An enjoyably quiet week coming out of the Labor Day holiday weekend, as everyone takes stock of the last 6 months and walks, refreshed int- wait, what’s all that noise and light on the horizon? Six virtual comic conventions taking place on the same day? HOT DANG.
If you want to go full Ozymandias (which presumably you already did 30 minutes ago anyway) then you can set up six screens and simultaneously watch:
- LadiesCon (9th - 13th September)
- Lightbox Expo (11th-13th September)
- Sõl-Con: The Brown, Black, and Indigenous Comix Expo (11th-13th September)
- DC Fandome Part II (12th September)
- National Cartoonists Society’s NCSFest (12th September)
- Small Press Expo (12th & 13th September)
If that’s still not enough #content for you, then you can also set up a seventh screen and take a look through this week’s links, below. Blimey!
Of Helplessness... This week’s news.
• In ‘events not taking place this weekend’ news, heaven forfend such a thing, the schedule for this year’s virtual edition of Cartoon Crossroads Columbus, taking place from October 1st-4th, has started to be released online - you can check out the first-wave of plenary talks and panels that will be taking place on the CXC website.
• Koyama Press have announced the next recipient of their series of Presents awards, with a $1,000 grant to Xia Gordon, who’ll be using the funds to help fund her next autobio comic TUNING II - per Gordon, “Much like most freelance artists, the pandemic has made it incredibly difficult to keep my head above financial waters. With this grant comes relief of that which will afford me the time and headspace to make work that I am proud of.”
• The Canadian Comic Book Creator Awards Association have announced the nominees for the 16th Annual Joe Shuster Awards, with winners to be revealed via virtual ceremony in late October, including Canadian Comic Book Creator Hall of Fame inductions for Bernard Edward “Bernie” Mireault and Gregory Gallant aka Seth, as well as conference of this year’s T.M. Maple award for positive impact on comics to members of the Canadian comics community who have helped with the CCBCAA’s COVID-29 fundraising relief efforts.
• In other Seth news, his graphic novel collection of Clyde Fans this week made history by becoming the first ever comic book to be nominated for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, the winner of which receives $100,000 in prize money - Clyde Fans fell outside the cutoff date for the award longlist, but received special dispensation as “it was published in the months leading up to the Giller’s announcement that graphic novels would be eligible for the 2020 award.” You can read TCJ’s Clyde Fans roundtable from 2019 here.
• For those keeping track, there are some more staffing changes in the direct market as IDW continue to expand their executive team, while DC's new general manager, Daniel Cherry III, has laid out his bona fides.
• Via CBR comes the sad news that artist and storyboarder Jim Janes passed away last week, James was perhaps best known for his work on Legion of Superheroes, but details of his life outside his career are scarce.
Fear is the mind-killer... This week’s reviews.
• Tegan O’Neil reviews the journeys into space taken by Jesse Lonergan’s Hedra, as its silent protagonist speeds through a paean to the static motion of comics - “it’s worth noting that when the trajectories themselves intersect inside the panels, they don’t bleed one into another but are placed in spatial relation, one in front of another. Parallel in time but not space.”
• Helen Chazan has a comics catabasis this week, journeying through the underworld of New Mutants, plucked from their rest in the local comic shop’s bargain bins, and returning with capsule reviews of issues 36, 37, 41, 42, 44, and 47 of volume 1 of Chris Claremont’s run on the series - “I’m susceptible to overpraising the likable qualities of a book like this, and having waded through this series a good bit and turning back to recap I’m getting a bit of X-stockholm syndrome. But that said, I don’t really feel like I’ve made anything up either.”
• Kicking of something of a media property adaptation theme this week, David Brooke reviews the explosive weirdness of Kyle Higgins, Mat Groom, Francesco Manna, et al’s The Rise of Ultraman #1; the masked medicine of Cullen Bunn and Miguel Valderrama’s Cyberpunk 2077: Trauma Team #1; and the appealing bubbliness of Evan Dorkin and Roger Langridge’s Bill & Ted Are Doomed #1.
• Forrest Hollingsworth continues the theme and reviews the martial mystique of Shin Yamamoto’s Sekiro Side Story: Hanbei The Undying.
• Morgana Santilli reviews the brazen sexuality of Natsuko Ishitsuyo’s Magician A, translated by Jocelyne Allen.
• John Seven takes the indie view and reviews the destructive paranoia of Mike Freiheit’s Woods.
• George Carmona III reviews the fast-paced accessibility of Mat Groom, Kyle Higgins, Francesco Manna, et al’s The Rise of Ultraman #1.
