All Those Oh-So-Nears – This Week’s Links

A bad week for creative endeavours that are beholden to corporate entities and/or YA writers who are employed by, ah, arms manufacturers? I mean, sure, why not. I’d say that it’s probably a bad week every week for the latter, but… I can’t think of a way to finish that sentence. On with the links.

Stop and/or start the presses, whichever seems appropriate… This week’s news.

• Starting the week with Guinness World Records news, Eiichirō Oda’s One Piece has set a new world record for ‘most copies published for the same comic book series by a single author,’ with over 500 million units of the series printed with the publication of volume 103 - the record was previously held by… Eiichirō Oda’s One Piece.

• Manga publishers are ramping up their claims for damages against operators of piracy websites, and Kadokawa, Shueisha, and Shōgakukan), have filed suit with Tokyo District Court to claim nearly $14.5 million in damages from the operator of now-defunct site Mangamura, as the Content Overseas Distribution Association aggressively moves to identify and prosecute alleged site administrators both domestically and overseas.

• In other lawsuit news, the Department of Justice’s civil antitrust case against Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster’s attempted merger kicked into high gear this week, as witnesses for both sides, including author Stephen King and S&S CEO Jonathan Karp took the stand to provide testimony, the latter getting a grilling over the operating realities of publishers in the Big Five.

• About-face news, and Emerald City Comic Con decided that due to the evolving nature of the COVID-19 situation(read: it still existing) they will be requiring attendees at this month’s event to wear face coverings, preferably high-quality (read: not spandex), throughout all areas of the show - last month’s San Diego Comic Con, which had mask and vaccination/negative test mandates, saw a rash of infections amongst attendees post-event, from anecdotal evidence.

• The Beat shared Cartoon Crossroads Columbus’ announcement that manga scholar and translator Frederik L. Schodt is the winner of the sophomore Tom Spurgeon Award, which serves to recognise “someone who is not primarily a cartoonist and whose support of cartoonists and cartoon art enhanced the field in a lasting and measurable way” - CXC is currently running a matched donations funding drive ahead of October’s events.

• Koyama Provides returned from summer break and announced the latest recipient of their grant program, awarding $1,500 to Sami Alwani, which will be used towards studio time while working on a new graphic novel that “will have a broad scope, poking fun at the travails of queer polyamory, exploring how capitalist rationalist ideology shapes interpersonal relationships and psychology, and interrogating the multivocal nature of cultural history.”

• In memoriam, remembering those the comics world has lost, and Deadline shared news that writer Ron Zimmerman passed away due to cancer last week, aged 64.

• News was also shared of the passing of cartoonist and designer Paul Coker, Jr. earlier this month, aged 93, following a brief illness - The Daily Cartoonist wrote on Coker’s work with MAD and the Rankin Bass Studio. More on Coker's life and work soon at TCJ.

Organically sourced and free from algorithms… This week’s reviews.


• Greg Hunter reviews the immersive horror of George Wylesol’s 2120 - “Wylesol’s new book differs from a number of other experimental indie comics, perhaps not in terms of its larger aims but certainly in terms of a reader’s expected process. Compared to comics that are more oblique in their messages or the motions of their pages—comics in which interpretation is everything—2120 is relatively clear in the work it asks of readers.”

• Chris Mautner reviews the detailed farce of Gilbert Shelton and Paul Mavrides’ The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers: The Idiots Abroad and Other Follies - “There is some ageing to be sure around the frayed edges of this decades-old satire, but Shelton’s and Mavrides’ gleeful counterculture thumb-nosing goes down relatively well despite the nods to one-world conspiracy theories and free-spirited individualism that was already starting to congeal into libertarianism (and would get much worse in the ensuing decades).”



• David Canham reviews the overstuffed exposition of Zack Kaplan, Arjuna Susini, et al’s Forever Forward #1.

• David Brooke reviews the wordy satire of James Asmus, Jim Festante, Abylay Kussainov, et al’s Survival Street #1.

