Halcyonity Is Relative – This Week’s Links

Well, it’s nearly August, and seeing as that month and September are basically skips, that means it’s effectively nearly Hallowe’en, and if it’s nearly Hallowe’en then the holidays are just around the corner, and therefore 2023’s hurtling in this direction like a brick travelling at speed, and, ah, gosh, blimey, gee willikers, okay, let’s just slow things back down by taking a nice long look at this week’s links, a selection of which you can find below.

Summer summer summer time… This week’s news.

• July’s end brings with it a fresh crop of Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards, and three was the magic number as Barry Windsor-Smith and James Tynion IV took home a trio of trophies each, while Women Write About Comics scored the three-peat for Best Comics-Related Journalism/Periodical, with Fantagraphics taking top spot for publisher wins - a full list of recipients for 2022 can be found here.

• The Hollywood Reporter covers the latest step in disentangling the web of lawsuits involving the Stan Lee estate, as a dismissal was filed for claims against former business manager Jerardo “Jerry” Olivarez, after a settlement was reached, the details of which were not disclosed - vague intimations of manipulative acts by unnamed parties were made, and legal actions against attorney Uvi Litvak and former business manager Keya Morgan remain active.

• Digital comics platforms continue to have a less-than-stellar time of things, as Square Enix’s launch of new mobile app Manga Up! quickly shifted to damage-control mode after reader reception to the size, frequency, and placement of censorship bars was not especially positive.

• Elsewhere, it seems that 14 years is (not) a long (enough) time, as Tokyopop’s attempt to resurrect the Rising Stars of Manga Contest, revamping the image of the competition, seen by many as exploitative in its previous incarnation, by *checks notes* dropping the prize money back down to the original launch amount of $1000, has not gone down well. We shall check back in with their next attempt to pull the football in 2036, when that gum you like is going to come back in style.

 The Beat reports on a major round of layoffs at Tapas Media, including editorial staff, as the vertical scroll platform's parent corp Kakao Entertainment continues its planned expansion into overseas markets - Kakao merged Tapas with prose platform Radish back in May, a year after acquiring both companies, touting the 'huge line-up of content IPs' and 'ability to generate and monetise original stories'.

• Massachusetts Independent Comics Expo announced the opening of 2022’s call for applications to their mini-grants program, offering 15 awards of $100 and 1 award of $500, to help creators attending MICE 2022 print and promote their work.

• In memoriam, remembering those the comics world has lost, Publisher’s Weekly had an obituary for Europe Comics co-founder Sophie Castille, who passed away earlier this month aged 51.

• News arrived this week that Solo Levelling artist Jang-Sung Rak (aka Dubu) had passed away last weekend due to a cerebral haemorrhage stemming from a long-term health condition.

• News was also shared of the passing last weekend of editor and writer Sid Jacobson, aged 92, after experiencing a major stroke during an infection with COVID-19 - The Daily Cartoonist presented excerpts from family remembrances, along with selected examples of Jacobson’s work.

Now eligible for future award nominations… This week’s reviews.


• Helen Chazan reviews the melancholy meditations of Yamada Murasaki’s Talk To My Back, translated by Ryan Holmberg - “Domestic abuse is alluded to, but not depicted - perhaps because for Yamada, who had fled an abusive husband to resume the manga career he had interrupted, this would have been too painful to portray at the time.”

• Henry Chamberlain reviews the finely-honed absurdity of Brandon Lehmann’s G-G-G Ghost Stories - “What makes for a successful work in comics involves timing and pacing, along with characters and composition. If anything is out of place, or not executed in just the right way, it will suffer. Sometimes this can be forgiven, depending upon the subject. But all bets are off when it comes to humor. Lehmann succeeds through self-awareness and dedication to craft.”



• David Brooke reviews the surprising complexity of Kenny Porter, Baldemar Rivas, et al’s DC: Mech #1.

