We kicked off the week with a tradition that stretches back to the ancient mists of 2005, as Hourly Comics Day took place across social media platforms o’er the land. There were a few distinct flavors for 2021: you had your “quarantine is dull, but this is something to do, so here’s my daily routine”, and then you also had… Well, no, that was about it for this year. Anxiety-laced boredom is the great leveler.
Slightly more varied were this week’s links, which you can find below. Enjoy!
— lala (@plslala) February 3, 2021
Say goodbye to those January blues… This week’s news.
• Festival de la Bande Dessinée d'Angoulême announced the winners of this year’s Fauve awards, with David L. Carson and Landis Blair’s The Hunting Accident taking home the 2021 Fauve d’Or - The Beat have a breakdown of the various other 2021 winners in English, along with mention of a potential boycott of the festival, proposed by the Auteurs et Autrices en Action, due to half of French cartoonists living below the poverty line, and calling for a larger share of revenue generated from sales of bande dessinée, which Forbes covers in more detail.
• Also on the prize-giving front, the American Library Association announced the winners of this year’s Youth Media Awards, with graphic novels for younger readers taking home a decent share of the prizes. Incidentally, a lion’s share of these were published by either Penguin Random House or Simon & Schuster, who are set to form a single gestalt entity sometime in the near future, which will apparently not create a monopoly, readers (and antitrust lawyers) are assured. Classic.
• On a similar note, following last month’s list for teen readers, the ALA also announced their best graphic novels for adult readers from 2020, along with top ten picks, from said list, if you want less of a reading commitment.
• Immortal Hulk artist Joe Bennett has apologized, following accusations that anti-Semitic imagery appeared in issue 43 of the title, apparently caused by, quote, “an honest but terrible mistake” (although CBR note prior behavior from Bennett on the link above, which undermines the sincerity of this somewhat). Marvel also acknowledged the editorial failings that lead to its publication, but failed to address quite how it happened again, following anti-Semitic imagery making it to print in a 2017 issue of X-Men Gold, or what (if any) punitive and/or preventative measures will be taken.
• Some upcoming virtual events, as 2021 looks set to have a summer show calendar as disrupted as 2020’s, thanks to SARS-CoV-2, with TCAF announcing their virtual lineup, and ComicsPRO’s Comic Industry Conference taking things into cyberspace - start building up that Zoom stamina now, because you’re sure going to see a lot of online panels popping up over the next 11 months!
My important fanfiction. pic.twitter.com/F8uDV7foCD
— Lucy Knisley (@LucyKnisley) February 2, 2021
The cosmic ballet goes on… This week’s reviews.
J. Caleb Mozzocco reviews the classic charms of Andi Watson’s The Book Tour - “The trend line in [Watson’s] cartooning over the last few decades has been for his character designs to grow increasingly simplified and abstracted—perhaps because so much of his recent work has been directed toward young readers, perhaps not—to the point where his characters were approaching a hieroglyphic level of simplicity. Here one can quite clearly see his supreme skills as a cartoonist, his characters all rendered with as few dots and curving lines as possible, resulting in a wide plethora of different looking people.”
• Rory Wilding reviews the underdeveloped fun of Chip Zdarksy, Jason Loo, et al’s Afterlift.
• Nathan Simmons reviews the likeable characters of Bowen McCurdy, Kaitlyn Musto, et al’s Specter Inspectors #1.
• Justin Harrison reviews the frustrating pastiche of Liezl Buenaventura, Xavier Tárrega, et al’s They Fell From The Sky #1.
• Hugh O’Donnell reviews the moody post-apocalypse of Christa Faust, Mike Deodato Jr, at al’s Redemption #1.
• Sam Rutzick reviews the barebones psychedelia of Maria Llovet’s Luna #1.
• Benjamin Novoa reviews the mercurial shortcomings of Matt Kindt, Tyler Jenkins, et al’s Fear Case #1; and the slow burn mysteries of Mirka Andolfo, David Goy, Andrea Broccardo, et al’s Deep Beyond #1.
• John Seven reviews the effective nightmares of John Jennings and David Brame’s adaptation of Nnedi Okorafor’s After the Rain.
