A Beginning Is A Very Delicate Time – This Week’s Links

Not a whole lot to say up top that isn’t otherwise touched on in this week’s links, below, but it continues to be a weird year, and the abyss has progressed from simply gazing back to hanging out on the sofa all day, asking where the bottle opener is. 

I did play Meredith Gran’s Perfect Tides this week, an interesting not-quite-coming-of-age story to experience in the wake of Octopus Pie’s interrogation of arrested development. It really hits the sweet spot for someone who spent their teenage days in the early '00s playing Sierra adventure games, grumpily listening to nu-metal, and awkwardly hanging out on forums. 

Maybe disappearing back into the immersive alternative realities offered by narrative games is the (a??) solution to everything else. David Cronenberg would approve, but only if I jury-rig some kind of gestalt organic-mass through which to boot my hard drive. A rainy day project if ever one there was.

My own summer… This week’s news.

• Cruelly reminding consumers, right around the holiest of Star Wars holidays, that maybe, just maybe, corporations still don’t have the best interests at heart of the creators whose work they mine for IP, the #DisneyMustPay task force sent out an open letter to the House of Mouse notifying them that, gawrsh, people are still waiting to be paid royalties for work delivered. The cheques, presumably, are in the mail.

• The Daily Cartoonist (first day) covers this week’s philately news, as the United States Postal Service celebrates Charles M. Schulz’ centenary with a special edition of Peanuts stamps, and celebrants of the work of Edward Gorey are petitioning the USPS for a similar centenary edition in 2025. Philately, of course, will get you everywhere.

• Koyama Provides announced the latest recipient of their grants program, awarding $1,500 to Connor Willumsen, that will “...be used to travel to Europe to participate in and view the development of a new theatrical production adapted from my work. I would be offering any assistance in any creative, practical or production capacity that I can and intend to work to prepare a translation of my work for a concurrent release to the production.”

• In memoriam, news arrived late last week of the passing of Neal Adams, aged 80, due to complications from sepsis. Alex Grand and Michael Dean wrote on Adams’ life and work for TCJ here, and further obituaries were provided by The Beat, Entertainment Weekly, The Hollywood Reporter, The Independent, The Los Angeles Times, Multiversity Comics, The New York Times, and NPR. More writing on Adams’ life and work from the week, including that focused on his activism for creators’ rights, can be found below.

Prim and proper… This week’s reviews.


• Brian Nicholson reviews the leisurely appeal of Antoine Cossé’s Metax - “Cossé is already an artist whose work registers as painterly, even as it works as comics and feels rooted in the history of cartooning. His style seems particularly attentive to how, by blowing up a cartooned image, it transforms into something abstractly graceful. The frequent single-panel pages feel almost like enlarged details from a four-panel strip. The swoops and curves of his lines recall Frank King, but zoomed in 100 times.”

• Irene Velentzas reviews the exquisite intimacy of Kat Simmers and Ryan Danny Owen’s Pass Me By: Electric Vice - “Pass Me By uses every tool in the comics arsenal to create a provocatively sensual story - from Owen’s electric lettering to Simmers’ color saturation, and especially through strategic panel breaks applied throughout. The authorial eye is constantly moving across the scene as snatches of narrative are told through aspect-to-aspect image relations. While this approach alienates the reader at times by jolting them around scene, it also heightens the reader’s immersion into the world and mimics the protagonist’s distraction.”

• Tom Shapira reviews the well-constructed fun of Mike Mignola, John Arcudi, Tonči Zonjić, et al’s Lobster Johnson Omnibus Volume 1 - “Am I overselling this? It feels like I am. Yet, at the same time, you can’t really oversell something like Lobster Johnson, which gives you exactly what it promises and not an inch more or less. Which is quite an achievement in a field filled with promises of exciting pulp-ish adventures that mostly fail to deliver, or try and pretend they have something to say that doesn’t involve stylized violence and fashionable suits.”



• David Brooke reviews the pleasurable beginning of Brian Schirmer and Elena Gogou’s Quests Aside #1, the endearing creatures of Skottie Young and Kyle Strahm’s Twig #1, and the fabulous fantasy of Adam Rose and Robert Ahmad’s Corollary #1.

• Chris Showalter reviews the refreshing drama of Sean Gordon Murphy and Dave Stewart’s Batman: Beyond the White Knight #2.

