A tech-heavy period in the world of this week’s links, a selection of which can be found below, as billionaires, millionaires, and the digital startups they just love to incubate, increasingly encroach on the distribution and production of creative endeavours - will il Maestro, Milo Manara, be the one to save us from the reign of the hyper-wealthy kleptocrats? Only time will tell. On with the show.
“Autumn” // mini comic pic.twitter.com/csjR7jHcGE
— Gizem Vural (@gizem__vural) December 8, 2022
This week’s news.
• Kicking off the week with a check-in on how things are going in the world of artificial intelligence, and signs point to ‘outlook not so good’, as the Lensa app’s portrait generation, via the Stable Diffusion neural network, went viral, leading to more questions regarding the provenance of the artwork that such networks draw from, and the fair compensation of artists for their work. The ethical and copyright questions surrounding such generative programs aren’t particularly new, various legal papers from the past 5 years consider the ownership issues raised by AI-driven image production, but the increasing ease-of-use and availability to users is now putting theoretical discussions into practice - Celsys, owners of digital drawing software Clip Studio Paint, quickly walked back planned AI integration into their platform this week, after a widespread user backlash.
• ICv2 and Anime News Network report figures from Oricon’s annual manga sales report from Japan, as domestic sales of print manga look to be slowing, following a boom period during the pandemic, mirroring a similar slowdown in Western markets - The Economist reported recently on the manga market slowdown, compared to the continued success of webtoon platforms to attract the lucrative younger reader market.
• Comics personnel changes, and The Beat shares news that Hunter Gorinson will be Oni-Lion Forge’s new President and Publisher, stepping into the role after the company implemented substantial layoffs in its staff over the summer.
• Sacramento’s KCRA reports on a spate of thefts targeting local comics and collectibles stores, after five retailers in the area reported break-ins and smash-and-grabs, apparently focused on high-value goods that are easy to remove from the premises and then quickly sell on to a buyer, leading to businesses having to change the way that they work.
• Koyama Provides announced the latest recipient of their grant program, awarding $1,500 to Emil Ferris, which will be used “...to purchase sketchbooks for ‘The Drawing Club.’ Those sketchbooks are given to children and adults who wish to join ‘The Drawing Club.’ The other portion of the grant will be used to create the arm of a website for the club.”
• In memoriam, remembering those the comics world has lost, as news was shared that Don Orehek, storied cartoonist, and four-time winner of the National Cartoonist Society’s Best Magazine Cartoonist Award, passed away last month, aged 94.
• News was also shared of the passing of prolific Archie Comics artist Tim Kennedy, who had been working on the publisher’s comics with twin brother Pat since 1989 as The Kennedy Bros - Editor in Chief Mike Pellerito cited Kennedy’s fun and versatile artwork.
— HarperCollins Union on strike since 11/10/22 (@hcpunion) December 8, 2022
This week’s reviews.
• Chris Mautner reviews the meandering satire of Yeong-shin Ma’s Artist, translated by Janet Hong - “Perhaps surprisingly for a book about artists, actual art (or at least the process of producing it) is rarely seen or discussed. Instead, our hapless trio are more focused on getting drunk at restaurants and karaoke bars, hitting on women, and navigating treacherous political waters as they attempt to garner positions of note. Artist is a book that is more concerned with the realities of trying to make a living in the arts than with craftsmanship.”
• Tom Shapira reviews the mythic explorations of Hayao Miyazaki’s Shuna’s Journey, translated by Alex Dudok de Wit - “We can never quite be sure where or when this story happens: it could be the past; it could be a Nausicaä-like post-apocalypse future; it could be another world; it could be Australia. We don’t know, because we don’t need to know.”
• Daniel Berlin reviews the solid selection of DC’s Dark Crisis: War Zone #1.
• David Canham reviews the enjoyable ambition of Kieron Gillen, Lucas Werneck, et al’s Immortal X-Men Volume 1.
• Ben Morin reviews the engaging action of Jason Aaron, Jesus Saiz, Paul Azaceta, et al’s Punisher: The King of Killers Book One.
• Keigen Rea reviews the disappointing anti-climax of Jonathan Hickman, Valerio Schiti, Stefano Caselli, R.B. Silva, et al’s Inferno.
• Andrew Isodoro reviews the comprehensive introduction of Greg Weisman, George Kambadais, et al’s Gargoyles #1.
• Colin Moon reviews the character-focused mystery of Curt Pires, Jacoby Salcedo, et al’s It's Only Teenage Wasteland #1.
• David Brooke reviews the fresh concepts of Alex Paknadel, Caspar Wijngaard, et al’s All Against All #1.
• Steve Baxi reviews the fascinating structuring of Tom King and Elsa Charretier's Love Everlasting #1-5.
• Joe Grunenwald reviews the stunning conclusion of Chip Zdarsky, Jorge Jimenez, Leonardo Romero, et al’s Batman #130.
