It’s Tuesday, which means it’s time for Joe McCulloch to provide a guide to this week’s most intriguing new comics releases, including Sean Ford’s Only Skin and Charles Burns’s Sugar Skull.
And speaking of Sugar Skull, we also have a more thorough review of the conclusion to the Nitnit trilogy, written by the great Richard Gehr. Here’s a bit of what he has to say:
Could the colorful Hergé-inspired trilogy Charles Burns concludes with Sugar Skull be read as a formally audacious sequel to his black-and-white masterpiece Black Hole? “A hole is never just a hole,” Burns has said of the series, which launched in 2010 with X’ed Out and continued two years later with The Hive. And the lacunae, tunnels, cavities, orifices, and other absences so present in these three books cover a lot of the same creepy-ass territory as their diseased-adolescence predecessor – although his trademark meticulously rendered deformities are relegated to a fantasy realm. This time around the emphasis is on the biological consequences of the sexual desires thrumming though Burns’s young fertile creatures.
Besides providing a delightfully Freudian read with heavy emotional repercussions, Sugar Skull also offers a final opportunity to enjoy the trilogy in all its fine Franco-Belgian drag prior to the inevitable single-volume repack. Hergé has been called a thieving magpie of imagery, and Burns wreaks artistic justice by inverting both Hergé’s narrative style and star. Tintin becomes Nitnit, the oneiric representation of Doug, whose three-stage development from the late-seventies art-punk wannabe who calls himself Johnny 23 to a slacker record-store clerk several years later is chronicled. Snowy the dog becomes Inky the cat, who leads Nitnit down a grungy hole on X’ed Out‘s first page and returns for the trilogy’s uncanny conclusion. (Burns’s books are also littered with desert skeletons reminiscent of the dead dromedaries Hergé snagged from photographer J. Pascal Sebah and dropped into The Crab With the Golden Claws.)
—SPX. This was the first SPX in something like a decade that I wasn’t able to attend, and of course the Social Media has made it seem like the most entertaining ever. As Joe mentions in his column, if all goes well, he will have a report from SPX up for us later this week. We also plan to publish another SPX report in a different mode, from Whit Taylor (who you may remember from her excellent piece on the Comics & Medicine festival earlier this year). In the meantime, we’ll all have to make do with what we can find elsewhere online, including Brigid Alverson’s photo report from the Ignatz Awards.
—Interviews. Tim O’Shea talks to the Magic Whistle artist (and occasional TCJ contributor) Sam Henderson.
The aforementioned Charles Burns talks briefly with Françoise Mouly and Mina Kaneko about the connection between Sugar Skull and Tintin.
Zachary Clemente catches up with Annie Koyama.
And my coeditor Dan talks to ARTnews about his What Nerve! show.
—News. The Pulitzer-winning political cartoonist Tony Auth has passed away. Here’s his home paper obituary.
After 40+ years, a lot of Maurice Sendak work is leaving the Rosenbach Museum, in order eventually to become part of a planned Sendak museum in Connecticut.
—Reviews & Commentary. The New Yorker has a long piece by Jill Lepore on the hidden history of Wonder Woman (with a cameo from Margaret Sanger). I assume this is either an excerpt or includes material from her upcoming much-anticipated book on the same subject.
Domingos Isabelinho writes about Brian Evenson’s book on Chester Brown. (I think he’s right about those intestines.)
Bobsy gives the Mindless Ones treatment to Multiversity #1.
Sean Kleefeld talks about the complicated promotional strategies that Marvel has to pursue in order to get its cinematic house in order.