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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.




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

Michael and Derek are back at Heroes Aren't Hard to Find for the first of two July on-location episodes. They visit the shop on Independence Day, and they use the occasion to discuss current trends and titles in the comics industry. Mike explores recent manifestations of The Avengersand Justice League, focusing on Marvel and DC through what he calls the "classic Coke" approach. His discussion takes him across the writings of Jason Aaron and Scott Snyder, and then circling back to Tom...


Comics Alternative Interviews: Julian Hanshaw

Time Codes: Julian Hanshaw Many U.S. readers were introduced to Julian Hanshaw through his book Tim Ginger, released in 2015 from Top Shelf Productions, an imprint of IDW Publishing. It’s the story of man in his later years coming to terms with the decisions he’s made, including his choice to remain childless. As Julian discusses in this interview, the text was largely autobiographical in nature. And the same can said of his new book, Cloud Hotel. The story was inspired by a UFO...


Episode 286: The July Previews Catalog

Happy Independence Day! It's the beginning of the month, so it's time for another look at the latest Previewscatalog. On this episode, Paul and Derek highlight many of the upcoming titles solicited in July. And this is a long episode, running for just over 3 hours and 20 minutes, so strap in and get ready for a long ride. First, they begin the episode by sharing a variety of listener correspondences they've received over the past week...and there are a lot of them. Then they jump into the...


Comics Alternative Interviews: Another Conversation with Luke Healy

Time Codes: Luke Healy Ego Boost Luke Healy was first on The Comics Alternative at Small Press Expo in 2016, where he briefly spoke with Derek about his provocative self-published minicomic The Unofficial Cuckoo’s Nest Study Companion, which was nominated that year for an Ignatz Award. A couple of months later Luke came back on the show, this time for a long and more in-depth interview about his new book at the time, How to Survive in the North, released from Nobrow Press. And now,...


Manga: Reviews of Claudine and Tokyo Tarareba Girls, Vol. 1

Time Codes: ClaudineTokyo Tarareba Girls, Vol. 1 This is the June manga episode, and unlike Shea and Derek had been doing the past couple of shows, this month's manga episode actually comes out on the appropriate month...on time! And on the June show, the Two Guys discuss Riyoko Ikeda's Claudine(Seven Seas Entertainment), a shōjo narrative set in historical France. The titular figure is a trans man, feeling trapped inside of his female body. Claudine's journey takes him through several...


Euro Comics: Reviews of A Strange and Beautiful Sound and Inside Moebius, Part 2

Time Codes: A Strange and Beautiful SoundInside Moebius, Part 2 On this month's Euro Comics episode, Pascal and Derek discuss two recent French-language translations. They begin with Zep's A Strange and Beautiful Sound, the second of his books released through IDW Publishing. This is a story of a Carthusian monk who, because of a dead relative's last will and testament, reenters the everyday world after 26 years of seclusion. The art and colors of this narrative are quite striking, and...


Episode 285: Another Publisher Spotlight on Koyama Press

Time Codes: XTC69Soft X-Ray/MindhuntersA Western WorldThe Ideal CopyWinter's CosmosSomnambulance 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 2015and May 2017.) All of these books debuted at TCAF last month, and Paul and Derek indulge in exciting discussions of these six new...


Comics Alternative Interviews: Sean Karemaker

Time Codes: Sean Karemaker Sean Karemaker’s comics are a different kind of reading experience. He illustrates in a highly detailed textured style, and his stories flow in a dreamlike manner, free from the constrictions of sequential paneling. In fact, he creates many of his comics in a scroll-like manner, writing out his narratives across a broad horizontal field, and then later deciding how to break up his illustrations across pages. The result, as we find in his latest book Feast of...


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

It's another on-location recording at Heroes Aren't Hard to Find in Charlotte, NC. But with this episode the podcast is doing something different. The on-location show will be going up twice monthly -- schedules permitting -- and joining Derek on these Heroes shows will be Michael Kobre, another guy with a PhD talking about comics. On their on-location shows, Mike and Derek will discuss very recent comics, those being released in the week or two before the recording, that have caught...


Comics Alternative Interviews: Erin Nations

Time Codes: Erin Nations In December of 2016, Top Shelf Productions published the first issue of Erin Nations’s Gumballs, the one of four issuesthat would be released over the course of the following year. This quarterly ran as a one-personal anthology, a collection of stories and observations, many of which were autobiographical in nature. Gumballsstood out among its peers in that it recalled the kind of comic books we used to get from other alternative creators such as Seth, Daniel...


On Location: HeroesCon 2018, the "How to Read Nancy" Panel

Time Codes: "Draw, you varmint" This past weekend was HeroesCon 2018, and while there Derek was a part of two different scholarly panels. One was about the relationship between print and digital comics texts, “Between Pen and Pixel,” a recording of which was released earlier this week. The second was a panel based on the book by Paul Karasik and Mark Newgarden, How to Read Nancy: The Elements of Comics in Three Easy Panels. Andy Mansell, who oversees the programming every year at...


