Looking back, and seeing how this week’s links, a selection of which can be found below, panned out, I’m a bit frustrated that I didn’t focus last week’s edition entirely on Kareem Abdul-Jabbar annoying first Bryan Hitch and then, somehow, indirectly, large swathes of comics critics the world over.
Never look a really stupid gift horse in the mouth! You’d think I’d have learned that by now. Completely idiotic, potentially inaccurate, inconsequential jokes for days. But, ah! Well, nevertheless, these fingers keep on walking across the trackpad of life, so let’s get on with it. And next time the opportunity presents itself? Skyhooks for everyone, I promise.
— Nathan Bulmer (@natemorebikes) April 19, 2022
A burning dog… This week’s news.
• Starting off the week with awards news, The Beat announced this year’s winners of the Cartoonist Studio Prize Award, with the Center for Cartoon Studies, as Lee Lai took home the award for best print comic, and Adam de Souza won best webcomic for Blind Alley.
• Elsewhere, in prizes that will be announced in the future news, the Ringo Awards opened up the ballot nomination process for this year’s Mike Wieringo Comic Book Industry Awards; while Graphic Medicine announced the shortlist for the inaugural Graphic Medicine International Collective Award, winners TBA July 16th.
• CBC reports on Metroland Media’s apology to First Nations readers, after seven newspapers in the Southern Ontario region ran a cartoon by Steve Nease “...depicting Indigenous people asking the Pope for financial compensation.” Hiawatha First Nation Chief Laurie Carr acknowledged the apologies from Metroland Media and Nease, “...but would have preferred it be just an apology, rather than explain the intention behind the cartoon.”
• Industry personnel movement news, and The Beat reports on Rich Johnson joining Diamond Book Distributors, ICv2 covers Kurt Nelson joining Mad Cave and Adam Philips moving to Dynamite Entertainment, and Anime News Network shares news that Takenori Ichihara has resigned from Shogakukan in order to focus on writing manga.
• Weeks after news broke that San Diego Comic Con would be licensing the Comic-Con brand, ICv2 shares news that the non-profit organisation filed a loss of $8 million for 2020, after the COVID-19 pandemic caused myriad postponements and cancellations of in-person events, with hopes now banked on revenue generated from ticket/exhibition sales for 2023’s summer event..
• Koyama Provides announced the latest recipient in their grant program, awarding $1,500 to Sacha Mardou, which will be used to “...buy a new laptop to replace the ageing, unreliable one I share with my 12-year-old kid. It’s going to make planning, scripting, scanning and editing my work so much easier!”
• Bandwagon hopping almost a full fiscal year after it would have even made unethical financial sense to do so, both Image Comics and Archie Comics decided that this would be the week to make their T’s non-fungible, actually, with the former begging the question ‘who currently owns the digital token linked to that variant cover image, and is a mere 3 months after being allegedly obstructive to unionising efforts within your offices really when you’re choosing to perform this latest act of self-sabotage?’, while the latter invites wagers regarding just how many scams (and/or scamolas) you can pile on top of one another before the entire thing collapses under its own weight. And, while watching corporate accounts getting ratio’d into the sun is fun and all, you eventually find yourself wondering idly about where we’re up to with the environmental impact of the whole thing, and you read a paper that comes in the wake of COP26, which looks you dead in the eye, and shrugs, before saying “Hypothetically, the mining devices verifying NFT sales in one month in 2021 would be responsible for approximately 18 unnecessary future deaths from carbon emissions,” so you have to leave the house and go for a bike ride, refusing to stop pedalling until you’re too tired to think about it any more, because people probably want you to change the record, you’re honestly bored of it all at this point too, but it just keeps happening, so in the end you simply lie down on your bed and try to remember the smiles of the people in your life who you’ve lost until you fall asleep. That was this week’s news.
— formyths (@formyths) April 21, 2022
And now for something completely different… This week’s reviews.
• Roman Muradov reviews the masterful confidence of Anna Haifisch’s Mouse in Residence, translated by James Turek - “I’ve watched many people draw, and I’ve often felt that there are two fundamental approaches to markmaking: gestural and constructed. I feel less confident about the latter term, as it implies something cold and calculated, which certainly is not the case with Haifisch—she builds up her lines in small deliberate and seemingly erratic strokes that add up to a tightly-woven whole despite the loose and scratchy manner of each movement.”
