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The Comics Alternative - The World's Smartest Comics and Graphic Novels Podcast


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 8, 2016

Buckle up, because Andy and Derek are back behind the wheel. On this week's trip, they're taking you down a road that includes three very different titles. They begin with Paul Dini and Eduardo Risso's Dark Night: A True Batman Story (Vertigo Comics)...and yes, you did read correctly, the guys are discussing a book with "Batman" in its title. But while the Caped Crusader is a prominent part of the story, this isn't a standard superhero narrative, but an autobiographical account of a traumatic event in Dini's life. The guys discuss the manner of Dini's narration, especially as it's represented by Risso's art. In fact, it's the latter that consumes much of the conversation, as they highlight Risso's diversity of style to reflect shifts in the storytelling.

Next they look at the first in a five-issue limited series from Howard Chaykin, Midnight of the Soul (Image Comics). This is a story that Chaykin has been wanting to tell for some time, and the guys are happy to see it finally coming to fruition. It's the tale of Joel, a wannabe writer who is emotionally scarred from the fighting in Germany during the closing days of World War II. In this first issue, Joel discovers that his wife is living a double life, and both Derek and Andy comment on the signature Chaykin elements in the story, including someone getting shot in the head in the middle of a blowjob. But there's more than just sex and violence in this comic. As the guys reveal, they're impressed by the tightly woven elements within the premise, the visual patterns and rhythms that Chaykin establishes at the outset, and in anticipation (they hope) of big narrative payoff.

Finally, the Two Guys wrap up with a recent publication from Retrofit/Big Planet Comics, Sophie Franz's The Experts. This is a short one-shot that blends horror with the fantastic. In the story, a group of individuals, the experts, are studying a mysterious group of aquatic humanoids while their experiences doing so are slowly pulling them apart. This is the first time either Derek or Andy have encountered Franz's art, but they like what they see and call it one of the most notable titles they've read this year. But then again, this is the kind of comic they have come to expect from Retrofit/Big Planet.