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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.


Nov 12, 2014

This week on the podcast, Andy W. joins Derek to discuss four recent titles…and boy, are you in for a treat. First, they look at Renée French’s new book, Baby Bjornstrand (Koyama Press). The guys discuss its Samuel Beckett-like setting, the unusual characters that make up the cast, the fragmented temporal arrangements, and French’s stripped down narrative style. Yet while some readers have described the book as bleak and downbeat, both Derek and Andy see a more hopeful — and perhaps even life-affirming — ending in the story. Next, they move from French’s barren landscape outside of time to an all-too-real story set in Hell’s Kitchen during the 1970s. Ollie Masters and Ming Doyle’s The Kitchen #1 (Vertigo) is a solid piece of storytelling that effectively launches this 8-issue miniseries. The guys are particularly taken by the final pages of this first issue, where Masters complicates his premise while at the same time laying on exposition without being overbearing. Andy and Derek then turn their attention to two recent titles from Image Comics. James Harvey’s one-shot Masterplasty is a curious story that doesn’t seem to stand entirely on its own…which may explain why Harvey describes it as a prequel to a much longer narrative he’s working on. Perhaps the most notable thing about this comic is its unconventional size, the ultimate purpose of which has the guys scratching their heads. Finally, they look at the first issue in a new series from Keenan Marshall Keller and Tom Neely, The Humans. Unlike most reviewers of this title, Derek and Andy don’t feel that this has much of a Planet of the Apes vibe. (Also, that’s way too facile a comparison, just because you have apes riding motorcycles.) Instead, they feel that the story in this first issues stands entirely on its own, and if anything, it reminds the guys of the kind of biker movies they remembered from the 1970s. While this is yet another offbeat humor comic from Image — following in the wake of God Hates Astronauts and Punks: The Comic — it’s one with a harder edge…as the overt references to pot, Quaaludes, and fellatio will attest. There’s a lot of weird, fun stuff for this week, and we hope you will join Andy and Derek for the wild ride.