Alongside curating links this week, a selection of which can be found below, I also got to observe the United Kingdom ascending to its final form, as the individual pieces of the national triforce - public money spent on a non-elected family of crown-wearers, suppression of citizen’s rights to protest, and endurance level queueing - were brought together on the international stage. I should probably suck it up and enjoy the free day off work I’ve been given from it all, but I’m mostly just grumpy that opening my tight five on The Queue with “this line is almost as long as Ilan Manouach’s ONEPIECE,” didn’t go over as well as I’d hoped when I came up with it in the shower. Tough crowd.
Double bass! pic.twitter.com/pHWx7GBWm8
— Dionne Kitching 🖍✂️ (@dionnekitching) September 9, 2022
This week’s news.
• Starting the week with comics prize news, and it was announced that Art Spiegelman is to receive an honorary National Book Award for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, which Spiegelman sees as a further sign that “There has been a cultural shift that has made it less pejorative to make comics,” albeit in a year when the banning of Maus captured international attention, and its inclusion in reading lists is now seen as something of a political act.
• Anime News Network reports on Japan’s planned rolling out of a new invoicing system by the country’s Ministry of Finance next year, which will require such instruments to be filed under an individual’s real name, subsequently made publicly available, causing problems for currently pseudonymous mangaka.
• IDW Publishing’s run of farewells to previously held licences continues, as plans were revealed for the series finale of G.I. JOE: A Real American Hero with issue 300, bidding the comic a final “Yo Joe!” from Larry Hama and SL Gallant - IDW saw a fall in revenue in Q3 for 2022, reportedly due to changes in distribution and fewer titles on stands.
• Koyama Provides announced the latest recipient of their grant program, awarding $1,500 to Joan Reilly, which will be used towards publicity costs for “a graphic memoir about her absurd and enlightening experiences with brain cancer, called The Present.”
• In memoriam, remembering those the comics world has lost, as news was shared this week of the passing of artist Eric Jones, co-creator of Little Gloomy, aged 51 - tributes to Jones were shared on social media from friends and colleagues.
It's Dylan Williams day. Here is a post I made last year on the 10th anniversary of his passing which groups together interviews, artwork and memories. I encourage everyone to think about Dylan's thoughts on comics and life today ♥️https://t.co/PlFCKvzq1u
— Domino Books (@DominoComics) September 11, 2022
This week’s reviews.
• Eleanor Davis reviews the extraordinary deftness of Kate Beaton’s Ducks: Two Years in the Oil Sands - “The book is about big, complicated issues: economic exploitation, misogyny, the abuse and disregard of Indigenous land and people, class, education, upward mobility, labor, environmental destruction, sexual harassment and assault, toxic industrial waste, power, history, complicity, identity, loss, sacrifice, family, home. The ground the book covers is far too broad and in-depth to go into in one review. But Beaton touches on these myriad complex subjects gently.”
• Johanna Draper Carlson reviews the relaxing calm of Hitoshi Ashinano’s Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou: Deluxe Edition, Volume 1, translated by Daniel Komen - “Also among the original points of appeal for me was Ashinano's spare line art; it's still a high point today. There are few solid blacks. The landscapes are open. The pages have only three or four panels. That can make for a quick read, but it also establishes a relaxed mood, a change from the frantic high school love stories or battle competitions I’d previously read in manga.”
• David Brooke reviews the twisting mystery of Mark Waid, Mahmud Asrar, et al’s Batman vs. Robin #1.
• Chris Coplan reviews the casual accessibility of Kyler Porter, Ricardo Lopez Ortiz, et al’s The Flash: The Fastest Man Alive #1.
• Nathan Simmons reviews the crunchy action of J.M. DeMatteis and David Baldeon’s Ben Reilly: Spider-Man.
• Harrison Stewart reviews the impressive confidence of Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo, et al’s We Have Demons, Volume 1.
• Avery Kaplan reviews the supernatural fun of Ethan Sacks, Luigi Zagaria, et al’s Midnight Suns #1.
• Joe Grunenwald reviews the enjoyable tone of Mark Waid, Mahmud Asrar, et al’s Batman vs. Robin #1.
