With Hallowe’en, a clock change, and (hopefully) a lot of voting taking place over the next few days, you’d be forgiven for thinking that comics news would be taking a back seat.
Well, I’m here to tell you that the wheels of commerce absolutely will not stop, ever, so join me, and ride them all the way to oblivion, with this week’s links, below.
Mental Organism Designed Only for Killing [ MODOK ] pic.twitter.com/cD60D9FQc4
— be moody (@bustermoody) October 28, 2020
Rolling 24 hours a day… This week’s news.
• A couple of recent award announcements to kick things of this week, as the 2020 Ringo Award winners were announced at last weekend’s (virtual) Baltimore Comic Con - the awards have a fairly obtuse mix of fan and jury nominations, and get pretty granular with the number of recipients, so many congratulations are to be given on that front.
• Also taking place via virtual ceremony, winners of this year’s Prism Awards for excellence in the field of queer comics have been announced, with The Kao’s Magical Boy, Inari Bestari’s One Day Out, Emma Jayne’s Trans Girls Hit the Town, Mariko Tamaki and Rosemary Valero-O’Connell’s Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me, and Joamette Gill’s Heartwood all taking home awards - you can view the full prize-giving ceremony online here.
• The Daily Cartoonist reports on the 50th birthday of Gary Trudeau’s Doonesbury strip, the first edition of which was published October 26th 1970 in a handful of national papers, with Trudeau going on to become a cultural phenom, even if the coverage doesn’t reflect it - the archives of the long-running strip have been collected in digital thumbdrive form as Dbury@50: The Complete Digital Doonesbury.
• Crowdfunding giant haystack Kickstarter announced this week that comics have had their biggest year ever in 2020, racking up $22,000,000 in pledges, with over two months of the year remaining, so I'd imagine we'll see a few more "[x] shouldn't be using crowdfunding platforms, because of [y]" stories in the days to come - there's gold in them hills!
• Washington's National Gallery of Art has now calculated the minimum time needed to give artwork proper sociopolitical contextualization, as they announced that the Philip Guston retrospective that was delayed until 2024 will now open instead in 2022.
• Via CBR, Trina Robbins has alerted the comics community to a number of original art pieces that appear to have been stolen while in transit from an exhibition, cancelled due to COVID-19, and that could have already done the rounds on reselling and auction sites, since their disappearance in May of this year - Robbins has taken to Facebook and appealed for any information that may help lead to their return, so keep those peepers peeled.
We're deeply saddened to hear of the loss of Ward Zwart (1985-2020). It's very hard to lose such a wonderful human. Wishing strength to his loved ones. ???? pic.twitter.com/d0iPwqBm1x
— kuš! (@kushkomikss) October 28, 2020
Blinded by the light… This week’s reviews.
• Mike Kleine reviews the free-form meta-narratives of mushbuh’s 978-91-87325-43-4, taking stock of the possessions amassed during everyday modern life, in a variety of faux-naive forms - “The simple act of repeatedly changing up the presentation, whilst attempting to tell a coherent narrative, introduces an additional element to the story-telling, by directly injecting the person of the author into the text. I couldn’t help but wonder, does the medium keep changing because the author keeps growing tired of keeping to just one style? Or, is this an added confirmation that the author themselves also take part in the act of consumerism and they are showing this to us, the reader, by listing off all the artistic tools they possess, to tell one story?”
• Aug Stone reviews the humor to be found in the practice of the dark arts in Kevin Jackson & Hunt Emerson’s Lives of the Great Occultists, bringing one Mr Aleister Crowley, yet again, into the spotlight - “Despite how serious these magicians took themselves, the writer and artist never miss a chance to get a joke in. Lots of them being genuinely funny, or wonderfully appalling such as the name of Crowley’s curry restaurant. The humor comes from the common man trying to comprehend this out-there stuff, which Emerson really nails in the art.”
