Comics Alternative



A weekly podcast focusing on the world of alternative, independent, and primarily non-superhero comics. (Theres 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.


  • Episode 306: Reviews of Now #5, Criminal #1, and Scratcher #1-3

    23/01/2019 Duración: 01h36min

    Time Codes: 00:00:32 - Introduction 00:03:38 - Now#5 01:02:20 - Criminal #1 01:20:01 - Scratcher #1-3 01:33:04 - Wrap up 01:34:32 - Contact us On this episode of the podcast Sterg and Derek look at three exciting titles. They begin with Now#5, the latest in Fantagraphics' outstanding comics anthology series. As the guys point out, they're dedicated to discussing every issue of Nowthat is released, and this one is chock-full of comicy goodness. Although all of the contributions in this issue are intriguing, some of the most notable that the guys discuss are those by Eroyn Franklin, Walker Tate, DRT, Ana Galvañ, DW, Maggie Umber, and especially Walt Holcombe. And although Derek and Sterg spend the vast majority of their time discussing this anthology -- there's a lot to take in -- they also look at two other titles. One of those is most recent incarnation of Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips's Criminal(Image Comics). In the new series' first issue, the protagonist is one familiar to Criminal enthus

  • Episode 305: Reviews of The Unknown Anti-War Comics, Love and Rockets IV #6, and LaGuardia #1 & #2

    09/01/2019 Duración: 02h12s

    Time Codes: 00:00:32 - Introduction 00:03:07 - Listener correspondence! 00:09:07 - The Unknown Anti-War Comics 00:53:57 - Love and Rockets IV#6 01:29:53 - LaGuardia #1 & #2 01:55:39 - Wrap up 01:57:53 - Contact us On this episode, Sterg and Derek discuss three recent titles that run the gamut from sci-fi to political to slice-of-life (or what the Two Guys prefer to call  verite dessinée). They begin with the latest collection from Craig Yoe, The Unknown Anti-War Comics(IDW Publications/Yoe Books). This is a volume devoted to classic Charlton Comics stories from the 1950s and 1960s -- most probably written by Joe Gill -- that have a peaceful message to deliver. One of the highlights of this collection is the art of Steve Ditko. After that, the guys jump into the latest issue of Love and Rockets (Fantagraphics Books). Both Derek and Sterg highlight what they particularly like about this specific issue, but they also speculate on the current career trajectories of Gilbert and Jaime and even on w

  • Critical Takes: A Conversation with Keith Dallas and Jason Sacks

    07/01/2019 Duración: 01h25min

    Time Codes: 00:00:25 - Introduction 00:02:20 - Setup of interview 00:03:54 - Interview with Keith Dallas and Jason Sacks 01:22:12 - Wrap up 01:22:52 - Contact us On this, the second show in The Comics Alternative's new Critical Takes series, Derek has back on the podcast Keith Dallas, coauthor of the new book, American Comic Book Chronicles: The 1990s. Listeners might remember that he talked with Keith, along with John Wells, back last summer when their Comic Book Implosion was released by TwoMorrows Publishing. In fact, that was the very first Critical Takes episode. This time around, Keith is joined by Jason Sacks, another comics scholar and historian who has worked on other texts within the American Comic Book Chroniclesseries. The two have just released their volume on the 1990s, a curious and tumultuous time in American comics history. As you’ll hear in conversation, Jason and Keith discuss in detail their first-hand experiences during this decade, the process of researching for this project

  • Episode 304: The January Previews Catalog

    02/01/2019 Duración: 02h47min

    It's the first episode of the new year, and for the January Previewsshow the Two Guys decide to try something different: invite a third person to join them in discussing the current Previewscatalog. This week Sterg and Derek are joined by Troy-Jeffrey Allen who works with community outreach at PREVIEWSworld. And given Troy's association with Diamond Distributors and the ins and outs of their monthly catalog, he's able to provide insights and additional commentary that results in an extra special discussion. And as you might expect, the addition of a third conversant makes this episode longer than if the guys' monthly Previews shows weren't long enough. Among the many publishers and titles that Troy, Sterg, and Derek highlight are: Image Comics - Little Bird#1, Assassin Nation#1, and Black Magick: The First Book of Shadows Dark Horse Comics - Invisible Kingdom#1, Black Hammer '45: From the World of Black Hammer#1, Astro Hustle#1, Bad Luck Chuck #1, Moonshadow: The Definitive Edition, and Emanon

  • Comics Alternative Interviews: Happy New Yoe with Craig Yoe!

