On this special “point one” show, we present a recording of the Comics and Social Media Panel held at the Wizard World Austin Comic Con on November 22nd. Derek Royal and Shea Hennum were two of the discussants on that panel, along with John Mayo of The Comic Book Page podcast and Russell Latham of The Longbox of Doom podcast. The title of the panel was “Comics and Social Media: The How-To, the How-Much and the Why,” and during the session the four presenters took questions from the audience and shared their various experiences. Among the topics discussed were how to set up blogs and podcasts; the kinds of ways to use social media; how to reach an intended audience via Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr; strategies for contacting publishers and creators; what to expect in terms of set-up and maintenance costs; what kind of software and hardware is needed for your intended purposes; and why anyone would want to make all this effort just to share their opinions and insights on comics. There was a lot of information crammed into that 45-minute panel, and we hope that our recording of the session will be of use to our listeners, as well.
This being the week of Thanksgiving, Andy and Derek thought that they would use this week’s show to share what they are thankful for regarding comics. And one of the first things that they are thankful for is the company of Gene Kannenberg, Jr., who joins the guys to give his own comics-inspired thanks. Together, the Three Guys with PhDs Talking about Comics reveal their thankfulness for a variety of things, including some of the comics events they have attended this year, the creators they have had the good fortunate to meet and/or interview, the publishers who consistently put out the best material, the innovators who continue to push the boundaries of the medium, the writing styles that never fail to disappoint, and the series that offer some of the most significant archival works and with the best reproduction quality available. There are no turkeys here…only the most appetizing menu you can imagine. And Happy Hanukkah as well!
On this episode of The Comics Alternative Interviews Derek and Gene talk with Vivek Tiwary about his recently published The Fifth Beatle: The Brian Epstein Story (Dark Horse Books). In their conversation, Vivek discusses the genesis of his book, his personal and professional interests in Brian Epstein, the challenges of being a first-time graphic novel writer, and his dogged efforts to accurately represent the life The Beatles’ manager. Gene and Derek also ask Vivek about working with artists Andrew C. Robinson and Kyle Baker, as well as information on plans to turn The Fifth Beatle into a movie. There’s a lot of information packed into this show, all part of an effort to bring renewed — and sorely needed — attention to the man who made The Beatles into a cultural phenomenon.
The Comics Alternative is back for its monthly on-location show at Collected Comics in Plano. Joining Derek on this episode is Collected employee and good friend of the show, Shea Hennum. This month there is no particular theme or specific topic of discussion, so the guys engage in general comics talk. Shea and Derek discuss the things that they’re reading, the titles that have been released over the past couple of weeks, and what to look forward to in the months to come. Shea is particularly excited about recent releases, and he waxes over the many titles that now make up his “to read” list. As always, it’s a fun time talking at Collected Comics in Plano, so come listen to the episode and experience the joy.
The Two Guys with PhDs (Talking about Comics) are back with another roundtable discussion, and this time the topic is licensed comics. Joining them again are their podcasting pals, John Mayo from The Comic Book Page and Chris Marshall from Collected Comics Library. Springing from Chris’s suggestion that they talk about licensed properties — and fostered by Andy’s uncanny fascination with ROM and The Micronauts — the four comics dudes cover a wide swath of pop culture history regarding the trans-media nature of certain properties. There’s a lot to talk about with this topic, and the guys try to get as much in as they can. Along the way they discuss comic-book manifestations of Star Trek, Star Wars, G. I. Joe, My Little Pony, Doctor Who, MacGyver, The Bionic Man, Doc Savage, The Spirit, The Monkees, various Disney properties, and personality-based comics such those published on The Beatles, Bob Hope, and Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis (one of Derek’s favorites). The four guys all highlight their favorite licensed titles, and they even propose a few new possibilities as a sort of wish list.
On this episode of The Comics Alternative Interviews, Gene and Derek talk with editor, archivist, comics historian, and pop cultural Renaissance Man, Craig Yoe. The interview gets off to a wild start with a discussion of Secret Identity: The Fetish Art of Superman’s Co-Creator Joe Shuster, a book that Craig says helped to put him on the publishing map. From there they highlight several of Yoe’s more recent releases, including his Haunted Horror series, Jack Cole’s Deadly Horror, Strange World of Your Dreams, The Art of Archie: The Covers, and the Ditko Monsters books. The Two Guys also ask Craig about his time with Disney, Nickelodeon, and especially his close association with Jim Henson and his experiences working on the Muppets. One of the most moving parts of the interview, in fact, is when Craig discusses his last meeting with Henson, the day of the legend’s untimely death. But the overall tone of the conversation is upbeat. It’s a free-flowing conversation filled with humor, horror, and erotic references. And it’s one of the most enjoyable interviews the guys have ever conducted!
