Hot here in the UK, finally, which means reading comics in the park is once again on the cards, without fear of catching hypothermia, or watching the book in your hands dissolve into papier-mâché due to a sudden downpour, as shake your fists in vain at the sky raging at an uncaring, infinite universe.
Issuing forth from the heavens instead this week? Links! Thousands of ‘em! A compilation of which you can now read, below.
— Michael DeForge (@michael_deforge) June 3, 2021
Blue sky thinking… This week’s news.
• More than 300 Spanish comic creators have signed a statement in protest of the recent awarding of the Gran Premio del Salón del Còmic to Antonio Martín, a comics historian and editor - the first time in the award's history that the prize has not gone to a comics creator. The authors' statement primarily cites a failure to adhere to the prize rules, previous awards being restricted to comics authors, celebrating those creators working in an underpaid industry, and also references Martín's previous legal action against cartoonist David Ramírez for publishing a strip that featured a fight between Martín and Cels Piñol as rendering him unsuitable to receive the award. Ficomic, the organising body of the award's host festival, subsequently released a statement supporting the decision of the prize-jury.
• Koyama Provides announced the latest recipients of their grant awards program, as Dan Nott and Daryl Seitchik receive $1,000, which will “help us in our goal of making the comics we publish both beautifully produced and as affordable as possible”.
• ShortBox announced June’s recipients of their mini grant awards, with £200 going to Kenzie, Cleopatria Peterson, and Cath Garvey - the call for applications to July's round is now open, with a deadline of 25th June.
• Continuing this summer’s corporate moves and hires, as there are personnel changes at BOOM! Studios, Silver Sprocket, and DC Comics, so update your spreadsheets accordingly.
• I regret to inform you that the NFT market appears to have collapsed. Won't somebody please think of the children, &c &c.
• Cartoon Crossroads Columbus have announced the first details for this year’s festival, taking place September 30th to October 3rd, with a mix of in-person and virtual events, including presentation of the inaugural Tom Spurgeon Award, which “will be awarded to someone who is not primarily a cartoonist and whose support of cartoonists and cartoon art enhanced the field in a lasting and measurable way.”
• A fourth person has been convicted of operating the Manga-Mura comics piracy website, receiving a 3 year jail sentence from the Fukuoka District Court for copyright infringement, along with a fine of ten million yen - publishers have welcomed the ruling, as you’d imagine, with the website rumored to have resulted in losses of 300 billion yen for the manga industry during its operation - a spokesperson for Shueisha is quoted in the above link, the publisher having been caught up in the wild west of copyright strikes on social media earlier this year.
• In memoriam, remembering those the comics community lost recently, as The Daily Cartoonist collects tributes to New Orleans cartoonist Bunny Matthews who passed away this week; Multiversity Comics and Le Monde have obituaries for Benoît Sokal, creator of Inspector Canardo, who passed away late last week, aged 66; and CBR have an obituary for comics writer Pat McGreal, author of numerous Disney Comics titles, who passed away this week, aged 68.
The idea centers the ubiquitous message we've all been sending each other to "Be Safe." The reply "We Will.” is not only a mundane response, but becomes an assurance & outward expression of power through organizing & community. pic.twitter.com/lLxeIrQ3HN
— John Lee (@johnleedraws) May 27, 2021
For whom the bell tolls… This week’s reviews.
Noah Berlatsky reviews the deliberate self-annihilation of Junji Itō’s Lovesickness - “Unusually for Itō, “Lovesickness” has an at least provisionally upbeat ending — which is one of the manga’s few missteps. You don’t come to an Itō story for optimism or to hear a happy fortune. On the contrary, his greatness is in his ability to capture the sense of possibilities closing down”
• Ryan Perry reviews the imperfect adventure of Mariko Tamaki, Amancay Nahualpan, et al’s Crush & Lobo #1.
• Alex McDonald reviews the vulgar barrage of Aubrey Sitterson, Tony Gregori, et al’s The Worst Dudes #1.
• Lia Galanis reviews the enticing world-building of Ryan K. Lindsay and Sami Kivela’s Everfrost #1.
• Colin Moon reviews the serviceable spiritualism of Peter Milligan, Inaki Miranda, et al’s Out of Body #1.
