Coverage of Adrian Tomine’s The Loneliness of the Long Distance Cartoonist continued apace this week, as the book racked up the column inches (and podcast minutes), more on which in this week’s links below, but this was also the week I learned that Mylar comic bags can be repurposed to produce see-through windows for face masks, thereby allowing for lip-reading, and enabling improved communication with deaf and hard of hearing people, while still helping mitigate cross-infection in public spaces.
Comics might just save us yet, unless things get really bad, in which case, oh, I don’t know, crack open a copy of The Eternaut and use it as a guidebook for embracing the full hermetically-sealed outdoor-experience.
Onwards to the links.
*Slamming desk* Bring me pictures of Spider-man… This week’s news.
• Last weekend saw the first ever virtual Eisner Award ceremonies take place via the wonders of modern technology. Host Phil LaMarr announced the winners, the full list of which you can find here, Invisible Kingdom and Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me being the big title winners for 2020, while Lynda Barry, Raina Telgemeier, and Stan Sakai all won multiple creator awards - the full presentation ceremony can be watched online now. If you’re strapped for time then I’d recommend skipping through to the 41 minute mark to take in the Will Eisner Hall of Fame inductee videos, presented by Sergio Aragonés.
• The awards' voting system itself was surrounded by controversy this year, following a data breach during the initial round of voting, later re-run after privacy issues were flagged, with no ownership taken of the problem (or its potential consequences, in a changing world where personal data is increasingly key, speaking as someone still currently an EU citizen until the end of the year and the protections that affords) other than a “hey, no harm no foul, we didn’t find it to be a malicious attack” - Women Write About Comics won the Best Comics-Related Periodical/Journalism Eisner this year, and it’s worth reading Wendy Browne and Nola Pfau’s statements on the attendant issues, as they cover the salient points admirably, given the context.
• In terms of the virtual convention itself and the plethora of video #content that was generated from it, metrics suggest that it was either “a bust” (for the larger publishers and media companies), a marked success (for indie creators who thought outside the box), "clumsy" (for those missing the human touch), or simply “fine” - so let’s call it a draw, overall.
• In other, hopefully non-data-breaching (fingers crossed, but it’s 2020, so plan accordingly) awards news, The Daily Cartoonist reports on the 2020 National Cartoonists Society’s Reuben Awards, now scheduled to take place on 12th September via virtual ceremony with a recap of this year’s shortlist.
• Another week, another ComicsGate-related spat, as DC Comics announced Jae Lee would be providing a variant cover for the deceased equine flogging series Rorschach, which prompted writer Tom King to first publicly distance himself from this, citing Lee’s prior work on CG affiliated projects, and then later apologize to Lee for said public distancing after it transpired that Lee was apparently unaware as to the nature of CG prior to this, due to a lack of social media presence, with Lee bringing proceedings to a close with the proclamation “This isn't the start of a conversation. This is the end.”
• Meanwhile, the other current CG-related story, that of Dynamite Comics’ affiliation to the group, allegedly via CEO Nick Barrucci, continued to bubble away, after the company released a statement ending their association with ComicsGate affiliated projects - basically akin to closing the stable door after the horse has bolted, if the person closing the door was also the one who had opened it in the first place, and encouraged the horse to make a run for it while doing so. And then later helping finance the horse in setting up a new life following its escape.
• As their summer of virtual creator experiences continues, The Hero Initiative have announced that Klaus Janson and Ann Nocenti have joined the organization's board, as part of the Disbursement Committee, with board member Howard Chaykin stating that "...they each bring empathy and intuition to what can often be a challenging enterprise."
• Following last week’s announcement of personnel changes at IDW Publishing, the company then announced that newly promoted Publisher, Jud Meyers, has been placed on administrative leave 5 days into his tenure, which leaves me wondering whether “it has been a turbulent time for the company, of late” is putting it lightly.
• In happier news, and entering a calendar run where his birthdays will be blessedly Monday-free, Garfield creator Jim Davis has reached his 75th year - bon anniversaire, Jim!
Like news, but with scores… This week’s reviews.
• Roman Muradov laces up his running shoes and reviews the organic detours of Henry McCausland’s Eight-Lane Runaways.
• Brian Nicholson experiences a moment of synchronicity and reviews the exquisite intensity of Kuniko Tsurita’s The Sky Is Blue With A Single Cloud, translated by Ryan Holmberg.
• Sam Rutzick reviews the emotional finale of Jonathan Hickman and Nick Dragotta’s East of West volume 10.
