On this episode Andy and Derek turn their critical sites on the work of Grant Morrison. Joining them in the discussion is Marc Singer, the author of Grant Morrison: Combining the Worlds of Contemporary Comics. Although much of the talk revolves around Morrison's non-superhero work - e.g., The Invisibles, The Filth, Seaguy, Flex Mentallo, We3, Sebastian O, The Mystery Play, and Happy! - Derek, Andy, and Marc bring into their discussion titles such as Arkham Asylum, Batman Gothic, Final Crisis, JLA, New X-Men, and Morrison's recent run on Action Comics. So whether you are a diehard superhero fan, or your tastes run more to alternative or non-mainstream comics, you'll definitely find this an episode worth listening to.
This week Andy and Derek take on the herculean (or sisyphean, take your pick of Greek reference) task of discussing Chris Ware’s Building Stories. And they do so, surprising, without pulling any important muscles! There is a lot to talk about concerning Building Stories, and the Two Guys with PhDs are only able to scratch the surface in this episode. But in their review, they nonetheless touch on a variety of important points and questions to consider. In fact, one of the conclusions reached is that Ware’s project — would you really call this a “book”? — raises more questions that it actually answers. And that’s a good thing. They also review the Hernandez brother’s latest issue of Love & Rockets: New Stories, although they don’t spend near as much time discussing this as they do Chris Ware’s book. But don’t let the length of the review fool you. Jaime and Gilbert’s recent installment of their New Stories is one of the strongest they’ve created so far.
With the spring semester beginning for most schools around the country, it’s only appropriate that The Two Guys with Ph.Ds Who Talk about Comics use this time to focus on comics pedagogy. On this week’s episode, Andy and Derek hold a roundtable discussion with Lan Dong and James Bucky Carter, two scholars who know a lot about teaching comics. Among other issues, the roundtable participants converse over what kind of works they teach, the challenges of teaching superhero narratives, the pros and cons of anthologies, censorship and graphic content, the links (as well as the disconnects) between comics scholarship and the use of comics in the classroom, pop culture (movies, television, games, etc.) and its impact on how we read and teach comics, and the need for a useful comics studies textbook.
This week Andy and Derek sift through the January issue of Previews and highlight new titles that will soon be coming out from a wide variety of publishers. Some of the comics discussed include this year’s Free Comic Book Day offerings; Dark Horse’s B.P.R.D.: Vampire and Mister X: Hard Candy; the new Constantine and Time Warp from DC/Vertigo; IDW’s Doctor Who Classics; several new Image Comics offerings, including East of West, Five Ghosts: The Haunting of Fabian Gray, and Lost Vegas; All Crime from Art of Fiction; Oni Press’ Helheim; new comics adaptations, including Eureka Production’s Native American Classics, as well as H.P. Lovecraft’s The Case of Charles Dexter Ward and The Complete Don Quixote from SelfMadeHero; the upcoming “secret” history of Marvel Comics from Blake Bell and Michael J. Vassallo; and brand new works from such notable creators as Bill Griffith, Kim Deitch, Bob Fingerman, and the team of James Vance and Dan Burr.
This week, Derek and Andy talk to Ming Doyle, the extraordinary artist behind the new Image mini-series, Mara. In this, the first Comics Alternative episode of 2013, Ming speaks with the Two Guys with PhDs (who talk about comics) about her work with Brian Wood, the joys of creating online comics, her nascent attempts at scripting stories, the evolution of her experience with high-tech writing tools, and what she got for Christmas. All in all, a great way to start the new year!