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Pastel Cookies

Today on the site, Matt Seneca visits us with a review of Windowpane 4. 

With this year’s Windowpane 4, Kessler trains his newfound sense of narrative focus on a higher plateau. Tipping the scales at 82 pages, the issue could easily have been marketed as a complete graphic novel, but Kessler retains his admirable commitment to the single-issue format, complete with staples and everything. The untitled story trades in the quotidian world of “Goodbye Strongbody” for something more akin to a modern fable, in which a lone man seeks shelter and escape from societal oppression. Is he a criminal? A dissident? A heretic? A minority? We never find out, and it doesn’t make a difference. The story is about repression in general, about the other shoe dangling and then dropping, about the difficulty of life on the run. It is split into three parts, the breaks telegraphed by changes in the risograph printing process.

Elsewhere:

The great Marc Bell has started a Patreon.

Noah Van Sciver interviewed Peter Bagge over at Comics Reporter.

 

 

Oy

Today, Frank Young is here with an extended look at the most “meta” sequences of Chester Gould’s career.

The Gravies appeared only in the Tribune through its six-year run, which ended January 26, 1964. At first signed “Chet,” the early run of the strip is often solo Gould, with loose-limbed linework, sloppy lettering and other evidence of a tightly wound cartoonist blowing off steam and amusing himself. Gravies later credits the first names of Team Gould: Al Valanis, Chester’s brother Ray Gould, Dick Locher, Jack Ryan and Rick Fletcher. The single-tier strip grew in 1958 to a double-decker approximately a third of a page in size.

Skewed comedy was hard-wired into Dick Tracy from its 1931 start. Gould’s fight-and-flight narratives of doomed criminals, hurtling toward claustrophobic doom, can be gripping, grotesque and deadly serious. Humor elbowed its way into the darkest storylines. Eccentric supporting characters, settings and casual commentary on current fads and foibles informs the strip. Post-war Tracy, until the end of the decade, stressed comedy over crime-solving. The popularity of the hillbilly family of B. O. Plenty, his wife, Gravel Gertie and their daughter, Sparkle Plenty (the focus of a merchandising blitz in the late ‘40s) threatened to crowd the no-nonsense Tracy out of his own strip.

The hit-and-miss humor of The Gravies was no surprise to Tracy’s Chicago readership. In the past year, they’d read a long narrative with the enigmatic Mumbles, a revived villain from a 1947 sequence, paired with a physical-culture fanatic and his feral offspring—acrobatic twin tots who vex the criminal with their anarchic slapstick mayhem. And though 1956’s Tracy narratives (which I wrote about in this essay) represent a peak year in the strip’s darkness and drama, there are also occasional moments of screwball comedy.


Meanwhile, elsewhere:

—Reviews & Commentary. For The Paris Review, Trina Robbins writes about Neil the Horse.

Unique among the black-and-white comics of the 1980s and, in fact, unique from any comic ever published, Neil the Horse is the world’s first and only all-singing, all-dancing comic book. Each issue includes sheet music and lyrics—you can play the songs on your piano!—and along with the lyrics, some evocative poetry that is not set to music, all by Arn, who truly lived up to Neil’s motto: “Making the World Safe for Musical Comedy.”

Anders Nilsen writes a personal, persuasive essay on the importance of access to affordable health care.

This afternoon I wrote postcards to seven US senators asking them to vote NO on Graham-Cassidy, the latest Republican attempt to dismantle Obamacare and rob people of their health care. I’m not usually that vocal in public about my politics. Social media generally makes me slightly queasy, even if it is the water we all swim in these days. But the issue of health care feels urgent to me.

—Interviews & Profiles. Pádraig Ó Méalóid finally publishes the third part of the enormous “Christmas” interview with Alan Moore, in which among other things, he reveals his recipe for rarebit pasta.

…Mix the breadcrumbs and the extra grated cheese together, and then cover the top of the pasta and sauce with the resultant crumbly mixture. Dot the halved baby plum tomatoes over the whole surface area, stick the casserole dish into the moderate oven, and then go and smoke the joint while reading, say, a short David Foster Wallace essay or story, and by the time you’re done with that your dinner should be ready.

—Misc. Lynda Barry has inaugurated an advice column at The Paris Review.

