We Dress Like Students, We Dress Like Housewives – This Week’s Links

This week, I'm fairly sure, I once again hit the point of completely filling my available bookshelves to capacity, which means I now make the choice of whether to go back to using armrests and desk space to house new acquisitions, or break bad and just start shoving books in lengthwise to fill vertical space available on each shelf.

Divesting myself of some of the overflow was never an option, and I never really stood a chance, it was simply a matter of time, inevitable time.

As I ponder this decision, you can ponder this week's links.



Out with the olds... This week’s news.

2020’s submissions to the Dwayne McDuffie Award for Diversity in Comics are now officially open. Running through September 1st,  the selection panel has welcomed new members Colleen Doran and Marv Wolfman to their ranks for this year’s judging duties, with a virtual award event to come later in the year.

A statement has been issued this week regarding Cody Pickrodt’s lawsuit against Whitney Taylor, Hazel Newlevant and Morgan Pielli, the legal action having been dropped, as a settlement was reached out of court, with eight former defendants of the suit having been dismissed last year.

Owners of the Franklin County local paper The Missourian, Susan Miller Warden and Jeanne Miller Wood, resigned this week in protest of their father’s decision (for which he subsequently apologized, in a way) to publish a racist editorial cartoon by Tom Stiglich in a recent edition - The Daily Cartoonist has the story.

Dennis Publishing, a UK-based magazine company that counts long-running British comic Viz amongst its titles has announced they will be implementing a large number of redundancies in response to the impact of COVID-19 on the publishing industry, as advertising and sales revenue crash market-wide.

ShortBox’s next round of mini-grants are now open to applications, with 5 awards of £100 to be issued to independent cartoonists in need - the deadline for submission to this round is June 20th, and those who’ve applied previously and been unsuccessful will automatically be entered into this round of applications.

Japan’s parliament have enacted revisions to the country’s existing copyright law, formalizing a bill passed in March that allows for prosecution of those downloading pirated manga, effective from January 1st 2021, and the new laws will also allow for the banning of sites that collate links to pirated material, which give honest linkbloggers like yours truly a bad name.

While DC makes some “interesting” moves in the direct market, more on that below, Marvel Comics have announced that their Free Comic Book Day titles will be released in July, bypassing Diamond Distribution Ltd’s proposed plans for a rescheduled FCBD in the fall, and collapsing the quantum waveform by confirming that they do indeed exist.

MAD Magazine’s Al Jaffee has retired at the age of 99, having worked in comics since 1942, a feat which earned him a Guinness World Record in 2016, with the next edition of MAD featuring Jaffee’s final iconic ‘Fold-In’ illustration, and tributes from The Usual Gang of Idiots. Have a nice retirement, Al!

• The New York Times has an obituary for Murray Olderman, sports journalist and cartoonist, who passed away this week, aged 98 - his career covering sports in both pictures and words lasted more than 60 years - from the NYT piece, in his own words, an excerpt from his memoir "I could draw a line no straighter than the next guy, I just liked the looks of a cartoon on a sports page. And I was willing to put in the time to try to learn the art."


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For this weeks Scratch, we did a really in depth look at police protective gear and how much it cost. I drew parts of photos taken by New York Times photographers @victorblue and @nychangster at protests and Shaina researched and identified every single thing the cops (Minnesota State Police) were wearing in the images and found the price😱! Then we compared that to the protester’s gear in the photos -you know, their water, sneakers, iphones, etc. I’ve been seeing a lot of imagery and speculation about police gear being shared on social media so I’m really glad we were able to do a really comprehensive breakdown. Shaina and I worked very closely with our incredible editor @nicksummers on this and we all pulled it together in just a couple days- scrapped the other column we were working on and got on this fast. Hope it’s helpful and as always, feel free to share. Link in bio for full piece and in the paper this Sunday. Stay safe xoxoxooxxoxo

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A cloudy day in Metropolis... Direct Market Upheaval

Continuing their trend of announcing big news stories on a Friday afternoon, DC Comics last week made public their decision to end their business partnership with Diamond Distribution Ltd completely, instead opting for their new multi-distributor model with Penguin Random House, Lunar Distribution, and UCS Comics Distribution.

To say that the North American comics retail community responded negatively to this would be an understatement, as owners of stores, many of which are still in the process of actively responding to COVID-19 imposed restrictions, shared their opinions on the move on various social media.

Diamond’s response to DC’s move gave an insight into the negotiations that had been ongoing (and subsequently collapsed), and while the PR blitz from their side is a positive (albeit mildly rebuking) one, as would be expected, questions continue to float regarding their liquidity.

As Diamond’s functional monopoly wobbles, positive and negative spin is appearing, but DC’s other recent moves of announcing their exclusive digital product catalogue, implementation of cost-saving measures within the organization, and shifting direct market releases to Tuesdays (matching that of its book channel releases) all suggests a hunkering down to streamline and unify operations. Whether this will succeed in the long-run, and the repercussions it will have for bricks and mortar comic stores, remains to be seen. Watch this space, Bat-fans.


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Black is beautiful. My goal is always to show black beauty, the everyday, the normal, the special. The black beauty that you could see and access just in yourself, in the mirror, every day. The black beauty that doesn’t need to break itself or change or alter. I wanted black beauty to know you have everything you need right in front of you. You. I have always focused my art on celebrating that self love. Today, I see black bodies who love their kin folk so much they would risk their lives to protest and protect the life of any black soul who could be endangered now and in the future to police brutality and the deep racism of this country. I searched myself for these words, and wanted my kin folk to know: I see you. I’ve always seen you, and I’ve long made it my life mission to make sure others see you as I do. Beautiful, and worth living.

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We must constantly look at things in a different way... This week’s reviews.


Amy Chalmers reviews the disjointed whimsy of Louka Butzbach’s Whistle.

Brian Nicholson reviews the numinous dreams of Alex Degen’s The Marchenoir Library.

Robert Kirby reviews the caring craft of the Australia-focused š! Baltic Comics Magazine #37, edited by David Schilter and Sanita Muižniece, with guest editor Michael Fikaris.



David Brooke reviews the Joker 80th Anniversary issue, celebrating the birthday of the Batman’s smiliest of villains.

Frankie Sciulla reviews Alex Sanchez and Julie Maroh’s latest entry to DC Comics’ young adult graphic novel line, You Brought Me The Ocean.

Rory Wilding reviews the return of Stan Sakai’s leporine hero, Usagi Yojimbo: Bunraku and Other Stories.

Alex Curtis reviews the pulpy metafiction of Matt Fraction and Terry and Rachel Dodson’s Adventureman #1.

• Ronnie Gorham reviews the unforgettable moments of David F. Walker, Chuck Brown, and Sanford Greene's Bitter Root #8.


The Beat

Morgana Santilli reviews the romantic realism of Tamifull’s How Do We Relationship?, translated by Abby Lerkhe.

John Seven reviews the formal experimentation of Scott Chantler’s graphic biography, Bix.


Broken Frontier

Tom Murphy reviews the cultural energy of Paul B. Rainey’s graphic adaptation of Starman: Freddie Burretti, The Man Who Sewed the World.


Four Color Apocalypse

It’s a bumper review week for Ryan C, who has reviews of:

- The grotesque punchiness of Andrew Alexander’s Twenty One Fifty Fiverr;

- The skin-crawling horror of Harry Nordlinger’s Softer Than Sunshine;

- The domestic absurdities of Stella Murphy’s Hometime;

- The curious sub-minimalism of Sean Christensen’s Performance Video;

- A Mandy Ord double bill with the slapstick horror of Galapagos, and the distinct fluidity of Kyoto Pants Down.


Multiversity Comics

Christopher Chiu Tabet reviews the inconsequential catharsis of Greg Pak, Valeria Favoccia, et al’s Stranger Things: Zombie Boys.

Elias Rosner looks back at Denny O’Neil, Denys Cowan, et al’s classic opening arc of The Question #1-4.

• Jonathan O'Neal revisits the literary aspirations of Grant Morrison, Klaus Janson, et al's Batman: Gothic.


The New York Times

Ed Park reviews a pair of comics ‘That Are Down and Out and Happy That Way’, looking at Noah van Sciver’s The Complete Works of Fante Bukowski, and Gabrielle Bell’s Inappropriate.


Publisher's Weekly

Have capsule reviews this week of:

- The wide-ranging stories of the Broken Frontier Anthology, edited by Frederik Hautain and Tyler Chin-Tanner.

- The unusual charm of Zidrou and Arno Monin's The Adoption, translated by Jeremy Melloul.

- The raw subversion of Lisa Hanawalt's I Want You.

- The wordless allegory of Stanley Donwood's Bad Island.



Ryan Carey reviews the innovative history of Tian Veasna’s Year of the Rabbit.