• Arbaz M. Khan reviews the surrealist diagnostics of Ales Kot, Luca Casalanguida, et al’s Lost Soliders #1.
Morgana Santilli reviews the warm absurdity of Naoki Urasawa’s Mujirushi, translated by John Werry.
Returns from a brief site maintenance hiatus with a bumper haul of coverage:
• Andy Oliver reviews the playful immersion of Charlot Kristensen’s What We Don’t Talk About, the intimate slow-burn of Shazleen Khan’s Buuza!! Vol. 2: In the Land of Spider Silk, the unconventional narratives of Patrick Wray's The Flood That Did Come, and the intimate honesty of Victoria Jamieson and Omar Mohamed’s When Stars Are Scattered.
• Tom Murphy reviews the incisive empathy of Joel Christian Gill’s graphic memoir, Fights: One Boy’s Triumph Over Violence.
• Ally Russell Shields reviews the contemporary resonance of Frank ‘Big Black’ Smith, Jared Reinmuth, and Améziane’s Big Black: Stand at Attica.
• Rebecca Burke reviews the outstanding narrative of Ezra Claytan Daniels’ Upgrade Soul.
Four Color Apocalypse
Ryan C reviews the anecdotal gimmick of Josh Pettinger and Evan Salazar’s Wimp Digest, the combined crimefighting of Peter Faecke and Drew Lerman's Detective! Double Digest; and a double bill of reviews of Sean Christensen’s work, looking at the interpretative abstractions of Dress Rehearsal, and the challenging abstractions of Questions of Molten Motion.
Joe Marczynski picks Adrian Tomine’s The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Cartoonist as the ‘Book of the Day’, for its self-effacing wit.
• Michael Mazzacane continues his journey into the past, looking back at the sepia-toned disorientation of Brian Holguin, Liam Sharp, et al’s Spawn: The Dark Ages #9-14.
• Matthew Blair reviews the experimental genius of Jesse Lonergan's Hedra #1.
Ilana Masad reviews the deep honesty of the book of the moment, Adrian Tomine’s The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Cartoonist.
Chris Galaver reviews the paradoxical punchlines of Adrian Tomine’s The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Cartoonist.
Have capsule reviews of:
- The flawed melodrama of Varga Tomi's Phantom of the Opera: The Graphic Novel.
- The subversive wickedness of Katie Skelly's Maids.
- The celebratory sincerity of Owen D. Pomery's Victory Point.
- The claustrophobic comedy of Patrick Dean's Eddie's Week.
- The stylish gore of Rodney Barnes, Jason Shawn Alexander, and Luis NCT's Killadelphia: Sins of the Father.
• Ryan Carey reviews the painful realness of Robert Mailer Anderson, Zack Anderson, and Jon Sack’s Windows On the World.
• Tom Shapira reviews the heavy cineaste impact of Chloe’s My Life to Live.
• Nicholas Burman reviews the heartbreaking frustrations of Yoshiharu Tsuge's The Man Without Talent, translated by Ryan Holmberg.
Women Write About Comics
• Kayleigh Hearn reviews the unreal-real-life recollections of Bryan Lee O’Malley, Leslie Hung, et al’s Snotgirl volume 3.
• Paulina Przystupa reviews the inspirational adventures of Oni Press and Lion Forge’s Rolled and Told Volume 2.
• Lisa Fernandes reviews the dark truths of Magdalena Lankosz and Joanna Karpowicz’ Anastasia: Part 2.
• Masha Zhdanova reviews the dissatisfying swordplay of C. S. Pacat, Johanna the Mad, et al's Fence volume 4: Rivals.
You’re on the air… This week’s interviews.
Mark Newgarden talks to Ben Katchor about “dairy restaurants”, choosing them as a topic for his latest book, their boom and bust in the States, and avoiding the book reading like historical fiction via the research method of a milekhdike, or “aimlessly ruminative approach to... research”.
Dan Greenfield joins Steve Engelhart for another edition of ‘Inside the Batman’, and this time around they’re discussing the ‘Gentleman of Crime’ - The Penguin - and his place in the Caped Crusader’s pantheon.
Chris Coplan talks to James Tynion IV and Steve Foxe about new horror anthology Razorblades, and how it came about thanks to lockdown downtime.
Zack Quaintance talks to Marco Finnegan about combining social history and scifi in Lizard in a Zoot Suit, choosing the right colour palette to convey summer heat, and how teaching can help with storytelling.
