August draws to a close, as it is wont to do, but there are still this week’s links to be found below, of course, which is nice.
Onwards, friends, for what we do in life echoes in eternity*.
*Hang on, Ridley Scott's Gladiator is twenty years old?? When did THAT happen?
Is it though… This week’s news.
• If the last six months weren’t already likely to go down in history as ‘Our Plague Year’, then I’d be petitioning the record-keepers to name this passage of time ‘The Summer of Synergistic Shuffling’, as the direct market saw some more corporate musical chairs taking place this week - Image Comics reinvigorating their sales division with IDW veterans, Dark Horse striking a deal with comiXology to print digital comics, Heavy Metal bolstering their staff roster, and publishing rescheduling galore - may you live in interesting times.
• Following their recent streamlining, followed by the distracting “everything’s ok here” fireworks display of the Fandome, DC Comics have announced the return of Milestone comics to their slate, including a digital republishing of classic titles, with free comics coming next month during part II of Crisis on Infinite Fandomes.
• Speaking of Fandome II: The Road Warrior, September 12th has quickly become the day to schedule your virtual comic event on, as the online convention scene picks up where the real-world one left-off, in terms of calendar clashes - LightboxExpo will (apparently) be presenting a virtual reality convention experience that day, which is so exclusive that you need to create an account, on their website simply to browse it. No, thanks - this hasn’t been a particularly great summer for comics events protecting private data.
• In awards news, The Ringo Awards have announced their shortlists for this year, which you can now view without having to hand over your personal data, so that's nice - however, as Fleen’s Gary Tyrrell points out, the award ceremony is due to take place in person, in two months time, during an ongoing pandemic, which… Hey! A pig just flew over my keyboard... Get outta here you winged nuisance!
• Also via the above link from Fleen, the Cartoon Art Museum’s Shelter-in-Place fundraising art auction is now live - featured artists include Derf Backderf, Alison Bechdel, Terri Libenson, Maria Scrivan, Doug Sneyd, and Gene Luen Yang, with new auction items being added weekly.
• On the other hand, if you fancy getting in on the auction action for personal gain, then Heritage Auctions has some rare comics coming up on the block - This Week’s Links’ auction coverage is back, baby!
• For folks in the south of England, the Grrl Zine Library has an open call for zine-maker residency places, with six spots available in October and November, and travel/accommodation provided, along with risograph training, material costs, salary, and more - deadline for applications is 13th September.
• The Daily Cartoonist has coverage of cartoonist David Fitzsimmons’ work being used in an eighth grade social studies exercise, and subsequently pulled from the curriculum due to complaints over its less than positive (but wholly accurate) depiction of the police, which would seem to be a very good example of standing on the wrong side of history in the year two thousand and twenty, and also bafflingly clueless as to what such exercises are supposed to teach. C’est la vie!
Pure class… This week’s reviews.
• Joe McCulloch reviews the ‘damnedest book of 2020’, hefting the prodigiously proportioned obscure fables of Andy Douglas Day’s anti-memoir, Boston Corbett, and finding both a key exemplar of an ‘acquired taste’, but also the promise that alternative comics hold.
• Matt Seneca reviews the limiting commentary of Tom Scioli’s Jack Kirby: The Epic Life of the King of Comics, ultimately left wanting more, but enjoying the ride, while pondering comics as a criticism of the medium itself.
• J. Caleb Mozzocco reviews the dawning realizations of Sophie Yanow’s The Contradictions, Yanow’s ode to stepping away from one’s teenage awkwardness, lest the world pass you by.
• Andrea Hayes reviews the generic punk rock narrative of Rick Spears and Emmett Helen’s My Riot.
• Christopher Franey reviews one of DC’s big summer publications, taking in the continuity-bothering of Geoff Johns, Jason Fabok, Brad Anderson, et al’s Three Jokers #1.
• Ronnie Gorham reviews the bold opening of Jason Howard’s Big Girls #1.
• Trevor Richardson reviews the sanguine pulp of Alex de Campi and Erica Henderson’s Dracula Motherf**ker.
