Betrayal (Sorcerer Theme) – This Week’s Links

I’m not sure who booked in these headline events marking the 50th anniversary of the formation of the direct market, but they sure seem to have a weird sense of humour about it all, and I’ll be damned if I can tell you which way the comics distribution tale is going to twist next, so we’d best point a keen eye at this week’s links, below, to keep a handle on it all, as books and periodicals continue to fly hither and yon across the nation, via an increasingly variegated system.

This week’s news.

• Simon & Schuster returns to the spotlight in this week’s comics news, as Image Comics announced that S&S would be fulfilling their book market distribution needs as of January 2024, in place of Diamond Distribution, joining an already packed roster of clients from this sector - the announcement coming in the same week that the proposed sale of S&S once again edged up to the finish line, stumbling across it a couple of days later, presumably without a DOJ antitrust suit in hot pursuit this time, as investment company Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. closed the deal for $1.6 billion.

• Comics crime files, and news was shared of a break-in at Boulder’s Time Warp Comics at the end of last month, as a smash-and-grab took place which looks to have resulted in the loss of around $14,000 worth of stock, along with the shop’s petty cash and cash deposits - a list of some of the rarer items stolen is available at the link above.

• Awards news, and voting is open now for the 8th annual Dwayne McDuffie Award for Diversity in Comics, looking to recognise outstanding work that promotes diversity in the comic book medium both on the page and behind the scenes, with a deadline for submission of 30th September 2023.

• Elsewhere, The Beat shared the announcement of nominees for this year's Ignatz Awards, with winners to be presented at 2023's Small Press Expo on 9th of September - Caroline Cash, Curt Merlo, Benjamin Schipper, Olivia Stephens, and Noah Van Sciver are all in the running for this year's Outstanding Artist award.

This week’s reviews.


Hagai Palevsky reviews the uncompromising immediacy of Carlos Gonzalez's Wasp Video Roadhouse - “It is often a difficult book to read, especially if you, like me, tend to take in a book in one sitting. Others before me have written about Gonzalez's stylistic kinship to Fletcher Hanks, whose core artistic sensibility was a form of adolescence set to paper, a raw quality that at least partially eludes straightforward critique. The art of the true outsider, as ever, resists the assessment of an insider's lens.”

• Henry Chamberlain reviews the beautiful horror of Jamie Lee Curtis, Russell Goldman, and Karl Stevens’ Mother Nature - “The narrative itself flows in an offbeat manner, evoking the patterns of a daydream and remembrances of things past. Some may claim the story is hard to follow, but that’s incorrect. The story is what it is. Great storytelling is not obligated to follow a linear path and explain everything in an explicit connect-the-dots presentation.”

• Tegan O’Neil reviews the fair mystery of John Allison, Max Sarin, et al’s The Great British Bump-Off - “Like most of Allison’s heroines, Shauna is both a little bit daffy and a little bit oblivious, driven at every turn to transform the banal circumstances of daily life into the stuff of adventure, despite the fact that most people around her have little interest in being press-ganged onto such a voyage.”


• Piper Whitaker reviews the strong worldbuilding of DC’s Superman Annual 2023.

• Keigen Rea reviews the solid superheroics of Cody Ziglar, Federico Vicentini, et al’s Miles Morales: Spider-Man - Trial by Spider.

• Collier Jennings reviews the menacing characters of Benjamin Percy, Geoff Shaw, et al’s Wolverine/Ghost Rider: Weapons of Vengeance – Alpha #1.

• Lukas Shayo reviews the ongoing surprises of Kieron Gillen, Lucas Werneck, et al’s Immortal X-Men #14.

• Alex Schlesinger reviews the exciting action of Deniz Camp, Luca Maresca, et al’s Children of the Vault #1.

• Colin Moon reviews the faithful presentation of Gerry Duggan, Juan Frigeri, Andrea Di Vito, et al’s Invincible Iron Man: Demon in the Armor.

• Ryan Sonneville reviews the enjoyable insights of Daniel Jose Older, Paul Fry, et al’s Star Wars: Return of the Jedi - Max Rebo #1.

• David Brooke reviews the macabre edge of Chris Condon and Jacob Phillips’ The Enfield Gang Massacre.


The Beat

• Cori McCreery reviews the journalistic focus of Superman Annual 2023.

• Joe Grunenwald reviews the accessible adventuring of Stephanie Phillips, Alberto Foche, et al’s Spider-Man Annual #1.

• Bryan Reheil reviews the distinctive elements of Chris Condon and Jacob Phillips’ The Enfield Gang Massacre.

• Beau Q. reviews the unfocused experimentation of Patrick Kindlon, Paul Tucker, et al’s Stringer.

• Arpad Okay reviews the resonant realness of Kyoko Okazaki’s River’s Edge, translated by Alexa Frank.

• Avery Kaplan reviews the warped situations of Simon Hanselmann and Josh Pettinger’s Werewolf Jones & Sons® Deluxe Summer Fun Annual!.


Broken Frontier

Lindsay Pereira reviews the careful delicateness of Camille Jourdy’s Juliette, translated by Aleshia Jensen.


House to Astonish

Paul O’Brien has capsule reviews of Marvel Comics’ X-Men Unlimited Infinity Comic #9, X-Men #25, Astonishing Iceman #1, Magneto #1, and Love Unlimited Infinity Comic #61.


Multi-Ethnic Literature of the United States

Grace D Gipson reviews the timely explorations of Gendered Defenders: Marvel’s Heroines in Transmedia Spaces, edited by Bryan J. Carr and Meta G. Carstarphen


Multiversity Comics

• Robbie Pleasant reviews the loving reintroduction of Jim Zub, Roberto De La Torre, et al’s Conan the Barbarian #1.

