#813 “Cross Game”: Baseball manga that’s not about baseball (much)

Cross Game

Mitsuru Adachi’s Cross Game is a baseball manga for people who don’t care about baseball. A tragedy early in the story helps to shape the narrative, but there’s also a good dose of unexpected comedy, and sequences that really make us want to cheer for Ko and his friends as they work toward the goal of reaching the high school baseball championship. Kumar at last succeeds at getting this one on the podcast schedule, and Tim is happy to come along.

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#812 Jonah Lobe on character anatomy and “Quiet: Level One”

Quiet: Level One

Jonah Lobe, after many years designing characters for video games, has recently turned his attention to comics. He’s the illustrator of Marvel Anatomy: A Scientific Study of the Superhuman, in which we can finally learn just what’s going on inside characters like Wolverine, Venom, and Modok. He’s also on the verge of his first Kickstarter campaign, for Quiet: Level One, about a skeleton named Quiet who’s up against an evil Conan the Barbarian-type called Galahorn. He talks with Tim about his inspiration for Quiet, the difference between making video games and making comics, whether anatomy is important in cartoony drawing styles, and more.

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#811 “Blood of the Virgin”: About much more than filmmaking

Blood of the Virgin

On the surface, Sammy Harkham’s Blood of the Virgin is about an editor of b-movies in 1970s L.A. who has greater artistic aspirations, but it’s also rich with unexpected explorations of character and narrative approaches, themes about the creative process, responsibility, and being an immigrant, and Harkham’s best art and writing to date. Over a decade in the making, the book was finally released in a collected volume last year, and the work shows. Matt E. and Kumar can’t help but heap praise on it.

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#810 “Batman/Dylan Dog”: Dark Knight meets Nightmare Investigator

Batman/Dylan Dog

Batman meets Italy’s humorous horror icon Dylan Dog in a beautiful three-issue series, originally published in Italian and recently released in English from DC. Tim and Emmet could recommend it on the art alone, but the story gives us a lot to discuss as well, including very rich conversations between characters and an interesting take on the Caped Crusader.

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Critiquing Comics #237: “Detective Perez: Autotropolis” and “Griz Grobus”

Detective Perez

Paul Pate releases his third “Detective Perez” graphic novel, called Autotropolis, a turned-to-eleven detective story that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Tim and Jason find a lot to like and not too terribly much to advise on — though of course almost any work can still be improved! Right?

Griz Grobus

Griz Grobus, the latest from Simon Roy, is about a robot advocate for eating your veggies on a planet where humans have settled just in the past few hundred years. It’s also about how the spirit of a war god ends up in the body of… well, that would be telling. Tim and Adam discuss whether, in this case, maybe a work can’t possibly be improved!

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#809 Pidge interview: “Fiction is a way to tell the truth”

Pidge - Infinite Wheatpaste

Sure, comics are great for fantastical stories, but they can tell intimate, personal stories as well — or sometimes the personal and the fantastical mix well. Artist and writer Pidge is the creator of the series Infinite Wheatpaste, which employs this method. Avery Hill has just published a collection of the series, called Infinite Wheatpaste vol 1: Catalytic Conversions. This week Pidge talks with Emmet about her attraction to the comics medium, but concern that it doesn’t cover all the aspects of life that it could: “Having coffee with your friend is worth putting in a comic.”

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#808 Jack Kirby’s “The Eternals” 1-4: Chariots of the Superheroes?

Eternals 1So many Jack Kirby creations focus on gods, from The Mighty Thor to New Gods; he picked up concepts from myth or elsewhere and made them his. Kirby’s The Eternals makes no bones about where its inspiration came from: Erich von Däniken’s 1968 book Chariots of the Gods?. This week Tim and Emmet discuss the first four issues, from 1976. And play along with Emmet in the ongoing game “Did someone lift this idea from Kirby?”

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Critiquing Comics #236: “Clover and Cutlass” and “Coiled to Strike”

"Clover and Cutlass" and "Coiled to Strike"

Clover and Cutlass is a Dungeons and Dragons-inspired fantasy YA comedy web comic by Toby Boyd. Adam joins Tim to discuss. Coiled to Strike is an anthology book from Wildstar Press, featuring numerous artists and writers, focused on the adventures of legendary wild west antihero Emory Graves. Jason joins Tim to critique.

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#807 Reviews: “Fiendish” and “Safer Places”

FiendishFriend of the show Irene Strychalski, former artist of such Marvel titles as Gwenpool and Silk, has been focused on her original title Fiendish, a lushly drawn (and colored, by Carlos Nicolas Zamudio) fantasy story. This week, Tim and Patrick discuss the first two volumes.

Safer PlacesAlso, Tim presents a mini-review of Safer Places by Kit Anderson, another book from our friends at Avery Hill.

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#806 “Berserk” v. 13 & 14: Is this scene necessary?

Berserk 14

Berserk volume 12 left us at a crucial point: The Band of the Hawk were to be sacrificed so that Griffith can join the Godhand. Horrified, Tim and Kumar moved quickly on to volume 13, which left us… horrified, in a less fun way. Casca is raped, in an unnecessarily long, confusing, and (ick) titillating scene (and we have to talk about it, so be warned).

The rest of 13 and the start of 14 finally bring us up to the status quo of the first 2 1/2 volumes, and get us started on a new story of Guts and Puck which…. doesn’t seem to move the story forward at all. While there are good points, our feelings about Kentaro Miura‘s series have become more complicated. And, by the way, how necessary was this 11-volume flashback?

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