Women Write About Comics

Louis Skye reviews the evocative interpretations of Julian Peters’ Poems to See by: A Comic Artist Interprets Great Poetry.

Emily Lauer reviews the simple beauty of Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Quarantine, edited by Melanie Gillman.

Nola Pfau reviews Seth’s Clyde Fans.

• Masha Zhdanova reviews the plausible fantasy of Ari North's Always Human.



Would you please rephrase the question... This week’s interviews.


Nicholas Burman brings us a new installment of ‘Retail Therapy’ talking to Nico Rodríguez, of Barcelona's Fatbottom comic store, as translated by Isabel Palomar, about the history of the shop, sourcing new self-published material for the shelves, and how they’ve been faring during the COVID-19 pandemic.



Chris Coplan talks to Maria Llovet about her work with Brian Azzarello on Faithless II, artistic intuition, and the abstract influences on storytelling.


The Beat

Zack Quaintance talks to Scott Snyder and Jock about their collaboration on a new story for The Joker 80th Anniversary one-shot, and their work with the character in general.

Nancy Powell interviews Svetlana Chmakova about her new young reader series The Weirn Books, its place in her wider work, and the impact of her teenage discovery of manga on her work.

Heidi MacDonald catches up with Valiant Entertainment’s Fred Pierce and Matthew Klein about their upcoming publication schedule in the face of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.


Broken Frontier

Andy Oliver talks to the editors and creators involved in the upcoming anthology Insider Art anthology about what to expect from the book, and the importance of supporting female and non-binary comic book retailers during COVID-19 shutdowns.



Allen Thomas interviews Naseed Gifted about his writing on PB Soldier, black representation (or lack thereof) in STEM fields, and the increasing inclusion of the arts to form STE(A)M, including the work that’s needed in the area.



Heavy Metal’s Matthew Medney and David Erwin bring everyone up to speed on the publisher’s new VIRUS imprint, where the company is at after some fairly sizeable personnel changes, and the all important issue of distribution.


Multiversity Comics

Kate Kosturski talks to Tommy Jenkins and Kati Lacker about their work on Drawing the Vote, how their collaboration came about, and the issue of elections during a pandemic.


New York Times

Raina Telgemeier waxes lyrical about the reading she's getting done in lockdown, and offers up recommendations of titles and authors to check out, including shout-outs for Barefoot Gen, Yotsuba! and the work of Lynda Barry, as well as book organization tips.



CK Stewart interviews Remy Boydell about the anthropomorphic coming-of-age apocalypse of 920London.



Daniel Elkin and Sarah Wray start a new series on the realities of working with comic publishers, and talk to Katriona Chapman about clients, contracts, agents, friend networks, and power dynamics.

Kristina Stipetic gives an insight into the Chinese comics scene, and interviews Zhao Chunlin about her background studying coloring, pursuing a Western style of comics-making, the realities of working for Chinese companies, and sourcing work online.


Women Write About Comics

Wendy Browne talks to Alex de Campi about her writing on upcoming all-ages comic Full Tilt Boogie, the long process of bringing characters to life, and switching gears from mature reader titles.



Skip to the end... This week’s features and long-reads.

Here at TCJ, Bob Levin leads us on a journey through the history of Ivana Armanini, and the work of Komikaze, leading up to the anthology’s 18th edition receiving the 2020 Alternative Comics Award from the Angoulême Festival - picture Meisel giving a nod in appreciation of a life well-lived, like Michael Caine at the end of The Dark Knight Rises.

 Also for TCJ, RC Harvey looks back at the life and work of Henry Boltinoff, a prolific cartoonist who passed away in 2001 - here, Harvey recounts meeting Boltinoff in 1998, as Boltinoff recalls his changing working process, and a life measured in ink on the page.

Inks, The Journal of the Comics Studies Society, is currently free to read, thanks to Ohio State Press lowering publishing restrictions in light of the COVID-19 pandemic; the latest issue, from spring 2020, is available here, so sew some leather elbow patches on your tweed jacket and get to reading.

Gale Galligan has put together a work-in-progress build of a directory of resources for creators seeking mentorships from established cartoonists, or just looking to find information on the comics medium - check it out here - while #comicspaidme makes for some sobering reading on the realities of making a living from comics work.

Brandon Schatz and Danica LeBlanc continue their pandemic journals for The Beat, and this week the topic is, well, what else - the direct market meltdown.

As superhero comic iconography continues to show up on both sides of recent protests against police brutality, the question of how to stop police and commentators from co-opting the Punisher logo to their cause evolves into “is there a way for it to be used for good?” Hmmm.

Continuing comics’ coverage of Black Lives Matter, George Carmona III has a list of comics depicting the racism of the police, from across the genres, SYFY Wire brings together a couple of lists of titles by black creators to read and support, and Publisher’s Weekly has a reading list of antiracist graphic novels, so plenty of prompts around for those wondering where to start.

Also at Publisher’s Weekly, Heidi MacDonald has an in-depth look at how libraries are evolving to support graphic novels during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the movement to embrace digital lending.

Sara Century looks back at queer comix history during pride month, focusing this week on the work of Mary Wings, George Gene Gustines looks at current and upcoming LGBTQ* titles that will be arriving soon.

As daily cartoon strips struggle with reflecting the current state of affairs in their recent editions, Josh Fruhlinger talks to creators about the difficulties caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

• Mike Avila looks back at the work of Ross Andru, co-creator of the Punisher and the Metal Men, and argues for his place in the pantheon of great Spider-Man artists. Thwip!

I probably shouldn’t have as soft a spot as I do for Marvel vs DC Comics, and the resulting Amalgam Age titles, but I most definitely do, and so I’m always up for more looking back on those publishing oddities, which seem like an increasingly impossible anomaly in the current publishing climate.

Shelfdust’s ‘Year in the Big City’ hits issue 23 of Astro City, as Charlotte Finn weighs up where on the silliness spectrum a gorilla places a comic, meanwhile David Brothers unpacks the unstoppable momentum of Frankenstein #2’s journey of wrath, and Wendy Browne kicks off a new series looking at the history of black comics creators and characters through the decades with a deep-dive into Larry Fuller’s 1970 comic, Ebon #1.


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The Old Tunes www.patreon.com/hotelfred

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Comic book characters never grow old... This week's comics.

Following his recent Webby award win, Gary Larson has released some more new finds from The Far Side sketchbook vaults - with a plethora of early drafts and doodles to read in lieu of new material.

The Nib has three longer form comics this week, as Ezra Claytan Daniels looks to the future of police defunding; Anayansi Diaz-Cortes, Sarah Mirk, and Amanda Pike bring us Sarah Alli-Brown’s story, as students across the world live through a hiatus on lessons; and Malaka Gharib looks at how protestors are keeping safe (or not) from COVID-19.

For The New York Times, Eleanor Davis and Eric Kaplan have a longform piece on the mindfulness of grief, through the lens of the loss of a pet, which is a topic I can empathize strongly with.

• There's a big ol' comix lootcrate up for grabs in a raffle supporting the National Bail Fund - entries run until Sunday, and it's $5 entry - bargain!

• Valiant Comics are giving away free digital copies of a bunch of first volumes of their titles, asking for donations to the National Lawyers Guild in return - there's an ongoing thread of the comics you can get here.

Solrad Presents... adds another new title to its list as they serialize Audra Stang's Star Valley, starting here.


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From @malakagharib

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And I don't want to miss a thing... This week’s recommended watching.

If you’re reading this on the day of publication, then there’s still time to sign up for Ebony Flowers’ comics journal workshop, taking place virtually this evening, attendance on which costs a $1 donation to the Chicago Anti-Eviction Relief Fund.

• If you'd like another chance to join in with some communal zine-making via digital workshop, then Sarah Mirk is also hosting a session on Saturday, with admission thru donation to a racial justice group of your choosing.

Drawn and Quarterly hosted another At Home instagram takeover this week, as Weng Pixin celebrated the publication of her new book Sweet Time with an audience Q&A and gave viewers a virtual tour of her studio space.

Cartoonist Kayfabe welcomed David Choe to the show for an interview this week, preceded by a look back at his comics work, and Rugg and Piskor also had some quick dives into Chester Brown’s Yummy Fur, the black and white delights of Essential Swamp Thing (just don’t talk about the cover), and a viewer submitted copy of The Marvel Vault and its ooh la la production values.

As the Eisner Awards’ voting deadline approaches (June 18th, if you’re yet to submit your ballot, democracy fans!) The Inkpulp Podcast crew put their pens to the pencils of the master Will Eisner, and a grand old time is had, as Tommy Lee Edwards, Troy Nixey, and Jim Mahfood are (mostly) kept on track by Shawn Crystal.

