DJ Please, Pick Up Your Phone – This Week’s Links

One of the year’s final mega-conventions looms this weekend, as New York Comic Con returns for a 2023 edition, just as news arrives that a former, high-profile tenant of that particular city might be looking for a new dance partner, but, even if that just turns out to be scuttlebutt, well, then there will always be this week’s links, below.

This week’s news.

• Starting the week with awards news, as winners from last weekend’s annual convention of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists were announced, with Ink Bottle Awards, which are given to individuals or groups for their dedication to the spirit of the profession and significant contribution to the art of editorial cartooning, taken home by DD Degg, Alan Gardner, and Mike Peterson of The Daily Cartoonist; Michael Cavna of The Washington Post; Matt Bors of The Nib; and AAEC volunteer Maryellen Dabaghian; and Kentucky’s Joel Pett was named as the winner of the 2023 Rex Babin Memorial Award for Excellence in Local Cartooning, with Boston’s Sage Stossel selected as this year’s finalist.

• The Beat shared news of some recent personnel goings-on at Oni Press, as Karl Bollers, Megan Brown, Andy McElliot, Winston Gambro, Matt Harding, Chris Robinson, and Kaia Rokke join the publisher; while editor Zack Soto has left Oni to return to personal cartooning endeavours.

• In memoriam, remembering those the world of comics has lost, and news was shared this week of the passing of storied artist and writer Keith Giffen, who has died at the age of 70 - Giffen’s family shared a pre-written, self-penned post announcing the creator’s death, which reads “I told them I was sick… Anything not to go to New York Comic Con, Thanx, Keith Giffen 1952-2023, Bwah ha ha ha ha.”

This week’s reviews.


• Frank M. Young reviews the inventive premises of Ed Subitzky’s Poor Helpless Comics! The Cartoons (and More) of Ed Subitzky - “This long-overdue book is a great discovery from our recent past: a playful, risk-taking, revolutionary comedic vision that never fails to astonish. In the course of this formidable tome, we get to know Subitzky and his life story via an ongoing interview conducted by Mark Newgarden. This dialogue, interspersed through the book, sheds light on a man who was a natural fit for the National Lampoon mindset.”

• Joe McCulloch reviews the subtler evocations of Daniel Clowes’ Monica - “Importantly, while the stories are in a basically consecutive order, their details do not easily line up, and at times seem contradictory. We must therefore look between the panels: figuratively, in that I will argue that not all of the events depicted in Monica actually occur in the 'reality' of the book, and also literally.”

• Tegan O’Neil reviews the endearing modesty of Glenn Dakin’s A Trial Death - And Other Stories - “Dakin’s line here is quite gratifying. He shares with Campbell that same commitment to the seemingly tossed-off, the casual brushstroke that appears in places as much a species of squib as a deliberate mark. There’s a similar feel to later Feiffer here, casual at first glance but in fact quite precise. The line goes where it needs to go, no more and no less.”



• Ryan Sonneville reviews the limited appeal of Erica Schultz, Edgar Salazar, et al’s X-23: Deadly Regenesis.

• David Brooke reviews the riveting narrative of Christian Ward’s Batman: City of Madness #1.

• Timothy O’Neil reviews the tight action of Anthony Oliveiria, Maria Frohlich, et al’s Captain Marvel: Assault on Eden #1.

• Collier Jennings reviews the chilling horror of David Pepose, Alex Cormack, et al’s The Devil That Wears My Face #1.


The Beat

• Cy Beltran reviews the interesting reintroduction of Marvel Comics’ Superior Spider-Man Returns #1.

• Michael Kurt reviews the fitting voice of Tony Fleecs, Justin Greenwood, et al’s Army of Darkness Forever #1.

• Beau Q. reviews the fresh twists of Declan Shalvey’s Old Dog: Redact One.

• Justin Guerrero reviews the enjoyable dynamics of Son M, Sam Curtis, et al's Animal Heads.

• Joe Savill reviews the refreshing heroics of Bukimi Miki’s Shy, translated by Ajani Oloye.

• D. Morris reviews the welcome return of Kanako Inuki’s Be Very Afraid of Kanako Inuki, translated by Kevin Gifford.


Broken Frontier

Andy Oliver reviews the hypnotic kaleidoscope of Fatima Wajid’s Prism, and the haunting approach of Olivia Sualdea’s Release.


Four Color Apocalypse

Ryan Carey reviews the unnerving effect of George Wylesol’s Curses.


The Guardian

Rachel Cooke reviews the wicked humour of Daniel Clowes’ Monica.


House to Astonish

Paul O’Brien has capsule reviews of Marvel Comics’ X-Men Unlimited Infinity Comic #107, X-Men #27, Immortal X-Men #16, and X-Force #45.


