A week’s holiday is on the horizon, but first something has to be done about all of this week’s links, a selection of which can be found below, because I can’t pack them up and take them away with me on my bicycle, so you’ll just have to click on them and hope that everything works out for the best.
— Jesse Lonergan (@jesselonergans) November 16, 2021
Irony be damned… This week’s news.
• Starting the week off with ongoing coverage of the recent ramping up of book bannings (and attempted burnings) in school districts across the US, with the Houston Chronicle reporting that Cathy G. Johnson’s graphic novel The Breakaways will indeed be withdrawn from all Spring Branch district elementary school libraries. Time and The New York Times provide overviews of this recent spate of bannings, and the responding attempts by librarians to ensure that young readers have access to the work of authors who have become targets of a fervent culture war.
• Diamond Comic Distributors continued to provide updates on deliveries of new products to retailers, following last week’s ransomware attack on their online portals, forecasting delays throughout this week, with operations stabilising for next week's shipments, although there is the potential for additional ongoing weather delays thanks to expected snowfall in Western Canada. There are now 36 days until Christmas.
• Following manga publisher Shueisha’s ex parte application earlier this month, a California District Court has ordered Google, Hurricane Electric, and other internet firms to release client information for alleged operators of the popular piracy website Manga Bank - currently offline - as preparations for infringed publishers to bring a case against the site’s administrators continue.
• The Hollywood Reporter touts exclusive coverage of a couple of big media deals in the comics space this week, as digital publisher Tapas Media signed with Creative Artists Agency to sell its content to transmedia outlets, and TKO Studios have signed up with New Regency for developing the publisher’s IP for television. Look forward to a film director who has better things to do with their time being asked for their opinion on adapting said IP soon.
• Rounding out what has been a mammoth year for Webtoon, the digital comics publisher has announced that it will soon also be a print comics publisher, unveiling Webtoon Unscrolled, which (apparently) “continues to build on the Wattpad Webtoon Studios verticalization model,” before closing their press release with 783 dollar sign emojis.
• Koyama Provides announced the latest recipient of their grants program, awarding $1,000 to L. Nichols, which will be used to pay for an assistant for Nichols’ current portrait project “situating my trans body in a natural setting, exploring body hair through natural textures, and showing a slower passage of time”.
— local dumbass (@cash__browns) November 17, 2021
Finger guns all round… This week’s reviews.
• Tom Shapira reviews the refined shenanigans of John Allison’s Steeple: The Silvery Moon - “Some of the gags in this collection are based on the expected meeting of the supernatural and the boring-normal; there are new age witches experimenting badly with removing curses, there’s a werewolf with a love for dad-television - giant sized monsters come to visit from another genre entirely. And these jokes are funny, because Allison knows how to keep balance of the story, without overwhelming the story. This is a story about people, and like a lot of latter Allison, it is wonderfully observed.”
• Timothy Callahan reviews the foreboding optimism of Lane Milburn’s Lure - “Milburn’s visual storytelling, and particularly his musical use of color, captures the quotidian and the exotic in equal measures. It’s a science fiction graphic novel that trucks in office politics and mundane living conditions while allowing moments of wondrous spectacle like a space goddess flying across volcanic landscapes and harmonious gardens cultivated from the flora of an alien world.”
• Tegan O’Neil reviews the fascinating hilarity of Simon Hanselmann’s Crisis Zone - “Is that what life is now? People wield internet mobs like weapons of mass destruction? The problem with Crisis Zone is that it's about as interesting as it is funny, and that’s quite a bit. Just discussing the themes and such makes it seem far more dry than it is.”
• David Brooke reviews the jarring history of Marvel Comics’ Fantastic Four Anniversary Tribute #1.
• Alexandra Iciek reviews the rushed plot of Jody Houser, Roberta Ingranata, et al’s Doctor Who: Empire of the Wolf #1.
• Nathan Simmons reviews the compelling characters of Christopher Cantwell, Luca Casalanguida, et al’s Regarding the Matter of Oswald's Body #1.
