It’s a right royal occasion this week, as I’m apparently supposed to swear allegiance to the UK’s soon-to-be-newly-crowned monarch this weekend, but sadly I’ve already enacted a sacred blood pact to this week’s links, below, in order that I could bring them to you in clickable form, and, while there are many names you could (and likely should) lay at my feet, ‘oathbreaker’ is not one of them.
— DECADENCE COMICS (@DECADENCECOMICS) April 29, 2023
This week’s news.
• Starting the week with prize news, and last week’s Toronto Comics Art Festival brought with it the 19th edition of the Doug Wright Awards, with Kate Beaton winning best book for Ducks, Jonathan Dyck taking home the emerging talent award for Shelterbelts, the best small/micro-press book prize going to Ivana Filipovich for Where Have You Been?, and Cory Silverberg and Fiona Smyth won best kids’ book for You Know, Sex, while 2023’s Giants of the North inductee was the late Henriette Valium.
• Elsewhere, in further comics prize news, Joel W. Pett, of the Lexington Herald-Leader, was announced as the winner of this year’s Cartoon Award in the Robert F. Kennedy Book Awards; and it was announced that Emily Carrington is the winner of this year's Lynd Ward Graphic Novel Prize, for the graphic memoir Our Little Secret, with Kate Beaton's Ducks also named as a Lynd Ward Graphic Novel Prize honor book.
• In prizes yet to be awarded news, the European Cartoon Award is open for submissions, with a deadline of June 1st for cartoons published between May 1st 2022 and June 1st 2023 - full submission details can be found here.
• Comics publisher personnel not being laid off for a change news, and DC announced that Jim Lee has been promoted to President of the publisher, along with the already held titles of Publisher and CCO, as an unsettled spring for the US direct market looks set to give way to an equally unsettled summer.
• Industrial action news, and the Writers Guild of America called a strike this week, after negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers over pay and other issues broke down - Guilds in the UK, Australia, and Canada have called on members not to cross picket lines, with a number of comics writers speaking in support of the strike, as the WGA issued reminders that any non-members performing writing services for struck companies would be banned from future membership.
In Barry Blitt’s latest Kvetchbook, Putin is all tuckered out. pic.twitter.com/ITZkNLhypK
— The New Yorker (@NewYorker) April 28, 2023
This week’s reviews.
• Helen Chazan reviews the sweet honesty of A ee mi’s Platonic Love, translated/edited by Orion Martin, Xinmei Liu, and Jason Li - “A ee mi’s artistry is stunning and effective, and yet the work feels slight. Her narrative is incredibly didactic, spelling out every theme in text on every page, just so it can’t be missed, while avoiding any visual depiction direct enough to provide the impact of effective protest art.”
• Tegan O’Neil reviews the fleshy riffing of Matthew Allison’s Cankor - “This is a volume for leafing back and forth, picking up various images in isolation, deducing plot from inference. Allison’s work is a pleasure to look at, even if the actual contents of the book are more unsettling than not.”
• David Brooke reviews the refreshing vulgarity of Kyle Starks, Steve Pugh, et al’s Peacemaker Tries Hard! #1.
• Eric Thomas reviews the stunning creativity of Mark Waid, Dan Mora, et al’s Shazam! #1.
• Jonathan Jones reviews the successful beats of Si Spurrier, Phil Noto, et al’s X-Men: Before the Fall – Sons of X #1.
• Collier Jennings reviews the gorgeous melody of Kyle Higgins, Joe Clark, Danilo Beyruth, et al’s Deep Cuts #1.
• Connor Boyd reviews the compelling beginnings of Saladin Ahmed, Megan Levens, et al’s Starsigns #1.
• Ronnie Gorham reviews the hilarious finale of Doug Wagner, Daniel Hillyard, et al’s Plush #6.
• David Canham reviews the diminished returns of Mark Russell, Yanick Paquette, et al’s The Incal: Psychoverse.
• Holly Woodbury reviews the delightful kindness of Kim-Joy, Alti Firmansyah, et al’s Turtle Bread.
Asian Review of Books
Susan Blumberg-Kason reviews the community perspectives of Christina Wong and Daniel Innes’ Denison Avenue.
• Michael Kurt reviews the important insights of Mattie Lubchansky’s Boys Weekend.
• Rebecca Oliver Kaplan reviews the environmental messaging of Dan Abnett, Damian Couceiro, et al’s Groot #1.
Andy Oliver reviews the collected strengths of Over-Inkers #1, edited by R.E. Burke; the disarming understatement of Syd Hoff’s The Ruling Clawss; and the visual metaphors of Tal Brosh’s Trigger Shot.
