Looking Out For Number One – This Week’s Links

It’s been all robots all the time recently, here at This Week’s Links, saying hello to Mars-based rovers and orbiters, and goodbye to Earth-based robot purveyors of dance music. Robots! I just think they’re neat! 

There are a few robots muddled up in the links for this week, which you can find below, but there need to be more - step up your game, please, comics.



Not even my final form… This week’s news.

• After a COVID-19-induced delay, the sixth annual Dwayne McDuffie Award for Diversity in Comics was announced this week, with George Takei, Justin Eisinger, Steven Scott, et al’s They Called Us Enemy taking home the prize, as announced by Phil LaMarr via virtual ceremony.

• SelfMadeHero have announced a new graphic anthology/free mentoring programme for UK-based comics creators from a Black, Asian, Arab, mixed-race, Romani/Traveller or non-white Latinx background - the deadline for applications is 26th March 2021.

• Acting as both a notification to me as to the existence of, and announcement of his retirement from - it turns out that Jim Carrey was making “political protest cartoons” for the last 4 years, and will no longer be doing so, now that there is a new occupant in the White House, and absolutely nothing left to protest *wink*. To quote The Mask, “somebody stop me,” and thus did it come to pass.

• White smoke issued forth from the Vatican, as more new executive positions were filled at comics publishers this week - Dynamite Entertainment announcing that Vince Letterio and Jim Sokolowski would be joining their ranks, following their departures from DC, after that company’s mass restructuring towards the end of last year, while Michelle Wells leaves DC for Tapas and Randy Stradley is retiring after 35 years at Dark Horse. And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon &c &c.

• Meanwhile, over in the book channel, as consideration is given to just what happens to the publishing ecosystem when faced with the next stage of evolution, the megapublisher, one branch of that particular redwood is quietly tying smaller entities into its distro chain. So, I guess, why don't we just wait here for a little while, see what happens?



Organically sourced… This week’s reviews.


Nicholas Burman reviews the trippy iconoclasm of Savage Pencil’s Rated SavX: The Savage Pencil Skratchbook - “Pencil’s career was made possible thanks to the fracture and explosion that punk made in British culture in the mid 1970s. British punk localized various forms of American culture for a UK audience. It accentuated the more rugged and raw aesthetics of punk music that was so incongruous with the overly polite and mild mannered mainstream, traits can be said to still define England today. Pencil has been closely connected to the music scene ever since.”


13th Dimension

Fred Van Lente reviews the depressing realities of Abraham Riesman’s True Believer: The Rise and Fall of Stan Lee.



• David Brooke reviews the solid messaging of Marvel’s Voices: Legacy #1, an anthology issue celebrating Black History Month.

• Ronnie Gorham reviews the redemptive potential of Bryan Edward Hill, Priscilla Petraites, and Marco Lesko’s Chariot #1.

• Colin Moon reviews the supernatural sloppiness of John Arcudi, Valerio Giangiordano, et al’s Two Moons #1.

• Sam Rutzick reviews the inoffensive lifelessness of Travis Mcintire, Tyler Sowles, et al’s Gloomhaven: Fallen Lion.

• Justin Harrison reviews the awkward underdevelopment of Tony Fleecs, Trish Forstner, et al’s Stray Dogs #1.


The Beat

• Avery Kaplan reviews the humorous tropes of  John Patrick Green’s InvestiGators: Off the Hook.

• John Seven reviews the triumphant portrayals of Élodie Durand’s Parenthesis.


Broken Frontier

• Jenny Robins reviews the deft inscrutability of Elisa Macellari’s Kusama: The Graphic Novel, translated by Edward Fortes.

• Tom Murphy reviews the expansive intelligence of Dave Chisholm and Peter Markowski’s Chasin’ the Bird.

• Bruno Savill de Jong reviews the urtext authenticity of Ed Brubaker, Michael Lark, et al's Scene of the Crime.

• Andy Oliver reviews the tragic counterpoints of W. Maxwell Prince, Vanesa Del Rey, Zoe Thorogood, et al’s Haha #1-2; the essential reflections of Robyn Smith’s The Saddest Angriest Black Girl in Town; and the uncompromising authenticity of Ed Firth’s Horny & High Vol. 1.


Four Color Apocalypse

Ryan C reviews a Ryan Alves twofer with the memorable depravity of Bubblegum Maelstrom #1 and the ingenious complexities of Moments With Mo’Peaches, as well as the complex characterisation of John Carvajal’s Dust.


