Low Winter Sun – This Week’s Links

Well, we have officially made it through Blue Monday, the most depressing day of the year, mathematically speaking, so things can only look up from here on out. 

Do this week’s links, a selection of which can be found below, fit into this post-sadness narrative? There is but one way to find out, so click away with wild abandon, and confirm that which you know in your hearts to be true.

Such as it may be… This week’s news.

• Starting the week with festival rescheduling news, as the Festival International de la Bande Dessinée d'Angoulême announced that this year’s events will now be taking place from March 17th - 20th, following postponement of the original festival window due to the wave of COVID-19 infections currently spreading across Europe. One would imagine that this year’s events calendar will again be a series of moving goalposts, so probably best not to book any non-refundable travel/accommodation.

• Elsewhere, and Comic Con International opened submissions for 2022’s Will Eisner Comics Industry Awards, with a deadline for nominations of March 31st, and named this year’s judging panel, which comprises Barbara Randall Kesel, Kim Munson, Rik Offenberger, Jameson Rohrer, Aaron Trites, and Jessica Tseang.

• On a similar note, the National Cartoonists Society opened up their call for entries to this year’s Divisional Reuben Awards recognizing excellence in professional cartooning, which does not require membership to the NCS to enter, and with a deadline of February 2nd.

• The Beat rounded up a busy week of corporate comics moves, with new hires, promotions, and departures to be found at BOOM! Studios, Diamond Comic Distributors, IDW, and Marvel Comics, so update your organograms accordingly.

• The Hollywood Reporter brought confirmation that Transformers and GI Joe will indeed be departing IDW for pastures new, albeit on an extended timeline, bidding farewell at the end of 2022, but with no new home as yet confirmed, and knowing is half the battle after all.

• Koyama Provides announced the latest recipient of their grant program, awarding $1,500 to Vanessa Davis, which will be used “...to pay for some babysitting! Since having a baby in 2018 my comics and art practice has basically gone POOF due to inability to offer him any childcare.”

• In other comics funding news, Wendy Xu opened a call for applications for four $500 mini-grants, to help fund small, self-published projects focused on adult fantasy/science fiction/horror - the deadline for submissions is March 19th.

• In memoriam, remembering those that the world of comics has lost, as The Mainichi reported on the passing of baseball mangaka Shinji Mizushima earlier this month aged 82, ICv2 shared news that comics writer and historian Ron Goulart passed away last week aged 89, and Frontline reported on the death of Bengali comic creator Narayan Debnath this week aged 96.

A rose by any other name… This week’s reviews.


• Helen Chazan reviews the imaginative chaos of Imai Arata’s F, translated by Ryan Holmberg - “Imai’s linework is frantic and passionate, a frenzy of excited scribbles ferrying the reader on a sprint across an immense, explosive landscape; every mark made is in motion, every detail matters. At the same time, Imai’s pen lends equal focus to the mundane details of life in terror, our protagonist typing away at a propaganda script in his office cubicle, staring wistfully into the distance as he accepts there is nothing else for him to do.”

• Nicholas Burman reviews the varying rhythms of Zuo Ma’s Night Bus, translated by Orion Martin - Night Bus is composed of stories told from Ma’s perspective, but he’s not always a reliable narrator. Take, for instance, the magical realist elements such as the anthropomorphized animals and the hallucinatory dreams in which Ma faces past experiences or his fears of being left alone and destitute. This may well be autobio comics, but it is autobio without desire towards vulgar realism.”



• Nathan Simmons reviews the fun tussling of Rainbow Rowell, Rogê Antônio, et al’s She-Hulk #1.

• David Brooke reviews the unnecessary refresh of Emily Kim, Takeshi Miyazawa, et al’s Silk #1.

• Ben Morin reviews the superfluous retread of Chip Zdarsky, Carmine Di Giandomencio, et al’s Batman: The Knight #1.

• Alex McDonald reviews the fantastic variety of Ahoy Comics’ Edgar Allan Poe’s Snifter of Death #4.

• Ronnie Gorham reviews the concise intensity of Rick Remender and Andre Lima Araujo’s A Righteous Thirst for Vengeance #4.

• Alex Cline reviews the gorgeous relaxation of Taiyō Matsumoto’s No.5 Volume 3, translated by Michael Arias.


The Beat

• Joe Grunenwald reviews the pivotal debut of Chip Zdarsky, Carmine Di Giandomencio, et al’s Batman: The Knight #1.

• Cy Beltran reviews the consistent action of Benjamin Percy, Joshua Cassara, et al’s X Lives of Wolverine #1.


Broken Frontier

Andy Oliver reviews the poignant humour of King Louie’s Lab’s Ant Story.


