A quieter week than we’ve had of late on the comics internet, and this handily coincided with summer emphatically arriving in London, which has caused my brain to melt and ooze out of my ears.
There’s still been plenty of the Good Stuff™ to get your teeth into though, and, who knows, maybe it will make your brain melt too? Let’s find out with this week’s links, which you can find below...
The human torch was denied a bank loan… This week’s news.
• Following the success of its inaugural edition, First Second are bringing together another virtual Comics Relief festival next month. You can register now for the events taking place on Saturday 6th June, with a day of digital events to get stuck into.
• As some look back on the first wave of digital comics events, brought into life in response to COVID-19-related lockdowns, news reaches us out of Tampa Bay that there’ll be a comic con for 2020, but with (apparently) stringent rules in place to attempt to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 dissemination - let’s all wait and see how that works out, eh.
• Virtual award season continues, and this week it’s a hearty congratulations to Gary Larson, as The Far Side’s new(ish) home on the internet took home a Webby Award for Humor/People’s Voice, a category which also saw Alex Norris’ Webcomic Name in the running.
• Confronted by the COVID-19 pandemic, Alan Grant has done what he does best and created a comic with local residents of the village in Scotland that he calls home, which was previously hit badly by the UK’s foot and mouth outbreak in the early noughties - the BBC has the story, and talked to Grant about the fundraising endeavor. Sadly there’s no sign of an Anarky cameo.
Rip it up and start again… This week’s reviews.
• Helen Chazan reviews the disturbing wonder, and newly relevant dimensions, of Kazuo Umezz’ The Drifting Classroom: Perfect Edition, volume 2
• Frank M. Young reviews the vibrant anarchy of Ed Leffingwell’s Little Joe: the Sunday Comics, co-edited by Peter Maresca and Sammy Harkham
• Vishal Gullapall reviews the tonal storytelling of Declan Shalvey’s Bog Bodies.
• Chris Coplan reviews the refreshing weirdness of the eighth installment of Fantagraphics’ anthology series, NOW.
• Benjamin Novoa reviews the heavy-handed introduction of Joe Harris, Sebastian Piriz, et al’s Disaster Inc. #1.
• John Seven reviews the swashbuckling cruelty of Olivier Schrauwen, Florent Ruppert, and Jérôme Mulot’s Portrait of a Drunk; and the lyrical weirdness of Borja Gonzalez’ A Gift for A Ghost, translated by Lee Douglas.
• Morgana Santilli reviews Taiyō Matsumoto’s visually outstanding sports manga, Ping Pong.
• Josh Hilgenberg reviews the magical (almost too much) realism running through Jenn Jordan and Sophie Goldstein's An Embarrassment of Witches.
• Avery Kaplan looks back at the effective representation of a relationship at the heart of Tee Franklin, Jenn St-Onge, et al's Bingo Love.
• Lindsay Pereira reviews the deceptive simplicity of Weng Pixin’s Sweet Time, and the magical nature of Rumi Hara’s Nori, in a pandemic-escapism double feature..
• Ally Russell Shields reviews the accelerated nihilism of Michael DeForge’s Stunt.
Four Color Apocalypse
Ryan C has a trilogy of Perfectly Acceptable Press reviews, as he looks at the pared-down aesthetics of Hiller Goodspeed’s Simple Things, the challenging intimacy of Brianna Rose Brooks’ Oh My (Bri), and the liberating Utopia of Pablo Delcielo And Shihab Alen’s Anarchy In The Kingdom Of Heaven.
Library Journal [starred reviews]
Thomas L. Batten has capsule reviews of:
- The dramatic complexities of Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips’ Cruel Summer;
- The hilarious fearlessness of Adrian Tomine’s The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Cartoonist;
- The passionate energy of Tom Scioli’s Jack Kirby: The Epic Life of the King of Comics;
- The uncompromising intelligence of Shary Flenniken’s Trots and Bonnie.
• Brian Salvatore reviews Curt Pires, Alex Diotto, et al’s superhero coming-of-age story, Youth #1.
• Jodi Odgers reviews the shadowy thrills of Hannah Berry’s Adamtine.