    01/01/2019 Duración: 02h21min

    Time Codes: 00:00:29 - Introduction 00:02:38 - Setup of interview 00:07:14 - Interview with Craig Yoe 02:16:37 - Wrap up 02:18:05 - Contact us It's a new year, so that must mean that it's time for the annual Happy New Yoe show! On this, The Comics Alternative's very first episode of 2019, Derek talks with Craig Yoe about what he's been up to lately. They spend much of the time talking about the year in review for Yoe Books. And it was a busy one for Craig and his companion/colleague, Clizia Gussoni, who oversaw the publication of such titles as Limbo Lounge, Reefer Madness, We Spoke Out: Comic Books and the Holocaust, Lou Cameron’s Unsleeping Dead, Super Patriotic Heroes, The Best of Don Winslow of the Navy, Super Weird Heroes: Preposterous but True!, and new collections of their Weird Loveand Haunted Horrorcomics. Craig also reveals some of the titles we can look forward to in the new year, such as The Unknown Anti-War Comics, Jungle Girls, Swamp Monsters, Clyde, Life on the Moon, and Matchless

  • Manga: Reviews of Frankenstein: Junji Ito Story Collection and Dementia 21

    31/12/2018 Duración: 01h41min

    Time Codes: 00:00:27 - Introduction 00:02:42 - Manga plans for the new year 00:08:52 - Frankenstein: Junji Ito Story Collection 00:54:47 - Dementia 21 01:37:25 - Wrap up 01:39:20 - Contact us  On this manga episode, their last of 2018, Shea and Derek look at two recent works of manga that are actually quite similar in a number of ways. They begin with Frankenstein: Junji Ito Story Collection(VIZ Media). This isn't the first time, by far, that the guys have discussed Junji Ito's horror work, and whereas they've been less impressed with some of his more recent translations, they are more enthusiastic about this current collection. The standout story is Ito's adaptation of Mary Shelley's classic romance, which takes up almost half of the text. But the other stories in this collection, specifically the Oshikiri cycle ones, are gripping, as well. After that the Two Guys check out a wild example of manga, Shintaro Kago's Dementia 21 (Fantagraphics). While both Derek and Shea had heard of Kago, until

  • Euro Comics: Reviews of McCay and Bear's Tooth

    28/12/2018 Duración: 01h14min

    Time Codes: 00:00:24 – Introduction 00:03:11 – Getting caught up! 00:04:05 – McCay 00:34:54 – Bear’s Tooth 01:10:58 – Wrap up 01:12:04 – Contact us For their December Euro Comics show, Pascal and Derek discuss two recent French titles in translation. They begin with Thierry Smolderen and Jean-Philippe Bramanti's McCay (Titan Comics), a surreal narrative surrounding the life of comics legend Windsor McCay. But this work is not a biography. Smolderen takes historical moments in McCay's life and from those weaves a fantastical tale that includes noir intrigue, metafictional elements, and the fourth dimension. After that the guys turn to the three volumes of Yann and Alain Henriet's Bear's Tooth (Cinebook).  Each of the three works -- Max, Hanna, and Werner-- is based on one of the three protagonists in this World War II tale. As Pascal reveals, Yann and Henriet's follow up to this series (not yet translated) continues the storyline, but with strange alternate history twist.    

