Flunkin’ And Bunkin’ School – This Week’s Links

As I returned from a brief vacation to social media users the world over feeding prompts into the DALL·E artificial intelligence, further training a cold unknowable electronic mind to better identify its tormentors once the uprising begins, I figured there would be worse ways to spend my time than offering it the words “This Week’s Links,” a selection of which can be found below, and wouldn’t you know it, a perfect facsimile of this very feature was returned in a fraction of a second. I was all set to collapse into depression at this outcome, effectively rendering my own vulgar labours moot, but then inspiration struck, and sharing the results of the prompt “Dog Man versus Spawn maxi-series” made me a billionaire overnight. The system works.

Whispered to you while you slept… This week’s news.

• Starting the week with a return to the courtroom, as TorrentFreak reports on further legal action being taken by manga publishers to combat piracy sites, with Shueisha and VIZ Media this time requesting user information from online payment platforms operated by PayPal, Visa, Google, Braintree, and Stripe. A previous release of account data from delivery platform Cloudflare, also pursued by members of Japan's Content Overseas Distribution Association, failed to provide sufficient information to identify relevant site operators and uploaders.

• In other manga news, the Young Animal Editing Department announced this week that production and publication of Berserk would continue following the death of mangaka Kentaro Miura in May 2021. New work on the manga will be supervised by Kouji Mori, with whom Miura shared the prospective plot for Berserk through to its end, with Mori stating that “I will only write the episodes that Miura talked to me about. I will not flesh it out. I will not write episodes that I don’t remember clearly,” while the editorial team shared that the ongoing publication policy will be Mr. Miura said so.

• Distribution news, and Marvel announced friendship ended with Hachette Book Group, now Penguin Random House is my best friend, bringing their book market distro under the Penguin Random House Publisher Services banner, after HBG provided said services for the past decade and change, effective as of April 2023. PRH took on Marvel’s direct market distribution in March 2021, which resulted in problems with missing and damaged shipments, and changes to Final Order Cutoffs that seem to have caused a marked increase in risk on the part of retailers. PRH’s proposed merger with fellow big five publisher, and prodigious comics distributor in its own right, Simon & Schuster, is still on hold due to a Department of Justice antitrust lawsuit, lest we forget.

• Pop Culture Classroom announced the finalists in the fifth annual Excellence in Graphic Literature Awards, winners to be announced later this month, and opened voting for the inaugural Reader’s Choice Award.

• Finally this week, San Diego Comic Con announced that this year’s recipient for the Bob Clampett Humanitarian Award is Annie Koyama and the Koyama Provides program, which will be presented as part of 2022’s Eisner Awards ceremony in July - Koyama Provides announced this week that the latest recipient of a $1,500 grant under their awards program is Fiona Smyth.

Bellowed at you when you wake… This week’s reviews.


• Frank M. Young reviews the sophisticated atmosphere of Tops: The Complete Collection Of Charles Biro’s Visionary 1949 Comic Book Series, edited by Michael T. Gilbert - “The story behind Tops, told in Gilbert’s revealing introduction, is interesting enough that, were the stories dull, it would still make this book worthwhile. Reading a comic book story of almost eight decades past, a 21st century spectator will find cavils—racism, sexism, etc. Weighed against those adverse expectations, much of the material in this large, handsome book stands the test of time.”

• Leonel Sepúlveda reviews the personal quirks of Hideshi Hino’s The Town of Pigs, translated by Dan Luffey - “Though characters have simplified facial features and expressions that are almost permanently burned onto their faces, Hino gets the most out of them by playing with the density and placement of shadows; this applies to the environments as well, and gives the story a distinct visual style. Most of the manga takes place at night, depicted as heavy and oppressive, where the sky is pitch black and shadows indoors flood most of the panel space.”



• Alex McDonald reviews the niche satire of Matt Bors and Ben Clarkson’s Justice Warriors #1.

• Holly Woodbury reviews the pulpy chills of Justin Benson, Aaron Morehead, Greg Hinkle, et al’s Afterschool #1: Spineless.

• Colin Moon reviews the opening hooks of Cavan Scott, Andres Ponce, et al’s The Ward #1.

• Robert Reed reviews the unengaging dullness of Stephanie Williams, Alitha Martinez, et al’s Nubia: Queen of the Amazons #1.

• Christopher Franey reviews the continuity-spanning momentum of Joshua Williamson, Daniel Sampere, et al’s Dark Crisis #1.

• David Brooke reviews the dazzling opening of Torunn GrØnbekk, Mike Dowling, et al’s Jane Foster & the Mighty Thor #1.


The Beat

• Joe Grunenwald reviews the fascinating focus of Joshua Williamson, Daniel Sampere, et al’s Dark Crisis #1.

• Zack Quaintance reviews the excellent ambition of Ram V, Christian Ward, et al’s Aquaman Andromeda Book One.