House to Astonish
Paul O’Brien has capsule reviews of Marvel Comics’ Sins of Sinister: Dominion #1, Betsy Braddock: Captain Britain #3, X-Men Unlimited Infinity Comic #84, and Deadpool #6.
Nick Smith reviews the brief cuteness of Agata Loki Ignaciuk and Berenika Kolomycka’s Mika and the Howler.
• Kobi Bordoley reviews the twisting threads of James Tynion IV, Fernando Blanco, et al’s W0rldtr33 #1.
• Paul Lai reviews the satisfying goofiness of Ryan North and Erica Henderson’s Danger and Other Unknown Risks.
New York Review of Books
Marissa Moss reviews the layered textures of Christina Wong and Daniel Innes’ Denison Avenue.
Have capsule reviews of:
- The glimmering intrigue of Rina Ayuyang’s The Man in the McIntosh Suit.
- The ingenious delirium of Mattie Lubchansky’s Boys Weekend.
- The gritty elegance of Ray Nadine’s Light Carries On.
- The playful exuberance of Ollie Hicks and Emma Oosterhous’ Grand Slam Romance.
- The winning resonance of Tegan Quin, Sara Quin, and Tillie Walden’s Junior High.
- The affirming messages of Wave Blue World’s The Color of Always: An LGBTQIA+ Love Anthology, edited by Brent Fisher and Michele Abounader.
Hagai Palevsky reviews the inelegant construction of Robert L. Reiner, Angelo Torres, and Stefan Koidl’s adaptation of Otto Binder’s The Unwanted.
Who is ready for CAKE [airhorn noises] Cause we sure are. We're so excited to host industry titans, new shining stars and Chicago local legends.
🍰Welcome 2023 Special Guests @DerfBackderf @marinaomi @msharkness @thisismollym @sexytuna @johnnysampson @MatthewGAllison & @ourobora pic.twitter.com/LnnJWVHjFL
— Chi Alt Comics Expo (@CAKEchicago) April 27, 2023
This week’s interviews.
• Matt Seneca interviews Geof Darrow about Shaolin Cowboy, career beginnings and cross-coastal moves, lessons learned in animation, and working on The Matrix - “Yeah. I almost did a Batman/Predator thing. I've always kind of toyed with it. DC was a little nervous that I'd turn Batman into something like Hard Boiled and Mothers United or something would be picketing their offices.”
• Zach Rabiroff interviews Golden Apple Comics’ Ryan Liebowitz about the family legacy of the store, celebrity customers, and publishing comics for personal gratification - “I wholeheartedly believe that we’re the front lines, hand-selling these stories and these characters to fans that are eventually going to watch the shows and buy the tickets to the movies. So I think the Hollywood boom, plus the loyalty of our customers and introducing things like a subscription service, have really helped us get through the last 10, 20 years.”
• Jason Novak presents a fresh batch of illustrated conversations with comics makers, speaking with Gary Sullivan about comics projects and their inspirations, and with Eleanor Davis about You & a Bike & a Road.
Chris Coplan speaks with Sage Coffey about Wine Ghost Goes to Hell, and moving from shortform autobio comics to the graphic novel format.
• Heidi MacDonald interviews new IDW CEO David Jonas about some, well, let's be polite and call them 'interesting' ideas on the comics industry, Jonas taking what is frankly an 'interesting' tone in general, the week after the company laid of 39% of its employees, explaining how your father being the principal owner of the company can be a helpful leg up in business.
• Joe Grunenwald talks to Alyssa Wong, Haining, and Sebastian Cheng about Spirit World, the origins of the book, and ideas regarding the afterlife it’s drawing upon.
• Zack Quaintance interviews Steve Pugh about Peacemaker, the joys of a good script, cactus care, and harmonising with writers.
• Lindsay Pereira speaks with Miriam Katin about We Are on Our Own, the new edition of the book, and learning lessons from history.
• Andy Oliver talks to Scarlett Rickard and Sophie Rickard about adapting seminal Edwardian novels, and the challenges of converting prose to sequential art.
Luke Burbank chats with Caitlin McGurk and Jenny Robb about the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum’s ‘Man Saves Comics’ exhibit of strips, from the donated collection of the late Bill Blackbeard.
Presents a conversation with Bill Masuku about Captain South Africa and the character’s inspiration from protest movements.
Brigid Alverson speaks with Jeremy Whitley about School for Extraterrestrial Girls, and complementary aesthetics with artistic collaborators.
Deb Aoki interviews Jun Mayuzuki about After the Rain and Kowloon Generic Romance, artistic inspirations, and universal desires.
Malaka Gharib chats with Deb J.J. Lee about In Limbo, feeling like an outcast in high school, and the realities of healing from trauma.
Steven Heller speaks with Edel Rodriguez about Worm: A Cuban American Odyssey, the realities of life in Cuba, and creating political works in America.
