BLOG

Maelstrom

Today on the site, Rob Clough reviews Liz Suburbia's Thee Collected Cyanide Milkshake.

Liz Suburbia's anthology comic Cyanide Milkshake is a mix of '80s alternative comics variety and '90s DIY punk ethos. She effortlessly blends romance, fantasy, rock, feminism, punk, autobio, dogs, and superhero gags into a surprisingly coherent package, held together by a singular visual aesthetic. The simplicity of her tools (Sharpies) is belied by her relentless work ethic. Indeed, Suburbia eschews the sort of ratty line that a lot of punk-inspired artists use in favor of the clarity that can be traced back to Archie artists like Dan DeCarlo and Bob Bolling. It's not surprising to see a blurb from Jaime Hernandez for this collection of comics, given that he drew from many of the same sources. It's a different kind of punk, drawing from the same frustrations with society but expressing them in a fluid, elegant, and witty manner.

Thee Collected Cyanide Milkshake is in turns silly and personal, slapstick and revealing, a hoot and a howl. Published by riot grrrl zine legend Janelle Hessig's Gimme Action, I can't think of a better match between artist and publisher. While working on what eventually became Sacred Heart, a sweeping punk genre book published by Fantagraphics, Suburbia used Cyanide Milkshake as her repository for every other idea. It was her personal laboratory to write autobio, pen an epic zombie romance story, write about her beloved dogs and their increasingly weird adventures, and make fun of Scott Summers from the X-Men. In every issue, Suburbia writes editorials that rail against defeatism, complacency, or the idea that the punk aesthetic and lifestyle is a mark of immaturity--something one grows out of when you get a mortgage.


Meanwhile, elsewhere:

—News. Tom K. Ryan, creator of Tumbleweeds, has died. We will have an obituary on the site soon.

—Misc. Longtime fan Russ Maheras has published a very thorough account of his various encounters with Steve Ditko.

Steve was a fairly-thin, gray-haired older man. His thinning hair was combed back, and he wore narrow-frame glasses. He was wearing a short-sleeved soft-plaid shirt (with pocket) that buttoned up in front, a white t-shirt, and slacks. He stood nearly erect and appeared in excellent health. He was alert, moved deliberately, and had no signs of any age-related issues. His hearing was fine, and his mind was very quick and very sharp.

He is a friendly, articulate and affable man, who, while he may have strong opinions (as do I), was easy to talk with. He listened carefully to what I said, and if he agreed, he nodded or affirmed his agreement. If he disagreed, he would say so and explain why.


—Interviews & Podcasts.
The most recent guest on RiYL is Nick Thorburn, and the most recent guest on Chapo Trap House is Eli Valley.

 

Cloak Psychology

Today at The Comics Journal, Alex Dueben is opening the week talking Gasoline Alley with the man who has been its faithful captain for decades: Jim Scancarelli. As the strip recently reached its 100th anniversary, Alex asked "the question".

I have to ask, are Walt and Skeezix ever going to die?

I’ve been asked that. In the back of my head, I have a scenario that would work. I have told Bob Harvey, but I swore him to secrecy. I don’t know. Uncle Walt is too good a character. You can kill off Phyllis and nobody is going to miss her much, but you don’t kill your main character. I’m having too good a time with him. Skeezix? I think he should stay around. All of Uncle Walt’s cronies that he used to work on cars with have all passed away. That was the realistic part of what I was doing. Uncle Walt has good genes. You just don’t kill off your main character because you don’t have a strip anymore. You have other players, but people seem to like Walt and Skeezix.

Our review of the day comes from R.C. Harvey, and its a look at The Unknown Anti-War Comics, a recent anthology put together by Craig Yoe.

Slightly more than three dozen Charlton anti-war comics stories from mid-1950s and 1960s are collected here, beginning with four tales from Never Again Nos. 1 and 8, the first anti-war comic (which appeared in only two non=chronologically numbered issues). The work of 15 artists includes eight stories by Ditko, but Bill Molno drew the most, twelve, and Ross Andru, Charles Nicholas, and Rocco “Rocke” Mastroserio are also represented almost as often as Ditko.

 

Almost Done

Today on the site, Tom Kaczynski returns with his Event Horizon column, this time focusing on a Batman comic he finds particularly revealing.

