Like Burgess Meredith in The Twilight Zone I’ve now got time to finally get all that reading done, except... Oh no... What’s that? My glasses? They’re fine, thanks. It’s my brain that’s broken from industrial quantities of anxiety.
With that in mind, here are this (and last) week’s links to distract and amuse.
The heads tonight… This week’s news:
• Koyama Press have been featuring the recipients of their Provides mini-grant programe over on their Facebook page, including Rabeea Syed, Micah Adams, Saelan Twerdy, Kalpna Patel, Luke Ramsey, Lola Landekic, Mark Connery, Victor Martins, Kirsten Hatfield, and Alaska B. Alaska. Go give ‘em a follow.
• Solrad have launched Solrad Presents, a new home for cartoonists’ work on the web, during a time when it’s difficult for people to see news that isn’t pandemic-related, so take a look.
• On a similar note, publisher Kuš! have an open call running for their next anthology, with a theme of 'the end', and it's open until mid-May, so get drafting.
• Newsarama reports on Kodansha's new partnership with digital publishing platform Inzeo, which will soon be carrying theirs and VERTICAL's digital titles like Attack on Titan, Fairy Tail, Ghost in the Shell, and more. Just in time for a captive audience.
• Newsarama also brings a press release to the masses, as the Kubert School starts offering online courses in narrative art (with Tom Mandrake), inking (with Joe Prado), script writing for comics (with Amy Chu), and basic drawing (with Fernando Ruiz). You should be staying home to read comics, but why not learn to make them as well?
• Hollywood Reporter’s Heat Vision reignites the digital comics debate [DCD] in light of the direct market shutdown, but most publishers confirmed they won’t be sidestepping stores for digital releases (for now), save for some back and forth from DC, so don't buy stock in Kindles just yet. (NB. I do not know how stocks work.)
• As we're apparently running the simulation on 2x speed now, the last few days also saw the beginnings of a plan to use ComicHub to link up digital and physical distro (although CBR saying that 'publishers' came up with the scheme is a stretch), some very reasonable questions then being raised about that 'plan', followed quickly by the whole thing being shelved, with a net gain of some feather ruffling. The leopard shan't lie down with the kid just yet.
• Weird timing on this one, given the above, their recent announcement, and then their even more recent announcement (it has been a helluva couple of weeks, eh), but the content must go on - Diamond have revealed the winners of the Gem Awards for 2019. Sure.
• Is this news? I think it is - The Beat found a way into a parallel dimension where Jason Todd didn’t die (indirectly) at the hands of his audience, and… Hey! Put that crowbar down.
• Hollywood Reporter looks at whether we can expect a dip in auction prices for ‘historically significant’ comic strips in the time of COVID-19, and then wealthy individuals looked down from on high and whispered "No."
• Sotheby's has also decided to test this theory by asking the question - what's the worth of every DC comic ever published (up to the end of 2014)? And there's only one way to find out. The main question, however, is: will they outsell this vintage X-Force t-shirt? Only time will tell.
• Also, I can now only assume that giant batches of comics are found on the sea bed.
• It's apparently auction season, as a couple of notables are putting artwork up on the block to raise money for good causes, which is nice - there's Jim Lee and Rob Liefeld work to be had in support of comics retailers, and sketches from Mike Mignola up for bids to support World Central Kitchen.
• Patreon have set up What the Fund to help support creators affected by the spreading fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, and are currently accepting applications and donations to it; while Comics Experience looks like it's going to be using retailer affiliate links to help stores out while their doors are closed.
• The Daily Cartoonist and Aaugh.com reported on the sad passing of Harriet Glickman, a figure instrumental in the integration of Charles Schulz’ Peanuts comic strips; and Cartoon Brew have an obituary for giant of the animation and kids' comics world, Roman Arambula; while Global Voices pays tribute to Italian comic creator Giovani Romanini, longtime collaborator with Magnus on books like Satanik and Kriminal, who passed away last month.
And I’m sure you’ll agree… This week’s reviews and previews
• Heather Leighton reviews Tian Veasna’s Year of the Rabbit.
• Sloane Leong reviews Michael DeForge's Familiar Face.
• Christopher Franey rewinds time to the more innocent days of 2015, with a look back at Will Eisner's The Spirit Returns.
• John Stevens reviews Jurga Vile and Lina Itagaki’s Siberian Haiku.
• Deanna Destito reviews Zac Thompson, Emily Horn, Alberto Jimenez-Alburquerque, et al’s No One’s Rose #1.