• Christopher Franey reviews the punchline of Geoff Johns, Jason Fabok, Brand Anderson, et al’s Batman: Three Jokers #3.
• Alex Curtis reviews the flat rhythms of Brian Herbet, Kevin J. Anderson, Dev Pramanik, et al’s Dune: House Atreides #1.
• Arbaz M. Khan reviews the post-modernist yuks of Ryan O’Sullivan, Andrea Mutti, et al’s A Dark Interlude #1.
• David Brooke reviews the grounded trippiness of Jeff Lemire, Tyler Crook, et al’s Colonel Weird: Cosmagog #1.
• Nathan Simmons reviews the high-flying bloodshed of Kevin Eastman, Peter Laird, Tom Waltz, Esau Escorza, et al’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin #1.
• Russ Dobler reviews the forgotten premonitions of Rafael Nieves, Len Kaminski, Michael Blair, et al’s Hellstrom: Prince of Lies.
• Avery Kaplan reviews the earnest excellence of Emma Jayne, et al’s Trans Girls Hit the Field.
• Joe Grunenwald reviews the sad trombones of Geoff Johns, Jason Fabok, Brand Anderson, et al’s Batman: Three Jokers #3.
• Ricardo Serrano Denis reviews the restrained horrors of Michael Watson and Theresa Chiechi’s Ithaqa.
• Tom Murphy reviews the bold darkness of Katie Skelly’s Maids.
• Karen O’Brien reviews the compelling enchantments of Greg Rucka, Nicola Scott, et als’ Black Magick #15.
• Andy Oliver reviews the contemporary frights of Misty & Scream! Special 2020, featuring, appropriately, a Murderer’s Row of UK indie comics talent; the brooding disturbances of Chip Zdarsky, Ramón K. Pérez, et al’s Stillwater #1-2; and the raw proficiency of Hell-Hued: The Carmine Issue, edited by Beatrice Mossman.
Four Color Apocalypse
Ryan C reviews the distressing ruminations of Jeff Zenick’s The Proverbs of Hell, adapted from William Blake’s The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, and the singular curiosities of Bryce Martin’s Ultra8 and Untitled.
Douglas Rednour has a starred review of the evocative thrills of Evan Dorkin, Veronica Fish, and Andy Fish’s Blackwood: The Mourning After.
• John Schailder reviews the workable debauchery of Rick Remender, Lewis LaRosa, et al’s The Scumbag #1.
• Kobi Bordoley reviews the straightforward charisma of Taboo, Benjamin Jackendoff, Scot Eaton, et al’s Werewolf by Night #1.
• Mark Tweedale reviews the bittersweet wonders of Mike Mignola, Zach Howard, et al’s Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: The Return of Effie Kolb #2.
• Kate Kosturski reviews the evolving humour of Allie Brosh's Solutions and Other Problems.
• Kenneth Laster reviews the promising machinations of Alex Paknadel, John Lé, et al's Giga #1.
• Christopher Egan reviews the discomfiting comforts of Jeff Lemire, Tyler Crook, et al's Colonel Weird: Cosmagog #1.
New York Times
Hillary Chute reviews selected ‘Visions of New Worlds, Both Hopeful and Nightmarish’, looking at the multifaceted sensitivity of Jake Halpern and Michael Sloan’s Welcome to the New World, the distinctive pleasures of Stanley Donwood’s Bad Island, and the playful darkness of Matt Furie’s Mindviscosity.
Hans Rollman reviews a trio of books that inhabit the liminal space between art and literature, looking at the masterful minimalism of Sophie Yanow’s The Contradictions, the sublime vitality of Paco Roca’s The Winter of the Cartoonist, and the lush vividness of Elisa Macellari’s Kusama.
• Ryan Carey reviews the daunting imagination of CF’s William Softkey & The Purple Spider.
• Joana Simão reviews the desperate bliss of Aisha Franz’ Where is Aisha.