• Christopher Franey reviews the entertaining mystery of by Geoff Johns, Jeremy Adams, Tim Sheridan, Xermanico, Mikel Janin, et al’s Flashpoint Beyond #1.

• Ronnie Gorham reviews the sharp storytelling of Zack Kaplan, Guilherme Balbi, et al’s Metal Society #1.

• Keigen Rea reviews the metatextual focus of Al Ewing, Javier Rodríguez, et al’s Defenders: There Are No Rules.

• Eric Alex Cline reviews the shallow plotting of Nene Yukimori’s Kubo Won’t Let Me Be Invisible!.


The Beat

• Avery Kaplan reviews the effective tension of Grace Ellis and Hanna Templer’s Flung Out of Space: Inspired by the Indecent Adventures of Patricia Highsmith.

• Joe Grunenwald reviews the character development of DC Comics’ Nubia Coronation Special #1.

• Rebecca Kaplan reviews the purposeful redefining of Nyla Rose, Steve Orlando, David Cutler, et al’s Giant-Size X-Men: Thunderbird #1.


Broken Frontier

Andy Oliver reviews the playful intricacy of Paul Kirchner’s Dope Rider: A Fistful of Delirium, and the powerful relevance of Scarlett Rickard and Sophie Rickard’s adaptation of Robert Tressell’s The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists.


From Cover to Cover

Scott Cederlund reviews the wild misadventures of Nate Garcia’s Muscle Horse.



Nick Smith reviews the dry distancing of Richard Conyngham, Dada Khanyisa, et al’s All Rise: Resistance and Rebellion in South Africa.



• Jackson Ayres reviews the fresh approaches of The Other 1980s: Reframing Comics’ Crucial Decade, edited by Brannon Costello and Brian Cremins.

• Ryan Bedsaul reviews the complicated strengths of Brian Fies’s A Fire Story.

• Jason DeHart reviews the helpful perspectives of Unstable Masks: Whiteness and American Superhero Comics, edited by Sean Guynes and Martin Lund.

• Daun Fields reviews the moving beauty of Vivian Chong and Georgia Webber’s Dancing After TEN: A Graphic Memoir.

• Rachel Hartnett reviews the connective interrogations of Supersex: Sexuality, Fantasy, and the Superhero, edited by Anna F. Peppard.


Multiversity Comics

Christopher Egan reviews the solid action of Christopher Cantwell, Ario Anindito, et al’s Star Wars: Obi-Wan #1.



Etelka Lehoczky reviews the galvanising intensity of Eric Orner’s Smahtguy: The Life and Times of Barney Frank.



Amaris Ketcham and Nora Hickey review the simmering anger of Jessica Campbell’s Rave.


Women Write About Comics

Alenka Figa reviews the bright horror of Benji Nate’s Hell Phone.

A-chittering and a-chattering… This week’s interviews.


• Tiffany Babb interviews Nadia Shammas and Sara Alfageeh about Squire, comics and manga origins, clicking as co-creators, and the importance of world-building - “[Nadia Shammas:] There's a certain trust or grace that is given to white fantasy creators that is never really given to us. I think a big reason that we chose making an all-world fantasy world is that we want to be given that grace. We want people to not try to push our story into one specific history, or conflict, or country. We want to have the trust of our readers to give us the space to do whatever story we really want to do.”

• From the archives, originally printed in 1986’s TCJ #104, Mark Burbey interviews Justin Green about learning to read with comics, tiring of the nomad lifestyle, and thoughts on mainstream comics - “I always cut my pages in half because I like to be right on top of it when I draw, and if I have to lean over to get to the top, it’s a strain on my neck. I don’t value the originals that much. My originals always come in collaged and pasted up with lots of re-touch white on them, because I work for reproduction.”



• Chris Hassan speaks with Jordan D. White about publishing delays in the world of Marvel, and current goings on in the publisher’s line of mutant-focused books.

• David Brooke chats to Joshua Williamson about DC’s Dark Crisis, choosing characters to focus in on with event comics, and how you get to a Crisis.


The Beat

• Rebecca Kaplan talks to:

- Nick Pitarra about Ax-Wielder Jon, finding a story’s narrative voice, Hitchcockian rules of suspense, and selling original art.

- David F. Walker about Imposter Syndrome, ignoring the trolls, Freddy Fender appreciation, and the fun of pulp fiction.

- Samuel Sattin about Unico: Awakening, personal meanings of unicorns, and Osamu Tezuka's depictions of the natural world and technology.

