Another All Hallows' Eve approaches here in the UK, with Guy Fawkes Night following hot on its heels, so, along with this week’s links, below, all available surface space that I can see is also covered in cinder toffee, carved turnips, and hastily constructed effigies to be burned on a pile of wood and leaves, after first checking them for slumbering hedgehogs, naturally. Sausages everywhere too, but that’s just your usual Friday in Sunnie Olde Englande.
— Nicole Goux (@NicoleGoux) October 9, 2023
This week’s news.
• Returning to one of last week’s stories, Scholastic announced an about-face this week, reversing their decision to roll out the somewhat ironically titled ‘Share Every Story, Celebrate Every Voice’ collection at their upcoming book fairs - the collection, which would have allowed school districts to choose not to offer selected titles, that run afoul of state legislation that seeks to restrict access to books with a focus on themes of race, gender, or sexuality, drew widespread condemnation from authors and free speech groups.
• Elsewhere, The Beat shares news of the closure of Geoffrey’s Comics and Hi-De-Ho Comics, part of a spate of store closures announced over the last few weeks, which also includes Harrow’s Calamity Comics, Manhattan’s Jim Hanley’s Universe, Fresno’s Heroes Comics, and New York’s Pulp 716, with the COVID-19 pandemic and rising rents cited as major contributing factors in a number of cases.
• In memoriam, remembering those the world of comics has lost, and news was shared this week of the passing of manga author Hisaya Nakajo, creator of Hana-Kimi: For You in Full Blossom, who died earlier this month at the age of 50.
• News was also shared of the passing of magazine professional, gallerist, and collectibles expert, Harry Matetsky, who co-authored the 1988 book The Adventures of Superman Collecting with Amanda Matetsky.
Ash Magician with ash Imago golems for the Cloud Empress pic.twitter.com/VrETG4aYQw
— pbbeta (COMMISSIONS OPEN) (@RePlayMaster) October 25, 2023
This week’s reviews.
• Ben Austin-Docampo reviews the killer action of Daniel Warren Johnson’s Do a Powerbomb! - “Johnson, though, is on his own planet when it comes to comics-making. As he has many times over, Johnson takes us across time and space (the universe, actually) for this yarn, making what could be an overly complicated story discernible and succinct. At its core, it's the story of a family with plenty of love and sadness to power it through life, and enough hate to make it interesting.”
• Tegan O’Neil reviews the unrelenting inventiveness of Jordan Thomas, Shaky Kane, et al’s Weird Work - “What happens if you take Kirby’s understanding of shape and trace it with a line more redolent of Gilbert Hernandez? Well, you might end up nearer to Shaky Kane. Like Gilbert, and Ditko before them both, Kane is happy to let a consistent line weight play the part of unnerving the reader. Everything Kane draws ends up coming out just a little bit strange, not to say sinister.”
• Kevin Brown reviews the continuing explorations of Keum Suk Gendry-Kim’s adaptation of Park Wan-suh’s The Naked Tree, translated by Janet Hong - “The frame tale drives that idea home, developing the question of what one will sacrifice for art and whether that sacrifice is worth it - some of the decisions Park Wan-suh has made are called into doubt. The war had its effect on her as well, leading to existential questions of her own.”
• Colin Moon reviews the delightful malarkey of Dark Horse Comics’ Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: The Secret of Chesbro House and Others.
• Collier Jennings reviews the ridiculous premise of Mike Mignola, Duncan Fegredo, et al’s Giant Robot Hellboy #1.
• Justin Harrison reviews the striking colours of Zoe Thorogood’s Hack/Slash: Back to School #1.
• Chris Coplan reviews the enriching reworking of James Tynion IV and Martin Simmonds’ Universal Monsters: Dracula #1.
• Ronnie Gorham reviews the unpredictable horror of Rich Douek, Alex Cormack, et al’s Drive Like Hell #1,
• David Brooke reviews the intriguing darkness of Jock’s Gone #1.
• Lukas Shayo reviews the refreshing potential of Tim Sheridan, Cian Tormey, et al’s Alan Scott: The Green Lantern #1.
• Alex Schlesinger reviews the impactful intimacy of Christopher Cantwell, Ruairi Coleman, Alex Lins, et al’s Hellcat: Devil On My Shoulder.
• Ryan Sonneville reviews the warped heroics of Peter Milligan, Michael Allred, et al’s The X-Cellent Volume 2: Unsocial Media.
• Zack Quaintance reviews the entertaining expansion of Josie Campbell, Vasco Georgiev, et al’s Amazons Attack #1.
• Tim Rooney reviews the frenetic spectacle of Alyssa Wong, Jan Bazaldua, et al’s Captain Marvel #1.
• Zach Godlin reviews the layered mysteries of Shima Shinya’s GLITCH, Volume 1, translated by Eleanor Summers.
• Andy Oliver has reviews of:
- The effective retrospection of Elizabeth Lander’s The Deep End.
- The imaginative shifting of Winnie Chua’s A Walk in the Park.
- The enticing design of Ian Simmons’ Unicorn, Hunted.
