Man And Superman – This Week’s Links

Ah, February. Traditionally a time for purification, which in my household means the age honoured rite of standing, hands on hips, in front of the various piles of previously backlogged comics on the sofa, read during the post-Christmas winter-slump, and moved there as a ‘temporary’ storage measure, and then looking over at the already overflowing bookshelves mere feet away, before using the need to file this week’s selection of links, below, as an excuse to put that particular sisyphean task off for another week, followed by another, and another, etc, before the entire location is eventually cordoned off by the Environment Agency as a nationally important carbon sequestration site. 

This week’s news.

• Starting the week with news out of France, and 2023’s Palmarès Officiel du Festival International de la Bande Dessinée were announced in Angoulême, as reported in Le Monde, with this year’s Fauve D’or for Best Album awarded to Martin Panchaud for La Couleur des Choses (The Color of Things), while the Prix Spécial du Jury went to Anouk Ricard for Animan, and the Prix Spécial du Jeunesse was presented to Quentin Zuttion for Toutes les Princesses Meurent Après Minuit (All the Princesses Die After Midnight) - a full list of this year’s winners can be found here.

• ICv2 shares news of more comics thefts, as global economic turmoil and high prices in the collectibles market make for a dangerous combination, with Edmonton’s Wizard's Comics and Collectibles hit for at least $40k in comics and trading cards in a break-in last month, Fort Wayne’s Berndt Comics similarly targeted with a number of high value comics stolen, and comics creator Bob Burden shared details of a number of comics stolen from an Atlanta lock-up over the holidays in an appeal for information from collectors and retailers.

• The HarperCollins Union strike hit 60 working days this week, as federal mediation between the union and the publisher began, attempting to reach an agreement regarding starting salaries, union protections, and workplace diversity - Literary Hub this week presented a piece by cover designer Olivia McGiff, explaining the strike, and featuring illustrations and portraits from the picket line.

• A brief check-in with the world of artificial intelligence, as the Wall Street Journal reports on the Library of Congress’ pending copyright case for comic pages ‘created’ using the Midjourney generative AI program; digital marketing outlets Tech Monitor and TechTarget have pieces on the lawsuits being brought against the operators of such services, which hinge on questions of copyright and the transformative aspects of fair use; and The Korea Times reports on Naver Webtoon's use of anti-piracy AI under its 'Toon Radar' program.

This week’s reviews.


Leonard Pierce reviews the charming persistence of Jonathan Baylis et al’s So Buttons #10-12 - “But if there’s one common thread that unites all Baylis' stories, it’s his absolutely radiant love of the comics medium. Even in pieces where he talks about his charitable work with the Make-A-Wish Foundation or indulges memories of a year abroad, comics are always there, as a frame through which he sees the world.”



• David Brooke reviews the unique weirdness of Kyle Starks, Piotr Kowalski, et al’s Where Monsters Lie #1.

• Ronnie Gorham reviews the post-apocalyptic promise of Edward Larouche, et al’s Almighty #1.

• Andrew Isidoro reviews the disjointed stories of DC’s Lazarus Planet: Legends Reborn #1.

• Chris Coplan reviews the uneven chemistry of DC's Harley Quinn Romances #1.

• Christopher Franey reviews the purposeful nostalgia of Peter David, Juanan Ramirez, et al’s Genis-Vell: Captain Marvel.

• Timothy ONeil reviews the welcome exploration of Steve Orlando, Sara Pichelli, et al’s Scarlet Witch #2.

• Keigen Rea reviews the beautiful visuals of Peach Momoko’s Demon Days.

• Jonathan Jones reviews the satisfying mayhem of  Zeb Wells, Adam Kubert, et al’s Dark Web Finale #1.


The Beat

• Zack Quaintance reviews the surprising progression of Paul B. Rainey’s Why Don’t You Love Me?.

• Ricardo Serrano Denis reviews the snappy spectacle of Joanne Starer, Elena Gogou, et al's The Gimmick #1.

• Rebecca Oliver Kaplan reviews the exciting introductions of Danny Lore, Karen S. Darboe, et al’s Bloodline: Daughter of Blade #1.


Broken Frontier

Andy Oliver reviews the powerful realities of Green Card Voices’ Our Stories Carried Us Here, and the self-deprecating honesty of Sean Azzopardi’s Once There Was Dancing.


The Guardian

• Rachel Cooke reviews the sly twist of Paul B Rainey’s Why Don’t You Love Me?.