• David Brooke reviews the monstrous ending of Joe Hill and Stuart Immonen’s Plunge #6, and the grimy beginnings of James Tynion IV and Martin Simmonds’ Department of Truth #1.
• Morgana Santilli reviews the gratifyingly meandering fun of Yasunobu Yamauchi’s The Daily Lives of High School Boys, translated by David Musto.
• Avery Kaplan reviews the illuminating insights of Tim Hanley’s nonfiction text, Betty and Veronica: The Leading Ladies of Riverdale.
• Josh Hilgenberg reviews the concise satire of Shannon Wheeler and Steve Duin’s The Mueller Report.
• John Seven takes the indie view and reviews the unique foreboding of Julia Gfrörer’s Vision.
• Andy Oliver reviews the unsettling surreality of Jim Woodring’s And Now, Sir — Is THIS Your Missing Gonad?, the joyful inventiveness of Beatrix and Kristen Haas Curtis’ Princess Wolf and Her Life of Darkness, and the grassroots insights of Obsolete Comics' Crisis.
• Tom Murphy reviews the rustic whimsy of Louka Butzbach’s Whistle, translated by Ross Heselton.
Four Color Apocalypse
Ryan C reviews the contemplative altered-states of Matt Furie’s Mindviscosity the uncharacteristic surprise of Michael Aushenker’s Trolls: 1 Trip 2 Many, and the twisted savviness of M.S. Harkness’ Rotten.
House to Astonish
Paul O’Brien reviews the disjointed crossover shenanigans of Empyre: X-Men, with a long list of contributing creators.
• Jodi Odgers’ weekly reviews of Shimura Takako's Wandering Son, translated by Rachel Thorn, hits the penultimate volume, finding the characters continuing to struggle for love and acceptance.
• Robbie Pleasant reviews the creative accessibility of James Asmus, Connie Daidone, et al’s Voyage to the Stars #1.
New York Times
Victoria Jamieson reviews the reflective authenticity of Hope Larson’s All Together Now.
Susana Polo reviews the toothless smile of Geoff Johns, Jason Fabok, et al’s Three Jokers #1.
Chris Gavaler presents a double-feature, reviewing the pleasant minimalism of Sophie Yanow’s The Contradictions, and the surreal maximalism of Lisa Hanawalt’s I Want You.
Have capsule reviews of:
- The unconventional macabre of Budjette Tan and Kajo Baldisimo's Murder on Balete Drive.
- The offbeat discoveries of Vincent Perriot's Negalyod: The God Network, translated by Montana Kane.
- The hearty humour of Edward O. Wilson, Jim Ottaviani, and C.M. Butzer's Naturalist: A Graphic Adaptation.
- The refreshing whimsy of Steve Martin and Harry Bliss' A Wealth of Pigeons.
Ryan Carey reviews the social-distancing serendipity of Remy Boydell’s 920London.
Women Write About Comics
• Paulina Przystupa reviews the enigmatic entitlement of John Allison, Max Sarin, et al’s Wicked Things #3.
• Louis Skye reviews the adorable autobiography of Rachel Dukes’ Frankie Comics.
• Wendy Browne reviews the fleeting immortality of Greg Rucka, Leandro Fernández, et al’s The Old Guard.
• Zoe Tunnell reviews the authentic inconsistency of Pseudonym Jones’ Fanlee and Spätzle Make Something Perfect.
• Masha Zhdanova reviews the fun mystery of Dan Schkade and Jenn Manley Lee's Lavender Jack.
Surprisingly down to earth, and very funny… This week’s interviews.
Michał Chudoliński interviews Rafał Mikołajczyk about his adaptation of Stanislaw Lem’s The Invincible, the author’s importance in science fiction and his ongoing influence across media, time-consuming creative processes, core themes, and the Polish comics scene - to quote Mikołajczyk - “What comics do I like to read? The good ones, mostly.” So say we all.
Dan Greenfield and Steve Engelhart’s ‘Inside the Batman’ series of interviews draws to a close this week, as they discuss onomatopoeia and cover art - quoth Engelhart - “So much of comics, of anything, of life, is existential. It’s just like, I took my best shot, I got lucky.”