• Avery Kaplan reviews the community-focused narrative of Jordan Ifueko, Alba Glez, et al’s Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #1; and the stupendous composition of Ryan North, Chris Fenoglio, et al’s Star Trek: Lower Decks #1-3.
• Tom Baker reviews the grubby psychedelia of Jon Chandler’s John’s Worth.
Four Color Apocalypse
Ryan Carey reviews the fluvial literality of Jake Kelly’s Destruction, Vice, and Sleaze: Volume 1.
House to Astonish
Journal of Literary Studies
Justin van Huyssteen reviews the illuminating overview of Shige (CJ) Suzuki and Ronald Stewart’s Manga: A Critical Guide.
Los Angeles Review of Books
Lee Thomas reviews the spectral grief of Lauren Haldeman’s Team Photograph.
• Matthew Blair reviews the excellent absurdity of Doug Wagner, Daniel Hillyard, et al’s Plush #1.
• Christopher Egan reviews the breezy blast of Keith Davidsen, SidVenBlu, et al’s Godzilla Rivals - Vs. Gigan #1.
Have capsule reviews of:
- The sure-footed snappiness of Elizabeth Colomba and Aurélie Lévy’s Queenie: Godmother of Harlem.
- The heartfelt preservation of Brian Alessandro, Michael Carroll, and Igor Karash’s adaptation of Edmund White’s A Boy’s Own Story.
- The idiosyncratic intensity of Adrian Lysenko and Ivanka Theodosia Galadza’s Five Stalks of Grain.
- The inviting accessibility of Barbara Stok’s The Philosopher, the Dog and the Wedding: The Story of the Infamous Female Philosopher Hipparchia, translated by Michele Hutchison.
- The charming profundity of Ana Penyas’ We’re All Just Fine, translated by Andrea Rosenberg.
- The complex explorations of Clifford Thompson’s Big Man and the Little Men.
Women Write About Comics
Paige Lyman reviews the bite-sized fun of Dark Horse's The Legend of Korra: Patterns in Time.
— Connor Willumsen (@ConnorWillumsen) December 7, 2022
This week’s interviews.
• Zach Rabiroff interviews Wig Shop’s Jeff Alford, as TCJ’s Retail Therapy series returns, discussing getting into the comics selling business, the personal nature of stocking an online shop, and the joys of championing work - “Wig Shop is my dream bookstore as a bookstore nerd. That’s the kind of vibe I wanted to do, is have a place that had interesting things that people could get excited about and show their friends, and feel like they snagged something special. So it all kind of comes from that hobbyist slant where I like collecting things, and I know other people do.”
• Presented from the archives, originally published in 1990’s The Comics Journal #139, Peter Bagge interviews Aline Kominsky-Crumb about childhood memories, hippie heaven in Tucson, and life in the underground scene - “In art school I had all these male teachers who were very domineering, handsome, chauvinistic. That was fun in its own way because it was all sex and perversion and power games, but it wasn’t very good for my artwork. This was the main reason that I left there. This was like a group of absolutely equal people, and it was really exuberant. There was a lot of energy. It was a good period for me. I was happy to meet those women and be in [Wimmen’s Comix].”
Deanna Destito talks to Matthew Erman and Emily Pearson about Bonding, science fiction romance, and focusing on distractions.
Dai Newman speaks with Rob Kirby about Marry Me a Little, writing from experience, normalised queerness, and the right to marriage.
David Harper chats with Tom Reilly about Ant-Man, artistic origins, working from script to page, and comic book homework.
JK Parkin interviews Cavan Scott and Nick Brokenshire about Dead Seas, British humour comics history, cultural influences, and keeping things weird,
dead star pic.twitter.com/I0wq0p7FXK
— melon (@downintothedeep) December 4, 2022
This week’s features and longreads.
• Here at TCJ, Jon Holt and Teppei Fukuda present a translation of Natsume Fusanosuke’s 1994 essay on Ikegami Ryōichi’s Supaidāman, and the seminal topic of superheroes and masturbation - “It makes me cry at how adorable it all is. While the raging billows are a combined image of his sexual desire and ejaculation, they also suggest the protagonist’s psychology, wet with shame, through those foaming waves. So, when we get to the cowardly-looking rolling pencil, it quite enough conveys the kind of emptiness any guy feels after doing that kind of thing. (Well, most likely.)”
• Also for TCJ, John Kelly reports from last month’s memorial service for Diane Noomin, who passed away in September, aged 75 - “Speakers at the event included her husband, the cartoonist Bill Griffith, cartoonists Phoebe Gloeckner and Jennifer Camper, comics historians Bill Kartalopoulos and Hillary Chute, Columbia University's Curator for Comics and Cartoons Karen Green, and cartoonist Art Spiegelman, who introduced Noomin and Griffith in the early 1970s.”
