Virtual comics event season is getting into high gear now, so expect a deluge of video panels and interviews to take you through to autumn, as Zoom™ Fatigue really doubles down on every aspect of your life for one last hurrah as vaccine rollouts continue.
If you’ve not yet hit a screen-time quotient for the month, then might I suggest topping up those blue-light levels with a selection of This Week’s Links, below.
Spomenik II pic.twitter.com/1Ddz19A1sZ
— Olivia Sullivan (@zeb_ko) May 12, 2021
Signed, sealed, delivered… This week’s news.
• A court in Rennes ruled this week that artist Xavier Marabout’s paintings of Hergé’s Tintin in settings from artworks by Edward Hopper do indeed constitute parody works, and are thereby exempt from an infringement claim from Moulinsart, the organization that oversees the Hergé estate. Marabout was awarded €10,000 in damages due to Moulinsart contacting art galleries about the alleged infringement, which the court ruled was a “denigration” of the artist, with Moulinsart also being ordered to pay €20,000 in legal fees.
• As part of this week’s virtual TCAF, the winners of 2021’s Doug Wright Awards were announced, via virtual ceremony, with S. Bédard taking home the award for best book for Lonely Boys; Veronica Post receiving the emerging talent award for Langosh & Peppi: Fugitive Days; Scott Carruthers’ The Noiseless Din being crowned best small/micro-press book; and best kids’ book going to Mandi Kujawa, Hana Kujawa, Claude St. Aubin, and Lovern Kindzierski’s A Slug Story; while Fred Kelly was inducted into the Canadian Cartoonist Hall of Fame.
• In other virtual festival news, SPX have announced that 2021’s edition will once again be taking place in the digital space, as an agreement has been reached between Bethesda’s Marriott Hotel and the festival to offset cancellation charges incurred, resulting in a pausing of the SPX’s charitable endeavors - 2021’s virtual SPX will also include an online version of the Ignatz Awards, details TBC.
• Conundrum Press have opened applications to this year's Mini-Comic Bursary for Black and Indigenous Creators, with a bursary of $1,000 available to a creator living in Canada for the creation of a mini-comic, and the selected individual will also receive distribution assistance through Conundrum Press - applications are open until December 31st 2021.
• Koyama Provides announced a new recipient of their grant program, with $1,000 being awarded to artist Hakim Callwood, who will be using the money “to cover supplies for the future stops on the [Tour de Mural] tour.”
• The Daily Cartoonist rounded up the illustration-focused prize-giving from this year’s National Newspaper Awards, as Michael De Adder of the Halifax Chronicle and Toronto Star was announced as the winner of 2020’s editorial cartooning category, and shared the news that Steve Kelley has won the 2021 National Headliner Award for Newspaper Editorial Cartoons.
• News broke in the week that comics creator, and author of the Hamm Tips series of instructional guides, Jesse Hamm, has died, due to a pulmonary embolism - CBR and Multiversity Comics have obituaries, and comicbook.com shared a selection of social media tributes from fellow creators.
— Nick Pyle™ (@Nick_Pyle) May 11, 2021
Praise the sun… This week’s reviews.
• Alec Berry reviews the third and final volume of Peow Studio’s Ex.Mag anthology series, Crumbling Kingdom, edited by Wren McDonald - “...Ex.Mag #3 would benefit from a more precise and particular vision or purpose beyond “our favorite artists draw knights.” The book could sing! It could say something, anything, by way of distilling each contribution into a smooth aggregate. Or, at the least, it could provide something truly satisfying, page-to-page-to-page, instead of the hits and misses I experienced.”
• Tim Hayes reviews the solid roots of S. Craig Zahler’s Forbidden Surgeries of the Hideous Dr. Divinus - “Art's validity doesn't vary if it's a hobbyist work originating from relative comfort rather than hauled up from the agonizing fires of possibility by an artist falling to pieces (although one of those might sync more neatly with a climate of art made by scrupulously polite people, should that be what we're after these days). But if that work is referential and primativist and metronomic, under-wrought rather than overwrought, if it works with the exterior rather than the interior life in pen lines of fixed expressivity... well, then it might materialize in our era of irony beyond any meaningful judgment of whether the result is a sincere work or some form of fine-tooled trolling.”