Batman: Son of the Demon (BSOTD) falls squarely into the "traditional" camp. Batman was one of the few characters that was not hugely affected by the Crisis of Infinite Earths (Apr 1985-Mar 1986, more on that next column) continuity reboot. The monthly Batman titles were not numerically reset to #1, unlike, say, Superman. Batman’s origin was tweaked a bit in Batman: Year One, but that come out after BSOTD and had no effect on its continuity. The key revisionist Batman, The Dark Knight Returns, came out just a few months before BSOTD. The other key Batman title from that era, The Killing Joke, would not come out until 1988; post-Event.

BSOTD occupies an awkward position in the Batman canon… and in the Event. On one hand, M.W. Barr tries to disrupt the Batman mythos by introducing new elements into the canon, and takes new liberties with violence and brutality. On other, in execution, it’s a nostalgic callback to the then already classic Denny O’Neil & Neil Adams era of Batman. (That run itself was a callback to the original pre-camp, pre-TV-show Batman). The artist Jerry Bingham may have put it best. Bingham was “half-way through working on Batman, Son of the Demon, when Frank Miller’s first Dark Knight hit the comic shops. My brain nearly exploded. I felt like Roger Corman watching a Spielberg movie, and I had to force myself to pick up the pencil again.” This is an interesting admission. All around him, creators like Miller, Sienkiewicz, Mazzucchelli, and others were competing with each other to innovate comics storytelling. Meanwhile, Bingham felt like a dinosaur drawing in the classic Batman style.

Brian Nicholson is here, too, with a review of Mike Taylor's In Christ There Is No East or West.

Mike Taylor’s book In Christ There Is No East or West begins with its lead character having what is possibly a panic attack, before the rest of the narrative unfolds in an oneiric state, where he wanders a landscape that might be best understood as a Bardo, a space between death and rebirth, though it’s never explicitly identified as such. It is from the very beginning as gripping as the cataclysm it describes, impactful as a car crash, a jolt you will remember.

Taylor’s artwork is visceral and impactful, occupying space on the Raymond Pettibon/Gary Panter continuum. It is pretty easy to see the debt to Panter on any page of this comic, but Taylor also has a substantial body of single-image “fine art” that incorporates the use of text in a Pettibon-like way. This is the lineage of the good kind of “punk art,” and Taylor is definitely the good kind of punk, committed to the exploration of diverse bodies of knowledge without entering into or replicating hierarchical systems. I recently learned, from a Twitter thread Nate Powell posted about his formative influences, that a decade before I encountered Taylor’s work he was collaborating with the now deceased zine-maker and zine-library-maintainer Travis Fristoe, to whom this book is dedicated, and had work published in the zine HeartattaCk. (The H and C are both capitalized to signal coverage of hardcore.)

Meanwhile, elsewhere:

—News. This year's National Book Critics Circle award winners have been announced, and Nora Krug's Belonging won in the autobiography category.

—Interviews & Profiles. Ty Burr at the Boston Globe talks to Bill Griffith.

Q. Was making “Nobody’s Fool” a way of paying back the success you’ve had with Zippy the Pinhead?

A. Well, yeah. I always periodically feel I owe my public an explanation for Zippy. Like, what’s this all about? I even have another book in mind that I’ll probably never do, it’s just a joke book to me, called “The Key to Zippy.” Like “The Key to ‘Finnegans Wake.’” And I would absolutely, dead seriously, completely explain Zippy in infinite detail. I’ve done it satirically a number of times in the “Zippy” strip. [But] this book has some quality of that, of me saying “Here’s the inspiration for Zippy.”

Paul Morton at The Millions interviews James Sturm.

James Sturm: With historical fiction there is more of an element of excavation to the undertaking. Switching gears to contemporary fiction, I enjoyed being more attentive to the current moment and my immediate environment, especially because the story was set in a place similar to where I live. There were times while writing Off Season that it felt like I was working on a documentary.

TM: What do you mean by documentary? Do you see similarities between the methods you employ in Off Season and those employed by non-fiction comics creators?

JS: After working on the book a year, my characters felt real to me. With characters set in another era you have a sense of the history they are moving through. When I decided to set this book during the election season, I didn’t know what was going to happen, I had to let things unfold and record my character’s response.

