As everybody loves a round number, tomorrow marks 50 days until the end of the year, which means there are a mere 5 links round-ups remaining of 2023, a year which has been, well, let’s say, one of highs and lows, with the specific peaks and troughs from the last seven days available to view below.
Flightless combat unit pic.twitter.com/kDBZtzDxOo
— 🍁Luke📼Baker🍂 (@spacemacchiato) November 9, 2023
This week’s news.
• Awards news, and the winners of this year’s Palmares Lucca Comics Awards were announced last weekend, with Frank Miller named as 2023’s Yellow Kid Maestro of Comics, Nicoz Balboa taking home Comic of the Year for Transformer, and Silvia Ziche winning Author of the Year for La Gabbia.
• Elsewhere, The Guardian shared the winners of this year’s Faber/Observer/Comica graphic short story prize, with Anna Readman winning 2023’s competition with the comic Dancing Queen, and Candy Gourlay named runner-up for the comic Safe Passage.
• Looking to the parent corps of comics publishers, and Embracer Group, current owner of Dark Horse, bid farewell to their chief operating officer, Egil Strunke, amidst widespread restructuring within the company, following an unsuccessful business deal and resulting layoffs.
— 浦沢直樹_Naoki Urasawa公式情報 (@urasawa_naoki) November 6, 2023
This week’s reviews.
• Aug Stone reviews the abstruse beauty of Mary M. Talbot and Bryan Talbot’s Armed with Madness: The Surreal Leonora Carrington - “Besides all the crazed creativity, there is also humor, kindness and love within these pages. The book ends with an aged Carrington surrounded by admiring young fans, thankful for all she contributed to Women’s lib. She answers their questions and offers some wise advice.”
• Tegan O’Neil reviews the strong combination of 2 x Brett Ewins and Peter Milligan - “Milligan has always been a thoughtful writer, brimming with ideas. He never really developed the slight maudlin edge that Gaiman can wield to sledgehammer effect, and eschewed the high formalism that Moore found so effective. Always maintained just a bit of ironic remove, without so much of the animating sentimentality of his peers.”
• Colin Moon reviews the pricy arrival of Dan Slott, Christopher Jones, et al’s Doctor Who: Once Upon a Time Lord.
• Chris Coplan reviews the thoughtful action of Rob Williams and Pye Parr’s Petrol Head #1.
• Alex McDonald reviews the feline fun of Stuart Moore, June Brigman, et al’s Captain Ginger: The Last Feeder #1.
• David Brooke reviews the enjoyable nostalgia of Robert Venditti, Gavin Guidry, et al’s Superman ’78: The Metal Curtain #1.
• Collier Jennings reviews the fumbled execution of Marv Wolfman, David Cutler, et al’s What If…? Dark: Tomb of Dracula #1.
• Ricardo Serrano Denis reviews the strong worldbuilding of Rob Williams and Pye Parr’s Petrol Head #1.
• Derrick Crow reviews the refreshing characters of Mizuki Tsujimura and Tomo Taketomi’s Lonely Castle in the Mirror, Volume 1, translated by Jaqueline Fung.
• Merve Giray reviews the grounded conflicts of Spice&kitty and ORKA’s A Stepmother’s Märchen, Volume 1, translated by Lauren Na.
• Steve Baxi reviews the interesting questions of Patrick McDonnell’s The Super Hero’s Journey.
Andy Oliver has reviews of:
- The emotional immediacy of Lucy Sullivan’s Hagbound.
- The mutable styles of Tom Philipson’s Complicated Young Man.
- The eloquent choreographing of Kamila Krol’s Rusalka: Whispers of the Forest.
- The poetic ruminations of Peony Gent’s In a Plum: A Walk through Thought.
- The eerie surrealism of Aled Lies’ True Story.
- The fascinating contrasts of Jason Chuang’s The Boy.
- The existential reflections of Glenn Dakin’s A Trial Death and Other Stories.
- The soothing looseness of Kama Mielczarek’s One Year Older.
- The endearing narrative of Kry Garcia’s Salmorejo.
- The powerful activism of HarperCollins’ Drawn to Change the World, edited by Emma Reynolds.
- The adept fluidity of Chad Bilyeu and Juliette de Wit’s The Re-Up #1-4.
- The quirky humour of Will Humberstone’s Demon Smooch: Court of the Mad God.
- The endearing wit of Beck Kubrick’s Don’t Worry, I Die at the End.
Rachel Cooke reviews the bracing brilliance of Manon Debaye’s The Cliff, translated by Montana Kane.
