The direct market returned in earnest this week, after a holiday weekend which, if anything, just ended up with most people even more tired than before it began.
Anyway, I’m hoping that this weekend I get to watch a successful (rescheduled) space launch, because there’s still something pretty cool about people being rocketed into the unknown.
Know what else is pretty cool? This week’s links, which you can find below.
I don’t read the news until I get my danish… This week’s news.
• As the rest of the direct market slowly rises from its slumber, DC have decided that they’d like their own monthly solicitations magazine, thank you very much, and it better damn well have the Joker with a knife on the cover, but some ask “is that really needed in 2020AD?”. The big question of who’ll read the Watchmen, if deliveries are delayed, remains contentious, because what's a functional monopoly without consistency?
• Cartoon Crossroads Columbus have announced that this year’s edition will be digital-only, in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, and they’re looking to the positive, as people who’ve previously not been able to travel to the festival will now get to experience the fun. Neat!
• The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) have voted to allow comic creators and graphic novelists among their ranks, opening up avenues to creator resources and emergency funding for those in need, if eligible.
• Manga publisher Kodansha Ltd have a COVID-19 project in the offing, starting online next month, and you can currently get a King’s ransom of their manga for not-a-King’s ransom via Humble Bundle in support of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.
• Speaking of the CBLDF, there was a fairly swift turnaround in terms of free-speech justice, this week, as online retail platform Redbubble took down products featuring the work of Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist Nick Anderson, citing a (spurious) copyright claim from Donald J. Trump for President, Inc., and then reinstated them, albeit with lingering questions, after a pressure campaign from the CBLDF, who have recently launched a new fundraising campaign to support their work.
• Koyama Press have announced the next recipient of their “...Provides” project grants, as artist and writer Amy Lam received $5,000, which will go towards her work on a series of long poems, and the associated quote of “...how do you let go of the memory in order to let it come to you again?” has sent me into an existential reverie that I was not expecting today.
• The Kubert School have held their annual scholarship ceremony (virtually, for this iteration), and the 11th Dave Simons Inkwell Memorial Scholarship Fund award was presented to Ryusei Sawada, a student in his second-year, who will receive $1,000 - you can read more about the fund here.
• If you’ve read previous editions of this article, you’ll know I like an auction story, and this is a nice one - Ada Uderzo recently donated four original drawings by Asterix co-creator, her husband, Albert Uderzo, who passed away in March of this year. Their auction raised €390,000 in support of Paris hospitals - Ada is quoted as saying that this donation was in thanks of “our new heroes who have resisted the invader”.
• Via The Daily Cartoonist comes the sad news that political cartoonist Sandy Huffaker has passed away - DD Degg has a look back on his life and work.
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Another #tbt, another installment of 🗝RJ’s Keys to the Vault🗝 a weekly rev from @rjcaseywrites featuring a golden oldie still available at Fantagraphics.com. Here goes: One of the real joys of comics (and art, in general) is stumbling upon a creator you’ve never encountered before but after you do so, they immediately jettison up your own personal pantheon. Thank goodness for this week’s Key to the Vault, Henry Speaks for Himself, or I would have never found John Liney. From 1949 to 1961, Liney took the butt-faced boy from the newspapers and put him in his own comic book, writing and drawing 65 issues. Henry Speaks for Himself serves as a “Greatest Hits,” highlighting the series’ off-kilter humor, childlike momentum (and then, and then, and then), and entirely satisfying short stories. In a more perfect world, Liney would be spoken about in the same breath as John Stanley and Carl Barks. If you’re into funny vintage comics with perfect pacing or underappreciated masters of the form, do yourself a favor and pick this book up. 🐓🥚🐓🥚 Fantagraphics.com/henryspeaksforhimself/
I don’t like the sound of them apples, Will… This week’s reviews.
• Benjamin Novoa reviews the fabulous intrigue of Mirka Andolfo’s Mercy #2.
• Zachary Whittaker reviews the welcome innovation of Ryan Parrott, Evgeniy Bornyakov, et al’s Dead Day #1.
• David Brooke reviews a trio of books returning after a pandemic-related hiatus - Mike Mignola, et al’s Frankenstein Undone #2; Carmen Maria Machado, Joe Hill, Dani Strips, et al’s The Low Low Woods #5; and Si Spurrier and Chris Wildgoose’s Alienated #3.
• Morgana Santilli reviews the romantic comedy of Hiroaki Samura’s Wave, Listen To Me!, translated by Adam Hirsch.
• John Seven takes the ‘Indie View’, and reviews the invigorating folklore of M.T. Anderson and Jo Rioux’ The Daughters of Ys.
• Lindsay Pereira reviews Leslie Stein’s powerful graphic memoir, I Know You Rider.