• Andy Oliver reviews the exciting self-discovery of Zoe Thorogood’s The Impending Blindness of Billie Scott and the promising dimension-hopping of Emma Kubert and Rusty Gladd’s Inkblot #1.
• Tom Murphy reviews the supernatural subterfuge of Martin Stiff’s Tiny Acts of Violence.
Four Color Apocalypse
A pair of reviews from Ryan C, taking in the enjoyable existentialism of Max Huffman's Whisnant #1 and the confident cartooning of Tana Oshima's Pulp Friction.
House to Astonish
Paul O’Brien reviews the curious romping of Larry Hama, Roland Boschi, et al’s iWolverine 2020.
• Justin McGuire starts a new weekly series looking at the hybrid shōjo biblical-fantasy of Kaori Yuki’s Angel Sanctuary starting with volumes 1&2; and reviews the welcoming heaviness of Be Gay Do Comics, edited by Matt Bors, Matt Lubchansky, Sarah Mirk and Eleri Harris.
• Christopher Chiu-Tabet reviews the somber hilarity of Matthew Dooley’s Flake.
• Christa Harader reviews the enjoyable experimentation of Anthony Cleveland, Antonio Fuso, et al's Stargazer #1.
Have capsule reviews this week of:
- The offbeat appeal of Katriona Chapman's Breakwater.
- The cogent considerations of Isabella Rotman's A Quick and Easy Guide to Consent.
- The gentle directness of Kimiko Tobimatsu and Keet Geniza's Kimiko Does Cancer.
- The distinctive wryness of Meichi Ng's Barely Functional Adult: It’ll All Make Sense Eventually.
• Ryan Carey reviews the amoral crudity of Johnny Ryan’s magnum opus, Prison Pit: The Complete Collection.
• Tom Shapira reviews the anxious momentum of Sophie Yanow's The Contradictions.
Women Write About Comics
• Melissa Brinks reviews the horrifying humor of Simon Spurrier, Matías Bergara, et al’s John Constantine: Hellblazer #9.
• Paulina Przystupa reviews the sibilant successes of John Allison, Max Sarin, et al’s Wicked Things #4.
• Lisa Fernandes reviews the irresistible fun of Evan Dorkin and Roger Langridge’s Bill & Ted Are Doomed #1.
• Alenka Figa reviews the inspiring connectivity of The Dreams of Queer Utopia, edited by H-P Lehkonen and Paju Ruotsalainen.
Sight beyond sight... This week’s interviews.
Mark Newgarden chats with George Horner as they discuss the history of “joke paintings”, look at Horner’s work in the field, including his Incoherent series of surrealist works, and the art that comes before them, as well as the evolving process of finding suitable comic pages for use as the foundations for paintings in the series, and what drives this “revelatory transformational act of collaborationist vandalism”, along with the ouroboros of placing them back into a comic book context and closing the loop.
Nick Nafpliotis talks to Tristan Jones, the latest artist to be drawn into Greg Land’s Clone Saga, the difficulty in reporting acts of plagiarism to big companies, and the murky waters of protecting licensed properties spread between multiple stakeholders.
• Avery Kaplan interviews Reimena Yee about her new graphic novel, Séance Tea Party, essential ingredients for ghost stories, layouts as visual narrative devices, and eschewing traditional coming-of-age conventions.
• Taimur Dar catches up with Evan Dorkin and Roger Langridge about the Wyld Stallyns riding again in Bill & Ted Are Doomed, finally being able to work together, and the no-brainer of aiming a title at the widest audience possible.
• Zack Quaintance has a quick chat with Jeremy Haun about 40 Seconds, his new sci-fi series with Christopher Mitten, getting the ‘hard’ science fiction balance right, and the intricacies of publishing digital-first.
• Matt Badham talks myths and legends with John Reppion and PJ Holden, discussing their Folklore Thursdays comic strips, balancing adventurousness and working to deadlines, and the dark nature of the UK’s history.
• Andy Oliver chats with Kamila Król, aka Pigeon, about her creative background, the Polish comics scene, and diving into folklore and Slavic tales.
DC Comics Blog
Albert Ching talks to Christian Cooper, Alitha E. Martinez, and Mark Morales about their story ‘It’s A Bird’ for new digital anthology series Represent!, and the real life experiences driving their work on it.
Graeme McMillan talks to Tom King about his predictions for the audience reaction to Rorschach, making his DC, and the now standard justifications for more Watchmen content, as you'd probably expect.
Elias Rosner interviews Harry Bogosian about getting into webcomics, learning by doing, and the real inside baseball of making comics for the digital market.
Vaneta Rogers interviews J.G. Jones about his ‘Rare Reflections’ project, and making the condition that took him away from comics for a time - myeloproliferative neoplasm, a rare blood cancer - the subject of his current artistic endeavors, as part of September’s Blood Cancer Awareness Month.
