Journey of the Sorcerer – This Week’s Links

The bedding in of 2023 continues, as characters new and old step onto the international stage of the only sector of news media that matters in the grand scheme - that relating to the creation, distributions and sale, and criticism of comic books. We exist on this earth for a mere fraction of an instant, on the cosmological scale, so why not spend some of that reading a selection of this week’s links, below.

This week’s news.

• French authorities announced last week that prosecutors in Nanterre have opened an investigation for the dissemination of child pornography images against author Bastien Vivès, and publishing houses Glénat and Les Requins Marteaux, following a complaint filed at the end of last year - Vivès was set to be a guest of honour at 2023’s Festival International de la Bande Dessinée d'Angoulême, but was removed from the line-up, and had an exhibition of work at the festival cancelled, following threats made due to purported themes of incest and pedophilia in Vivès’ books, and the making public of statements Vivès had posted online regarding the cartoonist Emma.

• In less fractious news from this year’s upcoming Angoulême Festival, it was announced that Alison Bechdel, Catherine Meurisse, and Riad Sattouf are the nominees for 2023’s Grand Prix, with the winner to be announced on the 25th of January.

• ICv2 reports on the year-end financials for the books market, as 2022’s holiday season saw an overall fall in sales to close out the second-best sales of all-time as tracked by NPD Bookscan, while the comics market saw Marvel and DC jostling for percentage shares in first and second place respectively across Q3 and into Q4, which also saw AfterShock’s bankruptcy announcement arrive at the same time that the publisher slipped out of the top 10 to be replaced by Seven Seas Entertainment.

• The Guardian reports on figures out of Australia that show a rise in manga piracy bucking the overall downward trend in other pirated media, possibly driven by increased access to legal streaming services, and the blocking of piracy sites by internet providers - Japan’s recent crackdown on manga piracy sites shows the difficulty in taking down such platforms for good, as many will simply shift domains and hosting locations, and related lawsuits often require the international cooperation of courts and private companies to gain access to user data.

• Industry personnel news, and The Beat shares that Tapas CEO Chang Kim and Anime NYC founder Peter Tatara have both stepped down from their respective roles, moving onto pastures new, while Reuters reports on a brewing boardroom fight at Walt Disney Co as billionaire Nelson Peltz attempts to grab a chair on the board of Marvel Comics’ parent corp.

• The Philadelphia Inquirer reports on Fat Jack's, the city's first and oldest comic book store, setting up a crowdfunding campaign to help keep the shop afloat, as footfall remains down due to the COVID-19 pandemic - funds available to retailers under the Paycheck Protection Program had run out before the store could receive financial help.

• Birdcage Bottom Books announced that founder J.T. Yost will be stepping away from the endeavour following the next publishing window, due to ‘intense personal upheaval’, with distro responsibilities continuing under Daniel Whitfield, but no current plans to extend the press’ publishing beyond spring 2023.

• In memoriam, remembering those the world of comics has lost, Virginia Commonwealth University announced the passing of Cindy Jackson, aged 53 - Jackson was the university libraries’ specialist for the comic arts, and oversaw the expansion of VCU’s Comic Arts Collection into one of the largest in the US, which now serves as the official repository for the Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards.

This week’s reviews.


• Celia Mattison reviews the distinguishing conversations of Tommi Parrish’s Men I Trust - “Parrish’s subjects have large, bulbous bodies with few hard lines—that modern blobbiness that’s so en vogue now. Their heads sit, miniature, atop large round shoulders, reminiscent of the shrunken heads of Beetlejuice. Without context, it can be hard to tell one character from the next, their forms so indistinct not just from each other but from the shapes around them. It’s their speech that shapes them.”

• Ben Austin-Docampo also reviews the shifting perspectives of Tommi Parrish’s Men I Trust - “The book’s straightforward dialogue provides a spine of clarity to a narrative long-limbed with ambiguity. The characters' emotional quality is often messy—at times depressing—as they work their way through their lives such as they are, day in and day out. The constantly changing state of their emotions lends a feeling of real world complexity to figures rendered in Parrish’s distinctive style.”



• David Brooke reviews the opening events of Mark Waid, Riccardo Federici, et al’s Lazarus Planet: Alpha #1.

• Ryan Sonneville reviews the unique voice of Alyssa Wong, Minkyu Jung, et al’s Star Wars: Doctor Aphra: The Spark Eternal.

