While this weekend's #content is firmly the domain of San Diego Comic Con’s first ever virtual iteration, bringing the joys of rampant media consumerism to a black mirror near you, the last week or so was all Adrian Tomine all the time in the comics review realm, with more on that in this week’s links, below, but the thing that stood out most to me was Alan Moore’s pull quote from Tomine’s latest offering, which is more relevant now than ever:
“In this heartfelt and beautifully crafted work, Adrian Tomine presents the most honest and insightful portrait you will ever see of an industry that I can no longer bear to be associated with.”
So it goes… This week’s news.
• Going hard to bat to disprove the adage that ‘all publicity is good publicity’, Dynamite Entertainment this week implicitly endorsed a Comicsgate affiliated crowdfunding project that included use of characters owned by Dynamite for variant covers, prompting an exodus of creators and industry coverage - Dynamite issued a non-apology from CEO Nick Barrucci, which likely should have read ‘sorry you don’t like hearing about what we’ve been doing for a while now’, and the year that is 2020 continued its merry dance - Tucker has more thoughts on TCJ's blog.
• As SDCC@Home gets underway, the recent issues with Eisner Award voting are looming large over the impending announcement of this year’s winners, and the real issue at the heart of this, a data breach that gave users access to other people’s private information, which the organizers are yet to respond meaningfully to, seems like it would be a fairly serious problem for an event making the move to a digital format to have - again, this is classic 2020 at this point.
• IDW Publishing announced some changes to their corporate organogram this week, as Publisher Chris Ryall stepped down from the role to setup a new venture, Syzygy Publishing, and the company undertook a restructuring in response to this - all coming during an already fairly turbulent time for the publisher.
• One from my neck of the woods, Glasgow Caledonian University and Magic Torch Comics have announced their new collaborative project, Common Good Comics, utilizing everyone’s favorite medium to tell stories of local social enterprise and community action - they’ve secured £76k in funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, and are currently looking for story submissions.
• The USPS is not having a great time of it right now, and, as the majority of comic stores (that are still able to operate) are shifting at least partly to a mail-order model, it would seem like a good time to help prevent that system’s collapse - Brian Nicholson has an explainer with recommendations for direct action.
• The comics community reacted to the sad news of the passing of Congressman John Lewis last Friday - the veteran politician, Georgia’s member of the United States’ House of Representatives, won numerous awards for the graphic novel trilogy March, chronicling his civil rights activism in the 60s, co-authored with writer Andrew Aydin and artist Nate Powell, that had seen him appear as a frequent guest at comic conventions in recent years.
Grand Guignol… This week’s reviews.
• Joe McCulloch has the first of this week’s reviews of Adrian Tomine’s The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Cartoonist, finding conservative sentimentality, and the recurring theme of engaging ambiguity.
• Tom Shapira does battle with the mecha genre while reviewing the heightened qualities of Sarah Horrocks’ Aorta, Books 1 + 2.
• Tegan O’Neil sings the (well-deserved praises) of Chris Weston, and reviews his and Rob Williams’ claustrophobic journey through the heightened paranoia of Mega City One’s internal affairs division, in Judge Dredd: Control.
• Ronnie Gorham reviews the sibling rivalries of John Layman and Dan Boultwood’s Chu #1.
• Alex Curtis reviews the overwhelming plotting of Brian Michael Bendis, John Romita Jr, Klaus Janson, et al’s Action Comics #1023.
• Ari Bard reviews the familiar intimacy of Caitlin Yarsky and Sean Lewis’ Bliss #1.
• Arbaz M. Khan reviews the innovative narratives of Johnnie Christmas, Jack T. Cole, et al’s Tartarus #4.
• John Seven reviews the appealing dizziness of Elizabeth Holleville’s Summer Spirit, translated by Amy Evans-Hill.
• Morgana Santilli reviews the unconventional fantasies of Nagabe et al’s Love on the Other Side, translated by Adrienne Beck.
• Rachel A reviews the memorable silliness of Guillem March, et al’s Karmen: Part 1, translated by Dan Christensen.
• Jenny Robins reviews the diverse creepiness of Iron Circus Comics’ anthology, The Nixie of the Mill-Pond and Other European Stories.
Mark Peters reviews the essential history of Tom Scioli’s Jack Kirby: The Epic Life of the King of Comics.
The Daily Cartoonist
Mike Peterson reviews a pair of new graphic novels, taking in the fascinating journalism of Joe Sacco’s Paying the Land, and the lighthearted metaphors of Mohammed Ali Vakil and Mohammed Arif Vakil’s 40 Sufi Comics, volume 2.
Four Color Apocalypse
Rachel Cooke picks her graphic novel of the month, and this time around it’s the touching chaos of Walter Scott’s Wendy, Master of Art.