House to Astonish
Paul O’Brien has capsule reviews of Marvel Comics’ X-Men Unlimited Infinity Comic #111, X-Men #28, and Magneto #4.
Have starred capsule reviews of:
- The smart vibrancy of Scout Underhill’s DNDoggos: Get the Party Started.
- The expressive dynamism of Jorge Aguirre and Rafael Rosado’s Call Me Iggy.
- The compelling adventure of Sarah Lynne Reul’s The Fix-Its: Nail Needs Help.
Martha Cornog has a starred capsule review of the intercutting contrasts of Élodie Durand’s Transitions: A Mother’s Journey, translated by Evan McGorray.
• Matthew Blair reviews the solid foundation of Jonathan Hickman, Stefano Caselli, et al’s Ultimate Universe #1.
• Robbie Pleasant reviews the gritty atmosphere of David Pepose, Dave Wachter, et al’s Punisher #1.
• Mark Tweedale reviews the rich narrative of Chris Roberson, Christopher Mitten, et al’s Panya: The Mummy’s Curse.
Have capsule reviews of:
- The gorgeous colours of Nicholas Tana and Kyle Faehnrich’s eJunky.
- The uneven candidness of Lila Ash’s Decodependence: A Romantic Tragicomic.
Old school Artemisia. pic.twitter.com/lQd7dmpLE6
— Sophie Crankers (@mooncalfe1) October 28, 2023
This week’s interviews.
• Whit Taylor interviews Lawrence Lindell about Blackward, the origins of the book, the realities of moving from self-published to working with a publisher, and keeping things joyful - “I don't think they need me to archive, you know, cartoonists in the Bay. I was just like, I want to do it because I've found several Black cartoonists specifically that I had no idea about because there's no preservation of their work. And so people make all these great comics and then they just disappear and you have to find them later.”
• Matt Petras interviews M.S. Harkness about Time Under Tension, the emotional beats of the book, the construction of memoir, and fight comic inspirations - “I’m not going to be able to go to Minneapolis for this tour, so it felt nice to at least be somewhere that felt like it was in the continuum of the book, because the whole tour just feels so disconnected from what it actually is.”
• Zach Rabiroff interviews Geoffrey’s Comics and Hi De Ho Comics’ Geoffrey Patterson II about the closure of the stores amidst a changing retail landscape - “I think we can see that both Marvel and DC have lost a lot of big names to the indie world, and in the indie world, there's a lot more, like, direct sales. The way I was describing it to a friend was that the business has gotten substantially wider, but more shallow. There's no tentpole book that sells 100 copies anymore.”
• Chris Hassan speaks with Christopher Cantwell about Thanos, situating the Mad Titan in Fresno, the ethical spectrum of superheroes, and the return of Briar.
• Chris Coplan chats with Scott Duvall about Going Green, compost burials and the afterlife, creative collaborations, and centring the story with familial relationships.
• Collier Jennings interviews Jamie S. Rich about upcoming Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles celebrations, and joining the editorial team ahead of a big publication milestone.
• Deanna Destito talks to Liana Kangas about Know Your Station, the tabling experience at this year’s New York Comic Con, and upcoming projects.
• Avery Kaplan chats with H.A. about The Chromatic Fantasy, historical clothing fixations, expressing painful feelings, and cultivating a vibe divorced from historical accuracy.
• Avery and Rebecca Oliver Kaplan interview James Sturm and Joe Sutphin about Watership Down: The Graphic Novel, and the collaborative process behind the book.
• Joe Grunenwald talks to David Pepose about Punisher, the new character taking on Frank Castle’s mantle, and the filmic inspirations for this new series.
• AJ Frost chats with Dave Chisholm about Miles Davis and the Search for Sound, the genesis of the project, and the similarities between comics making and improvisational jazz.
• Nancy Powell talks to Keum Suk Gendry-Kim about The Naked Tree, approaching the work as a reader and an artist, and telling stories so as to stop history repeating itself.
• George Carmona speaks with Alan Jenkins about 1/6: The Graphic Novel, and the origins of the project following the attempted Capitol insurrection.
Rachel Cooke interviews Anna Readman about winning The Guardian’s 2023 Short Story Prize, the freelance rollercoaster, and cartooning influences.
Tasha Lowe-Newsome speaks with Mary M. Talbot about Armed with Madness: The Surreal Leonora Carrington, the weaponization of mental health against women, and not idealising social movements.