• Reg Cruickshank reviews the fresh velocity of Ian Flynn, Thomas Rothlisberger, and Aaron Hammerstron’s Sonic the Hedgehog: Imposter Syndrome #1.
• Ben Morin reviews the compelling superheroics of Marvel Comics' Untold Tales of Spider-Man: The Complete Collection Volume 1.
• Alex Cline reviews the fantastical designs of Taiyō Matsumoto’s No. 5 Volume 2.
• Jenny Robins reviews the heartfelt tenderness of Quindrie Press’ When I Was Me: Moments of Gender Euphoria, edited by Eve Greenwood and Alex Assan.
• Bruno Savill de Jong reviews the meditative melancholy of Ed brubaker and Sean Phillips’ Destroy All Monsters.
• Andy Oliver has reviews of:
- The horrifying fantasy of Ver et al’s Wolvendaughter.
- The converging conflicts of Hicks!, David Robertson, and Nat Walpole’s Sarararara: Homecoming.
- The visual simplicity of Jessika Green's The Catalogue of Tiredness.
Rob Salkowitz reviews the careening complexities of Dave Sim and Carson Grubaugh’s The Strange Death of Alex Raymond.
Four Color Apocalypse
Ryan C reviews the lush allegory of Lane Milburn’s Lure, the visceral hilarity of Pier Dola’s From Granada To Cordoba, and the revelatory inventiveness of Ana Galvañ’s Afternoon at McBurger’s translated by Jamie Richards.
From Cover to Cover
Scott Cederlund reviews the intimate experiences of Ed Brubaker, Marcos Martin, and Muntsa Vicente's Friday, Book One: The First Day of Christmas.
Have capsule reviews of:
- The engaging complexity of David Sipress’ What’s So Funny? A Cartoonist’s Memoir.
- The sharp dynamism of Elise Engler’s A Diary of the Plague Year.
The Los Angeles Times
Tracy Brown reviews the broad vignettes of No Straight Lines: The Rise of Queer Comics, directed by Vivian Kleiman.
• Christopher Egan reviews the endearing homage of Jeff Lemire and Tyler Crook’s The Unbelievable Unteens #4.
• Matthew Blair reviews the epic stakes of Al Ewing, Ram V, Brian Hitch, et al’s Venom #1.
• Robbie Pleasant reviews the solid plotting of Jody Houser, Roberta Ingranata, et al's Doctor Who: Empire of the Wolf #1.
The New York Times
• Michael Tisserand reviews the fun nuance of Jeremy Dauber’s American Comics: A History.
• Gal Beckerman reviews the smart entertainment of Rutu Modan's Tunnels, translated by Ishai Mishory.
Have capsule reviews of:
- The spectacular satire of R.O. Blechman’s On the One Hand: The Art and Graphic Stories of R.O. Blechman / On the Other Hand: The Writings of R.O. Blechman Published and Unpublished.
- The charming experiences of Cristina Durán and Miguel Giner Bou’s A Chance, translated by Katherine Rucker.
- The apt impressionism of David Lester, Marcus Rediker, and Paul Buhle’s Prophet Against Slavery: Benjamin Lay.
- The irresistible assuredness of Jane Deuxard and Deloupy’s Iranian Love Stories, translated by Ivanka Hahnenberger.
- The freewheeling speculations of Hilary Fitzgerald Campbell’s Murder Book: A Graphic Memoir of a True Crime Obsession.
Women Write About Comics
• Kayleigh Hearn reviews the fizzy playfulness of Shunsuke Nakazawa and Nao Fuji’s Marvel Meow.
• Paulina Przystupa reviews the delightful harmony of Alissa M. Sallah’s Weeaboo.
— Luis Yang (@SuscrofaD) November 18, 2021
Banging a shoe on the table… This week’s interviews.