Noah van Sciver has a double bill of episodes over on his YouTube channel this week, first talking about all things Canadian comics with Conundrum Press’ Andy Brown, and checks in with ES Glenn (who’s sporting a fresh neck strain, reminding  that time comes for us all) for a chat about cartooning, and serving time in the navy.

John Siuntres’ Word Balloon keeps on a-floating, and this week he’s joined in the  basket (that’s what balloons have, right?) by Terry Dodson for an audience Q&A, Joe Quesada for some Marvel Knights history, and has a big old chat about the recent Diamond/DC dust up with Rich Johnston of Bleeding Cool, Chad from Comic Corps, Brion Salazar of Around Comics and Patrick Brower of Challengers Comics.



While your feet are stomping... This week’s easy-listening.

Katie Skelly has retired from hosting duties of Comic Books Are Burning In Hell, and so last week’s guests - Tucker Stone, Christ Mautner, Joe McCulloch, and Matt Seneca - have taken over, and they’re using their new platform to discuss Diamond vs DC, and what the likely ramifications are for the comics retail industry.

Shelfdust Presents’ Matt Lune welcomes Colin Bell to the podcast this week, as they tear their clothes while growing to enormous size, and discuss the shift to horror for Marvel’s hit smash-focused series, The Immortal Hulk.

2000 AD’s Lockdown Tapes hit record with Dermot Power in the latest episode, as he talks to MOLCH-R about making the move from comics work to film design, and the joys of fully-painted artwork in comics.

SILENCE! returns, once again, and this week the audio comics and lifestyle magazine sees host Gary Lactus talking to comics creator Danny Noble as her new graphic memoir Shame Pudding is welcomed into the world and the interdimensional space of the reviewniverse.

It’s a double-bill from Off Panel this week, as David Harper talks first to Jeff Smith about all things Bone, and then welcomes Brian Michael Bendis to the show for a deep dive into a storied career in comics writing.

Publisher’s Weekly’s More to Come podcast took a look at the big stories from last week, as they discuss comics and coverage that look at topics relevant to the Black Lives Matter movement, run down the Eisner nominees for 2020, and discuss the loss of another dedicated comic news outlet to business streamlining.

The Virtual Memories Show continued its COVID check-ins, as Gil Roth spoke to Liza Donnelly about livestreaming and cartooning during the pandemic, and Dylan Horrocks about how New Zealand is faring as the country celebrates its success in containing COVID-19.

Kwanza Osajyefo and Jamal Igle boarded War Rocket Ajax this week, to discuss their series Black and its crowd-funded sequel White, as well as a whole host of other topics.



If the kids are united, then we'll never be divided... This week’s recommendations for younger readers.

The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund has put together a step-by-step project guide for children wanting to make their own mini-comics and zines, as a way for them to tell their own stories and make their voices heard, including video resources and storytelling tips.

First Second’s #SketchSchool returns, and this week Box Brown takes us through how to draw Owen Eugene from Child Star, and Andre the Giant. Anybody want a peanut?

• The June issue of The Phoenix' Q Club comic is now up for free download - with a rainy day's worth of drawing guides, writing prompts, and activities to get stuck into.


Those are the links for this week, there'll be some more again next week, I'm fairly sure. See you then.





11 Responses to We Dress Like Students, We Dress Like Housewives – This Week’s Links

  1. Frog Foreskin says:

    What’s happened to TCJ, man? Your ass used to be beautiful!

    Endless, almost daily profiles of “artists,” many barely related to comics at all, almost none of whom are noteworthy.

    A total dearth of interviews — a form which famously dominated the original print run of the mag. And the few interviews we do get are, again, with virtual nobodies, or are uncurious and rote.

    A complete lack of real news and investigative comics journalism — also a mainstay of the original TCJ. Compare The Journal’s astonishing run from the late 1980s to the crash of the mid-90s with the tepid-at-best approach to the recent distribution issues… the current events may actually spell the end of the floppy and the loss of the few remaining comic shops, but where is the incendiary anger, the nose-to-the-grindstone behind-the-scenes digging that characterized that earlier run of reporting? (I know, I don’t care about superhero floppies either, no real loss.)(Unless by “superhero floppies” you mean some lost Eros comic.)

    Instead we get Groth laughing it up with moron former-enemy Geppi in an embarrassing half-audible YouTube roundtable. Even company man Eric Reynolds has recently lamented that comics journalism doesn’t exist any more. It sure has Hell can’t be found here or at any of the sites listed above every week (no knock on Clark’s efforts at compiling the links).

    Who’s in charge here? Because I can think of a million interview possibilities and reporting angles that are just passing everybody by, inexplicably. Yes, these things take time and energy and even a little money…

    But where is the joint interview with Ethan and Noah Van Sciver discussing their weird-ass upbringing and how it might relate to their assumedly divergent political views and work? That’s page-click gold, Jerry!

    Where is the interview with Matt Furie and Alex Jones and their shared fetish for Lizard People?

    Where is the reconsideration (not necessarily condemnation) of Johnny Ryan’s work, accompanied with an interview with his thoughts on “metoo” and cancel culture? And Eric or Gary’s thoughts on the viability of continuing to publish such work?

    Where is the interview with Pete Bagge further exploring his recent interview comments about “certain people” (i.e., the whole staff) within Drawn & Quarterly not approving of a straight white male making bios of historical women of interest, hence his no longer publishing there?

    Where is the article about how the content and form of comics has become – with very rare exceptions – little more than greeting card homilies for naive and insular political extremists, picture-books for stunted adults or designers embarrassed about comics, or milquetoast time-machines for decrepit nostalgists?

    Where’s the article exploring why some artists are roundly condemned and their careers destroyed for fractional, almost fictional digressions, while others (say, Billionaires who run shitty LA theaters) still flourish despite solid allegations of abuse and mismanagement?

    Where’s the well-deserved mocking and punching-up of other privileged and infinitely wealthy success stories who have the clueless gall to complain about the “costs” of sending their poor suffering children to college (Jim Lee) or those who make 4-5 figures a month from Patreon and still have the gall to make toothless “political” comics distressing about the “1%”?

    Where’s the scoop about how Joe Matt has managed to live to almost 60 years of age without ever having held a day job while going almost 15 years between single issues of Peepshow? What the secret there, man? Because if there’s such a thing as dumb luck, he’s not only stepped right into it, he’s bathing in it up to his armpits.

    And what about little artie spielgelman? Been a while since we’ve heard anything from the largest stockholder in Virginia Slims. We all know that WW2 and 9-11 both revolved around him, so what’s his take on BLM and Coronaviris? Surely he’s at the heart of things there as well.

    And etc.

    I only say this because I love the medium, man! I’m TEAM COMICS all the way, brothers and sisters! So let’s snap out of our COVID-accelerated haze and get back to business of busting comic’s balls, motherfuckers!

  2. Brian Nicholson says:

    Hey, Frog, where’d you see that Peter Bagge interview? I Googled to try to find him saying something along the lines of what you suggest, and the most recent Bagge interview I could find was this one: https://www.lionstoothmke.com/blog/peter-bagge-interview where the interviewer asks if he got any grief about it and he says he didn’t.

    It seems like you think the role of the Journal should be to manufacture controversy by either trying to prod older artists into saying something tone-deaf or or to alternately “go after” people for their “privilege” in a way that really gets said older artists to go off.

    There is interesting journalistic work to be done based on asking a bunch of people how much money they make from their books and how well their publishers pay them. There should absolutely be investigative pieces published here about Nobrow and 2DCloud, and I have my own suspicions about how much of the glut of work produced at the big two is made to drown out individual talents and keep wages low across the board it might serve the public interest for me to articulate further than what I’m doing here. However, this would require a lot of asking people how much money they make, which is a question people are famously uncomfortable with answering honestly. Gary and Fantagraphics basically pioneered an entire wing of comics, “art comics,” which the Journal is now essentially obligated to cover; the larger balkanization of the ever-expanding field has probably compromised our abilities as freelancers to speak to people outside our circle effectively. But that’s an excuse, I could certainly try harder to do real journalism, sure there would be no money in it, but COVID lockdowns have left me with plenty of time on my hands I could easily fill being weird and impertinent to strangers.

  3. Nat Cook says:

    I’ll admit, I’d like to read most of those suggested articles.

  4. Forced into anonymity says:

    A great portion of a deeply racist country is finally acknowledging the implicit evils that it propagates in its very existence and the horrors of its past.

    People of color are being murdered for simply existing. People of color are being treated as targets for institutional brutality in undeniable crimes that will resonate through all imaginable history.

    The President of the United States of America has recently encouraged its citizens to consume bleach and other poisons and has claimed that thorough testing for a horrible, widespread illness is something negative. Mere days ago, The President of the United States approvingly tweeted a video of someone saying “white power”.

