Friday Night, Saturday Morning – This Week’s Links

As if there were not enough signs and portents in the world at the moment, the sky turned a deep orange over London this week, as dust kicked up by a Saharan storm made a brief appearance over the City. 

I shall try not to read too much into that, while presenting a selection of this week’s links, which can be found below, but I can only assume some chilling prophecy is being fulfilled regarding Garfield.

Viene una tormenta… This week’s news.

• Starting off with comics awards news, and Julie Doucet was announced as the 2022 recipient of the Grand Prix du Festival d’Angoulême, selected by the voting panel of 1,820 creators. Doucet accepted the award in-person at the Festival this week, stating that "I would like to dedicate this prize to all the women authors of the past, present, and future."

• Looking askance at corporate comics now, and Marvel Entertainment voiced its support of a Marvel Studios statement denouncing anti-LGBTQIA+ legislation, a day after launching PR for its upcoming Marvel Voices: Pride issue, which itself came in the wake of reports being made public regarding parent corp Disney’s funding legislators behind Florida’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill, and resultant walkouts by employees of the House of Mouse. Marvel Entertainment’s Chairperson, billionaire Isaac Perlmutter, is, of course, a prominent financial supporter of former President Donald Trump, whose administration rolled back various nondiscrimination protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people.

• Elsewhere in the realm of ‘comics companies that are now owned by billionaires,’ and comiXology Co-Founder/CEO and Head of Digital Comics Worldwide for Kindle, David Steinberger, announced that he would be leaving the aforementioned roles to “lead a new Amazon-wide initiative that is too good an opportunity to not take,” less than a month after incorporation of the comiXology platform into Amazon’s proprietary systems led to widespread reader disgruntlement.

• Forbes reports on ‘activist investor’ Jeff Ubben providing Vault Comics with a cash injection, joined by “global talent agency UTA; the investment arm of music talent management firm Crush; healthcare entrepreneur Rick Matros; and Black Squirrel Partners, representing the hard rock band Metallica.” UTA CEO Jeremy Zimmer is quoted as saying “Vault has built an impressive and unique catalog of story properties,” and we all know how (business)people these days love ‘story properties’.

• Comichron released the first batch of direct market sales estimates from 2022, with January headed once again by a Todd McFarlane joint, as increasingly complex unit calculations are required now that 2021’s diversification of distribution to retailers has come into effect.

• Koyama Provides announced the latest recipient of their grant program, awarding $1,500 to George Wietor of Issue Press to cover two risograph workshops - applications to these mentorships are open now, with a deadline of April 1st.

• In memoriam, remembering those from the comics world who have passed away, and ICv2 have an obituary for Mia Ikumi, illustrator of Tokyo Mew Mew, who died earlier this month, aged 42 - Anime News Network shared Kodansha’s announcement of Ikumi’s passing, due to a subarachnoid haemorrhage.

To me, to you… This week’s reviews.


• Chris Ready reviews the schoolyard wish-fulfilment of Tetsuo Hara and Buronson’s Fist of the North Star Volumes 1-4, translated by Joe Yamazaki - “Throughout VIZ’s four available volumes, the male form is positioned as grotesque and physically overwhelming. Mohawked malcontents have fingers massive enough to ensnare entire skulls; pachyderm sized bruisers seem to grow (and grow and grow) between panels. Smug commandos radiate thick wafts of cosmic intent, smoke rolling off them as they themselves are a blazing fire. Hara uses this deliberately surreal portraiture to illustrate not just the level of danger these figures represent, but also to offer readers a measuring stick by which we can gauge Ken’s seemingly bottomless strength.”

• Henry Chamberlain reviews the offbeat power of Scott Finch’s Domesticated Afterlife - “Finch draws with a light line that buoys his fanciful vision. His characters, while simple, are full of expression. His backgrounds tend to be simple too but can vary in complexity. Finch consistently finds interesting ways to fill the page, whether through composition, patterning or shading with watercolors. He uses a rectangular format that gives his work more of a comic strip, or movie screen, vibe which he uses to his advantage.”