Four Color Apocalypse
House to Astonish
Paul O’Brien has capsule reviews of Marvel Comics’ X-Men Unlimited Infinity Comic #109, Astonishing Iceman #3, Children of the Vault #3, Invincible Iron Man #11, and Deadpool: Badder Blood #5.
Melissa Holbrook Pierson reviews the dizzying complexity of Amy Kurzweil’s Artificial: A Love Story.
Have starred capsule reviews of:
- The vivid immersion of Lonnie Mann and Ryan Gatts’ Gaytheist: Coming Out of my Orthodox Childhood.
- The impressive energy of Gene Luen Yang and Leuyen Pham’s Lunar New Year Love Story.
- The delightful quirkiness of David Ezra Stein’s Beaky Barnes and the Devious Duck.
• Matthew Blair reviews the exploratory ideas of Zoe Thorogood’s Hack/Slash: Back to School #1.
• Christopher Egan reviews the fascinating mind-games of Matt Kindt, Wilfredo Torres, et al’s Subgenre #1.
• James Dowling reviews the stubborn continuity of Mike Mignola, Duncan Fegredo, et al’s Giant Robot Hellboy #1.
• Ryan Fitzmartin reviews the shallow evocations of Enrico Marini’s Noir Burlesque, translated by Dan Christensen.
• Joe Skonce reviews the stunning worldbuilding of Tony S. Daniel, et al's Edenwood #1.
• Gregory Ellner reviews the solid start of Josie Campbell, Vasco Georgiev, et al's Amazons Attack #1.
• Heller McAlpin reviews the hilarious relatability of Roz Chast’s I Must Be Dreaming.
• Tahneer Oksman reviews the thoughtful design of Nora Krug's Diaries of War: Two Visual Accounts from Ukraine and Russia.
Have capsule reviews of:
- The swirling triumph of Josh Bayer’s Unended.
- The bristling lyricism of Chuck D’s Summer of HAMN.
- The magnificent crafting of Marcelino Truong’s 40 Men and 12 Rifles: Indochina 1954, translated by David Homel.
Kevin Brown reviews the contrasting styles of Darrin Bell’s The Talk.
Women Write About Comics
Kathryn Hemmann reviews the brilliant strangeness of Emily Carroll’s A Guest in the House.
Godzilla vs Justice League cover pic.twitter.com/fyX9GkOjes
— James Stokoe (@HeGotGronch) October 20, 2023
This week’s interviews.
Kim Jooha interviews Rotem Anna Diamant and Jordan Reg. Aelick about the Canada Comics Open Library, the collection’s focus, the library’s organisational identity, and the appropriateness of shelving systems - “[Diamant:] I’m constantly in awe at what comics have been, what they are now, and the potential of the medium. I’m so excited to see what comics will be created in my lifetime. For me, it’s another reason to keep getting out of bed in the morning. I think making the medium more accessible will lead to a broader depth of stories being told and more unique directions being taken. That’s some of my personal motivation for the CCOL.”
• Chris Coplan speaks with Michael Moreci, Nicholas Eames, and Nathan Gooden about Barbaric: Wrong Kind of Righteous #1, and contrasting sentient weapons; and with Matt Wagner and Kelley Jones about Dracula, and indy comics moving to crowdfunding.
• David Brooke talks to Tony S. Daniel about Edenwood, the logistics of worldbuilding, and the rough and tumble realities of growing up in a tough neighbourhood.
• Dean Simons chats with Paul Grist and Anna Morozova about SMASH!, the joys of the original source material, and historical research mixing with contemporary practices.
• Avery Kaplan interviews M.S. Harkness about Time Under Tension, weightlifting training tempos, and focusing in on a fixed narrative chronology.
• Zack Quaintance speaks with Duncan Fegredo about Giant Robot Hellboy, the genesis of the book, the mechanics of a giant robot, and the realities of drawing a comic.
• Taimur Dar interviews Tom Waltz about Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - The Last Ronin II: Re-Evolution, and character and creator callbacks.
Leslie Katz talks to Sarah Cho about Red Light, sex robots, and the artistic and thematic inspirations for the book.
Susana Polo speaks with Tim Sheridan about Alan Scott: The Green Lantern, not backing down to bigots online, and donating royalties from the book to the Elton John AIDS Foundation.
• Shaenon Garrity chats with Michael Cherkas about Red Harvest, the research behind the book, Ukraine’s cultural history, and educating readers on the Ukrainian famine of 1931 and 1932.
• Shannon Maughan talks to Jessixa Bagley and Aaron Bagley about Duel, spotlighting fencing in the book, and personal familial inspirations for the story.
The Washington Post
Michael Cavna interviews Dan Schkade about the return of Flash Gordon, increased interest in the character, and the importance of the strip’s supporting cast.
a fiend for lich-erature pic.twitter.com/6FNvRNSVkI
— Artyom Topilin (commissions open) (@artyomtopilin) October 24, 2023
This week’s features and longreads.
