tribe’s Mummy’s Always Right, American Mythology’s The Three Stooges Halloween Hullabaloo, and the BoooOOOoooM! Box Halloween Haunt 2016) to Halloween-free, such as several offerings from DC and Marvel
The September on-location episode marks a first for The Comics Alternative. Derek is now talking with customers and employees at Valhalla Games and Comics in Plano, TX…which is at the same exact physical location where he’s been doing the on-location show for the past few years. What had once been Collected is now Valhalla! But the people and comics inside have remained the same. Talking with Derek this month are some of the shop regulars, including Krystle, Craig, and Nick. They begin by discussing the recent change in ownership — and, unfortunately, neither Valhalla’s owner, David Larson, nor Sabrina, the shop manager, were able to be there — and everyone’s excitement over the changes in store. But then they get into the core of this month’s discussion, which is on crime comics. Craig comes prepared with a big stack of recent examples, including The Fix, The Baker Street Peculiars, and The Black Monday Murders. And Nick chimes in with crime titles he’d recommend, as well. The conversation gets even more lively when Derek questions Craig on his definition of “superhero,” which he seems to apply in a much less discriminating way than the others. They spend a good deal of time discussing examples of outright noir, such as Scalped and 100 Bullets, and genre-blending crime comics such as Fatale, Weird Detective, and even The Spirit. All in all, this was a successful first recording at the new Valhalla Games and Comics!