• Kate Kosturski reviews Tommy Jenkins and Katie Lacker’s graphical history, Drawing the Vote: An Illustrated Guide to Voting.
• Joe Skonce looks back at the high-stakes super-heroics of Paul Cornell, Leonard Kirk, et al's Captain Britain and the MI-13 #1-4.
• Matthew Blair looks back at Jason Aaron, R.M Guera, et al's South Dakota neo-noir, Scalped: Volume 1.
Joey Edsall reviews the growing pains of Joe Harris, Sebastian Piriz, et al’s Disaster Inc. #1.
Chris Gavaler reviews the engaging oddness of Niv Bavarksy and Michael Olivo's Old Growth.
Have capsule reviews this week of:
- Christian Staebler, Sonia Paoloni, Thibault Balahy's musical memoir, Redbone: The True Story of a Native American Rock Band.
- Rayco Pulido's psychological thriller Ghostwriter, translated by Andrea Rosenberg.
- 'Fane's automotive adventure Streamliner: Bye-bye Lisa Doro, translated by Ivanka Hahnenberger.
- Yeong Shin-Ma's deadpan dramedy Moms, translated by Janet Hong.
- Declan Shalvey and Gavin Fullerton's broody Irish crime drama, Bog Bodies.
• Daniel Elkin reviews the bold storytelling of Leslie Stein’s I Know You Rider.
• Ryan Carey reviews the impeccable cynicism of Max Huffman’s Big Drink.
• Alex Hoffman reviews the apocryphal interrogation of Evan Dahm’s The Harrowing of Hell.
• Rob Clough reviews a random sampling of autobio minicomics from his collection, including John Porcellino’s King Cat #79, Kevin Budnik’s It’s Okay To Be Sad, MR Trower’s Frog, and the anthology Threads That Connect Us.
Women Write About Comics
Alenka Figa returns to a pair of Czap Books publications, as they find new life (and new colors) as part of Random House Graphic’s output - Jessi Zabarsky’s emotional fantasy Witchlight, and Laura Knetzger’s slice-of-insectoid-life Bug Boys.
What’s your record for consecutive questions asked? ...This week’s interviews.
• RJ Casey talks to Roman Muradov about stock illustration plagiarism, the depressingly predictable embracing of this practice by the tech industry, and how young artists can establish themselves in a rapidly changing field.
• Alex Dueben interviews Kelly Thompson about ‘cheating’ on graphic design with comics, collaborating with artists and being pushed to do better, and why humor is key.
• Chris Hassan catches up with Todd Nauck about keeping busy while the comics industry is on pause, and the nitty gritty of that enduring secondary industry - commissions.
• Nicole Herviou interviews Jose Pimienta about his new graphic novel Suncatcher, and what went into its creation.
Matt O’Keefe chats to Kieron Dwyer about the realities of political cartooning during times of upheaval, and the therapeutic nature of getting thoughts out onto the page.
• Rebecca Burke interviews Jasmin Garcia-Verdin about returning to her webcomic Spacewarriors, and the natural progression of moving into comics as a storytelling form.
• Andy Oliver talks to Danny Noble about her graphic memoir Shame Pudding, and her reluctance to embrace collaborative projects.
David Barnett interviews Alex de Campi and Duncan Jones about their new science fiction group-effort, and spiritual sequel to the films Moon and Mute, Madi: Once Upon a Time in the Future, as it heads to Kickstarter for funding (which it very quickly reached and surpassed the set target of).
There’s a big (and I mean big - 5 parts, no less) interview with Diamond Distribution’s CEO Steve Geppi, on ICv2 this week, digging into a chaotic quarter for the company, and while it doesn’t really go for the jugular at any point, there are still interesting tidbits to be had, including - hey, where are all the Free Comic Book Day Comics, and can we ever expect them to see the light of day?
• Brian Salvatore follows up his review of Youth #1 with a breakdown of the issue by writer Curt Pires.
• Elias Rosner talks to Mike Henderson and Joshua Williamson about the next stage of their horror series, Nailbiter Returns.
Vaneta Rogers interviews Peter Tomasi on escapism in times of real world strife, via Detective Comics, and throwing your lot in with Gotham’s dark knight.
