This Week’s Links, below, brought to you by a jury rigged setup of two phones, a bluetooth keyboard, and a nonfunctioning internet connection. The future! It’s as broken as ever!™
Husky CABLE... #xmen #marvel pic.twitter.com/sTktQO1jbY
— PITARRA (@NickPitarra) March 8, 2021
Barefoot in the headlines… This week’s news.
• Kicking of the week with comics’ continuing cosmic ballet, as Kodansha streamline their Vertical vertical for some sweet corporate synergy, TKO Studios expand their executive team for that new financial year, and IDW’s ever-revolving carousel of corporate hires spins and whirls.
• Meanwhile, The Comics Journal’s print magazine welcomes Dr Rachel Miller as its new co-managing editor, and Tucker has a capsule profile of Dr Miller’s comics work here.
• The Society of Authors, the UK's rade union for writers, illustrators and literary translators, have announced the steering committee for the Society's Comic Creators Network, with Dan Berry, Alice Nuttall, Dr Helen Kara, David Bishop, and Nyla Ahmad joining the Network's founders Hannah Berry and Woodrow Phoenix. Per the blurb - "The Comics Creators Network was set up in 2020 to help address challenges facing comics creators and advocate for better industry standards."
• The Herb Block Foundation have awarded 2021's Herblock Prize for excellence in editorial cartooning to Rob Rogers. Rogers was fired from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette after 25 years on staff for drawing cartoons that criticized former President Donald Trump.
• Artist Relief have announced that 2021’s call for funding is now open, with at least 100 grants per month of $5,000 available to artists facing financial hardships due to COVID-19 - applications are open through to 23rd of June, and the full eligibility criteria (with key requirements being 18+, in possession of a SSN, and resident/working in the US for the last 2 years) can be found here.
• Koyama Provides have revealed the latest recipient of one of their grants, as Maré Odomo has been awarded $1,000 in funding that will go towards production costs of the third installment of their Internet Comics series.
• Finally, the sad news arrived that artist Frank Thorne died at the end of last week, aged 90, only hours before his wife Marilyn also passed away - Matt Seneca has an obituary and career retrospective for Thorne here at TCJ, and Heavy and NeoText also have remembrances of his life and work.
— PJ ☔️ (@passionpeachy) March 8, 2021
Royal rumbles… This week’s reviews.
• Alec Berry reviews the breezy promises of Jesse Lonergan’s Planet Paradise - “Maybe Lonergan is dressing nothing with something. Because for someone who takes the time to clearly guide a reader’s eye by ensuring each and every panel of Planet Paradise is a solid beat to follow, it seems odd to leave the reader with a splash page and an ambiguous send-off. Or maybe I just didn’t get it?”
• Ian Thomas reviews the sober underscoring of David F. Walker and Marcus Kwame Anderson's The Black Panther Party: A Graphic Novel History - "While they are not prevalent, there are some truly sequential narratives presented in The Black Panther Party. Walker and Anderson seem to have reserved these sequences for the most pivotal moments of the story. They are the highlight of the book because it is in these panels that the radical nature of the Black Panther Party is on full display and given its fullest context. One such sequence occurs early in the narrative."
• Ryan Perry reviews the radical struggles of Grant Morrison, Yanick Paquette, et al’s Wonder Woman: Earth One Volume 3.
• Christopher Franey reviews the subdued finale of Grant Morrison, Liam Sharp, et al’s The Green Lantern: Season 2 #12.
• Nathan Simmons reviews the grotesque darkness of James Tynion IV, Guillem March, et al’s The Joker #1.
• Sam Rutzick reviews the trite sexism of Guillem March’s Karmen #1, translated by Dan Christensen.
• Dan Spinelli reviews the kinetic humour of Vita Ayala, Bernard Chang, et al’s Children of the Atom #1.
• David Brooke reviews the frustrating plotting of Grant Morrison, Alex Child, Naomi Franquiz, et al’s Proctor Valley Road #1.
• Rory Wilding reviews the shallow monstrosities of Jeff McComsey and Tommy Lee Edwards' Grendel, KY.
The AV Club
Oliver Sava reviews the aggressive sparseness of Keanu Reeves, Matt Kindt, Ron Garney, et al's BRZRKR #1.
• Rachel A reviews the shining nuance of Wilfrid Lupano and Stéphane Fert’s White All Around, translated by Montana Kane.
• Zack Quaintance reviews the good ideas of Matt Kindt, Doug Braithwaite, David Lapham, et al’s ENIAC #1.
• Trina Brain reviews the rambunctious treats of Chris Samnee, Laura Samnee, et al’s Jonna and the Unpossible Monsters #1.