• John Kelly also writes for TCJ in remembrance of the life and work of Aline Kominsky-Crumb, who passed away last month at the age of 74 - “Though she later left the Wimmen's Comix collective due to issues with its direction, and launched her own women's title, Twisted Sisters Comics with Diane Noomin, Kominsky-Crumb was a founding member of the group and the experience was important in her development as an artist.”
• Further obituaries for Aline Kominsky-Crumb, alongside those linked to in the above, included pieces from Artforum, AP News, Drawn & Quarterly, The Gutter Review, ICv2, The Jewish Telegraph Agency, The Nation, The New York Times, and The Washington Post, while a Legacy page collated social media tributes paid to the cartoonist.
• Claire Woodcock reports for Vice on the realities of graphic novel bannings in school libraries in the US, and the students that are being done a disservice due to these sweeping book removals, on the say-so of a small number of ‘concerned’ parents.
• For The Washington Post, Liza Donnelly, author of Very Funny Ladies, presents thoughts on the history of women and non-binary cartoonists, and speaks with Sarah Akinterinwa, Alison Bechdel, Roz Chast, Mads Howarth, Amy Hwang, Sara Lautman, and Bishakh Som about drawing and expressing gender ideas.
• Ahead of the publication of Sarah Airriess’ adaptation of Cherry Apsley-Garrard’s The Worst Journey In the World, Robin McKie writes for The Guardian on Robert Scott’s ill-fated expedition to the Antarctic.
• For The Gutter Review, Tom Shapira writes on John Wagner and Cam Kennedy’s Kenny Who? stories, in the age of AI art generation through the exploitation of human artists’ work.
• Over at Shelfdust Matt Sibley writes on the British culture and history inherent in the character of John Constantine, as depicted in Simon Spurrier, Aaron Campbell, et al’s John Constantine: Hellblazer #1; and Steve Morris presents entries 50 - 41 of the top 50 comic book events in the history of, well, comic book events.
• From the world of open-access academia, in the Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics, Neil Cohn, Irmak Hacımusaoğlu, and Bien Klomberg present findings from a study on cross-cultural variation between POV comic book panels.
• For Hacettepe University’s Journal of Faculty of Letters, Corry Shores writes on applying Vivian Sobchack’s Merleau-Pontian phenomenology of embodied film experience to comics, in the context of Gilles Deleuze’s philosophy of shocking sensations, in the work of Peter Bagge, Mary Fleener, and Craig Thompson.
• 2007. Marvel’s Civil War rages. Wolverine gets in the mix.
• Mike Peterson rounds up the week’s editorial beat, over at The Daily Cartoonist, as Elon Musk, Royal racism, and Donald Trump all appeared above the fold, along with the endemic transphobia of politics.
Spirit Navigator pic.twitter.com/eWjEQnMmoe
— Jack T. Cole (@NewJackCole) December 5, 2022
This week’s audio/visual delights.
• Dash Shaw joined Katie Skelly and Sally Madden for this week’s edition of Thick Lines, as the trio took a look at one of the breakout books of 2022 - Nick Drnaso’s Acting Class - and what the ambiguous nature of the story’s characters may or may not say about their author.
• Austin English hosted a new meeting of the New York Comics & Picture-story Symposium, presenting a wide-ranging conversation with artist and publisher Tim Goodyear about what taste can comprise, the nature of comics retail, and the failures of the internet to allow for effective discovery of new stories and storytellers.
• Mangasplaining closed out season three of the podcast, as David Brothers hosted the now-traditional return to Katsuhiro Otomo’s Akira, this time out discussing volume 4 of the series, and the many reasons it has legendary status.
• Regular programming on Cartoonist Kayfabe’s channel, as this week Ed Piskor and Jim Rugg, plus guest appearances from Tom Scioli, took a look through The Peacemaker #1 and #2, X-Force #2, Crimson #1 and #2, Strange Tales #114, Uncanny X-Men #94, and Steve Englehart and Marshall Rogers x Batman
• David Harper welcomed Jason Aaron to this week’s edition of Off Panel, as they discussed creator-owned books and work for hire, story evolutions and limited series, and a general overview of how 2022’s been.
• Kate Fitzsimons, Heidi MacDonald, and Calvin Reid convened for a new edition of Publisher’s Weekly’s More to Come, as they spoke about personnel changes at Oni, the passing of Aline Kominsky-Crumb, and rounded up various news stories from the world of indie comics in the direct market.
New year's coming... pic.twitter.com/SYebp0RNY6
— 산호 KimSanho (@sanhomaydraw) December 7, 2022
That’s all that there is for this week, back in seven days with more, while in no way panicking about how much seasonal gift buying I have left to do.
bug fairy pic.twitter.com/wsi0l6mUEo
— Madeline McGrane (@madmcgrane) December 7, 2022