Droppin’ Plates – This Week’s Links

A rare quiet week in terms of industry-shaking news for the comics-mill, barring any classic dumping of big stories on a Friday, as the sleepy period between the end of the summer convention season and its autumnal sibling means that focus can instead fall upon the September migration from Alice Cooper’s School’s Out to Deftones’ Back to School (Mini Maggit), as this week’s links, below, will still all appear on the test, and count towards your final grade.

This week’s reviews.


• Chris Mautner reviews the angry wit of Derek M. Ballard’s Cartoonshow - “The struggle is constant. There is no pause, no break in the absurd cruelty. At one point, Ballard enjoys a temporary respite from his responsibilities by attending a comic convention, only to get a phone call about an active shooter alert at his kids’ school. “What right do I have to a moment of peace when my children have none?” he asks the reader ruefully.”

• Tegan O'Neil reviews the sprawling ambition of K. Wroten’s Eden II - “Say for a second that you succeed in creating a virtual environment that responds in real time to the innermost bedrock need of every person, for actualization. Sounds great, right? The one thing you shouldn’t do with such a development, for any reason, is allow it to be stolen out from under you by unscrupulous capitalist types. Because then, oh boy, they’re likely to steal your idea and then try to sue you into oblivion if you try to fight it.”



• Piper Whitaker reviews the charming humour of Paco Roca’s Memoirs of a Man in Pajamas, translated by Andrea Rosenberg.

• Christopher Franey reviews the final twists of Joshua Williamson, Howard Porter, Giuseppe Camuncoli, et al’s Knight Terrors: Night's End #1.

• Connor Boyd reviews the familiar beats of  Chip Zdarsky, Tini Howard, Mike Hawthorne, et al’s Batman/Catwoman: The Gotham War – Battle Lines #1.

• Lukas Shayo reviews the enjoyable retrospective of Marvel Comics’ Marvel Age #1000.

• Collier Jennings reviews the promising payoff of Iman Vellani, Sabir Pirzada, Carlos Gomez, Adam Gorham, et al’s Ms. Marvel: The New Mutant #1.

• Ryan Sonneville reviews the satisfying centring of Steve Orlando, Sara Pichelli, Russell Dauterman, et al’s Scarlet Witch: The Last Door.

• Ben Morin reviews the shifting narrative of Jason Aaron, Paul Azaceta, Jesus Saiz, et al’s Punisher: The King of Killers - Book 2.

• David Brooke reviews the excellent showcase of Marvel Comics’ Elektra: Black, White & Blood.


The Beat

• Steve Baxi reviews the impactful cartooning of Koren Shadmi’s Lugosi – The Rise and Fall of Hollywood’s Dracula.

Beau Q. reviews the enjoyable sandbox of Patton Oswalt, Jordan Blum, Scott Hepburn, et al's Minor Threats.

• Joe Grunenwald reviews the quick pacing of Jeff Lemire, Malachi Ward, et al’s Black Hammer – The End #1.

• Zack Quaintance reviews the stage setting of Joshua Williamson, Howard Porter, Giuseppe Camuncoli, et al’s Knight Terrors – Night’s End #1.


Broken Frontier

• Lindsay Pereira reviews the fluid approach of Keum Suk Gendry-Kim’s adaptation of Park Wan-suh’s The Naked Tree, translated by Janet Hong.

• Andy Oliver reviews the raw realities of Noemi Vola’s mini kuš! #118: Are You Lost, Little Bunny?, and the accessible fun of Rebellion’s 2000 AD Prog 2346 - Regened.


Four Color Apocalypse

Ryan Carey reviews the satisfying darkness of Andrew Pilkington’s MOLE #9.


From Cover to Cover

Scott Cederlund reviews the crackling energy of Matt Kindt and Sharlene Kindt's Spy Superb.


House to Astonish 

Paul O’Brien has capsule reviews of Marvel Comics’ X-Men Unlimited Infinity Comic #101, X-Force #43, Jean Grey #1, Realm of X #1, Invincible Iron Man #9, Deadpool #10, Storm #4, and Love Unlimited Infinity Comic #64. 


Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics

Nafiseh Mousavi reviews the diversified notions of Immigrants and Comics: Graphic Spaces of Remembrance, Transaction, and Mimesis, edited by Nhora Lucía Serrano.


Multiversity Comics

• Matthew Blair reviews the respectful refresh of Al Ewing, Martin Coccolo, et al’s Immortal Thor #1.

• Kate Kosturski reviews the polished return of Iman Vellani, Sabir Pirzada, Adam Gorham, Carlos Gomez, et al’s Ms. Marvel: The New Mutant #1.

Gregory Ellner reviews the infernal intrigue of Dan Watters, Eddy Barrows, Eber Ferreira, Max Raynor, et al's Action Comics Presents: Doomsday Special #1.

• Chris Cole reviews the psychological storytelling of Graham Annable’s Eerie Tales from the School of Screams.

• Ramon Piña reviews the enjoyable ambiguity of Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips’ Night Fever.


Notable Graphic Novels Review

• Frances Lilliston reviews the accomplished interweaving of Alex Graham’s Dog Biscuits.

• Ryan King reviews the keen commentary of James Spooner’s The High Desert: Black. Punk. Nowhere.

• Maggie Murphy reviews the unshrinking documentation of Jess Ruliffson’s Invisible Wounds.

• Jacob Lackner reviews the heartfelt intensity of Jordan Crane’s Keeping Two.

• Caroline Meyers reviews the emphasised disorientation of Tommi Parrish’s Men I Trust.



Tahneer Oksman reviews the chilling atmosphere of Emily Carroll’s A Guest in the House.


Publisher’s Weekly

Have capsule reviews of:

- The joyous conceit of Patrick McDonnell’s The Super Hero’s Journey.

- The fascinating surveying of Martin Salisbury’s Illustrators’ Sketchbooks.

- The sharp perspectives of Josh Trujillo and Levi Hastings’ Washington’s Gay General: The Legends and Loves of Baron von Steuben.

- The rewarding meditations of Joseph Kai’s Restless, translated by Carolyn Ernst.

- The rich atmosphere of Ben Hatke’s Things in the Basement.



Nhatt Nichols reviews the grounded moments of Brett Hamil’s Slight Return.


The Washington Post

Michael Cavna reviews the brilliant insights of Bill Griffith’s Three Rocks: The Story of Ernie Bushmiller - The Man Who Created Nancy.


Women Write About Comics

• Kathryn Hemmann reviews the refreshing explorations of Ashley Robin Franklin’s The Hills of Estrella Roja.

• Adrienne Resha reviews the strong start of Iman Vellani, Sabir Pirzada, Carlos Gómez, Adam Gorham, et al’s Ms. Marvel: The New Mutant #1.

This week’s interviews.


RJ Casey interviews Dean Sudarsky about lettering work with New York Review Comics, the allure of Twitch streams, and considerations when copying style - “When I first started doing this lettering work, I also worked part-time at a coffee shop. I wrote people’s names on their drinks and salads and stuff like that. People would always ask me to do it because it would come out nicer. One guy would always come in and order salads when I was working so he could get nice lettering on his salad box. That was cute.”



• Chris Coplan speaks with Mat Groom about Inferno Girl Red, crowdfunding continuity considerations, and creative partnerships.

• David Brooke talks to Rob Williams and Pye Parr about Petrol Head, constructing the book, character design, and soundtracking the story.


The Beat

• Taimur Dar interviews Tim Sheridan about Alan Scott: The Green Lantern, the timeline of the book, and the New Golden Age line of stories.

• Avery Kaplan chats with Chelsea M. Campbell and Laura Knetzger about Bigfoot and Nessie: The Haunting of Loch Ness Castle, and cryptid celebrities; and with Wendy Xu about The Infinity Particle, trips to the Natural History Museum, and real AI frontiers and robots.


The New Yorker

Françoise Mouly talks to Daniel Clowes about Monica, the personal challenge behind the book, genre comics history, and casting the book with the right actors.



Kayti Burt chats with Rachel Smythe about Lore Olympus, the comic going on extended hiatus after five years of constant work, and its original journey to Webtoon.


Publisher’s Weekly

Cheryl Klein interviews Amy Kurzweil about Artificial, grounding the theoretical questions surrounding AI, and the familial connections at the heart of the book.


