A Closed Door, Slightly Ajar – This Week’s Links

We’re in for a busy weekend of comics events, and, coming from a relatively tiny country, that you can drive across in a matter of hours, I have to assume that you could fairly easily have planned a trip that would allow you to travel between the Small Press Expo and Baltimore Comic-Con, having spent the last couple of days at the National Cartoonist Society’s Reuben events in New Jersey, on a single tank of petrol and still be home in time for tea after taking in the sights - if that isn’t the case, well, then there’s this week’s links, below, instead.

This week’s news.

• Collective bargaining news, and United Workers of Seven Seas, the union of employees of publisher Seven Seas Entertainment, announced at the end of last month that they have voted to ratify their first contract, following the voluntary recognition of the union last summer - UW7S’ goals, as stated during their formation, can be read here.

• Comics prize news, ahead of this weekend’s parallel announcements of the winners of the 2023 Ignatz Awards and the Ringo Awards, and Broken Frontier shared London’s Cartoon Museum’s announcement of the winners of this year’s Alison Brown Young Comics Maestro Award, with nods given to Sofia Deen, Eric Caseras-Ros, Zack Bennett, Asta Haldane, recognising them as some of “the most exciting comic strip talents from the UK under the age of 18 years old.”

• Elsewhere, The Daily Cartoonist shares the winners of the National Cartoonist Society's annual Reuben Awards, with Bill Griffith named as 2022's Cartoonist of the YearThe Daily Cartoonist provide a full round-up of divisional award winners here.

• Koyama Provides announced their next wave of grants, meant this time round as “encouragement to persevere” to artists, rather than being linked to specific projects, with $1500 awards given to T Edward Bak, Rosena Fung, Benjamin Marra, and Alicia Nauta.

This week’s reviews.


Nicholas Burman reviews the major themes of Alec Robbins’ Mr. Boop - “Humor is only part of the picture, however, as a lot of the time there’s actually quite a wholesome quality to everything. It’s lewd and strange, but the general sentiment is that this couple is genuinely head over heels for each other - they talk things out, and they work on their problems together. It’s all quite sex-positive, which is maybe the biggest twist on the Betty Boop character that one could do.”



• Piper Whitaker reviews the strong setting for Joanne Starer, Natacha Bustos, et al’s Fire & Ice: Welcome To Smallville #1.

• Lia Williamson reviews the promising elements of Kelly Thompson, Leonardo Romero, et al’s Birds of Prey #1.

• Lukas Shayo reviews the effective return of  Josh Trujillo, Adrián Gutiérrez, et al’s Blue Beetle #1.

• David Brooke reviews the new directions of Kieron Gillen, Paco Medina, et al’s Immortal X-Men #15.

• Keigen Rea reviews the refreshing changes of Al Ewing, Ram V, Cafu, et al’s Venom Volume 4: Illumination.

• Colin Moon reviews the flat finale of Kelly Thompson, Sergio Dávila, et al’s Captain Marvel: Revenge of the Brood Part 2.

• Collier Jennings reviews the compelling darkness of Ethan S. Parker, Griffin Sheridan, Bob Quinn, et al’s Kill Your Darlings #1.

• Ronnie Gorham reviews the exhilarating entertainment of Jay Baruchel, Van Jansen, Alessandro Micelli, et al's Tear Us Apart #1.


The Beat

• Liz Davis reviews the grounded reality of Anthony Del Col, Fahmida Azim, et al’s I Escaped a Chinese Internment Camp.

• Tim Rooney reviews the ambitious beginning of Ethan S. Parker, Griffin Sheridan, Bob Quinn, et al’s Kill Your Darlings #1.

• Cy Beltran reviews the disorienting leaps of Karla Pacheco, Rosi Kämpe, Marika Cresta, et al’s Spider-Gwen Annual #1.

• Marion Pena reviews the enjoyable banter of Johnny O’Bryant, Vaughn Alexander, Corey Mikeil, Nic Macari, Sebas Riera, et al's Primus7: Volume 1.


Broken Frontier

Andy Oliver has reviews of: 

- The freeform eloquence of Joe Kessler’s The Gull Yettin

- The genre blending of Olivia Stephens’ Darlin’ and Her Other Names Part 1: Marta.

- The distinctive voice of Caroline Cash’s PeePee-PooPoo #420.

