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Two guys with PhDs talking about comics. The Comics Alternative is weekly podcast focusing on the world of alternative, independent, and primarily non-superhero comics.

Two guys with PhDs talking about comics. The Comics Alternative is weekly podcast focusing on the world of alternative, independent, and primarily non-superhero comics.
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Charlotte , NC


Two guys with PhDs talking about comics. The Comics Alternative is weekly podcast focusing on the world of alternative, independent, and primarily non-superhero comics.




Episode 293: Reviews of A Contract with God: Curator's Collection, Egg Cream #1, and Hey Kids! Comics! #1 and #2

Time Codes: A Contract with God: Curator's CollectionEgg Cream #1Hey Kids! Comics! #1 and #2 This week The Comics Alternativegets a new cohost: Stergios Botzakis! And on his maiden voyage, Sterg becomes an integral part in discussions of three unique titles. He and Derek begin with A Contract with God: Curator's Collection(Dark Horse Books-Kitchen Sink Books). This classic of Will Eisner's is reproduced in two beautiful volumes, one with the original pencils and another with the inks....


On Location: Talking with Creators at SPX 2018, Pt. 1

Time Codes: Mike FreiheitMadeline McGraneKelly Phillips and Claire FolkmanKarl Christian KrumpholzMax de RadiguèsRyan HolmbergScott RobertsNathan GelgudM. DeanEmi GennisAlex NallAsh ThomasSara GuzmanEllen Lindner This past weekend, Derek attended Small Press Expo in North Bethesda, MD. While there, he interviewed a variety of creators, some of whom he didn't even know, about their recent releases and their upcoming projects. In this, the first of two on-location shows recorded at SPX,...


Comics Alternative Interviews: Summer Pierre

Time Codes: Summer Pierre The Two Guys were first introduced to the work of Summer Pierre during June of 2017. At the time, they were wanting to do a special episode of The Comics Alternative devoted to self-published creators, and John Porcellino recommended to Derek that they check out the work of Summer Pierre. At the time her minicomic Paper Pencil Life was at its fourth issue, and so they went to her website to get the full run of the title up to that point. They were impressed by...


Episode 292: The September Previews Catalog

It's that time again, the occasion when Gwen and Derek meticulously go through the latest Previewscatalog and highlight a variety of upcoming comics they find of note. For the month of September, they discuss a variety of publishers and titles such as: Bitter Root Outer DarknessThe Terrible Elizabeth Dumn against the Devil in SuitsMidwest24 PanelsStreet Angel vs NinjatechThe Problem of Susan and Other StoriesLightstepWandering Island, Vol. 2American CarnageAnimal Man 30th Anniversary...


Comics Alternative Interviews: Tim Bird

Time Codes: Tim Bird The Great North Wood, which was just released through Avery Hill Publishing, is Tim Bird’s longest work to date. It’s the story of -- or perhaps a better way of putting would be that it’s a history or a meditation on -- an area in South London known for its wooded past. This includes areas such as Norwood, Gipsy Hill, Honor Oak, and Sydenham Hill Woods. In fact, as Tim mentions in the interview, Sydenham Hill Woods is really the last vestige of the heavily forested...


Comics Alternative Interviews: Keiler Roberts

Time Codes: Keiler Roberts In 2009 Keiler Roberts began putting out a series of self-published minicomics that she titled Powered Milk. These were brief stories and scenarios where she represented the experiences she had as a mother, wife, and friend. Many of the situations were observational in nature -- for example, some of her Powered Milkcomics were one-panel expressions of something off-beat and telling that her daughter, Xia, had said -- but occasionally she would illustrate longer...


On Location: The First September Visit to Heroes Aren't Hard to Find

It's time for another on-location episode recorded at Heroes Aren't Hard to Find in Charlotte, NC. In this first of two planned September visits, Michael and Derek talk with customers -- Zyg, Brian, and Alonzo -- and discuss some recent releases that strike their attention. Focusing on the mainstream, Michael highlights Fantastic Four#1. He discusses Marvel's former flagship title's return, and he goes on to speculate on the significance of Jack Kirby and Stan Lee's creation...not only...


Young Readers: Reviews of The Cardboard Kingdom, All Summer Long, and Be Prepared

Time Codes: The Cardboard KingdomAll Summer LongBe Prepared On this episode of the Comics Alternative’s Young Readers show, Gwen and Derek discuss summer 2018 new releases, all geared to middle-grade readers. The first text, edited and illustrated by Chad Sell, is The Cardboard Kingdom, released by Random House Graphic. Readers learn about the lives and dreams of a group of neighborhood kids in short stories written by Jay Fuller, David DeMeo, Katie Schenkel, Kris Moore, Molly Muldoon,...


Episode 291: A Publisher Spotlight on Peow Studio

Time Codes: Peow Studio 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...


