We’re heading back into that busy time of year for in-person comics eventing, as (whisper it) things seem to be getting back to a semblance of normality. Masked and vaxxed normality with a need to shove a swab up your nostril and over your tonsil, sure, but a remarkable leap compared to what the last two years held on that front. And it truly does look like *Nature Is Healing* when you see photographs from gatherings like that, heartening scenes after an enforced fallow period.
I’m not sure if I’ll be attending any cons in 2022, as I’m more into wandering through wooded areas at the moment, attempting to shade my pasty white skin from the burning rays of Sol and not succumb to seasonal allergies, but if you chance upon me in some leafy glade then please feel free to demand an in-person rendition of this week’s links, which you can otherwise read below.
— lee gatlin (@neilaglet) May 15, 2022
A set of steak knives… This week’s news.
• Starting off the week with awards news, as festival and convention season gets into full swing, Comic Con International announced the shortlists for this year’s Eisner Awards, with DC Comics leading the pack with 15 nominations, Image Comics receiving 14 nominations, and Fantagraphics and IDW/Top Shelf tied with 11 nominations each, while TCJ.com is in the running for Best Comics-Related Periodical/Journalism. Remember to vote early, and vote often, before the deadline closes on June 8th.
• Elsewhere, the Doug Wright Awards announced this year’s nominees, for its 18th annual honours, selected from works published by Canadian creators during the 2021 calendar year, with Sofia Alarcon, Brigitte Archambault, and Alexander Laird all garnering multiple nominations, and Margaret Bloy Graham posthumously conferred with this year’s Giants of the North: The Canadian Cartoonist Hall of Fame induction.
• Finally in this week’s awards round-up, Safdar Ahmed’s graphic novel Still Alive: Notes from Australia’s Immigration Detention System is one of the Book of the Year titles in 2022’s New South Wales Premier’s Literary Awards, also winning the awards’ Multicultural category, receiving total prize money of $30,000, with Ahmed quoted as saying “I think people are still quite unaware just how cruel and punishing Australia’s policies are against asylum seekers and refugees. I hope this book educates people.”
• Checking in on book-banning news, as Book Riot reports on attempts in Virginia to sue Barnes & Noble for selling Maia Kobabe's Gender Queer: A Memoir, as the tactics of right wing groups to target works they deem inappropriate evolve to find new and interesting ways to wilfully misinterpret the term 'obscene'.
• Onwards to licensing news, Marvel Comics announced that Conan the Barbarian will be stomping off to pastures new in July, as the Cimmerian’s character rights revert to Conan Properties International, a subsidiary of Heroic Signatures, which plans to open its own publishing program in 2023.
• Staying with the House of Ideas’ licensing division, it was announced that a 20-year deal for use of Stan Lee’s name and likeness has been struck between Marvel and Stan Lee Universe, a collaboration between Genius Brands and POW! Entertainment, the latter of which was last seen in the news as part of an attempt to launch NFTs branded with Lee’s likeness on what would have been his 99th birthday, as well as being taken to court by Lee, and subsequently his daughter, JC Lee, over allegations of fraudulent business practices. Excelsior?
• Koyama Provides announced the latest recipient of their grants program, awarding $1,500 to Oliver East, which will be used “...to spend time in the city of Toronto, using the streets as my atelier during an artist’s residency. The funding is crucial as it affords me precious time to focus on my public art and walking practice, which have lay dormant while other work has taken precedence.”
• In memoriam, remembering those the world of comics has lost, it was announced this week that colorist and graphic designer Diego do Nascimento Lima, aka Dijjo Lima, passed away due to a pulmonary embolism, aged 34.
— clarice tudor (@claricetudor_) May 13, 2022
Award nominees of the future… This week’s reviews.
• Leonard Pierce reviews the handsome skill of Noah Van Sciver’s The Complete Works of Fante Bukowski - “It helps that Van Sciver places him in such gorgeously realized circumstances. The art style doesn’t vary that much, never wandering too far away from the simple, appealing linework and lived-in funkiness that characterizes all of his work. But he decorates it with so many lovely little details, so many faces that immediately imprint themselves in our minds, that it seems so much more complicated than it is.”