• Hillary Brown reviews the characterful visuals of Mike Dawson’s The Fifth Quarter - “Dawson used to work mostly in physical media, but he did this book on a Wacom Cintiq, and it feels both digital and good, something I probably should say more often than I do. He puts in some nice brushy effects that you don’t see unless you look closely, but serve to rough up the sometimes too-shiny neatness of the digital line. He still loves noses, but he’s reduced his palette of them to simple arcs and curves that evoke Chic Young and Mort Walker.”
• Sam Rutzick reviews the disappointing mismatches of Al Ewing, Simone de Meo, et al’s We Only Find Them When They’re Dead.
• Ronnie Gorham reviews the tantalizing relevance of Declan Shalvey, Rory Mcconville, Joe Palmer, et al’s Time Before Time #1.
• Nathan Simmons reviews the wild thrills of Dennis Culver, Joshua Williamson, Giannis Milonogiannis, et al’s Future State: Gotham #1.
• Colin Moon reviews the emotional prescience of Aminder Dhaliwal’s Cyclopedia Exotica, and the subtle intensity of Rio Youers, Alison Sampson, et al’s adaptation of Stephen King and Owen King’s Sleeping Beauties.
• Lindsay Pereira reviews the formidable resonance of Aminder Dhaliwal’s Cyclopedia Exotica.
• Jenny Robins reviews the readable absurdities of Katja Klengel’s Girlsplaining.
• Andy Oliver reviews:
- The inventive abandon of Ken Reid’s Faceache: The The First Hundred Scrunges.
- The assured self-acceptance of Anke Gladnick’s Threshold.
- The glorious pantomime of Ted Cowan, Jerry Siegel and Reg Bunn’s The Spider’s Syndicate of Crime.
- The powerful intensity of Annie Huang’s 20/20.
- The uplifting explorations of Lawrence Lindell and Breena Nuñez’s One.
- The fitting symbolism of David Robertson's The Tay Bridge Disaster.
Four Color Apocalypse
Tom Batten reviews the enthralling empathy of Joe Ollman’s Fictional Father.
• Kobi Bordoley reviews the illegible grotesques of Massimo Rosi, Ludovica Ceregatti, et al’s Broken Souls Ballad #1.
• Robbie Pleasant reviews the balanced strengths of Jason Aaron, Ed McGuinness, et al’s Heroes Reborn #1.
• Mark Tweedale reviews the slow-burn mystery of Mike Mignola, Chris Roberson, Leila del Duca, et al’s The House of Lost Horizons: A Sarah Jewell Mystery #1.
• Matthew Blair reviews the familiar fascinations of Tini Howard, Alberto Foche, et al's X-Corp #1.
• Matt Sherman reviews the minimalist fun of Declan Shalvey, Rory McConville, Joe Palmer, et al's Time Before Time #1.
• Alexander Jones reviews the disheartening weaknesses of Jason Aaron, Dale Keown, Carlos Magno, Ed McGuinness, et al's Heroes Reborn #2.
• Christopher Egan reviews the pacy world-building of Olivia Cuartero-Briggs, Luca Merli, et al's Silver City #1.
The New York Times
Elizabeth Weil reviews the sprawling insights of Alison Bechdel’s The Secret to Superhuman Strength.
Have capsule reviews of:
- The aggressive surreality of Nathan Cowdry’s Crash Site.
- The devilish horrors of James Albon’s The Delicacy.
- The flawed momentum of Eric Anthony Glover and Arielle Jovellanos’ Black Star.
- The spellbinding spectacle of Matthew Clarke and Nigel Lynch’s Hardears.
Ryan Carey reviews the radical absurdism of Gary Panter’s Jimbo: Adventures in Paradise.
Women Write About Comics
Lisa Fernandes reviews the wonderful bleakness of Chip Zdarsky, Pasqual Ferry, et al’s Spider-Man: Spider’s Shadow #1.