Roz Chast appeared at The Strand:

—Misc. At Hyperallergic, Natasha Seaman writes about a Botticelli exhibit at Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardner museum that incorporates interpretive comics by Karl Stevens.

Beyond harnessing the illustrative advantages of images, as demonstrated by Stevens’s work, the show is also making the point that Botticelli’s paintings are a lot like cartoons. His forms are wired into taut outlines, his characters’ gestures are theatrical and expository, his palette prefigures mid-century Disney, and his trick of containing different episodes of a story into architecture is just like the multiple panels of a strip. However, Stevens’s work, here entirely in black and white, and like all his pen-and-ink drawings, obsessively cross-hatched, offers instructive contrast rather than mere parallel to the Renaissance master’s paintings.

 

He’s Dead Tired

Today at Comics Journal, it's time for one of the sharpest conversations in the conversation drawer: Matthew Thurber and Austin English. We've had this one in the hopper for a minute, and we're pleased to see it make its way into the world. Here's a taste:

You don’t go to Columbia grad school and talk about the money the other students make. It’s just not going to enter the critique, or how much money you were able to spend on it.

I imagine now if a minimalist artist come up, it’s probably like, “And these guys were able to do this because they had a little bit of money.”

Donald Judd was canny with real estate. I don’t know if he grew up with money.

A lot of those minimalists were able to sustain their practice because they had these studios in SoHo, when real estate was nothing. That work remains relevant and I feel that the economic stability those artists had through making those real estate decisions is part of that, though unacknowledged.

There’s twenty other people waiting in the wings, who didn’t have the money, who you don’t really hear about. That’s an interesting issue. You had all kinds of people doing all kinds of things, and the Fluxus guy, George Maciunas, was starting this utopian buying program, of buying up buildings. So, the Fluxus guy became like a slumlord to all these different artists. The real-estate-preserving history.

I hope that people are taking more about race, economics, what is valid expression. Trying to get back to making a sensible statement about this—in terms of school, you talk about, in a way, the free of context art the students are making. You don’t talk about realities. And that’s reflected a lot in Art Comic, where you have students of various economic backgrounds all improperly equipped by their teachers to deal with the weird reality of that the capitalist system. The art world is really just a metaphor for capitalism in the book. They come out of art school, and they are just trying to be idealists, and, so the teachers are victims of this system as well, and they’re oppressing the students.

Our review of the day comes to us from a guy familiar with both academia and those who never climbed the ivory tower: Paul Buhle, who is here with his take on Bill Schelly's James Warren book.

Perhaps, for most TCJ readers, the most outstanding contribution of James Warren, Empire of Monsters is the careful enumeration of the top-flight comic artists who migrated from EC comics or high-placed perches in the superhero mainstream, into the horror mags as well as Help. Al Williamson, Jack Davis, Frank Franzetta, Wally Wood, John Severin, Steve Ditko, Joe Orlando, Reed Crandall… The list goes on and on. It was a tough world for freelancers and Warren had a paycheck for them, if a small one. Forty dollars seems to have been a normal page rate for genius work; then again, rents were cheaper back then.

dd

 

Cherish Our History

Tucker's on semi-vacation in Florida right now, but before he left, he arranged for today's posts, including an interview with the longtime comics critic and scholar Marc Singer, about his new book, Breaking the Frames: Populism and Prestige in Comics Studies.

You argue that critics are often too quick to read in a critical stance or a critical perspective in the works they write about. So, for example, to use an example you don't directly address, people argue that V in Alan Moore and David Lloyd's s V for Vendetta is a repudiation of terrorist violence, rather than a glorification of it. Why do people want comics to have a critical perspective? And why are you certain in some cases that they don't, when so many other readers see that in them?

To the first part of the question about why people, I think that it becomes a passport to intellectual credibility for the comics themselves.

There's a common formula in criticism, not just in comics criticism by any means, where if you can show that the work itself is participating in a kind of cultural critique, then you've justified its place in the academy, you've justified its place in the academic journals. And you've justified your own work, because essentially at that point all you need to do is draft along behind it, and say, "Well, this work is criticizing terrorist violence, or this work is criticizing any other ideology we don't care for, and I can just sort of expose the critique and ride along behind it, and I've done some critical work as well."

