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Bomb Squad

Joe McCulloch is here as usual with his indispensable guide to the Week in Comics, highlighting the most interesting-sounding releases new to stores. Spotlight picks this week include new titles by Anna Hafisch and Eric Kostiuk Williams.

Meanwhile, elsewhere:

—News. The Turkish cartoonist Musa Kart has been indicted for “helping an armed terrorist organization while not being a member,” and faces up to 29 years in prison for his anti-Erdogan cartoons.

His work is often critical of Erdoğan’s increasingly authoritarian regime, but also of Fethullah Gülen, the alleged leader of last summer’s attempted coup, and of terrorism and extremism in Turkey overall. The substance of his work belies the government’s contention that he’s a Gülen Movement or PKK stooge.

Jim Morin of the Miami Herald has won this year’s Pulitzer for editorial cartooning.

Marvel continues its PR hot streak with the news that Indonesian artist Ardian Syaf planted coded references that have been commonly interpreted as having anti-Christian and anti-Semitic connotations. Marvel has said that it will remove the artwork from future printings of the comic, and that some form of disciplinary action will take place.

—Interviews & Profiles. For Archinect, Julia Ingalls talks to Ben Katchor.

“The strips are kind of written in a half-dream state,” Ben tells me over the phone. “I’m not fully asleep when I’m writing them, but I’m somewhere in between. A lot of them have this free-associative kind of quality as when I’m in a dream, but then I’m awake and I can edit them, make them coherent in some way.”

Tom Spurgeon talks to Jim Blanchard.

I rarely read comics nowadays. Occasionally I’ll re-read an old R. Crumb comic or Kirby-era Fantastic Four reprint or something like that. But, I’m not drawn to them, so I don’t really have any needs to be served by the comics industry. I see Fantagraphics’ output when I visit their wonderful store in Georgetown, but that’s about it. Most of the modern “indy/alternative” comics I see from the U.S.A. don’t engage me. Too self-conscious and niceity-nice. There are a few exceptions. It seems like comics in America stopped evolving around the same time rock music did in the ’80s and ’90s, but I’m out of the loop so I could be wrong. To me, the last great comics generation was the group that came up in the early-mid ’80s: Clowes, Bagge, Kaz, Friedman, Hernandez Bros., Burns — all with amazing, unique artistic chops and all on a par with the best of the previous generations’ cartoonists.

New podcasts include Frank Stack at RiYL and Gabby Schulz at Comics Alternative.

—Reviews & Commentary. LARB has been running a lot of comics writing lately, including Brad Prager’s review of Pushwagner’s Soft City

DAWN BREAKS over a modern apartment complex in the very first pages of Hariton Pushwagner’s dystopian graphic novel Soft City. The sun peers back at the reader from a single eye at its center. Its hundreds of fine, radiating lines call to mind a wild mane, the strands of which resemble heads of hair in William Blake’s work — paintings such as The Ancient of Days (1794), or any of a number of plates from The Book of Urizen, published in that same year. Pushwagner’s eye of providence invokes an array of eschatological meanings. The divine watches us with an organ akin to our own.

and Lily Hoang’s review of Emil Ferris’s My Favorite Thing is Monsters.

Ferris’s genre-bending narrative is part horror story, part noir. Karen makes herself into a detective — donning a trench coat and hat to fulfill the stereotype — when her upstairs neighbor Anka is found dead. Although there is no explicit evidence of foul play, Karen devotes her time to searching for clues that might support her suspicion that Anka was murdered. As an amateur sleuth, Karen patches together a retrospective narrative of Anka’s enigmatic life.


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