• Avery Kaplan reviews the inclusive friendliness of Erika Moen and Matthew Nolan’s Let’s Talk About It.
• Ricardo Serrano Denis reviews the curious horrors of Grant Morrison, Alex Child, Naomi Franquiz, et al’s Proctor Valley Road #1.
• Andy Oliver reviews the appreciative explorations of Radiator Comics’ Spiny Orb Weaver #1, and the gritty vitality of Gustaffo Vargas’ Puno: Altiplano Volume 2.
• Holly Raidl reviews the intriguing self-discovery of Lilah Sturges, Meaghan Carter, et al’s Girl Haven.
• Tom Murphy reviews the wearisome format of Guillem March’s Karmen #1, translated by Dan Christensen.
• Bruno Savill de Jong reviews the effective spookiness of Grant Morrison, Alex Child, Naomi Franquiz, et al’s Proctor Valley Road #1.
Four Color Apocalypse
Ryan C reviews the expressive heaviness of Thomas Lampion’s This Wasn’t What I Had In Mind, the complex outcomes of Billy Mavreas’ Open All The Way, and the memorable details of Liesbeth De Stercke’s Black Clouds Rolling In.
Megan N. Liberty reviews the innovative differences of Kuniko Tsurita's The Sky Is Blue with a Single Cloud, translated by Ryan Holmberg.
Have starred capsule reviews of:
- The dramatic juxtapositions of Sandro Bassi’s Alien Nation.
- The sublime storytelling of Jay Hosler’s The Way Of The Hive.
- The rigorous explorations of Kristen Radtke’s Seek You: A Journey Through American Loneliness.
• Brian Salvatore reviews the forward-facing corrections of DC Comics’ Infinite Frontier #0.
• Matthew Blair reviews the low-stakes violence of Keanu Reeves, Matt Kindt, Ron Garney, et al’s BRZRKR #1.
Jeet Heer reviews the science fiction satire of Tom Tomorrow’s Life in the Stupidverse.
The New York Times
Hillary Chute reviews the fresh philosophies of Cathy Malkasian’s Nobody Likes You, Greta Grump, and the unhurried charms of Olga Tokarczuk and Joanna Concejo’s The Lost Soul, translated by Antonia Lloyd-Jones.
Have capsule reviews of:
- The balanced self-satire of Alison Bechdel’s The Secret to Superhuman Strength.
- The sprightly directness of Myriam Steinberg and Christache’s Catalogue Baby: A Memoir of (In)fertility.
Ryan Carey reviews the revisionist psychedelia of Gary Panter’s Crashpad.
Women Write About Comics
• Wendy Browne reviews the engrossing darkness of Jacob Murray, Alice Li Barnes, et al’s The Eighth Immortal #1, and the unexpected dread of Ann Xu and Hiromi Goto’s Shadow Life.
• Louis Skye reviews the organic world building of Peach Momoko, et al’s Demon Days: X-Men #1, translated by Zack Davisson.
• Andrea Ayres reviews the compelling complexities of Tom Woodman, Rupert Smissen, et al’s Future.
Death sketch with wash pic.twitter.com/fdjEm5fS64
— frankquitely (@frankquitely1) March 3, 2021
Self-facilitating media nodes… This week’s interviews.
Alex Dueben talks to Graham Kolbeins and Anne Ishii about their documentary Queer Japan, creative partnerships in different media, and avoiding the colonialist aspects of film-making - “There are so many different directions that the film could have gone in. One of the important things that we wanted was for it to be rooted in the contemporary moment. There’s a bit of history in the film, centuries of history that inform how we got to this day, but that’s a different story. That’s more of an anthropological discussion. In this film we wanted to just allow people to speak for themselves and talk about their experiences. That and we tried to include as many diverse and exciting people as we could in the film.”
• Justin Harrison interviews Sarah Horrocks about Aorta #3, mecha by way of 80s Americana, and the core tenet of stories about piloting giant robots.
• David Brooke talks to Ibrahim Moustafa about Count, the gestation period of a comics project, world-building, and keeping things fresh while adapting a classic.
• Nancy Powell speaks with LL McKinney and Robyn Smith about Nubia: Real One, first forays in the superhero genre, and reimagining a 70s character for the modern reader.
• Joe Grunenwald interviews Evan Dorkin about the return of Beasts of Burden, avoiding morose storytelling, and taking the scenic route to a story’s ending.
• Avery Kaplan talks to Steve Orlando about Starward, creating worlds, Heavy Metal history, and not fetishizing queer characters.
Jake Austin interviews Johnny Sampson about the current status quo at MAD Magazine, Al Jaffee passing the torch, and hitting the comics beat later in life.