Dear Pissed,

Pee hoarding isn’t as uncommon as one may think. Type that term into a search engine and be amazed. It’s not about being too lazy to pee in the toilet. It’s about something else that usually has long roots going back to childhood. I knew kids who did this, who saved jars of pee and lined them up in corners of garages or in bushes. I’m sure pee hoarders have their reasons. …

 

Happiness Pursuit

Today on the site,  Robert Kirby reviews Language Barrier.

Language Barrier is a collection of four one-off full-color zines that Hannah K. Lee, a talented Korean-American Brooklyn-based artist, created from 2012 to 2017. Each of the zines has a different focus, though all carry Lee’s playfully ironic aesthetic. The zines are presented in the following, non-chronological order: Hey Beautiful (2017), Shoes Over Bills (2012), Everyone Else is Younger and More Talented (2014), and Close Encounters (2015). There’s a nice trajectory from the relatively straightforward comics that open Hey Beautiful to the typography-based poster-style visuals of Close Encounters. Thoughtfully curated and presented, Language Barrier is a groovy, pocket-sized little handbook for self-doubting, conflicted artists (and other assorted human beings) everywhere.

Elsewhere:

Alex Dueben has taken on a regular feature at Smash Pages. Here’s the lot, which is a good bunch.

More on the Village Voice — this time a history of its art direction, which was crucial to comics and illustration. 

And a remembrance of Greg Escalante.

 

I Hope They Ask for a Lot of Money

Today on the site, North America’s favorite manga scholar Ryan Holmberg returns with the second part of his essay on Yuichi Yokoyama and “audiovisual abstraction” in comics.

When it comes to figures of size, Yokoyama clearly favors bigness. His earliest manga, the building narratives in New Engineering (2004), feature gigantic landworks and monumental fantasy structures. Travel (2006) promises an entire long-distance train trip. Garden (2007) features hallways that extend into infinity and giant maps that describe an entire territory in detail. After Garden, I recall Yokoyama saying he wanted to make a 1000-page book depicting war, though he never did.

In all such cases, however, Yokoyama packs bigness into smallness. His books are rarely longer than 300 pages, and often much shorter. Like any comics author, he has to work with a finite number of small panel frames – which would be a meaningless observation were there not indications that Yokoyama has been interested in this aspect of comics-making on a figurative level. For example, the endless hallway in Garden turns out to be a library filled with wordless picture catalogues, suggesting that the entire universe can be condensed, quasi-wordless comics-like, into an accumulation of printed pictures without help of the written word. The horde of photographs dropped from the air and assembled into a map in Garden suggest a similar idea: when a large set of pictures/panels is properly ordered, they can recreate, even if the individual units are small, the world in near whole. Likewise, Travel might be ambitious as a comics project, but it also harbors within it the humble desire of the armchair traveller that the world be adequately contained and enjoyed vicariously through books, screens, and other domesticated media. As encyclopedias are vast by virtue of being compact, so Yokoyama has explored monumentality, infinity, and comprehensiveness through figures and practices of miniaturization, division, and containment.

Meanwhile, elsewhere:

—Reviews & Commentary. The Chilean cultural critic and playwright Ariel Dorfman writes about the origin of his famous 1970s critique of Disney comic books, How to Read Donald Duck.

If there was a single company that embodied the overarching influence of the U.S. — not just in Chile but in so many other lands then known as the Third World — it was the Walt Disney Corporation. Today, in addition to the many amusement parks that bear its name, the Disney brand conjures up a panoply of Pixar princesses, avatars of cars and planes, and tales of teen-age angst and Caribbean piracy. But in Chile, in the early 1970s, Disney’s influence was epitomized by a flood of inexpensive comic books available at every newsstand. So Armand and I decided to focus on them and in particular on the character who then seemed to us the most symbolic and popular of the denizens of the Disney universe. What better way to expose the nature of American cultural imperialism than to unmask the most innocent and wholesome of Walt Disney’s characters, to show what authoritarian tenets a duck’s smiling face could smuggle into Third World hearts and minds?

We would soon discover what an attack on Disney would be met with — and it wasn’t smiles.

—News. As reported in Vice, Matt Furie is stepping up his legal actions against the rightwing provocateurs coopting his Pepe the Frog character.

Pepe the Frog creator Matt Furie has made good on his threat to “aggressively enforce his intellectual property.”

