Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
Or close the wall up with links from this week;
A selection of which are found below.
"To Laugh and Die in Metropolis" pic.twitter.com/U1B5kFRcSJ
— Michel Fiffe (@MichelFiffe) September 9, 2021
The game’s afoot… This week’s news.
• Starting off the week with news from Taiwan’s Ministry of Culture, as they reported that artist Wu Shih-hung has won this year’s Raymond Leblanc Prize for his comic adaptation of Yang Mu’s Storms Over Hills and Ocean.
• Koyama Provides announced the latest recipient of their grant program, awarding $1,500 to Shing Yin Khor, which will be used “to sponsor Project Pizza, a community art project...co-founded with Eron Rauch, which uses pizza themed art to build community and raise money for Food Forward, an organization that rescues food from farmers markets and redistributes them to any community organization that needs them.”
• Auction news returns with not one, not two, but three stories of record-breaking rampant consumerism, as a copy of Amazing Fantasy #15 sold for $3.6m dollars, making it the most expensive comic ever; a signed piece of original art for a 1966 edition of Peanuts sold for $360k, setting a new record for the most valuable Charles Schulz strip at auction; and Jack Kirby and Joe Sinnott’s original cover art for Fantastic Four #86 sold for $480k, as the collectibles market continues to spike. Please imagine the sound of a gavel banging here.
• Elsewhere in the collectibles market, Image Comics are reporting yet another feat of record-breaking by one Todd McFarlane, as Gunslinger Spawn, aka Big-Hat Spawn, is apparently set to launch with the highest sales figures for a new character in 30 years, including those published by Marvel and DC. Further Spawn news will, of course, be doggedly updated as it unfolds.
• ICv2 flags up a report of nearly 5,000 assorted comics and magazines having been stolen from the Robert M. Ervin Jr. collection at the Florida State University Library, with the items in question believed to have been taken between March 2020 and February 2021 - a list of missing publications, some of which may already have been made available for sale, can be found here.
• Maryland’s Flying Dog Brewery is taking legal action against the North Carolina Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission, after the NCABCC rejected a beer label that includes artwork by illustrator Ralph Steadman, depicting a naked person standing by a campfire, on the grounds of ‘bad taste’ - the brewery have issued a lawsuit accusing the Board of infringing on First Amendment rights.
• The Beat summarizes the latest round of this year’s publisher personnel changes, as more positions are filled at IDW, and various others, both at home and abroad; moving forward, not backward; upward, not forward; and always twirling, twirling, twirling.
• Finally, rounding up this week’s developments in the ongoing supply chain cataclysm, increasing transportation costs are starting to have knock-on effects for retailers; book imports from Chinese printing companies look set to suffer shipping severe delays in the run-up to Christmas; and American printing businesses see unprecedented falls in demand, thanks to changing business practices for magazines, and a shift to online advertising.
— allissa 亮 (@formyths) September 16, 2021
Hand delivered… This week’s reviews.
• Leonard Pierce reviews the basic statements of Timothy Snyder and Nora Krug’s On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century - “There are claims in the book that one suspects would not pass muster if submitted to Snyder himself as part of a student’s paper, and the book’s brevity and simplicity may be good selling points, but they don’t make for good history. Many of the warning signs Snyder cites as of menacing portent to our present moment in America – the erosion of privacy, the expansion of the security state, the demonization of immigrants – in fact began long before that, under less cartoonish leadership.”
• Helen Chazan reviews the refreshing deftness of Zack Kruse’s Mysterious Travelers: Steve Ditko and the Search for a New Liberal Identity - “Comics is a visual medium, and Kruse persuasively argues that even when Ditko's distinctive voice is not found in the text of his comics, it can still be heard in the pictures. Kruse does not put aside the matter of the Marvel Method’s slippery record of authorial input, but demonstrates that Ditko’s intentionality can be discussed whether or not he is the primary author of a particular comic. This is an incredibly helpful understanding of how to read Ditko, and, more broadly, the very idea of the pulp cartoonist auteur.”
• David Brooke reviews the light atmosphere of Mike Mignola, Chris Roberson, Laurence Campbell, et al’s Hellboy and The B.P.R.D.: 1957 Family Ties.