This week Andy and Derek return with another special Publisher Spotlight episode, this one devoted to Vertigo. Although the Two Guys with PhDs demonstrate superhuman abilities when tackling a variety of titles, it’s obvious that they cannot cover all of Vertigo’s history and output. Instead, they have decided to focus on the most recent wave of comics coming out from the imprint. This includes the many titles that have been released since the summer and in the wake of Karen Berger’s departure. Derek and Andy discuss the significance of these latest releases, what they suggest about the possible direction of the imprint, and how these comics fit within the larger history of Vertigo. The recent series that the Two Guys discuss include The Wake, 100 Bullets: Brother Lono, FBP: Federal Bureau of Physics, the new Astro City series, Trillium, Tom Strong and the Planet of Peril, Sandman: Overture, Hinterkind, Coffin Hill, and the new anthology The Witching Hour. They also focus on the narrative trajectories of some of Vertigo’s more established series, including the current run of The Unwritten, Fables, and Fairest. Here, they look at The Unwritten/Fables crossover and recent original graphic novels and collections such as The Unwritten: Tommy Taylor and the Ship That Sank Twice, Fables: Werewolves of the Heartland, and the upcoming Fairest in All the Land. As this episode aptly shows, Vertigo is still one of the most exciting places to find cutting-edge comics!
On this Comics Alternative interview show, Gene and Derek talk with Jeremy Whitley, the writer of the Eisner Award-nominated Princeless series and the outgoing Director of Marketing at Action Lab Comics. Jeremy talks with the Two Guys about the genesis of Princeless, his upcoming work on My Little Pony for IDW, the place of all-age comics, and the representation of women — especially in its impact on girls and younger women — in comics today. He also shares his experiences in marketing for Action Lab over the years, as well as his hopes for his new role as the publisher’s Education Outreach Director. All in all, Gene and Derek have a great time talking with Jeremy about his work as a creator and his efforts behind the scenes at Action Lab.
It’s the first of the month, so it’s time for the Two Guys with PhDs to look through the latest Previews catalog. Plus, Andy’s back on the podcast, so there’s a lot for him and Derek to catch up on. After Andy re-acclimates to the world of podcastdom, the guys plunge into the November solicits. They discuss upcoming titles such as Bad Blood #1, Serenity: Firefly Class 03-K64 – Leaves on the Wind #1, and Gasoline Alley, Vol. 1: The Complete Sundays 1920-1922 (Dark Horse); Showcase Presents: Men of War and The Unwritten, Vol. 2: Apocalypse #1 (DC/Vertigo); Basil Wolverton’s Weird Worlds: Artist’s Edition and Rio: The Complete Collection (IDW Publishing); Deadly Class #1 and Minimum Wage #1 (Image); the rerelease of the original Miracleman (Marvel); recent Archie comics; Revelations #1, Curse #1, and Hacktivist #1 (BOOM! Studios/Archaia); The Original Johnson Omnibus (Comicmix); The Twilight Zone #1 and Legenderry #1 (Dynamite Entertainment); Ant Colony (Drawn and Quarterly); Prison Pit, Book 5 and Nothing Eve (Fantagraphics); curious manga adaptations – Ulysses into comics? — from One Peace Books; Snow Piercer, Vol. 1: The Escape (Titan Comics); and USNA: United States of North America (USNA Publishing). Along the way, Derek and Andy see how many of their listening constituencies they can alienate…although Andy already has a head start, given recent reviews dissing him as closed-minded on The Comic Alternative‘s iTunes page. To that reviewer we say, “Bite us!”
For the first in this new feature, the Two Guys with PhDs are proud to have as a guest comics legend Kim Deitch. His new book, The Amazing, Enlightening and Absolutely True Adventures of Katherine Whaley, was just published by Fantagraphics, and Tof and Derek begin their conversation by asking him about the genesis of the project. Kim reveals the history of Katherine Whaley, its links to “The Sunshine Girl” (in Deitch’s Pictorama) and The Search for Smilin’ Ed (both by Fantagraphics), and his fascination with early twentieth-century film and popular music. Along the way, they discuss some of Kim’s characters that recur in Katherine Whaley, some that do not (most notably, Waldo), the evolution of Kim’s art style, his fascination with storytelling, his strategies for keeping the creative juices flowing, and the inside scoop on Kim’s next book project. All in all, it’s a wonderful way to begin the new Comics Alternative Interviews feature!