• Joe Grunenwald reviews Kieron Gillen, Dan Mora, et al’s Once and Future, Volume 1: The King is Undead.
• Morgana Santilli reviews Keiko Ishihara’s (tranlsated by Emi Louie-Nishikawa) Prince Freya.
• John Seven takes the Indie View and reviews Catherine Ocelot's (translated by Aleshia Jensen) Art Life.
• Rebecca Burke reviews Rosemary Valero-O’Connell’s Don’t Go Without Me.
• Tom Murphy reviews the next chapter in Gareth A Hopkins' Explosive Sweet Freezer Razors sequence Nothing.
Carolina González Alvarado reviews the visual experimentation of Verde Agua in his collection of poetry comics, Melancolía.
Previewing Lee Lai’s Stone Fruit, coming in summer of 2021.
Gary Tyrrell reviews Robin Ha’s illustrated memoir Almost American Girl.
Four Color Apocalypse
Rachel Cooke reviews Umma's Table by Yeon-Sik Hong (translated by Janet Hong).
Graeme McMillan previews Julian Peters’ Poems To See By anthology, as do Multiversity Comics, but they put watermarks all over the artwork; so, nah, I’m good, cheers.
• Angelica Frey reviews Mike Allred, Steve Horton, and Laura Allred's look back through the life of David Bowie in Bowie: Stardust, Rayguns, and Moonage Daydreams.
• Ayoola Solarin reviews Rosemary Valero-O’Connell's Don't Go Without Me.
The Library Journal (starred reviews)
• Douglas Rednour reviews MT Anderson and Jo Rioux' The Daughters of Ys.
• Emilia Packard reviews Claire Fauvel's new graphic biography Phoolan Devi: Rebel Queen.
• Thomas L Batten has a seres of reviews, including:
• Simon Hanselmann's new Megg and Mogg collection, Seeds and Stems;
• Stephen Appleby's superhero satire, Dragman;
• Joe Sacco's graphic reportage, Paying the Land;
• Oliver Schrauwen and Ruppert & Mulot's piratical bacchanal, Portrait of a Drunk;
• Nick Tapalansky and Kate Glasheen's apocalyptic sci-fi, A Radical Shift of Gravity;
• and Henry McCausland's surrealist ode to putting one foot in front of the other, Eight-Lane Runaways.
Illogical Volume brings us a series of micro-reviews, including Esther McManus' Windows, Sarah's How to Cry at Work, Peter Krause/Jose Marian Jr/Cindy Goff's Metropolis SCU #2, and Douglas Noble's Here Come the Beautiful People.
• Mark Tweedale and Christopher Lewis review Mike Mignola, Chris Roberson, Christopher Mitten, et al’s Witchfinder: The Reign of Darkness #5.
• Christopher Egan reviews Brandon Easton, Kei Zama, et al’s Judge Dredd: False Witness #1.
• Johnny Hall reviews Michael DeForge’s Familiar Face.
• Some capsule reviews as the team look at the new books out last week that got missed, and some of the books that caused said missing, as well as a Shonen Jump round-up from Vince Ostrowski and Zach Wilkerson.
• Opening the vault, Christopher Chiu-Tabet takes a look back at Batman/Huntress: Cry for Blood, in the wake of Birds of Prey hitting cinemas and then VOD in short-order.
New York Times
Jerry Craft reviews Gene Yuen Lang's Dragon Hoops, looking at the history of basketball through the lens of Oakland high school basketball team the Bishop O'Dowd Dragons, which may tide you over until the NBA and NCAA return.
A five page preview of William Roy’s In Vitro, in bookstores this week.
Oliver Sava has a deep dive review of Al Ewing, et al’s ongoing run on Immortal Hulk.
• Allyson Blinkhorn reviews the first volume of Moto Hagio's classic shōjo manga The Poe Clan (translated by Rachel Thorn), ahead of the publication of volume two later this year.
Has a selection of capsule reviews looking at Rumi Hara's Nori, Weng Pixin's Sweet Time, Taiyō Matsumoto's Ping Pong (translated by Michael Arias), John Allison's Steeple, and T. Edward Bak's Not A Place To Visit.
Bring us their April comics column, as Pete Redrup has a series of reviews, including:
• Yoshiharu Tsuge's The Man Without Talent (translated by Ryan Holmberg),
• Ebisu Yoshikazu's The Pits Of Hell (also translated by Ryan Holmberg),
• Isabel Greenberg's Glass Town,
• Lala Alberts' Seasonal Shift,
• Michael DeForge's Familiar Face,
• Hamishi Farah's Airport Love Theme,
• Douglas Noble's Horrible Folk,
• Clément Vuillier's L'Année de la Comète.