• Chris Coplan reviews the magical momentum of Josie Campbell and Doc Shaner’s The New Champion of Shazam #1.

• John Schaidler reviews the energetic world-building of Melissa Flores, French Carlomagno, et al’s The Dead Lucky #1.

• Colin Moon reviews the insincere narrative of Skottie Young, Humberto Ramos, et al’s Strange Academy: Wish-Craft.

• Nathan Simmons reviews the thrilling action of Dan Watters, Nikola Čižmešija, et al's Sword of Azrael #1.


The Beat

• Arpad Okay reviews the magnificent culmination of Jordan Crane’s Keeping Two.

Joe Grunenwald reviews the engaging richness of Jeff Lemire's Mazebook.

• Cori McCreery reviews the fantastic start of Josie Campbell and Doc Shaner’s The New Champion of Shazam #1.

• Cy Beltran reviews the terrific tie-ins of Kieron Gillen, Michele Bandini, et al’s Immortal X-Men #5; and Al Ewing, Stefano Caselli, et al’s X-Men Red #5.


Broken Frontier

• Lindsay Pereira reviews the sublime charms of Rumi Hara’s The Peanutbutter Sisters and Other American Stories; and the powerful subversion of Yamada Murasaki's Talk to My Back, translated by Ryan Holmberg.

• Andy Oliver reviews the stunning contrasts of Molly Mendoza’s Stray; and the nuanced accessibility of Gemma Sou, Adeeba Nuraina Risha, Gina Ziervogel, and Cat Sims’ Everyday Stories of Climate Change.


Four Color Apocalypse

Ryan C reviews the narrative tapestry of Audra Stang’s The Audra Show #6.


From Cover to Cover

Mike Baxter reviews the impressive start of Ram V, Rafael Albuquerque, et al’s Detective Comics #1062; and the impressive distillation of Grant Snider’s The Art of Living.


Global Storytelling

Asher Guthertz reviews the crucial demystifying of Shawna Kidman’s Comic Books Incorporated: How the Business of Comics Became the Business of Hollywood.


House to Astonish

Paul O’Brien reviews the pleasant ideas of Alex Paknadel, Damian Couceiro, et al’s X-Men Unlimited: Cypher in the Cryptolect.


Kirkus Reviews

Have starred capsule reviews of:

- The sublime granduer of Hayao Miyazaki’s Shuna’s Journey, translated by Alex Dudok de Wit.

- The painful honesty of Tessa Brunton’s Notes From A Sick Bed.

- The superlative relatability of Christina Soontornvat and Joanna Cacao’s The Tryout.


Multiversity Comics

• Matthew Blair reviews the lean efficiency of Cullen Bunn, Vincente Cifuentes, et al’s The Book of Shadows #1.

• Christopher Egan reviews the gonzo experimentation of Chris Ryall, Sam Kieth, et al’s The Hollows #1.

• Joe Skonce reviews the rushed familiarity of James Asmus, Jim Festante, Abylay Kussainov, et al’s Survival Street #1.

• James Dowling and Mark Tweedale review the familiar echoes of Mike Mignola, Thomas Sniegoski, Christopher Golden, Peter Bergting, et al’s Frankenstein: New World #1.


New York Journal of Books

Marissa Moss reviews the sharp humour of Kate Gavino’s A Career in Books: A Novel about Friends, Money, and the Occasional Duck Bun.


Publisher’s Weekly

Have capsule reviews of:

- The polished layers of Faith Erin Hicks’ Ride On.

- The ambitious choices of Jason Shiga’s Leviathan.

- The meta visuals of Diane deGroat’s The Adventures of Robo-Kid.



• Kevin Brown reviews the puzzling choices of Uta Frith, Chris Frith, Alex Frith, and Daniel Locke’s Two Heads: A Graphic Exploration of How Our Brains Work With Other Brains.

• Daniel Elkin has capsule reviews of the successful abstraction of Matthew Daley’s Assorted Baggage; the solid predictability of Sas Milledge’s Mamo; and the exquisite terror of Suehiro Maruo’s The Strange Tale of Panorama Island, translated by Ryan Sands and Kyoko Nitta.

