Across The Universe Divide – This Week’s Links

Drawing the curtain on another week, as the lights in the windows are extinguished, and the last remaining customers ushered out of the store, laden with their bags of links to take home to the family, but not the sausage kind, no, with the clicking kind, a selection of which can be found below.

The above being moot if your calendar counts Sundays as the end of the week, of course, but I refuse to acknowledge or condone such heresy. TGIF!



Assorted grumbling… This week’s news.

• Kicking off this week with a look at how The Walt Disney Company (and its subsidiaries) are doing at issuing royalties to creators working on its properties, as the #DisneyMustPay Task Force expands its reach to cover all comic book and graphic novel creators who may be missing payments and statements from the House of Mouse . You can read the Task Force’s full statement, including details of how to file a claim, here.

• Elsewhere in licensed characters news, following last week’s exodus of creators to Substack, DC Comics have announced a deal with Webtoon to bring standalone comics featuring DC characters to the digital platform, presumably having seen Webtoon’s monthly readership numbers and saying “make ours like yours, please.”

• In more “you say goodbye, and I say hello” news for DC Comics, it was announced that Brian Michael Bendis is moving his Jinxworld comics imprint to Dark Horse Comics, ending an exclusivity deal with DC, the previous home to Jinxworld, following prior co-habitations with Caliber Comics, Image Comics, and Marvel Comics via Icon Comics.

• ReedPop have announced that entry to October’s New York Comic Con and December’s Emerald City Comic Con, as well as the UK’s MCM Comic Con events, will be contingent on proof of either full COVID vaccination status or a negative COVID test, as the live event industry faces up to the challenges posed by the Delta variant, after a year with no conventions, these announcements arriving a week after Fan Expo announced it had acquired Wizard World’s remaining conventions, marking the end of a live-event era.

• Koyama Provides have announced the latest recipient of their grants program, awarding $2,000 to Trubble Club, with the collective using the funds to finance an artist retreat, as well as a treasury of early jam comics.

• Finally this week, looking askance at the world of Non-Fungible Tokens once more, as Matt Furie has exercised his legal ownership rights over Pepe the Frog, issuing a DMCA takedown against the NFT project ‘Sad Frogs District’ that had generated $4 million in trades prior to this copyright strike. Furie himself has been creating  and auctioning NFTs of late, also featuring Pepe the Frog’s image, as you’d probably expect, generating over $9 million in trades, while the Ethereum blockchain these utilise has a projected annual carbon footprint comparable to that of the nation of Angola, as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change re-affirmed that limiting temperature rises to 1.5C will require a halving of global carbon emissions by 2030. Just wonderful.



Pretty, pretty good… This week’s reviews.


• Tim Hayes reviews the critical mistakes of Sequart Organisation’s Judging Dredd: Examining the World of Judge Dredd, edited by Scott Weatherly - “The implications of always saying that the best Dredd story is 30 years old never seem to bother anyone, and it allows Judge Dredd's cultural potency to be constantly pumped from the bottom, with individual recent developments left to float away at the top.”

• Hillary Brown reviews the meditative care of Weng Pixin’s Let’s Not Talk Anymore - “Weng needs the levity of her coloration lest her book become a complete downer. She outlines her figures’ faces and supplies their noses, mouths, freckles, and ear whorls in red, not black, reminiscent of the way one's flesh glows with life when held up against a light source. When their eyebrows and mouths point down in anger, it's cartoonish, but no less intensely felt.”

• Brian Nicholson reviews the sumptuous landmark of Brecht Evens’ The City of Belgium - “The basic readability Evens achieves still feels like an innovation in painted comics. His ability to direct your attention towards small moments while depicting everything with a superabundant lushness is beyond impressive, literally; it is an effect that works only because the reader is not constantly taking note of it.”



• David Brooke reviews the solid lore of Torunn GrØnbekk, Edgar Salazar, et al’s Warhammer 40,000: Sisters of Battle #1.

• Holly Woodbury reviews the shallow teasing of David M. Booher, Claudia Baldoni, et al’s Killer Queens #1.

• Colin Moon reviews the flawed facsimile of Sarah Gailey, Pius Bak, et al’s Eat the Rich #1.

• Michael Compton reviews the welcoming transhumanism of K. Perkins, Mellow Brown, Mike Johnson, Fernando Dagnino, et al’s Blade Runner: Origins Volume 1.

• Madeleine Chan reviews the compelling richness of Peter Milligan, Piotr Kowalski, et al’s God of Tremors.

• Rory Wilding reviews the appealing character of Naoki Urasawa’s Asadora Volume 3.

