Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Comics Alternative Podcast #196: The Stranger, Snot Girl #1, and Frontier #12

It's been too long, but I'm finally back co-hosting another episode of The Comics Alternative! This week, Derek Royal and I review Jacques Ferrandez' adaptation of Albert Camus' The Stranger (Pegasus Books);  issue #1 of Bryan Lee O'Malley and Leslie Hung's new ongoing series Snot Girl (Image Comics); and issue #12 of the single-creator anthology Frontier, featuring Kelly Kwang's "Space Youth Cadet" story-world (Youth in Decline)--oh, and we sneak in a few words about Frontier #6, Emily Carroll's "Ann by the Bed."

Unlike Derek, who has studied Camus extensively, I approached The Stranger as a complete novice. I'd of course heard a bit about the book (and Camus and his philosophy), but this was the first time I'd ever really encountered any of it, even second-hand. So although we both find a lot to recommend the book, our responses come from very different places.

Snot Girl strikes me as a book that either doesn't exactly know its audience yet, or (quite possibly) sets up a lot of story concepts in issue #1 which it intends to challenge as the series progresses. (The ever-present dangers inherent in reviewing only the first chapter of an on-going narrative!)

I wasn't aware of Frontier before, but after reading these two issues, I'm a convert, and I'll be hunting down past and upcoming issues. I'm a fan of Emily Carroll's dark folktale-like stories, and #6's "Ann by the Bed" presents a wholly believable "urban legend"--and its dark history. Kelly Kwang's "Space Youth Cadet" issue (#12) builds up an entire story world, while never quite telling a story itself. But that is no shortcoming; the book's use of gaming iconography and ephemera (computers, cards, apparel, more!) upload informative narrative subroutines directly into the reader's brain. I want to see more!

As always, click the link above to stream the episode, or you can subscribe via iTunes.

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