• Ingrid Roper talks to Don Brown about 83 Days in Mariupol: A War Diary, choosing subjects to document, and covering Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
• DW McKinney chats with Chuck D about Stewdio: The Naphic Grovel Artrilogy, doing a project for yourself, and working at ‘courtroom speed’.
• Beatrice Viri speaks with Anthony Del Col and Fahmida Azim about I Escaped A Chinese Internment Camp, and the realities of telling Zumrat Dawut’s story.
JK Parkin interviews Hannah Templer about Cosmoknights, childhood comics reading, the work’s debut as a free webcomic, and the story’s five guiding words.
Southeast of Now
Stevphen Shukaitis talks to Sonny Liew about The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye, storytelling influences, and ways to talk about history.
— Kevin Huizenga (@kevinh1000) April 28, 2023
This week’s features and longreads.
• Here at TCJ, as Sammy Harkham’s Blood of the Virgin brings the story to print in collected form, Brian Nicholson traces the narrative through its original serialisation in Crickets - “Blood of the Virgin is work so precisely calibrated in its classicism it’s startling. He’s no longer drawing little Chester Brown potato people anymore, and as the book goes on, you can really see how he’s become increasingly graceful in his line, how elegant the gestures are that he’s capturing in the forms of these figures.”
• For The Nation, Jillian Steinhauer writes on the enduring literary legacy of Art Spiegelman’s Maus, and contemporary attempts to ban the book in denial of the realities of teaching the history of the Holocaust.
• In the wake of last week’s decimation of IDW, the latest in a wave of comics publisher mass-layoffs, and preceding a conversation with the company's new CEO (above), The Beat’s Heidi MacDonald breaks down the factors at play, and looks ahead to what’s next for the company.
• Over at Solrad, Kim Jooha writes on curating the Post-Internet Toronto exhibition at Toutoune Gallery, and the interviews that complement the exhibits engagement with the idea of artistic networks.
• For Shelfdust, T. Trewhella explores the confrontational horror to be found in Erika Price’s This Dread Disease We Call Skin; while Steve Morris looks back on Judge Joseph Dredd taking a back seat to Supersurf 10 in Oz, and the fascinating decline of Marvel’s first foray into the Star Wars licence.
• Scott Cederlund’s Chris Claremont odyssey continues, over at From Cover to Cover, as the coming of spring brings with it a run of Uncanny X-Men issues firing on all cylinders, while Marvel’s mutant media expands exponentially.
• Bella Hernandez has an essay for Women Write About Comics, writing on Keryl Brown Ahmed and Siobhan Keenan’s Big Ethel Energy, and the growth it allows its characters.
• From the world of open-access academia, Franziska Kaiser, Alexander Cuntz, and Christian Peukert present a CESifo working paper on the relationship between trademarks and character reuse in the comics industry.
— mart | commissions open (@mart_apreliy) April 29, 2023
This week’s audio/visual delights.
• Austin English hosted a new meeting of the New York Comics and Picture-Story Symposium, welcoming artist, animator, and filmmaker Amy Lockhart to speak about the work of prolific painter Charles Burchfield, and the relation of works of comics and animation to Burchfield’s techniques.
• Deb Aoki hosts this week’s edition of Mangasplaining, as the team discusses Kazune Kawahara and Aruko’s My Love Story!!, the romance and comedy to be found therein, its subversion of genre conventions, and unwholesome takes on its wholesome themes.
• Deb Aoki also joined this week’s episode of Publisher’s Weekly’s More to Come, as Calvin Reid, Heidi MacDonald, and Kate Fitzsimons discussed the ongoing boom in manga sales in the US market, as well as recent comics prize news.
• David Harper was joined by Abrams ComicArts’ EIC, Charles Kochman, for this week’s edition of Off Panel, as they spoke about the history and origins of the former imprint, its evolution to a full publishing division, and the current publishing landscape.
• Closing things out with another visit to Cartoonist Kayfabe, as this week Jim Rugg and Ed Piskor were singing the praises of Uncanny X-Men #273 and Wolverine #1, and took a look at Wizard #54, as well as the work of Al Williamson, Klaus Janson, Mike Allred, and Eric Powell.
Self portrait by legendary cartoonist and illustrator Gerald Scarfe, who will be the feature of a career spanning interview by Gary Groth in The Comics Journal #310. (thanks to @kristyvalenti for grabbing this beautiful image) pic.twitter.com/0Q0wyhosKn
— Domino Books (@DominoComics) May 1, 2023
That brings this week’s selection to a close - fresh links next week, unless the House of Windsor deems them inappropriate to public decorum.
— snoopy (comms temp. closed!) (@0chotona) April 30, 2023