Country or Western

The week, she continues tearassing along. Have you kept up with us? It's a rhetorical device intended to keep you reading this blog entry.

Kurt Ankeny's Cartoonist's Diary made two more stops since we last spoke: on Wednesday, it tried to go swimming and today, it hung out with a teenager.

Wednesday, your very own Paul Tumey swung by with a look at the latest Tom Van Deusen comic, and he pulled out the big guns: references to Classical Philosophy!

The ancient Greek philosopher Hepatitis once wrote, “The purpose of truth is so that we may know ourselves and each other.” If that’s the case, then Tom Van Deusen’s Expelling My Truth, reveals nothing and everything. The choice of the malapropism “expelling” in the title is a prime example of Van Deusen’s deadpan wit. As with all good comedy, there’s a core of truth to the gag. The definition of “expelled” is to deprive someone of membership to an organization or a society. If you read enough Van Deusen, you’ll soon see one of the recurring themes running underneath the surface of his hilarious, off-kilter comics is that of not belonging; of being an outsider.

Today, Sean Witzke is here with a dive into William Gibson, whose decades long dream of having his vision of franchise expansion fulfilled by Dark Horse Comics and Johnnie Christmas via Alien 3: The Unproduced Screenplay.

Alien 3 has a certain reputation with different groups -- to David Fincher, it was a nightmare first production for the enfant terrible director, one he has since refused to be associated with because the studio will not restore his child autopsy scene, which even the biggest Gone Girl fan in the world would admit is a bit much. For movie dorks, it’s a movie you like to argue is better than whoever is tolerating listening to you remembers. For most people, it’s the one where Sigourney Weaver got head shaved. For losers, it’s the one where Newt dies off-camera and they get angry. I remember Alien 3 as the first rated R movie that had a very large toy push, meaning I was being sold ephemera related to a product I technically wasn’t supposed to see.

And then Marc Sobel returned to us with the first of a two-parter revealing what he managed to track down on a visit to the Book Nook, a store that got a whole bunch of my money (and all my old cassette tapes and a bunch of my CD's) when I was growing up. Sobel doesn't say that his column--whose focus is primarily the British comics anthology Trident--is a present for me, but that's okay, some guys have trouble talking about their feelings. Thanks Marc! I see you!

My tastes in comics are all over the map, but I have a special love for ‘80s and ‘90s British anthologies. There was such intense passion for the medium back then, and it went so much deeper than just 2000 A.D. and Warrior, or Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman, and Grant Morrison. There were hundreds of talented creators publishing comics in series like Crisis, RevolverEscapeDeadlineA1, and Electric Soup.

Trident Comics, an offshoot of Neptune Distribution, a comics distributor based in Leicester, was a small press publisher in the late '80s, and this short-lived anthology was its flagship title. The series was edited by Martin Skidmore, who had previously edited the Fantasy Advertiser, a British adzine. If you think of these anthologies as a poker hand, Trident had a pair of aces: Bacchus by Eddie Campbell and St. Swithin’s Day by Grant Morrison and Paul Grist. But the series attracted a surprisingly large number of other well-known creators to its eight issues, including Neil Gaiman, Phil Elliott, John Ridgeway, Alan Davis, and Mark Millar.




Today at TCJ, we're roaring into a short week with plenty of TCJ branded online content for you: hopefully you'll stick around for the duration. I'll be hanging out at a school bus stop for the first time in over twenty years, if you need me. I'm the guy who is sick of sharpening pencils.

That's not the only trip that's going down though--why not relax into the brain of Cynthia Rose, who'll walk you through the halls of Paris' Musée Guimet for their current show, On the Road to Tōkaidō? With a focus on the work of Utagawa Hiroshige, it's...well, let's let Cynthia explain it:

The show is a virtual trip down a route with 53 stops, in works that depict enchanting views, breathtaking scenery and delightful picnics. But these holiday-style high points are grounded in reality. So there are also weary parents with cranky kids, unwelcoming locals and screeching roosters that shatter the traveller's sleep. Each new village has its own tourist traps, from hustling hoteliers to overpriced bars. It may sound a lot like National Lampoon's Vacation. But it's all happening in 1833 – on a Japanese trail once as iconic as America's Route 66.