• Chris Ready reviews the bite-size intensity of Gerry Finley-Day, Mike Western, et al’s The Sarge Volume 1 - “This Sergeant is not just capable of caring about his men as if they were his sons, his reach extends to the various would-be (often non-British) allies his platoon encounters. He offers all a therapeutic re-evaluation founded in violence - one ruthlessly directed at the common enemy of creeping fascism.”
• Robert Kirby reviews the devastating accuracy of Jessica Campbell’s Rave - “Ultimately, I don’t believe Campbell’s book is anti-religion. I think she simply questions the role religion has in shaping impressionable minds. At heart it is a protest against the damage wrought by doctrines that tout forgiveness and acceptance—but earned only after swift judgment and punishment have been meted out. Rave is a thoughtful, painful coming-of-age tale with gravitas, wrapped in a deceptively charming package.”
• Ronnie Gorham reviews the terrific potential of Stephanie Phillips, Flaviano, et al’s Grim #1.
• David Brooke reviews the artful weirdness of Geof Darrow’s Shaolin Cowboy: Cruel To Be Kin #1.
• Madeleine Chan reviews the vivid poignancy of Jadzia Axelrod, Jess Taylor, et al’s Galaxy: The Prettiest Star.
• Robert Reed reviews the fresh strengths of Greg Pak, Khoi Pham, et al’s Duo #1.
• Eric Alex Cline reviews the pleasing craft of Moto Hagio’s The Poe Clan Volume 1, translated by Rachel Thorn.
• Hussein Wasiti reviews the over-sized quazi-relaunch of Vita Ayala, Rod Reis, Jan Duursema, et al’s New Mutants #25.
• Cori McCreery reviews the queer inclusivity of Tini Howard, Bengal, et al's Catwoman #43.
• Deanna Destito reviews the seamless authenticity of M.L. Smoker, Natalie Peeterse, Dale Deforest, et al’s Thunderous.
Andy Oliver reviews the fascinating observations of Rachael Smith’s Quarantine Comix; the uncompromising honesty of Catherine Castro and Quentin Zuttion’s Call Me Nathan, translated by Evan McGorray; and the ethereal poetry of Sonja Ahlers’ Swan Song.
House to Astonish
Paul O’Brien reviews the unbalanced equation of Gerry Duggan, Phil Noto, et al’s Devil’s Reign: X-Men #1-3.
• Joe Skonce reviews the mischievous apocalypse of Charles Soule and Ryan Browne’s Eight Billion Genies #1.
• Kobi Bordoley reviews the deft beginning of Stephanie Phillips, Flaviano, et al’s Grim #1.
• Robbie Pleasant reviews the hit-and-miss goofiness of Daniel Warren Johnson, Juan Gedeon, et al’s The Jurassic League #1.
• Alexander Jones reviews the ambitious narrative of David Pepose, Carlos Magno, et al's Savage Avengers #1.
The New York Times
Etelka Lehoczky reviews the differing attitudes of Julie Doucet’s Time Zone J, and Grace Ellis and Hannah Templer’s Flung Out of Space: Inspired by the Indecent Adventures of Patricia Highsmith.
Have capsule reviews of:
- The sublime nuance of Casanova Frankenstein and Glenn Pearce’s How to Make a Monster: Ugly Memories of Chicago from a South Side Escapee.
- The provocative surreality of Nick Drnaso’s Acting Class.
- The straightforward frankness of Taki Soma’s Sleeping While Standing.
- The thoughtful atmosphere of Jadzia Axelrod, Jess Taylor, et al’s Galaxy: The Prettiest Star.
- The kinetic details of Johnnie Christmas’ Swim Team.
• Ed Haynes reviews the disappointing stillness of Dave Chisholm’s Enter the Blue.
• Kevin Brown reviews the honest confrontations of Hiromi Goto and Ann Xu’s Shadow Life.
Women Write About Comics
• Kat Overland reviews the unmoored action of Steve Orlando, Paul Fry, et al’s Spider-Man 2099: Exodus Alpha #1.
• Seth Smith reviews the resonant narrative of Keito Gaku’s Boys Run the Riot Volume 1.