Multiversity Comics

• Elias Rosner reviews the frantic abstractions of Ram V, Anand RK, et al’s Blue in Green.

• John Schaidler reviews the restrained action of Peter Calloway, Georges Jeanty, et al’s Shadow Doctor #1.

• Christopher Egan reviews the intriguing balance of Paul Allor, Paul Tucker, et al’s Hollow Heart #1.

• Kobi Bordoley reviews the memorable nuance of John Arcudi, Valerio Giangiordano, et al's Two Moons #1.

• Jodi Odgers reviews the fascinating jumble of Fraser Campbell, Lucy Sullivan, et al's IND-XED.

• Christa Harader reviews the pulpy pathos of Stephanie Phillips, Tony Shasteen, et al's Nuclear Family #1.



Juanita Giles reviews the powerful circumstances of L.L. McKinney and Robyn Smith’s Nubia: Real One.


Publisher’s Weekly

Have capsule reviews of:

- The agonizing thrills of Abby Howard’s The Crossroads at Midnight.

- The resonant refresh of L.L. McKinney and Robyn Smith’s Nubia: Real One.

- The remarkable beauty of Marc Ellison and Didier Kassaï’s A House Without Windows, translated by Nanette McGuinness.

- The expressive brutality of Espé’s The Parakeet, translated by Hannah Chute.

- The gorgeous tangents of Barry Windsor-Smith’s Monsters.

- The cogent critiques of Darryl Cunningham’s Billionaires: The Lives of the Rich and Powerful.



Nicholas Burman reviews the tangled exposition of Daria Bogdanska's Wage Slaves.


Women Write About Comics

• Nola Pfau reviews the impressive choices of C. Bedford’s ThirteeN: Chapter One.

• Paulina Przystupa reviews the immersive frustrations of Alyssa Wong, Andie Tong, et al’s The Legend of Shang-Chi #1.

• Wendy Browne reviews the hopeful encouragements of Sharon Lee De La Cruz’ I’m A Wild Seed.



Answers demanded and summarily given… This week’s interviews.


• Robert Elder interviews J.M. DeMatteis about the influence of Ernest Hemingway on the ending of Kraven’s Last Hunt [CW: suicide], the role of the writer in depicting dark corners of the psyche, and the 80s shift in what superhero comics could be - “I grew up in an era where there were a lot of shocks. When I was in the fourth grade, the Cuban Missile Crisis happened, and I literally thought that, within the next 24 hours, we were all going to die in a nuclear holocaust. That leaves an impression. The next year, Kennedy was assassinated. And as a kid, it's like these things that you could never conceive before had happened.”

• Ian Thomas interviews Arik Roper about parental guidance and artistic experimentation, disinterest in the whole superhero thing, and letting the landscapes take centre stage - “On one hand the [SVA] teachers were professional and expert but I was somewhat unimpressed with the body of work from the other students, in general. It wasn't an easy school to get into if you were going on skill alone, but it became clear once there that if you had money then that was your card to get in. So I was a little disappointed about that, to see these people who just didn't really have that much talent, but must have been able to pay the tuition and attend.”



Celestia Ward talks to Richard Wiseman about collaborating with Rik Worth and Jordan Collver on Hocus Pocus, layered magical interactivity, the inspiration of Al Jaffee, and the realities of comics commerce.


New York Times

Norimitsu Onishi covers the release of Lucky Luke: A Cowboy In High Cotton, talking to Julien Berjeaut about moving the book away from its racist history, and canvassing historians, journalists, and other creators on the troubled history of Black characters in popular bande dessinées.


Smash Pages

Alex Dueben talks to John Jennings about After The Rain, creating visual languages, Megascope’s upcoming plans, and the archival aspects of comics; and interviews Tim Fielder about Infinitum: An Afrofuturist Tale, definitive statements, and the job of the storyteller.



Daniel Elkin presents the latest edition of Knowing is Half the Battle, as Kelsey Wroten shares thoughts on when publishers should take a soft touch, the use of agents for ensuring fair page rates, and how to (start to) overcome self-sabotage when promoting work.



Karama Horne interviews Ken Quattro about Invisible Men: The Trailblazing Black Artists of Comic Books, the hidden history of Black creators in comics, and the difficulties in tracing historical origins of artists in the Black community.


Women Write About Comics

Wendy Browne talks to Natalia Lopes about her personal history with horror comics, body horror influences, and the anxious hope of creativity.