I don't think that stance is always wrong. I think there are lots of comics that do perform that kind of critical work, and it's worth exploring it when they do.

Matt Seneca is here, too, with a review of Ruppert & Mulot's erotic comic, The Perineum Technique.

French cartooning team Ruppert & Mulot (whose mamas named them Florent and Jerome) are tough to put a label on. Setting aside the fact that "their creative partnership has grown so organically as to obscure the individual contribution of the work of either hand," per this book's press packet, their published efforts range as far and wide as any more familiar name that I can think of. Their first two offerings to the US market, an enigmatic short in Kramers Ergot and the bizarre metafiction Barrel of Monkeys, positioned them as hardcore avant-gardists, makers of work so full of sharp angles and jagged edges it could cut itself - literally, Barrel of Monkeys invites readers to employ the blade in rendering a magic lantern-type device from its pages at one point. I was genuinely shocked at encountering Le Grande Odalisque, the duo's frothy action-girl series with Bastien Vives, which shows that Ruppert & Mulot have another gear - or a whole different set of them. Odalisque's impactfully staged melodrama plays as well to the multiplex as Barrel of Monkeys does to the gallery space.  

The Perineum Technique, which is the first Ruppert & Mulot work you're at all likely to encounter in a regular comic store, squares the circle. This is a very heady comic that's fun and easy to read; unusual to say the least. On the surface it's smooth and sleek, about as far from "experimental comics" as can be, but much swims in its depths. One is compelled to turn its pages over again and again, scrutinizing the smooth shell in search of a chink or flaw that might explain why this fun, easy book also feels so strange.  

The Perineum Technique is unabashedly a romance comic, a new entry in a genre that's spent the past half decade poised for a big comeback that hasn't materialized. Romance is a genre comics has always done well, and one where new ground is currently offering itself up begging to be explored. Maybe it's symptomatic of the fact that comic books are mostly made by unlaid losers that the 2010s have delivered so many great comics about Being Online but so few about the way it's impacted modern romance? Regardless, Ruppert & Mulot are on the case with this baldly put tale of a love affair that starts on the apps and spills out messily into rl. 

Meanwhile, elsewhere:

—News. Slate and CCS have announced the nominees for their annual Cartoonist Studio Prize.

—Interviews & Profiles. Henry Chamberlain talks to Bill Griffith.

In 1976, Zippy began to appear in about 50 alternative weekly newspapers–syndicated only by me. From ’76 to ’85, Zippy was a weekly strip that I syndicated alone. In 1985, the San Francisco Examiner, a daily Hearst paper, was given over to a new generation. Will Hearst III called me into his office and offered that I do a strip for the paper. I thought he meant weekly. No, he wanted daily. That was a huge shock. I remember telling him that I’d have to think about it. I came back with a proposal for six months of backlog, running my weekly archives daily to help give me time to get into the flow of doing new material. He agreed so there I was in 1985.

Then, in 1986, one of the vice presidents at King Features came down to visit me in San Francisco and proposed that King Features take on Zippy as a daily comic strip. Once again, I was very surprised. This was not something I’d sought. Right away, I didn’t think the material was going to work around the country in places like Kansas City. King Features said to let them worry about that. I thought I’d try to kill the deal by asking for a lot more money than I’d been getting from the Examiner and King Features agreed instantly. They agreed to not censor me too. Suddenly, I was in New York signing a contract and trying to show salesmen how to sell Zippy. A couple of them got it and the rest looked like they wanted to be somewhere else.

At Popula, Shuja Haider interviews Eli Valley about his recent online encounter with Meghan McCain.

Do you see monsters in the right-wingers you draw, just when you look at them, or does it emerge as you draw them?

You’re asking if I see them in—what’s that film noir word?

Chiaroscuro?

Yeah, thank you, no, I’m not quite a dog who sees things in, such, whatever. But I do see them as monstrous personalities, and ethically beyond the pale of what we’re supposed to be when we’re acting with empathy towards other humans, and I try to convey that in my art.

But I’ll be honest with you, it’s my personal aesthetic, I like drawing this way, even when I’m drawing friends. I find the art to be aesthetically appealing, but others might find it offensive.