• Lane Yates reviews the simple magnificence of John Porcellino’s King Cat #81 - “Over the next two weeks I sat in my stiflingly small apartment which, to its credit, had beautiful natural light, and I read the King Cat Starter Pack that Tom had prepared for me. It presented me with a radical reconfiguration in the way I perceived comic art, and how one’s life can intersect, overlap, and correspond to the form of putting images inside of boxes that correspond to each other sequentially. I was, as they say, completely converted.”



• Christopher Franey reviews the blockbuster action of Mark Waid, Dan Mora, et al’s Batman/Superman: World’s Finest #1.

• David Brooke reviews the solid remix of Dan Slott, Javier Rodriguez, et al’s Fantastic Four: Reckoning War – Trial of the Watcher #1.

• Colin Moon reviews the intimate hilarity of Noah Van Sciver’s The Complete Works of Fante Bukowski.

• Madeleine Chan reviews the enthralling innovations of Erica Schultz, Van Jensen, Aneke, et al’s Bylines in Blood #3.

• Keigen Rea reviews the meandering superheroics of Chip Zdarsky, Jason Loo, et al’s The All-Nighter.

• Nathan Simmons reviews the wild horror of Ram V, Francesco Manna, et al’s Carnage #1.

• Rory Wilding reviews the outdated storytelling of Kazuo Umezu’s Orochi: The Perfect Edition Volume 1.

• Jordan Richards reviews the tense beginnings of Haro Aso’s Alice in Borderland Volume 1.

• Alex Cline reviews the emotional core of Marimo Ragawa’s New York, New York Volume 1.


The Beat

• Joe Grunenwald reviews the iconic dynamics of Mark Waid, Dan Mora, et al’s Batman/Superman: World’s Finest #1.

• Cy Beltran reviews the epic world-building of Kieron Gillen, Ryan Bodenheim, Edgar Salazar, et al’s Eternals: The Heretic #1.


Broken Frontier

• Andy Oliver reviews the sprawling symbolism of Stanley Wany’s Helem.

• John Trigonis reviews the exciting action of Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo, Jonathan Glapion, et al’s We Have Demons #1.


From Cover to Cover

Scott Cederlund reviews the calming simplicity of John Porcellino’s King Cat #81.



Nick Smith reviews the horrific conclusion of Tsukasa Saimura and Kozo Takahashi’s Crueller Than Dead Volume 2.


Kirkus Reviews

Have starred capsule reviews of:

- The heartfelt eloquence of James Spooner’s The High Desert.

- The amazing drama of Erin Hunter, Dan Jolley, and James L. Barry’s Exile from Shadowclan.


Montreal Review of Books

• Jack Ruttan reviews the glorious impressionism of Zoe Maeve’s July Underwater.

• Ian McGillis reviews the assured self-empowerment of Emily Carrington’s Our Little Secret.


Multiversity Comics

• Jaina Hill reviews the puzzling muddiness of Cherish Chen, David Lafuente, et al’s Radiant Red #1.

• Joe Skonce reviews the busy surreality of Tyler Burton Smith, Vanessa Cardinali, et al’s Slumber #1.

• Mark Tweedale and James Dowling review the endearing tragedy of Mike Mignola, Rob Williams, Laurence Campbell, et al’s The Sword of Hyperborea #3.


New York Journal of Books

Marissa Moss reviews the powerful storytelling of Emily Carrington’s Our Little Secret, and the unexpected twists of Mike Mignola and Warwick Johnson Cadwell's Falconspeare.


The New York Times

• Alexandra Jacobs reviews the endearing vulnerability of David Sipress’ What’s So Funny?.

• Etelka Lehoczky reviews the affecting hagiography of Héctor Germán Oesterheld, Alberto Breccia, and Enrique Breccia’s Life of Che: An Impressionistic Biography, translated by Erica Mena.


Publisher’s Weekly

Have capsule reviews of:

- The eloquent introspection of Sabba Khan’s What Is Home, Mum?.

- The frank humour of Sophie Lambda’s So Much For Love: How I Survived A Toxic Relationship, translated by Montana Kane.

- The sensitive charm of John Hendrix’ The Holy Ghost: A Spirited Comic.

- The juxtaposed soliloquizing of Sophie Lucido Johnson’s Dear Sophie, Love Sophie: A Graphic Memoir in Diaries, Letters, and Lists.