• Andy Oliver reviews the appealing subversiveness of Shanti Rai’s Sennen, and the powerful immersion of Alverne Ball and Stacey Robinson's Across the Tracks: Remembering Greenwood, Black Wall Street, and the Tulsa Race Massacre.
• Karen O’Brien reviews the brooding darkness of Zack Kaplan, Arjuna Susini, et al’s Forever Forward #1.
• Lindsay Pereira reviews the special genius of Lynda Barry’s It’s So Magic.
Dash Shaw reviews the avoidant anachronisms of Owen Kline et al’s Funny Pages.
Four Color Apocalypse
Rachel Cooke reviews the complex melancholy of Kate Beaton’s Ducks: Two Years in the Oil Sands.
Montreal Review of Books
Connor Harrison reviews the ambitious manoeuvring of Nick Drnaso’s Acting Class.
• Christopher Egan reviews the imbalanced start of Mathieu Salvia, Djet, et al’s The Boogyman #1.
• Matthew Blair reviews the staid heroics of Patrick Klindon, Marco Ferarri, et al’s Antioch #1.
• Mark Tweedale reviews the deep lore of Mike Mignola, Angela Slatter, Valeria Burzo, et al’s Castle Full of Blackbirds #1.
• Gregory Ellner reviews the interesting conflict of Mark Waid, Mahmud Asrar, et al's Batman vs. Robin #1.
Have capsule reviews of:
- The transgressive bawdiness of Simon Hanselmann’s Below Ambition.
- The outré eroticism of Thomas Woodruff’s Francis Rothbart!: The Tale of a Fastidious Feral.
- The gentle whimsy of Liniers’ Macanudo: Welcome to Elsewhere.
- The brilliant versatility of Megan Kelso’s Who Will Make the Pancakes.
- The engaging humour of Guy Delisle’s World Record Holders.
- The charming reminiscences of Steve Martin and Harry Bliss’ Number One Is Walking: My Life in the Movies and Other Diversions.
• Tynan Stewart reviews the sprawling chronicling of Sofia Warren’s Radical: My Year with a Socialist Senator.
• Kevin Brown reviews the complicated reconstruction of Élodie Durand’s Parenthesis.
Women Write About Comics
• Kathryn Hemmann reviews the touching narratives of Harmony Becker’s Himawari House.
• Alenka Figa reviews the intimate empathy of Beatrix Urkowitz’s The Lover of Everyone in the World.
• Melissa Brinks reviews the empty satire of Sarah Morgan, Jordan Morris, Tony Cliff, et al’s Bubble.
Weekend, home time. pic.twitter.com/k0LEJ1DKVU
— Gizem Vural (@gizem__vural) September 11, 2022
This week’s interviews.
Gina Gagliano interviews George O’Connor about the Olympians series, galvanising educational programs, research in the internet age, and the personalities of gods - “I got into comics largely because of my interest in mythology and, as a result, the comics I grew up reading, especially mid-to-late '80s Marvel comics, have been a huge influence. My interest in Greek mythology lead me to read about other mythologies, and when I was in 6th grade I was in the middle of a Norse mythology kick. That was when my mom bought me an issue of The Mighty Thor - it was during the Walt Simonson run, the issue with Fafnir the dragon on the cover (#341, I looked it up).”
Dan Greenfield presents an excerpted conversation between Michael Eury and Jim Aparo about The Brave and the Bold, taken from Eury’s The Team-Up Companion.
• Chris Hassan talks to Jordan D. White about editing the X-Men line of books, Gambit’s place in the current line-up, comics sales figures, and fictional population numbers.
• Chris Coplan speaks with Marc Bernadin about Census, the joys and horrors of bureaucracy, creative partnerships, and lessons learned in other mediums; and with Ryan Stegman about Vanish, working relationships with Donny Cates, world and universe building, and having Spawn in your DNA.
Anime News Network
Emmanuel Bochew interviews Macoto Takahashi about illustrative career histories and painting processes, calendar inspirations, the language of buildings, and the importance of travel.