The artist’s lawyers have taken legal action against the alt-right. They have served cease and desist orders to several alt-right personalities and websites including Richard Spencer, Mike Cernovich, and the r/the_Donald subreddit. In addition, they have issued Digital Millennium Copyright Act takedown requests to Reddit and Amazon, notifying them that use of Pepe by the alt-right on their platforms is copyright infringement. The message is to the alt-right is clear—stop using Pepe the Frog or prepare for legal consequences.

—Interviews & Profiles. The most recent guest on the Virtual Memories podcast is Mimi Pond.

J.A. Micheline talks to Tillie Walden.

“I thought about my own memories,” Walden says, “not necessarily in terms of content but in terms of the space. Where I was when something happened and how did my emotions affect how I remember that space? In certain instances in the book, I would realise: ‘OK, during this competition, I was feeling horrifically restricted and sad and that emotion was growing inside me.’ So I would have this space that would suddenly grow bigger and become more cavernous.”

—Misc. Juan Fernandez writes about a fascinating old French television show based on the idea of the exquisite corpse game, and featuring artists such as Jean-Claude Forest, Jim Steranko, Neal Adams, Joe Kubert, Moebius, and Johnny Hart(!), among many others.

The concept was simple, efficient, and allowed for many variations: A huge, blank white page and cartoonists equipped with just a simple marker. A theme was proposed (ex. invasion or pursuit), sometimes a visual starting point (simple line, spiral, circle), and the authors improvised, either collaboratively with their peers, or in a duel facing off against their opponents. The result was often far more than a juxtaposition of drawings, it was often a real visual dialogue between cartoonists.

 

Class Trip

Today on site, perhaps inspired by the comments section on this very site, Matt Seneca returns to review PayWall:

In his new graphic novel PayWall, Kelly pays down the promissory note of that Mould Map piece. Handsomely printed by Mould Map editor Hugh Frost’s publishing boutique Landfill Editions, it is work so relevant and contemporary that it seems to belong in a completely different ballpark than the rest of what comics has on display right now. Set in an English coastal city ten years from now, PayWall depicts a society in which rising seal levels threaten human survival, parking lots full of live-in port-a-potties are replacing apartment blocks, and the federal government and military have been torn to pieces and swallowed by a rabid pack of competing corporations. 

At its heart, this is an entry in that most recognizable of comic book genres, the hero’s origin story. Rather than create his hero as a slightly more ridiculously costumed version of a police officer, though, Kelly looks for inspiration at the real heroes of today’s world: the scared, angry young people pulling on masks and taking to the streets to put their bodies on the line against governmental and societal oppression. PayWall‘s hero team is a cell of militarized anarchists, its villains a loosely knit cabal of rich corporate dickheads who have reformed the world in their image, and its protagonist a regular working dude who is radicalized by the radical situation he finds himself in.  

Elsewhere:

Here’s Steven Heller interviewing Mark Newgarden and Paul Karasik on their upcoming book, How to Read Nancy.

Another deep dive into the data of cartoonists — this time one of my favorite categories: Letterers.

And there’s an SPX wrap-up over at The Beat.

 

Lotsa Stuff

Today on the site, Brian Nicholson reviews the second collection of Farel Dalrymple’s Pop Gun War.

Farel Dalrymple is treated as an eccentric within the mainstream comics industry. His most high-profile work within the realm of work-for-hire was illustrating Jonathan Lethem’s revival of Omega the Unknown for Marvel Comics. His style telegraphs traces of the 1970s house style of John Buscema’s How To Draw Comics The Marvel Way while still having enough arthouse quirk that it can be sold to a New Yorker-reading audience interested in learning more about graphic novels. He also drew a few issues of Brandon Graham’s revival of the Rob Liefeld character Prophet: When prevailed upon, his work is capable of maximalist detail, and can conjure up the same drawing-centered approach to science fiction found in the pages of a vintage issue of Heavy Metal. These disparate skills are all on display in the comics that Dalrymple writes for himself, which do not fit nearly as neatly into any preexisting box. They are nuts. They are busy with ideas and activity, maximalist with kitchen sink detail and clutter, alive with consciousness.


Meanwhile, elsewhere:

—News. At this weekend’s SPX, the Ignatz Award winners were announced, with Emil Ferris picking up two of the biggest prizes (Outstanding Artist and Outstanding Graphic Novel), which Ben Passmore winning Oustanding Comic.

The longtime comics review site run by retailer Brian Hibbs, Savage Critics, has closed shop.