• Rory Wilding reviews the grungy stylings of Dan McDaid’s Dega.

• David Canham reviews the satisfying conclusion of Zack Kaplan, John J. Pearson, et al’s Mindset #6.

• John Schaidler reviews the seamless silliness of Matt Kindt and Sharlene Kindt’s Spy Superb #1.

• Nathan Simmons reviews the compelling mystery of Kelly Thompson, Meredith McClaren, et al’s Black Cloak #1.


The Beat

• Rebecca Oliver Kaplan reviews the solid start of Steve Orlando, Sara Pichelli, et al’s Scarlet Witch #1.

• Joe Grunenwald reviews the intriguing conflict of Jeremy Adams, Roger Cruz, et al’s The Flash #790.

• Arpad Okay reviews the wonderful weirdness of Yukinobu Tatsu’s Dandadan Volume 2, translated by Kumar Sivasubramanian.


Broken Frontier

Andy Oliver has reviews of:

- The resonant catharsis of Edie Woolf’s Not Quite Almost 10 Years: A Breakup Zine.

- The engrossing storytelling of Lawrence Lindell and Breena Nuñez’s Laneha House #6.

- The thought-provoking humour of Charles Johnson’s All Your Racial Problems Will Soon End: The Cartoons of Charles Johnson.


Four Color Apocalypse

Ryan Carey reviews the colourful idiosyncrasies of Scott Finch's Travel Diary.


Kirkus Reviews

Have starred capsule reviews of:

- The diverse triumphs of Jerry Craft’s School Trip.

- The wonderful breeziness of Tiffany Stone and Ashley Spires’ Super Small: Miniature Marvels of the Natural World.


Multiversity Comics

Alexander Jones reviews the impressive elements of Jed MacKay, Vincenzo Carratu, et al's Mary Jane and Black Cat #2.


The New Yorker

Yasmine AlSayyad reviews the gritty sympathy of Deena Mohamed’s Shubeik Lubeik.


Publisher’s Weekly

Have capsule reviews of:

- The poignant optimism of Adam Bessie and Peter Glanting’s Going Remote: A Teacher’s Journey.

- The quirky eeriness of Tom King, Elsa Charretier, et al’s Love Everlasting Volume 1.

- The chilling atmosphere of Michael Conrad and Noah Bailey’s Double Walker.

- The rollicking entertainment of Tim Seeley, Aaron Campbell, Jim Terry, et al’s West of Sundown: Out Beyond the Dust N’ Dark.



Daniel Elkin reviews the clever crafting of Desmond Reed’s Memories.


Women Write About Comics

• Paulina Przystupa reviews the shallow horror of Marjorie Liu, Sana Takeda, et al’s The Night Eaters: She Eats the Night Book 1.

• Melissa Brinks reviews the messy questions of Simon Spurrier, Charlie Adlard, et al’s Damn Them All #2.

This week’s interviews.


• Valerio Stivé interviews George Wylesol about 2120, being a city boy, mapping out the story, who’s in control of the story, and the joys of old video games - I was playing at first, I was kind of seeing how it would work if you have a book that you can play with like a game. And then, after I did a couple of drafts, as I felt my way through the story-- I didn’t plan it out, I knew it was going to be more serious and horror, rather than comedy. And then, when I had the third draft, I realized the book was going to be a little more philosophical.”

• Jason Novak presents a new selection of illustrated interviews, this time out speaking with, and drawing, Dr Mary Wellesley, Professor Irina Dumitrescu, and Steven M. Johnson.


The Beat

• Deanna Destito talks to Sarah Hoyt about Barbarella, the continuing adventures of the titular heroine, and what makes the character special.

• Dean Simons speaks with Amy Chu and Soo Lee about Carmilla: The First Vampire, the origins of the source material, and the racism endemic in American history.


Broken Frontier

Lindsay Pereira interviews Paul B. Rainey about Why Don’t You Love Me?, moving into working with a publisher, and comics industry realities.



Goldie Chan talks to Gene Luen Yang about American Born Chinese, the book’s adaptation, comics career paths, and upcoming book projects.



Malaka Gharib speaks with Deena Mohamed about Shubeik Lubeik, Egyptian kiosk aesthetics, crafting a wish economy, and grounding fantasy with real-world themes.