  • Webcomics: Reviews of Snow Daze, Snow by Night, and Overwatch: Reflections

    23/12/2018 Duración: 01h23min

    Time Codes: 00:01:18 – Introduction 00:04:22 – It’s the holiday season! 00:06:25 – Snow Daze 00:29:20 – Snow by Night 00:58:06 – Overwatch: Reflections 01:19:11 – Wrap up 01:21:14 – Contact us On this webcomics episode, the last of 2018, Sean and Derek get into the holiday spirit. They discuss three titles that concern Christmas or the winter season (i.e., has the word "snow" in the title). They begin with Leonardo Faierman and Marcus Kwame Anderson's Snow Daze, a narrative about a group of enterprising teenagers in Queens, NY, who create a business shoveling snow, all the while dealing with the challenges of urban life, especially as it concerns matters of race. After that the guys look at another snow-related webcomic, Snow by Night, written by Eric Menge and with primary art by Julie A. Wright and Brittany Michel. This is a fantasy inspired by French colonial culture in North America, and largely revolves around a manitou, a nature spirit of the wilderness, who quests to find her "heart."

  • On Location: The December Visit to Heroes Aren't Hard to Find

    21/12/2018 Duración: 01h20min

    Mike and Derek are back at Heroes Aren't Hard to Findin Charlotte, NC, for their December show. It's been a couple of months since their last visit to the shop -- this past fall was difficult for everyone -- but the guys are excited to sit down among customers and talk comics. And this being the end of 2018, they thought they'd discuss the year in review, the highlights, the news, and the notable titles that defined 2018. Among other topics, they cover the unfortunate passing of several comics legends over the past year, including Steve Ditko, Stan Lee, and Marie Severin. (They mistakenly bring up Bernie Wrightson, as well, although he died last year.) They also spend time talking about 2018 being the year that the imprints Black Crownand Berger Booksreally took off, the 1000th issue of Action Comics, the impact of Tom Kingthis year, Grant Morrison's new work on Green Lantern, and the past year in terms of the Marvel cinematic (and Netflix) universe. While Mike is free to share some of his favorite titles fr

  • Comics Alternative Interviews: Talking Again with Jon Morris

    20/12/2018 Duración: 01h19min

    Time Codes: 00:01:17 - Introduction 00:02:59 - Setup of interview 00:05:14 - Interview with Jon Morris 01:15:03 - Wrap up 01:17:05 - Contact us Jon Morris is back, once again, on The Comics Alternative, to share his research and sense of humor. His latest book The League of Regrettable Sidekicks (Quirk Books) is the follow up to his previous two works, The League of Regrettable Superheroes and The Legion of Regrettable Supervillains. In the spirit of the previous books, this one is a revealing and good-natured look at some of the strange creations making up comic-book history, figures that may be unknown or  completely forgotten by most enthusiasts. And perhaps for good reason. Also like the earlier works, Jon divides his survey into three temporal categories: the Golden Age, the Silver Age, and the Modern Age. Sterg and Derek have a fun time talking about the weirdness of this collection, their favorite "regrettable" sidekicks and henchmen, and their wonderment at how such figures made it into f

  • Episode 302: A Review of The Best American Comics 2018

    19/12/2018 Duración: 01h45min

    Time Codes: 00:01:23 - Introduction 00:03:26 - Live streaming again...and some context 00:06:25 - The Best American Comics 2018 01:39:33 - Wrap up 01:41:03 - Contact us As they always do, the Two Guys with PhDs use their penultimate show of the year to discuss the current volume of The Best American Comics. this year guest edited by Phoebe Gloeckner. Earlier in the week they released their interview with Bill Kartalopoulos, the series editor, about the 2018 collection, and in that conversation they talked about the process of pulling the anthology together and Bill's experiences working with Gloeckner. But on this episode, Sterg and Derek discuss the actual content of volume. Among other topics, they highlight the "best of" contributions from creators they were already familiar with -- e.g., Gabrielle Bell, Geof Darrow, Guy Delisle, Jaime Hernandez, Jesse Jacobs, Joe Ollman, Gary Panter, Keiler Roberts, and Ariel Schrag -- and also talk excitedly about artists they hadn't yet discovered, includin