• Karama Horne interviews Ed Brubaker and Marcos Martin about their new series Friday, and asks the classic Panel Syndicate-related question of “yeah, but seriously, when’s this going to appear in print?”.
• Adam Pockross talks to James Tynion IV about Batman comics returning to shops, and setting up major franchise events during a publishing hiatus.
#ReadAboutComicsStayHome… This week’s features and long-reads.
• Here at TCJ, Steve Ringgenberg looks back at the life and work of Martin Pasko, a storied writer and editor for comics and television, following his passing earlier this month.
• Also here at TCJ, Austin English dives headfirst into the “but is it art?” debate, holding up Milton Caniff and George Herriman for considered inspection, and a lively exchange of opposing points of view erupts in the comments, which is very much worth scrolling down to. Vive la difference!
• Tegan O’Neil has the first part of a new feature up on the site this week, looking at the history of the Doom Patrol, and the arrival of everyone’s favorite Glaswegian chaos magician - Grant Morrison - on the series, its place in the pantheon of cape and cowl comics, and the series’ lasting impact thirty (!!!) years after its initial publication, in the face of the unstoppable march of time.
• Also on the "time, well, it'll get you" front, at AIPT, Matt Kindt returns to his graphic novel 3 Story: The Secret History of the Giant Man, as its 15th anniversary approaches, and looks back at how it represents his coming to terms with fatherhood.
• Drew Bradley’s ‘Ghosts of Comics Past’ series focuses this time on 1970, looking back at the market forces that were prominent in funny books at that time, as DC and Marvel began to assert their dominance of the periodical market.
• DD Degg brings together sources in defense of "it was a dark and stormy night", including Batman's paying homage to the writing of one Snoopy Beagle, esq. which I think is always worth linking to.
• Gregory Paul Silber asks the hot question of COVID-19 times - “will comics survive the current crisis?” - from the position of periodical industry ≠ medium, which does seem to be conflated somewhat more than usual at the moment.
• Writing at Popmatters, Justin F. Martin revisits Anne Haas Dyson’s Writing Superheroes, and asks what the foundational text can teach us about children’s learning habits in isolation, while processing the power systems they inhabit reflected in the media they consume.
• Mike Avila profiles Gardner Fox, for 'Behind the Panel', arguing that the (often pseudonymous) writer deserves more recognition than he's currently afforded in comics circles, given his prodigious output over the course of this career.
• Over at Shelfdust, Charlotte Finn continues her ‘Year in the Big City’, looking at Astro City #20 and pondering the role of the jerk in superhero stories; David Brothers joins the ranks of ‘The Seven Critics of Victory’, looking at Frankenstein #1 and considering the 2006 portrayal of the maligned nerd lashing out for readers in 2020; and Caitlin Rosberg examines the Joker’s place in Batman’s rogues gallery through the lens of Batman: White Knight.
• Women Write About Comics serve up another helping of ‘WWACommendations’, as Dani Kinney, Alenka Figa, and Draven Katayama dish on what they’ve been reading recently, to pass the quaran-times.
• Similar to, UK Comics Laureate, Hannah Berry’s recent survey in the UK, Ken Eppstein has put together a comics stakeholder survey, and discusses the first round of results, while putting out a call for more respondents to increase the reach of the stats gathered therein - it’s interesting (albeit currently limited) reading, so help get that population size (n) up, and be part of the cohort.
• Writing in The Paris Review, Rebekah Frumkin has an interesting piece on the visual depictions of the COVID-19 coronavirus, why we’re all now picturing a grey blob with a red coronet when the disease is mentioned, and why scientific illustrations of pathogens are important.
#ReadComicsStayHome… This week’s comics offerings from the web.
• Here at TCJ, Rob Kirby has a week of ‘Cartoonist’s Diaries’ for us, as he experiences the insomnia and manbun-fear that is common during this quarantine, and the small pleasures to be taken during furlough.
• The Beat have an exclusive full first issue of Cullen Bunn, Brian Hurtt, and Tyler Crook‘s spooky comic Manor Black, featuring a spooky car crash, some spooky immolation, a spooky hourglass, and more spookiness.