Today's review comes to us from Rob Clough, who is here with a look at 2017's What Is Left, by Rosemary Valero-O'Connell. As Rob puts it:

Often, when the work of an emerging cartoonist starts to gain attention, it is useful to consider their most recent work prior to their breakthrough comic. Rosemary Valero-O'Connell is not only gaining praise for illustrating the Mariko Tamaki-written YA book Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me published earlier this year, but she's also signed with First Second for two books of her own. Prior to that, she's released an impressive series of mini-comics, including one for Zainab Akhtar's ShortBox, What Is Left.

In a bit of synchronistic timing, Akhtar announced just yesterday that ShortBox were crowdfunding an extensive reprinting of What Is Left (along with other stories by Valero-O'Connell). 

We're also pleased to be roaring into the week with yet another Cartoonist's Diary--if you haven't been keeping up with them, there's an easy fix for that. This week, we're in the hands of Kurt Ankeny. In Monday's installment, he annoyed his son and in today's, it's Mother Nature who is altering his plans.

Finally, there's this. Following years of allegations, rumors, insinuations, the publisher hopping, Crossfit-preaching, did-you-know-I-have-a-daughter self-declared champion of women the world 'round found himself smashed right up against some new allegations of sexual harassment, and this time, he actually lost a job over it. Who would that be? Well, since you haven't clicked the link yet, it would be Brian Wood, and the newest claims would be from Laura Hudson. Full disclosure: Brian Wood and I have not gotten along for years, although initially that had to do with me disliking some of his comics, while I have gotten along just fine with Laura Hudson, because she hired me and paid me money to write about comic books. My general pessimism towards Wood increased over the years, especially after he made some weird claims about how I treated him at a party to some people who he thought liked him (they did not, and promptly rushed over to tell me about it as soon as he left), and continued after I attempted to repair the breach so as not to alienate my employer at the time. But eventually I--like most of the people who worked with Wood at Vertigo--gave up on trying, because life is too short, his comics were pretty generic, and you'd hear some fucked up rumor about the guy every other couple of months. (Meanwhile, Laura "Total Champ" Hudson kept finding ways to hire and pay me, won an Eisner for comics journalism, and generally stuck to being great.) Eventually, the noise around Wood got loud enough that it transitioned from people in Brooklyn talking shit about him at parties and became something you could read about online. (That's another Beat article about Wood's alleged behavior towards women, and it's from six years ago.) 

At the time--2013--I was also writing a regular column for this site, often partnered with Abhay Khosla. We had discussed the idea of doing actual journalism on the allegations surrounding Wood, as both of us had found been pissed off by the claims made in a blog post by Anna Scherbina (which are now hosted here), claims which were subsequently covered in The Atlantic by none other than Noah Berlatsky. Instead, we took the safe route, and turned the whole thing into a mean joke.

And now, here we are again, right? Six plus years Wood has continued to work in comics, and while one can argue that his assignments have been less plum, it certainly doesn't seem like he's had to suffer any consequences for a consistent pattern of behavior described by multiple women, again and again--hell, the first comment on Samantha Puc's piece from a few days ago is someone saying "Damn that’s really disappointing. Still think he’s a great writer and i will most likely buy his books but he seems to be a shitty human being", a note perfect distillation of the philosophy that ensured Wood's employment would never truly be seriously questioned....until this past weekend, when, after years of insinuations Dark Horse Comics figured that they could hire somebody with a little less of a toxic cloud around them to handle the 113th comic book mini-series spun-off from a 1979 Ridley Scott movie. Congratulations all around. 