    Language, symbols and demands for white supremacy are increasingly the defining promotional characteristics and identifiers of the party in power, or those closely associated with it.

    A cataclysmic plague is brutalizing an entire species, regardless of affiliation.

    Several weeks ago, New York City was dumping bodies in mass graves.

    Public denial, an absence of leadership, a refusal to participate in the simplest possible actions and a lack of sanity is causing America to see another gigantic wave of illness and death.

    Protests are occurring on a world-wide scale and resulting in more outbreaks of authoritarian violence. Lives are being risked and lives are being ruined in the struggle for accountability.

    Important demands for society to change are being made in intense, sacrificial, worrying ways. New moral standards are being set amid chaos and ruination.

    Meanwhile, somewhere, for some reason, some bozo can see nothing in our times that could be more important than insisting The Comics Journal focus its energies on a generally-supportive Johnny Ryan think-piece.

    The commenter also would like to see such a piece involve Ryan’s publishers airing every aspect of their business relationship with him with absolute transparency.

    The commenter makes this demand anonymously.

    An interesting contradiction offers a greater truth. A stupid contradiction offers nothing. This is not an interesting contradiction.

    It is not only a stupid contradiction – it is also a worrying one. It is a sad portrait of confusion, anger, deluded insistence and a person that cannot recognize the world we are living in. It is the product of a person who hardly has the intelectual toolkit to express themselves and the product of a person who is expressing negative, inhuman viewpoints.

    This commenters’ faults are many. Surely, many of those who read the comment were aware of its idiocy and decided that the best thing was to move along and not give this “internet troll” the validation of attention.

    Although this person and their offensive, destructive, wrongheaded “opinions” on comics are not deserving of recognition and demonstrating their idiocy is far less important than the overwhelming majority of today’s overwhelming, infuriating and heartbreaking social issues, I feel that they are worth a response because they are representative of one of our worst cultural problems – a lack of accountability and misguided, socially-aggressive people going unchecked.

    Hateful, ignorant thinking has a snowball effect and the diverse groupings and caring individuals in that read and write for The Comics Journal should be better than to allow this sort of garbage. Every negativity is a potential starting point for more negativity.

    I can find no easy way to transition from point to point when detailing the many things this commenter should be made aware of, so my response to this imbecile and their scattered mess is going to be very difficult to structure. Language will both directly and indirectly address the commenter. I am not a talented or educated writer – words will be reused and some thoughts will appear in variations that might be redundant. Punctuation and syntax are not my strong suit. A better, more eloquent thinker should be making these points instead of me. Nobody has tried.

    In keeping with one of the good aspects of the periodical version of the Comics Journal I have sat with my thoughts about this for several weeks before writing a response.

    The worst portion of this commenter’s idiocy may have been when Black Lives Matter was reduced to a punchline for anti-Art Spigelman “humor”. This movement is not mentioned anywhere else in this fool’s blatherings, and is therefore only given importance as a brief detour on the path of mocking a cartoonist that this jackass is not a fan of.

    Besides the much lesser point of Art Spieglman jokes being completely tired, this is unethically insulting to a movement that has its basis in the horrifying fact that a great many people do not understand that it is wrong to murder and oppress the lives of people based on the color of their skin.

    Let me repeat that. Though the commenter may not recognize it in their writing, they are being insulting to those who have died in racist murders. The commenter is being insulting to those who have been made to suffer for not being white.

    This person mocks Spiegelman’s creative-emotional responses to worldwide tragedy as being of a selfish mindset, while demonstrating an absolute inability to think in a way that wasn’t born of a frightening selfishness, as filtered through a demanding fit thrown about modern comic book culture.

    After writing this petulant tirade, this commenter showed up in the comments thread for a 2014 review of an Alley Oop book to seethingly opine that they think Barry Windsor-Smith is a bad artist and that they also think Barry Windsor-Smith is a good artist. Elsewhere, the commenter chastised Bob Levin for writing a phrase that he found unclear.

    What sort of place of removal is this person’s basis for thought? Are they aware that their place of removal is dangerous?

    If this commenter has educated themselves about the history and culture of comics to the point where they refer to Bob Levin with familiarity or have thoughts about the amount of lines in Barry Windsor-Smith’s inking then they should try to place similar energies in properly educating themselves about things that are actually of consequence to all of us.

    If you are going to acknowledge the important, nearly all-consuming issues of the day then you are going to have to acknowledge them perceptively.

    COVID-19 is not an obstacle to writers repeating what you enjoyed about the 80s and 90s Comics Journal, it is an all-encompassing species-wide issue that impacts every element of human life on earth. It is an infection that is killing people everywhere. Human bodies are being destroyed from the inside because they breathed in air. Black people are being murdered. The sprawling, immersive history of racist murder and authoritarians wanting to harm the already-oppressed is being confronted.

    To ignore these facts is to live a lie. The pride and abstracted hatefulness with which this person conducts themselves are their attempts at distraction from a very troubling, empty-minded worldview.

    I am unsure if they are trying to distract themselves or others. Both possibilities seem to be occurring here.

    First off, if Art Spiegelman is in favor of Black Lives Matter (which he surely is) then he is on the correct side of history.

    In mocking this truth, you are horribly, horribly wrong.

    Your joke about Spieglman being “the largest stockholder in Virginia Slims” was offensive for its basis in trying to make yourself superior for reasons of viewpoint and matters of taste in a way in which the initial insult was one that “feminized” a known characteristic of another.

    If you don’t like Spiegelman’s books, fine. Whatever. A lot of people do and a lot of people don’t.

    Your tired barbs are rendered all the more pathetic and foolish by your “opening shot” of essentially calling him a girl. You don’t seem to be satirizing the ludicrous nature of insult, or anything about the act and industry of smoking. You just seem ill-equipped at utilizing the expressive tools of humor, and worse, confused about what humor is. You neutralize your own arguments, and prove yourself to be an unthinking person.

    You also prove yourself to be an uncaring person. This is very destructive.

    Maus and In The Shadow of No Towers are books that have the potential to contribute something positive to society, whether you like them or not. To give one example, their individual viewpoint could be of help to others who feel closeness to the tragedies of Holocaust and 9/11. Your comments have no potential of offering any positive contribution to anyone.

    In part of your being wrong, you are guilty of that which you pointlessly accuse another of. You have filtered multiple tragedies through your own self-opinion and feelings of your own importance and authority.

    The thread in which you brought up the very serious matters regarding Larmee with a wacky, zany tone was a place organized for discussion of a heartbreaking, painful human tragedy. It was a forum in which there was an unspoken process of healing going on. It was not a place for one to throw around “funny” nicknames, Twitterspeak catchphrases or mocking references to the name of the publication of the organizer of the obituary and tribute.

    What occurred in those comments is remarkable. I wish there had been that kind of community solidarity for and among those who knew my friends that killed themselves.

    The issues of those who support the accusations against Larmee and their wish for him to be held accountable (and criticisms of his work being arms of this social negativity) were made lesser by what you said, how you said it and where you chose to say it. If you wish to make headway on issues of morality in a place where you could have an effect you are going to have to think and communicate carefully and seriously.

    I also sincerely doubt you actually needed a trigger warning, as in the comments of the links thread in which this reply is being posted you were terribly disrespectful about the pain that a number of other cartoonists have endured and showed no sympathy to a great many acts of mistreatment and exploitation.

    Beyond comics, you demonstrated an unnerving and inconvenienced attitude about the tragedies of the modern-day world.

    Being a moralist is an across-the-board commitment. It is not an occasional way of justifying acts of trolling and whatever mentally-diseased thrill you get from such misdeeds.

    Do you know anyone who has chosen to take their own life, who has died under sad circumstances, or anyone who has suffered as a result of another’s death? (Or if not, anyone who has suffered in any way during their lifetimes?)

    Imagine that the obituary thread in which you behaved so stupidly and disrespectfully was about the death or pain of someone that you have known and cared about. Really, try to imagine that. Do not quickly charge past this statement. Really think about it.

    Your “jokes” both devalued serious accusations and disrespected the dead in their primary place of remembrance mere days after their death was announced.

    Are you even aware that you did this? Although a snide reveling in negative action emanates from your every word (particularly in this links thread), an awareness of your own negativity in the Vogel thread is worryingly unclear.

    The commenter’s mentioning of the (widely reported on) the Cinefamily scandal and Harkham’s (and numerable, notable portions of the American independent movie scene’s) implication in this structure of negativity completely ignores that the theater operated in a way in which the mistreated employees and volunteers contributed to the venue’s successes. The many pieces detailing these very upsetting misdeeds made it very clear that those who have spoken of how they were horribly wronged were employees and volunteers.

