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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: July, 2013
Jul 31, 2013

This week on The Comics Alternative podcast, John Mayo (of the Comic Book Page) and Chris Marshall (Collected Comics Library) return for another roundtable discussion with the Two Guys with PhDs.  This time the topic is the San Diego Comics Con and the Eisner Award ceremony that took place there.  They begin by asking John how his experience was in San Diego — he was the only one of the four to actually attend — and what for him were the highlights of the event. They talk quite a bit about the many happenings at the con, both comic-related and otherwise, and then discuss the coverage of the con in the media. Next, they turn their attention to the 2013 Eisner Award winners, trying to make sense of what the results may reveal (or not reveal) about the current state of comics as well as the attitudes and biases of the selection committee. The four podcasting guys also pick apart the various award categories, noting their histories and how many of them have changed over the years. For example, they point out the weaknesses with the “Best Digital Comic” category (too broad, too ill-defined), suggest ways of reconceptualizing the award for comics-related journalism, and even problematize the idea of the “Best Graphic Album-New.” (Is Building Stories really an “album”? Doesn’t it actually contain a lot of reprinted material?)  It may be a bit of Monday morning quarterbacking, but they don’t care. Chris, John, Andy, and Derek have a great time discussing and sharing ideas, and you can experience the fun by listening to the podcast.

Jul 24, 2013

This week the Two Guys with PhDs Talking about Comics are doing something they’ve never done before: devoting an entire episode to a specific publisher. And this first time out they’ve decided to focus on Valiant Comics and all of the various (and relaunched) titles that they began putting out last year. It is a formidable task, but Andy and Derek are up to the challenge! They begin this Publisher Spotlight by discussing one of their favorites of the group, Archer and Armstrong, briefly look at the latest title, Quantum and Woody, and then move on to Harbinger, Bloodshot, and the Harbinger Wars crossover event, the new Valiant’s first. They also weigh in on X-O Manowar and Shadowman, as well as speculate on some of the new titles and events on the horizon, such as Eternal Warrior, Bloodshot and H.A.R.D. Corps, and the new Sect Civil War crossover. Not only do Andy and Derek look in-depth into each individual series, but they also discuss the broader picture, trying to find some of the common features and themes that compose the new Valiant universe. They also debate whether or not the relaunched titles are actually superhero comics, or if perhaps they may be better described as mashups of different (and competing) genres. There’s a lot that goes on in this episode, jam-packed with comics goodness, and the Two Guys with PhDs feel that they’ve thrown down the critical gauntlet for all future discussions of Valiant.

Jul 17, 2013

This week the Two Guys with PhDs Talking about Comics are excited to have as their guest creator extraordinaire, Matt Fraction. They talk with Matt specifically about his new series through Image Comics, Satellite Sam (with Howard Chaykin on art) and Sex Criminals (with Chip Zdarsky), but they also take the opportunity to discuss other works of his, such as the current Hawkeye series, his Casanova comics, and graphic novels such as The Five Fists of Science. Perhaps one of the most enlightening moments of the interview concerns issue #2 of Satellite Sam, where Matt points out that you can indeed letter the sound of “whiskey dick.” But comics aren’t all that the guys discuss. Andy, Derek, and Matt also spend a lot of time talking about, ShitMyHowardSays, underrated works from Stanley Kubrick, Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis, Fredric Wertham, and Matt Helm movies! It’s a veritable smorgasbord of pop cultural fun! However, Andy comes away from the experience a changed man, wondering if his love of everything Dean Martin has all been for naught. “Nothing gold can stay, Ponyboy.”

Jul 10, 2013

The Two Guys with PhDs Talking about Comics are back for their monthly look at the Previews catalog. This July they highlight many of the new comics coming out from Dark Horse, DC/Vertigo, IDW, Image, Action Lab Entertainment, Archaia, Archie Comics, Avatar Press, Dynamite Entertainment, Drawn and Quarterly, Fantagraphics, First Second, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, NBM, among many others publishers. Along the way, Andy and Derek also bring in various and sundry topics, such as the guys’ love of The Rockford Files, strategies for collecting Wacky Packages stickers, Andy’s shameful lackluster appreciation of The Beatles, the Captain Action action figure, Hello Kitty is made of kittens!, Hall and Oates, Satan worshipers, and Derek and Andy’s idea for a new reality show, “Put That in Your Underpants”! Lots o’ comics, lots o’ discussion, and lots o’ fun. What more could you ask for in a comics podcast?

Jul 5, 2013

Andy and Derek are back at Lone Star Comics in Plano, TX, and this month they’re talking about American-themed comics with the scheduling manager of the shop and good friend of the show, Shea Hennum. Since this is the month of Independence Day, the Two Guys with PhDs thought it would be a great opportunity to focus on comics about the United States, its history, its culture, and its people. Among the many comics they discuss are Harvey Pekar’s American Splendor, Steve Darnall and Alex Ross’s Uncle Sam, John Ridley and Georges Jeanty’s The American Way, Howard Chaykin’s American Flagg, Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon’s Preacher, Dennis O’Neil and Neal Adams’s Green Lantern/Green Arrow comics of the 1970s, Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing,  the Marvel event Civil War, the various incarnations of Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters, and Paul Pope comics. They also talk about other kinds of comics, such as Adventure Time, Brandon Graham’s Prophet (which Derek does like, thank you very much), Frank Young and David Lasky’s The Carter Family, Garth Ennis’s Fury MAX, and erotic comics, among others. They also give their two cents on the recent announcements on the acquisition of Archaia by Boom! Studios and on Kitchen Sink joining forces with Dark Horse. And as an extra added bonus, you get to hear Shea, Andy, and Derek describe what they plan to do for the July 4th holiday (nothing exciting, really). The Two Guys with PhDs also name the winner of their July contest and announce the theme of next month’s Lone Star Comics discussion and giveaway: all-age comics. So be sure to check back in August for that episode!

Jul 3, 2013

This week on The Comics Alternative the Two Guys with PhDs speak with the creators behind Gone to Amerikay (Vertigo), Derek McCulloch and Colleen Doran. Here you get a behind-the-scenes look at the making of this important work, including the genesis of the book, McCulloch’s strategies for crafting his narratives, the curious inspirations for Doran’s art, and the incredible synergy that brought the project to life. Andy and Derek R. also talk with Colleen and Derek M. about some of their other projects, including Colleen’s A Distant Soil and Orbiter (along with Warren Ellis), as well as Derek M.’s graphic novel, Stagger Lee (with Shepherd Hendrix). What better way to start off July, the month of our nation’s independence, than discussing a book that taps deep into the American Experience?

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