- The atmospheric cartooning of Paul B. Rainey’s Why Don’t You Love Me?.


Four Color Apocalypse

Ryan Carey reviews the endearing weirdness of David G. Caldwell’s Yankee Doodle Strangler 2 vs Tanka Truk.


House to Astonish

Paul O’Brien has capsule reviews of Marvel Comics’ X-Men Unlimited Infinity Comic #102, Wolverine #36, MS. Marvel: The New Mutant #1, Deadpool: Badder Blood #3, and Love Unlimited Infinity Comic #65.


Multiversity Comics

• Christopher Egan reviews the clunky construction of Zac Thompson, Valeria Burzo, et al's Hunt for the Skinwalker #1.

• Robbie Pleasant reviews the impressive celebration of BOOM! Studios' Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers 30th Anniversary Special.


Notable Graphic Novels Review

• Door Williams reviews the delightful setting of Talia Dutton’s M is for Monster.

• Steph Noell reviews the masterful choices of Melanie Gillman’s Other Ever Afters: New Queer Fairy Tales.

• Erin Carney reviews the tender compassion of Lewis Hancox’s Welcome to St. Hell: My Trans Teen Misadventure.

• June Bendich reviews the diverse messaging of IDW’s Voices That Count: A Comics Anthology by Women.

• Shandy Frey reviews the rewarding realness of Jamila Rowser and Robyn Smith’s Wash Day Diaries.


Publisher’s Weekly

Have capsule reviews of:

- The bracing rendering of Edel Rodriguez’s Worm: A Cuban American Odyssey.

- The breakneck pace of Tom Scioli’s I Am Stan: A Graphic Biography of the Legendary Stan Lee.

- The essential extremes of Yoshiharu Tsuge’s Nejishiki, translated by Ryan Holmberg.

- The vital resonance of Fujiwara Maki’s My Picture Diary, translated by Ryan Holmberg.

- The profound portrait of Emily Bowen Cohen’s Two Tribes.

- The nuanced drama of Samuel Sattin and Rye Hickman’s Buzzing.



Hagai Palevsky reviews the stylistic subversions of Daria Tessler’s Salome’s Last Dance.

This week’s interviews.


John Kelly interviews Bill Griffith about Three Rocks: The Story of Ernie Bushmiller - The Man Who Created Nancy and The Buildings are Barking: Diane Noomin in Memoriam - “There's thousands, or hundreds, of dumb comic strips. Nancy isn't one of them. It's in no way one of them. It's actually-- it's not sophisticated in the sense that literature is sophisticated, but it is highly sophisticated. In the comic language that it speaks, it really speaks a language, and that language is what you respond to, whether you're aware of it or not.”



• Chris Hassan speaks with Louise Simonson about Jean Grey, the origins of the series, and returning to iterate on a character with so much continuity.

• Chris Coplan talks to Anya Davidson about Night and Dana, the big questions of genre fiction, the horror of climate change, and the lives of crones.


The Beat

• Avery Kaplan interviews refrainbow about Boyfriends, spicing up established archetypes, editing out copyrighted references for print, and favourite Pokémon.

Taimur Dar speaks with Jeremy Adams about Jay Garrick: The Flash, similarities between writing for comics and animation, and bringing characters back from the dead.



Rob Salkowitz chats with Scott Hoffman about Wag, genre fiction origins, collaborative endeavours, and being mentored by Phil Jimenez.


Publisher’s Weekly

DW McKinney talks to Ibram X. Kendi and Joel Christian Gill about Stamped from the Beginning, and how the graphic adaptation of the book came together.


Smash Pages

JK Parkin interviews Mat Groom about Inferno Girl Red, building out the Massive-verse, returning to crowdfunding, and keeping your backers updated.


The Vinyl Factory

Kelly Doherty speaks with Thomas Maucéri and Sébastian Piquet about In Search of Gil Scott-Heron, the origins of the book, and the project’s peculiar connections.


Women Write About Comics

Adrienne Resha talks to Sabir Pirzada about Ms. Marvel: The New Mutant, the collaborative process for the book, and where Kamala Khan is going from here.

This week’s features and longreads.