Four Color Apocalypse

Ryan C reviews the surreal symphony of Hurk’s Jinx Freeze, and the gorgeous fluidity of B. Mure's Methods of Dyeing.


House to Astonish

Paul O’Brien reviews the renewed focus of Al Ewing, Stefano Caselli, et al’s Sword #7-11.


Multiversity Comics

• Alexander Jones reviews the frustrating rehash of Chip Zdarsky, Rafael De LaTorre, et al’s Daredevil: Woman Without Fear #1.

• Christopher Egan reviews the masterful conclusion of Jeff Lemire et al’s Mazebook #5.

• Robbie Pleasant reviews the shallow action of Benjamin Percy, Joshua Cassara, et al's X Lives of Wolverine #1.


Publisher’s Weekly

Have capsule reviews of:

- The harrowing horrors of Fabien Toulmé’s Hakim’s Odyssey, Book 2: From Turkey to Greece, translated by Hannah Chute.

- The truncated details of Salva Rubio and Efa’s Django, Hand on Fire: The Great Django Reinhardt, translated by Matt Madden.

- The charming confidence of Cristina Durán and Miguel Giner Bou’s A Chance, translated by Katherine Rucker.

- The mindless elegance of Jérôme Mulot, Florent Ruppert, and Bastien Vivès’ Olympia, translated by Montana Kane.



• Edward Haynes reviews the unobscured perspectives of Karen Shangguan’s Quiet Thoughts.

• Edward Howard reviews the intricate eloquence of Joshua W. Cotter’s Nod Away Volumes 1&2.


Women Write About Comics

• Elvie Mae Parian reviews the solid start of Mark A.J. Nazal, Erica Juliet, Joe Arciaga, Roland Amago, and Kael Molo’s Carmina: A Filipino-American Urban Mythology #1.

• Bishop V Navarro reviews the violent romance of James Tynion IV, Tate Brombal, Chris Shehan, et al’s House of Slaughter #3.

Blinking once for yes, and twice for no… This week’s interviews.


Sam Jaffe Goldstein interviews Aubrey Nolan about the Protection Spells gallery show, changes to process resulting from putting works on display, the crossover between comics and children’s books, and formulating colours to convey emotions - “I work in sci-fi/fantasy aspects into my work because I love the sensation of interacting with an ever-expanding place. The world you build is also a reflection of an emotional landscape of what is happening. When I am writing something I am thinking about an emotion first. The world is then built to accommodate or expand that feeling. If it is a story between two isolated people who meet, then I am going to create this stark and lonely world. Where they come together is the one bright spot in that physical world.”


The Beat

• Gregory Paul Silber talks to Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo about We Have Demons, horror bona fides or lack thereof, creative freedom on creator owned projects, and long term collaborative partnerships.

• Joe Grunenwald interviews Chip Zdarsky about Batman: The Knight, varying iterations of Bruce Wayne, what makes Gotham’s sentinel cool, and who is the Batman of Archie.


Ellwood City Ledger

Nicholas Vercilla speaks with Todd McDevitt. owner of New Dimension Comics, about pandemic shutdowns, distribution upheavals, and sales rebounds.


Entertainment Weekly

Christian Holub talks to Tochi Onyebuchi, Collin Kelly, and Jackson Lanzing about Captain America: Symbol of Truth and Captain America: Sentinel of Liberty, and how the characters taking on the mantle will operate in 2022; and to Joshua Williamson and Rafa Sandoval about Justice League #75, murderous plans for the end of the road, and lessons learned from Peter Jackson.


The Guardian

Vanessa Thorpe interviews Caro Howell, director of London’s Foundling Museum, about the exhibition Superheroes, Orphans & Origins: 125 Years in Comics, and raising awareness of the struggles faced by those who grew up without birth parents.



Jim McLauchlin speaks with David Wheeler, owner of Texas’ Dragon’s Lair, building community and focusing on customer safety, eschewing back issues, and product-line trial and error.


The Irish Times

Seamas O'Reilly talks to Cian Tormey about Superman: Son of Kal-El, the pathos of the Man of Steel, and manufactured outrage on the culture war’s frontline.



• Brandon Bush interviews Stephanie Williams about Nubia & the Amazons, writing a protagonist with gumption, electron microscopy, and inspirations drawn from George Pérez.

• Matthew Jackson speaks with Chip Zdarsky about Batman: The Knight, starting and ending with Gotham, and weaving antagonists into a series looking back to the past.

Good luck, we’re all counting on you… This week’s features and longreads.