• Colin Moon reviews the heavy gravity of Jeff Lemire, Andrea Sorrentino, et al’s Primordial #1.
• Christopher Franey reviews the polarizing denouement of Tom King, Joge Fornes, et al’s Rorschach #12.
• Alex Cline reviews the likable comedy of Natsumi Shiba’s Mr. Bride.
• Daniel Berlin reviews the hyperactive energy of Kokonasu☆Rumba’s Animal Crossing: New Horizons, Volume 1: Deserted Island Diary.
• Cori McCreery reviews the goofy fun of CRC Payne, Starbite, et al’s Batman: Wayne Family Adventures Episodes 1-3.
• Joe Grunenwald reviews the bizarre leveraging of Tom King, Jorge Fornés, et al’s Rorschach #12.
• Rachel A reviews the hilarious honesty of Jenny Robbins' Biscuits (Assorted).
• Nicholas Burman reviews the staid generalities of Pierre Christin, Sébastien Verdier, et al’s Orwell, translated by Edward Gauvin.
• Andy Oliver reviews:
- The chilling claustrophobia of Sammy Ward’s The Deeper You Go Into the King’s Wood.
- The abstract fragments of Olivia Sullivan’s Systems.
- The empathetic realism of Reinhard Kleist’s Knock Out, translated by Michael Waaler.
- The playful gamble of WIP Comics’ Lucky WIP.
- The concise profundity of Chloe Starling’s Even Androids Dream.
- The charming humour of Yu-Ching Chiu’s Lulu’s Flight.
Carolina González Alvarado reviews the varied narratives of Ricardo Peláez Goycochea’s Fuego Lento.
Rachel Cooke reviews the charming mystery of Pascal Girard’s Rebecca & Lucie in the Case of the Missing Neighbor, translated by Aleshia Jensen.
• Kobi Bordoley reviews the rushed thrills of Steve Orlando, Jon Tsuei, Rubine, et al’s Search for Hu #1.
• Gregory Ellner reviews the inviting grit of Chuck Brown, Valentine De Landro, et al’s Black Manta #1.
• Mark Tweedale reviews the smart playfulness of Mike Mignola, Christopher Golden, Laurence Campbell, et al’s Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: 1957—Family Ties.
• Christopher Egan reviews the haunting beauty of Jude Ellison S. Doyle, A.L. Kaplan, et al’s Maw #1.
Have capsule reviews of:
- The successful collage of Johnny Damm’s Failure Biographies.
- The keen sincerity of Mirion Malle’s This Is How I Disappear, translated by Aleshia Jensen and Bronwyn Haslam.
- The wishful optimism of Timothy Snyder and Nora Krug’s On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century.
- The meandering density of Simon Orpana’s Gasoline Dreams: Waking Up from Petroculture.
Ryan Carey reviews the glaring sentimentality of Zidrou and Aimée de Jongh’s Blossoms In Autumn.
Women Write About Comics
• Kate Tanski reviews the shipping potential of Cavan Scott, Jose Luis, et al’s Titans United #1.
• Kathryn Hemmann reviews the relatable openness of Katriona Chapman's Breakwater.
• Magen Cubed reviews the compelling explorations of Peter Milligan, Piotr Kowalski, et al’s God of Tremors; and the cynical narrative of Ralph Tedesco, Victoria Rau, Julius Abrera, Babisu Kourtis, et al’s The Watcher #1-3.
— Simon Hanselmann (@s_k_hanselmann) September 15, 2021
Whispered through a crack in a door… This week’s interviews.
David Brooke talks to Tim Sale and Jeph Loeb about Batman long Halloween Special, and getting the band back together again; and Katie Kubert and Brian Azzarello about Batman: The World, and the universality of Batman and his many problems.
• Avery Kaplan speaks with Chan Chau about Kristy and the Snobs, the finicky fun of reaction shots, merchandise design, and the challenges of animal anatomy; and A.C. Esguerra about Eighty Days, getting ideas off the ground, pilot inspirations, and challenging character design.
• Ricardo Serrano Denis interviews Benjamin Percy about Wereworld, channeling cultural unease, getting that EC Comics vibe, and tipping the hat to Ginger Snaps.