—Reviews & Commentary. Tom Brevoort tries to glean as much info as he can via a close examination of the original art from Amazing Fantasy #15.

Even the logo for AMAZING FANTASY was redone from the version on the original Ditko version. This is due in part to the fact that, despite what legend has often said about it, AMAZING FANTASY #15 was not intended to be the final issue of the magazine when it was being put together. In fact, researcher Will Murray was able to lay out a compelling case for what the contents of AMAZING FANTASY #16 would have been, working off of the story job numbers written on each story’s splash and used for accounting purposes.

—Misc. Bill Frisell's got a new guitar with Jim Woodring art.

 

Mr Body

Today at The Comics Journal, we're pleased to share the opening salvo from Marc Singer's recent release with The University of Texas Press. If you like what you see--or you don't, either response is fine in a click-based economy--make sure you're here tomorrow for Marc's interview with us on the project.

My aim is not to belabor this or that point in an online dustup over a comic book, nor to choose sides between Wilson and Lepore. Instead I want to highlight the telling divergences between their critical approaches, but also the surprising convergences—for the only thing that was at all strange about this exchange, which followed well-worn formulas for criti­cal discussions of popular culture, was that both parties held one principal but unspoken assumption. Lepore’s review is indicative of the approach taken by many academics who are unfamiliar with comics: she doesn’t engage with the actual comic in any detail, doesn’t place it in the contexts of its publication or its genre, and doesn’t seem to think it merits any more sustained critical argument. Wilson’s response is equally indicative of the approach taken not only by fans and creators but by many academics who identify as fans and who are intimately familiar with the world of comics: defensive, anti-intellectual, and adamant that good criticism should be aspirational, Wilson also exempts comics from sustained critical argument if that argument should prove too unsympathetic. What one rules out in her offhand dismissal, the other rejects in favor of populist resentment. Neither approach is adequate to interpreting even the most mundane comics, particularly in an academic context. This book attempts to chart another course, showing how comics studies can benefit from more care­ful engagement with comics texts and their many material, historical, and cultural contexts.

Extending this debate to the academic study of comics requires an important caveat. It’s one thing to criticize Harvard scholar Jill Lepore for her breezy indifference, even when she’s writing for a popular magazine, but G. Willow Wilson is not an academic. This doesn’t indemnify her from criticism either, but it complicates any attempt to cast her comments as representative of the populist tendency in comics studies. However, many academics who work in comics studies share the same assumptions and make the same arguments, including the celebration of unreflective reading and the suspicion of academic scholarship. Sometimes they even take the opportunity to prescribe these values for the field as a whole.

Today's review comes to us via Leonard Pierce--and it's of James Sturm's Off Season. He's into it, friend.

Did the election split open new wounds in our psyches, or did it just expose the damage that was already there? That’s the question that shades every panel of James Sturm’s moving, disturbing, magnificent new graphic novel, Off Season. Politics doesn’t intrude in the narrative in any obvious or arbitrary way; it simply crowds into the lives of its characters in the same ways, big and little, that it does to us all. Off Season isn’t a book with a political axe to grind, in which ideology stands in for our personal problems; it’s a book that illustrates how politics is inextricable from our emotional lives, and functions as both an influence on and a reflection of our interior lives.

Over in Florida, a state I am flying directly towards, probably at the exact moment you are reading this, ReedPOP has continued its expansion: they took over the Florida Supercon. ReedPOP is the part of Reed Exhibition that handles a bunch of geek culture conventions, some of which have healthy comics components. I don't go to any of these shows, and i've worked professionally in comics longer than many of them have existed. It gives me great pleasure to ignore them on a near permanent basis.

One thing you shouldn't ignore is the Comics Journal Newsletter: the new one came out today. If you're a daily reader, well God bless you, but if you're not, the weekly Newsletter is the best way to keep up with what's happening here.

 

 

Composition Problems

Today on the site, we have a report from the new Naoki Urasawa exhibit in Los Angeles.

The Japan House gallery is accessed through its storefront, which is filled with a range of tastefully made, lovingly displayed Japanese housewares, decorations, and books. “This is MANGA!” features some elaborate installations, such as a “tent” of banners bearing series of striking Urasawa panels, as well as a map showing where he’s been published throughout the world. There’s a mannequin wearing the costume of “Friend,” the cult leader villain of 20th Century Boys, from the Japanese movie trilogy adaptation of the comic. A table out front has laminated recreations of notebooks Urasawa kept when he was young, which show off his early artistic progression.

