Holding Up Office Lights – This Week’s Links

Alright, in-person conferences for work are back on the board now, so I’m playing catch-up a bit. Just give me a second, I’m going to take a quick looky-look at the comics discourse for the week, and the survey says… stanning/denigrating various script formats. Huh. Ok, I wouldn’t have picked that myself, but the heart wants what the heart wants, so who am I to judge? 

Well, in this venue I guess I’m judge, jury, and executioner, but my ‘old man yells at cloud’ dance-card is pretty full with crypto and NFT fist-shaking, unless that whole deal does indeed implode completely thanks to this week’s market volatility, and my GP said that I need to watch my blood pressure, so maybe I’ll give this one a pass. Now, if you minted a non-fungible token linked to a specific script format, ooh wee, then we would be talking! Displaced anger, and weeping and gnashing of teeth all over the shop!

This being 2022 I can only assume we will see that very thing within a week, but in the meantime you can see this week’s links, below.

Never sleep again, read 24/7… This week’s news.

• Positive big score news, as Sacramento’s A-1 Comics acquired the lauded ‘Winters Collection’ of comics for a pretty $600,000 and will begin selling its myriad runs of titles from throughout the history of the medium on June 1st.

• Negative big score news, as thieves stole $20,000 worth of comics from Ontario’s Freakshow Comics after breaking into the store - a full list of the titles stolen, along with CGC gradings, can be found at the link, so keep an eye out, true detectives.

• Comics industry personnel on the move news, and The Beat shared news that Jeff Boison is leaving Image Comics, fairly soon after the publisher’s recent NFT kerfuffle, with Boison apparently owning the token linked to an image used for a variant cover of The Secret History of the War on Weed.

• Elsewhere, IDW announced an expansion of their editorial team, bringing aboard Jamie S. Rich as Executive Editorial Director, charged with developing licensed products, and further expanding the editorial team by welcoming Charles Beacham and Russ Busse into the fold as Senior Editors.

• The Daily Cartoonist shared news of a pair of awards for editorial cartooning, as Bruce MacKinnon won the 2021 National Newspaper Award for Editorial Cartooning, and Ruben Bolling took home 2021’s Clifford K. and James T. Berryman Award for Editorial Cartoons at this year’s National Press Foundation Awards.

• Also in prize news, it was announced that Naoki Urasawa is the winner of this year’s Erlangen International Comic Salon's Max und Moritz Lifetime Achievement Award, ahead of the return of the Salon in June, with 2020’s edition having been postponed due to COVID-19 restrictions.

• Contentious prize news, and the announcement of this year’s Pulitzer Prize winners, including Fahmida Azim, Anthony Del Col, Josh Adams and Walt Hickey in this year’s Illustrated Reporting and Commentary category, rekindled the embers of last year’s ‘no prize’ controversy, with the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists petitioning the prize board to reinstate the currently defunct Editorial Cartooning category.

• Koyama Provides announced the latest recipient of their grants program, awarding $1,500 to Saicoink/An Nguyen, which will help cover self-publishing costs for “...a collection of comics about animals and animal-shaped soft objects.”

• In memoriam, the family of George Pérez shared news of his passing from pancreatic cancer, aged 67, last Friday. Steven Ringgenberg wrote on Pérez’ life and work here at TCJ, and further obituaries were published by DC Comics, Entertainment Weekly, The Hollywood Reporter, ICv2, The Los Angeles Times, Marvel Comics, Multiversity Comics, NBC News, The New York Times, NPR, Polygon, and Variety, with The Beat collating tributes from friends and colleagues.

High praise at Mega Mountain… This week’s reviews.


• Tegan O’Neil reviews the smutty fantasia of Caza’s Kris Kool, translated by Clara Longhi - “This is a story about sex, I’d argue primarily, though there’s a great deal else. Kris Kool is a story about a future adventurer who caroms through a series of beautiful set pieces while pursuing his objective, someone as capable of solving problems with sex as violence. That’s a tricky type of story to do well. Solving problems with sex is a utopian idea.”