NFCF 2023 is happening SO SOON! We have some updates for you... Check out this AMAZING poster by Upper Valley cartoonist, @dan_nott! (Dan won't be in attendance at this year's festival due to being honored at The National Book Awards for his graphic novel, Hidden Systems!) pic.twitter.com/aoWcE5sI1n
— Non-Fiction Comics Fest (@NFComicsFest) October 16, 2023
This week’s features and longreads.
• For Women Write About Comics, Sophia Pan writes on Laura Gao’s Messy Roots: A Graphic Memoir of a Wuhanese American, and the varied ways in which it conveys the experiences of someone with dual cultural identities.
• Over at Shelfdust, Steve Baxi looks back at Tom King and Mitch Gerads’ Strange Adventures, and the narrative choices in a story attempting to hang complexity on a genre that thrives on binary though.
• For AIPT, Lia Williamson writes on Ms. Marvel, and how the character’s disjointed evolution has ended up beholden to the whims of the MCU and Marvel Comics’ marketing campaigns.
• Views from the retail sector, as an opinion piece on ICv2 from Coliseum of Comics' Phil Boyle, on the state of direct market offerings in 2023 heading into 2024, generated some discourse, with a response from Brandon Schatz and Danica LeBlanc to the points laid out therein published as part of The Beat's Indirect Market series.
• From the world of open-access academia, in the Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics, Dimitris Asimakoulas writes on audio described comics for the Blind and Partially Sighted, and the blending aspects of this form of translation, looking to recent examples from London’s Cartoon Museum.
• For Continuum, Melissa Shani Brown and Jude Roberts look at the representation of non-binary gender in Runaways and Order of the Stick, and the wider discussions on the body and sexuality inspired by these stories.
• In Multimodal Communication, Fred Atilla, Bien Klomberg, Bruno Cardoso and Neil Cohn present a paper on cultural differences between readers’ focus on visual information in comic panels, and how such information is conveyed in the backgrounds of comic panels from different countries.
• From Comic Books, Special Collections, and the Academic Library, Kelli Hansen’s chapter focuses on the relative scarcity of comic books in American research libraries, and the fragmentary nature of comic collections in libraries in general.
• Paul O’Brien’s survey of the villains of Daredevil continues for House to Astonish, as this week Mister Fear sidles up under the sign marked ‘antithesis’.
Superheroes in two colors pic.twitter.com/AV8dWe4FyW
— Artyom Tucović (@vor_bokor) November 8, 2023
This week’s audio/visual delights.
• Katie Skelly and Sally Madden reconvened to consider the Thick Lines of Erik Svetoft’s Spa, taking in the wellness of reviewers’ takes on the book’s narrative, and what one should expect from different pampering locales.
• Noah Van Sciver had a cartoonist chat with artist Stanley Wany this week, as they spoke about Helem, incorporating aspects of an engineering foundation into artistic processes, nocturnal working and insomnia, and classic superhero comic touchstones.
• Deb Aoki hosted this week’s edition of Mangasplaining, as the team discussed Yoshiharu Tsuge’s Nejishiki, translated by Ryan Holmberg, and whether the short stories to be found therein make for an enjoyable read.
• Gil Roth welcomed Leslie Stein to the latest episode of the Virtual Memories Show, as they spoke about Brooklyn’s Last Secret, the book’s beginnings in the COVID lockdowns, and the evolution of one’s modes of working.
• David Harper was joined by Skybound’s Morgan Perry for this week’s Off Panel, as they discussed what it is that a brand manager does, marketing and promoting comics in 2023, and personal paths through the comics industry.
• Publisher’s Weekly’s More to Come got a jump on the competition this week, with Calvin Reid, Heidi MacDonald, Kate Fitzsimons, and Meg Lemke running through the graphic novels of 2023, as selected for PW’s books of the year list, and looked back to some industry news stories from the last week or so.
• John Siuntres was joined by Brian Michael Bendis for another Word Balloon voyage, as they spoke about Masterpiece, the team behind the book, Baltimore Comic Con experiences, and thoughts on television through the ages.
• Closing out the week with Cartoonist Kayfabe, as Jim Rugg and Ed Piskor took a look at their own (very) early comics work, Matt Wagner and Kelley Jones’ Dracula, and Paul Pope’s Escapo, as well as offering an assessment of Neil Gaiman’s Masterclass, and speaking with Gilbert Hernandez about Love and Rockets and classic horror comic influences.
— タケウチ リョースケ (@ryosuketarou) November 5, 2023
No more links this week, which means more time to desperately try and achieve 2023’s new year’s resolutions before the impending deadline.
— Zoë van Dijk (@sleepcaptain) November 8, 2023