Room Service

Today at TCJ, we're taking a look at Ernie Colón, who passed away last week. First up, you'll find Steven Ringgenberg's obituary, and after that, you'll find Kent Worcester's 2007 interview with Ernie, first published in Comics Journal #285. 

Did you always feel a sense of pride in being a cartoonist?

I always shared Will Eisner’s belief that comics could be something more. I felt this very strongly, from my first years in the business. As far as I am concerned, the only people who tried to put down comics were staffers at DC and Marvel, who would refer to what I did with Richie Rich and Casper as “bigfoot” drawing. That would piss me off. I somehow thought that what we were doing was cartooning. 

I only met Will Eisner a couple of times, but as far back as I can remember I thought that comics could be a lot more than simply superhero comics. When I was growing up there were all kinds of comics, from Westerns and romances to kids’ comics. I resented the fact that superheroes became the major genre in comics, and I probably made a mistake when I let people know how I felt at DC and Marvel. 

Our latest Cartoonist Diary of the week launched yesterday, and continues all through the week. Alison Wilgus, who recently made her solo debut with Chronin, is sharing her experience at Wiscon, a feminist science fiction & fantasy convention that took place in Madison Wisconsin earlier this year. Today, she describes her experience at a "vidding" showcase.

Has Daniel Best been posting excerpts from his Todd McFarlane book for a while? I hadn't seen 'em before. One fun thing to do is watch those videos advertising Neil Gaiman's writing Master Class, where he describes stories as being the imagination's kiss, who arrives promptly in a dream carriage every morn if you have a smiling heart, and then read an actual letter he and a lawyer have put together.

Over at Comicosity, Jude DeLuca has a long, hard take on that Heroes In Crisis comic--which appears to be even more offensive than previous reports had made it seem--that concludes with multiple examples of times when super-hero comics have engaged with more complicated issues of trauma with in more delicate, compassionate fashion. It's interesting to note that none of these examples that Jude pulls are from recent super-hero comics.


Next Round

Well, July--otherwise known as the first month that TCJ didn't have Tim Hodler to legitimize this place and keep the trains moving--has reached conclusion. Is it clear on your end how bumpy it has been? Don't answer that: I've already heard from most of you, and it's my aim to keep making progress from wherever we are right now. This week, we'll be sharing space with the extraordinarily talented Molly Mendoza, whose Cartoonist Diary begins today. We may very well have a new one of these every week for a bit.

Our other piece of the day comes to us from Alex Dueben. He's speaking with Joan Steacy, the new-to-the-scene cartoonist behind Aurora Borealice, from Conundrum Press. 

Beyond just drawing 200 something pages, the act of putting your life on the page like this is exhausting.

It’s very revealing. Most of my life I’ve hidden my vulnerabilities, and here I am putting them out there. I’m a stronger person now and fine with it, so hopefully some people can relate to it. We all have insecurities, anxieties and obstacles to overcome, life can be hard at times. Eric’s response to my first book, which is now the first chapter. I wasn’t sure what he'd think  because he plays a big role in it. I got this letter back and he really liked it but one of the things he said that surprised me was "What you don't realize is that I too--and still, largely, am. I have always been debilitatingly shy and unable to relate to people" To me, I couldn't believe it because I easily related to him and found him so easy to talk to. Sadly, I lost Eric last year and he never got to see the completed version. The strength he gave me over the years was such a valuable education. 

I've made my way through most of the responses to San Diego Comic Con, and the one I thought handled the best was Chuck's from Mile High Comics-I like it even more as the days go by. The rest I don't have any patience for.