• Here at TCJ, Matthias Wivel writes on the work of cartoonist Kurt Westergaard, and the legacy of controversy left in the wake of his passing last summer, following publication of a cartoon featuring depiction of the Prophet Muhammad in 2005 - “The cartoon idiom relies on the simplification of form, and notably physiognomy, while the genres of humor and satire to which it has always been wedded are similarly dependent on the distillation of character traits and the accentuation of conflict—that is, on a certain level of stereotyping—for their ability to elicit laughter and make their points with clarity and efficacy. The satirical cartoon turbocharges this dynamic, relying at a fundamental level on causing offense against its target. It therefore inevitably risks affront beyond it. The impact of even the subtlest satire is almost invariably blunt.”

• Also for TCJ, Jon Holt and Teppei Fukuda present a new translation of a 2005 essay by Natsume Fusasnosuke on the shōjo manga of Yoshinaga Fumi, and the effective story beats to be found therein - “Yoshinaga draws the despair and clumsy kindness of this stone-like woman and she does so with, at first glance, fastidiously neat panel layouts and pictures, where any excess elements are utterly dispensed with. Some readers might even object that these panel layouts and pictures are too curt and simple. I feel that we can see Yoshinaga’s shyness and self-consciousness from her expressions like this.”

• Finally at TCJ this week, courtesy of Conundrum Press, is an excerpt from Jonathan Dyck’s Shelterbelts, coming to print in spring 2022.

• Shelfdust’s Black Comics History series continues, as Matthew Cowans writes on Wolfpack #1’s focus on the crack and drug crisis circa 1988, and its depiction of societal failures of authority, and the work of Ron Wilson found therein.

• For Broken Frontier, Andy Oliver shares testimonies from the UK comics scene, as Steven Walsh is welcomed into the site’s Hall of Fame for services to local comics community building over the last decade.

• Over at NeoText Review, Chloe Maveal writes on Justice League International, and shares why you shouldn’t want to make something of it, regarding the series’ lasting charm and appeal.

• Nikolai Fomich’s examination of Detective Comics #871 for Sequart continues, this time out considering contrasts between the issue’s cover and interior page compositions, along with the comic’s use of caption boxes.

• For Publisher’s Weekly, Rob Salkowitz recaps the last few years of Heavy Metal, with input from CEO Matthew Medney, as the team looks to build on 30 years of publication history that precedes it, barring some COVID-19-related setbacks.

• Douglas Wolk writes for The Guardian on the process of reading all of the Marvel comics for All of the Marvels, including pages turned at the Burning Man festival, and favourite/least-favourite characters.

• Mike Peterson rounds up the week’ editorial beat, over at The Daily Cartoonist, as shelves remain bare, the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr was celebrated, global politics operates to universal laws, and a year in politics is a very long time.

Please put on your 3D glasses now… This week’s audio/visual delights.

• Starting this week’s selection off with video from last weekend’s 10th Annual Schomburg Center’s Black Comic Book Festival, including talks on curating safe comics spaces, creating historical graphic novels, the history of Afrofuturism in the arts, and more.

• Sally Madden and Katie Skelly closed out season one of Thick Lines with a rundown of the best comics and zines from 2021, as well as discussion on comics creators in the world of high fashion, and where it is that stickers should go.

• Noah Van Sciver’s cartoonist chats returned from hiatus, kicking off season two by talking with R. Kikuo Johnson about No One Else, the 90s betrayals of the direct market, and which bit of the process takes longest when making books.

• Christopher Butcher hosted this week’s edition of Mangasplaining, as the team was divided over Hayao Miyazaki’s Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind and whether its detailed pages should receive ‘classic manga’ status.

• Ed Piskor and Jim Rugg convened Cartoonist Kayfabe once more, as this week coverage was given to the work of Glenn Chadbourne, Brian Azzarello and Richard Corben’s Banner, 1977’s Heavy Metal #1, Stan Lee on the stand and in the pages of Batman, Katsuhiro Otomo’s Kaba, and Dark Horse Presents #1.

• A few trips up in the Word Balloon this week, as John Siuntres spoke with James Aquilone about Kolchak the Night Stalker and the history of the character, Erica Schultz about Bylines in Blood and good editorial partnerships, Skottie Young about Untold Tales of I Hate Fairyland and what 2022 has in store, and Rob Williams about Out and The Sword of Hyperborea.

• David Harper welcomed Challenger Comics’ Patrick Brower to Off Panel this week, as they spoke about retail realities during a pandemic and a year of distribution upheaval, along with how the market’s looking these days in general.

• Finally this week, Publisher’s Weekly’s More to Come welcomed Samira Ahmed to the show, speaking with Heidi MacDonald about Ms Marvel and making the shift from prose to comics writing.

That’s all for this week, back next time with yet more links, if links there are to be had.