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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.


Apr 20, 2016

This week Gwen and Derek take a look at three new titles, each of which is as visually stunning as it is a great story. They start off with Manuele Fiore's 5,000 km Per Second (Fantagraphics), translated from the Italian by Jamie Richards and winner of both the Grand Prize at the 2010 Lucca Comics Festival and the Best Album at the 2011 Angoulême Comics Festival. Fiore's is a pensive, somber tale of two individuals who become romantically involved but ultimately go in separate directions. The narrative follows each on his or her life trajectory in an episodic manner, where readers become privy to the changes in their inner lives and discover the ultimately elusive nature of closure. Next, Derek and Gwen discuss the first two issues of Circuit Breaker, written by Kevin McCarthy and with art by Kyle Baker. The premise of this new Image Comics series is a futuristic Tokyo where relationships between humans and robots are reaching a tipping point and the story's protagonist, Chiren, is stuck in the middle. The cohosts enjoy the story, but they focus more on Baker's art, his choice of palette, and his unique way of representing sound throughout the comic. Finally, they wrap up this week's episode by diving into the new series by Matt Kindt, Dept. H (Dark Horse Comics). Written and drawn by Matt, and colored beautifully by his wife Sharlene, Dept. H is a mystery thriller that reminds Gwen of the old Ellery Queen TV series from the 1970s. And Derek reads this first issue within the context of Kindt's other detecting narratives, specifically Mind MGMTSuper Spy, and Red Handed: The Fine Art of Strange Crimes. This appears to be another must-read series from Matt Kindt, and one where getting the individual monthly issues will provide a more complete and immersive experience. Much like Mind MGMT!