• Ricardo Serrano Denis reviews the balanced beauty of Theresa Chiechi, et al’s Drawn to Key West.
• Tom Murphy reviews the slippery allusions of John Smith, Simon Harrison, et al's Revere.
• Lindsay Pereira reviews the strange celebration of NBM's Michael Jackson in Comics.
Gary Tyrrell reviews the charming character of Colleen AF Venable and Stephanie Yue’s Katie the Catsitter.
Four Color Apocalypse
Ryan C reviews the impressive variety of August Lipp’s New Leash on Life.
Rachel Cooke reviews the escapist originality of Jérôme Mulot, Florent Ruppert and Bastien Vivès’ The Grande Odalisque.
Have a capsule review of the poignant relatability of LL McKinney and Robyn Smith’s Nubia: Real One.
• Jodi Odgers reviews the masterful narratives of Trung Lê Nguyễn’s The Magic Fish.
• Paul Lai reviews the lavish mysteries of John Jennings and David Brame’s adaptation of Nnedi Okorafor’s After the Rain.
• Christopher Egan reviews the excellent storytelling of Matt Kindt, Tyler Jenkins, et al's Fear Case #1.
• Christa Harader reviews the sparse stimulation of Maria Llovet's Luna #1.
New York Times
Ed Park considers whether a comic can “contain the drama and heat of activism?” while reviewing David F. Walker and Marcus Kwame Anderson’s The Black Panther Party, and Jim Terry’s Come Home Indio.
Have starred capsule reviews of:
- The intoxicating weirdness of Chip Zdarksy, Jason Loo, et al’s Afterlift.
- The heartfelt escapades of Kate Leyh’s Thirsty Mermaids.
- The wry sensitivity of Hiromi Goto and Ann Xu’s Shadow Life.
- The impressive intimacy of Shira Spector’s Red Rock Candy Baby.
- The no-nonsense inclusivity of Erika Moen and Matthew Nolan’s Let’s Talk About It.
• Ryan Carey reviews the appealing unpredictability of Pat Aulisio’s Grid Observer.
• Rob Clough reviews the forgiving betrayals of Chris Gooch’s Under-Earth, and considers its place in Gooch’s wider body of work.
Women Write About Comics
• Jameson Hampton reviews the whirlwind pacing of Shaun Simon, Gerard Way, Leonardo Romero, et al’s The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys: National Anthem #4.
• Danielle L reviews the deft touch of Mark Dickson and Rebecca Burgess' Cream Maid.
— nylso (@nylso3) January 28, 2021
Makes me feel sad for the rest… This week’s interviews.
• Andrew White interviews Madeleine Jubilee Saito about big empty spaces, diary comics and graphic journalism, and panel formatting as visual signifiers - “I've always liked how comics are so irresistible. More than any other medium. Telling your friend about riding the school bus? Very boring. But when you make a little autobio comic about riding the school bus and looking out the window? It's suddenly this very special, memorable event, full of meaning and beauty.”
• Joe Decie talks to Richard Short about Klaus, local dialects of the UK, sad boys, and botty curdlers - “I think the art has to complement the idea, the jokes - it needs to be easy to read. I think the earlier [Klaus] strips are a little wordier. You want to be able to guide how the panels are read, although I'm not at the Nancy stage - it's much sloppier than Bushmiller's approach. I do quite a bit of editing on most ideas I write down, before they are drawn, sometimes weeks or months later.
Chris Coplan interviews Melody Cooper about OMNI, bringing genre fiction sensibilities to Humanoids’ superhero line, and joining a story already in progress.
• Avery Kaplan talks to Gabriela Epstein about The Baby-Sitters Club, art history staples, the horrors of portfolio reviews, and fashion choices.
• Matt O’Keefe chats with Ryan K. Lindsay about an apparent scarcity of graphic novellas, editorial prompts, and avoiding the narrative trap of padding for time.
• Zack Quaintance interviews Scott Snyder about Nocterra, crowdfunding, villains, and truckers.
The New Yorker
Emma Allen talks to Amy Kurzweil about how you go about drawing literary cartoons, Moby Dick tropes, and syndicated cartoon faves.