• Laura Paul reviews the captivating accuracy of Valentina Grande and Sergio Varbella’s Bauhaus: A Graphic Novel - “Illustrations portraying the early students are playful and full of movement. We see organic shapes and rounded forms duel against their boxy counterparts. Interestingly enough, this emerging time obsessed with the gridded and standardized brought forth the first contemporary comic books as well.”



• David Brooke reviews the engaging beginning of Charles Soule and Ryan Browne’s Eight Billion Genies #1.

• Robert Reed reviews the strong characterisation of Geoff Thorne, ChrisCross, et al’s Blood Syndicate: Season One #1.

• Justin Harrison reviews the stupendous comics-craft of Darwyn Cooke, Ed Brubaker, and Sean Phillips’ Richard Stark's Parker: The Martini Edition - Last Call.

• Rory Wilding reviews the experimental musings of Guillem March’s Karmen.

• Lia Williamson reviews the cheeky laughs of Daniel Kibblesmith, Pat Kennedy, Tim Kennedy, Bob Smith, et al’s Archie Meets Riverdale #1.

• Ronnie Gorham reviews the thrilling intrigue of Nick Roche, E.J. Su, et al’s Transformers: Last Bot Standing #1.

• Ryan Sonneville reviews the heartwarming purpose of Eric Gapstur’s Sort of Super.


The Beat

Cy Beltran reviews the interesting setup of Tochi Onyebuchi, R.B. Silva, et al’s Captain America: Symbol of Truth #1.


Broken Frontier

Andy Oliver reviews the magical appeal of Lyndon White’s Candles, the excellent commentary of Shelby Criswell’s Queer As All Get Out: 10 People Who’ve Inspired Me, the talented observations of Emily Cullen’s Monologues of Shite, and the eccentric absurdity of Stefan Gruber's Scentagons.


House to Astonish

Paul O’Brien reviews the effortful recap of Jim Zub, Ramon Bachs, et al’s Life of Wolverine #1-10.


Kirkus Reviews

Have capsule reviews of:

- The enthusiastic marvelling of Dan Zettwoch’s Bridges: Engineering Masterpieces.

- The entertaining delights of Mike Barfield and Jess Bradley’s A Day in the Life of a Caveman, a Queen, and Everything in Between. 

- The endearing mischief of Paulina Ganucheau’s Lemon Bird Can Help!.


Multiversity Comics

• Matthew Blair reviews the fantastic rapport of Steve Foxe, Marco Fiorito, et al’s Archer & Armstrong Forever #1.

• Jaina Hill reviews the successful updating of Nyla Rose, Steve Orlando, David Cutler, et al’s Giant-Size X-Men: Thunderbird #1.

• Mark Tweedale reviews the clever transformations of Cullen Bunn, Emily Schnall, et al's Tales from Harrow County: Lost Ones #1.



Hannah Givens reviews the unsatisfying simplicity of Darryl Cunningham’s Putin’s Russia: The Rise of a Dictator.


Publisher’s Weekly

Have capsule reviews of:

- The high-stakes drama of Paco Roca and Guillermo Corral’s The Treasure of the Black Swan, translated by Andrea Rosenberg.

- The spectacular immersion of Mikaël’s Bootblack, translated by Matt Madden.

- The assured absurdism of Mac Barnett and Shawn Harris’ The First Cat in Space Ate Pizza.


Women Write About Comics

Wendy Browne reviews the promising opportunity of Nyla Rose, Steve Orlando, David Cutler, et al's Giant-Size X-Men: Thunderbird #1.

Talking cubed… This week’s interviews.


• Alex Dueben interviews Ken Niimura about Never Open It: The Taboo Trilogy, reclaiming folk tales for their characters, the importance of questioning things, and the luxury of taking your time - “To be honest there are just so many folk tales out there, that for a while I was playing with a combination of different ones, like a puzzle. Seeing what would happen if I added this story or used this other one. In the end it naturally became this book about the idea of taboo or interdiction, but it could have taken many other shapes.”