Andy Oliver talks to Nora Goldberg about Hackney Comic + Zine Fair’s ‘Ink Well’ exhibition, exquisite corpses, phone calls to the council, and COVID-safe art shows in 2021.
Dan Q. Dao speaks with Jack Mulqueen about Nightlife Noir, choosing the genre to best represent the New York club scene, Twitter collabs, and how clubbing bounces back from COVID-19.
Jim McLauchlin talks to Kathy Sprague about Idaho’s Safari Pearl, creating a welcoming and diverse community, costume sales as a secondary revenue stream, and sobriety.
Brian Salvatore continues a look back at DC’s New 52, and interviews Tony Akins about Wonder Woman, editorial relationships, the big beats of a superhero title, and design inspirations from Horace Vernet.
Rebecca Kaplan spotlights the work of A.B.O. Comix in uplifting the voices of queer prisoners within the US carceral system, speaking with Casper Cendre about providing a channel for creative energies, challenges of reentry on leaving prison, and wider advocacy work.
Dave Schilling talks to Gene Luen Yang about Shang-Chi, the legacy of Fu Manchu, and making classic/neglected characters more relatable for a contemporary audience.
Brian Heater interviews Simon Hanselmann about Crisis Zone, comics as improv comedy, comics as therapy, and aspirations of responsibility.
Rob Clough speaks with Sophia Glock about 90s X-Men obsessions, finding comics in the days before the ubiquity of internet shopping, and family history in comics form.
Women Write About Comics
Wendy Browne talks to Francesco Artibani and Werther Dell’Edera about He Who Fights With Monsters, timeless tales in historical settings, photographic inspirations, and childhood stories.
— Deb 정진 Lee @ double fisting two graphic novels (@jdebbiel) September 14, 2021
Burn after reading… This week’s features and longreads.
• TCJ co-editor Joe McCulloch rang in the new week, with a preview of podcasting endeavors to chronicle the adventures of one ROM the Space Knight, more on which can be found in the section below this very one - “A lot of moral struggle, particularly later on as the titular Space Knight struggles with a younger generation of cyborg-like characters who abhor his moral code and desire only demonstrations of power. One does wonder if the writer, Bill Mantlo, introduced these familiar struggles specifically to tantalize Ditko; they are not out of line with his own auteur works and later essays, which were very concerned with the threat of anti-heroism.”
• Also here at TCJ, Marc Tessier wrote on the life and work of Quebecois artist Henriette Valium (aka Patrick Henley), who passed away late last week, leaving behind a radical body of work - “Thus, he would be at it all day, switching between canvases, collages, music, videos, silk screening and comics. He could spend days, weeks or years working on a complex multi-level canvas with collaged pieces. Every single piece of art met the high level of perfection he had strived for in his constant artistic practice. For me, looking at the contemporary art scene in Quebec now, Valium is the most important artist of the last few decades.”
• Furthermore for TCJ, Michael O’Connell writes on the experience of selling a comic book collection nearly half a century in the making, and charting one’s life through the culture you engage with and obsess over - “History tells us that Marvel’s new “real emotion” heroes of the 1960s had replaced DC’s straight-arrow, good guys always win, gods walking among us action stories. But for me, the forced realness in the Marvel stories always seemed to be a put-on and frequently got in the way of the storytelling. More often than not, when two Marvel heroes met for the first time, they’d argue over something stupid and then spend five pages pummeling each other. I found that boring.”
• Also on the subject of amassing sizeable hordes of comics, Jeet Heer has a piece for PBS detailing William Randolph Hearst's life of collecting art (and artists), and how this contributed to the ascendancy of cartoon strips as newspaper fare.
• For The Washington Post, following last week’s decision by the Supreme Court not to block Texas’ controversial new abortion law, Michael Cavna rounds up political cartooning on the subject, speaking to the artists about their illustrations, with The Daily Cartoonist’s DD Degg adding some entries from the pro-life camp.
• Chris Gavaler writes for MoMA’s magazine on the tricky subject of just what comics are anyway, and how you go about differentiating them from aht, especially when young upstarts like Roy Lichtenstein get in the mix.
