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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: September, 2013
Sep 26, 2013

This week on The Comics Alternative, the Two Guys with PhDs feature another “Creator Spotlight” episode, this one focused on the works of Dash Shaw. Tof Eklund joins Derek in discussing and defining a truly unique presence in comics, an artist whose work has been evolving over the past decade. They begin by looking at Shaw’s most recent works, the comic book 3 Stories and the brand new graphic novel, New School (both from Fantagraphics). Tof and Derek note the distinctive visual style of these books — with their heavy linework and their prominent reliance on color, patterns, and background images — and how they differ greatly from most of Shaw’s previous comics. Next they turn their attention to some of Shaw’s earlier works published by Fantagraphics, such as BodyWorld (Tof’s favorite Dash Shaw book), Bottomless Belly Button (Derek’s favorite), The Unclothed Man in the 35th Century AD (which includes previously published short comics, including the pieces included the quarterly anthology, Mome), as well as his lesser known works, such as The Mother’s Mouth (Alternative Comics) and the recent minicomic, New Jobs (Uncivilized Books). If you are unfamiliar with the comics of Dash Shaw, then this is your opportunity to jump right on in and discover a creator whose work stands out from the pack.

Sep 20, 2013

It’s time again for the Two Guys with PhDs to head back to Lone Star Comics in Plano, TX, for their monthly on-location show. However, this month it is not Lone Star Comics they are visiting, but Collected Comics. That’s right, Collected bought out the Plano store, so although the Two Guys are at the same physical location, they are now doing their show from a different store. This time around, Derek is joined by one of the co-owners of Collected, Brent Erwin, along with Rick Cromack (the store’s manager), and Comics Alternative mainstay, Shea Hennum (Andy couldn’t be on this episode). This is the second of the two science fiction shows that they had planned: one to open the summer (the June on-location show) and another to wrap it up. On this episode, everyone begins by discussing some of their favorite sci-fi comics, along with some of the favorites that the listeners contributed. They also find time to talk about the various science fiction blockbuster films of the summer, various sci-fi televisions programs, and toys based on sci-fi comics. Everyone goes through an array of diverse science fiction titles, and Brent and Rick especially bring in some of classics from the 1960s and 1970s. So come get your science on with this month’s on-location show at Collected!

Sep 18, 2013

This week on The Comics Alternative podcast, Derek is joined by Lan Dong, and the two of them discuss Gene Luen Yang’s new two-volume set, Boxers and Saints (First Second), as well as Adrian Tomine’s Optic Nerve #13 (Drawn and Quarterly). The Two (Guys?) with PhDs begin by briefly discussing the book that Yang is most known for, American Born Chinese, and then they segue into the new works and how Boxers and Saints differ in terms of theme, scope, and narrative approach.  They point out the historical nature of the books and the ways in which Yang fictionalizes the Boxer Uprising. Along the way they discuss the work’s two-text structure, the differences between the books’ themes and perspectives, the gendered and religious differences between the two volumes, and Yang’s aesthetic approach to both. Then Lan and Derek move on to the latest issue of Adrian Tomine’s foundational series, Optic Nerve. They do so by way of issue #12, which came out two years ago, drawing parallels between that issue and the latest one. They discuss issue #13′s one-page autobiographical piece, the offbeat story “Owls” — in the process, drawing some links to both Shortcomings and Summer Blonde — and the beautiful and evocative short, “Translated, from the Japanese.” All in all, Lan and Derek cover a lot of ground, and they wholeheartedly recommend these new releases.

Sep 11, 2013

It’s that time again to flip through the pages of the Previews catalog, and this week Derek is joined by Bob Bretall of ComicSpectrum to discuss the offerings in the September Previews (Andy couldn’t make it for this episode). Among the many titles they highlight are Clown Fatale, S.H.O.O.T. First, EC Archives: The Vault of Horrors Vol. 3 (Dark Horse), The Planetary Omnibus, Creature Commandos, The Sandman: Overture Special Edition, DMZ Deluxe Edition Book One, FBP: Federal Beureau of Physics (DC/Vertigo), The Maxx: Maxximized, Doctor Who: Prisoners of Time, Triple Helix (IDW), Black Science, Umbral, Alex + Ada, Strangeways, Five Ghosts (Image), Princeless Encore Edition, Pirate Eye: Iron Bars, Wretched Tales (Action Lab), Lunita (Amigo Comics), The Joyners in 3D (Arachaia), Afterlife with Archie (Archie Comics), Soulfire (Aspen Comics), Absolution: Rubicon (Avatar Press), Shahrazad (Big Dog Ink), Beautiful Darkness (Drawn and Quarterly), Maria M. Book One, Pretty in Ink: North American Women Cartoonists 1896-2013 (Fantagraphics), Tune: Still Life (First Second), Jewish in America Vol. 1-2 (NBM), and Renée (Top Shelf). There’s a lot of comics talk packed into this episode. Bob and Derek cover a lot of ground, and you’re sure to hear about something that will interest you…and something you may not have known about before. Check out the podcast! Check out the comics!

Sep 4, 2013

This week on The Comics Alternative the Two Guys with PhDs discuss Rocketeer comics. In fact, it’s an all-Rocketeer episode, from the Dave Stevens material to the most recent manifestation with The Spirit. So come put on your jodhpurs, strap on your jet pack, and get ready to take off as Andy and Derek try their best to cover the full range of Rocketeer titles – a formidable task, indeed – beginning at the beginning with Dave Steven’s groundbreaking Rocketeer stories, the mulit-creator collections Rocketeer Adventures vol. 1 and Rocketeer Adventures vol. 2, Mark Waid and Chris Samnee’s The Rocketeer: Cargo of Doom, Roger Langridge and J. Bone’s The Rocketeer: Hollywood Horror, and Mark Waid and Paul Smith’s most recent Rocketeer story, The Rocketeer and The Spirit: Pulp Friction (all published by IDW). This episode it chocked full of that nougaty goodness we have come to know as Cliff Secord and his posse. Plus, lots of Betty talk. What’s not to like?

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