Aaron is joined, once again, by his two Skullkickers reading friends, Jon Parrish and Josh Blasingame to discuss the final two volumes of Skullkickers. Written by Jim Zub, illustrated by Edwin Hwang, and colored by Misty Coats. Published by Image Comics in 2014. The laugh out loud comedy continues through to the very end of Skullkickers. Aaron, Jon, and Josh discuss the ending of the series, as well as the nature of serialized fiction and independently published comics.
Aaron is joined by his good friend and recurring guest, Alex Harner, to discuss the groundbreaking graphic novel, A Contract with God, by Will Eisner. First published by Baronet Books in 1978. A Contract with God is widely considered to be one of the first and most influential "graphic novels" published. Throughout the three books that make up the trilogy, the story covers a wide array of characters and their day to day troubles living in the fictional New York neighborhood, Dropsie Avenue. The stories mostly take place in the 1930's and 40's and draw upon Eisner's own experiences growing up in that time period. In addition to discussing his craft and storytelling abilities, Aaron and Alex discuss Eisner's long lasting influence over the comic art form, as well as his place in comics history.
Aaron is joined by returning guest Luke Thompson-Moritz for this much belated episode discussing iZombie, books 3 & 4 by Chris Roberson and Mike Allred. First published by Vertigo in 2012. In this episode, we talk about the final two books and wrap up our discussion of the series. The plot builds to its climax as Gwen and the other monsters have to figure out how to deal with the ultimate monster, a Lovecraftian being from another dimension! We also spend a fair amount of time lamenting the fact that this wonderful horror/comedy comic only ran for 28 issues.
Aaron is joined by his good friends and super husband and wife team, Alex Harner and Taryn Trousdale to discuss Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind by Hayo Miyazaki. First published by Tokuma Shoten in 1982. Nausicaa is the brainchild of the acclaimed animator and founder of Studio Ghibli and remains his largest and most complex work of his career. This post apocalyptic comics blends science fiction and fantasy to create a world overrun by deadly fungus and gigantic insects, rendering much of it uninhabitable. Nausicaa is the young princess of a small nation that has been drafted into a world war between the two largest empires. She seeks to understand the nature of the poisonous plant life while simultaneously stopping the war that threatens to wipe out the remaining humans surviving on the desolated Earth.
Aaron is joined by three guests, Alex Harner, Gabriel Dunston, and Cole Phillips to discuss Blankets by Craig Thompson. First published by Top Shelf Productions in 2003. Blankets is Thompson's epic autobiography about his early childhood in an overbearing evangelical Christian home and growing into adolescence and experiencing his first love and loss. The discussion revolves around the artistic care given to how this story is told and the different and similar ways we all identify with Thompson's experiences.
Aaron is joined by three special guests, artistic collaborator Chris McJunkin, writer Jordan Alsaqa, and editor and writer Steve Higgins to talk about Alias, by Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Gaydos. First published by Marvel Comics in 2001. Alias was Marvel's first "R" rated comic book and came out at a time when the mainstream superhero landscape was in a great, creative shift. It tells the story of Jessica Jones, an ex-superhero turned private eye who takes odd and difficult cases that hover around the fringes of Marvel continuity. They also discuss the recent Netfilx series adaptation of the comic.
Aaron is joined by first time guest, Jordan Alsaqa, to discuss the classic Daredevil story Born Again, written by Frank Miller and drawn by David Mazzucchelli. Considered one of the greatest Daredevil comics ever made, Born Again details the Kingpin's efforts to systematically ruin Daredevil's life and ultimately drive him to a mental breaking point. This comic is Frank Miller at his finest, effortlessly indulging in gritty, pulp, crime drama archetypes that would ultimately set the standard for Daredevil and his ongoing mythology.
Aaron is joined by returning guests Anthony Mathenia and Tim Albaugh to discuss Supreme by Alan Moore and Rick Veitch. First published (sort of) by Image Comics in 1996. With a beautiful sense of irony, Alan Moore reboots Rob Liefeld's violent Superman archetype as a loving tribute to the classic Superman comics of the Golden and Silver Age. Supreme returns to Earth after a long absence only to find that reality is changing around him. He soon discovers that he is at the beginning of a "reboot" and meets all the previous versions of himself that used to exist until they were revised. In typical Alan Moore fashion, the story takes on a meta narrative as it simultaneously satirizes and pays homage to Superman and the greater comic book industry as a whole. Moore proves that comic books can be written to deal with contemporary adult subject matter and still maintain the sense of fun and adventure without resorting to being dark and gritty.
Aaron is joined by two friends and talented artists, Kevin Bandt and Alex Harner, to discuss Asterios Polyp by David Mazzuchelli. First printed by Pantheon Books in 2009. Asterios Polyp is a fascinating example of comics as literature. It tells the story of an professor of architecture, the titular Asterios Polyp, whose entire life is wiped away in a fire. With nothing but the clothes on his back, he travels to a random rural town and attempts to restart his life while reflecting on his failed marriage and career. Mazzucchelli weaves this story through a complex display of symbolism, artistic design, and narrative structure. Aaron, Kevin, and Alex all push their tiny brains to the limit as they try to absorb, understand, and explain the depth of Asterios Polyp.
Aaron is joined the Sara Rude to discuss her favorite comic, Lumberjanes, by Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, Shannon Walters, and Brooke A. Allen. First published by Boom! Studios in 2014. Lumberjanes is an all ages comic that follows a scout troop at an all girls summer camp. When the girls notice strange and magical animals infesting the surrounding forest, they decide to investigate the mysteries surrounding the camp. Aaron and Sara discuss the storytelling style of this comic, whether or not it is strictly a "girls comic", and highlight some of their favorite jokes.