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The Comics Alternative - Smart Discussions on Comic Books and Graphic Novels

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. (There's nothing wrong with superhero comics. We just want to do something different.) New podcast episodes become available every Wednesday and include reviews of graphic novels and current ongoing series, discussions of upcoming comics, examinations of collected editions, in-depth analyses of a variety of comics texts, and spotlights on various creators and publishers. The Comics Alternative also produces "special feature" programs, such as shows specifically dedicated to creator interviews, webcomics, on-location events, and special non-weekly themes and topics.
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The Comics Alternative - Smart Discussions on Comic Books and Graphic Novels
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Now displaying: 2012
Dec 26, 2012

This week Andy and Derek conclude their two-part holiday and end-of-the-year series, this time sharing what they consider to be some of their favorite comics of the year. Each has narrowed down his list to 10 comics series, trades, collections, and graphic novels, and in many ways it was difficult to limit the number to just 10.  As a result, the Two Guys are including in the show notes some of the Honorable Mentioned titles that could have also made it onto their best-of lists.  Also in this week’s podcast episode, Andy and Derek briefly discuss some of the comic-book series that ended in 2012, and that they’re sorry to see go, as well as some of their notable disappointments for the year.

Dec 19, 2012

This week Andy and Derek present the first of two special year-end, holiday season, best of episodes of The Comics Alternative.  In this week’s show, the Two Guys with PhDs discuss two comics anthologies, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s The Best American Comics 2012, edited by Françoise Mouly, and Eureka Production’s 19th volume in their Graphic Classics series, Christmas Classics. They begin with Mouly’s collection and, while appreciating the comics included in this year's volume, speculate on the selection process and wonder about the kind of democratic inclusion that a series with “Best American Comics” in its title necessitates. The Two Guys then turn their attention to the holidays and discuss the various selections found in Christmas Classics. They point out that much like this year’s Graphic Classics holiday volume, Halloween Classics, the Christmas one delivers clever and well-crafted versions of classic literature that are sure to please both comics fans and literary aficionados.

Dec 12, 2012

The Two Guys with PhDs Look at the December Previews Catalog</itunes:subtitle>
<itunes:summary>In this week’s episode, The Two Guys with PhDs rummage through the December issue of Previews, and fun and mayhem ensue! Derek and Andy highlight upcoming comics from Dark Horse, DC, IDW, Image, Marvel, Archaia, Bongo, Fantagraphics, :01 First Second, Pantheon Books, and others. Some of the comics and graphic novels discussed include Dark Horse Presents, The Answer!, Before Watchman: Dollar Bill, Mind MGMT, Marshall Law: Deluxe Edition, Snapshot, Son of Merlin, Road to Oz, World War 3 Illustrated, The Sixth Gun: Sons of the Gun, The Daniel Clowes Reader, Ben Katchor’s Hand-Drying in America, and many others.

Dec 5, 2012

In this episode, the Two Guys with PhDs who talk about comics turn their attention to the two Lovecraft Anthology volumes, discussing not only the merits of the various adapted Lovecraft stories, but the very act of comics adaptation.  Along with this, Andy and Derek emphasize the medium itself and how comics artists use the image to carry the tone and whatever message there may be.  Then the Two Guys with PhDs turn their attention to several recent #1 issues from Image Comics, including Bedlam, Clone, Comeback, Nowhere Men, Great Pacific, and Blackacre.  It becomes a comics smorgasbord, as Andy and Derek discuss the pros and cons, the strengths and weaknesses, the sacredness and profanity, the best of times and the worst of times, the yin and yang, of Image’s recent new offerings.

Nov 28, 2012

In this episode, Derek and Andy talk to Tim Seeley about his new hit Image series with artist Mike Norton, Revival, and the new Dark Horse vampire miniseries, Ex Sanguine, with co-writer Josh Emmons. They also talk about horror, the comics business, rural Wisconsin, life in a small town, fish fries, and a host of other topics. In addition, Andy tells the story of a baller experience he and Tim had in Myrtle Beach, SC, which involved a burlesque dancer in a cat costume, a whip, and the destruction of a priceless work of art!

Oct 11, 2012

In this episode, Derek and Andy go through the October issue of Previews so you don't have to! They talk about upcoming books from Boom!, Dark Horse, DC, IDW, Image, Fantagraphics, Oni, Red 5, and others. Books discussed include Planet of the Apes, Hellboy in Hell, House of Fun, Rotten Apple, Django Unchained, Global Frequency, House of Secrets, Sweet Tooth, Change, Revival, Fatale, Think Tank, Love and Rockets, Atomic Robo, and many others.

