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Since we're talking indie comics...
Just like I don't understand why people like Drake, I don't understand why people like Saga.

Given benefit
of the doubt but still I hear
nothing but crickets

I don't care for Saga myself. But I wouldn't call Saga an indie comic. That's as mainstream, meat and potatoes, Law and Order SVU as it gets.

I got so burned out on corporate superhero comics that I pretty much only read French comics these days - in translation or in the original French. That and back issues of Heavy Metal.

re: Saga, well it's nice to know I'm not the only one who's unimpressed.
re: French comics, I've been giving some Humanoids stuff a try and been moderately pleased.
Honestly, I'd be happy if I just read Deforge all the time.

I think Saga is that little step above the other mainstream trash that it stands out. While it's nothing really special, it's still got personality and characters that have some life to them in my opinion. The little bits about the trials of new parents also hits a chord with me and I find it charming enough to keep up with. There's no way it should be getting the kind of acclaim that it is though...that's just a reflection of the very low level quality that people have come to accept, and I think that's why Saga makes a splash. Kind of like that Hawkeye issue (which I honestly thought was pretty terrible).

Good episode guys.

Saga as a mainstream comic helps me understand a lot, actually.
1) Maybe this is why people like it so much: it's a replacement for the completely dull Marvel/DC series. Because for all intents and purposes, Brian K Vaughan should be writing a Big Two book. And I'd wager (not knowing squat about these things) that the offers have been made and he's chosen to reject them. He could never kill off characters or make "meaningful" stories with the branded heroes, so he's gone his own way.
2) Maybe this is why I dislike it so much: I honestly thought it was trying to be an alternative comic (and maybe it is) but was put off by the generic characters and the trope-y themes. I guess I wanted Omega Man and got Zardoz instead. ;-)
PROPHET forever!

I find that a ton of superhero readers will label stuff like Saga or Fatale or Jupiter's Legacy as indie/alt comics and that's because they think that's as far away from corporate comics as you can get. It's sad/amazing how many people have no idea at the pure gold that's offered from publishers that aren't associated with Diamond.

So who are the prominent up and coming indie/alt comic writers these days? I'm down with Matt on Deforge and CF, but surely there's other guys doing interesting things with language and narrative.

Dash Shaw and Jonny Negron immediately spring to mind.

So a common complaint about this podcast is that everyone sounds the same? I don't agree with that. Tucker, Joe, Matt and Chris all have distinctive voices and points of view.

when Tucker Stone says "there might be geniuses that come out of the Spawn readership - i mean, i don't think there are but there MIGHT be": HILARIOUS.

also, mad cojones for a comics retailer to say that a good way to re-invigorate one's relationship with the medium is to stop consuming it for a while.

Surprised to hear you guys come down so hard on Gaiman.

I love Coraline! Serious.

It's probably because I'm drunk, but I think this is one of the best episodes yet.

I could say a bunch about comics and the internet and webcomic this and internet that. I know I need to tell a friend about the story of the guy (he will be known simply as THE GUY) who writes only on an old Dell laptop with the internet hole glued in.

As far as criticism on the internet, and comic artists having to face it, I think it's a necessity. Not to their skill in creating comics, but in their ability to function as human beings. Hardening one's heart to any type of criticism is important to any artistic creator of any form, if they make comics or paintings or scribbles or articles. If they can't handle someone on the internet saying YOU SUCK then they're not going to hack it at anything. It doesn't matter if they're right or wrong or orange or purple, they have to be able to learn how to take it, no matter what it is. If they can't, they either don't have the conviction to hack it, or maybe they're really wrong. Or maybe they're not wrong but they are confident enough in what they say, in that case they need to look within and blah blah, so even if they are right, or maybe even wrong, or even if they have an opinion that is a shiv to the ribs of half the populace, they have to learn to stand behind it. They have to be gracefully wrong, if they're willing to go out and be wrong. Or they have to at least be willing. Perhaps they have to be willing to rethink what they just said, and if they stand behind it then they have to have that strength, or if they have to reject it and start over, they have to have that even greater strength. And anyone who makes a comic that says anything personal needs to be able to do that too, if they want to make anything that's any good.

But I could just be babbling. My post sounds like a lot of platitudinous bullshit, but I'm serious about at least 70% of it. I've made shitty dumb awful comics, intentionally and unintentionally. Sometimes I've been sincere about them, which is painful when you make something sincere and it ends up being fucking stupid ass godawful unreadable bullshit, which makes me understand why any comic writer would avoid trying to be too serious or sincere about anything ever.

Also I hear you guys mention Kramer's Ergot a bunch but I've never seen it at any comic store (one comic store) I've been to, and I don't think it's on comixology, so I don't think I have any chance to read it.

Kramers 6 is maybe the best volume and is easily found on Amazon. Not sure but didn't the series start with #4 or something? 7 is that massive one which is hard to find/expensive and 8 should be really easily found. But I'd definitely start with 6.