• Joe Grunenwald interviews:

- Matt Bors and Ben Clarkson about Justice Warriors, collaborative origins, the scale of comic books, and the necessity of visors in dystopia.

- Heath Corson about DC League of Super-Pets, animal communication, tying into animated storytelling, and no animal sidekick for Mxyzptlk.


Broken Frontier

Lindsay Pereira speaks with Jessica Campbell about Rave, views on the Christian Right while living in the United States, the golden rule of kindness, and comics reading lists.



Present a conversation with Jim Toomey about Sherman’s Lagoon, playful art process, favourite comic strips, and putting yourself into your characters.



• Milton Griepp has a two-part interview with Comic Book Legal Defense Fund’s Interim Director Jeff Trexler about ongoing challenges aimed at comics for younger readers, and potential issues with 2022’s Free Comic Book Day titles.

• Jim McLauchlin speaks to a selection of retailers about how the COVID-19 pandemic has changed shopping and retailing habits, as customers reevaluate what ‘normal’ represents for them.


Los Angeles Review of Books

Alex Dueben speaks with Hannah Chute about what goes into translating comics, career happenstance, and the challenge of character limits.


The Los Angeles Times

Jevon Phillips and Thomas Suh Lauder talk to Joel Adams about Neal Adams’ standing up against injustices in the comic book industry, Holocaust activism, and artists’ rights to original art.


Montreal Review of Books

Arizona O’Neill presents an illustrated conversation with Billy Mavreas about Next Time Around, grappling with self-narrative, changing workspaces, and strawberry theft.


Multiversity Comics

Elias Rosner interviews Meredith McClaren about Black Cloak, early webcomics experience, the necessity of audience interaction, and happy accidents while colouring.


The Nation

Cecilia Nowell speaks with Red Planet Books and Comics’ founder Lee Francis IV about the store and Indigenous Comic Con’s inception, and weathering the COVID-19 pandemic.


The New York Times

Alexandra Alter interviews Maia Kobabe about Gender Queer being targetted in the ongoing wave of book-bannings in the US, and the failure to readers this represents.



Etelka Lehoczky speaks with Roye Okupe about WindMaker, the global audience for African superheroes, and working with Dark Horse.


Publisher's Weekly

Brigid Alverson talks to Terri Libenson about Remarkably Ruby, inspiration from childhood memories, and story suggestions from younger readers.



Craig Fischer interviews Ben Towle about In the Weeds, gateway comics, majoring in Philosophy, skill through practice, and cartooning mentors.


Study and Scrutiny

Jason DeHart talks to Nick Sousanis about Unflattening, mathematics studies, teaching comics, gateway books, and changing perceptions.


Women Write About Comics

• Masha Zhdanova interviews Samuel Sattin about Unico: Awakening, honouring Osamu Tezuka’s work, and celebration via crowdfunding.

• Wendy Browne speaks with Rylend Grant about Fa Sheng: Origins, key story tenets, earning enlightenment, and working with Peter Shiao’s vision.

Here’s to you, here’s to me… This week’s features and longreads.

• Here at TCJ, Patrick Rosenkranz writes on the life and work of Justin Green, who passed away on April 23rd, due to colon cancer, aged 76 - “Like an acorn that grows into a great oak, Green’s groundbreaking book [Binky Brown Meets the Holy Virgin Mary] yielded a bumper crop in subsequent generations of cartoonists who were similarly compelled to tell their own stories. Legions of practitioners all around the world have crafted a wide variety of autobiographical comics ranging from lurid confessions, intimate diaries, travelogues, braggadocio, family histories, crimes and misdemeanors, participatory journalism, exorcisms, and secret desires, as well as the trials and tribulations of the daily grind.”

• Further writing on Justin Green, and the importance of Binky Brown in the underground scene, was provided by Richard Sandomir for The New York Times and Christopher Borrelli for The Chicago Tribune, while Marc Weidenbaum wrote in remembrance of Green and of their friendship over at Disquiet.

• Extensive coverage was also given to the passing of Neal Adams, with 13th Dimension hosting tributes from Paul Kupperberg, Mark Waid, Jim Beard, and Paul Levitz on Adams’ work for and in the medium of comics.

• More writing on Neal Adams’ importance in the world of comics was provided by Alex Dueben for The Beat, while The Hollywood Reporter shared Roy Thomas’ tribute to Adams, and the DC blog gathered remembrances from colleagues and peers.