    While I never visited this establishment, I would have enough tact to not call it a “shitty theater”. Instead, I would direct my energies against individuals who are said to be at fault. It is important to focus the potential of one’s criticism where it should be applied and where it would be the most effective.

    I worked at a retailer where I was routinely sexually harassed (and harassed otherwise) and subjected to upsetting, unconscionable, taunting, escalating, near-ceaseless and aggressively creepy behavior by multiple individuals taking advantage of a system that they had the ability to exploit. (The sexual harassment and actions made with intent to disturb by these individuals were not also solely limited to my workplace, though they were focused around it.) In the case of the worst offender, a written threat of a restraining order was ignored and these invasive actions continued.

    The co-workers that I sought help from against this harassment and stalking acknowledged that they knew what was going on, but said they “didn’t want to get involved”. Some feigned ignorance of this harassment and “trolling”, only later to confirm their knowledge – and in some cases, their participation.

    (Delusional thinking and the immoral’s delight in hurting others while announcing and reaffirming their desires through manipulation and exploitation activity are not limited to corners of the independent comics scene, Los Angeles movie theaters or the online activities of Comics Journal message board users with culture-war-baiting, “frog”-based aliases.)

    Despite all of that, I would feel very defensive and angry were someone to call my former employer a “shitty store” in a discussion of my mistreatment, as I put a great deal of time, effort and sincerity into making it as good of a place as was possible.

    In any case, what you think of this theater is totally irrelevant to the commentary you were trying to make. Such actions would be equally immoral had they occurred at the best or worst movie theater in the world. Quality is not a moral qualifier.

    The Comics Journal has a submissions policy that openly invites written work and is of a structure that requires a great deal of content.

    It is a deeply flawed institution.

    It is also a notably democratic one.

    Should you wish for The Comics Journal to offer a form of reportage that you feel it is not supplying, you may need to be the person to write the articles you wish to see. This is what has driven The Comics Journal through the entirety of its history. However, you clearly have a long way to go before you would be able to measure up to The Comics Journal’s historically-forgiving sliding scale regarding its contributors’ abilities.

    Somehow, I doubt you have the objectivity, manners, proven track record, consideration or moral compass needed for conducting proper, successful investigative journalism or creator interviews. I don’t even think you would do a very good job at the lesser, easier task of being a critic.

    Despite your anger at what you felt was unclear language in a recent Bob Levin piece and a Little Lulu review you clearly have vast improvements in technical ability and quality of thought that you’d need to make before claiming to be any sort of linguistic authority and feeling that you are a somewhat-functioning writer.

    Your whining is much closer to being a passive act than it is to being an active one. There seems to be a confusion about this on your part.

    If you are a fan of long-form interviews with cartoonists or those involved in the comics medium and comics business and do not wish to conduct them yourself I have some great news for you. Since the popularizing of the world wide web there has been a surplus of content regarding nearly any subject one can think of. This includes lengthy interviews about comic books. Some of these interviewers also pour over the mintuate of old Comics Journal issues while a camera films them flipping through the magazine.

    Thousands and thousands of hours of comic book interviews reside in various places of the internet for their audience’s enjoyment. What qualities are distinct to reading text may be lost and an ease of cross-referencing may be gone, but the many enlightening and mysterious subtleties of the human voice are of a different sort of benefit.

    If you are an active cartoonist (which I doubt) these podcasts can create a pleasant and somewhat-inspiring feedback loop that one can exist in while immersed in the drudgery of work. It is kind of dumb, but it is also a healthier pastime than whatever internal feedback loop is causing your social negativity and self-destructive foolishness.

    Maybe you stumbled across Gil Roth’s podcast without knowing about this, if so your impertinence is understandable. I am only being partially sarcastic with this point. I can’t see how someone could miss that the not-only-promotionally-minded, long-form creator interview is no longer the sole provenance of The Comics Journal. At the same time, I must state the obvious because I honestly cannot comprehend how you’ve missed a lot of very obvious things.

    The current state of The Comics Journal is in part because it was successful in many of its earlier aims – serious thinking about comics now occurs in many different places. This is also why Fantagraphics is not the only current Publisher of the World’s Greatest Cartoonists.

    It seems you are a fan of the 80s and 90s comics scene. Many of the cartoonists who began working during these decades only subject themselves to the interview process when promoting new work, so you may have to wait for a new book from whoever it is that you like before you can take satisfaction in the words of someone who you admire or are interested in.

    Also, a great many of the more social and/or impulsive of these people regularly submit their thoughts in more concentrated forms on culturally-destructive websites like Facebook and less-troubling (yet still annoying) websites like Twitter. These platforms did not exist at the time of The Comics Journal you miss so much.

    The newer cartoonists that The Comics Journal covers at this time in history are deemed “nobodies” by yourself. Fine, whatever. I would recommend you take time to give the “nobodies” a chance. It is worth the effort in sifting through the things that do not appeal to yourself to find the “nobodies” who might be “somebody” to you if you gave the process of learning a chance.

    I hesitate in making that suggestion as I sure would not want you for one of my fans. That is not as important as the necessity of expanding your horizons. An open mind can lead you to things you might not have thought you’d respond to. Not settling for what is immediately to your taste is one of the most important things there is to life. Your confused morality shows that this is not just a problem for yourself as per an awareness of younger cartoonists.

    There are much worse things going on in the world at this time than Jim Lee complaining about college tuition somewhere. (Also, what are you doing seeking out Jim Lee content and retaining information about it?!)

    What is your strange obsession with money? Why are you focusing it in such odd directions? Why do you want The Comics Journal to pry into how Joe Matt lives? What giddy thrill would you take in knowing the details of his finances? What has his self-representation set off in your own internal world? There are a lot of topics currently deserving of journalists’ exploration. What pays Joe Matt’s electric bill is not one of them.

    Patreon as a business model is amazing considering the worldwide devaluation of all media. The sweeping changes in the business of art and entertainment have created a culture of asking, and this has led to something you seem to love so much – direct financial honesty. Maybe you are annoyed by it and found the previous world of financing to be superior, less burdening and more “clean”. Whatever. You’re wrong – Patreon is an option and a solution to changes that originated on a corporate level in the financing of creative people and after several economic downturns. It also allows for a greater independence of creativity and fewer “middlemen” of evil intent or association.

    Your energies are not being focused properly. If you are going to whinge about money, whinge about the destructive multinational corporate monopolies that we’re all in some way tethered to. That would be valid. Major corporations are involved in a lot of really bad things. Superman and Spider-man are literally steering slave ships. The candy bar you enjoyed at Infinity War was most likely sourced by an African slave in a cocoa bean field, that enslaved person most likely by a child. Your childhood Pikachu pajamas were surely made in a sweatshop, most likely by a fellow child. The blood on all of our hands is far worse and way more important than some person on Patreon having found a way to subsist as an artist through non-narrative or political indie comics that you don’t like.

    Also, I cannot imagine what “well-deserved” “punching up” of some idealistic person making comic books about wage inequality would be in the summer of 2020, while the effects of hate and disease and yes, inequalities that include exploitative employment are ravaging the world.

    As I’m sure you know, Gary Groth has recently recovered from Coronavirus. He, like nearly all business owners on earth, is dealing with a very changed economy and compromised market for his product. It seems absurd that you could be unaware of why in-depth, real-time discussion of a constantly shifting industry is not really possible at this time, certainly not in the way you want it to be.

    Why is the sound quality of a Steve Geppi interview something you find notable enough to complain about? Don’t you realize there are real problems in the world? Also, while there are a lot of very real problems with Diamond, Geppi and what he represents are probably small potatoes when one is forced into dealing with the spawn and shadow of Jeff Bezos on a regular basis.

    The internet has genuinely changed the nature of business reportage since the 90s. Independent journalism is now the province of Twitter, briefer on-line articles and majorly delayed revelations. Fewer people are willing to go on the record about the Comics Business than they were when your news options were Eric Reynolds, Don Thompson and David Anthony Kraft (or whatever). The reasons the 90s distributor issues were able to be covered in such depth in The Comics Journal were that a greater willingness to speak on the record existed among businesspeople at that time, due to the fact that articles about their actions were not instantly accessible by typing the business people’s names into a series of inter-connected machines.

    Also, there was the fact that the entire planet was not in a state of peril, disease and social upheaval.

    Eric Reynolds’ words on Twitter against DC and their corporate owner’s destructive action against comic book retailers did not say all there was to say about the topic, but it said the core of what needed to be said. That is something. (Also, the accomplishments of Eric Reynolds are greatly admirable. Your pithily calling him a “company man” is out of line and totally inaccurate. He quite nearly IS the company.)

    Awareness is being created. It may be by Chuck Rozanski “going off” on the AT&T empire while offering a “DCSUCKS” 50 percent off coupon or Eric Reynolds concentrating his thoughts with a well-considered clarity but it is happening all the same. You cannot deny that it is occurring.