• Chris Coplan reviews the serious nuance of Mark Russell, Michael Allred, et al’s Superman: Space Age #1.

• Ronnie Gorham reviews the spectacular finale of Jock’s Batman: One Dark Knight #3.

• Ben Morin reviews the engrossing moodiness of Ram V, Rafael Albuquerque, et al’s Detective Comics #1062.

• Nathan Simmons reviews the breakneck bombast of Ram V, Mike Perkins, et al’s Swamp Thing #15.

• Ryan Sonneville reviews the throwback flair of Chris Claremont, Sid Kotian, et al’s Gambit #1.

• Colin Moon reviews the considered honesty of Noah Van Sciver’s As A Cartoonist.


The Beat

• Zack Quaintance reviews the engaging ambition of Mark Russell, Michael Allred, et al’s Superman: Space Age #1.

• Cy Beltran reviews the fascinating jaunt of Al Ewing, Tom Reilly, et al’s Ant Man #1.

• Ricardo Serrano Denis reviews the convincing lessons of Hospi-Tales: A Year of Stories from Alder Hey, edited by Rebecca Horner, Anna Macdonald, and Rae Malenoir.

• AJ Frost reviews the shining tapestry of Noah Van Sciver’s Joseph Smith and the Mormons.


Broken Frontier

• Andy Oliver reviews the careful curation of Rebellion’s Best of 2000 AD.

• Lindsay Pereira reviews the compelling delights of Lynda Barry’s My Perfect Life, and the unflinching honesty of Travis Dandro’s Hummingbird Heart.


Four Color Apocalypse

Ryan C reviews the impressive sharpness of Aaron Lange's Peppermint Werewolf, the textured relatability of Sarah Romano Diehl's Another One Bites The Crust, and the likeable lines of Kyle Bravo's Forever and Everything #8.


House to Astonish

Paul O'Brien reviews the disjointed misfiring of Gerry Duggan, Pepe Larraz, Javier Pina, C F Villa, et al's X-Men #6-12.



Sarah Rose Sharp reviews the inquisitive reframing of Liana Finck’s Let There Be Light: The Real Story of Her Creation.


Kirkus Reviews

Have starred capsule reviews of:

- The exquisite catharsis of Claribel A. Ortega and Rose Bousamra’s Frizzy.

- The inviting self-expression of Gale Galligan’s Freestyle.


Multiversity Comics

• Mark Tweedale reviews the wild delivery of Mike Mignola, Márk László, et al’s Hellboy and the BPRD: Time Is a River.

• Kobi Bordoley reviews the smouldering stakes of Scott Snyder, Hayden Sherman, et al’s Dark Spaces: Wildfire #1.

• Gregory Ellner reviews the mixed successes of Vita Ayala, Skylar Patridge, et al’s Artemis: Wanted #1.

• Jaina Hill reviews the well-realised characters of Kyle Starks, Artyom Topilin, et al’s I Hate This Place #3.

• Ramon Piña reviews the flawless accessibility of Ryan North, Derek Charm, et al's The Mystery of the Meanest Teacher: A Johnny Constantine Graphic Novel.


Publisher’s Weekly

Have capsule reviews of:

- The hurried history of Andre Frattino and Kate Kasenow’s Tokyo Rose—Zero Hour: A Japanese American Woman’s Persecution and Ultimate Redemption After World War II.

- The charming comedy of Arnold Arre’s Halina Filipina: A New Yorker in Manila.



• Alex Hoffman reviews the poignant tensions of Mirion Malle’s This Is How I Disappear, translated by Aleshia Jensen and Bronwyn Haslam.

• Isabelle Ryan reviews the thoughtful balance of Yama Wayama’s Let’s Go Karaoke!, translated by Leighann Harvey.


Women Write About Comics

Rachel Bolton reviews the seamless hilarity of Grace Gogarty’s Little Tunny’s Snail Diaries.

Too hot to talk… This week’s interviews.