• For ICv2, as convention season readjusts to the latest flavour of ‘new normal’, Rob Salkowitz shares lessons learned from the retail frontline, gleaned at 2022’s San Diego Comic Fest, and how the comics-selling business is changing and/or staying doggedly the same.

• Shelfdust’s look back at Mike Carey and Peter Gross’ The Unwritten reaches issue 4 as Steve Morris finds that genre deconstruction can be murder, while Tom Shapira writes on the villain in the frame of Garth Ennis and John McCrea’s Star Wars Tales #10.

• Over at The Beat, Johanna Draper Carlson and KC Carlson present a two-part oral history of JLA/Avengers, originally planned for inclusion with a 2004 collection of the crossover, with some brutally frank appraisals of the quality of the mini-series from those involved in its creation.

• Deb Aoki covers the ongoing manga boom, for Publisher’s Weekly, talking to stakeholders about record sales, supply chain issues, and which titles are consistently selling like hotcakes.

• For NeoText Review, Chloe Maveal celebrates the short-lived miracle of Wednesday Comics existence, and the creative teams that brought it to life - Maveal also announced this week that NeoText Review will be ceasing publication at the end of May.

• Providing more coverage of this decade’s ramping up of book bannings in the United States, Laura Mecklin and Perry Stein round up which titles are being challenged, for The Washington Post, and sum up the “let’s say the quiet part loud” arguments put forth by opponents of many of the stories in question, which include Maia Kobabe’s Gender Queer, Jerry Craft’s New Kid, and Art Spiegelman’s Maus.

• 2000 CE. Limp Bizkit Take A Look Around. Wolverine does not like what he sees.

• A new edition of ImageTexT also brings with it new free-to-read articles, which this issue includes writing from Michelle Ann Abate on R.F. Outcault’s The Yellow Kid and Chinese exclusion and Sinophobia, Matthew Holder on the imperfect answers to the question of vigilantism in Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns, and Chester Scoville on the end of adolescence as depicted in Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki’s This One Summer.

• Elsewhere on the open-access academic front, for Cicades, Comunidades e Territórios, Carlos Machado e Moura writes on the depictions of social housing estates in various bande dessinée, and the manner in which access to housing can influence mass media.

• Mike Peterson rounds up the editorial beat for The Daily Cartoonist, as the COVID-19 pandemic, student debt, debt in general, and injustices of bodily autonomy all continue apace.

Yes, sir, I can boogie… This week’s audio/visual delights.

• Chip Zdarsky hosts this week's NSFW episode of Mangasplaining as a trip is taken to Reibun Ike's Dick Fight Island, its many, many eruptions, and its lessons to be learned about sex etiquette.

• Drawn & Quarterly hosted a launch event for Rave, as Jessica Campbell read from the book, and spoke with Nicole Georges about the book's creation, a quick round of 'hot or not?', and pen/pencil choices.

• Shelfdust Present’s The War Effort marches towards its final quarter, as Jay Ededin and Paul O’Brien join Al Kennedy to talk about Secret Wars #9, and its brief respite from scrapping to check in on the domestic side of superheroics.

• 2000 AD’s 45th birthday celebrations continue, as the Thrill-Cast presents some audio-only versions of panels from the Galaxy’s Greatest Comic’s recent online convention, which is hand if you want to multitask during its three hour runtime.

• David Harper welcomed Daniel Warren Johnson to Off Panel this week, as they spoke about Do a Powerbomb, creator owned and work for hire comics, and writing for other artists.

• Cartoonist Kayfabe remains unbroken, and this week Jim Rugg and Ed Piskor took a look at Keith Giffen’s Trencher, Miller and Janson on What If Daredevil Became an Agent of SHIELD?, Barry Windsor-Smith on Conan the Barbarian, top comics making tips from Bill Griffith, and Mark Verheiden and Mark A. Nelson on Aliens, plus a chat with Frank Quitely on Katsuhiro Otomo’s Akira.

• Closing out the week with this inking masterclass with Neal Adams, filmed at 2020’s FanFaire NYC, which has some genuinely funny moments in amongst the important art and life lessons. Take no shit, give no fucks, indeed.

That’s all for this week, back soon with more, once I finish playing at being a sad robot trapped in a capitalist hellscape (and in the game, &c &c &c).