    If you feel an unstoppable desire to read thorough, long-form works about ruinous actions there are literally thousands very important articles of this sort being written every day about the current political situation.

    Gary Groth has promised investigative work about the allegedly-exploitative practices of Nobrow. This is in spite of the fact that he has recently recovered from a major illness, and that many of those he has a professional involvement with once had varying forms of professional and personal involvement with that company. I trust him on his word, and trust that this coverage will see the light of day before too long.

    I do not know you and cannot theorize what element of your life contains the root of this armchair abstraction of real people. Perhaps you have some issues with the way people respond to public figures? Maybe you are just as lousy in your consumer entitlement as the typical sports or movie fan? In any event, your faulty logic seems to even be applied to those you defend.

    Peter Bagge has changed publishers several times. If his biographical series ended it is comparable to that his graphic novel about Second Life ended, that his dealings with MTV ended or that his relationship with Grunge Rock Pencils ended.

    Perhaps sales were a factor. Few “indie” comics sell very well and any sort of “series” is difficult to maintain. The superhero mainstream is series-based, but it is also a I.P.-factory loss-leader for two major corporations. Series do not tend to last at those publishers either.

    Bagge is not one to act publicly huffy, indignant and spurned when business dealings conclude. He is not a needless corporate-controversy content creator. This is why he spoke in a matter-of-fact way in the interview you linked to, and why there is not further material beyond what you’ve mentioned. I do not agree with his politics but admire the way in which he voices his opinions in a considerate, humble, matter-of-fact way. You could learn something from that trait.

    Drawn and Quarterly have the right to choose the artists they want to work with. This includes choices made due to internal feelings about matters of representation of minorities and socially-oppressed peoples.

    Narrative historical overviews are published by a great many companies. There are more biographical comics published now than ever before. A big, showy, unprofessional public display of publisher/artist dealings such as the one that you would like to see could hamper the chances of Bagge’s series about important women through history finding a home elsewhere.

    On a similar note, in a return to the subject of Johnny Ryan: I do not think the type of think-piece you want would be good for his career in animation, particularly at this cultural moment. You seem to be a fan of his. Do you realize what could happen and is this what you hope to happen?

    If you are interested in the financial means of Joe Matt, it is because you learned about the monetary aspects of portions of his life from reading his comics. This indicates that you have responded to his honesty. If you find yourself “siding” with Peter Bagge regarding Drawn and Quarterly it is because you responded to the honesty of his feelings regarding business matters. If you dislike Art Spiegelman’s comic books about his personal responses to/expressions about his father surviving the Holocaust and being in New York during 9/11 it is because you are responding to the honesty of his expressing how he felt.

    There is no honesty to anonymous “trolling”. It is an inferior form of expression, which is the activity of an inferior morality. An inferior morality is the product of a self that does not challenge itself, which is the product of an inferior mind.

    An inferior mind is a dangerous thing when it is a choice.

    While this cannot be said with any certainty, the petulant demands of your content indicates one who prefers to have others accomplish things for them. It is a worrisome trait when possessed by those who cannot further themselves morally and do not question the nature of their impulses.

    Self-improvement and a culture working towards betterment are the actions of a continual process of refinement. Your criticisms of modern movements towards decency ignore this. Someday there will be people that are better-hearted, more thoughtful, less negative and of an increased consciousness of what they are doing and why they are doing it. It will benefit your life, should you live to see it. If not, it will benefit the lives of those your care about, or their children.

    Selfishly announcing that you find Art Spiegelman’s work to be selfish while slighting the importance of Black Lives Matter; making weird, oblique statements both against and in favor of the astonishing shift in culture towards accountability; statementlessly reveling in the nightmare Matt Furie has had to deal with; mocking Noah Van Sciver’s upbringing along with his brother’s part in the negative forces of Comicsgate and pining for a Comics Journal that does not exist any longer – nothing you’ve written and no viewpoint of yours could be of benefit to anyone. It is pure selfishness.

    Your weird, non-communicative writing tells that you are unhappy about and hung up on a lot more than just comic books. Your actions and inabilities are the obvious result of transference.

    Transference is intrinsically a part of art. One definition of art may be “elevated transference”. There is nothing good about the transference of your comments. Besides being amoral, bad transference also makes for ineffective, artless expressions.

    Ineffective expressions are only going to make you feel more isolated, which obviously causes you many forms of anger and unhappiness.

    Honesty, personal accountability and questioning oneself are the foundations on which a person can build more effective expressions.

    I would assume from your use of “OK boomer” that you are millennial, or possibly a very immature “Generation X”er. Awkwardly implementing “hip” 1950sish language, sarcastic and inappropriate use of inclusive 1960s revolutionary language and stupid Seinfeld references are some of the most ineffectual and embarrassing traits of “boomer” culture.

    When implemented by yourself, this use of boomer-speak is the use of an insincere cheeriness to befog desperate, intense wants.

    The matter-of-fact post-ironic humor of millennials is a reaction to the sarcasm of Generation X and both the thoughtless and earnest sillinesses of the boomers. Its strange effectiveness when addressing moral subjects lies in an intentional disengagement from humor. I don’t like it either, but it is functional. The detachment returns the focus to thought or comment itself. You are not communicating thought at the level of an obnoxious millennial.

    Snark, false tones and defensive hostility have been ruined as effective defenses in their misappropriation by negative elements of the culture. Trump’s sense of “humor” as a method of self-justification and trickery of those vulnerable to hatefulness and authority is the final nail in that coffin. The right always steals its tools from the counterculture. You don’t seem to realize that your sense of humor is weirdly out of date and has very horrible modern associations.

    There is also a major difference between the power of harsh expression and the immorality of thriving on destruction.

    The commenter uses slightly elevated language throughout the piece. “Toothless”, “homilies”, “dearth”, “sui generis” and “divergent” all make appearances. There was a Rocco reference made. This indicates the commenter stopped for at least half a moment to try to find ways of enhancing and articulating their thoughts.

    You need to enhance the decency of your worldview – not blockading conservative thoughts and negative impulses through a showy, overeager-AP-high-school-student’s vocabulary. Nobody is impressed. Have you ever noticed an artist learning to draw better through the course of their career and that the real improvements were made in content, not style? Personal morality can be approached like that.

    I am not saying this to be “chummy” with you, and am only trying to make a point through a reference you’d understand so that you’ll reconsider your flaws: Nobody liked when Kenneth Smith used big words or made cultural references while philosophizing. It sure isn’t going to matter to anyone when you do it while being hateful.

    You made a comment about comic books that are “for naive and insular political extremists”. The fact that you seem to have completely invented this genre is an accessory to how truly wrong you are. Thinking your own preferences are more important than worldwide and individual suffering could be called naive in the “deficient in worldly wisdom or informed judgment” sense of the word. It is, however, totally lacking in the innocence one usually associates with that term. You have no excuse for your stupidity.

    Every opinion you’ve expressed and the way in which you’ve expressed them speak from a place of dangerous, entitled conservatism. This is the sort of political extremity that has our world teetering on the brink of ruin.

    The nonspecific criticism of today’s comics medium that boils down its entire scope and content into four easily disparaged categories (and that uses “or” an awkwardly improper amount of times) concludes with words against “milquetoast time-machines for decrepit nostalgists”.

    This viewpoint is ageist.

    It is also incorrect beyond being ageist. Have you never encountered the younger people who like and care about older things, sometimes more often than they like and care about newer things? This is not the standard, but it is not uncommon either.

    Also, the meaning of nearly every thought that you’ve expressed in the above comment is that you are someone who has a desire for things to be the way they once were. This is the literal definition of nostalgist. Acting like “Team Comics” is a relevant term in 2020 is the action of a nostalgist. Most people who read this website probably wouldn’t get that reference. Your entirely nostalgic viewpoint continues on from there – I think you might recognize it now that it has been pointed out to you. Brief, conditional acknowledgement of the culture’s move towards accountability does not make your views and interests any less backwards-looking. Nor does it make your views any less backwards.

    I am unhappy that I must get specific about those who have been forcibly associated with social movements that are unbelievably sad, horrible and fundamentally inhuman in their goals. Noah Van Sciver and Matt Furie have been exemplars of dignified, progressively-minded personal conduct in their public dealings with destructive forces that have acted in negative ways far beyond their control as individuals.

    Amazingly, they have continued to produce consistently good work. There are greater, wiser depths in the comics that followed their problems with associations that were surely deeply upsetting and creatively disruptive. I would not have been able to have such astounding personal (and creative, same difference) strengths were I in their shoes.

    You don’t have to like their work, but their responses to negative world forces are undeniably deserving of everyone’s respect. Insisting that The Comics Journal magically produce interviews related to things that are surely upsetting for them is literally the opposite of respectful. It is a cruel joke, and a false joke – one without anything funny to it or any content whatsoever.