• Jenny Robbins reviews the elegant whimsy of Victor Martins’ Ley Lines #22: Cabra Cabra.
• Tom Murphy reviews the classic sports comics of Tom Tully, Yvonne Hutton' and David Sque's Roy of the Rovers: The Best of the 1970s (The Tiger Years).
Carolina González Alvarado looks back at the visual mourning of Halfdan Pisket’s Deserter: Volume 1.
Four Color Apocalypse
Rachel Cooke reviews the powerful strangeness of Yoshiharu Tsuge’s The Swamp, translated by Ryan Holmberg.
Bedatri D. Choudhury reviews the sensual freedom of Bishakh Som’s Apsara Engine.
• Jodi Odgers reviews the comforting clarity of Andi Watson’s Geisha.
• Rowan Grover reviews Naoki Urasawa and Takashi Nagasaki’s seminal Pluto: Urasawa x Tezuka: 001, translated by Jared Cook and Frederik L. Schodt.
• Mark Tweedale and James Dowling take us to ‘Mignolaversity’ and review the return of Mike Mignola, et al’s Frankenstein: Undone #2.
• Christopher Egan reviews Mark Millar and Steve McNiven's "but what if Batman was a baddie?" comic, Nemesis.
• Frida Keränen reviews the character-defining adventures of Carl Barks' Uncle Scrooge: Only A Poor Man.
• Elias Rosner reviews the fantastical pulp of Jack Katz' The First Kingdom.
Chris Gavaler reviews the critical wit of Art Young’s journey to the underworld, Inferno.
This week have capsule reviews of:
- The gimmicky historical reconstruction of Charles F. Walker and Liz Clarke's Witness to the Age of Revolution: The Odyssey of Juan Bautista Tupac Amaru;
- The informatively optimism of Julie Dachez and Mademoiselle Caroline's Invisible Differences: A Story of Asperger’s, Adulting, and Living a Life in Full Color, translated by Edward Gauvin;
- The charming passion of Wilfrid Lupano and Paul Cauuet's The Old Geezers, volume 1, translated by Montana Kane;
- The refreshing LGBTQ* realism of Tamifull's How Do We Relationship?, volume 1.
• Ryan Carey reviews the unsettling narrative of Kevin Mutch’s The Rough Pearl.
• Anna Haifisch’s The Artist: The Circle of Life receives a trio of reviews, as part of this week’s focus on the book, from Sara Jewell, Daniel Elkin, Ryan Carey, and Alex Hoffman brings everything full circle.
Women Write About Comics
Shelby Dill reviews the impactful simplicity of gg’s Constantly.
If you asked me would I do it again, do I think it's worth it? ...This week’s interviews.
• Joe McCulloch has a big interview with Glacier Bay Books’ Emuh Ruh and localizer and translator zhuchka about their collaboration on the anthology publication Glaeolia, commentary on the stories found therein, as well as a discussion of creators working outside the commercial manga market in the small presses.
• Alex Dueben talks to Julia Gfrörer about hitting immovable deadlines during a pandemic, conventions making the right decision in cancelling events, and reading (the totally excellent) The Secret History on Twitch.
• Cynthia Rose interviews Beatrice Alemagna about the changing solitude of quarantine, pandemic-affected publishing changes, and the nourishing monopoly of social media platforms.
• Chris Hassan passes another ‘X-Men Monday’ by welcoming Jordan D. White to talk about working during quarantine and R.E.M. deep-cuts.
Andy Oliver catches up with Frederik Hautain and Tyler Chin-Tanner about the Broken Frontier Anthology, five years after its crowd-funded publication, and the behind-the-scenes machinations that brought it to life.
• Kate Kosturski interviews Adam Wallenta about collaborating with his son, Makana, on their graphic novel series, Punk Taco.
• Kyle Welch talks to comiXology’s Head of Content, Chip Mosher, as he and Peter Krause head to Kickstarter for their new graphic novel, Blacking Out.
• Vaneta Rogers talks to Brian Michael Bendis about everything Superman, and writing scripts for comic art legends.
• Lan Pits interviews Lilah Sturges about her career in comics, and how she started out working in the medium, and the importance of naps.
David Harper has a long chat with artist Nic Klein about his work on Thor, work-for-hire collaborations, and a deep-dive into the process of getting electrically charged hammers looking just right.
Alex Dueben talks to Sami Alwani about his work in the new issue of Fantagraphics’ NOW anthology series, his early comics work, and expansive story ideas.
#ReadAboutComicsStayHome… This week’s features and long-reads.
• For Publisher’s Weekly, Rob Salkowitz looks into the digital publishing phenomenon that is vertical webcomics, embodied by the industry leader - WebToon - and what they can teach the market about changing reader demographics.
