It is peak screen-in-screen season, here at This Week’s Links, a selection of which can be found below, as multiple international sports tournaments arrive just as some top-flight dissociation is critically needed to distract from the myriad horrors of real life.
So, with that in mind, please read this latest feature as though I’m repeatedly trailing off mid-sentence, with my eyeline inexorably drifting back to whatever device is nearest, every time I hear a commentator raise their voice. Yeah, yeah, I'm, uh, I'm still listening, sure, just, hey, just scooch over to the left a smidge there, champ.
— Shary Flenniken (@MagnoliaBridge) June 24, 2022
Here we go again… This week’s news.
• Starting off this week’s selection with some fairly big, and somewhat surprising, industry personnel news, as James Lucas Jones and Charlie Chu are no longer employed by Oni Press, leaving the company without a Publisher and VP of Creative and Business Development respectively, which seems like an odd way for a business to celebrate its 25th birthday.
• Elsewhere, and comiXology’s Head of Content, Chip Mosher, has left the digital platform for pastures new, with Bryce Gold taking over the lead role for the comiXology Originals line - integration with Amazon’s proprietary systems has resulted in a less than stellar experience for comiXology’s customers, of late, with the co-founder of the platform, David Steinberger, having left earlier this year.
• Comichron and ICv2 released their comics sales report for 2021, the key takeaway being that yet another record-setting year for sales came to pass, with comics and graphic novel sales hitting $2.075 billion, marking the industry's biggest year ever, even accounting for inflation - a full breakdown of those sales figures can be found here.
• Seven Seas Entertainment and United Workers of Seven Seas announced that the publisher has agreed to voluntarily recognise the formation of a union to represent its employees, with ICv2 highlighting that United Workers of Seven Seas added a requirement for a reproductive health travel fund to be established, in the wake of the overturning of Roe v Wade by the Supreme Court of the United States.
• The Michigan Daily reports on an investigation into a series of complaints regarding microaggressions allegedly perpetuated by Phoebe Gloeckner, with students under Gloeckner citing exposure to work containing racist and misogynistic imagery, apparently presented to them with no warnings or supporting educational context, and wider allegations of fomenting an abusive classroom environment.
• Closing out with this week's knight news, and the Toronto Star reports on Seth being bestowed the Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres by the French Consul General in Toronto earlier this month. “When an honour comes my way, the main thing I get out of it is the thrill of the unexpected that somehow or other in this journey from the 1970s to now, working in a discredited medium and being offside to mainstream culture, to find yourself among this sense of mainstream success,” quoth Seth.
— 飯田研人 Kento IIDA (@kentoi) June 29, 2022
Supply, meet demand… This week’s reviews.
• Ryan Carey reviews the fresh treats of Steve Lafler’s BugHouse From the Top: The Complete BugHouse - “Like a good jazz musician, he literally never misses a beat, and he’s able to delineate and articulate everything with equal commitment from the dangerous magic in a femme fatale’s glance to the harrowing withdrawal from addiction to his story’s drug of choice, Bug Juice. When circumstances call for subtlety, he dials the tone and tempo back; and when they call for a crash, a bang, and a boom, he hits the hi-hat with vigor and gusto.”
• Robert Kirby reviews the powerful history of Aimée de Jongh’s Days of Sand, translated by Christopher Bradley - “While de Jongh is a gifted draughtsperson—her work netted the book a “Best in Show” award at the 2022 MoCCA festival in New York—it’s frustrating that she isn’t better with characterization. Most of the people populating the book feel like stock characters who exist primarily to teach John lessons on How to Be a Better Person.”
• David Brooke reviews the accessible action of Ralph Macchio, Todd Nauck, et al’s Thor: Lightning and Lament #1; and the compelling boldness of Gary Whitta, Darick Robertson, et al’s Batman: Fortress #2.
• Colin Moon reviews the charged characterisations of Gail Simone, Phil Noto, et al’s The Variants #1; and the joyful oddness of Mike Mignola, Gabriel Hernandez Walta, et al’s Hellboy and the BPRD: Old Man Whittier.
• John Schaidler reviews the deft dynamism of Talia Dutton’s M is for Monster.