Rachel Cooke talks to Adrian Tomine about (what else) his new book, The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Cartoonist, coronavirus promotional disruption, and who makes the best comics.
Katie Skelly interviews, well… Katie Skelly, as a chance contacting of a ‘name twin’ leads to a chat about what’s in a name, and googling oneself.
Andrew Limbong talks to Adrian Tomine about his new graphic memoir, relief at skipping con-season, and how loneliness can lead to a peace of mind.
Rob Kirby interviews Sophie Yanow about emotional accuracy, intellectual journeys, and personal trajectories.
Rumaan Alam interviews Adrian Tomine about his visual style and quantifying the necessary levels of realism needed in cartooning.
Alex Dueben talks to Christina ‘Steenz’ Stewart about taking over Heart of the City, serialized stories over gag strips, keeping cartoons as an escape from reality, and the working schedule for a daily strip.
Daniel Elkin and Sarah Wray present the next installment of ‘Knowing is Half the Battle’, as MariNaomi discusses the importance and role of an agent, the various modes of self-promotion, and creator and resource databases.
The Star Tribune
Connie Nelson interviews Robb Armstrong about his cartoon strip Jump Start, celebrating its 30th year of syndication, and his friendship with Charles Schulz, which lead to the Peanuts character Franklin taking on his surname.
• Dana Forsythe talks to Ed Brubaker about his and Sean Phillips new graphic novel, Pulp, reflecting the present in the past, spreading the research net wide when combining genres, and his enduring collaboration with Phillips.
• SE Fleenor looks at the representation of sex work in SFSX, and interviews writer Tina Horn about the power dynamics at work on the page.
Based on a novel by a man named Lear… This week’s features and comics.
• Over at SYFY Wire, Karama Horne looks at the response of the comics industry to #BlackLivesMatter, and the sudden attention on Black indie creators, asking the all-important question for systemic change - will it last?
• BoingBoing have an abridged version of Mitsuhiro Asakawa’s essay ‘Gekiga’s new frontier: the uneasy rise of Yoshiharu Tsuge’, as translated by Ryan Holmberg in The Swamp, containing some brutal truths from Tsuge - “I simply could not bear the idea of drawing comics simply to entertain people… I thought that maybe I could trick my body by just slapping out the first thing that came to me, but that only made things worse.”
• A trio of pieces from The Daily Cartoonist, as DD Degg shares some handy comics history resources, and Mike Peterson looks at the end of Stone Soup and the career of Jan Eliot, before tackling the issue of factual reporting in editorial cartooning (or lack, thereof).
• For The New Yorker, Sarah Larson (no relation) looks at the return of The Far Side, as creator Gary Larson posts the first new strips of the cartoon in 25 years, how the funny pages have changed during its hiatus, and how the cartoon itself evolved during its lifetime.
• At Multiversity Comics, James Dowling looks to the sky and ponders the vast unknowable horror of the infinite, finding Black Stars Above peering back down and welcoming readers in.
• Sequart are giving away free e-copies of Tom Shapira’s deep dive into metanarrative, Curing the Postmodern Blues: Reading Grant Morrison and Chris Weston’s THE FILTH in the 21st Century, stay home and destroy that fourth wall.
• Over at Shelfdust, Charlotte Finn hits the big 3-0 in the big city with big Comics Hair, Masha Zhdanova takes a look back at the cathartic nostalgia of Paper Girls #7, and - say it with me now - “EKAWA ESREVINU! EKIRTS SCITIRC NEVES!”
• I’m a sucker for a well done bit of Alternate Reality Gaming, and Fleen shares what looks like a doozy of a combination of that and comics, as displayed through Shing Yin Khor’s patreon escapades.
• I’m a big fan of both Silent Hill and the canon of Hideo Kojima, but A. Degen skewers both pretty perfectly here.
• Ben Passmore provides the latest edition of The New York Times’ ‘Diary Project’, covering the protest essentials of what to wear, what to pack, and staying safe - Passmore also announced a new book deal this week, which looks cool.
• The Nib have a new edition of In/Vulnerable, this week Thi Bui, David Ritsher, and Sarah Mirk present the story of Jamison Williams, a North Carolina resident who has been participating in anti-lockdown protests during the COVID-19 pandemic; and SI Rosenbaum and Arigon Starr cover the impact of the pandemic on Native American communities, and the systemic poverty and oppression that’s exacerbated this.