• Keith Silva reviews the military metaphors of Garth Ennis, PJ Holden, et al’s The Lion & the Eagle#1 - “While Holden shows pluck by drawing droplets of perspiration streaming down the character’s faces to depict the jungle heat, it’s a tough look to pull off, regardless. Being a veteran of Ennis’s war comics, Holden’s depictions of vehicles are spot on, excelling at WWII aircraft in all their stately grace. As the series continues, it will be interesting to see how Holden transitions from fields full of aircraft to the close fighting of jungle warfare which he does here in a limited sense with the march through the jungle to the fuel depot. (One suspects there will be more sweat.)”
• Holly Woodbury reviews the disjointed insincerity of Rachael Smith, Katherine Lobo, and Justin Birch’s Good Game, Well Played.
• Chandler Poling reviews the fulfilling plotting of Jed MacKay, Lee Garbett, et al’s The Death of Doctor Strange.
• David Brooke reviews the creative details of Tochi Onyebuchi, Collin Kelly, Jackson Lanzing, Mattia de Iulis, et al’s Captain America #0.
• David Canham reviews the entertaining set-pieces of David Pepose, Ruben Rojas, et al’s The O.Z. #2.
• John Schaidler reviews the hardboiled tropes of Stephanie Phillips, Peter Krause, et al’s We Only Kill Each Other.
• Eric Alex Cline reviews the charming humour of Maki Miyoshi’s Nighttime for Just Us Two.
• Arpad Okay reviews the trippy confessions of Julie Doucet’s Time Zone J.
• Cori McCreery reviews the seamless characterisations of Jai Jamison, Adam Mallinger, Andrew N. Wong, Tom Grummett, et al’s Earth-Prime #2.
• Hussein Wasiti reviews the shallow fun of Tochi Onyebuchi, Collin Kelly, Jackson Lanzing, Mattia De Iulis, et al’s Captain America #0.
Andy Oliver reviews the nuanced reflections of Whit Taylor’s Montana Diary, the clever interweaving of Joris Bas Backer’s Kisses for Jet, the marvellous subtlety of Alxndra Cook’s Ghostly Thoughts, and the outstanding accounting of Rebecca Hall and Hugo Martinez' Wake: The Hidden History of Women-Led Slave Revolts.
House to Astonish
Paul O’Brien reviews the shallow romp of Benjamin Percy, Joshua Cassara, et al’s X Lives of Wolverine.
• Mary E. Butler has a starred capsule review of the enticing emotions of Wataru Midori’s Run on Your New Legs, translated by Caleb D. Cook.
• Jason L. Steagall has a starred capsule review of the haunting designs of Cullen Bunn and Andrea Mutti’s Parasomnia.
• Joe Skonce reviews the meandering plotting of Tres Dean, Sebastian Piriz, et al’s We Ride Titans #3.
• Kobi Bordoley reviews the powerful frights of Jurii Kirnev, Natalia Tsarevnikova, et al’s Vanity #1.
• Alexander Jones reviews the underwhelming action of Jackson Lanzing, Collin Kelly, Tochi Onyebuchi, Mattia De Iulis, et al’s Captain America #0.
Helen Chazan has capsule reviews of V.A.L.I.S. Ortiz’ RIP MOU 2, Sunmi Flowers’ Cameraman, Ruby May Valentine’s The Dying Shadows, Casey Nowak’s Bodyseed Prologue, and Coco Paluck’s Skeleton Clocks.
Came up as a FB memory. It's still close to Easter so what the heck!
The splash page from The Judas Coin. 2010. pic.twitter.com/3LmJW9eyH7
— Walter Simonson (@WalterSimonson) April 19, 2022
Power, equality, always see everything… This week’s interviews.
Jean Marc Ah-Sen interviews Chaz Truog about The Passion of Sergius & Bacchus, the magic of Frank Thorne, the realities of working with Grant Morrison, and the heartbreak of Chiaroscuro - “I would have loved to have done a Sandman story with Neil Gaiman. In those days, he was living over the border in Wisconsin. I would still love to do a Conan or Red Sonja story, the latter because of Frank Thorne. I didn’t grow up reading superhero books, so I wasn’t one of those guys who dreamed of drawing Spider-Man or Batman since they were ten. When I came to comics, in my mid-teens, I was reading Savage Sword of Conan, Marvel’s black and white Planet of the Apes magazine, John Carter Warlord of Mars (with those wonderful Nebres inks), Heavy Metal (my intro to Moebius, Corben, and Milo Manara), and the Warren black and whites (with the reprinted Frazetta covers).”
• Chris Hassan talks to Al Ewing about X-Men Red, top-tier mutants, theological debates, and character planning via Slack.
