#701 Barry Windsor-Smith’s “Monsters”

MonstersA story originally conceived as an Incredible Hulk tale in — really — the 1980s, Barry Windsor-Smith‘s Monsters has finally seen the light of day. How is it? Kumar and Dana find it a joy to look at, and containing a number of astonishing scenes and mind-blowing plot points, but also to have some serious drawbacks. Does the good outweigh the bad? Here’s their review.

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#699 “How to Be Happy”

How to be Happy

In this episode Kumar Sivasubramanian (psst our Eisner nominated member of the Deconstructing Comics team) and Emmet O’Cuana discuss Eleanor Davis‘s comics. Focusing mainly on her collection How To Be Happy and one-shot Libby’s Dad, the comic creator’s use of subtle sadness and surreal humor inspires a wide- ranging conversation (including how to be happy during a plague!).

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#691 Moore and Andrade’s “Crossed +100”

Crossed Plus 100

It’s debatable whether Garth Ennis’ series Crossed, about a disease that causes people to act in the most reprehensible ways possible, had any redeeming qualities, but when Alan Moore steps in to write the next chapter, you know it’s going to be worth discussing. And so we have Crossed +100 by Moore and Gabriel Andrade. In Moore’s hands, what is it, exactly, that the disease does? Is his attempt at writing future dialects of English annoying or fascinating? Kumar and Jordan settle in for a fascinating, but depressing, sequel.

#689 Priest’s “Black Panther”

Priest's Black Panther

In 1998, under the “Marvel Knights” banner, Christopher Priest began the first ongoing Black Panther title in nearly two decades. Panther was a relatively unknown character to many Marvel readers at the time. With the aid of “Emperor of Useless White Boys” Everett K. Ross, and artists like Mark Texeira and Joe Jusko, Priest (a.k.a. Jim Owsley) made Panther a must-read and brought the nature of his character into sharper focus. Kumar and Tim discuss the first 17 issues (the ones included in Black Panther by Christopher Priest: The Complete Collection Volume 1) and see if it still stands up 23 years later.

Michael Hoskin’s 4-part article

#687 “Crowded”

Crowded

Is it annoying or brilliant? A smart commentary on internet culture? Too trendy for the oldsters who make this podcast? Is it plausible enough to stand alongside the best in science fiction? Emmet and Kumar ask these questions and more in their review of Crowded  by Christopher Sebela, Ro Stein, Ted Brandt, Trina Farrell, and Cardinal Rae.

#684 Joe Sacco’s “Paying the Land”

Paying the Land

Comics journalist Joe Sacco is back, with an up-close look at the Dene people, of the western part of Canada’s Northwest Territories. Like many native peoples, their way of life was shattered by contact with colonial Europeans, who made traumatizing efforts to assimilate them into Western culture. What happened in western Canada, and what is the way forward for the Dene? Tim and Kumar discuss Paying the Land.

#682 “John Constantine: Hellblazer”

Hellblazer

The pandemic has caused a variety of entertainment content to go unreleased or even unmade. Unfortunately, that extends to the recent series John Constantine: Hellblazer by Simon Spurrier and Aaron Campbell, canceled after issue 12 when Spurrier had expected to get six more issues. Kumar and Jordan are big fans of the series, and this week they walk through the hilarious and frightening series we got.

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#678 Rumiko Takahashi’s first comedy, “Urusei Yatsura”

Urusei Yatsura

We’ve talked about several of Rumiko Takahashi’s manga series over the years, but this time we go back to the beginning with her first big hit, Urusei Yatsura, sometimes known in English as Lum. Tim and Kumar discuss the history of the strip, the gags you wouldn’t get without knowing Japanese, and what’s odd about it for being ostensibly a kids’ comic.

#677 “The Drifting Classroom”

Kazuo Umezu’s horror manga series The Drifting Classroom is a taboo-busting series: it was aimed at kids and employs kid logic and exaggeration to a story depicting outrageous violence being done to and by kids. Even if you’re into horror, that description may have you asking: “Is this for me?” In this episode, Kumar and Ryan try to answer that question.

Umezu in red and white. (Source: https://www.jprime.jp/articles/-/18187)

#671 Derf’s “Kent State”

Kent State

Fifty years ago, four students died when national guardsman inexplicably opened fire during an anti-war protest at Kent State University. The craziness of 2020 has hindered planned observances of the craziness of 1970, but we do get this: Derf Backderf’s Kent State: Four Dead in Ohio, a moving account of May 1-4, 1970, through the eyes of those who lost their lives.

In this episode, Tim and Kumar review the book, to be released September 8, and then Tim chats with Derf himself, answering our questions about the tragedy and the book.