Sunday, March 31, 2013

The Lucy Knisley Interview

In this special edition of Ancillary Characters we welcome Lucy Knisley for a discussion about her work and career and her new book Relish: My Life in the Kitchen. 

Lucy is an amazing illustrator and comic creator and you can find her work online at Her books French Milk, Radiator Days, and Relish: My Life in the Kitchen as well as her other self-published works can be found at your favorite online retailer. 

Send us your feedback on this episode to or visit our site at where you can read our review of Relish as well as other written content. Find us at or on Twitter @ancillarytweets.

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Thursday, March 28, 2013

Episode 56: Real American Heroes

Here's episode 56, fresh from the bunker and ready for the battlefield. 

I'm going for a theme here, see. A G.I. JOE theme. 

Anyway, Allen, Ethan, Paul and Seth are back to talk comic news and review a bunch of books. 

During the news they talk the latest round of DC creative team changes as well as the new trailed for The Wolverine.

In the take-it-or-leave-it segment they review the Batman: Requiem books, Relish: My Life in the Kitchen by Lucy Knisley, Five Ghosts: The Haunting of Fabian Gray #1 and Superior Spider-Man 4-5.

During the G.I. JOE segment they talk about Cobra: The Last Laugh, the IDW Collected Edition volume 1, Tranformers VS G.I. JOE #1 (volume 1) G.I. Joe #2, G.I. Joe: Special Missions #1, and G.I. Joe #21 (original Marvel series).

Find us on the web at, and Also on twitter @ancillarytweets and send us your emails to

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G.I. JOE #1 & #2 / G.I. JOE: Special Missions #1

G.I. Joe has been launched, and relaunched more times than any other title in the history of comics. This is a fact.

Interestingly enough we're getting the third relaunch under the watchful eye of publisher IDW. This time out Fred Van Lente and artist Steve Kurth are at the helm. While Kurth is a relative unknown, Van Lente is one of the more prominent writers to take a stab at a JOE title since Max Brooks wrote the Hearts & Minds miniseries. The series launched last month to a fairly substantial amount of fanfare and relatively solid reviews. 

Our story picks up where the previous JOE incarnation ended. With JOE's previously-secret identity now made public by Cobra, the government decides to bring the "highly trained special missions force" into the modern era. They do this by essentially turning them into a "highly trained, special PR campaign", which pleases none of the veterans, particularly team leader Duke. 

Meanwhile a town called Warrenton, Ohio (obviously our villains have a thing for Ohio as they've previously gained ground in Springfield, Ohio as well) has been overtaken by the "ruthless criminal organization" known as Cobra. General Colton dispatches Duke and his hand picked team of soldiers to the town in an effort to stop Cobra's first real showing on American soil in quite some time. The team is comprised mostly of recognizable JOE characters with the exception of a legacy character and, unfortunately, a new one called Hashtag. The team hits the streets of Warrenton where they're quickly attacked by the locals with everything from rocket launchers to machine guns and from there the action escalates.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Relish: My Life in the Kitchen by Lucy Knisley

You can now hear our interview with Lucy right here...

What is Relish? Not the condiment eaten on a Chicago-styled hot dog (although that does sound delicious) but rather the latest book by Lucy Knisley. Is it an auto-bio graphic novel or an illustrated cook book? Is it a travelogue or a cooking memoir? In truth, it's all these things. Relish opens with an adorably drawn panel of Lucy as a baby, clothed in a diaper, seated on the family's kitchen counter grasping a wheel of cheese. It ends in a panel of equal adorableness with Lucy as an adult, eating carrots in her own kitchen with a smile etched on her face as she tells us to face life with "Relish".

In between these panels we get a tome chock full of anecdotes, short stories and, yes, recipes that have helped shape Lucy's life.