Sam Maggs and Kendra Wells interview each other about their book Tell No Tales, the origins of their collaboration, the comforting box of IP, and creating the representation they'd like to have seen in stories growing up.
Alex Dueben interviews Sal Abbinanti about The Hostage, divergences from previous work, learning from the best, and personalizing the impersonal.
• Nicholas Burman talks to R. Orion Martin about Paradise Systems, complications of the Chinese comics market, and the checklist of translating books for a western audience.
• Daniel Elkin presents a new edition of ‘Knowing is Half the Battle’, as Archie Bongiovanni shares their desired transparency from publishers, the importance of phone calls, and waiving fees when the work is worth it.
Mike Avila chats with Lee Bermejo about Batman, The Batman, favourite covers, and coffee table books.
Women Write About Comics
Wendy Browne interviews Melody Cooper about OMNI, the imaginative allure of comics, injecting social activism into stories, and keeping things relevant in a troubled world.
— Deb 정진 Lee @ double fisting two graphic novels (@jdebbiel) January 29, 2021
Rapid deconstruction… This week’s features and comics.
• Looking to some recommended reading for Black History Month, Publisher’s Weekly’s Calvin Reid highlights the upcoming Access Guide to the Black Comic Book Community 2020-2021, The Daily Cartoonist suggests some reference reading on Black comics, and the ALA are updating their Black Lives Matter reading list in collaboration with the Black Caucus of the American Library Association and the Graphic Novels & Comics Round Table of the American Library Association.
• Continuing financial coverage of the new breed of digital comics platforms, Rob Salkowitz looks at Webtoon, Tapas, and Wattpad’s mining of that most delicious or income sources - user generated content - and the various business people whose eyes are bugging out with their pupils being replaced by dollar signs.
• For NeoText, Chloe Maveal writes in appreciation of the work of Denys Cowan, pays appropriate respect to the best album cover of all time, and lays out why it’s insane he’s as under-appreciated in the medium as he is; and Benjamin Marra lays out the Neal Adams Theory of comics history, backed up with a gallery of Adams’ cover work over the years, and pays homage to the kinetics of Joe Kubert.
• Taking in the good and the bad of the UK comics scene, for The Quietus, Katriona Chapman considers just what’s wrong with the market, following last year’s creator survey, while Broken Frontier’s Andy Oliver sees hope for the future in six UK-based small press creators to keep an eye on in 2021.
• House to Astonish takes a look back at 1981 through the lens of Wolverine’s stabby hands, and brings Dazzler and one ROM Spaceknight along for the ride. Mais bien sûr!
• At Women Write About Comics, Kate Tanski celebrates 7 years of Comics Academe, and looks back at what’s been published, and ahead to where comics scholarship is headed.
• For Solrad, Jonathan Gaboury writes on Nick Drnaso's Sabrina, and how it's been overlooked in the scramble for spotlighting media that will help interpret the current political morass.
• Over at The Daily Cartoonist, DD Degg charts the reader reception to Jules Rivera’s taking over on Mark Trail (mixed, shall we say), while Mike Peterson rounds up the editorial beat’s reaction to the wacky world of stonks.
• Following last week's dispatch from the DC archives, Paul Kupperberg crosses the aisle, for 13th Dimension, to present his favorite Marvel house ads from the 1960s when the world was either a simpler place/just as complicated as now [delete as applicable].
• Shelfdust continue to quantify the badness of Batman’s baddies, this week Ritesh Babu brings Dr Hurt up to the plate; and Infinite Crisis sees the return of the OMAC with Chad Nevett, and Nola Pfau has appropriately short shrift for Terry Long. You know, classic comics biz!
• Some recent longform comics, as The Nib sees Mariah-Rose Marie exploring genetic ancestry testing, demographic shortfalls, and the ethical problems inherent in its use, while Michael DeForge stirs an uprising on a movie set; The Lily has a comic by Sage Coffey on the long-lasting trauma of teenage homelessness; and Believer Magazine sees May Ziadé and Lucile Gauvain recounting loss of childhood innocence, and Madeline Miyun documenting personal experiences with the Boy Scouts of America’s systemic problems with sexual assault.
