All Else Are Castles Built In The Air – This Week’s Links

Easing up towards the midway part of the year with a shorter working week than is usual, as the batteries recharge for that sprint through the summer convention and festival season, emerging with ragged breath on the other side, still not entirely sure why anyone would even need to see the artificially imagined outer reaches of famous works of art, but having been shown them incessantly anyway, by hook or by crook, while all you really want to look at are this week’s links, below.

This week’s news.

• Checking back in with one of last week’s news stories, and Thomas Woodruff has declined the four Eisner Award nominations for Francis Rothbart! The Tale of a Fastidious Feral, following online backlash to, amongst other things, allegations from former students of emotional abuse while teaching at SVA, and cultural appropriation in the book itself - an open letter to the San Diego Comic Con board of directors, signed by various comic professionals, requesting improved transparency regarding the selection of Eisner Award judges and the criteria for eligibility of publications, was published last week in the wake of this controversy and subsequent discussions regarding the lack of diversity on this year’s judging panel.

• Union news, and it was shared this week that Comic Book Workers United, the union of employees of Image Comics, filed charges of unfair labor practices against the publisher last month with the National Labor Relations Board, including allegations of restricting protected organizing activity, and claims of an increase in disciplinary actions against employees, which are allegedly being conducted improperly - the NLRB investigation is currently ongoing.

• Continuing the expansion of the current digital comics app bubble, manga publisher Shueisha this week announced their intention to launch a vertical scroll platform in 2024, with the pithily named Jump Toon also opening submissions to the 1st annual Jump Toon Award, with a prize of 1,000,000 yen and a serialisation contract up for grabs, although the details of any such licensing deal when it comes to the latter are not specified in the competition T&Cs, so caveat venditor.

• Elsewhere, in the printed comics space, Ten Speed Press announced the launch of Ten Speed Graphic, a new publishing imprint, with a core team including senior editor Vedika Khanna, senior art director Chloe Rawlins, and designer Meggie Ramm.

• Comic books as trade deal sweeteners news now, and the UK government announced that part of two new business pacts between the UK and Australia and New Zealand, designed to improve international opportunities for UK industries post-Brexit by removing trade tariffs, will include the sending of signed copies of the Beano to trade ministers in each of the southern hemisphere commonwealth nations, for reasons best known to the UK government, presumably.

• Comics prizes news, and Denver’s Pop Culture Classroom announced the finalists for this year’s Graphic Literature Awards, with winners in each of the categories to be announced on Monday 3rd of June.

This week’s reviews.


• Tom Shapira reviews the shallow fun of Rich Tommaso’s Black Phoenix - “If you already have a strong opinion about Tommaso’s recent work either way, Black Phoenix is not going to change it. If you find his shtick tiring, you probably won't want a concentrated dose. If you like it, this as good as it gets in this particular milieu. Me? Despite my misgivings, I’ll probably be back for the next issue.”

• Tegan O'Neil reviews the economic theories of Al Taliaferro, Earl Duvall, Ted Osborne, and Merrill De Maris' Walt Disney’s Silly Symphonies 1932-1935: Starring Bucky Bug and Donald Duck - “A period defined by breadlines and rampant homelessness was also a time when Disney manufactured endless boosterism for the country’s various bootstrap myths. Surely, as bad as things may get, the only thing stopping you, yes, you from succeeding, is that you just don’t have sufficient pluck.”



• Eric Thomas and Piper Whitaker review the eloquent introduction of Leah Williams, Marguerite Sauvage, et al’s Power Girl Special #1.

• Timothy O’Neil reviews the triumphant storytelling of DC’s DC Pride 2023.

• David Brooke reviews the smart celebration of Jackson Lanzing, Collin Kelly, Rachael Stott, et al’s Star Trek Annual 2023.

• Nick Nafpliotis reviews the explosive twists of Jason McNamara, Alberto Massaggia, et al’s Past Tense.

• Ronnie Gorham reviews the old-school cool of Drew Craig’s The Savage Strength of Starstorm #1.


The Beat

• Ricardo Serrano Denis reviews the enjoyable horniness of Olivia Hicks and Emma Oosterhous’ Grand Slam Romance.

