Another week down, seven days in the bag, time to recharge and prep for the next seven, and the seven after that, and then keep going in that manner until the universe can no longer sustain its entropic dash for glory and the noise ceases.
If you’d like something to help pass the time while doing so, then I suggest this week’s links, which you can find below.
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Koyama Thanks Tom Spurgeon! “We're grateful to Tom for his help over the years, for coverage on his site, for his sometimes offbeat interview questions and for welcoming Ed and myself to the CXC show in Columbus. Sometimes, out of the blue, he'd email or ask to call me to dispel a wild rumour that he'd heard but he always ended by offering any support that he could provide to us. A strange upside to having all of the shows cancelled this year is not having to miss his presence at those shows. I hope that he's reading comics and not worrying about deadlines, wherever he is.” — Annie Koyama TOM SPURGEON was a comics giant. He headed up a legendary run as editor of THE COMICS JOURNAL and was a cornerstone of the industry with his blog THE COMICS REPORTER. A gifted and multifaceted writer, Tom wrote the WILDWOOD strip, as well as co-authoring biographies of Stan Lee, the Romitas and his former employer Fantagraphics. As Executive Director of Cartoon Crossroads Columbus, he was on the frontline of one of the best and brightest festivals in North America that will have his stamp on it for years to come. He let us crawl around and load up his car with our books, which he then drove from Bethesda, MD to Columbus, OH. Friends help friends move, and Tom was a friend. Revisit some of his work at THE COMICS REPORTER here: comicsreporter.com Illustration by @dharbin.
A crowd of people stood and stared... This week’s news.
• Via the Associated Press, Brazillian political cartoonists have come out in support of artist Renato Aroiera, after the country’s Justice Ministry requested a federal investigation of the artist, following his illustration, of far-right President Jair Bolsarno altering a hospital’s red cross to form a swastika, being shared online.
• As whisper networks continue to be made public on social media, this week saw allegations of sexual misconduct come to light regarding the behavior of Warren Ellis and Cameron Stewart - Multiversity Comics has the stories on those links, with content warnings on grooming and sexual coercion for both - DC and Image have since cancelled Stewart's involvement with upcoming projects, while Ellis has released a statement in response to the allegations.
• Continuing the occasional COVID-19 series of “well, that was inevitable” stories, the rescheduled Emerald City Comic Con, mooted to take place in August of this year, has been cancelled - I like standing in a crowded airless space filled with strangers as much as the next person, but not this year, eh.
• Voting anomaly season is truly upon us, with 6 months still to go until November, as the Eisner Award voting system has reportedly been experiencing issues, so voting might have been extended, but may not, assuming the system has been fixed, but not fixed like fixed, you know?
• The machinations continue at AT&T’s Warnermedia’s Warner Bros’ DC Comics, Inc, as they announce publication of comics in partnership with HBO Max (sure), change the format of their Walmart comic offerings, put the video game branch of the company up for sale (firesale time, pals), whilethe ongoing direct market distribution scuffle with Diamond ends with a stalemate in the UK, and softens in the US - “the son becomes the father, and the father the son”, indeed.
• In “I don’t think that’s how the Moomins would behave, in fact, isn’t Moomins on the Riviera basically themed around that?” news - the enduringly loveable characters have been swept up in a real estate scandal in their native Finland.
• Via Fleen, it appears that Joann Sfar, co-creator of Donjon, and writer/director of Gainsbourg: Vie Héroïque, is being sued by La Société des Gens de Lettres for defamation, following comments made by the creator in an interview regarding the organization’s use of funds in their work to defend the legal rights of writers - 2020’s commitment to irony is admirable, I suppose.
• Finally, following his sad passing last week, aged 81, the comics community came out to celebrate the life and work of Denny O’Neil, with remembrances from Paul Levitz and Neal Adams, while The Beat, Newsarama, and 13th Dimension collected tributes to the writer and editor, and here at TCJ there’s a conversation between O’Neil and Matt Fraction with Kirsty Valenti, which is one of the all-timers, from the archives.
I never read a book I must review... This week’s reviews.
• Paul Karasik journeys into Art Young’s Inferno, finding a capitalist hellscape reflecting our own, albeit with much better design.