• David Brooke reviews the slow-burn mystery of Cullen Bunn, Jonas Scharf, et al’s Basilisk #1.
• Alex Cline reviews the serviceable smut of Nozomi Mino’s Yakuza Lover, Volume 1.
• Nathan Simmons reviews the captivating horror of David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick, Rex Ogle, Scott Snyder, Garry Brown, et al's The Conjuring: The Lover #1.
Avery Kaplan reviews the grounded fantasy of Molly Knox Ostertag’s The Girl From The Sea.
• Bruno Savill de Jong reviews the impressionistic reverence of Diego Arandojo and Facundo Percio’s Beatnik Buenos Aires.
• Karen O’Brien reviews the shining urgency of Megan Huang’s Rangers of the Divide #1.
• Lindsay Pereira reviews the important reportage of Darryl Cunningham's Billionaires.
• Andy Oliver reviews:
- The sobering relevance of Simon Moreton’s What is Britain?.
- The haunting allegory of Mollie Ray’s At Any Given Time.
- The raw manifesto of Sean Azzopardi’s The Sea Shepherd.
- The appealing peacefulness of Howard Hardiman’s Springtime with Badger & Vole.
Four Color Apocalypse
Ryan C reviews the heartwarming confidence of Rachelle Meyer’s Holy Diver, the essential insight of Frederick Noland’s The Big Jab, and the smart absurdity of Josh Frankel’s Poems For Profit.
House to Astonish
Paul O’Brien reviews the gimmicky slog of Steve Orlando, Bernard Chang, et al’s Heroes Reborn: Magneto & The Mutant Force #1.
Have capsule reviews of:
- The engrossing adventure of Victoria Ying’s City of Illusions.
- The slapstick chaos of Kathy Caple’s Frog and Ball.
• Matthew Blair reviews the muddled ideas of Jeremy Holt, George Schall, et al’s Made in Korea #1.
• Kobi Bordoley reviews the stunning mystery of Peter Milligan, Inaki Miranda, et al's Out of Body #1.
• Elias Rosner reviews the breakneck pacing of Koyoharu Gotouge’s Demon Slayer: Kimetsu No Yaiba Volumes 1 & 2, translated by John Werry
Etelka Lehoczky reviews the ingenious eloquence of Rebecca Hall and Hugo Martínez' Wake: The Hidden History of Women-Led Slave Revolts.
Have capsule reviews of:
- The endearing wit of Molly Knox Ostertag’s The Girl from the Sea.
- The striking sophistication of Rii Abrego and Joe Whitt’s The Sprite and the Gardener.
- The expressive romp of Shaenon K. Garrity and Christopher Baldwin’s The Dire Days of Willowweep Manor.
Women Write About Comics
Alenka Figa reviews the explosive revelations of Alison Bechdel's The Secret to Superhuman Strength.
— Jesse Lonergan (@jesselonergans) June 2, 2021
Miscellaneous chittering… This week’s interviews.
Mark Newgarden interviews Glenn Head about Chartwell Manor, shaping events from real life, lessons learned making autobio comics, and defining movements - “That revolutionary spirit in underground comics, an antagonistic, ‘I’ll draw whatever the fuck I want!’ which is, in my opinion, just a logical extension of the cartoonist’s mindset, which I find inherently antagonistic. It’s supposed to be! Comics that aren’t taking the gloves off make no sense to me. Admittedly, this could be a bit childish, and the thing of ‘You say I can’t draw this? Just watch me!’ kinda juvenile. But, like, rock ‘n’ roll, I like it.”
• David Brooke speaks with Alex Segura and Monica Gallagher about The Black Ghost, bringing the title from digital to print, going for that noir feel, and character inspirations.
• Chris Coplan interviews Jim Starlin about Dreadstar Returns, working during the pandemic, and rectifying previous character missteps.
• Joe Grunenwald talks to Justin A. Reynolds and Pablo Leon about Miles Morales: Shock Waves, keeping up with fictional universes, being given the freedom to explore, and cultural identities.
• Avery Kaplan interviews Rich Moyer about Ham Helsing: Vampire Hunter, skipping the deep lore, toxic masculinity as a hindrance to survival, and making the shift from single panel strips to graphic novel stories; and speaks to Shing Yin Khor about The Legend of Auntie Po, Paul Bunyan diversions, writing about food, and erasure of Chinese histories from popular American narrative.