Osvaldo Oyola continues his look back at Steve Gerber, Gene Colan, et al's classic run of comics starring everyone's favourite anas platyrhynchos, with Howard the Duck volume 1 #24.
• Angela M Sánchez reviews Tales from La Vida: a Latinx Comics Anthology, edited by Dr. Frederick Luis Aldama.
• Rob Clough reviews Nina Bunjevac’s Bezimena, with a fairly serious trigger warning at the start.
• Alex Hoffman reviews Rikke Villadsen's 2018 graphic novel The Sea, ahead of an up-coming review of the new collection of his work, Cowboy, later this month.
Women Write About Comics
Doris V. Sutherland reviews Rebellion Publishing/The Treasury of British Comics’ Action 2020, reviving the classic anthology.
Let me tell you about my mother… This week’s interviews
• Craig Fischer has an in-depth chat with Andrew Neal following the publication of the first collection of his Meeting Comics strips.
• Keith Silva heralds the return of Retail Therapy at The Comics Journal, talking to David DeMarco, of Omaha Nebraska's Legend Comics & Coffee, about how these unprecedented times are affecting business.
• Tanna Tucker, Ezra Claytan Daniels, Ben Passmore, and Ron Wimberley convene for a round-table discussion of Daniels and Passmore's graphic novel BTTM FDDRS, hypocrisy of fandom, genre's confrontation (or codification) of racism, and working processes.
An April Fool's edition of X-Men Monday, as Chris Hassan talks to Comedy Bang Bang host Scott Aukerman/Hot Saucerman/Scott Auxermin/etc about mutants and which CBB characters would be welcome on Krakoa.
• Joe Grunenwald interviews P. Craig Russell about adapting Neil Gaiman's Norse Mythology for comics, with a pantheon of big-hitters on art duties.
• Matt O'Keefe chats to Jim Rossignol about collaborating with Kieron Gillen and Jeff Stokely on their (now-delayed, due to COVID-19) new series The Ludocrats.
Lindsey Pereira talks to Tom Gauld about his new collection of cartoons from New Scientist magazine - Department of Mind-Blowing Theories.
Frederick Luis Aldama talks to David F. Walker about bringing into being a 2-page spread from Bitter Root.
Here in merry olde Englande, Tim Lewis sits down with Matthew Dooley ahead of the publication of his debut graphic novel, looking at rival ice cream vendors, Flake.
LA Review of Books
Nathan Scott McNamara corresponds with Disa Wallander, following D&Q's publication of her new book Becoming Horses, about her work and methods.
• Elias Rosner talks to a stalwart of the webcomics scene, Zach Weinersmith, about Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal and other projects.
• Kyle Welch interviews writer Matthew Klickstein about his and Evgeniy Bornyakov 70s horror inspired series You Are Obsolete, ahead of the publication of its collected edition next month.
• Matthew Sibley talks to John Allison about returning to the ScaryGoRound cinematic universe with Wicked Things.
• While Lan Pitts interviews Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson ahead of the return of The Boys with the prequel/sequel/squeakquel Dear Becky.
Stephanie Garcia talks to Lisa Wool-Rim Sjöblom, about her single-panel cartoons depicting racism being experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Alex Dueben is also talking to Disa Wallander about her new book Becoming Horses, and also her wider body of work.
• Nicholas Burman talks to James Nash and Paul Ashley Brown about making comics on the British scene.
• Karama Horne talks to Mikki Kendall about her work documenting feminist history, and writing the new graphic novel Amazons, Abolitionists and Activists with artist A. Damico, colorist Shari Shankhamma, and letterist Erica Shultz.
• Meanwhile, Josh Weiss interviews Fantastic Beasts and Walking Dead actor Dan Fogler, about the three upcoming comics he's written for Heavy Metal.
Ave atque vale… Rest In Peace Alberto Aleandro Uderzo
A number of outlets had obituaries on Albert Uderzo, following his passing, bidding farewell to the cartoonist, co-creator of the beloved Asterix series, including:
• Cynthia Rose for TCJ
• Meilan Solly for Smithsonian Magazine
• Dennis Degg for The Daily Cartoonist
• Gary Tyrrell for Fleen
#StayHomeReadComics or #StayHomeReadAboutComics… Features and Readables
• Here at TCJ Matt Seneca looks back at the pornographic comics of Wally Wood, while George Gene Gustines at the New York Times revisits the life and work of erotic comics writer Kate Worley, for more adults-only content.