Library Journal

Mary E. Butler has a starred capsule review of the sweet humility of Elizabeth Jancewicz and Eric Stevenson’s How To Completely Lose Your Mind: A Graphic Novel Memoir of One Indie Band’s Attempt To Break a World Record.


Kirkus Reviews

Have starred capsule reviews of:

- The sweeping triumph of Estelle Nadel, Sammy Savos, and Bethany Strout’s The Girl Who Sang: A Holocaust Memoir of Hope and Survival.

- The unforgettable horror of Chris Gooch’s In Utero.

- The political dimensions of Ai Weiwei, Elettra Stamboulis, and Gianluca Costantini's Zodiac.

- The memorable presentation of Erin Williams' What's Wrong?.


Multiversity Comics

• Kate Kosturski reviews the cosmic mystery of Jonathan Hickman, Valerio Schiti, et al’s G.O.D.S. #1.

• Brian Salvatore reviews the exciting action of Mark Waid, Dan Mora, et al’s Shazam #4.

• Christopher Chiu-Tabet reviews the lavish production of Ethan Sacks, Naomi Sacks, Marco Lorenzana, et al's A Haunted Girl #1.

• Paul Lai reviews the tonal mastery of Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki’s Roaming.


Publisher’s Weekly

Have a capsule reviews of: 

- The exhilarating satire of Léa Murawiec’s The Great Beyond, translated by Aleshia Jensen.

- The well-researched history of Michael Cherkas’ Red Harvest: A Graphic Novel of the Terror Famine in 1930s Soviet Ukraine.



Tom Shapira reviews the lesser return of Geof Darrow’s Shaolin Cowboy: Cruel to be Kin.

This week’s interviews.


Matt Seneca interviews Olivier Schrauwen about Sunday, the exciting aspects of mundanity, minimalist music, and shifting social norms in Belgium - “Before I used a Riso I was always fussing about the colors, and the texture of the paint, or the digital. Now it's just up to the machine. So there's one thing less to worry about, and then I see it and sometimes it looks cool and some it's like, what the...? [Laughs] In general, I like the fact that it has this mind of its own a bit. So yeah, just less things to fuss about.”



• Chris Coplan speaks with Cassandra Jones about Let Her Be Evil and consuming media that inspires you, and with Grace Ellis about Diana and the Hero’s Journey and writing sea shanties.

• Collier Jennings talks to Todd McFarlane about the longevity of Spawn, Image’s place in the market, and dream collaborators for the future.


The Asahi Shimbun

Kenro Kuroda interviews Koji Mori about plans for the ongoing publication of Berserk, and staying true to Kentaro Miura’s original vision.


The Beat

• Marion Pena talks to Isaki Uta about The Lost & Found Collection, and the making and emotional resonances of the stories to be found therein.

• Heidi MacDonald chats with JHU Manhattan’s Ron Hill about the store’s closing, the effect that books going on hiatus has on retail, and Funko Pop profit margins.


Entertainment Weekly

Christian Holub interviews Jonathan Hickman about G.O.D.S., zeitgeist connections, narrative empowerment, and making graphs.



Rob Salkowitz talks to Howard Chaykin about Fargo, embracing crowdfunding, and the enduring pleasure of making comics.



Milton Griepp presents a three-part conversation with Paul Levitz about the early days of the direct market, the history of Vertigo, and where comics retail goes from here.


The Los Angeles Times

Noel Murray interviews Daniel Clowes about Monica, memories of a chaotic childhood, the influence of Richard Sala on the book, and the tightrope walk of storytelling.


Multiversity Comics

Mark Tweedale speaks with Rob Williams and Pye Parr about Petrol Head and setting the tone with action, and with Ben Stenbeck about Our Bones Dust and giving the story space to breathe.



Juana Summers talks to Daniel Clowes about Monica, the feelings associated with releasing a book into the world, and attempting to make the reader feel something.

This week’s features and longreads.

• Here at TCJ, William Schwartz writes on Nathan W. Pyle’s Strange Planet, and the rise of #content comics designed to proliferate through Instagram’s ‘Explore’ tab - “This isn’t to say that it’s impossible to find genuinely weird, avant-garde work native to Instagram, just that Instagram as a platform, as well as its core audience, isn’t really well-suited to cultivating readers who are interested in anything but vaguely therapeutic affirmations.”

• Also for TCJ, RJ Casey returns with a fresh edition of Arrivals and Departures, this month looking at Jas Hice’s Szarlotka, Andrew White’s Yearly 2023, Juliette Collet’s Pirate Band, and Dave Ortega’s Hacienda #2 - “I’m personally not much of a huge fan of spooky comics other than by one particular artist who’s spent years now making superhero parodies. It boggles my mind.”