• Cy Beltran reviews the strong characterisation of Steve Orlando, Eleonora Carlini, et al’s Marauders #3.

• Hayden Mears reviews the evocative worldbuilding of John Tsuei, Stacey Lee, et al’s Fox and Hare #1.

• Ricardo Serrano Denis reviews the atmospheric terrors of Jeff Lemire, Andrea Sorrentino, et al's The Passageway.


Broken Frontier

Andy Oliver reviews the narrative eloquence of Lane Milburn’s Lure, the excellent accessibility of Archie Bongiovanni and A. Andrews’ The Stonewall Riots: Making a Stand for LGBTQ Rights, and the delightful energy of Molly Knox Ostertag’s The Girl from the Sea.


From Cover to Cover

Scott Cederlund reviews the layered humour of Alec Robbins' Mr. Boop.


House to Astonish

Paul O’Brien reviews the harmless hook of Jason Loo, EJ Su, et al’s X-Men Unlimited #28.


Multiversity Comics

Matthew Blair reviews the engaging thoughtfulness of Bartosz Sztybor, Roberto Ricci, et al’s Cyberpunk 2077: Blackout #1.



Eleni Vlahiotis reviews the evocative horror of Sarah Gailey, Pius Bak, et al’s Eat The Rich.


Publisher’s Weekly

Have capsule reviews of:

- The delightful satire of Kate Gavino’s A Career in Books.

- The uneven narratives of Voices That Count: A Comics Anthology by Women, edited by Megan Brown, translated by Diego Jourdan Pereira.

- The spiky surreality of Raven Lyn Clemens’ Paradox of Getting Better.

- The lacklustre gratuity of David Birke, Nicholas McCarthy, and Benjamin Marra’s Disciples.

- The nuanced perspective of Yamada Murasaki’s Talk to My Back, translated by Ryan Holmberg.



Kevin Brown reviews the diverse overview of Rhea Ewing’s Fine: A Comic About Gender.


Women Write About Comics

Sabina Stent reviews the balanced narrative of Eliza Victoria and Mervin Malonzo’s After Lambana: Myth and Magic in Manila.

Assembled fresh on-site… This week’s interviews.


• Edward Dorey interviews Angela Bocage about Wimmen’s Comix and Real Girl, turning back to painting, a devotion to zines and activism, and familial inspirations - “This problem was a difficult one for me because I thought both positions were good: if we edited more selectively, we’d have a more visually and literarily appealing comic book, and possibly more pages for ourselves and artists we loved. On the other hand, trying to lift up all women cartoonists and keep international lines open seemed the right thing to do!”

• Matthew Hill interviews Kyo Machiko about My #stayhome Diary, adaptations in other media, the contrasting emotions of the COVID-19 pandemic, and what makes people essential - “I intentionally keep my face out of the picture. Maybe it's just a Japanese thing, but I don't want people to complain about the author's appearance and how it might affect the reputation of the work. I try to avoid unnecessary information (such as my appearance) so that readers can connect directly with the world of the work.”

• From the archives, originally published in 1974’s Word Balloons #1, Martin Pasko interviews Neal Adams about instinctive storytelling, specifics of the comics form, and the perils of doing everything - “Well, I don’t know what an artist is. I never thought of myself as an artist, because nothing ever came easy. I’d always kind of assumed that artists were people that God came down with the magic wand and went ‘plunk!’ and said, “You’re an artist,” and they got up from their crib and drew a picture of whatever, and I was never able to do that. Everything I did came hard, it was never easy, and it took time, and it took study, and it took thinking about it and worrying about it, and it came to me as a craft.”



• Chris Coplan talks to James Asmus and Jim Festante about Survival Street, the correct ingredients for satire, and taking big swings; and to Tom McWeeney about Roachmill, publishing in the 80s, and parody shifting ever closer to truth.

• David Brooke speaks with Matt Bors and Ben Clarkson about Justice Warriors and making a funky mix of genres work; and with Si Spurrier and Aaron Campbell about Suicide Squad: Blaze, dream gigs, and presenting engaging characters while putting them in peril.


The Beat

Joe Grunenwald chats to Chanan Beizer and Vanessa Cardinali about The Golem of Venice Beach, comics collecting history, and capturing the vibe of Venice Beach.


Broken Frontier

Andy Oliver interviews David Ziggy Greene about Small Press Day, making a big deal of the small things, and the strange situations of comic strip reportage.



Patrick Kuklinski speaks with Rosemary Mosco about Bird and Moon, diversifying teaching strategies, inequality in the birding community, and comics as science outreach.


The Washington Post

Michael Cavna talks to Randy Milholland, Hy Eisman, and King Features’ Tea Fougner about a changing of the guard for Popeye, and what makes for good spinach-fuelled Sailor Man adventures.