• Also here on TCJ, Martha Kuhlman assembles a team of comics academics to discuss Chris Ware’s Rusty Brown.
• Kevin Budnick brought us a new week of Cartoonist's Diaries, from the Before Times in February, asking the important questions like what do thirty year olds look like?
• The Nib also goes for the COVID-19 angle, with a selection of comics from cartoonists on life during lockdown; a strip on how Spanish Flu was the last time mass sporting event cancellations occured; and Whit Taylor and Allyson Shwed’s plea to stop spreading pandemic myths - if it isn’t attributed to a verified source, leave it where you found it, kids.
• The Paris Review has a genuinely delightful excerpt from Letters From Tove, a collection of Tove Jansson’s correspondence, edited by Boel Westin and Helen Svensson, translated from Swedish by Sarah Death; while over at the New Yorker Sheila Heti looks back across Jansson's life and work, framed in the light of these letters.
• Typography-focused blog Tenth Letter of the Alphabet has a biography of the multi-talented letterer, proofreader, production manager, editorial assistant, and archivist, Gerda Gattel.
• Avery Hill Publishing bringing you a timely reminder that you can still read Tillie Walden's On A Sunbeam for free online.
• A somewhat bittersweet article, as Shannon O'Leary takes a look at the evolving curation of contemporary comic stores, pre-pandemic, for Publisher's Weekly, with a follow-up to speak to respondents to their recent retailer survey about how COVID-19 is affecting their stores.
• NPR has an illustrated version of Anya Kamenetz’ tips on setting your home up as a home-school by LA Johnson, while The Guardian has Stephen Collins’ (likely more realistic) take on that whole idea, and on instagram Joe Decie is mostly confused.
• Over at AIPT, Ritesh Babu is starting a deep-dive into the evolution of the modern superhero, via everyone's favourite (???) space-enforcer Green Lantern.
• You can currently get over 450 pages of digital 2000 AD comics for free by signing up to their Thrill-Mail Newsletter, so enjoy this time of worry by reading some of the premier British ‘but what if things were much much worse’ anthology, once they sort out some problems with their app.
• Pretty Deadly’s Emma Ríos has made her 2019 inktober collection of illustrations from the video game Sekiro available for free, and perusing it is much more relaxing than playing it and failing to parry a sword swipe for the nth time, believe you me.
• Ryan Holmberg has made his essay ‘Matsumoto Katsuji: Modern Tomboys and Early Shojo Manga’ available for free for those willing to do a little digging on academia.edu. Safe hunting, friends, may the odds be ever in your favour.
• Just kidding, here’s a direct link to the essay in question.
• Maybe file under 'my specific niche interests', but the Third Annual Bioethics Cartooning Contest winners have been announced - bioethics is my field of research, so I'll cheerlead for it, when I can.
• Zainab Akhtar’s Shortbox is giving away a number of their titles in a pay-what-you-want capacity while people aren’t able to leave their homes; as are radical indie publisher Silver Sprocket; and One Beat Zines' back-catalogue is available for free download thanks to Jules Scheele.
• Want to do some colouring-in to pass the time? Fleen has you covered with a bunch of art activities from European illustrators.
• Even more time to pass? There are some long-reads to feed into your eyes with Doris V. Sutherland looking back at Robert E. Howard’s Dark Agnes, Tim Brinkhof diving into Attack on Titan’s fascist themes, Andy Oliver opening the tomb of Marvel’s The Golem, and Vanessa Cambier on women’s animation and social change.
• Brian Talbot has made a selection of his work free to read over on his website; Luke Healy’s story Peeping Tom is up to read on his website; and the first issue of Bun and Tea is also free-to-read at the moment, thanks to editor Claire Napier.
• Claire Napier also brings us a new instalment of her journey into the unknown, with Insta Made Me Read It, as she dives into comics promoted on the Webtoon official instagram account.
• MariNaomi has been updating their databases of cartoonists of colour, disabled cartoonists, and queer cartoonists, and invites us to have a look through and find some new favourite creators.
• Bill Sienkiewicz clearly has a different definition of 'boring' to most people.
• Frank Miller, Agent of C.H.A.O.S.
Did you ever eat Tasty Wheat? This week’s watchables
• The Beat highlights Comix Experience’s Graphic Novel of the Month Club, which this month has Brian Hibbs talking to Jennifer Holm about Sunny Rolls The Dice.