• Alex Cline reviews the riveting intensity of Yusuke Nomura’s Blue Lock Volume 1


Broken Frontier

• Andy Oliver reviews the witty relevance of Jooyoung Kim’s World Ceramic Fair.

• Jenny Robins reviews the tactile relatability of Lizzy Stewart's It’s Not What You Thought It Would Be.



Rob Salkowitz reviews the sincere depravity of Simon Hanselmann’s Crisis Zone.


The Guardian

Rachel Cooke reviews the shrewd addiction of James Albon’s The Delicacy.


House To Astonish

Paul O’Brien reviews the underwhelming blandness of Peter David, Todd Nauck, Rachelle Rosenberg, et al’s X-Men Legends #5 & 6.


Library Journal

Anja Webb reviews the absorbing diversity of Sean Lewis and Caitlin Yarsky’s Bliss.


Multiversity Comics

• Kobi Bordoley reviews the wonky exposition of James Patrick, Marco Locati, et al’s Campisi: The Dragon Incident #1.

• Gregory Ellner reviews the adventurous concepts of Scott Bryan Wilson, Juan Gedeon, et al’s Pennyworth #1.

• John Schaidler reviews the refreshing twists of Ricky Mammone, Max Bertolini, et al's Second Chances #1.

• Christopher Egan reviews the murky terror of Sarah Gailey, Pius Bak, et al's Eat the Rich #1.


The New York Times

Marc Lacey reviews the arresting nuance of John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, L. Fury, and Nate Powell’s Run: Book One.



Tom Speelman reviews the cosmic bombast of Junji Ito’s Sensor.



• Zachary Rondinelli  reviews the sterile absences of Frank Pé’s Little Nemo: After Winsor McCay.

• Rhea Rollman reviews the exceptional importance of Rebecca Hall and Hugo Martínez' Wake: The Hidden History of Women-Led Slave Revolts.


Publisher’s Weekly

Have capsule reviews of:

- The striking testament of Mohammad Sabaaneh’s Power Born of Dreams: My Story Is Palestine.

- The luminous charms of Nathalie Ferlut and Tamia Baudouin’s Artemisia, translated by Maëlle Doliveux.

- The underdeveloped abruptness of Nicolas Finet, Christopher, et al’s Love Me Please!: The Story of Janis Joplin, translated by Montana Kane.

- The off-key glory of Reinhard Kleist’s Knock Out!: The True Story of Emile Griffith, translated by Michael Waaler.

- The poetic surrealism of Jacques Mathis and Sylvain Dorange’s Psychotic, translated by Ben Croze.

- The rigorous captivations of Ben Towle’s Four-Fisted Tales: Animals in Combat.



• Ryan Carey reviews the precise absurdity of Brandon Lehmann’s G-G-G Ghost Stories.

• Rob Kirby reviews the intimate strengths of Whit Taylor’s Montana Diary.


Women Write About Comics

• Masha Zhdanova reviews the compelling horror of Umi Shiina's I Want To Hold Aono-kun So Badly I Could Die.

• Wendy Browne reviews: 

- The familiar details of Benjamin Percy, David Wachter, et al’s Aliens: Aftermath #1

- The generic shine of Frank Cho et al’s Fight Girls #1.

- The subtle horror of Sarah Gailey, Pius Bak, et al’s Eat the Rich #1.



You'll have to speak up, I'm wearing a towel… This week’s interviews.


• Joe Ollman interviews Brecht Evens about The City of Belgium, reverse engineering Greek mythology references, cross-narrative cameos, and maintaining confidence in one’s own talents - “I'm doing very well, endless pandemic notwithstanding (please go get vaccinated, people). I haven't felt lonely because enough people have sat down in my living room and told good stories while drinking good wine. As for losing sleep about the state of the world, my climate panic overrules any pandemic panic. There has been no special lockdown productivity bonus. I am perfectly capable of wasting time at home.”

• Matt Petras speaks with Nate McDonough, and members of Pittsburgh’s comics community, about Grixly, a life spent amongst long boxes, maintaining motivation, and recouping back issue investments - “I’ve found that whenever I do make a book, the faster that it comes to me, the more I seem to enjoy it or the more worthwhile I think it is when it’s actually done.”



• Chris Coplan talks to Simon Hanselmann about Crisis Zone, prepping the original Instagram strips for print, winning awards, and documenting both the pandemic and the ongoing culture war.

• David Brooke speaks with David Pepose about The O.Z. #2, pandemic production schedules, tapping the Kickstarter market, and narrative pacing the Mario Kart way.