• For The New York Times, Ivan Brunetti invokes Kafka in his entry for ‘The Diary Project’, and we get a history lesson on spaetzle and how (not) to make it, while Ali Fitzgerald asks the question on everyone’s lips “am I becoming JD Salinger?”.
• Over at The Nib, Nate Powell reflects on the short-change we’ve all been given by fiction in depicting the apocalypse; Dorian Alexander and Levi Hastings look at the corporate railway scams of yesteryear; and (in part one of a collaboration with Reveal) Thi Bui illustrates an interview with an asylum seeker incarcerated by ICE in Louisiana, and the detention center’s ill-preparedness for the COVID-19 pandemic.
• At NPR, Malaka Gharib illustrates Sudanese refugee, now Virginian coffee company owner, Manyang Reath Kher’s story about surviving a snake bite as a child, while living alone in a refugee camp; and Clare Schneider illustrates Rachel Wilkerson Miller’s lessons on taking care of yourself during times of stress, which she also discusses with Shereen Marisol Meraji.
• Solrad Presents has yet another new title joining its weekly line-up, and this time they present the next issue of Andrew Neal’s Meeting Comics.
• Already seeming like the most fantastical of science fiction, Walter Scott has a comic outing for Wendy in Maisonneuve, as the titular enfant terrible goes on a night out in 2011, and you (or random chance, if you’ve got a die handy) control where she ends up.
• For The Guardian, Mark Haddon, author of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, looks at social distancing from the point of view of those for whom it’s already a way of life.
• News of a new comic coming from my family’s neck of the woods, as HOME Manchester announces they’ve commissioned Nick Burton to produce a new weekly strip, Our Plague Year, which you can sign up to receive (free) weekly email episodes of now.
Long live the new flesh… This week’s recommended watching.
• Fantagraphics had another Instagram takeover this week, as Georgia Webber was given the social media reins and showed viewers the inspiration that can be gained from plants, artist recommendations, and answered reader questions - it’s a nicely relaxing time all round.
• VanCAF’s digital programming really has been quite something, and they’ve continued with the frenetic output this week, which you can dive into now - there are creator spotlights, panels, and how-tos, so you can easily lose a whole afternoon dipping into it.
• On a similar note, and if you’re looking for a way to kill time this weekend - video archives of this year’s (virtual) Queer Comics Expo from the Cartoon Art Museum are now available to watch, and will be streaming for free, via Twitch, until next week.
• Marc Evanier sat down for a live stream with Scott Shaw this week, talking about his career in comics and animation, the foundation and early days of San Diego Comic Con, Jack Kirby anecdotes, and more.
• As part of TCAF’s online programming, as the festival takes a COVID-induced skip-year, Irene Velentzas talks to Scott Chantler for a virtual spotlight on his work, and his new book Bix, including some heavy comics theory and process chat along the way.
• For the latest episode of Strip Panel Naked, Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou asks the question “does the comics form have punctuation?” and looks to the works of Darwyn Cooke for the answers - spoilers: you bet they do, baby.
• Shawn Crystal’s back with another episode of Inkpulp, and this time he’s brought along Andy Belanger and Karl Kerschl to talk The Lost Boys, do some inking (natch), chat about what they’re working on at the moment, and, uh, Andy builds a hunting bow.
• Joe Q is continuing to warm-up, and this week he’s joined by Donny Cates (who gets a haircut during the chat), and Brad Meltzer (who does not get a haircut during the chat, for daily obvious reasons, if you watch the video).
• Tyler Crook’s Drawn to the Shop returns this week, and he’s chatting to the team at Colorado’s I Want More Comics about how they’re holding up during a tough time for retail, and also draws everyone’s favourite scouse warlock, John Constantine.
• The Beat and Comix Experience’s Graphic Novel of the Month Club convened in February to talk to Andy Warner about his graphic novel Spring Rain, his working process, and the realities of the comics market.
• Cartoonist Kayfabe took a walk through the mainstream this week, as they interviewed Netflix’ favourite, Mark Millar, but also Kept Things Kayfabe™ by also chatting at length about Art out of Time: Unknown Comics Visionaries, and Ben Edlund’s absurdist superhero satire The Tick #1 - spoon!