Deanna Destito talks to Dan Jurgens about Lord of the Jungle, telling the story of Tarzan in new ways, and a career spent writing iconic characters; and to Michael Moreci and Hayden Sherman about Wasted Space, the realities of crowdfunding, science fiction favourites, and sticking the landing.
Andy Oliver speaks with Alba Ceide about the Earth Blues series, childhood visits to Viñetas desde o Atlántico, and the Spanish indie comics scene.
Michael Leader interviews Owen Kline and Johnny Ryan about Funny Pages, doing your own weird thing, creating cartoon strips for the film, and the little details that count.
Josh Weiss chats with Andre Frattino and Kate Kasenow about Tokyo Rose - Zero Hour, historical research, and navigating incomplete records from the time.
Claire Armistead talks to Kate Beaton about Ducks: Two Years in the Oil Sands, the isolation of Alberta’s oil camps, building empathy and fear, and the escape of the internet.
• Elias Rosner interviews Melanie Gillman about Other Ever Afters, crossover between comics and fairy tales, balancing long and short narratives, and letters from readers.
• Mark Tweedale speaks with Rachele Aragno about Leonide the Vampyr, social media starting points, exploring one’s gothic side, and working with Mignolaverse veterans.
New York Times
Robert Ito talks to Kate Beaton about Ducks: Two Years in the Oil Sands, exorcising memories on the page, and the lives of the people who appear in the book.
Chris Burkhalter chats with Fabien Toulmé about Hakim’s Odyssey, the importance of fidelity in the trilogy’s story, and representing the emotions of the people it was based upon.
Yui Kashima presents an interview with Fumi Yoshinaga about childhood favourites and discovering doujinshi, reading and creating BL manga, and the journey to publication of What Did You Eat Yesterday?.
Kathryn VanArendonk speaks with Kate Beaton about Ducks: Two Years in the Oil Sands, weaving together interlinked memories, family histories, and the webcomic days.
Graeme McMillan talks to Kate Beaton about Ducks: Two Years in the Oil Sands, the enormous complexity of the story it tells, and attempting to approach a polarising topic from an honest perspective.
— Daaaaaaaaaaaaan me (@DanDagouglas) September 13, 2022
This week’s features and longreads.
• Here at TCJ, Tom Herpich presents more thoughts on recent reading, including Bill Peet’s An Autobiography, Lewis Trondheim’s Harum Scarum (translated by Kim Thompson), Sharon Rudahl’s Adventures of Crystal Night, S. Craig Zahler’s Forbidden Surgeries of the Hideous Dr. Divinus, and Roberta Gregory’s Winging It (Part 1 of 2) - “There’s two kinds of horror movies (at least two? maybe just two?): the kind where the protagonists face an incredible evil and, against all odds, defeat it, thus reaching the pinnacle of heroism; and the kind where the evil is so strong that the protagonists do their best, but are basically doomed from the start.”
• Also for TCJ, Eike Exner and Irene Chun write on the life and work of Imaizumi Hidetarō, aka Imaizumi Ippyō, the historical (and overt) influence of American cartoon magazines on Imaizumi’s work, and the evolution of Japanese comics - “Though Imaizumi’s career ended before the popularization of sound images around 1899/1900, the foreign multi-panel cartoons he copied for the Jiji Shinpō likely represent the first examples of motion lines and pain stars used in multi-panel cartoons in Japan. Elements resembling motion lines can be found in earlier domestic art such as picture scrolls as well, but the motion lines used in contemporary Japanese comics undoubtedly trace their roots back to those used in pantomime cartoons and comic strips rather than picture scrolls.”
• Jason Novak shares a new Cartoonist’s Diary for TCJ, featuring daily episodes of The Whenever! Show (ably supported by Kent the sound man), with guest speakers Aaron Belz, Lauren Lavin, Adam Bessie, and Carolita Johnson, with a final episode going up today.
• For The New York Times, Penelope Green writes in remembrance of pioneering cartoonist Diane Noomin, who passed away at the beginning of this month, aged 75.
• Also for The New York Times, Neil Genzlinger writes on the life and work of artist Lily Renée Phillips, who passed away last month, aged 101.