The Beat

• Joe Grunenwald interviews Chuck Brown about Black Manta, the makings of a good villain, the levels of violence allowed in a DC comic, and collaborating with artists.

• Zack Quaintance talks to Curt Pires about Lost Falls, ensuring a suitable WTF factor for a comic’s opening, balancing mysteries and disorientation, and crafting narratives from societal conversations.

• Avery Kaplan speaks with Simon Hanselmann about Crisis Zone, the gruelling endurance needed for hitting deadlines, giving out the first hit for free, and consciously developing an obtuse multiverse.


Entertainment Weekly

Christian Holub interviews Marvel’s current line-up of X-Men creators about the last two years of line-wide plot developments, developing classic villains for contemporary readerships, and how 2020 supercharged superhero dynamics, before speaking to Jonathan Hickman about his departure from the House of Ideas.



Tres Dean speaks with Junji Ito about Sensor, story ideas changing as you get older, the joys of physical comedy, and an enduring fear of cockroaches.



Grant Brydon presents a conversation between Isaiah Rashad, Tom King, and Mitch Gerads about how Mister Miracle influenced Rashad’s new album, The House Is Burning, correlations between comics and music, and conveying the experience of depression to a reader or listener.



Jim McLauchlin chats to Peter Birkemoe about The Beguiling’s broad retail base, original artwork sales to benefit creators and community, and keeping an eye on the competition.


Multiversity Comics

Mark Tweedale speaks with Christopher Golden and Matt Smith about Hellboy: The Bones of Giants' comic adaptation, the genesis of the original novel, continuity and visual influences, and what's on the horizon in the Mignolaverse.



Chloe Maveal interviews Annie Parkhouse about a decades spanning career in comics lettering, keeping the unions happy, the pros and cons of digital work, and lettering as problem-solving.


Publisher's Weekly

Antonia Saxon talks to Tom Gauld about The Little Wooden Robot and the Log Princess, reframing children's stories to make them less scary, keeping bedtime stories at readable length, and the riddle of a good all-ages narrative.


Smash Pages

Alex Dueben speaks with Kasia Babis about Re: Constitutions, the absurdity of criticising art for being ‘political’, broadening colour palettes, and avoiding burnout while working parallel with protesting political issues in Poland.



Mike Avila talks to Gregg Hurwitz about Knighted, AWA comics’ continuity and origin stories, keeping mythologies fluid, and trusting your editorial team.


Women Write About Comics

Wendy Browne interviews Stephanie Cooke about ParaNorthern, the different aspects of the supernatural, parental relationships, and inspirations from Irish mythology.



A much needed distraction… This week’s features and longreads.

• TCJ co-editor Joe McCulloch previewed the week on the site, and wrote on the ongoing difficulties faced by in-person comics events, along with a look back at deadcrow’s anthology tribute to Evan “Spesh” Larsen, Speshal Comics - “Art that does not desire to be captured in a book to realize itself as a true thing, but may nonetheless be memorialized as it is here: a record of a small society of people working directly with one another in the place where they live. But Reger has lived a lot, and demonstrates in his piece how this type of practice removes a great deal of the cushion from living - and nobody wants to see what little there is disappear.”

• For TCJ, Austin Price writes on the passing of Kentaro Miura, and the unfinished legacy of Berserk, a violent magnum opus, now representing a dream without end - “Make no mistake, the characters of Berserk are a broken lot, the series for so much of its time a tragedy in which all people, down from peasants up to the pope, seem to have been cursed with the same fundamental flaw: they are forever broken in such a way that they are forbidden knowing what their true desires are until, in a desperate moment beyond any saving, they glimpse from the corner of their eye some objet petit a they have been furtively chasing without ever recognizing it.”

• Tegan O’Neil continues The Hurting’s exploration of Marvel Comics through the ages, this time taking readers back to the heady days of 2004, examining the shifting fortunes of The Avengers line of comics on the road to becoming the cultural behemoth we know and endure today, and sharing just where it is that Rogue and the X-Men fit into that particular window of comics history.

• For The Electronic Journal of Contemporary Japanese Studies, Jon Holt and Teppei Fukuda present a translation of an essay by Professor  Natsume Fusanosuke on the functions of panels in manga, the interplay between panel layouts and the reading experience, and how these change between media.

• Over at The Beat, Brian Hibbs shared analysis of 2020’s NPD Bookscan, as graphic novels intended for younger readers comprehensively dominated the sales charts, the direct market increasingly became an afterthought, and Viz Media kept doing what Viz Media does best.