• Keigen Rea reviews the delightful fun of Samira Ahmed, Andrés Genolet, et al’s Ms. Marvel: Beyond the Limit.
• Nathan Simmons reviews the intriguing opening to Jed MacKay, Pere Pérez, et al’s Iron Cat #1.
• Crooker reviews the expressive details of Ian Flynn, Adam Bryce Thomas, et al’s Sonic the Hedgehog #50.
• Ryan Sonneville reviews the heartfelt emotions of Maggie Edkins Willis’ Smaller Sister.
• Joe Grunenwald reviews the disappointing underdevelopment of Tom King, Clay Mann, et al’s Batman/Catwoman #12.
• Cy Beltran reviews the interesting details of Victor LaValle, Leonard Kirk, et al’s Sabretooth #4.
• Andy Oliver reviews the snappy banter of David M. Booher, Claudia Balboni, et al’s Killer Queens.
• Rebecca Burke reviews the eccentric mischief of Catherine Meurisse’s The Young Woman and the Sea.
• Anson Leung reviews the realistic romance of Eku Takeshima’s Whisper Me a Love Song.
Four Color Apocalypse
Ryan Carey reviews the vital intricacy of David Tea’s Five Perennial Virtues #12: Pearl.
House to Astonish
Paul O’Brien reviews the rushed chaos of Luciano Vecchio’s Marvel’s Voices: Iceman Infinity Comic.
Rob Salkowitz reviews the ambitious accounting of Brian Doherty’s Dirty Pictures: How an Underground Network of Nerds, Feminists, Misfits, Geniuses, Bikers, Potheads, Printers, Intellectuals and Art School Rebels Revolutionized Art and Invented Comix.
• Gregory Ellner reviews the forced references of Christopher Priest, Rafa Sandoval, et al’s Black Adam #1.
• Joe Skonce reviews the effective focus of Kieron Gillen, Lucas Werneck, et al’s Immortal X-Men #3.
• Robbie Pleasant reviews the enjoyable continuity of Mairghread Scott, Fabiana Mascolo, Kath Lobo, et al’s Magic: The Hidden Planeswalker #3.
• Mark Tweedale reviews the unique surprises of Mike Mignola, Gabriel Hernández Walta, et al’s Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: Old Man Whittier.
• Paul Lai reviews the potent compassion of Emma Grove's The Third Person.
Have capsule reviews of:
- The solipsistic self-satire of Noah Van Sciver’s As A Cartoonist.
- The familiar entertainment of Matthew Arnold, Riccardo Burchielli, et al’s Eden.
- The bright mystery of Peter Hoey and Maria Hoey’s The Bend of Luck.
- The sincere emotion of Dave Baker and Nicole Goux’s Forest Hills Bootleg Society.
- The undercut themes of Marika McCoola and Aatmaja Pandya’s Slip.
- The lavish fantasy of Xavier Dorison and Felix Delep’s Animal Castle, translated by Ivanka Hahnenberger.
- The irresistible playfulness of Conxita Herrero Delfa’s Big Scoop of Ice Cream, translated by Jeff Whitman.
Daniel Elkin has capsule reviews of the fluid precision of Nick Mullins’ Lounger, the introspective slog of Jon Claytor’s Take the Long Way Home, and the constrictive dulling of Anna Olwsanger and Yevgenia Nayberg’s adaptation of Rabbi Rafael Grossman’s story A Visit to Moscow.
Women Write About Comics
Paulina Przystupa reviews the moving story of Shing Yin Khor’s The Legend of Auntie Po.
— ShortBox (@Short_Box) June 29, 2022
Stories for another time… This week’s interviews.
• From the archives, Joseph McCabe presents a conversation with Tim Sale from 2008’s TCJ #291, as they discussed Sale’s colour blindness, meeting your heroes, and getting better at drawing pretty characters - “It was primarily life drawing that I got something out of. And I enjoyed that a great deal, working with charcoal, live models; both 30-second gesture drawings and hour, hour-and-a-half-long-or-more finished charcoal drawings. I like that a lot, but that was about all that I liked. I took some painting classes, and you might imagine how that went, being colorblind.”