The Washington Post

Michael Cavna interviews Alan Jenkins and Gan Golan about 1/6: The Graphic Novel, and the historic importance of 2021’s attempted insurrection.


Women Write About Comics

Kate Tanski talks to Amy Chu and Soo Lee about Carmilla: The First Vampire, the origins of their collaboration, visual inspirations of the 90s, and the joys of Chinese antiques.

This week’s features and longreads.

• Here at TCJ, Yiannis Papadopoulos writes on the work of Italian cartoonist Zerocalcare, the artist’s multifaceted approach to creative endeavours, and the multimedia success borne of this - “Autobiography is a difficult genre - perhaps one of the most complex, because it requires the sass and talent to translate personal experience into a story that can speak to everyone. Otherwise, you end up talking about yourself to yourself. Zerocalcare succeeds brilliantly at this.”

• Also for TCJ, Chris Anthony Diaz provides photo reports from recent signing events at Los Angeles’ Golden Apple Comics, as well as last month’s Permanent Damage 4 comics and music show.

• Tasha Lowe-Newsome also reports from Permanent Damage 4, for Solrad, surveying the cartoonists and musicians in attendance at the LA event.

• For NPR, Glen Weldon covers Congressman Robert Garcia’s inclusion of Superman #1 as part of the swearing-in process, and the importance of that particular issue in comic book lore.

• ArchDaily features Tan Yamanouchi’s designs for a building made to accommodate the entire process of making manga, and the reasoning behind the design, if you fancied feeling a bit down about your own workspace to kick off the new year.

Following the return of Meredith Gran's Octopus Pie, with a new, potentially one-off story entitled Octopus Pie Eternal, Alenka Figa charts the timeline of the comic for Women Write About Comics, and the evolving relationships of its characters.

• For The Gutter Review, Charles EP Murphy looks back into British comics industry history, and the indie/small press scene to be found at events in Bristol at the dawn of the current millennium.

• Over at Shelfdust, Steve Morris writes on the thematic coda of Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon’s Preacher #66, and Ewan Paterson examines the Liverpuddlian history and politics to be found in Simon Spurrier and Aaron Campbell’s John Constantine: Hellblazer #2.

• For Women Write About Comics, Alenka Figa, Kayleigh Hearn, Carrie McClain, Paulina Przystupa, and Masha Zhdanova present choices for the best manga from 2022 .

• From the world of open-access academia, covering a different angle on one of the enduring hot topics of comics, Melanie Stockton-Brown writes in the International Journal for the Semiotics of Law on depictions of copyright law in comics.

• For The Washington Post, Michael Cavna surveys the reaction of political cartoonists to (now, finally,) Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week.

• Over at The Daily Cartoonist, Mike Peterson rounds up the editorial beat, in a week where, somewhat unsurprisingly, most eyes were on the misadventures of the GOP.

This week’s audio/visual delights.

• Katie Skelly and Sally Madden convened to run through Thick Lines’ favourite comics for 2022, plus lessons learned in podcasting and Patreoning.

• Publisher’s Weekly’s More to Come team also looked back on 2022, as Kate Fitzsimons, Heidi MacDonald, and Calvin Reid recapped the big news stories from the year just gone, which honestly got pretty wild at points.

• Brian Hibbs hosted Decembers book club meetings at Comix Experience, speaking with Melanie Gillman about Other Ever Afters and story development process, and with Lucie Byron about Thieves and getting the book prepped for international publication.

• A couple of history trips in the Word Balloon, as John Siuntres spoke with Jason Sacks about American Comic Book Chronicles: The 1990s and a turbulent time for the direct market, and with Denis Kitchen about Kitchen Sink Press and the history of underground comix.

• Ed Piskor and Jim Rugg summoned yet more Cartoonist Kayfabe, and took a look this week at Joe Kelly and Chris Bachalo’s Steampunk, Chris Claremont and Milo Manara’s X-Women, Gilbert Hernandez on making comics, and Brandon Choi and J. Scott Campbell’s Gen¹³ #1.

• David Harper welcomed Challengers Comics + Conversation’s Patrick Brower to Off Panel, as they spoke about the year in retail for 2022, publisher pros and cons, and the general bricks and mortar landscape going into 2023.

This week’s selection is at an end, back next week with some more, and then some more after that.