#679 Mark Russell

Billionaire IslandMark Russell has been one of the standout comics writers of the past five years, in part because he’s possibly the only mainstream comics writer doing satire (or, he would argue, fables). Since he burst on the scene with Prez and The Flintstones, he’s written a number of comics for several publishers that aren’t just comedy or action, they express his views and have deeper meanings.

This time, Tim’s interview with Mark. How did he get into comics, and start out in a Big Two book? Why did he use ’60s Hanna-Barbera character Snagglepuss to tell a story of gays in the 1950s? How do you “punch someone in the beef”? What inspired his latest, Billionaire Island? And how does he feel about being the only writer of his kind in mainstream comics?

#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)

Critiquing Comics #181: “Chad in Amsterdam 4”

Chad in Amsterdam 4

The latest installment of our beloved Chad in Amsterdam is here! As always, Chad combines some incisive but casual observational and philosophical discussion with the work of his great artist friends, but this time the focus is less on Amsterdam and more on Chad himself. Where is he from? What makes you “from” a place? Will Tim and Mulele like this issue as much as the others? (Well, what do you think!?)

The Law of Equivalent Exchange: “Fullmetal Alchemist” chapter 2

Fullmetal Alchemist ch 2

This week we present the second installment in a proposed new podcast series: The Law of Equivalent Exchange, a chapter-by-chapter discussion of the manga Fullmetal Alchemist. Tim and Patrick discuss chapter two of the series; while we remembered it as not having much of an impact on the overall story, the chapters in volume 1 turn out to do a lot of orientation to help prepare us for future volumes. We point out these signposts.

Critiquing Comics #180: “SpiderForest Webcomic Anthology 4”

Spider Forest

Last episode, we mentioned how writing a short, tight story can be more challenging than writing a sprawling epic. Right on cue comes Spider Forest Webcomic Anthology 4, an engaging collection of short comics by 17 creators of web comics. Tim and Mulele discuss which are the best (and which are merely good!), and whether perhaps some of these stories are a little too short.

Spider Forest Kickstarter – beginning October 12, 2020

#675 Gaiman’s “Black Orchid” and “The Books of Magic”

This time, two books by Neil Gaiman: Black Orchid, with art by Dave McKean, and The Books of Magic, drawn by John Bolton and other artists. The challenge of Black Orchid can be to simply figure out the backstory, and how Gaiman changed it! The Books of Magic‘s Tim Hunter character is Harry Potter before Harry Potter; coincidence? Kumar and Jordan look at the evidence.

Critiquing Comics #179: “The Solar Grid”

In a flooded New York City of the future, a corporate whistleblower is in a hurry to skip town. Tim and Mulele wish they understood more about the plot of The Solar Grid issue 1, by Gazeer, but this issue is more concerned with the comic’s world than its plot. So we critique what’s there!

#674 Introducing Zoe Thorogood!

The Impending Blindness of Billie Scott

Zoe Thorogood is a young British woman whose first graphic novel, The Impending Blindness Of Billie Scott, will be released in October. It’s the story of a young woman who’s just gotten her big break, being asked to paint ten works for a gallery show, when an injury causes her to gradually lose her eyesight. Along the way, she meets a number of interesting characters.

In this episode, Tim talks to Zoe about the ins and outs of making the book, and then discusses the book itself with Emmet.

The Law of Equivalent Exchange: “Fullmetal Alchemist” chapter 1

Fullmetal Alchemist ch 001

This week we present the first installment in a proposed new podcast series: The Law of Equivalent Exchange, a chapter-by-chapter discussion of the manga Fullmetal Alchemist. Tim and Patrick discuss what alchemy was in the real world, and the manga’s creator Hiromu Arakawa, then walk through the first chapter of the story.

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