Greg Hunter interviews Lane Milburn about Lure, work/life boundaries, shaping a fictional world, leaning into ambiguities, and the joys of meandering - “In its current iteration, I began working on Lure at the beginning of 2016. But if you factor in the prior year, when I was serializing Envoy on Vice.com—I spent about a year on that—the total time is six years. I regard this iteration as being completely different from that first one. The only things I’ve held onto from that previous iteration is that the book stars a young woman named Jo who goes to a planet called Lure. Those were the only elements that I kept.”
Chris Coplan speaks with:
- Ram V and Anand RK about Radio Apocalypse and faux-retro design.
- Stephanie Phillips and Mike Hawthorne about Wonder Woman: Evolution and superhero dynamics.
- Mark Waid about The History of Science Fiction, and the book’s importance.
• Joe Grunenwald talks to Juan Ponce about Thirty-Three, snowballing story developments, creative team change-ups, and getting stuck into act two.
• Ricardo Serrano Denis interviews Sloane Leong about Graveneye, fictional inspirations, preferring black and white comics, and confirming the genre after the fact.
• Avery Kaplan speaks with Misako Rocks about Bounce Back, the realities of moving to America, kawaii animal life lessons, and Harajuku fashion; and with Michael Northrop, Micol Ostow, J. Torres, and Jamie L. Rotante about Archie's Holiday Magic Special, OTP preferences, seasonal inspirations, and holiday traditions.
Pierre Lebeaupin provides a transcript of an interview between Vincent Brunner and Pénélope Bagieu, as they discussed comics origins, the age of blogging, and the intricacies of biographies.
Veronica Esposito speaks with Alison Bechdel about No Straight Lines, the documentary’s depiction of generational progress, and the accessibility of comics making.
• Jim McLauchlin talks to Aftershock Comics’ Steve Rotterdam about following your passion, being a team player, and taking things slow and steady.
• Brigid Alverson speaks with Wattpad Webtoon Studios' Ashleigh Gardner about the launch of Webtoon Unscrolled, print formats, curating the publication list, and keeping things simple.
The Montreal Review of Books
Arizona O’Neill illustrates an interview with Joe Ollman about Fictional Father, fictional settings, breakthrough award nominations, and the varied differences between the comic strip and graphic novel form.
Brian Salvatore continues a look back at the creation of DC’s New 52, interviewing Mike Costa about Blackhawks, eventual editorial continuity and confusion, working in a bubble, and the best opening line you can have.
• Shaenon Garrity talks to Jeff Smith about Tuki: Fight for Fire, local research, vocal cord evolution, and mixing fantasy with real life.
• Gilcy Aquino speaks with Harmony Becker about Himawari House, real life inspirations, visual design for language, and future plans.
• Lenny Picker interviews Jeremy Dauber about American Comics: A History, maintaining a coherent through-line, the age of the trade paperback, and the evolution of the superhero narrative.
• Priya Chandrasegaram talks to Huda Fahmy about Huda F Are You?, comics origins, combining real life experiences with fictional characters, and the complexities of assimilation.
• Alex Dueben chats with Scott Snyder about Clear, collaborative building processes, the inherently critical nature of science fiction, and seasonal story structures.
• JK Parkin talks to Francis Manapul about Clear, making the jump to creator-owned work, science fiction inspirations, and creating for digital media.
• Ryan Claytor speaks with Rachel Allen Everett about The Manderfield Devil, crowdfunding stretch goals and pitches, classic media influences, and comics community connections.
• Gabriela Güllich illustrates an interview with Aminder Dhaliwal about comics origin stories, storytelling education, creative processes, and looking up high resolution photos of Beyoncé’s thighs.
• Mike Avila talks to Marc Silvestri about Cyberforce's 30th anniversary, memories of the Image Revolution, seeing the fun on the page, and the scale of early Image titles.
• Karama Horne interviews V.E. Schwab about Extraordinary, overlap between comics and prose, trying not to break canon, and giving superpowers narrative meaning.
The Washington Post
David Betancourt speaks with Tom Taylor and Marie Javins about Jon Kent's coming out as bisexual in Superman: Son of Kal-El #5, welcome shifts in representation, and reinventing the wheel.