Savage Critics started back from the old CompuServe days, where I would read an entire week’s worth of comics, and give one word (or up to a sentence, maybe) reviews. I was young, and (well, I thought) very clever, so making snap judgements publicly seemed entertaining to me (at least). Once gated communities like CompuServe became passe (well, until Facebook, at least), I thought it might be cool to do the same thing on the internet as a stand alone blog. It was the Wild West back then, and this was an early blog (I think Tom Spurgeon called it “foundational” at one point?) of commentary and criticism.

—Interviews & Profiles. The most recent guest on Inkstuds is Sophia Foster-Dimino, and the most recent guest on Process Party is Jesse Moynihan.

—Reviews & Commentary. The NYRB excerpts Elke Schulze’s afterword to their new collection of Erich Ohser’s fascinating Father and Son.

Erich Ohser became internationally famous for his comic strips in the 1930s, but the carefree world of his Father and Son gives little hint of the fate that would be suffered by its creator. After Ohser was driven to take his own life, his friend Erich Kästner wrote: “We’re going to mourn him by celebrating his drawings.” Ohser was a passionate graphic artist whose versatile talent spanned many techniques: pencil, India ink, writing ink, watercolor, and colored pencil. Along with his journalistic cartoons and illustrations is a large body of work ranging from freehand portraits and landscapes to nudes and studies of people observed in cafés.

At LARB, Daniel Worden reviews Gary Panter’s Songy of Paradise.

Panter’s new comic, Songy of Paradise, brilliantly elaborates his aesthetic. The comic both comments on our world and disavows everyday concerns in exchange for the pleasures of thinking along under-traveled paths. While only 40 pages, the book is large in size — about 11-by-15 inches — so it feels like you are looking at Panter’s original pen-and-ink drawings themselves, rather than reproductions of them. This quality lends the book a hand-drawn, intimate feel, making its pages feel not only like original comic book art but also like the leaves of an illuminated manuscript. In any case, the artist’s hand is always very near. This makes sense, given that Songy of Paradise describes itself, on its title page, as a story “Wherein Satan And A Hillbilly Re-Enact The Temptation Of Jesus In The Desert, Hewing To John Milton’s Epic Poem Paradise Regained But Without Milton’s Verbosity.”

At Public Books, Gordon Douglas writes about the recent revival of and reevaluation of H.P. Lovecraft’s work, particularly through Alan Moore and Jacen Burrows’s Providence.

If primarily an inquiry into Lovecraft’s writing and literary influence set in 1919, Providence is an ideal engagement with the author for today’s America. It is fitting, for one thing, that the story begins actually in New York, with a Jewish gay protagonist named Robert Black exploring the city of immigrants as a journalist. (In earlier, related work by Alan Moore to which Providence serves as a sort of conclusion-by-extended-prequel—The Courtyard and Neonomicon—protagonists include a woman and a black man, while the villains are racist psychopaths devoted to Lovecraftian cosmology.) As Black encounters characters and events from Lovecraft’s stories, Moore and Burrows continue to introduce themes and personalities that Lovecraft would have been uncomfortable with, including the sympathetic portrayal of many whom the writer vilified as monsters in his stories. The “unusual colony of unclassified slant-eyed folk” in “The Horror at Redhook” (1927), for instance (implied to be Kurdish Yazidis, today under persecution by ISIS), are subtly humanized in Burrows’ illustrations. In exploring Lovecraft’s The Shadow Over Innsmouth (1931), Moore and Burrows draw out its anti-immigrant and anti-miscegenation sentiments by showing explicit acts of prejudice and discrimination faced by the fish-faced townspeople (ultimately presaging World War II-era interment and genocide) as an oppressed minority. Providence likewise makes graphic the “unnamable” and “unspeakable” horrors to which Lovecraft alludes, including incest and rape.

 

Alternate Route

Hello from Los Angeles, and more specifically Sammy Harkham’s dining room table, with TCJ #40 by my side. Cover image by Mike Nasser and Bob Layton of Starhunters. Interview with Jim Shooter. And of course John Benson profiling Art Spiegelman. Hilarious. I am reminded that Mike Nasser worked Ms Mystic, and that character design blew my mind as a kid. And still looks OK. The void body. That sword. 

Anyhow,  today on the site we have the 1979 TCJ interview with the late Len Wein by Roger Slifer. Here’s a bit:

SLIFER: When did you start writing for comics regularly?