- The lush inclusivity of Jamila Rowser and Robyn Smith’s Wash Day Diaries.


Women Write About Comics

• Alenka Figa reviews the deft nuance of Grace Ellis and Hannah Templer’s Flung Out of Space.

• Kathryn Hemmann reviews the gentle solidarity of POMEgranate Magazine’s Comrade Himbo, edited by CC Calanthe, Rachel Weiss, Ashley Gallagher, and Jenny Mott.

Everybody needs somebody… This week’s interviews.


Jason Bergman interviews Mark Schultz about Xenozoic Tales and Prince Valiant, the realities of big-money adaptations, Cadillac copyright specifics, and longform plotting for cartoon strips - “I love science. One of my passions is to learn more about scientific observation and inquiry, but I don't have any bedrock education beyond that of a layman. I would try to triple-check everything I was writing [for The Stuff of Life], not just double-check. I tried to find three sources for any information I was putting in there to make sure it was agreed upon and correct and I wasn't misinterpreting or I wasn't going with something that might have been just conjecture at the time.”



• Chris Coplan speaks with Nate Cosby about Alter Ego, the show business of superhero business, movie and theme park inspirations, and the collaborative process.

• David Brooke interviews Josh Williamson about Rogues, planning a heist, obsessing over DC continuity, and advice from Grant Morrison.


The Beat

• Joe Grunenwald talks to Adam Remillard of Monocle Comics & Coffee about opening a new retail venture during a pandemic, and bricks and mortar work as a labour of love; and to Nate Cosby about Alter Ego, returning to superheroes, behind the scenes process, and crowdfunding experience.

• Avery Kaplan interviews Alexis Castellanos about Isla to Island, inspiration from lack of diversity in the bestseller lists and family histories, and adopting 3D tools and model building.

• Arpad Okay speaks with Ronald Wimberly about GratNin, eschewing heroic samurai tales for the joys of Zatoichi, and personal aesthetic choices.



Jim McLauchlin chats to Jen King of Space Cadets Collection Collection about retail lessons learned, befriending the competition, and living through the mid-90s direct market strife.


Los Angeles Review of Books

Alex Dueben speaks with Dash Shaw about Discipline, seeing the Civil War in small scale, the dissonance of history, and design legibility of the comics page.


Montreal Review of Books

Sarah Mangle interviews Julie Doucet about Time Zone J, embracing sparseness, the frustrations inherent in comics, and wanting to scream.


Multiversity Comics

Elias Rosner talks to Blue Deliquanti about Across a Field of Starlight, Utopian concepts in Science Fiction, estimating page counts, and figuring out panel flow.


Smash Pages

Alex Dueben interviews Eric Palicki about Black’s Myth, the recipe for a compelling story, collaborative wavelengths, and writing a sequel to a standalone story; and Nate Cosby about Alter Ego, the enduring nature of superhero archetypes, vibing with classic movies, and crowdfunding on Kickstarter in 2022.



Mike Avila talks to Roy Thomas about comic and fandom history, the enduring popularity of Wolverine and Conan the Barbarian, and cross-line continuity.


Women Write About Comics

Wendy Browne speaks with Beehive Books’ Josh O’Neill about Kickstarting the collected edition of Ronald Wimberly’s GratNin, and the design concept behind it; and with Nate Cosby about Alter Ego, split superhero shifts, and choosing the golden age of Hollywood for a crime-fighting setting.

The Ideas of March… This week’s features and longreads.

• Here at TCJ, Richard Graham explains the history of Will Eisner’s work on US military explainer PS, The Preventive Maintenance Monthly, and its various internal power struggles - “It’s imperative that PS be viewed as a unique collection of genres with a function beyond providing technical instruction. The genres—illustrated letters to the editor, procedures, questions and answers, as well as an eight-page non-technical graphic narrative usually featuring one or more of PS’ recurring characters—are presented in one publication. Though other branches of U.S. military service have produced comics, PS will probably remain the only U.S. military instructional comic book.”

• Also at TCJ, Jon Holt and Teppei Fukuda present a new translation of Natsume Fusanosuke’s 2020 essay on Tezuka Osamu’s Barbara, and the appraisal of artistic endeavours that the story represents - “The question Tezuka posed in Barbara was whether it was right or wrong for anyone to use their talent or their art to stir up trouble for society with ethical issues. At the same time, this question becomes a chance for Tezuka to interrogate the conflict between oneself and the limitations by both society and one’s zeitgeist, and, whether an artist should be bound by them or transcend them.”