Brighton is suddenly busy again. It’s lovely but it’s generating a lot of feels in me. pic.twitter.com/86xnNzKqNS
— Daniel Locke (@DanielULocke) May 12, 2021
Checking in and in and in… This week’s interviews.
Michael Dean, with contributions from Tucker Stone, interviews Jeff Trexler about his essay for TCJ on rebuilding the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (also at the link above), in the wake of allegations leveled at former CBLDF Director Charles Brownstein, and where the organization may go from here - “With respect to changes in the makeup of the board, the one thing I do not have any power over as interim director is I can’t get anybody off the board, I can’t put anybody on the board, right? That is not a power that I would have under the bylaws. I cannot change the composition of the board. What I can do is highlight the ethics issues. I can relay what people are saying about the board. I view myself as an information conduit and I can say, “Here’s an ethical challenge. Here’s what people are saying and here’s what people are saying you should do.” I don’t censor anything.”
Ronnie Gorham talks to Chris Roberson about The House of Lost Horizons: A Sarah Jewell Mystery, overloading on research, and the bits that don’t make it into the story.
• Deanna Destito speaks with Celeste Bronfman about My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, working in comics and television, and the gatekeeping still rife in the industry; and talks to Erica Schultz about The Deadliest Bouquet, spur of the moment story ideas, and crowdfunding in the time of COVID.
• Zack Quaintance interviews Olivia Cuartero-Briggs about Silver City, designing the afterlife, balancing drama and worldbuilding, and writing mentors.
• Avery Kaplan chats to Matthew Clarke and Nigel Lynch about Hardears, depicting Barbadian culture and folklore in the comic, and the influence of Judge Dredd.
• Joe Grunenwald talks to Paul Tobin and Ron Chan about Earth Boy, the elements of successful world-building, action film and anime references, and trusting your collaborators.
Andy Oliver speaks with Rachel A. Davis and Amy Galloway about new online interview series Creative Women, project origins and ethos, and topics covered in the series’ first season.
Sam Leith talks to Barry Windsor-Smith about Monsters, the nonlinear genesis of the project, the realities of creator credits on superhero comics, and (indirectly) what questions he will/will not answer.
Rob Salkowitz interviews Chang Kim about the acquisition of digital comics platform Tapas by Kakao Entertainment, the brass tacks of market strategy, and plans to expand partnerships with print publishers.
The Los Angeles Times
Zan Romanoff talks to Aminder Dhaliwal about Cyclopedia Exotica, the quick response to posting work on social media, and the interplay between making comics and animation.
Rob Clough interviews Luke Kruger-Howard about Goes Books, non-profit publishing innovations, pandemic life and parenthood, and butterflies.
Alex Jung talks to Alison Bechdel about The Secret to Superhuman Strength, when passions become passion-projects, interview autopilot, and becoming part of the system.
Women Write About Comics
• Marissa Louise speaks with Tamra Bonvillain about workloads at the Kubert School, Joe Mad appreciation, troublesome colors, and finding the look of a book.
• Wendy Browne interviews Jeff Smith and Vijaya Iyer about Tuki, the ongoing evolution of how you get books into the hands of readers, and thoughts on conventions in 2021 and beyond.
Pouting angel pic.twitter.com/olQwRd3v3i
— ᴋ.ᴡʀᴏᴛᴇɴ (@jukeboxcomix) May 11, 2021
Fiat lux… This week’s features and comics.
• Here at TCJ, Aug Stone writes in appreciation of Belgian comics creator Maurice Tillieux, and the cinematic work of the enigmatic artist - “Gil Jourdan is considered the pinnacle of Tillieux’s work, and rightly so. Here all his distinctive qualities come together. His dialogue is crisp and snappy, evocative of the way people actually speak - with playful, antagonistic banter, characters cracking jokes, and plenty of wordplay. There is a very human way his characters react to each other’s words and jokes, usually with humorous annoyance or impatience, making the stories ring all the more real. While children can certainly appreciate the pages, adults will find much more in them.”