• Rob Kirby reviews the arresting authenticity of Ancco’s Nineteen.
Women Write About Comics
• Paige Lyman reviews the striking sharpness of Gloris Thierry and Jacques Lamontagne’s Wild West: Volume 1 - Calamity Jane.
• Andrea Ayres reviews the layered inertia of Alex Paknadel, John Lê, et al’s Giga #1.
• Masha Zhdanova reviews the unsympathetic struggles of Ryōsuke Takeuchi and Hikaru Miyoshi’s Moriarty the Patriot.
• Lisa Fernandes reviews the unexpected darkness of Cavan Scott, Juan Samu, et al’s Transformers/Back to the Future #1.
• Paulina Przystupa reviews the underwhelming formulas of Chiho Saito's Revolutionary Girl Utena: After the Revolution.
I drew 3 illustrations for the Joe Biden campaign for use on Facebook and IG. They went live last week. pic.twitter.com/hkJwPfc3b4
— Michael Cho (@Michael_Cho) October 26, 2020
The questions that matter… This week’s interviews.
• Gretchen Felker-Martin has an in-depth conversation with Julia Gfrörer, touching on, amongst others, outsider views on masculinity, neediness and whining in popular culture, philosophy as a red-flag, and 90s flame wars - “...internet strangers don’t deserve good faith. They have to prove themselves. That’s just the way it is. I have people who I follow that I look up to that don’t follow me back, and I get up in their mentions and try to make them like me. I’m not unwilling to participate in the economy of trying to prove that you might be worth talking to. I understand that when somebody is very popular you have to distinguish yourself before they can be bothered to look at you.”
• Alex Dueben has a fascinating conversation with Stuart Immonen, covering the entire span of his career in comics, including discussion of his comics origin story and the Toronto self-publishing scene of the 80s (or lack thereof), respecting the craft and the evolution of the industry, and the importance of good editors in the world of work-for-hire, as well as work practices in the context of 2020 - “I'm comfortable in my wheelhouse and believe I have demonstrated an ability to work to a high standard unsupervised, but I'm not convinced this is the default way to work, even for independent freelancers. Kathryn [Immonen] and I were just talking about the isolation-induced phenomena of increased efficiency that people who are not used to working from home are now experiencing, owing to fewer distractions than in a conventional workplace. The tradeoff of more interruptions when working in a studio or in close collaboration is immediate feedback and social interaction, which – uh, hello, mammals! – most people benefit from. For me, it generally gets in the way of finishing.”
• Chris Coplan interviews Peter Hogan about the return of Resident Alien, whether or not this is the end of the road for the comic, the upcoming tv-adaptation of the series, and his ongoing collaborative partnership with artist Steve Parkhouse.
• Ritesh Babu dives into Blue in Green, and talks to Ram V, Anand RK, and Aditya Bidikar about improvisational comic creation, the flexibility it requires, and when they first heard of jazz.
• Alex McDonald talks chats with Mariah McCourt about Ash & Thorn, literary inspirations, and on-trend baking recipes.
• Nancy Powell talks to Waka Hirako (with translation help via Jenny McKeon) about her debut English language manga, My Broken Mariko, the familial experiences of abuse that it draws upon, and the emotionally-taxing learning-experience that putting it on the page represented.
• Avery Kaplan interviews Alice Oseman about Heartstopper: Volume 2, the story's journey from digital to analogue, the character's fictional origins, and the differences between writing for prose and graphic narratives.
Travis Clark interviews Harvey Richards and Lateef Ade "L.A." Williams, two Black former DC Comics editorial staffers, about the racism they faced while working for the publisher, and how this appears to represent the company’s long term status quo.
Christian Holub interviews Trung Le Nguyen about his new graphic novel The Magic Fish, everyday heroism, water as a liminal space, and giving boys space to develop empathy.