• Released from the archives, from 1982’s TCJ #72, Gary Groth interviews Neal Adams about gauging the quality of something you don’t necessarily understand, surprises to be found in the comics industry, and the specificities of contract law - “Neal Adams … l don’t like to use Neal Adams as a basis for comparison because, first of all, I’m Neal Adams. So, it’s just unfair to begin with. Everybody thinks they’re capable of doing anything. Most of us are not.”


13th Dimension

Commemorating the life and work of George Pérez, Dan Greenfield collates 13th Dimension’s series of interviews that originally ran in celebration of Pérez’ 65th birthday. 



Chris Coplan talks to Geoff Thorne about Blood Syndicate, an enduring love of Milestone Comics, finding an authentic mix of superheroics and street culture, and balancing the old with the new.


Anime News Network

Madeline Dunnett interviews manga industry insiders about the current boom in English-language sales, also covering the issues with supply that have accompanied the surge in demand.


The Beat

• Alex Dueben speaks with Geoff Thorne about Blood Syndicate, pitching to write the comics’ return, keeping the vibe similar, and hyper-specific script details.

• Joe Grunenwald chats with Joshua Williamson about Dark Crisis, character motivations, working with Dan Jurgens, and the return of forgotten characters.


The Guardian

Tim Jonze talks to Glyn Dillon about the death of brother Steve Dillon, channelling the grief into creation, and the resulting ‘Who Am I Now?’ exhibition.


The Los Angeles Times

• Michael Hiltzik speaks with creators affected by Disney’s alleged failure to pay royalties for work delivered under its licensed properties, and the current state of royalty arrangements in the comics market.

• Jim Ruland talks to Ed Brubaker about Reckless, repurposing memories of 80s LA, making comics during a pandemic, and the realities of a Navy brat childhood.


Multiversity Comics

• Kyle Welch interviews Zack Kaplan and John J. Pearson about Mindset, collaborative origins, mind control in an ordinary world, and getting to the intentions of the work.

• Elias Rosner speaks with Jade Armstrong about Scout is Not a Band Kid, working without the feedback of an online audience, and the most difficult musical instrument to draw.



Andrew Limbong talks to Gail Simone and Phil Jimenez about the importance of George Pérez’ work, and the diversity to be found within it.


Smash Pages

Alex Dueben speaks with Andrew J. Kunka about The Life and Comics of Howard Cruse: Taking Risks in the Service of Truth, and highlighting autobiographical works that might not make it to the graphic novel format.



Nhatt Nichols interviews Tomás Cisternas and Stefan Lorenzutti about comics and picture book origins, successful comics poems, translation practicalities, and the poetic charge of autobiographical works.

Start the presses… This week’s features and longreads.

• Here at TCJ, R.C. Harvey serves up a fresh dose of Hare Tonic, eulogising Hugh Hefner and Playboy, and covering the intertwined histories of the publication and its infamous publisher - Playboy's enduring mascot, a stylized silhouette of a rabbit wearing a tuxedo collar and bow tie, didn’t appear until the magazine’s second issue. It was created by Playboy art director Art Paul as an endnote to signal the conclusion of an article. But it was quickly adopted as the official logo and has appeared on the magazine’s cover, often mischievously hidden, ever since.”

• For Publisher’s Weekly, David Harper shares the results of 2022’s retailer survey, as year 2 of the pandemic saw things shift to a healthier status quo than that of year 1, with a positive outlook for the future.

• Steenz Stewart and Camilla Zhang’s proposal for a Standard Comics Script got dual coverage, as Rosie Knight presented Stewart and Zhang’s launch in detail for Women Write About Comics, while Avery Kaplan highlighted the SCS’ launch for The Beat and shared a video interview with its creators about its development.