Milton Griepp talks to Kurt Hassler about Yen Press’ sales in 2020, the ups and downs of the various distro channels during pandemic-times, and the manga market in 2021.
Tonya Mosle brings Jesse Holland and John Jennings together to discuss their shared love of superhero comics, the modern day morality tales of comic book stories, and the symbolic annihilation of comics’ past.
Kristen de Groot transcribes a recent panel talk with Paraska Tolan-Szkilnik, Trevor Getz, Maryanne Rhett, and Nick Sousanis on historical storytelling about the Middle East and Africa in comics, and the increased popularity of the medium that’s transforming how people think about the past.
Alex Dueben speaks with Tim Foley about What Unites Us, the challenges of sequential storytelling, the influence of Scott McCloud, and learning from MAD Magazine; and talks to Justin Jordan about Breaklands, filing off the serial numbers, story parentage, and balancing the micro and the macro.
Daniel Elkin interviews Eve Greenwood about the work of Quindrie Press, repping for the passion projects, and the loss of in-person conventions due to COVID-19.
Women Write About Comics
Wendy Browne talks to Wendy Chin-Tanner about Embodied: An Intersectional Feminist Comics Poetry Anthology, literary activism, and the origins and evolution of comics poetry.
BIG 40 pic.twitter.com/Kro57qV7Q1
— Michel Fiffe (@MichelFiffe) March 11, 2021
Unknown mortal author… This week’s features and comics.
• Here at TCJ, Cynthia Rose covers artist François Boucq and writer Yannick Haenel’s reporting on the prosecution of accomplices to the attack on the Charlie Hebdo offices, now collected under the title Janvier 2015, with all 14 defendants having been found guilty at the end of last year, in a trial beset by COVID-19-related delays - “French courtroom art has a multi-faceted past. Here, long before the Terror trials of the French Revolution, big judicial moments were part of popular graphics. They can be dated back to the Middle Ages but their depictions blossomed in the 1770s – thanks to trials such as that of Antoine François Derues. Convicted of a double murder, Derues was burned alive on the spot where Paris' City Hall now sits. In prints that look to modern eyes like crude bandes dessinées, artists of the time portrayed his crimes, pursuit and fate. As print technology changed and improved, such visuals proliferated.”
• For Women Write About Comics, Doris V Sutherland takes a look at some recent offerings from the UK comics scene, Spacewarp, Shift, and The 77, looking to build on the British tradition of anthology titles, while modernising for the contemporary market.
• As part of Women’s History Month, for The Beat, Kerry Vineberg compiles a list of graphic novels focusing on women’s history, in the form of biography, collections of women’s stories, and graphic memoir.
• For AIPT, Stephanie Kemmerer continues exploring the conspiracy theories buried in The Department of Truth, this week exploring the supposed loss of the years 614-911, and why revisionist history needs scrutiny.
• As the debate over NFTs rages, and creators argue over whether encrypting your digital images is worth nuking the ice caps, Hyperallergic's Billy Anania documents the history of Wall Street protest cartoons, recently experiencing a revival thanks to Reddit meme culture.
• Over at Solrad, Audra Stang looks at Alec Robbins’ Mr Boop, and the emergence of ironic cringe-posting, adding further layers of obfuscation to meme culture and mock-sincerity via troll comics, while F Stewart Taylor tracks the watchful eyes of the copyright holders, and Lane Yates doesn’t get the hype.
• Mike Peterson rounds up the week in editorial illustrations, for The Daily Cartoonist, as impeachment season continues, cancel culture achieves quantum uncertainty, and neanderthals walk the earth, while DD Degg covers the ongoing milkshaking of a certain cartoon duck.
• Steve Morris spins the X-Roulette once more for Shelfdust, winning a ride on the crossover train to Messiah Complex where either Scott Summers or Professor Charles Xavier is wrong, while Brad Gullickson argues that it is Doop who is right.
• Some recent open-access offerings from academic conferences, as Very Hendra Saputra and Donaya Pasha present a study on comics as a learning medium during the COVID-19 pandemic, and a pair of studies on using comics to teach the concept of unstable atoms and electromagnetic waves.
• On the longform comics beat, over at The Nib, Diane Zhou and Lio Min examine the ongoing evolution of museum displays, and Mike Centeno recounts familial history with the toxic masculinity of bullfighting; for NPR, Ryan Kellman, Nathan Rott, and Isabel Seliger tell the story of Agnes Boisvert, a nurse based in Idaho, and the many, many reasons as to why you should wear a mask; for The Lily, Katie Wheeler documents the lasting trauma of the pandemic, as year one drags into year two; and, over at The New Yorker, Fred Noland charts the history of Black culture on TV through a black-and-white TV.