• Relatedly, Anya Davidson reviews the stylized capitalist suffering of Patrick Steptoe’s Repulsive Attraction.
• Katie Skelly reviews the candid ambivalence of Leslie Stein’s graphic memoir, I Know You Rider.
• David Brooke reviews two of DC Comics’ returning big-hitters with Grant Morrison, Liam Sharp,et al’s The Green Lantern Season 2 #4, and Tom King, Mitch Gerads, Evan Shaner et al’s Strange Adventures #2.
• Vishal Gullapalli reviews the fantastical bigotry of James Tynion IV and Michael Dialynas’ Wynd #1.
• Ronnie Gorham reviews the gross-out political comedy of Robert Kirkman, Chris Burnham, et al’s Die!Die!Die! #10.
• Arbaz Khan reviews the stellar sci-fi quality of Johnnie Christmas and Jack T. Cole’s Tartarus #3.
• Jordan Richards reviews the unconventional espionage humor of Spy x Family, volume 1.
• John Seven reviews the affecting drama of Robert Mailer Anderson, Zack Anderson, and Jon Sack’s Windows on the World.
• Josh Hilgenberg reviews the angrily grungy sci-fi of Ben Kahn, Bruno Hidalgo, et al’s Gryffen: Galaxy’s Most Wanted.
• Morgana Santilli reviews the tranquil friendship story of Kaori Tsurutani’s BL Metamorphosis, translated by Jocelyne Allen.
Andy Oliver reviews the psychedelic weirdness of Greg Gustin, V. Ganon, Michael Kennedy, et al’s Dr. Love Wave and the Experiments #1, the complex relationships of Sayra Begum’s Mongrel, and the amiable informality of Lawrence Lindell’s Kinda a Graphic Memoir.
Four Color Apocalypse
Ryan C orchestrates a quartet of kuš! mini-comic reviews, looking at:
- The lush compositions of Roberts Rūrāns' (extra) Ordinary;
- The exceptional vibrance of Harukichi's Hero;
- The subtle joy of Chihoi's The Book Fight;
- The impressive plotting of Keren Katz' Chapter Two.
• Johnny Hall reviews the unabating anguish of Inio Asano’s Downfall.
• Elias Rosner brings us a timely look back at Denny O’Neil, Denys Cowan, et al’s The Question #5-8.
• Matthew Blair reviews the return of the arch-goth in Tim Seeley, Ilias Kyriazas, et al's The Crow: Lethe #2.
The New York Times
• Hillary Chute reviews the anti-racist adventures of Krypton’s last son, in Gene Luen Yang’s Superman Smashes the Klan.
• JD Biersdorfer reviews books in which ‘Cartoonists Tackle the Big Stuff’ with Jason Adam Katzenstein’s Everything is an Emergency: An OCD Story in Words and Pictures, Lucy Knisley’s Go To Sleep (I Miss You): Cartoons From the Fog of New Parenthood, and Grant Snider’s I Will Judge You By Your Bookshelf.
Hans Rollman reviews the important history of Jim Ottaviani and Maris Wicks’ Astronauts: Women on the Final Frontier
This week have capsule reviews of:
- The transformative autofiction of Bishakh Som's Spellbound;
- The wrenching histories of Sara Mirk's Guantanamo Voices;
- The juvenile raunch of Tenacious D's Post-Apocalypto;
- The style over substance of Zep and Dominique Bertail's Paris 2119, translated by Mike Kennedy.
Women Write About Comics
• Emily Lauer reviews the satisfying layers of Lucy Knisley’s Stepping Stones.
• Masha Zhdanova reviews the promising polish of Vel, et al’s new webcomic, DPS Only!.
• Wendy Browne reviews the creative room for maneuver of Stephanie Phillips, Craig Cermak, et al’s A Man Among Ye #1; and the pleasurable depth of Amy Chu, Pasquale Qualano, et al's Dejah Thoris Volume 2: Dejah Rising.
• Elvie Mae Parian reviews the comedy canon of Kyle Latino, et al’s The Savage Beard of She Dwarf.