• Zack Quaintance chats with David López about BlackHand & IronHead, returns on engagement, D&D alignments, and the theoretical realities of superhero fisticuffs.
Lindsay Pereira speaks with Keiler Roberts about My Begging Chart, the impermanence of art, the joys of composition, and the humor of nudity.
Sean Z interviews Joe Glass about The Pride, the days when Tumblr was good, diversifying collaborative teams, and editorial missteps.
Elle Hunt talks to Will McPhail about In, performative humanity, the mechanics of conversation, and the go-to themes for New Yorker cartoons.
Susana Polo interviews James Tynion IV about The Nice House on the Lake, the end of the world in 2021, publishing horror with DC in 2021, and comics real estate.
• Eugene Holley Jr talks to Dan Nadel about It’s Life as I See It: Black Cartoonists in Chicago 1940-1980, Black press history in Chicago, the realities of syndication, and expanding perspectives.
• Brigid Alverson speaks with Alison Bechdel about The Secret to Superhuman Strength, varying compositions, magical hyperdrive, and unplanned trilogies.
Alex Dueben interviews Fred Van Lente about Everything’s Archie, why the Riverdale gang are perfect for telling a variety of stories, and keeping things classic with a healthy dose of subversion.
• Karama Horne talks to Michel Mulipola about Headlocked, wrestling influences, working with Ric Flair, and representation for Pacific Islanders.
• Ernie Estrella interviews Ethan Young about The Dragon Path, artistic inspirations, diaspora engagement, and pragmatic characters.
The Washington Post
Michael Cavna speaks with Jean Schulz and Schulz Museum curator Benjamin L. Clark about Charles M. Schulz’ strip Hagemeyer, originals from which will go on public display for the first time this year.
Women Write About Comics
Dani Kinney interviews Al Ewing about S.W.O.R.D., team-building advice, bringing characters to new fanbases, and how secrets make good stories.
A few portraits for Project Honor. @gofundme @GSP https://t.co/00BVpMteN6#asianhonor pic.twitter.com/sGRqGfQl9G
— Victo Ngai 倪傳婧 (@victongai) June 2, 2021
Extra credit… This week’s features and comics.
• Here at TCJ, the first of two pieces remembering the life and work of M. Thomas Inge, who passed away last month, Charles Hatfield writes in celebration of Inge’s academic work - “It is perhaps telling that Virginia Commonwealth University has eulogized Inge as a “[l]egendary comics and pop culture scholar” without noting the full breadth of his contributions as a literary historian, anthologist and proponent of Southern studies. It isn’t easy to encompass what he did in a few words, and it may be that, of all the innovations he encouraged, comics studies is the one most easily explained now — the revolution that is easiest to recognize as such. But Inge was, profoundly, a regionalist: a Southerner, in particular a Virginian, to his bones. He always affirmed that.”
• Also for TCJ, RC Harvey’s latest Hare Tonic focuses on his friendship with M. Thomas Inge, and the impact that Inge had on pop culture academia - “Just as Tom, acting in his Press role as consultant, nudged me into writing books about cartooning, he also nudged others to produce serious, scholarly books about comics and other aspects of popular culture. Tom Inge is not only one of the earliest academics to teach and write about comics: he was also a mover and a shaker in developing an entire field of scholarly endeavor. I don’t think anyone else can lay claim to such an achievement.”
• There’s a new Cartoonist’s Diary here at TCJ this week, as Max Huffman journeys out into the wildlands of a pandemic Spring Break - part one kicks things off here.
• Catching up with Elizabeth Sandifer’s Last War in Albion Book 3, as Borges’ influence on Grant Morrison is explored, Arkham Asylum’s occult symbolism is interrogated, and Batman: Gothic’s spiritual geometry is unfurled.
• For Comicosity, Jude DeLuca writes on DC Comics’ ongoing problems with depicting rape and sexual assault in its superhero stories, parallel to the protection of sexual abusers within their own ranks, and the disservice this does to abuse survivors reading the comics.