• Over at Shelfdust, Derrick Shaw writes about the joyful bonding moments to be found in Batman: Wayne Family Adventures, and Justin Harrison examines the playful experimentation to be found within the noir trappings of Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips’ Criminal comics..

• For NeoText Review, Chloe Maveal celebrates the wonderful clarity to be found in the work of June Brigman, and Charles EP Murphy fathoms the duelling 70s deluges of Fran of the Floods and Disaster 1990!.

• As Disney once again rakes in box office tender from an instalment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Kambole Campbell writes for Hyperallergic on the increasingly 1:1 exploitation of comic creators’ work as ‘inspiration’ for these celluloid adventures.

• Over at Solrad, Patrick Kuklinski examines the enduring popularity of the pseudonymous Erin Hunter’s Warriors stories, and the fan-driven works that the manga spin-offs from the series have inspired.

• Profiling Gavin Shelton’s curating the legacy of uncle Gilbert Shelton’s work, Steve Stegelin writes for the Charleston City Paper on what’s involved in such an undertaking.

• From the world of open-access academia, in the International Online Journal of Language, Communication, and Humanities, Mansour Amini, Goh Shin Rue, Narges Saffari, and Amin Amirdabbaghian investigate problems present in translating Chinese comics into English.

• Elsewhere, for the International Journal of Creative Multimedia, Mohd Ekram Alhafis Hashim, Muhammad Zaffwan Idris, and Che Soh Said examine the elements defining user and aesthetic experiences in augmented reality comics.

• Mike Peterson rounded up the editorial beat from the past seven days, as matters concerning the Supreme Court, Russian warmongering, political cashing-in, dumpster fires, and murders of journalists made the headlines.

Turned up to 11… This week’s audio/visual delights.

• Batman Books Are Burning In Hell, wouldn’t you know, and this week Tucker Stone and Matt Seneca were joined by Joe McCulloch to discuss Bryan Talbot’s Batman: Mask, and why there’s a tendency to attempt to sidestep the racist history of the Caped Crusader when mining his history for stories.

• Sally Madden and Katie Skelly convened once more to appreciate the Thick Lines of Olivier Schrauwen's Parallel Lives, the fashions to be found in its speculative memoirs, and decisions regarding which is the best sex act to depict in comics, and why mobile phones were best in the ‘90s.

• David Brothers hosted this week’s episode of Mangasplaining, as the team took a look at Homura Kawamoto and Toru Naomura’s Kakegurui: Compulsive Gambler, and its depiction of smug betting teens being forced into the class war.

• Sheldust’s The War Effort arrived at the final stretch of Secret Wars, as Kelly Kanayama and Chloe Maveal joined Al Kennedy for spirited discussion of issue 10 of the mini-series, as it’s time for some planet-shattering to get up in the mix.

• David Harper welcomed James Tynion IV to this week’s edition of Off Panel, as they spoke about The Nice House on the Lake, changing times for the comics industry, and what role this latest collecting boom has to play.

• Tribute was paid to Neal Adams by Cartoonist Kayfabe this week, as Ed Piskor and Jim Rugg took a look at Adams’ work on Mr T and the T Force, Thrill Kill, Green Lantern #85, and Batman #251, before being joined by Rob Liefeld to speak about Adams’ importance to comics, before turning the pages of Youngblood #6 with some creator commentary, and a final dip into Eisner/Miller to close things out.

• Calvin Reid welcomed Sofia Warren to Publisher’s Weekly’s More to Come, as they spoke about Radical: My Year with a Socialist Senator, embedding with Senator Julia Salazar’s team during an inaugural year in office, and the realities of making a graphic novel.

• Jason Mojica sent over details of a crowdfunding project for a new 7” of Naked Raygun’s Broken Things to the This Week’s Links mailbag, which includes a new experimental comics collaboration between James Romberger and Josh Bayer inspired by the track, as discussed on this week’s episode of Buy This Comic!.

That’s it for this week, back in 10,080 minutes with some more content, once I’ve caught up on some sleep.