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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.


Aug 19, 2015

This is a bittersweet episode of The Comics Alternative, because Andy and Derek are both highlighting and saying goodbye to a title that has been one of their favorites these past thirteen years, Bill Willingham's Fables (Vertigo). The series finale was just recently released -- issue #150, which also doubles at volume 22 of the trade paperbacks -- and the guys go into detail about the wrap-up of the main storyline, the final confrontation between Snow White and Rose Red that has been building over the past several narrative arcs. They also discuss the collection of "Last" stories that round out this volume, short pieces illustrated by a variety of artists that give us a final (?) glimpse at some of Fables most important characters. In fact, this episode of the podcast is very spoiler-heavy, in that Derek and Andy couldn't figure out how to do justice to the series without giving away a few important concluding plot elements. (So if you haven't yet read this last installment of Fables, then perhaps you should do so before listening to this week's show. Go ahead. The guys don't  mind. They'll still be here waiting for you.) But this episode is also a retrospective on the entire run of Fables, its many twists and turns, as well as the many spin-offs it engendered. As such, the Two Guys also touch upon Jack of Fables, the Cinderella miniseries, The Literals, Fairest, the current series Fables: The Wolf among Us, and the standalone volumes 1001 Nights of Snowfall and Fables: Werewolves of the Heartland. (Unfortunately, they don't get around to discussing the prose novel, Peter and Max. There's only just so much time in a podcast episode.) It's obvious that both Andy and Derek appreciate Fables and see it as one of the most important titles of the past decade, but being the discerning scholars that they are, the guys don't shy away from critiquing the long-running series and pointing out some of the narrative elements they found "thin" or potentially problematic. But to paraphrase a common adage, we criticize those we love the most, and the guys make it clear what kind of respect,  admiration, and outright affection they have for Fables. This episode is fond, heartfelt farewell to the team of Willingham (writer), Mark Buckingham (penciller), Steve Leialoha (inker), Todd Klein (letterer), James Jean and João Ruas (cover artists), Shelly Bond (editor), and an unparalleled community of collaborators.