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I didn’t know about Juneteenth until just a few years ago. It’s a celebration of black freedom that you may have seen referenced, but not known what it is. Here’s a comic with the basics for anyone who is wondering and afraid to ask. . Swipe 👉 for an updated Baltimore calendar of Juneteenth demonstrations, as well as self-education recommendations for white and non-black poc who want to observe Juneteenth respectfully. (There are lots of ways to learn and engage - but I'll just share what resonates with me right now!) . Friday June 19th: //12PM Juneteenth Protest/Rally organized by @kennunot._ meeting at the Baltimore City Treasurer and marching to City Hall //2:30PM Juneteenth Freedom March organized by @woodlawnparkcoc meeting at Baltimore Police Dept HQ //4PM Say Her Name: March for black women and femme survivors 4pm organized by @amorousebony, @brittuniverse, @nwblackwomen meeting at Ynot Lot //3PM Youth Led Protest organized by @juneteenth_bmorefreedomfest meeting at Penn North Station — #baltimore #blm #blacklivesmatter #blmbaltimore #thebmorecreatives #resist #comic #freedomday #juneteenth
Questions? Answers... This week’s interviews.
Ian Thomas talks to Jim Rugg about Cartoonist Kayfabe, YouTube expectations, the improv aspect of podcasting, and the ‘outlaw cartoonist’ tradition, as he crowd-funds his latest book, Octobriana 1976.
Chris Coplan has another Post-Game, talking to Ben Fischer about how things went in hindsight, with his and Adam Markiewicz’ mini-series The Great Divide, and talks to Chris Condon and Jacob Phillips about their upcoming series That Texas Blood.
• Matt O’Keefe chats to Joseph Sieracki and Kelly Williams about adapting personal history for their graphic novel A Letter To Jo, and Magdalene Visaggio about the influence of Catholic theology on Lost on Planet Earth.
• DC Comics’ return can mean only one thing - summer event comics (much like football) are back - so Zack Quaintance talks to Scott Snyder about Dark Nights: Death Metal and the joys of continuity.
• Deanna Destito talks to Jackson Lanzing, Collin Kelly, and Nathan Gooden about adapting the work of novelist Brandon Sanderson to comics, and Lovern Kindzierski about his writing on genre-mixing new series Necromantic.
• In a year without a TCAF, Philippe Leblanc interviews Courtney Loberg, who would have been attending the festival this year, about poetry comics, and her comic series We Don’t Go Through the Angelgrass.
Andy Oliver talks to Rob Williams and David Sque about football comics (much like summer event comics) being back, with the return of Melchester’s finest, in Roy of the Rovers: Summer Special.
Aaron Long interviews comics colorist MSassyK about her work, what it is that a colorist does, and the collaborative process.
Karama Horne brings together conversations with Bill Campbell, Keith Knight, and Kwanza Osajyefo on the subject of comics as protest, and the ongoing importance of the medium for expressing injustices.
The worst part of it all is, I never learned to read... This week’s features.
• Here at TCJ, Hillary Brown looks at the work of Eleanor Davis, and the way she makes the complicated appear simple, employing negative space with narrative complexity, and the article gets right to the heart of the matter - Davis has new work in the NYT this week, as part of its ongoing 'Diary Project', and the version for print looks rad.
• For Comicosity, Michael Hale looks at the webcomic The Massacre of Black Wall Street, Natalie Chang, Clayton Henry, and Marcelo Maiolo’s retelling of the events that took place in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in the context of this year’s ongoing protests, and the responsibility art has to reflect ugly histories.
• As Al Jaffee prepares for retirement, George Gene Gustines has a look at the final issue of MAD Magazine that will feature new work by the prolific prankster, including Jaffee’s final Fold-In, which was created in 2014, in anticipation of this farewell to comics work.
• Nick Nafpliotis has an update regarding ongoing efforts to stop law enforcement from utilising the Punisher logo, which would seem a fairly simple ask, given the House of Mouse’s litigiousness to protect its IP in other areas, n’est-ce pas?
• As someone who spent their youthful pocket money (or allowance, for American readers) on issues and summer annuals of the Beano, it seems fitting that its characters will be employed to teach school children the importance of saving their pounds and pence, although the need to shoehorn an incongruous “Blam!” in the headline (because, comics, natch) made me laugh.
• Drew Bradley has another look at a comics-year of yesterday, this time travelling back to 1980 to bring some handy context to the current direct market distribution nonsense with a look at the current (soon no-longer-to-be) monopoly’s origins.
