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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.


Jan 19, 2016

Sean and Derek start off the new year of the webcomics series with three exciting titles. They begin with Delilah Dirk and the King's Shilling, Tony Cliff's follow up to Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant. The latter began life as a webcomic, but then was published by First Second in 2013. Cliff is doing something similar with his second Delilah Dirk book, although this time he is serializing the narrative in webcomic form only until early March, the release date of the hardcopy (again, by First Second). And although King's Shilling may not ultimately be a complete webcomic, what is there is well worth reading and has you anticipating the release of the new book. After that, the guys turn to Reckstar, Joey Cruz and Michelle Nguyen's mashup of sci-fi and comedy with all of the trappings of a classic buddy story. In fact, Sean likens the tale to a space-based Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis team-up, with the immature Finn Wyoming playing the Lewis role in this volatile relationship. The webcomic is just into its third chapter, but there's much to appreciate in its upcoming developments. Finally, Sean and Derek take a long look at Jason Yungbluth's Weapon Brown, possibly one of the most engaging and sophisticated webcomics they've ever discussed on the podcast. This is a parodic sendup not only of Schulz's Peanuts, but of the entire history of American comic strips. The story takes place in a post-apocalyptic world, where a nefarious organization known as the Syndicate (read United Feature Syndicate) is attempting to subdue a rebel force and their grasp on a unique food supply known as shmoo. Weapon Brown, occasionally called "Chuck," enters the fray as a cybernetic right-armed mercenary who ends up helping the rebel leaders Annie (see Little Orphan Annie), Hughie X (The Boondocks), Pops (Popeye), and Hildy (Broom-Hilda), among others. The action builds to a final showdown between Weapon Brown and an unstoppable, merciless, stuffed tiger-toting creation known as a Cyber Augmented Legionnaire version 1.N (or C.A.L. V1N for short). In fact, the entire history of newspaper strips seems to be represented in Weapon Brown, and part of the joy of reading this webcomic is discovering the many references, often subtle, embedded throughout. Derek and Sean also point out the risqué nature of the story, with its (at times) explicit sex, violence, and language. But if you're OK with a little spice in your webcomics, then Weapon Brown should become one of your reading highlights of the year.