    Your references to Furie and Noah Van Sciver are loathsome, grossly indecent, mean-spirited, bullying and very worrying evidence that you are operating from a place of unchecked mental illness.

    Your request for trigger warnings in a recent obituary thread struck me as insincere. However, in the seemingly-impossible off-chance that you actually meant it you must know that it is necessary for you to apply this demand for standards to your own actions across the board.

    Giddy mockery of what was surely painful for Noah Van Sciver and Matt Furie is abhorrent social negativity. It mocks victims.

    While I do not feel it appropriate to comment on your own familial background being “weird ass”, it surely was ineffective. Somewhere along the way important lessons were either not taught or lost in whatever factors contributed to the development of your own desire to hurt others.

    Your casual mockery of Noah Van Sciver’s upbringing and the terrible differences between him and his brother are the worst, emptiest kinds of smugness.

    You should know this, but I might have to be the one to point this out to you: A youth without impactful difficulty is what is unusual. There’s nothing “weird ass” about having to deal with events beyond one’s control in their younger years, or throughout one’s life for that matter.

    Also, mental difficulty is not unusual. If your hostile, unrelatable writing is coming from a place of imbalance, difficulty, trauma or illness, you should not ignore the existence of these problems. Nothing is going to improve when your externalized actions are you defending yourself from your fear of being a troubled person. Self-regarding your own certainty and taking a grim pleasure in creepy anonymity while attacking those who have already been hurt is not only unconscionable, it is also hindering your own mental health.

    Throughout your chaotic writing there seems to be an undercurrent of that you are not comfortable with the idea of having complicated feelings about something. This routinely leads to negatively-weird, comfort-skewed misbehavior and an inner world that cannot recognize how troubled it is.

    Noah Van Sciver and Matt Furie’s lives are not your playthings. They are not “acceptable loss” for your one-person war against The Comics Journal.

    Worse, yours is a war waged while insisting that you ultimately love it! The world itself in recent years, the world itself throughout history and the world itself on a daily basis should provide sufficient evidence that things change.

    Writing at length that you feel The Comics Journal has a responsibility to moralistic investigative journalism while acting so unquestionably immoral about those who have suffered (to say nothing of your disgusting jokeless abstraction of the crucial importance and intense horrors of Black Lives Matter and Coronavirus) completely negates every demand you’ve made. Were there to be even the merest bit of sense to any of your points, it is totally lost in your gleeful knocking of those who have suffered.

    Coronavirus isn’t a “haze” prohibiting the sort of good ol’ comics writing you enjoy so much – it is literally everyone’s problem.

    In your words about Matt Furie you have expressed awareness that his imagery has been pilfered and disgustingly recontextualized by a hate group. Thus, your alias was undeniably chosen with thoughts in mind of your gleeful, glib participation in this culture of attack on the work of one who did not deserve to have their good-natured efforts so miserably denigrated by unwanted association. You clearly know that frog-based anonymity has been the disguise of those who have conducted evil actions.

    Symbols of hate are being recognized as being what they are. Governments are ditching their deeply-embedded iconographies for their connections to destruction, murder and human slavery.

    The reappropriation of benign images and phrases for hate groups is not material for sarcastic humor. It is nothing more than the embracing of hate symbols.

    Embracing hate symbols at this time in history is literally insane.

    The tone and baseless feelings of your own superiority with which you discussed this horrible social problem with distance, cruelty and abstraction can not be defended. Are you not familiar with insane, invented internet-originating madness like The Boogaloo Movement? I do not know how one could miss this, but the Boogaloo Movement’s inciting of racial violence and duping the easily manipulated with misinformation literally takes its name from the pleasant, silly, Black-oriented, Black-starring, Jewish-directed film Breakin’ II: Electric Boogaloo to promote the concept of a second civil war, white supremacy and randomized acts of violence against people who happen to be People of Color.

    The theft and distortion of Matt Furie’s imagery is one of the first notable instances of this sort of madness in modern life. It ushered in a reprehensible tradition.

    You are aware of the terrible issue with Matt Furie and Alex Jones. In turn, there is no way that your “handle” was not chosen of a hateful origin. Downplaying the intense sadness and misery of Jones (and the many movements of which he represents and is indicative of) forcing association with Matt Furie as grounds for “humor” is not justifiable.

    Alex Jones has routinely defended and promoted the concept of race war.

    There is the celebration of hate symbols in your joking about a poison-hucking extremist hyper-conservative radio host that has routinely promoted white supremacist groups to an unthinking, easily-manipulated radio audience, one who stole imagery from a positivist-liberal. This stolen imagery appeared unauthorized on a poster that promoted a united front of the hyper-conservative, racial-violence-inciting media figure, America’s destructive monster of a president and a far-right columnist known for being a pedophile, racist, white nationalist, homophobe and sexist.

    This is why Matt Furie sued Alex Jones.

    The Comics Journal is not going to publish a joint interview between them. You are aware of this.

    Exploitation is not a common ground.

    Someone who has been publicly exploited being continually associated with the person (or entity) that exploited them is one of the more difficult parts of such exploitation to attempt to recover from. It disrupts the healing process.

    Have you ever been exploited, or have you exploited another?

    I can answer part of that: yes, you have undeniably exploited Noah Van Sciver and Matt Furie.

    Your strange, unnecessary use of the term “fetish” where it serves no purpose and applies to discussion of a good-natured, liberal artist in conflict with destructive, hateful, immoral, reprehensible and murderous inhumanity indicates someone with a deeply unhealthy view of sexuality.

    All of the repeated sexual references in your writing are really unnerving, though mostly for your own sake. There is also the penile element of the advantageous Furie-baiting name and the jokeless “joke” you made about “superhero floppies” and Eros comics. It makes me wonder if you have some sort of psychosexual issues that are contributing to your decisions, viewpoints and defensive/demanding, aggressive, hating-what-you-love mentality.

    Misdirection of sexual impulse is a very dangerous thing. It is also not a unique problem, and you should not hasten to question your own psychology through a fear (or refusal to accept) that it is. I would recommend that you take a more significant time of pause to consider and determine where your confused, stubborn, conflicted views originated and what you can do about your psychological issues that would be proactive and decent.

    Do you have people that are close to you? Do you see a therapist (or other form of mental-health professional) that you trust with private information about yourself?

    Maybe you are only close to such people to a certain extent. You could only trust them so much.

    Please put your own trust issues aside and tell these people about the totality of your actions and impulsive behaviors. You may be criticized in a way in which the criticism originates in someone who cares about your well-being and/or is better equipped to deal with your flaws than you are. You see nothing wrong with criticism – you should realize that you are certainly deserving of it. The thoughts and redirection of trusted, close relationships and objective and professional psychological analysis could serve to better yourself in the long run.

    More importantly, you have the ability to originate progress within yourself.

    This applies to both personal progress and your own contributions to the betterment of the world.

    Your certainty in self-perception is hurting yourself far more than the emotional hurt you would feel during and after the process of self-recognition.

    More worryingly, you are hurting a community and hurting people who are not yourself.

    The moral instructiveness and stories of redemption offered in genre narratives are not only there because adults are trying to trick children into being orderly. They reflect and acknowledge truths.

    The basis for today’s movements of protest and recognition are that the potential for negativity and destructiveness in humankind are improvable problems.

    You are a part of humankind.

    Being a living entity is by its very nature an isolating experience. Comics are an interesting form because in order to be read they require a certain trust on the reader’s part, in a way that is very different from the things one must bring to other media. I think that this is what draws people to the medium who feel the emotional pangs of this inherit isolation more than others do, and the reason why the masses who venerate the filmed superhero genre or respond with love to animation and cartoon/illustrative imagery do not interest themselves in a form that is idiosyncratic even at its most mainstream. It is what gives comics their unique, versatile and indefinable effectiveness.

    Comics are built on the relationship of personal isolation and trust in others. Being a fan of comics is really great because it helps you find a balance between these very divergent parts of the state of being. This is not an easy part of life to deal with, although it is in essence the majority of what life itself is about.

    I’m not sure what it is, but elements of your writing make me feel like this dynamic as a reflection of life is what you initially responded to about the comics medium, and that despite your confusions it is ultimately what you continue to respond to. The mechanics of the form and person-to-person communication and trust in another’s soul have so much to offer the comics reader. They can help so much in realizing the hopefulness of the world and the importance of trying to be a good person in it.

    These qualities transcend the numerically smaller amounts of good comics than good works of art in other media, the many problematic substrata of comics fandom and yes, the very flawed things of comics scholarship and news sources.