자신 돌보기 pic.twitter.com/MSfQSvT4il
— 밀새 Milsae (@milsaekim) January 30, 2021
TiVo everything, just in case… This week’s recommended watching.
• Starting off close to home, and Fantagraphics started a new series of author Q&As, celebrating recent book launches, as Jenn Chan spoke to Katie Skelly about Maids and the events that inspired it, and Shira Spector about Red Rock Baby Candy and her background in textiles, while Eric Reynolds interviewed Mannie Murphy about I Never Promised You A Rose Garden and how the book came to be published by Fanta.
• The Believer and Black Mountain Institute’s series of virtual comics workshops continued, as Dmitri Jackson took viewers through drawing emotions, body language, and relationship dynamics (starts around the 4m45s mark).
• Over at Cartoonist Kayfabe Inc., pages were turned on The Collected Words & Pictures, some artisanal Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Peanuts: The Art of Charles Schulz, old favorites like Batman: Year One and Spawn #9, and some history lessons with Horus: Lord of Light and Squeak the Mouse. Have at it!
• Noah Van Sciver hosted a talk by Alex Longstreth on Carl Barks this week, discussing Barks’ multifaceted early work, getting on near the ground floor at Disney, becoming a one-man income generation machine for the animation studio, and consistently problematic work.
• Gearing up to the launch of new editions of John Porcellino's comics, Drawn and Quarterly have been sharing readings of his work by comics folk, featuring Quimby's Liz Mason reading from King-Cat Classix, Weng Pixin reading from Perfect Example, and Dan Stafford reading from Map of my Heart.
• Kelly Writers House hosted a panel conversation, chaired by Alli Katz, between The Nib's editors, Matt Bors, Eleri Harris, Matt Lubchansky, and Whit Taylor, covering the magazine's history, the editors' histories, and embracing the form, plus the size of children's heads (starts around the 3m30s mark).
orb bullying pic.twitter.com/cDJ946J5QT
— haunted Rory Blank (@BoneJail) January 28, 2021
Bands won’t play no more… This week’s easy-listening.
• Continuing an infinity of damnation, Comic Books Are Burning in Hell, and this week the gang were discussing Frank Thorne’s work on Tomahawk, how its narrative applies to contemporary culture, and why DC stopped producing genre comics outside of that one genre with the superpowered cops.
• Katie Skelly and Sally Madden discussed some more Thick Lines, looking back at the work of Vanessa Davis, autobio fashion, the problem with pedigrees, and Palm Beach/West Palm classism.
• Matt Lune welcomed Stephanie Cooke to Shelfdust Presents this week, looking at Batgirl Volume 3 #14, featuring appearances from Supergirl and Dracula, and with a synopsis too convoluted to go into here.
• 2000 AD’s Thrill-Cast returned from its winter break, and kicked off a new season with part one of an interview with Kevin O’Neill, recounting his life and work during a revolutionary period for British comics, and the notoriety that came along for the ride.
• It was a time for dueling hosts on Mex Flentallo, as Daniel Irizarri (with Ramon Villalobos) spoke to Rosa Colón Guerra about Puerto Rican social history, portrayals of the colonialism the island has been subjected to in popular media, how much sunlight is too much, diaspora, the direct market never missing a trick to make a quick buck, and the problem with generic superhero stories.
• Dan Berry welcomed Lizzie Kaye to be the one to Make It Then Tell Everybody this week, as the pair discussed Cast Iron Books, objectively and subjectively judging taste, and publishing schedules.
• Publisher’s Weekly’s More to Come had virtual reports for recent virtual festivals for their virtual recording this week, as well as the regular look at comics market business, and recent awards news, you know, industry stuff!
GETTING STARTED by @boxbrown pic.twitter.com/yHumFVr3ao
— Gumroad (@gumroad) February 1, 2021
That’s all for this week, enter unto hibernation once more until the links return!
Nice work, kid pic.twitter.com/pcXRX83YGB
— James Turner (@JamesTurner_42) February 3, 2021