WEIN: For the most part, I started doing a little fiddling around early on. I think about the fifth story Marv and I wrote was a Teen Titans we did together. We started to gain a little ground at DC at that point. They liked the first one we did. We tried an issue of Teen Titans — it was the second Titans story we did — that introduced a black superhero. I think we called the character Jericho. It was a beautiful job. Nick Cardy was drawing the book at the time. He did an absolutely lovely job on the art. And, apparently, DC didn’t know there was anything but white Anglo-Saxon Protestants appearing in comic books, and the introduction, in our story, of a black character was apparently frightening. Nick Cardy, who was part of the old school, brought that job to Carmine, and asked him, “Do you think we’re going too far? Should we be doing this? There’s a black character in here, God help us!” And, Carmine panicked, went, “Oh my God! We’re doomed! We’ll never sell our magazines in the South, anywhere south of Toledo!” They scrapped the issue, they completely scrapped the story. Neal Adams came to our defense, as Neal is so wont to do, and tried to convince Carmine that it was a good story and it didn’t need to be scrapped. And, it was a beautiful art job, one of the best things Nick ever did. I don’t think he ever really matched it. The fact that the story would not see print struck me as a real shame. But, Carmine would not be swayed. Carmine had made up his mind. It was set in cement once he made up his mind. In fact, it probably still is.

Neal ended up rewriting — over a weekend — an entirely different story featuring a character that was no longer black. He wrote it, penciled it, inked the entire 19-page story over a weekend, proving that, yes, he could make deadlines. But, it didn’t help my situation. And this happened just when I had started to gain some inroads.

DC was revamping the Metal Men at that point. I had come up with a whole new concept for the Metal Men for Jack Miller, working Marvel-style. Mike Sekowsky was penciling it, I was going to dialogue it off the finished pencils. And, Carmine, of course, decided, “No, you can’t write. Things aren’t working out,” based solely on the fact that I had introduced a black character in the Teen Titans. He took back the artwork I had just gotten my hands on — the Metal Men pages. In fact, I wrote the first 10 pages totally on speculation, like, “Please look at what I’ve done at least and see if it’s good.” But in the end, he gave the story to Denny O’Neil, who took it reluctantly, knowing the circumstances. After he had written his own, and I showed him my script, he said he thought it was a better job than he had done. It was simply Carmine’s reacting rather than acting.

Murray Boltinoff got a little shy over several plots I had approved for Tomahawk and Challengers of the Unknown. Suddenly he had no use for either. Marv and I were abruptly non-entities for six months or more and started to look for work elsewhere.

SLIFER: How did you finally make your inroads back?

WEIN: Good question. I’m not sure if I remember. We started doing stuff elsewhere. Marv sort of faded out of comic books. He moved out to Lake Ronkonkoma on Long Island.

SLIFER: What year was this?

WEIN: This is 11 years from ’79 … it was about ’69. I didn’t do a whole lot of work in my first year. I think I only managed to make as much at my old $10-a-page rate in my entire first year as I make on a single issue-and-a-half of Superman right now. A big difference in the rate. I started looking elsewhere. Marv got out of comic books. He had a degree as an art teacher. He taught school for a while. I sort of wandered around. I found some work at Gold Key. I started doing mystery stories for them. I ended up doing Hot Wheels and Mod Wheels and Star Trek comics. Anywhere there was some place to go I went. I did mystery stories for Marvel, for Roy [Thomas]. I learned most of my training on mystery stories. Most of the people now don’t have a chance to learn on them. Mystery stories require you to create an entire entity in seven pages, a cast of characters, personalities, problems, and resolution. It’s great training.

That is all from here. I’m opening this exhibition on Saturday night, 6-9 pm. I’ll be there and always enjoy talking about Hal Foster.

 

Blursday

Today on the site, something great: Mark Newgarden speaks to Glenn Bray and Frank Young, the editors of the essential new book on Art Young, To Laugh That We May Not Weep.

Frank, your concentration has been in the field of comic books: as a writer, editor and scholar. But you’ve also written extensively on newspaper strips and Hollywood animation, especially on the work of Fred “Tex” Avery (and in my estimation, you are the absolute go-to guy on everything John Stanley.) Can you tell us a little bit about how you became interested in Young and involved in this ambitious project?

Frank Young: Art Young was on that list in my head called “Great Cartoonists Whom I Admire, Based on Two or Three Images I Keep Seeing Over and Over Again.” I saw these images in older books about comics history, poorly reproduced but visible enough to give me the idea that this fellow was important. I also aligned him with Harvey Kurtzman. There’s a similar life in their ink lines. But as with so many towering figures in an ignored art form, there wasn’t any Art Young to pore over as I developed my critical and thematic eye towards comics.