• Cori McCreery reviews the important defiance of DC’s DC Pride 2023.


Broken Frontier

Andy Oliver reviews the nuanced realities of Nicole Goux’s Pet Peeves; and the timeless themes of Tom Tully, Mike Western, Eric Bradbury’s The Leopard from Lime Street Volume 3.


From Cover to Cover

Scott Cederlund reviews the forceful emotions of Noah Van Sciver’s Maple Terrace #1.


House to Astonish

Paul O’Brien has capsule reviews of X-Men Unlimited Infinity Comic #88, New Mutants: Lethal Legion #3, Bishop: War College #4, The X-Cellent #3, and Storm #1.



Alex N. Press reviews the enduring truths of Syd Hoff’s The Ruling Clawss.


Library Journal

Tom Batten has a starred capsule reviews of:

- The charming hilarity of Roz Chast’s I Must Be Dreaming.

- The exhilarating elegance of Jillian Tamaki and Mariko Tamaki's Roaming.

- The stylish intensity of Alex de Campi and Erica Henderson's Parasocial.

- The compelling layers of Tom Scioli's I Am Stan: A Graphic Biography of the Legendary Stan Lee.


Multiversity Comics

• Joe Skonce reviews the committed aesthetic of Andy Diggle, Rubine, David Cabeza, et al’s The Expanse: Dragon Tooth #2.

• Christopher Egan reviews the unflinching pain of Victoria Ying’s Hungry Ghost.


Publisher’s Weekly

Have capsule reviews of:

- The paranormal psychedelia of Ashley Robin Franklin’s The Hills of Estrella Roja.

- The dreamlike details of Atelier Sentō’s Festival of Shadows: A Japanese Ghost Story, translated by Josh Tierney.



Tasha Lowe-Newsome reviews the well-researched homages of Bryan Talbot’s Grandville Integral.


Women Write About Comics

Alenka Figa reviews the visual feast of Sage Coffey’s Wine Ghost Goes to Hell.

This week’s interviews.


Hagai Palevsky interviews Briana Loewinsohn about Ephemera: A Memoir, growing up with underground comix, the joys of teaching, and varying your drawing style to keep things exciting - “To be honest, I am a pretty extroverted person. I shared the parts I felt comfortable sharing and things that I felt maybe other people could connect with. I kept things out of the book that I didn't feel safe sharing, or that just would not have fit with the mood of the book. I think the hardest part was sitting with my feelings and trying to convey the exact way something felt. I didn't want to be disingenuous or overdramatic.”


The Beat

• Rebecca Oliver Kaplan speaks with Ben Nadler about The Jewish Deli: An Illustrated Guide to the Chosen Food, and making things fun to look at.

• Deanna Destito chats with Paula Rogers about Blind Data, the emotional costs of dating apps, and the problems inherent with corporation-driven social experiences.



Rob Salkowitz interviews Stan Prokopenko about Marvel Comics and Proko’s new educational endeavour, Marvel’s The Art of Storytelling.


The Herald

Gabriel McKay talks to John Wagner about Bogie Man, the origins of Judge Dredd, never throwing away good ideas, and the realities of comic book adaptations.



Dan Gearino presents a three-part conversation with Bud Plant about the origins and evolution of the direct market, and the history of the comic store in America.


Multiversity Comics

Elias Rosner presents a two-part conversation with Pat Shand about Destiny, NY, the launch and growth of the Cheeky Comics imprint, and the realities of crowdfunding.


The Philadelphia Inquirer

Nate File speaks with Yumy Odom, founder of the East Coast Black Age of Comics Convention, and attendees at this year's event, about the importance of the convention.



Susana Polo chats with Michael Dorn about Steelworks, evolving the character of John Henry Irons, and getting your writing work out there.


Publisher’s Weekly

• Shaenon Garrity interviews Jamie Lee Curtis, Russell Goldman, and Karl Stevens about Mother Nature, the story’s origins, and working with the Navajo community.

Nathalie op de Beeck presents highlights from Heidi MacDonald's conversation with Tillie Walden and Jeff Smith at this year's US Book Show, discussing the crafting of action sequences and sense of place in Clementine and Bone.