• Chris Coplan chats with Nir Levie about Bioripple, the architectural structure of comics, visual influences, and stylistic progression.
• David Brooke interviews Greg Pak, Khoi Pham, and Scott Hanna about Duo, finding the emotional hook for genre fiction, and collaborating with Denys Cowen and Reggie Hudlin.
Lindsay Pereira speaks with Matthew Thurber about Mr Colostomy, daily comics rituals, the philosophy of jokes, and the angst of a restless career.
The Comics Grid
Ernesto Priego interviews Megan Herbert about defining forms of visual storytelling, developing a thick skin in a writers’ room, and keeping an ideas book on-hand.
The Hollywood Reporter
Borys Kit talks to Scott Dunbier, and contributors to the Comics for Ukraine: Sunflower Seeds anthology, about what to expect from the fundraising campaign.
Mark Tweedale interviews Tyler Crook about The Lonesome Hunters, magpie research, the inspiration of Guts’ sword choices, and the many ways to be lonely.
The New York Times
Yevgeniya Traps speaks with Julie Doucet about Time Zone J, returning to the medium of comics, and slowing down the reading experience.
Scott Simon talks to Liana Fick about Let There Be Light, maintaining a connection to the Scriptures, the loneliness of God, and wanting to ruffle feathers; and George O’Connor about The Olympians, consistent personality traits of the Greek pantheon, favourite goddesses, and not censoring mythologies.
• Dai Newman interviews Jonathan Dyck about Shelterbelts, holistic story inspirations, maintaining the grid, and representing the plasticity of religion.
• Maurice Boyer chats with James Spooner about The High Desert, punk introductions, evolving discussions around intersectionality, and learning by doing.
Pietro Scarnera talks to Manuele Fior about Celestia and The Interview, thinking with images and improvisation, and creating Venice anew.
Alex Dueben speaks with Amy Kim Kibuishi about The Rema Chronicles: Realm of the Blue Mist, being at the whim of the story, and cartographical inspirations.
Brandon Bush interviews Tim Fielder about the Black Metropolis exhibition, the modality of Afrofuturism, speaking at Carnegie Hall, and the return of Matty's Rocket.
New Ukraine Aid Print!!
This time all print proceeds will go to Come Back Alive Ukraine. Last time I sent $3k to Razom, which was amazing!!! This time I want to send double that or more to support defense strategies and tech for the Ukrainian Army 💪🦋https://t.co/XABq7mX8mP pic.twitter.com/X7SqeE9ZZy
— nat noodle ✨🐛 (@natAndrewson) April 19, 2022
One of the ways that we show our age… This week’s features and longreads.
• Here at TCJ, David Roach writes in remembrance of the life and work of Garry Leach, who passed away last month, aged 67 - “Dave Elliott has suggested that Garry rarely sought out comic work, with most of his assignments coming from friends or admirers who wanted to work with him. This goes some way to explaining his prolonged absences from the art form, and also his return to mainstream comics in 1999, starting off a lengthy period of inking strips drawn by British and Irish artist friends.”
• Also for TCJ, Bill Kartalopoulos reports from the return to in-person programming at the COVID-delayed 49th edition of the Angoulême International Comics Festival - “Nevertheless, the overwhelming vibe of this year’s Festival was good feelings. Everyone was happy to be back, and everyone was happy to be together again. After hours, especially, the Festival felt very much like a family reunion as many of us reconnected with people who we hadn’t seen in literally years. More than usual, the simple fact of once again being in Angoulême reinforced some kind of odd group identity: however much there might be to complain about the Festival in any given year, we are the kind of people who go to this show, god help us.”
• This week also saw the return of A Cartoonist’s Diary to TCJ, as Jennifer Hayden charts a week in the life, including a vase of dissolving words, calming hematites, tiny hopping birds, and the smells of spring, with a final entry arriving today.
• Covering ongoing threats to the First Amendment rights of young readers in the United States, PEN America published a report on recent waves of school book bans, and charts how these book removals feature “intense focus on books that relate to communities of color and LGBTQ+ subjects over the past nine months.”
• Elsewhere, for Women Write About Comics, Masha Zhdanova writes on WEBTOON’s unclear moderation policies, and how they’re causing content takedowns with no notification beforehand, and causing creators to look elsewhere for hosting.
• For BOMB, Aidan Koch writes on the intersection of comics with issues of environmental justice and political inaction regarding climate change, and introductory examples in both the fiction and nonfiction spaces.
