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The Comics Alternative

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.


Jun 3, 2016

In this episode of The Comics Alternative's interview series, Derek talks with Zach Worton about his new book, The Search for Charley Butters, just out from Conundrum Press. This is the second in a planned trilogy, and one beginning with last year's The Disappearance of Charley Butters. As Zach describes it, this is a black comedy about depression and the way this condition manifests itself in isolation, addiction, and failed friendships. The narrative runs along two parallel tracks, one about the titular character, a painter from the 1950s who becomes an eccentric recluse, and the other about the present-day Travis who becomes obsessed with Butters's story as revealed in his diaries. This obsession begins to break down the relationships in Travis's life, and as the story unfolds he finds himself going to a personal dark place that is not entirely dissimilar from that the artist's. Zach talks with Derek about origins of this project, his reasons for serializing it over three volumes, and his rough plans for wrapping it up with next year's The Death of Charley Butters. The guys also discuss Zach's first book, The Klondike, a completely different kind of narrative that episodically chronicles the gold rush that shook the Yukon during the last part of the nineteenth century. Zach shares his experiences researching the book and how it helped define him, for awhile at least, as a cartoonist of Canadian history and personages (similar to the way people read David Collier or how some may have defined Chester Brown after Louis Reil). They also discuss Zach's other current project, The Weird World of Lagoola Gardner (a horror-inspired tale that will be released around Halloween), his love of old drive-in movie theaters, and his band, Zorton and the Cannibals. And, interestingly enough, it's with a group of musicians that the Charley Butters trilogy begins!