Tears in rain… This week’s interviews.


• Jean Marc Ah-Sen interviews Maria Llovet about Faithless, the inspiration of Crepax, sex and death, and auteur theory - “As my style gets more defined, influences are more and more filtering through. I finally know what direction I'm taking, so something really good that goes in the completely opposite direction doesn't get me thinking I should throw everything out the window and start from scratch. I can enjoy it with the knowledge that it doesn't overlap with what I do, no matter how good it is.”

• From the archives, originally published in The Comics Journal #122, Frank Plowright interviews Alan Grant and John Wagner about Judge Dredd, political sensibilities, publisher censorship, and making up horoscopes - “GRANT: When we started working together it used to worry me an awful lot. We used to have severe lengthy arguments about whether what we were writing was the correct thing to be presenting to kids for reading material. Mixing up humor and violence the way that we do. the two become indistinguishable. So we wrote a story that was supposed to leave a bad taste in the mouth and it didn’t work.”



Chris Coplan chats with Lee Bermejo about Batman: Dear Detective, working on corporate characters, finding functionality within absurdity, and crafting the Caped Crusader a perfect story.


Anime News Network

Kim Morrisy talks to Norio Sakurai about The Daggers in my Heart, early manga influences and daydreaming, struggling to convey beauty, and the turbulence of young love.


The Atlantic

Oliver Munday speaks with Nick Drnaso about Acting Class, the allure of unbridled self-expression, the act of being observed, and recurring themes of isolation.


The Beat

• Taimur Dar chats with Jeremy Adams and Tim Sheridan about Flashpoint Beyond, multiple writers working together, zagging not zigging, and multiversal zeitgeist.

• Dean Simons interviews Cecil Castellucci about Shifting Earth, parallel realities and different economies, lockdown gardening, and future opera plans.

• AJ Frost speaks with Eric Orner about Smahtguy: The Life and Times of Barney Frank, contrarian subject choices, the inspiration of Persepolis, and political realities.



Ollie Barder interviews Weekly Shōnen Jump's Hiroyuki Nakano And Yuji Iwasaki about Eiichirō Oda’s One Piece reaching triple figures for the English-language collections, their own paths to working in the manga industry, and the franchise's enduring success.


The Guardian

John Harris Dunning talks to Neil Gaiman about The Sandman, thwarted broadsheet comics coverage, the British invasion, and visual and aural inspirations.



Rob Salkowitz speaks with Tapas Media CEO Chang Kim for a corporate perspective on last week's layoffs, the financial reasoning behind these, and some classic business-as-usual statements.


Publisher’s Weekly

Rob Kirby interviews Elizabeth A. Trembley about Look Again, the brain’s survival mechanisms, memories of discovering a body, and processing trauma through comics-making.


Smash Pages

Alex Dueben speaks with Taki Soma about Sleeping While Standing, preserving important dreams, adapting to digital working processes, and going with your gut for comics colouring.

Read for you in a lilting brogue, on request… This week’s features and longreads.

• Here at TCJ, Jon Holt and Saki Hirozane present a translation of Ono Kōsei’s essay on the origins of Supaidāman, Ikegami Ryōichi’s illustrative work on the series, and the history of western superhero media in Japan - “I quite took it upon myself to keep up letter correspondences with and doing comics exchanges with the comics maniacs [read: freaks] overseas in America. (During that time in 1970, by doing so I was so happy because I ended up increasing my supplies of international comics. Now of course, I simply don’t have that kind of time to enjoying writing to others, but it was good that I did it then.)”

• Also for TCJ, Andrew Field considers the form of the graphic novel, in the context of differences between paintings and drawings, and the history that informs both on the path to ‘half note art’ - “Drawings in graphic novels are parts of the whole that help with the turning of the page, and therefore work well in a book form that combines language, image, and story, rather than canvas, paint, and wall, for example.”