• Andrew Limbong talks to Matt Furie and documentarian Arthur Jones about Feels Good Man, the new film charting Furie’s battle to take back Furie’s Pepe the Frog character from the alt-right movement.
• Elizabeth Blair interviews Keith Knight about upcoming Hulu show Woke, the incidents in his life that inspired it, and using art to stand up to injustices.
• Ryan Carey interviews Julia Gfrörer about her new book, Vision, being won over to the medium of comics by peer pressure, collaborating with Eric Reynolds and Paul Baresh on recent Fantagraphics publications, the enduring pros of self-publishing, and marrying fears and desires in extremis.
• Daniel Elkin and Sarah Wray present the next installment of ‘Knowing is Half the Battle’, as Simon Moreton shares the fundamental responsibilities a publisher should uphold, not falling into the trap of pay inequality to see a book in print, and writes a letter through time to his younger self.
Michael Cavna talks to Keith Knight about heading out west to San Francisco in the 80s, the changing focus of his comics following a racial profiling incident, and the evergreen nature of racism.
Station... This week’s features and comics.
• Here at TCJ, Austin Price has an in-depth analysis of Evan Dahm’s body of work, the latest entry to which is his interpretation of the Anastasis, The Harrowing of Hell, a departure from (or perhaps culmination of) the sprawling fantasy epics he’s perhaps best known for, and the recurrent themes that can be found throughout his protagonists’ long journeys.
• For Solrad, as editorial cartoons increasingly come under fire from their subjects, Nhatt Nichols looks back at their history as a local paper institution, whether the profession is a dying art, the role of the editor in all this, and talks to cartoonists making them in a contemporary setting.
• Over at The Washington Post, Sebastian Smee takes the opposite approach, asking whether the absolute insanity of 2020 will actually prompt more artists to take up political cartooning, looking back at the work of Philip Guston for historical evidence.
• Comics adjacent, telling stories with words and pictures, and related to the above, Dessane Lopez Cassell presents a preview of Celebrate People’s History: The Poster Book of Resistance and Revolution over at Hyperallergic, looking back at the artists who took the political dialogue to the people.
• George Gene Gustines has a piece at The New York Times looking at the increasing number of Kickstarter projects from big publishers, as well as established creators from the direct market, and what this is doing to the platform’s fragile ecosystem, but lets BOOM! Studios off easy for their recent nonsense.
• A timely piece by Kelly Kanayama, as a new season of The Boys hits the airwaves, looking at how the show’s diluted maximalism does a disservice to the comic, and why you need the intense depravity of Garth Ennis, Darick Robertson, and Russ Braun’s source material for the satire to stick the (totally gross) landing.
• Over at Shelfdust, Steve Morris drops in on a very confusing Spider-Man story and looks at the reductive writing that’s become ingrained into New Mutants’ Boom Boom, Charlotte Finn considers the self-reflection of Astro City #36, and Scott Cederlund brings us up to speed on ‘the Laurel and Hardy of the Justice League’.
• Via The Daily Cartoonist, happy 25th birthday to Bill Holbrook’s Kevin & Kell.
• And a happy 7th birthday to The Nib, which this week has a longform excerpt from new book Guantanamo Voices: True Accounts from the World’s Most Infamous Prison, presenting Sarah Mirk and Alexandra Beguez’ comic of former Navy lawyer Matt Diaz’ experiences after he leaked classified information on Guantanamo Bay detainees.
• For The Los Angeles Times, Kevin C. Pyle looks at Camus’ The Plague, and the mirror it holds up to 2020’s new pandemic.
• Over at The Lily, Margaret Flatley documents adapting to working from home, and co-habiting in what is now a shared workspace.
• A couple of shorter comics, as Lauren Weinstein imagines the ultimate dinner party for The New Yorker, and Ebony Flowers recalls books as battlegrounds for The New York Times.
• Two from Twitter, with Tom Gauld finding no escape from genre conventions, and Carey Pietsch reminding players that the OTP of the Zelda franchise remains unrealised.
Blinded by the light... This week’s recommended watching.
• Continuing VanCAF’s summer of virtual festival content, this week Andrea Warner interviews Rumi Hara about new graphic novel Nori, the book-planning process, the enduring allure of folk mythology, and crossing the divide between adulthood and childhood narratively.
• To celebrate the return of Bill & Ted to comics, Dark Horse livestreamed a panel discussion with the team behind Bill & Ted Are Doomed - Evan Dorkin, Roger Langridge, Brennan Thome, and Daniel Chabon - including its place in the canon as a “side-quest”, bringing the creators together for the project, and some digital livedrawing.