• Viken Berberian covers the ascendancy of manga in international book markets, over at The Nation, tracking the history of the form in Japan and abroad, and the influence on the industry of imported American comics.
• For Polygon, Zach Rabiroff looks back on the history of Marvel Comics’ superhero employee of the Mossad, Sabra, soon to appear on-screen in the never ending MCU content-mill, and the House of Ideas’ continuing dance with ultra nationalist characters.
• Broken Frontier’s Andy Oliver writes on the other reason that Brits are regularly joining even longer queues than they otherwise normally would for fun and for sport - Brexit - and how it is affecting the publishing industry.
• Over at The Beat, Steve Baxi examines the technological horrors of Zack Kaplan and John Pearson’s Mindset, and why fiction often pales in comparison to the real-life SOPs of Silicon Valley platforms.
• For Shelfdust, Steve Galloway writes on DC Thomson’s Oor Wullie and the simple joys of annual collections of old favourites, and the Black Comics History series continues as Matthew Cowans looks back on Legion of Superheroes #122 and the beginnings of Oliver Coipel’s comics career.
• From the world of open-access academia, in Hektoen International, Jimin Mathew and Lucy Samuel examine the metaphors used in Gavin Aung Than’s Frida Kahlo: Heroine of Pain to convey the chronic pain experienced by Khalo.
• Mike Peterson rounds up the week’s editorial beat, over at The Daily Cartoonist, as now ubiquitous headline grabbers in the current news cycle all played second fiddle to the death of HRH Queen Elizabeth II.
monster hands, ✋🖐✌✌ pic.twitter.com/RRlwFiypJv
— Linnea Sterte (@turndecassette) September 11, 2022
This week’s audio/visual delights.
• The New York Comics & Picture-story Symposium’s fall programming continued this week, as Austin English hosted a talk from Matthew Thurber on the multimedia project Pirates of the Condominium, and its ongoing transformation between comic book newspaper, 16mm film, and role playing game.
• Katie Skelly and Sally Madden reconvened to discuss the Thick Lines of Sylvie Rancourt’s Melody: Story of a Nude Dancer, plus its accompanying introduction by Chris Ware, and the joy of puppets.
• Drawn & Quarterly hosted a fresh edition of At Home With, as Kate Beaton celebrated the launch of Ducks: Two Years in the Oil Sands, and discussed the making of the book, plus student loans and knowing your audience.
• John Siuntres welcomed Alex Ross on this week’s trip in the Word Balloon, as they discussed the making of Fantastic Four: Full Circle, and projects throughout a career in comics and illustration.
• Gabby Rivera guested on the TED Radio Hour, speaking about writing America for Marvel Comics, the life-changing experience that represented, and the personal experiences that went into writing the character of America Chavez.
• A special guest star for this week’s Cartoonist Kayfabe selection, as Michel Fiffe joined hosts Jim Rugg and Ed Piskor for a chat about a life lived in comics and a look through Walter Simonson’s Sketchbooks, plus some regular dual host dives into The Incal, Bat-Manga, Spider-Man: Revenge of the Sinister Six, Robert Williams’ Views from a Tortured Libido, and Mike Allred’s Madman.
• David Harper welcomed Oliver Sava to this week’s edition of Off Panel, as they rounded up the current status quo for superhero-focused periodicals, and just how the Big Two are doing amidst their parent corporations’ various kerfuffles.
• Calvin Reid, Heidi MacDonald, and Kate Fitzsimons looked back on the last week of comics news for another episode of Publisher’s Weekly’s More to Come, as DC continues a corporate merry go round, Webtoon took flak on the socials, Usagi Yojimbo finds a new home to lay his sword, and Bad Idea returns with more comics, apparently.
grim beast pic.twitter.com/zduLjye987
— 🍂🦤Holly🦤🍂 (@SparrowLucero) September 15, 2022
That’s all for this week, more again soon, but I’ll sign off now and begin my solemn contemplation of the passing of Great Britain’s former monarch for three days/go have some cans in the park with a BBQ and toast the end of summer.
The Jenga Bus pic.twitter.com/rOiutNuP7a
— Sara Lautman (@saralautman) September 1, 2022