• Over at The Beat, Heidi MacDonald writes on the ever widening topic of translating IP from page to screen, as film adaptations of work-for-hire comics increasingly directly adapt concepts, plotlines, and panel-specific visuals for corporate $$$, while skirting the question of what’s fair for creators. Same as it ever was.
• For NeoText, Charles E.P. Murphy writes on Dudley Watkins, and Lord Snooty, versus Hitler and the Nazis during World War II, and how British comics and their creators chose to support the war effort on the homefront; and Christa 'Cabbage' Harader celebrates the balanced tension in the whirlwind romance of Leah Williams and Germán García's Barbarella/Dejah Thoris.
• Shelfdust’s Black Comics History continues, as David Brothers writes on returning to Dwayne McDuffie and Denys Cowan’s Hardware #1, and its enduring idea of personal freedoms; and Shelfdust 500 also continues, as Tom Shapira focuses in on Alan Moore and Rick Veitch’s Swamp Thing #54 and the thorny issue of providing the supporting casts of superheroes with agency.
• Comics distro is going through a fairly thorny patch itself at the moment, and that’s not gone unnoticed, as Multiversity Comics and Publisher’s Weekly both look at how we got to now, with PW also providing a potted timeline of key milestones from the last 35 years of the comics market.
• Mike Peterson rounds up the editorial beat for the week, over at The Daily Cartoonist, as contrasts between Easter tidings and geopolitical instability vied for attention, before focus turned inwards.
Charlie The Indescribable Being Who is Impossible To See in "Choking Safety" pic.twitter.com/f6JJ0B9mxX
— Rory Blank (@BoneJail) April 20, 2022
Guess who just got yelled at… This week’s audio/visual delights.
• Batman Books? Still Burning in Hell! And this week Cliff Chiang joined Matt Seneca and Tucker Stone to discuss Catwoman: Lonely City, designing metahuman drip, Fungus the Bogeyman, and the celibacy of the Caped Crusader.
• Mangasplaining’s new series continues apace, and this week’s episode was led by Deb Aoki as focus was given to Ranmaru Zariya’s Birds of Shangri-La, NSFW-style, and silliness ensued.
• House to Astonish returned, and Paul O’Brien and Al Kennedy discussed silliness of a different kind in the direct market, the kind that causes widespread environmental damage, while Shelfdust Presents’ The War Effort saw another SILENCE! To Astonish crossover as Kennedy was joined by Gary Lactus and The Beast Must Die to interrogate Secret Wars #7.
• A quadrilogy (tetralogy? Other made up quantification term?) of guests joining John Siuntres for Word Balloon, as Pornsak Pichetshot discussed The Good Asian, Ram V spoke about Bruce Wayne, Kyle Starks chatted F*ck This Place, and Ibrahim Moustafa looked ahead to Retro-Active.
• The last of Chris Pitzer’s recent appearances with Jim Rugg and Ed Piskor on Cartoonist Kayfabe’s #content this week, as consideration was given to the qualities of Shazam: The Monster Society of Evil, the work of Richard Corben, Rick Veitch on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Michael Allred’s The Atomics, plus some more Marv Wolfman deposition and Eisner/Miller interview highlights.
• 2000 AD’s Thrillcast returned, after a little post-45th birthday celebration break, as MOLCH-R spoke with Garth Ennis about Hawk the Slayer, and presented interviews with Pat Mills and John Wagner from said anniversary.
• David Harper welcomed Ed Brubaker to Off Panel, as they spoke about The Ghost In You and future plans for the Reckless series, along with discussing just where comics in general is at in 2022 CE.
• Publisher’s Weekly’s More To Come team of Calvin Reid, Heidi MacDonald, and Kate Fitzsimons also looked at recent goings-on in the comics market, as everyone is getting an imprint, cult’s don’t like being the subject of manga, and in-person conventions return.
I got to co-judge for the graphic novel category and I’m excited to talk to all the nominees on a panel Saturday 3PM!! be sure to register ASAP! https://t.co/tv9XTTl41W
— sloane (@sloanesloane) April 21, 2022
That’s all for this week, back again soon with more, as we see just what depths 2022 can plumb, together.
We're extremely excited to announce our new book: Stray by @thisismollym!
52 pages, full color // 5.2" x 8" // printed in the USA // $12 USD
Stray is available for pre-order now and should be shipping at the end of June. pic.twitter.com/soYOHBqyIp
— Bulgilhan Press (@bulgilhan) April 19, 2022