Vermont Public

Mary Williams Engisch speaks with Jeremy Holt about Gatsby, the enduring relatability of identity as a storytelling theme, and the increasing inclusivity of comics.

This week’s features and longreads.

• Here at TCJ, Joe McCulloch writes in tribute to Evheny Osievsky, a contributor to this site, who has died fighting in Ukraine, and whose thoughtful piece on the nuclear paranoia indelibly soaked into Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ Watchmen can be read here.

• Also here at TCJ, Matteo Gaspari continues a series of features on Italian creators in the comics space, looking to the elusive figure of Marco Corona this time out, and the idiosyncratic nature of Corona’s work - “Corona’s work is deeply personal in nature, both in terms of the artist’s creative aim and the perception of those aims by the reader. Presented with such ineffability, a rational and chronological account of his evolution as an artist may not be the most useful thing. Instead, what I’d like to do here is sketch a portrait of the author: my partial understanding of him, derived from a personal journey through his work.”

• Finally for TCJ this week, Ben Austin-Docampo reports from last month's Permanent Damage 5 show in Los Angeles - This wellspring of comics culture is unusual for L.A. While many working cartoonists make their home in the region—boasting a well-known, nigh on mythological history with Los Bros Hernandez at the center—comics in today’s L.A. aren’t immune to the difficulties that plague other art and cultural communities. It’s a big damn place, and the vastness of it means cartoonists are spread out, creating a formidable barrier to community building.

• For The Gutter Review, Chad Nevett writes on the various transformations of Nexus, and the creation of parallel endeavours featuring the character from co-creators SteveRude and Mike Baron.

• As part of ICv2’s ongoing coverage of the 50th anniversary of the direct market, Dan Gearino profiles the work of Bud Plant, speaking with colleagues and peers about working in the nascent days of the US comics retail sector.

For Broken Frontier, David Baillie examines the intricacies of the time-honoured tradition of convention portfolio reviews, and canvasses fellow comic creators on the importance of having your work assessed, and how to engage properly with the process.

• Over at Women Write About Comics, Adrienne Resha covers the death of [character name redacted] in Amazing Spider-Man #26, and the realities of death for characters without end in the big business world of superhero comics; while AIPT's Lia Williamson writes on the specific death in this issue in the context of the still-endemic problem of 'fridging' female characters in superhero narratives.

• For Shelfdust, Sam Gelman looks back on Robert Morales and Kyle Baker’s Truth: Red, White and Black’s refusal to turn away from the horrific truths of war; and Steve Morris writes in celebration of the aptly animalist ending to Pat Mills, John Wagner, and Lopez Vera’s Shako.

• Mike Peterson rounds up the week’s editorial beat, over at The Daily Cartoonist, as the holiday weekend was followed by, well, a lot of chatter about averting debt defaults, as you’d expect.

This week’s audio/visual delights.

• If you prefer a filmic component to your interviews then ICv2’s coverage of the big 5-0 for the direct market has you covered this week, with the video versions of Dan Gearino’s conversation with Bud Plant (the transcriptions from which are linked above), so choose your flavour accordingly.

• CBC’s Q with Tom Power featured Emma Grove as a guest this week, speaking about The Third Person, and the book’s documentation of experiencing dissociative identity disorder as a trans person.

• NPR's Ted Radio Happy Hour puts American Born Chinese in the spotlight, as Manoush Zomorodi talks to Gene Luen Yang about the origins of the comic, its adaptation for screen, and the varied reactions readers have to its themes.

• Kelly Thompson joined David Harper for this week’s edition of Off Panel, as they spoke about It’s Jeff and Black Cloak, creator-owned collaboration, and the realities of publishing work on Substack that will also appear in print format.

• Closing out May and wandering into June with Cartoonist Kayfabe, as Tom Scioli and Ed Piskor took a look at Scioli’s own I Am Stan, Frank Frazetta: The Living Legend, early comics work by Jack Kirby, and Kirby and Steve Gerber’s Destroyer Duck.

These links cannot be embiggened by generative networks, and thus end here until next week.