But the show’s main element is a series of three-sided displays throughout the gallery, each of which is dedicated to a specific Urasawa series. With manga-style arrows helpfully telling visitors where to start and how to read, each side follows the process by which a manga page goes from concept to completion. This is illustrated via original art from Urasawa, with a wealth of nēmu (storyboards) provided for the show. There are around 400 pieces of such art in the exhibition, giving patrons a detailed look at the nuances of comic art, and helping laypeople understand how things like layout and framing play into one’s understanding of a scene.

Nathan Chazan is here, too, with a review of Michel Fiffe's licensed GI Joe comic.

Blessed with the opportunity to tell his own stories at whatever pace he wants, Fiffe reanimates the cliches and visual licks of the comics that clog the quarter bins (and our hearts). Whether in the '80s superhero analogizing COPRA or the continuity calculus of Bloodstrike: Brutalists, Fiffe’s artistic exuberance doesn’t just make good comics, it makes for comics that make you want to read comics.

With GI Joe: Sierra Muerte, Fiffe continues his foray into personalized expansions of the quarter stack with an official tie-in comic from IDW, the patron saint publisher of glossy new toy commercials. Unlike previous works in this vein from Fiffe, there are some serious constraints on what he can do in this book. COPRA had the benefit of being an original story, albeit one populated by familiar faces with serial numbers filed off, and even Bloodstrike was continuing a narrative that honestly few people remained attached to (at least not moreso than Fiffe). GI Joe is not the media force it was in the mid-'80s, but it still is one, and Fiffe has both fan and publisher expectations to bear in mind on this title. There are genuine external constraints on this book - he can’t push the formula too far. And besides which, Fiffe is a diligent fan himself in many respects, and the house style of GI Joe is not quite as outlandish as some of the material he’s riffed on in the past. As such, there is something of a ceiling on the excitement of this comic that I haven’t really felt before in his comics. The storyline is captivating, but a little boilerplate, and the parade of characters tossed by the reader in issue one are entertaining but it’s hard to have much attachment to them without the excitement of prior familiarity. Even the visual flair seems a little tampered down in comparison to other Fiffe books, although still wildly experimental in comparison to anything else on the Wednesday racks.

Meanwhile, elsewhere:

—Interviews & Profiles. At Smash Pages, Alex Dueben interviews Cathy G. Johnson about her new YA comic, her work as a teacher, and her podcast, among other things.

Drawing a Dialogue is a comics scholarship podcast that I do with my friend and peer e jackson, and it’s about putting comics into historical and educational contexts. So we’ll take a topic that pertains to comics, such as transgender identity or autism, and then we will share academic research with our listeners to broaden our collective understanding of comics. My segment of the podcast is particularly about education. I am part of the equity and inclusion committee at the school I work for now, and it’s something that we talk about a lot, that people’s knowledge about subjects limits us and can gatekeep others. This is also true in publishing and the art world. So our effort with the podcast is to take knowledge out of the ivory tower and change the conversation around comic books, to hopefully create a more equitable future.

The New Yorker has an ultra-brief interview with Jaime Hernandez.

Nadja Sayej at The Guardian has a brief profile of Robert Crumb to go along with his current exhibit at the David Zwirner Gallery in New York, images of which have been posted over at The Paris Review's site.

—Reviews & Commentary. I usually try to avoid spending much time covering superhero movies, but because this is an issue that also bleeds into comics, I thought I'd link to two recent articles on complaints that Captain Marvel demonstrates a too-cozy relationship between Marvel and the United States military.

Behind the language of representation and inclusion, some critics see evidence of a problematic relationship between Captain Marvel and the Air Force, which had an active role in the film’s production, received numerous plugs throughout its promotion, and assisted in publicizing the movie. The film comes at a time when the Air Force faces a severe shortage of pilots (especially women), a recent “readiness” crisis due to its fleet of aging aircrafts, and a worsening epidemic of sexual misconduct. Even with all this baggage, the Air Force plans on expanding back to Cold War-levels, making public opinion more important than ever.