The Washington Post

Michael Cavna speaks with Matt Bors about the end of The Nib, the birth of the project, what drove it, and creative fulfilment.

This week’s features and longreads.

• Here at TCJ, Alex Dueben shares personal reflections on Tom Batiuk and Chuck Ayers’ Roses in December, the Crankshaft storylines it collects, depictions of dementia to be found therein, and the wider meter of comic strip narratives -  “The best strips understand that events are happening to characters off-panel. In Crankshaft, we go for stretches without seeing Lillian and Lucy - and even when they pop in, it’s not necessarily to talk about Alzheimer’s. However, when they do appear, Batiuk and Ayers take great care not to simply show Lucy retreating and becoming less talkative, less engaged, but also how Lillian is handling all this. To show the strain and the pain and the exhaustion of taking care of someone.”

• Also for TCJ, John Kelly presents part one at a look behind the scenes of the design of Pee-Wee Herman’s world, with insights from the artists involved in making it happen - “With its design aesthetic guided by artist/cartoonist Gary Panter, Pee-wee's Playhouse didn't just look radically different from any other mainstream program; the show's thematic core—one based on inclusion, acceptance and anarchy—was radical as well, especially during the cultural polarization of its age.”

• Over at The Beat, following comments from one Mark Millar on the direct market in 2023, Heidi MacDonald writes on the current state of sales in the creator-owned periodicals space.

• For Shelfdust, William Moo writes on the contrasting characters of  Pornsak Pichetshote and Alexandre Tefenkgi’s The Good Asian #2, and the sociopolitical history depicted through them.

• From the world of open-access academia, in Study & Scrutiny: Research on Young Adult Literature, Shelly Unsicker-Durham presents a round table conversation with secondary teachers Scott Bevill, Brooke Bianchi-Pennington, Kamrin Green, Ray Robinson, and Paul Sausville discussing comics and graphic novels in the classroom.

• In the Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics, Namitha Soman and Swathi Krishna write on Kristen Radtke’s Imagine Wanting Only This, and examine the book’s cathartic engagement with loss and grief.

• Mike Peterson rounds up the week’s editorial beat, over at The Daily Cartoonist, as panel inches were, somewhat unsurprisingly, dominated by the mugshot of one Donald Trump, and the upcoming presidential election.

This week’s audio/visual delights.

• A century not out for Mangasplaining this week, as episode 100 sees David Brothers and Chip Zdarsky speaking with translator Jocelyne Allen and editor Andrew Woodrow-Butcher about Susumu Higa’s Okinawa.

• Gil Roth welcomed Bill Griffith to The Virtual Memories Show this week, as they spoke about Three Rocks: The Story of Ernie Bushmiller - The Man Who Created Nancy, the joys of Bushmiller and R. Crumb, and cartooning choices in the book.

• Brian Hibbs was joined by Yvan Duque, Pauline Giraud, and Maxence Henri for the latest edition of Comix Experience’s Graphic Novel Club, as they discussed Ultralazer, realising childhood dreams, and making nostalgic work.

• John Siuntres was visited once more by Brian Michael Bendis for a trip in the Word Balloon, as they spoke about the new crop of comics publishers, killing your darlings, and writing for the Big Two, and digital platforms that are no more.

• David Harper welcomed Nadia Shammas to the latest edition of Off Panel, as they discussed Confetti Realms, the enduring influence of manga, the joys of anthologies, and the status quo of comics in 2023.

• Calvin Reid interviewed Levi Hastings and Josh Trujillo about Washington’s Gay General: The Legends and Loves of Baron von Steuben for the new episode of Publisher’s Weekly’s More to Come, as they spoke about the life and history of the book’s subject.

• Closing out one more week with offerings from Cartoonist Kayfabe, as Ed Piskor, Jim Rugg, and  Tom Scioli took a peek inside Kirt Burdick’s Death of Power #2, Frank Miller’s Ronin #3, and Brian Bolland’s The Actress and the Bishop, before being joined by Geof Darrow to discuss Shaolin Cowboy: Cruel to be Kin and Richard Corben’s Den.

That’s all for this time out, so it’s time to sit in solemn contemplation for another seven days.