Women Write About Comics
Wendy Browne talks to Christopher Sebela, Kendall Goode, and Gab Contreras about Dirtbag Rapture, supernatural shopping lists, and the delights/dismay of travelling.
Concept for Robin Robin. pic.twitter.com/ZJ3KrI8Izt
— Matthew Forsythe (@mattforsythe) November 12, 2021
Life, uh, finds a way… This week’s features and longreads.
• Here at TCJ, Michael Tisserand finds parallels in marching for nuclear peace and attempting to interview Guy Colwell, inviting readers into their shared history, and Colwell’s art and thoughts on activism - “Hoping to interview Guy for this article, I first reached him last March, thirty-five years to the week since we started out together in Los Angeles. In recent years, I’d been more closely following his work, especially after 2004 when I’d learned that a gallery showing his painting The Abuse, a stark depiction of American atrocities in Iraq, was warned by San Francisco police that Guy’s art should be removed from public viewing to ward off possible violence.”
• Also for TCJ, RC Harvey takes a fresh sip of Hare Tonic, looking at Drawing Fire: The Editorial Cartoons of Bill Mauldin, and chronicling Maudlin’s life and work, from the battlefields of the European theater of World War II to the editorial beat for the Chicago Sun-Times - “Then, sadly, in the early years of the 21st century, he developed Alzheimers. By the spring of 2002, he was in a nursing home in Orange County, California. He was very frail: he'd been badly burned in a household accident, and his cognitive skills were, mostly, gone. Much of the time, he lay in his bed, not speaking, just staring ahead. And then veterans of WWII began to hear about him and his situation. They began arranging schedules to visit him in the nursing home, a few vets every day, one at a time in his room. Mauldin’s cartoons had cheered them during bad times in their lives; they would now return the favor and try to cheer up the cartoonist in his bad time.”
• Finally for TCJ this week, Austin English takes another trip to the 10 Cent Museum, providing capsule reviews and thoughts in general on recent comicked books that have been read, including Harvey Pekar’s American Splendour: TransAtlantic Comics; Vanessa Conte’s Heavy Penalties; Daniel Warren Johnson et al’s Beta Ray Bill; Doug Moench, Gene Colan, Steve Mitchell, et al’s The Spectre #5; Shūzō Oshimi’s Blood on the Tracks Vols 1-3, translated by Daniel Komen; Jade Webster and J. Webster Sharp’s Jade and her Schizophrenia; and Bernie Mireault’s The Jam Urban Adventure #4 - “It's very easy for a reader to project their own strange, peculiar aesthetic preferences onto virtually any work of art, even if there really isn't much common ground between what exists in the reader's mind and the thing itself. This seems to happen with comics in particular a lot (the phenomenon of buying a comic you've lost interest in years ago for months and months, not because of your attachment to the idea of the comic, but your attachment to the idea of liking the comic), and it certainly happened to me with [The Spectre #5].”
• I’m going to break convention and link here to Tegan O’Neil’s TCJ review for Simon Hanselmann’s Crisis Zone from this week, again, because the in-depth exploration of the book’s themes, and The Hell Year Of 2020’s general miasma, deserves a nod of its own. Cracking stuff.
• For Women Write About Comics, Masha Zhdanova picks up where Shaennon Garrity left off, and covers the last ten years of webcomics history, as Homestuck, Hiveworks, Webtoon, and social network booms changed the landscape of internet comics at a rapid pace.
• Elizabeth Sandifer’s The Last War in Albion continues, as Peter Milligan tackles the assassination of JFK in Shade the Changing Man, before using the comic to take something of a misery tour through the American psyche, with detours in Gotham ahead of an arrival at Shade the Changing Woman’s flawed empathy with the trans perspective.
• Over at Shelfdust, Steve Morris’ roulette wheel lands on the space marked X-Men #66, as the Hulk shows up for a cameo that misses a number of storytelling possibilities in favour of a good old fashioned bust-up; and Gregory Paul Silber throws in the towel for the irredeemable Spider-Man: The Parker Years.