• Charlotte Finn’s ‘Year in the Big City’ once again features gorillas, over at Shelfdust, and ‘The Seven Critics Of Victory’ hits Mister Miracle #3 as Sara Century tackles the extreme violence that issue brings.
• Brigid Alverson has a profile of the UK’s comics publisher, ShortBox, and talks to its mastermind Zainab Akhtar about maintaining the reader’s trust with carefully curated comics collections and Kickstarter crowd-funding.
• For Mindless Ones, Kelly Kanayama (aka Maid of Nails) looks back at The Boys, and the return of Preacher’s Cassidy, as dreams meet reality which in turn affects dreams and our collective psyche.
• As part of the ongoing pride month celebrations there’s a trio of LGBTQ*-focused comics reading lists to get stuck into, as James Dowling recommends non-superhero direct market offerings, SE Fleenor picks seven graphic novels for young adults (which old adults will enjoy too), and George Gene Gustines breaks down how he made his picks for the NYT earlier this month for those wanting a director’s commentary.
I'm looking for the joke with a microscope... This week’s comics.
• Speaking of director’s commentaries, this week at TCJ there’s a new ‘Cartoonist’s Diary’, as Kevin McCloskey shows us a week in the life of Kutztown, PA, along with behind the scenes looks at the making of it at his twitter account, and Kutztown locals have been showing up in the comments to say hi, which has been really nice to see.
• Alex Degan's twitter account was unceremoniously suspended this week, thanks to the actions of chuds on the internet, but The Marchenoir Library is still up for order, and you can read a recent TCJ review of it here.
• John Allison’s webcomic coda for Steeple may have come to an end, but he’s still ready to Destroy History, and this time he’s talking about some band called ‘The Beatles’ who seemed to have been a one-hit wonder.
• The New York Times has a couple of long-form comics this week, with Anders Nilsen asking ‘How Do We Wrap Our Heads Around Something This Big?’ when attempting to document our situations in 2020, and Malik Sajad using the parallels with global lockdowns to give an insight into life under three decades of Indian control in Kashmir.
• Ruth Tam has a long-form comic for dcist this week, reporting on the stand-off over the Black Lives Matter mural that was painted on 16th Street a fortnight ago.
• The Nib has the fourth part of their ‘In/vulnerable’ series with Reveal this week, as Patrick Michels, Sarah Mirk Amanda Pike, and Thi Bui tell the story of Leilani Jordan, a grocery store worker, from Largo, MD, who lost her life to COVID-19, through her mother’s experience of her passing.
• Also at The Nib, there’s a zine detailing best-practices for dealing with the police when protesting, Safer in the Streets, and Chelsea Saunders has a comic looking at why protests are needed, while Gretchen Small takes a look at The Nib’s cartoon coverage of the protests for Women Write About Comics.
• The New Yorker has a trio of long-form comics from the last week or so, as Lauren Weinstein brings us ‘A Story of Mothering-In-Place During The Coronavirus’, Glynnis Fawkes takes a look at ‘Scenes from Plagues in Literature’, and Sage Coffey reminds readers there are more sources of anxiety in 2020 than just a mere pandemic with ‘Things to Stress-Bake While Waiting for Election Results’.
• Garfield Minus Garfield? Davis minus Garfield.
It's 10pm, do you know where your children are... This week’s recommended watching.
• Drawn & Quarterly’s ‘At Home’ sessions continued, as Wendy creator Walter Scott took over their instagram account in celebration of the publication of his new book Wendy: Master of Art, indulged in some live-drawing, and gave viewers an insight into his artistic process, which seems a bit more structured than that of his eponymous hero, tbqhwy.
• As comics publishers tentatively experiment with Twitch streams to promote their wares, it looks like Dark Horse are doing weekly video panels with creators on their new titles, now shops are opening back up, and you can catch up on those here.
• There’s a new episode of Comix Experience’s Graphic Novel of the Month Club, with The Beat, and this week Brian Hibbs is talking to Sophie Goldstein and Jenn Jordan about their new book An Embarrassment of Witches, and the inspiration it draws from medieval history.
• Inverse has an interview up with Johnnie Christmas, ostensibly about Star Wars, from the video title, but if you skip to the 11 minute mark you can get to the good stuff - William Gibson and Alien 3 chat - and there's a live-reading from the first issue of Tartarus too.