Rob Salkowitz interviews Peter Bagge about the new deluxe editions of Hate, the origins of Buddy Bradley, West Coast hermitages, and the joke getting ruined by the Seattle boom of the 90s.
Sam Thielman interviews Matt Furie about new book Mindviscosity, staying carefree, and life after Pepe the Frog.
Howard Chaykin presents another edition of 'Front Row Center', this time around talking to Neal Adams about his life in comics, from childhood reader to seasoned pro, maintaining a healthy work/life balance, and what drove his move from newspaper strips to periodicals.
Isaac Butler talks to Joe Sacco about chasing the stories for his graphic novels, the people who give him a window into the communities he’s covered, and avoiding his own preconceived notions while letting spontaneity flow on the page.
Daniel Elkin presents the next instalment of ‘Knowing is Half the Battle’, as Laura Knetzger shares advice on what to expect from publishers, and the importance of always getting a contract.
The Washington Post
David Betancourt talks to Kevin Eastman and Tom Waltz about Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin, the final ever (chronologically) Turtles tale, and Eastman’s own Turtles journey.
Women Write About Comics
• Wendy Browne interviews Mariah McCourt about Ash & Thorn, the pop culture touchstones that inspired the series, subverting tropes with older protagonists, and nourishing the body and the mind with baking recipes.
• Kate Kosturski talks to Roxane Gay, Tracy Lynne Oliver, and Rebecca Kirby about the graphic novel adaptation of The Sacrifice of Darkness, the importance of food in the story (and life), influences on the visuals, and narrative colors.
ON SALE NOW: my first original magazine of comics criticism! DEATH TO THE UNIVERSE: THE AMERICAN MAINSTREAM mines a seam of history from when superheroes were a forgotten fad, to their total conquest of our culture. Starring Kirby, Ditko, Toth and more! https://t.co/10bou2FW0Y
— Matt Seneca (@mattseneca) September 8, 2020
A momentary distraction from the darkness… This week’s features and comics.
• Here at TCJ, Matt Seneca presents an excerpt from his new self-published zine of comics criticism, The American Mainstream, looking at Captain 3D, Rip Hunter… Time Master, and House of Secrets featuring a who’s who of the great and good of Silver Age work-for-hire being misunderstood by their intended audience - “Make no mistake, this is still paint-by-numbers stuff from writer Bob Haney, with a plot revolving around a stolen nuclear warhead and a villain with mind-control powers. But 55 years later, seeing Toth sink his teeth into it is a fresh, even exciting feeling. There's no real good reason why this one didn't hit, besides heroes with a darker edge still not being ready for their moment. That's illustrated by the dumbass kids in the letter column calling for Toth's ouster and the restoration of original Eclipso artist Lee Elias. Little morons.”
• Also for TCJ, Ted White has a remembrance of Richard “Dick” Lupoff, who passed away earlier this month, and the impact that he had on comics fandom and fanzine culture - “No one then realized the subsequent impact of [Richard’s piece on Captain Marvel in Xero #1]. It didn't create comics fandom – which already existed – but it helped galvanize it. It sparked a wave of nostalgic interest in comics, mostly as relics of childhood, now fondly remembered, in SF fandom. SF fans had broad interests. Music was one, and comics turned out to be another.”
• Maggie Thompson, similarly for TCJ, provides more remembrances of Dick and Pat Lupoff, including a timeline of their pioneering achievements in the 60s and 70s, and the friendliness they embodied - “But facts, dates, awards: They don’t convey just how much fun it was to hang out with Dick and Pat — and how eternally kind they were as hosts. I’m speaking here as one among many who experienced their kindness.”
• Over at The Middle Spaces, Osvaldo Oyola bids farewell to Howard the Duck, as Waugh and On and On draws to a close, and looks at whether the series overall can be viewed as fair or fowl.
