I Went Down to Buy a Turkey Tree – This Week’s Links

The last links round-up, below, of November arrives, ahead of next week’s Thanksgiving break, and so a period of quiet contemplation starts at 5pm today, concentrating all possible quantum psychic energies into the focal wavepoint of the third eye, to process the many variables required to rank the best comics of 2023, ready for the end of the year post, before seeing 50 books on other people’s lists that you never got round to reading yourself, because there was always one more app to refresh instead at 2:47 am before you finally, definitely, totally this time, put the phone down and attempted to get four hours of sleep before the next day dawns - a soon-to-be-broken resolution forms in your mind, and the cycle begins anew.

This week’s news.

• Starting things off with more collective bargaining news for 2023, and it was announced this week that the proposed union of employees from Drawn & Quarterly’s publishing team, and booksellers at their associated stores, has been certified by Quebec’s Administrative Labor Tribunal, with D&Q’s workers commending the publisher’s “dedication to compensating artists above current industry standards,” as they “look forward to crafting with their employers a collective agreement that reflects the scope of their responsibilities.”

• Inevitability of the digital frontier news, as comiXology let users know that the app would no longer be available to use from the 4th of December, with owner Amazon finally completing plans to merge the platform with the Kindle app, bringing to a close the slow demise of comiXology’s individual identity as a digital marketplace and reading tool, following its acquisition back in 2014. The previous step in this process, bringing together the comiXology and Kindle marketplaces, and redesigning the comiXology app to bring it in line with Amazon’s proprietary systems, did not go well, so this final goodbye to the now-diminished app has not been received kindly by readers either, as would be expected. The Federal Trade Commission’s antitrust case against Amazon, and its alleged anti-competitive practices, meanwhile, is simmering away.

• Awards news, and the National Press Foundation announced this week that Jen Sorensen has won the 2023 Clifford K. and James T. Berryman Award for Editorial Cartoons, to be accepted, along with an accompanying prize of $2,500 at the NPF’s annual awards dinner in February.

This week’s reviews.


Nicholas Burman reviews the collaborative narrative of  Safdar Ahmed’s Still Alive: Graphic Reportage from Australia’s Immigration Detention System - “When it comes to the big picture, what is being described is the way in which a relatively small number of people are punished for the crime of wanting to be able to live somewhere safe, oftentimes in a country that has played an active role in destabilizing the countries they’ve come from. It is about how a bipartisan nationalist politics has elevated an ideology which excludes those determined as undesirable due to their race or their religion, even while the nation those politicians represent faces no serious material threat from these so-called outsiders. This is a story that is relevant beyond Australia.”



• David Brooke reviews the haunting unease of James Tynion IV, Joshua Hixson, et al’s The Deviant #1.

• Rory Wilding reviews the elegant beginning of Abigail Jill Harding’s Parliament of Rooks #1.

• David Canham reviews the basic premise of John Ridley, Stefano Raffaele, et al’s The Ministry of Compliance #1.

• Christopher Franey reviews the inspiring heroics of Jeremy Adams, Xermanico, et al’s Green Lantern #5.

• Lukas Shayo reviews the energetic ending to Matthew Rosenberg, Danny Kim, et al’s WildC.A.T.s #12.

• Collier Jennings reviews the gorgeous action of Jackson Lanzing, Collin Kelly, Robert Carey, et al’s Outsiders #1.

• Michael Compton reviews the entertaining flair of Declan Shalvey, Andrea Broccardo, et al’s Alien: Thaw.


American Periodicals: A Journal of History & Criticism

Alex Beringer reviews the optimistic implications of Daniel Stein’s Authorizing Superhero Comics: On the Evolution of a Popular Serial Genre.


The Beat

• Cy Beltran reviews the vivid horror of James Tynion IV, Joshua Hixson, et al’s The Deviant #1.

• Joe Grunenwald reviews the energetic opening of Jarrett Williams, Daniele Di Nicuolo, et al’s Speed Force #1.

• Hussein Wasiti reviews the standard setup of Declan Shalvey, Andrea Broccardo, et al’s Alien #1.

• Kelas Lloyd reviews the elegant accessibility of Alex Norris’ How to Love: A Guide to Feelings and Relationships for Everyone.

• D. Morris reviews the repetitive gag of Kousuke Ijima and Shiori’s Cat on the Hero’s Lap, translated by Alan Cheng and Rowena Chen.

• Beau Q. reviews the precise crafting of Alex de Campi and Erica Henderson’s Parasocial.

• Steve Baxi reviews the changing mood of Tom King and Elsa Charretier’s Love Everlasting, Volume 2.


Broken Frontier

• Lydia Turner reviews the visual delights of Daria Tessler’s Salome’s Last Dance.

• Lindsay Pereira reviews the stunning details of James Sturm and Joe Sutphin’s adaptation of Richard Adams’ Watership Down, and the subversive darkness of Hubert and Kerascoët’s Beauty.

• Andy Oliver has reviews of:

- The frenetic pacing of Dave Cook and Clark Bint’s Killtopia Volume 5.

- The brutal rawness of Erika Price’s Disorder.

- The reflective juxtapositions of Rowan Frewin’s Gyula Diary.