• Writing for Solrad, Hagai Palevsky has an essay on Lucas Varela’s The Longest Day of the Future and Hariton Pushwagner’s Soft City, looking at how these titles engage with our current societal stance of hypercapitalism, parallel to Guy Debord’s The Society of the Spectacle.
• Over at Four Color Apocalypse, a chance happening upon a bargain-priced edition of Captain America by Ta-Nehisi Coates gives rise to a three-part essay from Ryan C on the peaks and troughs of Steve Rogers in the 21st Century.
• Vincent Haddad returns to The Middle Spaces, this time around looking at The Other History of the DC Universe, and the history of The Question, while considering the revisionist tendencies that superhero comics embody, for better or worse.
• 13th Dimension has an excerpt from Back Issue #131, as Bryan D. Stroud examines Dave Gibbons and Ryan Sook’s contribution to Wednesday Comics, presenting their remembrances of working together on reinterpreting Jack Kirby’s Kamandi: The Last Boy on Earth.
• Shelfdust’s Field Theory series continues, as Dan Grote considers the existential question of how Garfield may confront a comically large ball of yarn; and Chad Nevett sets out the evidence for Wanda Maximoff’s position at the top of the mutant leaderboard, and looks at the various superhero plates kept spinning by Marvel, ad nauseam, that Scarlet Witch has sought to topple.
• For NeoText, Chloe Maveal writes on the violent counter-culture shocks, and confrontation of the legacy of the drug Thalidomide, presented in Peter Milligan, Brendan McCarthy, and Carol Swain’s SKIN; and celebrates the influences joyously reflected in the comics work of Aud Koch.
• Mike Peterson rounds up the editorial beat for The Daily Cartoonist once more as arguments across the aisle hit repeat, the 20th anniversary of the attacks of 9/11 was observed, the 8 month anniversary of attacks of 6/1 was observed, liberties of various flavors were considered, recalls were en vogue, and ratings were slumping.
— Jack T. Cole (@NewJackCole) September 13, 2021
Calliope’s bounty… This week’s This week’s audio/visual delights.
• Comic Books are Burning in Hell again, and, after some disparagement of Merrie Olde England’s dedication to lawn mowing that I cannot condone, Tucker Stone, Chris Mautner, Matt Seneca, and Joe McCulloch form a quorum on cosmic space comics and the existential questions found therein.
• Comics are also alive with the sound of SILENCE! once more, as Gary Lactus and The Beast Must Die return to take a look at recent comics on the stands, and pay tribute to comedian Phil Jerrod, who sadly passed away recently.
• Mangasplaining’s second season continues apace, and this week Deb Aoki hosted an episode diving into recent Shonen Jump darling, Spy X Family by Tatsuya Endo, and the comedy potential of its genre-melding setup.
• Cartoonist Kayfabe did some more of what Cartoonist Kayfabe does, as Ed Piskor and Jim Rugg took a look at The Untold Legend of the Batman, Sandman #8, Marvel Poster Book, Kevin Eastman’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Artobiography, and Keiji Nakazawa's I Saw It! The Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima, plus the week’s feature presentation of an in-depth interview with Geof Darrow.
• Voyaging up in the Word Balloon with John Siuntres this week, as passengers included Frank Barbiere and Arris Quinones speaking about Astonishing Times, Cary Nord speaking about Fol’Klor, and Matthew Rosenberg speaking about What’s The Furthest Place From Here?.
• Publisher’s Weekly’s More to Come took a look at the big recent digital moves, during a summer of big digital moves in general, as Heidi MacDonald, Calvin Reid, and Kate Fitzsimons discussed the various machinations of Marvel, DC, and Amazon in putting comics on screens.
• David Harper welcomed Oliver Sava to Off Panel, as they put the superhero comics world to rights, looking at just what it is that the Big Two are trying to pull on us right now, and whether there’s actually a plan involved.
Sketchbook snippet. pic.twitter.com/8dwI7y9kdL
— Aud Koch (@audkoch) September 15, 2021
That’s your lot for this week, no second servings, you’ll just need to wait until next time now.
A happy griffin for a friend ✨ pic.twitter.com/HYJX4RXQph
— Maria Capelle Frantz (@mariacfrantz) September 11, 2021