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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 20, 2014

On this episode of The Comics Alternative, Andy and Derek discuss three new titles. They begin by revisiting Jeff Lemire’s Trillium, the first few issues of which they reviewed on their Vertigo Publisher Spotlight show back in November. Now, the miniseries is collected in a single volume, and the guys compare the individual issues to the new trade edition. One of the first differences they note is the page arrangements of the trade. Whereas in many issues of the original miniseries Lemire visually set the storylines of Nika and William to read in opposite directions — where you had to turn the comic book upside down to read one of the narratives – in the trade he more or less places everything on the same reading plane. While Derek is okay with some of this editorial tampering, Andy feels that the difference undermines much of the emotional pacing of the story. But both agree that this new edition lessens Lemire’s emphasis on the materiality of the book, or the comic as object that has to be handled and manipulated. And while the Two Guys feel that this isn’t one of Lemire’s strongest narratives, it’s nonetheless a solid, well-written one. Next, Derek and Andy discuss two new #1 issues from Dynamite Entertainment. Joe Casey and Nathan Fox’s Captain Victory and the Galactic Rangers is a visually wild ride through the land of Jack Kirbydom, and this first issue plunges you directly into the story without much warning or much context. It’s sink or swim with this first installment, but Casey arranges the gaps and the reveals in such a way that while you may not know what’s going on, you’re intrigued enough to want to read on into the next issue. Much of the pleasure of reading this comic comes from Fox’s art, perfectly suited to retelling a Kirby property, punctuated by short contributions from Jim Rugg and Ulises Farinas. Equally compelling — if not more so — is Peter Milligan and Piotr Kowalski’s Terminal Hero. In this brand new story, Milligan presents us with a protagonist who has inoperable brain cancer, and the mysterious and unorthodox treatment he undergoes allows him to tap into powers he never knew he had…and cannot completely control. In this first issue there are double-dealing friends, heads in flames, women whose clothing disintegrates, and potentially nefarious government agents. What more could you ask for in a comic book?