I don’t like cricket (I love it)... This week’s features and comics.

• A week of diary comics returned to TCJ once more, courtesy of Mike Shea-Wright, as January brought snow and school to New York, realizations about video games, supporting of the USPS, lessons from Lynda Barry, with a final edition going up today, so read that now, if you haven’t already.

• Also for TCJ, Steve Holland has an obituary for Si Spencer, who passed away suddenly last week, leaving behind a medium-spanning body of work - “After dropping out of university, Spencer spent years on the dole, “playing in bands, pulling scams, ducking and diving and, I’m not ashamed to say, generally having a ball.” Although a reader of British reprints of Marvel in the Sixties, and British weekly humor comics Whizzer and Chips, Monster Fun and Cor!!, he left comics behind in his teens, only returning to them in his mid-twenties through a housemate, who introduced him to Warrior, Yummy Fur and underground comics.”

• For Comicosity, Véronique Emma Houxbois wrote about SFSX’s kink, bdsm porn, sex work, and free speech contexts, and its conversation with the leather themes in Morrison’s writing on The Invisibles, as continued in Frank Quitely’s designs in their collaboration on New X-Men.

• NeoText celebrates the work of Colleen Doran, as Chloe Maveal digs into Doran’s early start with comics, during a boom time for indie-creators, leading to a storied career of comics creation and activism.

• Over at the LA Review of Books, David M. Higgins and Matthew Iung chart the history of cyberpunk in the comics medium, the increased diversity in voices contributing to the genre in the 21st century, and the importance of Métal Hurlant in influencing the core texts.

• For Solrad, Angela M. Sánchez looks at the concept of identity and mixed heritage narratives through the lens of Rumiko Takahashi’s manga InuYasha, and the complexities it navigates that most foundational western fantasies avoid.

• Over at AIPT, Stephanie Kemmerer picks at the tangled web at the heart of The Department of Truth, and the existential dread of contemporary conspiracies that it appears to be both drawing from and embodying, while Keigen Rea draws up blueprints for the New York of Adventureman.

• Gregory Paul Silber presents a birthday edition of Silber Linings, diving into the dollar bins and coming up with, well, not gold, but some kind of metal that has monetary value, of a sort.

• Jay Edidin has published a pay-what-you-want guide to the comics profession for mental health professionals, on the off-chance that you can’t stomach having to again explain to your therapist for the nth time just what specific pressures arise from being involved in the comics industry/community.

• For The Hollywood Reporter, Roy Thomas exercises his right to reply, offering a rebuttal to Abraham Riesman’s new Stan Lee biography, presenting a counterpoint on Lee’s importance in creating the Marvel pantheon.

• From Shelfdust’s dispatch desk, Steve Morris has yet again gambled on Mutantkind, and this time around is watching everybody die in Uncanny X-Men #142, while Kayleigh Hearn experiences the true horror of a continuity-baiting crossover(ish) story with no lasting repercussions.

• Over at The Daily Cartoonist, from the editorial beat, Rush Limbaugh died, Ted Cruz holidayed, snow continued, politics continued, as did hindsight, and consideration was given to how the sausage gets from farm to table, as well as what’s going on with MAD Magazine.

• Some recent longform comics, as The Nib has Maki Naro and Diana Kwon’s look at the hot new COVID strains that are dropping, Ben Passmore counters Jim Carrey’s decision to quit with the protesting, and Trinidad Escobar documents the human cost of major sporting events; while Walter Scott charts Wendy’s attempts to maintain a sense of self in The New Yorker; and Margaret Flatley presents some new superheroes that 2021 deserves for The Lily.




All eventually optioned by Netflix… This week’s recommended watching.

• For the younger viewers in the house, presenting this month’s edition of Comix Experience’s Kids Club, Brian Hibbs talks to Stephanie Cooke, Insha Fitzpatrick, and Juliana Moon about Oh My Gods!, comics origin stories, sourcing dialogue for young characters from real life, and sequel plans.

• For up-and-coming comics creators, or the eternally curious, Ngozi Ukazu and Gale Galligan are running a pair of free workshops on perspective and coloring in comics next month - registration closes 5th March.

• The Believer and Black Mountain Institute’s Friday comics workshop saw Ann Xu taking viewers through drawing what they love this week, in the form of 4-panel comics, and depicting macro or micro actions.