Women Write About Comics

• Wendy Browne speaks with Chanan Beizer about The Golem of Venice Beach, geographic and comic book influences, working with artistic legends, and weaving a tapestry of Jewish culture and history.

• Kate Kosturski interviews Matt Bors and Ben Clarkson about Justice Warriors, extremely online impoverished mutants, and life imitating art imitating life.

Feared in field and town… This week’s features and longreads.

• Here at TCJ, John Kelly curates extensive remembrances of cartoonist Justin Green, who passed away in April of this year, aged 76 - “[Dan Nadel:] The way Justin thought about drawing, which he used to cartoon, is maybe my favorite: practical, mystical, funny, technical, precise, and with nods to history. And it comes directly from practice. He made a life of drawing about his interior life and the external life of sign-making. A brutal, tough, gorgeous business is sign painting, and one about communicating. In his comics, Justin communicated not through the clarity and geometry of signs and symbols, but through drawing that linked back to the 18th and 19th century modes more than anything contemporary.”

• For nippon.com, Shimada Kazushi writes on the legacy of Fujiko A. Fujio (aka Abiko Motoo), who also died in April of this year, aged 88.

• Over at AIPT, Madeleine Chan writes on the failure of superhero comics to give its queer characters their due prominence, while Stephanie Kemmerer explores The Department of Truth’s referencing the Pizzagate conspiracy theory and why it remains an important piece of the puzzle that is our current milieu.

• Also shining the spotlight on James Tynion IV and Martin Simmonds’ The Department of Truth, for Shelfdust, Steve Morris investigates the subjectivity and imperialism that conspiracy theories can convey and subvert; and examines the allure of the ultimate get-out-of-jail-free card introduced in Gail Simone, Nicola Scott, et al’s Secret Six #3.

• For The Beat, as another Free Comic Book Day has been and gone, Ricardo Serrano Denis questions just who the event is for, as it passes its twentieth birthday without any real sense of cohesive identity.

• Over at Broken Frontier, Andy Oliver writes on Archie Comics’ introduction of a new character in Riverdale, welcoming Eliza Han to the gang in Archie & Friends: Summer Lovin’.

• Multiversity Comics starts a trio of new retrospective features, as Christopher Chiu-Tabet looks back at Naoko Takeuchi’s Sailor Moon, Kate Kosturski dreams of Neil Gaiman et al’s The Sandman, and Brian Salvatore demands answers from Who’s Who: The Definitive Directory of the DC Universe.

• Rob Tornoe writes for Editor & Publisher on the Pulitzer Prize board’s decision to transmogrify the Editorial Cartooning category into the Illustrated Reporting and Commentary category continuing to ruffle feathers.

• R.C. Harvey’s June column for Humor Times celebrates the 52nd birthday of Garry Trudeau’s Doonesbury, and charts its visual evolution through the decades.

• From the world of open-access academia, for the Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics, Anna Nordenstam and Margareta Wallin Wictorin examine the feminist climate activism movement in Sweden’s comics scene.

• Locked behind the accursed paywall, but likely still of interest to some, Biography: An Interdisciplinary Quarterly presents a special issue focused on graphic medicine.

• 2001. A changing of the guard for Marvel Comics. Business as usual for Wolverine.

• Mike Peterson rounds up the editorial beat, for The Daily Cartoonist, as the Second Amendment and January 6th were this week’s numerical focus.

Gimme a sign… This week’s audio/visual delights.

• Deb Aoki hosted this week’s episode of Mangasplaining, presenting a handy bonus feature on the first four volumes of Shinichi Ishizuka’s Blue Giant, before the team dived right on into volumes 5 and 6 getting straight to the heart of the melody.

• SILENCE! returned to the airwaves, as Gary Lactus and The Beast Must Die once more put the comics world to rights, and looked back on the weirdness of Captain Britain and Omega the Unknown (the 2008 version).

• Drawn and Quarterly celebrated the publication of Luke Healy’s The Con Artists, hosting a talk from Healy on the book’s creation and the joys of digital creation, and an in-conversation event between Healy and Connor Ratliff on the book’s semi-fictional nature and putting stand-up comedy on the page.

• A regular old week down at the Cartoonist Kayfabe emporium, as Ed Piskor and Jim Rugg bent the spines of Tank Girl, Savage Dragon, and Normalman Megaton Man, plus a look at Wizard #47 and some Moebius comics for dessert.

• A few trips up in the Word Balloon with John Siuntres, as Brian Bendis, Corinna Bechko, and Phillip K Johnson brought viewers up to speed on their recent projects.

• Publisher’s Weekly’s More to Come covered the recent comics news, as festival season’s return saw some missteps, and US comics and manga publisher’s employees’ attempts to unionise continued to be ushered down the ‘needlessly complicated’ route.

That is the end of this week’s this week’s links, long may it reign.