"also, mad cojones for a comics retailer to say that a good way to re-invigorate one's relationship with the medium is to stop consuming it for a while."

It's more self-protective, honestly. Comics is so built around suckering people into coming in every single week to buy something, anything--and after years of doing this, my experience is that all that does is create a short binge/purge window where you people get bled out for a while until the credit card bills get terrifying. It's way healthier to have a customer base who buys and reads stuff they care about and want to read again on a part time basis than to rely on full time hyperconsumption. I get that the direct market industry is built on that, but it's super crazy unhealthy in the long run for all parties concerned. People who binge don't become people who dip in and out. They just quit entirely, wait a few years, and hit the reset button.

" If they can't, they either don't have the conviction to hack it, or maybe they're really wrong."
I just yanked this line, but in general, your whole paragraph kind of---I just don't agree. Sure, I think artists who respond and react and even read criticisms of their work are basically wasting their time, but whether or not they are, I think that what you're doing is creating an environment where artists are expected to have a specific type of personality--a hardened, I-don't-give-a-fuck, kind of personality--just to get by. I think "being good at being on the Internet" is a skill that has absolutely nothing to do with whether you're a good artist, thinker, or person--and I think that when we're talking about not taking it personally, we're talking about "being good at being on the Internet".

I'm not trying to shoot you down or anything, i get that you're trying to figure this out as much as I am. I just wanted to clarify where I'm coming from with this stuff.

Dave--Kramers started with 1. The first two are small single issues, the third has a spine and a terrible comic in it about cute animals.

I think there are far too many cartoonists in the English-language market who draw really really pretty pictures but have nothing interesting to say. Partly I blame a lack of diversity in the community of cartoonists; too many young white middle-class people with very little life experience and no real interaction with the world outside of being in art school or working as an illustrator/cartoonist, whose only frame of reference is pop culture and their circle of like-minded friends (and I implicate myself entirely in this category).

Partly this problem is exacerbated by the culture of "solo writer-artists" being held up in our comic book community as the only real "artists"-- and I do this too, a lot. I think it's really hard to expect someone to master both the art of drawing really beautifully and writing something really intelligent and interesting, especially for anyone under 30 to pick an arbitrary number. More collaborations! More adaptations! More nonfiction comics!

Partly what Tucker and Matt are describing, tho, is the inevitable maturation of a medium. And it's actually really great. It's what Kim Thompson was calling for when he said we need "more crap." Now we just need to expand the circle of people reading it to make that middle-brow crap accessible to the general public, so that the insanely-dedicated avant-garde art scene can function separately.

A lot of writers writing the same type of stories drawn by artists who are all drawing like each other.

I liked the point I can't remember if it was Tucker or Matt who said it about how a lot of even the so-called good stuff, are just these knockoff pastiches of great work from other mediums. I see very little out there that is people trying to say something that speaks to them, in their own voice. There's not very much work being made right now that you can read and be like "this absolutely had to be made"

I mean how many people are running around on tumblr making Michael Deforge knockoff comics now? It now takes me a minute to be like "oh wait, this is an actual deforge comic".

I liked this episode. It reinforced a lot of thoughts about my own work, and made me question other things I'm doing.

Malaise Forever!

to me ant least, solo comics are the only real comics. if you don't know how to MAKE COMICS, you shouldn't be "making comics". adaptations are a good idea though, provided they aren't from other visual media.

Matt - Would that mean Alan Moore hasn't made 'real comics'? I know he's drawn his own comics here and there but anything of note has been a collaboration. Or maybe he's the exception? I've heard you say before that you've liked some of his stuff so I was just curious. Maybe I'm kind of splitting hairs here... I get your larger point.

Alan Moore knows how to make comics though. So how is that an exception?

Because he said that 'solo comics are the only real comics' by which I think he meant one person creating the entire comic, not a collaboration. While Moore has drawn some comics, none of them are really notable, which, to me, would imply he doesn't know how to 'make comics' in the sense I think Matt means. He's only been successful in the role of writer.

i didn't say the only good ones - they're the ones i'm interested in, everything else is just over there somewhere. there's exceptions to absolutely everything i say, also...

I kinda like that song Started from the Bottom because it's about how Drake started from the bottom, but now his "whole team" is "here" (wherever that is, but probably someplace pretty swank, I'd figure, at least if they have swank places in Canada). It's not just him celebrating how he's made it all by himself-- he's into teamwork. I think that's nice.

I just watched the video for that song and I appreciate how excited Drake and his team are at the prospect of all this cool expensive stuff they get to do. They're not like "I drink vodka from a diamond skull" they're like "whoa! Jet skis!!" That vindicates them a lot in my eyes.
Also I doubt that's Dan Deacon in the video, but I'm going to go ahead and assume that's Dan Deacon, making me appreciate Drake and his team that much more.

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