Ok here’s the sad skateboarding y’all voted for a few months ago- sorry for the delay pic.twitter.com/aasONFS1cL
— Nicole Rifkin???? (@nicole_rifkin) March 8, 2021
1080p or bust… This week’s recommended watching.
• For our younger readers, or (as is more likely) their guardians, Aron Nels Steinke has a virtual author visit and drawing session coming up on 27th of March, but if you’ve got a budding illustrator who needs distracting right this second then there’s a fresh First Second sketch school episode up with Eric Jones that should pass ten minutes or so, and if they really need distracting then The Phoenix has 8 months of how-to draw videos for younger viewers to get their teeth into.
• Virtual book tours continue, and Michael DeForge will be celebrating the arrival of Heaven No Hell by speaking with Eleanor Davis and Sadie Dupuis, along with a Drawn & Quarterly instagram takeover, later this month.
• This week’s Black Mountain Institute and Believer comics workshop saw Teresa Wong taking viewers through drawing comics about movies, and the challenge of distilling a full story down to 4 panels.
• Yet more classic comic pages were turned over at Cartoonist Kayfabe, as Messrs Piskor and Rugg leafed through Bisley’s work on Batman/Judge Dredd, ten years of cartoon perfection in The Complete Calvin and Hobbes, some Larry Stroman X-Factor goodness, Miller and McFarlane jamming on Spawn, Valiant’s Harbinger heroes, Klaus Janson x T2, and Marvel superheroes saving your lungs.
• A couple of visits to Comix Experience this week, as Brian Hibbs spoke to Jonathan Hill about the family-focus in Odessa for December’s GN Book Club; and there was a new episode of Masterpiece Selection, talking to Klaus Janson about Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, and comics as an outlet for self-expression (features a bit of echo on the audio, it’s not a fault at your end).
• This week’s Cartoonist Chat with Noah Van Sciver was with Noah Van Sciver, and a virtual audience, answering some Qs on perspective, upcoming book plans, and future guests who aren’t Noah Van Sciver.
Aorta #3 is now for sale (except for the UK). 90 pages of robot-smashing, pilot-screaming, goodness:https://t.co/CVqJjfLC87 pic.twitter.com/ZAMORtc2Wt
— Sarah Horrocks⏳ (@mercurialblonde) March 11, 2021
1411kbps or bust… This week’s easy-listening.
• Comic Books Burned in Hell once more this week, as the team threw down over the age old question - are the best comic books for babies those published by DC or Marvel, and why is the true answer hidden in Jeff Rovin’s introduction to Frank Miller and Lynn Varley’s Ronin?
• 2000 AD’s Lockdown Tapes continue, and this week MOLCH-R was talking to Simon Jacobs about juggling jobs, Marvel UK, and life post-Tharg.
• Dan Berry welcomed Dapo Adeola to Make It Then Tell Everybody, as they discussed character design, treating each project as a learning experience, and careers being marathons not sprints.
• Christopher Butcher was the host of this week’s Mangasplaining, and it was our second visit to Kyoko Okazaki’s Helter Skelter in as many weeks, diving deep into the layered darkness of its story.
• Mex Flentallo welcomed Sophie Campbell to the show, treating Youngblood #1, and the enigma that is Rob Liefeld, with the due respect that is deserved, and looking at the immersive wave of culture that Liefeld was surfing while making the comic, and, uh, Saddam Hussein?
• David Harper welcomed Andy Schmidt to Off Panel this week, as they discussed Crime Syndicate, learning comics by doing comics, and what went on with DC’s Generations event.
• Publisher’s Weekly’s More to Come saw Calvin Reid interview Brian K. Mitchell, Barrington S. Edwards, and Nick Weldon about Monumental: Oscar Dunn and His Radical Fight in Reconstruction Louisiana, and pacing fastidious research with an effective comics narrative.
• Katie Skelly and Sally Madden took a look at the Thick Lines of Archie Comics this week, and asking the important questions of where is Riverdale, what’s with all the bare feet, and what is up with Hippy Jughead?
• The new podcast beacon has been lit once more, as Julia Gfrörer and Gretchen Felker-Martin unlock the Lament Configuration, and this week have such sights to show us as art's homogenization to disposable #content, and the cultural evolution of human sacrifice.
— musashinoelegy (@musashinoelegy) March 8, 2021
Done for this week, back next time with more, and maybe a working broadband connection, but who knows, life is a mystery!
Check out my friend Michael Baers’s short-form comic crossing the Capitol Riot, poet John Ashbery, the Tsuge Brothers, Crumb, and others, full post on Instagram: https://t.co/lX6qXnfKco pic.twitter.com/SDuYgrbQn2
— Ryan Holmberg (@mangaberg) March 10, 2021