• Also for TCJ, RC Harvey has prepared a fresh dose of Hare Tonic, charting the lives and work of messrs Bob Montana and John Goldwater, attempting to unpick the tangled truth of just who created Archie Andrews - “Although the question of who created Archie is clouded by rival claims from Montana and Goldwater, it may be that both contributed to the conception of the character that became the cornerstone of the publishing company. In Archie Comics own version of its history, Goldwater is credited with inventing the characters and Montana with envisioning them.”
• Over at NeoText, Chloe Maveal celebrates the work of Richard Sala, exploring the intimate labyrinths of personal interests that his comics represent.
• Tegan O’Neil’s The Hurting continues its journey through the many rooms of the House of Ideas, as an essay originally from 2019 unpacks the disappointment inherent in the modern iteration of Carol Danvers aka Captain Marvel.
• For The Middle Spaces, Dr Anna Peppard writes on a changing attitude towards the swaggering acrobatic antics of Kurt Wagner aka Nightcrawler, as depicted in Excalibur #4, and the difficulty in marshaling a full critical gaze on one’s fictional favorites.
• Mirroring a recent piece on streaming platforms boosting graphic novel sales, for Publisher’s Weekly, Deb Aoki writes on the surge in manga sales in the current golden age of (legal) anime availability, and talks to key stakeholders on whether this is evidence of sustained market growth or a bubble waiting to burst.
• Over at The Daily Cartoonist, Mike Peterson collates the week’s editorial illustrations, as who should speak about what is considered, especially when the entire concept of truth is dissolving, and it’s all fun and games until cartoonists attempt to cover ethnic cleansing.
• Sheldfust’s Black Comics History series of essays continues, as this week Wendy Browne writes on Hugo and speaks to its creator, Milton Knight, before one J. Jonah Jameson pens a diatribe against a certain New York superhero.
• 1988. A time to flashback through history. A time to fake one’s death. A time for Wolverine to go it alone.
• On the open-access academia frontlines, Susan E. Kirtley’s book Typical Girls: The Rhetoric of Womanhood in Comic Strips is now available for free from Ohio State University Press, which nudged me to take a look and see what else of their back-catalogue was out from under embargo, and you can also access Mark McKinney’s Redrawing French Empire in Comics, Eszter Szép’s Comics and the Body: Drawing, Reading, and Vulnerability, and Gareth Cordery and Joseph S. Meisel’s The Humours of Parliament: Harry Furniss's View of Late-Victorian Political Culture. Fill your boots!
• Also published recently under open-access, Transnational Narratives of Migration and Exile, edited by Camilla Erichsen Skalle and Anje Müller Gjesdal, which contains a chapter by Inge Lanslots on “contemporary graphic novels that enact the practices related to the porosity of the US–Mexican border in combination with the traumatic aspects of migration.”
• Finally, your reminder that The Comics Journal #307 is out next week, featuring interviews between Gary Groth and Cathy Malkasian, and Anya Davidson and Sally Cruikshank - you can order a copy here.
Working on texture pic.twitter.com/bfd2ZbIqOa
— Nicole Rifkin🔮 (@nicole_rifkin) May 12, 2021
Rocksteady… This week’s recommended watching.
• As TCAF closes out this year’s virtual iteration today and tomorrow, you’ve then got a day to catch your breath before 2021’s digital VanCAF kicks off on Monday, bringing another week of panel talks, interviews, and workshops to the world wide web.
• Also taking place this weekend, live to your electronic device of choice, 2021's Queer Comics Expo is running across Saturday 15th and Sunday 16th of May, including the announcement of the finalists in this year's Prism Awards, with winners to be announced in the summer.
• First Second’s series of Sketch School videos for younger creators continues, as Falynn Koch takes viewers through how to draw horses from History Comics: The Wild Mustang, and Andy Ristaino offers a brief lesson on illustrating the microorganisms and biological substances to be found in Science Comics: The Digestive System.
• The Believer and Black Mountain Institute’s latest virtual comics workshop saw Tanna Tucker taking viewers through drawing their ancestors, and connecting to those who are no longer with us (starts around the 90s mark).