Megan N. Liberty reviews the excruciating awkwardness of Adrian Tomine’s The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Cartoonist.
The Los Angeles Times
David L. Ulin reviews the self-lacerating autobiography of Adriam Tomine’s The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Cartoonist.
The Library Journal
Tom Batten brings us starred reviews of:
- The effective brilliance of Ryan North and Albert Monteys’ adaptation of Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five.
- The perceptive horrors of Katie Skelly’s Maids.
- The audacious subversions of Lisa Hanawalt’s I Want You.
- The memorable disturbances of Julia Gfrörer’s Vision.
• John Schaidler reviews the genre-bending intrigue of George Mann and Joe Eisma’s Engineward #1.
• Johnny Hall reviews the remarkable craft of Joe Sacco’s Paying the Land.
• Michael Mazzacane shines some light on Brian Holguin, Liam Sharp, et al’s Spawn: The Dark Ages #6-8.
• Elias Rosner reviews the ‘buy it for the art’ delights of Robert Kirkman, Chris Samnee, et al’s Fire Power, volume 1: Prologue.
• Brian Salvatore reviews the kinetic action of Carey Pietsch, the McElroy family, et al's The Adventure Zone: Petals to the Metal.
The New York Times
Ed Park reviews ‘New Work From Two Masters of the Graphic Novel’, taking a look at Adrian Tomine’s The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Cartoonist and Joe Sacco’s Paying the Land.
Patricia Hernandez reviews the twisted chemistry of Paru Itagaki’s Beastars volume 7.
Have capsule reviews this week of:
- The unpolished thrills of Mike Freiheit’s Woods.
- The bold appeals of Pat Dorian’s Lon Chaney Speaks.
- The heart-breaking charms of SW Searle’s Patience and Esther: An Edwardian Romance.
- The perceptive familiarity of Jake Halpern and Michael Sloan’s Welcome to the New World.
Ryan Carey reviews the lasting impressions of Art Young’s Inferno.
Women Write About Comics
• Claire Napier reviews the distilled homeopathic horniness of The Art of The Darkness.
• The team have capsule recommendations for Ebony Flowers’ Hot Comb, Tommy Jenkins and Kati Lacker’s Drawing the Vote, This Place: 150 Years Retold, jangjin and woombeee’s Devil Number 4, Kazu Kibuishi’s Amulet, Beyond II: The Queer Post-Apocalyptic & Urban Fantasy Comic Anthology, and Jane Mai’s See You Next Tuesday.
No, you hang up… This week’s interviews.
Frank M. Young talks to Dan Nadel about comics he’s enjoyed of late, documenting the work of Ogden Whitney and the history of romance comics, and his upcoming biography of Robert Crumb, along with the complications inherent in unpacking Crumb’s legacy on comics.
Dan Greenfield and Steve Engelhart continue their look back at Engelhart’s late-70s run on Detective Comics, this week ushering in the arrival of Robin, the boy-wonder, and exploring why punch-outs are nothing without character beats.
• Billy Henehan catches up with Rob Liefeld about Snake Eyes: Deadgame, personal history with GI Joe, and venturing into the world of podcasting, while Liefeld displays more enthusiasm in general than you could shake a stick at, were you inclined to shake sticks at such things.
• Matt O’keefe chats with Ibrahim Moustafa about book deals with Humanoids, playing with genre, and the appeal of the graphic novel format.
• Ricardo Serrano Denis interviews Michael Kensington about writing wrestling comics with wrestlers and adapting subculture legends into compelling stories.
• George Carmona III talks to Mike Hawthorne about his history in comics, 90s manga vibes, British sci-fi, and his upcoming memoir Happiness Will Follow.
Shelby Shaw interviews Adrian Tomine about terminology, torments, turnouts, and tradition.
Allen Thomas interviews Jeremy Whitley and Jamie Noguchi about collaborating on School for Extraterrestrial Girls, the importance of isolation themes when writing for younger readers, and balancing the fantastical and the little moments.
The Daily Cartoonist
Ruben Bolling is the latest cartoonist to completely disregard the rules of the ‘Three Word Answer’ format, in part I of this interview, covering new books, fabrics, award nomenclature, and influences.
The Hollywood Reporter
Graeme McMillan interviews Adrian Tomine about the weirdness inherent in promoting one’s work, answers on the page, and returning to autobio after some time away.
Michael Tisserand has a long, enjoyably freewheeling interview with Howard Chaykin, covering as wide a range of topics as you’d probably expect, diving into his ideas on transgressive storytelling, his personal history and upbringing, artistic influences, and anecdotes galore, including Eisner beef.
Matt Bors and Ezra Claytan Daniels present an illustrated interview with Ta-Nehisi Coates, touching on the inherent white supremacy of American media, superhero stories bumping up against that, and the politics surrounding it all.