• James Smart reviews the fantastic details of Deena Mohamed’s Shubeik Lubeik.


Multiversity Comics

• Christopher Egan reviews the electrifying surprises of Mat Groom, Erica D’Urso, et al’s Inferno Girl Red #1.

• Gregory Ellner reviews the mixed successes of Danny Lore, Karen S. Darboe, et al’s Bloodline: Daughter of Blade #1.

• Mark Tweedale reviews the high energy of Mike Mignola, Thomas Sniegoski, Craig Rousseau, et al’s Young Hellboy: Assault on Castle Death #4.

Kobi Bordoley reviews the shallow start of Edward Laroche et al's Almighty #1.


Publisher’s Weekly

Have capsule reviews of:

- The uneven pacing of Sybille Titeux de la Croix and Amazing Améziane’s Ms Davis: A Graphic Biography, translated by Jenna Allen.

- The elegant intrigue of Robin Cousin’s The Phantom Scientist, translated by Edward Gauvin.

- The ethereal ambience of Yoko Komori’s Mermaid Scales and the Town of Sand, translated by Annette Roman.

- The fluid surrealism of Cathy Malkasian’s The Heavy Bright.

- The flat inconsistencies of Olivia Stephens, Diansakhu Banton-Perry, et al’s The Tiger’s Tongue.



• Tom Shapira reviews the unique moments of Gareth A. Hopkins’ Explosive Sweet Freezer Razors.

• Rob Clough reviews the narrative importance of Tessa Brunton’s Notes From A Sickbed.


Women Write About Comics

• Nola Pfau reviews the delightful struggles of Rebecca Mock’s Die Horny.

• Carrie McClain reviews the heartfelt moments of Daisy “Draizys” Ruiz’s Gordita: Built Like This.

This week’s interviews.


• ML Kejera interviews Deena Mohamed about Shubeik Lubeik, self-translation, page structuring, and Egyptian comics history research - “If I see Egypt rendered in a manga, I don’t feel the same way I do when I see a comic strip in [Egyptian anthology magazine] TokTok. And it’s important as an artist and storyteller to recognize these things, because at its core, storytelling is controlling the emotions you want to evoke.”

• Zach Rabiroff interviews Eric Partridge, of Philadelphia’s Fat Jack's Comicrypt, retail during the COVID-19 Pandemic, and competition in the bricks and mortar space - “Well, Amazon is a problem because they definitely have things that we sell and they sell cheaper. There’s no denying it. But I don’t know what we do to combat it - just grit our teeth, grin and bear it. There’s no punching Bezos in the face.”



Chris Hassan talks to Benjamin Percy about recent Marvel Comics work, cold opens, writing characters you can empathise with, and collaborating with other Marvel writers.


Broken Frontier

Andy Oliver speaks with Beatrice Mossman about Daddy, the context behind that comic’s design and narrative, and the difficulties of the social media age.


The Gutter Review

Steven Maxwell interviews John Wagner and Robin Smith about The Bogie Man, Glaswegian cultural history, geographical reference points, and the creative and financial realities of the book's screen adaptation.



Rob Salkowitz talks to GlobalComix founder and CEO Christopher Carter about the digital comics platform space, and how the landscape is looking in 2023.



Steven Heller chats with Ethan Persoff, co-author of John Wilcock: New York Years, about chronicling and archiving Wilcock’s work on Other Scenes. 


Publisher’s Weekly

Ebony V. Flowers speaks with Barbara Brandon-Croft about Where I’m Coming From, barriers to syndication faced by Black cartoonists, and the realities of life with a cartoonist for a father.


Publishing Perspectives

Porter Anderson talks to Rotopol Press’ Rita Fürstenau about rights-trading ahead of this year’s recent Angoulême Festival, and the origins of the publishing house.


San Diego State University

Jeff Ristine speaks with Qiana Whitted about the anti-racist messaging of classic EC Comics, reaching a younger audience, and the history of Senate Hearings regarding these stories.

This week’s features and longreads.

• Here at TCJ, Bob Levin heralds the return of Art Spiegelman’s Breakdowns: Portrait of the Artist as a Young %@&*! to print, and the context of the book’s reworking in Spiegelman’s career and the consumption of the storytelling it has generated - “The most substantive 2022 addition is an analysis of one of the Breakdown stories, which had appeared in Alternative Media in 1978. It is an instructive, mind-broadening look at the thinking Spiegelman puts into each comic panel and page, though it has the feel of a grade school teacher hectoring students who would rather be at tetherball; and I doubt much of the public had been clamoring for its revival. In fact, I’m not sure why Pantheon felt the need to publish Breakdowns again. “

• Charles R. Cross writes for The Seattle Times in remembrance of cartoonist Michael Dougan, who passed away last month, and collates tributes to Dougan from friends and peers.