• Chris Coplan welcomes back regular periodical publications by looking at the covers of the new books hitting the shelves this week, as ‘Judging by the Cover’ returns to its pre-pandemic flavor.
• A pair of related pieces on where the direct market goes next, as, Over at The Beat, Brandon Schatz & Danica LeBlanc’s ‘Coronavirus Journal’ continues, and they look back at the turmoil that’s faced periodical publishers, how they’ve adapted over the last couple of months, and how publishers should look to change with the times, topics that are also covered in Christian Holub's recent piece for Entertainment Weekly.
• For The Daily Cartoonist, Mike Peterson looks at the ongoing coverage of pandemic-related news stories in the funny pages, including the recent… well, I don’t have any polite words that come to mind regarding my home government’s recent behavior, so I’ll take my mum’s advice and say nothing at all, other than letting out a never-ending disappointed sigh.
• For Comicosity, Jude DeLuca looks back at Peter David, Gary Frank, and Leonard Kirk’s Supergirl run, what works with it, and how the complex continuity and core themes of superhero comics can be a welcome distraction during times of stress.
• Osvaldo Oyola ushers in the end of Steve Gerber’s tenure on Howard the Duck, as ‘Waugh and On and On’ enters the increasingly contentious publication period of the comic.
• As part of Polygon’s Ghibli week, celebrating the studio’s films arriving on digital platforms, Susana Polo dips into the uneasy relationship between Hayao Miyazaki and the works and philosophies of Osamu Tezuka.
#ReadComicsStayHome… This week’s comics offerings from the web.
• There’s a seven page excerpt from Borja González' upcoming graphic novel, A Gift For A Ghost, here on TCJ this week, featuring keytars and interdimensional butterflies, which would probably be a good synthwave band name.
• Bianca Xunise has shared the last comic they made for Shondaland, heavily relevant to current sociopolitical events, after apparently being fired from the publication for arguing to be allowed to do the job they were hired to do, which is a depressingly unsurprising state of affairs in 2020.
• As part of Neurofibromatosis Awareness Month, the Children’s Tumor Foundation have debuted a new comic about the condition, and Broken Frontier have some more information on the project, and its creators.
• Helping people who want to document their lives during pandemic-times through comics journals, Wendy McNaughton has a new piece as part of the New York Times’ ‘Diary Project’ about visually representing the world around us, while NPR’s Malaka Gharib has put together an illustrated guide on how to make zines.
• Via Fleen, it looks like we get three weeks of daily Popeye comics from Randy Milholland, which you can catch up on the first batch of here - more eyes on them = increased likelihood we'll get more, so get 'em read until you can't stands no more.
• Solrad Presents continues to expand its roster of titles, and this week welcomes Olivia Fredricks’ Standstill to the line-up, depicting an artists’ experience of life during quarantine.
• If vertical comics are your thing, then Louise Simonson, Jan Duursema, and Sian Mandrake have some swords and also sorcery they would like to share with you, as their new series King's Ransom hits the webcomics wild-west of Webtoon.
• The Nib has a couple of longer-form comics this week, as Thi Bui presents the next part of the publication’s collaboration with Reveal, Scary Times Can Be Exciting As Well, looking at investing during times of crisis, while Victoria Ying’s Comfort Food tackles the looming COVID-related anti-Chinese racism that’s been prevalent in the US.
• Shing Yin Khor has a new comic for Catapult, part of the ‘Curiosity Americana’ series, as they share their love of Muffler Men, which England’s Angel of the North could be a distant cousin of, I’ve decided just now.
• Annie Ward, archivist at London’s Barbican and Guildhall School of Music & Drama, has been documenting the brutalist building’s history with weekly comics, which you can read here. I miss cinemas.
• TCAF have published their Digital Showcase, via gumroad, as a virtual exhibition of creators who were due to present their work at this year’s festival - the collection is pay-what-you-can, with proceeds going towards Page and Panel (the festival’s dedicated shop space) fundraiser.
I think I'm still a little too petrified to laugh… This week’s recommended watching.
• #CanCAF is really not letting a little thing like pandemic-cancellations of events get them down, and they’re putting a lot (a whole lot) of video content onto the airwaves, with a full schedule of programming available here, including past broadcasts, so if you’ve run out of tv shows to binge, then dive on in.
• The Paris Review is taking its Lit Fête online, as they present a Virtual Celebration of Writers and Writing, including contributors such as cartoonist Roz Chast - you can sign up for the free webcast now.
• The latest guest on Drawn and Quarterly’s ‘At Home With’ series on Instagram was Michael DeForge, and you can catch up with the highlights here, as viewer questions were asked and answered, and behind the scenes peeks sneaked.