• For The Guardian, Rebecca Hendin covers the response of cartoonists to Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson’s ongoing resignation from the role of Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

• Jeremy Dauber writes at The Atlantic on Penguin Classics’ line of Marvel Comics collections, and the inexorable shuffling of the sequential form onto the stage of literary aht, reflecting on which stories made the cast list.

• Michael Foulk kicks off a new(ish) series of articles for The Beat, looking at the history of graduates from Charles Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters, beginning an alumni role call with the M for mature violence of God Loves, Man Kills.

• Over at Shelfdust, Steve Morris writes in appreciation of Kathryn Immonen’s approach to comics scripting in a world of staid corporate stories, and Austin Gorton examines the history of failure and rebirth inherent in the mythos of the X-Men.

• Sequart’s feature series return after a bit of a hiatus, and Joe Muszynski’s look back at Thor’s 70s adventures continues, with The Mighty Thor #270 posing questions regarding just what the worthiness to swing a hammer entails.

• From the world of open-access academia, for Amerikastudien Daniel Stein writes on Ta-Nehisi Coates’ run on Black Panther and its interrogation of superhero history; and Kate Topham, Julian Chambliss, Justin Wigard, and Nicole Huff present a report on the community-driven process of cleaning and updating database entries for Michigan State University’s comic book collection.

• Mike Peterson rounds up the week’s editorial beat, over at The Daily Cartoonist, as a mix of sports stories, January 6th fallout, polling numbers, and SCOTUS dominated proceedings, as well as tributes that were paid following the passing of Bill Russell.

Available until they turn the servers off… This week’s audio/visual delights.

• Starting the week with a rare official English subtitled (and with English interstitial announcements) edition of Naoki Urasawa’s Manben, no word on whether this will be a going concern, but for the time being Urasawa speaks to Yasuhiko Yoshikazu for NHK, taken from season 5 of the series.

• Katie Skelly and Sally Madden were joined by John Vasquez Mejias to appreciate the Thick Lines of Barry Windsor-Smith's work in Conan The Barbarian Epic Collection: The Original Marvel Years - The Coming Of Conan, with some appreciation of Jack Kirby, and questions answered regarding elephants.

• Drawn & Quarterly hosted a new edition of At Home, as Michael DeForge celebrated the launch of Birds of Maine, taking viewers through the creation of the comic, originally serialised on Instagram, and its transition to print.

• Noah Van Sciver similarly celebrated the arrival of two new titles in book stores, answering audience questions about As A Cartoonist and Joseph Smith And The Mormons, and the process behind both.

• John Siuntres welcomed Tom Fowler aboard the Word Balloon as they spoke about Refrigerator Full of Heads, and the peculiarities of creating and teaching the creation of comic books.

• Deb Aoki hosted this week’s edition of Mangasplaining, as the team kicks off a brief occult focus with Kamome Shirahama’s Witch Hat Atelier, as well as some less-supernatural fare in the form of Fuyumi Sōryō’s MARS.

• David Harper was joined by Declan Shalvey for the latest episode of Off Panel, as they spoke about Old Dog, the joys of going solo on a project, and getting the word on that project out there when you do.

• More Cartoonist Kayfabe from messrs Ed Piskor and Jim Rugg, as they took a little look-see at Roy Thomas and Neal Adams on Giant Size X-Men #2, Grant Morrison and Dave McKean on Arkham Asylum, Jim Lee and Scott Williams’ Divine Right, J Scott Campbell on Thundercats, Marvel Comics’ Blade Runner adaptation, and Ben Dunn’s Ninja High School.

• A post-SDCC debrief from Publisher’s Weekly’s More To Come, as Calvin Reid, Heidi MacDonald, and Kate Fitzsimons discussed the return to in-person programming on the west coast, as well as the other big news stories from a rather fractious week in the industry.

• Gil Roth welcomed Dave McKean to The Virtual Memories Show to discuss Prompt: Conversations With Artificial Intelligence and Raptor, and thoughts on the increasing encroachment of tech into art spaces.

That concludes this week’s selection, back soon with even more, I swear.