- The surreal slapstick of Fraser Geesin and Laurie Rowan’s Pricks #3.


Four Color Apocalypse

Ryan Carey reviews the consistent quality of Robb Mirsky’s HA! Magazine, and the gleeful barbarity of Andrew Pilkington’s Mole #10.


House to Astonish

Paul O’Brien has capsule reviews of Marvel Comics’ X-Men Unlimited Infinity Comic #112, X-Force #46, X-Men Red #17, and Uncanny Spider-Man #3.


Library Journal

Martha Cornog has capsule reviews of the poignant meditations of L. Nichols’ I Am Only a Foreigner Because You Don't Understand, and the empathetic charms of Sarah Soler’s Us.


Multiversity Comics

• Christopher Chiu-Tabet reviews the enjoyable beginning of Rob Williams and Pye Parr’s Petrol Head #1.

• Alexander Jones reviews the ambitious launch of Jackson Lanzing, Collin Kelly, Robert Carey, et al's Outsiders #1.


Publisher’s Weekly

Have capsule reviews of:

- The rollicking anarchy of Ronald Wimberly’s Gratuitous Ninja.

- The haunting themes of Manon Debaye’s The Cliff, translated by Montana Kane.

- The sporadic smartness of Dong-Woo Han and Jin-Ho Ko’s Terror Man.

- The uninhibited fantasy of H.A.’s The Chromatic Fantasy.

- The serviceable art of Catharina Octorina and Hiikariin’s Office Gods.

- The familiar construction of Paul Dano and Stevan Subic’s The Riddler: Year One.

This week’s interviews.


Jake Zawlacki interviews Daniel Warren Johnson about Do A Powerbomb!, Eisner wins, editorial hooting and hollering, and artistic inspirations - “I think I make Americanized manga... if a manga is successful, you can have a knife fight over four trade paperbacks. I don’t have that luxury in America. I need to get in, have my two-page knife fight, if that, and get out. Which is something that makes me sad sometimes, because I love the artistry of being able to do that. There’s just more freedom there if it’s successful.”



• David Brooke speaks with Larry Hama and Chris Mooneyham about G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero, the comic’s return, and the enduring popularity of ‘old-fashioned’ stories.

• Chris Coplan talks to:

- Ram V about The Vigil and engaging readers with cultures they may have little knowledge of. 

- Tom Peyer and Stuart Moore about five years of AHOY Comics and what comes next for the publisher.

- Garth Ennis about James Bond: 007 and the appeal of the literary character of Bond over the on-screen adaptations.


The Beat

• Zack Quaintance chats with Chris Oliveros about Are You Willing to Die For the Cause?, the increasing relevance of the book, and returning to cartooning after founding Drawn and Quarterly.

• Arely Guzmán presents a conversation with Lin King about translating The Boy from Clearwater, Taiwanese culture and history, and the complexities of depicting multilingual societies.

• Deanna Destito talks to Sweeney Boo about Cruella De Vil, writing for other artists, and the allure of a good villain.


Broken Frontier

Lindsay Pereira interviews Chris Oliveros about Are You Willing to Die For the Cause?, the history of Front de libération du Québec, and focusing on a narrow period of history for creative endeavours.



• Bob Wayne presents a three-part conversation with Nick Landau about the origins of Comic Media, editing 2000 AD, and adventures in comics retail and distribution.

• Dan Gearino presents a three-part conversation with Milton Griepp about the history of Capital City Distribution, and the origins, growth and eventual sale of the company.

• Milton Griepp presents a three-part conversation with Last Gasp’s Ron Turner and Kitchen Sink Press’ Denis Kitchen about underground comix publishing and distribution, and the changing state of the market.


Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics 

Vera Camden and Valentino Zullo talk to Terri Libenson about The Pajama Diaries and Emmie and Friends, formal experimentation, and keeping younger readers engaged. 


The Los Angeles Review of Books

Kevin Koczwara interviews Sammy Harkham about Blood of the Virgin, the 15 year path to completion of the story, and the challenges inherent in such longform storytelling.


The Mary Sue

Joan Zahra Dark speaks with Lawrence Lindell about Blackward, the book’s webcomic origins, working on projects in parallel, and wanting readers to have fun.


Multiversity Comics

Chris Cole talks to Lily Williams and Karen Schneemann about Look on the Bright Side, characters driving the story, and collaborative journeys.


Publisher’s Weekly

Andrew Farago chats with Ronald Wimberly about Gratuitous Ninja, returning to the fundamentals, the tactile experience of reading, and fictionalising reality.

This week’s features and longreads.

• Here at TCJ, Chris Anthony Diaz presents photographs from last month’s Ann Arbor Comic Arts Festival: Small + Indie Press - “The distinctly rustic college town setting of Ann Arbor is really nice to visit, and a welcoming place for indie comics creators and readers. Everything is within walking distance from the library, from hotels and restaurants to Vault of Midnight, where a Saturday night satellite event of comic readings took place after the show.”