Comics Alternative Interviews: Christopher Sebela, Ro Stein, and Ted Brandt

Time Codes: Christopher SebelaRo SteinTed Brandt In Crowded (Image Comics), the protagonist Charlie Ellison finds herself the victim of a crowdfunded assassination. That’s right, a crowdfunded assassination. Charlie lives a quiet, normal life, going about her daily routine as anyone would. But she soon finds herself under fire, hunted by all of Los Angeles with her potential killers fueled by crowdfunding platform Reapr. As a result, Charlie hires Vita, one the lowest-rated bodyguards...


Webcomics: Reviews of Kochab, Alchemilla, and Zap!

Time Codes: KochabAlchemillaZap! On the August episode 0f the webcomics -- granted, a little late -- Sean and Derek check out three titles where the art is incredible. They begin with Kochab, a YA fantasy about two young women, one a fire spirit, and their explorations of surroundings and self. After that they check out a most curious webcomic, Sara Valta's Alchemilla. This narrative focuses on the struggles and encounters of Valo, a problematic adventurer, and Fabulous, the magical...


Euro Comics: Reviews of Luisa, Now and Then and Green Almonds: Letters from Palestine

Time Codes: Luisa, Now and ThenGreen Almonds: Letters from Palestine For their August show, Pascal and Derek look at two works whose creators may be largely unknown here in the states. They begin with Carole Maurel's Luisa, Now and Then, one of the first books published as part of Humanoids' new Life Drawn imprint. As the guys point out, this is a time-travel narrative where an individual confronts herself from another time. While this is a popular trope, Maurel gives it a different...


Manga: Reviews of Captain Harlock: The Classic Collection, Vol 1 and Slum Wolf

Time Codes: Captain Harlock: The Classic Collection, Vol 1Slum Wolf This month Shea and Derek discuss two great works that bring back some older, or classic, manga. They begin with Leiji Matsumoto's Captain Harlock: The Classic Collection, Vol 1 (Seven Seas Entertainment), a series that originally ran between 1977 and 1979. Captain Harlockis a classic science fiction work, and with a space pirate protagonist who can be seen as a romantic hero. The Two Guys discuss the figure of Harlock...


Episode 290: A Discussion of the James Bond Comics Published by Dynamite Entertainment

Time Codes: This week's episode of The Comics Alternative is special. Gwen and Derek devote their entire show to the the James Bond comics that have been coming out from Dynamite Entertainment for the past few years. They begin the show by sharing some of their own experiences with the James Bond franchise and how much it was a part of their childhoods. Then they get into the core of the show, discussing the eight James Bond trades, along with the recent six-issue The Body, that have...


Comics Alternative Interviews: Sean Lewis and Caitlin Yarsky

Time Codes: Sean LewisCaitlin Yarsky In November of last year readers saw the first issue of what was a brand-new series from Image Comics, Coyotes. It was the latest creation from writer Sean Lewis, who had authored other Image series including The Few and Saints, as well as writing recent titles for Aftershock such as Betrothed and Clankillers. For Coyotes, Sean chose as his illustrator a relative newcomer to comics, Caitlin Yarsky. While this is the first ongoing series where she...


Episode 289: The August Previews Catalog

It's that time again! It's the beginning of the month, and the latest issue of the Previews catalog is out. And as they always do, the Two Guys meticulously go through the latest solicits, highlighting a variety of upcoming titles in Previewsthat they're interested in or they think is worth considering. Among the many publishers and titles that they focus on in the August catalog include: BlackbirdDead RabbitExorsistersJuke JointWytches: Bad Egg Halloween SpecialNorroway Book 1: The Black...


Critical Takes: A Conversation with Keith Dallas and John Wells

Time Codes: 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...


Euro Comics: Reviews of Hasib and the Queen of Serpents: A Tale of a Thousand and One Nights and Moon Face

Time Codes: Hasib and the Queen of Serpents: A Tale of a Thousand and One NightsMoon Face On the July episode of the Euro Comics series -- actually being released in early August -- Pascal and Derek discuss two beautiful texts. They begin with David B.'s Hasib and the Queen of Serpents: A Tale of a Thousand and One Nights (NBM Publishing), an incredible adaptation of one of the tales in the classic work. The guys point out the attention-gragging handling of Scheherazade "Queen of...


On Location: The First August Visit to Heroes Aren't Hard to Find

Michael and Derek are back at Heroes Aren't Hard to Find, in Charlotte, NC, for the first of their planned August on-location episodes. And as the Two Guys have been doing with their new format, Michael highlights recent mainstream publications and Derek focuses on more indie or non-DC and Marvel titles. Michael starts the ball rolling by discussing the recent work of Ta-Nehisi Coates, specifically his current writing on Captain America (Marvel Comics). He specifically focuses on the...


Comics Alternative Interviews: Another Conversation with Jules Feiffer

Time Codes: Jules Feiffer In 2014 Jules Feiffer published Kill My Mother (Liveright Publishing), a noir crime narrative set in 1933 -- and then later moving forward into 1943 -- involving not only hard-boiled characters, but also their exploits within the entertainment industry. Feiffer followed that up in 2016 with Cousin Joseph, the second book in what was now projected as a trilogy. That graphic novel is, in many ways, a prequel to the earlier book. Taking place in 1931, readers are...