• Floyd Tangeman interviews Mike Reger about Mission Mini-Comix, indiewashing, formative school years, Flatliners, and overdose prevention and harm reduction - “I consider myself a propagandist. We had always been making political minicomics, and there have always been political cartoonists, it's a long-standing tradition dating back to ancient times.”

• Ian Thomas interviews Tyrell Cannon about Beef Bros Behind Bars, comic strip memories, fraternal creative collaborations, and an obsession with memory - “Chicago is an incredible comics city. The independent/self-publishing scene has thrived for years and we also have a large number of mainstream creators here. At this point, I feel that I've made amazing friends within the community and met or engaged with the majority of creators here in one way or another.”



David Brooke talks to Matthew Klein about Crashing, bringing a project from pitch to publication, the social history of Boston, and raising awareness of addiction through comics.


Broken Frontier

Andy Oliver speaks with Chad Bilyeu about Chad in Amsterdam and The Re-Up, writing from a unique vantage point, the Dutch comics scene, and artistic collaborations.


DC Comics

Joshua Lapin-Bertone chats with Dan Jurgens about Death of Superman: 30th Anniversary Special, how the industry has changed in three decades, and fitting things into a finite page limit.



Vikram Nijhawan interviews Villal Pando about The Pursuer, getting pulled back into making comics, sharing a love for the medium while teaching, and childhood reading.


Multiversity Comics

Brian Salvatore talks to Scott Snyder about releasing a lot of new comics all at once, comiXology from the creator side of things, and selecting projects with co-creators.


The New Yorker

Françoise Mouly chats to Sergio García Sánchez about the Central Park Lark cover for The New Yorker, and the challenges of comics education.



Kojima Mei talks to Akari Sayaka about making manga based on experiences of life during the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and having the work published in Japan.



Mandalit Del Barco speaks with Robb Armstrong and Bruce W. Smith about The Armstrong Project, and with the first recipients of the program about the effect it has had on them.



Steven Heller talks to Drew Friedman about Maverix and Lunatix: Icons of Underground Comix, capturing the underground movement, and maintaining a disciplined work schedule.


Smash Pages

JK Parkin interviews Matthew Klein about Crashing, artist recommendations, hitting the E.R. vibe, the inspiration of first responders, and being part of the IDW Originals line-up.

Vacation reading list… This week’s features and longreads.

• Here at TCJ, Austin English presents thoughts on recent comics reading, including Julie Doucet’s Time Zone J, Chris Claremont et al’s run on X-Men, Dave Sim and Carson Grubaugh’s The Strange Death of Alex Raymond, Steve Gerber and Jim Starlin’s Giant-Size Defenders #3 Facsimile Edition, Jordan Crane’s Keeping Two, and Juliette Collet’s Blah Blah Blah #2 - “I thought about Schulz a lot while reading [Keeping Two], specifically how you are pulled through Schulz' visual vocabulary without any hiccups. You can appreciate how beautiful his lines are while also darting your eye across them as quickly as possible, processing the information. I also thought about how, if you change one Schulz line on Charlie Brown's face (maybe you invert the nose or add a dangly piece of hair), the image will shock you.”

• Also for TCJ, Tom Shapira writes in remembrance of Alan Grant, a prolific writer of comics who passed away earlier this month, aged 73 - “While one may point to singular works which transcend what Grant and [Norm] Breyfogle did, on the whole that run remains unmatched. But you can pick up any random Batman comic written by Alan Grant and it is more than likely that you'll have a winner, and a winner that often wraps up in a single issue.”

• Over at the Los Angeles Review of Books, Aubrey Gabel looks back on Julie Doucet’s path through, away from, and back to comics, the sexism inherent in the scene, and the evolution of Doucet’s work in and out of the medium.

• The University of Adelaide covers the public presentation of research on C. Friedrich’s Voyage and Adventures of a Good Little German in Kangarooland, a recently documented series of autobiographical comic books from World War I, pages from which can be found here.

