Let Forever Be – This Week’s Links

It’s very rainy at the moment, rain across England in general, rain causing cricket matches to be abandoned, rain predominantly featuring in the Women’s World Cup, just a lot of H2O falling from on high, during a news cycle which is firmly determined to induce me to spend my July indoors anyway, at a cinema, watching the summer’s big theatrical releases, but I instead choose to spend it in front of a much smaller screen, compiling this week’s links, below.

This week’s news.

• Last weekend’s San Diego Comic Con brought with it a fresh roster of Will Eisner Comic Industry Award winners, with DC taking home the most wins for a single publisher, and multiple wins for Kate Beaton’s Ducks, Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda’s The Night Eaters, and Darwyn Cooke’s Parker: The Martini Edition, and presentations of 2023’s Bob Clampett Humanitarian Award to Beth Accomando and Scott Dunbier, and the Will Eisner Spirit of Comics Retailer Award to Oakland’s Cape & Cowl - the full list of this year’s winners can be read here.

• Maia Kobabe’s Gender Queer not being banned news, and Australia’s Classification Review Board released a decision last week not to restrict access to the graphic memoir, despite unsubstantiated claims from conservative activists that the book is ‘pornographic’ - the Board cited Gender Queer’s “positive tone and character as well as many layers of positive messaging” in its final decision to classify the book as unrestricted.

Elsewhere, ICv2 share news of a federal lawsuit filed by the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, bookseller and publisher associations, authors, and store owners in Texas to block a law in the state which would require vendors to rate books based on references to sex, which would then be used to facilitate their restriction and banning in public schools - the lawsuit alleges that this legalisation violates the First and Fourteenth amendments, and “compels plaintiffs to express the government's views, even if they do not agree.”

This week’s reviews.


Ben Austin-Docampo reviews the shallow conveyance of Jed McGowan’s My Life Among Humans - “The story is told from the perspective of the nameless alien protagonist. We don't witness anything of this character’s background; we are front-loaded with the reason for its arrival on Earth. Similarly, we don't see the human characters going about their normal routines, allowing readers a chance to connect with them. Instead, just like the alien observer, we see the humans one step removed, and only skin deep.”



• Rory Wilding reviews the frustrating truncation of Andy Diggle, Nick Brokenshire, et al’s Cold Iron.

• Megan O’Brien reviews the compelling conclusion of Skottie Young, Humberto Ramos, et al’s Strange Academy: Finals.

• Nathan Simmons reviews the vibrant charms of Jordan Ifeuko, Alba Glez, et al’s Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur: Menace On Wheels.

• David Brooke reviews the game-changing twists of Marvel Comics’ X-Men: Hellfire Gala 2023 #1.

• Chris Showalter reviews the overstuffed setup of Collin Kelly, Jackson Lanzing, Max Dunbar, et al’s Batman Beyond: Neo-Gothic #1.

• Colin Moon reviews the impeccable construction of Mark Waid, Bryan Hitch, et al’s Superman: The Last Days of Lex Luthor #1.


American Literary History

Kinohi Nishikawa reviews the conceptual spin of Darieck Scott’s Keeping It Unreal: Black Queer Fantasy and Superhero Comics.


The Beat

• Cy Beltran reviews the rapid-fire revelations of Marvel Comics’ X-Men: Hellfire Gala 2023 #1.

• Zack Quaintance reviews the strong execution of Mark Waid, Bryan Hitch, et al’s Superman: The Last Days of Lex Luthor #1.


From Cover to Cover

Scott Cederlund reviews the protective distance of Tatsuki Fujimoto’s Goodbye Eri, translated by Amanda Haley; and the layered meanings of Siyuan Wen’s We Will No Longer Have To Cover Each Other’s Wounds, translated by Runzelig Lou.


House to Astonish

Paul O’Brien has capsule reviews of Marvel Comics’ X-Men Unlimited Infinity Comic #96, X-Men Red #13, and New Mutants: Lethal Legion #5.



Sarah Rose Sharp reviews the nuanced takes of Barbara Brandon-Croft’s Where I’m Coming From.


Multiversity Comics

• Joe Skonce reviews the fantastic beginning of Bryan Hill, Elena Casagrande, et al’s Blade #1.

• Kobi Bordoley reviews the pleasant robustness of Cliff Bleszinski, Alex de Campi, Sandy Jarrell, et al’s Scrapper #1.