More tree facts from False Knees! pic.twitter.com/eCA5KaUkfm
— False Knees (@FalseKnees) May 9, 2022
Acceptance speech practice… This week’s interviews.
• Ian Thomas interviews Jasper Jubenvill about Dynamite Diva, comics origins, quitting work to do comics full time, and writing as you go - “I think my output really ramped up because I quit working my day job. I saved up and just felt like trying to actually make it in comics. I still lived with my parents so financial risks were somewhat lower. A lot of my early comics that I was making when I first left my job were just trying too hard. Those were the mistakes I’d make.”
• From the archives, originally published in TCJ #79-80 in 1983, Steve Ringgenberg and Gary Groth interview George Pérez about constructive criticism, working relationships, inkers, and cursed books - “What I really regret is that there are a lot of people who have been working a long time and are not in their prime as far as potential, and as far as their output is concerned. And they missed out on all these wonderful innovations, the royalties and all that. They are not fan favorites and they won’t get the kind of assignments from which they can benefit the most from the new programs, the financial rewards.”
• Chris Hassan talks to Roy Thomas about X-Men Legends, naming things after animals, naming things that sound hard, and favourite comic books of all time.
• David Brooke speaks with Stuart Moore about The Wrong Earth: Purple #1, exciting real estate deals, the nebulousness of now, and the joys of one-shots.
• Joe Grunenwald interviews Rainbow Rowell about She-Hulk, dealing with continuity, frenemies, and bringing in some fresh villains; and Stuart Moore about The Wrong Earth: Purple, the appeal of the 1980s, wise words from Prince, and filmic inspirations.
• Deanna Destito speaks with Zack Kaplan and John J. Pearson about Mindset, playing with double meanings, meditation app absurdity, and working with the Vault Comics team.
Andy Oliver talks to R.D. Hunter about Black Boy’s Blues: Funny Money, juxtaposing words and pictures, confronting survivor’s guilt, and pairing artists to stories.
Jim McLauchlin speaks with Mind’s Eye Comics’ Eric Childs about the importance of comics for younger readers, online commerce and social media, and un-closing a business.
Chris Cole interviews Jeffrey Brown about Loved And Lost: A Relationship Trilogy, owning stories about being an idiot, organic story development processes, and board game losses.
The New Yorker
Graciela Mochkofsky chats with Lalo Alcaraz about winning the Herblock Prize, growing up surrounded by the politics of the US-Mexican border, and hate mail.
• Shaenon Garrity interviews Sofia Warren about Radical: My Year with a Socialist Senator, the practical surprises of bureaucracy, and keeping depictions of conversations dynamic.
• Brigid Alverson talks to Stu Levy about Tokyopop’s 25th Anniversary, looking back at the publisher’s moves in the early days of the American manga market, and the controversies of the Manga Pilot program.
the hotel pool pic.twitter.com/7GYjkz8dsu
— Anna-Laura (@annalaura_art) May 12, 2022
Wandering lonely as a cloud… This week’s features and longreads.
• Here at TCJ, Evheny Osievsky writes on Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ Watchmen, and its narrative engagement with the atomic nightmares of the 1980s, along with its continued contemporary relevance - “Watchmen presented itself as a story of modest acts of kindness, spontaneous cooperation, the heroism of the supposedly “unremarkable” people in the face of all the scheming masterminds–with or without quotation marks–of the world, standing knee-deep in the blood of the innocents. As a Ukrainian, I have a very good guess about why that might be the case.”
• Also for TCJ, Christopher Diaz presents photo diaries from the the 42nd Annual Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, and the 2022 Latino Comics Expo, as in-person events return to a modicum of pre-pandemic normality, which is heartening to see - “I traveled down to these events and photographed them as best I could. I hope these images give you a sense that comics events are making their way back again this year!”
• Over at The Beat, as blockchain-fuelled endeavours crash but also continue to burn, Erin Ptah breaks down Kickstarter’s decision to get in on that whole deal, despite the tech platform’s own reticence to break down their decision to get in on that whole deal.