• For NeoText, Chloe Maveal looks back at the often overlooked tranche of British Horror comics, and the peculiarities of stories from an isle of creators raised on Hammer Horror and Carry On films, and puts forward the argument for Kyle Baker’s Lester Fenton and the Walking Dead taking the undead top of the pops, while Ben Marra presents a nice gallery highlighting the visual storytelling chops of one Mr Will Eisner.
• Continuing the horror vibes, for The Beat, Ricardo Serrano Denis draws parallels between George A. Romero’s storytelling in his underappreciated “vampire” movie, Martin, and comic series Empire of the Dead, continuing the stories of the undead he remains best known for.
• Over at Hyperallergic, Dorian Batycka visits the Berlin Biennale's exhibition of Zehra Doğan’s graphic novel, Xêzên Dizî (The Hidden Drawings), documenting the abuses that she, and her fellow political prisoners, suffered at the hands of Turkish prison officials.
• A couple of dips back into the past for 13th Dimension, as Paul Kupperberg presents his favorite short-lived comic series of the 60s, and Archie Comics’ Alex Segura journeys back to 1982 to start looking at the impact of the Hobgoblin on The Amazing Spider-Man.
• Another journey in the wayback machine, as Drew Bradley summons more ‘Ghosts of Comics’ Past’ for Multiversity Comics, looking back through the mists of time to 2010, and the last time we had a “once in a century” recession *panicked laughter dissolving into sobs*.
• For Solrad, Tynan Stewart has a deep-dive into the satire of Joe Sacco's Bumf - it's part review, part critical essay, part interview, and all adds up to an interesting retrospective look at Sacco's humor comics as his latest work of graphic reportage arrives.
• House to Astonish sees Paul O'Brien's thorough chronicling of the life and times of one Mr Wolverine T. Logan continue, and Mr Pointy Hands is now bothering the Silver Age, as if they didn’t have enough to deal with back then already. Tsk.
• For Shelfdust, Charlotte Finn reaches week 43 in Astro City, and there’s a real case of “my dad could beat up your dad” going on, Justin Partridge looks at the Infinite Crisis of Brother Blood and there’s a real case of “I have unresolved mother issues” for the character, Tim Mayton checks in with President Lex Luthor and there's a real case of "well, this turned out weirdly prophetic", while Steve Morris looks back at Amazing Spider-Man #546, and there’s a real case of “I made a deal with the devil and now Dan Slott is writing a really weird alternate back-history for me.”
• A couple of longform comics over at The Nib, as Matt Bors and Kazimir Lee look back at the subprime mortgage crisis, and its erasure of Black wealth, while Shing Yin Khor explores what’s in a hairstyle.
• For NPR, LA Johnson illustrates an interview between Keisha "TK" Dutes and Judson Brewer, M.D., about how you deal with anxiety when every single possible anxiety trigger is being pulled 24/7 365 in the year two thousand and twenty.
• Another new (surprise) release from Panel Syndicate this week, as issue 1 of Donny Cates, Dylan Burnett, Dean White and John J. Hill’s new digital series, The One You Feed, promising dark supernatural thrills, arrives in a pay-what-you-want form.
• Joe Dator has just one more thing, for The New Yorker, as people the world over find that 2020 is the perfect year to revisit the case files (and class war) of one Lieutenant Columbo, of the Los Angeles Police Department.
"Snapping back into legacy numbering. Original paper stock was called in. Copra Press has reopened its doors." https://t.co/AX9L9Et2EG
ICYMI: COPRA'S BACK
— Michel Fiffe (@MichelFiffe) October 20, 2020
Look, ma, I’m on TV… This week’s recommended watching.
• Kicking off this section with an event that’s currently sold out, but one to keep an eye on for any cancellations/reserves list opening, as VanCaf present a week-long course from Marian Churchland on subtext in comics, and how to tell a layered story, exploring different approaches to passive storytelling, which sounds pretty cool.