• Over at AIPT, Madeleine Chan looks at the performative engagement by the Big Two with Pride Month, and the paying of lip service for fandom credit without any resulting meaningful, or systemic, progress being made.
• For NeoText, Chloe Maveal examines John Wagner, Alan Grant, and Cam Kennedy playing the hits for an American audience, with DC Comics’ Outcasts, featuring some, uh, familiar faces.
• A Marvel double bill over at Shelfdust, as Latonya Pennington writes on the depictions of anxiety in Silk #6, and Samantha Puc kicks off a series looking at Secret Invasion and the identity retcon gamble it rolled the dice on.
• Mike Peterson rounds up the editorial beat for The Daily Cartoonist, as pens are drawn for Memorial Day 2021, history continues to be rewritten, COVID misinformation proliferates, and there’s no love lost for tennis Grand Slams.
Death Becomes Her sketches pic.twitter.com/TR8AsTKU1Q
— natasha allegri (@natazilla) June 3, 2021
Off the charts… This week’s audio-visual delights.
• Comic Books Are Burning In Hell returned once more, as Tucker Stone, Chris Mautner, Matt Seneca, and Joe McCulloch discussed Barry Windsor-Smith’s magnum opus, Monsters, and whether it is a good labor of love or a bad one, and if/when you can use Nazi scientists as a plot point in 2021.
• Celebrating the launch of It’s Life as I See It: Black Cartoonists in Chicago, 1940-1980, Exile in Bookville hosted a panel discussion with editor Dan Nadel, and contributors Yaoundé Olu, Charles Johnson, and Turtel Onli, as they spoke about the genesis of the book, how much things haven't changed, and creative freedoms.
• CanCAF has officially finished for this year, so if you’re craving for #content then there’s a smorgasbord of video panels, talks, and workshops for you to catch up on, so make like a tree and get outta here.
• Tillie Walden hosted the latest edition of The Believer and Black Mountain Institute’s cartoon workshops, taking viewers through creating worlds for comics, and sharing beliefs on world-building and drawing places (starts around the 3m30s mark).
• If it’s a younger comics fan you need to occupy, then there are new episodes of First Second’s sketch school up online, with Dave Roman and Ann Xu providing quick lessons for budding artists, while The Phoenix have continued to update their SkillsHub resource page with free art tutorials.
• 2000 AD’s Lockdown Tapes were back this week, as MOLCH-R spoke with Roger Langridge, Brett Parson, and PJ Holden about delivering all-ages thrills for the latest Regened issue.
• Noah Van Sciver hosted a new cartoonist chat over the weekend, speaking with Julia Wertz about cartoonist book deals, the PR merry-go-round, and reading your own reviews.
• A Kirby triple bill on Cartoonist Kayfabe this week, as Jim Rugg and Ed Piskor were joined by Tom Scioli for a leaf through New Gods #7, Mister Miracle #9, and Destroyer Duck #1, and were not joined by Tom Scioli for looks through Wizard Magazine #42 and #43.
• Shelfdust Presents returned with a fresh episode this week, as Matt Lune and Hamish Steele discussed Hidenori Kusaka and Mato’s Pokemon Adventures Volume 1, and its accessible entry point for newcomers to the multimedia franchise.
• Deb Aoki hosted this week’s episode of Mangasplaining, choosing Edogawa Rampo and Suehiro Maruo’s The Strange Tale of Panorama Island as a horror-manga alternative to the market juggernaut that is Junji Itō.
• Publisher’s Weekly’s More to Come featured an interview between Kate Fitzimmons and manga scholar Erica Friedman on Riyoko Ikeda's Rose of Versailles, which has now been translated into English for the first time.
• Gil Roth welcomed Keiler Roberts to The Virtual Memories Show, as they discussed My Begging Chart, her diagnosis with multiple sclerosis, and returning to making comics after some time away.
You never see anyone light cigars from exploding bombs nowadays pic.twitter.com/WOkubMRqxc
— Michael Tisserand (@m_tisserand) June 2, 2021
That’s all for this week, back next time with more, and probably sunburn, because I never learn, and have made my peace with that! Personal growth!
making friends ☺️ pic.twitter.com/vOoWkewbDg
— nynne ☁️ (@beanynne) June 2, 2021