• Mike Peterson rounds up the editorial beat for The Daily Cartoonist, as consequences of in/actions were observed, truths were held to be self-evident, Thanksgiving approached, the lunatics took over the asylum, and racism remained en vogue.
• A couple of open-access academic papers from the world of comics this week, as Randy Duncan and Matthew J/ Smith write in New Area Studies about World Comics India and its empowering people through grassroots comics-making and activism; and Vizcardine Audinovic and Rio Satria Nugroho write in Muharrik about the response of Indonesian political cartoonists to their government’s COVID-19-related social restriction policies, and how these have disseminated through social media platforms.
drew my cerberus again after 7 years, feels good, feels organic pic.twitter.com/PcdSlSLVtK
— jules 🪱🌾 (@pansybeast) November 16, 2021
[64 measure instrumental break]... This week’s audio/visual delights.
• Kicking off this week’s selection with the Thick Lines of Edward Gorey, as Sally Madden and Katie Skelly discussed Amphigorey: Fifteen Books, what makes a dark story suitable for younger readers, and the relationship between thin lines and drawing effort.
• For WAMU’s 1A, Jenn White spoke with Jeremy Dauber about American Comics: A History, understanding American culture in general through cartoons, and 150 years of interplay between comics and the zeitgeist.
• Checking back in with Drawn and Quarterly’s live in-conversation series, and a video that hasn’t made it to their YouTube channel yet, as Keum Suk Gendry-Kim introduced The Waiting, before speaking with Alexander Chee about the research that went into making the graphic novel; along with a video that has made it to the Tube, as Jason Lutes spoke with Rutu Modan about Tunnels, plot development, landscapes of the West Bank, and keeping a story lively.
• Christopher Butcher hosted this week’s episode of Mangasplaining, as the team discussed Moto Hagio’s A Drunken Dream and Other Stories, the importance of the book’s backmatter, and some highlighting of other collected manga classics to read.
• Brian Hibbs welcomed Judd Winick to this months’ Comix Experience Masterpiece Selection, to discuss Pedro & Me, life on The Real World, being a doodler, and creating for younger readers.
• Another reliable Cartoonist Kayfabe week, as Ed Piskor, Jim Rugg, and (occasionally) Tom Scioli took a look at Dean Mullaney and Bruce Canwell’s Genius, Illustrated: The Life and Art of Alex Toth, more deposition from the trial of Gaiman vs McFarlane, polling the internet’s interest in both Hate and Love from the pen of Dan Clowes, celebrated Joe Rosas’ coloring on Iron Man #260, got an education from Eclipse Books’ Tips from Top Cartoonists, and took a whistlestop tour through the work of Raymond Pettibon.
• David Harper welcomed Christopher Sebela to Off Panel this week, as they discussed Foulbrood and .Self, crowdfunding campaigns, and good old-fashioned weirdness.
• Publisher’s Weekly’s More to Come saw Calvin Reid, Heidi MacDonald, and Kate Fitzsimons discuss the formation of Comic Book Workers United, and Image Comics’ decision not to voluntarily recognise the union, plus Diamond Comics Distribution’s ongoing terrible, horrible, no good, very bad year.
• Gil Roth welcomed Rutu Modan to The Virtual Memories Show, as they discussed Tunnels, storytelling influences, the Israeli comics scene, and secret comics origins.
• Closing out the week by checking in on Comic Art Live’s Fall 2021 edition, and you can find a king’s ransom in virtual panels over on that there YouTube with speakers including Howard Chakin, Alex Saviuk, Mike Norton, Jo Weems, and more. Fill your boots.
— ハシゴダカ (@hashigodakart) November 18, 2021
That’s your lot for this week, back again in a fortnight after a cheeky little Thanksgiving break.
Apocalypse. Pencil. 12.5 x 5.8. 2021. pic.twitter.com/aFZ61DMHej
— Walter Simonson (@WalterSimonson) October 13, 2021