• Valerio Stivé interviews Antoine Cossé about Metax, transforming cities, the process of beginning, and the UK’s comics scene - “I properly got into the writing and drawing of Metax six months before the pandemic hit us all. At that time the city walls didn’t even exist in the book. It was all about explosions. As I continued to write the story and draw the images I guess it became more claustrophobic, and suddenly there were walls and austere architecture. I only see this now though. It makes sense that two years of lockdowns would somewhat transfer into the book.”
• Alexandra Iciek talks to Eldo Yoshimizu about Hen Kai Pan, moving to the more accessible world of storytelling-based art, the character inspirations of real people, and the reality of our divided world.
• David Brooke speaks with Curtis Clow about Beastlands: Keepers of the Kingdom, tabletop gaming, and building a career through crowdfunding.
• Chris Coplan interviews Matt Kindt about MIND MGMT: BOOTLEG and the Flux House imprint, production costs, and dream collaborators.
Deanna Destito talks to Phillip Kennedy Johnson about 007, the challenge of taking on James Bond, the time capsule of Fleming’s writing, and personal military experience.
• Zack Quaintance and d. emerson eddy speak with Stephen Bissette about retiring from making comics and comics education, coming out of retirement to make new comics work, and thoughts on the crowdfunding boom.
• Hayden Mears interviews Tom Taylor and Daniele Di Nicuolo about Seven Secrets, known and unknown secrets, bittersweet endings, and favourite monarchs.
• Lindsay Pereira speaks with Luke Healy about The Con Artists, communicating complex feelings via comics, the freedom of comedy, and sticking with big projects.
• Andy Oliver chats with Gabi Putnoki about the Graphic Novel Reading Room, subtly stimulating the senses, bringing comics to new communities, and infiltrating mainstream literature events.
David Barnett talks to Garth Ennis and Samuel Javid about the ‘Preacher, Punisher and Judge Dredd: The Work of British Comic Book Legend Steve Dillon’ exhibition, and Dillon’s artistic legacy.
• Chris Cole interviews Sofia Warren about Radical: My Year With a Socialist Senator, meeting with Julia Salazar during a hectic campaign, and focusing in on local government during Donald Trump’s presidency.
• Elias Rosner speaks with Rachel Pollack and Joe Corallo about The Never Ending Party, fan letters, the joys of Greek mythology, and the special qualities of comics as a medium.
The New Yorker
Françoise Mouly and Genevieve Bormes talk to Noah Van Sciver about Joseph Smith and the Mormons, being raised in the L.D.S. church, and understanding your subjects.
Alex Dueben chats to Marika McCoola and Aatmaja Pandya about Slip, and lessons learned teaching young artists; and to Beka Feathers and Ally Shwed about Why the People, and calibrating how much your average reader will know about governance.
Women Write About Comics
Emily Lauer interviews Emily McGovern about Twelve Percent Dread, capturing small moments in small panels, beginning with the characters, and potential spin-offs.
— Lisa Hanawalt (@lisadraws) June 30, 2022
To write and read comes by nature… This week’s features and longreads.
• Here at TCJ, John Kelly writes in remembrance of Simon Deitch, who passed away earlier this month, aged 75, also curating memories from those who knew Deitch well - “[Seth Kallen Deitch]: My brother Simon was a complicated man. He married three times, but died alone. He was a brilliant, but undisciplined artist. He knew everything about dinosaurs. He had a heart full of love, but was often untrustworthy. He was the black sheep. He was in no uncertain terms, a genius.”
• Also for TCJ, Lane Yates writes on Julie Doucet’s Time Zone J, the interconnected temporality of comics’ creation and consumption, and the relation this creates between the cartoonist, their work, and the reader - “Memory is atemporal. We try, routinely, constantly, to apprehend the events in our past such that they conform to our expectations of how we perceive time in the present, flowing from one hour to the next; however, the truth is closer to the fact that memory is a jumble of images and thoughts.”
• Finally for TCJ this week, Andrew Field explores the critical theories of Harold Bloom, and argues for their importance when considering comics and the visual form - “Strangeness is weirdness is anyone who has had to figure out a way to live by being different and then using one’s abilities and one’s loves to cultivate the talents that came from this odd apartness. Think of Samuel Johnson, or Kafka, or R. Crumb, or Louis Armstrong, or Gabrielle Bell: these are examples of artists who became names in the cultural language of our vocabularies, and yet the names hide lives, and the lives evidence an enormous strength in the face of every imaginable attempt to keep one “in one’s place,” to situate one in a box that might fit the situater but not the one whom people are trying to situate.”
