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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.


Sep 21, 2016


Last weekend was the Small Press Expo held in Bethesda, MD, and a big part of that event was the recognition of the 2016 Ignatz Award nominees. So for this week's episode, Gwen and Derek discuss the many and diverse titles populating that list, looking for trends and making observations about this year's selections. The nominees in all nine categories, announced last month, were chosen by a five-member jury, and then attendees voted on their favorites during the first day of the event. Gwen starts things going by asking Derek about his experiences at SPX, and then the two plunge into the heart of the discussion. They do not run down the entire list of nominees in an organized manner, beginning with one category and then moving on to the next, but their exchange is more free-flowing and associational, taking up titles as they come up in the conversation. In this way, Gwen and Derek are able to cover about all of the nominees and draw insightful connections among many of the texts. They notice, for example, that many of the winners seem to skew younger, and that, at times, complex and longer-form storytelling doesn't get the same kind of attention as episodic or one-off narratives. They also comment on the fact that established names within the medium, such as Daniel Clowes, Adrian Tomine, Trina Robbins, and Kim Deitch, were completely shut out in the final selection. However, Gwen and Derek do not so much emphasize the actual winners of the nine categories -- although they do discuss these -- as they do the broader sweep of each category's population and what that might say about the current state of small press and indie comics.