Chris Coplan interviews François Vigneault about his working day, and creative highlights and lowlights.
Matt Badham talks to the team behind the Tammy & Jinty Special 2020, looking at its mix of British comics history and move towards modernity.
Frederick Luis Aldama presents a new edition of ‘Anatomy of a Panel’ talking to Rina Ayuyang about Blame this on the Boogie, and choosing to tread the autobio comics path.
The Hollywood Reporter
Graeme McMillan interviews Francois Schuiten about illustrative work for NeoText and trying to recapture the adventurous spirit of classic European magazines; and talks to Natasha Alterici about the conclusion of fantasy series Heathen, and what inspired its hero’s journey.
The New York Times
For the ‘At War’ series of newsletters, Josh Terry talks to Maximilian Uriarte about his graphic novel Battle Born: Lapis Lazuli, his experiences in the Marine Corps, choosing creative fiction over nonfiction, and Conan the Barbarian.
Sarah Mirk interviews Joe Sacco about his latest book, Paying the Land, picking complex subject matter, challenging his own assumptions, compassionate interview techniques, and narrative shift from fracking to colonialism.
Alex Dueben interviews Monalesia Earle about her book Writing Queer Women of Color: Representation and Misdirection in Contemporary Fiction and Graphic Narratives, and the interconnectedness of lack of representation, invisibility, and marginalization in erasing marginalised voices.
• Kyla Smith interviews Crystal ‘Scotty’ Jayme about comics discovery and inspirations, long-term narrative planning, binge reading, and the constant evolution of the webcomics community.
• Daniel Elkin and Sarah Wray present the latest edition of ‘Knowing is Half the Battle’ as Sophie Goldstein talks about the tasks publishers should handle, and using social media to research potential business partners.
• Karama Horne interviews Daniele Di Nicuolo about his and Tom Taylor’s comic Seven Series, shonen manga and anime influences, correctly choosing the best Cowboy Bebop character, and lessons learned from Power Rangers.
• Cher Matinetti talks to Trina Robbins about the history of early feminist newspaper It Ain’t Me Babe, the 50th anniversary of the comix that spun-off from it, and whether anything has changed, with regards to male domination of the medium, in the intervening time [spoilers: no].
Women Write About Comics
Melissa Brinks talks to Lucy Kagan about crowdfunding endeavors for the latest installment of Hazel, the final issue of the series of witchcraft lifestyle zines, climactic big-ideas, the power of ritual, and the popularization of cottagecore.
Words and pictures for the words and picture god… This week’s features and comics.
• Here at TCJ, Helen Chazan eyes up the protagonists of Tardi’s noir comics, their world-weary brows frowning from the pages of Jean-Patrick Manchette’s crime stories, and how the narrative momentum of the adaptations are maintained while throwing genre tropes under the microscope.
• Keeping a promise made in 2016 (remember 2016? Ahhh, the innocence of youth), Michael Tisserand has compiled a treasure trove of George Herriman’s work, and related cultural artifacts, ostensibly to accompany chapters from his book Krazy: George Herriman, A Life in Black and White, but which is also a fascinating read in and of itself. ZIP!
• Continuing their ‘Coronavirus Journals’ for The Beat, Brandon Schatz & Danica LeBlanc look back to what happened after DC Comics and Diamond Distribution Ltd had their parting of the ways, while Steve Bennett assesses the impact this new status quo might have as the pandemic continues.
• Looking at the wider impact on spending patterns in media markets, Milton Griepp presents his take on 'living through a live experiment in the attention economy', and what we might expect to see as COVID-19-related economic and social uncertainty continue.
• It’s another NeoText crossover this week, as they joint-host an essay with 13th Dimension, offering readers two flavors of Chloe Maveal’s piece on 50 years of Jack Kirby’s take on Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen - to paraphrase the King himself - “Don’t ask! Just read it!”
• For Women Write About Comics, Adrienne Resha takes a look at the influx of YA graphic novels from DC Comics to the book market, and the predominance of white protagonists in those published over the last two years.
