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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.


Feb 11, 2015

This week on the podcast, Derek and Andy discuss beginnings, endings, and renewals. They start with the latter, looking at the first in a projected twelve-volume Hugo Pratt collection from IDW/EuroComics, Corto Maltese: Under the Sign of Capricorn. This is a brand new English edition — translated by Dean Mullaney and Simone Castaldi — and presented in the original black-and-white. (The previous translated version of a Corto Maltese edition, 2012’s The Ballad of the Salt Sea, from Universe Publishing, was colorized.) It’s also published in a European album-sized format, roughly 11 1/2 x 9 1/2″, so that the reader can experience the clean, full radiance of Pratt’s art. Although they’ve read a little of Pratt’s work in the past, this is the guys’ first real introduction to Corto Maltese, at least in terms of full storylines. They spend a lot of time focusing on the narratives in this new volume, noting that the first three chapters form a cohesive and ongoing story, with the final three chapters — especially the final “The Seagull’s Fault” — participating in the continuity, but nonetheless functioning as standalone pieces. Another topic the Two Guys discuss is Pratt’s style of drawing Corto Maltese’s legs…particularly the ways that legs are presented in fight scenes. Check it out to see what they’re referring to. Next, Derek and Derek look at two recent Vertigo titles, a first issue and a final issue. With Tim Seeley and Marley Zarcone’s Effigy, they focus on the three-part structure of the story and how the creators deftly present the premise, include reasonable exposition, and then strategically set up the central mystery that will drive the narrative forward. The guys then spend the rest of the episode discussing The Unwritten: Apocalypse #12, the final installment in Mike Carey and Peter Gross’s epic. Both Andy and Derek have been with The Unwritten from the very beginning, and for the most part they have kept up with the series religiously. (Well, Derek has let things slide a bit these past few months.) They discuss the impact of this final issue, what it means to the overall series, and how much it helps readers to wrap their brains around the high concept of the title. This leads the guys into a broader discussion of DC’s Vertigo imprint, it’s possible future, and the challenge of finding another long, ongoing series from the publisher similar to The Unwritten, Scalped, DMZ, and Fables (which will also end later this year). But don’t get all teary-eyed over the loss of Tom Taylor and the gang. Celebrate the conclusion of this engaging series, and bask in the yummy goodness of the fun comics talk! Also: this show marks the debut of The Comics Alternative‘s brand new theme song, written and performed specifically for the podcast by DJ Copely. Be sure to check him out on Twitter @Webpuppy45