After a lengthy hiatus, Comic DNA is back! Luke Thompson-Moritz returns to talk about the first volume of KaijuMax, by Zander Cannon. First published by Oni Comics in 2016. Kaijumax is a loving tribute to Japan's Kaiju (monster) movies by way of American prison drama TV shows. It is one of the stand out comics of 2016 that everyone is talking about... and we're no exception!
Aaron is joined by returning guest Gabriel Dunston to discuss Too Cool to be Forgotten by Alex Robinson. Published by Top Shelf in 2008. Robinson's poignant "slice of life" comic tells the story of 40 year old Andy's attempts to quit smoking. In a last ditch effort, he visits a New Age hypnotist. Though skeptical at first, Andy is put under by the Hypnotist and is shocked when he wakes up in his 15 year old body! Now forced to relive his high school years all over again, Andy reminisces about his youth all the while looking for the root cause of his smoking habit.
Gabe and Aaron talk extensively about this book for nearly two hours. The discussion covers everything from the book design and Robinson's cartooning, to the way readers will see themselves reflected in the storytelling.
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.