The New Yorker

Sam Thielman reviews the narrative choices of Sammy Harkham’s Blood of the Virgin.


New York Journal of Books

Ariel Balter reviews the multifaceted construction of Lizzy Stewart’s Alison.


Publisher’s Weekly

Have capsule reviews of:

- The eye-opening questions of Natalie Norris’ Dear Mini: A Graphic Memoir, Book One.

- The forthright history of Josh Tuininga’s We Are not Strangers.

- The brutal humour of Lukas Verstraete’s A Book to Make Friends With, translated by Laura Watkinson.

- The adroit simplicity of Susumu Higa’s Okinawa, translated by Jocelyne Allen.

- The fearless directness of Poppy Pesuyama’s Until I Love Myself: The Journey of a Nonbinary Manga Artist, translated by Emily Balistrieri.

- The sensitive depictions of Han Seong-won’s Remembering the “Comfort Women” of World War II, translated by by Soo Kyung Lee..

This week’s interviews.


• Jean Marc Ah-Sen interviews Tradd Moore about Doctor Strange: Fall Sunrise, the tempo of comics pages, and eschewing gatekeeping - “Formal Craft vs. Abstraction, for example—they’re not enemies! Sometimes work that prioritizes formal craft and representational imagery is critiqued by one group as lifeless and boring, and abstract expression is critiqued by another as drivel (“My kid could do that,” said the fellow who never learned to draw), but formal craft and abstraction don’t stand in opposition—they’re pieces of the same bigger thing. They contrast and inform one another—left hand, right hand, they’re both your body.”

• Zach Rabiroff interviews Morgan Albritton of North Carolina’s Morgan’s Comics about comics retail origins, fighting evil, and Outkast connections - “Diamond used to mess up a whole bunch, and they've been at it for a really long time. It was frustrating to have our orders constantly damaged, or never arriving on time, or never having our complete order in them. I think absolute power corrupts absolutely. So having some competition out there, so that they had to up their customer service game, was an excellent idea.”



• Chris Coplan chats with Sloane Leong about Prism Stalker: The Weeping Star, character and plot evolutions, and visual influences.

• Chris Hassan talks to Jordan D. White about X-Men: Hellfire Gala 2023, and what the comic means for the Krakoan era going forward.

• Collier Jennings speaks with Josh Tujillo about Blue Beetle: Graduation Day, the character as an entry point into DC, and the book publishing in bilingual formats; and with Jim Zub and Matt Murray about Conan the Barbarian, the recent publishing changes for the title, and connected mythologies.


Anime News Network

Lynzee Loveridge talks to Masaaki Nakayama about PTSD Radio, the art of frightening the reader, and leaving space for the imagination to fill.


The Beat

Avery Kaplan speaks with Kay Davault about Misfit Mansion, the story's origins, designing its characters, and the influence of Pokémon.



Perri Nemiroff and Arezou Amin interview Jamie Lee Curtis, Russell Goldman, and Karl Stevens about Mother Nature, and addressing long held worries about climate change.


Entertainment Weekly

Christian Holub chats with Jim Lee, Robert Napton, and Brian Buccellato about Justice League vs. Godzilla vs. Kong, and keeping kaiju crossovers to scale.



Rob Salkowitz talks to GlobalComix’s Christopher Carter about the platform’s growth and ambitions, and the company’s planned use of AI.


The Hollywood Reporter

• Borys Kit interviews Jim Lee about DC’s return to San Diego Comic Con, and the company’s plans during an odd time for creative industries.

• Aaron Couch speaks with Representative Robert Garcia about the Congressional Popular Arts Caucus, and past attendance at Comic-Cons.



Thomas Hummitzsch talks to Seth about Palookaville, the fascinating mundanity of memories, popular culture through the ages, and the kind of stories you end up telling over a career.


The Los Angeles Times

Tracy Brown and Jevon Phillips canvas attendees at last weekend’s San Diego Comic Con, and gauge feelings on the event amid a relative paucity of movie studio presence.



Ayesha Rascoe speaks with Mandalit del Barco about the scene from the floor of this year’s San Diego Comic con just gone, and how attendees were faring.


Publisher’s Weekly

Heidi MacDonald reports from the floor of this year’s San Diego Comic Con, speaking to attendees during a show which coincided with slowing sales across the industry.


The San Diego Union-Tribune

Blake Nelson talks to Jeff Smith about Bone, Tuki, and RASL, bringing stories to an end, and letting them continue after the dust has settled.