• Cartoonist Kayfabe celebrated the children of the atom this week, as they looked back at the record-breaking X-Men #1 and streamed a feature-length interview with Chris Claremont to chat all things mutant. Professor Xavier is a jerk.
• A couple of new videos from popular YouTube streamer Noah van Sciver, this week, as he caught up with Mimi Pond and discussed her work and career, and spoke to Michael Tisserand about Krazy Kat and the life and work of George Herriman, zip!
• If you like drinking and/or drawing then the Original Drink and Draw Social Club have a trio of episodes this week, as the hosts are joined by Mike Mignola and Jock, and Dave Johnson has a tête-à-tête with Zach Howard.
• Shawn Crystal’s Inkpulp Podcast checks in with Becky Cloonan and Michael Conrad this week, as they get together for a lo-fi art jam to relax/study to.
• Joe Q has another mornin’ warm-up, and this week Chip Zdarsky is on the show for a very relaxed chat, as they dive into his back-catalog and unique ways of working.
• Word Balloon’s video content continues this week, as John Siuntres talks to Jim Rugg about his new outlaw comic Octobrianna 1976, Chip Mosher and Peter Krause about their work and new collaborative project Blacking Out, and welcomed Sam Humphries to the show for a viewer Q&A.
It’s one louder, isn’t it… This week’s easy-listening.
• We’re firmly into the new season of Comic Books Are Burning In Hell, and this week the gang are heading to The Swamp to see The Man With No Talent, as they talk about the new translated works from Yoshiharu Tsuge, also - a dramatic reading of a 80's era Punisher reader letter as the editors throw New World Pictures under the bus.
• In other comics audio news - it is my solemn duty to inform you that Mr Robert Liefeld has started a podcast. What could possibly go wrong?
• AIPT’s comics podcast returned to its regular schedule, thanks to the prophesied return of new monthly comics, and David Brooke and Nathan Simmons looked ahead (now behind) to Wednesday’s new releases.
• Shelfdust Presents heads to Astro City this week, as Matt Lune and JA Micheline look back at the day in the life of a hero, as presented in the series’ first issue.
• Similar to the video content that #CanCAF has been bringing us at a rapid pace of knots, the True North Country Comics Podcast is making a truly heroic effort to make up for the cancelling of TCAF by interviewing a who’s-who of creators that were set to attend. Schedule some time to catch up with the back-catalogue, if you haven’t already.
• 2000 AD’s Lockdown Tapes continue to pack more guests into each episode than you can shake a lawgiver at, as this week MOLCH-R talked to Helen O’Hara, Rob Williams, John McCrea, and Abraham Reisman about British superheroes; and then chatted to Charlie Higson, Charlie Adlard, and Suyi Davies Okungbowa about their stories in the new Smash! Special.
• Jeff Lemire was the guest on this week’s edition of Off Panel, talking to David Harper about his new crowd-funded collaborative project, Cosmic Detective, and the gritty details of getting ideas out of your brain and onto the page.
• Gil Roth’s Virtual Memories Show had a COVID-19 check-in this week with Annie Koyama, talking about the last farewell to Koyama Press next year, the Koyama Press Provides grant scheme, anti-Asian racism during the pandemic, and the delayed gratification of Animal Crossing.
The innocent words of a drunken child… This week’s links for younger readers.
• TIME for Kids had a new edition of their Draw with Drew (Willis, creative director of the magazine) series this week, welcoming Raina Telgemeier to the stream to dive into how you create an eye-catching book cover.
• The Beat have a new comic study guide, and this week Arpad Okay is looking at the lessons that can be learned from Moomin: The Complete Tove Jansson Comic Strip Vol.1.
• First Second’s Sketch School welcomed Gene Luen Yang to the show, who taught viewers how to draw the cartoon version of his real-life friend Coach Lou Richie from his graphic novel, Dragon Hoops.
• Dark Horse Comics have a new live-reading of The Legend of Korra, assembling the voice actors from the animated series to bring the new comic series to life.
• Comix Experience have a couple of new Kids GN-of-the-month book club meetings up on their YouTube channel, as Brian Hibbs sits down with Niki Smith to talk about The Deep and Dark Blue, and welcomes Andy Weir and Sarah Andersen to discuss Cheshire Crossing.
• This week’s Kubert School Sketch Class was the last free edition, and tutor Marco Santucci took viewers through how to draw everyone’s favorite sentient plantform, Swamp Thing.
That’s the links done, once again, I hope they provide some distraction from the whole of it all out there, at the moment.
Stay well, stay home (if you can; be safe, if you can’t), and be kind.