• Aesthetics for Birds convenes an all-star panel of comics scholars for a wide-reaching discussion of Sam Cowling and Wesley Cray’s Philosophy of Comics, and the questions considered therein.

• The Beat presents dispatches from the digital comics realm, as Todd Allen charts the ongoing deflation of Amazon’s comiXology and where that platform may be headed, while C. Stern surveys the wireframe landscape of comics produced using generative AI trained on the work of others.

• A triple-header over at Shelfdust as Steve Morris considers the open ending of Marvel Comics’ Ms Marvel #38 and the juxtaposed tones of Kieron Gillen and Rich Elson’s Journey into Mystery #639; while Oliver Gerlach writes on the spectre of William Blake looming over the past, present and future of the UK, and Simon Spurrier and Aaron Campbell’s John Constantine: Hellblazer #3.

• From Cover to Cover’s Scott Cederlund begins a year of reading the works of one Christopher S. Claremont, and reporting back on the lessons to be learned from such an undertaking.

• The best of 2022 recommendations from Women Write About Comics continue into 2023, and this week the choices for favourite small press books of the increasingly old year are shared.

• From the world of open-access academia, in ELITE: Journal of English Linguistics, Literature, and Education, Komang Puspayoga and Ni Wayan Suastini write on the types and quantities of onomatopoeia to be found in comics featuring Batman and Spider-Man.

• For Law, Culture, and the Humanities, Yasco Horsman writes on Riss’ graphic reporting from the trial of former Vichy functionary Maurice Papon, originally published in Charlie Hebdo.

• Mike Peterson rounds up the week’s editorial beat, over at The Daily Cartoonist, as the media spotlight was turned upon the perennial stories of mass shootings, misadventures of the GOP, tanks on the move in Europe, and state-sponsored police violence.

This week’s audio/visual delights.

• Jaime Hernandez and Gilbert Hernandez were recent guests on NPR’s Bullseye with Jesse Thorn, as Los Bros spoke with Brian Heater about Love & Rockets’ 40th anniversary, and the origins of the series and its characters four decades ago.

• Austin English hosted a new meeting of the New York Comics & Picture-story Symposium, as Margot Ferrick spoke on a number of narratives, and the characters featured within them, that have struck an emotional chord over the last year.

• Katie Skelly and Sally Madden were joined by Vanessa Davis for this week’s Thick Lines to discuss Debbie Drechsler’s Daddy’s Girl, the comic’s handling of the topic of child abuse, and the story’s publication as a collected work.

• Al Kennedy and Paul O’Brien opened the doors of House to Astonish once more, ushering in 2023 with the tenth annual Homies awards for the best offerings from 2022, as well as discussions of what it is that is going on with digital comics platforms.

• Chip Zdarsky hosted this week’s episode of Mangasplaining, as the team returned to Takako Shimura’s Even Though We’re Adults for volume 2 of the series, and some inside baseball chat about what working as a translator in the manga industry entails.

• Jim Rugg and Ed Piskor bid farewell to January in traditional Cartoonist Kayfabe fashion, as they took a look at Akira Toriyama’s Dragon Ball, Jack Kirby’s Dingbat Love, and 1997’s Mad: Batman Spectacular, before talking with Brian Bolland for creator commentary on Batman: The Killing Joke.

• John Siuntres presents a 2018 voyage in the Word Balloon, speaking with the late Denny O’Neil on the occasion of The Perils of Captain Mighty and the Redemption of Danny the Kid’s publication, for a career-spanning conversation on a life lived in comics.

• David Harper welcomed Clayton Cowles to Off Panel for a discussion on the art of lettering comics, changes and challenges in the industry, and attending The Kubert School.

• Calvin Reid was joined by Robert Kirkman for Publisher’s Weekly’s More to Come, as they spoke about the 20th anniversary of Invincible, the creation of the series, and its adaptation to animation.

• Gil Roth welcomed Thomas Woodruff to The Virtual Memories Show, as they discussed Francis Rothbart! The Tale of a Fastidious Feral, the joys of Chris Ware, and life during the AIDS crisis, and the changing face of art education.

This brings us to the end of another set of links, but another will be along soon enough.