• Sequart’s latest book giveaway offers up Greg Carpenter’s The British Invasion: Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman, Grant Morrison, and the Invention of the Modern Comic Book Writer, which is yours for the price of a retweet for the next week.
• Over at ssense, Michael DeForge updates Milton Glaser’s classic “12 Steps on the Road to Design Hell” for 2020, and to reflect subsequent changes to the commercial illustration landscape - per DeForge: “When we’re asked to paint a friendly, familiar face onto displacement, policing, precarious work and ecological destruction, we’re providing the set dressing for our own eventual demise.”
• For Boston’s wbur, David Moore looks at what public radio can learn from a community-minded comics store, and independent retail in the digital age.
• Appearing in the journal Scan, Dr Cathy Sly has a piece on ‘silent’ graphic novels, and how they can be used in the classroom to explore wordless narratives; and The Beat have another graphic novel study guide from Arpad Okay, this time looking at how to use Jen Wang's In Real Life for homeschooling.
• A trio of articles from The Daily Cartoonist, as Mike Peterson continues his coverage of editorial cartoons from the election countdown, as party conventions hit the airwaves, and DD Degg looks back into the archives of the British (anti-Communist propaganda) Animal Farm cartoon strip, and What If…? Shaenon K. Garrity had taken over on Nancy duties.
• Crisis of Infinite Critics continues at Shelfdust as Graeme McMillan closes out the Brother Eye saga, Tom Speelman counts down to Final Crisis, Steve Morris and Spider-Man check in on the drug trade, and Charlotte Finn confronts fandom in Astro City #34.
• For Catapult, Shing Yin Khor has a longform comic on ennui and the history of peaches in the US, and the personal intersection of the two.
• Over at The New York Times, Gary Clement dives into the surprisingly deep pool of books about swimming, while Edie Fake has a floral drawing exercise for ‘The Diary Project’ to help combat despair at the state of the world - the series was due to finish with a piece from Ronald Wimberley this weekend, but it appears to have been “pulled for content”. (Ed. You can read the comic and Ron's commentary on what happened with the Times on this Patreon post.)
• The Nib has a new edition of their In/Vulnerable series, as Thi Bui, Trey Bundy, Sarah Mirk and Amanda Pike present real estate broker Shelly Jenks’ experiences during the pandemic, while Maria Stoian looks at the bizarre world of multi-level marketing.
• Ronnie James Dio’s Holy Diver comic book? Ronnie James Dio’s Holy Diver comic book.
Do not concentrate on the finger… This week’s recommended watching.
• Cartoonist Kayfabe had a relatively quiet week, but they did take viewers on a deep dive into 1987’s TCJ #118, specifically Kim Thompson’s interview with Mœbius, including the dopamine trap of modern comics; and pay homage to 1977's The Smithsonian Collection of Newspaper Comics, the tome, the myth, the legend.
• Some #content coming out of Penguin Random House, as they welcomed viewers to Book Your Summer (Live), with a panel on the process of producing a graphic novel, from conception to publication, with Sophie Escabasse, Tyler Feder, Victoria Jamieson, Chad Sell, and Victoria Ying; and a video with ASL interpretation (more of that, plz, publishers) which sees Chip Kidd in-conversation with Tom Scioli, David F. Walker, Pat Dorian, Reza Farazmand, Liana Finck, and Deena Mohamed.
• For more Random House action, but focused at a younger readership, next month sees a series of virtual events taking place, ‘Falling for Graphic Novels’, hosted by indie bookstores where “each panel will focus on a theme in kids and YA comics, allowing readers to immerse themselves in stories of magic and heroes, queer and diverse representation, and even an interactive art class.”
• Celebrating 100 years since the ratification of the 19th amendment of the US Constitution, establishing that the right of citizens to vote “shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex”, the Women's Rights National Historical Park’s Stephanie Freese hosted a panel discussion with creators from the comics anthology Votes for Women: The Battle for the 19th Amendment, looking at the book’s creation, and talking about the realities for womxn working in comics today.