Oct 3, 2012

In this episode of The Comics Alternative, the Two Guys with PhDs review Brandon Seifert and Lukas Ketner's Witch Doctor, Volume 1: Under the Knife and the ongoing series Atomic Robo, by Brian Clevinger and Scott Wegener.  Andy and Derek bring their refined critical skills and jocular insights to these two texts, once again demonstrating how hip and intelligent comics can be.  They also talk about other stuff.

Sep 27, 2012

In this episode, the Two Guys with PhDs talk to Philip Gelatt and Tyler Crook, the creators behind the Oni graphic novel Petrograd. We also talk to Tyler about his work on The Sixth Gun and B.P.R.D.   Along the way, Philip drops some stunning historical facts, Tyler is congratulated on winning the Russ Manning Most Promising Newcomer Award at this year's Eisner Awards, and everyone also talks a lot about movies, with a particularly controversial defense of Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me.  In addition, the Coen Brothers are mentioned, in all of their psychotic and violent glory.

Sep 20, 2012

On this episode of The Comics Alternative, the Two Guys with PhDs who talk about comics are talking with two other PhDs who like to talk about comics in their first-ever roundtable discussion for the podcast.  Tof Elkund and Matthew Pustz join Andy and Derek to discuss the curious intersection of comics scholarship and comics fandom.  The four guys begin by referencing Matthew's 1999 book on this very topic, Comic Book Culture: Fanboys and True Believers, and from there venture out onto other fruitful avenues of discussion.  What follows is a lively back-and-forth on such issues as the relationship between fans and scholars, the tensions that (at times) result from the intersection of these two groups, the traditionally marginal status of comics in academia, the place of fan-based activities (such as conventions, podcasts, and blogs) in scholarly studies, the differences in purpose and audience assumptions within both communities, and how academics could greatly benefit from fan-generated endeavors.

Sep 12, 2012

This week Andy and Derek take a close look at the solicits in the September Previews catalog.  There are a lot of great comics coming over the horizon, and the Two Guys with PhDs highlight those titles that strike their fancies.  In the midst of their discussion, they bring up Bronies, engage in George Takei imitations, berate the editors at Previews, and ponder the ramifications of the word "wad."

Sep 5, 2012

This week Andy and Derek thrill and amaze by doing close readings of Derk Backder's graphic memoir, My Friend Dahmer, and Matt Kindt's new ongoing series, Mind MGMT. Enmeshed in the wonderful world of great art, fine storytelling, and cool spy stuff, the two guys with PhDs are in their element. Oh, they also unapologetically become shills for the podcast by pointing out their new PayPal Donate button and asking listeners to help spread the word about their show. They're like that at times.

Aug 29, 2012

On this episode, the two guys with PhDs (who talk about comics) offer their very first "Artist Spotlight" episode.  They discuss the (mainly non-mainstream) work of Jeff Lemire, from his earliest comics--such as Lost Dogs--to the much lauded Essex County Trilogy, to his work on Vertigo, to his most recent graphic novel, The Underwater Welder.  Along the way, Andy and Derek find the opportunity to bring up the topics of narrative iconography, the story-cycle genre, and Andy's fascination with Dean Martin.

Aug 22, 2012

On this review episode, Derek and Andy first talk about Jaime Hernandez's God and Science: Return of the Ti-Girls, the new collection/expansion of Jaime's recent superhero story that originally ran in Love and Rockets: New Stories Vol. 1 and 2. Then, the two guys switch to Michael Kupperman's Tales Designed to Thrizzle series, where they get to talk about things like Quincy, snakes, bacon, pubic hair, and other scholarly topics.

Aug 15, 2012

In this episode, Derek and Andy sit down with Jonathan Hickman for their first interview show. They talk about Jonathan's current Image comics (Manhattan Projects and Secret), past comics (Nightly News, Pax Romana, Red Mass for Mars, Red Wing), and future projects (Feel Better Now).

Aug 8, 2012

In this episode we begin our monthly look at the Previews catalog. In our Previews episodes, we highlight those non-superhero comic-book series and books that stand out to us, ones we would recommend to other readers.

Aug 3, 2012

Our first review episode where we discuss Darwyn Cooke's The Score and Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples's series Saga.

Aug 1, 2012

First episode of The Comics Alternative where Andy and Derek introduce themselves, discuss the focus of the podcast, and lay out its broader mission.

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