• Both Louis Skye for Women Write ABout Comics, and Michael Hiltzik for the Los Angeles Times, write on ongoing legal attempts to prevent access to books in various American states, and the disservice to readers this represents.

• For PopMatters, Luis Aguasvivas charts the enduring influence of the artwork and comics of Jean Giraud, aka Moebius, on films and video games.

• George Gene Gustines and Matt Stevens provide a primer guide to vertical scroll digital comics for The New York Times, speaking to creators publishing their work on various platforms, as the spiking valuations of these companies rely on a permanent influx (and retention) of new readers.

• Over at Shelfdust, Ritesh Babu takes a deep dive into Ram V and Christian Ward’s Aquaman Andromeda, and the alienation experienced and evinced by the underserved King of the Seven Seas.

• Rob Clough continues a retrospective of NOW for Solrad, reaching issue number three, as the anthology series maintained an unpredictable drive for unsettling experimentation.

• David S. Anderson presents the latest entry into AIPT’s series on the conspiracy theories behind James Tynion IV and Martin Simmonds’ Department of Truth, this time out charting the colonial history of El Dorado.

• Also looking back to ghosts of comics past, over at The Beat, d. emerson eddy writes on the compelling collaborations to be found in Neil Gaiman and P. Craig Russell’s Murder Mysteries; and Neil Gaiman, Matt Wagner, and Teddy Kristiansen’s Sandman Midnight Theatre.

• As the dust settled from San Diego Comic-Con’s return to in-person programming, Publisher’s Weekly covered the overall vibes, the prominence of books for younger readers, and the sales of manga at the show; Rob Salkowitz wrote on the good and the bad of this return to in-person eventing; Jay Allen Sanford profiled SDCC co-founder Shel Dorf for the San Diego Reader; and the digital version of 2022’s souvenir book from the convention itself can be downloaded here.

• Mike Peterson rounds up the week’s editorial beat, over at The Daily Cartoonist, in a week where the spectre of the 45th President of the United States loomed large.

Summer blockbusters… This week’s audio/visual delights.

• Comic Books Are Burning In Hell once more this week, as Tucker Stone, Joe McCulloch, Chris Mautner, and Matt Seneca chose to step in time and recount some British comics they’d been reading, before shifting focus to the latest issue of Sammy Harkham’s Crickets.

• A trio of SDCC interviews from Publisher’s Weekly’s More to Come, as Calvin Reid spoke with Lindsey Elias of Penguin Random House, John Jennings of Megascope and Lore Olympus’ Rachel Smythe, and ComicArts’ Charles Kochman.

• For more #content from the floor of SDCC Four Women In A Hotel Room returned, with Heidi MacDonald, Brigid Alverson, Johanna Draper Carlson, and Deb Aoki (plus guests) covering the slow descent into manic exhaustion that in-person comics eventing represents.

• Comix Experience’s book clubs returned, as Brian Hibbs was joined by Josue Cruz and Michael Sweater to discuss Puppy Knight and working with editors, and Rumi Hara to discuss The Peanutbutter Sisters and planning things out in your head.

• More Kayfabe for Cartoonists as Jim Rugg and Ed Piskor took a little look-see at Gen¹³, Batman Year 100, duelling perspectives in Punisher #10 and Daredevil #257, and then were joined by Jim Mahfood for a chat about a career in comics and beyond, some appreciation of Martin Emond, and a director’s commentary on Generation X: Underground Special #1.

• David Harper welcomed Marvel Comics editor Sarah Brunstad to Off Panel, for a discussion on just what it is that editing entails, and the various aspects of the job when it comes to supporting creative teams.

• Gil Roth was joined by Noah Van Sciver for this week’s Virtual Memories Show, as they spoke about the dual launch of As A Cartoonist and Joseph Smith And The Mormons, and the influence of Tom Spurgeon and Daniel Clowes.

That’s all for this week, back sooner than you think with more, if you currently think more will take longer than seven days to arrive.