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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 24, 2018

Time Codes:


On this week's review episode, Gene and Derek discuss recent titles that are quite varied in tone and narrative approach. They begin with  David Gaffney and Dan Berry's The Three Rooms in Valerie's Head (Top Shelf/IDW Publishing). This is a somewhat surreal, and dark, look at a young woman and her various relationships with men. The memories of these encounters are something she apparently cannot let go of, and this is represented deftly through the metaphor of rooms and psychological compartmentalization. The guys like the fact that the story ends ambiguously -- and with happy elves, no less! -- but they're not too sure what to make of the sudden shift in point of view about two thirds of the way through.

The Two Guys follow this with a very timely new title. Days of Hate #1, written by Aleš Kot and with art by Danijel Žeželj (Image Comics), is set in the year 2022, a time after some sort of civil war takes place in the US -- we're not sure yet of the details surrounding this conflict -- and it apparently has resulted, or perhaps even caused by, the rise of extremist or alt-right groups in America. In this inaugural installment, we're introduced to several characters on various ends of the political spectrum, some of which have intermingled and contentious pasts. There are many questions set up and left unanswered in this first issue, but that doesn't detract from the intrigue and motivation to continue on with the series.

And what better way to follow up a story on the alt-right than a discussion of monstrous Lovecraftian mayhem? This is exactly what you'll find in Damon Gentry and Troy Nixey's Vinegar Teeth #1 (Dark Horse Comics).It's a strange and wacky tale revolving around a schmucky, but effective, cop named Artie Buckle. An undercover assignment he's on is almost ruined when a Cthulhu-like creature pierces his world's dimension, with the unlikely result that the city's mayor makes this creature a police officer and assigns him as Artie's partner. What transpires is the beginning of a weird buddy cop story with interdimensional, and narratively warped, potential.