Finally, one of the great joys of my time spent working at Nobrow Press was having the chance to work with Jeremy Sorese on Curveball, his book with them. Beyond being impressed by his wit and style, Jeremy's generous and kind attitude towards young students and cartoonists was a shining example of how one could carry themselves in this particular field--I genuinely treasure the opportunity I had to work with him. As such, seeing the outpouring of support he has received from the comics community following the horrible assault that befell him in New York last Thursday doesn't surprise me--he is one of the true bright spots that this artform has. For more information on what happened to Jeremy, and how one can help support him at this time, take a look at this gofundme campaign set up by his friends


The Seizure Class

This week at The Comics Journal, Austin English delivered his latest 10 Cent Museum column, focusing on the complete Clyde Fans. It's a long, thoughtful piece about the book, and we're pleased to share it. As Austin puts it in his opener, "Seth's skill and talent is not up for debate any longer. We must instead move on to the implication of what he is trying to say, the only way to engage with an artist of consequence."

It's interesting to live in a time when so many of long delayed & long running series are reaching conclusion--along with Clyde Fans, D&Q also published Jason Lutes' Berlin last year, and this fall sees the first major collection of Chris Ware's Rusty Brown arrive. Even The Walking Dead--a comic whose success was at one point anecdotally described to me as the "only reason" Diamond was able to financially survive--has ended. In their wake, larger titles now seem to arrive fully formed, as imposing bricks of value and meaning, no longer appearing without decades of public gestation--or the opposite occurs, with thousands of pages appearing online before some unknown line is crossed and their cultural importance is discussed as a foregone conclusion. 

This week also sees Matt Seneca's review of Pope Hats 6, also referred to as "Shapeshifter". As with Austin's take on Seth, Matt is looking at an artist whose talent and skill demands serious analysis, even if the current work is not to the critic's liking.

We're also pleased to return to France once more, with Sloane Leong's the penultimate interview in her series of conversations with her fellow artists-in-residence at the Maison de Auteurs in Angouleme. This week, she spoke with Giorgia Casetti. Reading these interviews and seeing the general commonality of experience amongst Sloane's peers has been an educational experience, and an enjoyable one. Again and again, these artists describe a drive to create and access their own intangible comics language, the difficulties of managing influence, having a cultural support network that goes beyond mere social ties, and struggling under never-ending financial difficulties. This was all Sloane's idea to do these--I'm grateful she made it happen. 

San Diego Comic Con took place this past weekend. It's not a show that harbors huge importance to me, neither personally or professionally, and this most recent one didn't either. Bright side stuff: I guess if they're gonna reprint Steve Ditko's work against his wishes, I'm glad that the job is going to Scott Dunbier, who is going to do it with a lot more class than the other guy would have.


Ashes of American Gags

Well, the week is out here at TCJ: but the geek culture behemoth that is San Diego Comic Con has already begun. That Cats trailer really is as bad as they're saying!

This week at The Journal, we finished out a week of cartooning with two more pieces by Elizabeth Beier, covering her time at the Queers & Comics Conference. Along with the giant line-up for the "Long Form Comics" panel, Elizabeth also delivered her take on the well received "Non-Fiction Comics & Comics Journalism" panel. It looks like we've already locked down our next one of these, so stay seated!

On Tuesday, Matt Seneca took a look at the tenth volume of Kramers Ergot, and spoke with editor Sammy Harkham as well. The book itself is an excellent collection of comics, with Sammy's extensive centerpiece one of the strongest of his career. 

Kramers Ergot 10 makes things plain as can be from its indicia on in, proclaiming debts in bright red capital letters to RawWeirdo, andThe Smithsonian Collection of Newspaper Comics, a holy trinity of American anthologies. Weird shit in their time, in combination these titles laid out a rough playbook for the alt-comics style of the '80s and '90s - one that Kramers would provide a necessary pivot from a generation later. The name-drop opening of this volume suggests a circle closing, that focusing on differences between canon and challenger ignores their fundamental connection. "I felt like this issue could be the one where we make it explicit," Harkham told me in an Oakland alehouse on the eve of the book's release, "the relationship Kramers has always had to the history of comics. When issue 4 came out everyone was like 'oh, it feels so cutting edge and new, blah blah,' but the reason they're feeling that way is because it hearkens back to the last one hundred years of comics. There is a lineage that it's connected to. And in this one we just make that more explicit."

