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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.


Jun 25, 2014

On this week’s show, Derek and Gene review three new titles. They begin with an unusual story from Conor Stechschulte, The Amateurs (Fantagraphics Books). The guys aren’t entirely sure about the narrative cohesion or the connecting events in this story — and they’re okay with that — but they’re mesmerized by the absurdist, and at times violent, paths this comic takes. This novella-length work is a strange combination of slapstick comedy, slasher horror, and existential angst. Think of Laurel and Hardy meets Waiting for Godot…but with slaughtered livestock. Next the Two Guys move on to the first issue of Ted McKeever’s new miniseries, The Superannuated Man (Image Comics).  They start off by comparing this comic to some of McKeever’s earlier works, such as Eddy Current, Plastics Forks, and Metropol, but see in its detail a more meticulously crafted art that pushes more visual boundaries. In this way, the work is quite similar to last year’s Miniature Jesus, another title with a perspective-skewing feel. What’s more, the guys feel that McKeever does an outstanding job at introducing us to this strange narrative world, providing just enough exposition to grab our attention and propel the  miniseries forward, full-throttle. Finally, Gene and Derek discuss a comic that is sure to make Trekkies happy the world over, Star Trek: Harlan Ellison’s The City on the Edge of Forever: The Original Teleplay #1 (IDW Publishing). Beginning with a few comments on the history behind “The City on the Edge of Forever” – specifically, the controversy surrounding Harlan Ellison’s famously unused original teleplay — they beam into this first issue by looking at the artwork of J. K. Woodward. While Gene isn’t sure that his painterly style is most appropriate for an action-based sci-fi comic, Derek is more won over by the visuals. But they both can agree that this Scott and David Tipton’s adaptation of Ellison’s original teleplay is not only a good story, but a fascinating study in progressive translation: it’s a comic-book adaptation of a text originally intended for an entirely different medium, yet “maladapted” by that original medium and inadvertently giving the original new life through both dramatic prose and now graphic storytelling.