• For Tor, with further coverage of recent escalations in book-bannings across the US, librarian Alex Brown provides guidance on how best to support libraries, and help prevent boo- bannings in the first place, along with some practical tips on why donating books is sometimes not the best route down which to go.

• A couple of Shelfdust’s ongoing series continue this week, as Kenneth Laster covers 1993 in Black Comics History with the appealing arrival of Dwayne McDuffie and Robert L. Washington III’s Static; while Jeff Robertson is looking back on Michael Fleisher and Mark Texiera’s Hex #1 and the grindhouse passion contained therein, for Shelfdust 500.

• For NeoText Review, Chloe Maveal writes on Sam Kieth’s My Inner Bimbo, and its honest embracing of self-discovery, and self-reflection, without striving for a convoluted sense of closure; and Martyn Pedler examines the manner in which Batman comics view and portray mental health, and the lens of action through which this is repeatedly focused.

• Over at From Cover to Cover, Mike Baxter focuses in on a singular panel of Keiler Robert’s My Begging Chart, and the particular skill it takes to distil the complex into artistic simplicity.

• Paul Slade sent over a recent self-penned article to the Links mailbag, chronicling Peter Jackson’s London Is Stranger Than Fiction strip, and the unique historical record they provide of the UK’s capital.

• Gerard Waggett presents the second part of a retrospective on Marvel’s Tomb of Dracula, over at Sequart, and how the comic channels the sexual energy and taboos of the source material. Nb. The site appears to be down at the moment, so you may need to wait to slake your bloodlust.

• Mike Peterson rounds up the week’s editorial beat, over at The Daily Cartoonist, as ongoing Russian military aggression developments were joined by those closer to home, and some measure of crossover betwixt the two.

Streaming on the branded platform of your choice… This week’s audio/visual delights.

• Katie Skelly and Sally Madden took a look at the Thick Lines of Fabien Vehlmann and Kerascoët’s Beautiful Darkness, and the gorgeous brutality to be found therein, plus cartoonists and the noses they draw.

• Mangasplaining continue their off-season with an unabridged release of David Brothers’ interview with Emma Rios on Gundam, and the enduring appeal of gigantic robot suits and the awful children who pilot them.

• Drawn and Quarterly hosted a new edition of At Home With, joined by Emily Carrington for the launch of Our Little Secret, discussing the personal history of the book, and showing some early comics work (begins around the 4 minute mark).

• Shelfdust Presents’ The War Effort mini-series continues, and this week Al Kennedy is joined by Mindless Ones’ Dan White and Fraser Geesin, to discuss Secret Wars #2, and the disparity between the effectiveness of Marvel’s coterie of villains.

• A double bill of interviews for Cartoonist Kayfabe this week, as Jim Rugg and Ed Piskor were joined by Ronald Wimberly to chat about GratNin’s new collected edition, and by Geof Darrow for some creative influences chat and a celebration of the work of Moebius, plus a look at Comics Scene, more from Charles Brownstein’s Eisner/Miller, some classic Judge Dredd, and a smattering of Marv Wolfman deposition.

• John Siuntres welcomed a trio of guests to the Word Balloon, as Declan Shalvey discussed recent work in the direct market space, Khary Randolph spoke about Sirens of the City, and Josh Williamson caught viewers up on DC Comics stories.

• 2000 AD’s Thrill Cast returned, as MOLCH-R spoke with Arthur Wyatt and Pye Parr to proceedings to talk about the return of Intestinauts, and all things scatalogical.

• David Harper was joined by Michael Walsh for this week’s Off Panel, as they spoke about The Silver Coin and The Oates & The Elphyne, and just what makes for a good, solid horror comic.

• Calvin Reid spoke to Joe Illidge for Publisher’s Weekly’s More to Come, as they discussed the return of Christopher Priest’s Xero, and its somewhat unique passage to screen, plus other projects Illidge has been involved with lately.

The links are complete for another week, and will return the next time there is a strange meteorological phenomenon.