• Gregory Ellner reviews the concluding lessons of Tom Taylor, Clayton Henry, et al’s Adventures of Superman: Jon Kent #6.



Hagai Palevsky reviews the slow geometry of Woshibai’s 20KM/H.


The Washington Post

Jacob Brogan has quickfire reviews of Camille Jourdy’s Juliette, translated by Aleshia Jensen; Mattie Lubchansky’s Boys Weekend; Ype Driessen’s The Last Gay Man on Earth; Léonie Bischoff’s Anaïs Nin: A Sea of Lies translated by Jenna Allen; and Joe Kessler’s The Gull Yettin.


Women Write About Comics

Alenka Figa reviews the stunning moments of Andi Santagata’s Yennefer’s Body.

This week’s interviews.


• Chris Mautner interviews Jay Hosler about Santiago!,  community support following a house fire, picking the brains of historians, and empathising with antagonists - “Science and art are both creative endeavors. Most people will accept that about art. But no scientist walks into a lab, pulls out a lab manual, and follows steps that somebody's already mapped out for them and gets something new. You don't do that. You do go in the lab, you follow most of the steps, but you tweak something or you're creative in the way in which you design your experiment because you're trying to learn something new about the physical world.”

• Jean Marc Ah-Sen interviews Adrian Tomine about the adaptation of Shortcomings, and the plausibility of the source material’s characters - “I’m sure some of my harsher critics might find this surprising, but every book I’ve done since Summer Blonde has been an attempt to do something different. Now, of course those differences might be imperceptible to other people, but I do find it helpful to set challenges for myself, to rule out certain things if they’re too similar to the previous book, and just generally work in different ways with different materials.”



Chris Coplan speaks with: 

- Jay Stephens about Dwellings, returning to work with Oni Press, the curse of nostalgia, and the revolting nature of horror.

- Tony Gregori about Porkchop Robot Killer, the story’s journey to publication, and telling dystopian stories in a dystopian world.

- Nicholas Tana about eJunky, the enduring interest in dystopian fiction, and costs of technological advances.


The Beat

Nancy Powell talks to Adam Bessie about Going Remote: A Teacher’s Journey, the response of students to the book, and pandemic realities.



Milton Griepp chats with Mad Cave’s Chris Fernandez and Mark Irwin about planned publishing mixes and Papercutz projects, and with IDW’s Mark Doyle and Tara McCrillis about long term publishing strategies and balancing licensed titles and original work (with more on the realities of this below).



Mandalit del Barco interviews Jamie Lee Curtis, Karl Stevens, Russell Goldman, and Brian Lee Young about Mother Nature, and the book’s focus.

This week’s features and longreads.

• Here at TCJ, Ryan Carey writes on the importance of confrontational work that refuses to pull its punches, considering the examples to be found in the horror anthology Vacuum Decay, edited by Harry Nordlinger - “Those with delicate sensibilities are advised to stay the hell away, of course, but I’d caution even those with an interest in exploring depravity to think long and hard before going down this road. It’s both as “ultimate” and as “extreme” as “ultimate extremes” come, and it’s best to go into any given issue armed with the full knowledge that there could well be things seen within that can’t be unseen.”

• A pair of pieces covering the translation of Adrian Tomine’s Shortcomings from page to screen, under the directorship of Randall Park, as Bonnie Johnson covers the movie’s release for the Los Angeles Times, and Jeet Heer writes on its journey for The Nation.

• Over at The Beat, RM Rhodes tracks the slow, and convoluted, decline of Heavy Metal, and charts where recent financial troubles and collapsing publishing partnerships leaves the company; and Heidi MacDonald covers the apparent cancellation of a number of IDW's Originals line of publications, with rights reverting to their creators, as the publisher continues to try to steady the ship following their recent financial troubles.

• For Shelfdust, T. Trewhella writes on the varieties of horror to be found in the pages of Hellboy, and how Mike Mignola and Richard Corben’s The Crooked Man gets to the heart of them all.

• From the world of open-access academia, in Visual Studies, Ishani Anwesha Joshi and Sathyaraj Venkatesan examine COVID-19-related restriction of touch and tactility through the genre of graphic medicine.

• Mike Peterson rounds up the week’s editorial beat, over at The Daily Cartoonist, as the build up to the next presidential election continues.

This week’s audio/visual delights.

• David Brothers hosted this week’s edition of Mangasplaining, as the team dove into the world of isekai manga, looking at Nami Hidaka and Satoru Yamaguchi’s My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!, and the game mechanics that proliferate through the genre and beyond.

• Gil Roth welcomed Karl Stevens to The Virtual Memories Show this week, as they spoke about Mother Nature, collaborating with Jamie Lee Curtis on the book, enduring pen nib choices, and amassing a collection of Artist’s Editions.

• David Harper was joined by Daniel Warren Johnson for the latest episode of Off Panel, as they discussed Transformers, heading to San Diego Comic Con, and the new comics home for the Autobots and Decepticons.

• Calvin Reid, Heidi MacDonald, Kate Fitzsimons, and Meg Lemke looked back on the San Diego Comic Con just gone for Publisher’s Weekly’s More to Come, as they spoke about the show’s current form in the age of endemic COVID and strikes.

• A pair of trips with John Siuntres in the Word Balloon, as Ethan S. Parker, Griffin Sheridan, and Bob Quinn spoke about Kill Your Darlings and emoji support; and Art Baltazar and Franco dropped in to answer some Q’s.

• Ending another week with some Cartoonist Kayfabe, as Ed Piskor and Jim Rugg discussed Disney+’s Stan Lee, selected works of Daniel Clowes, 1977’s The Comics Journal #38, and Jack Katz’s The First Kingdom.

That’s all for this week, tune in next time to find out after the fact which publisher will be next to drop some industry shattering news on a Friday afternoon.