Since the pieces publication, the ongoing conversation regarding how its creators are compensated for their work in Kramers has returned in full force, primarily on social media (both public and private), while some have also brought up a lack of diversity amongst the book's contributor list. Both are serious subjects that deserve attention and conversation, and we will speak more about them soon.

But that's not all that went down this week--we're pleased to welcome two new TCJ contributors to these digital pages this week. The first is someone comics criticism readers will be well aware of: Hillary Brown! She's been assembling her first array of pieces for TCJ for the past few month, and the first appeared this week--a review of Tonta, by Jaime HernandezHere's how she opens that one up:

It seems like the abiding conception of Jaime Hernandez’s Tonta is that it’s a minor work of his, a sort of tossed-off compilation of stories focusing on a character who’s more an Io than a Jupiter, a character actor rather than a leading lady. But the fact is that reading it, for me, produced the same rush of blood to the brain and almost dizzying happiness as his “major” Maggie and Hopey stories. It’s not quite Stendhal Syndrome, but it’s close. Experiencing work that you love so completely is a sort of out-of-body experience, which is what Stendhal was getting at, whether or not he actually became physically weak by hanging out around various Florentine masterworks. Philosophers have been trying to unpack the idea of the “sublime” for centuries, so it’s unlikely that I’m going to put my finger on it here, but the general point is that it’s something that makes you feel small, as though dwarfed in the presence of a god or godlike force. So how does a comics nerd from Oxnard do that once, much less over and over again?

Our other new teammate is Ryan Flanders, formerly of MAD Magazine. While the unfortunate timing of MAD's transition towards the grave (a mostly reprint magazine selling only via Diamond is not MAD Magazine) forced the initial topic of Ryan's piece for us, he somehow managed to deliver something a lot more positive than one might expect. He'll get his venom on soon enough, one hopes.

To open an issue of MAD Magazine, from any point in its history, is to encounter an assemblage of many of the most brilliant writers, artists and satirists working in that era. It is a whole package you can hold in your hands, an ensemble of voices echoing out as one, an orchestra of insanity, hilarity, and cultural acuity. Though it’s had its imitators, and influenced many successful comedic endeavors, there is truly nothing else like MAD — a regularly-produced menagerie of carefully crafted, intertwining words and visuals. Within the staff, we were never satisfied if an issue was just okay — we always wanted the damn thing to be good. And good takes time. 

And then there's Brenda Dales! Another new contributor? We're not sure yet, as Brenda's main interest was in one book, and one creator, and now that she's delivered her interview with Wilfrid Lupano--whose A Sea of Love was released in the US via Lion Forge, after finding initial success in a Dargaud edition in Europe, and heads into the weekend with three Eisner nominations to its name--time will tell if she wants to go for round two.

In late June of 2019 I met up with Wilfrid Lupano in Washington, D.C. at an event connected with the American Library Association annual conference, and we had a conversation that navigated throughout his creative process for the book. Here I follow up with him in an intercontinental email exchange in early July of 2019 about this maritime masterpiece (he’s now in France, and I’m not).

And finally, this week's reviews were both returns of sorts--a new book by Max de Radigues, which is probably his fifth in the last twelve months--reviewed by Rich Barrett,  and the latest installment in the Brubaker/Phillips Criminal series, the cheekily comics-focused Bad Weekend, reviewed by Sean Witzke. (He seemed to like this one.)

Next week, we'll aim to find something at San Diego worth jawing about, review some comics, interview some cartoonists, and find some decent drawings to look at. 



Live Scribing with Elizabeth Beier: Non-Fiction Comics & Comics Journalism

From May 16-19 2019, New York City's School of Visual Arts hosted the Queers & Comics Conference, a biennial LGBTQ cartoonist conference. The event was organized by Jennifer Camper and Justin Hall and provided a space for artists, writers and fans to discuss everything from publishing to story structure to social justice to different kinds of pens. Bay Area artist Elizabeth Beier attended the event and created visual notes of some of the panels. 

