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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 15, 2016

For the February webcomics show, Sean and Derek explore three very different titles. They begin with Christopher Mills and Joe Staton's Femme Noir, a unique twist on the crime noir genre. This is series of tales surrounding a mysterious, unnamed crime-fighting PI who dons an iconic trench coat and fedora, but whose long golden locks and fishnet hose give her away as something wholly other. The guys describe this comic as a blend of BatmanThe Shadow, and The Spirit, but with a female protagonist who is anything but a victim. One of the unique contexts of this webcomic, as Derek points out, is that the stories currently being serialized online have originally appeared in print. What Mills and Staton are apparently doing is using their previously published material to re-introduce their comic to a new audience -- and through an entirely different narrative delivery system -- and the guys hope that this will eventually spawn brand new Femme Noir stories. Next, they turn their attention to Farel Dalrymple's It Will All Hurt. This is yet another intriguing title from Study Group, a publisher (online and print) visited often on The Comics Alternative. (Indeed, last year's July webcomics episode was devoted solely to Study Group titles.) Both Sean and Derek are blown away by Dalrymple's art, which should be no surprise to anyone familiar with the creator's work, but at times they are a little confused by the storyline. However, they speculate that perhaps Dalrymple's surreal, dreamlike narrative is supposed to confound, and that one of the best ways of engaging with It Will All Hurt is to just read it through without pause and let the pieces sink in as the story unfolds. After that, the Two Guys wrap us with a webcomics classic, Warren Ellis and Paul Duffield's FreakAngels. This is an important title for the medium, and Sean and Derek spend a good deal of time discussing its impact and what it meant (and still means) for webcomics. This is an opportunity for Sean to revisit the webcomic, in that he was there reading it from the very beginning back in 2008. Of course, the guys also plunge into the story itself, a fantastic post-apocalyptic narrative that bears the Warren Ellis stamp. And they specifically address Duffield's art, a truly outstanding facet of this webcomic. The guys also mention Avatar Press' links to the project and how they were taking a chance during the title's original run. All in all, this month's webcomics episode is both fun and substantive, so crank up your browsers and hold on tight!