• Here at TCJ, Austin Price writes on personal history with Masami Kurumada’s Saint Seiya, time spent captured in the series’ orbit, and returning to it at a remove now it is readily available once more - “To dismiss as impossible the idea that a work—let alone a genre—might be both cynical and earnest at the same time is to misunderstand what earnestness means and what it is used to represent. Because earnestness is not a measure of the “honesty” of a work or a metric for determining some quotient of truth. Similarly so sincerity. They are poses, suggestions, affects that rely on an aggressive enthusiasm to stand in as an empty signifier for a “truth” they can prove in no other way.”

• For The Beat, Heidi MacDonald continues a look at the state of the direct market in 2023, with comments from Comichron’s John Jackson Miller, and the current difficulties in accurately assessing sales figures.

• Elizabeth Sandifer’s Last War in Albion returns, as Alan Moore’s plans for work post-Watchmen result in a dive into the history of the shopping mall, with The Mandelbrot Set/Big Numbers looming.

• For Australia’s ABC, Matt Neal writes on 60 years of the X-Men, and the themes of diversity and inclusion that have come to embody the various series featuring Marvel’s mutants over the decades.

• Shelfdust’s retrospective on Si Spurrier and Matias Bergara’s John Constantine: Hellblazer continues, as this week Mo Ali looks back at issue ten of the series, and the fractured aspects of its engagement with the magic of identity.

• For Women Write About Comics, Dayn Broder has an essay on the history of DC comics' Barbara Gordon, the evolution of the character, accurate depictions of wheelchair use, and portrayals of disability in superhero comics thus far.

• Over at Broken Frontier, Simon Russell starts a new series of behind-the-scenes features, looking at comics works in progress, this week profiling Myfanwy Tristram and the making of The Noisy Valley.

• Another new series, starting at House to Astonish, as Paul O’Brien surveys the back catalogue of one Matthew Murdoch, in an attempt to more fully catalogue the various villains of Daredevil.

• From the world of open-access academia, Ellen Kirkpatrick’s book Recovering the Radical Promise of Superheroes: Un/Making Worlds is available to read for free, speculating on the (sometimes thwarted) questions posed by superhero narratives.

• In the Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics, Dan Santos and Anna-Sophie Jürgens write on Stjepan Šejić’s Harleen, and the manner in which DC comics have utilised Quinzel’s background as a scientist in the character’s eventual transformation into Harley Quinn.

• Mike Peterson rounds up the week’s editorial beat, over at The Daily Cartoonist, as upcoming elections, Labor Day breaks, the passing of Jimmy Buffet, and ageing politicians all fell under the spotlight.

This week’s audio/visual delights.

• The New York Comics & Picture-Story Symposium returned with an autumnal slate of programming, kicking things off with a conversation between Ben Katchor and Gary Groth, moderated by Austin English, as they spoke about their personal paths through comics, as both consumers and professionals.

• For those unable to attend this weekend’s Small Press Expo, you can recreate a little bit of the experience at home, if your usual event experience would be watching videos on an electronic device, with last year’s talks and panels.

• David Brothers hosted the latest edition of Mangasplaining, as this week’s read was Takehiko Inoue’s Real Volume 13, with discussion of Inoue’s other basketball series, Slam Dunk and Buzzer Beater, and volume 13’s focus on wrestling.

• Gil Roth welcomed Peter Rostovsky to this week’s edition of The Virtual Memories Show, as they spoke about Damnation Diaries, the origins of the book, history with the comics medium, and art studio communities.

• David Harper was joined by Jed McKay for the latest episode of Off Panel, as they discussed problem solving and current projects for the House of Ideas, editorial impact, penning a new first issue and taking over after a long run, and collaborative endeavours.

• A couple of visits to John Siuntres and the Word Balloon, as Gamal Hennessy joined proceedings to talk about The Business of Freelance Comic Book Publishing and the realities behind getting work, and with Mark Pracht and Sean Harklerode about the new play The Innocence of Seduction and its depiction of the 1950s Congressional investigation into the comic book industry.

• Closing out the week with some more Cartoonist Kayfabe, as Jim Rugg and Ed Piskor took a look at Kentaro Miura’s Berserk: Deluxe Edition Volume 1, Todd McFarlane and Greg Capullo’s Spawn #29, 1996’s Wizard #58, Katsuhiro Otomo’s The Complete Works, and Helen McCarthy's The Art of Osamu Tezuka.

That’s all for this week, because it’s too hot, and my laptop sounds like it’s about to take off.