• Finally for TCJ this week, Jon Holt and Teppei Fukuda present a translation of a chapter of the 1997 book Why Is Manga So Interesting? Its Expression and Grammar, wherein Natsume Fusanosuke discusses (and illustrates) what visual meaning a mangaka can expect readers to infer from the page - “Once we say that pictures, panels and even words can be a type of code, we can also then say everything in manga consists of code. In order to describe independently coded elements that often operate within any manga, often at secondary or tertiary levels of abstraction, I use the invented term keiyu [shape metaphors].”

• For The Beat, Ricardo Serrano Denis writes on the careful consideration of Shūzō Oshimi’s Blood on the Tracks, and the effectiveness of its unique take on horror in disturbing the reader.

• For Women Write About Comics, Ivy Allie survey’s the 1988-2006 run of Bill Amend’s FoxTrot, in an attempt to determine why the comic is not lauded as much as other long-running strips.

• Over at PopMatters, Davi Caro looks back on Geof Johns and Gary Frank’s Doomsday Clock, the delays in its serialised publication, and the failings of the narrative compared to its predecessor.

• Broken Frontier’s creator commentary series of features continues, as graphic novelist Sabba Khan discusses the making of the memoir What is Home, Mum? with Andy Oliver.

• ICv2 shares coverage from the ComicsPRO Open House that took place earlier this month, with retailer responses to a survey on the market, and Rob Salkowitz’s thoughts on where the Direct Market goes next.

• For The Beat, Arpad Okay reports from this year’s edition of the Massachusetts Independent Comics Expo, sampling the programming on offer, and checking out the wares to be had.

• From the world of open-access academia, for RevistaX, Renato Muchiuti Aranha discusses the representation of poor people and the working class in The Dark Knight Returns and The Killing Joke.

• For Portland State University’s library faculty presentations, Elsa Loftis and Jon Holt write on the benefits and limitations of using the PSU Library’s Dark Horse manga collection to support teaching in the World Languages and Literatures department.

• For Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition, Reshma Ramaprasad presents a paper on creating natural language descriptions of comic strips that are accessible to the visually impaired community.

• Mike Peterson rounds up the week’s editorial beat, over at The Daily Cartoonist, as focus was given to escalations, and civilian deaths, in the Israel-Hamas conflict.

This week’s audio/visual delights.

• Ben Katchor hosted this week’s edition of the New York Comics & Picture-Story Symposium, as cartoonist Bill Griffith gave a talk on Three Rocks: The story of Ernie Bushmiller, The Man Who Created Nancy, and the legacy of both the cartoonist and strip on which that book focuses.

• Katie Skelly and Sally Madden convened for a new episode of Thick Lines, as this week discussion was entered into on the subject of Walter Scott’s Wendy and Harvey Comics’ Wendy, and the realities of life in the art world and living with one’s wicked witch aunts.

• Gil Roth welcomed Daniel Clowes to this week’s edition of The Virtual Memories Show, as they spoke about the making of Monica, the deaths that shaped the book, and making books without editorial input.

• Andrews McMeel presented a video with a rare appearance by Bill Watterson, speaking along with co-creator John Kascht on their collaboration for the making of The Mysteries, and explaining how their creative process for the book evolved.

• Christopher Woodrow Butcher hosted this week’s episode of Mangasplaining, as the team discussed Tatsuki Fujimoto’s Goodbye, Eri, the singular visual techniques and pacing of the story, and where it sits within Fujimoto’s growing oeuvre.

• John Siuntres welcomed Howard Chaykin back to the Word Balloon, as they spoke about the crowdfunding campaign for Fargo, the book’s source material, forgiving people for their media taste, and the return of Time².

• David Harper was joined by Christopher Yost for the latest episode of Off Panel, as they discussed Unnatural Order, comics career origins, storytelling in different media and genres, and the enduring appeal of the comic book form.

• Calvin Reid, Heidi MacDonald, and Kate Fitzsimons presented a new edition of Publisher’s Weekly’s More to Come, as they spoke about recent and upcoming comics events in the form of Cartoon Crossroads Columbus, ComicsPro’s Open House, and New York Comic Con.

• Closing out the week with more offerings from Cartoonist Kayfabe, as Ed Piskor and Jim Rugg took a look at Steven Brower’s Comics Ad Men, Los Bros Hernandez’s Love and Rockets #5, Epic Comics’ Akira issues, Tim Hensley’s Wally Gropius, and Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon’s Heartland, before sitting down for a shoot interview with Matt Wagner.

No more links this week, lest they be bought by a media conglomerate and then sold for cents on the dollar.