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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 17, 2016

This week on The Comics Alternative Gene and Derek focus on the funny, the poignant, and the creepy. They begin with Evan Dorkin's The Eltingville Club (Dark Horse Books), a nice hardbound edition that collects all of the Eltingville Club stories published over the past twenty years. This is Dorkin's twisted, and at times acerbic, love letter to geek and collecting culture. Bill, Josh, Pete, and Jerry make up the Eltingville Comic Book, Science-Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, and Role-Playing Club, and their antics are as hilarious as they are painful to read. This is because Dorkin cuts to the bone of fandom, and readers will probably recognize these scenarios and contexts from their own lives. Indeed, in a short essay toward the end of the volume, Dorkin himself admits that many of the stories are based on his fan-obsessed experiences growing up, as well as on the darker side of the culture he's witnessed as a creator. Yet as uncomfortable as these stories can get at times, they are some of the funniest comics you'll read all year. What else would expect from the creator of Milk and CheeseDork, and Dick Wad of the Mega-Vice Squad? Next, the guys take a look at Cry Havoc #1, written by Simon Spurrier with art by Ryan Kelly (Image Comics). This is the start of what appears to be a unique take on the werewolf narrative. At least this is what Derek and Gene think might be the case. They're not entirely sure, because this first issue leaves a lot of questions unanswered, and not necessarily in a good serial-driven way. As the guys discuss, there are parts of this story that are a bit confusing but whose uncertainty will probably be addressed with the completion of the first narrative arc. The creators even saw fit to annotate this #1 issue, which raises additional questions about the story's ability to stand on its own. Still, Kelly's art is worth the price of admission, and the series' use of multiple colorists, each creating a different mood, makes this a title worth watching. Finally, the Two Guys wrap up with Shawn Aldridge and Scott Godlewski's The Dark and Bloody #1. This is the beginning of a new Vertigo Comics series, the first since the publisher launched its twelve next-wave titles back in the fall (and for an in-depth look at those series, check out episode 170). Derek, in particular, likes this inaugural issue, feeling that it does a good job of setting up the premise with just the right amount of story tease. By contrast, Gene isn't as enamored of the issue and feels that this isn't the kind of Vertigo comic he had once grown to love (and admittedly, Gene hasn't been keeping up with the publisher in quite a while). Much like Cry Havoc, this is also another monster tale with, as of now, an ambiguous and ill-defined terror. And, in an offbeat way, it's the perfect companion to Dorkin's Eltingville Club, a book with its own kind of monstrosities.