Ari Shapiro talks to Andrew Aydin about working with Congressman John Lewis, how their comics collaboration came about, appearances at SDCC, and telling stories to inspire future generations.
• Daniel Elkin and Sarah Wray present a new edition of ‘Knowing is Half the Battle’ as Cathy G. Johnson shares her thoughts on publishers, agents, red flags, and self-promotion.
• Patrick L. Kennedy interviews Joe Johnson on translating Asterix for an American audience, choosing projects to work on, finding room to play with humour, and the joys of Latin.
Turn the page, there’s nothing to it… This week’s features and comics.
• Ryan Holmberg returns to TCJ with part 2 of his essay on manga and adjacent media’s confronting of COVID-19, this time touching on the prophetic nature of stories, Golgo 13 and social distancing, medical manga and Japanese and Chinese graphic medicine - oh, and don’t forget that Holmberg’s The Translator Without Talent is up for pre-order now too!
• Helen Chazan has a piece for TCJ this week looking at the work of Kuniko Tsurita - spiraling out of a planned review of The Sky Is Blue With A Single Cloud, and evolving into a critique of engagement with the creator’s work in general, the mirror her recurring themes holds up to other notable mangaka of the time, and advice for readers approaching the work for the first time.
• Paul Tumey has a new edition of ‘Framed!’ up on TCJ this week, taking in the ongoing evolution of All Time Comics, Bullwhip and butts, and the novel delights to be had from throwback storytelling.
• Taking on A Cartoonist’s Diary duties for TCJ this week is Nathan Gelgud, who documents the early days of COVID-19 lockdowns, memorizing Dylan for fun and for profit, delaying Bond, James Bond, and living through Big Moments.
• For The Middle Spaces, Vincent Haddad has an essay on Batman: White Knight, and its failure to properly engage with contemporary sociopolitical context, a failing also seen in 2019’s crossover movie hit, Joker, and the weakness of its core premise in light of recent protests against police brutality; and JM Mutore has a related piece for Polygon on how to fix the problem of depicting law enforcement in superhero comics.
• Volume 2 of Elizabeth Sandifer’s ‘Last War in Albion’ draws to a close with the next edition, which means you’ve got time to catch up before… wait a minute… My god... that’s Grant Morrison’s music!
• For Multiversity Comics, Drew Bradley’s ‘Ghosts of Comics Past’ hits the 90s and the skeletons from Marvel Comics’ closet are coming out to air their dirty laundry, to mix and match metaphors.
• Over at Shelfdust, David Brothers reaches the disappointing climax of Frankenstein #4, as the undead Soldier of Victory reverts to the mean, and Charlotte Finn spends some more time in Astro City, as the ‘Year in the Big City’ visits a classic alien monoculture.
• Really digging into just how bad a case of amnesia Logan must have had all those years, Paul O’Brien’s The Incomplete Wolverine hits its third chapter, and takes a helter skelter crash course through WWI, prohibition, and horse theft.
• Chloe Maveal has a piece for new site, NeoText, looking at the fascism depicted in 2000 AD’s Judge Dredd and contemporary police brutality, and the back-and-forth between the 40 year story it’s been telling and the militarization of police forces around the world - Dredd was always the villain.
• For Women Write About Comics, Dani Kinney has an essay on the trans allegory of X-Men + Fantastic Four, writer Chip Zdarsky’s intentions for the series’ narrative, and the discourse arising from it.
• A trio of short comics over on Twitter, as Ashley Robin Franklin charts her early 00s obsession with manga, Lucie Byron faces the inherent problem found in all free-to-play games, and Becca T ponders the all-important subjects of beach attendance/telepathy.
• Pro-Bane COVID-19 propaganda continues, courtesy of David Squires.
• The Nib’s In/Vulnerable series continues, as Thi Bui illustrates an anonymous story documenting the realities of the American healthcare model during the COVID-19 pandemic; and Daniel Locke presents the experiences of a research nurse working in the UK during the pandemic, as healthcare workers, once again, become politicised.
• Silver Sprocket continue their free serialization of a selection of their comics, and this month it’s Jenn Woodall’s tale of anxiety and OCD, Marie and the Worrywart.
Pivot to, well, video, I guess… This week’s recommended watching.
• The Beat and Comix Experience have a new edition of the Kids GN Club of the month, and July’s episode welcomes Thomas Krajewski to the show to discuss his and Jennifer Muro’s new book, Primer, with Brian Hibbs, and answer viewer questions, including the all-important - ‘when’s the next volume dropping?’.