• Drawn & Quarterly hosted a new edition of their ‘At Home’ series, welcoming Sophie Yanow to the show to talk about the process behind making The Contradictions, and a virtual studio tour to take a look through some of the original pages from the book.
• The Believer and The Black Mountain Institute presented a new comic workshop this week, as Gina Wynbrandt took viewers through how to ‘Draw Your Humiliation’ - exorcising those embarrassing events from the past for fun for profit.
• A week of classic comics on Cartoonist Kayfabe, as Ed Piskor and Jim Rugg took viewers through the work of Fletcher Hanks, Mike Mignola’s pencils on X-Force #8, Sabre’s place in history as ‘the first graphic novel’, Miller and Mazzucchelli’s seminal Daredevil: Born Again, and Wally Wood’s aptly-named teaching aid ‘22 Panels That Always Work’.
• SCUD the Disposable Assassin creator, Rob Schrab, joined Shawn Crystal and Jim Mahfood for this week’s episode of Inkpulp, as the two of them discuss seeking out Japanese and British pop culture, embracing the uniqueness of your own artistic style, and the stresses of fandom.
• Continuing his interviews with the great and good of the cartoonist world, Noah Van Sciver caught up with Anya Davidson about drawing letters, the joy of Golden Age superhero comics, the importance of ‘stupid book time’, and juggling a decade’s worth of projects.
• A new episode of Strip Panel Naked as Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou embraces the gospel of Naoki Urasawa, breaking down the mangaka’s mastery of both acting and dialogue in early sequences from Pluto.
• As part of the recent Mainframe Comic Con, John Siuntres presents a panel with Shelly Bond and Kris Simon about the Insider Art comic anthology, how the stories in it are broken down into rooms of a house and the choice of creators for each of these, and the ongoing crowdfunding campaign for it.
A combination of sounds, with a view to beauty of form... This week’s easy-listening.
• Sloane Leong and Leslie Hung are back with a new episode of Salt & Honey, and this week they’re discussing Eleanor Davis’ graphic novel A Hard Tomorrow, including its mix of manga and alt-comix influences, the uncomfortable nature of some of the story elements, and breaking down the characters’ narrative arcs and how effective they are at conveying the book’s core message.
• Shelfdust Presents is covering the undead comics undefeated champion this week, as Matt Lune and Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou discuss the first issue of The Walking Dead, and the effectiveness of the time-jump it uses to put readers into the middle of its apocalyptic nightmare.
• It’s time for a rare comics appearance on the biggest podcast of them all, as Marc Maron welcomes Matt Furie and Arthur Jones to WTF to talk about the dark corners of the internet, and how Pepe the Frog ended up appearing in pretty much all of them, as covered in new documentary Feels Good Man.
• There’s a new episode of the second biggest podcast of them all, as Gary Lactus and the Beast Must die pray SILENCE! from listeners, so they can discuss life in a futuristic funkopocalypse, as well as a dramatic reading from Punisher 2099, in between some comics chat.
• David Harper welcomed the internet’s newest Kickstarter, Scott Snyder, to Off Panel this week, as they discussed the newly retitled Nocterra, picking crowdfunding over big publishers for this new project, and some universality of fear and darkness chat.
• Another one from the archives for this week’s 2000 AD Lockdown Tapes, and it’s another classic from 2016, as MOLCH-R sits down with Mick McMahon for a sprawling chat about his career, including character-defining work on Slaine and Ro-Busters, and the A-grade apocalypse of The Last American.
• Chip Zdarsky returns to War Rocket Ajax this week, as he spills the beans on his and Ramon Perez’ new book Stillwater, trying to come up with original horror ideas, and whether Charlie Brown is bald.
• Make It Then Tell Everybody welcomes Joe Latham to the show this week, as he and Dan Berry discuss good ol’ process, manipulating the reader, and just how comfortable comfort zones are.
• Publisher’s Weekly’s More to Come looked at a trio of books this week as Meg Lemke and Calvin Reid took a look at Rumi Hara’s Nori, Jim Terry’s Come Home, Indio, and Joe Sacco’s Paying the Land, all of which have recently received starred reviews from PW.
• A couple of cartoonist appearances on The Virtual Memories Show this week, as Gil Roth talked to Keith Knight about differences between writing for TV and comics, and his slideshows on police brutality and racial illiteracy; and Derf Backderf joined the podcast to discuss his book Kent State and the legacy of the shootings, the difficulties in telling the story, and contemporary pop culture coverage of the Vietnam protests.
Here endeth the links for the week that was - back again soon with more, I’d wager - if you’re in an area affected by the wildfires at the moment, I hope you’re keeping safe.