For any follower of hers it's always a treat when a new Lucy Knisley book hits the shelves. Whether it's the short and sweet comic strips of Radiator Days or the enticing recounting of her trip abroad in the similarly food-themed French Milk, her work never disappoints and consistently shows growth into not just an wonderful cartoonist but into an equally capable writer. Perhaps the growth can be attributed to the independent nature of her work. She is, after all, responsible for the creative content of Relish, from the words to the pictures and unlike some artists who illustrate their own writing, she has a wonderful eye for what to show and what to tell.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Finding Gossamyr

 Let's not kid ourselves; writing is hard work. A grueling, toilsome, often thankless task that occasionally leaves the writer questioning themselves at every turn. It's nearly a miracle that anything of value is turned out in written form. This makes the task of writing for people of all ages that much more difficult. Think about it, you not only have to invent interesting characters that live and breathe on the page. You not only have to plot and create an intriguing story. Now you have to do those things and make it accessible to young readers as well as older, more mature ones.

It's these obstacles that make books like Bone, Thor: The Mighty Avenger, and Friends with Boys so astonishing. Well, add Finding Gossamyr to the list of stunningly successful all ages reads.

"Gossamyr" revolves around a young boy named Denny and his older caretaker/sister Jenna. Denny is sort of a savant and when he unlocks a math equation that opens a portal to a mystical realm, he and Jenna find themselves in the midst of an epic adventure.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

The Watercooler: Digital Comics with Slim

A brand new once-monthly discussion show from the Ancillary Characters! In our first episode we welcome @slim of the Comixologist and Paperkeg podcasts for a talk about digital comics. 

To contribute ideas for future shows or to suggest a guest e-mail us at Visit us on twitter @ancillarytweets or at!

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Thursday, March 21, 2013

Episode 55: All-Ages Bonanza Part 2

We're back.

The discussion of books for readers of every age continues! This time we ignore the news segment and instead do some team reviews of Stuff of Legend and Mouse Guard. Then we review a bunch of books such as Adventure Time, Rust, Legends of Zita the Spacegirl, New York Four, Friends with Boys, Peanuts and more. 

We also received some letters with pertinent topics which we talk about at the top of the show. 

Find us online at or at or at @ancillarytweets. You can also watch the shows live at

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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Giants Beware!

If a story's greatness is defined by the likability of it's lead character then Giants Beware is up there with the behemoths of fiction. In Claudette, the lead character of Giants Beware!, Jorge Aguirre (writer) and Rafael Rosado (artist) have created one of the most memorable leads in a comic since Jeff Smith's Bone creations. She's at once intense and adorable. Motivated and lovable. Claudette is a character that lives and breathes on the page like few others we've seen.

Comparisons between Giants and Bone are obvious but not entirely without merit. Both stories center around missions undertaken by three leads whose personalities and foibles bounce off one another like rubber balls on a warm summer sidewalk. Claudette is accompanied by her best friend, Marie and her little brother Gaston. Marie is sort of cut from the Disney princess mold; though to nigh-parody degrees. While Gaston is the loyal companion who more than once saves the day by sheer accident.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Episode 54: All Ages Bonanza Part 1

Hey guys! The Ancillary Characters are back, but they're mixing things up with the first half of a two-part themed special focused entirely on All Ages comics! Join us as we talk all kinds of great books, from Atomic Robo and Cardboard to some fantastic new series such as Finding Gossamyr and Princeless! There are even a couple of cartoons reviewed, including the yet-to-premiere "Rocket Monkeys" and the final season of Green Lantern: The Animated Series. Don't worry, that's not all, there's plenty more where that came from, and even more to come next week!

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Thursday, March 7, 2013

The Great Ben Kingsley Parody Experiment

A new day has dawned, a new episode has struck. Buckle down, kiddos. In this episode Allen, Ethan and Seth talk news, read your letters and then dig into a ton of comics.

In the news they discuss the new Iron Man 3 trailer, the latest Justice League movie rumors and the fallout of the Sullivan's Sluggers debacle. They also talk about the positives and negatives of Kickstarter before Seth barrels into the next segment which is...

Take it or Leave it! 

Long-form reviews for The Order of the Stick, Green Lantern 18, Swamp Thing 18, Animal Man 18, Lost Vegas 1, and Helheim 1.

In the speed-round they rip through, Fairy Quest 2, Detetive Honeybear, Artful Daggers, Detective Comics 18, A+X 5, Atomic Robo: Two Fisted Tales, and Guardians of the Galaxy: Infinite.

Thanks for listening! 

Btw, leave us a review on iTunes! Reach us @ancillarytweets on twitter or at Also, obviously Send your opinionated rants to

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