• Here at TCJ, Hagai Palevsky samples the wares from this year’s ShortBox Comics Fair, highlighting Michael Furler’s Bunny Punch: Meal Replacement, abuelaignea’s say a, Myraha Harmon-Arias’ The Method of Loci, Bailey Gross’ Symbiont, and Oscar Woodiwiss' A Scientific Study of Transsexuality - “I've barely scratched the surface of this year's offerings, but this much I can say without hesitation: if the role of a curator is to simultaneously articulate the form's foundational range of function by choosing disparate voices and to advance that form by articulating connections between voices, I'd be hard-pressed to find someone doing a stronger, more confident job than Zainab Akhtar.”
• For more of 2023’s offering from ShortBox, the team at Women Write About Comics spotlight some of their favourite picks, and, for IRL [in real life] comics events, Kate O'Donoghue reports from Long Island’s HurriCon.
• For The New Yorker, Rivka Galchen writes on the return to print of Bill Watterson, telling a new story in The Mysteries with artist John Kascht, and looks back on the enduring popularity of Calvin and Hobbes, and the strip’s place in the comics canon.
• For Sheldust, Paulina Przystupa looks back at the various bangs to be found in Pornsak Pichetshote and Alexandre Tefenkgi’s The Good Asian #4, and the anger at the heart of the issue.
• From Cover to Cover's Scott Cederlund focuses in on a singular panel from Brian Bolland's The Actress and the Bishop, the storytelling contained within its borders, and looks at the story's publication in A1.
• For Women Write About Comics, Sabrina TVBand looks back on Adam Warren's The Dirty Pair, the relationship at the core of the various limited series, how Warren came to be adapting Haruka Takachiho's characters, and Warren's evolving style across the stories featuring Kei and Yuri.
• Over at ICv2, Brigid Alverson writes on the decision by Scholastic, subsequently reversed, to allow the excision of books deemed ‘controversial’ from their fairs, and covers the responses from across the industry to acquiescence of this kind to book bans.
• From the world of open-access academia, writing in Children’s Literature in Education, Sylwia Kamińska-Maciąg has a paper on the postmemory narrative to be found in Olga Lavrentieva’s Survilo, and its engagement with the events of the Great Terror and the siege of Leningrad.
• For Qualitative Inquiry, Mike Kugler writes on the experience of searching for historical context when revisiting the comics made by one’s father, examining work made by Jimmy Kugler, more on which can be read here at TCJ.
• For Popular Communication, Johan Nilsson writes on the capitalist and consumerist tensions running through the commercial expansion of the Swedish cartoon and comic strip franchise Bamse.
GODZILLA X KONG: THE HAUNTED Cover illustratrion. pic.twitter.com/4h8Hqcf52F
— David Aja (@davaja) October 25, 2023
This week’s audio/visual delights.
• Bill Kartalopoulos hosted the latest meeting of the New York Comics & Picture-Story Symposium, as this week artist, and founder of publisher nos:books, Son Ni spoke about personal history with comics and manga, and evolving creative processes.
• Brian Hibbs was joined by Ben Hatke for the newest edition of the Comix Experience Graphic Novel Club, as they discussed Things in the Basement, the art history weaved through the book, and the gestation of its characters.
• Some trips with John Siuntres in the Word Balloon, as this week Sal Abbinanti spoke about the recent New York Comic Con, Matt Wagner and Kelley Jones talked about Dracula, Mike Oeming and Taki Soma discussed numerous projects, and Joe Brusha chatted about Zenescope’s slate of horror books.
• David Harper was joined by Rick Remender for this week’s episode of Off Panel, as they spoke about new Image Comics imprint Giant Generator, the realities of the publishing business, and conventions in 2023.
• Also catching up after New York Comic Con, Calvin Reid, Heidi MacDonald, and Kate Fitzsimmons convened for the latest edition of Publisher’s Weekly’s More to Come, as they rounded up the big news out of the convention, and roamed the con floor to speak with Cat Stagg, Martin Morazzo, Yanick Pacquette, and Saladin Ahmed.
• Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou returned with a new Strip Panel Naked video essay, this time out looking at Lucie Bryon’s Thieves, and the storytelling employed in the opening secret of the book, which sets up the story’s two protagonists.
• Closing out the week with more Cartoonist Kayfabe, as Jim Rugg and Ed Piskor took a look at John McCoy and Andrei Molotiu’s Raw, Weirdo, and Beyond: American Alternative Comics, 1980-2000, R. Crumb and Aline Kominsky-Crumb’s Self-Loathing Comics, Neil Gaiman et al’s The Sandman: Endless Nights, Steve Ditko’s Mr. A, and Alan Moore and John Totleben’s Swamp Thing #53, as well as a shoot interview with Don Simpson about comics origins and the work-for-hire indie divisions.
Cartoonist @NicoleJGeorges (Fetch) leads a discussion with cartoonists, @cash__browns (PeePee-PooPoo), @KarlCKrumpholz (30 Miles of Crazy), and @msharkness (Desperate Pleasures). pic.twitter.com/N9gn0vvYLN
— Cartoon Crossroads Columbus (CXC) (@CXCFestival) October 17, 2023
That’s all for this week, back next time with more, once I have found the solution to this ancient puzzle box with surprisingly sharp edges.
Th-this is my hole! pic.twitter.com/tYro2P2X2F
— Sophie Wang // shuf (@wangshuf) October 25, 2023