• For NeoText, Robert Smith explores the way in which Jaime Hernandez’ Love and Rockets stories make comics magic look completely effortless, while Chloe Maveal writes in celebration of the fantastically fun work of 2000 AD stalwart Massimo Belardinelli.

• Book three of Elizabeth Sandifer’s Last War in Albion continues, with chapters looking at the monstrous and multimedia aspects of Batman in relation to Arkham Asylum, Moore’s influence on Morrison becoming writ large, and the British comics industry’s coming of age.

• Launching The VanCAF Reader, Robert Dayton presents an in-depth look at 1968's The Heart of London, a fumetti highlighting the 'London Regionalism' movement out of London, Ontario, and acting as an exhibition catalog for a travelling collection organised by The National Gallery of Canada - part 2 of the series also goes up today.

• Shelfdust has a new edition of Black Comics History, as Latonya Pennington looks back at 1989’s Damage Control #1, and Dwayne McDuffie’s deft writing of the characters found therein, a staple skill demonstrated throughout his comics career.

• Over at AIPT, Lia Kolb writes on House of M, and the myriad problems wrapped up in its narrative of metaphysical genocide and framing the processing of trauma as a villainous act.

• For The Los Angeles Times, Jevon Phillips rounds up the return of Free Comic Book Day to stores in California, looking at the varied approaches taken by retailers, and the importance of FCBD to the industry and wider comics community. This can, however, sometimes go wrong.

• Mike Peterson covers the political beat for The Daily Cartoonist, as the topic of immigration was focused on, before giving way to multiple takes on the situation in Afghanistan.



Be kind, rewind… This week’s This week’s audio/visual delights.

• Marking the diary with some upcoming virtual events, as this weekend sees 2021’s digital Flame Con bringing a plethora of panel talks and presentations; and next month heralds the arrival of 2021’s Hackney Comic and Zine Fair, running from September 4th-30th, with a series of virtual talks and in-person exhibitions .

• Secret Headquarters hosted a book launch event celebrating the arrival of Crisis Zone, as Simon Hanselmann spoke with Alex Graham about the comic's online genesis, manic outpourings of creativity, social media's death knell for agrarianism, and becoming a parent.

• Comic Books Are Burning In Hell once more, and it was a classic “what I read on my summer holidays” episode from Tucker Stone, Joe McCulloch, Matt Seneca, and Chris Mautner this week, as Garth Ennis returns to Gotham and Tatsuki Fujimoto returns to manga one-shots, before wings are unfurled and a flight taken to Hawkworld.

• Sally Madden and Katie Skelly considered the Thick Lines of Diane Noomin’s Glitz-2-Go this week,  discussing the patterns that can be found therein, the great and good of auto-fiction, and just what it is that Chess the Musical entails.

• Another classic triple header week at Cartoonist Kayfabe, as Jim Rugg, Tom Scioli, and Ed Piskor took a gander at Jaime Hernandez’ Queen of the Ring, some of Jack Kirby’s work in Fantastic Four #51 and Captain America #1, part 2 of TCJ’s hundred greatest comics of the 20th Century rankings, Tales from the Crypt: The Official Archives, Frank Miller’s work in Amazing Spider-Man Annual #15, and some NSFW selections from Caza’s Kris Kool.

• A couple of new livestreams from Brian Hibbs at Comix Experience, as Shaenon K. Garrity and Christopher Baldwin discuss the world of The Dire Days of Willowweep Manor for August’s Kids Graphic Novel of the Month Club, and Wendy Pini and Richard Pini look back on everything Elfquest and not going broke for this month’s Masterpiece Selection.

• Mex Flentallo returned once more this week, as Ramon Villalobos and Daniel Irizarri welcomed Gleb Melnikov back to proceedings for a deep dive into Morrison and Quitely’s Batman & Robin #1, and which big name creators like whose work.

• A fresh lockdown tape issued forth from 2000 AD’s Thrill-Cast, as MOLCH-R was joined by David M Barnett, Nick Roche, and David Baillie to discuss Judge Dredd’s air-surfing nemesis, Chopper, and John Wagner impressions.

• Dan Berry invited Ngozi Ukazu to Make it Then Tell Everybody this week, as they discussed what makes a bad comic, and approaching different narrative perspectives and finding character vulnerability.

• Publisher’s Weekly’s More to Come podcast took a look at just what a Substack is this week, as Calvin Reid, Heidi MacDonald, and Kate Fitzsimons covered the big story in comic creators promoting digital platforms news, along with the growing Korean manhwa market in the US, and bid farewell to Wizard World conventions.



That’s it for this week, back again soon with more, as Nostradamus predicted I would. Free will is an illusion, never forget!