• From the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, there’s an in-conversation livestream between Betsy Gomez and living-comics-legend Trina Robbins as they talk through her life and career, and the history of comics.
• Cartoonist Kayfabe had a trio of interviews on their channel this week, talking to Ho Che Anderson, Robert Kirkman (along with a look at issue 1 of The Walking Dead), and Kevin Eastman, proving that there truly is no rest for the wicked.
• Drawn to the Shop returns for a new episode, as Tyler Crook draws Star Wars’ loveable rogue Dr Aphra while chatting to Empire Comics Vault’s Ben Schwartz, and artist Justin Greenwood who was drawing the Fourth World’s loveable grump Big Barda.
• For more live-drawing action, The Inkpulp Podcast has a new episode up, with Shawn Crystal, Jim Mahfood, Tommy Lee Edwards, and Klaus Janson inking over John Romita Jr pencils, as Jason Schachter from Essential Sequential takes on MC duties as this edition makes up part of ES’ fundraising for The Bail Project.
• Noah van Sciver has another double-bill of videos over on his channel this week, as he catches up with Denis Kitchen who has anecdotes galore from the underground comix scene, and then there’s a discussion with Ron Evry and Bruce Simon on the work of JR Williams, kicking off a new series of videos on comics history.
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It’s Thursday, time for another installment of RJ’s Keys to the Vault! 🗝🗝🗝 This week’s Key to the Vault is the Amor y Cohetes collection from The Love and Rockets Library. This book features all the short stories by Gilbert, Jaime, and Mario Hernandez that are outside the established Love and Rockets canon. Amor Y Cohetes has two of my favorite comics — “Frida” and “Easter Hunt” — as well as stigmata, bug-eyed monsters, and running the KKK out of town. The way they have mixed romance, autobio, science fiction, and true passion for the medium that always packs a punch even from the very beginning of their careers — it’s all here and it’s something to behold. I feel fortunate to be living at the same time that the Hernandez brothers are making comics. ✊🏾✊🏼✊🏽 Coming back into print May 2020! Fantagraphics.com/l-and-r-l-vol7/
And the beat goes on... This week’s easy-listening.
• Comic Books Are Burning in Hell returns as the gang brings us an extremely serious discussion of Blutch and Crepax, for which Joe McCulloch has an editorial note, and Matt Seneca has a listening recommendation.
• The Mighty Tharg keeps MOLCH-R working away on 2000 AD’s Lockdown Tapes, and this week he’s talking to comics lifer Sean Phillips about his career in the medium, spanning seminal British titles and hard-boiled noir of the American flavour.
• Dan Berry returns with a new episode of Make It Then Tell Everybody as he asks Shelly Bond the most important of questions - what is it that an editor actually does and does not do?
• SILENCE! returns, as does regular co-host The Beast Must Die, and there’s discussion of bad comics documentaries, good comics from Breakdown Press, and a special live-reading of the opening panels of an issue of Morbius the Living Vampire for reasons that never become fully apparent.
• Publisher’s Weekly’s More to Come podcast has a new episode as Calvin Reid talks to Tim Fielder about his work, afrofuturism, the recent protests in the US, and creating during a pandemic, before the microphone is flipped around (is that how microphones work?) and Calvin is a guest himself on The Virtual Memories Show, as he talks to Gil Roth about his work during the pandemic, including updating the annual retailer survey to reflect COVID-19’s effect on the industry.
• Shelfdust Presents knocks on the door of House of X #1 and Matt Lune and Steve Foxe answer the door (is that how metaphors work?) as they dive into the charts and graphs and statistical tables of the much-discussed issue.
• CBC Radio’s Next Chapter’s recent episode sees Shelagh Rogers talking to Michael DeForge about his latest book, Familiar Face, and how its themes mirror current COVID lockdowns, and the all-important topic of judging butter tart competitions.
• There's a new edition of the Salt & Honey podcast, and this episode sees Sloane Leong and Leslie Hung are discussing the narrative promises that storytelling keeps and breaks with wild abandon.
That’s the links that there is for this week, see you again in 5 working days - if you’ve still got a craving for content then I’d recommend this video with Scott Adkins breaking down iconic fight scenes in films - it’s great.