• Celebrating the publication of I Want You, last week saw Powell’s Bookstore host an in-conversation between Lisa Hanawalt and Emily Heller, as they talk about the comics’ original incarnations, revisiting earlier works for this new collection, ideas that made it into later work, and why there was zero temptation to rework old cartoons.
• Taking place this eve and tomorrow, if you’re reading this on the day of publication, there’s a chance to catch a sneak preview screening of Feels Good Man, the documentary looking at Matt Furie’s battle to reclaim his work and characters from the alt-right, with accompanying livestream Q&As - tickets are limited, but you can grab them here, while those stocks last.
• The Believer and Black Mountain Institute’s latest livestream comics workshop saw Kate Lacour taking viewers through comics as art therapy and the use of art within a psychotherapeutic relationship (starts around the 6 minute mark) - you can sign up for this evening’s workshop on body comics, with Erin Williams, here.
• Comix Experience had a new edition of their Kids GN of the Month Club, as Brian Hibbs welcomed Kel McDonald and Kate Ashwin to the show to discuss their book The Nixie of the Mill Pond, answering questions from the audience on process and cool werewolf violence as a punishment for adultery.
• Mark Evanier had the script flipped on him this week, as Sergio Aragones took over hosting duties and interviewed Evanier to get an update on how things have been for him recently, what kept him working creatively, the modern comics market, and anecdotes, anecdotes, anecdotes.
• Noah Van Sciver chatted with Tom Neely this week, as the two discuss the ever changing face of small press comics, the biker-contingent response to Henry and Glen Forever, the allure of the ribbon bookmark, and loosening things up artistically.
• Up in the Word Balloon this week, John Siuntres welcomed Ed Brubaker for a chat about crime and cowboys, and Johnnie Christmas dropped in to the show to talk about his new comiXology supernatural romance graphic novel, Crema, with Dante Luis.
More cowbell… This week’s easy-listening.
• As part of their remote programming for 2020’s festival, Autoptic have sent the first half of their collaboration with The Gutter Boys live, presenting podcast interviews with Madeline McGrane, M. S. Harkness, Craig Thompson and Phil Thompson, Julia Gfrörer, Rumi Hara, Josh Pettinger, and Jose Pimienta and Whitney Leopard - the organization is very self-deprecating about these as a replacement for in-person programming due to COVID-19, but I think they’re a solid substitute, given the circumstances.
• Also on the virtual festival front, Off Panel welcomes LightboxExpo’s Jim Demonakos to the show to discuss live events during a time where live events as we know them aren’t possible, and how bright the future is looking.
• 2000 AD’s latest Lockdown Tape finds MOLCH-R talking to Dan Abnett and Mark Harrison about their series The Out, the serendipity of creation, influences, and reflecting the contemporary world.
• A slightly different episode of Salt and Honey this time around, as Leslie Hung interviews co-host Sloane Leong about her new graphic novel A Map to the Sun, hitting hard subjects in fiction, and a light sprinkling of spoilers.
• Publisher’s Weekly’s More to Come welcomed Gamal Hennessy to the show, as Heidi MacDonald interviewed Hennessy about his new crowd-funded book The Business of Independent Comic Book Publishing, working in the mainstream and indie markets, and the changing face of publishing in the age of COVID-19.
• Study Group’s Process Party returns, and this episode Mike Dawson and Zack Soto are discussing one of the biggest books of the year, The Loneliness Of The Long Distance Cartoonist, what on earth has been going on the last few months, and whether the world will ever see a comic for adults.
• Shelfdust Presents welcomed Christian Hoffer to the show this week, as discussion was entered into of Ultimate Spider-Man #1 and why it stood out among the Ultimate line of comics, despite not really doing anything new in the slightest.
• Letters and Lines returns, and this episode sees hosts Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou and Aditya Bidikar joined by Ariana Maher for some Photoshop chat, and tips for how writers can keep letterers on-side.
Righty’o, back next week in the undiscovered country of September, with even more links!
Ed: The featured image on the homepage for this post is by cartoonist Daniel Warren Johnson, in memory of Riley Gale, the lead singer of Power Trip.