The Washington Post

Michael Cavna interviews David Simon and Philippe Squarzoni about Homicide: The Graphic Novel, and the pair’s virtual collaboration on adapting the source material thirty years later.



Scott Tong speaks with Blerdcon's Hilton George about how the event embodies the Black experience in the context of a convention, and ongoing changes towards Black representation in popular culture.

This week’s features and longreads.

• Here at TCJ, Joe McCulloch writes on two recently published tomes, looking at Chantal Montellier’s Social Fiction and Frédéric Coché’s L'Almageste, and the responses they elicit - “Montellier's "dirty future" is not just dirty, it is barely functional. Authority figures constantly make mistakes. Automated systems are filled with blind spots. This is to say, the "dirty future" aesthetic is employed by Montellier to a specific political end. The dystopia in Social Fiction droops from the loosening tape that holds it together, yet people still comply.”

• Also for TCJ, Tegan O’Neil writes on the oft-maligned craft of cheesecake art, looking back to the old masters, and ahead to a new instance in the form of Dennis Hopeless and Víctor Ibáñez’s Heart Eyes - “But [Adam] Hughes is the bottleneck, as it were. The central figure for comic book cheesecake artists for over three decades and counting. His understanding of form and shape, musculature and gesture; smooth and seamless. And soon after Hughes makes his name there emerge artists with unmistakable affinities, conscious or not.”

• For Women Write About Comics, Solène Mallet Gauthier and Stephanie Halmhofer discuss the pseudoarchaeological themes to be found in Hiroshi Takashige and Ryōji Minagawa’s Spriggan and its animated adaptations.

• Publisher's Weekly's coverage of this year's San Diego Comic Con continues, as Deb Aoki looks at the manga presence at this year's event, and Brigid Alverson surveys the publishers and creators catering to younger readers.

• Shelfdust’s From Dust to Dust series continues, as Steve morris looks back on the ending to Dan Slott, Christos Gage, and Giuseppi Camuncoli’s Superior Spider-Man, and the weak gags that undercut its curtain-call; and Ritesh Babu examines Pornsak Pichetshote and Alexandre Tefenkgi’s The Good Asian #1, and the introductory questions it asks of its protagonist and setting.

• From the world of open-access academia, in the Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics, Joshua Rene Cavazos writes on Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli’s Daredevil: Born Again, and Lacanian concepts in serial storytelling.

• As part of Facta Universitatis’ visual arts series, Miloš Tasić and Dušan Stamenković analyse Đorđe Lobačev’s adaptation of the folk fairy tale Baš-Čelik, and the tools used in this and tellings of the story in other formats.

• Mike Peterson rounds up the week’s editorial beat, over at The Daily Cartoonist, as conspiracies, truths, and censorship swirled around potential candidates for the next presidential election.

This week’s audio/visual delights.

• Deb Aoki hosts this week’s return episode of Mangasplaining, as the team discuss Toyo Toyota’s The Untouchable Midori-Kun, the book’s handling of adult themes, and the idea of Ladies Manga in a changing market.

• A bumper pack of Publisher’s Weekly’s More to Come episodes from the floor of this year’s San Diego Comic Con, as Four Women in a Hotel Room returned, while Meg Lemke and Calvin Reid presented interviews from the show floor.

• David Harper was joined by Chris Schweizer for this week’s edition of Off Panel, as they spoke about career paths and collaborations with Kyle Starks, and playing with the formal composition of comics pages.

• A trio of Word Balloons with John Siuntres, as guests this week included Mike Hawthorne speaking about superhero character designs, Jesse Blaze Snider discussing King of Kings, and Shawn Martinbrough talking about Marvel and Milestone work and beyond.

• Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette’s April Wallace spoke with Benji Nate about Girl Juice, the character inspirations in the book, and the book’s depictions of millennial conditioning.

• Chalking up another week to experience with Cartoonist Kayfabe, as Ed Piskor, Jim Rugg, and Tom Scioli discussed Frank Miller’s Ronin, The Art of Daniel Clowes: Modern Cartoonist, selected highlights from The Comics Journal #37, Amazing Heroes #115, Joe Quesada and Jimmy Palmiotti's Ash, and Alan Moore’s Songbook, as well as an interview with Karl Stevens about Mother Nature and a career in comics.

The links are done for July, and so onward to August.