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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 24, 2016

On this week's review episode, Andy and Derek delve into two new and exciting titles. They start with Ludovic Debeurme's Renée (Top Shelf Productions), the followup to his 2011 release, Lucille. In fact, the guys begin their discussion by describing the earlier book and setting the stage for what they see in the recent narrative. Renée picks up on the story of Debeurme's young protagonists, Lucille and Arthur, and weaves within a third character, Renée Bruissiez, another troubled figure struggling with both family and relationship issues. Indeed, her dilemma thematically resembles those of both Arthur and Lucille, and Debeurme juxtaposes these storylines so that Renée reads somewhat like a psychological conversation. But the Two Guys also note the differences between the two graphic novels. Whereas the art in Lucille is more simple and iconic, Debeurme's illustrative style in the new book is more detailed and highly textured. In addition, there's a more surreal or dreamlike feel to Renée, and at times the storytelling style and visual characterization reminds the guys of a cross between Charles Burns and Daniel Clowes. They wrap up their conversation by observing that, although there's no textual hint of one, Renée ends in such a way that would warrant yet another volume. Next, Derek and Andy jump into the more edgy and forbidden world of Peter Milligan and Leandro Fernandez. The first issue of their new series, The Discipline (Image Comics), will be released in early March, but the guys take an early look at what readers can expect. In the inaugural issue we are introduced to Melissa, an attractive yet sexually frustrated young wife whose husband seems to provide her with nothing other than financial security. While in a museum being mesmerized by a provocative Goya painting, she meets Orlando, whose seductive lure ultimately pulls her into strange world that might best be described as a mix of BDSM and fantasy. Things heat up and take unexpected turns, making it a much more risqué take on relationships than Milligan's other current title, New Romancer. The guys conclude that this first issue of The Discipline doesn't disappoint, and that it's a title definitely worth following on a monthly basis.