  • Comics Alternative Interviews: Back Again with Bill Kartalopoulous

    17/12/2018 Duración: 01h17min

    Time Codes: 00:01:16 - Introduction 00:03:27 - Setup of interview 00:06:18 - Interview with Bill Kartalopoulos 01:13:04 - Wrap up 01:14:09 - Contact us   As the Two Guys like to do every year, they are back talking again with Bill Kartalopoulos about the latest volume of The Best American Comics (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt). This year the guest editor is Phoebe Gloeckner, perhaps best known for The Diary of a Teenage Girl. In fact, one of the topics of conversation with Bill is how different it might be working with vastly different comics creators as guest editors every year. Sterg and Derek also talk with their guest about the process of pulling together each year's volume, the inundation of submissions he receives, strategies for choosing what to include, the (at times) painful process of excluding from the anthology certain comics due to logistical reasons, his relationship with the publisher, and unique directions that perhaps he may want to take the series. There's not much discussion surro

  • Comics Alternative Interviews: Another Conversation with Tom Hart

    14/12/2018 Duración: 01h35min

    Time Codes: 00:01:21 - Introduction 00:03:12 - Setup of interview 00:04:32 - Interview with Tom Hart 01:32:14 - Wrap up 01:33:38 - Contact us On this interview episode, Sterg and Derek are excited to have Tom Hart back to discuss his new book, The Art of the Graphic Memoir: Tell Your Story, Change Your Life(St. Martin's Griffin). Tom was on the podcast not quite three years agoto discuss his new memoir at the time Rosalie Lightning, but this time he's returned to talk not so much about story content, but about the processof creating a graphic memoir. As he discusses with the Two Guys, Tom's latest book is more instructional or how-to, covering the necessary steps in planning for, organizing, structuring, visualizing, and finalizing a memoir through the comics medium. In addition, he points out that the very project of writing and illustrating one's own life story isn't only about sharing a story with readers, but perhaps just as important, using the very process of creation as a way of revisiting

  • Episode 301: Reviews of Che: A Revolutionary Life, The Lodger #1 & #2, and Die #1

    12/12/2018 Duración: 01h43min

    Time Codes: 00:01:32 - Introduction 00:03:42 - Our first-ever live streaming recording 00:07:13 - Thank you to new Patreon backers! 00:09:33 - Che: A Revolutionary Life 00:47:02 - The Lodger #1 & #2 01:11:39 - Die #1 01:34:22 - Wrap up 01:38:05 - Contact us This is a very special episode of The Comics Alternative, in that it's the guys' very first live recording. That's right, Sterg and Derek decided to record this week's show via Google Hangouts. Yesterday -- Tuesday, December 11 -- they scheduled a live-streaming broadcast, and fans of the show could watch the Two Guys with PhDs Talking about Comics record a show in real time. As Sterg put it on Twitter, "Come for the slow motion train wreck, but stay when it is instead a great talk about some recent comics!" And everything went off just fine. On this episode they began with a discussion of Jon Lee Anderson and José Hernández's Che: A Revolutionary Life (Penguin Press). This is graphic adaptation of Anderson's 1997 biography of Che Guevar

  • Comics Alternative Interviews: Back with Noah Van Sciver

    11/12/2018 Duración: 01h18min

    Time Codes: 00:01:15 - Introduction 00:03:32 - Setup of interview 00:04:53 - Interview with Noah Van Sciver 01:15:14 - Wrap up 01:16:39 - Contact us The Two Guys with PhDs are very happy to have back on the podcast Noah Van Sciver. He was first on the show back in March 2015, and a lot of things have changed with him since the guys last talked with Noah (and not just his growing of a mustache). Most significantly, his output has been through the roof! One of the things Sterg and Derek discuss with their guest is the sheer volume of his comics creation. Over the past six months alone he has released four different titles, and from a variety of publishers: Constant Companion (Fantagraphics), Blammo #10(Kilgore Books and comics), One Dirty Tree(Uncivilized Books), and Fante Bukowski 3: A Perfect Failure(Fantagraphics). The guys talk with Noah about his work habits, his penchant for working with different publishers, his ability to juggle different projects at the same time, and his current work and