• Covering one of the other big boom and/or bust stories for comics in 2022, at ICv2, Rob Salkowitz examines what ongoing market volatility may mean for the (currently) gangbusters trade in collectibles.
• For the Los Angeles Review of Books, as Julie Doucet returns to comics, Laura Paul writes on Time Zone J, its existence as a marker of a time before the internet changed the world, and the depiction markedly different scene that it represents.
• Over at NeoText Review, Tom Shapira writes in appreciation of the plasticity present throughout Kyle Baker’s career in comics, and explores how that versatility has become something of a trademark; and Chloe Maveal presents a birthday appreciation of the comic (and comics) chops of Steve Lieber.
• Shelfdust’s Black Comics History series continues, as Jordan Clark looks back to 1993’s debut of Blood Syndicate, and Dwayne McDuffie and Trevor von Eeden’s refusal to pull punches as times changed; and Matthew Cowans views the enduring concept of failure in superhero comics through the lens of Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale’s Superman For All Seasons #3.
• On the open-access academia front, charting two possible futures for Black education and comics in the classroom, Darnel Degand presents Un-silenced Pasts Present in Afrofutures: The Potential of Arts-based Inquiry and Critical Race Theory for the Journal of Futures Studies.
• Over at The Daily Cartoonist, Mike Peterson rounds up the week’s editorial beat, as the chickens of lies and misinformation came home to roost.
Wow who made this incredible beautiful art that's now on the @SPXcomics website???? pic.twitter.com/LWpWWg7vzo
— Cathy G. Johnson 🏴⚔️ (@cathygjohn) May 18, 2022
Changing the dial with wild abandon… This week’s audio/visual delights.
• Starting this week’s selection with 2022’s visit to VanCAF, as the festival returns to in-person programming, but also caters to those who can’t make the trip to Canada with a selection of hybrid virtual events - you can catch up on the video content so far here.
• Also returning to in-person programming, if you have younger cartoonists that need occupying over the upcoming summer break, the Cartoon Art Museum’s Cartoon Camp and Center for Cartoon Studies’ Summer Cartoon Club are open for registration.
• Drawn and Quarterly hosted a new At Home With launch event, as Rumi Hara celebrated the publication of new book The Peanutbutter Sisters and Other American Stories, discussing its creation, and showing viewers some early mini-comic work from grade school.
• Deb Aoki hosted this week’s edition of Mangasplaining, as the team took a look at Aruko and Wateru Hinekure’s shojo(ish) My Love Mix-Up!, and the specifics of translation, followed by an interview with Samuel Sattin about Unico: Awakening’s crowdfunding campaign and its reimagining of Osamu Tezuka’s original Unico manga.
• Shelfdust’s The War Effort reaches its penultimate sortie as Al Kennedy was joined by Dan White and Fraser Geesin for an after-action report on Secret Wars #11, and its sweet heroic hangs.
• More celebration of creators who have recently passed on Cartoonist Kayfabe this week, as Jim Rugg and Ed Piskor took a look at George Pérez’ work in DC Comics Presents #61, and Neal Adams’ Skate Man, plus some guess the inker on Todd McFarlane in Spider-Man #10, and a dive into John Byrne’s Critical Error, before Geof Darrow joined proceedings to discuss Neal Adams’ Batman work and Katsuhiro Otomo’s Akira.
• David Harper welcomed Tini Howard to this week’s edition of Off Panel, as they spoke about Phenomenocity, publishing work on Substack, and what makes magic interesting.
• Publisher’s Weekly’s More to Come saw Heidi MacDonald catch up with editor Mark Doyle about IDW’s big creator-owned push, and what goes into building a new imprint.
My variant cover and a bit of process for the genius @DarrowGeof’s The Shaolin Cowboy Cruel to be Kin #4… pic.twitter.com/RimX8SkS8j
— Duncan Fegredo (@duncanfegredo) May 18, 2022
That’s all for this week, back next week with more, unless the thunderstorm I’m watching through my window blows the power and my laptop explodes.
scene report (1/2) pic.twitter.com/eVf9wCKHcq
— Dr. Derek M Ballard PhD aka thee line tamer (@derekmballard) May 15, 2022