• Noah Van Sciver’s cartoon chats continued apace, as he caught up with such luminaries as Rick Parker (savvy business advice from his mother!), Keeli McCarthy (desert goth respect!), and Jeffrey Brown (Salacious Crumb chat!).
Turn it up, bring the noise… This week’s easy-listening.
• Question: when is a back-issue dealer not a back-issue dealer? Answer: When they’re the My Pillow Guy. All this, and more (Lala Albert’s Seasonal Shift, and your weekly Garth Ennis’ update) are discussed on the only comic book podcast, Comic Books Are Burning In Hell.
• Not content to just take over the visual comics content space, VanCAF also have a new episode of their collaboration with Sloane Leong and Leslie Hung’s Salt and Honey podcast, as they throw a spotlight on Junko Mizuno, talking to her about her work and process, and her comics Pure Trance and Little Fluffy Gigolo Pelu.
• It’s a comics news outlet crossover episode, as Newsarama’s Chris Arrant joins David Brooke and Forrest Hollingsworth for the AIPT Comics Podcast, for an inside baseball episode about editing a site, and the current state of the industry in the age of COVID-19.
• Shelfdust Presents takes a look at another first issue, as Matt Lune welcomes Alex Lu to break down Christopher Sebela, Ted Brandt, et al’s Crowded #1.
• A brief listen, as WBUR’s Tonya Mosley chats to cartoonist Steenz about taking over the Heart of the City daily strip.
• Dan Nadel’s cave is still being fumigated, and there’s a new episode to listen to as he talks to Aline Kominsky-Crumb and Laurie Simmons about their childhood synchronicity.
• You’ve got to hand it to 2000 AD’s podcast droid MOLCH-R, as this week’s episodes are absolute crackers - the first welcoming Chris Weston and Simon Furman to the podcast to talk about their new series reviving ‘The House of Dolmann’, followed by a deep-dive into Alan Moore and Ian Gibson’s Halo Jones with the Doomrocket team; while the second episode of the week features an all-star line-up of Brian Bolland, Dave Gibbons, and Mick McMahon (!!!) to talk about their tenures on the Galaxy’s Greatest Comic.
• Dan Berry has a new edition of Make It Then Tell Everybody this week, talking to cartoonist Lucy Bellwood, and it’s a two-parter as part one has a wood theme, while part two digs into the more serious aspects of working careers in illustrated storytelling.
• Aditya Bidikar and Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou have a new episode of Letters and Lines this week, and they’re talking monthlies, and whether the format is holding the periodical comic form back.
• Gil Roth’s Virtual Memories show checked in with cartoonist Glynnis Fawkes this week, talking about the historical precedence of pandemics, mixing things up for diary comics, and missing seeing people at comics festivals.
• Off Panel is talking retail this week, welcoming Escape Pod Comics’ Menachem Luchins to the show for a whistle stop tour of trade topics, and comics retail nitty gritty.
Fold your hands child, you walk like a peasant… This week’s links for younger readers.
• Tor Freeman’s delightful Oddleigh has returned, which is great news, and you can jump on board with the first episode, as Chief Inspector Jessie and Sergeant Sid listen out for ‘Junkyard Whispers’.
• The Kubert School’s live sketch classes continue (and will be doing so throughout June, under Emma Kubert’s tutelage, albeit in a paid-for capacity), and this week’s tutor was Maria Sanapo, taking students through drawing the most powerful of princesses - She-Ra.
• Disney’s Draw with Pixar series has some new episodes too, as viewers can draw-along with the studio’s art team, or, for the more Ghibli inclined, you can draw-along with producer Toshio Suzuki, and illustrate your own Totoro.
• The Cartoon Art Museum has a summer programme of (online) comics workshops coming up for younger creators who want to flex their art-muscles, including creating a Sonic-sona, cartooning academy events for teens, and family cartooning workshops.
Those are all the links that I have for you this week, I’m going to go and float in a cold bath now, and think of the joys the future will bring, before I return, refreshed, next week.
Stay well, stay home (if you can; if you can’t, be safe), and be kind.