• A Cartoonist Kayfabe grab-bag this week, as Jim Rugg and Ed Piskor took a look at Jupiter’s Legacy, books on making comics, Cerebus and some classic McFarlane, Michael Golden X Batman, Les Daniels’ Comix: A History of Comic Books in America, and Scott McCloud’s Zot!.
• Brian Hibbs welcomed Kurt Busiek to the latest edition of Comix Experience’s Masterpiece Selection series, as they discussed Marvels, favorite newspaper comics, early superhero work, and the genesis of prestige format book design.
• A few trips in the Word Balloon to close out this week’s video selection, as John Siuntres spoke with John McCrea about Dead Eyes, Declan Shalvey about Time Before Time, and Nicky Wheeler-Robinson on the golden age of women creators in comics (plus promo for a panel event celebrating women innovators in comics, on Lily Renée's 100th Birthday, that you can watch here).
Hi, I have returned to illustrate after 4 years of drought. 🌞 pic.twitter.com/XwfiatBa72
— Jon Juarez (@harriorrihar) May 10, 2021
Bebop… This week’s easy-listening.
• Comic Books Are Burning In Hell returned, as Tucker Stone, Matt Seneca, Chris Mautner, and Joe McCulloch convened to discuss the work of Gary Panter, and determine how convoluted is too convoluted when it comes to The Casque of Amontillado gags.
• Katie Skelly and Sally Madden discussed the horrifying Thick Lines of Kazuo Umezu’s The Drifting Classroom this week, deciding how young is too young for brutal scares, and asking the question “why talk, when you can shout?”.
• AIPT’s comics podcast welcomed Declan Shalvey to the show, to discuss Time Before Time, and the joys of crowd-funding comics, plus a dive into some of his superhero back-catalogue.
• Jessica Abel was joined by Ronald Wimberley for the latest edition of the Autonomous Creative podcast, discussing the professional and personal aspects of a career based around creative work.
• 2000 AD’s Lockdown Tapes continued, as MOLCH-R spoke with artist Clint Langley about his work on the Galaxy’s Greatest Comic, keeping things fresh, and what to expect next.
• Dan Berry asked Tom Hart to Make It Then Tell Everybody this week, as they discussed teaching one’s practice, sweating not sweating the details, and Kate Bush.
• Deb Aoki hosted this week’s edition of Mangasplaining, as the team discussed Paru Itagaki’s quirky series Beastars, story making up for art shortcomings, and when those shortcomings pull you out of the story.
• Mex Flentallo returned, and Ibrahim Moustafa joined Ramon Villalobos and Daniel Irizarri to pay tribute to John Paul Leon, following his passing last week, looking back at his work on Earth X, and digging into how you effectively channel your influences.
• David Harper welcomed Erica Schultz to Off Panel this week, as they discussed The Deadliest Bouquet and crowd-funding comics, and what’s appealing about the sequentialest of artistic mediums.
• Publisher’s Weekly’s More To Come took a look at recent business moving and shaking in the comics world this week, as Calvin Reid, Heidi MacDonald, and Kate Fitzsimons discussed new distribution deals, webtoon buyouts, book sale spikes, and digital platform collapses.
• Gil Roth was joined by Karl Stevens for this week’s Virtual Memories show, as they discussed Penny: A Graphic Memoir, perfecting the art of cat illustrations, cliches to be avoided, and staying busy during the pandemic.
— 岩宗治生(ムー) (@Mu1357) May 7, 2021
That’s all for this week, back next time with more, and Eid Mubarak to all those celebrating!
Untitled head sketch drawn the day before yesterday with eyegaze technology. Used the watercolor and crayon effects drawing tools for this and I guess I don't hate it. #DrawingWhileDisabled #DisabledArtists #ALS #LouGehrigsDisease #MND #EyeGaze #EyeGazeArt #DisabilityTwitter pic.twitter.com/OopoBlHNwo
— Patrick Dean: Exhausted From Laughing at Death (@PDean_Yeah) April 21, 2021