• For The Washington Post, in the wake of the Supreme Court voting to overturn Roe v Wade, Michael Cavna surveys the cartoonists illustrating responses to this removal of bodily autonomy.
• For Solrad, Alex Hoffman builds on Oliver Ristau’s writing on Jim Rugg’s swiftly cancelled Maus-referencing variant cover for Red Room: Trigger Warning, examining the transgression, codification, and iteration of comics, and how we got to where we continue to go.
• Over at AIPT, Alexandra Iciek writes on Marvel’s Voices series of titles, and the elephant(s) in the room when it comes to fleeting corporate engagement with queer culture during Pride month.
• On a similar note, for Polygon, Zach Rabiroff covers DC Comics' recent rush of legacy heroes coming out of the closet, and the showcasing of some of the more prominent of these characters in 2022's DC Pride special, which allows for some grabbing of mainstream headlines without risking the global market acceptance of the company's biggest intellectual properties.
• From Cover to Cover's Scott Cederlund writes on Barry Windsor-Smith's anti-Wolverine story in Wolverine: Weapon X, and the story that's actually told in the layers that surround it's titular character.
• For Women Write About Comics, Sabrina Ulysses has an essay on the sapphism of Alison Bechdel’s Dykes to Watch Out For, and the complexities of the story’s evolving narrative with regards to trans inclusion.
• Steve Morris considers the splash page, over at Shelfdust, and the subversion of what’s expected from superhero comics’ engagement with the form in Mike Carey and Chris Bachalo’s X-Men #188.
• Looking to the world of open-access academia, and Nickie D. Phillips and Staci Strobl have a paper in Critical Criminology on the portrayal of economic inequality in American comic books, and the medium’s place in resisting neoliberal capitalism.
Thanks for the overwhelming support for my Booklist comic about comics’ unique strengths & vulnerabilities! Currently in talks for a poster version, due to strong demand from educators & librarians.
— Nate Powell (@Nate_Powell_Art) June 30, 2022
Ask your cable provider today for… This week’s audio/visual delights.
• Katie Skelly and Sally Madden were joined by Whit Taylor to discuss the Thick Lines of Ulli Lust's How I Tried to Be a Good Person, and its portrayals of the idylls/realities of life in Europe, plus Chris Ware’s, uh, interesting new cover for The New Yorker.
• Deb Aoki hosted this week’s episode of Mangasplaining as the team took a look at the kind-of-shojo, kind-of-josei stylings of Mika Yamamori’s In The Clear Moonlit Dusk, and the joys of simmering sexual tension.
• Gil Roth welcomed Howard Chaykin to this week’s Virtual Memories Show, as they spoke about The Time2 Omnibus, bringing a project back from hiatus, the good old days of NYC, and superhero comics x musicals.
• Brian Hibbs spoke with Sas Milledge about Mamo for this month’s Comix Experience Graphic Novel Club, as they discussed the labour intensive nature of comics and animation, and the horror of a blank page.
• Heidi MacDonald, Calvin Reid, and Kate Fitzsimons rang in the return of TCAF for Publisher’s Weekly’s More to Come this week, as well as marking the passing of Tim Sale and Mike Pasciullo, and a look at what’s going on in the never-ending saga of direct market distribution changes.
• Closing out the links with a few more links from Cartoonist Kayfabe, as Ed Piskor and Jim Rugg took a look at some work by Michael Golden, Gene Colan, Todd McFarlane, Barry Windsor Smith, Harvey Kurtzman, and Kevin Eastman x Bill Sienkiewicz.
Shadow of the Colossus, for [lock-on] 004 🏹
Funding for this issue is now live, and I'm once again so proud to contribute along with an incredible team of artists and authors 🌞 pic.twitter.com/454xGjLsz3
— Erin Vest (@swordandsnore) June 29, 2022
That’s it for this week, back again soon with more, unless this match goes to a tiebreak.
— Floor Plan Croissant (@FPlanCroissant) June 28, 2022