• Poor Bill Sienkiewicz just wants people to be able to see The New Mutants film, but in the meantime you can tide yourself over with this video of him chatting about the comic.
• Jason Latour’s The Drawl takes a detour from interviewing comics creators (and his mother) to bring a visual essay on The King.
• A mere pandemic won’t slow down Cartoonist Kayfabe, which has a wealth of videos to watch on their channel from the last week or so, including looks at Frederik L Shodt, The Hairy Who, Astro Boy, Eric Larsen, Brendan McCarthy, and Moebius/Dan O'Bannon collaboration The Long Tomorrow.
• Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou's video series Strip Panel Naked is releasing some shorter-form 'snapshot episodes', and the first one is taking a look at Elektra Assassin.
• In a similar vein, Joe Quesada's doing morning warm-up sketching streams as he practices social distancing, Matt Hollingsworth has some tips on using gradient maps in photoshop, Dan McDaid is drawing my namesake, and Charlie Adlard is working on his new series (with writer Robbie Morrison) Heretic.
• Art Spiegelman is sheltering-in-place in the countryside, and he's talking to James Sturm at the Centre for Cartoon Studies about working in the midst of disasters, and advice for young cartoonists.
• I guess you could also watch Birds of Prey (And The Long Subtitle) and/or Bloodshot, which have both come to VOD early due to the current pandemic, but I’m sure I couldn’t possibly encourage that kind of behaviour.
Hey, you wanna hear a good joke? This week’s listens
• There’s a couple of new editions of Dan Berry’s Make It Then Tell Everybody podcast, and he’s in conversation with Incredible Doom’s Matthew Bogart, followed by a chat with Incidental Comics' Grant Snider.
• Off Panel has been running a week of specials, with 6 new episodes ready for your listening pleasure, including chats with Amanda Jorgenson, John Allison, Oliver Sava, John Hendrick, Andrea Demonakos, and Tyler Boss.
• This week's World Balloon podcast sees John Siuntres in-conversation with Terry Beatty, talking Rex Morgan MD, Batman, and creating Ms Tree with Max Allan Collins.
• A short and sweet graphic novel reading list from Raina Telgemeier for these social-distancing times, courtesy of Ailsa Chang over at NPR.
The Kids Are Alright… This week’s recommendations for younger readers
• Brazillian footballer Neymar Jr is releasing a big batch of all-ages comics for free, due to the current pandemic. As a Brit, I refuse to ever use the word ‘soccer’, sorry - the European Championship has been cancelled, and it’s a sore subject right now, thank you for your understanding.
• Captain Underpants' Dav Pilkey launches an online streaming series today, Dav Pilkey at Home, welcoming readers into his mind, with the help of Scholastic and the Library of Congress.
• Mouse Guard's David Petersen is doing readings of his illustrated Wind in the Willows over on this Twitch channel.
• You're less likely to Find Chaffy while sheltering indoors, but that's just a good reason to design your own.
• The Phoenix has set up The Q Club, with free downloads of comics and drawing tutorials for all ages.
• Neill Cameron is making a number of resources for Making Awesome Comics free, for budding creators with time on their hands.
• David DeGrand has a selection of his collabo kids comics (with Bob Flynn, Chris Houghton, and Dan Moynihan), and a colouring book, up for free download on his site.
• Simon and Schuster's Kids imprint has a selection of creative activities for free download as part of their Ready-To-Read selection.
• An AI can now read Marvel superhero stories to your kids, if you so wish. Somewhere, William Gibson shudders, but cannot for the life of him figure out why.
• James Kochalka would like to show you How To Draw Johnny Boo, and has a song to sing while doing it too.
• Yuko Shimizu has some fun drawing activities to share, while we're all cooped up inside.
• Lola Watson has a list of cartoons to keep younger viewers occupied while not able to head to school or daycare, but I’d add Hey Duggee to that, for maximum losing-your-mind-rave potential, have it large.
That’s all the links there is for this week (and last) - I hope you enjoyed this bumper catch up edition - if there’s #content I missed then feel free to pop it in the comments, unless it's from the last couple of days; in which case, expect to see it appearing in a similar manner soon. You know the drill.
I’d especially like more (free) all-ages/younger reader options, for people finding themselves suddenly without childcare or school options, to keep younglings occupied, so throw any leads my way, otherwise I've got my ear to the ground while bringing together next week's offerings.
Special thank you to Ryan Flanders for leaving a fun format to play with and shoes to fill; cheers, Ryan!
In the meantime, stay safe, stay well, and stay home.