Hello friends. As always, Tuesday means that Joe McCulloch is here to prep you for the week's new comics reading, highlighting all of the best-sounding books available through the direct market tomorrow. This week's spotlight picks are by Carol Swain and Eleanor Davis. First, he writes a little about the BDSM comics of Eric Stanton.

And as you may have noticed, I'm not Dan. He and Kristy are both on vacation this week, so I'm flying solo, and hopefully there won't be any problems too big to handle. I thought for a second there might be yesterday, when I saw the comics internet suddenly fill with waves of angry tweets directed at Frank Santoro. Oh oh, what did Frank say this time? Then I found his post on Tumblr, and was (a little) surprised it had provoked such a response, because it didn't seem like a particularly big deal. Here's what Frank wrote: "I’m done reading people who write about comics who don’t make comics." Obviously, I don't share Frank's opinion, but I also don't see why anyone should feel threatened by a statement like that; everyone comes to criticism with different concerns and perspectives. My own version of the same thing would probably be something like, "I'm done reading people who write about comics who don't read comics." (There are more non-readers of comics out there writing about them than you might think.) Frank's a practitioner of comics, and most of his own recent criticism is largely directed at the concerns of comics-makers; "the grid" is more important to someone creating comics than it is to someone just reading them. Technical knowledge can certainly enrich the reader's experience but it isn't necessary to it. Likewise, criticism that is more reader-oriented probably won't be as useful to someone who is more interested in technique and practice than in plot evaluation that largely ignores the way visual information is relayed. There are many ways to perform criticism and many ways to read it, and the way an artist responds to criticism may need to be more directed than the response of a general reader. So it's weird to get bent out of shape over someone else's tastes/needs!

Meanwhile, elsewhere:

—ComiXology. One of the bigger stories out of San Diego Comic-Con this year was the announcement that comiXology has begun offering DRM-free downloads from certain publishers, including Image, Top Shelf, Zenescope, Thrillbent, Dynamite and, Monkeybrain. Matthew Bogart explains some of the positives of the new deal.

—Reviews & Commentary.
Rob Clough reviews Pascal Girard's Petty Theft, and Andrew White finds the narration in Bryan Lee O'Malley's Seconds clunky.

—Misc. Renee French is the guest on Make It Then Tell Everybody. You have less than a week left to subscribe to the Australian Minicomic of the Month Club. I continue to be a Grant Morrison skeptic, but the Mindless Ones come as close as anyone can to making excitement over his work contagious.