• Solrad Presents has a new addition to the line-up, welcoming Lauren Barnett’s Quarantine Comics into the ever-increasing fold.
• Charmaine Verhagen documents the trials and tribulations of keeping quarantine cuisine fresh and interesting, and not wasting supplies no matter what.
• Al Ewing and team may think they’re cornering the market in Bruce Banner Body Horror™ in The Immortal Hulk, but life, uh, finds a way.
Are you still watching… This week’s recommended watching.
• There’d be a fair amount of tedious legwork involved in explaining Terry Wogan and Sue Lawley’s place in the UK TV cultural landscape to non-UK viewers, so instead just bask in the absolute chaos of Beano editor Euan Kerr’s archive interview being interrupted by Dennis the Menace (the British one), and wish the venerable publication a happy 82nd birthday.
• Drawn and Quarterly celebrated the publication of R Sikoryak’s Constitution Illustrated with a new ‘At Home’ Instagram takeover, featuring an audience Q&A with Sikoryak and some very dapper George Washington cosplay.
• Shawn Crystal brings us another double bill of Inkpulp episodes, first welcoming Mike del Mundo to the show for comics, career realness, and hip hop chat while inking (plus why diversity is important and the joys of microdosing), followed by another educational mini-episode looking at the all-important inking tool, the humble pen.
• The Believer and the Black Mountain Institute hosted another free comics workshop this week, as cartoonist and educator Lawrence Lindell explored drawing comics using emotional memory, recalling interactions from your past, and representing the feelings from those moments visually.
• Noah van Sciver had a double bill of new videos up on his channel this week, talking to Mary Fleener about the “death” of underground comix and the rise of alternative pamphlets, storytelling process, conceptual crossover with contemporaries, and recommendations galore; and then chatting with Bob Fingerman about his career, famous teachers (and why to always read the course description), more process chat (natch), and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles debriefs.
• SDCC@Home may have gotten the headlines, but last weekend also saw Word Balloon’s JohnCon 2020 taking place, as John Siuntres welcomed a veritable who’s who of direct market creators to a 4 hour long (!!!) livestream, hosted with Julie and Shawna Benson, so if you’ve got time to kill this weekend consider it deceased.
• Cartoonist Kayfabe had another Warren Bernard double bill this week, as SPX’s Executive Director sat down with Ed Piskor and Jim Rugg to peel back the cover of Impact #1 and pore over Bernie Krigstein’s artwork for the seminal ‘Master Race’, and then kicked off a new mini-series looking at comic tabloids, beginning with Will Eisner The Spirit sections syndicated in newspapers, including the tabloid artifact of mini P.S. strips along the bottom of the page, and then diving into the underground weekly's of the 60's and 70's, with some R. Crumb chat, and time-capsule classified ads.
• Comix Experience and The Beat presented the latest edition of their Kids GN-of-the-Month Club meeting, as Brian Hibbs welcomed Tait Howard to the show to discuss The Sunken Tower, and ask the important question for anyone - "why comics?".
Sorry, that was just a noise… This week’s easy-listening.
• The only comics podcast in the world tackles the only graphic memoir in the world this week, as Tucker, Chris, Joe, and Matt cover the intrinsically linked subjects of Adrian Tomine’s The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Cartoonist, and where it is that gummy worms should go.
• 2000 AD’s Lockdown Tapes brings listeners a lesson in British comics history this week, as MOLCH-R talks to editor Dave Hunt about Battle Picture Weekly, Action, Eagle, and the long-lasting influences of post-World War II comics in the UK.
• Dan Berry chats to Dublin-based illustrator Charlot Kristensen about making it and then telling everybody this week, talking about creative processes, the nonsense of auteur theory, and figuring things out before heading to university.
• War Rocket Ajax becomes Wrestling Rocket Ajax this week, as Michael Kingston pops in to discuss Headlocked, cryptids, wrestlers as comic creators, and The Nature Boy.
• Off Panel welcomed Al Ewing to the show this week, as he and David Harper talk continuity, creator-owned work, Alex Ross, and political tones in mainstream works.
• Publisher’s Weekly’s More to Come had a memorial special for Rep. John Lewis this week, featuring two archive interviews between Calvin Reid and Andrew Aydin, Lewis’ co-writer on the March graphic novel trilogy.
This brings us to the end of this week’s links - more next week, as we emerge victorious into a brand new month - what delights August will usher in, one can only sit in abject terror of.