• Taking place next week, and open for (free) registration now, OSU and The Billy Ireland Museum present a webinar by Frederick L. Schodt on the development of comics in Japan and the life and pioneering work of Japanese comic artist Henry Yoshitaka Kiyama, as part of their Global Comics Series of lectures.
• This week’s workshop from The Believer and The Black Mountain Institute saw Leila Abdelrazaq taking viewers through making ‘Comics for a New World’, visualising developments they would like to see in their lifetime, and accessing radical imagination spaces.
• A mix of spooky and classic comics (and classic spooky comics) on Cartoonist Kayfabe this week, as Jim Rugg and Ed Piskor opened the caskets of Glenn Danzig and Simon Bisley’s work on Frank Frazetta’s Death Dealer, Richard Corben’s Creepy and Eerie horror comics, Masamun Shirow’s seminal cyberpunk story Ghost in the Shell, the cautionary tale of Men in Black and where that adaptation money went, Mike Howellt’s The Weird World of Eerie Publications, the weird world of early comic adaptations of HP Lovecraft, and Harlan Ellison’s work on Daredevil #208.
• A couple of virtual visits to Comix Experience this week, as Brian Hibbs talks to Kiku Hughes about Displacement for October’s graphic novel club, and chats with Tim Probert about Lightfall for October’s edition of the Kids’ graphic novel club.
• Inkpulp gives a window into Shawn Crystal’s series of instructional inking videos this week, offering a how-to on inking everyone’s favourite big red devil - Hellboy.
• Ending this week with a bumper crop of interviews from Noah Van Sciver, as he talks Peanuts with Gary Groth, newspaper strip fantasies with Jay Stephens, followed by a publishing discussion with Stephens and Michel Vrana, and ending the week with a Peter Bagge interview ahead of the publication of the new The Complete Hate deluxe editions. Phew!
— Little Thunder リトルサンダー (@littlethunderr) October 28, 2020
Banging the drum… This week’s easy-listening.
• 2000 AD’s Lockdown Tapes show no signs of unwinding this week, as MOCLH-R talks to David Hine and Nick Percival about the return of everyone’s favourite genocidal maniacs - The Dark Judgessssss-*inhale*-sssssss.
• A big week for Make It Then Tell Everybody, as Dan Berry interviews Emma Evans about the nitty gritty of making and selling comics, and how that’s faring during a global pandemic, and then the script is well and truly flipped for the big episode 200, as Lucy Bellwood interviews Berry about making Make It Then Tell Everybody, and his varied career path through comics.
• Off Panel got well and truly into the Hallow’s Eve spirit this week, as David Harper and James Tynion IV discussed everything horror, including the new anthology comic Razorblades, and the spoOOOoooky world of e-commerce.
• Publisher’s Weekly’s More to Come covered the big three questions in mainstream comics this week, as Kate Fitzsimmons, Heidi MacDonald, and Calvin Reid ask - what’s the deal with DC, what’s the deal with IDW, and what is the deal with GN sales numbers? *slap bass*
• A couple of trips to the Virtual Memories Show this week, as Gil Roth spoke to Jeff Trexler about his work as the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund’s Interim Director, as well as some remembrances of Tom Spurgeon; and caught up with Michael Shaw about cartooning and humor, and how one cartoons and remains humorous during a year which could comfortably be described as a bit of a to-do.
• As Sex Criminals draws to a close this week with issue #69 (naturally), Shelfdust Presents went back to the start, with Matt Lune and Samantha Puc discussing the first issue of the comic, and its heartfelt message of sex-positivity.
— Luchie ???? hard @ work on her graphic novel ???? (@heyluchie) October 28, 2020
That’s it for this week - I hope that you’ll exercise your democratic rights to both voting and candy over the next few days, and I'll see you again with more flimflam soon.
New in the Comiclopedia: Ward Zwart - Belgium (added) https://t.co/THonc7qJZR
— Lambiek Comiclopedia (@Comiclopedia) October 28, 2020