• Cartoonist Kayfabe welcomed SPX’s Warren Bernard to the show this week, the first of two appearances from him in the comics-videocast-o-sphere™, as they dove into Jack Kirby’s work in classic pulp comics and de-slabbed a copy of Marvel Comics #39, as well as taking a look at the Bill Sienkiewicz’ Mutants and Moon Knights and Assassins artists edition, and some good old fashioned skateboarding comics - gnarly, dude, etc.
• Warren Bernard’s second appearance of the week saw him joining Noah van Sciver for a look back at the work of political cartoonist John Tinney McCutcheon, talk about rare Superman memorabilia, pay homage to Chicago’s Tribune Tower, and more.
• First Second had a new edition of Sketch School this week, welcoming Faith Erin Hicks to the show to draw a couple of characters from One Year At Ellsmere, and also released some new video archives from last month’s Comics Relief (virtual) festival, including an in-conversation with Box Brown, panels on maker comics and space comics, and part 2 of the Comics Creators Getting Coffee roundtable.
• Mark Evanier had a long chat with the Groo team, welcoming Sergio Aragones, Stan Sakai, and Tom Luth to his livestream, discussing when to expect new Groo (soon!), share anecdotes, share some prized merchandise, and answer audience questions.
• VanCAF shared a couple of new videos from their virtual festival output this week, with Cole Pauls interviewing Matthew James-Wilson about digital ventures, gallery shows, and artist collaborations; and Deni Loubert in-conversation with Mary Wilshire, discussing Wilshire’s journey as an artist, and discovering that it’s the people, not the clothes, that are the most interesting to draw.
• Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou has a new episode of Strip Panel Naked up, this time around discussing Frank Quitely’s work on New X-Men #121, and how to guide the reader through a “silent” issue.
• Sloane Leong’s new graphic novel, A Map to the Sun, drops next month, and there’s a virtual book tour coming up to celebrate that, so you know the drill.
• Inkpulp had another double bill of episodes this week, first welcoming Dave Tevenal to the show for tattoo, comics, and hip hop chat, along with the regular live drawing/inking, and then another tutorial teaser, as Shawn Crystal inks an illustration of the antichrist superstar himself, Marilyn Manson.
• Todd McFarlane would like you to know that a documentary about his career is forthcoming, and Rob Liefeld would like you to know that folks should stay humble - if there’s anything I like more than Image founders cutting promos on each other then I am yet to find it, and frankly I don’t care to.
• John Siuntres had another packed week in the World Balloon, welcoming John McCrea, Richard Starkings, Bill Sienkiewicz, Charlie Adlard, Gail Simone, Dan Jurgens, and Dean Haspiel and Whitney Matheson to the show, phew!
• The Daily Cartoonist flags up a recent talk by Gary Trudeau on what makes a perfect Doonesbury strip, if one can even picture such a thing.
• Via Fleen, Ken Alba, a PhD candidate at Boston University, presents a talk on Achewood, and “heterogeneric, multimedial form [that] reflects its attitude towards masculinity as a fragmentary, discontinuous performance most successfully performed when not ‘performed’ at all” the appropriate response to which, I believe, is - “thank you, that is always nice to hear.
• SDCC’s Comic Con @ Home is here, and may gods have mercy on us all, and our personal information.
Louden up now… This week’s easy-listening.
• 2000 AD’s Lockdown Tapes welcome Arthur Wyatt to the show, talking about fandom and moving from that sphere to professional writer for the comic and The Megazine, balancing comics work with a day job, and the ever-present spectre of real-world fascism on Judge Joseph Dredd.
• Dan Berry has a new episode of Make It Then Tell Everybody this week, talking to Gustaffo Vargas about excitement ouroboros, culinary arts, and self-worth - the holy trinity, basically.
• Shelfdust Presents is talking Gotham Central #1 this week, as Matt Lune and Osvaldo Oyola talk through the ‘realistic’ take on superhero policing, which may soon be a tv show, but we’ll wait and see about that, given the current climate, eh?
• War Rocket Ajax welcomed Kel McDonald aboard this week, to discuss her new comic You Are The Chosen One, and there’s some more Achewood chat, because you can never have too much of that.
• A double bill of comics sales discussions, as Off Panel talked to John Jackson Miller about producing the recent yearly sales report on comics and graphic novels, while Publisher’s Weekly’s More to Come saw Calvin Reid and Heidi MacDonald also discussing that report, and the banner year that 2019 represented for comics sales, heading into what will likely not be a banner year for comics sales, if I were a betting man.
• The Virtual Memories Show had a couple of new episodes this week, as Gil Roth spoke to Ellen Lindner about baseball and the uneasy alliance between comics and sports fandom; and provides our last piece of Adrian Tomine content for the week, as the two discussed his new book, the disparity between comics and illustration, and redacting names to protect the innocent/shitty.
Links will be back in a week, I might have finished my Sopranos rewatch by then, so I’ll finally be able to rest. Fuggedaboutit.