Episode 284: Reviews of The Escapist Omnibi

Time Codes: Michael Chabon's The Escapist: Amazing AdventuresMichael Chabon's The Escapist: Pulse-Pounding Thrills This week, Pascal (of the Euro Comics series) joins Derek on the weekly review show to discuss the two omnibi collections of The Escapist from Dark Horse Books. They look at both Michael Chabon's The Escapist: Amazing Adventures (which was released this past February) as well as the latest collection, Michael Chabon's The Escapist: Pulse-Pounding Thrills, published in wide...


On Location: HeroesCon 2018, the "Between Pen and Pixel" Panel

Time Codes: This past weekend at HeroesCon in Charlotte, NC, Derek was on a panel based on a recent book by Aaron Kashtan, Between Pen and Pixel: Comics, Materiality, and the Book of the Future (Ohio State University Press). Aaron pulled together several comics scholars -- in addition to Derek, his former cohost, Andy Kunka, and Craig Fischer -- along with Matt Kindt, whose work Aaron sites extensively in his book. This episode is a recording of that panel, which explored what comics...


On Location: Talking with Creators at HeroesCon 2018

Time Codes: Rich TommasoSteve ConleyMilton LawsonNaomi FranquizDave ChisholmJames F. WrightJackie CroftsScott WegenerNatalie AndrewsonMichael Eury This past weekend was HeroesCon in Charlotte, NC. It was a great convention, organized by the folks at Heroes Aren’t Hard to Find. And as Derek likes to do every year, this past weekend he walked around Artists Alley talking with various creators about what they’re doing, what they’ve recently published, and what they may have in the works....


Webcomics: Reviews of Adamant, Scurry, and The Phoenix Requiem

Time Codes: AdamantScurryThe Phoenix Requiem This month Sean and Derek look at three very different webcomics. They begin with Mike Exner III, Ian Waryanto, et al.'s Adamant, a superhero narrative that spins the genre in fascinating, and parodic, ways. After that they turn to a beautifully rendered tale, Mac Smith's Scurry. While the story is solid, the guys point out that the art is this webcomic's biggest draw. Finally, they discuss the already-completed webcomic, Sarah Ellerton's...


Comics Alternative Interviews: Max de Radiguès

Time Codes: Max de Radiguès Arthur Fellig, better known as Weegee, was a street photographer for New York's popular press during the 1930s and 1940s. He worked primarily in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, and he developed a signature style that captured a gritty, unflinching view of urban life. What’s more, he was, famous, or rather infamous, for adjusting his tableau, in particular the position of dead bodies at crime scenes, in order to capture an image that was to his liking. Max de...


Episode 283: The June Previews Catalog

Paul and Derek are back with another look at the latest Previews catalog. And for the month of June, they find a variety of fascinating title...and several of which they even resist mention on mic, in the interests of keeping the show containable and relatively short. Among the many publishers and titles that they focus on are: LeviathanPerdy, Vol. 1CrowdedHey Kids! Comics!Lil' Donnie, Vol. 1The SeedsBlack Hammer Library Edition, Vol. 1Inside Moebius, Part 3The Complete Angel CatbirdThe...


Comics Alternative Interviews: Dean Haspiel

Time Codes: Dean Haspiel Welcome to New Brooklyn Gene and Derek are happy to have Dean Haspiel on The Comics Alternativeto discuss his new book from Image Comics, The Red Hook, Vol. 1: New Brooklyn. This is the first in a planned trilogy introducing readers to his universe of New Brooklyn. The Red Hook is a reluctant hero. Once a super-thief, his unlikely encounter with the legendary superhero, The Green Point, bequeathes unto him The Omni-Fist of Altruism. This transform him into a...


Manga: Reviews of Dead Dead Demon's De De De De Destruction, Vol. 1, The Troublemakers, and Wotakoi: Love Is Hard for Otaku, Vol. 1

Time Codes: Dead Dead Demon's De De De De Destruction, Vol. 1The TroublemakersWotakoi: Love Is Hard for Otaku, Vol. 1 Fully Loaded On the last episodein The Comics Alternative's monthly manga series -- a show that was supposed to be the May episode, but was actually a late April show -- Shea and Derek promised that they would provide an additional manga episode at the very end of May, and that thatshow would be the realMay show. As reality unfolded, the two guys had problems in...


Comics Alternative Interviews: Another Conversation with Karl Stevens

Time Codes: Karl Stevens A Pope Cat and A Floating Gandhi Head Derek first talked to Karl Stevensin February of last year, and during that discussion he had mentioned that he was working on a new project for Retrofit/Big Planet called The Winner, and now we have the book out, being released on May 23. The two discuss Karl's new work, its very autobiographical quality -- no masking any identities here -- and it’s curious structure and fantastical interludes. But they also talk about...