  • Euro Comics: Review of Piero and The First Man

    10/12/2018 Duración: 01h26min

    Time Codes: 00:01:23 - Introduction 00:04:25 - Better late than never 00:05:54 - Piero 00:40:32 - The First Man 01:23:26 - Wrap up 01:24:39 - Contact us Pascal and Derek are back with the latest Euro Comics episode...the very late November show. They begin with Edmond Baudoin's Piero(New York Review Comics). This is a fascinating and moving memoir -- or better yet, a series of remembrances -- from Baudoin and his relationship with his younger brother Pierre, or Piero. While the title and the story itself would lead one to believe that this is the story of Edmond's younger brother, it's actually a narrative that focuses on the author himself. Edmond, or Momon, as he's called in the book, is at the center of this text, and he's explored and defined within the context of his brother and their relationship, especially as it concerns art and illustration. After that, the Two Guys turn to Jacques Ferrandez's adaptation of Albert Camus's The First Man(Pegasus Books). This isn't the first time the guy

  • Manga: Reviews of Sailor Moon Eternal Edition Vols. 1 & 2 and Mob Psycho 100 Vol. 1

    07/12/2018 Duración: 01h18min

    Time Codes: 00:01:26 - Introduction 00:03:27 - Late again 00:05:13 - Sailor Moon Eternal Editions, Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 00:46:09 - Mob Psycho 100, Vol. 1 01:14:53 - Wrap up 01:16:01 - Contact us   On this episode of The Comics Alternative/s manga series -- the November show, albeit a little late -- Shea and Derek take a look at two series that give us a varied understanding of the medium. They begin with the first two volume's of Naoko Takeuchi's Sailor Moon Eternal Edition(Kodansha Comics). This is a classic shojo series from the 1990s, and as the guys discuss, it's something that they've heard about for years, but it's not a title that they actually read. Both Derek and Shea are quite surprised with the story, in that it's quite different from what they expected...and in a good way. The guys discuss Takeuchi's visual style, the complex layering of her story elements, and the fantastical tone of the narrative, among other aspects. After that, the Two Guys check out One's Mob Psycho 100, Vol. 1 (D

  • Comics Alternative Interviews: Conor Stechschulte

    06/12/2018 Duración: 01h20min

    Time Codes: 00:01:15 - Introduction 00:03:15 - Setup of interview 00:05:06 - Interview with Conor Stechschulte 01:15:57 - Wrap up 01:17:44 - Contact us On this episode of The Comics Alternative's interview series, the Two Guys have the pleasure of talking with Conor Stechschulte. The third volumeof his ongoing series, GenerousBosom (Breakdown Press), was released in the spring, and Sterg and Derek have an enlightening conversation with Conor about this narrative. While in the first two parts the story was flowing in one discernible direction, more or less, it takes a strange and disturbing turn in the third part. The guys talk with their guest about this narrative trajectory and what it may portend. And as they intuit from the latest installment of Generous Bosom, there are more surprises in store. They also talk with Conor about his other comics, The Amateurs (which was reviewed on the podcast in June 2014), his self-published work, his relationship with his UK publisher, and his inclusion in la

  • Episode 300: The December Previews Catalog

    05/12/2018 Duración: 02h54min

    It's the first of a new month, and that must mean that the Two Guys with PhDs Talking about Comics will be looking at the latest Previews catalog. This is a rather long episode -- going for almost three hours -- so you get your money's worth! But what makes this show extra special is that it's the 300th episode of The Comics Alternative's weekly review show. As Derek points out, there are over twice as many episodes of the podcast that have been released since August 2012, accounting for the many interviews, specials, and the various monthly shows, but with the regularly weekly review shows, they've now reached a notable milestone. For December, Sterg and Derek discuss a variety of  publishers and titles solicited in Previews such as: Image Comics - Sharkey the Bounty Hunter #1, Bully Wars Vol. 1, High Crimes, and Leviathan Dark Horse Comics - The Girl in the Bay#1 and EC Archives: Two-Fisted Tales Vol. 4 DC Comics/Vertigo - Mera: Tidebreaker, Absolute Daytripper, and Promethea: The 20th Anniversary Del

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