    Something tells me that the snark or uniqueness of some “indie” comics are not the be all and end all of what you like about the medium. The soul-reflecting mechanics of comics should be proof that you can find better and more honest ways of communicating your world outlook (or at the very least more accountable methods of dealing with complicated feelings) than you have found through anonymous trolling.

    Reveling in negativity is not honesty and it is not transgressive. It is stunted, fearful, community-destroying, art-thwarting, self-limiting behavior.

    It is unprogressive, and that is something worse than being regressive – it is the creation of a worsening state of adult negativity and new kinds of badness. It contributes to the badness of the times.

    A more empathetic viewpoint leads to a greater understanding, which in turn leads to an improved ability to process art. Happiness and critical thoughts are both better (and are only meaningful) when they originate in a place of depth.

    You have the potential for depth.

    You clearly see no issue with challenging and hurting others. You could only improve by challenging yourself, and hurting the part of yourself that behaves improperly. Betterment would be there for those you encounter in all forms of interaction.

    Less importantly, the personal happiness that you clearly value so much would be increased by creating an improved atmosphere for the existence of everyone.

    You have to start somewhere.

  5. Forced into anonymity says:

    Additionally, The Comics Journal excerpted the above commenter’s “call to action” and promoted this very troubled person’s thoughts in their email newsletter. Portions of the above comment were selected as being the most notable “Blood and Thunder” contribution of the week ending June 15th. Giving a seal of approval to a commenter that slighted world issues like Black Lives Matter for the purposes of insult alongside mockery of horrible industry issues like Comicsgate and the theft of Matt Furie’s work was an act of the current editorship of The Comics Journal promoting mindless, trolling hate-speech.

    This was a miserable low point for this magazine and website. Whoever among The Comics Journal’s staff made this call deserves serious chastisement. I am amazed that I am the first to attempt this.

  6. Danny Ceballos says:

    “You don’t seem to realize that your sense of humor is weirdly out of date and has very horrible modern associations.”

    This troll knew EXACTLY what they were doing. They showed up to a party uninvited and opened all the beers in the fridge. It’s easy to get away with this childish behavior when you remain on the internet as an anonymous nobody. Maybe that is why most people ignore these posts (sadly, not the B&T promo you mention), but moving forward I hope we don’t.

    Thank you for this passionate and well articulated call to action.

  7. Alex R says:

    You didn’t have to write a five paragraph essay on every word that guy wrote. This is bordering on psychotic and I hope you find a healthy way to release some steam in your personal life.

    That said, the article ideas were funny but also interesting. It doesn’t cheapen Black lives to say Art Spiegelman should be asked about BLM. If you want to go down this road, it cheapens Black lives to run a site with a total dearth of Black contributors, because it signals their opinions are worth less than those of the white people you actually hire to talk about comics.

    Yes, it is weird that a publication that’s spent decades trying to define itself as the alternative to the norm doesn’t do any investigative work anymore and will feature yet another Garth Ennis Punisher review before it’ll dig into Peter Bagge’s persecution complex. Asking that doesn’t make a person the comics anti-Christ, you nut.

  8. Forced into anonymity says:

    “Alex R”, your reply is indefensible. There is nothing “funny but also interesting” about glib, advantageous mockery of those who have suffered due to the actions of hate groups (and what these hate groups have done as successful societal forces), or anything “funny but also interesting” to trolling in an obituary thread. Nor was there anything justifiable in The Comics Journal promoting the hateful actions of a ramping-up negativity from a clearly unwell mind in their e-mail newsletter.

    While offering vague words of support for representative equality you also defended one who repeatedly made light of destructive hate-speech and conflicts between racist and non-racist individuals, and you also failed/refused to acknowledge that they had done so.

    In misrepresenting and ignoring the actual content of the initial comment under discussion you have invalidated your own opinions about my reply – which, incidentally, you only sort of mentioned one element of, while making an inaccurate simplification of the reasons for my disgust and the content of my response to that one very complicated negativity.

    I meant it when I said that a better writer than myself should have acknowledged this commenter’s negativity. Yes, my writing was wordy. At the very least and unlike your writing, it actually acknowledged the content of the material that it was discussing.

    “Garth Ennis isn’t indie” and “I have opinions about Peter Bagge, the person” do not qualify as counterpoint, they are irrelevant digressions to the points I made about the person who was behaving negatively.

    Would you be able to support this person’s actions if you were face-to-face with Furie, Van Sciver or any of the other wronged people that I had mentioned? If so, why?

    This commenter’s negative actions were so troubled, damaging and obviously the action of a person with a lot of weaving mental problems (which included a chosen ignorance of the times we are in) that it took a lot of writing to address their complicated wrongness.

    Your wrongness is quickly proven to be what it is. The thoughts you’ve offered are unprincipled and demonstrate that you are not a very perceptive reader.

  9. Brian Nicholson says:

    Damn this sucks!

    Maybe it’s because ol’ Salamander Scrotum first popped up in the comments to a eulogy for a Comets Comets contributor, I’m being more forgiving, but I think it’s fine to use a pseudonym to say a bunch of tossed-off thoughts one doesn’t necessarily want to have to argue further in this era where everything you say will be policed and interpreted as uncharitably as possible. Of course doing so earns one a bunch of projections from someone else who also prefers pseudonymous anonymity. I’m not the biggest fan of trolling but I also recognize the value in couching sincere-but-forbidden sentiment in layers of irony and provocation, especially in response to a condescending and paternalistic tone. It’s quarantine and nobody’s met a stranger in months, if someone wants to have their sexual hang-ups manifest in being glib on the internet, who am I to condemn them?

  10. Forced into anonymity says:

    Brian Nicholson:

    The reason for my anonymity is because I had referenced real, intrusive and unresolved sexual harassment and stalking that I have endured as ways of pointing out this commentator’s wrongness about similar matters. I do not prefer anonymity.

    Like “Alex R”, your reply ignores the issue of that this commenter made light of cartoonists who have had forced association with hate groups and insulted the upbringing of a cartoonist (and Comics Journal contributor). Philosophizing about methods of communication does not change this fact.

    The commenter’s sexual hang-ups’ manifestation in being glib on the internet are worth condemnation because they are destructive in their insult to wronged individuals, communities, movements, people who express themselves with brave honesty and the productivity of creating possible grounds for communication.

    I repeat: Reveling in negativity is not honesty and it is not transgressive. It is stunted, fearful, community-destroying, art-thwarting, self-limiting behavior.

    I repeat: There is also a major difference between the power of harsh expression and the immorality of thriving on destruction.

    Are your words regarding your insane view that there is “value in couching sincere-but-forbidden sentiment in layers of irony and provocation, especially in response to a condescending and paternalistic tone” in reference to the initial commenter, or “Alex R”‘s response to myself?

    If it is in response to the initial commenter, you are incorrect. Their words appeared in response to nothing.

    (Unless their Black Lives Matter/Art Spiegelman comment was rooted in the many sincere, uniting BLM images that were linked to in the initial post. I can find no basis on which to think that and I sure hope it wasn’t the case.)

    If it is in regards to “Alex R” in their response to myself, you are incorrect once again. Their words were snide, cutting and unobservant, yet absolutely direct. There was none of the gauzy ironic provocation you claim is a valuable form of interaction.

    If you find one human being concluding a very critical series of thoughts with a desperate plea for the incorrect party to reconsider and internally address their negativity, realize they can be of an elevated mentality and attempt self-improvement something identifiable as “paternalistic” then you have either not given sufficient thought to your word choices, do not have good enough of peers or deny something important about today’s culture. Acknowledging and redirecting negativity while recognizing humanity is potentially everyone’s business. A greater fearlessness towards this truth is one of the better elements of the better people in our time.

    Also, you are a notably condescending writer.

    I believe the fact that I made a genuine effort to address the potential for good in an internet troll to be the opposite of uncharitable.

    I do not want to continue typing the names of those who have recently passed away, but are you saying that the initial commentator’s conduct in a recent obituary thread was appropriate? Whether you are “siding” with Larmee or his significant opposition (or have some sort of “complicated” opinion) on the matter of these sexual harassment allegations the fact of the matter remains that this person acted in a way that ran roughshod over the sanctity of respecting the dead in their forum of remembrance and behaved in a jokey fashion that lessened the impact of their criticizing that an accused sexual-harasser was permitted to contribute to the text of a memorial piece. This portion of my reply is not criticizing your views – I genuinely do not understand how this is your basis for “being more forgiving”, or even what you were trying to say with that.

    Also, hoping that the human being hiding behind creepy, venomous trolling gets better is the “more forgiving” outlook.

    I do not particularly wish to engage you in a conversation. However, I would like to conclude with that I cannot see how you can justify this person mocking many of those who have suffered due to the pointless actions of hate groups, both as it relates to people in the comics field and in the large-scale tragedies of the world in which we live.

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