In today's installment, Elizabeth recounts the Non-Fiction Comics & Comics Journalism Panel, featuring MK Czerwiec (moderator), Rosa Colón, Martina Schradi, Alison Wilgus, and Elvis Wolf discussing comics based on true stories. While they all have very different subject matter, ranging from health and care-taking to aviation to women's bookstores to queer immigrants to Puerto Rico, they had some common concerns. These included the importance of research and learning as one goes, the struggle to be timely when long-form researched work takes time to create, and the tension between explaining or telling a true story vs advocating for a point of view. 


Envy Not The Oppressor

This week in TCJ, we've kicked things off with a classic monster interview with a stone cold master: Everett Raymond Kinstler, whose career stretches from pulp covers through to US Presidents, with a stopover at Hawkman. If you're at all familiar with my preferences regarding interview subjects, you may know that I love to hear about what goes into working on Hawkman, a character I have absolutely no real affection for nor nostalgic connection to, and yet nonetheless remain fascinated with hi: however, this is the third time an interview with a Hawk-related creator came along where the interviewer refused to engage with the aforementioned Hawk-related creator about what it's like working the Katar beat. In his defense, I didn't actually speak to Steven Brower prior to his conversation with Kinstler, and would have lacked the courage to even make the request--but I can certainly grouse about it now and I believe Kinstler wouldn't have minded a bit as he has dealt with far more difficult individuals than I. Here he is, recapping his first meeting with James Montgomery Flagg:

So I got up and here was this guy, he looked big to me, he wasn’t that tall, but he was maybe 6’1” or 6’2”, a great shock of white hair, heavy brows, and I remember he was wearing a navy blue shirt, with red suspenders, and he said, “Come on, let me see your work, it probably stinks.” Made me feel great, as a 17-year-old, and he looked through the work and I remember he said to me, I have reason to remember this of course, “Well, I see so much crap these days. And Mayor LaGuardia believes they can make art in the school programs, all they do is produce mediocrity.” He started to look, he said, “Young fella, you’re doomed to be an illustrator. Or doomed to be an artist.” And then he asked me about Mr. DuMond, he kind of settled down, and then talked about Mr. DuMond and he told me he studied with him 50 years ago.

Today, we've got an official statement from Robin McConnell on the future of Inkstuds. Robin's decade plus time at Inkstuds has produced hours of interviews with many of the creators and critics featured both here and in our print edition.

This week, we'll be running some non-fiction comics--but this time, they aren't part of our traditional Cartoonist Diary series. Instead, it's Elizabeth Beier's look at various panels from the recent Queers & Comics Conference, hosted at NYC's School of Visual Arts. So far, she's given us her notes on Magdalene Visaggio's  conversation with Justin Hall, and today she's recapping another conversation, this one between Nicole Georges and Mariko Tamaki. Stay tuned for two more installments, arriving on Thursday and Friday.

Our first review of the week comes courtesy of Robert Kirby. He's here with his take on How I Tried To Be A Good Person, by Ulli Lust. Those of you with access to Tim and my email accounts will be aware that more people wanted to review How I Tried To Be A Good Person than any other title so far this year! Here's some Kirby Krackle on Lust for ya:

Her follow-up, How I Tried to be a Good Person, begins a few years after Today. Lust appears more settled, yet no less driven to live according to her own lights, come what may. A thread running strongly throughout both books is the allure of wresting oneself from societal conventions—and the often-heavy costs of doing so. Lust is determined to live her truth, even occasionally putting herself in physical danger. At other times, she’s left contemplating the line between self-actualization and selfishness. Lust relates all this in an uncompromisingly frank manner, with anthropological detail. It’s a rich narrative.

And of course, last week was a full house as well. We delivered a giant look at Polish cartoonist Przemysław Trusciński's TRUST album. Only days later, ICv2 published a galley of overly serious actors dressed up in his Witcher designs. Coincidence, or excellent advance planning and trend-forecasting? (Spoiler alert: anything that distracts Henry Cavill from recording voice-overs for the Synder cut is a waste of time.)

