Oct 22, 2014
This week on the podcast, Derek and Andy discuss three new titles that range from the profound to the insane. They begin with the new book from Julie Maroh, Skandalon (Arsenal Pulp Press). It’s the story of a French rock star, Tazane, with international appeal and the power to move a vast legion of fans. The book is thesis driven, with Maroh exploring the dynamics, and the costs, of modern celebrity status and its affects on both the personal and collective psyche. Neither of the guys have yet read Maroh’s first graphic novel — and the one for which she’s best known — Blue Is the Warmest Color, but after digesting Skandalon they feel that their appreciation of the work may be enhanced, or at least contextualized, by the earlier book. Next, the Two Guys with PhDs move on the new work from Jeff Parker and Sandy Jarrell, Meteor Men (Oni Press). While at first they were skeptical of the potential formulaic nature of the narrative — aliens coming to Earth and the resulting aftermath — they’re fascinated by the ways in which Parker complicates conventions to make the story unique. They’re particularly struck by the book’s teenage protagonist, Alden, the complexities of his character, and the circumstances surrounding his link to the extraterrestrials. While the guys disagree as to extents of Parker and Jarrell’s deviation from the genre — Andy feels that the governmental/military response to the aliens is nuanced, while Derek thinks that it’s more predictable and even heavy-handed — they both conclude that Meteor Men presents a different perspective on a popular formula. This is no E.T. Finally, the guys wrap up with what both feel is the highlight of the week, the first issue of Joshua Hale Fialkov and Kody Chamberlain’s Punks: The Comic (Image Comics). This has to be one of the most whacked out comics they’re read in a long time, rivaling the craziness and no-holds-barred fun of Ryan Browne’s God Hates Astronauts and Evan Dorkin’s Milk and Cheese. In this first issue of the new ongoing series, we get two short stories — the funniest being the lead off, “Firsts” — a portion of an earlier, self-published Punks comic, and a three-page fun-and-activities section, complete with a card game called Nutpuncher. Andy and Derek laugh their way through the final part of the podcast, and they eagerly look forward to following the future exploits of Dog, Skull, Fist, and Abraham Lincoln. Also, the Two Guys welcome a new Podcast Patron, Tom Mathews, who believes The Comics Alternative does for comics what Sound Opinions does for music. You can’t get much better praise than that!