Over the course of the production, the Air Force gave the film access to Air Force historians, Edwards Air Force Base, and Air Force-operated F-15Cs, according to Lt. Col. Nathan Broshear, director of the Air Force Entertainment Liaison Office, who was the project lead officer for Captain Marvel. During the film’s pre-release marketing, the Air Force performed at least two flyovers to publicize its opening, one at Disneyland and another at the Hollywood premiere. Broshear says that “all costs are passed on to the production company.”

Derik Badman writes about a recent Sam Glanzman collection.

[The] first issue is just totally crazy. The Admiral of the submarine has this long vision of the destruction of New York City due to the effect of what “the Enemy” has done in the Mariana Trench to cause sea levels to rise. In a most unusual move, throughout all four of these issues the antagonist is always just referred to as “the Enemy”, never seen, never named, never explained in the even the slightest way (are they aliens? is it a they or a single individual? why do they keep trying to destroy the world via created natural disasters?). I do notice on rereading a panel that shows a mysterious looking clawed glove crumbling a map of the United States, but the sketchy panel borders on that image make it read like another vision not a glimpse of the actual Enemy (oddly, it reminds me of the gloved antagonist in the Inspector Gadget cartoon).

—Misc. Eli Vally and Meghan McCain had an interesting exchange on Twitter last week.

Monster Brains has a great gallery of Gahan Wilson cartoons up right now.

 

Pew Pew Pew

Today at The Comics Journal, we're pleased to share Oliver Ristau's take on an exhibition of Émilie Plateau and Jul Gordon's work, which is taking place until March 23rd in Bremen, Germany. 

Serving as a model was also a point brought up while I was talking to dessinatrices Émilie Plateau from France and Germany's Jul Gordon during an exhibition of their creative work, which wasn't limited to the showing of drawings alone. After years of publishing fanzines – Gordon with the Tiny Masters bunch consisting of the likes of Anna Haifisch or G.W. Duncanson, Plateau with the collective Nos Restesfounded by Belgium's conscientious objector to mainstream comics Jérôme Puigros-Puigener – both now share first-time releases of their comics in hardback editions. You can read this as another manifestation in terms of reification by emerging from the world of self-made zines and their fleeting nature.

And here we are at Day Five of Jesse Reklaw's Cartoonist Diary, where things get meta, and he reads...Cartoonist Diaries, here at TCJ? I did not see that coming.

Today's review comes to us from Tegan O'Neil--she's fallen pretty hard for Julie Delporte's This Women's Work.

I’ve always loved books assembled from artist’s sketchbooks: there’s no more exciting version of comics to me than something small and intricate made by hand and reproduced in such a way as to not merely preserve but to lionize the format’s material limitations. It’s hard to forget that we are supposed to be reading someone’s personal narrative when the story comes in the form of a personal scrapbook or illustrated notebook. A few years back I noticed that more and more books I was receiving from women artists seemed to be going for a raw and studiously rough presentation in terms of medium and execution - specifically, directly reproduced colored pencils seemed to be multiplying. Eventually I came to see the move - a widespread gesture with clear roots in Lynda Berry’s nonfiction comics, among many others - as a studied turn away from the hyperfocus and discipline of the masculine-coded industrial precision of turn-of-the-millennium comics auteurs, to say nothing of the pervasive slickness of most computer-based commercial art in 2019. There’s room to breathe here. Negative space isn’t bound by tight panel grids. She mentions Louise Bourgeois at a couple points throughout the narrative, and you can actually see the influence, with swaths of minimal, almost primary color set as stark central design motifs at various points.

In the streamlining services department, Image has shut down a subscription service called Image Direct. Based off the laziest form or research--looking at the reactions in the two places that acknowledged this news initially, which was Bleeding Cool and reddit, it doesn't seem like this was a very well-used service that Image offered, and should not be used as proof of any one particular argument or theory about the future of the direct market. Unless you really want to, of course.

Heidi MacDonald watched Fox & Friends so that you don't have to, and she's got the tapes to prove it. Ben Marra's team up with Joe Casey--six years in the making, you're welcome--featuring our Lord and Savior in full hyperviolent regalia was the current topic du jour on that television show. Please to enjoy!