This is the first of what will become a monthly supplement to our regular episodes of The Comics Alternative: an on-location recording at Lone Star Comics in Plano, Texas. On this inaugural outing, Derek discusses the final issue of Hellblazer with Lone Star Comics associate and all-around John Constantine expert, Shea Hennum. Over the course of their discussion, Shea and Derek — unfortunately, Andy is unable to join the talk — look back at the history of the title, its significance in the Vertigo line of comics, and how the character of Constantine has evolved through the hands of a variety of writers and artists. They also plunge into other topics such as the New 52, manga, the Franco-Belgian tradition, and customers of Lone Star Comics who are too paranoid to share their opinions on the podcast. Finally, they are joined by the location’s manager, Rick Cromack, and from there the discussion becomes a strange, fun, rapid-fire, free-for-all.
This week Andy and Derek begin what will be a two-episode look at recent crime, detective, and noir comics. In this first installment, they discuss two general kinds of of these comics: heist/caper and unconventional noir. With the former, the Two Guys with PhDs look specifically at Robert Kirkman, Nick Spencer, James Asmus, and Shawn Martinbrough’s Thief of Thieves; Gary Phillip and Marc Laming’s The Rinse; and Howard Chaykin’s Marked Man. Next, they turn their focus to several unconventional comics that blend genres and narrative styles in interesting ways. These titles include Chaykin’s Black Kiss II, Ed Brubacker and Sean Phillips’s Fatale, Victor Quinaz and Brent Schoonover’s Mr. Murder Is Dead, and Joe Grahn and Carl Yonder’s Pirate Eye.
This week Andy and Derek review issues 4 and 5 of the mini-comic So Buttons, the creation of writer Jonathan Baylis and a whole slew of artists. In their discussion the Two Guys with PhDs draw connections between Baylis’s work and that of other autobiographical comics writers, such as Harvey Pekar and Jeffrey Brown, and highlight some of the strategies that make So Buttons work. All of this eventually leads to comments on NPR, war films, and dead birds.
Once again Andy and Derek delve into the pages of the latest Previews catalog, and there they find many wondrous things! This month they note upcoming new series such as X, Jupiter Legacy, Miniature Jesus, Polarity, as well as a number of original graphic novels and collected editions, including Bloodhound from Dark Horse, the Solo Deluxe Edition and Jack Kirby’s In the Days of the Mob from DC Comics, The Secret Service from Marvel, Strange Attractors from Archaia, The Property from Drawn and Quarterly, and Crater XV and Heck from Top Shelf. They also bring up flaming poop and sticks on fire.