In the 1990s and 2000s, I served my infamous term as managing ed on The Comics Journal, begun comics scholarship blogs, and came into contact with some great people. My work on John Stanley led me to meet Art Spiegelman, Michael Barrier, Glenn Bray and you, to name a few. While David Lasky and I worked on our graphic novel The Carter Family: Don’t Forget This Song, Spiegelman invited me to be on the board of advisors of The Toon Treasury of Classic Children’s Comics. My involvement in that project led to many good things.

Visiting the home/museum of Glenn Bray and Lena Zwalve in summer 2013, through our mutual friend Carol Lay, was a religious experience. The first thing Glenn showed me was the original art for the cover of Mad #11. From there on, it was a staggering tour of his extensive collection of original art, comics, artwork, books, etc. I wonder if Carol realized how much of an impact this visit would have on my life…this kid was in the candy store by which all candy stores are judged. I flashed back to my one visit to Bill Blackbeard’s chaotic den in San Francisco. Glenn’s collection is organized, curated and attractively presented. From bound volumes of 1940s comics to impeccably stored originals to shelves of work by cartoonists familiar and unknown to me, this is the best hoard of significant comics work I’ve yet encountered.


Meanwhile, elsewhere:

—Reviews & Commentary. For LARB, Anthony Loewenstein writes about Eli Valley’s controversial Diaspora Boy.

DIASPORA BOY is the work of an artist who aims to challenge the fundamental beliefs of the Jewish-American community, not least its at times slavish love for Israel. Cartoonist Eli Valley — who grew up in New York and New Jersey, the child of a rabbi and a social-worker-turned-lawyer — is unafraid to celebrate the noble tradition of secular Judaism while still despairing at what Zionism has become, and arguably has always been, in its repression of the Palestinians. In this lavishly produced book, Valley includes his own commentary alongside his comics, which are clearly inspired by the underground commix movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s and the iconoclastic Jewish-American cartoonist Art Spiegelman. Valley’s political framework is never far from the reader’s mind, but it is his art that is central to every page.

For Vector, Christina Scholz has written an academic article on trans identities as represented in superhero comics.

Since the comic book industry still only seems to be discovering and cautiously exploring transgender issues, this takes us back to one of the beginnings. Should characters like Lord Fanny from The Invisibles be included in categories and ‘boxes’ of trans* characters in comics? Are ‘boxes’ helpful at all, seeing how complex and diverse and dynamic identities are? My stance on this is based on my quantum theory of identity as well as Antke Engel’s concept of ‘queerversity’, and implies that superhero_ines with their history of being Other can be read as inherently queer, always standing outside the established norms and always implicitly questioning (and hopefully undermining) them. Thus characters like Lord Fanny shouldn’t be excluded from this article (and technically can’t be, according to the all-inclusive nature of queerversity), since Morrison is making some valuable points about identity and reality in The Invisibles, and gender identities are varied, diverse, heterogeneous, and dynamic.

Nicole Rudick writes about a new show of the comics-influenced painter Karl Wirsum’s paintings and drawings.

A dozen of Wirsum’s paintings and drawings are on view at Derek Eller Gallery, in New York, in the show “Mr. Whatzit: Selections from the 1980s.” Each work is a portrait of a single character, and the backgrounds, in the case of the paintings, are monochromatic: flat fields of red, teal, ochre. Whether alien, mechanical, or human, each character appears as a kind of totem of their own world, like the corner boxes on the covers of classic comics (those small rectangles in the upper left corner that show Superman or Spider-Man or Hulk on a solid field of color). Mr. Dry Iced “T” is part hulking Jack Kirby creation (too many fingers, too many knuckle joints), part mystic oddity rising out of a blue ether, his hands like two hamsas. The Mesoamerican Shower Girl performs under a showerhead-cum-stage-light in the semiprivacy of her shower-curtained stage. The half-human, half–jet pack figure in If It’s Tuesday It Must Be Nairobi Except in Nebraska shoots diagonally across a Joan Miró–inflected cosmos.

—Interviews. The CBLDF podcast interviews comics translator Anne Ishii.

Topics include: yaoi / BL, Osamu Tezuka, Detroit Metal City