We also celebrated the return of Alex Dueben, who was here talking to J.M. DeMatteis about all things Moonshadow. (The only thing Alex loves more than Moonshadow is apologizing to DeMatteis about his love for Moonshadow. I would do the same if I was talking to Keith Giffen about the 5YL--two sides same coin.)

As I think I’ve said in our previous conversations, I think this is one of the great comics. Period. But I will admit that re-reading it again for this interview, I found myself sometimes thinking, it’s a very wordy book.

You have no idea how much copy I cut out of that book! I’d write a page and then start slicing and dicing. That said, comics aren’t one thing or another. They’re anything we want them to be. And with Moonshadow—and a number of other projects I’ve done over the years—I wanted to explore the line between prose and comics.  

There are some people who say that comics should be “movies on paper.” And they can be that. But they can also be a thousand other things. Want to do three of four pages that are essentially illustrated prose and then shift into more typical, or perhaps even wordless, comics? Why not? Don’t let the format lead you, let the story lead you.

The other big return we had last week (along with Alex and Rob Clough) was Tegan O'Neil's surprise return to her super-hero column, Ice Cream For Bedwetters, which had run its official last installment a few weeks prior. In this follow up, Tegan used an oversized collection of bad Spawn spin-off comics to talk about the dawn of Image Comics. And RUNE! (Stick around for the comments, where Don Simpson shows up with enough sauce to make the whole thing a sundae.)

Malibu was Image’s original publisher, until the money materialized and the founders realized they had no need for middlemen. In their absence Malibu rolled out a new superhero line, too, this time with a bunch of guys you remembered from the 70s and 80s. Which was also a pretty good marketing gimmick for the time, if we’re being completely honest. And, before we go any further, it bears stating for the record that there was good stuff under the Ultraverse banner. A lot of seasoned pros doing very confident but rarely phenomenal work.

Except for Rune, which was one of the very best comics of the decade, and you only don’t think that because you haven’t read Barry Windsor-Smith’s ode to the naked lavender space vampire who likes ripping people in half with his bare fucking hands. I mean, Rune should be a household name. If people know who Spider-Man: Noir is, then by god they should know about Rune -

Other recent reviews included Josh Kramer's take on Cannabis, the latest in Box Brown's attempts to get paid for drawing about all the things he's interested in. Personally, i'm looking forward to future installments where Box really drills into the sort of mundane middle aged things that fascinate me. A whole comic where you keep pretending you've seen TV shows just so your younger coworkers will include you in conversations? A stack of sequential art devoted to how proud you feel when you don't take your phone with you to the bathroom? Here for it, big guy. 

Last week also saw Oliver Ristau deliver review coverage on Diabolical Summer, one of the many European graphic novels that IDW publishes makes physically available on a frequent basis. As part of shout out summer, Oliver has included a dig at a random Grant Morrison comic in the middle of his review as an attempt to lure Marc Singer out for a legit take on that GMoz Green Lantern comic that nobody I pay attention to has ever talked about with more than a cursory nod. Here's hoping!

As someone who enjoyed every cigarette he ever smoked right up until he stopped, it's great to see that John Constantine covers have returned to their original glory, featuring close-ups on the character lighting up a smoke. I can still remember that old 90's SPIN article where Trent Reznor kept talking about drinking protein shakes and thinking: man, growing up must suck. Don't go changing, Hellblazer!

Fleet Foxes. Get the hell out of here, Fleet Foxes.

Sophie Campbell's a very talented cartoonist, but I have to admit that my first thought when I heard there was a female turtle entering the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles universe was: agh, i hope that doesn't mean the turtles are gonna start fucking, nobody wants to see the turtles fucking. Unless they get Zulli back, of course. If they're gonna get sex into the Turtleverse, it's gotta be 100% serious, all the time. (THE HAND)