• Coming up on Sunday evening (7pm CET), Benjamin Marra will be live on Instagram, as part of All The Problems In This World’s series of monthly interviews, talking about satanic panic, what constitutes controversy, all the Marra greatest hits.

• Don Rosa hosted another live broadcast this week, this time from one of his three libraries (hardback fiction, A-Z), taking viewers on a quick tour of the tomes stored there, picking out some favorites from his collection, and discussing how to ensure that he always gets at least one comp copy of his work.

• Some recent releases on the Society of Illustrators YouTube channel, as Paul Gravett talks to George Khoury (aka JAD); Calvin Reid moderates a panel discussion on Invisible Men: The Trailblazing Black Artists of Comic Books with Ken Quattro, Stanford W. Carpenter, and Craig Yoe; and Kim A. Munson chairs a talk from last year's Women in Comics: Looking Forward and Back exhibition, with speakers Colleen Doran, Trinidad Escobar, Emil Ferris, Ebony Flowers, Lee Marrs, and Alitha Martinez.

• Continuing with the ongoing thesis defence as to “what is, and is not, an outlaw?” Cartoonist Kayfabe covered a spread of titles this week, including The Crow, Wolverine, Ed the Happy Clown, and Savage Dragon, with digressions along the way to Eastman and Laird Town, and the Gallery of Modern Kevin Nowlan Art.

• The Billy Ireland Museum and Cartoon Crossroads Columbus hosted a virtual talk from MS Harkness (starts around the 8m30s mark) on 5 rules for constructing graphic memoir, considering the comics continuum, and Ohio's cartooning history and community - you can see a schedule of upcoming virtual events from CXC and The Billy Ireland here.

• A couple of recent videos from Comic Con International’s educational series, as Brigid Alverson chaired a panel on keeping things funny in comics for younger readers, with speakers Lincoln Peirce, Sarah Kuhn, Mika Song, and Art Baltazar; and John Shableski moderated a discussion with Kendall Haven, Dr. Kerry Freedman, and Alex Simmons on the formal, psychological, and historical aspects of the development of visual storytelling.



Ear-based binging… This week’s easy-listening.

• The number 1 art comics podcast in Singapore returns, and this week Tucker Stone, Chris Mautner, Joe McCulloch, and Matt Seneca are hitting all the pressing topics of the day - Nonplayer, The Matrix, Zack Snyder, and then a brief discussion on Al Columbia's work and influence on a generation of creepy weirdos.

• 2000 AD’s Lockdown Tapes continue, and this week there’s a look at the new edition of 2000 AD Regened, the all-ages version of the Galaxy’s Greatest Comic, as MOLCH-R talks to Michael Carroll, Luke Horsman, Simon Coleby, David Ballie, and Anna Morozova about their strips for younger readers.

• 2021’s crop of new comics podcasts continues, as this week Douglas Wolk launched Voice of Latveria, a weekly podcast dedicated to everybody’s favorite tyrant and holder of an honorary doctorate, Dr Victor Von Doom, with inaugural guest Dr Andréa Gilroy.

• Mangasplaining continues, and this week David Brothers leads a discussion on Delicious in Dungeon Volume 1, the book’s hybrid form of various manga genres, and whether it succeeds as an introductory entry to a series, plus the book’s popularity with its core fanbase.

• Shelfdust Presents hits up Suicide Squad #8, as Matt Lune and Elana Levin discuss its place in 80s superhero comics, and the series’ aesthetics and lasting influence.

• Two different flavors of the same great Mex Flentallo taste this week - one without guests, one with guests - as the latter saw a crossover with the Gutter Boys podcast, and discussion of the rampant capitalism of collecting/flipping, while the former got into the hosts’ origin stories once more, and why you should take social media process posts with spoonfuls of salt, and ignore online drama, unless it’s really funny.

• Thick Lines were chatting My New York Diary this week, looking back at the comics of Julie Doucet, and the lessons on pronunciation to be learned from the work of Le Tigre.

• Christine Larsen joined Dan Berry to Make It Then Tell Everybody, as they discussed Orcs!, finding one’s creative voice, pens, and shortfallings in criticism of creative endeavors.

• It was all mutants all the time on this week’s Off Panel, as David Harper and Vita Ayala chatted about New Mutants and the X-books, creating via video conference, and the wealth of sword-based content in Marvel’s current output.



10 PRINT That’s it for this week’s clickables

20 PRINT Back in 10000 minutes with more

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