• Also for TCJ, Kristy Valenti reports from 2023’s Short Run Comix & Arts Festival, which took place in Seattle earlier this month - “According to [Kelly] Froh, this is the last time Short Run will be at the Fisher Pavilion. Situated in a tourism hub, it’s a great location with easy access to public transportation (even the monorail), food, hotels and more. (Of course, the downside is an increase in travel expenses, as several exhibitors mentioned.) The venue is booked solid for the next five years.”

• Finally for TCJ this week, Helen Chazan writes on the depictions of sexual violence to be found in Nejishiki: The Complete Mature Works of Yoshiharu Tsuge Volume 3, and the context for these that can be inferred from the themes in Tsuge’s wider body of work - “What do we know about the legendary gekigaka Yoshiharu Tsuge? We have tremendous, downright voyeuristic access to the man. Japanese readers can peruse Tsuge's published diaries and a glut of critical essays. English-speaking readers have the furious wealth of context from Holmberg's mammoth essays which fill the backs of Drawn & Quarterly's ongoing series and others besides.”

• Helen Chazan also has a new edition of Comics Gridlock for Solrad this week, this time out travelling via the erogenous zone and taking in the sights of Datura #2, edited by Sunmi and Mar Julia; Gina Wyndrandt’s You’re The Center of Attention; and Ryuta Amazume’s Nana & Kaoru.

• The team at Women Write About Comics convene for some reading recommendations from recent comics publications, ahead of the inevitable deluge of Best of the Year lists waiting right around the corner.

• For Shelfdust, Erika Chung writes on the passing of Mjölnir to Jane Foster in Jason Aaron and Russell Dauterman’s The Mighty Thor, and the disruption of structures of power this represented.

• ICv2’s coverage of the 50th anniversary of the Direct Market continues, with an oral history of Capital City Distribution, and what happens when a comics-related endeavour becomes a fully-fledged business.

• Over at Polygon, K. Thor Jensen looks back on the evolving depictions of Dracula in the pages of Marvel Comics’ publications, and the many (many) deaths that interspersed these.

• From the world of open-access academia, in thersites, Amanda Potter has a paper applying Monster Theory to Marguerite Bennett and Ariela Kristantina’s InSEXts and Maria Llovet’s Eros/Psyche and Porcelain, examining how they subvert ideas of heroes and monsters.

• For Society and Culture in South Asia, Roma Chatterji examines Raj Comics’ crossover series Nagayana, a loose adaptation of the Ramayana, the origins of the superhero Nagraj, and the established parallel compositional techniques employed in superhero cycles and in older folk epics.

• Paul O’Brien’s census of the many foes of Daredevil continues for House to Astonish, as this week Stilt-Man totters onto the scene.

• Mike Peterson rounds up the week’s editorial beat, over at The Daily Cartoonist, as this week the UK’s former Home Secretary, Suella Braverman, eked out a bit of headline space from ongoing legal proceedings and soundbites involving Donald Trump, and the continuing conflict between Israel and Hamas.

This week’s audio/visual delights.

• Ben Katchor hosted the latest meeting of the New York Comics & Picture-Story Symposium, as this week curator, author, editor, and publisher Thierry Groensteen spoke on the developments in comics publication seen in France between 1880 and 1914.

• Noah Van Sciver returned for a fresh Cartoonist Chat, this week speaking to Aaron Lange about Ain't It Fun?, parallels with the subject of the book, Pere Ubu guitarist Peter Laughner, and the ubiquity of Moomins in Montreal.

• Jesse Thorn welcomed Daniel Clowes to this week’s edition of Bullseye, as they discussed the publication of Monica, the research into family history that helped inspire it, the honing of narrative and memory, and the shrinking of the world.

• Claire Napier and Tegan O’Neil served up a fresh pail of Udder Madness, this episode looking back at Marc Silvestri and Eric Silvestri’s Cyber Force, whether we have X-Men at home, how many good pages are enough good pages, and the storytelling lessons that creators can learn from working with the greats.

• Deb Aoki hosts this week’s edition of Mangasplaining, as the team discussed Yuu Toyota’s Cherry Magic! Thirty Years of Virginity Can Make You a Wizard!?, rom-com spoilers, the rules of magic, the font choice challenges represented by translating and depicting telepathy, and whether these are down to the story’s webcomic origins.

• Calvin Reid was joined by Dave Chisholm for the latest episode of Publisher’s Weekly’s More to Come, as they spoke about Miles Davis and the Search for the Sound, putting that life story on the page, and visual depictions of jazz.

• A couple of visits to the autumnal edition of Comic Art Live, courtesy of John Siuntres and the Word Balloon, as Matt Wagner and Kelley Jones spoke about Dracula and depictions of the titular vampire in media, and Howard Chaykin talked about Fargo and the return of Time2.

• Closing the week out with more Cartoonist Kayfabe, as Ed Piskor and Jim Rugg took a look at Walter Simonson’s Manhunter, Travis Charest on WildC.A.T.s, Marvel Comics’ Bizarre Adventures #31 aka A Hard Look at Violence, Larry Hama on G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero #155, Frank Miller’s Ronin #5, and Jim Valentino’s Shadowhawk #1.

That’s all for this week and next week, as I monitor the ‘thanks given’ meter until it reaches this year’s gratitude target.